Whew! It’s going to be an interesting day….. I’ve been up only about 15 minutes, and have at least three comments from yesterday that will require some heavy thought in order to respond adequately. The good news is that the blogger friend I was worried about last night is fine, and my worry was unnecessary; his poetry was simply too real, and I bought it…. very powerful piece…. So, all is good, and I have lots to keep my mind occupied (as if that were ever a problem around here…..).
That being said, we should probably just get on with it, so…… let’s Pearl….
All of the above is out-of-date by 24 hours, so just pay it no mind…. As I explained yesterday, this was written on the 15th, but before I realized I was writing it into the template for the next day….. The nose grew bulbous and red, and I honked it, for sure….. I had to start over, and shall proceed to do so again this morning…. be right back…. (Why not just delete? That would be cheating….)
It has been a full day since I wrote that, and the above introductory paragraphs are hereby declared to be null and void. This procedure will now resume its normally scheduled activity…. as normally as it ever gets, that is….. and to avoid any further nonsense, we will go directly to the task at hand, i.e., we shall now Pearl……this way, please, and watch your step…..
Deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by.
Do nothing to thy neighbor which thou wouldst not have him do to thee hereafter.
— _The Mahabharata_, c. 800 B. C.
I feel a google coming on….. yep, it started even earlier than this…. According to Wikipedia, the earliest mention of the concept we now refer to as The Golden Rule is to be found in the Code of Hammurabi, first codified and set down in the year 1780 BC. Though the majority of Christians believe that the teachings of Jesus were the origination of this idea, almost every religion and philosophy in every country in the world has made a reference to this ideal of reciprocity in human relations, dating probably from before the time of Hammurabi.
Once again, the mathematician in me takes over, and we will now emulate The Count, from Sesame Street. 1780 + 2012 = 3792. That is 3792 years, approximately (I don’t imagine they know the day of the week it was published; it’s not THAT accurate a computation). That is a lot of days. Even more hours. It seems like, and is, a long time, at least in relation to the sum total of written human history, which has been been recorded for only about 5 or 6 thousand years… not too much longer ago than this first appeared.
These figures, in my mind, beg the question: So, how are we doing on that? Do we all treat each other according to the underlying principle of this piece of societal knowledge, well known to even the most ignorant of our brethren? Is this the basis for all our laws and moral standards? Have we made any progress at all in nearly four thousand years during which this has been a part of the tool kit that humans possess to deal with reality?
I don’t think so.
In fact, it seems clear to me that our society pretty much acts in a manner completely OUT of harmony with the principle of reciprocity between men and women, of seeking harmony between all members of society. There is NO reciprocity present in modern day life. The attitude of self-service first is prevalent in the beloved ruling class, and trickles down naturally to infest and infect every level of society, from top to bottom, reaching into every nook and cranny, soiling each soul it touches and ensnares.
Each and every one of these people whom we have elected into office, as well as a significant number of average society members, will tell you with a straight face, and a firm belief they are telling the truth, that they strongly support the Golden Rule, and use it in every area of their life. These same people will then steal your wallet while you aren’t looking, then offer to help you look for it. Then, they will ask you for a reward for helping you find it, right where they dumped it…. and I’ll bet everyone reading this has a story that fits that scenario, at least in the essential points….
Is there an answer to this issue, to these questions? Yes, it has already been made, and is in place now. This is the way it is; it will not change, not until human nature changes also, and that is just NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, PEOPLE! I’d suggest you get used to it, and polish up your armor….. There are not many of us left who feel like what is below…. most folks don’t feel at all…. but trying for this at least can make our own journey a bit more tolerable…..
Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves. — Irish blessing
After that explosion of cynicism, all I can say to you all is….. Blessed Be, and maybe I’m wrong…. We can hope…. In fact, here is a proposition…. If the world will adopt the Golden Rule, I’ll break myself of my habit of using all these dots in my writing….. that ought to be worth something in the larger picture, don’t you think? It’s worth a shot, nothing else seems to be working very well…..
“Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense. (Hurting yourself is NOT a sin–just stupid.)” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”
I first saw this quote when I was about 23 or so… I had been reading Heinlein’s work for many years already, and my philosophical growth was still in its expansion stages, not yet having settled on the final format that I eventually found suitable. This statement, part of the collected “Notebooks of Lazarus Long” was one that almost seemed as it it had been part of my being for many years. It wasn’t a feeling of deja vu that I got from it; it was more like a feeling of , “Well, of course! That’s obvious!” It was quickly adopted into my own philosophy as a good way to view reality, to my way of thinking….
It quickly came to my attention that this sentiment is not exactly a popular one amongst the more religiously oriented folks with whom we share space in this reality. The year 1973, when this book was first published, was a time when the gay movement was just gaining some attention in the news, and, I believe, may even be when Anita Bryant first began her misguided campaign against homosexuality.
