Monday, July 22, 2013

people love sports, the beauty of the useless

yes, as a teenager, i was one of them, playing basketball, football, golf, tennis, and baseball - and all badly. i can still fall into the mood on special occasions. once i watched the Supebowl. San Francisco played. In the last five minutes, the quarterback threw three touchdown passes, booting up the home-team. what was his name? it will come back to me. after that i never had the urge to observe this annual ritual, nothing could top the experience i'd had. 

once in awhile, i'm in the mood for the ballet of the common people. I'll feel almost beyond human when the right fielder makes a dramatic catch before the ball goes over the wall, or a tight end passes through a dozen pursuers, snatching the pass and weaving his way to the goal posts. who wins, who loses, i try to forget, these people the members of corporations seeking a major profit at the expense of our naivete. 

"only the useless is beautiful,' quoting the poet fernanado pessoa, saying it way more beautifully than i possibly could, and so i give you a lengthy quote from his 'book of disquiet':

     "The present is ancient, because everything from the past was in the present when it existed, and so I have an antique dealer's fondness for things precisely because they belong to the present, and i have the wrath of an out rivalled collector for anyone who tries to replace my mistaken notions with plausible and even provable, scientifically based arguments.

     "The various points that a butterfly successively occupies in space are various things which,. to my astonished eyes, remain  visible in space. My recollections are so intense that...

     "But it is only the subtlest sensation of the slightest things that I like intensely. Perhaps this is due to my love of futility. Or maybe it's because of my concern for detail. But I'm inclined to believe - I can't say I know, for these are things I never bother to analyze - that it's because slight things, having absolutely no social or practical importance, are for that very reason absolutely free of sordid associations with reality. Slight things smack to me of unreality. The useless is beautiful because it's less real than the useful, which continues and extends, whereas the marvellously futile and the gloriously minuscule stay where and as they are, living freely and independently. The useless and the futile open up humbly aesthetic interludes in our real lives. What dreams and fond delights are stirred in my soul by the puny existence of a pin in a ribbon! What a pity for those who don't realize how important this is!"

and i would like to add: everything in art is useless, and that is it's marvel. 

this reminds me of a little story from chuangzu i read over forty years ago and which has remained with me ever since. i'm too lazy to re-type it. click on the picture and it will pop to life:

Hui Tzu said to Chuang Tzu:
“All your teaching is centered on what has no use.”
Chuang Tzu replied:
“If you have no appreciation for what has no use,
you cannot begin to talk about what can be used.
“The earth for example, is broad and vast,
But of all this expanse a man uses only a few inches
Upon which he happens to be standing at the time.
“Now suppose you suddenly take away
all that he actually is not using,
so that all around his feet a gulf yawns,
and he stands in the void
with nowhere solid except under each foot,
how long will he be able to use what he is using?
Hui Tzu said:
“It would cease to serve any purpose.”
Chuang Tzu concluded:
“This shows the absolute necessity
of what is supposed to have no use.”
- Chuang Tzu

make yourself useful? big mistake! 

and to add more quotes, read these from the disgraced guru, bagwan shri rajneesh, dance your way to god: 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

legend of the one-handed juggler

If I get used to this, I'm a fool.

            Once we've conquered nature, we won't exist.

Enlightenment was a waste of good sex. 

         I lost my innocence with the grasp of things.

Idle hands create more laws.

              Only what I didn't do did I do to perfection.

I've given up trying to defeat my dreams.

        Yes, I'll be your sex-object for the day.

"I carry my defeat like a banner of victory." (Fernando Pessoa)

          If you think you deserve it, you probably don't. 

Senility has it's advantages.

                      He talked himself under the problem.

If you go looking for truth, be sure you miss it.

                        When you found the answer, you fell into the pit of ignorance.

Even the wise need a bit of folly for fun.

              He made a fortune and had no luck.

Too much comfort prevents the unexpected, too little paralyzes thought.

         If I took myself more seriously, I'd have to start laughing.

Growing up is only for those with nothing better to do.

                     Epitaph: It is better left unsaid. 

If your opponent leaves you alone, you can't be doing much.

                 Without controversy evil would never be uncovered.

"No one does anything from a single motive." (Samuel Taylor Coleridge) 

                                  Just because you're bigger!

We remember only the unexpected.

              He enjoyed digging his own grave, the exercise. 

Thousands knew, only one spoke up.

                             He got out before it was an accident.

I'm at the age where I always ask: Is he still alive?

             If I lived each day like it were the last, I'd certainly run up a
 lot of credit-card debt.

***********More legends:

            1976 - Murphy's Rebellion:

             Spirit Journey:  



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

you never get anywhere without self-discipline

jees, tell me something else i don't want to hear! yes, i have it very sporadically, only when a deep, devastating motivation gets hold of me. for example, alcohol. a glass of red wine a day good for the body. trouble is, i take one glass, then another, and soon i love being drunk. damn, can't even take a glass, so i don't. and when i smoked at eighteen, to quit i kept telling myself, 'you're killing yourself, you're killing yourself.' it worked and i haven't smoked since. if i had a heart-attack, i'd certainly work out more, and so on.

habits have hold of me, a sweet-tooth that's destroying my teeth, reading a lot and slumping in my chair, sure at sixty my spine would be permanently bent. i've been lucky to this point. reading obituaries, very few americans live past ninety, yet i once browsed an article: 50 thousand americans 90 years-old work full-time. a conundrum, for sure. 

okay, how do they do it? given good genes, exercising, eating healthy foods. ah, and the hundred year-old guy says: "i've inhaled a pack a day since i was twelve", the nicotine obviously the source of his strength. my friend roger not so lucky. sixty-eight, he lay on is death-bed having them shut off the oxygen, coffin-nails more important than life itself. on the other hand, my friend bruce, a dedicated car-mechanic for his day-job, realized he wouldn't be able to work past sixty if he didn't make changes, set up a tent in the back yard with exercising stuff: weights, aerobic bicycle, treadmill. using these and changing his diet, he looks like a wrestler at the height of his powers.

my friend susie once told me about a tv program on fit grandmothers. these ladies at seventy had the bodies of thirty-year-olds. they worked out at the gym three hours a day! i'm lucky if i get out of my chair for two. can i change my habits, that's the immense question. would it diminish my desire to get out of bed in the morning? ah, if i wanted sex more, if i had a little girl at eighty and wanted to watch her grow up, if i decided to walk around the world, maybe, just maybe these would shake me up enough.

to pass up eating chocolate would take an act of congress, to stay off the computer would mean giving it away. true, a vegetarian for 32 years i probably should have stuck with it. and yoga every morning for 20 years, dropping it when i had back problems. i find i'm reluctant to bend over and pick up a pencil. i can't make changes without either being almost scared to death, or filled with an overwhelming ambition. take my pick, what is it to be?

once i can no longer work, i'm finished. hmm, there's a motive. but who wants to work forever except those 50 thousand 90 year-olds. i watch my friends retire, travel the world, either get fat and lazy, or start a seed business where they have to walk the mountains eight hours a day, gathering . yes, it's all about physicality, and us intellectual types just want our bodies to hang around while we use our minds. even tolstoy grew restless at eighty, jumped on a train, not knowing where he was going. too late. he died in a rural station. 

can i rev myself up? i don't know. something has to change.