Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Friday, May 14, 2004  

From the the Derb

We have nailed down the precise quote ("Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies") to Gore Vidal. It is, however, only one manifestation of a cast of mind that goes back at least as far as Rochefoucauld, who said: "There is in the misfortunes of our friends something not entirely unpleasing." Jonathan Swift drew this out into a longish poem.

William Blake, poet and artist, once consoled himself in his obscurity by saying that he hoped Fortune was busy with his friends before it would turn to him.

Although, I have often envied the success of others, because I had not achieved a similar result from my efforts, I have never begrudged any poet or artist for being excellent or superior to me. I welcomed it since seeing others do well encourages one into believing it is also possible for you to do the same or maybe even a mite better.

As a musician, I might be envious of another's skills and superiority, but that served more to inspire than scorn. I like to listen to music that I wish I could have written or play because it seems so much like me; so how could I sneer or dismiss it?

I often wrote poetry and music because it was hard to find others writing what I wished most to read or hear. I actively look for art I can love, that enriches me from my contemporaries. I like knowing good work is going on all around me. I find it reassuring that humanity keeps producing quality work and people.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 1:40 PM |