The Passport of Life


This is a response to #the one-word prompt “Passport” by “The Daily Post.

If you travel regularly around the word or just to the country “next door,” you are very familiar with your #passport and do have one. Its pages will be filled with stamps #of all the foreign places you have been. In other words, a passport is a log/journal of all that you have seen and experienced, of the wider world in your #life so far. But if you think about it the passport of your country of origin used for travel, is not our only passport in life.

When one creates photo albums filled with photos of the things/events in your life that have affected you deeply, you are in a sense making a passport to log the significant parts of your life. When we keep a diary/journal, that is basically doing the same thing as a passport. All of our lives are/will be filled with lots of amazing, beautiful, and yes, even scary, ugly events and experiences; and throughout time, we humans have always wanted to remember them, record them for future generations to experience and learn from, and even have “keepsakes of.”

From journals, photos, antiques, letters, and keeping old tools even when no longer used; all of these are just some of the extensions of our 2nd “passport of life” that we keep. What is your passport like? How many filled “pages” does it have? What are some of the experiences recorded in it? If you don’t have one, why not?

Looking at the Problem; not the Symptom


This is a response to #the one-word prompt “Symptom” by “The Daily Post.”

We as humans a lot of times when trying to solve a #problem tend to put too much attention on the symptoms of the problem and #not the problem its self. Why is that the case; why are we so distracted by just the #symptom, over the actual problem? Is that the right way to solve problems, or is the right way actually focusing on the problems themselves?

The issue is very similar to one being sick with the cold/flu or some other sickness; if you have a cold of the flu you tend to experience upset stomach, congestion, and a fever. We tend to focus on lessening those symptoms, but forget that those symptoms are not the sickness themselves but signs that one is sick; and that the body is #at work fighting off the sickness. Instead of focusing on the symptoms of the flu, we should be focusing on helping our immune system fight off the flu by giving our body what it needs such as vitamins and fluids (water).

The same is the case when dealing with all problems in all cases, focus not on the problem’s symptoms, but on what is needed to naturally” fix/heal the problem and get back to regular operating procedures. When one tries to solve a problem by focusing on the symptoms and not the cause, then one risks either making the problem worse or creating new/more problems to deal with because all that you are doing is further messing up, and changing the system/body that the problem resides in. By doing this you prevent the “immune” system from doing its job correctly and resetting the system to before the problem ever showed up.

The problem of focusing on the symptoms and not the problem its self is no better seen and a problem its self then when dealing with economic troubles, slowdowns, and so forth. Low employment and people losing their jobs while terrible and no one wants, is just like a fever with the flu; that it is just a symptom of the broader economic system that we live and work in trying to correct a mistake that was made that had upset the balance of the whole system. When governments try too much to stop these symptoms it not only distracts them from finding out what went wrong and correcting the issue but it only makes things worse. Things get worse for the economy because it now has more “junk” closing up the wheels of economic growth.  Instead of trying to solve the issues of the symptoms of economic slowdowns such as unemployment, governments should instead just wait it out and help those who lost their jobs all of a sudden to cop and survive until they can get a new job.

So no focusing on the symptom/s of a problem whether hen the problem its self is not a good thing despite the fact that is how most people and society handles their problems. If we can just learn to do the opposite, then we would have a lot less problems in our life times and when we do have them, would be able to recover more easier and faster from them. While it is often tempting to focus on the “pain” that the symptoms cause, and wanting to do anything and everything to get rid of that pain; we need to learn to “chug it out. What are your thoughts on the issue of problems and their symptoms?

The Importance of having a Love of Literature


But #the Cyclops is also one #of the many examples, in the Odyssey, of people who are sub- political, and that is the first thing we are meant to notice about the island. For Odysseus reckons up the place with the eye of #a landsman and a leader. The Cyclopes have excellent bottom land for growing grain; the fields lie overrun with weeds. The Cyclopes have wild grapes growing everywhere; they do nothing with them. They have a harbor for ships; they do no sailing. They herd, and that is all. They have no marketplace. They have no assemblies. Each Cyclopes is the despot over his wife and offspring, and every family ignores its neighbors. –Anthony Esolen, “Out of the Ashes Rebuilding American Culture” 

The quote above by Anthony in his book is in the context of the #importance of the “Polis” or political place and the importance that Ancient Greeks put into it and how it is very important to the United States historically. His going back to and using the Odyssey to make his argument is both very informative and beautifully well done. In the end, Anthony’s arguments not only make the case for the usefulness of the “Polis or political life” to civilization and Western and American in particular, but it also indirectly makes the case for why reading and studying great #literature and the “classics” is so important to humans and human civilization.

As we see from the quote above great literature is not just about telling a great exciting story about heroes and monsters and such. It is about life and how to live and get along with fellow human beings. Great literature is about offering up lessons on life in new creative ways that the attended audience will pick up and listen to. It is also about answering the “great questions” of human existence and of the times. This is very true of the epic mid-evil saga Beowulf. Beowulf besides being about monsters and a hero “kicking ass” is also chuck full of lessons about life from the virtues required to be a hero, the conflict of good and evil, and how humans are supposed to get along and how they don’t get along.

What great literature is at heart are stories, but not just any stories, but stories of learning; for we as humans learn best with being told stories. Great literature is admired, remembered and told throughout the ages because of the fact that they don’t just entertain but tell/answer something of great significance about life, the world, and/or human existence and the meaning of life.

Going back to Anthony and his quoting of the Odyssey, he was arguing the case in his book that American society needed to return to a “polis” like based society where everyone was a part of the “political life” and did their part to help each other and society function. He quoted from Odyssey because he believed that its underlying purpose was to teach those who read it (Ancient Greeks) the importance of the “Polis.” If one is going to argue for a “polis” mentality in society than one obviously has to go back to the civilization that came up with and practiced the idea, the Greeks. Then, of course why not make the point by using what the Greeks used to teach the importance of the “polis” to political life, stories.

I have engaged in this meditation upon the Odyssey for several reasons. First, it was the Greeks who gave us the very word, polis, from which is derived our word for action that has to do with the passage of laws: political. Second, it was the Greeks who invented the study of political structures: Aristotle famously says, in his Politics, that man is a zoon politikon, a political animal. Third, the Greeks bequeathed to us also the form of government we have or believe we have, in part: democracy. And yet-this is my most impressing reason-those same Greeks would not recognize what we have as political at all, but as a corruption of the political, transformed in part by our cultivation of idiocy. –Anthony Esolen

This here is what Literature is all about, finding a new and creative way to teach the importance of and the values of the way things are the way they are in the world and society and why. For Odyssey, and the Greeks, it was what exactly the “polis” was and its importance to society and the “political life.” For the Greeks, it was the everyday interaction of everyone in society and their participation in the political life of the “polis;” that is “getting along with people.” One of the things that was important to the life of the “polis” was that one had to be small to function properly and that the bigger one got the more problems that would emerge to break one down. This was one of the messages in the Odyssey and why literature/stories are so good when they offer up lessons or discuss the questions of life.