Exploring slogan creation and north west-ish New Jersey (Saturday, August 22nd, 2020)

Might my slogan benefit from yet more clarity?

“the diary as a literary genre; self improvement focused introspection and constructive, humanistic extrospection for motifs”

For example, is a self-improvement focus not crucial to extrospection as much as introspection? Moreover, is self-improvement not constructive? One cannot quite improve that which is beyond one’s self without first possessing the idea of the improvement. If one wishes to push forward an ethical or political idea one must have an understanding of this idea before hand. So is it enough for me to say my focus is: “self-improvement focused intro and extrospection”–? Or must I add the word “humanistic” to emphasize that self-improvement inherently extends beyond the self to one’s outside world… as perceived and supposed?

What if for example I said “seeking virtue through intro and extrospection”–? Virtue, in my mind, though it’s as abstract as “self improvement” might, as a more traditionally philosophical word, maybe remind one of ethics. And yet, “self improvement” is more precise than virtue.

What is the definition of “self improvement” (though it should be self-evident?).

The Oxford English Dictionary says: “ Improvement of oneself, esp. of one’s knowledge, status, or character, by one’s own efforts.” Is there anything I really seek intellectually and spiritually more than the documentation of my “self improvement” … “esp. of [my] knowledge, status, or character by [my] own efforts”–?

Wikipedia (yes, forgive me…not always accurate but at least a measure of what those who care to speak on the topic have to say about it) says that “self improvement” is interchangeable with “Self help,” as does Vocabulary.com which is a dictionary site I like over all. The Wikipedia article cites Emerson, from his essay “Compensation.”

So I’m opening up my Emerson. How classy he is by prefacing his essays with a short poem. I believe I just might do that myself…for my big essays… but to the essay “Compensation”

This reference strikes me on several counts. First of all, to find myself in the realm which Emerson contemplated is quite the self-validation for me as I consider the man brilliant. But also, I had already begun my study of his diaries, intrigued by. Dr. Phillip Lopate’s passionate suggestion to consider them. So it’s as if a sort of clue that I ought to indeed sink my teeth into Emerson with even more confidence now. Additionally, the very way Emerson frames the beginning of “Compensation” resonates with precisely one of the insecurities I have on the topic. Discussing a sermon he attended he cited the preacher who said “that the wicked are successful; that the good are miserable” and Emerson asks:

“What did the preacher mean by saying that the good are miserable in the present life? Was it that houses and lands, offices, wine, horses, dress, luxury, are had by unprincipled men, whilst the saints are poor and despised; and that a compensation is to be made to these last hereafter, by giving them the like gratifications another day?”

(See Emerson: Essays and Lectures – the Library of America publication, pages 285 and 286).

I wanted to find the quote cited in the Wikipedia article in my own book for confirmation and context.

“The good are befriended even by weakness and defect. As no man had ever a point of pride that was not injurious to him, so no man had ever a defect that was not somewhere made useful to him…Every man in his lifetime needs to thank his faults. As no man thoroughly understands a truth until he has contended against it, so no man has a thorough acquaintance with the hinderances or talents f men, until he has suffered from the one, and seen the triumph of the other over his own want of the same. Has he a defect of temper that unfits him to live in society? Thereby he is driven to entertain himself alone, and acquire habits of self-help; and thus, like the wounded oyster, he mends his shell with pearl.”

“Our strength grows out of our weakness…”  (Ibid., pages 297 and 298)

(Ibid., Pages 297 and 298)

Fair points here are raised. That which can add to the evidence of a thought or practice of benefit to a person has to necessarily have come from the self improvement of another… it strips the purity of theory and provides the empirical to correspond, strengthen or weaken.

“…Self improvement focused introspection & extrospection as motif”

So I’ve made this change but I dislike the tagline font. This being very embedded into the WordPress 2020 theme I may have to learn CSS to adjust it to the font I like.

Aligned with my desire to learn CSS I might as well just learn Web Design in general as to advance and develop my level of customization capacity and really give this blog my all…

Went exploring.

It’s been just over a year since we moved here to Basking Ridge but due to Covid and social distancing our exploration of this area which is so new to us was put on hold. Not that it had to be. But our to-do lists can keep us from putting tasks that are not necessity on hold. Plus, often enough Ashley and I had different days off making any serious joyriding together something we didn’t have time for.

Took Route 78 West to 206 North exploring the area between Chester and Lake Hopatcong. We thought the mix of lake and mountains might make for stunning scenery. Would this be an area we could see our selves living in as we save up for a house? Or will we end up staying in the Basking Ridge/Bernards area?

Before we took off we had lunch from Dean’s Food Market… eggless egg salad I had…crushed tofu, turmeric, vegan “mayonnaise”—it did manage to succeed at replicating both the egg salad appearance, flavor, and texture. I’d have it again or make it in the near future.

It was once we reached Chester that the mountains reemerge. (Bridgewater, Bernards/Basking Ridge/Warren/Martinsville/Bedminster, are all pleasantly mountainous. But North West of this area—roughly Branchburg—there’s more field and “country” feel.) Chester is a worthwhile day trip in my opinion.

A nice little downtown with restaurants and ice cream and little artisan stores—reminds me of Bordentown slightly, or Freehold, Or Cranbury.

Also in Chester, parks and farms. A real lively farmer’s market for example with Chubb Park just across the street. The farmer’s market, from outside seemed really quite happening. Quite a crowd. Had a range from produce to ice cream. Too bad no vegan ice cream. Chester, from an initial and admittedly superficial glance strikes me as middle to upper-middle class. Why do I say that though? Higher end stores…I forget off the top of my head but I remember Ashley and I taking note of it.  North West of Chester is Mount Olive. I don’t think Mount Olive is anything special. Some typical middle class houses, and a few mini mansions in forested mountain roads, but Bridgewater has that too, and with mountain views that are much more stunning, in my opinion. Mount Olive does boast a miniature golf course that to me looked inviting. Next town to the North West is Roxbury. Boring, nothing really, shrubby and forresty, not much sense of economy. Contrast to Chester with higher end shopping centers and Mount Olive with middle and slightly lower middle class seeming shopping centers but less shopping along our sampling of the municipality. Next: Mount Arlington. “Towny,” Ashley says. There’s a train station but otherwise, nothing that struck me to note. Lake Hopatcong very disappointing. Could not find a place to “chill” by the lake. Many of the houses looked disheveled, strips of wood unfurling, faded paint, sense of culture-wide neglect of the area. Mind you, I’m making a very superficial, first impression judgement. (Strange this, sizing up a town when you drive through/by. For all you know, you merely drove through its worst roads and missed its best, heart of the town. Still, one gets certain impressions. These impressions also…they are based on things we see, driving by, often so fast we can’t even get a legitimate look. Key, nonetheless, is to note that it’s merely an impression and what detail gave one that impression?)

Even supposing we might explore the Lake Hopatcong area…

…a thunderstorm came and there didn’t seem to be anywhere decent for pulling over to try and find something to do there.

It was funny because on our drive home just as we crossed the borderline between Mount Olive and Chester so to we crossed between heavy rainfall and sun… “darkness and light.”

What’s that line from Bob Dylan’s “Isis”–?

“I came to a high place of darkness and light.

The dividing line ran through the center of town.”

I asked Ashley if the striking contrast might be a sign from God. This amused her. Who knows?

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