This one sits at an intersection which I cross weekly when I go for a walk and to do some small grocery shopping. An ugly, brutalist, Le Corbusier- style building behind the statue is an NHS Trust center that specializes in psychiatry and social work.
When I think back on all that happened between Ulay and me, and Paolo and me, I often wonder what I contributed to each split. And I can’t help believing that the need to be loved and taken care of that my mother never satisfied was a hurt I brought to every man I was ever with—and something that they couldn’t fix.
On which Freud said: three of life’s most important areas: work, love and taking responsibility…
Freud wasn’t wrong, but he wasn’t right either.
Jordan B Peterson on the meaning of life (off the top of my head):
- You are here, in this room, to get some information. This information can be interesting per se, but let’s forget about that for a moment
- You are getting this information to be able to do well on your assignments
- You need to do well on your assignments to do well in your class
- to get your degree
- and you need you degree so that you are able to find your place in the world
- so that you can have financial stability
- then perhaps to start a family
- and have a life
- because all that is part of being a good person
- and so your ultimate goal, however vague, is to be a good person, and that goal is good enough for you to focus on it long enough, so that in the course of its attainment it produces its own meaning
This line of thought completely stunned me. I realized how it sits across everything that was valued in my native land when I was a child and is perhaps still valued there to this day there and in many other places. The meaning of life was achievement. Of something. Of anything. You are nothing if you haven’t achieved something. The focus was and perhaps is on your deeds, never on your persona. And “Я” was always the last letter in the Russian alphabet.
Which reminds me, for N-th time, the question Joseph Brodsky was asked when he visited Stanford in, if I remember correctly, 1993: “Among the Christian holidays which one is the greatest: Christmas or Easter?”. And the poet said something along these lines: “Easter signifies man’s deeds, whereas Christmas signifies man’s infinite potential. Orthodox Christianity places the greatest value on Easter, but for me, Christmas is the greatest Christian holiday”.