Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’

The Teacher

June 1, 2017

Over there in the middle of the world there seems to be a controversy about who is in charge of the place.

There are some people who will not accept the fact that the Jewish people have a very long history there; their ancient saga originated in the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River. So now that the Jewish people have crowbarred their way back into that land strip, which they call Israel while many Arabs and Muslims call it Palestine, we do have a problem.

It is a very old problem, and yet it is new every morning.

Gutnbg

On this morning, I contemplate the words of a Teacher who claims to have been king over Jerusalem several millennia ago. This king/teacher is known by the name Solomon; he is reported to have been a very wise man.

Solomon’s notes reveal that he wrote down such thoughts as this:

“That which has been is that which will be,

and that which has been done is that which will be done.

So there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one might say,

‘See this, it is new’?

Already it has existed for ages

Which were before us.”

Now this wisdom is somewhat of riddle, because as I tap this musing, and my own musing along with it, out on this keyboard, I realize that there is some contradiction here between what Solomon intended to say way back in the mists of time, and what I experience here and now in the world as it exists in 2017 c.e.

Because this laptop could not have existed during the reign of King Solomon. So, there is something–this laptop–which I can say is, in fact, new.

Electronic devices did not exist in Solomon’s time.

So, does this discrepancy call into question the validity of Solomon’s message to me? Is the Wise king contradicting the obvious truth of technological development? Is he flat-out wrong about my silly little MacAir being “nothing new” under the sun?

Did his successors go online to discover his wise sayings?

Did Jeroboam use Windows? Was Rehoboam a Mac guy?

Is that what they were fighting about after Solomon died?

No, no, no and no.

Nevertheless, I am reading the wisdom of Solomon as it has been passed down through the ages in the Bible. His wisdom-seeking questions and pronouncecments, as found in the book of Ecclesiastes, arrive at my historical doorstep as a book of the Bible.

Now we all know the Bible is controversial.  Many people consider it to be the Word of God, while many other people think it’s just an old history book with a lot of errors and contradictions.

I say it is a valid history of our Creator’s plan to bust into human consciousness during a certain period of time, with ecclesiastical wisdom that is applicable for all time.

Modern folks who disdain the Bible often think that we believers are just naive, gullible, and subject to the manipulations of religious leaders who want to use us sheepish believers for their own financial gain or power.

Bible-believers generally accept the Bible in faith. What they don’t understand about it, they just chalk up to the possibility that we cannot figure everything out, so at some point, for the sake of getting on with life, we just need to believe the revelation that we accept as a basis for navigating the challenges of this life.

Smart people, cerebral people, on the other hand have to get everything figured out. They generally analyze  our ancient fuddy-duddy faith proclamations  to death, and relegate them to the realm of mythology, tall tales and wishful thinking.

But here’s the real deal: What smart people call cognitive dissonance, people of faith  call “faith.”

Believers understand that they can’t figure out this whole thing called “life” so they are willing to submit themselves to the legacy of faith that has been presented to them since childhood, or since crashing at the bottom of their own sinful limitations and cognitive confusion.

We’ll never get the cosmos all figured out: at some point out there in this never-never land, we have to believe in something, something “out there” that can carry us through the mountains and valley’s of this life.

Now maybe smart folks don’t need faith because they think they’ve got it all figured out.

Whatever.

I think that, somehow, this is what Solomon is getting at. Consider this observation that Solomon wrote:

“Also, the sun rises and the sun sets;

And hastening to its place it rises there again.”

Okay, so Solomon obviously had jotted this ditty down before Copernicus and Galileo came along and proved that the sun does not move, but rather it is the earth moving around the sun that produces our daily sunrises and sunsets.

Does Solomon’s ignorance about the actual machinations between sun and earth negate the quality of his wisdom?

No.

That is my statement of faith about Solomon’s wisdom. We know what he’s saying; it’s not rocket science. The Hubble had not been invented yet, but wisdom is as old as the hills of Judea.

So I’m not going to analyze a thousands-of-years-old nugget of wisdom to death, simply because Copernicus and Galileo figured out our solar system and subsequent scientific data has confirmed their observations.

Solomon was a wise king, even if he did have the sun/planets physical relationship turned around backwards.

We all have our blind spots; not a one of us sees the whole picture.

So, as I explore further in Solomon’s Ecclesiastes, I see that, a few sentences later in the first chapter of Solomon’s Ecclesiates, he writes this:

“All things are wearisome;

Man is not able to tell it.”

I mean, I’m tired of thinking about it, y’all.

Which is to say, we’ll never get it all figured out. At some point, we just need to stop trying to decipher the DNA and the Cosmos and the Pangeatic records etcetera etcetera, and just go with life itself.

Here’s an example from the conclusion of the 2nd chapter of Ecclesiastes:

“There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good (even if it contributes to climate change -ed.). This also I have seen that it is from the hand of God.

