This Pearl may end up as one of the shortest ever, in all sections…. I’m pressed for time, as I have to get to the airport in a bit to fly home from Oregon. No more trains for me, and look for a long, detailed rant about Amtrak in the near future…. For now, we’ll just pretend like I actually know what I’m doing here, and get on with today’s dive…. Shall we Pearl?….
As stated, no time to be fresh, so today’s material will be from the archives…. here is a Pearl I enjoyed, in the old format, from October of 2011….
We’ll begin today with one of my all time favorite quotes…..
“A man who carries a cat by the tail is getting experience that will always be helpful. He isn’t likely to grow dim or doubtful. Chances are, he isn’t likely to carry the cat that way again, either. But if he wants to, I say let him!” — Mark Twain
The first time I read this, years ago, it brought a huge smile to my face, a huge laugh, and one more piece of evidence that Mr. Clemens was more than just an author of good books. There are numerous websites that feature quotations by Mark Twain, with varying formats for finding the one you want, but going to a different website for each quote isn’t an efficient use of time, so I generally use what I find in my own secret pools, where I know the oyster beds well, and I know I’ll find just the right Pearl.
Now, obviously, Mr. Twain wasn’t talking about actually holding a cat by the tail; anyone who knows cats is aware of a cat’s reaction to having its tail grabbed, i.e., instant attack with all teeth and claws. Knowing this, no normally intelligent person would use this method of cat transport, so the immediate thing that comes to mind is that he (Mr. Twain) is not really talking about carrying an actual cat, he is referring to crisis situations in general, and how to deal with them. “He isn’t likely to grow dim or doubtful”……what a wonderful, tongue-in-cheek turn of phrase, to describe how one should approach a crisis, and how to describe the mind-set that will assist in resolving the crisis. The humorous light in which Mr. Clemens viewed the world was on full when he wrote this little maxim, and I find it to be one of great value in developing an attitude that allows one to take any crisis in stride, thereby removing one particular kind of fear from our lives. It is indeed a valuable tool that provides protection against fear…..
“Viewed from the summit of reason, all life looks like a malignant disease and the world like a madhouse.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The day this was written, Johann definitely woke up with his crankypants on…..it may have the advantage of being true, but I find it to be a flawed view to hold as a final belief. The flaw lies in the subjective, and somewhat snobbish nature of the quotation; superiority is claimed by the ascent to the summit of reason, and that reasoning is given as the evidence of the truth of the statement. But not everyone reasons using the same methods; there are many different ways to view something, all of which are subjective. Grandiose descriptive pronouns (‘malignant, madhouse’) don’t provide evidence of anything but the author’s own prejudices, and reason cannot be considered logical when based on prejudice.
Now, in some fashion, I have to agree with Goethe’s conclusion; I, too, have looked at the world and seen nothing but madness in every direction. And I, too, was filled with anguish at the state of the world’s affairs. But my experience in that world has taught me that negative prejudice is NOT the best way to approach living in the world in some sort of comfort. Assuming the negative stance actually can be easily shown to produce negative results, and I’ve found that a positive approach is much more effective in achieving the desired results. It’s too easy to find the bad; it is harder, but much more satisfying to concentrate on finding the good……
“A friend is one who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.”– Smart Bee
I wish this had come with attribution. It’s such a beautiful thought, I would like to have known the person who first said it. I suppose, since it exists, someone had to be the first one, and the people who knew, or know, them were lucky indeed. It takes a special kind of outlook to find the true nature of an idea, and express it in a way that not only gives the information contained, but provides beauty in the way the information is presented. I am of the opinion that this is the mark of a poet, and poets should be exalted in society. It is they who turn our eyes away from consensual reality, to show us another version, another view, another, better way to live.
To avoid confusion, (or maybe to increase it, who knows?), I tend to lump poets and authors of prose into one group, and use only one term, calling them all poets. This is to me, very simple; poetry doesn’t have to rhyme, it doesn’t have to be in cadence, and it doesn’t have to follow any particular form. All it must do is communicate ideas, and whether the ideas are simple or complex, their accuracy and efficiency in communicating those ideas is the point. So whether one writes poems, or writes short stories, the only required characteristic is truth, in all its myriad of guises.
And as for friends, all I have to say is to treasure them. A true friend is truly the greatest gift we can receive from the universe, and should never be taken for granted. I give thanks every day; I don’t have a multitude of friends, but the ones I have are the best…..
Th…th..th…that’s all ffolkes! Y’all take care out there…..
Once again, I must use a poem from my collection to meet today’s challenge…. so, here it is…. The link to the home page of the National Poetry Month Challenge is http://www.napowrimo.net/
Memories are all we have sometimes
to keep our sanity intact,
with learned phrases and subtle rhymes
lessening life’s vicious, vibrant impact.
Presently all seems composed and intent
in stark contrast to hollow day,
forlorn patchwork emotions of unheralded bent,
fill up night’s bower, leaving hell to pay.
Such vigorous and elevated temper
brings us rare moments to ponder,
filled with lessons all need to remember
lest base perception lose valued wonder.
Laugh loud when entropy sticks fast
leaving shameless anger in its wake.
Let bygones pass quietly into the past
reaping only what is left to take.
Final words of wise imagination
tell us living well’s the best revenge, it appears
ever eluding choirs and congregations
finally finding home, never buried in tears.
For today’s finale, we will pick out a fresh old-school group of pearls for your pleasure and edification… As always, the conclusion implied by the tenor of the group is left as an exercise for the Gentle Reader…..
“The future exists first in the imagination, then in the will, then in reality.” — Smart Bee
“Take what you can use and let the rest go by.” — Ken Kesey
“Should our moral beliefs really prove to be dependent on factual assumptions shown to be incorrect, it would be hardly moral to defend them by refusing to acknowledge the facts.” — F.A. Hayek
“UH-OH!! I put on “GREAT HEAD-ON TRAIN COLLISIONS of the 50’s” by mistake!!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
“More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying they made them.” — Smart Bee
“Oh Lord, grant that we may not despise our rulers; and grant, oh Lord, that they may not act so we can’t help it.” — Lyman Beecher
Do not stop to ask what is it;
Let us go and make our visit.
— T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
There you have it, ffolkes, another in a long line of obscure, but ironically accurate, pearls…. I hope it doesn’t give anyone indigestion trying to figure out the point to it… Remember, it may not have one…. 😆
I was right, it is a short one, for this blog…. so be it. I don’t have time to do any more to it, so it will just have to fly on its own…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.