Terrible things could happen now…. they could, you know. And, we’ll deserve every second we experience of mind-numbing, soul-chilling, petrifying terror, because, hey, we’re the ones who left the door wide open, inviting it to enter our domain, bringing with it our ultimate doom…. Yes, it’s our own damn fault, and we will know the truth of the matter, because we have been warned, having previously been given wisdom such as this….
“The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” — Albert Einstein
(A bit more powerful a message when combined with the graphic art, isn’t it?….)
This is not new wisdom, that we’ve never before seen or suspected; history has provided us with innumerable instances proving the truth of this particular aphorism….. Time after time throughout our relatively short span of existence on this world, we find nearly innumerable examples of men or women who had prior knowledge of an issue of questionable morality,, and, by their silence, for whatever reason, allowed it to take place, to the detriment of all….
It doesn’t make it right, knowing how common a problem it is, but, it is certainly not an uncommon issue for mankind…. Such issues are not, perhaps, of those we are given by Reality, our favorite gifts, …. In fact, many don’t look on this, or any knowledge, as gifts, and THAT is a big part of the entire problem….
Our problem, then, can be seen as a failure of spirit, that has to do with a basic virtue, one that has been claimed as the basis for all other virtues; without this characteristic, none of our finer qualities are ever seen in the light of day…. That pillar upon which all other virtue rests, then, is Courage…. Yes, plain and simple, courage….
I have found, in my fairly long life, that most of mankind are cowards…. Sad to say, but, true nonetheless, since all the evidence is clear…. I say this, as well, knowing I’m not an exception, though it IS something I’ve tried hard to mitigate, in order to feel I have the right to call myself honorable, and meet my own eyes each morning in the mirror…. Fear is a hard thing for most of us to admit, even though it isn’t considered abnormal; it’s strength, and the way it causes us to lose control frightens us…
However, that is also its saving grace, as the guilt one feels, for having given in to it, can, and does, stimulate us to greater effort, whereupon we can find that courage within ourselves, the next time we are in danger of giving in…. This is how almost everything we do, and have done, of an ethical nature, ever gets done…. because someone discovers they DO have the courage to act when there is danger, moral, ethical, or physical, threatening them, or threatening those for whom they care…..
That is what it takes, you see…. No virtuous act can ever take place, unless good people have the courage to act in the face of the Evil that exists, in spite of the fear they feel in the presence of that Evil. If they don’t summon, or find somewhere with themselves, the courage to act ethically, or morally, if that is needed, then Evil has free rein to let itself out to play in human affairs, to the detriment of us all….
Each of us has to find that courage within ourselves, the courage to put aside our fear, to carry on with what we know to be right, even though expediency and comfort are left behind in such cases…. Living with honor and integrity is never the easiest path we can take; it is always fraught with danger, because it doesn’t avoid evil, because it’s too hard, but, rather, confronts it, endeavoring to deal with it in a straightforward, upright fashion…. thus, preserving one’s own honor, when forced to have truck with what always leaves us feeling a bit dirty….
Now that we have wandered so far afield this morning, I’m not sure what will happen to this Pearl…. Minor ranting isn’t uncommon in the intro, but, I do try to limit it to no more than eight or ten paragraphs, so we don’t take forever to get into just the first section…. a resolution which, this morning, is NOT unfolding according to plan…. Allow me to sum up, and get on with it, if you will…
All of what I wrote above is true and complete, to the best of my knowledge, and constitutes a fairly accurate assessment of today’s situation here on planet Earth…. Evil is out there, and when we… that’s you, and me…. fail to stand up to it, look it in the eye, and tell it to “fuck off, you bloody sod!”, then it will continue to manifest its existence, causing untold pain and suffering for us all…. So, be brave, ffolkes, and don’t let Evil have its way without at least some token resistance, ‘kay?…. ‘Kay!…..
Shall we Pearl?…..
