The only quest I know….

Ffolkes,
There is always a lot of stuff going on in my head, and, in spite of how it should, or could be otherwise, I’m pretty sure that not all of it is completely under my control. This, as might be deduced, is both blessing and curse, and causes me no end of moments of temporary confusion, moments that can stretch to what seems like eons….. Hell, sometimes, it seems like confusion is my most natural state, especially when reality is going through its contortions right in front of me like it does; reality does not always conform to what I think of it, either regarding expectations, or expedience. Hard to say which is more annoying, having my expectations dashed by reality, or having my time killed by it, used up dealing with mundane details rather than exotic dreams, or even hopeful ones….. (Whew! A four line sentence, desperately trying not to run on, and failing spectacularly!…. Oh well…. I just got up, give me a little slack, here, ‘kay?….Or, just call me Balzac….)

If this all sounds a bit vague, you are paying attention, as it is deliberately so. I’m trying to discuss a point that can easily slip over into whining about how Murphy always f___s with me, without crossing the line of demarcation for that state of asininity. Whining feels good, right up until it leaves the mouth, then it is just pathetic, and the shame and guilt set in…. I really don’t know why we even bother with it, as it has no effect at all on reality, and only makes us look and feel bad. Another of those delightful human characteristics that we are constantly working to eradicate from our personalities, if we have any sense. Of course, the possession of sense is another discussion entirely, and would take up far too much space right now, so let’s not go there, eh?

To get back to our original point of discussion, not being entirely in control of what is happening in my head is a deliberate state on my part. I’ve found that a lot of my artistic impetus comes from that area of my experience, so I’ve developed the habit of allowing part of my consciousness free rein to go wherever it may wish, without any oversight by the tapes and rules that govern most of the rest of my persona. This is my version of allowing my imagination to soar, and it seems to work for me, so I don’t fuss with it, or think about it much, as I don’t want to disturb whatever balance and tension that keeps it running smoothly.

Below you’ll find a poem, an original I composed last night, under non-normal circumstances. It’s okay…. not the best I’ve ever done, but honest, and real in its intent and style. Oh, and, of course, it rhymes…. to me, that is important in one of my own poems these days. I spent a lot of effort in my youth writing free verse, with no structure, and no deliberate rhyming. Most of what I wrote back then was pretty sappy…. emotional, at times powerfully so, but lacking in direction, or a whole lot of style.

S’okay, I’m good with it, because nobody will ever see it again but me, and maybe my kids, when they go through my things after I pass (Oh for goodness sake, I hope they don’t try to publish any of it posthumously, I’d die of shame….   🙂   ….) Any who, this poem was written on the edge, as I was about two sheets to the wind, an unusual state these days, especially on a mere half-pint over the course of an hour and a half…. not exactly the consumption of a lumberjack, or even myself three years ago….. But, it was enough for my payday splurge for the month, and gave me a full three hours of wonderful relief from back pain (I’d forgotten how alcohol can do that…. it’s just not something one can use regularly, for a lot of reasons, but, occasionally, it sure provides a kind, and depth, of relief that is very rare for those of us who suffer constant pain….)

Any who, let’s see what else we can come up with here on an early Sunday morning, with the rain and wind blowing and blustering outside, making me glad to have a warm, dry place to stay, with food, and things to occupy my mind, and time. I am indeed a rich man, for all that I don’t have, that is to say, the worry of those who have no such advantages as these. It’s almost enough to make me rant, but I’ll wait until I find a pearl to base it on…. Shall we Pearl?…..
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“There is one God, but which one is He?”– Smart Bee

Now, this is the proper use of reason and inquiry! Such a small question, made gargantuan by the depth of its insight. Which one, indeed, is the real God? There are as many answers to this question as there are what I like to call “preachers”, for want of a better word (I should maybe try to pick a better one, I suppose….); “preachers” are men, or women, who have decided upon one particular system of beliefs on the subject of divinity as being the correct one, to the exclusion of all the others. In spite of the lack of hard evidence on hand for any of the different belief systems, these folks choose one, and stick to it like a barnacle…. which, come to think of it, is probably what it feels like, after a while….

