Odd dreams, indeed, that persist into the day. Odder still when they ask for coffee. But there he was, a huge, red-skinned demon, complete with horns and a tail, big as life and twice as ugly, sitting in my only chair, and demanding coffee. I’m pretty sure, even without checking, that I’ve never had one of the nasty creatures that inhabit some of my less cheerful dreams sit in my living room, and the new experience wasn’t bringing me the thrill of discovery and wonder that one might expect. In fact, it was just pissing me off….
“What the hell makes you think I’m giving you coffee!” I said, calmly…. well, it would have been calmly, but for the volume set at “scream”…. My visitor merely smiled, looking at me as if I were a tardy student, and shook his head. “Because I asked for it?” he rumbled out of his over-sized mouth. “You’ve never been one to deny basic hospitality.” “I’m making an exception in your case, ” I snapped back, “since you seem to have invited yourself to this party.” “True, true,” he smiled, “but, you’ll feel better with some of it inside you, and we’ll have a better chat.” Fuming, but resigned because he was right, I moved into the small kitchen to pour a couple of cups.
There… that’s out. Better out than in, I always say…. I am starting today’s dive for pearls very late, as my body refused to get up at my usual time. I find myself here at my computer with three and a half extra hours of sleep, which I apparently needed badly. It’s not really hard to understand why. I just don’t like to admit that it is so exhausting to sit around and fight against pain, but there seems to be little I can do to deny it, as that is all I do, mostly…. Let me tell you, this getting old sucks, big time….
Not only does it suck, but it makes me whine, which I hate in myself. It’s bad enough to have the pain, which no one can see, but to complain about it lacks dignity, and I can use all of that I can muster. So, if y’all don’t mind, I think I’ll just drag this cloak of dignity I found laying here around my shoulders, take a deep breath, and dive into the pool on a search for pearls…. take a breath now, if you’re going with me…One…two… three…. dive!……
Here is a reverse pearl…. instead of a quote, or two, and my discussion of the subject, here are four excellent pearls, all of which I have previously discussed; there is really no need to write more about them, as my opinion is well-documented…. Instead, just read them all, in the order presented, and note how accurate a picture it paints of the current political scene in this country…. they clearly demonstrate, or at least highlight, how our own failure as citizens of a democracy has contributed to the position in which we now find ourselves….
“There is no such thing as security. There never has been.” — Germaine Greer
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
— C. S. Lewis
“It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives… When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered.” — Dorothy Thompson, American journalist, author (1894-1961)
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” — H. L. Mencken
I was watching one of my favorite movies last night, “The American President” and one of the lines reminded me of just how far we have come from the dream our founding fathers had for us…. from the speech at the end of the movie, the President says, “I assure you, Bob Rumson (read: Mitt Romney) has no interest in solving your problems. He is interested in only two things, making you afraid of it, and telling you who to blame for it.” (That may be slightly incomplete or inaccurate as to exact wording, but the meaning and sentiment remain clear) If we elect a fool into office, we have no one to blame but ourselves. And me? I insist on only being afraid of what I choose to be afraid of, and what the political pundits would have me be afraid of is just an illusion…. another of the lies, the creation of which they are very facile and experienced….. stay alert folks….
“Liberty don’t work as good in practice as it does in speeches.” — Will Rogers
Unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. — New Testament — Matthew xxv, 29
This will be one of the shortest pearls ever, even including this superfluous opening. All I have to say here is what came to mind when I read it just now during my dive, which was, “Well, the bankers sure took this one to heart, didn’t they?” That’s all… just think about it… which is more than any Christian would do….
