Purveyors of faint praise….

Today is Friday, which means it is also Friday the thirteenth. I am compelled to say, “Yipee!” and dance a quick jig, because I always have a good day when one of these rolls around. Maybe it has to do with my lack of superstition, though I do have certain personal rituals I perform that ensure the success of any venture (like the little dolls I make to stick pins into when one of my enemies annoys me, or rubbing a child’s head before buying lottery tickets). I could also claim that it is a lucky day for me because I’m a triple Scorpio. Well, I could if I gave any credence at all to astrology; it’s a pretty flimsy theory, without much evidence of being real. I’d say that astrology is just about as true as the myths of creation that tell us that the world was made about 8000 years ago, and all the evidence to the contrary was planted here to fool us into thinking it is real. Sorry, not buying it; why would I think an omnipotent entity  would play tricks like that? Seems a bit petty to my way of thinking….okay, enough distractions, lets get on to the meat of the meal…..

“It has been said that there are two theories of history: conspiracy and blunder. If there is some truth to that, it is surely equally true that blunder seldom receives all the credit due it as an explanation of complex events.” — Michael Scully

I would say that this is probably pretty accurate; after all, it is the winners who get to tell the story, and why would they make themselves look any worse than they already are? I believe that much of mankind’s progress up to now is, in fact, a result of blundering about, breaking the china and scaring the horses, until something serendipitous falls into someone’s lap.

The example most often given regarding inspiration that brings progress is that of Isaac Newton and the apple, which, according to history, fell upon his head unexpectedly, causing him to fall down and begin writing the 3 Laws of Motion. I think it more likely that he was trying to climb up to get the apple, and took a good fall onto his head; he just blamed it on the apple, and since he was the only witness, who can gainsay him?

This points out one of the less attractive, and most problematic of the characteristics of humans, and that is our inability to get beyond our childish feelings of insecurity. The older we get, the less able we become to handle the embarrassment or ridicule that follows a mistake, and the more contortions we will assume to keep others from seeing our Bozoid Tendencies. You see, like the Firesign Theater said, “I think we’re all Bozo’s on this bus!”; we all have the unfortunate ability to perform ridiculously stupid acts at times.

Most folks, though, don’t like to be thought of this way, and will go through almost anything to prevent themselves from looking inept in front of other folks. Me, I wish they’d just learn to laugh at themselves, and everyone else; maybe then they could grow up enough to be able to look directly at the things in society that we need to change, instead of childishly refusing to even look at the situation. Emotional maturity means dealing with whatever happens, without letting emotions control one’s actions, or reactions, and most of mankind doesn’t exhibit anything close to that sort of maturity……

A Mexican newspaper reports that bored Royal Air Force pilots stationed on the Falkland Islands have devised what they consider a marvelous new game.  Noting that the local penguins are fascinated by airplanes, the pilots search out a beach where the birds are gathered and fly slowly along it at the water’s edge.  Perhaps ten thousand penguins turn their heads in unison watching the planes go by, and when the pilots turn around and fly back, the birds turn their heads in the opposite direction, like spectators at a slow-motion tennis match.  Then, the paper reports, “The pilots fly out to sea and directly to the penguin colony and overfly it.  Heads go up, up, up, and ten thousand penguins fall over gently onto their backs. — Audobon Society Magazine

I can’t help it. I this is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read; the mental image of thousands of birds falling over kicks me right over into hilarity. And I really, really like the idea of some bozoids spending hundreds of thousands of dollars  to use their supersonic flying machines of death to create a work of visual art, with only one witness, the pilot. Superb irony! It brings reality right up next to fantasy, and gives it a big hug……

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please your Majesty ?” he asked.  “Begin at the beginning,”, the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

“The entire world is being driven insane by this single phrase: ‘My religion alone is true.'” — Ramakrishna, Hindu saint & reformer

I guess that Christianity and Islam are not the only world religions that suffer from the actions of their more fanatical devotees. It seems to be a particularly human characteristic to take perfectly rational religious beliefs and twist them into a form that has a dual purpose, to wit: 1) the beliefs now support their own personal agenda, no matter how bigoted and ignorant, and 2) the beliefs now justify that agenda on religious grounds.