Depending on to whom the question is put, the answer may vary from Odin the All Father of Norse mythology, to the God of Zoroaster, whose specific appellation escapes me just now. In between you will find God, also known as Yahweh/Jehovah to the those of the Tribe, Allah to the Muslims, and just plain old God to most of the Christian sects. There is the voodoo god, Jobu, in the Caribbean; Set, or Bal, or Mammon, or any of the other ancient earth gods;  Ra of the Egyptians; Krishna, and all his incarnations, i.e., Kali, Yama, Ganesha, Maya, and the others in the Hindu pantheon. The American Indians seemed to favor the Great Spirit. Ancient Druids and Wiccans follow the Goddess, with gods and goddesses from the Greeks and Romans thrown into the mix, just for fun. The list seems as endless as human imagination….. which it is, since all of them spring from that source.

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” — Smart Bee (and, most likely, the Dalai Lama….)

As far as I know, Buddha never claimed to be a god, and was, to my mind, not particularly clear on the subject of divinity, as directly related to humanity. The same seems true of Taoism, though certain of its sages seem to hold some of the old Chinese mythology beliefs on Heaven, and the creatures who inhabit that domain, another concept for which there is only imaginary evidence to support its veracity, and its reality. In this way, I see these philosophies as superior to the religious doctrines that purport to worship a deity, as they rely on reason, personal responsibility, and compassion to direct action, rather than fear of reprisal, or hope for reward, as is the wont of religious dogma and doctrine.

This perception of mine may be because I have always thought that the entire concept of a deity is not capable of being described, or understood, if one is to assume that a god is what it claims to be. How can a mortal understand an immortal? There is no common ground, other than the assumption of existence, for which there can be any reason for one to be connected to the other, as we could not comprehend their existence. We, limited to our human perceptions, have no direct evidence of a deity that can be experienced by those perceptions.

Anyone who tells you they do is lying, even if they believe it to be true, unless they can share that experience with another human, directly, with evidence for the senses we possess, not merely for what we wish to be true. Feelings don’t count, nor visions only seen by them, or voices in the head, and neither do personal revelations, or religious fevers, or speaking in tongues…. See, hear, touch, smell, taste…. that’s what we have, along with the ability to reason, and our imagination. That is our tool kit, and unless one of the tools fits, it isn’t real, to our perceptive ability. Items purported to be evidence that come from imagination are just that…. imaginary, and cannot be considered proof of anything other than the naivete of the speaker, and of any who choose to believe them.

“It is a great advantage for a system of philosophy to be substantially true.” — George Santayana

SIGH…. People are people, though, and they will choose what to believe according to what they feel, most of the time, rather than according to what is the truth, which requires effort to find. It has even been said that humans have a tendency more often than not to make choices that are bad for them, just for that reason, that it is too much effort to think their way through to the truth that would ultimately help them. As long as this is true, then our species is in danger, from itself, and its own delusions…. Sad, in a species of such promise…..

And on the 8th day, God woke up and said “Whew! It was just a dream!” — Smart Bee
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“Poetry is what gets lost in translation.” — Robert Frost

Placidly falling in amber waves: old friends

Whiskey, oh, whiskey, I’d forgotten thy balm,
thy loving spread of lassitude, and nature’s own calm.
Misery and pain flee in squalid disorganization,
leaving mirth, happily embraced, in just consolation.

James, old friend, thou has not abandoned me at all,
steadfast and loyal, ever ready to answer my softest call.
Ephemeral illusions of normality come at your instigation
blessed moments of peaceful joy, sans vilification.

Gasps of coherence pound at the door to conscious thought,
muffled explosive memories of battles already fought.
Malleable as the changeable airs of time and circumstance
plaintive calls to reason stand not a single, honest chance.

Sober again, reality’s cold reign brings a new day
ringing in old changes in a new-fashioned way.
To know true freedom’s release from our everyday pain
Is worth a bit of headache, even in the cold, pouring rain.

~~ gigoid, two sheets to the wind, and back

“You will find poetry nowhere, unless you bring some with you.” — Joseph Joubert
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If birth is a miracle, is not death also a miracle? — Smart Bee

Smart Bee is living up to its name today…. Here is a question that most will avoid asking…. Well, perhaps not so much avoid as ignore, by preference. Which amounts to the same, little as they’d like to admit it. It’s okay, though, nobody is blaming them, or suggesting they do anything other than what is comfortable…. Karma exists, like it or not, as the proper and logical counterbalance to entropy, giving it meaning, and everyone gets out of life exactly what they deserve. This is not an arguable conclusion, it is mere fact of reality, and fighting against it is pointless, as well as tiring…..

