Patterns of light, both bright and fearful chase each other madly ’round and ’round, mad peals of laughter shrieking through the cool night air. Ghostly figures of unheralded regrets vie for position closer to the oddly shaped harpsichord in the foyer, while the thief of lost hope and his cohorts silently steal away. As the outer walls grow nearer, madness fades, and the silent myrmidons forge ahead, further into the day, further from the night’s insanity, until reality assumes a more familiar form and face, and faded regrets hold no more power over the hearts of the unmindful……
As is often obvious, reality can be pretty fluid in my world. I don’t insist that it stay in familiar patterns just to make me more comfortable; that never works in any case. Also, I find that reality becomes more palatable, more amenable the less one tries to have any influence over it; it seems to resent, and resist, any such foolery, and has been known to revolt altogether when attempts are made to make it conform to any preconceived notions. And to be honest, I don’t blame it at all….. let’s see what’s in the hopper for us today, shall we?…..
“Some people write to please, to soothe, to console. Others to provoke, to challenge, to exasperate and infuriate. I’ve always found the second approach the more pleasing.” — Edward Abbey (Me too! Obviously….)
Errors, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls must dive below.
– John Dryden (1631-1700)
– All for Love, Prologue
When I first thought about what to call the results of this process that I put myself through to create the email Pearls, and now the blog posts, I had a hard time finding an appropriately accurate yet whimsically irreverent name. Letting my subconscious mind loose on the problem finally produced the title I have kept now for over 12 years, to wit: Pearls of Virtual Wisdom, considered as a subset of the ongoing experience of Exploring Consensual Reality in which I engage. Now I can see where the inspiration for that had at least part of its roots; it is entirely possible I must have come across this sometime in my wanderings through the Unending Forest of Books. No matter, really, I just got a charge out of finding it again, as it’s one of those wonderful little nuggets of truth that make such an addictive snack for the ever-voracious mind I call home. Short, sweet, and deep as the deep blue sea…
Since I’m in the mood for whimsy, here is some, attached to a nugget of truth…..
“A person is not given integrity. It results from the relentless pursuit of honesty at all times.” — Anonymous, aka Unknown
Anonymous was a Greek philosopher extraordinaire, often confused with Aristotle, who lived during the same period of history. This was written, according to the crumbling document upon which it was transcribed, in the year 89 B.C., Thursday about supper time, in the early spring… or so it says. Honest…. that’s what it says. What do you mean? Why would I make it up?….. Trust me…..
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. (Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.) — William of Occam, Occam’s Razor
Just in case you ever wondered where it came from…… okay, end of this segment of silliness in the guise of wit. Back to the serious stuff….
“Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that for which he has no grounds for professing to believe.” — Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)
I wish fundamentalists and proselytizing sects could, or would, understand this point, and not take it so damn personally when their faith based platforms are not accorded privileged status in someone else’s world view. I mean, it’s not as if hordes of agnostics are going door to door, trying to destroy anyone’s faith, or convert anyone to their own beliefs. Nor are they taking out ads espousing agnosticism, or actively recruiting anyone to join them in their interpretation of reality.
But for some reason (not unknown, merely not pertinent here), they cannot do that; it is beyond their capability to entertain two separate concepts at the same time, without making a judgment on both; yer either fer us, or yer agin us….. there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground between their reality and that of anyone else. I’ll confess, I’ve never been able to understand, or get on board with, this particular brand of denial. I’ve found that reality is much more predictable and pleasant when taken as is, and not as we would like it to be. Fewer headaches, and no ulcers, ever…..
Good-nature and good sense are usually companions.
I like that. It makes perfect sense, on the planet I inhabit. (Sorry, couldn’t resist…) If one takes a moment to think about what makes this statement true, and how it applies to reality, one comes to the illuminating notion that “balance is everything”. Knowing where one’s center is, and allowing that knowledge to direct one’s responses to the unpredictable nature of reality, is a valuable tool, one that is essential to a healthy approach to life.
By healthy, I mean it is a natural and sustainable condition, which fosters a continuous state of growth in one’s strength, integrity, and compassion, improves the chances of survival, and teaches eloquently the importance of choice, of not letting fate have everything its own way. In other words, our world is what we make of it, and that kind of freedom allows good sense and good nature to co-exist in harmony, makes food taste better, can sometimes get you free tickets to Disneyland, and is guaranteed to turn you into a chick magnet…. well, maybe not the last two…… Sure would be cool, though, huh?…..
If thou are rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee.
– Shakespeare (1564-1616) — Measure for Measure, Act III
As I’ve said before, Shakespeare isn’t one of my favorites; though I acknowledge without shame that he was a sheer genius at what he did. As such, he occasionally comes up with something that meets all my standards, and compels me to include it in a post. This is one of those that jumps out and administers a ringing blow to the side of one’s head, as reality is wont to do. It’s a simple concept, but one not designed to create any feelings of empathy for the trials of the rich, or sympathy for the suffering of the poor; it merely reminds us of how our own mortality makes all our stature and posturing irrelevant.
I’m reminded of an aphorism related by Alan Watts in one of his books, which says: “If you wish to have a lifetime of trouble, fill your house with treasure.” Young as I was when I first read it, the clarity and truth in the saying was obvious, and it has stayed with me through all my life, allowing me to enrich my life with love, compassion, and good memories, rather than gold, silver, or precious gems….
God’s Problem Now:
His wife’s graveside service was just barely finished, when there was a massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance. The little old man looked at the pastor and calmly said, “Well, she’s there.”
Priceless….. any man who has been married for more than say, 10 years or so, can relate perfectly, on at least one level…..as can many wives married the same amount of time….. at least, the ones with a sense of humor can; humor is a characteristic of wives that is not consistently present; a significant number of them end up without one, or lose it in the hustle and bustle of modern existence. According to a friend, and fellow WordPress blogger, Linda Vernon, those women all tend to work at Pottery Barn.
That might be true, I don’t do either gardening (completely black thumb), or knick-knacks, so I can’t hold an opinion about that; I do know that I can always spot the ones who didn’t get one, or have lost the one they were issued, by the unique expression they wear in public, sort of a demonic, red-eyed, clenched jaw sort of look. Dead giveaway, if you know what to look for…. and trust me, 23 years of marriage to a woman with a powerful personality left me with a very keen eye for the signs of developing trouble in the female face.
And they all share that face; I’ve seen it elsewhere as well, on the faces of other women in a relationship. It’s hard when people lose their sense of humor; they tend to lose connection with the positives, and concentrate on the negatives that are part and parcel of any human interaction, ultimately driving away the very person they formerly wanted to stay…..
So much for that….took a lot of effort today, but, hey, I had nothing else to do this morning. Funny, I’m in a semi-fugue state, mere millimeters from complete unconsciousness, yet the visual world is bright and clear in my eyes, the refrigerator noise is as loud as ever, and the chair hurts my butt as usual. Odd feeling, to be sure….. I’ll go feel my way into the day now….. y’all take care out there….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.