“For a true master,
Sitting on a throne
Is no different than
Sitting on dirt.”
— Deng Ming-Dao
This is what I would consider a perfect pearl…. Short, sweet, to the point, and deep as Rush Limbaugh’s bigotry…. which is mighty deep, as he demonstrates so well on a daily basis…. I like it especially because it expresses a point of virtue, one that most people don’t want to have to accept…. It sometimes amazes me how people can lose touch with the more basic parts of life, such as, well, dirt….
It cracks me up to see young mothers panicking when their kids get dirty, even though I shouldn’t laugh at such ignorance, but should rather try to educate…. I suppose the whole idea of dirt being bad for us is another example of how just a little bit of knowledge can get one in trouble, if the individual hasn’t learned yet to try to learn anything BEYOND what they are initially told by someone in authority…. This whole believing authority business, as you can see, has its own drawbacks, as those who are in the habit of accepting what a TV pundit says unequivocally may often find themselves dealing with a LACK of sufficient knowledge to deal with whatever the problem may be.
So, these young mothers hear one phrase, “dirt has germs”, and without any further information, make their decisions based on this incomplete picture, which doesn’t tell even HALF the story of germs, and how they can affect us…. In fact, just hearing that much gives a FALSE picture, as the truth of the matter is that the more we expose our children to the dirt on this planet, the better off they are, as they will develop the proper defenses against the germs that ARE present, by exposure to them….. If the body isn’t exposed to the germs, it doesn’t learn how to fight it off….
I had a bad case of the flu at a young age (10), which, miserable as it kept me for a week, taught my immune system how to fight those particular kinds of bacteria very well…. Well enough that I haven’t had a single case of the flu since, no matter how virulent the current year’s mutation has been…. my body has the proper defenses to keep it at bay….
Now that we have wandered so far afield right out of the gate, I’d best try to bring this back around to some point we can dive from…. I’m not sure just how I got off on that tangent…. I hadn’t really intended to start writing about immune systems first thing…. I guess the quote from Deng Ming Dao got me thinking…. See? I told you it was a perfect pearl…. I think maybe we should find some more, and see what they can do for us, in the way of illumination, elucidation, and edification of our spirits….
Shall we Pearl?…..
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself abused or disabused;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurled,–
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world.
— Alexander Pope (1688-1744) — Essay on Man, Epistle ii, Line 13
“Alienation without must be accompanied by alienation within; that is the law for every social level, even individuals. To harm one’s fellows, even one’s enemies, harms you, takes away some essential element from your self-respect and self-image.” — Greg Bear
“In keeping with my non-Aristotelian or relativist-Existentialist bias, I do not classify ideas as simply “true” or “false.” I prefer to assign them probabilities, on a scale from 0 (the Aristotelian “false”) to 10 (the Aristotelian “true”). A rating of 5 means that I am still sitting geometrically on the middle of the fence, above 5 means that I presently lean somewhat toward belief and below 5 means that today I lean somewhat toward finding no value in this gloss at all (for me). I admit cheerfully that I am such an advanced case of Aggravated Agnosticism that whenever I do move something into 0 or 10, I get nervous, wonder if I am becoming as simple-minded as the Pope or Dr. Carl Sagan and start looking for evidence to move that meme toward 1 or 9. — Robert Anton Wilson, in the Introduction to his play “Wilhelm Reich in Hell”
Of late, I’ve been wondering why I rant so much about the world’s problems, or, as Jimmy Buffet expressed it so eloquently, why have I spent so much of my life, “looking for answers, to questions, that bothered him so….”? (from his song, “A Pirate Looks at Forty”….) Back a couple of years ago, about half-a-year after starting this blog, I guess I had been thinking along the same lines, as I wrote the following little piece, for a Pearl in the Five-Star Format that I was using at the time, with five shorter but more pungent and wide ranging sections to each daily Pearl, each section based on its own pearl.
This post, providentially found by the WP related-post bot, provides me with a ready reference list for any of the subjects that need to be addressed in today’s world, if we are ever to grow up and reach our maturity as a species…. It’ll be handy, just in case I’m having trouble, in the mornings, coming up with something toward which I can turn the poison in my pen….
At this point in time, two years in the future, I can see that, not only have we made very little progress at resolving any of the listed issues, there are several that could be added to the list that have surfaced in the intervening years. Since doing so will depress me, I’m not even going to think about the additions, until AFTER reading the list as it is…. At the other end, I’ll add some issues that I have seen come up in the period since this was posted…..
