Perspective…. one of our most valuable perceptive qualities. The perspective from which one views any piece of information can determine not only the importance of the data, but how one processes it. Now that I have some degree of perspective on the events of yesterday, during my adventures out in the Big Blue Room, I can see why yesterday’s Pearl seemed to flow so smoothly onto the page….. Murphy was once again at work, lulling me into complacency, and setting me up for the roller-coaster ride to come….
As a matter of fact, no, I don’t have a life. — Smart Bee
Without going into details, which were hard enough to consider as they occurred, let’s just say that Mr. Irish Fatalist spent much of the afternoon hanging about my vicinity, directing traffic, so to speak, making sure that only the most frustrating and annoying people approached me, and only the laziest, most indifferent office drones weren’t getting their work done because they were gossiping too long. He also made sure that the bureaucracy I was dealing with followed its insane regulations to the letter, thereby bringing the entire system to a crashing halt every few minutes…. The net result was a no-doubt entertaining four hours for Murphy, and the same amount of sheer frustration and mounting pain for me…. quite a party…..
It’s your right to be stupid, but it doesn’t mean you should be. — Smart Bee
With the perspective that today brings, I can slough off the emotional detritus that resulted from the day’s events, though it’s a bit harder to throw off the stiffness that being up on my feet for so many hours brings. With that perspective, I can look back and assign a whole different value to what took place yesterday. I did accomplish all I set out to do when I left the house, so all in all, the day can be considered a win….and that’s a good thing. So, I’ll just leave yesterday where it belongs… in the past, and we will proceed into another day, a bit late (like about four hours late… I was tired….), but relatively unbowed. I think, given the state of current affairs, I should go Pearl now….. it’s the only thing that can save me at this point…
“There is no comfort without pain; thus we define salvation through suffering.” — Cato
The Laboratory-Ancien Régime
Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,
May gaze thro’ these faint smokes curling whitely,
As thou pliest thy trade in this devil’s-smithy—
Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?
He is with her, and they know that I know
Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear
Empty church, to pray God in, for them!—I am here.
Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,
Pound at thy powder,—I am not in haste!
Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things,
Than go where men wait me and dance at the King’s.
That in the mortar—you call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly,—is that poison too?
Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket!
Soon, at the King’s, a mere lozenge to give,
And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
But to light a pastile, and Elise, with her head
And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!
Quick—is it finished? The colour’s too grim!
Why not soft like the phial’s, enticing and dim?
Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir,
And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer!
What a drop! She’s not little, no minion like me!
That’s why she ensnared him: this never will free
The soul from those masculine eyes,—Say, “no!”
To that pulse’s magnificent come-and-go.
For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall
Shriveled; she fell not; yet this does it all!
Not that I bid you spare her the pain;
Let death be felt and the proof remain:
Brand, burn up, bite into its grace—
He is sure to remember her dying face!
Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose;
It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close;
The delicate droplet, my whole fortune’s fee!
If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me?
Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,
You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!
But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
Ere I know it—next moment I dance at the King’s!
Riding other people’s roller coasters through their heads can be fun!…..
There are those who claim that magic is like the tide; that it swells and fades over the surface of the earth, collecting in concentrated pools here and there, almost disappearing from other spots, leaving them parched for wonder. There are also those who believe that if you stick your fingers up your nose and blow, it will increase your intelligence. — “The Teachings of Ebenezum, Volume VII”
Whether we are atheist, agnostic, faithful, or dogmatic, the one idea that all can agree on is that the ONLY real power that a person has in this Universe is the power of choice. Religionists will admit that “free will” is the property of mankind; it makes them nervous, but it’s right there in the Bible, so they have to accept it, by their own rules. Those of us who prefer to decide for ourselves about such matters still must yield to natural law, to which the concept of choice is certainly subject. Thus it can be used as a point of reference upon which to base discussion between the differing parties…. Not that it ever does, since, being people, they’re all stubborn as a wood post, and generally find some other reason to get miffed about, thereby avoiding having their assumptions tested….
“Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.” — Edward Abbey
It is this tendency, this stubborn refusal to change, that is the bane of my existence. I have no real prejudice against stupid people; stupidity itself is incurable, and, in its own way, can be charming. But, its concomitant companion, ignorance, is a matter of choice, and is therefore unforgivable. One cannot help not being able to learn quickly or well, but one can still learn. To my way of looking at the world, between two sins, that of pre-marital sex, (labeled so by virtually every Christian sect….), and that of choosing to be ignorant, the latter is by far of greater harm, morally, ethically, and culturally.
