Self-Abnegation n. the denial of one's own interests in favor of the interest of others.
First of all, I really don't remember ever hearing this word before. I mean, you know, how could I have NOT heard it? I think it's a pretty common word. Second, is it is a bad thing or a good thing? Because I think selfishness is a terrible thing. And I think selfishness leads to all kinds of unhappiness in other people AND in the person being selfish. So Self-Abnegation, which is seemingly, on the face of it, the opposite of selfishness, would seem to be a kind of a positive thing.
Except I'm not so sure anymore.
This is just one of my recent random thoughts. I have many. Feel free to hop in any time and add some of your own. It's that kind of blog entry.
I'm starting to think some of my own personal problems have stemmed from a complete mis-understanding of the application of self-lessness, as opposed to avoiding selfishness, and to an adoption of self-abnegation which has done harm to myself and to probably, possibly, if not many people around me, maybe, just maybe, everyone around me.
So there you are.
Also today I randomly rented a pay per view movie which I had kind of wanted to see, but which I suspected was going to be kind of disappointing. You know how you just get that feeling sometimes like the trailer is going to be a lot better than the actual movie? Well, that was kind of true. Kind of. But in the end, I think, maybe in the last 15 minutes of that movie, it pulled it out for me and turned it into just a diversion (which literally, I was not watching closely enough clearly because I was actually finishing an open book test while I was watching it). But in that last few minutes there was just this beautiful sequence of life-affirming goodness that made it all worth while. So if you're thinking of seeing it - I'm not telling you it's fabulous or mind-blowingly good or anything like that - but the last 15 minutes made it pretty darn great for me. And made me feel like - Life really is kind of beautiful you know? Some days, my life is just filled with so much that is ....well, not really beautiful exactly. And I love it when something reminds me that DAMN IT! It is beautiful. Just look around a little more.
Also, lately I've been in the mood to take photos again. And I can't tell you what a relief that has been to my soul. And I don't have time to upload them right now. But I will. Like very soon. And maybe they won't seem all that cool. But I don't care. Because it's the act of wanting to DO IT, that matters.
I read the most interesting except from an article in Vanity Fair yesterday (yes it was the Justin Bieber issue, but guess what kiddo's? I didn't even read that article. And probably won't) the interesting article was about JD Salinger and WWII and how it affected him and how it affected Holden Caulfield who really, was a part of Salinger in many many ways. There were just some beautiful parts of that article. And I'm looking very much forward to the book itself, which is a biography of Salinger coming out in the fall I believe. But let me quote this bit that really really had me. (first let me explain a bit that Salinger wrote Catcher all during WWII, and he wrote it mostly as a serious of short stories, which after the war he had to try to piece together into one entire novel, and so Holden shows up in other short stories Salinger wrote, but which never quite made it into Catcher...so in this particular story, Holden's older brother Vincent is in charge of a group of soldiers on furlough, and he's required to make some hard choices about who is actually going to be allowed to go to the dance hall and who isn't, because there are not enough girls to go around for all the guys who were allowed off base to visit the dance hall, and as he's going through this moral dilemma, about who do you exclude, he's also wrestling with the fact that Holden has been listed as missing in action and he can't get it off his mind and so the following ensues in the short story): "One soldier dismounts and slips away. Vincent was and finally sees another soldier emerge. as the figure comes into the light, the image of a young boy is revealed. All eyes are fixed upon him as he stands in the downpour. "I was on the list", the boy says, almost in tears. Vincent does not respond. In the end it is the lieutenant who orders the boy back into the truck and arranges for an extra girl at the party to match the extra man. The boy's appearance is the climax of the story A figure emerging from the darkness. He is vulnerable and distressed. He is the spirit of Holden. Vincent reaches out and turns up the boy's collar to protect him from the rain. As the story concludes, Vincent pleads to his missing brother: "Just go up to some-body - and tell them you're Here- not Missing, not dead, not anything but Here."
This of course, made me cry.
And then later in the article the author says this:
"For Salinger himself writing Catcher was an act of liberation. The bruising of Salinger's faith by the terrible events of war is reflected in Holden's loss of faith, caused by the death of his brother Allie. The memory of fallen friends haunted Salinger for years, just as Holden was haunted by the ghost of his brother. The struggle of Holden Caulfield echoes the spiritual journey of the author. In both author and character, the tragedy is the same: a shattered innocence. Holden's reaction is shown through his scorn of adult phoniness and compromise. Salinger's reaction was personal despondency, through which his eyes were opened to the darker forces of human nature Both eventually came to terms with the burdens they carried, and their epiphanies were the same. Holden comes to realize he can enter adulthood without becoming false and sacrificing his values; Salinger came to accept that knowledge of evil did not ensure damnation. The experience of war gave a voice to Salinger, and therefore to Holden Caulfield. He is no longer speaking only for himself- he is reaching out to all of us.
Once again, Thank you JD Salinger, for making my life more rich because of your talent