Heaven Holds a Place for Those who Prey — Smart Bee
“Whenever I’m faced with a difficult situation, I like to ask myself what my idol, Edward R. Murrow, would think; and I think Ed would call this censorship. But I also ask myself what my other hero, General George Patton, would think; and I think George would believe this country needs to be cleaned up. Why, if George were alive today, he’d take two armored tank divisions into Hollywood and knock those liberal pinheads into the ocean! So, as you can see, I’m a very confused man. And when I’m confused, there’s only one thing that makes me feel better: I watch TV.” — Les Nesman, “WKRP in Cincinatti”
I find this to be, while amusing, a very, very scary, and uncannily accurate, description of how most of this country approaches life. When things become too confusing, they go watch TV, so they can find out what they are supposed to be thinking. I personally know a great number of folks who center their entire day around what is on TV; hell, before I got them out of that habit, my own kids were almost suckered into that sort of approach. Fortunately, my daughter inherited my love of reading and books, and my son turned his attention to the real world, immersing himself in kung fu for most of this free time.
But, in general, what is on TV is what most of America will parrot when asked what they believe. Very few of us seem to have perpetuated the habit of thinking about what we’ve been told; sometimes it seems as the bloggers I follow are the only ones who are doing so. I certainly see very little evidence out in real life that tells me that anyone is paying attention to this issue.
Mostly, the folks who question authority try to remain true to the system, pursuing their goals within the constraints of that system. But, it doesn’t work, as the vast majority of folks in this country come home from their slave jobs to flick on the TV and let the nonsense fill their heads up with stuff that keeps them quiet and content, like “The Simpsons” or some such….. SIGH……
Not much needs saying here… this fine fellow is here merely to express my opinion of politicians, popes, kings, queens, ayatollahs, bankers, CEO’s, and every other type of human who seeks to assume power over others…. so there!…. and to illustrate the old saw about a picture being worth a thousand words… in my case it is often 1500 words, so this image saved you all from that this morning…. nice of him, eh?
However many holy words you read,
However many you speak,
What good will they do you
If you do not act on upon them?
My religious upbringing was pretty casual, since my parents weren’t particularly devout, at least outwardly. Most of my life we attended Presbyterian churches, but were never heavily involved. The whole story behind Christianity always seemed pretty improbable to me, even at the tender age of four or five when it was first introduced in Sunday School, where the kids in Presbyterian churches were sent during services to keep from either distracting the minister during his sermon, or to distract their parents from their nap during said sermon. (You can’t fool a four-year old about motivation….)
As I grew older, the things about church that first bothered me continued to grow in number, fueled most heavily by the actions of the church-goers. It always seemed to me that what was said in church on Sunday, and what actually happened out in the real world had nothing to do with each other. Nobody I could see was acting in a Christian manner anywhere but in church, and even then, it seemed pretty self-serving, as if the folks who were discussing morality were showing off for the preacher, more than they were invested in the morals themselves. (You can’t fool a teenager about hypocrisy….)
As my reading list expanded, I found that my suspicions and objections to Christian churches intensified, as I became more aware of what actually went on out in the real world, and was exposed to more religions and philosophies. It seemed, at least on the surface, that the proponents of the other big religions in the world were no less hypocritical in their actions than were the Christian, and further evidence of the accuracy of that observation has been in the news daily for a long time.
Nobody in the entire world, as far as I can see, really buys into any of the religions, unless they are so poor that they grasp onto the charitable aspects of their respective creeds in order to survive. I can find no religion, anywhere in the world, that has significantly advanced the cause of morality in humans; it generally has a negative effect instead, providing their constituents with reasons to practice immorality, as long as it is directed against those in other sects.
So, I continue to wage my own personal battle against the ignorance of reality that all churches demand of their followers, and promote rationality and reason as an approach to life, rather than encouraging people to submit to what, to me, is just another lie disguised as something supposedly “good for me”…. and I find the following statement to be extremely accurate, not only in the context of when it was written, but today as well…..
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult, and left untried.” — Gilbert K. Chesterton (1874-1936), “What’s Wrong with the World
It is unusual for me to find myself with nothing to say; I’ve never been unable or unwilling to form an opinion on almost anything, and being who I am, I’m not shy about sharing those opinions. But, I feel now, at the end of this morning’s effort, to be without anything useful to add. So, being the reasonable, rational person I am, I will stop now…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.