This picture was taken somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean, during a trip around the British Isles…. It may just be my favorite picture, of all I took on that trip…. The color, the composition, it just speaks to me, in a lot of ways, bringing with it memories of that time, along with appreciation, for the picture’s potentiality for cogitative stimulation…. The first thought that always occurs to me is how it is impossible to tell, just from the picture, whether this was taken at sunrise, or sunset; it could easily be either one….. Not bad, for an old fart with his first camera, eh?….
Today’s Pearl will be odd, as if, A) you hadn’t heard THAT before, and, B) just as if it could be anything else, when one considers the source, to wit: me, in all my strange glory…. What do you mean, that isn’t glory, it’s dirt? I’m not going to even bother to think about THAT statement; no way that could be true…. I mean, if that were true, what was all that….. well, never mind. I think, upon reflection, we should just skip right on by this little episode, and chalk it up to the early hour, even if it’s a late early hour, for me…. It’s getting harder to drag myself up each day, but, that, too, is nothing new, is it?….
Age, pain, bozoid tendencies…. I’ll tell ya, ffolkes, it makes for an “interesting” life, one you would think would offer plenty of material for a writer….. and maybe it does, for a writer whose mind is normal… My own idiosyncracies tend to color my perceptions, as they do for all of us…. mine just have a greater effect on me than most ffolkes suffer; maybe it has to do with all the spikes, thorns, and broken glass covering the material my head produces. It does get a bit iffy trying to handle it without injury, especially given my known habit of beating myself over the head with certain types of information, so it is more easily assimilated…..
I’m wandering again, aren’t I? This is what happens when I sleep late; I wake up foggy, (normal for me…), but, start writing anyway, as I’ve found the process of creating these introductory sections eventually wakes me up enough to get through to the end of a Pearl…. Well, so far, anyway….. Apparently, once I’m relatively awake, I can do this in my sleep…. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether it helps, or hinders to write while somnolent; I DO keep getting them done, so, I suppose that’s something….
Well, now, there’s a pretty mess, eh? It seems I turned the picture, which is somewhat undefined by itself, into yet another reason to ramble and blather my way through the first section, all without ever coming to any conclusions, but, without haring off into uncharted regions of my mind, or anyone else’s, for that matter…. What did I just say? Let me go back a second, & analyze that last sentence…. Okay, yep, it’s as I thought…. I’m reaching the point of incoherency, so we have to stop now, or someone will get hurt…. and it’s most common for me to be that someone…. So, instead….
Shall we Pearl?….
“If you can do a half-assed job of anything, you’re a one-eyed man in a kingdom of the blind.” — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Okay, well…. that explains THAT….. Onward, ffolkes….
I may have mentioned I’m up pretty late, (or not…. I am now, though, right?…. Mentioning it, that is…. I’m up late… there, now you know….), which precludes a FRESH rant, especially given the news of late, which has way too many subjects that would be suitable…. In today’s state of mind, picking one could be as hazardous as writing one…. So, here is a reasonably priced discussion of some esoteric minutiae for your reading pleasure…. Oh, and keep your neurons fired up and ready with this one, ffolkes, it’s a bit deeper than usual, even if it doesn’t touch on anything particularly volatile…..
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
– Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) — Just So Stories (1902) “The Elephant’s Child”
I first read the phrase “feeding the Elephant’s Child” in a Robert Heinlein novel, many years ago, and enjoyed it as a metaphor for reading/learning, before I knew from whence it originally came. Once I did know (a moment of illumination whose exact placement in time is hazy….), I liked it even more, from an aesthetic standpoint. The above little ditty is brilliant doggerel, astute observation, and deep insight, all presented in a simple, straightforward style, with a powerful, basic lesson for any would-be philosopher, or any one who wishes to encompass reason as their modus operandi, so to speak. Besides which, I find that another piece of Bob’s advice fits well with this one, to wit: “Life tastes better in big bites….”
“Never wear anything that panics the cat.” — P. J. O’Rourke
I like this, a lot. It summarizes perhaps one of the most elemental rules of getting along in the Universe, in essence saying, “You can learn a lot by watching what happens around you…” It is the perfect companion to the concept of learning as presented above, as it contrives to speak to both sides of Reality, i.e., how you approach reality (the clothing you choose to show to the cat….) and how reality will change to react to your approach (the cat’s opinion of your clothing….) It also gives one a subtle warning about how the wrong clothing can produce unwanted consequences, and we all know how an offended cat is likely to respond…. as Mark Twain once remarked…. “A man who carries a cat by the tail is learning valuable things. He will never again be dim or doubtful. Chances are he’ll not carry the cat that way again, but, I say, if he wants to, let him!” You can’t say fairer than that….
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” — Buddha
One can always trust the Buddha to state the most profound thoughts in the simplest way…. I often wonder how he came to such a complete understanding of Murphy, whose presence is acknowledged in all of what the Buddha stated, but whose ministrations seem to have passed by the Buddha’s existence…. either that, or Murphy shows him a lot more respect than he does anyone else alive. At times, it seems that what the Buddha states, such as in this statement, is, in at least one respect, an answer to a question that is raised when Murphy intervenes in our lives…. in simpler words, he explains why Murphy is able to affect us as he does, by cutting through the bullshite we perceive to the truth of what is real….. SIGH…. one of these days, enlightenment will slap me upside the head, and I’ll be able to see Murphy coming…. I hope…
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.” — Bob Dylan
Often I feel as if not only is life a joke, but it is our duty and purpose on this plane of existence to codify that joke, to put it down on paper, or on screen/disc, to free ourselves from the prison of sobriety, achieving an understanding that everything in this silly universe is here for our amusement, and we have been taking it, and ourselves, seriously for entirely too long….. So seriously, we have begun to offend those parts of the universe that just want us to relax and enjoy ourselves, and the time is growing nearer when we will have to admit that the joke is on us, for not being able to change our inner selves enough to be able to handle the humor of our situation…. See, the universe thinks death is funny…. not because it is cruel, but because death is just another part of life, and it doesn’t care about one more than the other…. See, now, isn’t it funny how you never noticed that?…..
