Monday, September 22, 2008

The unsolicited tripe is not worth reading.

For some reason that escapes me, I've begun receiving "Morning Thoughts" from an entity calling itself Life Changers International: Your Pathway to Personal Peace, Your Portal to a Better Life. So far as I can tell, this particular Life Changers International is unrelated to this one, but I guess the whole thing could be a spiritual franchise op, with my LCI handling the territory surrounding 6379 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA. That's the address listed at the end of the piece. I don't really need the address for the purpose of fully energizing my spiritual selfthe classes to which the piece invites me take place via free webinars on the "Science of Mind Principles"but LCI informs me that "We do accept donations...thanks for asking." (?) The physical address is where I'm supposed to send my check.

The Morning Thoughts themselves aren't very useful to me, in the morning or any other time of day, except as another marvelous object lesson in what an intellectual house of
cards SHAM's spiritual wing uniquely is.

The first Morning Thought I received, on September 17, began thusly:

"As we approach Autumn, let us reflect on the Summer. Reflection has a way of providing inspiration and insight." The piece went on to talk about the Summer Olympics, a
nd the lessons thereof. And so a few sentences later I came upon this description of what that event (the Olympics) was really about: "It is focusing on the task at hand, giving all that you have in that moment, for that moment is all there is...."

OK now, wait a sec. Which is it? Am I supposed to be "reflecting on things"? Or just living in the moment, because the moment "is all there is"? In posing such questions, I don't think I'm being nitpicky, pedantic, or unduly harsh towards our friends at LCI; I'm not the one who decided to put that line at the very top, the one about how "reflection has a way of providing inspiration and insight." So tell me, then, how are your garden-variety Now-Livers supposed to know when they're allowed to "reflect" and when they're not? Which subject areas are worthy of "reflection," and which should be considered off the table, reflection-wise? Real-world example: Many of us who are grandparents spend a fair amount of time thinking back to when we were younger and raising our own children. Is that kind of reflection permissiblesay, as a way of gaining deeper insight into how you should help raise your grandkids, now? Because once you open the door to that kind of reflection, you're also going to reflect on things that, just maybe, you'd prefer not to remember. You're going to reflect on long-ago angst, or things you did that you wish you hadn't done, all of which is going to interfere with your appreciation of the Now. (A famous lawyer I once interviewed made a similar point in referring to certain tricky areas of trial testimony: "You can't open the door and let just the fresh air in. The bees and flies may come in, too."*)

But long before any such considerations, of course, the very idea of "reflection" is incompatible with "Living in the Now."


I used to tell my writing students all the time, "The fact that you have two or three paragraphs separating a pair of seemingly contradictory ideas in your essay doesn't relieve you of the burden of [a] explaining why it isn't really a contradiction after all, or ideally [b] eliminating it." That applies in spades here. If you're going to present and sponsor a philosophy of living
...wouldn't it be nice if it made sense?

Later in my missive from LCI, there's this inspiring graph:

"I will attend to myself so that I may truly Know Myself. I will control my thoughts and emotions and experience the freedom to make responsible and positive choices. I will continue on my journey, I continue to grow with ever new Truths, pointing in the direction of my True Self..."
To which I can only say: HUH? PeopleNew-Agers above allread that paragraph again. Really read it, and think about what it says, and the fact that there are only about 19 separate contradictions and incongruities contained therein. And then by all means get back to me and share your thoughts. I'll be happy to post them.

What I find most laughable is that my Morning Thought uses the famous quote from Socrates as an epigram at the top: "The unexamined life is not worth living." I'm sorry, Morning-Thought People, but Socrates would have laughed his Greek ass off at your view of life. And after examining it, he probably would've been motivated to drink the hemlock that much sooner.