“You live in a deranged age, more deranged than usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is, what he is doing, or where he is going.”– Smart Bee

Everyone gets what they deserve….. what a novel concept! Of course, many folks, of the sort who don’t like to accept merely what they deserve, try to manipulate reality, and end up accumulating much more than they deserve. What they don’t understand is that time is not on their side, and karma will eventually come to them for an accounting, and all will be brought into balance, at their expense. It’s not a pretty sight when it happens, and it is so unnecessary, considering the consequences that can be avoided by simple acts of honor and integrity. Sometimes, living is a worse punishment than dying, in such cases….

Another lesser-known part of karma is one that most folks have a hard time both understanding, and, once they do, accepting. This principle is stated simply as: Not only are you 100% responsible for what you DO, you are 100% responsible for what happens TO you. Yep…. completely. If the world has punched you in the face, well, all I can ask is, what was your face doing in front of that fist? There are no excuses in the eyes of karma, and we become truly ourselves when we learn to understand this, and to make it a part of how we make decisions in life, including those leading up to the second miracle of our existence, dying.

“When the ten thousand things are seen in their oneness, we return to the source to remain where we have always been.” — Seng Ts’un.

In the ultimate sense, this goes back to the discussion in section one above, tying all of it together in this way: “the ten thousand things” is the Chinese literary euphemism for reality, or Heaven, or the universe at large, depending on who one asks at what time of day….. By this statement, Ts’un shows his knowledge, and acceptance of his own divinity, and connection, according to the principles of karma and how we interact with reality, to everything that exists in the universe, including all gods, or ideas about gods, or God. Take your pick, they are ALL correct, in their own little way, or according their own little piece of the Truth. What is actually TRUE for everyone always makes itself obvious…. because that is what happens. What is, is….

“Happiness and freedom begin with a clear understanding of one principle. Some things are within your control. And some things are not.” — Epictetus
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I have to say, this one isn’t bad…. I’m not going to even question why it came out as well as it did, but will go with the flow of karma, and accept what is….. Unless I wish to wait until late this afternoon to post this, I will have to hike through the rain for a few blocks to get to the Wi-Fi spot at the coffee shop, which I believe will be the best way to go. I’m no tireless, invulnerable warrior like I used to be, but I think I can make it three blocks in the rain for this without suffering the tortures of hell. Unless, of course, pneumonia sets in…. Well, no point in tempting Murphy any more than that, so I’ll close this here, and hope for the best…. All I need is twenty minutes of cooperation from the rain gods, and all will be well…..  Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.

gigoid

Subsidized pets never rust…..

Ffolkes,
If there is one place in the world I would prefer to avoid during the month of July, Bakersfield would be that place. Hot, dusty, and ugly were the three adjectives that came to mind as I walked out of the bus terminal. The grimy faces of tired, old buildings lined the street, harsh neon lights looking pale and wan in the harsh, oppressive light of the sun. Nobody else appeared to be out in the midday heat except yours truly, acting the part of either mad dog, or Englishman, for the entertainment of whatever gods happened to be watching.

I knew of at least one goddess who would be doing so with rapt attention, for she is the one who sent me to this godforsaken hole in the wall of the universe, and she will want to know what I’m doing at all times…. The gods aren’t the most trusting of employers, but they pay well for success…. Of course, what I’ll do with all these old drachmae, I don’t know, but I’ll worry about it later…. Being the private eye on call to Olympus isn’t the easiest gig, but I like it, even if some of the major goddesses can be a bit testy about their entitlements…. As long as the money is good, I can put up with a lot of foolishness….

I might take this a bit further, but I just realized that this idea has been done already…. almost. “The Long, Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” by Douglas Adams, tells the story of a PI involved in a case with a number of the old Norse gods…. Odin, Loki, and the like. I didn’t realize it until I typed “drachmae”, which is not Norse, but still reminded me of the adventures of Dirk Gently in a hostile universe that Adams put out. Not wishing to plagiarize his idea any further, we will leave that story right where it is, to die a long, painful, and horrible death, alone….. good thing I have no emotional attachment to it, or I’d feel some guilt….

Here’s a good piece of advice for all you youngsters out there…. Never….. wait, that’s too long…. okay, try this….. Always…. No, that’s the same thing, just backwards…. hmmm…. Sometimes…. there you go, that works….