I once read a science fiction novel, whose title and author escape me completely; in all it was very poorly written, with prose that did not live up to the good ideas contained in the plot line. However, it was a great plot line, in all….Specifically, there was one chapter I liked, which had a super-genius taking on the task of finding the solution to a mathematical treatise, an equation so complex and advanced that no civilization in the galaxy had ever been able to completely solve it.
The genius/hero of the book shut himself up in his room for three weeks, working on the problem. At the end, he was thinking so hard he entered a trance-like state, computing while nearly dead…. after a week of this, he suddenly opened his eyes, gave a look of astonishment, and burst into uncontrollable laughter for approximately 25 minutes. When he could finally control himself, he simply said, “It’s a joke….” and would never discuss it again….
In a pearl such as this one has grown to be, there comes a time when I have to decide whether to continue on, to try to reach the conclusion that was nebulously hovering somewhere in my mind as I began, or to admit that I have once again wandered into uncharted territory, and might find it a bit tricky to find my way back to clarity. This is that time…. and I’m leaving it up to Smart Bee, as always…. If I don’t find a proper pearl to carry on the tenuous chain of thought I’ve created, then we’ll take the first one that will appropriately wrap it up as a lost cause….. all within a specified number of attempts…. so, here we go… You’ll know in a moment what will happen….
“In a word, neither death, nor exile, nor pain, nor anything of this kind is the real cause of our doing or not doing any action, but our inward opinions and principles.” — Epictetus (c. 60 AD) — Discourses, Book i, Chap xi
There, see?…. That didn’t take long at all…. and I managed to find the perfect pearl to cover both bases…. In this case, we will use it as an ending quote, since it sort of summarizes a lot of the discussion, after a fashion. It could conceivably also be used as a springboard for further discussion, but this has gone on long enough, and I wouldn’t want to lose anybody due to an injudicious application of excess verbiage, culminating in tedium…. Of course, we may have reached that point some time ago, but, hey, who’s counting?…. Any who, I hope you enjoyed this little foray into not very much….
Being late means not having the time to go search for anything from other authors to fill up the empty spaces between lines; this can be a good thing, or not, depending on a lot of factors, which we won’t go into now…. Suffice it to say, it’s usually easier to find one of my own to go with whatever is taking place, and today is no exception to that observation/rule…. I wrote this in October of 2012, during the period of time after my retirement when I was in my deepest depression, and living under the most trying circumstances I’d experienced in many years…. I guess it goes to prove that poetry comes out of human experience in a more compelling fashion when that experience is a test of their endurance, or stamina, or however one describes the effort of standing up to the crap life sends our way, every day…. Enjoy, ffolkes, this is one of my best….
Folly sits so comfortably upon my fevered brow
one would easily believe that I would know how
to look at Life with a jaded, weary eye
seeing enough, and more, to know Why.
Such seems the case, as I will it to be,
an open book of a face, it looks so like me;
what’s known to be so, needs no close attention
familiar sights require no minding, nor mention.
The eye is drawn at once to the stark and new,
and sent back to sleep by successful review.
Once we find evidence we feel we understand,
curiosity languishes, dismissed at command.
Ancient sages knew the insidious value of illusion,
preachers and pundits know the power of confusion.
Each pair of eyes contains its own point of reference,
each mind sets its own standards of preference.
Seeing is believing, for those who live in thrall,
accepting what is perceived is all they ever recall.
Unknown to them, reality follows another set of rules,
Deeper, more dangerous, and no place for fools.
~~ gigoid ~~
Even though I’ve managed to get caught up to schedule fairly well, by dipping into the archives instead of going fresh, I’m still feeling rushed from being behind all morning…. An old-school pearl should fix that, and takes no time at all…. as long as Smart Bee is cooperating today…. Let’s go see what it’s got for us, shall we?…. No parameters, we’re going with pure impulse for this one…. Good luck! Buena suerte! We might need it….
“Actually officer, if you factor in the earth’s rotation, we were all speeding.” — Smart Bee
“And don’t tell me God works in mysterious ways, Yossarian continued There’s nothing mysterious about it, He’s not working at all. He’s playing. Or else He’s forgotten all about us. That’s the kind of God you people talk about, a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatalogical mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements? Why in the world did He ever create pain?” — Joseph Heller, Catch22
“The universe is as it is because if it were any different, we wouldn’t be here to observe it.” — Stephen Hawking
“I refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person.” — Pogo, character in “Pogo,” comic strip by Walt Kelly
“I am not a wimp.” — George Bush
(Sorry, George, but, yes, you are a wimp, and I have to say, I don’t mind telling you….. If you have to say it, it’s proven…. Q.E.D.)
“… as sight is in the body, so is reason in the soul…” — Aristotle — Nicomachean Ethics, Bl. I, Ch. 6, 10966, lines 29-30
“Facts are not truths; they are not conclusions; they are not even premises. The truth depends on, and is only arrived at by a legitimate deduction from all the facts which are truly material.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Well, there you go…. That went well, and quickly, just as planned…. Damn it! Now I have to keep a watch out for Murphy; things have been going WAY too well thus far….. Watch my back, would you?…. I’ll go try to finish up….
Well, ffolkes, as I stated in the intro, it turned out quite interesting…. Better behaved, all in all, than I’d expected, so, since I’ve already thus been rewarded by the Universe for my perseverance, I’ll take my leave without further ado, or fuss…. See y’all tomorrow….
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