~~ Seneca ~~
I obtained today’s picture on Space.com, from an article reporting the latest information regarding our universe, as compiled by astrophysicists working on mapping what we are able to see with the current technology, including the Hubble Deep Space telescope in orbit around the Earth. The red dot you see in the picture represents the Milky Way Galaxy, a part of a group of galaxies known as the Local Group, consisting of many thousands of CLUSTERS of galaxies, that are the closest to ours…. The rest of the picture is an artist’s view of how the rest of the universe is arranged, and each of the tiny little dots you see are galaxies, or galactic clusters, each one with millions of stars of their own….
Whew! Makes one get a feeling for the perspective of the BIG picture, and, the relative microscopic size of just our galaxy, in which our star, Sol, is but one of hundreds of millions of other stars, a great many larger, and brighter than our own…. We, as humans on the face of this planet, around that star, are, in comparison, many times smaller than viruses seem to be here on Earth… so small, we would rival molecules for tininess…. I mean, in relation to the whole universe, our mere existence, our oh-so-powerful civilization, and all its works, is but a nanosecond’s worth of a blink in history, and, just an insignificant afterthought to the apparently infinite nature of time, and space….
Kinda gets ya, right here, doesn’t it? I know it makes me get a grip, whenever I start to feel like I’m some sort of hot shit… I can only wish that more people, all of whom happen to….. wear blue suits, white shirts, red ties, a flag pin, spend too much time indoors, worry incessantly about their “image”, and make entirely too much money for doing not very much…. well, I wish they would have the same sort of reaction as I do, when confronted with such undeniable evidence of our insignificance in the Real World, and how “entitled” we should feel to call ourselves the “Lords of Creation”, when we are far less important in the scheme of things than we would like to be, and so far less than we THINK we are, it is silly to contemplate at all….
Maybe, just maybe, if they could cram their egos in a smaller container, and get rid of some of that smarmy sense of their own infallibility, they’d start to have a bit more care about how they act, and think…. Of course, history, even our very short one, has already given me ample evidence that no such thing will happen, nor will anyone to whom I refer ever respond to such information with anything other than instant, intractable denial…. Count on it….
Oops…. did it again, didn’t I? Turned a nice, simple picture, and a short lesson on astronomy, into a mini-rant, once again flipping the intro section ass over tea kettle, and causing the Gentle Reader to, no doubt, reach for the aspirin bottle…. Honest, when I started, I had no intention of firing off those shots; they just sort of went off on their own, before I even noticed what my fingers were doing…. That can happen this early in the morning, especially when it is the afternoon before….
If you caught that, you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din…. Not really, but, you do have a sharp eye, and a ready mind, which is somewhat gratifying. It means that someone is reading who has been here before, and knows enough to keep their wits about them…. I would, however, appreciate it if you didn’t pull my covers, as it is one of my best new devices, a direct result of the Time Lord training I received when I got my Tardis, and, I still haven’t even finished opening the rest of the new stuff they sent…. So, just chuckle softly to yourself, and let us get on down the road to the next item, which could, conceivably change the course of that history we are so familiar with, into a new, and better time-line…. if we get lucky, I’d say….
Shall we Pearl?…..
“HEY! There IS something more important than money…..it’s called breathing.” — Smart Bee
I had some time on my hands, but, wasn’t feeling strong enough to kill it quickly well enough to go surf, so, I did my dance with Smart Bee, getting lucky enough to come up with the following seven-star pearl, which hands out some damn fine advice, as well as some solidly useful thoughts on how to live, so well, so powerfully free, even Death weeps when you are done with Life….
” … you see, God — whatever anyone chooses to call God — is one’s highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It’s a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.” — Kira Argounova
“All people smile in the same language.” — Smart Bee
“One who is to enjoy the purity of both body and mind walks the path to enlightenment, breaking the net of selfish, impure thoughts and evil desires. He who is calm in mind acquires peacefulness and thus is able to cultivate his mind day and night with more diligence.” — Buddha (B.C. 568-488)
“Life is best done awake.” — Smart Bee
“Therefore, be ye lamps unto yourselves, be a refuge to yourselves. Hold fast to Truth as a lamp; hold fast to the truth as a refuge. Look not for a refuge in anyone beside yourselves. And those, who shall be a lamp unto themselves, shall betake themselves to no external refuge, but holding fast to the Truth as their lamp, and holding fast to the Truth as their refuge, they shall reach the topmost height.” — Buddha
“Have the courage to live. Anyone can die.” — Robert Cody
“It is better to deserve honours and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them.” — Mark Twain
Though the concept it expresses is true as the day, I am compelled to comment after the last quote; can’t help myself sometimes…. Mark Twain, aka Sammie the C, definitely had a talent for the turn of a phrase, and, I’ve see him given credit for this one many times…. while every time, smiling and chuckling to myself, because I’ve also noted that this quote is a shameless paraphrasing of a quote by Plutarch…. and, Aristotle…. and, I believe, if I’m not mistaken, Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, also had a word on this, that was very similar to the others…. but, then, Mark T was pretty shameless about all of his plagiarisms, usually recounting them in the preface, or in the introductions to his works….