Sometimes, you win, and sometimes, you lose. Sometimes you’re the bug, sometimes you’re the windshield. And sometimes, it all makes sense, until it doesn’t, and reality resumes its inevitable march toward our own personal doom…. so don’t sweat it. The end of the road will get here when it gets here, and not a moment before. We may as well enjoy the time while we’re waiting, eh?…. So be it…

I don’t know about y’all but I thinks that’s about enough of that nonsense for one morning…. Shall we Pearl?…..
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“Friendship is the only thing in the world concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.” — Cicero

Okay, let’s see…. I can agree with the part that says “Friendship is”…leave out some words leading up to “concerning the usefulness of which all mankind are agreed.” Obviously, I am contesting the “only thing” part, yes? Okay… so, let’s see if there are any other useful things “concerning which all mankind agrees”….

Honesty?…. Well, I think this one would probably be acknowledged as being useful by everyone asked, but I’m also pretty certain that many of them would be lying, which kind of negates that whole idea, doesn’t it? Yes, it does…. nod your head up and down, and let’s go on….

Loyalty?…. Hmm… I think this one would most likely run about the same as honesty. Everybody is going to say that they believe in loyalty, but some of them aren’t going to be telling the truth about it, not if 25,000 years of history are considered as evidence.

Love?…. I don’t think there would be any sort of consensus here; too many folks have had bad experiences with love, or more accurately, bad experiences from NOT having being loved, or given an opportunity to love. This would definitely NOT be a subject on which all would agree…. not even close….

Compassion? Fair Play? Opera?  Nope, I don’t think any of these would come close to being a consensus choice, much as some of us would like them to be, or not be, in the case of Opera….

Crispy bacon?  This, I believe, comes as close as anything else to being universally agreed upon. Of course, a lot of vegans and other cholesterol fanatics would SAY they disagree, but you know that deep in their hearts, they really, really WANT that bacon….  🙂

Okay, so maybe Cicero had a valid point. There doesn’t seem to be much of anything that all of mankind can agree upon, which is hardly a surprise, given the stubborn individuality most people cling to like a life-saver in a storm at sea. In fact, this innate insistence on being unique is part of the problem, as it makes it hard for people to accept that other people may feel the higher emotions, such as compassion, or honesty, when they are seldom present in themselves. They do not trust themselves, so they cannot trust others…. only when they are in the presence of a real friend can these virtues be shown….
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My Fancy

I painted her a gushing thing,
With years about a score;
I little thought to find they were
A least a dozen more;
My fancy gave her eyes of blue,
A curly auburn head:
I came to find the blue a green,
The auburn turned to red.

She boxed my ears this morning,
They tingled very much;
I own that I could wish her
A somewhat lighter touch;
And if you ask me how
Her charms might be improved,
I would not have them added to,
But just a few removed!

She has the bear’s ethereal grace,
The bland hyaena’s laugh,
The footstep of the elephant,
The neck of a giraffe;
I love her still, believe me,
Though my heart its passion hides;
“She’s all my fancy painted her,”
But oh! how much besides!

Lewis Carroll

Here is something a bit different from Lewis Carroll, whom we all know and love from “Through the Looking Glass: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. I think this poem tells a lot about the British culture of the time in which he lived, as I find a lot of pieces from that time that echo the sentiments described herein. At any rate, it’s a fun read, and brought me a little smile at the end, so I hope you enjoy it, too…..
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“We may not be able to persuade Hindus that Jesus and not Vishnu should govern their spiritual horizon, nor Moslems that Lord Buddha is at the center of their spiritual universe, nor Hebrews that Mohammed is a major prophet, nor Christians that Shinto best expresses their spiritual concerns, to say nothing of the fact that we may not be able to get Christians to agree among themselves about their relationship to God. But all will agree on a proposition that they possess profound spiritual resources.  If, in addition, we can get them to accept the further proposition that whatever form the Deity may have in their own theology, the Deity is not only external, but internal and acts through them, and they themselves give proof or disproof of the Deity in what they do and think; if this further proposition can be     accepted, then we come that much closer to a truly religious situation on earth.” — Norman Cousins, from his book “Human Options”

Mr. Cousins speaks in a very even-handed manner, with respect for all of the philosophies, religions, and churches he mentions in his statement. Though it is possibly too complex for the average follower of any religion to take in at one sitting, it does make a reasonable allegation, and leads the reader on a quite logical train of thought.

