oneschemeofhappiness

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Archive for the tag “reflections”

O cruel fate!

Well, at least it is healing up finally. One would think, or let me say I used to think, that typing involved only the tips of one’s fingers. Not so, not so. I also used to think that my double-edged Safe-T razor, that big metal one that has the blade edges tucked inside and out of harm’s way, could slice so deep, so cleanly, close to and below the nail. ‘Twas a quick prick and sharp. One also has rather, shall we say, exuberant blood vessels there so near the finger tips. I tried typing, but even my feather-light touch would continually push apart those two pieces and expose the brilliant, angry, red crescent-moon. *Sigh*

I guess that I am surprised that I am still surprised by how much I don’t realize how much this hitherto unknown and unfelt parts of me are used in everyday activities until they are somehow damaged, given my life-long yet unwilled propensity for self-inflicted collateral damage.

I think that last sentence made sense, but it is late and I am trying to make up for lost time. Maybe I should re-read tomorrow 😉

Beauty is only

skin deep? It is cliche. But sometimes there is truth lying beneath the surface of cliches. You just have to look hard enough. Is it not interesting that we should call it “skin deep” to imply that beauty is just on the surface or only superficially appreciated? Skin is a surface. It is the conduit of communication, complex communication between beings. It is not its own, some autonomous thing, but lives as a connected part of the whole being. Thoughts are expressed, hidden or disguised. We see how others react, get a first sense of who they are through their skin. We can’t see inside or truly know their thoughts. Touch can be light and playful, friendly, caring, or intimate. This surface, this skin, is more than just skin deep.

So what then is beauty? Or rather, what makes someone beautiful? It is only one thing, that which makes a person beautiful. Not how they look, or touch, or how they make your heart melt when you look into their eyes. Not their hair, their laugh, or impressive intellect. From their deep being wells up the beauty that can express itself in manifold ways. No two are exactly alike. Like good art, it may be difficult to define, but we know it and respond to it when we are in its true presence.

You’re Fired!!

Well, I would like to hope that I never get that “opportunity.” Then again, I don’t like hiring people or deciding who should and shouldn’t be hired.

If I ever did have to fire someone, depending upon the circumstances, I think the best way would be to get them fired up about leaving. Commiserate on how bad the environment is, that they don’t seem to be enjoying their work, and point out how much happier they would be in some other career. Discuss with them the things they don’t like where they are and how they think they are perceived by there co-workers, including me. Hint that their days may be numbered at the current place of employ. Help them decide what they are good at and motivated to do. Either they will decide to leave on their own or they will shape up their act. (OK, that is a false dichotomy. Realistically they may do neither, in which case, and as gently as possible, I would state that they have been fired, what points–in my opinion–they need to keep in mind at their next wonderful and exciting career, and wish them luck.)

Accuse me of sappy idealism, if you will! I care not! Like it or lump it, we have formed a relationship with those we work with and at times to whom we are the bearers of the news that that relationship is about to embark upon new and uncharted waters. Each of us is a human being and upon that count requires of us that others be treated with dignity. (This sounds a lot more sappy and fluffy than are my intentions for it to sound. Basically I mean that we help when and how we can, offer guidance if it is appropriate, because we are all in this together. I don’t mean that they shouldn’t be fired, or that you have to agree with them and do everything in your power not to hurt their feelings. Stuff (that is Life) happens. But I do mean that we should try not to humiliate or embarrass them. If it needs doing, God’ll see to it, and in a way that will be for their benefit (even they don’t believe it at the time–trust me, I know from first hand experience).)

For those unacquainted with Tristram Shandy and other works of the on-another-digression-ilk, Yes!–those are parenthetical remarks within parenthetical remarks. No apology is offered.

Surprises

Do I like surprises? Generally, no. Unless they are something good. Then they are OK, as long as they are not presented in a way that is loud or startling. They could be neutral, I guess in that case they are OK as well, and wouldn’t be presented loudly.

Life is interesting and full of all kinds of surprises, especially if you know where to look. The best surprise all year–well, my guess is that it hasn’t happened yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if it waited until the last day of the year. Which it probably won’t now, since it wouldn’t be a surprise if I’m expecting it. Unless it tries to be sneaky and knows I won’t think it is the last day of the year, because I already thought it would be the last day of the year and goes ahead and surprises me then anyway, and really it would do well to almost-best surprise me sometime before then to lull me into a sense of security, thinking the surprise has already come and gone (surprises can be surprisingly clever that way), thus not expecting a surprise to come later than it already had, I might be really surprised when hit by the actual surprise, and even in that case it would have to be extraordinarily good (like lots of money) and extraordinarily quiet, that is not loud, for me to be caught unawares. That would be really surprising. Nah, who am I kidding. I’d hear it coming.

