The opening quote, familiar as it is, really is more accurate, and, thus, more truthful, than how people generally think, if and when they do, about equality…. A similar phrase on the subject, as used in our Declaration of Independence, in fact, uses not only the opposite side of meaning, but, also a separate connotation of the word ‘equal’ than is applied by Lazarus…. Each could be made more clear by identifying its own referred meaning, but, that destroys the effect of the bare statement….
In sooth, in the Declaration, it would have been more accurate in terms of meaning, intended or not, to say, all men are equal in the eyes of the law (Patently, an untrue statement, by the way; I challenge ANYONE to name one nation, just one, that exists now, or has ever existed in history, that has demonstrated equality for all under the law…. That’s all…. just one….)… But, then, Lazarus could have been more polite, at least, to say that all men are born unequal in their abilities and talents…. Then, both would be right, if less compelling, (i.e., boring), in both cases….
Which is probably why they each said it the way they did, to confer to what they said their own strength of belief, that their meaning would be understood…. or, in Lazarus’ case, probably, to indicate he really wouldn’t care…. In some ways, he’s rather a dick, but, I guess it would take more than just a bit of dickishness to survive over 2500 years in human society…. There are a lot of mean, tough assholes out there….
Most of them, unfortunately, tend to use Lazarus’ version of this idea as their modus operandi, more than the one espoused by the Declaration, as is patently obvious by the most cursory examination of our modern culture…. There is no equality ANYWHERE in the systems of government that are in power around the world, no matter what sort of lip service each might make to the concept…. and the inequality gap gets wider all the time….
I’m not the first to notice this; articles on the income gap are legion in today’s news…. It is abundantly clear the division in society between the haves and the have-nots has never been more obvious, or larger…. But, I digress….
From what, you might ask? Well, hell, I don’t know… I do know I’m ranting, which I swore not to do in the intro any more…. which is what prompted the sudden change of direction we just experienced…. Where we might end up now is anyone’s guess…. Well, not mine, because I’m not going to waste my time in fruitless speculation…. I refuse to torture myself that way so early…. Hell, I haven’t even had coffee yet…. Wait! There it is now…. I’ll be back….
Ah, well, I can tell from reading the above, I may as well just say, so much for another intro…. I’ve had a bit of coffee now, so, let’s see what happens next….
Shall we Pearl?
“In writing, fidelity to fact leads eventually to the poetry of truth.” — Edward Abbey
I’m in the mood for some classic Dead…. So be it…. gigoid has spoken….
“This man, I say, is most perfect who shall have understood everything for himself, after having devised what may be best afterward and unto the end.” — Hesiod (c. 700 BC) — Works and Days, Line 293
Typing is still too painful to contemplate for an entire rant; here is a discussion from the archives, not quite a rant, as much as a lesson in Life, complete with koan….
“Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it.” — Lao-Tzu
Water…. the power of water is unmatched over time; just ask the Grand Canyon. Water ties us to the universe; our physical make-up depends on it for survival, as well as mere existence. It is so soft, and yielding, yet cannot be destroyed at all; one can only cause it to change form, from ice, to water, to steam, all of which hold the same properties as the middle state, though slightly differently interpreted. Most important, to the scholar’s mind, is its nature…. emulating its spirit, becoming like water, is the goal of almost all meditation practice, as well as a goal of the martial artist….
“My writing is like a ten gallon spring. It can issue from the ground anywhere at all. On smooth ground it rushes swiftly on and covers a thousand li in a single day without difficulty. When it twists and turns among mountains and rocks, it fits its form to things it meets: unknowable. What can be known is, it always goes where it must go, always stops where it cannot help stopping — nothing else. More than that, even I cannot know.” — Su Shih
One of the most powerful of concepts in martial arts is the emulation of water. The student is taught to learn how to move like water, to move with the rhythm of the universe as energy flows from one point to another. One of the most valuable techniques I’ve seen to teach this lesson is one where the student stands in a balanced stance, one foot forward; the arms are held in front of the body, as if holding a large ball. The student then moves his weight from the back foot to the front foot, then back again, while moving the ball in a slow circle, pushed away when moving forward, and brought back when the weight shifts to the rear….
The trick to learn is to be like the tide, accepting the water as it flows in to its highest point, then moving with it as it irresistibly flows back into the sea, as the weight moves to the front foot. A smooth shifting of the weight, and finding the correct rhythm teaches both balance, and strength, and the power of moving like water…. Learning to use gravity as an ally, instead of a limitation, gives one an unimaginable advantage over one who does not know how to do so….
In addition to the physical lessons that water has to teach us, it also provides the intellect with a subject of study, to find the nature of water in its most real state. Learning the nature of water brings us closer to an understanding of all nature, and how we may fit into it with the most beneficial attitudes. The path of least resistance, followed by water as it flows downhill, teaches us to learn to find the same path for ourselves.
The immutability of water teaches us how to respect, and yet resist changes to our nature, while remaining in touch with those parts of the universe that are within all of us…. The flexibility of water teaches us to remain flexible ourselves, to learn to recognize when it is time to be ice, when it is time to be steam, and when it is time to flow like water in its normal state…..
Nansen answered, “Every way is the true Way.”
Joshu asked, “Can I study it?”
Nansen answered, “The more you study, the further from the Way.”
Joshu asked, “If I don’t study it, how can I know it?”
Nansen answered, “The Way does not belong to things seen: nor to things unseen. It does not belong to things known: nor to things unknown. Do not seek it, study it, or name it. To find yourself on it, open yourself as wide as the sky.”
I can feel a poem percolating, but, it’s not yet ready to come out of hiding, so, we’ll go with an older poem of mine, to keep from getting any of the splash on anyone else….
Folly sits so comfortably upon my fevered brow
one would easily believe that I would know how
to look at Life with a jaded, weary eye
seeing enough, and more, to know Why.
Such seems the case, as I will it to be,
an open book of a face, it looks so like me;
what’s known to be so, needs no close attention
familiar sights require no minding, nor mention.
The eye is drawn at once to the stark and new,
and sent back to sleep by successful review.
Once we find evidence we feel we understand,
curiosity languishes, dismissed at command.
Ancient sages knew the insidious value of illusion,
preachers and pundits know the power of confusion.
Each pair of eyes contains its own point of reference,
each mind sets its own standards of preference.
Seeing is believing, for those who live in thrall,
accepting what is perceived is all they ever recall.
Unknown to them, reality follows another set of rules,
Deeper, more dangerous, and no place for fools.
~~ gigoid ~~
Today’s final pearl is what I’d call a random, harlequin, jigsaw pearl…. But, somehow, y’know, it works…. Enjoy, ffolkes, this one is a real ride in a fast car on a mountain road…
~~ Smart Bee ~~
“Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret?” — Kahlil Gibran, “The Prophet”
~~ Giuseppe Verdi ~~
“For a man can lose neither the past nor the future; for how can one take from him that which is not his? So remember these two points: first, that each thing is of like form from everlasting and comes round again in its cycle, and that it signifies not whether a man shall look upon the same things for a hundred years or two hundred, or for an infinity of time; second, that the longest lived and the shortest lived man, when they come to die, lose one and the same thing.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, ii, 14
~~ Horace (65-8 BC) — Ars Poetica, 102 ~~
“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
~~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson ~~
Let if suffice to say, today’s post is a testament to perseverance, and let it go at that…. I’m, done, and, I’m outta here…. See y’all again, ffolkes…. maybe even tomorrow….
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….