It’s been said that a good theologian can dip into Scripture and pull out any number of ideas that seemingly support their own brand of madness; much like a statistician, who can make the numbers in a database say anything at all. I’m sure there are a few genuinely religious preachers out there, who actually try to apply the principles of their religion into life in the way it was intended. But mostly, they are just politicians who have found an even easier set of marks to exploit….

“Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.” — Lazarus Long

All I ask of you is forever to remember me as loving you.

A beautiful sentiment, one I would be happy to claim, had I but said it first.  I live alone now, having been summarily dismissed from my last relationship almost two years ago. But I can truthfully say that this is a statement I could make to each of the women I’ve loved, and for that matter, still love. None of my relationships was terminated at my instigation; I’m not a person who gives vows of fidelity lightly.

But as Tom Robbins pointed out in one of his books, “Finding love is easy, but, how can you make love stay?” I don’t know the answer, obviously; if I did, I’d still be married. What I do know is that my feelings for Carrie, Martha, Ellen, and Julie will never change. When I wrote my own vows for my marriage, one of them promised that I would love her more each day until the day I died, and beyond. I meant it then, and I still do. It’s the hardest thing I know of to be alone, when those you love have chosen to be elsewhere. And it’s especially hard when you don’t know why……

“Thinking, understanding, reasoning, willing, call not these Soul! They are its actions, but they are not its essence.” — Akhenaton? (c. B.C. 1375)

When? Oh, four thousand four hundred eighty-seven years ago…..is that all? I’ve got acne scars older than that! Well, perhaps not. But I am continually amazed at some of the things I find that were written this long ago. It gives credence to the idea that mankind’s first steps toward modern culture were the result of how our minds work, and our penchant for using our imagination to understand the universe around us. It has been said that the first science was Astronomy, which makes a lot of sense. But, simultaneously, we used Philosophy, and the principles of logic and reason, to apply meaning to what we observed.

Forty-four hundred years is a long time to be working on the same issues, and it seems to me we should be getting somewhere a bit faster than we are. But then I realize that there is another side to human nature, one that is not so moral and ethical as our scientific bent, and this side of us is in constant competition with our virtues to assume control of society. And they are winning, mostly because they have no compunctions against cheating, or lying, or manipulating events to suit their own purposes. We’ve been at this long enough; let’s make a concerted effort to nullify the negative effects of deliberate ignorance and fear. Perhaps we can even find a way to survive our own nature…..

The abyss stares back at me, unblinking, unmoved.
With passion unveiled, with honor unproved,
Seeking the path only begun
In hope of love, never undone.
I am as I am, unafraid, and so very alone.

There, that’s not bad, is it? Not much, but not bad……I’m stopping here, as I refuse to press my luck any further, even if it is Friday the 13th. I hope youse have as good a day as I intend to have. Y’all take care out there……

Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.




1 thought on “Purveyors of faint praise….

  1. Friday the 13th came and went like any other…. I also don’t see any difference between Mondays, Humpdays and Fridays…. There is always such a lot of talk about these days in particular. However, my feelings are that if we were to place an emphasis on ‘any’ day in particular we are, basically, giving it energy that ‘could come back to bite us’; if you know what I mean… Mentally we could cause ourselves to become anxious. Life is ‘difficult’ enough without making it harder on ourselves….

    I almost fell off the chair laughing…. I’m about to go do a Google ’bout that penguin story… 😉 Got me! Darn, I am so gullible: (Penguins hate the sound of planes and are known to scatter as one approaches….. However, it sure made me laugh…… 😉 )

    Agree, agree with your sentiments. So many use ‘religion’ to bolster their insanity. It’s been going on for as long as religion itself.. Sigh…

    Well gotta go; have to go be chief cook and bottle washer…..

    Take care……. your body needs you 😉

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