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Happy Days Question #14 - The Quotes

by Laurent Graff

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Happy Days Question #14 - The Quotes

Unread postby Liz » Sun Dec 17, 2006 12:29 pm

What is your interpretation of the quotes Graff chose to open the book?

….one must accustom the soul to serenity, which is the contented contemplation of nothingness. - Roger Caillois, Pierres réfléchies

and

I threw away that tiny thing called “me”
And I became the great wide world.
– Musô Soseki


Comment on how each of these quotes relates to the story.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Depputante » Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:17 pm

Good Morning, Mates ! :disco: I must be careful not to spill my :morning: ,

Don't know about you, but I'm happy we've had a couple days of easier questions! My brain was getting a little :mort3: over the :perplexed: ones.

The qutoes make me feel :chill: , but a person must also remember to not completely give away themselves, who they are , and what their goals are, in order to acheive that inner peace. If they do, they risk becoming a puppet for all those scary :clown: out there.
Johnny has overcome, and it much more at peace with himself. :cloud9:


I know nothing of Roger Caillois, so will focus on Soseki.
I'll throw in a photo of one of Soseki's gardens for your contemplation today. (He is very famous.) During college, I worked for a couple of years, interpretating a classical Chinese garden for tourists, so if you're up for a little :headache: mindful interpretation, I can explain some aspects of the garden for you. (But I'm sure you've about had enough by now.) The main point to consider when looking at the photos is the balance between opposites of dark/light, hard/soft, man made/natural itmes, squares/circles, higher/lower landscaping, as well as the bridges we cross in life, and don't forget the number THREE ! ( :-O Johnny has a 3 ! :thud: ). :goodvibes:
http://www.phototravels.net/kyoto/zen-gardens-saiho-ji.html (Just like a golf course is well planned, so is a Garden.)
Last edited by Depputante on Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread postby Parlez » Sun Dec 17, 2006 1:41 pm

Oh my, these quotes make me consider just how much I'm attached to things like my ego, my identity, my goals and agendas ~ everything I think of as my Self. If there's a Bigger Picture, part of me says it must contain these things I hold so dear, or else how do I know who I am? I find myself saying, "Give me anything (to hold onto) but don't give me Nothing!"
It's a frightening proposition, savvy? For me, it's anything but serene. I'm okay with moments of serenity, of feeling like everything's just as it should be in the world, but then that collapses like a dream and I'm baaacck ~ into my own stuff, back into my head. Getting rid of 'me' is a tall order, and not for the weak or undisciplined (such as me).
But, at the same time, I believe it's an infinitely noble goal, and one that would, I feel sure, result in inheriting 'the great wide world.'
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
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Unread postby Betty Sue » Sun Dec 17, 2006 2:12 pm

Hmmmm... Antoine became pretty good at contemplating nothingness on a regular basis, but, as some of us agreed yesterday, that's an activity we would like to use only as needed.
As for throwing away "me" and becoming the great wide world, I would interpret that to mean unselfishly thinking of others first and making the world a better place for everyone as much as one could. To me Antoine has thrown away "me" all right, but he doesn't seem to have become the great wide world. I think he's thrown that away, too. :eyebrow:
(I may be missing something because of my lack of knowledge of the contemplative life....... :-? )
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Unread postby suec » Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:29 pm

I can see the contemplation of nothingness, but am less sure about the serenity or contentment. It seems to be there in flashes, such as in the superixistence quote. Perhaps that is good enough? But I read a passage such as on p72 - which seems to adress both quotes somehow - and think that it isn't.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

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Unread postby Depputante » Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:35 pm

Betty Sue wrote:Hmmmm... Antoine became pretty good at contemplating nothingness on a regular basis, but, as some of us agreed yesterday, that's an activity we would like to use only as needed.
As for throwing away "me" and becoming the great wide world, I would interpret that to mean unselfishly thinking of others first and making the world a better place for everyone as much as one could. To me Antoine has thrown away "me" all right, but he doesn't seem to have become the great wide world. I think he's thrown that away, too. :eyebrow:
(I may be missing something because of my lack of knowledge of the contemplative life....... :-? )


I think you're on the right track , Betty Sue. What do you think now about the last chapter, after Happy Days undergoes a change of owners.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Unread postby Depputante » Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:39 pm

suec wrote:I can see the contemplation of nothingness, but am less sure about the serenity or contentment. It seems to be there in flashes, such as in the superixistence quote. Perhaps that is good enough? But I read a passage such as on p72 - which seems to adress both quotes somehow - and think that it isn't.


