…the Remaining Engagement with φιλια (cont.)

Chapter II. ευδαιμονια

And I speak of this φιλια, that is my sacrament. What I hope to become, to engage, to embrace; inextricably We. Not only regard, but hold out my hands aware with faithfulness, empathy. Keeper of virtue so that between You and I comes We. That I would speak, write letters out of my head, call out of my shell, and make my bed there under the sky. Doors wide, arms unfolded, ears open. So we shall sit in hours of bright, in hours of dark; in watery eyes, in full, in empty. Carrying our bones. Together, in stasis, in motion; to Pass That, whatever it is. To reject Reciprocity, aim for such καλοσ. This is true Justice, my δικη. And so maybe I can speak of this φιλια, my sacrament. And perhaps I can speak of this φιλια, my ευδαιμονια.


ευδαιμονιαThe flourishing life
καλοσ–Pleasing beauty

Photography: In the mountains, there you feel free

“In the mountains, there you feel free. I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.” –T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland

Last fall/winter semester, I went on some awesome backpacking and hiking adventures in Yosemite and the Ansel Adams Wilderness. I took a lot of pictures of trees and big rocks and stuff…but seriously, it’s so amazing that trees and big rocks and stuff can be so magical and full of life. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures I edited up–you can click on them for bigger sizes. :)

Featured Artist: Ólafur Arnalds

Okay, I’m gonna come clean–I don’t like classical music that much. I know, I know, I should because I’ve played the violin since forever, but honestly…I have a hard time connecting emotionally a majority of classical music. Maybe it’s the harpsichord that bugs the heck out of me, or maybe it’s the piano accompaniments that really only serve to fill sonic space, or maybe I just haven’t worked hard enough to find out which classical artists I would like. 

I mean, I sure wasn’t looking for Ólafur Arnalds. And I love him. So maybe I just haven’t been looking hard enough. That’d be fair.

I happened upon Ólafur Arnalds in philosophy class last semester.  Our professor had made split us into groups to choose something to define “Beauty,” and one group played his piece “3055” as their example.

Whether or not Ólafur Arnalds could possibly be the answer to Plato’s question of What is Beauty, I fell in love immediately with his music.

Think classical music with a contemporary twist–Arnalds brings in drums, nature sounds like wind and creaking wood, and the most delicate piano arrangements you may have ever heard. This is music to play while studying, sleeping, or showering at night, when you’re feeling sad, lonely, or peaceful, when its rainy outside or right after the sun comes out of the clouds on a spring day.

And the guy used to be in a metal band.
Recently, he scored the soundtrack for Another Happy Day. I haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t know if I will, but the soundtrack is, in one superficial word, fabulous. In more words, I’d say that the simplistic yet elegant arrangements featuring piano and strings are sweet, somber, haunting, can-I-touch-the-depths-of-your-soul flat-out beautiful. In different words, I’d say it’s one of the prettiest film scores I’ve heard lately, and I believe it’s too amazing for you to pass up.


I always used to imagine how horrifying it would be to have my teeth broken out or my head shaved or become blind or deaf. Just recently, though, I realized how insignificant all of those issues would be compared to having my hands cut off.

In a practical sense, I could no longer do many of the activities I enjoy or are necessary in one’s normal daily life. I would be unable to write, draw, paint, hit a volleyball, catch a football, eat with utensils, pick up objects, wash my hair, put on makeup, bench-press, push, pull, point, wash dishes, vacuum, bake cookies, dig, climb trees, wear rings, play violin, turn the pages of a book, etc., etc.

In a relational sense, the concept becomes even more frightening. I could no longer hug the same way, hold someone’s hand, give a handshake, tap someone’s shoulder, give a reassuring pat on the back, catch someone in a fall, push a kid on a swing, braid hair, massage sore shoulders, clap for another, poke annoyingly,tend a wound, help someone up, give a high-five, wave goodbye…


Isn’t it a wonder that so much of our livelihood is dependent on two small pieces of flesh and ten fingers? Not just in what we do, but in how we relate with each other? Maybe that’s why babies freak out when they finally recognize the existence of their hands…

So go ahead and cut off my nose or punch out my eye, but please…please let me keep my hands.