Yesterday, my blog on WordPress reached a milestone….. I’m informed by the statistical ‘bots that I now have 101 followers of my blog! This is a gratifying moment for me, and a most welcome encouragement that I’m doing something right, at least. I have, mostly, done very little to promote the blog, beyond posting it to Twitter and Facebook. My only other activity that might fit that category is that I also follow well over a hundred blogs, of which I read every one I get a notice for, (I am a very fast reader) and I’m pretty active in the comments section.
So, what this tells me is that my followers are all here as a result of either serendipity (they clicked on random suggested blog with a tag they like), or because of word-of-mouth, i.e., someone recommended it to them. This is the most gratifying part for me, as it tells me that the ffolkes who are following me are also telling others what they like here, and sending them here to read.
So, I would like to take this moment here at the beginning today, to shout out a huge THANK YOU to all the ffolkes who have read and liked what I’ve written, with a big hug and sloppy one on the cheek for all those who have re-blogged or recommended my work to someone else. All of the above is very much appreciated, and I can only hope that I can continue to produce material that people enjoy, and maybe bring a smile, or a stimulating thought, to someone’s morning.
Thank you….gracias…. multi grazie…. merci beaucoup….. domo arigato…..xie xie….. danke sehr…. and, again, thank you one and all for your support and encouragement. May the lives and fortunes of all of my new found friends be ever growing and ever more dear, and may they always walk in Beauty…… Yah ta hey! Mi taku oyasin. (We are all related.)
Well, that was fun…. it’s humbling to reach a milestone like this, to know that one now has a responsibility, to write well enough to justify the support and belief that people have shown to me, so I’d best be about it, hadn’t I? Nothing will get written just sitting here basking in the after-glow….. So, take a few deep breaths, blow out one last time until you are empty, then fill up your lungs as much as you can. Pinch your nose, open up your bright eyes, and your shiny mind, and let’s dive…. the Pearls are a’waitin’…..
“All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” — Federico Fellini
It has been a while since I talked about Pearls, so when I stumbled upon the above quote, I knew it was time….. Pearls of Virtual Wisdom come with a caveat and disclaimer, to wit: These Pearls consist of ideas and concepts, and even procedures, that are Virtual Wisdom. They should never be confused with, or used as, Real Wisdom; the results can be somewhat unpredictable, have been known to cause injury, and in at least one case, (my own), have resulted in months of severe depression. (Of course, that depression may not be due strictly to the intrinsic differences in the Pearls themselves, but rather a direct result of inattention to which variety I was using at the moment) Regardless of how real Pearls of Virtual Wisdom may appear, or how shiny they look to the untrained eye, the author assumes no liability for failure to heed this caveat.
That being said, let us for a moment consider pearls as incarnations of jewels, as the precious gems of rare beauty and great value they become when freed from the oyster, the shelter which created each layer of the pearl’s beauty out of its own pain…. The soft sheen of a fine pearl, luminescent in the dimness, glowing in the light, has captivated the eyes and imaginations of men and women since the first oyster was plucked from the sea bed to enhance someone’s supper, and has inspired those who fall under its spell to acts of great sacrifice, as well as acts of great cruelty, in the quest to possess these timeless treasures from the sea.
Thus the metaphorical nature of the Pearls of Virtual Wisdom becomes apparent, as we see that, although virtual wisdom looks just like real wisdom, the difference may be likened to the difference between naturally produced pearls, and those that are cultivated in laboratories. One is shiny, and of great value for its rarity and beauty, naturally endowed; the other is shiny, but of lesser value, due to lesser rarity, and a somehow lesser beauty, as made by the hand of man.
The subtle differences are of little note, except to Reality, which always knows which wisdom is which, as it knows which pearl is which; hence the caveat and disclaimer, to avoid any conflicts with Reality due to negligence on my part…..so, please use these Pearls with appropriate caution, and they will bring you joy for years to come…..
“Did an Italian CRANE OPERATOR just experience uninhibited sensations in a MALIBU HOT TUB?” — Zippy the Pinhead
“This song of the waters is audible to every ear, but there is other music in these hills, by no means audible to all…. On a still night, when the campfire is low and the Pleiades have climbed over rim rocks, sit quietly and listen … and think hard of everything you have seen and tried to understand. Then you may hear it – a vast pulsing harmony – its score inscribed on a thousand hills, its notes the lives and deaths of plants and animals, its rhythms spanning the seconds and the centuries.” — Aldo Leopold
Have you ever listened to hear the music of the spheres? Mssr. Leopold has heard them; no one who has not been held in thrall by the sheer beauty of this universal symphony could possibly give such a clear, and complete description, without possessing firsthand knowledge of its power, without first having experienced its beauty. It is a beauty that reaches straight into men’s souls, plucking directly on our heart-strings to bring us into the music, as an integral part of the entirety of creation that it celebrates.
