A Quick Word

"In order to go on living one must try to escape the death involved in perfectionism." -Hannah Arendt (1906-1975)

02 October 2009

The Spectator.

I continue to watch and observe.

Recently, in Enlightenment Lit., we read various essays from Joseph Addison's popular (at the time) paper, the Spectator. At its most basic, Addison's paper was simply a collection of his observations of English culture. He viewed himself as being aloof from the goings-on of society, and it was this detachment, he claimed, that gave him license to offer his commentary. I thought such a credential was slightly ridiculous-- how could he be living in the culture from which he deemed himself so aloof? Could he have not picked something else to add legitimacy to his observations? Perhaps not. Today, while walking through the park toward my apartment, I realized that, in many ways, I was feeling like Addison. I stand just outside of a few social circles, yet participate in none. My observations of interaction at UIUC takes place in small vignettes on the quad-- sorority girls talking loudly and frustratedly into their cell phones (apparently something happens every night of the week that pisses at least one of them off in some way), or guys laying out a hazily detailed plan of how they "are totally going out tonight, man," or some activist group shoving flyers at you while attempting to solicit support for their cause (which usually has to do with socialism or saving animals--no hyperbole here). People argue about everything. I don't know the other people, who are usually quiet, and so they slip easily into the background of my everyday observations.

I want to feel part of a circle. Joseph Addison was great, but I don't want to be him. (Nor do I want to be in any three of the circles mentioned previously.) Patience wears thin.

My next post will be pretty interesting. I promise.

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