Monday, July 7, 2014

Which Tenth Now?



"Ten" is easily said; less easily felt. Pain is most often referred to by a number out of 10 (as if everybody's 3 is the same for a headache, or a backache, or a sprain.) I know my own declarations are with relevance to my own endurance, or experience. A constant unrelenting chronic pain is worth what, a 5? If so, then my constancy varies on either side of the fulcrum of that 5. Standing still after 45 seconds will raise the chronic pain to a 7. After a minute it'll go to a 9, and then my endurance gives in and I simply must lean against something to ease the 10. But if I really have to practice I could make that endurance last longer and longer, until I could withstand say two or perhaps even three minutes of standing unsupported. Will I have upped the bar, raised the measure, created a new 10? So too for the other end of the scale. As we become desensitized our new 1's and 2's may be our old 3's and 4's. Individual strokes for different folks! We each feel and see things so uniquely. One person's 10 for a movie can be another's...

Beauty is like that, a 10 out of 10. Yet a beautifully Rubenesque wife is quite different from a rich man's 'sugar-candy', depending. And Bo Derrick is no Twiggy. That "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is commonly accepted, yet we perpetuate the mythology of a perfect 10, don't we? To me the liveliness in another's eyes is more beautiful than anything seen of wrinkles or hair or vanity. Yet I confess, I will comment on the shape of vehicles (particularly while I'm in the vein of perhaps having to purchase a replacement for my ailing one). Do we not do the same with a lot of things over which we've grown tired? Furniture, houses, bedspreads, dishes, and even our own pets get disowned. Things that one has, having no longer enough of a number value in the order of liveability, like-ability, love-ability, or affordability, are demoted. We eventually can judge, purge, and reduce such once-'loved' things down to a zero. Next? Wheres a perfect 10?

But tens of thousands have suffered in the name of our looking for perfection. Consider these: 


John Wycliffe died in 1384, but 31 years later The Church exhumed his body and burnt his bones! William Tyndale, for his beliefs, was strangled and burnt in 1536 (without That Church giving much evidence of learning from history). Their sins? Both men had translated the bible into English! Wycliffe translated the bible out of Greek and Latin for the common English reading people for the first time; Tyndale improved upon it. (I do not bother here to fill in the particulars; as Einstein said, "I just want to know God's thoughts, the rest are details.") Yet these are but two among the many thousands martyred in the name of living for an ideal, betrayed by an ideal, yet even eventually sanctified by Others for having that same ideal. So too in the great long history of mankind, from Adam through Noah, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, David, and Judas has man found himself the bearer of striving for what he thinks and feels is best. So too for Socrates, and for Galileo. In almost every story of man attempting to persuade, control, and convict others is the measure of opinion and tradition and values held over another's. And yes, not all martyrs were 'men'! Now then, Count to ten before....

Then Ten Commandments are a case in point. Or how about when Pounds, Shillings, and
Pence became decimalized? Dozens of us are still converting values (never mind the bakers of old, ha!) Esoteric and subliminal and clandestine and symbolic cultures continue inculcating the purvey of subtext references and semiotics and even overt gestures that perpetuate ideals beyond our everyday ken. Beauty, and Standards, and even Expectations can have that "what happened to the other 10%?" effect on the report cards of life. Yet perfection is a product so temporary as to be a blink in time; it is the journey that has perfect moments; one's realizations that have sublime insights; and one's feelings that can be appreciated for what they are, however temporarily, as a 10. May our tithes then (that tenth that we tend to give of all (?) the potential in ourselves) be given toward people over product, the journey over the destination, and individual understanding over blanket regulation; or do we but comport ourselves in tenths? 


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