For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without God?

For to a person who is good in God’s sight, God has given wisdom and knowledge and joy, while to the sinner God has given the task of gathering and collecting so that (s)he may give to one who is good in God’s sight. This too is vanity and striving after the wind.”

And if you’re still wondering what it is I’m trying to say here, I will release you from my wandering thoughts with this ecclesiastical proverb from cousin Bob, who is, with his 20th-century wisdom, not unlike Solomon:

“The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.”

My conclusion: Just Believe, and get on with the business of life, making use of what you find helpful and productive, because we’ll never figure it all out.

King of Soul

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Try to find Her

April 29, 2017

With all this jibber-jabber about gender,

’tis a conundrum for any attentive community to render

a consensus about who is who and what is what

and whether to swing bathroom door open or shut,

and wondering whether she’s a girl and he’s a boy,

and whether we can use reproductive assets as a toy,

as if genitalia are some useless endowment to be cast aside

like an appendix or a gall bladder, thus neuterizing gonad pride.

ReaderStatu

But this ole boy was reading in a bible a little while ago,

which is, I understand, a dubious activity if I must say so

because many think that ole book aint  hardly worth a dime

because those folks therein were livin’ so far back in time

before there was internet and social media and trash TV

and folks was so bound up in ignorance and primitivity.

And you probably think you know what I’m about to say

about what adam and eve did on that fateful day.

But really I was a-ponderin’ about something other than that–

the teachings of a man who as an ancient king had been begat.

Of Wisdom, he wrote: “She will honor you if you embrace her,”

as if there’s something feminine about wisdom that we should infer.

So, if wisdom is so honorable, as Solomon presents it to be,

why did such a royal chauvinist call wisdom a “her” instead of a “he”?

For such a misogynistic polygamist king to so advise–

why, he had no business issuing such a sexist proverb to the wise:

“Take hold of instruction; do not let her go. Guard her, for she is your life.”

But everybody knows this utterance, by modern standards, is just rife

with chauvinistic, sublimated predatory sexist implication

as if the lusty old king would entrap Wisdom for a coital conjugation.

But really, ole Solomon was like any decent, honorable man

who puts his lady and her wisdom on a pedestal stand.

So it’s good that Wisdom is associated with the Womanly side,

so that Man can proliferate in his brawny, line-of-scrimmage pride.

And this has been going on for a long, long time, y’all.

Glass Chimera

Allies in History

July 9, 2015

The Charger rides out upon a cusp of history’s advance

with zeal that flashes in his hand,

brandishing our great weapon of destiny

that had earlier been forged

upon the anvil of progress.

Logan1

He’s duty-bound on pushing the envelope of change

through yonder canyon of chaos, or mountain of

justice, whichever comes forth first.

His steed, chomping at the bit to yank upon the seams

of troublous times,

rips out the evil twins of lethargy and lies, and

by opposing ends them

for a while.

MarqJoliet

Yon Paxateer, on the other hand,

is methodical and principled.

He summons forth coalitions of belief,

taming methods of madness,

crossing rivers of patient sadness.

His armature has accumulated in the crucible of time

from the residue of our Charger’s blood,

and the aggregate left behind when women toil

and men do sweat

for all the progress mankind can get,

although we are not there

yet,

if ever shall we be.

 

Together, between them,

among them and in spite of them,

the wisdom of the ages settles in,

if there is such a thing.

For history is not yet written,

nor the evils that beset men smitten

until the sands of time

are deposited on this body of mine

and yours.

WavArt6u

King of Soul

Life way down deep

April 3, 2015

The life was new.

The life was hidden, withdrawn, but stirring beneath the surface

of man, restless

feeling incomplete, as if he were only half

of something and where pray tell is

the other half.

Oh but the life

the whippersnappin’ life was young and foolish, darting out in

spurts, random, irresponsibly.

Lonely.

The life was at a loss.

Meanwhile,

the wise was keeping vigil, watching protectively, counseling gently

in the stirring of the wind:

Wait. Focus. Control yourself. Learn. Prepare. Use what you’ve got.

Use.

Not abuse.

Love.

Not shove.

Love.

Not thrust.

Trust.

Don’t throw it on the ground;

don’t cast it out when you’re in town.

Find a place that’s safe and sound

and slightly round.

There is a place for you if you will seek, if you will

wait upon her, ‘though mishaps there may be,

‘though dark days you will see.

Destiny, providentially so-to-speak, whispers

in those dark hours of the night,

but also in the clarity of the bright light

and in the very horned beastly midst of your fight

for peace of mind, and fulfillment,

self-actualization, what we use to call

holiness.

Project not yourself into any old hole; cast not your pearl

to front,  nor to rear.

You, my precious life, are too dear

to sputter in the rear.

Oh, wipe away your tear.

Train your sorrow to flow;

direct your milky force to go

into something worthwhile, like . . .

work. I don’t know. Think about it.

