Category Archives: Miscellany

Anything that’s on my mind.

small simple sweet

A merry heart goes all the day, warding off evils of everyday existential life. The Bard said, “Frame your mind to mirth and merriment, which bars a thousand harms and lengthens life.” Which also strikes the biblical chord of “Refrain from anger. Turn from wrath. Do not fret; it leads only to evil.” It all fits Sally’s way of fulfilling demands placed on her daily tasks in life and enjoying small pleasures in the simple and sweet novelty of it all.

Author’s note: with my new iPhone, nothing is impossible 🙂 I hope to make a short film, using a series of stop motions, in future.

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img_0162All lawyers are educated, expensive mercenaries of fortune with a high chance of variable expediency in allegiance to whoever employs their burst of legal pep, or “intelligent drudgery,” so to speak. Lawyers know no fear but lots of hubris that can move heaven and earth because of their Napoleonic credo of “There’s no word for impossibility in my dictionary.” To Sally, it’s a real case of Sartre’s existentialism which dictates that “Experience precedes essence.” And yet, the images of gentlemanly lawyers in the characters of Atticus in To kill a mockingbird played by Gregory Peck and Kavanagh QC portrayed by John Thaw are hard to be disembarrassed from Sally’s abstract ideas of fine lawyers.

img_0164Sally’s position of legal assistant wears many hats: secretary, paralegal, accountant, receptionist, calendar person, and whipping girl paid to do a one-man show at a high price. You may yoke the concept of the position into that of a pricey maid, sort of an upgraded modern version of educated head maid you may see in TV period dramas, such as Upstairs and Downstairs, Berkeley Squares, and The Duchess of Duke Street. Accordingly, like a dutiful head maid in a manor house, docile Sally exerts all her efforts to fulfill incredibly hectic demands imposed upon her daily tasks with graceful patience and her very pretty smile.

img_0163“It’s all a mind game, a sort of mental Tetris in which I have to find out a way to accomplish my tasks without being jammed with constantly generating tile blocks to be upgraded to the next level. And I want to win in this game.” Surely, as consciousness is the foundation of the universe, marshaling self-discipline and courage to perform her tasks to the fullest extent possible is the sine qua non of her happy metier. After all, the nature of lawyering turns its practitioner into a professional inquisitor of wickedness of mankind as observed by Arthur Schopenhauer.

 

dare to be an egoist

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Charles Lamb (1755-1834), an English essayist and a clerk in the Accountant’s Department of the East Indies Company, rhapsodized about a solipsistic ritual of mealtime. “Oh, the pleasure of eating my dinner alone!” Seraphina also liked to have lunch by herself. No, she’s not antisocial or misanthropic into the bargain. It’s just that after enduring what with blaring tempers of her lawyer bosses and what with her worldly wayward female co-workers who shared none of her character and interest, a solitary lunchtime was her much-needed lull before the second part of a daily drama or comedy at work. However, these days Seraphina’s lunchtimes had been punctuated by almighty workloads and ceaseless insipid tweets of her co-workers, whereupon Seraphina wrote a letter to Wise Mary for motherly advice and received her heartwarming and feasible reply promptly.

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Dear Seraphina,

What I gather from your account is that you yearn for romantic independence and existential freedom in the sense that this reality of daily life is unbearable to deal with to your introverted self that longs for pure selfhood defined by a proud indifference to social convention, forced socialization. I see your dilemma: whereas professional artists who earn their living by their pictures and letters achieve grace through their oeuvres, you can’t live your life like theirs that seem far-fetched, abstract, and impractical to lead a solipsistic life. Today’s world of hyperactivity and self-promotion has made an outlaw of silence. Hence, the contemporary culture pathologizes sui generis individuality, contriving a perfectly sane person into a classic basket case. Notwithstanding all this public animosity toward your deposition, you can still keep your studied solitude and sovereign independence by keep focusing your creative spirit on your reading and writing and making it as your primary reality, while fulfilling demands placed upon your daily tasks at work as an existential means to your ultimate cause for self-confidence and self-esteem. In this regard, modus vivendi is needful to make your life easier; you compromise your way of life with existential needs of life without losing your personal independence. And think simply and act smartly. Have patience with all things but first of all with yourself. Refrain from anxiety, turn from impatience. Do not fret, for it only leads to trouble. Hope this helps.

