[Image: "Roller Coaster Tycoon Conspiracy" (click to see punchline; original here)]
From whiskey river:
Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying yes begins things. Saying yes is how things grow. Saying yes leads to knowledge.
(Stephen Colbert, playing it straight for once [source])
We may ask, “What is wisdom?” It is our life itself. We not only have that wisdom, we are constantly using it. When we are cold, we put on more clothing. When hungry, we eat. When sad, we cry. Being happy, we laugh. That’s wisdom. The seasons change, the stars shine in the sky, it’s all wisdom. Regardless of whether we realize it or not, we are always in the middle of the Way. We are nothing but the Way itself.
(Taizan Maezumi [source])
What Is There Beyond Knowing?
What is there beyond knowing that keeps
calling to me? I can’t
turn in any direction
but it’s there. I don’t mean
the leaves’ grip and shine or even the thrush’s
silk song, but the far-off
fires, for example,
of the stars, heaven’s slowly turning
theater of light, or the wind
playful with its breath;
or time that’s always rushing forward,
or standing still
in the same — what shall I say —
What I know
I could put into a pack
as if it were bread and cheese, and carry it
on one shoulder,
important and honorable, but so small!
While everything else continues, unexplained
and unexplainable. How wonderful it is
to follow a thought quietly
to its logical end.
I have done this a few times.
But mostly I just stand in the dark field,
in the middle of the world, breathing
in and out. Life so far doesn’t have any other name
but breath and light, wind and rain.
If there’s a temple, I haven’t found it yet.
I simply go on drifting, in the heaven of the grass
and the weeds.
(Mary Oliver [source])
Not from whiskey river:
Poetry, inasmuch as it is still in touch with its origins — the senses and the voice — somehow eludes history, it ante-dates all known structures of history and economy. It was present in the corner of the stone-age huntsman’s cave, just as it is there now in the cafeteria of a factory that makes jet planes. In both cases, it is unobtrusively and consolingly there between people in its shy but natural way, claiming no attention. You could rest from the effort of the chase, or momentarily forget about blueprints and lead times, because it was in the air, or, as they say, “free to air” — either as the monotonous murmur of the eccentric cripple lying on the mammoth skin in the corner, or as the droning chant of the latest hip-hop bard featured on the morning show. What I’m getting at is that its sheer being there lifts it out of the category of craft. In fact, this very being there, unobtrusively omnipresent in music and commercials, folk song and requiem, indicates that it needs to be legitimized by the other professions and crafts in the first place. Sometimes I think that the poets were the first to have to make their way through adversarial thinking and professional palaver, bickering in home and cave, in the office and on the factory floor. At least they had no choice but to listen to it closely, to collect everything heard and seen and then process it before it disappeared in the general confusion of voices, the chaos of — literally — the daily grind.
(Durs Grünbein [source])
Noticing that his father was growing old, the son of a burglar asked his father to teach him the trade so that he could carry on the family business after his father had retired.
The father agreed, and that night they broke into a house together.
Opening a large chest the father told his son to go in and pick out the clothing. As soon as the boy was inside, the father locked the chest and then made a lot of noise so that the whole house was aroused. Then he slipped quietly away.
Locked inside the chest the boy was angry, terrified, and puzzled as to how he was going to get out. Then an idea flashed to him — he made a noise like a cat. The family told a maid to take a candle and examine the chest. When the lid was unlocked the boy jumped out, blew the candle, pushed his way past the astonished maid, and ran out. The people ran after him. Noticing a well by the side of the road the boy threw in a large stone, then hid in the darkness. The pursuers gathered around the well trying to see the burglar drowning himself.
When the boy got home he was very angry at his father and he tried to tell him the story; but the father said: “Don’t bother to tell me the details, you are here — you have learned the art.”
Once upon a time, an ancient monastic tale says, the Elder said to the businessperson:
“As the fish perishes on dry land, so you perish when you get entangled in the world. The fish must return to the water and you must return to the Spirit.”
And the businessperson was aghast. “Are you saying that I must give up my business and go into a monastery?” the person asked.
And the Elder said, “Definitely not. I am telling you to hold onto your business and go into your heart.”
(Joan Chittister [source])
The Doris Day hit known alternatively as “Que Sera, Sera” and ”What Will Be, Will Be” debuted in Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956). The first time I saw the film was as a televised rerun, probably twenty years after its release. By then I’d been culturally trained to picture Doris Day as a sweet, pleasant singer-actress with not a single rough edge or sharp corner. In Hitchcock’s movie, Day’s character sings the song a couple of times; the second time, she must belt it out loudly enough to be heard a couple of floors and rooms away, in a large embassy. That scene caught me by surprise: Day seemed almost unhinged — enthusiastically, exuberantly unfettered, mad. I loved it, and never again thought of her as a simpering, plain-vanilla cutie.
Wikipedia has a nice writeup about the song, including a linguistic analysis (!) of the quasi-Spanish title.
[Below, click Play button to begin Que Sera, Sera. While audio is playing, volume control appears at left -- a row of little vertical bars. This clip is 2:06 long.]