Since all of them are men, it was probably Sappho, a woman poet, who pre-dated ALL of these men, who originally made the observation on the nature of honor, and humility…. That would be typical, and consistent with how men have treated women since the dawn of time…. even going so far, when making up the myths of creation so many of them seem to hold so dear, regarding that old saw about the Garden, and God, Adam, and, Eve, the poor fall guy, who had to take the rap, even though she was set up by God, and snitched out by Adam….
I find it telling, and typical, that the woman, representing ALL women, is made into the villain of the story, the one with the weak will, and the lack of honor…. when, to my way of thinking, (which I’ve thought since the age of four, after first hearing the story….) God was the one at fault, for setting up the system so both Eve, and Adam, had no other options, but to fail…. and, in the process, serving Eve up, as the one to bear the guilt of “original sin”…. Plus, you will note, please…. The very term, “original sin” is agreed to refer to taking a bite from the fruit of the tree of knowledge…. in other words, for thinking independently…. This is the concept, and the reality, religion tries to eliminate from the people who follow their line of reasoning…
And, that, too, is pretty telling, isn’t it? Things haven’t changed much since then, as far as I can see…. The churches don’t want us to think, so that the government can lie to us more easily, to convince us they are telling us the truth, when they actually are merely carrying on the traditions present in our culture from the inception of the whole idea of a supernatural power as being responsible for all that is real, a scam, to control the general public, with threats of hell, and promises of heaven, in the next life, if only they will submit to giving up their free will… Quite a bargain, you would think….. unless, of course, one actually knows how to think….
gigoid has spoken…. so be it…..
It is well known that I’m a wimp; since my PTSD reached a point where, mostly, it is under my control, the only real symptom I experience is that of bursting into tears at the slightest provocation…. Hallmark commercials, little kids hugging, or hugs of any kind, or any sort of emotionally touching issue will bring me to tears, without any say in whether or not I WISH to cry right then…. Whenever my old dog, Noah, comes to mind is one of those occasions, so I try to avoid stepping into such situations….
I had forgotten this poem, which, upon stumbling across it while looking for a specific piece of Pope’s Essay on Man, brought me instantly to the point of weeping…. and, has kept me weeping for this entire paragraph, in spite of not having anything wrong, with me, or with the universe at large…. SIGH…. I don’t mind being a romantic, but, sometimes, I wish I wasn’t such a wimp about it…. It IS a great poem, though, so, please, don’t mind all the salty water on the screen, (try not to weep yourself, at the last line, I DARE you!….) and, enjoy!….
When wise Ulysses, from his native coast
Long kept by wars, and long by tempests toss’d,
Arrived at last, poor, old, disguised, alone,
To all his friends, and ev’n his Queen unknown,
Changed as he was, with age, and toils, and cares,
Furrow’d his rev’rend face, and white his hairs,
In his own palace forc’d to ask his bread,
Scorn’d by those slaves his former bounty fed,
Forgot of all his own domestic crew,
The faithful Dog alone his rightful master knew!
Unfed, unhous’d, neglected, on the clay
Like an old servant now cashier’d, he lay;
Touch’d with resentment of ungrateful man,
And longing to behold his ancient lord again.
Him when he saw he rose, and crawl’d to meet,
(‘Twas all he could) and fawn’d and kiss’d his feet,
Seiz’d with dumb joy; then falling by his side,
Own’d his returning lord, look’d up, and died!
~~ Alexander Pope ~~
I came across the following pearl, from 2011, not long after beginning to post on WordPress…. In those days, what you see below was an entire Pearl, but, today, with our new, improved format, it is an acceptable pearl for one section…. You should thank me for this…. it’s pretty funny, in spots, and, bonus, it ISN’T a rant….
It may be harsh, but it must be said….Ben Franklin was a sanctimonious ass, and I mean that in its’ basest, most derogatory sense. Who else but an ass would say things like “Early to bed and early to rise, make a man, etc….” or “The early bird gets the worm”? As one of my favorite sci-fi authors, Bob Heinlein, said, approximately, “…. all the aphorism about the worm proves is that the worm should have stayed in bed.” And, early to bed, etc., is fine for those who fall asleep instantly, from having the benefit of no worldly problems, (or, like our friend Ben, no conscience…. Have you ever read about his love life?…. By what I could tell, from what I read, he was, quite simply, a lout, and a cur…. and, that’s being nice….); those who, once asleep, are able to remain asleep throughout the night, probably due to having no imagination, to speak of….
