Saturday, November 22, 2008

Indesctructible Inspiration 11/22/08

Of all of our possessions, wisdom alone is immortal.

Isocrates
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Well my monitor problem has been graciously solved I'm happy to say. But now there is no heat in my apartment and the range and oven have completely stopped working. There's always something. But then, if there weren't, there'd be nothing.


I have written in this journal about those who mistake the messenger for the message. Who think the actor must be like the character he plays. Who look at results and call them causes. Who make assumptions and then act on them as if they were truths.

People with wealth often want to be remembered by endowing an organization, building a wing on a hospital, setting up a scholarship or erecting a tall building all with their names on them,so that they will be remembered. Portraits are painted, statues carved, biographies and autobiographies are written. And all of it is to point a finger of immortality at a mortal.

But, like the person who loves the actor because he loves the character he plays, it's a useless look in the wrong direction.

When I was in high school I was a runner and I would run relay races. Like the Pony Express, where the riders would change horses at certain places by literally jumping off one horse and onto a fresh one, in a relay race the baton is passed from one runner to another. The classic reason for the relay race was to deliver a document over a space of many miles by passing it from one runner to another. The third runner in that message delivery never met the first one, yet he benefited from that first runner's speed.

It seems to me that wisdom comes in three styles. There's the wisdom that knows why things are the way they are, the wisdom that knows how to create and make things and the wisdom that knows how to fix things and keep them running properly (like my stove, one of these day, hopefully, so I can bake my potato and won't have to make my morning coffee from hot tap water).

But does the portrait of Bach, the statue of Balzac or the newly reconstructed face of Galileo tell us anything about what those men knew? No more than the endowment, the chair in Economics at the local college or the new wing on the hospital tell us about what the rich people knew who put them there.

We have inherited wisdom from the thinkers, the scientists, the artists, the designers, the craftsmen, the engineers, the mechanics and the peasants of the past. And whether it comes into the hands of the wealthy, the geniuses or the ordinary everyday vagabonds like me, we shape it, hone it, polish it, color it, add to it and pass it to the next runner to carry on into the human race, and that is our true spiritual immortality.


DB - Vagabond Journeys

5 comments:

Linda's World said...

Well, this is a fine time for the heat to go out. Hopefully the manager or super there in your building can get things humming again. Linda in Washington

Linda's World said...

WOW, I was just looking at the flags of your visitors~Poland, no less. Wouldn't it be nice if these people would leave a comment? Linda

Big Mark 243 said...

A very intersting post. Sorry about your heat issue. This is so not the season to have that as a looming concern.

A lot of what I ramble on about is part of 'the collective mind' ... people want explinations and specifics, but with all that one has been exposed to, how to credit and prove what you KNOW on an innate level to be so?

Isn't that what standing on the shoulders of giants is about?

There are aspects of socialism in your relay race. I often define personal relationships with a significant other as a 'race, where one believes there is victory only if their partner crosses the line as well.'

Or something like that.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I believe we all have skills and wisdom in all three of the areas you mentioned. We all have "why" areas of expertise, we all can "create" in some sense, and we all can "fix" things.

Your writings and stories have shown all these sides in you. Therefore, I say you are a wise man.

Beth said...

I hope they can get busy on your lack of heat, D. Baby, it's cold outside!

I would much rather be remembered fondly as a person of value, rather than someone who threw around a bunch of money. Although I was just talking to my Dad the other day about how if I ever won the lottery, I'd have more fun giving it away than spending it!

Hugs, Beth