Meditation for Friday of Week 47 in the season of Harvest and Celebration:   

Relationships

Pablo Picasso, The Happy Family (1917)

Homo sapiens is a social species. We rely on each other for comfort, companionship, support, nurturance and guidance. We also rely on each other for a reassurance, so most of us respond positively to another person’s joy and negatively to another person’s suffering. By paying attention to and developing our relationships with others, we lay down another building block to a well-lived life.

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Imaginary

Visual Arts

Music: songs and other short pieces

  • Paul Simon's iconic song, Sound of Silence, expresses our profound longing for meaningful relationships.
  • In Graceland, Simon sneaks up on us: this is no mere carefree trip to Elvis' house.
  • The song title, Hearts and Bones, expresses the idea of deeply felt relationships.

Fictional Narratives

Film and Stage

Music: Composers, artists, and major works

For most of its duration, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98, is an optimistic cascade of interwoven harmonies throughout the orchestra. Its upbeat tone and the positive interplay between the various instrumental voices evokes a sense of exquisite joy, and its passion trumpets the power of those feelings. Each movement can be heard as an exposition on the kinds of relationships that give special qualities of meaning to our lives. I will explore the symphony through a performance directed by Michael Sanderling, which I believe to be the among work’s finest recordings.  (In contrast, hear this dark reading conducted by Carlos Kleiber.)
  • The first movement (Allegro non troppo) opens with a simple motif within the strings, in which the entire orchestra joins over time. The idea remains simple throughout but Brahms’ lingering development is loving in tone and character, with such things as little rhythmic nuances (for example, at 4:50) providing the contrasts.
  • The second movement (Andante moderato) is similar in tone to the first but here, instead of the first movement’s ebullient tutti section, the entrance of the entire orchestra (3:05) evokes a more tender, loving kind of support. As in the first movement, Brahms develops a few simple motifs throughout.
  • The third movement (Allegro giocoso – Poco meno presto – Tempo I) sounds like a shared triumph, with all voices joining in a glorious celebration. As in the first two movements, few seminal ideas are thoroughly fleshed out.
  • We hear a stark contrast against the first three movements with the ominous opening of the fourth (Allegro energico e passionato – Più Allegro). This movement is the outlier, sounding tones of conflict and foreboding throughout most of its length. Still, the orchestral voices remain united, as though they were seeking an answer to a shared crisis. A call for calmness and reflection begins at around 3:00, followed by hints of resolution beginning at around 5:10. At 6:05, the stakes are announced, and then at 6:30, the players begin to fight back, not in unison but in the harmony that characterizes healthy relationships. The conflict will not be overcome easily (7:20) – life has become more complex – but the voices remain unified. The symphony concludes in unified defiance.

Other meditations of interest

Grid Omnibus

SELF GLOBAL EMOTION THOUGHT ACTION VALUE CONVICTION ATTITUDE EVIL LEVEL 1 LEVEL 2 Self-respect Self-understanding Prudence LEVEL 3 LEVEL 4 CREATIVITY Self-love Faith in self SPIRITUALITY Spirituality  Meaning  Direction  Purpose   CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER PEOPLE GLOBAL EMOTION THOUGHT ACTION VALUE CONVICTION ATTITUDE EVIL LEVEL 1 LEVEL 2 Respect Understanding
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Journals

Virtual libraries (enter sites from this site)    
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Anxiety

   
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Propaganda

Propaganda is information of a biased or misleading nature, or misinformation, used to promote a cause or point of view. It is usually disseminated by someone seeking to promote a self-interest without regard to the whole, and therefore fits within Niebuhr’s definition of evil. As the means of disseminating information
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Intolerance


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Extremism


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Static – Dynamic

In relation to the self: Habits and Practices (static) – Change (dynamic) In relation to others, near and intimate relationships: Tradition (static) – Challenging Conventions (dynamic) In relation to others, near and intimate relationships: Social Norms (static) – Challenging Conventions
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Space and Time

To everything there is a season . . . Humility – Assertiveness Modesty – Drive Skepticism – Advocacy Forbearing – Viligance Patience – Urgency Equanimity – Desire Order – Revolution Stability – Change Freedom – Responsibility Risking – Prudence Beginning – Ending Growing – Declining Arriving Leaving Holding On –
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Deferential Values in Relation to Other People

DEFERENTIAL VALUES in Relation to Other People (Week 6) GLOBAL EMOTION THOUGHT ACTION  VALUE CONVICTION ATTITUDE Avoiding Harm Non-malevolence Acknowleding the Other’s Humanity Restraining Fairness Common Ground Tolerance  
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Deferential Values in Relation to the Material World

DEFERENTIAL VALUES in Relation to the Material World (Week 5) GLOBAL EMOTION THOUGHT ACTION ATTITUDE Humility Modesty Skepticism Forbearing Patience Equanimity Mindfulness  
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