Serendipity is perhaps my favorite word in English, as it is only applicable when something good happens. If one stops to consider, it is exactly the opposite concept of Murphy’s Law, and balances the work done by that most unwelcome of visitors, showing us the nuggets of gold hidden in the pile of crap that Murphy often leaves us with. As a bonus, the appearance of Serendipity always comes as a surprise, by definition….
So, you may ask, what prompted that? A moment of fright, as it turns out…. When I sat down to begin this morning, the following is the first thing that showed up in my quote database….
“Hi there! This is just a note from me, to you, to tell you, the person reading this note, that I can’t think up any more famous quotes, jokes, nor bizarre stories, so you may as well go home.” — Smart Bee
Well! A bit scary, for me, since quotes, jokes, and bizarre stories are the meat and bones of this blog, and not having any more would put a serious curse on my ability to write. It only took me a moment to realize that Smart Bee was kidding, but it was a moment spent in panic, for sure…. I’m convinced that Murphy is the one who placed it there for me to find right away, but Serendipity saved my ass again, by popping up into my awareness just when I was starting to pull out what’s left of my hair….
So, armed with the love of Serendipity, we will now Pearl….. Secure your masks and breathing apparatus, and let’s dive in…..
In lazy apathy let stoics boast
Their virtue fix’d: ‘t is fix’d as in a frost;
Contracted all, retiring to the breast;
But strength of mind is exercise, not rest.
– Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Essay on Man, Epistle ii, Line 101
Once again, a poem makes a point that, if written in prose, would tend to put the reader to sleep. In modern society, strength of mind is a virtue that has fallen out of favor. Moreover, it is so out of favor that it isn’t even missed; the general population has no idea what true virtue consists of anymore, for the most part. In fact, the major forms of entertainment…. TV, movies, music, sports, religions… all are designed to keep people from using their minds, encouraging sloth, and never, ever challenging the citizen to think beyond how to obtain the next beer….
This tendency is not merely encouraged by the beloved ruling class, it is one of their primary functions to keep the citizenry from ever becoming educated enough to see what they are up to. Cuts to education are a part of every politician’s budget proposals, from both ends of the political scale…. Democrats, Republicans, they all know that an educated populace is much harder to manipulate, and much harder to fool, so they are constantly limiting the ability of the education process to function at a level that would make any difference. The worst nightmare of a man like Mitt Romney is a voter with the facts….
I’m going to limit this rant somewhat today…. This is a subject on which I can spew for a long time, without really trying very hard, but I’m having a lot of pain this morning, so sitting is hard. But, the point is made, I think…. Use your heads, for goodness sake…. don’t let the powers that be have it ALL their way.
Get the facts, and throw them up in their faces… if they are going to manipulate us, at least make them work for it…. Besides, exercising your mind may have other effects you were not aware of, effects that can have a profound influence on your life…. Like being able to make an informed choice, instead of settling for the apparent lesser of two evils…. which, if you will remember, still leaves you with an evil choice, lesser thought it may be…..
“Things true and evident must of necessity be recognized by those who would contradict them.” — Epictetus (c. 60 AD) — Concerning the Epicureans, — Discourses, Book ii, Chap. xx
BIBLE: A bible is a book which one or more religions consider to be holy, and to be something that they should follow. It is, of course, generally rather impractical to follow books, not just because they don’t often go anywhere, but also because they are not very good at public speaking, decision making, problem solving, or any of the other qualities recognized as being an advantage for leadership. A religion based around the teachings of any compilation of Toxic Custard would be very strange indeed. To subscribe to this new cult following, send $15 now. — Daniel Bowen’s TOXIC CUSTARPEDIA
“Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on “I am not too sure.” — H.L. Mencken
“So as this only point among the rest remaineth sure and certain, namely, that nothing is certain. . .” — Pliny The Elder
Philosophy, means, first, doubt; and afterwards the consciousness of what knowledge means, the consciousness of uncertainty and of ignorance, the consciousness of limit, shade, degree, possibility. The ordinary man doubts nothing and suspects nothing.” — Henri Frederick Amiel
This is an old school pearl…. or group of pearls, I should say….. Taken alone, each of them states a good point of information, or view of reality, or way of looking at life. Taken together, they make a statement that teaches a lesson…. and in the old school style, the lesson is left as an exercise for the Gentle Reader to find…. It’s not hidden very deep, and shouldn’t afford too difficult a task to uncover…. and it is well worth considering….. Just in case it is too obscure, I give you the following, to drive you right up to the take out window, where you can pick up your pearl….
“Creation science” has not entered the curriculum for a reason so simple and so basic that we often forget to mention it: because it is false, and because good teachers understand exactly why it is false. What could be more destructive of that most fragile yet most precious commodity in our entire intellectually heritage — good teaching — than a bill forcing honorable teachers to sully their sacred trust by granting equal treatment to a doctrine not only known to be false, but calculated to undermine any general understanding of science as an enterprise?” — Stephen Jay Gould
TO A CHILD DANCING IN THE WIND
by: W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)
Dance there upon the shore;
What need have you to care
For wind or water’s roar?
And tumble out your hair
That the salt drops have wet;
Being young you have not known
The fool’s triumph, nor yet
Love lost as soon as won,
Nor the best labourer dead
And all the sheaves to bind.
What need have you to dread
The monstrous crying of wind?
A bit of classic to finish the morning with…. I don’t know about you, but it sure makes my day go better if I read something like this before going out to deal with reality…. It probably works to keep the blues away the same way garlic works on vampires….
I feel like I just went through the motions this morning; it all went too smoothly to have been real. It’s been such a struggle lately that if it doesn’t fight back, I start to think something is wrong…. ah well, the hell with it. It’s going out the way it is…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.