01 March 2015

Thought, occurrence, self-shot, self-reading, bio

A half-baked thought

Is it wrong to speak of a living creature as if it’s a multinational corporation? How about if we compare a human to a country?

I think that an individual’s memory is like the artistic culture of a being’s inwardness. And since the culture of a country is like that place’s memory, countries are almost selves – big selves, like giants.

So, when a government must endure the complaints of its mistreated populace, it’s analogous to a flesh body feeling pain through its nerves.

An occurrence

The other day I went for a walk when it was 110 degrees outside. If you read my post from that day, you’ll understand that when I say “110” I mean only “10” degrees. So it was cold. There was snow on the ground, and I was walking past a long series of garages. These garages were part of an apartment complex. Now here is what I saw:

A car comes coasting down the road and turns into the driveway of the apartments. This car then heads toward one of the stalls – the garage’s door was in the process of opening because someone apparently had pressed the ‘Let Me Enter’ button on a remote control corresponding to that unit. Now here is what I saw next:

This car does not proceed smoothly into its stall – instead, it crunches its bumper straight into the divider that separates the stalls. Then the car backs up in the snow, very slowly, and goes forward, very slowly, and crashes into the divider a second time. Finally, on the third try, the vehicle makes it into the stall and comes to rest.

The garage door closed automatically before I could get a glimpse of the vehicle’s maestro.

Obligatory Self-shot

Here is a webcam’s interpretation of my appearance. I am holding the book that I’ve been reading – Edmund Blunden’s biography of Percy Bysshe Shelley.

The reason I appear less than ecstatic in this photo is that the book has been telling me how the world was in Shelley’s lifetime; and, although he existed about two centuries ago, the world of his time seems, in all of its awful points, to be relatively the same as our world today. But I must admit that genuine progress has been made in all the areas that do not harmonize life.

Here’s a quote from Harriet Westbrook, taken from the bio:

You may conceive with what horror I first heard that Percy was an atheist; at least so it was given out at Clapham. At first I did not comprehend the meaning of the word; therefore when it was explained I was truly petrified. I wondered how he could live a moment professing such principles, and solemnly declared that he should never change mine. I little thought of the rectitude of these principles, and when I wrote to him I used to try to shake them—making sure he was in the wrong, and that myself was in the right. Yet I would listen to none of his arguments, so afraid I was that he should shake my belief.

That last sentence really makes me shiver. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone would purposely choose to ignore their own conversation partner.

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Now I’ll share a reading that I gave from my own book, called A Terrible Misunderstanding, which is also contained in my collection of self-amusements. It’s about six minutes long. After sharing this, I’ll end the post with a longer quote from the Shelley bio.

Forgive the unfeeling quality of my intonation here – it’s hard to deliver a speech in the guise of St. Paul without sounding at least a little caustic.

(One more lengthy quote)

Below is another quote of Edmund Blunden, author of the Shelley biography, summing up the teachings of the Queen of Faery, as he interprets them from Shelley’s poem “Queen Mab” – they’re obviously youthful and utopian, but I love youthful, utopian ideas; plus Shelley was very young when he wrote them (which follows, since he died young) – I like all this because it fills me with much-needed optimism. By the way, some of the things said, especially after Blunden’s first paragraph, remind me of the things that I hear people saying in posts on today’s social networks.

Kings are unnatural, mischievous, and uneconomic. Priests and statesmen share with them the dreadful responsibility for war. The wealth of nations is the poison of the human soul. The idea of commerce blasts human life and its native beauty. The only commerce which can yield a different result is that of good words and works. Religion, by which Shelley implies sects and cults rather than the spiritual life, is the real Devil and begetter of devils numberless. A spirit indeed guides the world and its drama, by name Necessity, but man must not shape it in his own image. It has not human sense, it has not human mind. Error has distorted, vice has ensanguined man’s past; but reason and virtue assure him of a serene future.

When and how? From a partnership of man and Nature, when the globe has swung into another position—an event not altogether remote, since “the poles are becoming every year more and more perpendicular to the ecliptic”. This tilt will presently alter and perfect the existence of all. The ice-regions round the poles will be rich and happy land and water; the deserts will

Teem with countless rills and shady woods,
Cornfields and pastures and white cottages.

In the ocean solitudes bright garden-isles will beckon. And one change in especial will regenerate all that lives: man will abandon flesh diet. Man having ceased to devour other creatures except fruit and vegetables will grow free of his diseases, evil passions, and vain creeds, becoming “an equal amidst equals” in the dawn of happiness and science, the paradise of peace. Cathedrals and bastilles will fall into ruins, and those ruins will vanish: health will bless all life’s stages. Love will be true and kind, woman and man will be on equal terms, prostitution and “prostitution’s venomed bane” will be obsolete. All this, Shelley grants, is not to come during “the present” but by “the gradual paths of an aspiring change”.

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