You can expect no desperate whining, nor any trepidation at the blank screen this morning; the date, in all its glorious singularity, is subject enough for anyone to latch onto, providing all of us would-be authors and columnists with ample fodder for our grist, or grist for our mill, or more simply, lots to write about…..
The end of another year, for some reason, seems to put society into nostalgia mode, with year-end sales, year-end parties, year-end lists, and all sorts of activities designed to bring more attention to what just happened, thus avoiding both living in the moment, and preparing for the future, both of which would doubtlessly serve us better than gazing into our checkered past….
In this sense, we can see that all of the end of the year contortions people go through every damn year are just another method of avoiding anything that MIGHT resemble intelligent or productive living. Society would rather spend all their time going over the past year, with all of its problems and triumphs, than it would discussing what may be wrong now, or trying to prepare for a potentially fatally grim future, one very much likely to be less than a stable, peaceful path, but, rather, a short, violent one that leads to, shall we say, a less than desirable outcome, in a very short time…..
Last year, I wrote the following, as the beginning to the last Pearl of 2012…. I think it’s pretty good, so let’s see how it reads today….
Exploring consensual reality means more than just talking about what people see as real; it means being real, and learning to accept the reality of others, while at the same time rejecting all those realities that are harmful in some way. It means speaking up against all the cruelty and evil that we see, refusing to join the masses who try to ignore what they cannot understand, and therefore, fear. It means exposing those who live their lives without regard for anyone else. It means taking responsibility for one’s own actions, and insisting that others do the same. It means, to me, that even though there is little hope of changing human nature at this late date, a small chance exists that we can survive, provided we learn to embrace ALL of life with honest regard, and can find a way to bring out the best in human nature, rather than allowing the worst to run rampant….
And that, pompous as it is, is ALL we will say about the future, or the past year, for the time being. Everyone else will, I’m sure, cover that adequately, and it would be a waste of my time to add to what is already a massive outpouring of material to read. I’d much rather provide something a bit different, and shall endeavor to do so, post haste…. Sorry, once pomposity sets in, it’s hard to put down….
Not too bad, and certainly worth using again this year….. Now, if I could only figure out what the hell to write about today, I could fulfill my given task here at ECR with no fuss or muss…. But, as per normal around here, it looks like it will take some effort to get anything worthwhile to come out of this messy process….. This intro, as can be seen, is yet another experiment, this one thrown together and applied on short notice, as the day snuck up on me, so to speak… Well, actually, the idea snuck up on me, and…. oh, never mind….
Shall we Pearl?…..
“The answer to the question “why was I born trans?” is not in the past, but in the future. When we move beyond asking how we got here and ask what we should do with what we have we answer why we are here.” — Callan Williams
Believe me, this is a much more appropriate pearl than you may think upon first read….. and is much, much deeper than it may first appear….. Just think on it, and it will become clear why this is here, and what it means to all of us, not just the “trans”…..
Not only was the opening of the Pearl from last year on this date a good one, but there was a religirant in there that is well worth reprinting today…. It is still completely valid, in all respects, remaining both an indictment of those who would foist this nonsense upon an unsuspecting society, and as a call to think about the dogma that is impressed upon the believers of what I consider to be delusional material… i.e. strong beliefs held in the absence of evidence or tangible proof….. In short, an indictment of preachers and priests, imams and sadhus, and all the other religious pundits who try to manipulate mankind by the application of massive guilt, and the concept of original sin…. the greatest scam of all time….
Also from 12/31/2012:
Forgiveness. How does a person without faith in a higher power obtain this boon? Certainly not from themselves…. I know, if I have done something for which I feel the need, or desire, to be forgiven, then I most likely don’t deserve it, and refuse to give in to self-indulgence. According to the preachers, God forgives all, but damn me if I can see any reason to do so, no matter how ‘merciful’ he/she/it might be. How can anyone expect moral behavior, if even our most grievous sins are forgiven? Because of the promise of reward for compliance, or threat of punishment for refusal to conform? I agree with Albert Einstein, that any such philosophy is not realistic, and certainly not moral,,..
“In his private heart no man much respects himself.” — Mark Twain
All of us, without exception, have things we hide inside ourselves, secrets that nobody else will ever be told. Whether it is a memory of an act one is not proud of, or a bit of severe foolishness, or something so shameful that to share it would be to become a pariah, all of us humans have secrets. I would guess that almost all of them are akin to what is described in the first paragraph, to wit: acts that need forgiveness, but do not deserve it. I believe that this may be a method by which one can tell another person’s outlook on religion, for almost all religions are based on this principle, of divine forgiveness. Even though we may do things in life that are unforgivable, the gods, or God, for the monotheistic among us, are so merciful, that they will do so, if you but acknowledge their divinity, and admit they are your higher power….
It’s a good deal, all in all, if one buys it. Myself, I’m a bit sanguine about it, since I only have the word of the preachers that it is so; there is no real evidence to be found that supports the theory, and the scientist in me wants at least a little bit of proof before accepting something as truth. I’m not going to buy anything just on someone else’s word, or assertion of truth; I’ve been alive long enough to know that doing things like that can only lead to losing something, if only the advantage of self-respect.
“His ignorance covers the world like a blanket, and there’s scarcely a hole in it anywhere.” — Mark Twain
Wait, I thought we were talking about religion, not the last Republican President…. Sorry, couldn’t resist…. Any who, it all comes back to the basic idea of how we view reality, in terms of the concept of God, or a power greater than ourselves, that is responsible somehow for everything that exists, and thus, for us. By giving away that responsibility, I think, we are showing our own cowardice; I’m not willing to do that, not without more compelling evidence than hearsay.