A lot of social mores were being challenged by the hippie culture, and the rules, and sins, as promulgated by the established religions, were under constant attack from the left side of the political spectrum. The noise and outrage from the conservative fundamentalists was deafening in its panicked frenzy (a state of mind that persists to this day when fundamentalists are reminded of the laws that now exist…. it makes them absolutely CRAZY to think that their worst nightmares are now legal acts…..), as they thrashed around the public arena, shouting out their dogma to whomever they could persuade to listen.
But, as I did back then, and continue to do now, I pretty much ignore the crap that gets flung in my direction whenever one of these religious zealots hears what I believe, or is confronted with the evidence of their own foolishness. It’s the only honorable way to deal with them… They are not sufficiently well-armed to make a battle of wits a fair proposition, and beating them to a pulp is frowned upon by my peers, as well as the fundamentalists themselves…. It costs them a lot in bandages and aspirin when they are silly enough to try to engage me in debates on this subject, and carry on to the point where my patience snaps…. it isn’t pretty…. but it sure is fun!…..
C:\> erase c:\reality.sys; copy a:\pern\*.* c:
Yesterday’s little contest had a winner, cowgirliz, (http://cowgirliz.wordpress.com/) who slipped in the correct answer late last evening, about 2 minutes ahead of the second place winner, Rohit, (http://quest4knowledge.wordpress.com/). Both of them correctly interpreted the above DOS command, and have won this fabulous prize….. four minutes of fame, here on gigoid’s folly….. This prize, it must be added, has no cash value, and is only worth as much as you give it, so, give until it hurts…… or at least go check out their blogs; both of them are well worth reading….
So, you’re asking, what the heck does it mean? Okay…. first, you need to know about Pern…. Pern is the name of a planet that circles a star much like that of Earth’s, approximately 200+ light years from Earth, in the direction of the constellation Draco, suitably enough…. It is a fictional world, created and written about by Anne McCaffrey, an Irish author of science fiction and fantasy novels. The novels about Pern are a combination of the best of both of those literary worlds……
Humans came to Pern, in giant spaceships, from Earth in the twenty-second century, seeking to colonize a planet using new ideas of government and societal structure that the colonists believed would be an improvement over what now existed on Earth. When they arrived on the planet, from which they could not return to Earth, having used all their available resources to get to Pern, with not enough to spare for a return trip, they found it to be welcoming, if challenging. Except for one thing…. Thread.
Thread was a life-form that originated on another planet in the same system, a life-form inimical to carbon-based life, such as humans, plants, the animals the colonists had brought with them, and those indigenous to Pern. Thread fell from the skies above Pern, after traveling across the intervening space between the two planets during the closest approach in their respective orbits. It would then voraciously attack and consume any life form it touched, producing a painful and not quick enough death.
In order to combat the menace, the colonists performed bioengineering on a life form indigenous to Pern, called fire-lizards. These flying lizards, resembling small dragons, the size of a cat, had two characteristics which the colonists needed to fight the Thread as it fell on them from above. First, they could fly, and in addition, had the power of teleportation; they could almost instantly move from one point to another on Pern, taking only the time it takes to draw two breaths to get anywhere else on the globe. Second, they could breathe fire….. But, cat-size, they were too small to be an effective weapon against the Thread, so the colonists altered their DNA, making them larger, the size of the real dragons of human myth, but keeping the abilities of flight, teleportation, and breathing fire….. thus making them effective at eliminating Thread before it reached the ground, fighting with their bonded human riders, who feed them the mineral needed to produce the flames…
Over the course of numerous books, the history of Pern is laid out, over a three thousand year period following the first arrival of people to the planet, showing readers a number of interesting cultural changes to society, caused in part by the new form of self-government the colonists established, as well as the effects of having a new sub-culture, that of Dragon riders, within the main culture of the planet. It is a very popular set of books, with new ones being added by enthusiastic fans writing in the same universe as Pern, as well as other fantasy and sf authors who have collaborated with Ms. McCaffrey to create more books on the same subject. The culture of Pern, as described in the novels, is almost Utopian in its attitudes, and the planet serves as a modified version of Heaven on Earth, as it fulfills several human dreams that our current society either represses or ignores, i.e. a peaceful society based on respect for others, and Dragons, too!
Now, the DOS part…. DOS is an operating system, a mathematical model that is used to give computers the actual commands that cause it to perform different functions, such as opening files, viewing contents of the files, word processing, or printing files. The commands are written in a specific format, a language, as it were, that tells the computer exactly what files to seek and use, or to copy, or move, or whatever; it is the details of the actions the computer will be asked to perform.
