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Thread: Daily Bread

  1. #251
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    WS: I really enjoy your perspective on things so hope you don't stay gone for long)

  2. #252
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Fifty days or so ago I approached a vast new undiscovered territory .....silence. Pausing long enough to enter in, I did so expecting to learn new things about myself, which I did and I am. But what was unexpected was the rediscovery of long forgotten joys. One of those joys is the simplicity of being myself. Disconnecting from constantly creating an “interesting” person for others to see, from immersing myself in the quick pace of social media, disconnecting .....that has been a joy.

    It has allowed me to investigate my participation in consuming and producing. What and why do I consume? What and why do I produce? Is it possible to live happily with less of both? I began to see that a lot of what is described as an engaged lifestyle is simply attempting to be busy and accessible to everyone and everything at every moment. Not letting technology be an end in itself but seeing what technology is, the way we interact with it and it’s relationship with real people. Detachment helps me keep from making a sacrament of technology.

    Instead of the technology being a useful tool, we become its resource to the custodians of it. We voluntarily expend hours providing the raw materials for other people to use to enhance their wealth. Their wealth does not ooze up from the pavement. Being available at all times is certainly a nice feature for others but is it for you? Can we disconnect, turn off our smartphones, sit quietly in a room by ourselves, without any distraction, breathe and listen for direction? Or do we need to constantly search for a loud voice to guide us through our day?

    Are we looking for answers in the form of symbolic hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires or tragedy.....or will a whisper that comes in quiet contemplation be our guide? The good news for me is that silence can be created almost anywhere and thus far hasn’t been monetized. I am wealthy as long as I can become an island unto myself for long enough to get a compass reading and go on.

    As a kid I was exposed to simple mountain music. Certainly, lacking in technical prowess or trained musicianship... “old timey” music was not cutting edge technology. I can relate to simplicity in almost any realm. Music is often thought about in terms of what fills up the air but music would be nothing but noise without periods of silence. Pauses between the notes often set up anticipation. In a way, subtraction from the main theme enhances the work. Often, it is the notes that are not played that make a world of difference.

    This anticipation translates to our living but without the quiet interludes, pauses and behind the beat syncopation....we cannot fully appreciate the music when it comes. I have only scratched the surface and yet it has made a stark difference in my perception of sound and my ability to be guided by a “still small voice” that can only appear with the silence. And in truth, there is really no such thing as total silence. Even in the quietest of settings, my heart still beats, the blood rushes through my veins and my breathing is perceptible. It is the quiet rhythm of life that is the baseline for all the sounds that layer on top. So silence then is not nothing. Silence is a great something. It is a great help to stop looking outside yourself and turn inward. Silence makes that possible.

    Some simple old timey music ........


  3. #253
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Insightful observations, WS. I find I need silence and solitude to get my ideas and then go exploring them.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

  4. #254
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    It is ironic -- or, perhaps, designed -- that silence also makes what is said that much more powerful.

    Thank you, williamsmith. Nice to see you back, even if briefly.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  5. #255
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveinMN View Post
    It is ironic -- or, perhaps, designed -- that silence also makes what is said that much more powerful.

    Thank you, williamsmith. Nice to see you back, even if briefly.
    My opinion is that silence is misunderstood as a less effective communication than words. But it’s my experience that words however incitful they might be will always set boundaries within which ideas become trapped. What cannot be accurately said, is often best left blank. As a counselor, sitting quietly with a crestfallen person is often a better help than offering up words of solace. I understand that the meaning of life is being sought in books and communication. But I believe silence and quietness can be a more effective way to discover it, despite the current which runs against feelings versus science and philosophy. Perhaps in the last fifty days before my latest post.....by not saying anything.....I have learned more by being quiet than if I’d thrown thousands of letters at the blank page.

    “What we cannot speak about, we must pass over in silence.”

    Ludwig Wittgenstein

  6. #256
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    Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue.
    Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

    Proverbs 17:28

  7. #257
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    We hadn’t intended on doing anything but subtraction this weekend. Subtraction in the sense of dumping a few hundred pounds of stuff my son left with us when he moved to Texas. Our good fortune came in the form of a house that sold in Springfield, Ohio and one that was purchased in Houston, Texas by the same couple. That couple being my son’s father and mother in -law. Which gave me an idea. Would they be willing to ship my sons stuff with their moving company?

