“Do not settle for less than the best your own excellence can command.” — Anne McCaffrey
Excellence has always been the goal, for almost my entire life…. In school, on the playing field, at work, every activity I have engaged in has been given my best effort at performing the given tasks as well as they could be done, whether physical or mental in nature. Without tootling my horn too loudly, I’ve done pretty well at it…. I was valedictorian of my high school class, played three varsity sports, achieving All League status in both football and baseball, and have gotten consistently excellent work ratings at whatever job I held…. My personal philosophy, Peruaosophy, acknowledges the importance of excellence in my life, with axiom # 4 stating, “Excellence is its own reward.”…..
This morning, I am reaching a milestone in blogging…. This will be my 800th post, in just over two years of blogging, not all of which met my standards of excellence, other than in their consistency of publication, and their technical characteristics, such as grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. As for the literary aspects, I will be the first to admit that what I’ve created doesn’t always tip the scale all the way to ‘excellent’ in every post, but, I made an excellent effort at it, and would imagine about half of it could be considered quite good….. Some of it is pretty funny, anyway….
So, anyway, I am not sure how I should react to this milestone…. I’m well past the time in my life where I’d use this as an excuse to go celebrate, abusing my liver by an outrageous consumption of adult beverages, but, I guess I won’t mind feeling a small glow of satisfaction for the day…. Well, I can do that, once this actually gets posted, and this 800th version of the Pearls of Daily Wisdom on WordPress joins its fellows…. Since I am trying to rest, and gather my resources and energy for the upcoming move I have to make, in two days, it will be nice to contemplate the satisfaction of my achievement while I am doing so…
This event has also had the serendipitous side-effect of giving me enough material for a legal intro section, without having to go through my normal contortions…. I’m sure everyone will appreciate that, given that, according to the stats, whatever I’ve been doing seems to be driving all but three or four hardy souls away…. No matter, Maya is everywhere, and nothing we perceive is real, unless it is……
Now that I’ve written four paragraphs, my brain is starting to wake up, bringing me a bit closer to real cogitation, and I see by the above that once again, I’ve wasted a perfectly good opportunity for some serious humor with a semi-serious, and all-too-sincere discussion of reality’s current configuration settings. I hate to miss a good chance for a joke or two, but, what’s done is done, and it’s too much to expect me to write, and, at the same time, monitor the direction and quality of what I write, so, as is the standard policy here, we’ll leave it in place, and get on with the rest of today’s concourse d’elegance, which, if I am translating correctly, is at least in the vicinity of where we wish to end up…..
Shall we Pearl?…..
“Even as a great fish swims along the two banks of a river, first along the eastern bank and then the western bank, in the same way the Spirit of man moves along beside his two dwellings: this waking world and the land of sleep and dreams.” — Upanishads
In order to have any chance of understanding anything in this section, it is recommended that you first engage your most perceptive, flexible attitude, and read the article found at the end of the link below….. please?…..
In the last few weeks, Mr. Morford has written a couple of excellent essays that parallel my own thinking; this is one that gives a good idea of what goes through my head every day, or whenever I think about the sad situation we are in, as a species, in relation to our planet’s health, and its threatened ability to provide us with an environment that is conducive to our survival…. (Hmm… a little pompously phrased, but, hey, it’s a serious subject….) Those thoughts invariably end up in a scary place, and it is hard at times to maintain the illusion of my own happiness, in the face of the future…. How can I enjoy my own time on earth, when I know that my children’s children will be faced with some very hard times, and choices, as the situation worsens?…
I’m not in the mood to rant, even with the anger and outrage that thinking about the BRC’s complicity in bringing the world to this point gives me; sleep was not to be found last night, and my brain feels as if it is packed in cotton…. safe, warm, and comfortable, but not terribly interested in being sharp…. So, to go along with Mark’s mindful insights, I offer this pearl, to give some color and contrast to a situation that resists any beautification efforts….
“History is a nightmare from which we are trying to awaken.” — James Joyce
How sad and bad and mad it was!
But then, how it was sweet!
— Robert Browning (1812-1890) — Confessions, ix
“Although war is cruel and brutal, it is also dangerous and stupid.” — Yakko Warner
“Anyone who isn’t confused really doesn’t understand the situation.” — Edward R. Murrow
“It is not good to try to lead people by hitting them over the head, but for some few, having a bat handy is helpful, just in case.” — Smart Bee
“It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress.” — Mark Twain Following the Equator (1897)
“YOW!! I’m in a very clever and adorable INSANE ASYLUM!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
Since today is a milestone Pearl, it seems appropriate to use one of my own poems. Here is one of the first I wrote after beginning to write poems again, after a 35 year hiatus…..
Playing by the Rules
All my days I looked for love,
And found it everywhere I looked.
The years were joyous and fully booked
Seemingly by command from Above.
In return for all of the beauty in Life I found
I played life by the Rules that we all know,
It was from my father I learned the how,
Honest love, given freely, hand-fasted, gladly bound.
It seemed a while as if it were all real,
that fulfillment and contentment could be
as real as the children given us to oversee,
to teach them of Life and Love, and how to feel.
Then storm clouds of grievous change arrived, unbidden
Insidious, deceitful, three steps forward, then one back.
