For the first time since starting this blog, I’ve missed posting for two days, which one or two of y’all might have noted. On Saturday, I woke up with a raging head cold, spewing fluids from one chamber in my head to another with every cough and sneeze, and aggravating all my incipient pain. It has been, to be brief, a miserable two days, to be sure. I did write…. enough material, in fact, that today’s post won’t suffer for originality, at minimum. In fact, I’m adding an extra section today, just so I don’t have to sit on this stuff for too long….
Having done virtually nothing in the past two days but sleep, to the tune of about 19 hours a day, I’m feeling fairly rested, if still a bit congested. I’ve decided to acknowledge my age, and not test my limits by trying to act normal yet, so, I’ll get to the library later, to post this, but I’ll probably nap first, and afterward, to make up for the effort I know it will entail….. Another point for foresight, eh?…. It’s times like this I kind of wish I could have afforded to keep my car; it would be nice not to have to try to depend on bus schedules, especially with the cold, wet weather we’ve been having. Makes it hard on us poor folk, don’t ya know?….
I wrote an intro section on Saturday, but, most of it has turned irrelevant in the ensuing time, so it is being done over. I hate to throw out anything already composed, but, it really was whiny, anyway, and isn’t any loss. It’s not as if I ever run out of stuff to write, is it? I can’t seem to shut it off, not that I’d wish to, but, some overt control would be welcome at this late date….
Strangely enough, my head is relatively empty this morning, at least of material I want to put down. It is most likely a good thing I already have enough done for today; last time I wrote too much ahead of real time, I got all lost and confused, if only in my own head, and it was a mess, figuratively speaking. Today, instead, you’re getting everything I did while not posting, just to get it out of my way….. Don’t worry, it’s not bad, and not TOO long….relatively….. Without further ado, Shall we Pearl?…..
“Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its one sure defense.” — Mark Twain (1835-1910), Notebook, 1888
I’m positive I’ve used this in the past; it’s too good, and too familiar an idea for me to have passed it up. Since I have no idea when I did use it, it’s okay to use it again, according to the loose rules I go by around here…. This idea is one I embraced many years ago, even before the Beatles used the Blue Meanies vs. Laughter & Love as a metaphor for life, in their movie, Yellow Submarine. It seems I’ve always known that things that live and thrive in the dark, things that exist only to cause pain and misery in the world, cannot stand up to the light of laughter, or the power of love. It is almost a sad sight to watch a bully deflate and slink off when laughed at, rather than accommodated….. It might be sad, if it weren’t so satisfying….
In the twentieth century, George Carlin was probably the best defender of liberty, one of the most adept at using irreverence, and original critical thought, to poke fun at the ruling cadre. He was merciless at exposing the true motives held by those rulers, making it plain for all how the crap that people put up with in life is deliberate on the part of the ruling classes. His biting wit was graphic, clear, and undeniably true, for he never made statements that weren’t drawn from real life experience, with vivid evidence of chicanery on the part of the elite, in support of his assertion of their evil intent. He did all this, and made us laugh about it, and at them, and, most importantly, at ourselves….. Only the very best can do that…..
He took his vorpal sword in hand
Long time the manxom foe he sought
Till rested he by the tumtum tree
And stood awhile in thought
— _Jabberwocky_, by Lewis Carroll (Charles Dodgson)
In today’s world, manxom foes are much easier to find, so thoughtful moments by the tumtum tree aren’t required as often. By this bit of nonsensical reality, I’m trying to make a point, one that escapes me completely, now that I’ve started the process. I really did have a thought that made this verse appropriate, or at least comprehensible from an odd viewpoint, but, for the life of me, I can’t find it anywhere in my head.
It had to do with bullies, and the Beloved Ruling Class (two interchangeable entities, to be sure….), and was actually, according to my memory, quite elegantly powerful in its indictment of the BRC as assholes….. It’s too bad I can’t remember it…. Just go look at a picture of a politician, or the Pope, or somebody of that ilk, and spit at the image…. you’ll get the idea, and feel better, too…..
