Value for Monday of Week 28 in the season of Ripening

Being Avid

Being avid – taking a keen interest in something, enthusiastically – can affect every aspect of life and Being. The word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek, intheos, which means “in God.” Thus, enthusiasm refers to a state of being engulfed by and in harmony with the divine (matters of greatest importance and highest concern). For a scientific naturalist, this simply refers to an “intensity of feeling; excited interest or eagerness.” For us, the enthusiasm of being avid helps us transcend our previous limits. It implies nothing other-worldly. It is all within ourselves.

Real

True Narratives

These authors' enthusiasm for their subject matter is evident in their writing.

Technical and Analytical Readings

Photographs

Documentary and Educational Films

Imaginary

Fictional Narratives

For Quasimodo, the bells were his only means of transcendence from isolation.

No idea can be formed of his delight on days when the grand peal was sounded. At the moment when the archdeacon dismissed him, and said, “Go!” he mounted the spiral staircase of the clock tower faster than any one else could have descended it. He entered perfectly breathless into the aerial chamber of the great bell; he gazed at her a moment, devoutly and lovingly; then he gently addressed her and patted her with his hand, like a good horse, which is about to set out on a long journey. He pitied her for the trouble that she was about to suffer. After these first caresses, he shouted to his assistants, placed in the lower story of the tower, to begin. They grasped the ropes, the wheel creaked, the enormous capsule of metal started slowly into motion. Quasimodo followed it with his glance and trembled. The first shock of the clapper and the brazen wall made the framework upon which it was mounted quiver. Quasimodo vibrated with the bell.  “Vah!” he cried, with a senseless burst of laughter. However, the movement of the bass was accelerated, and, in proportion as it described a wider angle, Quasimodo’s eye opened also more and more widely, phosphoric and flaming. At length the grand peal began; the whole tower trembled; woodwork, leads, cut stones, all groaned at once, from the piles of the foundation to the trefoils of its summit. Then Quasimodo boiled and frothed; he went and came; he trembled from head to foot with the tower. The bell, furious, running riot, presented to the two walls of the tower alternately its brazen throat, whence escaped that tempestuous breath, which is audible leagues away. Quasimodo stationed himself in front of this open throat; he crouched and rose with the oscillations of the bell, breathed in this overwhelming breath, gazed by turns at the deep place, which swarmed with people, two hundred feet below him, and at that enormous, brazen tongue which came, second after second, to howl in his ear. [Victor Hugo, Notre-Dame de Paris, or, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831), Volume I, Book Fourth, Chapter III, “Immanis Pecoris Custos, Immanior Ipse”.]

Novels:

Poetry

I went to the dances at Chandlerville,

And played snap-out at Winchester.

One time we changed partners,

Driving home in the moonlight of middle June,

And then I found Davis.

We were married and lived together for seventy years,

Enjoying, working, raising the twelve children,

Eight of whom we lost

Ere I had reached the age of sixty.

I spun, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick,

I made the garden, and for holiday

Rambled over the fields where sang the larks,

And by Spoon River gathering many a shell,

And many a flower and medicinal weed —

Shouting to the wooded hills, singing to the green valleys.

At ninety-six I had lived enough, that is all,

And passed to a sweet repose.

What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness,

Anger, discontent and drooping hopes?

Degenerate sons and daughters,

Life is too strong for you —

It takes life to love Life.

[Edgar Lee Masters, “Lucinda Matlock]

Music: Composers, artists, and major works

Gustavo Dudamel is a conductor who is known for his gestural flourishes and emotive expressiveness. He “is driven by the belief that music has the power to transform lives, to inspire, and to change the world.” The New York Philharmonic, which hired Dudamel as its principal conductor beginning in 2026, “expects him to be a grander figure, a talisman who will gladden the jaded and enthuse audiences the orchestra has yet to enthuse.” The Berliner Philharmoniker website describes him as a “bundle of energy”. An article about Dudamel in The New York Times observes: “Conducting is a kind of strange, proactive dance. You move your body not in response to music but in anticipation of it.” You can see this on display in videos of his conducting. A young conductor as of this writing, he is compiling an impressive set of releases and playlists.

