[lit-ideas] Re: Happy Thanksgiving

  • From: Chris Bruce <bruce@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 10 Oct 2006 12:39:07 +0200

On 10. Okt 2006, at 00:18, John Wager wrote:

Erin Holder wrote:

Yay! It's a "holiday"! Can I justify doing nothing? If I do nothing, do I need to justify it? Oh, how I'd like to take a day off... But the work won't do itself, nor the applications put themselves together... What to do... Ah, hell, I'm going back to bed. ...

It may be a HOLIDAY for some, but for good God-fearing Puritans, it's a HOLYDAY. Spend it in church! Or at least spend the day in close proximity to a church key...

CAN one do "nothing?" Isn't it a productive, necessary part of the philosopher's life to sit and think, or sit and let the thoughts one just had sink in? Indeed, aren't philosophers the MOST HARD WORKING individuals because they're at their job in every waking moment, no matter what else they're doing?

John, I'm sure that Erin is in partial agreement with you (as am I, although I 'm not always capable of being 'at the job' of philosophy no matter what else I am doing). Note that she - good philosopher that she is - writes "Can I *justify* doing nothing? [emphasis added]. And that she continues in the conditional mode (surely using a counterfactual) "*If* I do nothing ..." [emphasis again added].

Note further that she foregoes procrastination and doesn't allow 'work' and 'applications' to distract her, but returns to bed (no doubt in a darkened room) where she can continue her philosophical meditations on 'justification' and 'nothingness' undisturbed ....

Although Canadians are well-informed of American Thanksgiving origin and practices, is not the Canadian holiday more in the tradition of Anglican (i.e. English) thanksgiving festivals (i.e., without the Puritan component)? Did such festivals (in England) precede the American celebrations? When did Thanksgiving become a holiday in the U.S. (and why on that particular day)? When did the festival become a holiday in Canada?

Here in Germany 'Erntedankfest' [Harvest Thanks Celebration] is celebrated in churches on the first Sunday of October, but is not generally made much of outside of the church celebrations. And now it is overshadowed by the celebration of 'German Unity Day', commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall on October 3 (1990). The national celebrations were this year located in Kiel - and I pointedly avoided them. The success of the neo-nazi NPD in recent provincial elections in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern means that they now have members in the parliaments of two eastern German provinces -the other is Sachsen. (The German political system is set up so that political parties receive money from the state; the neo-nazi NPD thus now receives millions of Euros in tax money with which to further its obscene programs.) The provinces which formerly composed the DDR (i.e., East Germany] have extremely high rates of unemployment, and growing social and economic problems (while money and other resources are syphoned off at criminal rates by 'west' German individuals and corporations who see nothing wrong with fleecing their 'Ossi' [eastern] sisters and brothers of what little they have). Little to celebrate, really ....

Am I remembering correctly that 'church key' is a pseudonym for 'bottle opener'?

Chris Bruce
Kiel, Germany

P.S. Speaking of 'Nothing' - has it been translated (into English)? I am here referring to Ludger Luetkenhaus's _Nichts_, first published by Haffmans Verlag in 19999, and reissued in a revised edition in 2003 by Zweitausendeins in 2003.

Anyone up for a discussion of 'nihilism'? (That 'silence' I've been listening to lately ....)


To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: