Bird Droppings August 3, 2014
Why do crossword puzzles take so much time?
Towards the end of my last History class that I teach in college, one of my students was working on a particular assignment and had to define bias and was confused. She was not sure which definition was correct and asked my opinion. I explained in history bias is that of the historian doing the writing. It is how they see the event and happenings that may have come from that event. A few days ago I threw out an author’s name I have learned much from and enjoyed, Ronald Takaki and his book, A Different Mirror.
“More than ever before, there is a growing realization that the established scholarship has tended to define America too narrowly. For example, in his prize-winning study, The Uprooted, Harvard historian Oscar Handlin presented — to use the book’s subtitle – ‘the Epic Story of the Great Migrations That Made the American People.” But Handlin’s “epic story” excluded the “uprooted” from Africa, Asia, and Latin America — the other “Great Migrations” that also helped to make “the American People.” Similarly, in The Age of Jackson, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., left out blacks and Indians. There is not even a mention of two marker events — the Nat Turner insurrection and Indian Removal, which Andrew Jackson himself would have been surprised to find omitted from the history of his era.” Dr. Ronald Takaki
Takaki offers that so often in history it is the winners that write the history and the politics of the time define said history. It was not that long ago Andrew Jackson forced the migration of Creeks and Cherokees from their homelands in the southern US to Oklahoma and the Indian Territory only to be taken again during the land rush. Andrew Jackson is a dirty word in Okmulgee Oklahoma.
“When a man begins to understand himself he begins to live. When he begins to live, he begins to understand his fellow men.” Norvin Mcgranahan
Often I have a tendency to say something or write something that was intended to be one thing, and it is understood to be something else. It might be translated from my meager use of language into a distortion of the direction it was intended.
“We can chart our future clearly and wisely only when we know the path which has led to the present.” Adlai Stevenson
So many times our direction changes in midstream and we look hurriedly for a new rock to step too to keep from stumbling. Looking a step or two ahead can often prevent your falling into the water when crossing a stream.
“Where I am not understood, it shall be concluded that something very useful and profound is couched underneath.” Jonathan Swift
Sometimes it seems as clear to us as we write and discuss and yet to others a fog creates a distance or barrier to what it is we are trying to convey. Swift alludes to a vague understanding being hidden, you know something is there but cannot quite grasp it.
When many looks at Einstein’s formulations in physics, some see chicken scratching others see magic.
“Perhaps I am doomed to retrace my steps under the illusion that I am exploring, doomed to try and learn what I should simply recognize, learning a mere fraction of what I have forgotten.” Andre Breton
Returning to graduate school after nearly thirty years away has been many times simply remembering things I have put aside for a time and many times the frustration is seeing as you get older how much you have forgotten.
“No person was every rightly understood until they had been first regarded with a certain feeling, not of tolerance, but of sympathy.” Thomas Carlyle
“It has taken me all my life to understand it is not necessary to understand everything.” Rene Cody
As you grow older several things happen, you can see deeper into occurrences because you have a broader base to draw from which makes it sometimes difficult to explain to some people and what appears as prophecy may simply be the experience rearing up. I explain the idea of coincidence and Karl Jung’s synchronicity to teenagers and when doing this use a timeline of many years. Most teenagers do not have a timeline to see events pan out and to see that a happening now affects you twenty years from now. Today’s puzzle pieces work in junction with every piece before and every piece yet to fall in place.
“I started out with nothing. I still have most of it.” Michael Davis
“If one does not understand a person, one tends to regard him as a fool.” Karl Jung
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if sadness did not balance it. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” Karl Jung
In so many of Jung’s thoughts balancing, understanding and seeking to understand are so crucial as he looked at the dreams of his patients and as he tried to put pieces of their puzzles together. As I sit here writing and thinking, in a symbolic way Freud worked with Lego blocks, and Jung worked with blocks of Jell-O. For Jung, there was barely form and often there was fluidity as pieces would meld into each other. Life is not quite the solid pieces of a Lego set and isn’t perhaps as fluid as some thinkers would like to think but between the two maybe a plasma sort of effect for lack of terms maybe it is indescribable.
“Out of the Indian approach to life there came a great freedom, an intense and absorbing respect for life, enriching faith in a Supreme Power and principles of truth, honesty, generosity, equity, and brotherhood as a guide to mundane relations.” Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux, 1868-1937
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator
I have used this quote from Crowfoot recently possibly even several times. This statement from Crowfoot to me is very profound. Recently I asked the question can you define your God without scripture and without pronouns. As I look and see at Crowfoots statement of life there are so many mysteries contained in his words. Another author I enjoy William Edelen author of “In search of the Mystery” offers that understanding is the key, but seeing all that is presented and not simply individual pieces of life’s puzzle. It is not about looking at life through a toilet tissue tube as I say maybe too often keep use as an example. A wonderful day so far and so many ahead please keep all in harm’s way in our minds and hearts and to always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)