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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year Message

Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski was a Polish-American independent scholar who developed a field called general semantics.  He said, "There are two ways to slide easily through life: to believe everything or disbelieve everything. Both ways save us from thinking." 

I don't know if I believe that. 
 
I am of an age when it is most appealing to seek paths of least resistance. Unfortunately, this sometimes causes all my thoughts to slide right out my head. This makes me chuckle idiotically while those who love me smile a special smile that says, "Don't be alarmed; he has become an imbecile --it will pass."

There has to be some resistance or I'd be a full-time chuckle-head. But I am an admirer of Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski because he'd have to be very smart just to learn to spell his name. Then he fell out of my head so I turned to Norma and asked her to take a photo for me.

"Of what?"

"Anything."

She went into her workroom and took a Normaphoto of her radio:

Yes, we are having daffodils. They will follow rain and sunshine here even when it is quite cold out. They blossom in resistance. They have no brains. But I turned on the radio and heard an old song by someone who does. The old singer not only has brains but the gift of one of the prettiest voices in the world. The song, which he wrote, expresses perfectly the faith, hope and uncertainty that attends my still inaccessible thoughts about the new year. Listen:

                                                         [Gordon Lighfoot, "Too Late For Prayin'"]
And I guess that nails it. No matter what the sphygmomanometer around my head says my IQ is at the moment, I recognize the past five or six years have accomplished a hope. I began retirement in 2009 and hoped I could spend it in the company of good minds. With the kindness and encouragement of you, my blogging accomplices, I have done and hope to keep doing precisely that. So my message is, THANKS.






32 comments:

  1. Happy New Year and thanks for the chuckles.

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  2. I retired in 2010. I've done mostly freelance writing and some web work until late this year. My wife and I want to go to Europe this coming fall and didn't want to take the money from savings, so I took a part-time job to generate the funds. I love this work too. It's helping people 50 and older to find work.

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    1. Best speed to Europe, Rick, and the work you're doing to finance it is very much needed in this era of jeunism --we do tend to get marginalized.

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  3. Dear Geo.,
    thank you for this beautiful post, and Happy New Year to you and your beloved ones!
    Norma and you are a beautiful couple, and her photos as exquisite as ever.
    Though I am of a very trusting nature (really, I believe a lot for a very long time) I confess that I looked Alfred Habdank Skarbek Korzybski up, I couldn't believe in his second first name (is that possible? a second first name? Hab Dank für eine Antwort). But he exists, and like the pronunciation of my just learned syllable Italian "gli" it makes me chuckle too. (I often chuckle to myself - I revel in it. You know the quote: "Life is a tragedy to those who feel, a comedy to those who think." I think we need a bit of both, thinking and feeling... And resistance is good too - everything that makes us move instead of atrophy.
    A love the song, thank you for that too!

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    1. Dear Brigitta,
      You have certainly got farther than I in decoding Mr. Korzybski's name --perhaps farther than he got too.

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  4. Happy New Year, Geo. I am a Gordon Lightfoot fan, too, but I was not familiar with this song. Thanks for sharing it. I am surprised your sphygmomanometer doesn't break from the weight of your IQ.

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    1. Thanks, Chicken. The song is from the '70s and Lightfoot still performs it in his 70s. Time and heart surgery have been unkind to his voice but it is still impressive.

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  5. Happy 2015, highly-esteemed Geo.

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  6. Good minds are few and far between - - but anyone who can spell sphygmomanometer and use It properly in a sentence is damned impressive in my book. Thanks for always providing me with ample smiles and previously unknown things that tax my weary brain and give it a good workout.
    My very best to you and Norma for a delightful 2015.

    Did I actually say "2015"?? My God, it sounds like something out of science fiction.
    Mentally (alas, not physically) I'm still trapped in the 1960's.

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    1. Jon, I remember re-reading Clarke's "2001, A Space Odyssey" in 2001 and thinking, gee we're running behind. That feeling lingers around most futurist writings of our birth-century.

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  7. I have been enjoying learning about you and your mind. I must ask... is the pitcher being used as a vase in the picture a new one or a very old one? It is captivating.

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    1. Ah, yes a favorite vase. It was painted and glazed by our daughter 20 years ago when she was a kid. A local ceramics shop held classes.

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  8. Happy New Year.
    Thank you for yet another post which encourages both of my brain cells to take a little exercise. And for the smiles. Which are always welcome...

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    1. Happy new year to you too! Your smile is most welcome here, EC.

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  9. I'm with you on that. I don't think I believe professor Korzybski either. The daffodil arrangement is beautiful and so it he sentiment of your New Years message.
    Thanks to you too!

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    1. My pleasure, Tom. Let's explore this future.

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  10. And we are all enriched by your thoughtful musing as well. Happy New Year, fellow traveler!

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    1. Thank you, Squid. I wish I was a better traveler --appointment in San Francisco Monday and I have no Idea where I can park.

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  11. You are the Best, Geo.
    Really a joy to know you!
    I truly enjoyed this post!
    And such a great shot of you and Norma,
    Happy New Year .....

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    1. So glad you liked [Davidphoto] from visiting son. My smile is not so pretty as Norma's, yours or Little Rose's but I think it compares favorably with Jake's. My best wishes to you all.

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  12. Not sure I agree with AHSK's words either. I was blessed with a mind that works more on logic than common sense or intelligence, and so far it has served me quite well. I have hardly ever had fights after expressing my views, nor have I ever considered myself faultless. Accepting the wise words of others is dangerous. Every question/situation/problem should be assessed on its own merits; which I hope is how I approached AHSK's statement above.

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    1. As a pacifist, I too have a fondness for logic. It does not destroy what seems to make no sense so much as dismiss it, without fuss or drama but with the retentive allowance that it might someday be useful.

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  13. Hi Geo - Happy New Year to you both and to the family ,, and, yes your son did you proud ... Yup Norma's is prettier .. but I prefer the handsome ones?! Cheers and all the very best in 2015 - Hilary

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    1. Thanks, Hilary. I think we all look our best when looking at someone we love.

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  14. A lovely photo of you and Norma...Happy New Year to you both.

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    1. Delores, our best wishes to you too!

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  15. I hope you have a wonderful 2015 Geo. Great post. I'd never heard of Alfred Habdank Etc., but I agree he must be fairly intelligent to be able to spell his name -- or else be very good at memorization. The pictures are beautiful! I'm going on 49, and I admit that I'd like to be follow the paths of least resistance in my life, but some of my paths still have barriers up that I have to push against or scramble over -- or, if not barriers, at least the odd troublesome root or two.

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    1. Thanks, Lori. Discovered Mr. Etc. while solving a cryptoquote sometime back and found a brief study of his work quite rewarding. Yes, there are inevitable obstacles in our paths, which is why I carry a flashlight when the light's bad in my brain.

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