My 17 year old son and I attended a performance yesterday afternoon at our college by Destiny Africa, a children’s choir from Uganda. It was delightful. There was one girl who reminded me so much of my 10 year old niece. Strange what similarities we can find in people whom are different in every obvious way…Eric thought that she possessed a sort of hilarious nonchalant seriousness, but her dancing, the way she snapped her head back and forth and moved with rhythmic abandon was infectious and wonderful.
I left in exceedingly high spirits which made me uncharacteristically loquacious in philosophy class. We were discussing Peter Singer’s rather extreme view of Utilitarianism. It seemed to me unrealistic (and therefore of no real utility) and…well, reducio ad absurdum. Also, his devotion to measuring “the greater good” by suffering alone is strangely negative and yet strangely common: the imperative (found in many philosophies, religions and psychiatric offices) to eliminate suffering altogether makes one wonder if it isn’t perhaps a one sided look at life.
Later in the evening I took my youngest son to see the Yale Glee Club High School Festival. I wasn’t sure how he would like the choral music but after the first piece he was shouting “Bravo!” from his seat (not sure where he learned that). He told me he particularly loved how no one voice was distinguishable, it was the single sound of all the voices coming together that amazed him. For the last number along with the New Haven High School Glee club they sang a rousing rendition of Take Me To The River, it was exhilarating. On the walk back to the car we just kept saying, “that was really fun!”
When I feel really low, wishing nothing more than to feel nothing, I sometimes consider methods of willing myself to eliminate the feeling of suffering. But, I’ve always known I am a flawed stoic; I can’t make myself commit to ideas that risk eliminating the river that runs along side the pain: The chance for joy, baby – pure joy.