Thursday, August 24, 2006

Browning is a Jerk

In my eighth grade English classroom there was this quote from Robert Browning over the Blackboard:

A man's reach should exceed his grasp, /Or what's a heaven for?

For ages that was sort of a personal motto for me. Striving for the unattainable seemed noble to me, both in the sense of being something along the lines of an eternal quest, and because simply through the act of working towards the impossible I felt you would achieve more than you would otherwise. The idea of keeping contentment and rest for the next life was somehow a very appealing one to me (or noble?). And then oh let’s say around a decade later I finally thought, wait just one minute, never being happy or content? That sucks. Maybe my life shouldn’t be based on a romantic poem. Now most of you achievers probably got that by line four of this post, but I’m slower (by about a decade) and more inclined to believe life-philosophies conveniently presented to me on a flashcard. So basically I have three points:

1. Go out and live! Live people live!

2. I will adopt for at least a decade and philosophy or religious doctrine your clearly lay out on a flashcard for me

3. Browning is a jerk for messing me up.

That being said, when I read the poem that line is from for the first time today I realized it was about a painter’s struggle to capture life on canvas. I like that idea.

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