27 thoughts on “Submitted: On Human Nature and Optimism

  1. I don’t believe that it was necessarily a naive belief, Marius. Yes, it might have been a little too hopeful, but it seems like you are being rather harsh on yourself for holding that hopeful belief. I don’t know—it seems like the belief in the goodness of others is what keeps many going day by day. The thought that something has to get better. And you’re right—today we now only look to improving the self. Nothing else. And i”m not saying that improving the self is necessarily a bad thing—in fact, I think it “can” be a good thing, it’s just that it needs to taken in moderation among other things—helping others, improving one’s community, etc. Unfortunately, many people seem to have forgotten that there are other people out there besides themselves. And who am I to get so self-righteous? I know that I do it too. One of my former professors hated technology. He said that we are too busy on our phones or ipods to actually pay attention to the fact hat there are other people around us. And well, it’s sort of true. I just don’t know what else to say, except that I agree with you.

    1. For the longest time I felt like I was in the wrong for giving up on humans, but then I realised I cannot be condemned for giving up on a people that has long ago given up on themselves.

        1. It is never too late, not for humanity as a whole. Perhaps for some people who are lost or stubborn, or who were simply born with little good in their hearts and minds. I think that humanity still has an immense capacity to learn from its mistakes, and to push forward into a future where people accept that they are part of a grand and beautiful collective.

  2. I too am an optimist but I also find it difficult in these dark times. I agree that apathy has swept the planet and a lot of people feel entitled, or that we are an “enlighten” generation because we have better ways to communicate and huge search engines. Unfortunately I feel these tools and other distractions have taken away our naturally questioning minds and ability to problem solve. We have a plethora of information and history at our finger tips yet we disregard it. Use these tools for frivolous things. I am not so serious minded that I do not indulge every so often however temperance is always the key, another value that has been lost to us.

    If I understand you clearly, you have lost hope in human kind to “ascend to greatness” but I must disagree with you Marius. I do so because in the last 3 years I have seen a rebirth of goodness, charity, courage, hope, and love. This rebirth is slow moving but sweeping. Humanity is yearning for it, but as a whole we are still so lost thus not able to name what it is we are missing. While participating in these restoring evens I have met people from around the world that are invigorated by them. Countless people from all walks of life have been helped and cared for. There is hope out there Marius please don’t let your heart, your hope, or your brilliant light be taken.

    On a lighter and a bit contradictionary note I have been meaning to ask you if you have ever watched the series “The Borgias”? I think you may enjoy it. It displays your golden time beautifully.

    I hope this finds you well and know I am sending you love.

    Semper Vestrum,
    Juniper

    ( I hope the Latin is right I am still learning…)

    1. I recall reading something recently, or perhaps it was part of a news programme I listened to, that the availability of knowledge has made people retain less knowledge. For example, simple directions or knowing the layout of a community. Things as simple as knowing street names. Because a person can easily refer to a GPS system or a mapping system through a smartphone, there is no incentive for people to actually store this information in their brains. I think this very true. What is the point of trying to learn facts when Wikipedia is at someone’s easy disposal?

      I love your optimism. I do not mean that mockingly or superficially. I suppose I must look at grassroots kindness if I am to see the goodness of people prevailing. Watching governments and world leaders interact with each other and the common people they serve is distressing to say the least.

      I do believe I have watched an episode or two of the Borgias, though time got away from me and I did not keep up with the series. Perhaps I can catch it through DVD or Blu Ray. I prefer watching shows in bulk in one sitting anyway.

      1.  I read an article around Christmas time in which a mother gave her son an IPhone for Christmas but with it came rules.  One of them was to leave the phone behind at least once a week and to wonder without searching it.  Just to sit and contemplate.  It made such an impression on me that I made it a practice of mine.  Now instead of typing it into a search I write it in my journal. A very smart Mother to foster that in her child.

        Yes the local level is where to look for good works and kindness.  I too disparage when I see how our World Leaders interact with one another.  Thank you for your sediment about my optimism.  There are times I doubt that I am still optimistic so it’s good to hear.

