Very odd, very odd indeed…. endings first, cut and pasting before 0700, relating personal dreams…. what am I thinking? On the whole, though, it promises to be, if nothing else, an interesting day, and I mean that in a good sense, at least hopefully….. I’m kind of dealing with some unknown factors here, so I’m not entirely certain of what I am up to….. or whether or not it will fit seamlessly into my morning routine….. well, seamless isn’t essential, just appreciated when it happens….
If I were at all sure about what I was speaking, I’d most likely get on with it, but, since I’m not, I’m dithering, if you couldn’t tell already. I guess I don’t deal well with this much uncertainty about my writing. Though it IS an energetically unregulated process, for the most part, I do like to have a clear idea of what I’m saying, or speaking about, before beginning. It just seems to work better that way…. and it throws me off when the process gets this far over toward the unlimited lane, and things start rushing along before I have a handle on just where they are rushing off to….. But, that’s reality for you…. always a bit different than expected. Murphy wouldn’t want us to get too comfortable, now, would he?…. No, he wouldn’t….
Keeping Murphy’s ubiquitous presence in mind is good policy. One cannot possibly plan for all of his little machinations; he is, after all, Murphy, and unplanned disasters are what he is all about….. But, keeping in mind what he can do does make it possible to prepare one’s attitude to accept whatever crap he ladles out as our portion for the day, and get on with business afterward, without undue distress over something that is going to happen anyway….. it’s just good sense. Not that I’ve ever been accused of having too much of that; I WAS married for over 20 years, so I’ve been made fully aware of all my faults…. 🙂
My faults notwithstanding, we’d best get on with the regularly scheduled activities…. with the way it’s all begun, there is no telling where we could end up, or how much damage we could conceivably cause if we’re not careful. With that in mind, shall we Pearl?…..
“The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce and gives it some of the grace of tragedy.” — Steven Weinberg
In the past year and some time, I’ve written many words… more than I care to think about just now, and a number that some would say deserves the term “interminable”….. None of them comes closer to summarizing how I feel about life in general than this…. I’ve never seen it before, to my knowledge, which detracts in no way from its deep resonance with my core beliefs.
I spend a lot of time discussing those parts of life that lean toward the direction of farce, with no little outrage at the depth of human cupidity and well, bozoid tendencies. In my own way, I suppose, this could be construed as my own effort to try to understand the universe, and our place in it…. I hope so, anyway…. because understanding life has been my only quest for the greatest part of it that I remember, reaching back to when I was five or six, and desperately trying to blend in with all the orange monkeys, while secretly wearing my own coat of blue…. For the two years after beginning school, and being exposed all day to the world outside my family, the gap between myself and my peer group seemed to be unpredictable, in terms of what they perceived, and what I could see and understand.
This isn’t to imply I was an outcast; merely an “egghead”, or other such complimentary terminology, as I found the actual school part of it all quite simple. This did, on the positive side, give me enough time to learn to adapt, and make myself likable for other reasons… sports being one, and applying the principle of “to have friends, be a friend”; I was always generous with helping others in school, with whatever I could do. Plus, I do LIKE people, as a rule…. they often disappoint, but, if one pays attention, they also never fail to amaze, in so many ways.
This study of my peer group from my first memories has persisted throughout my life, and remains today my primary focus of self-directed education, so to speak. I love to sit in public places and watch crowds; I don’t much like being IN crowds, so much as watching them interact with each other, all according to the dancing rules we all learn, from kindergarten onward…. From the first time I ever attended a county fair, my favorite activity at each, was to race through all there was to see, spend all my disposable income, and then spend the remainder of my time sitting near the front gate plaza, watching the people as they came to the fair….. endless entertainment, and still is…. only now, I walk the streets when I’m able, or sit in the public parks, libraries, and coffee shops, wherever I live….
“Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.” — Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
One of the things I’ve learned about people is that human nature is just that… a force of nature. It has not changed much, if at all, since we humans were living in grass huts at the junction of a river; there are still good people, and bad people, and they are most often the same person…. because we all have our own unique view of the world, and our own feelings about what we see and believe we understand. We don’t always have all the information we need at critical times in our lives, and so make decisions that affect our behavior or outlook, decisions which become habits, leading us to believe these habits are justifiable because they work to keep us comfortable…. until they don’t. Life always changes, there is nothing that can stop it from doing so; if we do not learn to change ourselves, to adapt to the changes in the universe around us, it will end up destroying us.
The universe has no mercy, no pity; these are human concepts, and not a part of reality at all. But, being human, we crave justice, for things to be fair…. we bend our efforts to changing the universe to meet our wishes, never realizing that it is folly, that reality does not work that way, and there is nothing at all we can do to alter that reality according to our wishes without suffering the consequences. How quickly those consequences will result in our demise as a species is, of course, a matter of some debate. I tend to believe that we are nearing a breaking point, and the universe is going to be submitting a bill for payment to us, for the damages to our living domicile for which we are responsible, in the very near future…..
