4.159 meetings meetings

Tuesday 05/09/2023

Did the gym round. Even earlier, I called the reservation number for Smithsonian tours. I had seen where they were offering a nice little 4-day eclipse tour for 2024. But no, all booked up.

The writers group cue for this week was “A Garden of Eden”. I wasn’t going to write anything because I really couldn’t think of a time of my life, or of any life, that could have the features of that paradise. Then I thought about it some more and realized that the features of Eden were actually contradictory in a deep philosophical sense. So I wrote about that. Maybe I’ll stick it at the end here.

At 2 I went to set up the Activity Room for the Hearing Support Group meeting. The Activity room, which is on the 2nd floor “bridge” to the Lee center, was messed about with a lot in 2020-22. It used to be a nice classroom-size meeting space with good sound and video facilities. Then it was coopted to be a Covid ward, and when it came back from that, all the sound equipment had disappeared. It has been being fixed back up but today I was surprised and please to find the sound amplifier was back and a working microphone, as well as the Zoom Room that was already there.

At 4pm there was a meeting in the auditorium to introduce the new fitness contractor, AgeStrong. I had heard this change was coming as part of briefings for the strategic planning committee. This was its introduction to the residents at large. Basically one full and two part-time fitness people who worked for CH, will now work for the parent company of AgeStrong. All existing fitness classes are to continue, and new ones to be added. Also for the first time ever CH will have on-site physical therapy available, billable to Medicare Part B. The presenter from the company was well prepared and very personable.

I had dinner with the Allens and Ann Marie. Right after I went into the auditorium for the third, no fourth meeting of the day. Our Racial and Social Justice committee had prepared a presentation on “Reparations 101”, explaining the details of, and some of the justification for, the recommendations about to be presented to the state legislature by the state Reparations committee. They had done a good job preparing also and I learned a lot more than the newspaper had been telling.

(This is how I stayed busy from 9am to 10:30.)

The Dream of Eden

What are the supposed characteristics of Eden?

It must be a place of innocence, of safety, and of freedom from want. For the human spirit, the outcome of these conditions ought to be — must be presumed to be — surely would be — serenity. Right?

Without need to guard against any dangers; somehow provided with food, shelter, and other comforts received without effort; lacking any experience of malice or treachery; the human mind must surely be at peace.

Imagine the people in this Garden: fed, protected, not too cold or too hot or too wet. Are they not happy?

No. They are not happy. They are bored. They have imagination; they imagine more perfect things, and they try to make the things. They dream of huts, and begin to cut trees. They dream of castles, and begin to cut stone.

If there are two people in this Garden, there are inevitably at least three opinions on how the hut should be built. If there are more than two, there are at least six opinions on the proper way to resolve the dispute over the slope of the hut roof. Innocence vanishes with the first argument, the first hurt feelings.

When there are enough people, the slope-roof hut makers split from the flat-roof hut makers, two villages, then more. Reeds for thatching hut roofs are used up, and for the first time there is a scarcity in the land; and sooner or later but as sure as the dawn, a war over that.

We each live out the collapse of the Garden in our own lives when, safe and well-fed and clothed and housed, as toddlers we learn to say “No!” and as adolescents we claim to despise our home lives.

There never was a Garden of Eden; the conditions are inherently unstable. The Bible is wrong: Original Sin didn’t enter the Garden; it was there from the first.

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