===================================

Finally, it occurred to me late last night, as the strains of New York, New York rang down the curtain on Yankee Stadium, that maybe there are certain poignant, wistful memories you want to hang onto—that maybe life without nostalgia, or even the dull, sweet ache of remembered pain, is life without depth and meaning. Further, if every day is an ice-cream cone slathered in chocolate syrup, do you still taste it after a while? At the very least, do you still taste it quite the same way? Or do we sometimes need the contrapuntal bitterness for full appreciation? More to the point, do we sometimes need the bitter tastes to relate to others whose lives aren't ice-cream cones slathered in syrup?

All right, I grant you, it's not all that profound. So maybe we could just call it
I dunnoa morning thought?

* Now of course some wise-ass is going to write and say, "Get a screen door..."

28 comments:

Steven Sashen said...

Too bad most of our athletes were too busy reflecting and couldn't live in the now enough to give it all they had in the moment.

From Doug Logan of USA Track & Field:

"I evaluated the number of performances where the contestant performed at their peak level for the year (2008). In the instance of men, only seven performances out of 66 were their best performance for the year (10.6%) while the women had 11 out of 65 performances (16.9%) that were their best of the year."

And, please, Steve, accept your exceptional self exactly as you are, except for all those parts that really aren't you and shouldn't be accepted.

Steve Salerno said...

As with many of your comments, Steven, I'm left wondering at whom your satire is directed: me or the gurus (or both?) Though that last line is pretty clear in its message and intended target, your mastery of writing comments that can be read in more than one way is unsurpassed.

Glad you resurfaced. Somehow I suspected you would, on this one. ;)

Voltaire said...

After reading your post this morning I'm reminded of what a Biology Professor said about how some of his students have problems understanding their papers are inconsistent. He will point out one sentence in on place in the students paper and another and then show the student how the sentences conflict. At this point the student says something on the line of "but that sentence is here and the other one is there." and it becomes evident that the student hasn't grasped the idea you can't say the earth is flat one minute and say the earth is round the next.

I have never been able to understand people who are unaffected by inconsistencies like this and get upset if someone points out the inconsistencies.

Having had many frustrating debates with someone who repeatedly asserted the self refuting statement "there are no absolute truths", I can attest how obstinate people can be when the hold an inconsistent position. As to why they are so stubborn is beyond me.

There is a certain irony to the Morning Thoughts quoting Socrates. Evidently the don't know it was Aristotle who originally formulated the law of noncontradiction.

RevRon's Rants said...

I think that quite often, the problem we have with apparent contradictions is rooted in our perception of absolutes, where none truly exist. Is it possible to engage simultaneously in introspection / reflection. while "living in the moment?" If we acknowledge that our decisions today are influenced by our past experiences, the answer must be yes. It would be delusional to claim complete freedom from the affectations of our past, yet it would be nonproductive to cripple our present activities by constantly weighing potential outcomes, as projected from our memories. The key element, I believe, is in recognizing the fact that we are so affected, while not obsessing over the fact. The "analysis" can come after the act, at which time we can assess the relationship between our actions and our "baggage." The problem lies in the attempt to simultaneously assess and act, which renders both activities impotent.

Unfortunately, as in so many other areas, opinions become polarized. Some say we must cast aside the past and live only in the moment, while others insist upon making each moment a monument to the past. Absolutism is perpetuated, and the "conflicts" grow larger. The conflicting perspectives tend to confuse, and this confusion is especially apparent in the academic situation you describe. The student is so accustomed to incongruities that he/she fails to see the illogic in conflicting statements.

To relate a concept that far predates - but has been cannibalized by - New Age, it is not only possible, but essential to focus entirely upon the present, knowing that the present is merely a single step beyond - but still inexorably tied to - a conglomerate of every moment of one's past. The only real "problem" arises if we insist upon a fixed and firm boundary between "now" and "then." Such a boundary may well be the source of our greatest illusion. Or maybe not.

Steve Salerno said...

