~~ Lazarus Long ~~
The picture today goes to show that, a) timing IS everything, and b) even amateurs get lucky sometimes…. I took this from the deck of a cruise ship while docked in Scotland, at Greenock, the port town closest to Glasgow. After some mild fixing of the picture’s features to bring out it’s best appearance, it became clear the sky to the right side is different from the sky on the opposite, left side, with the rainbow serving to mark the line between the two opposing filtered views…. One obviously is where the rain is still falling, producing the rainbow as the light is broken up passing through the raindrops, each of which acts as a small prism, breaking the white, transparent light into its component colors…
For me, knowing what is happening doesn’t reduce the beauty, or the wonder of a rainbow….. One does not have to subscribe to the myths that grow up around such natural displays in order to appreciate the beauty; for me, just seeing it is wonder enough. That I can comprehend the process makes it more precious to me, as an example of how the universe yields its treasures to us little by little, exposing us to its idiosyncrasies and oddities one at a time, to allow us to study, and reason, and apply the power of our imagination to satisfy that monkey-curiosity, so much a part of us, which demands we know the WHY of all we see before us….
That, as you can see, is a fairly objective, yet accurate assessment of part of our nature, or, at least, that part of it I allow to affect my life…. We do, of course, have options, choices of what to believe, and how to act; as we learn, we know more how to make those acts the right actions, that will make life better for all of us, rather than choosing to behave in ways that cause trouble, for myself, or for others…. Sadly, mental discipline, and the power of reasoning, is all-too-often utilized by those who have chosen to assume the mantle of predator, a choice our entire culture seems to adopt at times, a choice which has turned our society into one marked by violence, and, in my view, insanity on a global scale….
Now, perhaps, you will see my own problem, at least in terms of writing this blog…. Starting out with the beauty and wonder of a rainbow, I end up ranting about human nature, with implications of impending global doom, in less than four paragraphs…. If it weren’t such a PITA, I might consider it a gift, of sorts….. But, my readership numbers seem to indicate it has become old, which, I am sure, it is…. Even I am getting tired of spouting off against the idiots who are making our world such a fucked up mess, threatening to kill us all by drowning us in our own shit (figuratively speaking, though, not by much….); my spouting doesn’t seem to have much effect….
Plus, if I rant here in the intro section, it diminishes the impact, if any, of whatever rant I’m planning for section two…. SIGH…. It’s a conundrum for which there may be no solution, given my own nature, and my need to write in order to maintain any semblance of sanity….. Oh, well, there isn’t anything to be done about it just now, so, I guess I’ll take advantage of the exit I see coming up, thus kick-starting the rest of today’s effort, such as it may be…. Hang on, ffolkes, that exit hole looks a little tight….
Shall we Pearl?
“A wise man, recognizing that the world is but an illusion, does not act as if it is real, so he escapes the suffering.” — Buddha
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve heard this woman’s music…. In today’s world, it would be hard NOT to hear it, as she, and her band of string artistes, made the music for a movie that all of society has either seen, or heard of….. I speak of the Lord of The Rings, of course, in the movie version…. Angele and the band played the theme song written for the first movie, The Fellowship of The Ring, entitled “Concerning Hobbits”, which you will hear in one of the first two or three pieces in this collection of their work; it will sound very familiar, as it has been all over the airwaves since the movie came out…. Enjoy, ffolkes, this is a great band….
I am apparently burnt on ranting; I don’t seem able to work up the angst to begin…. Ah, well, I’ve done so much of it in the past, there’s always one that will work…. here, for example, is a good one from last year, just after I got back from Europe…..
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
For much of my life, since reaching what I like to call the age of reason, at about 10 or 11 years of age, I have been aware of this aphorism from Aristotle. If not the aphorism itself, the principle was clear to me from a young age, and I chose then to always strive to be excellent, in whatever I chose to do. You see, I also found out, it requires a deliberate choice to pursue excellence, because it a) doesn’t just happen by itself, and b) it annoys other people. It is the second factor that dictates the need to make a deliberate choice; most people make the opposite choice, to be average, to not stand out too much, unless it is to their advantage to do so, to control or impress others, not for the state of being excellent.
More explicitly, most people try to excel at tasks, or games, or whatever, in order to promote their own agenda, not for the sake of just wanting to do things right, or to scratch the itch of curiosity, or to be the best person one can be. And society at large is quick to show their disapproval if someone is too different in this respect; the normals are afraid of both of the other ends of the human spectrum, the incurably unintelligent AND those who perceive more, and when most people are afraid of something, they make life hard for it, if not downright unbearable, and/or dangerous. Pink monkeys don’t go over well in a brown monkey tree….. They tend to either leave the forest, live in misery, or dye their fur brown, in short order….
This is why the choice must be made, to pursue excellence; it’s not an easy decision, but critically important. It is also a decision that can’t be made half-way; once committed, it extends to EVERY area of one’s existence, requiring effort and dedication to achieve to any significant degree. I can only speak for myself, but it was the best decision of my early years, and I have never regretted making it, because the rewards are much greater than mere comfort, or any other I can think of that comes with giving in to peer pressure; to live with not seeking all there is to see, hear, and do in life, and do it with style, intelligence, and honor.
