Sunday, October 31, 2010

Week in Seven Words #39

Golden bars of sunlight on deep green grass.

When I learn with her, and we're sitting with our books in front of us, we tend to laugh, sometimes a lot. It seems that the laughter is what I remember the most afterwards.

Infants are often thought of as amoral; they might squirm, smile, cry, babble, explore, but making a judgment about another person's actions might seem to be beyond their capacities. As it turns out, there's evidence that infants younger than a year do show preferences for people (and characters) who are helpful and kind to another person over those who hinder and thwart; from what I recall they also prefer people who remain neutrally uninvolved to those who actively undermine another person's efforts (and prefer those who actively help to those who remain uninvolved). Rudiments of morality, good deeds and a sense of justice are there, even before they can speak.

He speaks quite eloquently about love. Not love in the sense of falling head over heels, or getting swept away, or any other conception of love that involves losing one's mind or will to passions that are beyond personal control. He speaks about love as a choice and commitment, as something that deepens and grows throughout life, that glows inside of a healthy self and spreads outwards in ever-widening circles.

A son of one of the Bielsky brothers talks about his father's and uncles' experiences leading a Jewish partisan group against Nazis and Nazi collaborators in Eastern Europe and saving over 1200 Jews (young, old, healthy, sick, men, women, and children). Several thoughts come out of the talk - the human spirit and human courage are amazing; heroes are flesh-and-blood imperfect people; and what's it like to live with this family legacy, to be the son and nephew of people who did things like that? (From this speaker I sense deep pride but also, especially when he was younger, a need to prove that he too has guts and can live up to the family name.)

Friday afternoon. People's primary concern seems to be whether there's any coffee or cookies left.

Yellow leaves on slicked pavement.