A Great Philosophy for Living

21 Sep

I caught the following paragraphs in a blog called “Wild Bells”, written by Wayne Abernathy on WordPress.  After describing some wonderful memories from “olden days”, he summarized his outlook on life beautifully.

[Begin Excerpt]

These have stocked my treasury of marvelous memories. I am rich with them. Yet I have more observances to come. To these I look forward.

Here is what I believe about these riches. I can take them out of the treasury each year and seek to recreate them, to work to experience them all over again. If I do, I have but relived and re-experienced what I already have. I add little new to the treasury. Many people celebrate this way. It seems to me a squandered opportunity and probably dangerous. I doubt that the previous charm can be revived, that the wondrous experience of the past can be recaptured. I fear that the joyful and rich memory might even be harmed by the failed effort. Worse, much can be consumed, much exertion expended, and still frustration and misery—for myself and others—may result in the trying.

I believe that a better approach would be to create new magnificent memories. These can build upon the past and work from valuable traditions. The good of the past can be drawn upon to create something greater. The effort is to make a new experience, not vainly recall to life a treasured memory. Not every holiday experience will produce equal joy and beauty, but if allowed to live for its own sake each will add to the fullness of life and the value of our storehouse of life’s treasures. Each will have the chance to be the most marvelous experience yet.

I am not prepared to concede that the best of my life has been lived or that the finest that I can do is recreate only what has happened before. I fancy to live life on the rise. I see no loss in trying.

[End Excerpt]

A small piece of exceptional writing — and philosophy.


2 Responses to “A Great Philosophy for Living”

  1. Malcolm Greenhill November 8, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    I’m not sure about this. I turn away from both the vision of living only in the past and also the restless striving to have new experiences. Somewhere in the middle there is an equilibrium point.

    • illero November 9, 2014 at 7:47 am #

      Thanks for the comment. Your point is well-taken, of course. For me, I think what Wayne wrote particularly touched me because it is hard to remember that rich, beautiful memories can always be created, no matter what age we are privileged to attain. It seems all too easy to relive great memories in countless conversational contexts, and as we get older we (I think) tend to look back more often than we look forward. I would stop however, before looking forward became a “restless striving to have new experiences” (as you so well put it) because the stress alone from feeling a need to create a “special” experience can ruin the experience for yourself and others. In a way, being able to look back on an array of rich experiences takes the pressure off of feeling the “need” to create rich new ones?

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