Ron, the idea you float--"engag[ing] simultaneously in introspection/reflection while 'living in the moment'"--is actually a pretty solid prescription for living, I think. We all hope to balance our instantaneous thoughts and impulses with the weight of experience and insights gained. But remember, that is not what the self-help crowd are selling. They are the ones who pitch the absolutes: the 7 keys, the 10 principles, the 8 rules, whatever. Eckhart Tolle's concept of Now--as stated and set forth in his books--is totally incompatible with (and not capable of being melded with) an outlook that values experience. It produces a paradox; one cancels the other. (And I think it's the quote from the lawyer, in my post, that says it best, at least implicitly: You cannot "open the door" to elements of past experience that enrich the Now without also allowing in "the bees," the demons and hurts that distract from the Now.)

You're either in the Now or you aren't. And if your concept of Now is more "enlightened," allowing for the introduction and incorporation of gained wisdom from the past, then it's no longer the Now, certainly not as Tolle and related gurus sell it.

Steve Salerno said...

And though we haven't really touched on it here, things get even stickier when we consider the Future, and its relationship to one's appreciation of the Now. Here again, a Tolle-ian approach to Now would absolutely, positively rule out, say, an agency like FEMA. (Not that FEMA does anyone all that much good lately.)

Elizabeth said...

I get your criticisms and share them as well, Steve -- I really do -- but my devil's advocate is demanding her voice too.

You've already contradicted yourself on the value of reflection(s) in your last paragraph, so I'll put this one aside. :)

Let's then look at that HUH? passage:

I will attend to myself so that I may truly Know Myself. I will control my thoughts and emotions and experience the freedom to make responsible and positive choices. I will continue on my journey, I continue to grow with ever new Truths, pointing in the direction of my True Self...

It is pretty sound advice, I'd say, though its language is nauseating. But let's take it apart:

"I will attend to myself so that I may truly know myself."

Pretty reasonable. It says, as I read it (I will skip the mantra/affirmational way it's worded here), that paying attention to our reactions is a way to better understand them. If we were better at it, we would certainly avoid pointless "political" battles like the one witnessed on the other thread.

"I will control my thoughts and emotions and experience the freedom to make responsible and positive choices."

What you'd object here to, if I'm guessing correctly, is the seeming contradiction between control and freedom, is that right? But it actually makes sense, because indeed controlling one's thoughts and emotions is a way to obtain freedom from less desirable aspects of our characters and freedom to develop the ones we desire more.

"Controlling" here, if I interpret it correctly, means paying attention to our thoughts and emotions, using our judgment to discern what they are and what they tell us about ourselves and the situation we are in, and making a conscious decision to inhibit some of them -- those we desire less -- and let the others take reign and lead us to appropriate action.

Many of us do it more or less already. Why, I would venture a guess that you did it too, Steve, last week -- and at least several times -- while dealing with that hot political thread. I'm guessing -- and correct me if I'm wrong of course -- that you must have felt tempted to lash out at least once, but you had enough insight (that "paying attention" part) and self-*control* to inhibit this reaction and instead act in a more conciliatory and peaceful -- and controlled manner (closing the thread exactly when you did, for example).

I'll make another guess, even bolder (though this may not be applicable to you here as the moderator as it is to the participants of the discussion) and say that it felt better (as in, more right, more appropriate) -- and still does -- to do so rather than engage in very tempting at the moment verbal altercations.

This is exactly what the passage describes -- control of our actions, thoughts and emotions (i.e. inhibiting their impulsive and destructive variety) to obtain freedom (from destructive impulsivity) which makes it possible for us to make responsible and positive choices. You know, one could say that real freedom -- the internal one -- is in that one moment of inhibition we impose on our reactions. And inhibition requires attention and, yes, reflection. (Sometimes inhibition is not desirable, I know, in situations of danger when an instinctual response is preferable. But that's not what we are talking about here.)

And that sentence about "journey," Truths, etc., in spite of its sugary language, essentially sums up the role of attention and inhibition in shaping one's personality toward becoming more of who we aspire to be (i.e. more patient, more understanding, more loving, what have you -- call it the true self, if one must) and less so the vindictive, impulsive, driven by uncontrollable desires and fears primitive self. (This, btw, is the method behind employing Dimension Skipper's excellent insights from the previous thread.)

