~~ Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ~~
(121-180 AD) — Meditations, ix, 19
Marcus Aurelius, one of the great minds from mankind’s relatively brief, but ‘interesting’ past, is a member of the large group of scholars, all of whom lived prior to the birth of Christ that defines the modern calendar, whose words have survived the intervening centuries to give us the boon of their wisdom.
The influence these men have had on me is obvious, not only in my writing here, but in my entire approach to living. As evidence, I refer you to Peruaosophy, the codification of all I have learned in my life, in eight axioms of belief I hold to be most critical to living well, with courage, and compassion. The most cursory view of what I created shows, in Axiom #2, exactly how the words above fit into my world-view, to wit:
“The nature of the Universe is Change. Unpredictable, innovative transformation of the Reality is the Norm; if you have a problem with this, you are in for a rough ride in Life.”
I admit, my attempt at bringing a bit of humor to the issue isn’t exactly up to the standards of, oh, say, Saturday Night Live’s material, but, I think it works pretty well for what it is. Moreover, using it for the intro section today has eliminated a lot of the usual amount of waffling I go through to get started…. this has been almost like an assignment, with the parameters of what I am to write set out beforehand….. Gosh, it’s almost like being a reporter, or a writer for a magazine, with deadlines, and everything!….
Of course, there is a big difference…. I’m not getting paid for this, nor is anyone going to pay to read it, as far as I know…. I don’t THINK WordPress is charging admission these days….. I wouldn’t get used to THAT, though, if the FCC goes through with their apparent acceptance of Comcast’s bribe….. There HAS to be one in there somewhere; they just haven’t found the bank yet….
How else could they make the decision to give away net neutrality, allowing the big communication corporations to hijack the internet for their profit margins, when so many MILLIONS of citizens have already voiced their opposition to it? The web site the FCC set up to take the public’s opinions went down more than once, inundated by Americans giving their opinions on the subject of net neutrality, with opposition to the proposed changes to current policy running nearly 99%…. that leaves only 1% in support of changing the laws to allow corporations to charge us all up the butt for our access…, or, actually, that 1% is probably less than that, as those votes in support are probably all from Verizon, Comcast, and the like….
Oops…. Once again, I’ve begun my ranting in the intro….. Just can’t seem to help myself; when I say something about what is happening around us in society, the rant just starts coming out, much as poetry leaks out when it’s ready….. One day, perhaps, I’ll have a better handle on the creative process, and it won’t affect me so strongly to write about powerful subjects; for now, though, I suppose it’s helpful to know I’ve always got enough angst in there to come up with even a mini-rant, should the opportunity present itself….
In addition to the added insight I’ve managed to gain this morning, I have also managed to get this intro done, again, without even halfway noticing what I was up to….. It’s getting almost too easy, even when I consider the disadvantages of such early composition, when the brain is still half-way mired in sleep. Not that I’m implying it’s easy…. nope, not going there…. But, for today, it’s done, so…. Oh, yeah…. the picture is mine, of a nice, pretty bush I noticed while walking….. The shot sort of composed itself, with the great contrast of the two sharp colors… Okay, NOW we’re done….
Shall we Pearl?…..
“Purity engenders Wisdom, Passion avarice, and Ignorance folly, infatuation and darkness.” — Bhagavad Gita (c. B.C. 400)
“Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.” — Edward Abbey
Now, this is a robust little statement, and worthy of a good politirant….. It’s really too bad the angst and inner turmoil I noted above has somehow disappeared into thin air….. (Why “thin” air? Do things disappear better in air that has less fat? Wouldn’t “fat” air do that better? And what’s with the obsession with being thin?….. These are the kinds of things that occur to me sometimes…. Answers may be submitted in the comments, should one strike you as appropriate for the venue….) I guess such flakiness isn’t all that unusual, just frustrating, when I had planned to dump some of this on y’all….. Now, it’s going to sit in there, and probably rot…..
I know, y’all don’t really care, do you? I figured not, so, I’ve already warmed up Smart Bee, and we’ll throw together an old-school pearl to fill in for the missing rant….. We will make it as pointedly critical of the corporate assholes and their political cronies as we can…. That’s me and SB today, not the royal “we”…. I’m trying to cut down on that, but, it’s hard…. I feel so royal much of the time, you know…. Any who, enjoy the pearls, and the pearl….
“If man evolved from the ape, how come there are still apes around?”
“Some of them were given choices.”
– Johnny Hart’s comic strip B.C.
“All bigots will be reincarnated as gay, homeless people of color!” — Smart Bee
“As to values, I was taught — and still believe — that a sense of honor is necessary to personal self-respect; that duty, recognizing an individual’s subordination to community welfare, is as important as rights; that loyalty, which is based on the trustworthiness of honorable men, is still a virtue; and that work and self-discipline are as essential to individual happiness as they are to a viable society. Indeed, I still believe in patriotism — not if it is limited to parades and flag-waving, but because worthy national goals and aspirations can be realized only through love of country and a desire to be a responsible citizen.” — Lewis F. Powell (Former Supreme Court Justice)
(The critical part of this quote’s inclusion is the simple FACT that this, nor anything remotely LIKE this, can NOT be attributed to ANY of the current batch of justices, save, possibly, one or two of them…. nor can I imagine ANY current politician coming remotely near such sentiments….. This is an example of the kind of men who USED to be produced in this country…. I don’t know of anyone who currently could be associated, even in one’s mind, with the nobility implied in these statements….)
