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Since I Never Get the Last Word


Sunday, February 26, 2006
Raising the Bar - Again

Discovery yet continues and each new find enriches my life.

Meditations at Lagunitas – Robert Hass.

Meditations enjoyed at a place in the real world that can be translated as a little gap, a little vacant space. Listen to the lines:

All the new thinking is about loss.

In this, it is like all the old thinking.”

Oh, man; oh, man; looking back means encountering that which is no more.

Looking forward means estimating that which may never be. The present doesn’t linger. Obeying the imperative, examining a life must always deal with things not present.

Or the other notion that because there is nothing in this world, no one thing to which the bramble of blackberry corresponds, a word is elegy to what it signifies.”

And, yet, the naming of things is what we do. What we do, then, is to write our epitaph. Could be depressing yet it inspires, breathes life into life.

Longing, we say, because desire is full of distances.”

Oh, I wish I had written that; that I had the mind to put those words together. As much as I wish I had painted Persistence of Memory but am too aware I could not have even conceived the piece.

blackberry, blackberry, blackberry.”

Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-02-26 10:46:30


Thursday, February 23, 2006
A Difference of Opinion

In my homeland, we speak of religious tolerance but we are proud of the red states and the blue and where we fit. And I will blow you up – or I will blow your churches up - if that is what it takes to get you to change color. And, yes, I am tolerant as long as you dress as I do and don’t try to become my president.

In another land, I am defiantly proud of my belief in the Prophet yet I am equally defiant that what I remember about what he said is more valid than what my brothers remember about what he said, more than enough valid to destroy my brothers over the interpretation. I will kill them all in order that my interpretation prevails.

We may be monotheist and all obedient to the same god but my books of the bible are more valid than your books of the bible, enough so that I see nothing wrong in eradicating you from the face of the earth. We will blow each other up.

Faith, hope, and charity, and the greatest of these is charity? Not so; not so at all. The greatest of these is faith and my faith is better than your faith and I’m willing to kill you to prove it. If I can kill you before you can kill me, than god is on my side because you are not going to be around to argue the point.

Faith. A belief in something I cannot prove, an opinion. Yet, simply because I believe it, it must be true. And, by god, you’d better believe it, too, because if you don’t, you’re going to straight to hell and I’m going to grease the slope for you.

How did I get this way, so certain that my myth is the only true faith? Why am I so threatened that you have a different myth? What difference does it make? Evidently, enough difference so that I am willing to kill everyone who does not believe as I do.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-02-23 07:41:15


Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Back to the Fundamentals

From Housekeeping Weekly 13 May 1955:

The good wife’s guide

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
  • Gather up schoolbooks, toys, papers, etc., and the run a dust cloth over the tables.
  • Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift, too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Indeed, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Your goal: try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order, and tranquility where you husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
  • Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing, and pleasant voice.
  • Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife knows her place.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-02-21 12:28:43


Sunday, February 19, 2006
Ad sinistra

The book is Our Journey to the Sky, A Guide to the Process of Spiritual Formation by Mary K. Delurgio, Trafford Publishing, 2005. What follows substitutes terms for those Mary K. uses as her terms are laden with semantic baggage that I do not care to engage. Yes, my words have a baggage of their own but, they let me formulate what I see, her thesis as I understand it:

There exist two possible states:

State alpha is formed of Entity X and resides in T0

State beta is formed of Entity Y and resides in T +/-1

Entity X can be defined as god and T0 as the present.

Entity Y can be defined as pain and T +/-1 as the future or the past.

We begin life in the alpha state but are acculturated to the beta state.

The beta state is unfulfilling.

Spirituality is the act of moving from the beta state to the alpha.

Monotheists assert the alpha state is the reward of a life well spent, heaven;

Mary K. asserts that spirituality is the quest to regain the alpha state here in this life. It can only be acheived for periods of time but the more often acheived, the more positively spiritual the person.

A spirituality that removes me from the world - takes to me to a quiet, beautiful space for a period of time - is far less appealing to me than one that integrates what I see around me – both the good and the bad,, what I must do to survive in the beta state, and my need to understand why it all exists. Evidently, that kind of spirtuality is not as important, useful, dignified, enlightened, acceptable ennaobling, or saintlyas intermittant escapes to living fully in the present, surrounded by love and divorced from the past or the future..

My assessment, it seems, is left brained and therefore not truly applicable to the topic. My assessment might be interesting in a pedantic sort of way but it has nothing to say about what Mary K. is talking about. I should not be offended by this news since many left-brained thinkers have this difficulty which, I suspect, means that many left brained thinkers cannot partake of a spiritual life. And don't go talking about Gallileo, Newton, Einstein, or Feynman. Exceptions never disprove the rule.

If I could only get in touch with my right brain. Evidently, it has the ring tone turned down while it naps through my later years.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-02-19 11:05:31


Saturday, February 11, 2006
Name That Tune

The limits of my language are the limits of my world. Ludwig Wittgenstein

The names of things are magical. Without the names, we cannot address the things in our thoughts and if we cannot address them we cannot send any messages to others.We cannot know a warlock’s name orwe will know the warlock and to know someone is to have our way with them. All we ever knew about ole Sauron was his name, which told us he was real, and that he wanted a ring, but, knowing that, we knew how to get rid of him.

Suppose the name of the thing is known by a few folk but not everyone. Then the few have mastery over the many because they know the name of thing. Even if the thing has nine-billion names, the ones who know a name, or some names, or many names, or all the names of the thing, they wield the power. [Except that knowing all the names could end things for good so maybe they would learn all but one.] And they won’t write any dictionaries. They may write a thesaurus but never a dictionary. Maerad could never know herself if she never learned her name and, besides upsetting Socrates and Polonius, wouldn’t that have ruined a good story?

Suppose another word, not a name of the thing, but a hint as to the name of the thing, could be known. Folk who know this hint may discover the name of the thing on their own without the advice and guidance of the leader’s coterie or the first 100 or the 500 lessers or the thousands of strap hangers who man the bureaucracies. Suppose this word became known to people who like to talk and it spreads like a plague through the land. Will not the spin doctors find a way to discredit this new word? Must not the witch doctors discredit this new word?"

The object then, is to find the hints and drop them everywhere and anywhere. We will know the hints by the reaction they draw from the in crowd. When they flinch,we have it. Whenwe have it, spread it. Whatwe sow, the world will reap.

First word: Babel.

Posted by Dan Bieger 2006-02-11 09:16:55


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