“The last Christian died on the cross.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
Now you’re talking! That’s the way, Friedrich, you tell ’em! I happen to agree with this statement quite strongly, and couldn’t have said it better. Tom Jefferson was of the same opinion, in fact, ….
“But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State.” — Thomas Jefferson, [letter?] To S. Kercheval, 1810
Tom was quite outspoken in his indictment of the entire class of those who lie to others, for power and personal gain…..
“They [preachers] dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subversions of the duperies on which they live.” — Thomas Jefferson
Ah me, such rants as these can go on forever, if we let them. There is always more ammunition to fire off, so we don’t have to condemn all of them at once, I guess. We’ll leave some for a later date….. For now, let me leave you with more timeless wisdom from our favorite insane person…..
“I know things about TROY DONAHUE that can’t even be PRINTED!!” — Zippy the Pinhead
” I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear friend, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” — Rainer Maria Rilke
This statement, to me, is the modern version of a literary Holy Grail….. Not merely the beauty of the ideas expressed herein, but the elegance of the expression is of such power it is almost magical. “…you will… live along some distant day into the answer.” Even though presented in prose form, this is poetry at its finest. I say it is the Holy Grail because I can only hope to seek such power and grandeur, such obvious compassion, and love for life, in my writing, and wish with all my being that I find it….. Here is a poem from Rainer….. for balance….
A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:
just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.
She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once
as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.
Rainer Maria Rilke
“Reality is the flaw in the perfection of nothingness.” — Nyarlathotep, Reed College, Portland, OR –
“So sure are you! Tried have you? Always with you it can’t be done. Hear you nothing that I say? Try not. Do! Do! Or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda [The Empire Strikes Back]
“And I said to myself be still, wait without hope. For hope would be hope of the wrong thing. Wait without love. For love would be love of the wrong thing. Wait without faith. For the faith and the hope and the love are all in the waiting.” — T.S. Eliot
“Food, sleep, fear, propagation; each is the common property of men with brutes. Virtue is really their additional distinction; devoid of virtue, they are equal with brutes.” — The Hitopadesa (600?-1100? A.D.)
O love, could thou and I with fate conspire
To grasp this sorry scheme of things entire,
Might we not smash it to bits
And mould it closer to our hearts’ desire?
— Omar Khayyam [tr. FitzGerald]
So, there I was, still in relatively massive discomfort, cruising through Smart Bee, and letting my unconscious mind pick out pearls to make a pearl. (Or are those oysters?…. Never mind….) Once again, I am unsure of exactly what my unconscious is trying to say, but, damn, it sure said it well, didn’t it? In reality, or as close as we ever approach that state on this blog, it makes a very cogent statement about the structure of human nature, if not exactly claiming to be a complete explanation, or even representation, of that nature. Given my current mental condition, I think it’s the best for which we can hope….. It’s just been one of THOSE days, y’know?….. But, really, this isn’t a BAD pearl, it’s just obscure… so it should fit right in, right? Right?….. Well, maybe not….. Ah, the hell with it…..
(This is an extra pearl, brought to you by the cold virus, rhinus virusii, and by the word, “plonk”……)
“When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses, for art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment.” — John F. Kennedy
For a long time now, I’ve been ranting periodically, about a certain flaw in human nature I have observed, a flaw that all of us possess to some degree. This flaw is the tendency to manipulate other people for personal gain, rather than mutual benefit. We all manipulate; if we didn’t, we’d starve. This is a lesson we learn in our first days on Earth, as we find out that our cries will bring attention, food, and comfort. To varying degrees, our lessons in this sort of manipulation of other people continue on to adulthood…. The difference in degree we learn arises from several factors, both environmental and genetic, and is the crux of the problem our species faces now…..
You see, after a certain point, most folks don’t wish to make others do for them what they can do for themselves; it is more satisfying to accomplish something when one knows exactly what one has done to achieve it. But, a certain number of people decide, at an early age, usually, that they enjoy the power of getting others to follow their suggestions, and start finding ways to make their manipulations acceptable to others, even though those ways are immoral and unethical. These folks learn how to lie with a straight face, convincing the naive to allow them to act or think for them, because it is to their advantage. In reality, the entire manipulation is designed to benefit only the perpetrator of the lies…..