    I hummed and whistled while I staged all the crap in the garage that my son left behind. The yearbooks, the pictures, baseball cards, trophies, bats, balls, gloves, clothing, shoes, graduation gown, a television, a lamp and Christmas themed China a friend gave him. It was going to be a nice load and free up needed space in my storage challenged condo. We packed it all up in our SUV Friday night. I stood in amazement suddenly aghast at what this would probably look like to the in laws. The only thing we lacked was grandmas rocking chair strapped to the rooftop luggage rack.

    Well, we won’t be seeing much of them anyway. Sometimes it sucks to be on the receiving end. The wife commented weakly that it really wasn’t all that overpowering a burden and that they had volunteered so it sort of soothed my feelings enough to start humming and whistling again thinking about how their loss was my gain......in a subtraction sort of way.

    We arranged to meet them at their “sale pending” residence in Springfield some time in the afternoon Saturday and headed out. It kinda bothered me that the car seemed a little sluggish and sat lower than usual but I got over it by the time we crossed the Pennsylvania/Ohio line. We planned to stay in a hotel and bum around some antique stores in the area on Sunday. About half way into the five hour trip we stopped at a rest area and ate some leftover baked chicken picnic style. On my way back to the car I thought it prudent to check the tire pressure.....just in case.

    About that time the in laws called and offered to meet us for dinner about an hour toward our direction in order to save us some driving time. What a considerate couple! I had to convince them that it would be best to just offload my sons junk right into their garage. I went down the list of inventory and explained that we probably didn’t want to be handling it twice. While it was a very true statement.....the silence on the other end of the phone made we wish I would have given them a heads up if you will. Oh well, like I said, we won’t be seeing much of them again.

    So we showed up around about the agreed time and literally “dumped” the stuff sheepishly into their garage. They even helped unload. When they told me that the move was estimated to cost them up to ten thousand dollars I almost choked. I had moved from my four bedroom ranch to a condo for not much more than $200 and that included the meal I served to everyone that help.

    They werent able to make us dinner and I was thankful of that. Didn’t want to take advantage of them. We ate out at a really nice place and then drove to a quaint little town called Yellow Springs. Actually, it was more like a safari where you ride around and the guide points out the zoo animals. Yellow Springs got its start in the 1800s as a utopian religious commune and has lived up to its heritage to this day. This is a town where almost everyone you’d talk to over the age of 65 would claim they were at Woodstock in the summer of 1969. The movies showing at the theatre were “Selma”, a documentary on Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Carl Marx. I’m open minded but the stall door doesn’t open that wide. I did want to stop at the tie Dyed t-shirt place and get one with a peace sign but it was closed.

    I kept my eyes peeled for Dave Chappelle, the controversial African American comedian who resides here. I kind of wanted to see if he was real. Lots of interesting people come from this town including the Chairman of the Communist Party USA. I kept imaging how exciting it would have been to live here during the McCarthy Era. Yes, it was a quaint little pot smoking town with a small communist problem.

    Im not casting aspersions. I realize my own shortcomings and contradictions. I’m a minimalist that has to set number limitations on my book and record collections. I’m a pacifist with a short explosive temper. I step on the scale every morning and pull into an ice cream stand every night. I don’t watch or listen to the news much because I’m convinced it’s all just fear mongering but I have cache of weapons and ammo that an Idaho survivalist would be proud of.

    I thought the Springfield/Dayton Ohio area was a fine place to visit and probably a great place to live. But as I drove home on Sunday and as my SUV seemed to effortlessly accelerate onto the Interstate I thought it was kinda nice at least one couple thought it was time to leave.


  8. #258
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    There is a little hamlet nestled in the hills of southwestern New York along the north shore of a small lake formed in the early 1800s by a dam built to power a mill. Originally just two small ponds, the resulting lake provided an ideal setting for steamboats, summer camps and eventually year round recreation. Over the years many memories have been made here and in antique shops, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and roadside bars, black and white photographs of the past hint at the genesis of a community that has both changed with the times and remained the same.

    On a sunny afternoon, my wife and I walk the sidewalks and porches between specialty shops, the lake always in view. In front of a candy shoppe is a wicker furnishing ......a group of two chairs and a love seat. One chair calls to me and I sit down. Over my shoulder to my right I see a picture I’d like to take. The roadway, a two lane asphalt, winds like a serpent through the town, around the north shore of the lake and up the hill out of sight. A few other pedestrians walk away;parents holding a small child’s hand. It is late afternoon and the light is right. It is the kind of scene I have been making note of. For some time I have been photo journaling......without the camera.

