Update: 0945, 3/13/2012…. This Pearl of Virtual Wisdom was completed and ready to post at 0720 this morning. Sadly, my ISP is experiencing network problems, conveniently caused by the recent extremely large solar flare from out star, Sol, the munificent, that reached Earth day before yesterday, and continues to excite the Northern and Southern Lights… at this hour, there is still no word as to when they will overcome the problem, and restore service… SIGH….. if no change, I will update in two hours, just so I can keep from screaming aloud…..
1145, 3/13/2012…. Well….it’s a bit early, only 1138, but I’m getting that blood pressure spike that tells me that either I go for a walk and look for an innocent victim for my displaced anger, scream loud enough to hurt my throat and have the neighbors calling 911 for an ambulance, or begin my written rant… so here I am. With no news forthcoming regarding a time frame for restoring service, a time to be henceforth referred to as the Much Desired and Greatly Anticipated Moment of Deliverance From A Conveniently Disguised Plot to Censor My Blog by The Combined Forces of Evil Incarnate, I can do nothing but speculate as to the next form this devious attempt to silence me, and stay vigilant….. more later on that…. Okay then, 1145, Network still down, I’m off to make lunch and ponder the plan for how to fill up my time, and try to not think about the close to a hundred emails I expect to flood my inbox once I’m back online…. SIGH….
1300 Back online….the MDAGDTCMBBTCFOEI has arrived, and evil is once more on the run…. Blessed Be!….
Some days, such as this one thus far, the universe seems to be making a determined effort to be rude and contrary. So far, my ISP informs me that the network degradation problems they were having last night (8 hours ago) are still happening, but they are “working diligently” to overcome the problem, which affects ONLY my type of modem on the network! Then I go to answer a comment in WordPress with the new drop down menu function, and it refuses to scroll down past the bottom of the page, so I have no idea if what I’m typing is being reproduced, or where I am in my sentence. Then the absolutely rudest piece of unwelcome news… the coffee isn’t ready….because it is the one clock I neglected to turn forward on Sunday….so I have to wait for my coffee. Which is why I am whining and bemoaning my fate, just as if it mattered at all…… I guess I should go Pearl, and forget the rest…..tough without coffee….grumble, grumble, hmph…..
Oh, BTW…..my ISP problem is making it hard to get to other folk’s sites, so here is a comment, directed to Cracked and Snaap…. Oh, you have kids? I love kids! But I don’t think I could eat a whole one….. so don’t go to any trouble for my sake….. 🙂
Folly, thou conquerest, and I must yield!
Against stupidity the very gods
Themselves contend in vain. Exalted reason,
Resplendent daughter of the head divine,
Wise foundress of the system of the world,
Guide of the stars, who are thou then, if thou,
Bound to the tail of folly’s uncurb’d steed,
Must, vainly shrieking, with the drunken crowd,
Eyes open, plunge down headlong in the abyss.
— Johann Christian Friedrich von Schiller, The Maid of Orleans
This is one of my favorite verses, and the original source (I believe) for the sentiment “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.” A paean to the power of reason, defiant in its resistance to ubiquitous Folly, it describes perfectly the anguish felt by all men of reason in the face of the unlimited power of human stupidity, to which I would add the unwholesome adjunct carried by most of the deliberately stupid, cupidity….. a word I use to describe how these unfortunates make a deliberate choice to be ignorant, rather than attempting the, to them, hellishly difficult task of trying to learn.
“There are two infinite things in the universe: hydrogen atoms and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the hydrogen atoms.” — Albert Einstein
These misguided and stubborn throwbacks to cave days will typically expend more effort fighting to preserve their lack of understanding than they will to change it, no matter how convincing the argument may be, and even if they are made to see that they would benefit from even the smallest lessons Life has to give them. They prefer their cocoon of soft cotton, covered by thick steel, that covers and protects their insistence on wearing blinders and sunshades to keep out any extraneous knowledge; ignorance must indeed be blissful, for those who have not the courage or the honor to seek growth instead of stagnancy will cling to it like an addict to his heroin…..
“Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” — Lazarus Long
Shakespeare is not our poet, but the world’s,–
Therefore on him no speech! And brief for thee,
Browning! Since Chaucer was alive and hale,
No man hath walk’d along our roads with steps
So active, so inquiring eye, or tongue
So varied in discourse.
— Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) — To Robert Browning
Hmph! Poets, speaking to poets, about poets, in a poem… what were they thinking? Was it a literary challenge? A contest for prizes? Or just a temporary insanity, shared by more than one afflicted young sensitive dilettante? Maybe a virus, passed around by the English mail system, affecting only gullible poets of a certain age…. I don’t know, but it just seems a bit, well, cocky and indicative of an overweening pride, to my mind. Not the best poem, even for free verse; I expect more rhyming from a poet in the Romantic tradition, especially a contemporary of Browning, who couldn’t order breakfast without breaking into rhyme! Ah well, I suppose even Romantics have their bad days….. but I’m disappointed, to say the least……
Here ‘s to the maiden of bashful fifteen;
Here ‘s to the widow of fifty;
Here ‘s to the flaunting, extravagant queen,
And here ‘s to the housewife that ‘s thrifty!
Let the toast pass;
Drink to the lass;
I ‘ll warrant she ‘ll prove an excuse for the glass.
— Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) — School for Scandal, Act iii, Sc. 3
Now, that’s more like it! Rhymes that rhyme, structure, and a clever twist…. what more could a thirsty man ask for?…..
“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.” — George Washington
I like this….it fits in well with how I’ve always perceived Washington to be; a slow, but deep and steady type of mind, that because of it’s deliberative nature, sees deeply into any question, and draws out the most pertinent and useful information as a response. I have a lifelong friend whose mind works like that; Chuck, if you read this today, I’m speaking of you. I’ve always admired the way your mind works; you took your own sweet time, but you always got to the correct destination, no matter what subject was under discussion. Sometimes it surprises folks who don’t know you, and think that because you speak and think deliberately, you aren’t very bright; it’s good camouflage, isn’t it? And, in addition, I would include you in those few people I call Friend; our relationship, though old and well-worn, is as strong and fresh as when we last saw each other; less than a year ago it was when we met and reconnected at dinner with George and Rick, after close to 45 years since we graduated….. and it was the same as if we had seen each other the week before….. I cherish these memories, as I cherish those few who I regard as my friends….. a very small list, all things considered…..
“Courage can’t see around corners, but goes around them anyway.” — Mignon McLaughlin (The Neurotic’s Notebook)
When people think of those characteristics that are important for personal growth and living life honorably, courage is often overlooked, yet it is of primary importance, to each and every person who seeks to better their life and stature, or to help others do the same. All other virtues are of no use, if one has not the courage to act upon them; there is no honor, and no gain, in keeping silence in the face of oppression, nor will any of the less fortunate be helped, if we have not the courage to reach out to them.
There are innumerable instances every day when a lack of courage causes pain and hardship for those who have no power or resources to reject evil influences; rank cowardice it is, on the part of those who oppress, on the part of those who are oppressed, and most disappointing, on the part of any who witness such events. Everyone may give lip service to their disapproval of oppression, and tout their rejection of the forces of evil, but when confronted by the reality, the most common reaction is “am I, then, my brother’s keeper?”, and to look away, thus giving their consent by their silence….. One must find courage first, before any of their integrity or honorable intentions will have any relevance; evil is only fought with acts of honor, but one must act, and courage is essential to that process; just thinking about it won’t help anyone but the aggressor….
“Human language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, when all the time we are longing to move the stars to pity.” — Gustave Flaubert
Gus must have been a bit down in the mouth the day he wrote this, but he still managed to create a beautiful image, one that echoes the depths of the human condition, exposing the caverns of our collective soul. Sometimes I think that poetry manages to change the cracked kettle to a snare drum and brushes, rhythmic enough to have the bears dance a tango, or perhaps a waltz. Even prose, when well conceived, can make us howl at the moon and caper under the stars. And sometimes, we break the kettle, and get eaten by the bears….. I wish the last image was not so familiar as it feels….. but then, I’m no Flaubert, by any stretch of the imagination…… I’m closer to the level of say, the Marx Brothers…… Harpo was always my favorite, probably because he was a mime….. he had a natural understanding of what Harry Truman said, to wit: “I never have regretted anything I didn’t say….” A pair of wise men…..
We come sadly to the end of another day’s musings; endings are always a bit sad, aren’t they? But our sadness can be soothed by the knowledge that tomorrow will come, same as it does every day; that small assurance remains as one of our most reliable anchors to reality, for it has been found to be true for every day we have lived, and shows no inclination toward changing anytime soon. Comforting, don’t you think? I find it so….. but, I’m pretty easy to please, when it comes to reality…. it changes so often on me, I try not to anticipate events too far ahead; it seems to work out better for everybody that way….. Y’all take care out there…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.