I’m feeling a bit curmudgeonly this morning; I’m down to instant coffee until I can get to a store, and having to drink this nasty stuff has me close to biting myself in irritation. Fortunately, one of my friends is coming by, and will be bringing coffee with him. One of the advantages of advanced years is the improvement in forethought skills; we knew he was coming over today, and arranged to have him pick some up on the way. Too bad it doesn’t improve the flavor of this instant crap…….
Deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by. Do nothing to thy neighbor which thou wouldst not have him do to thee hereafter. — _The Mahabharata_, c. 800 B. C. (Sounds suspiciously like the Golden Rule to me)
“To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.” — Sun Tzu (fl. c. BC 500)
As the same fire assumes different shapes when it consumes objects differing in shape, so does the one Self take the shape of every creature in whom he is present. — Upanishads (c. B.C. 800) (Metaphysical logic, as sound as it gets….)
“Nothing endures but change.” — Heraclitus (540?-480? B.C.) (Obviously, Heraclitus was no stranger to Reality….)
All of the above statements were recorded (on paper or other form of tablet; t’was all they had then) prior to the birth of Christ, the seminal date upon which our calendar is based. It is fascinating to me to read these, which were all written about 2500-3000 years ago, and to reflect on how little apparent progress has been made in advancing human thought and behavior. The above remnants of the culture of the time clearly indicates an ability to reason that surpasses, or at minimum, equals the best of today’s philosophers. As an example of just how far we have come, or not come, to be more accurate, here is an example of how one of the most revered leaders in recent history, a man known as the Great Communicator, felt about ecological issues in general…..
“A tree is a tree. How many more do you need to look at?” — Ronald W. Reagan, 1966
Kind of scary, isn’t it?………
“Do not settle for less than the best your own excellence can command.” — Anne McCaffrey
I identify closely with this; it parallels Axiom #4 of my own philosophy, Peruaosophy, which reads “Excellence is its own reward.” This has been one of the guiding principles of my life, though I do occasionally encounter some resistance from the outside world in trying to achieve it. For some reason, it seems to make other folks feel nervous and threatened, and sometimes even antagonistic. I don’t worry too much over that; I figure its their problem, not mine, and paying too much attention to what other folks think or feel about what I do just encourages them to think its okay, when it is not. Its merely a distraction, and unfortunately, a potentially hazardous one, should my detractors turn from the relative confusion of a simple lack of understanding, to the dangerous rage of ignorant fear and loathing. But one of the more important skills that is learned by the process of seeking excellence is the ability to see a broader perspective, and plan for unexpected dangers during the process of sharing one’s excellence with the world. Forethought is a good thing…..(oooo, deja vu all over again….)
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
“And thou hast slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.
— Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking-Glass”
No comments here, I just like this a lot; reading it makes me happy…….it can work for you, too, if you like!…….
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And without sneering teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
— Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot, Prologue to the Satires, Line 201
For some reason, probably buried somewhere deep in my unconscious mind, when I read this I was struck by a mental image of the last couple of Republican debates, which I must admit have provided us all with a wonderfully comic sideshow, complete with outrageous statements, vicious lying and in-fighting amongst the candidates, curiously obscure positions, and dubious economics. It’s been great, and provides tons of material to write about. But it also gets too easy to forget the seriousness that lurks behind the silly false fronts that they all throw up to keep people from knowing their true agendas; each of those people is serious about their desire to assume the mantle of power in this country, and each of them would be a greater disaster than the others. Take your pick; if any of them come even close to getting into office, I’ll be heading for the farthest place I can find to duck and cover…….any one of them would accelerate the already out of control rush toward extinction, and would create messes that may never be cleaned up…..
He who allows his day to pass by without practicing generosity and enjoying life’s pleasures is like a blacksmith’s bellows – he breathes but does not live. — Sanskrit Proverb
I hereby pronounce this to be good. We hear the same message a lot of different ways, so it is good to see a new way of expressing such an essential point, one that fully embraces the meaning of, and behind, the words used. So much so, that it really doesn’t need any embellishment from me, so I will merely say……engage, examine, evaluate, and effect a change in your life. You’ll like it….trust me……
Well it took a bit of effort, but it all came out well, I think. It’s certainly good enough for a retired dilettante, and I should know….. y’all take care out there…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.