April 16th, 2004

Lake at lunch

Today I walked over to Lake Michigan at lunch time, to Monroe Harbor to be specific. It was a beautiful warm day in Chicago, but there were no boats in the harbor. The spherical white buoys were there, in anticipation of the big flock of yachts which is bound to arrive soon.

There were others, like me, who sat on the concrete shore and stared out at the vastness of the lake. There were joggers, walkers, and lovers.

One group that was missing was obvious tourists. In the summer, in the same spot, you can sit and listen to people walking by speaking
German and French and what-not. Not today. Today, it looked like it was all locals, glad to get a sunny day, showing up at the cement beach for a early hint of summer.

Rhyme of the day:

The buoys are floating.
So where is the boating?

Jet Set Ascetics

I'm reading To Have Or To Be by Erich Fromm, and the title alludes to his theory that people would be better off if they weren't so focused on what they HAVE and would just enjoy BEING instead.

Fromm was a best-selling author, who also made money as a psychoanalyst and a college professor. I don't think he was actually hurting for dough. I think he managed to HAVE plenty of stuff. So when he starts talking about the Buddhist attitude of "letting go," I just started thinking about Richard Gere and all the other Hollywood Buddhists who pay money to gurus who tell them to "let it go."

Some of them fly to remote foreign locations to meet the very best spiritual advisors, so they can be told that material possessions should not be their focus.

Somehow they mostly seem to hold onto their possessions. Which is fine with me. I like possessions just fine. I'm not sure how we are expected to BE if we don't HAVE some things to help keep us alive and well. But I am appalled by the spectacle of the well-off claiming to disdain possessions.

Rhyme of the day:

To have or to be,
is a false dichotomy.