It must be noted that most of what I write about, whether I write well, or merely a lot, lends itself equally well to tragedy as it does to farce. In fact, it should also be noted that this is a good metaphor, for human nature. We are contradictory creatures, you, and your Uncle Bob, your Aunt Shirley, and I, and everyone else who makes up human society, filled with warring impulses, and wildly differing viewpoints. The expression of our nature in the real world reflects all of that, in all its tragic, farcical, gloriously foolish splendor…. We inspire and disgust each other on a daily, sometimes hourly basis, especially if one watches a lot of TV, with its completely distorted approximation of reality…. I have pretty much given up on TV completely, as it merely serves to fuel my outrage, and that, as you may have noted already, needs no further encouragement….
Well, a thousand or so words should be enough for a retrospective musing on human nature….. especially when they flow out as smoothly as these. I’ll leave this here, and most likely come back to it another day…. I will leave you with this fine observation from Mssr. Darwin, of The Origin of Species fame…. a book which gave birth to perhaps the finest scientific advance of the millennium, the since-proven Theory of Evolution….. surely a magnificent creation of the human spirit that encompasses both of the elements, farce and tragedy, we explored above….
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” — Charles Darwin
I would have like to have included here a poem of my own…. but, nothing remotely acceptable is ready to be offered up for approval. Since the first and last pearls are introspectively oriented, one of mine in this spot would be the perfect addition to maintain balance. But, it’s not happening, so we’ll just have to settle for a real poet…. SIGH…. ah well, can’t have everything…. and this should be an acceptable alternative, if a bit longer than is comfortable for some….. enjoy!
Epistle To Augusta
My sister! my sweet sister! if a name
Dearer and purer were, it should be thine;
Mountains and seas divide us, but I claim
No tears, but tenderness to answer mine:
Go where I will, to me thou art the same
A loved regret which I would not resign,
There yet are two things in my destiny, –
A world to roam through, and a home with thee.
The first were nothing-had I still the last,
It were the haven of my happiness;
But other claims and other ties thou hast,
And mine is not the wish to make them less.
A strange doom is thy father’s son’s, and past
Recalling, as it lies beyond redress;
Reversed for him our grandsire’s fate of yore,
He had no rest at sea, nor I on shore.
If my inheritance of storms hath been
In other elements, and on the rocks
Of perils, overlook’d or unforeseen,
I have sustain’d my share of worldly shocks,
The fault was mine; nor do I seek to screen
My errors with defensive paradox;
I have been cunning in mine overthrow,
The careful pilot of my proper woe.
Mine were my faults, and mine be their reward.
My whole life was a contest, since the day
That gave me being, gave me that which marr’d
The gift,- a fate, or will, that walk’d astray;
And I at times have found the struggle hard,
And thought of shaking off my bonds of clay:
But now I fain would for a time survive,
If but to see what next can well arrive.
Kingdoms and empires in my little day
I have outlived, and yet I am not old;
And when I look on this, the petty spray
Of my own years of trouble, which have roll’d
Like a wild bay of breakers, melts away
Something-I know not what-does still uphold
A spirit of slight patience; not in vain,
Even for its own sake, do we purchase pain.
Perhaps the workings of defiance stir
Within me – or perhaps a cold despair,
Brought on when ills habitually recur,
Perhaps a kinder clime, or purer air,
(For even to this may change of soul refer,
And with light armour we may learn to bear,)
Have taught me a strange quiet, which was not
The chief companion of a calmer lot.
I feel almost at times as I have felt
In happy childhood; trees, and flowers, and brooks,
Which do remember me of where I dwelt
Ere my young mind was sacrificed to books,
Come as of yore upon me, and can melt
My heart with recognition of their looks;
And even at moments I could think I see
Some living thing to love-but none like thee.
Here are the Alpine landscapes which create
A fund for contemplation;- to admire
Is a brief feeling of a trivial date;
But something worthier do such scenes inspire:
Here to be lonely is not desolate’
For much I view which I could most desire,
And, above all, a lake I can behold
Lovelier, not dearer, than our own of old.
Oh that thou wert but with me! – but I grow
The fool of my own wishes, and forget
The solitude which I have vaunted so
Has lost its praise in this but one regret;
There may be others which I less may show
I am not of the plaintive mood, and yet
I feel an ebb in my philosophy,
And the tide rising in my alter’d eye.
I did remind thee of our own dear Lake,
By the old Hall which may be mine no more.
Leman’s is fair; but think not I forsake
The sweet remembrance of a dearer shore:
Sad havoc Time must with my memory make,
Ere that or thou can fade these eyes before;
Though, like all things which I have loved they are
Resign ‘d For ever, or divided far.