    My vintage Canon AE1 is loaded and ready with 400ASA black and white film. It sits in my sun room under an end table in a camera bag waiting. In my notebook, I have written the location of several spots where photos wait to be taken. In order to concentrate on finding the right places and the right times......I practice by leaving the camera at home. There can be no gratuitous repetitive shooting. Black and white film is expensive to develop. I am determined to click but once, at the precise moment with the precise subject.

    I will return to the sleepy summer retreat in the woods of New York and snap the long and winding road; on another perfect day, at the perfect time. In this way, I hope to capture a feeling.....and not just a record of my being there. Black and white seems to accept moods better than color. That is what I hope to develop. The planning is almost complete. Now it is time to head out for the journey. I am hoping to create a book or journal with every photograph accompanied by some sparse thoughts. Or perhaps...the photographs can speak for themselves.....if I can be a photographer and not just a picture taker.

  9. #259
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Williamsmith View Post
    Or perhaps...the photographs can speak for themselves.....if I can be a photographer and not just a picture taker.
    I applaud that you know the difference between picture-taking and photography!

    I also applaud the idea of picking your shots. Even though I haven't shot film in at least a decade, I still prefer to compose shots in camera and get the technical bits right. I have no love for image-manipulation software or the time spent trying to fix what could have been done right at the moment the picture was taken. The economic reason for being careful in shooting film is good, too.

    But, over the years, I've fallen away from the idea that I'll get the great shot I want next time. So much can change -- weather, the immediate surroundings in the picture, my ability to get to that place again, and more -- that I will do the best I can for some shots and leave it to surpass my skills later if I ever again get the opportunity.

    Life can change pretty fast. The best camera you have is the one that is with you.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  10. #260
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    My formative years occurred in the late 1960s, by that I mean my indoctrination. Lots of good concepts were taught me, and on the contrary lots of paranoia was doled out about other religions, other races, other ethnicities and vices like sex, gambling, and rock and roll. The way I look at it now, I was under the grip of unrelenting dogmatism regarding these matters for a very long time...well into the early 1970s. But a strange thing happened. I started to think.

    Laughter and comedy was pretty much limited to “clean” jokes. Freddy the Freeloader a character created by Red Skelton comes to mind. I did love the way Red always turned comedy into a lesson on goodness and purity. But I discovered that comedy is not always “clean” or politically correct. And I also learned that listening to unapproved comedy could get me in trouble with those who defined the boundaries. My thinking probably began in the mid 1970s about the time I discovered Monty Pythons Flying Circus and belatedly learned about Mel Brooks’ “Blazing Saddles”.

    The Church, for all its good activity, fell short of its mark when it came to tolerance and being threatened by irreverence. They had some evil sounding names for the kind of comedy that was critical of hypocrisy. Blasphemy carried some weight in Official Church circles as did Backsliding and unforgivable sins of speaking against the Holy Spirit. I suppose they still do, though I don’t run with that crowd nowadays. It reminds me of the Islamamic idea of infidels.

    In any event, I just read an article in the American Thinker titled, “In a World Where Everyone’s Offended By Everything, Can Comedy Exist?” Link below.

    It discusses the movie Blazing Saddles and the television cartoon show, the Simpsons. There are plenty of “offensive” scenarios in the movie and the cartoon but are we to the point where a movie like Blazing Saddles with its farcing of racism and Monty Pythons Life Of Brian with its irreverence for the crucifixtion of Christianity could never be made. Would anyone dare to make a comedy of the sacraments of Islam? Could we make fun of gays and lesbians and laugh at it?

    Who’s “vision of culture” must comedy conform to? I have gone back and forth about the best comedic movie I’ve seen. Is it Blazing Saddles with the black Sheriff or Life of Brian with the crowds of followers and lampooning of religious idolatry?

    A relatively obscure comic died this year. Barry Crimmins. As a child he was sexually abused by a priest. He took this experience to the stage with him. He never was politically correct and never pulled punches. I didn’t always agree with his politics but I thought I could always laugh at his jokes. There’s a nice documentary on him on Netflix called, “Call Me Lucky.” I would be nice if we could all just loosen the belt a little and quit being so “offended.”


    https://www.americanthinker.com/arti...edy_exist.html


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