Soft sounds of night whispered of fevered dreams and fear. Nothing stirred over the pale, moonlit landscape, save the lone figure of a man, walking purposefully across the sand, by the silent, dark water of the lake. Bearing down upon the building on the corner, he paused at the curb, to look up the facade, seeking one particular window.
High up, near the top, a single square was awash with light; upon spying the lit window, the man smiled, a small, satisfied, evil smile…. Without a word, he passed through the revolving door, into the building, now moving rapidly toward the bank of elevators along the back wall. He punched for the floor he wanted, then, as the doors slid closed, pulled a long, vicious looking knife from inside his coat…..
Okay, then, we’ll just leave that would-be assassin there in the elevator, and assume he either got the job done, or the woman he was sent to kill overcame his training, and turned him to her own side…. or, perhaps, blew him away with her .357 as he entered the room. Either way, you can write the rest of it yourself, so there’s no point in my doing it, is there? Nope….. Of course, that leaves me stranded again, barely into the third paragraph of the intro, with nothing more to say in my head. This is getting to be not only inconvenient, but frustrating for me….. I’m almost tempted to break out a Poohism, just to go with the flow…. in fact, I will…. Here…..
– Bother! said Pooh, nailing Eeyore’s tail onto Owl’s feathered fanny.
Well, that’s an interesting little aphorism, isn’t it? Kind of shows Pooh’s true colors, though, which may disappoint some of you…. You may as well get over it though, because we do a lot of that sort of balloon puncturing around here, whenever we can, especially regarding the Bear of No Brain, who has a very dark side, and occasionally needs to have people reminded of that side of him. Otherwise, people tend to start looking at Pooh as a harmless child’s toy, rather than the slick, sometimes evil, street smart, little bear that he is…. Here’s another example of just how bad he can be….
– Bother! said Pooh, as he sold crack in the school yard.
See? Now, is that the kind of bear you want your kids playing with? I didn’t think so…. His companions from the Hundred Acre Wood aren’t all that innocent, either…. for example:
– Bother! said Pooh, as Piglet covered his naked body in whipped cream.
I guess the two of them must have had fun with all that cream, because this one was next in line…..
– Bother! said Pooh, as he lay back and lit Piglet’s cigarette.
As you can see, the Little Bear isn’t such an Uncarved Block, is he? Ah well, now that we’ve ruined a reputation or two, I think I can call time on this intro, and get on with today’s dive…. It is most likely a good idea, as I’ve already lost control of this somehow; heading off to dive can only save what’s left of our dignity…. Shall we Pearl?…..
“Custom does often reason overrule and only serves for reason to the fool.” — John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester
This aphorism is one that I think most people would accept as true, at least part of the time. It also points up what I see as a basic flaw in human nature, a characteristic that everyone possesses, and few overmaster. It has to do with our core beliefs, and the attitude we assume as our method of perception, the orientation of our world-view, as it were. We all perceive what is out there in the universe, but we are not capable, at this time, of understanding, or even noting, all that is there to be perceived, as we are limited to what we can see, hear, feel, touch, taste, or deduce, in our immediate vicinity…. We don’t yet know how to include the input of anything not in our physical presence, other than vicariously (via TV, radio, books, etc…..).
We do, however perceive what we are near, and what we do with those perceptions is what determines how the events of our lives will proceed. What is more, each one of us perceives all of this IN A DIFFERENT WAY….. Two people can look at the same article, or event, and see two entirely different things; just ask them….. We use the same senses, the same KIND of brains to process the data, at the same time to observe the same event, yet the interpretation of those events will vary, by as many degrees as there are people perceiving them. This unique ability, to process data in a completely new and different way from anyone else’s method, is, as might be guessed, both a blessing, and a curse….. It is the latter that concerns me today…..
In order to coexist in the same place and time, people have learned to accept certain perceptions as being identical, for the purposes of communication, e.g., everyone knows what “fire” is, and knows not to touch it barehanded…. (Note: in a way, this blog is all about the process of such communications…. we explore the reality that is consensual, that we all agree to deal with as being the same for all of us…..) This is the blessing it gives, the opportunity to increase understanding, to allow people to work in tandem, making both much more capable, making two more than just one plus one….. This is a very useful tool in the real world, and has helped our species achieve the degree of civilization we now enjoy….
But, the other side of this characteristic has an equal part in our destiny, and may in fact be the more important of the two, in the ultimate sense….. You see, we are all herd animals, and desire the approval and company of our peers; without it, we suffer, much more than we even know. It is not “human” to remain alone too long…. Oh, there is nothing wrong with solitude, and much great thought is achieved when one is not distracted by others…..
On the other hand, a human who is alone for too long becomes a pale imitation of his/her true self, without the presence of other minds to test his/her theories, to discuss and share their feelings and accomplishments, to vent their frustrations, to experience love….. Without these things, our spirits become small, and lose their moral compass, leaving us adrift in a reality that seems dark, and dangerous….
This dependence on custom (which I define as the total construct of human society, the set of rules and regulations, all unwritten, by which all of us shape our behavior in respect to each other…..) is so strong that, as the aphorism states, one becomes willing to set reason aside, in order to keep and maintain our feeling of having a place in society. We will assume whatever mask that society demands, at times, in order to not have to wear a mask of our own devising, one that we do not find comfortable…. This is the curse of which I spoke….