         I am sure The Borgia series is available, at least the past two seasons anyway.  When watching a series I also love to make a night or two of it.  Just to immerse myself in it.   Want to know a secret?  I have a bit of a fondness for Cesare, on reflection perhaps more than a fondness for him. It’s his eyes and hair that draw me.  As superficial as it may be, that character is one of the reasons I watch the show.  Speaking of Cesare Borgia have you read Machiavelli’s “The Prince”?  I just picked up a beautifully decorated hard cover copy of it in my last book haul (about twenty or so over the month).  I can not wait to delve in.  What book, would say, was the best one you read last year? 

         

        1. Cesare, yes, I have seen him. He is quite dark and lovely.

          As a matter of fact, I have read The Prince, as well as his history of Florence.

          The best one that I read last year? I read so many wonderful books. I read the entire Hunger Games trilogy, which was wonderful. And A Dance with Dragons from the Song of Fire and Ice series. I also liked very much Pillars of the Earth, and I hope this year to read the second part, World Without End.

          And what about you?

  3. Last year was a bit strange for me as far as reading.  I was so busy, had so many tasks to do that I did not read nearly as much as in years past.  However I re-read Blood and Gold after I found you here, therefore your book is the answer *smile*. As far as new reads the one I devoured in a day and a half was Agenda 21, I also enjoyed Next and the first book of the Wrath and Righteousness e-series.  There is a total of thirteen of them with a new volume being released every month.  Series books are my favorite sort to read as you can come to know the characters that much better and the story can be so much deeper.  I think one of the best endings to a series was Harry Potter. I did not have a single question about what happened next, everyones’ storyline was tied up nicely. 

    I have heard that the Song of Fire and Ice series is quite wonderful from several of my friends, so now it is official I must read it.  Sounds like something I would enjoy.  As for the other books you mentioned I was not familiar with them but downloaded a sample of them as the summaries appealed to me. 

    Although the e-books are terribly convenient I much prefer the actual book.  It’s the smell of the ink and the paper; the sound of the binding giving when you first open it; the feel of the different types of paper under my fingers; and if it’s a hard cover book, the way it looks without the dust cover on it. Some are so beautiful that I decorate with them….well that and my book shelves are overflowing. 

    What book(s) are most looking forward to reading?

    1. Then it is my pleasure that you took the time to reread my book. I hope it was not too terrible for you. I’ve been told my mind scatters and is prone to complaint, but I challenge anyone to speak a cohesive history.

      I collect books because I love them, but I do own both a Nook and a Kindle Fire because I find that they are very convenient for taking books with me while I travel. I read books very fast, so it is a wonderful luxury to have 50 at my fingertips in something no larger than one regular paperback.

      I got a number of new books from paperbackswap.com, which I utilise to turn over the nonessential books in my collection. I received Mists of Avalon and World Without End, both of which I look forward to reading. Currently, I am reading a book about Leonardo and Michelangelo. After that, from some publisher who sends me random books to read, I received one entitled The Pope’s Last Crusade, or something to that effect.

      1. I loved rereading your book, I did not have any trouble following it.  I can not imagine how hard it would be to tell a 2000 year history, even with your infallible mind.  I have a difficult time telling a short story, my mind goes faster that my mouth sometimes.  

        I know of the book The Popes Last Crusade, it is on my reading list too. If you enjoy it, another good book in that same vein is War Against the Weak, are you familiar with it?  I just started it but thus far…wow.  It is thick but the last 20 or so pages are all reference and foot notes.  I loved the Mists of Avalon Miniseries and heard the book is better (usually is). This one has been on my list for a while.  In talking to a co-worker of mine today she has books 1-3 of the Fire and Ice series and said she will lend them to me.  Looks like I can start it sooner that I thought.  I read the first chapter as a sample e-book and loved it so far.  Your recommendation of it was the final nail in the coffin, no pun intend…      

        Yes I love always having a book to read, unfortunately I don’t have a reader so I must use my phone.  When you travel do you ever use the cloud gift? (I really like the scenes in which you would carry Armand while in the air, it sounded so thrilling to me. Maybe that is why I want to go sky diving…) If you use a plane do you prefer to talk with your seat mate or do you pass the time in other ways?  Also do you find that the airport is a wonderful place for people watching?

