Well, here I am again. Anja is off in the wilderness, making the world safe for our grandchildren, and asked me to put in my mills worth to temporarily fill in. So I am going to regale you with my latest attempt at meditation.
I have been meditating upon a ball of string.
Okay, I know, that sounds a little odd. I didn’t actually mean to, it just happened. You see, part of keeping the wolves away from the door, in these wolf laden times, involves me running a fairly long newspaper route, and as a result I accumulate a lot of three to four foot lengths of string from the paper bundles. I can’t just throw them away, I mean, well, STRING, okay? All right, yes, I COULD throw them away. But it would be wrong. It would be like throwing away rubber bands or paper clips. It’s something that a civilized human just doesn’t do. But all these rescued strands were just accumulating in an unruly wad, because we were running out hanger space for them (Don’t ask, seriously…). So I decided to build a ball of string. I’ve never had my own ball of string before, but it turns out that they are surprisingly easy to make. The big plus, however, was when I realized that as my hands and fingers were busily twisting and wrapping, my mind was wandering off into other activities and thoughts. One of the first things I thought about was how similar strings are to people, some a little shorter, some a little longer, and all of them a little twisted in their own special way. And then I thought of all the times I have been accused of BEING a string, especially when someone wants me to do something that I really don’t want to do, i.e. “Trying to get you to do something is like pushing a string!” You know, I’ll own that one, and I think that “accused” is perhaps the wrong term. An accolade would be better. It’s a matter of preserving ones own agency, against the demands of everyone who want something from you, for you to just be an obedient cog in the machine. So you become a string, harmless, nonviolent, but non-cooperative. I think Ghandi may have had strings in mind when he was forming his ideas on civil disobedience.
But strings are not useless. They are not weak. You just have to know how to deal with them on their own terms. You can’t push them. But you can pull them. Hell, politicians know this, they are constantly pulling strings to get their way. If you want a string to do what it’s best at, you have to pull it. That’s not what our command based authoritarian society wants to do. The ones in charge want to just sit behind their desks and issue orders to everyone else, and then complain about all the strings. That’s not (knot?) how to do it. If you want strings working for you, you have to get out in front, and PULL. When you do that, those soft pliable strings will snap taut and you can build worlds with them, and the more tension you put them under the more they can do, and they will even sing while they are doing it, all in their own note and key.
You have to be a leader.
JFK knew that. FDR knew that. Alexander the Great knew that. And they changed the world.
All that from winding up bits of string into a ball. But it didn’t end there. I noted that although the strings in the ball were soft and pliant, the ball itself had become fairly heavy and solid. What made it hang together? I hadn’t knotted any of the strings to each other. Just a little twist where each string started and ended, but each string retaining it’s own identity. Why didn’t the ball just fall apart? Friction. Friction and tension, as each string interacts with its neighbors. Just like all the friction and tension we experience, and complain about, in our day to day dealing with each other. It’s actually what holds us together, though , it’s stronger than gravity, which I think must be a good thing. It’s better than just laying there in an unsightly tangle. The other option, of course, would be to knot each string to the next one, to remake them all into One String, sacrificing their individuality to the Oneness of the Great Ball. Thanks, but no thanks, I think I can deal with a little friction and tension, and keep my own agency intact.
I have heard it said that you can learn a lot from a dummy. But you can learn a lot from a string, too.
So I guess I will wind up this this thread from Tempus’ Teapot for now. The weather link Anja asked me to add is below…..