“I have discovered the art of deceiving diplomats. I speak the truth, and they never believe me.” — Conte Camillo Benso di Cavour
Virtue, dear friend, needs no defence,
The surest guard is innocence:
None knew, till guilt created fear,
What darts or poison’d arrows were.
– Horace (B.C. 65-8)
“And it came to pass that in the hands of the ignorant, the words of the bible were used to beat plowshares into swords…” — Alan Watts
“If the Nuremberg laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged.” — Noam Chomsky
I like the finishing line; it’s pretty accurate, once you realize he had to have said that before Jimmy Carter was in office…. Carter will be known as one of the least effective presidents, but, he will also be known as, by far, the most ethical man to hold the office…. ever….. I kid you not, that is how I believe the next century will view the whole issue, once some historical perspective is gained…. In the meantime, we still have, and will have, all those other assholes to deal with, so, I hope you enjoyed the target practice….
Ooh, ooh….. you’ve got to see this one…. I was done, but while searching for pearls for section three, this one came up, and fits so well with this critique of the political animal, I have to add it on as a bonus….. You’ll thank me, I know it, because this, ffolkes, is FUNNY…. and, oh so typically true, not just of Dan the Q., but, for many, many of those who exist in the political world….
“Well, it looks as if the top part fell on the bottom part.” — Vice President Dan Quayle referring to the collapsed section of the 880 freeway after the San Francisco earthquake of 1989. — [This may be a joke; the source is unclear. But it's still funny.] — Smart Bee
Actually, I remember this quote from that time: I lived in the Bay Area during that quake, and distinctly remember Quayle’s visit, as it provided a LOT of local writers and comedians with material for weeks…. I can also state, without a single doubt, my belief that he was trying to be sincere, and give the reporters a clear quote; in the process, the lack of any sort of intelligent noise in his head made itself abundantly obvious how clueless he was, and is… In short, he wasn’t TRYING to be funny, but, with his usual total lack of aplomb, managed to create yet another example of his close resemblance to Bozo, the Clown…..
Y’all will have to endure my poetry once again, as I took WAY too long putting these pearls together; it’s getting late, and I want to get this posted…. Here is one I wrote, sort of along the lines of the loose theme for today….. I think…. whatever….. Actually, it seems my mind was being precognitive not long ago, when I wrote the following poem, almost EXACTLY according to the theme we’ve followed today…. I enjoyed writing this one; it’s one of the most recent to be bled out…..
In place of ranting and raving about assholes every day
maybe I’ll try something more fun.
Rather than throwing words at all the assholes on public pay
I’ll switch to shooting at them, with a gun….
Should I actually hit one, purely by mistake,
maybe it would wake them up.
Maybe, if they had to think, or actually cut us a break,
we’d see a chance to win at life, to take a step up.
Our nation, such as it is today, was founded by men who told the truth;
that morality disappeared long ago.
Simple ethical strength so bright, so prevalent in our country’s youth
was soon corrupted, corporate interests now run the show.
Nothing would please me more than to fire off some rounds,
if only to gain their attention.
But, I can no longer run, I’ve gained too many pounds;
so, my keyboard and intellect must serve to fulfill my intention.
I won’t stop, of that you may be sure
I love my freedoms, and the philosophy from which it springs.
Tom, and Ben, and John, and Pat, those patriots pure
gave me their example, and the inner peace it brings.
If bullets won’t persuade our elected liars to toe the ethical line,
I’ll throw my most powerful words…..
If nothing else, it will make them wriggle to escape, or voice their pitiful whine,
thus exposing themselves for what they are…. plain and simple turds.
~~ gigoid ~~
Y’all win today; no rant at all, save for the mini-rant in the intro….. I just don’t feel like it. Hence, another old-school pearl, this one with very flexible parameters, to give the picture it will paint a large, nebulous, blank canvas upon which to place its visions….. Enjoy!….
“Virtue is a habit of the mind, consistent with nature and moderation and reason.” — Cicero (B.C. 106-43)
“In giving advice seek to help, not to please, your friend.” — Solon
“Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprises.” — Demosthenes, Athenian orator and statesman
“By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has a policy, but nothing more.” — Albert Camus
“It is the besetting vice of democracies to substitute public opinion for law.This is the usual form in which the masses of men exhibit their tyranny.” — James Fenimore Cooper, _The American Democrat_ (1838)
“A fly bit the bare pate of a bald man, who in endeavoring to crush it gave himself a hard slap. Then said the fly jeeringly, “You wanted to revenge the sting of a tiny insect with death; what will you do to yourself, who have added insult to injury?”” — Phaedrus (c. 8 A.D.) — Book v, Fable 3, 1
Instead of being born again, why not just grow up?” — Smart Bee
Whew!….. It tried to turn on me, but, I managed to haul it back, and it came out fairly well…. The last line pulled it all together quite well, I think…. But, then, I did write it, so, my opinion only counts in re: litigation potential, and that, to me, says we’re done here, no matter what else may take place in our absence….
I’m not going to offer up any apologies for today’s effort; it turned out to be harder work than I’d hoped, or wanted…. Enough that I’m tired, already, and it’s barely 6 AM…. It must have been Smart Bee’s fault; it made me look at far too many unsuitable pearls today, seemingly without regard for my schedule, or my desire for efficiency in this area…. but, then, SB can be that way some days, and I do ask a lot of it…. Being the forgiving sort, we’ll just give it all a pass, and thank our lucky stars we’re already done for the day, and can just go back to bed if we want…. and there I go with the damn royal “we” again…. SIGH…. Oh, well, no point in worrying about it now…. See ya tomorrow, ffolkes….
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…
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.
gigoid the dubious