The world is all before me; I but ask
Of Nature that with which she will comply
It is but in her summer’s sun to bask,
To mingle with the quiet of her sky,
To see her gentle face without a mask,
And never gaze on it with apathy.
She was my early friend, and now shall be
My sister – till I look again on thee.
I can reduce all feelings but this one;
And that I would not; for at length I see
Such scenes as those wherein my life begun.
The earliest – even the only paths for me –
Had I but sooner learnt the crowd to shun,
I had been better than I now can be;
The passions which have torn me would have slept;
I had not suffer’d, and thou hadst not wept.
With false Ambition what had I to do?
Little with Love, and least of all with Fame;
And yet they came unsought, and with me grew,
And made me all which they can make -a name.
Yet this was not the end I did pursue;
Surely I once beheld a nobler aim.
But all is over – I am one the more
To baffled millions which have gone before.
And for the future, this world’s future may
From me demand but little of my care;
I have outlived myself by many a day;
Having survived so many things that were;
My years have been no slumber, but the prey
Of ceaseless vigils; for I had the share
Of life which might have fill’d a century,
Before its fourth in time had pass’d me by.
And for the remnant which may be to come
I am content; and for the past I feel
Not thankless,-for within the crowded sum
Of struggles, happiness at times would steal,
And for the present, I would not benumb
My feelings further. – Nor shall I conceal
That with all this I still can look around,
And worship Nature with a thought profound.
For thee, my own sweet sister, in thy heart
I know myself secure, as thou in mine;
We were and are – I am, even as thou art
Beings who ne’er each other can resign;
It is the same, together or apart,
From life’s commencement to its slow decline
We are entwined-let death come slow or fast,
The tie which bound the first endures the last!
George Gordon Lord Byron
“We are born for a higher destiny than that of earth.- There is a realm where the rainbow never fades, where the stars will spread out before us like islands that slumber on the ocean, and where the beings that pass before us like shadows, will stay in our presence forever.” — Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873)
Here is precisely what I meant the other day when I said that people often disappoint, but just as often will delight and amaze us with their brilliance…. This is the same Bulwer-Lytton who penned the famous beginning line “It was a dark and stormy night….”, which went on to become the inspiration for a yearly contest to find the example of the worst possible beginning paragraph of a book, the Annual Bulwer-Lytton Award, now worth many thousands of dollars to the winner…..
In this short statement, in direct contrast to his famous opening lines, he gives us a quite beautiful expression of the hopes of mankind, to explore our universe, from one end to the other, in order to appreciate the full extent of the grandeur that exists…. Of course, it’s a bit optimistic, considering we have yet to make it further than Mars, but, I suppose that is what groundless hope means…. and it has been said that is the only kind of hope there is, really….. I’m not completely certain that is true, in every case; the universe is strange indeed, and the one thing you can count on is that it will always surprise us……
I like the idea proposed here, if only because it was a dream of mine in my youth to not accept dying until I had at least traveled to one other planet (or Moon, if necessary….). I had little hope of achieving it once I discovered I didn’t have the required excellent vision to get into the astronaut program; at the time, you had to be a pilot to get in, and jet pilots don’t wear glasses…. SIGH…. It was a tough dream to give up on, and I still hoard a secret desire to fulfill the dream, should it happen to become tenable while I still live…. given my age, there is not a lot of time left, but, hey, there’s that groundless hope again, eh?…..
I was greatly impressed with the recent NASA triumph of successfully landing the Curiosity Rover on the surface of Mars, intact, and apparently with all systems functional; it is indeed the pinnacle of all the technological progress our species has made in all our history. The engineering involved was incredibly complex, and required a long series of complicated maneuvers, all at specific times, each of which was essential to the successful completion of the next item. The fact that all of them worked perfectly was a true technological miracle of major proportions, especially given that all this took place many millions of miles into space, rushing at incredible speed toward Mars. Now, the full color pictures and spectroscopic data it is sending back will provide us with a huge amount of new information to correlate and explain.
It almost gives me hope that I could still see the surface of the Moon as a tourist before I am too old to get there…. Once I’m there, I really won’t mind dying much, especially if I get a chance to see a bit of its wonders before I go…. Ah me, the dreams of our youth never really die, do they?….. And this is a dream that I will hold onto right up to the very moment I go on to the next dimension…..
Today’s Pearl turned into a personal perspective, which is fine, if a bit unusual…. I don’t hide much, personally, but I don’t parade it much either, so today’s effort was somewhat out of the normal…. an attribute we approve of highly around here…… Besides, it all must have needed to be said, especially the first section, all of which rolled out of my head onto the screen in just a few minutes; it was all ready to go, so it must have been percolating for a bit…. Any who, it’s all good, and no major secrets were given away….. I can call that a moral victory, without fear of being wrong….. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.