What fails to stimulate complete agreement in me is the question, “why do we make the assumption that what we need on earth is “a truly religious situation.” (whatever THAT means… I mean, really…. a religious ‘situation’? And who defines ‘truly’?…)  It is always a puzzle to me how people can use so much mental energy to chase themselves into a maze with no exit……

First, define a ‘religious situation’, and tell me who gets to decide when it is ‘truly religious’…. second explain why we need it on earth…. third, well, never mind, we’ll get to the abuse later….  Anyway, it puzzles me, how someone who can make the above argument, which shows a knowledge of religions which is at least wide, if not particularly deep, can also make such an unwarranted assumption.

I understand one purpose of such a statement, which would be to at least TRY to infuse some unifying connections between the various modes of thought, to get them to see other views, at least hypothetically. That purpose is a good one…. but trying to make the intuitive leap to a melding of religious thought is asking too much of people who, by the very nature of their beliefs, are unaccustomed to that kind of acceptance.  Indeed, one of the primary identifying characteristics of almost any “worshiper” is an extreme resistance to thinking….at all…. much less thinking about acceptance of another religion’s validity.

I believe Mr. Cousins is right to wish that everyone, of whatever religion they are, would open themselves to the idea that other religions have the same right to exist as do they, even though those beliefs are different from their own. A little bit of tolerance for the other fellow’s ideas can go a long way toward keeping the peace between nations, or people….

It’s a small thing, but with very large effect on how people treat each other…. It is also the most needed change to human nature that I see, the one that could lead the way to other changes to morality and ethics, thereby providing mankind with the tools needed to survive…..

You cannot face it steadily, but this thing’s for sure,
That time is no healer: the patient is no longer here.
— T.S. Eliot
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Homer: “Marge, is this a happy ending or a sad ending?”
Marge: “It’s an ending. That’s enough.”
— The Simpsons

I know exactly how Marge feels…. and it’s enough…. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.

gigoid

Dozer

Kowabunga!

Critical differences of filigree….

Ffolkes,
Perspective…. one of our most valuable perceptive qualities. The perspective from which one views any piece of information can determine not only the importance of the data, but how one processes it. Now that I have some degree of perspective on the events of yesterday, during my adventures out in the Big Blue Room, I can see why yesterday’s Pearl seemed to flow so smoothly onto the page….. Murphy was once again at work, lulling me into complacency, and setting me up for the roller-coaster ride to come….

As a matter of fact, no, I don’t have a life. — Smart Bee

Without going into details, which were hard enough to consider as they occurred, let’s just say that Mr. Irish Fatalist spent much of the afternoon hanging about my vicinity, directing traffic, so to speak, making sure that only the most frustrating and annoying people approached me, and only the laziest, most indifferent office drones weren’t getting their work done because they were gossiping too long. He also made sure that the bureaucracy I was dealing with followed its insane regulations to the letter, thereby bringing the entire system to a crashing halt every few minutes…. The net result was a no-doubt entertaining four hours for Murphy, and the same amount of sheer frustration and mounting pain for me…. quite a party…..

It’s your right to be stupid, but it doesn’t mean you should be. — Smart Bee

With the perspective that today brings, I can slough off the emotional detritus that resulted from the day’s events, though it’s a bit harder to throw off the stiffness that being up on my feet for so many hours brings. With that perspective, I can look back and assign a whole different value to what took place yesterday. I did accomplish all I set out to do when I left the house, so all in all, the day can be considered a win….and that’s a good thing. So, I’ll just leave yesterday where it belongs… in the past, and we will proceed into another day, a bit late (like about four hours late… I was tired….), but relatively unbowed. I think, given the state of current affairs, I should go Pearl now….. it’s the only thing that can save me at this point…

“There is no comfort without pain; thus we define salvation through suffering.” — Cato
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The Laboratory-Ancien Régime

I.
Now that I, tying thy glass mask tightly,
May gaze thro’ these faint smokes curling whitely,
As thou pliest thy trade in this devil’s-smithy—
Which is the poison to poison her, prithee?

II.
He is with her, and they know that I know
Where they are, what they do: they believe my tears flow
While they laugh, laugh at me, at me fled to the drear
Empty church, to pray God in, for them!—I am here.

