Frigid and Nonchalant

Dear Everybody,

So, it’s frigid in Chicago tonight. I heard from a friend it is supposed to warm up to spring-like weather by Saturday. Isn’t it pretty to think so.

So it’s the new year. I hear it is supposed to be OK. I am sure it will be for me. I’ve always been lucky. I hope it is too for the people less fortunate than me.

The one thing I wish for this year is that I could feel neutral, nonchalant, about these two women I know. It could happen. I’ve always been lucky.

Here’s wishing you all the best in the new year, and if you need to feel nonchalant, I hope you can do it.



Published in: on January 2, 2008 at 11:56 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Holiday Greetings

  2. Happy New Year to you, too, Lynn.

    Yes, there might (often) be a need to feel nonchalant. But it’s not really an admirable lifestyle, is it?

    Let’s look at the word:

    non·cha·lant – adj.

    to be coolly unconcerned or indifferent.

    Word History: A nonchalant person is not likely to become warm or heated about anything, a fact that is underscored by the etymology of the word nonchalant. It stems from Old French, where it was formed from the negative prefix non- plus chalant, the present participle of the verb chaloir, “to be concerned.” This in turn came from the Latin word calre, which from its concrete sense “to be hot or warm” developed the figurative sense “to be roused or fired with hope, zeal, or anger.” French formed a noun nonchalance from the adjective nonchalant that was borrowed into English by 1678; the adjective itself was borrowed later, as it is not attested for another half-century.

    We are also talking defensive, self-protective, aloof, and maybe cynical. Right?

    Isn’t stoic closer?

    Pedantic greetings,


  3. Renegade Eye,

    I hope you have a wonderful year, and I look forward to the great writing on you blog.

  4. Orla,

    Many thanks for the etymology. I’ve always considered myself more Epicurean than Stoic. I should desire those things I need and are really good for me. Lusting for a red hot romance may fall outside those simple desires. I don’t want to be cynical or aloof, but indifference suits me.

  5. Oh yes, Epicurus. Thanks for mentioning him. He has also been my inspiration in good and bad times. Some years ago I did a lot of work, especially with his letter to Menoeceus where he has the following advice to the young man he is addressing:

    We must also reflect that of desires some are natural, others are groundless; and that of the natural some are necessary as well as natural, and some natural only. And of the necessary desires some are necessary if we are to be happy, some if the body is to be rid of uneasiness, some if we are even to live. He who has a clear and certain understanding of these things will direct every preference and aversion toward securing health of body and tranquility of mind, seeing that this is the sum and end of a blessed life. For the end of all our actions is to be free from pain and fear, and, when once we have attained all this, the tempest of the soul is laid; seeing that the living creature has no need to go in search of something that is lacking, nor to look for anything else by which the good of the soul and of the body will be fulfilled. When we are pained because of the absence of pleasure, then, and then only, do we feel the need of pleasure. Wherefore we call pleasure the alpha and omega of a blessed life. Pleasure is our first and kindred good. It is the starting-point of every choice and of every aversion, and to it we come back, inasmuch as we make feeling the rule by which to judge of every good thing.


  6. Orla,

    Thanks for the passage. It made me reread the whole letter. I always enjoy reading it.

    One of the things I returned to thinking about this past year is whether a successful political philosophy is grounded in moral theory. I think it is. Aristotle is an example of how intricately they are interwoven.

    Epicurus seems to shun the public life. What I find striking is the similarity between his moral philosophy and Aristotle’s. They arrive at similar conclusions from different premises. I wonder though whether Epicurus moral philosophy could be used as a grounding for politics.

    I suppose that is a good question to think about in 2008.

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