The music of the night plays all day, as well, but is drowned out in the clamor of the sun, and the people who are too busy living, and cannot hear its song. It is best heard in the night, when the stars play in the background, as in an orchestra, wherein a soft string section supports the sweet melody of the horns, and the percussion holds steady the bright improvisations of the woodwinds.
I like to think, when I am listening to the music that plays forever, and is forever playing, that we can only hear the music because we are part of it, just as all the animals, and plants, and rocks, and oceans are part of the music, all filling in the musical note that best fits with all the rest, completing the glorious harmony that will be sung as long as the stars shine in the night sky……
“We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting.” — Kahlil Gibran
“Those who speak know nothing;
Those who know are silent”
These words, I am told,
Were spoken by Lao-tzu.
— P Chu-i (772-846)
How is it then, the poem ends; that one who knew, wrote so much?
I know, I know! Teacher, teacher, call on me!….. He didn’t want to write at all, but they made him do it….. Actually, I don’t know, precisely, or even verifiably under current conditions, whether or not that which I know is the true answer. What I do know is that what I’ve heard about this has that mythical quality that many Chinese legends have, as have those of many countries throughout the world’s history, of having grown from a single seed of truth….
When Lao Tzu decided he would leave his home in the town where he lived, his fame as a Taoist scholar and sage was already great throughout the Middle Kingdom; he was known to the Emperor, greatly admired by all of the important figures and scholars of his time, and revered as a treasured member of society.
As the story was related to me, Master Lao decided he wished to retire to the mountains, to be free of the demands laid upon him by his fame, which distracted him from his inner journey, and set about him the confining walls of the expectations of others. So he packed up his meager possessions, mounted his donkey, and set out for the gate to the city. At the gate, the guard asked him to where he was traveling, whereupon Lao Tzu told the guard of his wish to go into the mountains, in search of the Truth of the Way.
The guard was an educated man, who had himself studied the Tao, and did not wish for Lao Tzu to take away his knowledge and teachings, so he set a condition on the aged master, that he would only be allowed to leave if he first wrote down all he knew of the Tao’s nature, to leave in place of his revered self.
Thus constrained, Lao Tzu returned home, where he transcribed the eighty-eight verses that comprise what is known today as the Tao Teh Ching, the book which has served as the primer on Taoist philosophy for all the centuries since the Master walked the earth. When the work was finished, he took the manuscript to the unnamed guard, passed through the gate of the city, and was seen no more in the Middle Kingdom.
As I said, I don’t know if this is a true story, or an idealized version of what actually took place over two thousand years ago. But it sure sounds true, and is congruent with all the principles of Taoism that I can claim to understand. If it is so, the entire human race owes a very large debt of gratitude to that clever unknown soldier, who saved the master’s words for the world…… and as for having written so much, the only response I have to P Chu-i’s question is, “Who cares? Where would we be if he had not done so?”…..
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. — Romans 12:1
“Reasonable service” Hmm….. it seems to me that whoever wrote this should probably turn in his divine channeling papers, because all of his sense of proportion and believability just went flying out the window when this got put onto parchment back in the day. I mean, give me a break! “your bodies a living sacrifice” is “reasonable service”. Well, if you have the kind of mind that will accept that at face value, then I am compelled by compassion, fueled only by a deep desire to help my fellow man, to inform you of a special deal, a deal you won’t be able to pass up….
That’s right, folks (note the spelling, please), today only, you too can be the envy of your neighbors, the hero of the housing tract, the cock o’the walk, as it were. Today, and today only (we already have our ticket for the bus to Bakersfield leaving at midnight…..) you can join those millions of people have taken advantage of this EXCLUSIVE OFFER! For the next few minutes our operators will be taking orders for this deal of a lifetime, C.O.D only; no checks, no credit, no problem. What, you may ask, could be so wonderful, so glamorous, so blatantly gluttonous that EVERYONE wants one?
