Table hopping at Godot’s public house….

Guilt is a powerful motivator for us humans. Whether we approve of it as an emotion, or fight to eradicate it from our emotional pantheon, it remains as effective at 61 as it was at 16. We cannot help our response to it; we may be able to control that response, and deny guilt what it wishes us to do. Denying the feeling, however, has a price, as it causes the guilt to deepen, and cause even more distress to the organism than initially felt, which is part of why it is such an effective motivator.

Guilt trips:  The nuclear weapon of relationships… — Smart Bee

Why have I woken up feeling guilty? Well, it has to do with this blog, and the wonderful ffolkes who stop by regularly to read it. In the last week or so, I’ve been in a struggle to maintain equilibrium, one of the nice little gifts that having PTSD brings me. One of the side effects of this struggle is a lack of concentration, in this case taking the form of not being able to sit for long, or to concentrate for long on tasks such as reading, as the problems my mind is chewing on keep intruding into the activity I’m trying to carry on.

This makes it really hard to get to all the blog sites I want to, to read what other folks are writing, or see the pictures they’ve taken. It especially bothers me that I can’t see the work of my favorite poets (and poetesses) to keep up my quota of absorption of beauty….. (It also affects the process of creating Pearls, but we won’t get into that right now, as it just feeds the alligator, if you get my drift….)

Hence, the guilt, as I feel I am not fulfilling my duty to them. For that guilt I do not apologize; I do so, however, for not being able to get to their sites, and hope that they will understand. I’m a fast reader, and once I’m able to concentrate long enough to do so, I will get caught up to what has been done in my absence; that is without doubt.

So, to those of my friends who haven’t seen me on their site of late, please forgive me, and rest assured I will be back. It has taken ALL of my considerable mental effort to produce these Pearls each day, but soon I’ll have some extra to spread around, and will be heading over to the sites of those ffolkes who regularly check out mine first thing….and thanks for being patient with my broken brain….

There…. now that I have assuaged at least a portion of the guilt I’ve been making myself suffer from, we can get on with the day’s more important business. Shall we Pearl? I think we shall….

“Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul.” — Mark Twain

“If you have a particular faith or religion, that is good. But you can survive without it if you have love, compassion, and tolerance. The clear truth of a person’s love of God is if that person genuinely shows love to fellow human beings.” — Dalai Lama

Same idea, as far as I can tell, just expressed differently. In the case of the Dalai Lama, clear, complete, and precise, naming the key elements. In the case of Mr. Twain, deceptively simple and humorous, yet equally broad in scope. One can often see the value of an idea by how well it combines with another, and in this case I think that works quite well, as we may then summarize the two to say, “Love, compassion, and tolerance make for a tidy soul,” which I think is an excellent lesson, and would make a very good koan for meditation. In practice, it holds up just as well, as I have yet to see any display of love, compassion, or tolerance that had a negative effect on reality.

Every religion, or religious philosophy, that I have studied over the years has these three ideas at their core; it is the one area where they all agree. Yet, the application of any of them remains limited to those times when expediency allows it, and very few others. In spite of the centuries of teaching these traits to their devotees, I can see very little evidence that the majority of mankind pays any attention to them outside church, unless it is somehow to their advantage to do so.

This makes what the Dalai Lama said even more relevant, when he noted that one does not NEED a religion to act with love, because it is plain that just having the religious bent does not guarantee such behavior. In fact, it seems to make it easier for people to ignore it, as they know that any transgressions or failures on their part will be forgiven….

It would do very little good for me to further chastise us as a species for our lack of moral behavior, so I’ll not. But I will say that I would wish to see more love, compassion, and tolerance at play in the world at large before I will ever recommend religion, or religious philosophy, to anyone as a cure for immorality, at least, not as one to use outside of the confines of their particular sect. The real world wouldn’t know what to do if it were ever faced with a general outbreak of morality from mankind…. it could shatter the very bonds that hold Reality together, destroying the universe, and life as we know it, for all time…. Is it worth the risk?….. Well, no matter, I don’t see much chance of a huge outpouring of love, compassion, and tolerance happening in the near future, so the risk is small…..

