thread: 2006-08-31 : I think my expectations are screwed

On 2006-09-08, Charles S wrote:

Fletcher (and, incidentally, those who responded to my quoting Arnold),

I hope you know that I meant the Arnold poem as both an agreement and as a balm to your woes (although I recognize that a poem is small comfort to the utterly arbitrary and completely unexpected loss of your father), and that you did not take it as a retort of any sort.

People think Arnold is nihilistic?!?

I'm shocked -and saddened. Arnold looks into the raging, hollow world and, instead of saying "This is all nothing, this is all garbage" (the nihilist response), he says "let us be true to one another." And (no matter how amusing it may be) I don't think you should necessarily read "Ah love" to reduce the "us" to the romantic diad.

Arnold says (in Fletcher's words):

We are but a speck on the hide of a malevolent colossus that cares nothing for us or our struggles.

true, but then he adds (and/but/nonetheless/therefore):

"let us be true to one another."

It won't make the first statement false, but it is the best we can have, and so much better than nihilism. We can't change the colossus or make it care, or stop it from killing us with an unthinking flick of its tail, but we can care for each other and for each others struggles. To each other, we can each have infinite worth. That, to me, is what Arnold says.


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