Monday, May 26, 2014
Word of the Week - 12
This morning I appeared to myself as a very old, at times nearly turgid river that passes through sights rarely seen, past bank-dwellers with snapping teeth and hides thick as textbooks. It is a somber business, life, confettied with tear-inducing laughter and cake-sweet moments of undiluted joy. We are meant to take it lightly and seriously not by turns as much as continuously, concurrently.
Gravitas, defined often as dignity, duty and seriousness, was considered perhaps the most foundational of the Roman virtues. For those of us who muddle, nearly blindfolded, through the 21st century, it speaks to living a purposeful life, showing dignity of character, possessing a deep-rooted seriousness. Gravitas, the grasp thereof, indicates that one knows the importance of the matter at hand.
In any given space and time, we are pinballed between the stupifyingly trivial and what is important, even weighty and grave. We are asked to abdicate witlessness and know the difference. The task has been set. To keep our hearts light while our minds grasp, and our demeanors reflect, the fact that we get it requires footwork the word fancy doesn't begin to describe.
This is not a goof, this span of years, not ours nor anyone's. Gravitas means not the absence of humor but the appropriate application of it.