III
Grind away, moisten and mash up thy paste,
Pound at thy powder,—I am not in haste!
Better sit thus, and observe thy strange things,
Than go where men wait me and dance at the King’s.

IV
That in the mortar—you call it a gum?
Ah, the brave tree whence such gold oozings come!
And yonder soft phial, the exquisite blue,
Sure to taste sweetly,—is that poison too?

V
Had I but all of them, thee and thy treasures,
What a wild crowd of invisible pleasures!
To carry pure death in an earring, a casket,
A signet, a fan-mount, a filigree basket!

VI
Soon, at the King’s, a mere lozenge to give,
And Pauline should have just thirty minutes to live!
But to light a pastile, and Elise, with her head
And her breast and her arms and her hands, should drop dead!

VII
Quick—is it finished? The colour’s too grim!
Why not soft like the phial’s, enticing and dim?
Let it brighten her drink, let her turn it and stir,
And try it and taste, ere she fix and prefer!

VIII
What a drop! She’s not little, no minion like me!
That’s why she ensnared him: this never will free
The soul from those masculine eyes,—Say, “no!”
To that pulse’s magnificent come-and-go.

IX
For only last night, as they whispered, I brought
My own eyes to bear on her so, that I thought
Could I keep them one half minute fixed, she would fall
Shriveled; she fell not; yet this does it all!

X
Not that I bid you spare her the pain;
Let death be felt and the proof remain:
Brand, burn up, bite into its grace—
He is sure to remember her dying face!

XI
Is it done? Take my mask off! Nay, be not morose;
It kills her, and this prevents seeing it close;
The delicate droplet, my whole fortune’s fee!
If it hurts her, beside, can it ever hurt me?

XII
Now, take all my jewels, gorge gold to your fill,
You may kiss me, old man, on my mouth if you will!
But brush this dust off me, lest horror it brings
Ere I know it—next moment I dance at the King’s!

Robert Browning

Riding other people’s roller coasters through their heads can be fun!…..
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There are those who claim that magic is like the tide; that it swells  and fades over the surface of the earth, collecting in concentrated pools here and there, almost disappearing from other spots, leaving them parched for wonder. There are also those who believe that if you stick your fingers up your nose and blow, it will increase your  intelligence. — “The Teachings of Ebenezum, Volume VII”

Whether we are atheist, agnostic, faithful, or dogmatic, the one idea that all can agree on is that the ONLY real power that a person has in this Universe is the power of choice. Religionists will admit that “free will” is the property of mankind; it makes them nervous, but it’s right there in the Bible, so they have to accept it, by their own rules. Those of us who prefer to decide for ourselves about such matters still must yield to natural law, to which the concept of choice is certainly subject. Thus it can be used as a point of reference upon which to base discussion between the differing parties…. Not that it ever does, since, being people, they’re all stubborn as a wood post, and generally find some other reason to get miffed about, thereby avoiding having their assumptions tested….

“Whatever we cannot easily understand we call God; this saves much wear and tear on the brain tissues.” — Edward Abbey

It is this tendency, this stubborn refusal to change, that is the bane of my existence. I have no real prejudice against stupid people; stupidity itself is incurable, and, in its own way, can be charming. But, its concomitant companion, ignorance, is a matter of choice, and is  therefore unforgivable. One cannot help not being able to learn quickly or well, but one can still learn. To my way of looking at the world, between two sins, that of pre-marital sex, (labeled so by virtually every Christian sect….), and that of choosing to be ignorant, the latter is by far of greater harm, morally, ethically, and culturally.

“It’s your right to be stupid, but it doesn’t mean you should be, or have to be.” — Smart Bee

“My momma says stupid is as stupid does.” — Forrest Gump

This is where choice is so important…. In order to NOT concede the illogic of refusing to learn from new sources of information (rather than trusting only one source that never changes), one must choose. In order to NOT see the harm being caused by that refusal, one must choose. In order to NOT admit to hatred, prejudice, bigotry, and elitism, one must choose. And all those choices are, at their core, selfish, vain, ethically and morally bankrupt, and, ultimately, cowardly. To choose to be ignorant is to choose self over others, to choose avarice over compassion, and to choose hatred over tolerance. The most zealous believers even believe that their ignorance is what makes them special…. It does, actually… especially stupid…

“No man is an Island, entire of it self; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” — John Donne  — Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624)

We all have heard the above line “No man is an island”…. if you haven’t, well, I really can’t say much other than “what planet have you been visiting?”…  🙂   It’s been discussed to death, and I’m not going to do so here…. I’m just going to use it to finish out this thought re: stupidity vs. ignorance…. Essentially, each of us is a part of the tapestry that is Life…. a thread, if you will, in the complex, colorful, agonizingly beautiful, and painfully ugly picture of the world that hangs on the wall of the Universe.

