Category Archives: Miscellany

Anything that’s on my mind.

Better a witty fool, than a foolish wit

Shakespeare said that fool thinks he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. This also means that a wise man knows what and when to speak. In this respect, simulation and dissimulation according to English Philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon is wisdom providing you with a strong heart to discern the opportune time to tell truth and to do it in protect of yourself against derisive remarks and false opinions on you by whom you talk to at work and any other social occasions. In Other Words: you take false shadows for true substance lest you should lose yourself under the misapprehension that revealing all of yourself will develop rapports for socialization.

In this “Express Yourself” era that lionize glory of show-it-all and tell-it-all in the form of memoirs and selfies, vying for a legion of followers cossetting juvenile mentality of the authors, Bacon’s tenets of veiling yourself may be deemed anachronistic and unreconstructed. However, it would contradict the importance of self-respect if we let ourselves peddled by the melee nitpicking someone’s weaknesses.  That said, the advantages of simulation and dissimulation and how to do according to Bacon are as follows:

  1. Advantages
  • To quiet opposition and to surprise
  • To reserve a fair retreat to yourself. By concealing yourself to a certain degree, you can protect yourself in a situation that you fee inappropriate to you.
  • The better to discover the mind of another by letting the other party open him/herself without sacrificing yourself to disclosing your inner thoughts that might be incompatible to the other, and that will generate a false impression on you.

2.  How-to-do

  • Have openness in appearance, such as smiling countenance and civil manner of listening to another.
  • Keep your true feelings and thoughts to yourself. I have read that the former British Prime Minister David Cameroon was good at being canny enough not to speak of his opinions on politics during his university years, lest he should ruffle other students of different political opinions.
  • Pretend to be what you are not if there seems to be no other way than to speak your mind in a setting where your true opinion will be unwelcome.

The aforesaid may seem boring or passé, but then there’s good reason why a wealth of wisdom shared by great minds of history still ring true, resounding through the leaps of time and borders of nations and boundaries of cultures. The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves and speak their minds when their ripe judgment of Reason deems the time apropos. Maybe it’s high time we got off the bandwagon of “Follow Me” and took a nice long walk alone around in romantic solitude and reflection thereof.

Classy and Fabulous

 

“You can never be overdressed or overeducated,” said fashionable Oscar Wilde. Sure, they say beauty is only a skin-deep, but what eyes can see determines what the mind judges. Jane Austen also corroborated being a sensibly fashionable and culturally sophisticated woman thus: “Woman is fine for her own satisfaction alone. No man will admire her the more, no woman will like her the better for it. Neatness and fashion are enough for the former.”

In this time of social media, propriety and civility seem no longer requisite for ladyship because the impersonality of urbanity and the mingling of ranks in streets have licensed shabbiness and incivility in the facade of casualness and convenience. However, one thing is certain that as our human nature has not been changed since the time immemorial, our appreciation of aestheticism remains in every culture. So much so that even someone like Albert Einstein who looked care less about his appearance said, “Even on the most solemn occasions I got away without wearing socks and hid that lack of civilization in high boots”

Hence, the beautiful ladies wallowed themselves in classical elegance, strolling the elegant arcades of Biltmore Tower, where they work as legal assistants. They are fashionistas in their own rights whose ingeniously elegant style endures and emanates from their minds and characters, which are even more fabulous. For they dwell on the beauty of life and think that a thing of beauty is a joy of life.

Dialogue on Five Ages of Man

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Horatio (L) and Larry (R)

Larry: I wonder what age we are currently in.

Horatio: How do you mean? You sound like a peripatetic thinker like Aristotle.

Larry: I mean the age according to Hesiod, the father of western narrative history. The name may sound Greek to you, my dear friend.

Horatio: So, you think I am a philistine because of my patently plebian appearance and mercantile profession? I take false shadows for true substances, buddy. I have read about Five Ages of Man according to Hesiod and can tell you that we are in Iron age to which Hesiod himself also belonged. In this age, we human beings must toil away for livelihood, get old quickly, are besotted by troubles and more troubles under constant stress and pressure. In fact, it’s not our mortals’ faults but those Olympians who continued a cycle of creation and destruction of a human race on their whims and caprice in epicycle. In the first place, Zeus and his ilk drove away the benevolent race of the golden age after Titanomarchy, a ten year war against Titans, then began a recycle of the races for the silver, bronze, heroic and iron afterwards because they did not like what they saw in the races on the grounds of morality and maturity. It’s like the Olympians regarded us humans as a sort of puppets or marionettes. Or they are playing chess of our destiny with our beings used as pieces to be moved on a chess board. Yes, we live in the iron age, but I reject the idea that we are all living in a doomed scenario because we human beings have amazing intelligence with its general multipurpose learning strategies to triumph against the outrageous Olympian pandemonium. So, my friend, fear not. Boldness be our friends. For as Shakespeare encourages us that “true hope is swift, and files with swallow’s wings.”

