Rooms full of attenuated pilgrims….

Ffolkes,
Most blogs you’ll visit today will be talking about the day, since it is New Year’s Eve. There will be all sorts of lists, of course, of the most significant events, pictures, ideas, stories, etc. of the past year, as well as speculation and predictions about the upcoming one. Some folks will share their New Year’s resolutions with us, while some will give their reasons for not making them…. All quite predictable, ultimately, and typical of the human need to acknowledge the passage of time with celebratory festivities, and relatively useless discussion of things that can no longer be changed, because they are now in the past . Here at ECR, though, we laugh at such folly….. It’s just another day to us, and another opportunity for Murphy to show his ugly face….

Exploring consensual reality means more than just talking about what people see as real; it means being real, and learning to accept the reality of others, while at the same time rejecting all those realities that are harmful in some way. It means speaking up against all the cruelty and evil that we see, refusing to join the masses who try to ignore what they cannot understand, and therefore, fear. It means exposing those who live their lives without regard for anyone else. It means taking responsibility for one’s own actions, and insisting that others do the same. It means, to me, that even though there is little hope of changing human nature at this late date, a small chance exists that we can survive, provided we learn to embrace ALL of life with honest regard, and can find a way to bring out the best in human nature, rather than allowing the worst to run rampant…..

And that, pompous as it is, is ALL we will say about the future, or the past year, for the time being. Everyone else will, I’m sure, cover that adequately, and it would be a waste of my time to add to what is already a massive outpouring of material to read. I’d much rather provide something a bit different, and shall endeavor to do so, post haste….. Sorry, once pomposity sets in, it’s hard to put down…..

Today’s first pearl is a pretty big one, and fairly deep, in some respects; it’s been growing now for a couple of days, actually, since the first part occurred to me. It’s certainly not a typical article or subject, in that it is somewhat less than tolerant of moral weakness than some might say is warranted; no matter, I’m my own harshest critic, now that I’m not married anymore. If I start being easy on myself in this, it would just spread to other areas of my experience, and that’s not going to happen. Even though I don’t always agree with the logic of societal mores, there is something to be said about the old saw, about how taking the first step toward evil deeds can lead to more of the same, until one has lost the way back to decency. One has to draw the line somewhere….

Enough meandering…. I had intended to be much more artistic this morning…. Alas, though Frank and Earnest remain present, Art seems to have taken a leave of absence…. Ah well, such is life in paradise on a foggy, cold, final day of the year. It seems our only alternative is to begin the Beguine, in a manner of speaking…. Shall we Pearl?……
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Forgiveness. How does a person without faith in a higher power obtain this boon? Certainly not from themselves…. I know, if I have done something for which I feel the need, or desire, to be forgiven, then I most likely don’t deserve it, and refuse to give in to self-indulgence. According to the preachers, God forgives all, but damn me if I can see any reason to do so, no matter how ‘merciful’ he/she/it might be. How can anyone expect moral behavior, if even our most grievous sins are forgiven? Because of the promise of reward for compliance, or threat of punishment for refusal to conform? I agree with Albert Einstein, that any such philosophy is not realistic, and certainly not moral…..

“In his private heart no man much respects himself.” — Mark Twain

All of us, without exception, have things we hide inside ourselves, secrets that nobody else will ever be told. Whether it is a memory of an act one is not proud of, or a bit of severe foolishness, or something so shameful that to share it would be to become a pariah, all of us humans have secrets. I would guess that almost all of them are akin to what is described in the first paragraph, to wit: acts that need forgiveness, but do not deserve it. I believe that this may be a method by which one can tell another person’s outlook on religion, for almost all religions are based on this principle, of divine forgiveness. Even though we may do things in life that are unforgivable, the gods, or God, for the monotheistic among us, are so merciful, that they will do so, if you but acknowledge their divinity, and admit they are your higher power…..

It’s a good deal, all in all, if one buys it. Myself, I’m a bit sanguine about it, since I only have the word of the preachers that it is so; there is no real evidence to be found that supports the theory, and the scientist in me wants at least a little bit of proof before accepting something as truth. I’m not going to buy anything just on someone else’s word, or assertion of truth; I’ve been alive long enough to know that doing things like that can only lead to losing something, if only the advantage of self-respect.

“His ignorance covers the world like a blanket, and there’s scarcely a hole in it anywhere.” — Mark Twain

Wait, I thought we were talking about religion, not the last Republican President….. Sorry, couldn’t resist…. Any who, it all comes back to the basic idea of how we view reality, in terms of the concept of God, or a power greater than ourselves, that is responsible somehow for everything that exists, and thus, for us. By giving away that responsibility, I think, we are showing our own cowardice; I’m not willing to do that, not without more compelling evidence than hearsay.