We have seen what being completely at mercy of one's fears and desires can do -- on this blog, in our daily lives, and in the world around us, including our politics and economy. If the Wall Street free marketeers were capable of following the LCI prescription* here (paying attention to, and controlling/inhibiting their primitive impulses of greed and self-aggrandizement, and thus gaining freedom to make responsible and positive choices), we would not be in this mess.

*It's not LCI's discovery. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, among many other things, is based on the same principles.

Steve Salerno said...

I'm super-busy today, Eliz, but I must stop you here and interject what--to me--is the cardinal flaw. There is a world of difference between who we aspire to be and our "True Selves," and this is not just semantics or sophistry. A "true self" cannot be shaped or controlled. A "true self" may be the exact opposite of your aspirations or intentions. So you can talk about molding a person into what that person wishes to be, but that is a whole separate animal from a True Self. Especially amid the concept of Now!

And if a Truth is a Truth, how do you know you're automatically going to "grow" with it? So Truths only make us grow? There are no negative Truths?

We can't just throw terms and buzzwords around, put them in a big pile of happy-talk, and not expect to be impugned on them or at least have their literal meaning held up to scrutiny. This is all the more so when we're trying to sound philosophically wise.

But I guess in a scenario in which you're controlling your freedom, it makes perfect sense! ;)

RevRon's Rants said...

"They are the ones who pitch the absolutes: the 7 keys, the 10 principles, the 8 rules, whatever."

That is exactly what I mean when I say the New Age movement has cannibalized the concept. The 8-fold Path I follow, for example, is not a list of absolutes, but rather a framework (and a loose one, at that). The definition of "Right thinking," for example, is not static. What I believed to represent right thought a decade - or perhaps an hour - ago evolves into what I currently believe. Was my earlier thinking "wrong," or merely a "right" step on a long path? The answer lies wholly within myself... and might even change entirely at some point.

The value of the Path/rules/principles/keys is in their ability to guide, rather than strictly define. And so long as we insist upon clear (absolute) definitions for everything, we will continue to be frustrated, our lives filled with insurmountable inconsistencies.

That said, perhaps even the inconsistencies to which we adhere now are representative of "right thinking," based upon the perspective we currently hold. Tomorrow, we might just see that the only "inconsistency" was our insistence upon absolutist answers.

ellen said...

Rev Ron,
If I may, I'd like to pick you up on an inconsistency:
'but essential to focus entirely upon the present, knowing that the present is merely a single step beyond'
The present can only ever be the present; step beyond, even a single step and you are somewhere else(strictly speaking, of course, we can only ever be in the present, it is the only possibilty)
I had a great teacher once who explained this in terms of 'muscle memory'. He said that we train and study and practice endlessly, unceasingly, until it becomes engrained in the muscles and bones--that is the past-- when the 'moment' arrives we can then discard all, everything; training, study, practice, thought of winning and of steps beyond, self, the whole crock of shit and just do what comes naturally, whatever that is.
This of course is what military training attempts, my teacher had been a US Ranger at some point.
I have had a very eventful life and have found myself in some well dodgy situations (most of my own making I might add) I have found my teachers advice to be spot on.
It may sound similar to the newage woo woo stuff but it is eminently practical so I'm not hung up on what it can be called.

Steve Salerno said...

Again, this is going to sound juvenile--and yes, on rare occasion I use "bad words" myself, and reserve the right to do so, when there's a certain effect I'm straining for--but I'm really trying to hold the line on the casual use of profanity, even if it's the more benign forms. Everyone's cooperation is appreciated.

RevRon's Rants said...