So, time passes, and these trained liars become preachers, and politicians, and lawyers, and anyone else in society who learns they can have far more than they ever need, or deserve, by hoarding resources for their own use, by writing laws, by manipulating society in ways that are advantageous to them, rather than being a boon to society. They lie, they cheat, they steal, and they tell everyone they are doing it “for YOU!” Most insulting of all, they use the pretense of “morality” to disguise their true intentions.
“Morality is the best device of all for leading mankind by the nose.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
These foul flibbertigibbets have their flunkies to make the laws for them in Congress, they have the hawks in the military to protect them from the “heathens”, they have their judges in their pockets to rule in favor of business rather than people. And, they have the preachers proselytizing the great, unwashed masses of humanity to control them, masses who never question anything they do, but continue to put their heads down and slog away, trying to win a game that was fixed from the start…..
When looking at JFK’s statement above, one might believe that he had the public in mind when he said this, and that he was indeed a champion of the people. Myself, I have a hard time seeing anyone worth over a billion dollars as a champion of the people, no matter how sincere they might sound. More likely, what he says above is merely a sop to public opinion, stated as a means of convincing the common man that he has something in common with them…. a tough sell for a boy who grew up in the biggest compound in Hyannisport, the bastion of the truly rich.
He would, by this assertion, have us believe that exposure to poetry will moderate the impulse to cruelty among the powerful, a statement which, if examined critically, is seen to be completely untrue. I haven’t seen ANYTHING in particular that has that effect, not in this world…. Technically, the statement may be true, regarding art as the touchstone of judgment, but asking me to believe that a Kennedy, a person who has never had to suffer any such judgments, actually AGREES with it, well, that’s asking too much….
“As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods; they kill us for their sport.” — William Shakespeare, “King Lear”
To my mind, politicians, and anyone else who lives by the insane dictates which they do, are like these gods to whom Will refers; they do what they do to us, just because they feel they can, and don’t give a rat’s ass for what anyone else believes. That may sound like a strong indictment, which, hopefully, it is…. In my own defense, I defy anyone at all to disprove the statement. Show me the evidence, if you have any, of how the government, or the churches, or the corporations, or the police, or the courts are acting in a way that is beneficial to the public. I’m willing to look at whatever anyone may have to show me, though I am quite convinced that nobody will be able to do so, as I don’t believe there is any such evidence……
“Perhaps we are wiser, less selfish and more far-seeing than we were two hundred years ago. But we are still imperfectly all these good things, and since the turn of the century it has been remarked that neither wisdom nor virtue have increased as rapidly as the need for both.” — Joseph Wood Krutch
This is a statement you may confidently place in the “fer shure” column, and forgeddaboutit. All the wisdom we need is already present in the world, I think, but the amount of virtue, or rather, the amount of influence that virtue commands, is severely limited; it is that lack that our nature shows when put to the test of Reality.
It is unfortunate in the extreme that, in this world, there are those who exhibit the flaw, those who don’t, and literally, billions of folks who don’t know, and don’t have time or energy to care, what we’re talking about. The most unfortunate part of this, is that the former group comprises the Beloved Ruling Class, and will, in all their insane glory, bring the rest of us with them down the path to our inglorious demise, unless we can bestir ourselves to wake up and throw them all out on their asses…..
“Small is the number of them that see with their own eyes, and feel with their own hearts.” — Albert Einstein
“We have standards and expect you not to exceed them.” — Smart Bee
Plainly, I have succeeded in not exceeding any standards whatsoever…. I am just content that I was able to piece together this Pearl; I wasn’t certain I was going to have the strength of will to push through all the residual pain hanging about. It’s done, though; that’s enough for me….. If all this stuff stays in my head too long, it can cause serious issues, and not just for me…. The rest of the world tends to have to put up with it, too…. Hopefully, it isn’t too whiny, or too self-serving; Yoda’s advice about not trying, but, instead, doing, is always timely, isn’t it?….. Y’all take care out there, and May the Metaphorse be with you…..
Sometimes I sits and thinks,
I just sits.