        1. It is immensely difficult to tell a life story as long and vast as mine. My entire life is significant and important because it is mine. Yet in telling my story, I had to decide what was important to know. It was an impossible task that I by some grace managed to hurdle. I still do not know how I managed to come out with a cohesive story.

          I will read the Pope’s Last Crusade after I finish The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo, and the Artistic Duel That Defined the Renaissance. It certainly sounds like an excellent book. I must admit I have never heard of War Against the Weak, but now I will find it.

          When you travel do you ever use the cloud gift? (I really like the scenes in which you would carry Armand while in the air, it sounded so thrilling to me…)

          To be honest, I prefer to use my feet to move. If I must fly, I do. It is easier than flying on a plane, though it is common for me to do that too, if only for the experience. There is something about flying using the Cloud Gift that leaves me confused and dazed. It feels as if the more I use my powers, the less human I feel, and this weighs down on my heart. It leaves detached from myself and from the earth.

          If you use a plane do you prefer to talk with your seat mate or do you pass the time in other ways? Also do you find that the airport is a wonderful place for people watching?

          It depends on my mood. Sometimes I am not in a talkative mood, and I just want to be alone with my thoughts. This is frequent. Though if someone attempts conversation with me, I rarely ever have the heart to be rude and refuse them.

  4. World is constantly moving forward.
    All the ways back impossible.
    Dreams of old ancient times seem false.
    We try to tell people about our thoughts,
    but people look at us in amazement.
    People want to see a sign of insanity, that would gain the right renouncing us.
    They ask what we teach them.
    But we do not teach.
    We are looking for the light ourselves.
    We do not believe ourselves.
    Our creations embody not the answers, but the questions.

    Story of beliefs rebirth…
    Could there be a more exciting story?!

    The great process of the soul mystery happens on the eyes of man.

    Dostoevsky and Nietzsche – reincarnation of beliefs at the first one.
    Revaluation of all the values at the second one.

    1. Dreams of the past are reflection, valuable considerations for a past that has taught us much. Though I think that I reflect too much on the past. I do not fall to regret or wonder what might have been– that is certainly a ready way to misery. But yes, there is a wonderful light in the past that is sometimes so very blinding, yet at other times it twinkles like a dying bulb. It is then that I search for it most vigorously, trying to reinvigorate this dwindling light.

      I have to tell you, my dear, that you make me smile with your wonderful and poetic words for the past. If the past had a voice, it would surely thank you for giving it high regard.

  5. Slightly off topic. Yes, many people are greedy but I don’t think it’s society as a whole. Maybe it’s not so much greed and selfishness as it is fear. There have always been “bad people” but is it because we now have a higher population that we have more of those types of people? I think it’s in our nature to be caring to others, survival can often depend on the kindness of others.

    Look at all the horrible things people or groups of like minded people have done, just because they can. Or because they don’t have the same beliefs and opinions. Yes, much of it is greed. But I think we keep to ourselves out of fear.

    I can speak as a woman that I am fearful to help someone, because there are always news reports of a woman taken advantage of because she stopped to help. Should I take the chance of being kind or will this be the time something horrible could happen?

    As far as being optimistic, take a look at recent events. It takes something tragic for people to come together and save one another. There are small acts of kindness everywhere, you just have to take a moment to be aware of them.

    1. You do not think that there is a shift in overall social value? Whereas society was once focused on the community, it is now centered on the individual, and so people begin to care so much about the self that it must come at the expense of the community. Fear may be a large determining factor, as is distrust. We used to have societies that honored verbal agreements and word of mouth, and that would hold people accountable for the things that they promised or said. Presently, people are widely dishonest, even in official agreements. Men and women lack a true sense of personal honor and agreement, and do not feel as if word of mouth is anything that should bind them. To not be accountable for the words that come out of your mouth, that is the way of things.

      1. I can agree with a shift in society. You could blame it on the evolution and dependency of technology maybe? We’ve become separated from people/society so much that a person mostly retreats into themselves. Possibly causing selfishness?
        Now if something is said or promised it usually isn’t kept unless it can be proven it was ever agreed on.