“By steadily disciplining the animal nature, until it becomes one pointed, it is possible to establish conscious awareness of The Eternal.” — Lao-Tzu
This is a bit metaphorical, but describes well the intensity and consistency of effort that is required to maintain an excellent attitude about life. It’s hard to keep it up all the time, and I have to admit I’m as human as anyone else, and get tired, not to say just plain frustrated, when I cannot easily, or even eventually, reach the goals I’ve set for myself. Fortunately, I also know that being human is okay, and just because I am not always at my best, does not mean it is not still within me, ever within my reach, whenever my perceptions are clear enough to show me the way. The path to Truth, fortunately, is always well lighted, though it may get confusing, and sometimes seem dark through the power of illusion; it never stops being the Truth, though, and that makes it always attainable….
Perhaps there will be some who will read this treatise, and think it arrogant, or condescending; I hope not, because it isn’t intended to be so. It is intended to be a sharing, of the understanding I have that can be of help to anyone in their life. This understanding is based on what I know to be true, and not on fear, or lack of understanding of what is real, in both Nature, and in people. There is great potential in people, much more than we, as a species, or as individuals, ever achieve…. partly because much of humanity is content to be normal, to sit back and let other people decide how the world should go, because it’s too much work to try to control their own world.
We can be so much more than a society of couch potatoes, sagely listening and nodding our heads in agreement with the talking heads we see on the Tube, or laughing ourselves mindless over the insane, or downright stupid acts of imaginary people meant to be metaphorical, but only seen as role models for a reality that doesn’t exist. Even the advent of computer technology, with all its nearly unlimited potential for what only twenty years ago would have been called “magic”, has not inspired people to strive to be excellent, in work, in play, or in ethics; certainly not in government. Instead, we are drowning ourselves in fashion apps, or photo apps, or social media apps, and losing even more connection with the real world in the process….
Ah well, I suppose all will turn out how it will, in spite of my objections, or anyone else’s indifference. C’est la vie, as the French would say…. such is life; I think it appropriate that we hear from the ancient sages about that, as we started, to close this series of thoughts and rambles perfectly… well, maybe only one ancient sage…..
So be it…. gigoid has spoken.
According to the above rant, this poem of mine goes well with the theme, so, here ’tis….
Marking the days in elements of sad disarray
only holds me thrall, as I laugh while I may.
With cold, hard hands so impatient and cruel
pulling me to this vale of tears, a pathetic old fool.
Feelings sit silent, cast in shadows and light
breaking forth to implicate such vengeful might.
Just below the surface they patiently hide
to sally forth bravely, colors bright as they ride.
Tears and pain transform valued assets in hand
while comfort and serenity retreat to a far land.
Bold, bright patterns of hope garnish my ruinous state
until reality enters, full of disdainful portions of hate.
I sort out the illustrious measures of vision gone mild
only to find them transformed, now vicious and wild.
In my deepest desires I find myself calloused and cold
with faithless advocates whose souls have been sold.
My search finds little to support any hope of relief
far too much time has passed to bolster such belief.
The sad becomes real, and real becomes unfounded
until flights of such fancy are all dead, and grounded.
Nature has informed me of the newly hatched crime
that reality has boasted of proudly, time after time.
The last answer we think of is always the best
as we come to terms with fate, our hope at rest.
~~ gigoid ~~
Man, n.: An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada. — Ambrose Bierce, “The Devil’s Dictionary”
Day before yesterday, for some unknown reason, I took a moment during the day to sit down & just go through Smart Bee, to see if it had resolved whatever issue(s) that have been bothering it, preventing it from cooperating with any searches to any appreciable degree…. I don’t know yet if it has resolved those issues, but, this time, it regurgitated so many pearls, all on the subject indicated by the entry above, from the Dictionary I use most often, including, it seems, the concomitant subject of Life at Large, especially as it applies to Life in this country…. It was so prolific I had to create the first-ever 13 star pearl, just to include all the stuff it threw at me that fit…. plus an intro, and a closing pearl, to seal the deal with a flourish…
Enjoy, ffolkes, and don’t worry; this one explains itself as it goes along. You won’t have any trouble keeping up…..
“Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of the colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. Each time a person stands up for an idea, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” — Robert F. Kennedy Speech, South Africa, 1966
“I am an agnostic; I do not pretend to know what many ignorant men are sure of.” — Clarence Darrow
“He who dies for virtue, does not perish.” — Plautus (B.C. 254-184)
“The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists.” — Ernest Hemingway (1898-1961)
“Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors and miss.” — Lazarus Long, from Robert A. Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love”
“If it is not seemly, do it not; if it is not true, speak it not.” — Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180 AD) — Meditations, xii, 17
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” — The Constitution of the United States of America Amendment 4, 1791
“The belief that there is only one truth and that oneself is in possession of it seems to me the deepest root of all evil that is in the world.” — Max Born, physicist
“Aryse ye techno Serfs! Let us seek out the bloated aristocrats, and roast them in their own juice upon the fires of righteousness and justice!” — Dan, rabble rousing the contractors
“In this world there is always danger for those who are afraid of it.” — George Bernard Shaw
“Human beings are perhaps never more frightening than when they are convinced beyond doubt that they are right.” — Laurens Van der Post, The Lost World of the Kalahari (1958)
“The three branches of government: lobbyists, media, PAC’s.” — Smart Bee
“I love my country too much to be a nationalist.” — Albert Camus
See? Told ya…. However, my lawyer tells me I should provide a disclaimer with this one, so, here it is, in all its marginally (il)legal glory….
“I demand IMPUNITY!” — Zippy the Pinhead
YOW! ‘Nuff said….
So be it….
gigoid has spoken, more’s the pity…..
So much for planning…. Without going into the details, let me just say…. HONK! That’s all ffolkes, I can do no more damage, and may just cause actual trouble if I continue, so, I’m outta here…. See y’all 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….