I’m 60 years old, and I can’t remember the last time I could count on falling asleep easily, without first consuming a significant amount of my adult beverage of choice, or, staying asleep for more than a couple of hours, before some one of several available physical prompts has me up and heading off to the bathroom, or just laying in bed, aching, wondering how long it will be until morning. As far as I’m concerned, Poor Richard can take his little Almanac, and his advice, and place them forcibly in one of his orifices, preferably, one where the sun don’t shine….. just as it is NOT shining, here in my little hole, at 0530, as I sit to compose this, having once more awakened at 0515 for no apparent reason.
Wise man, my dying ass…..
I dove for these Pearls yesterday as I was in the throes of extra-pyramidal side effects, due entirely to the asinine ordering requirements dictated by Kaiser Permanente for dealing with a controlled drug, an opiate. Thanks to those obscene regulations, I have spent much of the last three days with dyskinesia, malaise, and an intermittent, splitting headache, just for good measure.
In case you are not a former PT, dyskinesia is that condition of muscular and nervous agitation that makes one’s muscles twitch and dance, constantly, combined with a feeling of restless dread, and diffuse anxiety, that makes the nerves hum like a redneck with a kazoo. Add in the headache, (of the ilk that blurs the vision, causing strong men to whimper, piteously), and, well, you can imagine how difficult it is, to not only refrain from biting myself, but to refrain from biting anyone who crosses my path.
All this, of course, is then complicated by trying to deal with people who have become bureaucrats, who have no conception of anything outside their own little sphere of inattention, and whose sole purpose is to keep anything from getting done. It’s enough to give one visions of mayhem and violent death for all bureaucrats, preferably by my own hand.
(Note from 2014; This is still true for me…. Does anyone else get mental images of the Russian revolution, as a film noir battle scene, in full color, though, filmed in Red Square showing huge mobs of starving peasants with scythes, Molotov cocktails, and rocks, attacking Imperial police, or in front of one of the Russian Imperial palaces, lit up by flames, with aristocrats screaming, smoke everywhere, explosions…. all playing in your(my) head, whenever they use the word “bureaucrat”? Is it just me who visualizes themselves as if in that movie, with a machine gun, firing away at a huddling, terrified group of clerks at a local federal office, or do others NOT get this kind of response, just thinking about those stultified cretins? Just wondered….)
Sorry about the above rant……well, actually, I’m not. I could actually care less right now what anyone thinks, about anything. Nonetheless, I do think that the following Pearls will strike some good chords in many folks, and even more in those ffolkes who are familiar with this process, and how it provides some fine rules for life, or at least for looking at life in a different way. Regardless, they are what they are, and I hope you enjoy them…..much as I can hope anything at all……
“I sometimes think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.” — Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a, star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face and a gray dawn breaking.
— John Masefield, Sea Fever, first stanza.
Yesterday is but a dream, tomorrow but a vision. But Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Look well, therefore to this Day. — Sanskrit proverb (I like this one a lot; it covers a lot of bases….)
“It’s not denial. I’m just very selective about what I accept as reality.” — Calvin (“Calvin and Hobbes”) (Calvin is actually a sociopathic idiot, but Hobbes, I firmly believe, will someday be considered one of the 20th and 21st centuries’ most cogent philosophers….)
“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death….Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” — Bertrand Russell (1872-1967), “Selected Papers”
“So live that you can look any man in the eye and tell him to go to hell.” — Smart Bee
Well, there you have it. That’s the best I can do, under the circumstances that currently prevail. My greatest desire just now is that tomorrow will be different, if only I can survive until then without committing any acts that would land me in jail. Wish me luck…..and, y’all take care out there……
Again from the future…. Not too bad, eh? It showed some promise, which I’ve since seen evolve into something I can be happy with…. I’m still around to create them, so, I guess that makes it all worthwhile…. For me, anyway, and, hopefully, for y’all, too….
It’s probably a good thing I got up late today; indeed, it’s just as well today’s Pearl was mostly done by last night, with only a poem to find today to finish up…. I say that because it’s true…. but, if I got into the reasons for it, it would be both TMI, and ill-conceived egotism, so, we’ll just leave it at that, and y’all can consider yourselves fortunate….
Besides, I’m done for the day now, so I can go on to my next task, to wit: surviving one day, until my portion of the dole, which I set aside for my golden years, arrives at my bank, from wherever our Beloved Ruling Class keeps the money they are “protecting” for us…. It’s also too late to start ranting, so, I’ll just say, “see y’all tomorrow, ffolkes”, & make my way to the door, with a big smile on my face…. Okay, so, it’s a grimace…. grimace fits better, anyway, right now….
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
PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.