Larry: My dear friend, Horatio. Thank you for your sagacious thinking and brilliant advice on humanity. And let’s just say that for all what’s worth, mankind has resilience to spring back from the ashes of destruction with its fortitude and instinct for survival. It’s our human nature. And let us also remind ourselves of the dictum of Hemingway: “Man can be destroyed but not be conquered.”

Fellowship of the arts

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Music has such a charm; it makes bad good and conjures memories of the places and faces of the past with nostalgia in a magical way. It’s a kind of mind teleportation, artistic time-machine, which takes you from the rut of life to anywhere you can dream about. So much so that ever witty and lively William Shakespeare said: “There’s nothing in the world so much like prayer as music is.” Just as reading makes the reader pass over to the literary world of imagination, listening to music carries the listener over to the auditory feast of melodies and rhythms, wonderfully harmonized, all in the mastery of fine musicianship inspired by the Mousal, the music muses, which is demonstrated by the fabulous  Biltmore Trio.

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Biltmore Trio consists of Ben Lion (Piano), Claire Whitecat (Violin) and Julie Tigress (Flute). They are fine amateur musicians who get together two days a week to play music together for reason none other than being aficionados of music, especially of the Baroque music. All of them have full-time occupations by which they earn their livelihood: Ben is an associate professor of history at Avonlea Community College. He is also an established writer for various magazine and short stories. Claire is a free-lanced book illustrator primarily for children’s books. Julie is a legal secretary working at a busy litigation law firm that would not function without her presence. They are good friends from childhood and share their love of music, books and other interests that pique their intelligent minds with scintillating curiosities. Hence, Biltmore Trio is a musical manifestation of their fellowship in the Appreciation of the Arts and Altruism of Humanity based upon the idea that the beauty of art is for everyone, not a prerogative of a few select. It is important that the public has a right to art because as Oscar Wilde attested, “Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can sure the senses but the soul.” How true it is!

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With such tenets of art in mind, Biltmore Trio’s free lunchtime recital of Frederic Hendel’s “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” at the eponymous hotel lounge fills the hearts of the audience with mirth and merriment and frames their minds with beauty and alacrity. The trio’s fine musicianship becomes even more brilliant with their milk of human kindness that benefits all regardless who they are and what day do.

Loveliness blooms in Logotheraphy

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A thing of beauty is a joy to them. Its loveliness increases. It never passes into nothingness. Oscar Wilde, who extolled physical beauty as a form of virtue manifested in a physical form, once flamboyantly remarked: “Crying is for plain women. Pretty women go shopping.”  Although Seraphina Rabitte and Mathilda Beare demur at such uncharitable notion of meritocracy of women’s appearance, they love visiting beauty stores in a way that little children love going to candy stores (or toy stores to be more realistic these days). For the ladies like to keep themselves prim and proper in the belief that presentable appearance (not a physical symmetry per se) indicates how one takes cares of herself by realizing her creative, attitudinal and experiential values in everyday life.

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The belief is grounded in Logotheraphy, one of the three Viennese School of Psychotherapy founded by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl, a neurologist, thinker, psychiatrist, but above all, a remarkable human being who endured personal experiences of Promethean hardships and suffering in Nazi concentration camps and conquered them in triumph of will to meaning. Fashionable and knowledgeable Matilda and Seraphina are students of Logotheraphy, the theory that human nature is motivated by search for a life purpose that is unique to each individual. Unlike other schools of psychotherapy and many other subdivisions thereof, Logotheraphy encompasses a wide scope of the humanities and of course, neuroscience, making it a brilliant multidisciplinary school of thought. In fact, it is a paradigm of the consilience of the knowledge of the humanities and that of science. So, in the context of regarding Logotheraphy, the fashionable ladies’ attitudes toward appearance betokens their ways of preventing noogenic (existential) frustration by engaging themselves in activities to dispel a hint of depression or inertia from their minds, even if it means only going to shopping.

img_0601So, you see it isn’t a symptom of conspicuous consumption as a result of our hyper industrialized social environment that Matilda and Seraphina like pampering themselves with cosmetics. Besides, who can blame them for having none other than a woman’s reason? Didn’t Queen Elizabeth also proclaim herself to have a lion’s heart in a woman’s hide? Also, did the Queen not show fierce attention to fairness herself by putting the most fashionable make-up and dresses and hairstyles of her time? Well, these modern ladies are no less different them from their loyal member of sisterhood in the race of Humankind. In fact, Matilda and Seraphina have aristocratic bearings in appearance and manners due to their fine upbringing and sweetness of the mind by nature, so whenever they go, they give admirable impressions on people whom they encounter. They are the paragon of a virtuous woman as John Milton extolled in Paradise Lost: “Those graceful act, those thousand decencies that flow from all her actions and words.”

Author’s Note: Many thanks to the attendants at the Cosmetic Company Store in Camarillo Premium Outlets who kindly permitted me to take pictures in their store.