Don’t jerk.

Don’t be a jerk,

and please don’t twerk. But rather,

Wait. Watch. Focus. Learn. Prepare. Believe. Use what you’re given.

Be just a little driven

but not obnoxiously so.

Just go

and do the best you can,

and when she comes, your half will become

whole.

Like I said, in not just any hole.

Whole.

For the sake of your soul,

and the soul of them who are to come

when you are done.

 

Glass half-Full

What’s a vacation for?

July 2, 2014

Now that we finally got to July and being on vacation, I have at last gotten around to catching up on a few personal projects that I would like to have undertaken long ago.

One project is learning how to actually make best use of the Macbook Air that I’ve been blogging on for two years now. Two and a half years, actually. Micah gave me the laptop at Christmas 2011. I’ve been stumbling around on it ever since, managing every now and then to get a word or two that made some sense out on the ‘net for all the world to consider. haha.

On this vacation, my brother-in-law John, the Mac guy, has been very helpful in this personal proficiency-improvement project, especially with utilizing the pictures from iPhone that I’ve been snapping to elucidate our Costa Rica vacation.

In the midst of this steep learning curve, a picture popped up on one of the Mac files, a picture that I had forgotten about, thought I had trashed forever, except that lo and behold it is still rollin’ around in the Mac and so I managed to pull it out of the trash. Pat took the pic exactly two years ago on Maui, Hawaii, at the Sun Yat-Sen park, which is a small memorial to the founder of modern China, Sun Yat-Sen. Here is his statue, with me standing next to it because I think Mr. Sun was a great leader:

Sun Yat-Sen park

A little research I’ve done today uncovers the impressive fact that both the major factions of modern Chinese liberation–the Mao-led Communist party and the Chiang Kai-shek-led Kuomintang– claim Sun Yat-Sen as a major contributor to their initial movements to wrestle the governance of China from the dying Qing dynesty, because Mr. Sun led the revolution that knocked the Qing out of power in 1912.

Another reason I think he was a great leader relates to a quote from him that I discovered on this very same statue-base in Hawaii two years ago. The quote is carved into one face of the statue’s base:

 “Search into the nature of things, look into the boundaries of knowledge, make the purpose sincere, regulate the mind, cultivate personal virtue, rule the family, govern the state, pacify the world.”

This principle(s) have been bopping around in my mind for these last two years. When I saw the pic pop up in my Mac wanderings today, the profundity of this wisdom suddenly came back to me. So I spent a couple hours today trying to find the source of the quote, which turns out to be not Sun Yat-Sen himself, but rather Confucius, in an old classic called The Great Learning.

I learned this when a google search finally led me to a pdf from a biography of Sun Yat-sen by a Stanford scholar, Marie Clare Bergere. http://books.google.co.cr/books?id=vh7M1u4IGFkC&dq=sun+yat+sen+%2B+nature .

The idea of “searching into the nature of things” is one that Mr. Sun made a central part of his own way of relating to the world and trying to make it a better place. I like that strategy, and it is the essence of my writing projects, the blogging as well as the novels.

Here is another pic from that Hawaiian adventure two years ago, just to illustrate what I mean by looking into the nature of things. This pic reveals just how everything, including the earth itself is just kind of. . . stratified:

Red strata  copy

Glass half-Full

Parabola

June 21, 2012

Neither life, nor anything in it, is just a simple straight line. Even crystals, which grow along straight mathematical forms from the elements and minerals of this world, have to be cut before we value them.

There’s nothing really simple out there. It all confuses. That is why, I suppose, people have such trouble accepting the idea that there is some kind of absolute truth in the universe.

Nothing in this life ever just jumps on a straight-line path and goes forward, without vectored influence to push/shove it to the right or left. In experience we are, like, all over the place. Here one day, there the next, trying to make up our minds about what to do, how to approach this or that person about something-or-other problem, or how to solve this problem and ignore that other one, hoping it-he-she-it will go away.

So if there is any truth in this life, in this world, universe, we access it only after discovering the nugget from some obscure hiding place, and then we are proud of ourselves because we’ve uncovered some precious truth, like treasure in a field. Eschewing the common good and beauty all around us, we prefer to dig for rare booty. Then finding something good beneath all the crap that goes on becomes a triumph of sorts, and we can feel good about ourselves for a while.

Jesus explained to his disciples that he speaks to the people of this world in parables, because they do not see really what something is when they are looking at it, and they do not really hear what’s going on here, even though they think they are listening.

I think that’s why writers like me like to veil our visions in allegory, metaphor, nuance, and literary B.S., hoping that the world will dig through our fabric of symbolism and story to discover  some truth in it.  We could say that, parabolically, we are a little bit like the master story-teller of all time–the one who spoke truth in parables. In truth, however, our vain musings can not hold a candle to his wisdom.

Glass Chimera