Blog # 195         THE COOLER SIDE OF THE PILLOW

Turning our night-time pillow to its cooler side, is so much a routine and largely mechanical endeavor, as to closely partake of the status of reflex; the act is effectively and mindlessly accomplished like one’s scratching an itch, or sneezing.

Indeed, much of our mundane behavior consists of routinized, thoughtless activity, ritualistically enacted, such as our mode of brushing our teeth, shaving or applying lipstick. We have all gradually evolved nuanced, predictable and unchanging styles of such behaviors, which include a distinctive mode of eating, answering the telephone, dressing and greeting others. We have our own readily available, previously programmed responses to all commonly asked questions, our regular demeanor at weddings, funerals, birthdays, anniversaries, graduation ceremonies and hospital visits; even our way of reading the evening newspaper, are matters of predictable routine.

It may be empirically observed that much of our regular physical activity is comprised of virtually identical replications of our previously performed acts in similar circumstances which have become effectively automatic, because of their previous repetitive consistency. Our breakfast and bed-time rituals, our procedure in packing the suitcase for vacation or long trips, are all performed in a programmatic fashion. Routine questions are expectedly posed in similar situations, and just as predictably and stereotypically, responded to: How are you? What do you think of the weather? What’s up? Such questions, clearly, are not expressed in any desire for information but rather as the result of an expected human interaction. Similarly, although the characteristic responses to such questions may be somewhat nuanced to the individual responder, they are invariably consistent. As observed, neither such inquiry nor the response thereto, relate to an exchange of information, rather, they are the expected steps in a societally choreographed dance of recognition and mutual amicability.

It is observable that identified people are noticeably present at certain locations at specific times, to dress in the personal style to which they have regularly been habituated, to make predictable choices from restaurant menus (usually in keeping with their prior choices) and consistently will perform their distinct night-time rituals prior to sleep. We would venture to say, that if one were to install time-lapse photographic equipment focused upon any randomly selected individual, the developed video would demonstrate his unvarying role in the universal puppet show; a distinctly unique happening in which the puppet is also the puppeteer.

It should, in fairness, be observed that there are many distinct benefits associated with this phenomenon of routinized behavior, relating to efficiency and comfort as well as an individuation derived from the nuanced performance of personal ritual. Thus, the pre-set route to work or school, the times to enjoy coffee, our personal rituals at bath or shower, the time to walk Fido, are all matters which do implement an economic reservation of our reasoning capability for more taxing and profound challenge.

By stark contrast, any form of protocol, whatsoever, which seeks to employ routine thinking, efforts to seek solutions of mankind’s classic societal and scientific problems, would have disastrous results. An inflexible, orthodox reliance upon past tradition and dogma, would serve to cripple, and inhibit progress by stultifying man’s spontaneous gift for creative growth of problem- solving.

Evolved reason and ever-developing improvement are currently perceptible and hearteningly, in progress, concerning man’s essential imperative for the universal identification and respect for the lives of others; particularly, people with different skin color, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The observation of the eternally appropriate and imperative to flexibly review and critically examine our beliefs and routine assumptions on a constant basis is an appropriately grateful and apt expression of appreciation to evolution for the generous gift of our advanced brain.

It was not that long ago that women were denied the right to own property or to vote, and for too many generations, black and brown skinned people were assigned the lowly status of agricultural equipment by mainstream America. As ancient historical records show scientists once uniformly believed, and the Church cruelly enforced, the theory that the Sun orbited the Earth.

In mankind’s aspiration toward world peace and enhanced growth, there is no greater nor more morally mandated duty than the free and unfettered exercise of his innate creative potential and the practice of ongoing review and reevaluation of his prevalent assumptions.

In the growth and enhancement of humanity, it is confidently suggested that greater deliberation be employed, as contrasted with the thoughtless flip of the nighttime pillow to its cooler side.

-p.

 

 

BLOG # 194 TWO OR THREE CHEERS FOR OMAR

Omar Khayyam, is probably the best known and universally venerated dignitary identified in ancient Middle East history. The 11th Century poet, philosopher, mathematician and astronomer, may not be best remembered for his development of the cubic equation in mathematics, nor his valuable reforms to the yearly calendar, but is eternally famous for his poetic verses, most particularly, the following:

“The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on; nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line nor thy tears wash out a single word of it.”

We can discern two distinct understandings of this erudite admonition and are inclined (hopefully, without presumption) to award the full measure of three cheers to one and to the other, but two.

If the ancient poet’s observation is intended to mean that our acts and statements, including those which are the product of thoughtlessness, or impulsive behavior, are intractably and irredeemably final and determinative, we are inclined to award the good doctor only two of the precious three cheers. Such an assertion we see as unnecessarily harsh to the extent that its decree means that the impact of all human behavior is fixed and unredeemable.