“Asked what he gained from philosophy, he answered, “To do without being commanded what others do from fear of the laws.”” — Diogenes Laertius (c. 200 AD) — Aristotle, xi
Today’s pearl is one that I’ve worked on ahead of time, so, the fact that I’m up later than usual, and got a slow start, won’t have much effect on when it gets posted today…. all in all, a good thing…. It DOES mean that I’m ahead of myself, and need to slow down a little, or I’ll be bumping into myself from behind…. which is not only hard on me, but isn’t so good for the space-time continuum…. I’ve seen some pretty bad cosmic aftershocks from that kind of metaphorical/metaphysical dust-up….
To counteract any possible chance of THAT taking place, (my insurance guy told me I can’t afford ANY more repair bills for space and time…. those metaphysical construction guys charge OUTRAGEOUS prices to fix things!….), this will be an old-school Pearl, attempting to balance out the mini-rant in the intro, and the religirant from the archives in section three…. So, here is a group of fine pearls, fresh and shiny…. just for y’all….
“Solon used to say that speech was the image of actions;… that laws were like cobwebs,–for that if any trifling or powerless thing fell into them, they held it fast; while if it were something weightier, it broke through them and was off.” — Diogenes Laertius (c. 200 AD) — Solon, x
(So much for the concept of legislating morality, eh?…. Remember, ffolkes, Solon was the first human to codify and bring order to the concept of the Law, so, he should know…. gigoid….)
“If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?” — Steven Wright
(I wouldn’t…. I’d want everyone to know…. gigoid)
“Life is a great surprise. I do not see why death should not be an even greater one.” — Vladimir Nabokov, quoted in “Time”, 1981
(“Me, too”… gigoid again…. I guess I’m commenting on these pearls…. 🙄 )
“A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.” — Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long
(Just as an exercise…. when was the last time you heard a modern politician use a historical basis for anything they are going to do? And, how many of them are aware they are repeating some of history’s most well-recorded cultural patterns with their own actions?…. I can answer both…. the correct number of those of our leaders who either pay attention to the forces and lessons of history, or have any idea of their own part in that, is ZERO…..)
“Do not try to live forever. You will not succeed.” — George Bernard Shaw
Enjoy the present hour,
Be thankful for the past,
And neither fear nor wish
Th’ approaches of the last.
— Abraham Cowley (1618-1667)
“It’s all in there, don’t y’know?…. All there inside us already…. Happiness, love, serenity, peace, courage, compassion, all are waiting for us to discover them, right there where they have always been, inside us, abiding until we find them again…..” ~~ gigoid the dubious
(This last pearl is one I wrote as the final line for a mild religirant back a couple of years ago…. It is my own first attempt at an aphorism, of any real success, which makes it worth mention…. to me, and, after all, it IS my blog…. gigoid, delving deeply into egoism….)
In cruising through the archives of past Pearls, I came across this poem, one of my own, (today only, I’ll say it…. “one of my own, of course”….) first posted in October of 2012…. It’s better than I remember it to be, which means I did something right…. It’s also got a lot of ME in it, if you know what I mean…. Enjoy….
Raging at Aging
As old as you feel, we are told, is old as you are,
custom assures such vision will carry us far.
Reality begs to differ, may it be so bold
it’s really quite painful, and very, very cold.
The power and strength we felt in our halcyon youth
desert us with age, yet another unwelcome truth.
Irony rules our time here on this bountiful earth
as we reflect the changes, over time since our birth.
As physical powers fade from this fragile shell,
we learn our mind can serve us, quite as well.
The strength that once filled our bones and hearts
is now applied by will, to more arcane arts.
Life’s greatest gift is our freedom of choice;
no matter how often we forget, we still get a voice.
Energy, or apathy, by our will we may choose,
failing to do so, our only way to lose.
Each of us lives in the grip of time and space,
always seeking our balance, our own chosen place.
One must accept reality, for, ’tis true at the core,
all we can do, is all we can do, and nothing more.
~~ gigoid ~~
As noted above, I was reading through some Pearls from a couple years ago, and came across some old rants I’ll be recycling, due to their continuing relevance, as well as because they’re good rants… This one is fairly mild, in all, but does hit the point to made squarely on the head…. Enjoy….
“He who proselytizes in the cause of unbelief is basically a man in need of belief.” — Eric Hoffer
This is true…. you never see an atheist going door to door, trying to convert the pious to their unbelief. However, I would go further on this train of thought, and add that, “He who proselytizes, in any cause, in basically a man in need of a life.” I’m sure it occurred to Mr. Hoffer, but he was too busy trying to explain this statement to somebody who didn’t understand the word ‘proselytize’…..
For my own case, I have never, ever understood why people feel compelled to go door to door to try to get other people to believe what they believe; it’s one of the most persistent delusional systems I’ve ever witnessed, to believe that anyone wants to hear what they have to say, much less they will find their beliefs palatable to others, or find anyone who believes them to be superior to their own…..
“More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying they made them.” — Smart Bee
Humans seem to have an immense blind spot when it comes to their own actions and beliefs. Most of them never seem to question the things they are told, even when those things are presented with no evidence other than faith. Of course, the people who are invested in the religious system, to wit: the preachers, begin their indoctrination when their constituents are very young, when they are still prone to accept whatever an adult says as truth.
This ensures a life-long predilection for being simple to control…. or, in short, mental slavery, if you will. Unless there is some sort of rebellion of spirit, where new knowledge is injected, these poor saps will spend their entire lives believing that what they have been told is real, when, in fact, they are fitting themselves with shackles, that will forever imprison their minds, and their imagination…..
“To defend one’s self against fear is simply to insure that one will, one day, be conquered by it; fears must be faced.” — James Baldwin
In my life-long quest for the truth, I’ve come to believe that religions, while originally intended to benefit people, (by their iconic progenitors, anyway…. I’m sure Jesus was a quite nice man, and wanted the best for those to whom he preached his own philosophy of compassion….), have historically been taken over by the predators who live to control others.
To be fair, some of those who become priests, or any of the other varieties of religious fanatic that prevail in our society, may indeed believe that their beliefs are true, and act accordingly, but the majority are, as far as I can tell, only concerned with maintaining status quo, thereby benefiting themselves, while never actually allowing any REAL progress in the development of the human condition. They would have society behave as if we were still living in caves, in essence, still cowering in our meager shelter while the storms and lightning are raging outside, terrified of the power of what we do not understand, and, therefore, allow ourselves to fear….
“A universe of death, which God by curse
Created evil, for evil only good;
Where all life dies, death lives,
and Nature breeds Perverse,
all monstrous, all prodigious things,
Abominable, unutterable and worse
Than fables yet have feigned, or fear conceived,
Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.”
— Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II
(Side note: I’ll bet Milton had a hard time sleeping….)
The Universe is a big place, and there is a lot to learn. Fearing that knowledge, or fearing what changes that knowing will always bring, is the act of a coward, to my mind, and should not be encouraged. Supernatural beings of unlimited power are not a required component to the understanding of Nature and the Universe; we need not fear that our lack of knowledge of how things work is unattainable. Just because we do not understand a part of reality does not mean that whatever it is, is beyond our understanding.
It is not necessary to ask for exemptions, or intervention by our own personal gods, for us to achieve happiness, or even contentment; that is completely within our own power, if we but acknowledge that part of us that is free, and connected to everything else we can perceive. The connections may not be fully understood, but they are there, and if we can only learn to recognize it, the power to change reality lies within us, all the time…. As Epictetus said, “Happiness lies in learning to accept a simple truth. There are some things you can change. And there are some things you cannot.” It’s really quite that easy, you know, once one learns to accept this fact of life…. No dogma required…..
“If brains were outlawed, nothing would change.” — Smart Bee
As things turned out, this may be one of my best all-around efforts to date…. Balanced, but with enough lightness of spirit to keep it afloat, I think… Whatever the reason, I’m happy with it, and it’s done, so, hey, we know what that means, don’t we? Yep…. See ya, ffolkes….
Y’all take care out there,
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