"The present can only ever be the present; step beyond, even a single step and you are somewhere else(strictly speaking, of course, we can only ever be in the present, it is the only possibilty)"

Good point, Ellen. My teacher used the gong to teach the meaning of "now." The instant the gong is struck, when the sound initially bursts forth, is "now." But so was our anticipation of that sound as he swung the hammer. As was each instant as the sound decayed. As was the crystalline silence that followed. And yet each event represented the present only in its own instant. Even at the moment of acknowledgment, "now" had become "then."

My point - and the point of the lesson - is that "now" is a paradox, rather than a definition, and each "now" we experience is "a step beyond" an unending continuum of "thens." Attempting to even define now, to compartmentalize it in some absolute, effectively negates it. That is what the "beat Zen" New Age huckster tries to do, and cannot understand why thinking people have such a tough time accepting it.

Elizabeth said...

There is a world of difference between who we aspire to be and our "True Selves," and this is not just semantics or sophistry. A "true self" cannot be shaped or controlled.

I'm not sure I understand it, Steve. Do you mean -- by true self here -- the instinctual, unconscious part of our character?

And if a Truth is a Truth, how do you know you're automatically going to "grow" with it? So Truths only make us grow? There are no negative Truths?

Yes, there are "negative" truths (that is, if I understand the meaning of "truth" correctly here, LOL). Learning from those is part of our growth. Quite possibly, we learn more from the "negative" than from the so-called "positive" ones. For example, we learn about our limitations and fallibility. Useful stuff, absolutely necessary for any kind of emotional and cognitive growth.

Steve Salerno said...

Another interjection: I think it's important to remain mindful of the name and subtitle of this blog. I'm not sure that the key thing here is to evolve a workable definition of Now (which may be an impossible task, for reasons cited better by others, above). The real point is that people are trading quite successfully in a concept that defies definition. To put it another way, they have commodified something that doesn't even exist. They are--in my view--taking advantage (once again) of the universal desire for happiness and a higher level of fulfillment, throwing out words and phrases designed to evoke a certain hopeful emotional response...and yet the enterprise they urge upon us is (again in my view) doomed from the start because once you get past that hopeful patina, there's no actual program. And there can't be an actual program unless/until the core concept is adequately defined. So the whole thing begins to sound unscrupulous.

Steve Salerno said...

To clarify: I used a shorthand above that probably confuses the issue further. I think we can take a stab at defining Now, per se. It's Living in the Now that defies articulation.

RevRon's Rants said...

"It's Living in the Now that defies articulation."

And by clarifying this point, we effectively refute the core of the hucksters' "products." And that, I assume, *is* the point, right? :-)

Steve Salerno said...

Eliz: To answer your question adequately would require a book (one that I've toyed with trying to write from time to time, but for which there is probably no market). And to try to answer in short form would probably qualify me for the rubber room in many people's eyes, but let me just say this: I don't think that what goes on in our our conscious minds is who we are. I think our conscious mind provides narration and plausible excuses for what we were going to do anyway--"decisions" (and that opens up a whole other can of worms) made at a much deeper level. The conscious mind, to me, is somewhat like a movie you watch of who you are and what you do, and what you think you're thinking. That's all I can (and probably should) say for now.

As to your second point, I'm not the one saying that Truths are positive; LCI is. To wit: I will control my thoughts and emotions and experience the freedom to make responsible and POSITIVE choices. I will continue on my journey, I continue to grow with ever new TRUTHS... [caps added]. So unless I'm misreading something, that passage seems to allow only for the existence of positive, improvement-producing Truths--especially since one is controlling one's thoughts and emotions (as if!)

Steve Salerno said...

Ron: To me, yes.

ellen said...

Steve,
Point taken regarding the profanity. Sometimes I get sick of being an adult and embrace my inner juvenile. Not an excuse, an explanation.
Rev Ron, regarding my statement: 'just do what comes naturally' I should clarify that it took me about 20 years of sustained and painful effort to learn to 'live in the moment'. Doing what comes 'naturally' after 20 years of effort, when it is no longer at all natural, is a very different kettle of fish from the kind of untrained, unconsidered 'doing what comes naturally' that a novice produces, as I am sure you appreciate. That would more properly be called 'flailing about witlessly' ---I did my share of that and learnt from it.
It is like mr sashens athletes, the performance that they produce, whether peak or not, is a product of endless training and full focus, a long way from natural.