You see, there are a number of people who have no compunctions whatsoever in using this human characteristic to their own ends….. They don’t believe in any of the crap they spew, but will say or do anything to make sure that others do, because this is how they control the general populace… They spread their lies, fast and often, until they are believed….
These lies promulgate fear amongst the uneducated and timid, who then demand that “something be done!” by those in charge…. which is exactly what those people wanted, for they can now proceed to further fan the flames of fear, while surreptitiously looting the public treasury to make it seem as if they are doing something constructive…. “Hey, they’re stealing our oil! Let’s spend a few billion to bomb the crap out of them so we can keep driving SUV’s!, with great cup holders!”
Oh well, I guess that’s all the rant I’ve got in me today…. It’s kind of mild I know, but I was trying to be scholarly, rather than controversial and accusatory…. I think I’ve succeeded in that, but, it doesn’t quite give the same thrill and/or release as a good, nasty rant, with some great name-calling… Well, I can always call them assholes, because, hey, it fits, and it’s easy to type…. Any who, I’ll stop now, right on the edge of illumination, and allow the Gentle Reader to follow the train of my thought to its obvious conclusion…. For those too busy, or too lazy to do so, I’ll summarize….
Don’t listen to what anyone else says, not about YOUR perceptions. And, for sure, kick the asses of anyone who tries to convince you of their integrity in an elected capacity, or any position of authority…. A lot of people, on every level of society, are just trying to control you for their own purposes, and deserve any ass-kicking that comes their way….
Be like a cat…. cats don’t give a SHIT what anybody thinks, they just are….. No apologies, no fuss, just leave me alone, because I’m busy being a cat….. This is good advice, so, listen up, I’m trying to do you a favor…..
“We need very strong ears to hear ourselves judged frankly, and because there are few who can endure frank criticism without being stung by it, those who venture to criticize us perform a remarkable act of friendship, for to undertake to wound or offend a man for his own good is to have a healthy love for him.” — Michel Eyquem de Montaigne _Essays_, bk. III, ch. 11 
This poem has an odd provenance…. I first wrote it, in the form of a prose paragraph, as the opening of a Pearl from sometime late in 2011, apparently…. I was looking for an old pearl to use, when I noticed that a paragraph I was reading was actually a poem, with no changes in words, or punctuation, necessary; all it needed was to place each verse in its proper position in each stanza…. It’s actually one of my favorite pieces, now that I see what it really is… I didn’t realize it when I wrote it, only when I re-read it last night…. Serendipity strikes again!…. As on every day this month, this is for the April National Poetry Writing Month Challenge, with the updates to be found here: http://www.napowrimo.net/ (I still don’t know if I’m doing this right, but, oh well….)
The veils that billow and fold
between dreams and reality
may sometimes part,
showing the visions of one to the other,
blending, bleeding as one,
only to bring us up short,
closely jammed against immovable fate.
Still, we keep our watch,
seeking to find the vision
that brings with it the mark of reality’s regard,
a humble mind, and a compassionate heart.
Events of broad impact draw us away again,
distracting with shiny glitter and tinny music,
leaving our feelings raw and bruised,
the victim of universal disregard.
Now, in the twilight of years, the music is fading,
and the glitter has all gone….
yet the memory of visions remains sharp and clear,
melancholy reminders of reality’s promises,
“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.” — C. G. Jung
Sadie, the cat, will be going to my daughter’s house to live today, and I wanted to spend some extra time with her, so it’s a good thing I’m making good time with this Pearl…. with her help…. Just in case the sound of the coffee brewing doesn’t wake me up, on each of the past five mornings, Sadie has decided to help get me up….
First, when the machine starts to make noises indicating it is turning on, she begins clawing at the underside of the bed, then, when I say her name to get her to stop, she jumps up on the bed, right by my face, and meows loudly in my ear…. She then jumps away as if I had yelled at her, (I didn’t…) but immediately stops and looks back to make sure I’m looking at her….
If I’m not yet focused enough to do that, she jumps down to the floor, then back up by my face to repeat her complaint…. If I am looking at her, she meows again, and comes back to get petted…. A very persistent alarm clock, she is…. She may not have provided my existence with meaning, but she has certainly added a great deal of charm and love…. I’ll miss her, but, fortunately, can visit her any time….
Any who, since I ranted to long and obscure purpose above, I’ll go with an old-school pearl for the closing section today….. I really do like the quote above from Carl, so, be assured, the pearls I pick today will have some sort of connection to this idea, tenuous though it may be…. Enjoy!…..
He spoke in both simile and metaphor…
the words a bubbling champagne
tinged with the colors of the sunset.
“‘T is the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
and coming events cast their shadows before.”
– Thomas Campbell (1777-1844) — Lochiel’s Warning
“It’s a poor workman who blames his tools.” — Smart Bee (so old a piece of wisdom, nobody knows who said it first…..)
(This is especially true of philosophers…. )
“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” — Abraham Lincoln
“A fair exterior is a silent recommendation.” — Publius Syrus (42 BC) — Maxim 267
“I have not loved the world, nor the world me.” — Lord Byron (1788-1824) — Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto iii, Stanza 113
“Happiness begins with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within your control. And some things are not.” — Epictetus
“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” — Albert Einstein
All things considered, it went well; now, let’s see how it reads….. Actually, I think I’m okay with this…. It flowed fairly well, and I don’t think I said anything to overly offend anyone, unless they are inclined to take things personally, which MY readers would never do…. With that said, it’s Saturday, and I’m off into the BBR to play….. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.
Which is Why….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.