From April 2, 2012, on the very day the world’s most famous author of unknown works, Anonymous, assumed the new user name of Smart Bee….. Well, that’s what we call him/her on this blog…. :
“Conscious is when you are aware of something and conscience is when you wish you weren’t.” — Smart Bee (Anonymous, by any other name, smells as sweet…)
Insane politicians (is there another kind?). Human trafficking. Racism. Bigotry. Child abuse. Spousal abuse. Slavery. Crack cocaine, heroin, morphine, or other drug abuse. War on crime. War on women. Televangelists. Fundamentalist zealots. National Security Agency. FBI. CIA. Untold trillions of dollars of national debt. Genetically modified food. Military Industrial Complex. The 1%/99% Society. Taxes. Global warming. Air pollution. The oceans are dying. Terrorism. Nuclear accidents. Massive global weather changes. Ozone depletion. Overpopulation. AIDS. Mutating viruses. The Bohemian Club. Reaganomics. Nationalism. Elitism. Illuminati Conspiracy. Women’s reproductive rights. Bill of Rights (or rather, loss of same). War on the US Constitution. Rampant ignorance. Lawyers. Priests. Rabbis. Imams. Puppy mills. Wall Street. Corporate personhood. The IRS. Insane politicians. (Did I say that already? Well, it deserves mentioning twice….) Rising incidence of halitosis.
Except for the last, which is more of a personal foible, I’d say that’s a fairly extensive, and mostly complete, list of stuff I am aware of that I wish I weren’t….. all right off the top of my head, no research. It certainly keeps my sense of outrage in good shape….. which is why we all need to practice the following sentiment at every opportunity…. otherwise, we are all going to be up Shit Creek without a paddle, proverbial or otherwise…..
“Speak out. You’ve got to speak out against the madness.” — Steven Stills
Back in the Future: 2/22/14
Here are some additions to the list, also taken off the top of my head…. which, to me, is possibly the most depressing part of this pearl, to know that I am so tuned in to what is wrong in the world, and that there is just so FUCKING MUCH of it I see that is, simply, Evil, and even more sadly, Useless….. Some of these are repeats, as the issues haven’t been resolved, or seen any progress toward resolution….
More NSA. Edward Snowden. Gun control madness on both sides of the question. Corporate shenanigans of every ilk. Bank convictions, for crimes against customers, for which minuscule fines are paid, and nobody goes to jail. Sexual slavery/Abuse of Women (continued….). Abuse of Children. Abuse of Animals. Abuse of the Disabled. Abuse of Humanity. Human rights violations. Pedophiliac priests, enabled by pedophiliac bishops and cardinals. Mass extinction of animal, insect, and plant species due to pollution by Man. Religious fanatics using government positions to further insane fundamentalist agendas…. Signs of societal breakdown as seen in epidemics of bullying, flash mobs, new, increasingly bizarre psychiatric disorders, loss of manners, loss of any sense of honor, divorce rates, increases in prison populations, and numerous other obvious signs of a distressed, decayed culture….
I could sit here for hours, and never stop coming up with more stuff that adds to the evidence of such a complete lack of morality and organization, all of it merely more evidence that we are virtually guaranteed to see the eventual complete breakdown of society, and the impending extinction of our species, along with many others, from the increasingly irreversible toxic effects of global warming, and over-population…. all off the top of my head….
Goodness only knows what could happen if I tried to codify this evidence, using researched statistics and scientific study results…. Maybe, if the list got long enough, and scary enough, someone would listen….. I kind of doubt it, though….. According to all the overt indications, and, all the covert, ‘between-the-lines’ evidence that exists, for those with the wit to perceive it, well…. it all says that nobody has heard any of this yet, and nobody is at all likely to hear what I’m trying to say in the future…. because, nobody WANTS to accept what is right in front of their faces….
That happens a lot with the Truth…. ever notice?…..
“We believe that an informed citizenry will act for life and not for death.” — Albert Einstein on atomic energy, Jan. 22, 1947
If Albert could be so wrong, what hope is there for the rest of us?….
