Meditation for Thursday of Week 18 in the season of Growth

Being Forthright

Forthrightness is another value that runs head-on into humility. Still, there is a value in speaking directly and honestly. We can explore the parameters and potential resolutions of this and other conflicts through our narratives, true and fictional.

Real

True Narratives

Pauline Kael's "'lack of introspection, self-awareness, restraint or hesitation' . . . gave her 'supreme freedom to speak up, to speak her mind, to find her honest voice'" as a film critic.

Many journalists exemplify the value of being forthright:

Imaginary

Visual Arts

Film and Stage

Music: Composers, artists, and major works

Beethoven, String Quartet No. 11 in F minorOp. 95 (“Serioso): though Beethoven’s briefest string quartet, it is also quite intense. We could say that Beethoven got right to the point.

Domenico Scarlatti’s 555 keyboard sonatas are crisply constructed little works, approximately five to fifteen minutes in duration. In them, Scarlatti presents simple musical ideas, to be executed with dispatch. Though their brevity leaves little time for thematic development, Scarlatti left us with a collection of works in these sonatas that laid the groundwork for later developments in the form, and simultaneously was fine music on its own. Here are links to performanes of selected sonatas performed by Scott Ross, Kipnis, Pogorelić (piano) and Gould (piano).

Fictional Narratives

Winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in literature, Alice Munro is a starkly honest master of the short story.

Poetry

I was not beloved of the villagers,
But all because I spoke my mind,
And met those who transgressed against me
With plain remonstrance, hiding nor nurturing
Nor secret griefs nor grudges.
That act of the Spartan boy is greatly praised,
Who hid the wolf under his cloak,
Letting it devour him, uncomplainingly.
It is braver, I think, to snatch the wolf forth
And fight him openly, even in the street,
Amid dust and howls of pain.
The tongue may be an unruly member—
But silence poisons the soul.
Berate me who will—I am content.

[Edgar Lee Masters, “Dorcas Gustine”]

Other poems:

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 www.thisisourstory.net, 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.

latest from

The Work on the Meditations