It is official. I’ve gone and gotten old, beyond all shadow of a doubt. My mind, and my attitudes, still would like me to believe I am 25 years old, even though I don’t think I’d enjoy being that young again, from an experiential standpoint. Besides, my body KNOWS it isn’t 25 any more, and will let me know post haste, if I am incautious. Trying to move as if I still were in my physical prime can have disastrous results, and I don’t remember being anywhere near as skeptical as I am now, about most things. That point, about my physical degradation over time, was driven home to me yesterday, on my trip down the hill to post the Pearl….
All went okay, until I began the walk home, uphill for three full city blocks. By the end of the first block, my hips and back had stiffened up enough to let me know they didn’t appreciate my efforts, and were threatening to put me into complete muscle spasm all over my back, if I didn’t quit bothering them…. Since I still had two blocks to go, I had to adjust my gait to that of the old toddlers you see waddling around in convalescent homes, using a cane or walker to transverse the 20 feet to the next room at the blazing speed of 20 feet per 4 minutes, taking four-inch steps, one at a time, with a pause between each one, to make sure all is balanced. It took me, literally, 18 minutes to walk the final two blocks, and I felt as if I’d been running a marathon….
So, I’m convinced…. I’m not 25 anymore, and never will be again. It’s a pain, but there it is, all shiny, highly resistant to being ignored, so what are ya gonna do? Fighting against it, quite simply, hurts, and I have no intention of adding any pain to my already overfull account….. So, I’m old…… I admit it…..
Since I am, I suppose I’d best just get over it, and deal…. Rather than fall immediately into a whine, or even a rant about it, I’ll just act my age, and say, “Bring it on, universe!”….. Well, no, that wouldn’t be quite age-appropriate, would it? I’ll just quietly accept the news, sigh a bit, and toddle off to take a nap…. Well, I would, but I just got up, so, that will have to wait until later….. Since all the other alternatives are out of order, so to speak, I guess I’ll just forget the whole business, and get back to what I’m supposed to be doing this time of day…. Shall we Pearl?…..
“Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason.” — Oscar Wilde
One may always trust Oscar Wilde to be both elegantly witty and intelligently insightful, though, to be sure, many of his most closely held views were somewhat divergent with what was commonly held to be true, philosophically. This divergence was, I believe, mostly deliberate on his part, as he tended to mock that which he did not respect, and he never had much respect for…. well, anything to do with human nature vs. reason and rationality. He mistrusted most people to act morally, and was unafraid of saying so; this, of course, made him both famous, and infamous….. His infamy, I’m sure, ultimately was his undoing, much to society’s loss; as is said so often about our brightest minds, “only the good die young….”
I often wonder, (well, maybe not so often, as much as I’m wondering now…) what the world today would be like, if somehow, some of those bright stars in history had lived to an age where their accomplishments, in relation to the advancement of human thought, and the betterment of the human condition, had a broader, and more lasting effect than their absence has left us. What if Keats had written poetry until he was 85? How many more inventions would have come to us from Nicolas Tesla, had he lived long enough for the rest of the scientific world to catch up to him, instead of hounding him to an early grave? How much more good music, and art, and literature would be available to all of us, if not for this tendency for the best of us to live as a burning meteor, flaming brightly through the sky, until burned out and lifeless?
It is a sad commentary for society to know that it is often the very brilliance of these people that brings about their downfall, at the hands of the ignorant, and the avaricious…. What is even sadder, to me, is that this demonstrates another part of human nature that is responsible for almost every issue in human history, and current society, that causes people to suffer pain, oppression, perpetual struggle, and will most certainly ultimately lead to the extinction of our species, on this planet, at minimum, if not completely…..
That piece of our nature is the unfortunate characteristic, in a number of humans, to be able to put aside all conscience, and act solely in their own self interest. All of us, of course, possess this to some degree; it is an outgrowth of having a will to survive. To these few others, it is their primary modus operandi; they simply do not take other people, or their concerns, into account when deciding what they are going to do, and are not hampered by the consideration of any suffering they may cause other people, animals, or things.