FOOL, n. A person who pervades the domain of intellectual speculation and diffuses himself through the channels of moral activity. He is omnific, omniform, omnipercipient, omniscient, omnipotent. He it was who invented letters, printing, the railroad, the steamboat, the telegraph, the platitude and the circle of the sciences. He created patriotism and taught the nations war — founded theology, philosophy, law, medicine and Chicago. He established monarchical and republican government. He is from everlasting to everlasting — such as creation’s dawn beheld he fooleth now. In the morning of time he sang upon primitive hills, and in the noonday of existence headed the procession of being. His grandmotherly hand was warmly tucked-in the set sun of civilization, and in the twilight he prepares Man’s evening meal of milk-and-morality and turns down the covers of the universal grave. And after the rest of us shall have retired for the night of eternal oblivion he will sit up to write a history of human civilization. — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”
I suppose one of the reasons I continue to rant, in spite of how obviously my heavy-handed approach is driving readers away, is that I am a sucker, a patsy, when it comes to people…. I AM one, and, I can’t help but love them, and feel badly that there is so much pain and misery in our world, all caused by such a small percentage of assholes, who seem to not care at all about other people….
Often, I fantasize, dreaming of how I would like to treat some of the corporate sharks, misogynist politicians, peodphiliac priests, or overly-entitled myrmidons, if I had them in a position where I could “educate” them a bit…. Sadly, my fantasies probably resemble the torture they put us through, as I tend to be a bit vengeful when I think about the lack of compassion, or connection to other humans, these asininnies show every day.
Since it would be unethical to treat them as they treat others, (I have NO wish to resemble them in ANY way….), I find myself at an impasse, with frustration mounting as I observe the world at the mercy of these assholes…. Since I have, thus far, refused to buy a gun, lest I give in to the temptation to use it, I turn to poetry, to try to find a moment of peace among all the reasons to feel anxious about the future…. On a good day, like today, I’ll find something like this…..
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
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 friend’s
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 ~~
Having thus completed the obligatory rant, and poem, we will now turn to the old-school for our final section today, as is our habit…. Smart Bee has been a bit unpredictable this morning, with a lot of dross thrown out along with the good stuff…. But, I trust it to use its own good judgment, so I’ll let it set its own parameters today, and trust it will find some pearls of good luster for us to consider….
Ah, wait a second…. You there, in the floral print shorts…. your mask is cracked; you’ll need to replace it from the spares before you jump in…. Don’t want to have that go out on you at a depth of 30 feet, do we?…. No, we don’t…. Got it? Everybody got their knives, for any stray barracuda that show up? Okay, let’s go for a dive, ffolkes, and find some oysters….
“As good almost kill a man as kill a good book: who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book kills reason itself.” — John Milton (1608-1674) — Areopagitica
“The world is full of fools, and he who would not see it should live alone and smash his mirror.” — Claude le Petite
“Men know that if a woman had to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she would probably save the infant’s life, without even considering whether there were men on base.” — Dave Barry
SATIRE, n. An obsolete kind of literary composition in which the vices and follies of the author’s enemies were expounded with imperfect tenderness. In this country satire never had more than a sickly and uncertain existence, for the soul of it is wit, wherein we are dolefully deficient, the humor that we mistake for it, like all humor, being tolerant and sympathetic. Moreover, although Americans are “endowed by their Creator” with abundant vice and folly, it is not generally known that these are reprehensible qualities, wherefore the satirist is popularly regarded as a soul-spirited knave, and his ever victim’s outcry for co-defendants evokes a national assent.
Hail Satire! be thy praises ever sung
In the dead language of a mummy’s tongue,
For thou thyself art dead, and damned as well —
Thy spirit (usefully employed) in Hell.
Had it been such as consecrates the Bible
Thou hadst not perished by the law of libel.
— Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”
“Any man who afflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood.” — H. L. Mencken
“Life is not the way it is supposed to be. It is the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.” — Virginia Satir
Sometimes, SB outdoes itself, and this is one of those times…. A brilliant pearl, almost a necklace, it’s so well constructed…. If I were you, ffolkes, I’d spend a bit of time, if necessary, in decoding the message this pearl delivers…. Not only will it be on the Quiz when it is given, you will find yourself enjoying the process of finding the encryption algorithm…..
Perhaps it is because I wrote this, but, I like it…. That being the case, I’m going to go with my instincts, and let this go out as it is, and not fret over any possible consequences…. It’s a bit like life, in that metaphorical sense…. which is, after all, what we do here, play with our metaphorical senses…. See ya tomorrow, ffolkes, if they give me another chance….
Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest Carole, Mark, and Theresa…
and everyone else, too…
When I works, I works hard.
When I sits, I sits loose.
When I thinks, I falls asleep.
Which is Why….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.
gigoid the dubious