“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”
~~ Socrates ~~
Animal Pictures of the Week
London Daily Telegraph
“I am especially grateful to Saint-Expury for bringing out a paradoxical truth which seems to me of great psychological import: that man’s happiness lies not in freedom but in his acceptance of a duty.” — Andre Gidet, 1931, in the preface to Saint-Expury’s “Night Flight”, called “Flight to Arras” in the English version.
Serendipity can be of great help when one is floundering, if one is able to put aside any confusion to notice its presence…. I am in a deep funk, one brought on by a resurgence of PTSD symptoms, in reaction to some stressful issues with which I’ve been dealing over the last few weeks…. The details are not important; nor is any real discussion of my own neurotic/psychotic tendencies of any help that I can see….
However, the process of finding one’s center, and the inner balance to maintain one’s position there, is often helpful to discuss, if only to point out those ideas that may bring some relief, to myself, or anyone else, from the issues at hand…. In this case, the above quote from Mssr. Gide reminded me of something I already knew, but, lost track of in my floundering around in my head…. Easy to do, methinks, especially for those of us who dwell in our inner spaces a lot….
How does all this relate to a Pearl? Well, the fact is, I’m seriously considering NOT Pearling for a while…. The duty I have in life now is not one of my own choosing, in one sense, though there is, of course, another sense which always knows that ALL of what we do, and all of what happens TO US, is all our choice…. But, right now, I’m dealing with more pain and misery, for reasons found in the state of my own physique, than I ever imagined, much less thought to feel; having been healthy all my life, I didn’t imagine ever having my own body betray me…. I suppose that goes to show how little we actually know, and how much we need to learn to pay closer attention….
In any case, it seems to me that I’ve become too sedentary; my whole life these days revolves around the process of creating these Pearls…. The routines I’ve built up all are centered on the early morning period when I write; the rest of my day is generally taken up by methods of passing the time without increasing my pain…. In fact, my entire existence, including the writing of Pearls, is designed to keep my pain at a level that can be managed…. By pain, I am referring to both the physical pains I feel, from arthritis, diverticulosis, and the aftereffects of a life spent in hard labor (so to speak….), and the internal, mental pain that plagues me when my PTSD flares up….
It’s hard to say which is more debilitating; the physical pain is tough, especially when it all kicks in together, but, I can usually push past it to do stuff…. The mental pain is, perhaps, a bit harder to deal with, as when it strikes, I don’t want to do ANYTHING, not even think…. The chemical means I use to manage both types of pain are helpful, but, there are times when the pain pretty much IGNORES anything I take, and will push through all chemical barriers to make itself known…. Those times, while illuminating in terms of what one learns about one’s self, are NOT pleasant…. a word which, in this case, may be termed as reverse hyperbole….
As can be seen, today, my hands and joints are better; I’m typing without a need for long breaks, and the magic cream is working fine. Hence, this long, wordy, wandering intro section, all just to say that this may be the last Pearl you see for a time…. I am not sure. but, the statement above, re; duty, has caused some deep resonance in my spirit, and I feel I may be taking a hiatus from writing to go find my duty…. It’s that simple for me, you see…. I’ve always known that I am duty-driven, as any man worth his salt is…. Whether we like it or not, it’s the way we’re built, and we don’t do well without a purpose, one we have chosen to fulfill….
So, bear with me, ffolkes…. This could get maudlin, or it could get brilliant (less likely, I’m sure, in my current frame of mind….); what it WILL get is DONE, one last time, if it kills me….
Shall we Pearl?
“A hug is a heart to heart talk.” — Bobby Matherne (American writer, 1940-)
In order to keep with the theme today, here is some gorgeous music from a brilliant artist, playing music designed for the instrument he plays…. Enjoy!….
Yo Yo Ma… The Six Suites for Unaccompanied Cello by Johann Sebastian Bach
I definitely don’t have a rant in me today, other than one against reality, which is totally useless…. So, here is a discussion from the archives, that takes life down to a pretty simple level….
“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
See? There, now, I’ve been saying this for years, and here’s old Marcus Aurelius, that Roman cogitator extraordinaire, putting it straight out there, way back around the time of J.C.’s failed attempt at societal reform. A very cogent, yet poignant description of human nature and the preponderance of Ego that drives most of humanity to act out of their own ignorance, rather than consider the veracity or usefulness of someone else’s ideas. This format for stating this answer to one of the great questions is one that all the best philosophers choose when creating aphorisms; clear, simple language and brutally honest self-examination provide us with true wisdom, like it or not……
What particularly gets me about people at large is the high percentage of folks who fall into the trap that Ego sets; for some reason, people seem to prefer the cozy blindness with which ignorance can cover them to the cold, harsh light of self-knowledge. The very ego that sets them apart from the rest of the animals who inhabit this planet becomes also the greatest threat to survival, when it is allowed to dictate how one views reality.
