Twisting and turning, Reality struggles to evade my grasp, changing shape before my eyes. The effort to hold on brings sweat to my brow, running into my eyes and stinging. With a mighty shove at my chest, Reality surges out of my arms, and breaks for the door outside, laughing over his shoulder, taunting me.
As I race toward the door, I see him fly through it, without bothering to open it, cheating again by using magic. I stop then, sure that if I open the door to follow, I’ll spend the entire day searching without ever finding him. Once again, I will have to just start the day without the benefit of Reality….
Nothing new there, of course. I lose track of it all the time, and to be honest, I’m getting rather used to it. It is difficult sometimes, when knowing the state of things might be helpful, but I find I can usually fake it without causing too much damage or chaos. Most folks don’t pay close attention to it anyway, so that part is easy.
It’s just that it makes it harder to see Murphy, should he decide to grace me with his benevolent attention; hell, he’s been known to bribe Reality to shift directions on me in mid-stride. But, all in all, I find that not being in touch with Reality can be quite advantageous, especially when denial is called for…
In our society, denial is a valuable ally. If I were to pay attention to ALL of the evidence available, I probably would be so frightened and angry, I’d never get anything done but for ranting. There is just too much of it to make denial practical on a constant basis, so I use it when I can, just to be able to get anything done.
Being able to “tune out” of Reality is, in fact, a skill that all humans use, mostly unconsciously, and it has been both a blessing and a curse for all of our history. While it is valuable to be able to distract ourselves from the negativity so ubiquitous in Reality, it is also dangerous, for the negatives are those things we need most to look at, and to change. It’s a conundrum we’ve never solved satisfactorily, and the opportunity to do so may not last much longer….
Softly sweet, in Lydian measures,
Soon he sooth’d his soul to pleasures.
War, he sung, is toil and trouble;
Honour but an empty bubble;
Never ending, still beginning,
Fighting still, and still destroying.
If all the world be worth the winning,
Think, oh think it worth enjoying:
Lovely Thais sits beside thee,
Take the good the gods provide thee.
— John Dryden (1631-1700) — Alexander’s Feast, Line 97
Well, I could most likely meander around this issue for a while longer, but this isn’t getting any pearls on the page; Reality is a big subject, with a lot of different viewpoints to discuss. We will therefore leave Reality wherever he got off to, and proceed with our normal, or at least regularly scheduled, activities for the morning…. Shall we Pearl?…..
Here are two links, that comprise together the first pearl for today. As mentioned above, the time we have, as humans, to save our pathetic asses from extinction by our own hand, continues to grow shorter, even as I type, and as you read. The article relates news about the latest report by a panel of climate scientists who have studied the available evidence, and have concluded that the planet’s ecological equilibrium is nearing a “tipping point”, a point of no return, as it were, for the process of environmental destruction.
April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory out of desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in a forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
— T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land
Of course, as a well-balanced article, the author includes a reaction from a scientist who is prominent for his criticism of such theories, having decided on his own that the evidence is either misinterpreted, or falsely erroneous (or, erroneously false, your pick…). He labels their warnings as “extremely unlikely” and “highly implausible”. Of course, I don’t think he has actually read the article, but hey, he’s entitled to his opinion, isn’t he?…. Right….
Regardless of how much denial is thrown at studies such as this one, their veracity is not affected. It’s all true. The scientists don’t try to predict exactly how long it will take, only that the evidence shows that it will happen sooner than we would like to think.
It’s kind of like Creationism vs. Evolution, in that disproving one does not prove the other; nonetheless, one remains true, and it isn’t the one based on imaginary events for which there is no clear evidence. Sorry, but even one such as myself, whose grasp of Reality is tenuous at best, cannot deny such evidence; it isn’t going to go away just because I don’t believe it….
I’m not going to rant forever this morning on this point. The second link above is to a World Clock at poodwaddle.com. This clock shows a number of different areas that are affecting the environment of the planet, showing the rates at which various processes, such as population growth, and pollution being pumped into the atmosphere, are taking place in real time. The figures being presented are clearly supportive of the ideas expressed by the group of scientists in their report, and if you can comprehend the figures, as I do, then you will see just how scary the situation has become…..
So, don’t take my word for it. Go check out the article, and the Clock. And if you don’t get a bit frightened, well, then you’re not really paying attention…. Stay alert, my friends, and keep your eyes and ears open…. The value of Denial is coming to an end….
Written on a Summer Evening
The church bells toll a melancholy round,
Calling the people to some other prayers,
Some other gloominess, more dreadful cares,
More harkening to the sermon’s horrid sound.
Surely the mind of man is closely bound
In some blind spell: seeing that each one tears
Himself from fireside joys and Lydian airs,
And converse high of those with glory crowned.
Still, still they toll, and I should feel a damp,
A chill as from a tomb, did I not know
That they are dying like an outburnt lamp, –
That ’tis their sighing, wailing, ere they go
Into oblivion -that fresh flowers will grow,
And many glories of immortal stamp.
I needed a beauty break, after such dark beginnings. This poem, while a bit dark itself, still brings me a sense of peace, if only from the beauty of the words themselves…. and the ending gives hope, so….
Some professors asked a monk to lecture to them on spiritual matters. The monk ascended a podium, struck it once with his stick, and descended. The academics were dumb- founded. The monk asked them, “Do you understand what I have told you?” One professor said, “I do not understand.” The monk said, “I have concluded my lecture.” — Smart Bee
This sounds like any number of Zen koans I’ve heard or read over the years. It is appropriately obscure, yet so simple it gives its own answer within its boundaries. Now, to a mind trained in Western modes of thought, the point of the monk’s lecture will be as densely concealed as London in one of its famous fogs. To anyone who has made a study of Buddhism, or Zen, or even Taoism, the monk answered the question himself, quite clearly…..
The monk could have made his point, even to the academicians, with a few more words, giving them a direction in which to point their reasoning powers. But, keeping to the character of the lesson, he used the fewest words he could to drive the lesson home.
Since one of my purposes in this blog is to try to show where the two modes of thought may mingle and blend, I will not leave the answer as an exercise for the Gentle Reader. Most simply put, the monk told the professors that spiritual matters are not understood; they are merely real, like the podium, and no matter how hard you strike it, it remains unchanged.
The lesson is deeper than it appears to be, as with most lessons of this nature. It implies a lot about self, and reality, and how our viewpoint of each can determine the direction and tenor of our spiritual experiences. It implies the most important piece of understanding, which says that it is not necessary to understand everything in order to have an appreciation of it, or to be able to deal with it successfully.
It is only necessary to be those things a human can be…. honest, clear-thinking, clever, compassionate, kind…. and Life will proceed as well as can be expected. It actually makes life much more pleasant when one is able to stop fighting against reality, and learn to “go with the flow”…. It’s much easier than trying to change everything to suit our own preferences, a habit doomed to failure, for sure and for certain…
SIGH…. By now, one would think I’d be accustomed to the effort it takes some days to get this done. It all started out well, then took a deep dip into molasses, which, as we all know, is slow…. It doesn’t taste very good either, by itself; it’s okay as an ingredient in other items, like cookies, but, by itself, is pretty disgusting. Hard to clean up, too…. Such is life here in gigoid land, and there isn’t anything I can do about it at this late stage, so it will have to fly as it is…. again. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.gigoid