The Eclectic Company is a futility providing a wide range of resistance and frustrations. Really, it’s hard to imagine how we could live without it in our large and complex society at the top of Maslow Heights. Don’t stop now, I’m just getting started. I guess I’m the Henny Youngman of the intellect. Nu, shoyn.
Beliefs are not a bad thing, beliefs like the ground we’re walking on is solid and we probably won’t slip through the spaces between the atoms and electrons, that 7 billion people on a planet in a solar system two-thirds of the way out on one of the eight spiral arms of a minor galaxy in this particular local cluster have purpose and meaning as individuals with their hopes, sadness, and fears, and that we will exist forever in some form or another after we’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. We need beliefs to survive. But doubts are not a bad thing either. They prove that you have a mind, that you think. To tell the truth, there’s not very much of what we “know”, empirically or otherwise, that we can prove formally. Descartes thought he was really on to something when he decided that the fact that he thought was a proof that he existed. Even if he doubted that, it would prove he existed since doubting was obviously a form of thought. The only problem in my mind was that he didn’t prove that he was doing the thinking. Maybe it was someone else doing the thinking. Maybe he only thought he thought. We’ll just keep that between the two of us. We wouldn’t want the whole edifice of existence to come crashing down around us. Actually, what does it matter, if we don’t exist. And now for something completely different.
I’ve decided to return to my first and oldest mistress for awhile: poetry. Actually I never really stopped, but now I intend to make a concentrated effort. I’ll call the project “The Rubáiyát of Michael the Tent Maker”. We’ll see how that turns out. The journey of a thousand quatrains begins with the first one, so here goes:
An ancient form the rubáiyát but not
The moving hand of al-Khayyam and naught
The labyrinthine bazaars of Samarkand
But only modern words in English thought.
The rubái is a quatrain (plural rubáiyát) popularized a thousand years ago in Persia by Ghiyath al-Din Abu’l-Fath Umar ibn Ibrahim Al-Nisaburi al-Khayyami or Omar al-Khayyam as he is known in the West. The quatrain is four lines of iambic pentameter with a rhyming scheme of a-a-b-a. He’s the poet who wrote “a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou, would be enough…” and “the moving finger, having writ, moves on…” His last name, al-Khayyam, means in Urdo “the tent maker”.
There you have it, my point of departure.