Sunday morning: I’m still in Winnipeg, going today to the Chancellor’s Tea at the University of Manitoba as part of the Homecoming celebration - celebrating the 65th anniversary of my first degree, a double honours B.A. in English and French B.A. The following year I got my M.A. in English, majoring in 20th century poetry; thesis on W.H. Auden, with a minor in Old English and Old Norse. Seventeen days after I graduated I married. Twenty years later my husband died. There’s the first half of my life in microcosm. I’ve done a lot since then.
Yesterday I went to the new Museum of Human Rights. My friend said it should be called the Museum of Human Wrongs, with its painstaking records of inhumanity, intolerance and cruelty, They are very moving and powerfully presented in a beautiful building.
Last night I went to the first performance in the new series of Virtuosi performances: Peter Vinograde, pianist, playing Bach, Beethoven Rachmaninoff and Albéniz. Wow.
I have often said that we take in more information and imbibe more “peak experiences “ (Maslow’s phrase) in a day or a week than people used to do in a month - or a year - in the past. I know I always seem to have a lot to assimilate. Sometimes i feel like an amoeba just wrapping myself around stuff, hoping to digest it or make it a part of me. (Actually, I have no idea what an amoeba feels like.)
This plethora of pleasure, this surfeit of satiation, this overload of consumption is dangerous for several reasons. One is that you get inured to it, two is that you get so accustomed to it that you don’t appreciate it. Three is that you expect it, and constantly demand it. You see mothers giving “treats” to their children. I have observed that a treat is no longer a treat, it’s a given, not even a given, a routine requirement.
And there’s more to come.