Steven Sashen said...

SS -- Oh, I was going after the "gurus" on that one.

Speaking of whom, anyone who talk about the "True Self" is trying to sell you something, some method for uncovering, discovering, recovering, or otherwise finding your "true" self... which is simply a fictionalized version of you that you can imagine who doesn't have the attributes you don't like at the moment (which, at another time, might be seen as great assets).

Anonymous said...

Most people would not agree with our ideas of "ourselves.' My ex-husband sees me as a "controlling b!tch." My present husband sees me as a "responsible woman." Who sees me correctly? They both do.

In my experience, when a person tells you they are "compassionate," "loving," whatever, ususally they are the opposite. If they were those qualities, they would just do them and not be stating that is who they are. The qualities would be automatic and not thought out. All my friends describe me as "generous." I do not think I am "generous." I just do not care too much about certain objects and have no problem giving things away. I would be "generous" if I cared about what I was giving away. It is all perception and how one wants to perceive.

I do not care two hoots about baseball. I have never seen a Yankee's game or set foot in Yankee stadium. I loathe the Yankees for what they have done for less monied teams, but even I got a tear in my eye about Yankee Stadium. They hooked into my feeling for nostalgia. The rose glasses I put on to look at the past. Heck, Marilyn Monroe is on the cover of Vanity Fair and she has been dead for nearly 50 years. Maybe we all want to return to the womb?

Elizabeth said...

So unless I'm misreading something, that passage seems to allow only for the existence of positive, improvement-producing Truths--especially since one is controlling one's thoughts and emotions (as if!)

Not that I want to take LCI's side here -- and you may be totally right in your interpretation of their words -- but "positive" and "improvement-producing" (as well as "growth") do not have to (and cannot, if we are serious about it) mean unbridled optimism, happyism and unlimited success. "Positive" may be a development of guilt in someone who has avoided the emotion and kept on hurting others for years, or depression (in that same person). Both guilt and depression would be "improvement-producing" from the POV of the person's moral, emotional as well as cognitive development (and as such, they both would be contributing to his/her growth -- not understood as happyism or increasing material success, etc., but as his moral and (gasp) spiritual development).

Your point on the differences between the conscious and unconscious mind is well taken, though I would argue (and there is evidence to support it) that our conscious minds have more power to shape our character than you allow it here.

Ellen's thoughts (on the "muscle memory") brought to my mind a quote (from Emerson?) that goes something like this:

Watch your thoughts for they become your words. Watch your words for they turn into deeds. Watch your deeds, as they become your character. And your character becomes your destiny. (Paraphrased.)

We do have the power to "watch out thoughts and deeds," even though they are so often, if not always, motivated by our unconscious mind. That's where the attention and reflection come in. And we know that it works because we see the effects of it, even in cases of obsessive-compulsive behavior, where there is seemingly no self-control to speak of. There is a method of therapy for compulsives, created by psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz, that is based on these very principles roughly described in the clumsy LCI prescription and in the Emerson's(?) quote. The 4R method -- relabeling, reattributing, refocusing, and revaluing -- is pretty much a variation on the "pay attention, control, and gain freedom to make better choices" mantra.

It is described in his book "Brain Lock," but also in his other works.

ellen said...

'They are--in my view--taking advantage (once again) of the universal desire for happiness and a higher level of fulfillment, throwing out words and phrases designed to evoke a certain hopeful emotional response...and yet the enterprise they urge upon us is (again in my view) doomed from the start because once you get past that hopeful patina, there's no actual program.'