Freddie Mercury was a popular singer known for his forward and energetic stage presence and musical style. He soaked in the examples a wide range of musical artists, which may have produced a drive to “create . . . a vast body of work”. He brought a wide range of talents onstage with him. “Mercury was born with four extra teeth in the back of his mouth, causing his now-famous bucktooth grin. In fact, his nickname growing up was Bucky. Mercury never got his teeth fixed because he was afraid it would ruin his impressive four-octave vocal range.” Here is a link to some of his videos. He has been the main subject of an impressive number of books, and numerous documentary films. Here are links to his solo releases and playlists; and to releases and playlists of the group Queen, in which he was the lead vocalist. 

Felix Mendelssohn composed his Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 11 (1824) (approx. 29-32’), at the age of fifteen, thereby illustrating the virtue of enthusiasm as a quality of Being. It is “indubitably a young man’s creation, energetic, muscular, and bursting with rambunctious high spirits”. 

Avidity, which we might also call the present quality of enthusiasm, as distinguished from enthusiasm as a creative force, is apparent from the opening bars of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in this performance by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Manfred Honeck. Honeck took this masterwork from beginning to end in under sixty-three minutes – faster than nearly any other great conductor. Honeck’s performance of the second movement, a scherzo that is ebullient by nature, sounds similar to other performances until 7:10, when the conductor takes the orchestra on a galloping romp. Pensive in character, the third movement does not invite an enthusiastic interpretation. Still, Honeck’s tempo gives this performance a sunnier tone, from the outset, than perhaps any other performance of the movement. This robs the movement of its dark-night-of-the-soul emotional contrast. Honeck’s tempo after the emotional turning point sounds like speed for its own sake. A brief journey into darkness could have made this movement especially powerful. Ebullient by nature, the fourth and final movement left Honeck nowhere to go, until 4:50, when avid enthusiasm burst forth from then on, orchestra, chorus and soloists telling Beethonven’s symphonic story in Honeck’s thoroughly inspiring way.

Trombone Unit Hannover: trombone enthusiasm

Albums:

Music: songs and other short pieces

  • Franz Schubert (composer), “Die Geselligkeit” [“Lebenslust”] (Zest for Life [Conviviality]), D. 609 (lyrics): Schubert’s version of “When You’re Smiling”

Visual Arts

Film and Stage

This Is Our Story

A religion of values and Ethics, driven by love and compassion, informed by science and reason.

PART ONE: OUR STORY

First ingredient: Distinctions. What is the core and essence of being human? What is contentment, or kindliness, or Love? What is gentleness, or service, or enthusiasm, or courage? If you follow the links, you see at a glance what these concepts mean.

PART TWO: ANALYSIS

This site would be incomplete without an analytical framework. After you have digested a few of the examples, feel free to explore the ideas behind the model. I would be remiss if I did not give credit to my inspiration for this work: the Human Faith Project of Calvin Chatlos, M.D. His demonstration of a model for Human Faith began my exploration of this subject matter.

A RELIGION OF VALUES

A baby first begins to learn about the world by experiencing it. A room may be warm or cool. The baby learns that distinction. As a toddler, the child may strike her head with a rag doll, and see that it is soft; then strike her head with a wooden block, and see that it is hard. Love is a distinction: she loves me, or she doesn’t love me. This is true of every human value:

justice, humility, wisdom, courage . . . every single one of them.

This site is dedicated to exploring those distinctions. It is based on a model of values that you can read about on the “About” page. However, the best way to learn about what is in here is the same as the baby’s way of learning about the world: open the pages, and see what happens.

ants organic action machines

Octavio Ocampo, Forever Always

Jacek Yerka, House over the Waterfall

Norman Rockwell, Carefree Days Ahead

WHAT YOU WILL SEE HERE

When you open tiostest.wpengine.com, you will see a human value identified at the top of the page. The value changes daily. These values are designed to follow the seasons of the year.

You will also see an overview of the value, or subject for the day, and then two columns of materials.

The left-side column presents true narratives, which include biographies, memoirs, histories, documentary films and the like; and also technical and analytical writings.

The right-side columns presents the work of the human imagination: fictional novels and stories, music, visual art, poetry and fictional film.

Each entry is presented to help identify the value. Open some of the links and experience our human story, again. It belongs to us all, and each of us is a part of it.

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The Work on the Meditations