“It’s your right to be stupid, but it doesn’t mean you should be, or have to be.” — Smart Bee
“My momma says stupid is as stupid does.” — Forrest Gump
This is where choice is so important…. In order to NOT concede the illogic of refusing to learn from new sources of information (rather than trusting only one source that never changes), one must choose. In order to NOT see the harm being caused by that refusal, one must choose. In order to NOT admit to hatred, prejudice, bigotry, and elitism, one must choose. And all those choices are, at their core, selfish, vain, ethically and morally bankrupt, and, ultimately, cowardly. To choose to be ignorant is to choose self over others, to choose avarice over compassion, and to choose hatred over tolerance. The most zealous believers even believe that their ignorance is what makes them special…. It does, actually… especially stupid…
“No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” — John Donne — Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624)
We all have heard the above line “No man is an island”…. if you haven’t, well, I really can’t say much other than “what planet have you been visiting?”… 🙂 It’s been discussed to death, and I’m not going to do so here…. I’m just going to use it to finish out this thought re: stupidity vs. ignorance…. Essentially, each of us is a part of the tapestry that is Life…. a thread, if you will, in the complex, colorful, agonizingly beautiful, and painfully ugly picture of the world that hangs on the wall of the Universe.
My purpose in Life is to learn enough to make my part of the picture all it can possibly be; it seems to me my duty, as well as my pleasure (or pain, in turns…). I can’t see the point in making the picture look all the same, or all one color, or all one kind of building…. that is too limited for me. Choosing to limit what one sees in Life is, to me, ignorant…. not stupid, because stupid can learn…. but deliberately ignorant, which goes beyond stupid, into the land of the insane….
“If you live your life out of memory, you live out of your history. That’s what once was. If you live out of your imagination, you live out of your potential. That’s what can be.” — Smart Bee
___________________________________ As promised in an earlier Pearl, more pictures! This one was found on Facebook, posted by my friend Patrick, who posts a LOT of really cool stuff he finds on the Net. I especially like this one, aside from the obvious cute factor, for the absolute accuracy it displays regarding the nature of the adolescent feline. He’s just doing his thing….
How is that relevant today? It’s like this…. this blog, it seems, is now my thing….. It’s what I do, to be who and what I am now. Part of that, in fact, a large part, has been to write about my thoughts on religion, politics, and other subjects that I won’t discuss with people as a general rule, at least not face to face. This is, of course, a result of having learned, like most ffolkes, that discussing those first two subjects often leads to conflict, and isn’t worth the effort on a risk vs. gain basis. One can easily lose friends and alienate people in short order by making (unpopular or oppositional ) opinions known. This reluctance to talk about preachers & pundits in conversation, I’ve found, though a good policy for interpersonal relationships in general, has a deleterious effect on my sense of honesty…. Hence, Pearls of Virtual Wisdom….
I’d like to make something clear here… I write a lot of stuff that is critical of the Christian churches, and don’t always take the time to make clear that I am speaking of the institutions, not necessarily the people who are part of those institutions. Or more specifically, I am speaking about those who administrate, or operate, the institutions, and not about the people who attend the church itself. The difference between those two sets of people is significant, and large. Those who run the churches do so out of motives vastly different from those who attend the services; their intent resembles more that of a politician than a supplicant. Many who come to church do so out of their own need for meaning in their lives, hoping to find compassion and support. Those who run the church do so because the money is good, and the work is easy; and many come to find escape from having to think for themselves….
I would estimate that of the total number of people in the world who consider themselves to be Christians, about 35% are people who actually try to live their lives as would Christ have done, with compassion and service to others. I find that these ffolkes are embarrassed by the other 65%, who are in it for whatever they can get from it, or for the solace they find in being sheep, part of a group that is special, because they are the only ones going to heaven….
Religions have done some good in history, but even the good they do is ill-advised, as it usually serves the purposes of the beloved ruling class, more than it serves to provide succor and relief to the poor. The ignorance and prejudices that most religions foster have caused far more damage, in producing cultural mistrust, in advocating wars, than any of the good they have done. It is this against which I rail, not against the people who try to live up to the most excellent, if not universally flexible, teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The people who become preachers, priests, imams, or any other title for a religious leader, come from the same group of people who produce politicians, corporate magnates, and the others in the human herd that prey on the rest of us…..
Personally, I don’t consider myself to be omniscient, so I can’t claim to be qualified to define an entity who is so by definition; neither do I consider any other human being qualified to do so. I have my opinions, of course, and others are welcome to theirs; but they are just opinions, and have no other bearing on reality. I so wish that people could understand that delicate, subtle, difference. But, as long as there are folks who insist on having their opinion “rule the roost”, I guess I’ll have stuff to write about…. good for me, not so much for them…. 🙂
There you have it. The straight word, straight from the somewhat feverish mind of gigoid on a Saturday morning…. Such as it is, so shall it be…. I have spoken. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.