Damn it! I knew this would happen! If I had listened to my own advice, I would have put it away somewhere safe…. But, nooooo….. I had to carry it around in my pocket like a book of matches or something, and now, it’s gone. Poof! Disappeared from my front left pocket, sometime between the time I put the pants on in the morning, to when I wanted to use it later that afternoon. My Dad always told me, if you want it safe, put it in your pocket; he forgot about holes, obviously, because that’s what happened here. Or, that’s what I assume, anyway, as it certainly wouldn’t have jumped out of the pocket, and there happens to be a medium sized hole, right at the bottom. Well, the size wouldn’t matter anyway, since it can assume almost any shape, and adjust its size as needed…..
Okay, you tell me….. what did I lose? I tried to write the above without a clue as to what it might be, and it looks as if I’ve succeeded at that quite well, thank you….. It’s all quite true, and there is actually an object, or rather a thing (yes, such a flexible noun is necessary….), that I seem to have lost…. well, that is, if one may assume that it was ever truly mine…. I’ll not keep you in suspense any longer, as I see there really isn’t any way to guess, unless you’re able to read my mind….. Have yet to find anyone who can do so, not with any success…. Besides, I know for a fact that anyone reading my mind would quickly go mad, from trying to decipher, or keep up with what is going on in there at any random moment….
Sang-froid…. that’s what I lost…. Since it’s rather an uncommon word as used in English, and is in French to boot, I’ll tell you that it means, essentially, composure under duress, a sort of unflappable calm that one carries with them as a defense against the massively emotional, chaotic happenings that take place regularly in Reality. These days, people would say I had lost my “cool”, or my “chill”….. and they would be accurate, mostly. It is a quality common to those who are true leaders, or to any competent philosopher; one that is not common to anyone who allows Reality to determine their feelings for them, as reactions to stress or trouble.
As a personal quality, it is extremely useful, as it provides one with a state of mind that is impervious to the depredations of Reality upon our senses, allowing one the mental space to think clearly, and to avoid the indignity of being forced to react in a manner controlled by the events we encounter. It inspires others who witness its presence to emulate its serenity, thereby being as useful to others as to ourselves. In my own case, I have not yet reached a point in my personal voyage where I can wear the cloak of invulnerability it supplies at all times; it isn’t yet that large or stable…. so, I’ve kept it in my pocket, and put it on when I can, to try to stretch it out into a larger garment that I can wear always…..
Well, there you go…. four reasonably concise paragraphs on one subject, and no sign of a pearl. I suppose the little meander we just took through that corridor in my mind was interesting enough…. if you’re a psychologist of sorts, or someone interested in self-improvement as a way of life. Otherwise, I’m hopeful it didn’t put anyone to sleep….. No matter, it filled up another intro section, and this time it’s not necessarily nonsense, as it it real, and all of what I’ve written is, in my mind, gospel…. or, what I hold in that regard…..
Now that it’s out of the way, it would be well to keep it moving, so you don’t have time to stop and think about what I’m doing…. (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain….). In hopes of maintaining the illusion of sanity I’ve created thus far today, we’ll go on now, to the area where Smart Bee is waiting for me to start today’s dive…. Shall we Pearl?…..
“As a draft-animal is yoked in a wagon, even so the spirit is yoked in this body.” — Upanishads (c. B.C. 800)
Each of us is faced at times with the consciousness of our own approaching encounter with Death, the moment in time when our yoke is removed, and our spirit is freed, to once more join the rest of the conscious minds in the universe in roaming through realms of Reality we cannot see in this form. This Reality we cannot see is much larger, in one sense, than the one we can now perceive; it has to be, to be able to accommodate all the souls that have gone before, and all that are now present on Earth, that will someday join the rest of them, when they die…..
Every human being alive must face their own Death (I am capitalizing the word to give it the proper respect as one of the most important concepts we have as humans….); this is a truism no one can deny, or refute. Many people have banded together, to assume the belief that our universe was created this way by a supernatural being, who, for some unknown, and unknowable (self-explanatory, I think….) reason, decided that we are “special”, and gave us, and only us, the knowledge we have, and our very lives. This, of course, is rather hard to believe, as it doesn’t really account for much of what is observable truth in Reality, being, as it is, complete speculation, devoid of any concrete evidence to support it…..
“There is no conclusive evidence that there is life after death. There is also no real evidence to the contrary. Soon enough, you will know. So, why fret about it?” — Lazarus Long, aka Robert A. Heinlein
I first read this aphorism when I was in my early teens; it codified, and made succinct, what I had already concluded about the major religions of the world, i.e., they’re a collection of unwarranted, and unproven, assumptions. What’s more, they are all highly unlikely, given the observable parameters of the real world. It became obvious to me, as it is to many, that what the religious folks were trying to get me to believe was intended merely to soften my mind, making it more amenable to suggestion, of which they have an endless supply. Preachers, priests, imams, nuns, all are quite willing to give other people advice and suggestions on how they should live, in exhaustive detail, for as long as they are allowed to do so….
Since I had very little desire to have other people decide for me how I should think, or live my life, I rejected the dogma they tried to force into my head, turning instead to other sources of thought about Life, Death, and Reality. I found an endless supply of folks who had thought long and deeply about all of these ideas, and gladly did I read all I could of everything I could find on the subject. In addition, I read science fiction, during the years when its popularity had just begun to climb to the heights it now occupies; sci-fi has always been literature that explored, and continues to explore, the very limits of thought, both in the real world, and the world of the mind.