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. you only need a heart full of grace. a soul generated by love.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I think trash is the most important manifestation of culture we have in my lifetime.”  — Johnny Legend

When I was in my 30’s, I worked a couple of years as a trash collector in Oxnard, CA. In many ways, it was my favorite among all the jobs I’ve had in my life, even more so than being a chef, which was otherwise the most challenging and fulfilling of my chosen professions. But, working outdoors, doing hard physical work, turned out to be very fulfilling, in more ways than just the physical.

I was performing a valuable service to society, even discounting the flaws in the entire system that causes society to produce so much trash that the service is essential to the continued functioning of that culture. Without getting the trash out of the way, society would not just grind to a halt, it would create an environment much more dangerous, from a health standpoint.

This society, world-wide, produces more trash than you can imagine. The sheer bulk of what was moved in one day, in one city, continuously astounded me. Let me crunch a couple of numbers here, to give you a small idea…. I worked for a time on what is called an industrial pickup route, in a truck designed to pick up the trash contained in those large dumpsters all over in the alley ways behind businesses. This truck would hold anywhere from 7 to 10 tons of trash before needing to go to the dump site to unload. Our route usually produced enough to load up twice in one 8 hour shift, so I will average our daily load to 10 tons, for the sake of accuracy in estimation. That is 20,000 lbs. of garbage per day… remember that number.

The city where I worked had 9 of these trucks for industrial pickup, plus three others that were designed to pick up the railroad car sized dumpsters used at construction or demolition sites. Call that an average of 10 trucks a day in use, considering breakdowns and usage patterns. So, 10 trucks, each delivering 20,000 lbs./day to the dump. 200,000 lbs., or a thousand TONS per day, just from the industrial trucks.

There were also 30 household trash trucks, which added another 8 tons/day each to the total. That’s about 240 more TONS per day going into the landfill sites. This is for one average sized city, for one day, remember. 1240 tons/day. My estimates are probably a bit low, as I tried to be careful not to overestimate.

I will leave it as an exercise for the Gentle Reader to determine what these numbers say about our society, and how well we are doing at husbanding the resources of this finite planet upon which we are living. If your calculations, and ruminations, parallel my own, you’ll be depressed for a time…..

“It’s men who make laws, and enforce them, and break them, and think the whole performance is wonderful.  Most women would rather just ignore them.” — Ursula K. Le Guin

I would say that we may accept this as being true; it has points that support that assumption well. First, a woman said it, so it is most likely to be accurate in describing the woman’s view on laws. Second, a mature, well-educated woman said it, so the observation it makes about men has the advantage of long-term study of a large sample of men by a reasonably objective observer. Third, it matches my own experience, and I would guess that anyone who took the time to think about it will be forced to agree that it makes perfect sense….

This in no way is meant to provide fuel to the fire of the idea of a war between the sexes. I’ve never really bought into that, as it is counter-productive in the most basic sense, i.e., survival as a species. A war between male and female is just a term some lazy guy used because he were ashamed of not being able to understand women….

“Men are more sentimental then women. It blurs their thinking.” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”

As much as men like to think they are more scientific minded than women, they also lack the objectivity that women have regarding certain aspects of life. Lazarus points out the reason behind that, while at the same time giving a clue to how to deal with it in one’s self. Learning to acknowledge one’s vulnerabilities makes it much simpler to account for them, and to provide them with defensive measures, or to set them aside temporarily.

Of course, this also means that they must learn to set aside their sense of pride, which is probably misplaced in any case. Pride should only be entertained in cases of having earned it for some extraordinary effort, not for a mere state of being. (I never understood how a lot of men, and women, say they are proud to be American, when they had nothing to do with becoming one. Their parents might be entitled to some pride for having made their children good Americans, but the child has no right to pride before earning it…..)

I have been of the opinion for a long time that we need to devise a different method for choosing the leaders of society. The system as it exists is just about as worthless as it can be, as it is designed to give the power to make decisions for society to those people who are the worst at it, as they look at the task from a completely self-serving, avaricious standpoint, and tend to use it for no one’s benefit but their own.

I usually will vote for any woman candidate on a ballot that I see, just to see if any changes can be encouraged, but, unfortunately, most of the women on the ballots are there for the same reason as the men, having become convinced that assuming male characteristics is the key to success in that world.

