The gift of not being a great curse

Looked up Samara, looked up catkin, looked up “language of Jesus”. (Probably knew Aramaic with some Greek and Hebrew.) Had been interested to learn that Mohamad was illiterate. I believe we’re told about Socrates that he read others’ philosophical treatises (in Protagoras?). We’re told that Jesus amazed scholars with his knowledge of the scriptures but I’m not sure we’re explicitly told or led to deduce anywhere that he could actually read. Homer could have been, I guess almost definitely was, illiterate. Confucius (lived around time of Socrates) I’d imagine literate. Interesting to think of non-divinely inspired poet composing and recalling a work of the length of the Qur’ an — The Iliad. Reverted to the tab that had the County Gov’t staff report on the proposed amendments to the cite plan.

Looked up “alight”, original sense to make light, a wagon was made less heavy when one alighted from it. (Had thought to use this to translate Greek oikizdw, “to dwell”, but saw that was wrong on looking it up. Went with ‘abide’, which was also not right, ‘remain’ would have been better but I didn’t go back to my blog to change the translation.) (Would check stats later, I will check stats now, but it bothers me: It means that  you do this for show, which in turn means that, not truly personal, it can’t be of legitimate interest.) Passage from the Symposium: Love, chancing on a person of a hard disposition, leaves them, but a person of soft disposition it dwells in, makes its home in. oikizw –oikos is “home” — “Economics.”

looked up ASL sign for ‘boring.’ (Finger to nostril, twisting). Teacher gives example of simple sentence: “you” (pointing at viewer) “think” (pointing to forehead) “school” (unclear: seems to bring his straight oppositely pointed palms together in two brief claps) is “boring” (finger to exterior of nostril, twisting.) Of course sign language is not charades, is thought, but one wonders at how touching one’s nostril and twisting could equal boring. (Well but how does the word ‘house’ or its sound indicate a physical house? No, it isn’t arbitrary, but the essential connection between the word and the thing it represents is long gone.)  I suppose that twisting of the straight finger on a surface does indicate boring in the sense of drilling down. Can’t recall if those ideas of ‘bore’ are related. (Seems to be uncertainty about it. Original sense is of burrowing animal.)

Looked up Corn Dolly, folk lore, pagan practice. The belief was that the season’s wheat crop contained a spirit which was released when the crop was harvested and would reside in one of the corn dolls they’d made, an elaborately entangled rope knot, until the next planting season. Reminded I’d had an idea of how I might assuage “my concerns about death”: I felt so much pleasure giving gifts, I’d been thinking, that perhaps if I could die with the knowledge of having given a great gift, or if the death itself was such a gift, then that would be enough to “carry me through.” (But that pleasure of giving was all only ego wasn’t it? Look how generous I am, look how rich I am, look how much I have to give, which only showed attachment to life…. Anyway-what sort of gift did you have in mind?)

It seems to me, then, that the problem with my pointless writing –the problem that makes it so pointless– is that, in a sense, it is too much “alive”: with no sense of the dead or of ancestry, with no sense of death, of one’s life’s horizon, it fails to grab onto anything here, it feels it has limitless time.

Looked up macerate. Customer had directed me to 1970’s era ecological study on the Kamodo dragon, or Ora, where it was learned that the scent of macerating stomachs of wild hogs were successful at attracting the giant lizards. Macerate means to soften. (To “give a great gift” would be something like discovering a vaccine for small pox for example. However, science could be double-edged in our hands; today’s cure, tomorrow’s superbug inducer, today’s combustion engine, tomorrow’s climate change, etc.) (You’re thinking of it the wrong way. A great gift had to be the sort of gift that any person could give. You didn’t have to be a unique person to give a great gift… Consider, too, the gift of not being something: of not being an idiot, of not being a curse and annoyance; of not writing  — if it was not in us to produce a great gift, it was in us, perhaps, to show restraint and not be a great curse, and perhaps that would be our great solace on dying: “I did it — I … wasn’t … that way!” –i.e. that way I really wanted to be but was stupid and boring. Or maybe it was what St. Francis had tweeted: that all of us had ourselves to give, and that represented a kind of upper and lower bound or integral to our gift — truly being ourselves.) Proverbs: the just die with hope.

Wrote four emails, looked up hypotaxis, as well as No Gun Ri and  Dream of The Red Chamber.


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