Ode to Ordinary Things

Perhaps, the predisposition we have to group people into “us” and “them” is itself genetic. My understanding of our ancestors is that “them” was the group that poses an existential threat to “us”, because their lives depended upon it, (more food for “them”, means less food for “us”). Besides this survival purpose, a consideration of the rational of our passions seems to me very necessary, because our awareness is objective and physical, whereas our consciousness is not... and at the same time there is a seemingly chain that falls into the hostility, which is entangled into incomprehensibilities on the one side as much as the other. We are filled with infinite cases of group differences, in skin pigmentation, or cryptic theological belief and manner of dress, being the cause of harassment, enslavement, and murder. The idea that our sense of self-worth comes, not for anything that we have done, not from anything worthy, but by an accident of birth, and all those alternative ways of being human are somehow less central, less important that we are, is where the crux of the humiliation is…

From my perspective, it is not so much a matter of what the understanding sees but of what the feeling is sensitive to. Understanding is sublime, kindness is beautiful. Integrity is sublime and dignifying, civility is the beauty of virtue. True virtue alone is sublime... is the feeling of the beauty and the dignity of human nature, which grounds “universal affection” and “universal respect” for human beings. Beautiful qualities inspire esteem, but sublime ones inspire love. In my opinion, tragedy is differentiated from comedy mainly in the fact that in the first it is the feeling for the sublime while in the second it is the feeling for the beautiful that is touched.

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