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Romanticism: A World that Prizes Love and Community

“The problem of the individual is not clarified by stressing the antagonism between the individual and society, but by stressing their mutual reinforcement.” –Ruth Benedict

Romanticism was a widespread movement in both its origins and influence which began in Germany and England in the 1770s.  Romanticism had swept through Europe by the 1820’s. It traveled quickly from London to Boston to Mexico City to Tokyo to Vladivostok to Oslo; the most popular orchestral music in the world.  Beginning in the last decades of the 18th century, it transformed poetry, the novel, drama, painting, sculpture, all forms of concert music (especially opera), and ballet. It was deeply connected with the politics of the time, echoing people’s fears, hopes, and aspirations. It was the voice of revolution at the beginning of the 19th century and the voice of the Establishment at the end of it.

Since the time of Romanticism, with its emphasis on the opposition between the artist and society, we have tended to stress the values of the person over and against those of the social order.  We speak much of person will and freedom and less about ideas and ideals of the community.

Perhaps that is why many of us feel so alone.  As a male, I have been brought up to be independent, self-reliant, and competitive and there are times now when I find this more of a burden than a blessing.

We now have the chance to forge new bonds and create new relationships.  The path toward personal growth has carefully and deliberately evolved giving to us a world which is a self-supporting community whose basis is mutual help and whose ethic is love, not competition.  As we grow in our personal development and spirituality, we can carry this message to others who may feel lost in a life of isolation, destructive behaviors or addiction.  I am proud to prize love and community.

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My Valentine’s Day 2008

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I’ve never been one for Valentine’s Day.  To me, it’s just another day fabricated by commercialism to sell more; sell more cards, candy, gifts and pressure.  To me, romanticism comes more spontaneously throughout the year.  Someone once said to me that each morning when he wakes up he says, “O.K. God, surprise me!” 

 

Although each day brings new challenges, there is one thing it won’t bring – perfection.  Today, I can expect a mixed bag of experiences with a wide range of emotions to match.  I found this quote today, and would like to share it with you:

 Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind         John Spalding 

If we’re feeling discouraged or negative about our life, one way to cultivate an attitude of gratitude is to look back and see how far we’ve come.  Remember, we seek progress, not perfection.  There is always something to be grateful for, including the ability to find something to be grateful for. 

 When life is so bad that I want to cry, I’ll try laughing instead.