I’m not blind to the other evidence that many religionists claim as being proof of God and his will; I’ve burst into tears myself at the sight of a particularly vivid sunrise, without knowing why, other than the beauty of it was so arrestingly powerful. I’ve seen good things happen everywhere, in human interaction, and in Nature. I’ve witnessed what priests like to call “grace”, and will admit that such events are not explainable by ordinary means. I’ve also witnessed the other side of existence, where human nature turns dark and cruel, while Nature reveals its own complete indifference for human suffering, and cannot accept that the same entity would dare to assume, or want responsibility for such a wicked universe, even if the balance of good and evil is maintained by the presence of the other.

That assumption is purely human, and thus does not qualify, in my mind, as evidence of divinity in the form of God, by any of the visions held by any of the churches of Mankind. Unless, of course, one goes beyond doctrine, into philosophy, where the above contradictions do not apply, or can be explained by one further assumption. That assumption is a hard one for most humans, as it involves taking responsibility for EVERYTHING that they do, and for everything that happens to them. (Yep, that’s a paraphrase of the basic principle of Karma…) In other words, as Robert Heinlein put it so aptly in Stranger In a Strange Land, “Thou art God.”  I know, it’s blasphemous, but, hey, been there, done that, let’s get past it…. It is the only explanation that fits ALL the facts in evidence, and even if a bit grandiose, really isn’t, because we are, after all, just a bunch of bozos on the bus.

Being God, though, would be a really boring job, the way the job descriptions in all the churches read, and I don’t think I want to take that on, particularly. It may be the only way I can find any forgiveness for those things I’ve done in my long life of which I am not proud, but, since I don’t feel that I SHOULD be forgiven for them, I think I’ll just accept the responsibility, along with the consequence, a certain lessening of my self-esteem, and try to act in the future in ways that won’t make me feel that way…. It really isn’t hard to be good, in reality, as long as you care…. The problem is, not enough people care, or even think about stuff like this….. Me, I can’t help myself…… Caring, to me, is what being human is about; those who don’t care aren’t fully human, and won’t be until they do…..

“I am covered with pure vegetable oil and I am writing a best seller!”  — Zippy the Pinhead
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A Mountain Revelry

To wash and rinse our souls of their age-old sorrows,
We drained a hundred jugs of wine.
A splendid night it was . . . .
In the clear moonlight we were loath to go to bed,
But at last drunkenness overtook us;
And we laid ourselves down on the empty mountain,
The earth for pillow, and the great heaven for coverlet.

Li Po
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“William Shakespeare: Never did any author precipitate himself from such heights of thought to so low expressions, as he often does. He is the very Janus of poets; he wears, almost everywhere, two faces: and you have scarce begun to admire the one, e’er you despise the other.” — John Dryden

At last…. corroboration from an historical figure, one with quite a reputation for intelligence and clarity of thought and expression. It is heartening, and satisfying, to know that there are others in the world who share my opinion of the great majority of Shakespeare’s work. If you’ve been coming to this blog for long, you’ll have seen previous entries detailing how little enthusiasm I have for Will’s writing. He was damn prolific, for sure, and did write some nice stuff. Most of it, however, quite frankly should be shit-piled, as barely comprehensible nonsense, written by a man with an excellent advertising manager, and mediocre talent.

Since I insist on proof of any assertion, I give you the following  quotes from various works by Will…. if you can make heads or tails of them, please let me know…. I have about four or five pages of quotes like these of his, all of which stretch the meaning of the word “obscure”….

I were better to be eaten to death with a rust than to be scoured to nothing with perpetual motion.  — William Shakespeare (1564-1616), King Henry IV — Act i, Sc. 2

“To the latter end of a fray and the beginning of a feast
Fits a dull fighter and a keen guest.”

— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), King Henry IV — Act iv, Sc. 2

“My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
As hardy as the Nemean lion’s nerve.”

— William Shakespeare (1564-1616), Hamlet — Act i, Sc. 4

“Thou troublest me; I am not in the vein.”  — William Shakespeare (1564-1616), King Richard III — Act iv, Sc. 2

“Much is the force of heaven-bred poesy.” — William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act III, scene ii

Even taking into account the Middle English, it’s all a crock, as far as I can see…. If y’all fell differently, feel free to comment…. My opinions are flexible, and able to be influenced by rational debate…. I hope…..
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It will have to do…. It’s got a lot of work in it, or, at least, a lot of effort and thought, but, somehow, it seems incomplete. I have yet to pick a poem, but that isn’t it. I can’t quite focus on the reason why it feels like that…. Ah well, c’est la vie, n’est pas? I guess if that is all he can do, Murphy will settle for a bit of feeling unsettled for no good reason….. gotta love that ol’ unspecified diffuse anxiety, otherwise known as general malaise, and so familiar to all of us with PTSD. It seems to always be hovering, just out of sight, ready to slide in without us noticing, until we find ourselves looking through glasses that are not rose colored, but rather, lenses through which the world looks grey and dispirited…. I hope the sun comes out later…..  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


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

gigoid

Kowabunga!

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3 thoughts on “Rooms full of attenuated pilgrims….

  1. I wish you, your family & friends a wonderfully joyous and healthy, safe, fun Happy New Year….See you right back here next year….Namaste.

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