Bilious clouds of smoke, greenish-yellow in the light of the street lamps, poured from the windows, while screams echoed off the walls across the way. As I stood in a shadowed doorway, I spied a figure in a window of the burning building’s second story, hooded, carrying a small bundle. As I watched the panicky movements, the figure suddenly tossed the bundle out of the window, where it fell softly down, almost seeming to float.
Without a thought, my legs moved, propelling me across the street to a point below the window, just in time to catch the bundle, which plopped into my arms lightly, without harm. As light from a nearby street lamp fell upon the bundle, I moved the covering blanket, to reveal the face of a small female child, with somber dark eyes that looked directly at mine, seemingly reading my innermost thoughts, and finding them to be distasteful….. as I looked back into those ancient eyes in a girl’s face, she spoke, “Well, are you just going to stand there, or will you flee now, assassin?…..
Hmm…. seems our assassin friend has found himself in a bit of an unusual situation, doesn’t it? Too bad we’re going to leave him to figure it all out himself… I’m okay with it, but it doesn’t really strike me just right, so I doubt if I’ll ever use those precise opening paragraphs for anything…. Always good practice though, and a good way to loosen up both fingers and brain cells….. works for me, anyway…..
That said, we should probably get right to the Pearl….. yesterday was an exhausting one for me. Nothing to do with WP, other than the 200 emails I’m now getting every day to deal with….. I had some errands that took me all over town on buses, a slow way to get around, and tiring for a old fart such as I’m turning into these days…. it’s a slow, insidious process, but the effects of age are nonetheless relentless in their advances.
Oh well, no complaints, just tired today…. fortunately, none of my physical degradations have affected my mind as yet, so let’s go give that a work-out, shall we?….. A-Pearling we will go……
“Authority has every reason to fear the skeptic, for authority can rarely survive in the face of doubt.” — Robert Lindner
A few days ago, another blogger here on WP, odie mama, (http://eyesofodysseus.wordpress.com) asked me a question. Well, it was more of an observation with a question mark behind it, but, …. it intrigued me. She said that even though I write about serious subjects with a cynical approach, a feeling of hope seemed to infuse the tenor of what is written, and asked me to comment on that….. It has taken me a couple of days for the idea to percolate, and this morning I found the pearl that helps to explain it, to me, and to her…..
I believe that the hope she is perceiving lies in the truth of the above quotation. The most powerful weapon of reason we have as humans is Doubt. Some may question that assertion, but to my mind, it is clearly the case. Nothing is more valuable in our search for the truth among all the lies we find strewn in our path; examining any claim with doubtful eyes is our best defense against the manipulations perpetrated upon us by other unscrupulous people. And those people whom I like to call our beloved ruling class know this…..
They know that when the people are informed, when education is free and universal, and the press is free, the task of manipulating the common man becomes much more difficult. This annoys them no end, so much so that they spend a lot of effort trying to remove or restrict anything in society that will promote doubt among the general populace. Cut educational funding, promote religious agendas that thrive on ignorance, dress up their lies in fancy clothes to look like truth; anything that will make folks refrain from thinking is good, in their eyes.
And that is the hope that is so apparent here….. though I speak of serious subjects, and lament their prevalence, and effects on people, Doubt is ever-present. I tend to challenge ANYTHING said by a talking head, especially if they are a politician, a priest, a pastor, or an imam. Whatever…. they are all just trying to foster and maintain their own version of slavery, so, as far as I am concerned, they deserve none of my respect, nor any of my mercy…. and they will find none of it here….. That is the hope that I spread….. Doubt….. a powerful ally on the Scholar Warrior’s Path….. and one hated and feared by all those in power, or who seek power over others…..
The good want power, but to weep barren tears.
The powerful goodness want : worse need for them.
The wise want love; and those who love want wisdom.
— P.B. Shelley, “Prometheus Unbound”
— How many assholes does it take to change a light bulb? None, assholes never see the light anyway. — Smart Bee
“A shelf of classics for our young adults: Tolkien, Hesse, Casteneda, Kerouac, Salinger, Tom Robbins, and “The Last Whole Earth Catalog”. — Edward Abbey
Gosh! I didn’t realize I was so well-grounded in the classics! Not only have I read at least one book by each of these authors, but, I’ve read more than one by all but one of them, and…. I read the entire book printed on the margins of the pages of the “Catalog”, narrated charmingly, and so effectively, by the vintage, loyal, stalwart, inadvertently abused, but well-loved VW bus, Urge, who detailed the times and travels of the people chiefly responsible for the creation of the Catalog itself……
“How can they say my life isn’t a success? Have I not for more than sixty years got enough to eat and escaped being eaten?” — Cindy Adams
“The wise man can pick up a grain of sand and envision a whole universe. But the stupid man will just lie down on some seaweed and roll around until he’s completely draped in it. Then he’ll stand up and go, “Hey, I’m Vine Man.” — Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handey
Now, that’s deep! :-) Deep enough that I hope you were wearing high tops…. but I do like the metaphor of the wise man and the grain of sand; hadn’t heard that in a while…. Cute, and lots of whimsy points… but not quite right….