The state of society in today’s world rests on the brink of total collapse; any number of issues currently in play in the world can lead us to upheaval unseen since the last Ice Age. Pollution, created by mankind, is pumping tons of carbon monoxide into the air every minute, and all those precipitates are eventually bound to cause changes to climate that we will have no power to stop, or reverse.
The economy of the world is constantly on the verge of collapse in these times, due mostly to the unacknowledged crimes of the 1% of mankind who controls 99% of the money and resources. These crimes arise, again, out of Ego, as the elite of the world believe that they are “different” from the rest of humanity, and deserve to make all the decisions, which oddly enough, are only beneficial to themselves….. again, the power of Ego trumps virtue…..
I’m a smart guy, pretty much, but this is a problem for which even I cannot find a solution, other than the age-old, time-worn, and always ineffective war between the classes. That solution has been tried innumerable times throughout history, and each time the same structure of society re-settles into the same old shape, with a few people at the top, making all the important decisions for the rest of humanity. All because we, as individuals, and as a species, cannot learn to control our ego, to persuade it to act for the benefit of all, rather than just looking out for itself….. I figure that whatever happens will be what we deserve, and I can’t say that I think it will be very pretty, for the species….. or for a lot of individuals…..
Maybe there is a solution…. as a matter of fact, there is one that has been around for as long as mankind has been writing stuff down…. and it’s always the same little piece of advice, a little idea that can change one’s entire life and world-view….. but only if it is accepted, and believed, and applied to reality…… Everybody knows this, but, how many actually live it?…..
“Do unto all as you would wish to have done unto you, and reject for others what you would reject for yourself.” — Mohammed
That’s right, the Golden Rule…. a basic tenet of EVERY philosophy that Mankind has ever formulated; even most religions will acknowledge the wisdom of this, though it doesn’t serve their interests as well as they would wish. But, throughout history, we have always known what is the right way to act…. we’ve just always chosen not to apply the principle in interacting with others…. Instead, we allow our ego to dictate how we behave, thus bringing us to the current world, with all of its problems and dangers…..
SIGH….. It’s really quite easy, and it’s the only answer that will work, in the long run. It really is too bad that most of humanity isn’t buying into it, isn’t it?……
I’ve been inundating y’all with my own poetry, so, here is one we all have seen before, at one time or another, from a poet who needs no introduction from me….
The Arrow and the Song
I shot an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.
I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song?
Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.
~~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow ~~
Above, I stated I don’t have a rant in me…. but, that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything about which I want to rant. It only means I don’t believe I’ve got the mental acuity to do it right…. Smart Bee, however, seems to be in fine fettle, now that it has gotten over whatever snit it was pursuing there for a while….
This pearl speaks about modern society, in this country specifically, but with relevance to the entire gamut of human culture today…. Follow the bouncing idea ball to the perfect resolution to the issues brought forth by this most excellent indictment…. I couldn’t have done better if I’d tried….
“Existing order thrives upon ignorance and lies. Objective truth and individual reason are feared above all.” — Smart Bee
“Democracy is a form of government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. In democracy, what you get generally is bad government by a bully, tempered by the pen of several newspaper editors.” — George Bernard Shaw — Man and Superman (1903) Maxims for Revolutionists: Democracy
“But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.” — Frederic Bastiat, The Law
“It doesn’t require any particular bravery to stand on the floor of the Senate and urge our boys in Vietnam to fight harder, and if this war mushrooms into a major conflict and a hundred thousand young Americans are killed, it won’t be U. S. Senators who die. It will be American soldiers who are too young to qualify for the senate.” — George McGovern
“The history of most countries has been that of majorities – mounted majorities, clad in iron, armed with death, treading down the tenfold more numerous minorities.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes poet, novelist, physician 1809-1894
“Capitalism did not arise because capitalists stole the land, but because it was more efficient than feudalism. It will perish because it is not merely less efficient than socialism, but actually self-destructive.” — J. B. S. Haldane
“We’ve got to end this foolishness.” — Smart Bee
“So as this only point among the rest remaineth sure and certain, namely, that nothing is certain. . .” — Pliny The Elder
Pliny the Elder, in many of his works, tended to lean a bit toward the fantastic, especially when it came to biology, a science of which he knew very little, but said much… The above, however, is perfectly true, and is a good place to end today’s missive, as it fits right in with my mood…. Most days, at this point, I would say, see y’all tomorrow…. Today, all I will say is, be real, and wish me luck, in finding some peace of mind…. See ya….
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
PLEASE STOP READING THIS MESSAGE NOW.
À bientôt, mon cherí….