Yeah, I know what you mean, Suec. I'm not sure that's good enough myself. This is a kind of 'void' I'm feeling in the book. It goes deep into Antoine's thoughts inside, but ... :-?
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Unread postby Depputante » Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:44 pm

Parlez wrote:Oh my, these quotes make me consider just how much I'm attached to things like my ego, my identity, my goals and agendas ~ everything I think of as my Self. If there's a Bigger Picture, part of me says it must contain these things I hold so dear, or else how do I know who I am? I find myself saying, "Give me anything (to hold onto) but don't give me Nothing!"
It's a frightening proposition, savvy? For me, it's anything but serene. I'm okay with moments of serenity, of feeling like everything's just as it should be in the world, but then that collapses like a dream and I'm baaacck ~ into my own stuff, back into my head. Getting rid of 'me' is a tall order, and not for the weak or undisciplined (such as me).
But, at the same time, I believe it's an infinitely noble goal, and one that would, I feel sure, result in inheriting 'the great wide world.'


That's an accord with me too! :highfive: We are just human afterall. Try not to :banghead: too much about it. I think one way to become better at it is to understand and use that Karma technique thing we talked about earlier in the discussion. Realize it for what it is, then put it down and move on. etc... If one can continuously do that, it's kind of a dissociation technique that can be used to improve oneself. For me the discussion is easy, but to DO it is much more difficult, too.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

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Re: Happy Days Question #14 - The Quotes

Unread postby Lady Jill » Sun Dec 17, 2006 5:04 pm

….one must accustom the soul to serenity, which is the contented contemplation of nothingness. - Roger Caillois, Pierres réfléchies
Here one [Antoine] is asked to leave all awareness of self, drawing deep within his soul, to enter into a space of nothingness. I believe that is what he was doing on his bench scenes, as well as calmly letting go of his life. . .into nothingness, if you will.



I threw away that tiny thing called “me”
And I became the great wide world.
– Musô Soseki

Hmmm. Time to take care of me,
time to leave my space and be a peace within the Universe.
I think this refers to the road Antoine is about to travel throughout his days at Happy Days.

Depputante: The Moss Garden is soothing. It surely fits with these 2 quotes.

A quote, who said it I don't know, comes to mind here in these discussions: Analyze. . . Paralyze. I belive there are many times when I feel that too much analization truely freezes my mind to life. . to feelings. . .to peace within.

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Unread postby Parlez » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:08 pm

Yep, that would be me! :wave: Virgo, ruled by Mercury = Ms Mind Games Analysis!
It's always a surprise to see just what we're attached to in terms of feeling grounded, alive, connected, etc.,etc.. For me, one big thing is analyzing; it's a coping skill as well as a delicious pasttime for me. I can't imagine life without it. So, in the context of getting rid of 'me' that would have to go...which deppinately doesn't make me feel too serene!

There's an activity-game that they 'play' with would-be hospice volunteers that has you write down on separate pieces of paper everything and everyone that makes your life worthwhile...then, one by one, you get rid of every piece. You have to choose what to give up first, which is a chance to see where your priorities are...but ultimately, everything and everyone has to go. It's supposed to replicate dying and death, but when I did it I got quite hostile, thinking (!), "There must be something that comes IN to this scene - it can't be all loss and giving up what's known and valued and loved!"

Sure enough, in the Buddhist view (not only of dying and death but of everyday life) there are big payoffs to be had by doing pretty much the same exercise. When we take the time and spend the energy to step up (down) and at least take a look at what we're doing and why and for whom, we can alter our view and, on some level, see the 'big wide world'. It sounds easy, but it's not.
Just witness my penchant for analyzing these quotes!! :blush:
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa

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Unread postby Liz » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:41 pm

Parlez wrote:Yep, that would be me! :wave: Virgo, ruled by Mercury = Ms Mind Games Analysis!
It's always a surprise to see just what we're attached to in terms of feeling grounded, alive, connected, etc.,etc.. For me, one big thing is analyzing; it's a coping skill as well as a delicious pasttime for me. I can't imagine life without it. So, in the context of getting rid of 'me' that would have to go...which deppinately doesn't make me feel too serene!

There's an activity-game that they 'play' with would-be hospice volunteers that has you write down on separate pieces of paper everything and everyone that makes your life worthwhile...then, one by one, you get rid of every piece. You have to choose what to give up first, which is a chance to see where your priorities are...but ultimately, everything and everyone has to go. It's supposed to replicate dying and death, but when I did it I got quite hostile, thinking (!), "There must be something that comes IN to this scene - it can't be all loss and giving up what's known and valued and loved!"

