January 30th, 2004


userinfo senji
2004/01/30 17:59:00 - on Serenity
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change
the Courage to face the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.


Often known as 'the Serenity prayer', the words seem to vary by time and place, and this is just the form that stays in my mind. The sentiment remains the same though.

I've just been having a discussion with mickat24 about this, and she claims that I'm overanalysing it, but I'm not sure, so I'm posting about it....

The problem I have with it is that I think oft-times one shouldn't accept the things one cannot change, and that the journey of trying to change them may be more important than the destination of a better land. And, similarly, just because something is wrong, and we can fix it doesn't mean that we are the right people to fix it.

So, essentially I want something like:

God grant me the Serenity to accept the things that are for others to change
the Courage to face the call I have,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.

But that doesn't work as well...
Current Mood: [mood icon] thoughtful

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userinfo ceb
[userpic]
2004/01/30 09:58:49
s/cannot/should not/ and s/can/should/ ? Would that work?
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2004/01/30 10:08:38 - Re:
Hmm. It feels like it's offering less guidence like that.

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userinfo andrewwyld
[userpic]
2004/01/31 16:52:13
Does it matter if it scans?

Am I misreading that?

[lunges fot the bats]
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userinfo mickat24
[userpic]
2004/01/30 10:05:14
It sounds good to me. So it's not as lyrical, but it's much better thought out. :)
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userinfo meirion
[userpic]
2004/01/30 12:31:21
yes, i think that i definitely prefer your version, particularly given certain things that are wrong in my life at the moment. it may be true that i cannot change them, but that does not mean that i have to accept them, nor should it be my responsibility even to worry about some of them at all. and, true, i similarly need to learn that not everything i can fix is my problem, and i should not automatically assume responsibility.

i just wish that a certain person would forgive me my trespasses. it is a very bleak life unless/until she does, and i think `when hell freezes over' is a likely response to when it might happen :-(

-m-
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userinfo ex_lark_asc
2004/01/30 17:49:37
I'm reminded of rjk's pet quote about history being made by unreasonable people..
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userinfo ewx
[userpic]
2004/01/31 03:02:35 - Erm?

Possibly you're thinking of George Bernard Shaw:

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

I'm not sure I've particularly hawked that one around, though.


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userinfo ex_lark_asc
2004/01/31 05:16:03 - Re: Erm?
I think it was you I heard it from first.
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userinfo andrewwyld
[userpic]
2004/01/31 16:55:24
I was looking for that one the other day!

Of course, the problem is that unreasonable behaviour is not only to be recognized by its call to change.

Here, we need complex ethics.

I have found a moderately simple rule -- if I'm trying to change how people act for their own benefit, then this is a good thing -- but, of course, it presumes I know their benefit, etc.  Generally I just wander around trying to be nice to people on the basis that you can imagine what the world would be like if everyone did that.
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userinfo simont
[userpic]
2004/01/31 03:50:26 - Re:
Which in turn is reminding me of the comment in an Arthur C Clarke book: "Because politics is the art of the possible, it only appeals to second-rate minds, for the first-raters are only interested in the impossible..."

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userinfo chess
[userpic]
2004/01/31 06:27:59
I don't know. I like your version quite a lot. It seems to scan reasonably; maybe the first line is too long, visually.
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userinfo andrewwyld
[userpic]
2004/01/31 16:51:22
Petitionary prayer to an omniscient omnipotent benevolent being is a somewhat curious exercise anyway.  I have eventually concluded that it's for our benefit, to help us focus on important things.  So how about:

God,
I'm listening now.
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userinfo senji
[userpic]
2004/01/31 16:58:25 - Re:
Hmm...

Well, I'm greatly in favour of meditative prayer; as opposed to voiced prayer; but structured voiced prayer, in my mind, serves at least two purposes -- it helps us to put our thoughts into the kind of shape we want them in, and in the context of group prayer it helps to focus the group conciousness.
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userinfo andrewwyld
[userpic]
2004/01/31 17:13:08
Put that way, of course, I see your point.

Couldn't your medidation be on this precise subject?

Alternative wording:

... strength to try to change the things I should,
... patience to accept the things I shouldn't,
... wisdom to know the difference

?
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