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Shown to the place you fold
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"When we describe the Moon as dead, we are describing the deadness in ourselves. When we find space so hideously void, we are describing our own unbearable emptiness."
~ D.H. Lawrence

"Is the meaning of life defined by its duration? Or does life have a purpose so large that it doesn't have to be prolonged at any cost to preserve its meaning?"

"Living is not good, but living well. The wise man, therefore, lives as well as he should, not as long as he can... He will always think of life in terms of quality not quantity... Dying early or late is of no relevance, dying well or ill is... even if it is true that while there is life there is hope, life is not to be bought at any cost."
~ Seneca

"People will tell you nothing matters, the whole world's about to end soon anyway. Those people are looking at life the wrong way. I mean, things don't need to last forever to be perfect."
~ Daydream Nation

"All Bette's stories have happy endings. That's because she knows where to stop. She's realized the real problem with stories-- if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death."
~ The Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes

"The road now stretched across open country, and it occurred to me - not by way of protest, not as a symbol, or anything like that, but merely as a novel experience - that since I had disregarded all laws of humanity, I might as well disregard the rules of traffic. So I crossed to the left side of the highway and checked the feeling, and the feeling was good. It was a pleasant diaphragmal melting, with elements of diffused tactility, all this enhanced by the thought that nothing could be nearer to the elimination of basic physical laws than deliberately driving on the wrong site of the road."
~ Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

"It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend."
~ William Blake
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Trauma of the phoenix, mourning, religion
Sunday, July 28, 2019
"This Life" by Vampire Weekend.

Baby, I know dreams tend to crumble at extremes
I just thought our dream would last a little bit longer
There's a time when every man draws a line down in the sand
We're surviving, we're still living, are we stronger?


---

I was thinking about phoenixes today, and how their whole thing is like, symbolism for renewal, rebirth, etc. Rising from ashes. I feel like every description of a phoenix I've seen puts more emphasis on the "rising from the ashes" part than the "burning to death" part.

Given that going to school for counseling means getting trauma branded into your perspective though, I thought about the idea of the phoenix through that lens. Does the phoenix suffer while it burns? It seems like it would. And if it's being actually reborn every time, it can't become desensitized to burning to death, because it's a "new" being, theoretically. Or do its memories carry over? Could a phoenix somehow endure the trauma of burning to death and then pass down that trauma to... its new self? Sort of an intergenerational trauma of the self? Does a phoenix know ahead of time what its death will be like?

---

Unrelated(?) to that, I was reading about tear bottles earlier and found this tidbit about them:
Tear bottles reappeared during the Victorian period of the 19th century, when those mourning the loss of loved ones would collect their tears in bottles with special stoppers that allowed the tears to evaporate. When the tears had evaporated, the mourning period would end.

It seems like it would be nice to have some kind of contained period in which to mourn... to be given some kind of way to stop. Mourning is a phenomenon I'm still trying to understand in the context of my own life. My family doesn't do much of it at all and it's not clear to me how it should work.

I have noticed that when they talk about their deceased parents, my parents will sometimes use the present tense. My uncle does it a lot when he talks about my grandmother as well. It's been years since she died, but he will say things like "she likes to..." and "she can..." I'm not sure what to make of this way of speaking. It suggests that they think of the dead as if they aren't really gone, and maybe to my family, they aren't. When you believe in an afterlife nobody is really "gone", are they? They're just... temporarily separated from you. At least, if you believe in the Christian conceptualization of Heaven. I can't speak to other forms of afterlife. Maybe that's why my family members talk as they do.

---

I've also been reflecting on how religious affiliation and spirituality manifest in my family and how they have affected us. Despite identifying as agnostic myself, I think there have been benefits to my family's religious beliefs and connections. The community support is a big one. I think the belief in a benevolent higher power (in this case God) also gives them a sense of hope and holding, even when things might otherwise feel hopeless and alone. Studying the Bible also gives them a way to reflect on their own lives and try to make changes for the better.

I don't think every religious person necessarily experiences these benefits. There are lots of people who are self-proclaimed Christians and don't seem to do introspection in any meaningful way. Then again, there are lots of people, religious or not, who don't bother with introspection, so maybe that's not really a distinction that has any significance. I don't think being atheist or agnostic makes you any better or more reflective than a religious person per se.

It seems hard to find people in my position, who were formerly religious but are no longer, yet who don't have some kind of deep disdain or dislike for religion (especially the one they were raised with). I meet people who were raised Christian, left it, and got into Buddhism, but I don't think that's really what I'm talking about at all. Maybe I'm just tired of all the bickering and snide comments about other people's beliefs, and the assertions that the world would be a better place if one or the other group didn't exist or just got with the program.

Maybe I'm just tired in general.
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