If you never read, a refined process of recognizing symbols; and you never listen, a more primitive process of recognizing sounds of these symbols, then all of your ideas may be more likely to be original. You may have trouble writing the symbols to reveal the original ideas or articulating the sounds that expose the thoughts we so desperately need, since most of us have built on old ideas. Even Newton confessed that he stood on the shoulders of giants. Ideas that are bereft of the past and the present are clearly uncontaminated but are difficult for us to extract. We need a way to communicate other than by sound or symbol. Our dog seemed to have a lot of ideas and a horse or pig were said to be good communicators but they couldn't read and could listen but not articulate, at least in English, George Orwell notwithstanding. Oh well, it's our loss. Or as Yogi Bera would have said, of Animal Farm, "It's deja vue all over again." in the seeping Orwellian US of A.
In the olden days the crow was considered an omen of death, hence the ancient description of the bevy of crows that we enjoy on Lotus Island, swooping, frolicking, linguistically diverse, usefully omnivorous, collegial and remarkably intelligent; hardly ominous for a group designated as a murder. My friend Bob had a nice sweet cherry, Stella, that produced delicious black cherries on occasion when the crows forgot to come or were otherwise engaged at our place. One spring when the trees were in early bloom and expectation was high, Bob took action unlike him, and shot a couple of crows, murdered really, and put them intact in his freezer along with Helen's frozen chicken. When the cherries started to turn in June Bob hung the frozen crows on his young tree branches as a warning, thinking that the omen for the crows would serve as a warning. It certainly did and the ruckus was immense. But the cherries were left alone to mature into black, soft ,sweet , plump and delicious. The night before designated picking time some visitors came and in the morning they found a family of raccoons who had dined on the soft and rotting crows and stripped off most of the cherries for dessert and damaged the rest. It had seemed to me that it was rough but smart action on Bob's part but I learned. We had two Stella trees as well and I then accepted humbly my place in the order of natural precedence and acknowledged that fact, as the omen of life.
The Economist issue -- Dec 2 to 8 article--- "America Inc gets woke" ----( should be, gets awoken) but nevertheless. is surprising. It provides some evidence that Trudeau's environmental, social and governance issues are shared by a growing sea change in the large American companies, provoked in part and colored by both employees and investors and a sense of self interest apart from any altruism. Surprisingly, quoting from the article, "In 2006 the United Nations issued principles for investing, urging shareholders to consider environmental, social and governance factors. By 2015 institutions managing about $59 trillion(sic) had endorsed these principles." And again, " self interest, properly understood---the idea that an individual's attention to the common good served himself as well. Companies keen to protect their interests are increasingly taking that observation to heart." There may be a larger glimmer of hope in the world than one has hitherto believed. Maybe Our Prime Minister in his insistence that these issues be addressed in the negotiations with China, the Philippines et al is not so incredibly stupid after all and we can be a bit proud of our principles. It seems a paradox that American companies are running ahead of their government by a long shot. That may not be as hard as it first sounds given their government of the day.
As every week, for some years, I have gone to the post box, got my copy of the Economist and tried to read as much as possible during the week so as to educate myself in the doings of the world in as non-biased information, as I can judge. During these same periods of years I have, at 83 years of age, gradually forgotten much of what was part of what I thought I knew and stored over the years in the cortex I believed I owned. It's not a river that the verbiage of the Economist flows in and instantly out of my head, but more like the Sisyfean task of pushing the large rock up the hill only to have it return down to its original position once I tire and let it go. Either the old knowledge departs to make space for the new or the new news departs by the time the rock slowly rolls down the hill. Is it that Sisyphus was foolish or admirable to continue his activity because he was mythological and immortal, so would do it forever? My time is limited; I am mortal and I don't know where I am going but I'd like to know, even for a short period of time, where the world is going, even if I forget where I am going or more likely don't know.
For Jim's past posts, check out his old blog here: