Life on Earth

Life on Earth

Bright beginnings.

Wretched endings.

In between?

Maximising the bright. Minimising the wretched.

The best ally in the battle?

Institutions assisting energetic efforts to defeat dumb, through cultivating the abilities for distinguishing willful intelligence and willful ignorance from dumb. Ignorance is “not knowing” (ignore-ance), from “having ignored”. Is there choice in “not knowing”? Why or how have you ignored what most people would have expected you to know? You drive a car, and you are expected to know all the rules of the road and pay the fine for not knowing them. “Ignorance is no excuse before the law.” Ignorance is, implicitly, willful, a simple matter of choice, conscious or unconscious CHOICE, not to know or know how, or where, or when, or who, or why, or what. Willful, “choiceful” ignorance is worse than stupidity. Dumb is not ignorance. Dumb is stupidity is lack of innate brain power, beyond that of the so-called idiot, the moron, or imbicile stages of mental development. Ignorance is a choice to be unknowing, missing the energetic effort.

Smart people, strangely enough, can be ignorant.

AND Hey! You there! You want “GENIUS”?!!?? Well, it may be within your reach! It hinges on your definition. The Germans have a definition that makes genius accessible to many. It is this:
“Genie ist nichts als ungeheueres Energie.”
Many German accomplishments, such as those of the German encyclopedists, and the German composers (Richard Wagner for starters), among others in science and the arts give testament to the uses of that definition (overlooking some other aspects of that culture. They carried their war effort to the world with monstrous energy. Remember, they had jet propulsion before we did, at the end of WWII, standing as an instance of high motivation for warring on the world. We copied their advance of it). I figured that you could use that definition for your own purposes for generating your own energetic, willful motivation toward achievement. Motivation is energized behavior, going after what you want or have to know, or do.

But the end of life may still be wretched. That’s life.

What is one of the most wretched of endings? Losing a loved one. That is a product of neither dumb nor willful ignorance. But questions still arise, where and in what could I have had more energetic effort? I am wretched with the tears in that question, as I relive that experience.

And yet, I am thankful to the end. My Mom gave me prudence, thankfully. Prudence has assisted me in avoiding, so far into my old age, having ever to have to stay in a hospital, nor a broken bone. How did she do that? I think she let us have a free rein; that is, she did not guard us too closely in what we wanted or had to do. So we had luck, as well, the kind of luck you cause yourself by prudent habits. (I wrote a blog entry on that.) I am thankful for having two sons who can do some really heavy lifting, around the house. I am thankful for both parents who “gave” me a brain for some really heavy intellectual lifting. Although my dad did not like to see me sitting around the house at Christmas vacation time, studying books, reading, and writing papers; he was a workman, foreman of a foundry, where really tough, hot work goes on, and that’s where he thought I ought to wind up, following in his footsteps. So I endured his “scowls” with my eyes set on heavy intellectual work. I am thankful he gave me opposition, as much as I hated it, for overcoming his definition and firming up my own. I am more than thankful, whatever that is, for having found a wife on my first date with her, and she later consented. She was the absolute best in all facets of living life, beautiful, educated, expert homemaking artist, much loved by all her students in high school. That list could go on and on. (I wrote that with tears welling up.) I am thankful for a writing ability which others have appreciated. I am thankful for my major, graduate professors at Northwestern University (Clarence T. Simon and Karl F. Robinson, heading a program that has since been dropped because they now have goals other than they had when I was there.) I am thankful for the discipline I chose, one which is at the center of American society, communication education.

One big thank you goes to my discovery of classical music. In 1937 I heard a recording of Madame Schuman Heink singing on an old recording, played on a wind-up victrola with reed needles. Then I heard Tchaikovsky’s ultra-melodic Nutcracker Suite. Another fact: I won a blue box Kodak camera as second prize in an amateur contest in the fifth grade. I did imitations of people of that period, but one part of the act was the mimicking of an orchestra’s instruments playing the “Waltz of the Flowers” from that suite. To this day, I cannot believe it. The first prize went to Rocco Germano, a student violinist who became, later, the concertmaster of the South Bend Symphony.

Hooked I was. In the sixth grade, I had Winifred Wunderlich; translate that German name and you get, strange, odd, eccentric, etc., and my love of such music made me, in this society, “singular”. She required us to compile a scrapbook of classical music, and from that lofty view of what is really classy-cal, I can look down on the fads of pop. Some pop has become classical, the lyrics and melodies of the forties having no pop peers — my purview is very long. And that’s true, and if you don’t believe it, just ask me.

I am thankful for having learned and followed a regimen for health that has added years to my life, and, too, I have had the will power to pursue it and stick to it. Will power really has a large component of “won’t power”. Where did that come from? Wanting to live long and healthy. Where did that come from? My “religion”, that says, “This life is it! There ain’t no more.” I had my religion being brought up as a Baptist, which installed a very fundamentalist perspective in much more than religion. I am thankful for having that experience in my background, and I was extremely devout. For my falling away from that, I am thankful to all the hypocrites who showed me that their preaching was impracticable and that I must author my own philosophy of life.

I know that I will think of more and may come back and put them down.

But there’s more that’s wretched to come. And being thankful is not a part of that. It sort of alleviates some of the wretchedness. I wonder what my deathbed will look and sound like.

Compose your own “thankful” list.

Published in: on May 14, 2012 at 11:06 am  Comments (186)  


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