I’m not blind to the other evidence that many religionists claim as being proof of God and his will; I’ve burst into tears myself at the sight of a particularly vivid sunrise, without knowing why, other than the beauty of it was so arrestingly powerful. I’ve seen good things happen everywhere, in human interaction, and in Nature. I’ve witnessed what priests like to call “grace”, and will admit that such events are not explainable by ordinary means.
I’ve also witnessed the other side of existence, where human nature turns dark and cruel, while Nature reveals its own complete indifference for human suffering; I cannot accept that the same entity would dare to assume, or want responsibility for such a wicked universe, even if the balance of good and evil is maintained by the presence of the other.
That assumption is purely human, and thus does not qualify, in my mind, as evidence of divinity in the form of God, by any of the visions held by any of the churches of Mankind. Unless, of course, one goes beyond doctrine, into philosophy, where the above contradictions do not apply, or can be explained by one further assumption. That assumption is a hard one for most humans, as it involves taking responsibility for EVERYTHING that they do, and for everything that happens to them. (Yep, that’s a paraphrase of the basic principle of Karma…)
In other words, as Robert Heinlein put it so aptly, in his epic statement of philosophy, Stranger In a Strange Land, “Thou art God.” I know, it’s blasphemous, but, hey, been there, done that, let’s get past it…. It is the only explanation that fits ALL the facts in evidence, and even if a bit grandiose, really isn’t, because we are, after all, just a bunch of bozos on the bus.
Being God, though, would be a really boring job, the way the job descriptions in all the churches read, and I don’t think I want to take that on, particularly. It may be the only way I can find any forgiveness for those things I’ve done in my long life of which I am not proud, but, since I don’t feel that I SHOULD be forgiven for them, I think I’ll just accept the responsibility, along with the consequence, a certain lessening of my self-esteem, and try to act in the future in ways that won’t make me feel that way….
It really isn’t hard to be good, in reality, as long as you care…. The problem is, not enough people care, or even think about stuff like this…. Me, I can’t help myself…. Caring, to me, is what being human is about; those who don’t care aren’t fully human, and won’t be until they do….
“I am covered with pure vegetable oil and I am writing a best seller!” — Zippy the Pinhead
Once again, I’m forced to resort to my own poetry, for honor’s sake…. It’s one of my strongest held beliefs, that no one else should ever get any of the blame for what happens here, so, there are times when I must use my own, to protect the names of the innocent….. I hope you enjoy it, as it was picked out to match today’s mood….
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,
Since it IS the last day of the year, I will condescend to create one fresh section of today’s Pearl, even if it is only an old-school variety pearl, which I can throw together in my sleep…. No comments from the peanut gallery on that one, please…. In truth, Smart Bee has been really, really good at what it does of late, so I’m kind of trusting it to pull my fat from the fire, in a manner of speaking, as I have yet to really do much today, beyond blather, a form of literature at which I am gaining some expertise….. So, let’s see if SB can pull off another serendipitous grouping of wisdom in small pieces, eh?….
“A people who expect to be ignorant and free expect what never will, and never can, be.” — Thomas Jefferson
“Politics is for people who have a passion for changing life but lack a passion for living it.” — Tom Robbins
“For insurance purposes, an act of God is defined as something which no reasonable person could possibly have anticipated. In this same sense, Catholic theologians speak of the creation of humanity as an act of God! If carried to the logical conclusion, we might even find some sort of reason for your ordinary parking meter.” — Smart Bee
“We’re not afraid, its just that we have this thing about death.” — Smart Bee
Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem. (Entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity.) — William of Occam, Occam’s Razor
“I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages.” — William H. Mauldin, “Up Front” 1944 *
“My face is new, my license is expired, and I’m under a doctor’s care!!!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
A bit obscure, but, you wouldn’t want it to be easy, now, would you? I think not…. You’ll take it the way it is, and like it….
* “Up Front” 1944, by William H. “Bill” Mauldin This is a GREAT book…. I read it as a young child, because it was in my parent’s library, and we were always encouraged to look at the books. It was a series of cartoons, with two ordinary US Army joes as the ‘heroes’. It pictured the life of an average soldier, on the front lines during WWII in Europe, from the standpoint or these two typical Americans, Willie and Joe, following them with extremely realistic cartoon-like sketches, more portraiture than cartoons, like a comic book, in black and white for publishing in the newspapers of the time….
The sketches/cartoons took the reader with Willie and Joe through battles, life on post, life in the field, encounters with the locals overseas, fear, homesickness, illness, and all the trials and joys that are found in such times…. The text, which I read later, in my early teens, was simple and compelling, written by the author, a political cartoonist/journalist, who traveled around with the soldiers all over during the war years…. A great read…. It educated me at a young age about war, and how average people behaved at those times in history…. very enlightening re: human nature, as I recall…. and funny as hell, even to a five or six year old….
Well, for a final go, this certainly has some bulk to it…. Not a bad way to roll over into a new year, artificial as that distinction may be (What calendar do YOU follow? Gregorian? Orthodox? Mayan? Aztec? Chinese? It makes a difference, you know….). I suppose most of the ffolkes who would be reading this, as English speakers, even if not native, (NOT a handicap, I assure you….) are following the one that celebrates tonight as the crossing from one year to the next in line…..
Thus, as the Universe encourages us all to embrace Change, as acknowledged by Axiom #1 of Peruaosophy, I can say “Happy New Year” without any sense of embarrassment or guilt for being politically incorrect…. not that I give a shit, of course, but, hey, I try to be nice some of the time…. See ya next year, ffolkes… It’s been Real…. Now, if only we all could agree on how that Reality should proceed….
Y’all take care out there,
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.