“If men can run the world, why can’t they stop wearing neckties? How intelligent is it to start the day by tying a little noose around your neck?” — Linda Ellerbee

I’d best bring this to a close, if I am to get anything else done today, as this is an issue that can never be resolved. It can’t be resolved because it is not a problem…. it is the state of reality, and it will change all on its own. No, the problems that men and women have between them are not resolvable by thinking about the issue as a war (though Sun Tzu’s principles CAN be useful in inter-gender relations…), because as one species, that makes no sense, from any perspective.

Instead, we can try to look at the issue as one of education and communication, and try to increase our understanding of one another by honest talk…. Hey, it’s worth a try, especially as it hasn’t been tried very often before, on a large scale…. couldn’t hurt, could it?….Well, a bit of pain goes along with growth….

Dance and Provencal song and sunburnt mirth!
Oh for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene!
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth.
— John Keats (1795-1821) — Ode to a Nightingale

Ah, Keats! In his 26 short years on this planet, he wrote poetry that changed the genre, for the better in my opinion, for all time. He wrote prolifically, thank goodness, over the few years his life allowed him the freedom to do so. It is painful to think of how much the world lost when he died so young, the victim of the ignorance of medicine of his time. I can never decide if immortality is worth the price that often must be paid to achieve it…. I need another poem….

A long, long sleep, a famous sleep
That makes no show for dawn
By stretch of limb or stir of lid, —
An independent one.

Was ever idleness like this?
Within a hut of stone
To bask the centuries away
Nor once look up for noon?
— Emily Dickinson

Okay, I’m good now…. let’s go on….

“I always have a quotation for everything — it saves original thinking.” — Dorothy L. Sayers

If one is unfamiliar with Dorothy Sayers, this may seem a bit sarcastic, or sardonic, take your pick. But, in reality, she must have said this with a perfectly straight face, in the complete and serene knowledge that it is nonsensical, at least in its conclusion; the first part is perfectly true. I don’t know when in her life she said or wrote this, but her originality, as far as I am concerned, is not a matter of debate, having been proven beyond any such consideration by the advent of her oh, fourth or fifth novel.

Her scholarly achievements were obvious from her time at University, and though I am not familiar with her work from then, I’m sure there are indications of the vast pool of her imagination, and the untested, unknown waters that flowed through it, promising visions of completely new areas of thought and experience. These indications were later fulfilled in her writings over the following decades of the mid-twentieth century.

Her mystery novels were so rich in detail, so perfectly reflective of the culture of her age, and the society in which she lived, they  provided a completely new direction to the entire field of writing mysteries, prompting changes reflected in every story by every author whose work she influenced, which conceivably includes all of them that came after.

The Lord Peter Whimsey novels, in and of themselves, would be considered a lifetime’s worth of output for any author, an output that deserved great pride of accomplishment. But, that was not the limit of her imagination, nor of the range of her interests. She also produced a complete translation of Dante’s works, considered to be the definitive standard for such books, among other scholarly and fictional works . She was an amazing woman, a truly gifted author, and one of the finest examples of what a human being can be…. in my humble opinion….

That was fun. It’s nice to be able to finish up with a positive piece; it puts a nice cap to the effort. So nice, I’m going to let it go at that…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….

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




One thought on “Table hopping at Godot’s public house….

  1. Don’t feel guilty, please!!!!! I’ve only been blogging for about a month and a half, and I’ve heard that from other people as well. They start to feel overwhelmed with trying to keep up with their own blog, responding to comments, reading other people’s blogs, and on and on. I had one person express a bit of criticism over my blog because “all I do is post photos”…and yet people keep visiting my site. Truth is, not that many people really visit my site, so what the heck??? It’s all just fine with me. I wish I had the time and the talent to write, like so many of you. But I only have time to take a photo here and there…and read the words that I love so much that other bloggers write. You know, if you only posted once a week, I bet it would be okay, and we’d all just be waiting for you. I can tell how much work and passion goes into each post that you write. Take a break every now and then. Don’t feel guilty! And do only what you can do, that’s all that any of us can do. I’ve said enough, probably too much…but once again, don’t feel guilty, okay??? 🙂

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