As is patently obvious, to my mind, every elected official, every high level preacher, every corporate magnate, and a great many lawyers, are all of this ilk, and have, for nearly 230 years now, been quietly and efficiently plundering the pockets and rights of the American people (and those of every other country in the world, for that matter…. it is a HUMAN condition, not just American…. Ours are just some of the most obvious about it….), while simultaneously lying, cheating, and otherwise acting to secure their stranglehold on society.
Anyone who disagrees with this assessment, quite simply, isn’t paying enough attention to the world around them….. Sorry to be so blunt, but the facts are all laid out, right there, almost every day in the news media, if one knows how to look at the larger picture it presents, rather than the individual facets of that picture. Focusing on the little shit is just what those in power wish for people to do…. it keeps them busy not noticing other, more incriminating stuff they are carrying out, in the darkness where they mostly live….
“… change depends on individual acts of courage and commitment. Most such acts are private, invisible, and uncelebrated. But some find a place in the public spotlight; and their influence goes far beyond mere example.” — Arthur C. Clarke & Michael Kube-McDowell, The Trigger, 1999
Each and every one of us, in the face of what we know about reality, is responsible in some way, and to some degree, for both the way things are, and the way they will be in the future. If you don’t believe that, well, discussion is, for you, probably useless, and little hope remains. For anyone with moderate insight, however, this is plain, clear truth, and we all need to accept it before any significant progress can be expected against those who are sociopathic, which I define, and hereby name, as homo suicidus, those who would kill us all…. But, it is imperative that we act soon, for the damage we have done, and continue to do to our world, is at a point where the effects are nearly irreversible, and even if we manage to wrest control from the beloved ruling class,it may be too late to save our lives….
“In regard to disagreeable and formidable things, prudence does not consist in evasion, or in flight, but in courage. He who wishes to walk in the most peaceful parts of life with any serenity must screw himself up to resolution. Let him front the object of his worst apprehension, and his stoutness will commonly make his fear groundless.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, _Essays_, Prudence
It is my hope, small and pale though it be, that we WILL speak up, that the rational among us will rise up, and take back the control of our destiny from the hands of those who would see us all die, rather than give up their own control. It will only happen when men of courage, as defined by Mr. Emerson, stand up to those who would render us all impotent, for their own benefit. The only hope that exists for the rest of us lies in enough of us showing this kind of courage, and overcoming the fear that keeps us in thrall…..
“I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat.” — John Milton (1608-1674) — Areopagitica
Myself, I don’t want to die ignominiously, gasping for breath, because I didn’t have the courage to speak up, and to fight back against the immoral, avaricious assholes who dominate society….. Instead, let’s create a whole new world, without a beloved ruling class, at all….. Who knows? We might just find out that anarchy works!….. Worth a try, I think….. And, if it doesn’t work, well, we can always try a technocracy, which we have yet to do in history….. With a bit of foresight and planning, it might just be what we need to survive our own foolishness… Maybe, Richard Brautigan had the truest prophetic vision, when he wrote “All watched over, by machines of loving grace….”
“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” — Pablo Picasso
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, but if faced
With courage, need not be lived again.
— Maya Angelou, “On the Pulse of Morning”
Between what I see and what I say
Between what I say and what I keep silent
Between what I keep silent and what I dream
Between what I dream and what I forget:
— Octavio Paz (1914-1998)
No More Clichés
That like a daisy opens its petals to the sun
So do you
Open your face to me as I turn the page.
Any man would be under your spell,
Oh, beauty of a magazine.
How many poems have been written to you?
How many Dantes have written to you, Beatrice?
To your obsessive illusion
To you manufacture fantasy.
But today I won’t make one more Cliché
And write this poem to you.
No, no more clichés.
This poem is dedicated to those women
Whose beauty is in their charm,
In their intelligence,
In their character,
Not on their fabricated looks.
This poem is to you women,
That like a Shahrazade wake up
Everyday with a new story to tell,
A story that sings for change
That hopes for battles:
Battles for the love of the united flesh
Battles for passions aroused by a new day
Battle for the neglected rights
Or just battles to survive one more night.