Tearing holes in our beautiful cloth, a heart heard to crack,
Gleeful demons eating life’s bounty, fangs dirty, and hidden.
Pain and sorrow grew, in defiance of all I tried,
Sanctuary turned into a reluctant scene of ritual battle,
Love still lives, but is herded like doomed and pitiful cattle,
While the keening of my soul sounds as if I’d died.
Betrayal in love is, allow me to assure, no small pain to take.
Time has no power to reduce its place in my heart or soul.
My truest love became a stranger, a powerfully sharp toll,
Solitude has become my lot, no killing time for necessity’s sake.
Love yet surrounds me, everywhere; I’m not one of those fools…
Children are forgiving, I’m glad to be able to say,
They show me life’s solid purpose, the old, right way,
I guess don’t know any other way, than to Play it by the Rules.
~~ gigoid ~~
I had a whole slew of excuses and/or justifications for using an archived pearl in this section, all of which seemed lame once I had written them down, so, I’m not going to give one…. Here is a section three discussion from the Pearl on 1/2/13; I will only say that it seems appropriate for what has happened here today….
“But my dear man, reality is only a Rorschach ink-blot, you know.” — Alan Watts
I enjoy the words of Alan Watts, and have done so since first reading one of his books in college, many years ago. His command of English is so deep and wide that he is somewhat hard to read, due to the weight and depth of both the material under discussion, and of the words he chooses to use. But, working one’s way through to the end of what he writes is well worth all the effort, for he explains the complex, and yet simple, wisdom of the Eastern religions and philosophies, in Western terms, so they are comprehensible to those same Western thinkers, with a clarity heretofore unseen. This particular line is one of his most simply written, yet is still deep and insightful…..
With one swift phrase, Reality is laid bare for all to understand, showing its flexibility, it’s malleable nature able to become whatever we perceive it to be. Each of us has our own interpretation of what we perceive as reality, and it is often very different than what others may believe it to be. Sometimes, I am absolutely amazed at the variety of perceptions that people describe, and feel a lot of satisfaction, on one level at least. That is the level of interaction…. I think it is just wonderful, that people from so many different backgrounds, and so many different ways of looking at the same thing, can still live together on one planet in relative harmony.
It would seem apparent that so many differing viewpoints would cause a lot of trouble, and to some extent that’s true…. There is a lot of trouble on this world, and Reality is not a place for the weak or timid to hang out safely. But, mostly, all the various attitudes and outlooks on life seem to shuffle along without much conflict, at the personal level, compared to what might be expected. One of those little unexplained miracles in life that we often don’t see, or appreciate….. The phenomenon is even more pronounced in institutions such as mental hospitals, where the visions of reality are of such a nature as to seem limitless in their variety. I was always impressed at how people from so many different parts of the galaxy were able to live together in peace…. 🙂
For me, the best part about the nature of Reality is this chameleon-like quality: it can be anything we want it to be. We can accept the perceptions it sends us, and even see, and understand, what those are describing to others, thus making it convenient for us to communicate about it. Or, we can choose to alter those perceptions, either in the way we receive them, or in the way we interpret them; either method gives us control over exactly how we view what is now a somewhat questionable form of Reality.
(It occurs to me that maybe I should use the capitalization technique, as with the words ‘pearl’, and ‘Pearl’…. Yeah, that’s the ticket… Okay, so ‘Reality’, capitalized, is what we all agree to see, and ‘reality’ is what each of us sees personally, with the word ‘see’ used to indicate ‘perceive’ because it’s a shorter word, took less time to type, and allowed me to further obfuscate matters in order to create the need to clear them up….. That should help clarify where we are in a sentence, even if it doesn’t actually simplify things at all…..)
Speaking of knowing where we are, this discussion seems to have reached a point where the next destination may be out of reach. Oh, not that the reality of it is too abstruse, or complicated, or even merely disgusting. No, it’s just too esoteric for me at 0815 in the morning, after already composing a couple thousand words on human nature and and the nature of Reality. It is almost a depressing come-down to have to consider ending this, since it was flowing so well, but, the perfect closing pearl showed itself, and I’m not one to argue with Smart Bee, or Zippy….. Stay alert, ffolkes, Reality can suck, and it can bite, when it’s not being nice…..
“I guess it was all a DREAM.. or an episode of HAWAII FIVE-O…” — Zippy the Pinhead
I’m struck at how typical this Pearl has turned out…. It’s over the top, length-wise, but that’s nothing new. It’s all over the map, intellectually, also nothing we haven’t seen before. It’s a little bit egotistical, but, hey, it’s my blog, right? I’m a little nervous about just how it will appear, in the big picture…. I guess I’ll go see now, and get that over with…..
Serendipity has struck again, hard…. I like it, and though I tend to be somewhat biased, I try to maintain some small degree of objectivity, and that part of me says, it ain’t bad…. and, it’s done, making it perfect…. now, with this final word from Zippy, I bid thee adieu, until next time….
“GOOD-NIGHT, everybody.. Now I have to go administer FIRST-AID to my pet LEISURE SUIT!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
Y’all take care out there,
and May the Metaphorse be with you;
Blessed Be, dearest Carole…
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.