Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Ant versus Grasshopper

Remember the parable of the ant and the grasshopper? The ant toiled away in the summertime while the grasshopper played . . . but then in the winter the grasshopper perished, because he had made no provisions for the future, while the ant was snug and (probably) smug. Which just goes to show: history is written by the survivors. There's not a lot of subtlty to it: deferral of gratification is good, enjoyment is suspect and probably bad, and security trumps all other concerns.

I internalized this Protestant work ethic, this gospel-of-wealth attitude, very early on, and now it seems that most of my philosophic quandries are devolving into a basic Ant vs. Grasshopper debate. I used to think that Work was Everything. The only really virtuous enjoyment was the enjoyment of work. When I was miserable, I could comfort myself that those happy fools will not Amount to Much.

But Jesus didn't necessarily come down on the side of the Ants. Martha, the queen of the ants, didn't get the nod she was expecting. Work is good, but Love is better, and they aren't always on the same side.

The problem with ant-thinking is that it is very much stuck in time. It's hard to be in the moment when you're only thinking about next winter. And while the hardened-righteous ants are laying up their treasure in heavan (presumably) , there is a whole world of life that they are missing.


Post a Comment

<< Home