In our immediately preceding writing, “The Nuclear Syllable” # 193, we saluted the human capability to preliminarily consider an intended act or statement, and as well, as his equally commendable aptitude for forgiveness, and empathic toleration of errors or perceived insult; both of practical importance to man’s development of society. It is inarguable that such qualities are among the many capabilities of an advanced brain, the generous gift to homo sapiens by evolution. The recognition of the potential for human error and its allowance is just, empathic and competent evidence of mature social wisdom.

In previous writings, we have, for purposes of illustration, proposed a scenario as follows: Let us suppose that on some impulse, I choose to steal an object from another unwitting person. After such wrongful and immoral act, because of understandable remorse, I quickly return the item to that person, who elects to accept my tearful apology and completely forgive me; in fact, he states that, as far as he is concerned, the incident is to be permanently forgotten. However, the incident cannot be forgotten by me; in truth, I am not absolved at all. I still will have to come to grips with the difficult question, relative to my own private self- image, as to what sort of a person I essentially am, to have chosen to steal in the first place. There is, predictably, in addition to remorse, lasting damage to that private, cherished, self-image and lifelong perception of my personal identity.

If the of the quoted verses are intended to observe that our significant acts and statements remain in our memory and have an enduring impact upon our perceived identity and perception of self, we would happily and justifiably award Omar the full measure of three cheers. There would seem to be little reasonable doubt that significant acts and statements (good or lamentable) create a lasting and defining impact upon our privately nurtured persona. [ As we have maintained in previous writings, the preservation of our desired self- image is the valid motivating source and rational basis of our morality; not, as fancied by too many, anticipated rewards and punishments, worldly or supernatural.]

Salaam.

-p.

 

Blog # 193        THE NUCLEAR SYLLABLE

Much credit can be given to contemporary atomic science for the universal understanding that the element of size is unrelated to ultimate functional significance. The infinitesimally tiny object called the atom, which can be discerned only with the employment of a specialized microscope, or by the performance of a demonstrative experiment is in fact, the basic essential building block of all known matter.

Such empirical observation concerning the irrelevance of size applies in an analogous fashion to the subject of man’s elective action and his choice of spoken words. It is our proposition that the miniscule combination of two letters, forming the single syllable, “re” is a vitally important instrument, and an instructive caution against irrational behavior [Please temporarily reserve your understandable reaction to this exotic proposition.]

With the sole exception of purely reflexive responses, all human action necessarily follows some precedential motivational thought, rational or irrational, fleeting or carefully considered. Clearly, thought, on whatever level, is the forerunner to one’s choice of action or language; the dynamics of thought, which inarguably is expressed in the medium of privately articulated words, naturally precedes all voluntary action and choice of words.

In common with everything else, words are constructed of smaller units, universally termed syllables. As a necessary corollary to the known premise that thought, in some fashion, precedes action and speech, we have observed that one especially singular syllable. “re” is not only linguistically useful, but is also mandatorily necessary for acceptable human interaction; this nuclear syllable has always been an indispensable tool for civilized behavior, and by empirical extension, the existence of society.

We have singled out for special recognition, the invaluable syllable, “re,”; though modest in size, it has afforded to man the choice of behaviors; it is an ever-present reminder that we have evolved to practice the rational deliberative behavior required to live in society. Promoting civility, identification with others, empathy, appropriateness, consideration, accuracy, relevance, clarity, as well as the many other criteria for effective and societally necessary behavior. The ability to audit, edit or amend our intention, prior to what may be a rash act or foolish choice of speech, is a unique talent attributable to our advanced intelligence, the generous and valuable gift of evolution.

Such cautionary and advisory syllable (re) thus, is an effective emergency brake on impulsive, rash behavior and on ill-considered speech. It serves as a cogent reminder of the preferable option of thoughtful consideration, offers the opportunity to make a correction in the event of failure and the possibility of the amendment of erroneous supposition; It is the guide to enlightenment and the motivation for growth, a promoter of harmony and an antidote to enmity; it is a “look before you leap.”

Support for our expansive proposition is found by thoughtful reference to the following illustrative sample of words. prefaced by this nuclear syllable: revisit, rethink, reconsider, reconfigure, recalibrate, recreate, renegotiate, reedit, restate, reimagine, reexplore. Such words, containing the nuclear syllable are potent behavioral guides for all who strive for positive outcomes, for truth and societal advancement and for peace. The nuclear syllable is a reflection of mature judgment borne of empirical experience and experienced maturity.

-p.

 

 

 

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