“There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody’s expense but his own. … And as for small difficulties and worryings, prospects of sudden disaster, peril of life and limb; all these, and death itself, seem to him only sly, good-natured hits, and jolly punches in the side bestowed by the unseen and unaccountable old joker.” Moby Dick, Chapt. 49, by Herman Melville (1859)
I know that Melville here was talking about the effect that those people risking life and limb come to experience in the height of danger; the “free and easy sort of genial, desperado philosophy” that life-threatening experiences engender. But even without physical danger there have been times — often in the midst of psychological or emotional tribulations but sometime even when all is well with the world — that I have had that feeling that the Universe is some Great Joke… And that the joke is on me.
It’s not necessarily a bad feeling. After all, I don’t mind being the butt of a joke… As long as it’s a good one.
But maybe it’s more than that. Maybe those times where you feel that everything is a joke is a faint understanding of how infinitesimally small everything you experience, think, feel and perceive actually matters in the grand scheme of things. That’s not to say that we are unimportant. But when you put our individual lives beside the Universe as a whole, how laughable and ludicrous it is to think that whatever is going on in our lives is the be all, end all of… of anything.
It really is quite funny when you think about it. No, really. Let’s think about it for a moment. Consider the three images I have included in this post’s header image… Continue reading The Great Joke
“It’s easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have anything worth living for?” — Lorien
More sci-fi philosophy…
This quote is from Babylon 5, Season 4 Episode 2 ‘Whatever Happened To Mr. Garibaldi?’. The series as a whole has some great quotes, but this episode alone had a bunch of powerful lines, most coming from the enigmatic character of Lorien, ‘The First One’.
The quote above comes from the beginning of an exchange between the character of Sheridan and Lorien, which ends a few lines later with these two lines: Continue reading Worth Living For…
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
– J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
I love this quote and it means many things to me. Just this line alone is awesome, but the entire stanza of the poem that it comes from is also pretty amazing and deep and bears quoting too. So for good measure, here’s that stanza:
“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
– J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Tell, Ask for, and Listen to Stories About Each Others’ “Essential Matters”
When we share our stories with one another, that is when we truly connect and recognize ourselves and the Universe in one another. That is when we move beyond separation and opposition and into partnership andpower and possibility.
“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” – The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by JONATHAN GOTTSCHALL
I haven’t read this book, but stumbled on this quote which I really like and it rings very true for me. I may decide to check this out from library, as it has good reviews, doesn’t sound too technical and it supposedly a quick and entertaining read. Regardless, I want to remember this quote.
I discovered the poem “Burnt Norton” in a recent post from Brain Pickings, a blog I have really found engaging on multiple levels. So many thoughts and literary works it has brought to my attention that I have wanted to pursue. But there is so much to read, so little time, and I DO so love my Sci-Fi & Fantasy escapes.
Anyway, back to the point. Below is a bit of the poem “Burnt Norton” by T. S. Eliot which is all about Time and our perception of it, and a little about writing & poetry, and how the universe and our bit of time in it, does have an order (Logos), and that writing and poetry is our attempts to encapsulate a bit of that order, that bit of time, into our own mutable words. I need to study this poem much more, as there are parts that I don’t quite grasp but “feel”. Continue reading The Still Point of the Turning World…
Much of what I do would be considered blue-collar, manual labor. And I kind of like it. You can see what you have accomplished each day. I care what other’s think of my work and ethic, but mostly, I care what I think about it.
“People call this blue-collar. I don’t care what color your shirt is. You bring pride to the job, people notice. Even if they don’t, you notice.”
– NCIS S12E17 “The Artful Dodger”
I’ve been really liking The Last Kingdom, the BBC production of Bernard Cornwell’s “The Saxon Stories“. This line from episode four really grabbed me.
King Alfred: “Why do you not pray to God?” Uhtred: “God… created everything that surrounds me… the fields, rivers, the forests. The land is my church. And I pray each day, Lord. In silence.”
The Last Kingdom – S01E04