Saturday, November 10, 2007

Take the Books to Disney World: Fear and Trembling at Cocoa Beach

We are still on our way to Disney World. No one should panic.

Tonight we went to see the Delta IV Rocket launch from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. We stood on the edge of the ocean at Cocoa Beach to watch it go up. I took along Fear and Trembling by Soren Kierkegaard, and We the Living by Ayn Rand. I thought that Fear and Trembling would really appreciate the way the rocket was subverting the universal for the individual, and of course, the trembling beach beneath us. I knew that We the Living would deeply respect the simultaneous frailty and power of that rocket climbing into space, an expression of human achievement, and another mad swipe at the firmament.

(terrible video uploaded from mobile phone!)

Unfortunately I got excited watching the rocket, and forgot to take either book out of my bag so that they could experience the sublime rumbling, the flash of orange that lit up the ocean, and the cries of fellow rocket nerds: "Happy Birthday, NASA!"

There was a bit of grumbling and a "What's that, a piece of apple core?"

To make up to the books for my gross neglect of their entertainment, I took them instead to the world famous "Ron Jon Surf Shop." It was on our way back to the car, and I thought they might enjoy it?

Here are the books:

And again:

See how the blonde loves literature? We the Living is the short one. Fear and Trembling is taller.

About this surf shop experience, Kierkegaard had the following to say:

"It goes without saying that the tragic hero, like any other man who is not
bereft of speech, can say a few words in his culminating moment, perhaps a few
appropriate words, but the question is how appropriate is it for him to say
them. If the meaning of his life is in an external act, then he has nothing to
say, then everything he says is essentially chatter, by which he only diminishes
his impact, whereas the tragic conventions enjoin him to complete his task in
silence, whether it consists in action or suffering."

I chose that quote for him because I see that as an undergraduate I wrote the word, "HAH!" next to that paragraph in the margin. I must have been anticipating the culminating moment of this particular book, outside the Ron Jon Surf Shop, and Kierkegaard suffering in knightly silence.


  1. You were so mean to that blonde! Keep up the good work ;-)

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