Yours in Love,

Wise Mary

fe8e1396fdfe9fd607d647a2fce31842Upon reading this thoughtful and caring reply of advice from Wise Mary, Seraphina’s doldrums were cast away in her emotional course charted in the sea of unknown tomorrows. And her blithe, proud rendering of reclusiveness and independence encapsulated in her refrain of “Let it be me.” She recited that her wallowing egotism and studied aloofness were not toxic traits of punishable narcissism but a manifestation of human nature to glory in the sacredness of solitude to distill things heard, seen, and experienced in the world into her own realm of consciousness to construct a reality of the world from within. Dared to be a proud solipsist, Seraphina would make sure that she would enjoy her lunch alone reading and writing with a cup of coffee no matter what.

three philosophies

images-1Before calling it a day to say hello to a new tomorrow on a hard day’s night, to happen on this comic strip of my all-time favorite Peanuts seems almost too pat. Provident, even. It chimes the bells of my heart and soul that are dented with the shrapnel of existential vertigo in the most impressively elliptical way: that none other than simple tenets of life are needful to live a less stressful life.

As Sally elegantly puts: Life does not end at one fell swoop even if I stumble into an imbroglio of misadventures; any such mistakes or misdeeds betray that to err is human; and that I should not fall into the bottomless pit of worries and anxiousness, for tomorrows are always new with their own unknowns.

What Sally blithely professes strikes the chords of Logotheraphy, a 3rd Viennese school of psychotherapy founded by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl based on existential analysis focusing on ego qua meaningfulness, a purpose of living a meaningful life. With these simple but potent tenets of life in mind, I can say good-bye to this spent day with the alacrity of departure for nightly dreamscapes to rest myself.

Spreading the Word knows no limits

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According to Greek historian Herodotus, there was the Egyptian pharaoh Psamtik I ruling in the 7th century B.C., who was keen on finding humanity’s primal language. Ergo, the inquisitive Pharaoh gave 2 infants to a shepherd to raise and told him not to speak to them because he believed that the first words the children spoke would reveal the Mother Tongue of all of the Human Race. Quite creative, even feasible, but highly abstract; the hypothesis resulted in one of the children’s utterance of the word “bread” in what sounded Phrygian, the language older than Egyptian. Nevertheless, the Pharaoh’s the Up series-like experimentation on human linguistic origin tells us something of a human desire to find anthropological aspects of languages in their origins even before the proverbial Tower of Babel was set about to begin forming.

Here in the States, one does not get bored with a mono language: English (American English, to be precise), Spanish with continental and regional variances, Hindustani, Pakistani, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, French (mostly of former French colonies in Africa), Tagalog, and etc. So the story of Psamtik I’s ambitious experimentation to parse the root of all languages chimes with the cosmopolitan landscape of everyday life. Apropos of a diverse group of languages, Benjamin Franklin, however, seemed not to be in favor of multilingualism in the States in fear of the country’s being disseminated into a variety of different language communities. To Franklin, the importance of English as a unified official language of the States meant a national sovereignty and cultural identity that would bind people living in the States into one cohesive cultural group. In this respect, the English language as an official national language of the U.S. is the sine qua non for a lingual and social unity of a country as much heterogeneous as the States. That said, it is beneficial to know of the lingual root of the English language as well as of the other related language.

One of the most popular Indo-European languages in terms of active speakers, English belongs to the Germanic along with German and Norwegian under the Indo-European lingual branch, which also includes the following groups of language:

  • Indo-Iranian: Persian, Urdu, Bengali, and Romani
  • Greek: belongs to its own family
  • The Italic: Latin and the Romance
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Sir William Jones (1746-1794)

The reader may be surprised by the fact that Persian, Urdu, and Bengali spoken in the Near East Asia and Asia are also a lingual family with English, but according to British jurist and amazing polyglot William Jones in Calcutta, India, Sanskrit, an ancient Indic language, had common ancestry with Greek and Latin because many of the words were similar to those in Greek and Latin. For instance, take the word “Fathera”. The Indo-Eurpean term is pater. Sanskrit is Pitar; in German, Vater; in Latin, Pater; in French, Pere, and in Spanish, Padre. In fact, Jones’s elation of the ancient Indic language in his industrious study of its deep cultural influence as well as lingual traits on the Germanic paved a way to modern comparative linguistics. In terms of the cultural theme of Indo-European cultures, the idea of trinity in aspects of life that are sacred, social, and economic can be traced in the old caste system of India comprised of Brahmans (the Priest), Kshartyas (The noble and the King), and Vaishyas (the Commoner). Likewise, in Greek myth the 3 Fates who are the beginning, the middle, and the end of each mortal’s life and the Holy Trinity of Christianity adumbrate a cultural connection between the continents that look remotely different at a first sight and yet interestingly alike with deeper insight.

To encapsulate, the relationship between language and culture is the sine qua non of human civilization, the inseparable archeological, anthropological, historical, and linguistic artifacts to study the origin of humanity and its misty pasts. The development of languages also relates to an expansion of its influence by means of trade, war, and migration that are still in progress in our time. It is a product of collective enterprise in the form of textual artifact. Otherwise, who would have thought that English, an obscure west Germanic language, would become a modern day lingua franca spoken across the five continents and six oceans? For what it’s worth, T.S. Eliot elegantly summed it all thus: “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”

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