Sure enough, in the Buddhist view (not only of dying and death but of everyday life) there are big payoffs to be had by doing pretty much the same exercise. When we take the time and spend the energy to step up (down) and at least take a look at what we're doing and why and for whom, we can alter our view and, on some level, see the 'big wide world'. It sounds easy, but it's not.
Just witness my penchant for analyzing these quotes!! :blush:


You ladies have been busy analyzing today while I've been out being an elf again. :cool: So I'm just beginning to catch up here.....

Parlez, your penchant for analyzing may be part of what is "you". However, I don't think that one has to totally throw away "me" to be able to contemplate the universe or even nothingness. Isn't contemplation in itself a form of analyzing? Even the exercise that hospice volunteers must do is a form of analyzing.

And that brings me to that exercise. Could it be that Antoine is going through that exercise in order to understand death?


On the other hand, I agree with this:

Lady Jill wrote: I belive there are many times when I feel that too much analization truely freezes my mind to life. . to feelings. . .to peace within.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Liz » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:45 pm

Depputante wrote:
Betty Sue wrote:Hmmmm... Antoine became pretty good at contemplating nothingness on a regular basis, but, as some of us agreed yesterday, that's an activity we would like to use only as needed.
As for throwing away "me" and becoming the great wide world, I would interpret that to mean unselfishly thinking of others first and making the world a better place for everyone as much as one could. To me Antoine has thrown away "me" all right, but he doesn't seem to have become the great wide world. I think he's thrown that away, too. :eyebrow:
(I may be missing something because of my lack of knowledge of the contemplative life....... :-? )


I think you're on the right track , Betty Sue. What do you think now about the last chapter, after Happy Days undergoes a change of owners.


Oh let's forgo talk of the end for a bit, Noodlemantras. :chill:
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Liz » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:53 pm

Depputante wrote:Good Morning, Mates ! :disco: I must be careful not to spill my :morning: ,

Don't know about you, but I'm happy we've had a couple days of easier questions! My brain was getting a little :mort3: over the :perplexed: ones.

The qutoes make me feel :chill: , but a person must also remember to not completely give away themselves, who they are , and what their goals are, in order to acheive that inner peace. If they do, they risk becoming a puppet for all those scary :clown: out there.
Johnny has overcome, and it much more at peace with himself. :cloud9:


I know nothing of Roger Caillois, so will focus on Soseki.
I'll throw in a photo of one of Soseki's gardens for your contemplation today. (He is very famous.) During college, I worked for a couple of years, interpretating a classical Chinese garden for tourists, so if you're up for a little :headache: mindful interpretation, I can explain some aspects of the garden for you. (But I'm sure you've about had enough by now.) The main point to consider when looking at the photos is the balance between opposites of dark/light, hard/soft, man made/natural itmes, squares/circles, higher/lower landscaping, as well as the bridges we cross in life, and don't forget the number THREE ! ( :-O Johnny has a 3 ! :thud: ). :goodvibes:
http://www.phototravels.net/kyoto/zen-gardens-saiho-ji.html (Just like a golf course is well planned, so is a Garden.)


Beautiful gardens, Depputante. I do like the contrasts.

I know nothing of Caillois or Soseki either, Depputante. But I have to say that the quote by Caillois brings Infinitum Nihil to mind. (“Force is force...matter is matter...will is will...the infinite is the infinite...nothing is nothing” - tolstoy.)

Off I go again into the elf world.....
:-O
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Happy Days Question #14 - The Quotes

Unread postby Veronica » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:35 pm

Liz wrote:What is your interpretation of the quotes Graff chose to open the book?

….one must accustom the soul to serenity, which is the contented contemplation of nothingness. - Roger Caillois, Pierres réfléchies

and

I threw away that tiny thing called “me”
And I became the great wide world.
– Musô Soseki


Comment on how each of these quotes relates to the story.


quote 1 means to me that you except what is fed to you. If you expect nothing you wont be disappointed. I dont like that statement to me that is settling for whatever comes your way & not caring what it is. you just go with it. COP OUT! BUT on the other hand excepting what is fed to you can mean you except the circumstances now what am I going to do with it. Am I going to change it? This is my life & I will mold it to what ever challenges get in my way.

quote 2 means to me that I live for others & I want to make a difference somewhere in this life. And I want to discover where I fit in.
Everything is always okay in the end,
if it's not, then it's not the end.

Today is a gift....Have Fun!

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:25 pm

Is this somehow related to reincarnation and "oneness" with the universe, to put it in broad terms. I have way too much to learn about Eastern religion but it seems to me that the quote are giving up of the self to become one with whoever/whatever you believe the supreme state/being to be. Once you are able to rid yourself of your ego you have no worries and find yourself in a serene state where there is "nothing" to complicate your mind. Am I making up my own religion here? :lol:

depputante, the photos were beautiful!
:chill:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!


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