Monday, April 19, 2010

What if everything counts...

...but no action, or series of actions, means we "deserve" anything?

Edit: I'm going to confess here - I've been deliberately unclear about my own convictions above as a way to leave discussion open.

23 comments:

jess said...

Who would make that decision? We can't all decide on a religion or a God.

Eva said...

The idea of "deserving" is based on a divine intention. But there is also a (buddhist) theory of a Karma without divine intention. And without anyone who could have such an intention.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Likes that foteegraph.
No Karma?

ArtSparker said...

Well, I'm not religious. And I think there's something to Karma, but that it is not about earning good points, more about attempting to restore balance.

Jasmine said...

I like the idea of rewards and treats, usually awarded by myself so I guess that means my associatipon of 'deserve' is not religious.

Shayna Prentice said...

Life is constantly put in order - or disorder - by our perceptions and our actions. I like what Mark Twain said: "Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thoughts that are forever blowing through one's mind."

milly (elephants&redwoods) said...

I haven't blogged in a while. I hope your doing well!!

Tom said...

well, there probably is something to Karma--but that is primarily cause and effect anyway...

other than that, bad things happen to good people all the time, and the other way around too...it always helps to have a lot of money--but even that won't save you all the time!

how's the discussion going so far?

ArtSparker said...

Tom - Heh, I think some people are maintaining a discreet distance. Oh, I just get cranky about the "deserve" thing and blow off steam about it from time to time.

ArtSparker said...

Jasmine- Yes, acting as one's own parent makes sense.

Coffee Messiah said...

Never thought about deserving anything through the years.

Just keep plugging away and doing the best I can, and sharing when I get hit by the feeling.

Although, the past couple years feels like "we all, everywhere" deserve a little something "good!"

Cheers!

ger said...

I like the acting as one´s own parent... who else would, on the long run, anyways... - seems your No-comment got lost in space, don´t know how I managed that (+ whether you deserve it...)

Titus said...

Everything counts, but of course as an individual I deserve nothing. What on earth could make me think I "deserve"? Other people, on the other hand, deserve everything it's in my power to give.

Live your life, love all you can, give your all and ask for naught. Easy recipe for happiness.
But then, I believe in souls.

ArtSparker said...

Titus- the "deserve" business may be an American trope.

femminismo said...

What an absolute "grabber" of a line: What if everything counts ... Today a woman died. I used to work with her. I did not like her. I worked with her and I tried to love her. I tried to treat her with kindness, but I gave up after a while. I quit that job - she was one of the reasons, I suppose - and went on to another job. So today she died, after suffering for a couple of years with an incorrect diagnosis. She was exhausted, she could hardly breathe, she was snapped of all energy and enjoyment of life and in pain. So tonight I stopped at Starbucks to get the survivors - her "family" at the newspaper - buckets of coffee for tomorrow. And two dozen donuts from the local bakery. This will not clear my conscience and make me feel I deserve forgiveness (from whom, I wonder?), but maybe it will soothe the hurt and loss a little. And what is the loss when someone you didn't like dies? Can you answer me that?

ArtSparker said...

Jeanne - I specialize in questions, not answers.

I figure one has to know one's limitations - given a limited amount of energy, you just try to show up. Life is short, though, and we're not here to be punching bags.

Pure Fiction said...

As someone who has access to a computer and the leisure time to write a blog, I suppose we're all incredibly privileged - and lucky. As for being deserving, life doesn't work that way (not for me, anyway - and I do (sort of) believe in souls.)

That doesn't mean I don't still rail against things I think 'aren't fair,' tho.

Son of Incogneato said...

Deserve is such a silly human invention. It presupposes a universal value system of rewards for deeds done. It’s right up there with The Rights of Man (aka Human Rights). As if human beings had any more’ rights’ then any other living creature. The Gods must be laughing themselves silly at our hubris and presumptuousness.

Fresca said...

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."
Newton's Third Law of Motion

I often find the morally neutral world of Physics puts things in a clearer light than the often emotionally fraught world of religion, even a nontheistic one like Buddhism.

As for "deserving"--the common American use I'm famliiar with is that we "deserve" good things.

When I look at the rapacity of human actions, I'm afraid I usually think,
"God spare us from getting what we deserve."

Fresca said...

P.S. Oh, that last line I wrote sounded so grim!

I want to add that really, in fact, I don't think in terms of "deserve" or rewards and punishments.
But we are all connected and what goes around comes around...
And that includes tons of juice and joy!

femminismo said...

We're not here to be punching bags. That sort of clears things up a bit. It's morning and I'll go pick up the coffee and donuts and see if today I can find someone appreciative to be kind to. thanks!

Laura said...

love the phrase "everything counts"
deserve- in my own personal experience has nothing to do with anything...cause and effect is different and can often be measured, but deserve comes from a place, at least for me, that is roped in a territory of bleakness because the word carries with it a lot of intangibles.

ArtSparker said...

Thanks, guys. Well, the "deserve" thing came up recently in a conversation with a friend who said she knew a lot of young people with massive debt. When she asked them why they bought something they couldn't afford, they said they felt they"deserved it". This is a piece of capitalist training enshrined in a hair dye ad from the 70's - really, this is where it entered the language. When I say "everything counts", I mean a movement toward restoring balance/sweetness/beauty in the world is not lost, it helps toward completing us as individuals and making the world better. But when we start to think of it as an exchange, we start to turn people and the living world into commodities. Just thinking this through now as all of you have kindly contributed to the discussion, and thank you.

April 20, 2010 8:19 AM