Sunday, November 08, 2009

Soul Picture

The highly-influential (and probably bi-polar) 20th century philosopher, Ludwig Wittgenstein, is quoted as saying, “The best picture of the human soul is the human body.”

I think what he probably meant—given that he also said, “philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday,” and was someone for whom words that weren’t seen to have some way, at least in principle, of empirically testing their meaning were, strictly speaking, meaningless—was that the term “soul” is best rendered in everyday speech as referring to a person’s observable physical characteristics.

And I think I mostly agree with this, except for when I look at myself and see someone staring back at me from the mirror who doesn’t really resemble the person I imagine myself to be. This though, of course, is not usually a phenomenon I experience when observing other people, for whom physical presence is indeed pretty much all I can use to make judgments of what their “souls” look like.

So then, like this morning, when I’m sitting in the coffee shop having my usual Sunday AM coffee and scone, and I cast my eyes around and see all these middle-aged Seattleites bundled up for autumn, I have to conclude that their “souls,” like mine, are all feeling a bit soggy and gray—not that this is a bad thing, but it is one that reflects the overall somber mood of these last few days, rife with reports of crazed gunmen shooting cops and soldiers, rich people getting richer, and pizza pie plates overflowing.

And then, to top it off, there’s the terrible news that beloved local bicycle mechanic hero, Val Kleitz, is battling cancer, and it’s no wonder that a person’s “soul,” (specifically mine) wants to do nothing else than crawl back into bed, pull the covers over his head, and shiver gently with flu-like symptoms he seems to be having.

Or maybe it is the weather or perhaps just another Sunday without a Steelers game.


Anonymous lm said...

"somber" you stole the word right from my mouth...

Somber shades of sepia
Falling frivolously from
Apathetic accidents
Cruel consequences curse
Existential existence

3:28 PM  
Blogger Deb's Lunch said...

Squash quiche, but what the heck, at least we're still reading each other. And at least the Steelers didn't play, instead of getting ignominiously beat, like our GB Slackers.

7:49 PM  

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