Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Introducing Benjamin Bodhi Achilles Canter

Birth Announcement scribed by Andrew Canter
Photos by Samantha Squire-Howe of Twinkle Star Photography
Dear Family and Friends
Jane and I are excited to announce the arrival of Benjamin Bodhi Achilles Canter, born at 12:49pm on Tuesday, April 24, 2018.
Jane has built this lucky boy conscientiously and carefully, and brought him into the world via a perfect, peaceful, water birth at home.
She has, again, given me a son – and I will be forever grateful and appreciative.
Etymology of his name:
Benjamin was the youngest son of Jacob, and the progenitor of 12th tribe of Israel. The name translates as “Son of the my right hand”, “Son of the south” (an allusion to his birth in Cape Town) or “Son of my old age” (an allusion to… well you figure it out).
With this name, we link our son to nearly 6000 years of lineage to the heritage and cultural values of Judaism: Community, family, ethics, perseverance, debate, learning & education, and food.
Bodhi is a Sanskrit name translated as "enlightenment" or "awakening". It is synonymous with the state of nirvana -- being freed from hate, greed and ego. The historical Buddha achieved his enlightenment as he meditated under a bodhi tree (ficus religiosa). Compassion is foundational to happiness, and we hope the name Bodhi inspires our son to be compassionate: During the past 16 months Jane and I have found compassion – whether given to us, or given by us – to be a great source of coping and healing.
With this name, we connect our son to the quest for personal peace, enlightenment, wisdom, and teaching -- and we bequeath him much of eastern philosophy, great places to experience, as well as his own tree species.
Achilles was, of course, the great Greek warrior and hero of the Trojan War. Strong, able, righteous, and decisive: A leader, but hot-headed and possibly heedless of risk. Nearly invulnerable, Achilles’ (like all heroes) had a notable weakness -- his heel. Whatever authority our son achieves in life we hope he will be reminded that no one is beyond reproach or failure – and that knowledge of one’s own flaws is critical to sustained success and happiness.
With this name, we connect our son to the strength, competence, and leadership of a great warrior – and we bequeath him all of Greek history and philosophy, the precursor of western civilisation.
Taken together, the name has balance: The Tribe of Benjamin was warlike – ultimately unwisely fomenting a civil war (with the other Israelite tribes) that largely led to its own dissolution. Likewise, Achilles in his arrogance was killed by his own vulnerability. Bodhi is the antithesis of Achilles – but both attributes (ego and absence-of-ego) are necessary to function in the world.
There are times in life for decisive, righteous battle… and times for inner reflection and the release of worldly concerns: But much of life seems occupied by the balance of the wise use of authority, the consciousness of one’s own motives and flaws, and in the judging of which attributes to apply, in what measure, and in which circumstances.
In sum, we hope his name serves our son as a reminder to be conscious of the need for wise balance in all aspects of his life.

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