As is seen by the first pearl above, these thoughts and ideas are not new with me; mankind has been thinking about these concepts since we first sat around the campfires, wondering at the beauty of the heavens we saw above our heads, and all around us. In all that time, no conclusions have been reached that seem to cover ALL of the questions we have about the universe. We still don’t have a clue as to “what is the mind”, or “what is thought”…. and if we cannot understand ourselves, what chance do we have of unraveling the secrets of the universe around us? Not much, would be my guess…
That, fortunately, does not mean it is impossible to know the truth, nor does it mean we are condemned to die in ignorance and fear…. I know this because I have learned in my time that our fear is a direct outgrowth of our ignorance; we fear what we do not understand. Now, if I were a God, why would I make people that way, unless for some ulterior motive, having to do with motivations that are human, not divine? No, it just doesn’t make sense to me to assume that we were put here with a deliberate handicap, just to see how we dealt with it; that seems more like an evil scientist at work than a compassionate deity.
“One must marry one’s feelings to one’s beliefs and ideas. That is probably the only way to achieve a measure of harmony in one’s life.” — Etty Hilsum
Since I believe firmly in the Law of Conservation of Energy (proven true in this universe, to all our knowledge), and, I believe that our minds/souls are a form of energy we currently don’t fully understand, and cannot perceive directly, then the concept of Death is nothing to fear, as it merely means that my current state of energy will be replaced with another state, one I don’t currently have the ability to perceive. What that state may be like may be unknown, but that doesn’t mean it is something of which I should be afraid…. I prefer to look at it as the next great adventure….
So, when my father died, I asked him to leave me some trail-sign, to let me know how to find him in the next reality; he smiled at me, and said he would do that… and I was much comforted by that, knowing that our connection as family can never be severed, and that, someday, I would once more have the pleasure, and comfort, of his presence…. Now that’s something to look forward to, don’t you think?…. Much better than worrying that what I do now is going to determine what happens to me after I die, a silly proposition, at best……
“Do not think that man is but flesh, skin, bones and veins; far from it! What really makes man is his soul; and the things we call skin, flesh, bones and veins are but a garment, a cloak; they do not constitute man. When man departs this earth, he divests himself of all the veils that conceal him.” — Zohar
The last week or so has been rather a struggle, pain-wise; one of my hips is annoyed at the chair I use, and is showing its displeasure in the most obvious way. This, while understandable, given my age and degree of arthritic decline, is not particularly comfortable. (As you can see, I’m trying not to whine…. not very successfully, I’m afraid….) Any who, to cut a long story down to size, and to alleviate some of my pain by sitting for less time, I’m including here a poem I wrote, from last October, that touches on the subject of pain….. actually, it’s more of a solid punch than a mere touch….
Denial of Comfort
Baleful chairs become the enemy, heralded in red
seemingly welcome softness beckons with a smile,
waiting, content with slaughter, they are finally led
screaming in agony, deluged in venom all the while.
Desperate distraction becomes such a friendless fire
for all the patterns of autumn’s pale dismay,
leaving sincerely latent trails in spirals of twisted wire,
while memory insists, again, upon failure, palpably evil, and fey.
Fat, jaded tears would have fallen in good time,
if only the suitable suitor had scaled the garden’s wall.
Credence for discounted prices luckily in their prime
bring only fascinated eyes into such a hallowed hall.
Searching for answers is ever a clever portrayal
with studious accouterments to fulfill each common rule.
Arguably patient pictures of science and honest betrayal
shall evermore languish, in light of passion so elegantly cruel.
Once again, Smart Bee has usurped my prerogatives, herding me to the place where I can do naught but allow him/her/it to pick out a group of pearls for this section. I guess what I wrote above could be considered a religirant, so a seven-star pearl is quite appropriate for our purposes today. This, upon looking at its final shape, is what I’d call a harlequin pearl, addressing several different categories of reality, each with its own importance to itself, and to the whole…. and if you think I know what that means, you haven’t been paying close attention…. Any who, here are seven pearls for your perusal, and edification…. Enjoy!….
“Truth is as impossible to be soiled by any outward touch as the sunbeam.” — John Milton (1608-1674)
“An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.” — Samuel Johnson
“In regards to Oral Roberts’ claim that God told him that he would die unless he received $20 million by March, God’s lawyers have stated that their client has not spoken with Roberts for several years. Off the record, God has stated that “If I had wanted to ice the little toad, I would have done it a long time ago.” — Dennis Miller, SNL News
(… 🙂 …)
“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” — James Madison
“* I’d say it’s an element of any post-allegorical discussive climax of the positionist stance. Either that or a load of bollocks.” — Daniel Bowen’s TOXIC CUSTARPEDIA
“Rule a kingdom as though you were cooking a small fish.” — Lao Tzu
“I’ve got to get back to Reality. Where IS that silly Blue Dragon?” — Smart Bee
Thus, we see, as time majestically passes by, ignoring our pleas to slow, how easy it is to be insane…. It’s fun, too! Before anyone can take it upon themselves to call for the men in white suits, I’m going to escape back into my own little head, and let stuff percolate until tomorrow, when once more, I will take up the standards of Truth, and smite mightily the foes of Reason…. or, maybe not. Sounds good, though, doesn’t it?….. I’ll stop torturing y’all now…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.