Using the common format for such commands, the above command line can thus be seen to instruct the computer to delete Reality, and to then, using a file on a floppy disk in the a:/drive, to open, and start, an alternate Reality based on the Pern universe… in other words, replace today’s Earth with Pern… and all of its wonderful advantages……including Dragons! Bonus? No tax day!
See? A bit of modern cultural mythology, a bit of fantasy, a little technology, and a lot of whimsy…. it always works for me….. thanks for listening…..
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.” — Epicurus
So simple, yet this remains as the root cause of much of the unhappiness that people experience in today’s world, both directly, and indirectly. Often, losing what we have is a result of letting go of it to chase after an illusion of what we believe would be somehow better than what we already possess. We all remember the story about the dog with the big bone in his mouth who, on spying his reflection in the water of the river, opened his mouth to grab the bone the other dog had, and lost the one he had….. So obvious, and a lesson we all are taught from a young age, no matter what our educational level. This story crosses all such distinctions, as it is easily seen as universally relevant by all who hear it, save those few who are cognitively incapable of more than rudimentary thought (Certain politicians come to mind…. okay, I’m sorry, that was a cheap shot, totally unnecessary, and out of place in a serious discussion…. but, it still is true, it DID pop into my mind’s eye; the image is still there… 🙂 )
In light of the above paragraph’s implications, the question that begs asking is this; What the fuck is wrong with people? I’m serious. The entire world seems to be locked into a pattern of behavior and attitudes that consistently contradicts the concept under examination, in short, material desire. Everyone, from the leaders and public figures at the supposed apex of society to the poorest miserable resident of the ghetto, seems to be chasing material advancement, both for personal benefit, and in relation to others, instead of being happy and content with what is spiritually and compassionately beneficial that we may possess in plenty, no matter what our material status, just by making the inner decision to let go of the desire for what is ephemeral, and holding on to what is eternal…..
To my mind, it is incomprehensible… I know that I possess many advantages over some folks, in terms of what I have been blessed with between my ears…. though it hasn’t made me rich in money or property, I am fabulously wealthy in terms of the things I consider to be essential to life, such as love, honor, truth, and compassion. Whatever I may achieve, or acquire, beyond those things, can be considered to be a bonus, in some cases, and a challenge in others…. either way, I try hard not to let any of the extra stuff detract from my appreciation for the four pillars of my existence, as stated above……
It is hard for me to not feel compassion for any who are so lost, or out of touch with themselves, or just misled, such that they cannot see the advantages of learning to embrace the sentiment expressed so well by Epicurus. It arouses my compassion, and makes me wish I knew how to get through to all those people, so they could share the joy in living that I do…. As painful and difficult as my life can be at times, I know it will all be well in the end, that the Universe is proceeding as it should, and that contents me…. most of the time….
Halfway up the stairs
And isn’t down.
It isn’t in the nursery,
It isn’t in the town.
And all sorts of funny thoughts
Run round my head:
“It isn’t really
It’s somewhere else
— A.A. Milne
You know, when I found this, I had an immediate reaction that I knew would make a good pearl…. Now that I look at it again this morning, that thought is gone. Phtt! Nowhere to be found. Too bad, really; as I recall, it was an interesting thought. But, so much for the best laid plans, etc.
You know what else? This is good enough to stand alone. As I look it over again, it is echoing, growing deeper and more complex as each minute passes….. of course, that could just be the moldy cheese I’m eating, too….. No, really, it is a pretty deep little Pooh-ish sort of thought, isn’t it? Almost sounds like Emily D. might have said it, in one of her more whimsical moments….. Nonetheless, I’m going to just leave it alone, and leave any further contemplation of its depths to the Gentle Reader….. where all such musings belong…
I was noodling around in my head last night, as is my wont, and the following popped into my head. Now, if I was a paranoid schizophrenic, I would think, and most likely be right, that this is what is referred to as a thought intrusion. I might, if I were so diagnosed, and inclined, think that someone else had planted this in my brain, or that another of my hallucinations had telepathically forced me to think it. But, not being any subject to such silly ideas, (my brain chemical balance seems to be holding up just fine, thank you…), I just felt a small glow of mild achievement, as one does when one turns a phrase nicely, or makes a clever play on words, as in this case….. I like it…. What do y’all think? Is it worth using, as an alternate sig file? Or is it just okay, slightly amusing but not on the cutting edge of clever? I need some feedback here, please…. thanks…..
“May the metaphorse be with you.” — gigoid, Sunday, 2012
Thus does another Pearl of Virtual Wisdom draw to a thrilling conclusion. Or, well, at least a screeching halt….. hell, I think we’d better jump before this thing goes over the cliff there….. look out!….. Nooooooooo! …… NO CARRIER
Hmph… I always seem to end up going for the cheap laugh at the end. When will I ever learn? SIGH…. Well, y’all take care out there….
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.