“Whenever anybody says he’s struggling to become a human being I have to laugh because the apes beat him to it by about a million years. Struggle to become a parrot or something.” — Jack Handey, “Deep Thoughts”
More approximate wisdom from Jack…. :-) Admit it, you smiled…. Struggle to be a parrot, indeed!…. clever. Not quite what I’m looking for yet, though…. Onward…..
Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance. — Confucius
Not verified as truly the words of Master C,, but reasonable; it sounds like him. And that’s more like it, I think; we keep getting closer to a real pearl…. one more shot at the big money, ffolkes, then we’ll move on….
“A man’s gotta know his limitations.” — Dirty Harry [Clint Eastwood] in “Magnum Force”
Hmm…. I guess it just goes to show, you never know where you may find something unexpectedly valuable…. like a pearl heretofore hidden in the persona of a macho, maladjusted cop with PTSD, and a penchant for blowing his problems to bits with a big gun…. probably very stress relieving. It would be for me, for sure…. And… I think that the journey to get here, if you will look back over it, can be considered the true lesson, as is always the case when considering journeys, and destinations……
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate now knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” — Henri Nouwen, Out of Solitude
I am blessed with at least seven people in my life who fit into this mold, not including my children, who would also fit the given parameters. I’d also like to believe that my brothers and sisters, all four of them, would be there if needed; I know I would for them, and will be if necessary. We’ve all never been terribly close since moving apart, but also have always felt and shown loyalty, and love for each other.
So, that makes me a pretty lucky man, all in all, and I know it…. it humbles me, constantly, when I consider it, and it is a thought that carries me through some rough mental battles with myself, and with reality. Even if I don’t call for help, I know it would be there if I asked, and that can be enough…..
“The road to a friend’s house is never long.” — Danish proverb
“Trouble rather the tiger in his lair than the sage amongst his books. For to you Kingdoms and their armies are things mighty and enduring, but to him they are but toys of the moment, to be overturned by the flicking of a finger.” — Chinese proverb
This proverb is one that has ruled my existence, from the moment I first came across it in my early teens. In one aspect, it is a concept that supports and verifies what I wrote above about Doubt, and to my mind serves as solid evidence as to the truth of what I said there. This statement has also served me well as a social tool in my work, in every field I’ve embraced, if you can believe it. On a number of occasions, in mental hospitals, restaurants, and computer rooms, I have printed this onto a chalkboard, or an easel being used for a presentation at a meeting, just as a random act of intellectual subversion, and each time, the results have far surpassed whatever I had envisioned.
The sight of this quote displayed wherever I put it never failed to produce a response from all who read it, and those responses often painted a clearer picture of that person’s personality than anything else they ever said or did. Some would read it, and assume a puzzled frown, trying to assimilate its meaning. Depending on their success or failure, they would then smile and go on with whatever they were doing with a sense of calm and serenity… Or, others would frown in thought, then say something akin to “Pshaw!” and shake their heads as if to clean off their shiny coats of mud. Still others would widen their eyes, and look around for a pen, furiously scribble it down, and rush off to show it to someone else…. A very few would read it, and say something such as, “Oh, what a nice reminder….” These folks were generally the ones who were my friends….
To my mind, this approach to life, that of a scholar as opposed to a warrior, is the only choice I could make to be happy, and true to my nature. I acknowledge within myself that violence is a part of my nature, as it is for all of us naked apes; it is not something that is wise to overlook. But that part of my nature has ever been dominated by the part of me that HAS to have thoughts to ponder, the part that needs to read and absorb the perceptions of other minds, the part of me that would literally die if I did not embrace it as my purpose, my raison d’etre. I can no more stop reading and thinking than I can stop breathing, or eating, or any other essential life function…. it’s the way I’m made, and it has always been a joy to me to know this, and to give free rein to my intellect, refusing to limit its consumption to any single viewpoint or system of beliefs….
And so, I walk the Scholar Warrior’s Path; I walk that path with my books close at hand, pausing often to read, and consider…. the path is much clearer ahead of me that way, and I walk it with joy…. seeking Truth, and Beauty, and Love. I’ve found all three, and life is good, no matter what is happening around me, or to me…. So Be It…..
“My Teacher said that that that that that man used is incorrect.” — Smart Bee
I love the English language! You have to say it out loud, but if you do, you can see that the above sentence is absolutely correct usage….. brilliant! Not worth a whole pearl, which is why it is here at the end. But, it had to be included…. just because….
I think that went well…. no major foul-ups I’m aware of…. of course, proofing is yet to come, but, it all looks good to go for the time being. With a start like this, the day promises to be fairly productive and agreeably pleasant. Who knows? Maybe the woman I am to fall in love with, for the last time in my life, will walk into my life today…. not bloody likely, given current indicators, but, hey, worth a moment or two of anticipation before putting it back into the “I’m Patiently Awaiting” file, where it doesn’t distract me from the matters at hand….
On that note, I will put this to bed, in the vernacular of journalism….. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse Be With You…. (say it out loud, it sounds better…. it’s a hard “s”….)
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.