Well, I’ll tell you….. how would you feel to know that, thanks to your own good sense, and the wonders of human ingenuity, you were the first in your area to be the proud owner of…. wait for it…. your own, exclusive jar, filled to the brim, with GOD’s OWN ETERNAL LOVE! That’s right, you heard me correctly. For the insanely low price we are asking, you’ll have to agree that we are practically giving away this priceless commodity; you won’t find this deal matched anywhere.
What is this essentially negligible price, you ask? Just how crazy are these guys? We’re pretty cagey, er, crazy, that’s for sure. Today only, we are asking for a mere lifetime, and a mere 75% eternal, commitment of your entire soul, and the mineral and artistic rights to your firstborn child, whether a son or daughter. That’s right! An entire mason jar, filled to the brim with the priceless boon of God’s own eternal love, for the almost unnoticeable price we are seeking, would normally run you not only what we have asked, but also want you to throw in your wife, guarantee the rest of your children’s yearly incomes for life, and toss in a few succeeding generations as well. But today, and today only, you too can join those exclusive few who are privileged to have their very own centerpiece for the family altar, for the bargain price of one soul, and consumer rights on a child.
How can you lose? And how can you afford to pass up this opportunity to advance your standing in the eyes of your peers, as well as the eyes of God? You can’t, so pony up, sucker!….. Hahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahaha……..
“By calling attention to ‘a well regulated militia’, the ‘security’ of the nation, and the right of each citizen ‘to keep and bear arms’, our founding fathers recognized the essentially civilian nature of our economy. Although it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation, the Amendment still remains an important declaration of our basic civilian-military relationships, in which every citizen must be ready to participate in the defense of his country. For that reason, I believe the Second Amendment will always be important.” — April, 1960 (Then) Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)
Jack Kennedy was a pretty smart guy; after all, he did graduate from Harvard Law. Admittedly, he was not exactly the most ethical bulb in the box, but he had his head screwed on his shoulders fairly solidly, and had the unusual political stance of actually wanting the American people to have a decent chance at what they deserve, and are promised by our form of government, i.e., a shot at “the pursuit of happiness”….. However, in this statement, he makes an unwarranted and dangerous assumption, to wit: “it is extremely unlikely that the fears of governmental tyranny which gave rise to the Second Amendment will ever be a major danger to our nation.” Jack was an optimist…. and as is often the case, the pessimists were closer to right on this one…..
Our rights are in imminent and clear danger of being abrogated, permanently. This is an indisputable fact. I have pictures, as well as copious documentation, of their own documents of erasure. This kind of fact is also provided with further partial proof of its truth by the reaction of those responsible for this subtle attack on our legacy of freedom, who, when confronted with knowledge of their intent, immediately accuse the confronting entity of “spreading communist (oops, I guess today they would now use the ubiquitous “terrorist”) propaganda”, or “attacking the principles of freedom” or my favorite complete lie, “you’re threatening our national security.”
It would be somewhat amusing, if it weren’t so dangerously disgusting…. I mean, do they really expect the American people to sit around and do NOTHING? I kind of hope they do believe that…. it will be then a bigger surprise to them, when the American people stand up, point their guns at the heads of these idiots, walk back into the voting booths, and take their rights back, from the Democrats AND the Republicans, who are all arguably insane….. call me treasonous if you will; I call it patriotism, of the first water…..
“Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the First, his Cromwell; and George the Third [“Treason!” cried the Speaker]–may profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it.” — Patrick Henry (1736-1799) — Speech in the Virginia Convention, 1765
(In today’s scenario, substitute, George the Shrub and Shrub II for George III)
“You can lead a yak to water but you can’t teach an old dog to make a silk purse out of a pig in a poke.” — Opus
Looking back over today’s offering was interesting; I guess if it hadn’t been, I’d be tossing it all and starting over. Fortunately, that won’t be necessary; this will fly just fine….. I hope you enjoy this sharing of the wealth I go through every morning as much as I enjoy spitting it out. (Sorry…. I suppose I could have chosen less visually descriptive verbiage, but, hey, it still is early here in California, and I’m too lazy to go back and change it…. deal…..)
The weather wizards are calling for more rain, so I guess there will be sufficient time to get to the daily batch of WP notices and comments, now reaching over 100 emails a day, and still growing…. SIGH, I love all this; as a polymath, it is a great way to stay busy without ever getting bored. But, it sure is taking up a lot of the day…. I need to figure out a more efficient method of dealing with it all, before it becomes a chore….. ah well, the day is young….. meantime, y’all take care out there, and Blessed Be……
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.