My purpose in Life is to learn enough to make my part of the picture all it can possibly be; it seems to me my duty, as well as my pleasure (or pain, in turns…). I can’t see the point in making the picture look all the same, or all one color, or all one kind of building…. that is too limited for me. Choosing to limit what one sees in Life is, to me, ignorant…. not stupid, because stupid can learn…. but deliberately ignorant, which goes beyond stupid, into the land of the insane….

“If you live your life out of memory, you live out of your history. That’s what once was. If you live out of your imagination, you live out of your potential. That’s what can be.” — Smart Bee
___________________________________    As promised in an earlier Pearl, more pictures! This one was found on Facebook, posted by my friend Patrick, who posts a LOT of really cool stuff he finds on the Net. I especially like this one, aside from the obvious cute factor, for the absolute accuracy it displays regarding the nature of the adolescent feline. He’s just doing his thing….

How is that relevant today? It’s like this…. this blog, it seems, is now my thing….. It’s what I do, to be who and what I am now. Part of that, in fact, a large part, has been to write about my thoughts on religion, politics, and other subjects that I won’t discuss with people as a general rule, at least not face to face. This is, of course, a result of having learned, like most ffolkes, that discussing those first two subjects often leads to conflict, and isn’t worth the effort on a risk vs. gain basis. One can easily lose friends and alienate people in short order by making (unpopular or oppositional ) opinions known. This reluctance to talk about preachers & pundits in conversation, I’ve found, though a good policy for interpersonal relationships in general, has a deleterious effect on my sense of honesty…. Hence, Pearls of Virtual Wisdom….

I’d like to make something clear here… I write a lot of stuff that is critical of the Christian churches, and don’t always take the time to make clear that I am speaking of the institutions, not necessarily the people who are part of those institutions. Or more specifically, I am speaking about those who administrate, or operate, the institutions, and not about the people who attend the church itself. The difference between those two sets of people is significant, and large. Those who run the churches do so out of motives vastly different from those who attend the services; their intent resembles more that of a politician than a supplicant. Many who come to church do so out of their own need for meaning in their lives, hoping to find compassion and support. Those who run the church do so because the money is good, and the work is easy; and many come to find escape from having to think for themselves….

I would estimate that of the total number of people in the world who consider themselves to be Christians, about 35% are people who actually try to live their lives as would Christ have done, with compassion and service to others. I find that these ffolkes are embarrassed by the other 65%, who are in it for whatever they can get from it, or for the solace they find in being sheep, part of a group that is special, because they are the only ones going to heaven….

Religions have done some good in history, but even the good they do is ill-advised, as it usually serves the purposes of the beloved ruling class, more than it serves to provide succor and relief to the poor. The ignorance and prejudices that most religions foster have caused far more damage, in producing cultural mistrust, in advocating wars, than any of the good they have done. It is this against which I rail, not against the people who try to live up to the most excellent, if not universally flexible, teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The people who become preachers, priests, imams, or any other title for a religious leader, come from the same group of people who produce politicians, corporate magnates, and the others in the human herd that prey on the rest of us…..

Personally, I don’t consider myself to be omniscient, so I can’t claim to be qualified to define an entity who is so by definition; neither do I consider any other human being qualified to do so. I have my opinions, of course, and others are welcome to theirs; but they are just opinions, and have no other bearing on reality. I so wish that people could understand that delicate, subtle, difference. But, as long as there are folks who insist on having their opinion “rule the roost”, I guess I’ll have stuff to write about…. good for me, not so much for them….   🙂
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There you have it. The straight word, straight from the somewhat feverish mind of gigoid on a Saturday morning…. Such as it is, so shall it be…. I have spoken. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you….


Sometimes I sits and thinks,
and sometimes
I just sits.

gigoid

Kowabunga!