Yes, to you women in a world of pain
To you, bright star in this ever-spending universe
To you, fighter of a thousand-and-one fights
To you, friend of my heart.
From now on, my head won’t look down to a magazine
Rather, it will contemplate the night
And its bright stars,
And so, no more clichés.
“But my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.” — Alan Watts
I enjoy the words of Alan Watts, and have done so since first reading one of his books in college, many years ago. His command of English is so deep and wide that he is somewhat hard to read, due to the weight and depth of both the material under discussion, and of the words he chooses to use. But, working one’s way through to the end of what he writes is well worth all the effort, for he explains the complex, and yet simple, wisdom of the Eastern religions and philosophies, in Western terms, so they are comprehensible to those same Western thinkers, with a clarity heretofore unseen. This particular line is one of his most simply written, yet is still deep and insightful…..
With one swift phrase, Reality is laid bare for all to understand, showing its flexibility, it’s malleable nature able to become whatever we perceive it to be. Each of us has our own interpretation of what we perceive as reality, and it is often very different than what others may believe it to be. Sometimes, I am absolutely amazed at the variety of perceptions that people describe, and feel a lot of satisfaction, on one level at least. That is the level of interaction…. I think it is just wonderful, that people from so many different backgrounds, and so many different ways of looking at the same thing, can still live together on one planet in relative harmony.
It would seem apparent that so many differing viewpoints would cause a lot of trouble, and to some extent that’s true…. There is a lot of trouble on this world, and Reality is not a place for the weak or timid to hang out safely. But, mostly, all the various attitudes and outlooks on life seem to shuffle along without much conflict, at the personal level, compared to what might be expected. One of those little unexplained miracles in life that we often don’t see, or appreciate….. The phenomenon is even more pronounced in institutions such as mental hospitals, where the visions of reality are of such a nature as to seem limitless in their variety. I was always impressed at how people from so many different parts of the galaxy were able to live together in peace…. 🙂
For me, the best part about the nature of Reality is this chameleon-like quality: it can be anything we want it to be. We can accept the perceptions it sends us, and even see, and understand, what those are describing to others, thus making it convenient for us to communicate about it. Or, we can choose to alter those perceptions, either in the way we receive them, or in the way we interpret them; either method gives us control over exactly how we view what is now a somewhat questionable form of Reality.
(It occurs to me that maybe I should use the capitalization technique, as with the words ‘pearl’, and ‘Pearl’…. Yeah, that’s the ticket… Okay, so ‘Reality’, capitalized, is what we all agree to see, and ‘reality’ is what each of us sees personally, with the word ‘see’ used to indicate ‘perceive’ because it’s a shorter word, took less time to type, and allowed me to further obfuscate matters in order to create the need to clear them up….. That should help clarify where we are in a sentence, even if it doesn’t actually simplify things at all…..)
Speaking of knowing where we are, this discussion seems to have reached a point where the next destination may be out of reach. Oh, not that the reality of it is too abstruse, or complicated, or even merely disgusting. No, it’s just too esoteric for me at 0815 in the morning, after already composing a couple thousand words on human nature and and the nature of Reality. It is almost a depressing come-down to have to consider ending this, since it was flowing so well, but, the perfect closing pearl showed itself, and I’m not one to argue with Smart Bee, or Zippy….. Stay alert, ffolkes, Reality can suck, and it can bite, when it’s not being nice…..
“I guess it was all a DREAM.. or an episode of HAWAII FIVE-O…” — Zippy the Pinhead
It bodes well for the new year that Pearls are coming out cleanly. I can’t say this is the best stuff I’ve ever written, but it was fun, and cleansing, to some degree, so I’ll take it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say my standards are deliberately low, to encourage posting, but it is patently true that being ‘done’ is the primary requirement, before any question of quality of content enters the picture. This one definitely meets that one, as I don’t feel a poem trying to leak out today. In fact, I’m going to surprise you, and myself, and end it right here…… Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.