John Godfrey Saxe – The Blind Men and the Elephant

i.

IT was six men of Indostan 
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind), T
hat each by observation Might satisfy his mind.

ii.

The First approached the Elephant, 
And happening to fall Against his broad and sturdy side, 
At once began to bawl: “God bless me!—
but the Elephant Is very like a wall!”

iii.

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried:”Ho!—what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp? 
To me ‘t is mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant Is very like a spear!”

iv.

The Third approached the animal, And happening to take The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

v.

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“‘T is clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

vi.

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

vii.

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

viii.

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

moral.

So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen

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Fences

When it comes to fences both mental and physical two things always come to mind, first Chesterton who says in, ” “The Drift from Domesticity”:

In the matter of reforming things, as distinct from deforming them, there is one plain and simple principle; a principle which will probably be called a paradox. There exists in such a case a certain institution or law; let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.

The second is Robert Frost ” Mending a Wall”

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!’
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors’.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
‘Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.’ I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

Somewhere between the two lies the answer!

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The World In Eclipse

In the past when there was a full eclipse and darkness covered the world many people thought that the world was ending and so in fear of the unknown they turned to their leaders and asked them to save the world for them. And the leaders spoke words or sacrificed their own people and the world was saved and no one realized that it would have been saved anyway because they didn’t give the light a chance to return on its own, preferring instead to rely on words and useless artifice instead of their own knowledge.

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1782, Oliver Goldsmith, Modern Politics

Oliver Goldsmith died in 1782 and yet his writings are still remarkably descriptive of modern politics and life!

Such dainties to them, their health it might hurt;
It’s like sending them ruffles, when wanting a shirt

If you were to make little fishes talk, they would talk like whales.

The true use of speech is not so much to express our wants as to conceal them

As writers become more numerous, it is natural for readers to become more indolent

These little things are great to little man.

Where wealth and freedom reign contentment fails,
And honor sinks where commerce long prevails

They please, are pleased, they give to get esteem,
Till, seeming blest, they grow to what they seem

Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.

Handsome is that handsome does

That virtue which requires to be ever guarded is scarce worth the sentinel

Don’t let us make imaginary evils, when you know we have so many real ones to encounter.

Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray

The first blow is half the battle

His conduct still right, with his argument wrong.

He cast off his friends as a huntsman his pack,
For he knew when he pleased he could whistle them back.

 

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Which Part of the First Amendment Counts?

 

I do not deny that some things deserve our undivided attention but also do not believe that every slight requires front page attention and active redress? Is the constant headlining of even the mildest of incidents that occur in the United states aiding the cause of equality or damaging it?

Is the constant circling of the wagons among different groups in the face of the often idiotic or mild affronts by one person really in our best interest as a country?

Could our over sensitivity eventually lead to us being desensitized?

Are we getting into brawls over things that might best have been handled by a cold cutting look and a turning of the back…. or even the other cheek?

There seems to be a finer and finer line in the media between information and inflammation a line that we seem to be crossing all too frequently

Some times you have to carefully listen to those with whom you disagree to understand what you actually do believe.

If you allow yourself to incontrovertibly and uncritically become part of a group mentality, political party, or racial identification you become part of an animal with thousands of stomachs but no real brain.

The First Amendment is  clearly directed at the government but if we changed just a few words it makes more sense to me in our modern politically charged world to direct it towards the individual.

rewritten it might say, American Citizens shall not deny the establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof; abridge the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. (I would replace petition the government with “throw the rascals out but that’s another issue)

It seems to me that too often we cherry pick the first amendment to support the actions of a group who are denying other rights expressed in that same amendment.

Which part of the First Amendment is more important, or are all parts equally important? When a group gathers in ” peaceful” assembly to stop the free speech of another group, when one right is used to quell the other, no matter how strongly we feel about the righteousness of our actions. we weaken both rights and that is not someplace we need to go.

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I Know You Are But What Am I

 

It is a all relative, If you only see and listen to what you believe to be true ,then from your perspective it is true and inviolable. However other reasonable persons can look at the same set of facts from a different perspective and draw a totally different conclusion as to truth.  Facts are not valuable until viewed from all perspectives, in fact they are not facts until that occurs. So the next time you make a generalization about any group of people, politically, racially, ethnically, sexually  perhaps you might want to ask yourself, ” of what  could that be true?”  Right now it seems too common for everyone to view the political, racial and ethnic , sexual spectra of behavior as absolutes and having commonalities across the whole group. The only absolute in those group equations are that there are almost never absolutes. We and the media need to quit cherry picking and present “facts” with foundation not in isolation.  Believe it or not every time a Democrat derides Republicans as facists and every time a Republican derides Democrats as socialists/communists, a white person is accused  racism / bigotry or black person as lawlessness without the full story behind the statement , It drives another nail into the heart of the warty beauty of our nation.  I am reminded too frequently of a Pee Wee Herman argument…… I know you are but what am I.

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The Iowa Caucus

On the eve of the Iowa caucus four trends bother me greatly. One is the concentration not on what a candidate will or can do but instead on what they may or may not have done in the past. The second is the attempt at personal destruction of opposing candidates, even in your own party, with no thought of their need to be able to govern in the future. The third is the fact that most people seem to be voting on the basis of one or two issues rather than the overall future good of the country or ability to do the job. Fourth it appears to me that both parties seem to be running on a “take our country back,” platform when in fact neither seems to have any idea that our countries government was born of compromise and recognition of the power of compromise rather than the winner takes all position of modern politicians. An old saying says that a “real deal” is when both sides walk away happy or unhappy but not one of each. We are seeing candidates surge to the front that will deepen the divide rather than fill it in and that is not a good thing for any of U.S.

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