My view of this is somewhat contradictory. When I got involved in this stuff it was very much in the universal hope of happiness, fulfillment etc. Had that carrot not been there, I would not have bitten, I'd have occupied myself in something wild and exciting and dangerous. For a variety of reasons I had already spent a good deal of time navel-gazing and had made the intellectual discovery that I did not exist in any concrete sense. That is, *I*, the bit I call *me*, is a social construct made up of conditioning, received beliefs and responses to every stimulus I had encountered to that date. Behind that there was nothing-- a terrifying prospect for 20 year old to contemplate.
I went scrabbling after something, anything to fill the void. I looked into all the new age stuff, it wasn't called new age stuff then but you know the stuff I'm referring to-- no crackpot idea was too off-the- wall for me to at least look into. And I did start to become discerning, considerably more picky as time went on, and I found odd pointers in the strangest places, and even odder people who all taught me something of value along with shedload of garbage.
So I am a bit careful about dismissing all this tripe as useless. I don't like pseuds or conmen but I spent most of my working life in casinos and appreciate that to play the game you have to be in it, to avoid the con you have to be conned until you see it. I am a person who learns her lessons the hard way, from my vantage point the only way, for then the lesson is never forgotten. This is a process that has more to do with what is happening in my head than in anything that is external to me--I have no problem with the charge of narcissism--so essentially it doesn't matter who the teacher is, huckster or not.
The enterprise is doomed, there is no programme, I'm still glad I bit the carrot, I didn't get what I expected, what I had projected onto the future, there is nothing to fill the void, there is no void. Would I do it again? Every painful second of it.
Am I a masochist? No, I am a person who lost all belief very early on and was then confronted with terminal boredom.

Steve Salerno said...

Lots of interesting, thought-provoking stuff here. Let me just say to Anon 3:24, who's the only one so far to pick up on the second part of the post, I'm not especially a Yankees fan either (though as most of you know by now, I am quite passionate about my baseball in the overall). I've been a diehard Cincinnati Reds rooter since the mid-60s--which means that in recent years, I've been dying pretty hard, and as soon as mid-season, if not sooner. But I think what the whole Stadium thing "hooked into," as you put it, was some amorphous sense we all seem to share that life was simpler, prettier and, yes, better once. (I'm not endorsing the sentiment, necessarily; just observing it.) And so we revere the iconic traditions that lead us back to that era.

As for me personally, I just hate to see venerable things and traditions...die. I remember how glum I felt when Seinfeld left prime-time. (And for the last few years I hadn't even watched the show; I just liked the idea that it was "there.") When Johnny Carson retired, I was out-of-sorts for days. And when all three major news anchors disappeared within a couple years, I was in a funk for a long time--even though I always felt there was much to criticize about the way they rendered the news. Heck, at the end of Godfather III--by which time it was pretty clear that there wasn't much more they could do with the story line--I was flat-out devastated.

I guess, as noted, I'm just a sentimental sap.

RevRon's Rants said...

"Heck, at the end of Godfather III--by which time it was pretty clear that there wasn't much more they could do with the story line--I was flat-out devastated."

I actually got upset - even as a kid - when Walter Cronkite's weekly Prudential-sponsored documentary program (I forget the title) ended. I also felt deflated at the finish of Godfather III, and even worse when I first finished reading Tolkien's trilogy (I cured that feeling by re-reading it... repeatedly over the years!).

Though I played ball as a kid, I never became a rabid fan. But there was something about sitting in the bleachers, even in the Texas summer, eating hot dogs, drinking cokes, and jumping up & screaming when the Colts brought one in. It just isn't the same in a climate-controlled environment where the stupid ump can't even hear you screaming at him!

ellen said...

I think that nostalgia you mention, Steve, has more to do with an acknowledgement of time passing than with being a sentimental sap. Having said that, there is room in the world for sentimental saps, gloomy brits and all manner of hucksters and hustledorks. There has to be, just try and eradicate any of them.

Steve Salerno said...

And sometimes in the good old days, rumor has it, one could even spy a certain future president in a certain Texas ballpark.

RevRon's Rants said...

C'mon, Steve... I was remembering the *good* times! :-)