Rhythm

This is from my reply to today’s daily post challenge. Some of the references are to others’ comments
Heartbeats are nice and fluffy, but really it has more to do with the natural stress patterns in English. Latin and Greek meter are quite different, and orators were expected to use specific meter in their speeches, and it wasn’t iambic.
It only sounds forced if you don’t know what you are doing (see this awful thing for an excellent example of ‘sounding forced’).
Self deprecation aside, the point of using meter is that it easy to get it right in a particular language but have it sound terrible, and a challenge to make it sound natural. The art of it is in having self-imposed limitations and still expressing your feelings. I would say that this tension forces the artist to look more deeply into his or her feelings. The choice is not arbitrary, but comes about through the need to be challenged in the context of a particular language, and yet still be successful at that challenge. Paradise Lost by Milton is in (a lot) of iambic pentameter. It sounds very natural, well at least to someone in 17th century England. Convoluted at times, most definitely, but not forced.

Five Fearful Topics

Today’s postaday2011 topic was to give a list of 5 things you were afraid to write about. While my response to that was perhaps a little less than serious, it is an interesting idea to think about. What might I be afraid to write about?

Nothing. No, not that I am not worried, and therefore could easily write about anything. (That thought did occur to me, but was quickly discarded in light of past experience.) More that I am afraid to write something that really is nothing, or might be perceived as nothing. This includes writing about nothing in particular and writer’s block.

Myself. Which on the surface seems to me to be an incorrect item on the list. Even in that assessment I am convicted in its inclusion. Looking back at the (small but growing) list of posts, I have skillfully skirted this subject, at the same time thinking to myself that I really am writing about myself.

Too <anything>. Too much, little, refined, critical, sappy, sloppy, thoughtless, strange, off-base and off-topic, dumb, smart, smug, stupid, silly, &c.

Graphic Sex Scenes. I don’t think that I would have thought of this on my own, but it definitely is on the top of my list. In addition to the reason which kat gives, I must add that my lack of sufficient practical experience would be so glaringly obvious in description that any attempt at such would render it a hopeless effort.

Anything really-super-mega-important. I mean the Really Big Stuff. The stuff that gets you sent to <insert appropriate location of eternal punishment> not just for being wrong, but for convincing others that your wrongness is right, and generally mucking about with other people’s brains and lives. (This does not include having opinions and stating them and arguing that they are right, but rather those that lead people to disregard their own lives and the lives of others. There are many cults that have ended badly because of this). Not that I would desire to, or even could, write that way, but it is something I would be afraid of writing.

As for the first three reasons, I seem to be making the inroads of progress in setting those fears aside and writing anyway. The NaNoWriMo challenge, and even the Post A Day challenge are certainly helpful in achieving my goal of sharing more, writing and being less concernedly-self-conscious. I think being afraid can be sometimes good, but not if it locks you away entirely from life.

How do you stay true to yourself?

True is an action, not just a state. It can describe the process along which we might ever more refine ourselves to become that which we were meant to be. That self we think our own was given us, implicit within it the longing for our natural home. We strain to hear the beacon, strain to see the lighthouse that will guide us through the storm of others telling us what we must be (so that they might profit) and how; our frail vessels nearly overturned, confused, horrendously pummeled by the capricious relativisms of our time.

We might start by acknowledging that we can’t stay true, then desire to the truth, with patience, longing, love and, hardest of all, humility. This ‘true to self’ of which we all can so glibly speak comes from an absolute, without which becomes a moving target sinking ever lower. More easily hit, perhaps, but the accomplishment seems not quite right, or enough; there’s something more we desire. Without that absolute, ‘true to self’ is given every kind of meaning, beholden to none but fancy, whim and the ‘spirit of the times,’ and thus loses all useful purpose.

Therefore, calm and quiet we proceed throughout each day as best we can, pointing out each thought to our own selves, and wondering from whence it came, and why, again as best we can. We start from where we are and gently, knowing we may never know, but taking each step each day on our journey home.

Peace Prize, Local Edition

It is funny how coincidences occur in un-looked-for places. It has been a long, hard day. The funeral of friend and relative is never easy, but hers was a remembrance of a life well lived, well examined. As the other relatives shared what they remembered, a thread ran through all their stories–she was a peace maker. It has been a long, hard day full of emotions. So I am off to sleep, and so to find, unknown till now, the topic for the day, so fittingly matched will lend that sleep a finished end of warm memories.

