Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Splash du Jour: Tuesday

It is easy to recognise the moment when we have entered the orbit of a snob. Early on in an encounter, the subject of what we "do" will arise and depending on how we answer, we will either be the recipients of bountiful attention or the catalysts of urgent disgust. We may be endowed with the wisdom of Solomon and have the resourcefulness and intelligence of Odysseus, but if we are unable to wield socially recognized badges of our qualities, our existence will remain a matter of raw indifference to them.
-- Alain de Botton, in Status Anxiety

Have a great Tuesday!


Merisi said...

"but if we are unable to wield socially recognized badges of our qualities, our existence will remain a matter of raw indifference to them."

So what? Let him be his own best snob! :-)

Anonymous said...

When I read this deBotton quotation, I think not so much of the snob, who is unaware that he is the poorer by being indifferent to another's existence.

I think more about the sadness of the individual who is not known for what he truly is.

As deBotton later says, one way to achieve a deeper knowledge and appreciation of the individual is through literature, art - forms that can take us into the inner core of the human. A painting, for example, can give us a "corrective to our customary notions of importance." He cites the painting that focuses on a roof instead of some more flamboyant structure, for example. Or the character sketch that allows us a closer look into a person (as your recent one of your father did, Cip).

It all takes time, sensitiviy and interest to bring about those moments of recognition. Things that the humanities have never stopped teaching but which seem sometimes in jeopardy in a fast-paced life.

We are not defined by our jobs. Studs Terkel says it this way: "Most of us, like the assembly line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit.
Jobs are not big enough for people."

Great blog here, cipriano. I read you faithfully.

cipriano said...

Thank you for your comments, Merisi, and Anonymous-Person.

Regarding the Studs Terkel quotation there, Anonymous-Person, it reminds me of the question I would prefer asking people when I meet them.
Something along the lines of... "So, what is it that you love to do when you are not working?"
THAT, I think would be a far more accurate way to get into the soul of who MOST people in our world are, today.... The world where so many of us [I speak for myself, here] are not at all "following our bliss" in our workplaces, but are at least trying to do so, after the whistle blows!

Matt said...

Coincidence #2: I just picked up a copy of The Art of Travel for the Vacation Reading Pile. :)

He is such a philosopher.

I never think about "wielding socially recognized badges of our qualities"--in fact, I don't know how. But I rather save these qualities for the ones whom I'm close to, let them cultivate and let them wield.