Friday, September 11, 2009

Xenophilic Xylograph 9/11/09

We are all still in elementary school.

DB - The Vagabond
Come in and join the party.
I want to know everything there is to know. I read the newspaper because I want to know everything there is to know. I subscribe to a number of different magazines and journals because I want to know everything there is to know. I own a huge 2,230 page dictionary of the English language because I want to know everything there is to know. I have a large and varied collection of books about: early Scandinavian history, Medieval Spanish philosophy, horse racing, World War II Russian military tactics, the psychology of revolution, Civil War weaponry, stock market investing (as if I had any money), Roman Stoicism, Native American Tribal history, the rise of Nazism, Chinese mystical traditions, astrophysics, human anatomy, the Dead Sea scrolls, the journey of the Mayflower, contemporary gang warfare, biographies of several American Presidents, calculus and cooking, just to "scratch the surface" because I want to know everything. And what do I know? I know that if I lived for a thousand years I would still not know everything I want to know.

Unfortunately, or maybe not, the small family I grew up in was not intellectually curious. I tried in vain to get my mother to consider ideas that were outside of her tidy little mental box. She simply refused. What was worse is that if I was reading a book on Buddhism, let's say, someone would remark "Oh, I suppose you're becoming one of them now." I often felt I had to hide whatever I was reading under the mattress as if it was pornography.

During my career I became very frustrated with actors who were so involved with their own emotional lives they never took the time to do any research. I once did a public reading of a play in which the title of a Wagnerian opera was mentioned several times. The other members of the cast called it "Tanhowser" instead of "Tahnhoyzer" which is as near correct as English speakers are going to get it. Ironically, I was the only actor in the play who didn't have the word in my script. I tried to give them the right pronunciation but no one believed me.

Einstein once said that he wasn't all that smart but he was just very curious. Well, I beg to differ, Al. If it was just curiosity that made a genius I would be there with the Nobel Prize around my neck.

Some people dive down and scoop up what's in the ocean, some go digging in the desert, some go peering through telescopes. I never had the luxury to do any of those things. So, instead, I go poking my nose into books. It's about discovery, expansion, realization, improvement, satisfaction. I want to know something today that I didn't know yesterday. To know it, not to say I know it.

I admire people who can make a garden flourish, who are masters of a musical instrument or who can figure out the income tax. I respect people who know things I don't know and if they write a book about it I'll read the book and enjoy it.

Some people still scorn my curiosity. They think I'm being presumptuous, or playing trivia games, or something. If a fact fascinates me then it's a fascinating fact and I don't care what someone on a mental chain gang has to say about it.

Every bit of knowledge, understanding and wisdom you have is yours. You own it and it's a valuable possession. Stock up, I say.

DB - The Vagabond
May you always be blessed with amiable companions.

This is not a contest.

A young man out west just took home 88 million dollars from the lottery.

Whether you play the lottery or not, if you suddenly had 88 million dollars, or the equivalent of whatever your currency is, what are the first three things you would do with it?

You have all summer to answer if you wish.

21 responses so far.



Beth said...

Agreed! You know how I feel about curiosity. A curious mind is never idle and never EVER bored. Hugs, Beth

Maire said...

I love to learn and try to learn at least one new thing per day. Take care!

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

One persons trivia is another persons curiosity. Stocking up is a wonderful thing, I try and put a little more into my cubbard every day :o)

Nina P. said...

Remember those flat hard squished down sponges that the fuller brush man used to bring? As kid's we loved to run and put them in water and poof, instant full size sponge ready to go! I think our minds are like that (for some that is) We need to fill up our brain with knowledge until it's full size.... Just absorbing it filling yourself brings satisfaction and accomplishment..... There is a never ending supply out there just waiting for us... and, sad to say, never enough time to fully quench our thirsty sponge of a brain. So I say, enjoying the fragrance, the bouquet (if you will), swirl the glass eye the body and substance, drink plentiful the elixir of knowledge and taste the complexities, taking in the fullness and richness of knowledge. Drink deeply new friend, savoring each nuance and enjoy. Love and Light, Nina p.

Rose~* said...

I still remember my Grade 8 English teacher giving us all a different word from the dictionary to pronounce, and mine was "hyperbole". I ended up saying "hyper bowl", much to the amusement of my classmates, and swore that I would forever pay stricter attention to the pronunciation of the English language. Reader's digest used to be one of my favourite places to always search out new words.