by JL Wall

First, if you’re so inclined, go read Sharon’s post about losing a friend. The contrast with the type of grief she discussed and I followed up on is notable, but that aside, it’s a beautiful tribute to friendship and life.

I’ve realized that in the process of writing my post on grief, spectacle, and approximations thereof, I forgot to make the point that the difference between a sense of grief and grief outright — that the former isn’t actually grief — is of tremendous importance in considering the phenomenon.

The problem with an elective approximation of grief, whether or not it’s consciously known as such, is that it calls the shade (if you will) of the thing by the same name of the experience fully incarnate. It promotes a declaration that the two are, for all practical purposes, equivalent, even if it doesn’t quite fully obliterate the distinctions between the two even in the minds of the participants.

This isn’t quite the same as what happens in James Poulos’ critique of “sense-of” speak, but it’s related enough (at least I hope so; I’ve written two posts now with that in mind) in where it leads, or, perhaps, in the phenomenon of which it is symptomatic: “a default, if not constant, state of undue distance from the incarnate reality of things — including ourselves.”

There is something to be said that a would-be Classicist spending his summer doing work on an obscure, fragmentary poet should think he can accuse others of over-intellectualizing and abstracting themselves, but what have you.