        1. We can accept that technology has greatly improved upon the world. If anything, at a most basic social level, it has opened up the world and made it accessible to a vast number of people. Never in any other age has the world been reduced to such a small but important size. With technology at our ready disposal, people are able to seamlessly and without wait speak to and hear from the other end of the world. In this, we can say that technology brings people together, and has started a trend toward a truly global society.

          At the same time, people have forgotten that most technology is there to allow us easier communication and knowledge. It is not there to let text-speak and short form override formal writing. It is not there so that we can text one friend all day and ignore the people around us. It is not there so that we may plug in earphones and forget that we are missing out on vital social interaction. Rather than opening up the world, a person arrogantly creates a world around them and their needs, their instant gratifications, and their desires. You either feed vanity or you are amongst the ignored.

  6. What common sense of this century can we talk about, if such a plague
    as Islamic terrorism is haunting the world? What philosophical terms can we apply to try to determine what happened in Boston? Could we
    discuss this topic.

    1. Common sense is lost on those people who are alarmed, suspicious, or afraid. And sometimes philosophy cannot explain motives because certain things lack tidy origins or even meaning, which is anathema for a philosopher to consider. Even if things have no meaning, for a philosopher that simply means that the meaning is that there is to be no meaning. A void, a complete absence, is unthinkable. Quite literally.

      We can say that often times people need someone to blame, and so they villainise an entire group of peaceful people. Yet we have been doing that to Muslims for centuries. Fear is such a prevalent and insidious poison that we ferment further conflict where the possibility of peace is lost. It is not based on reason or common sense. What is the worst yet is that political leaders and community leaders claim that their fears and hatred are indeed founded in history and reason, and so people are easy prey. And some people are simply sick, mentally ill. Trying to understand in meaningful terms why they might have done what they did is a fool’s game. We will logic in circles and come out baffled.

  7. I am honored that you are looking into a book that I suggested. If you read “War Against the Weak”, I would love to know your thoughts on it. If sharing pleases you, that is. It is a sobering look at some forgotten history. I am glad you mentioned the book you are currently reading I meant to ask what it was in my last reply, it looks interesting. I recommended it to a friend of mine who is in love with Michelangelo. Of the two, Leonardo and Michelangelo, which is your favorite and why? The author’s new book “The Loves of the Artists: Art and Passion in the Renaissance” looks like a definite read; I am looking forward to it when it is released.

    “It depends on my mood. Sometimes I am not in a talkative mood, and I just want to be alone with my thoughts. This is frequent. Though if someone attempts conversation with me, I rarely ever have the hear to be rude and refuse them.”

    Ah Marius you are always the gentleman!

    Forgive me, I know you have answered this before but I was not able to find the reply: how do I copy and paste to make it look like a quote? Also how do I do italics in the reply box?

    1. I believe that I always have preferred Leonardo. Michelangelo was a phenomenal artist, but my love is with painting, and Michelangelo was a sculpture first and foremost. His paintings, though indeed marvelous, were always begrudging. I also regard some of his sculpture to be some of the best ever created in history. Yet, I prefer Leonardo’s attention to detail, his love of nature, his fascination with form and motion. He used science, engineering, and a deep love for the natural world to create paintings that are as innovative in technique as they are immense in beauty. You can see that his whole heart went into every stroke, and not a stroke was made that wasn’t planned and orchestrated closely.

    2. To do a quote, you will place what you wish to quote between these tags:
      < blockquote > < / blockquote >

      To do italics, place what you wish to italicise inside of these tags:
      < i > < / i >

      Just remove the spaces. I had to place spaces for them to show up as symbols.

  8. How can one not marvel at Leonardo’s genuis and passion? I would have loved to talk with him for just one night, or to be a voyeur and watch him work.

    1. A singularly engaged old man with a long beard, clad in purple satin, scribbling dynamic figures in red chalk. He could take one figure and make it in three different poses, all in the same drawing. Just a flurry of impressively expressed limb and motion. Though let us also not forget his lovely boys.

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