Fessin’ Up

Blogs are conversations with those you may never meet, most likely will never meet in person. At least that’s how I see it. It is using a new and different medium, and broadening the scope of ‘conversation.’ We don’t go back and edit our spoken conversations unless it is really important to do so, nor do we stop in the middle to verify the information we think we know, again unless it is really important. Post A Day is an ice-breaker, or conversation starter. It’s supposed to get the ball rolling, and has certainly gotten this wallflower out onto the dance floor, though he has not mastered all the steps.
NaNoWriMo is different. I don’t see it so much as a conversation, but as a fun and challenging way to fulfill part of the necessary practice for the eventual mastery of the art of writing. A visual artist practices drawing lines over and over to learn how different motions and pressures affect the appearance and to build those nuances into the memory. Sketches are made, many times of the same subject, many times quite detailed over a long period of time. And most times these sketches never become anything polished or finished. That wasn’t the point–they were done out of love for the art by the artist.
Baseball players warm up with weights on the bat to make it heavier. They swing at more pitches during one practice than they would ever see during a real game. But I don’t see that as overproducing, and once they improve they don’t just stop practicing and only play ‘real’ games for the rest of the season. NaNoWriMo could be our “Spring Training” in the Fall.
As for too much crappy content on the web, I wholeheartedly agree, and that has held me back from writing and sharing for much too long. I came to a realization, though, recently. All that content out there doesn’t matter so much, because it isn’t your crappy content. Babies understand this completely and…um…produce a lot before they ever even speak, let alone communicate with eloquence. Not only will I ‘fess up’ to participating in NaNoWriMo, I will say that I’m a-jumpin’ in. Bring on those diapers and nose plugs, I about to produce!

Do you agree with the death penalty?

That would have to be for me a qualified, ‘it depends.’ Of course that would be of little comfort to those awaiting sentencing, and would be impossible to use and apply fairly. Could you just imagine a grumpy judge or jury deciding whether or not for them the offense qualifies for meeting out death to a fellow human being?

Rather than delve directly into argumentation, opposing views, pros and cons, &c., I thought that I would relate two stories that come to mind whenever the topic of the death penalty is brought up, one fictional and one true.

The first one comes from Planet of the Apes–the original movie. I don’t remember all the details, but relevant ones are that one of the apes had killed another ape. This had never happened before, so they had no precedent to follow. Could they let him go? Not a wise choice. Would they kill him themselves? But then they would be guilty of the same crime, some argued. They group of apes ended up chanting his crime out loud at the miscreant as they closed in around him. He climbed up a tree to try and get away. He ended up falling off the branch on his own, so to speak, and died when he hit the ground. Were the other apes going to kill him anyway? Were they trying to drive him away? Did he subconsciously let himself slip and die, because he could no longer bear the accusations of his peers or his conscience? That is left up to the viewer.

The other story is how a small country made up of many islands around about the Indian Ocean dealt with a murderer. I saw it on a news story in the 90s and it had all taken place several years earlier. A German man and his girlfriend were vacationing in that country. I don’t remember all of the details, but he ended up killing her and there was heavy drug use involved. Now, this country did not have the death penalty, did not really have violent crime to speak of for so long that they were in a quandary as to what to do, because it would be setting a bad precedent to just let him go, and he would in all likelihood keep on using the drugs that had contributed to the murder, and might do it again or something worse. This country’s leaders did not want to see anyone else get hurt either.

So this is what they did, and both he and the German government agreed to the arrangement. Since this country did not have any prisons, they sent him to one of there most remote islands. It had a small, self-sufficient population who had also agreed to take him in. The only contact with the outside world was from a few boats a year that were sent to check up on the people living there and trade for a few provisions. They took the man in,  and he became apprenticed to the village carpenter, and got married to one of villagers. He helps repair the homes that get damaged during the stormy season.

The news commentators were of the opinion that this was just terrible. How could justice be served in this way? He kills someone, and then gets to live in paradise as if nothing had happened at all. What they meant was that it wasn’t fair, and that he should have been punished more harshly for what he did. But I would ask those commentators, to what end? And what would be harsh enough without going too far? Who would get to decide?

I think that country did the best possible thing in the given circumstances. In reality he is in prison. He is not allowed to leave that island, ever. It serves one of the purposes expounded for the necessity of prisons, which is to keep people who are a danger to themselves and others out of the general society. Another reason for prisons, or correctional facilities as they have been called, is to reform the prisoner. Without commenting on the success of this reason in prison systems around the world, this killer is reformed–completely. He no longer can use or have access to drugs. He has learned a useful skill and spends his time helping others surrounded by his new family. He has all but forgotten German, his native language, his English. He speaks now only the dialect of those native inhabitants. He cannot return to his former ways, friends and family or to the amenities of modern life. Who he was is dead, and so he has suffered the death penalty, and yet without the loss of additional life.

Well, these are two of the things that come to mind. Hopefully food for thought.

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