The Curious Mind

I Believe

I believe:

Life is a mirror with two faces.  One is Futility and the other is Distraction.  The only importance in life is living on the edge between the two, the creation of Beauty.

Futility, because we understand that we are going to die.  Distraction, which is the pursuit of activities to relieve us of the feeling of Futility.  Religion serves the same purpose, in a different way.  But those who believe that there aren’t any gods or if there are, they are not interested in the lives of each man and that there is no afterlife, are not given that different way. (Epicurious expressed this philosophy way before the time of Christ.)

(I’m an agnostic, not an atheist, because I can’t figure out how there could be nothing, and then there could be something, even if it was a quark.  Unless of course you believe there has been something for all eternity.  That’s too long a time for me.)

Beauty is true in all its definitions, whether composing a great symphony or giving love.  Doing good in particulars, as Blake admonished.  Being a real friend.

Only the creation of beauty can create happiness.  Not power, rank or wealth.  Or even sanctity, unless it is humanistic.

So, in fact, the religious and non-religious do come together in modern Christians and Jews, and in non-believers who focus on being good people, even though their motivation may be different.  Or perhaps they are not so different.  Some years ago, I told a Rabbi that I had difficulty believing in God.  He said, he understood, but perhaps God was the good in each of us.  That is the creation of Beauty.

A White Elephant

Have I got a white elephant:

A white elephant is a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. The term derives from the story that the kings of Siam, now Thailand, were accustomed to make a present of one of these animals to courtiers who had rendered themselves obnoxious, in order to ruin the recipient by the cost of its maintenance. In modern usage, it is an object, scheme, business venture, facility, etc., considered without use or value.

The term derives from the sacred white elephants kept by Southeast Asian monarchs in Burma, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.[2] To possess a white elephant was regarded (and is still regarded in Thailand and Burma) as a sign that the monarch reigned with justice and power, and that the kingdom was blessed with peace and prosperity. The opulence expected of anyone that owned a beast of such stature was great. Monarchs often exemplified their possession of white elephants in their formal titles (e.g., Hsinbyushin, lit. “Lord of the White Elephant” and the third monarch of the Konbaung dynasty).[3]

My Best Interest

     Everyone, does everything, whether good or bad, in (his) own perceived (whether conscious or subconscious) short-term or long-term best interest, with very few exceptions.

     David Gersh

This statement of what I believe gives me an insight into other peoples behavior and helps me deal with them, has caused a lot of controversy with my friends.  Join in.

People give money to a poor person because it makes them feel good, or moral, if you wish.  They are angry because it is the best way for them at the time.  They do a good job, although they hate it, because they like to eat.

The exceptions have to do with throwing yourself under a bus to save a child or the like.

Anytime the intellect gets involved in making a decision, subconsciously the mind is trying to figure out what is best.  The decision is not always correct, but you can be more effective in dealing with people, in phrasing requests, to appeal to the behavior, sometimes subtly.

Cut of its jib


A sharp-eyed lookout on the top of the main-mast of a British warship could see 12 miles on a clear day.  Before the unknown ship was hull-up on the horizon, he could see its sails from another two miles away.

An experienced seaman could tell from the cut and joining of the sails the origin of the vessel because each country made and joined sails differently in order to achieve the greatest power.  The lookout could tell a vessel by the “cut of its jib.”



I never want to be at loggerheads with my friends, but it occurs to me, as so often, I don’t know what I’m talking about.  So I found out:

‘At loggerheads’ is of UK origin. The singular ‘loggerhead’ occurs as a name in several contexts – as a species of turtle, a bird and as a place name. Originally, a loggerhead was none of these but was used with the meaning of ‘a stupid person – a blockhead’. Shakespeare used it that way in Love’s Labours Lost, 1588:
“Ah you whoreson logger-head, you were borne to doe me shame.”
A ‘logger-head’ was literally a ‘block-head’. A logger was a thick block of timber which was fastened to a horse’s leg to prevent it from running away. In the 17th century, a loggerhead was also recorded as ‘an iron instrument with a long handle used for melting pitch and for heating liquids.’ It is likely that the use of these tools as weapons was what was being referred to when rivals were first said to be ‘at loggerheads’.

Doubting Thomas


Are you a Doubting Thomas?  Well bless you.  Here is why:

A Doubting Thomas is a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience—a reference to the Apostle Thomas, who refused to believe that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles, until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross.



When a military officer changes out of uniform into civilian clothes, he is in “mufti.”  But a mufti is a muslim scholar.  So, why?

Mufti  has been used by the British Army since 1816 and is thought to derive from the vaguely Eastern style dressing gowns and tasselled caps worn by off-duty officers in the early 19th century. Yule and Burnell’s Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive (1886) notes that the word was “perhaps originally applied to the attire of dressing-gown, smoking-cap, and slippers, which was like the Oriental dress of the Mufti,”

Dorothy Parker


And now Dorothy Parker:

“If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.”

“I can only drink two martinis.  If I drink three, I’m under the table.  If I drink four, I’m under the host.”

“This is not a book to be cast aside lightly.  It should be thrown with great force.”



I never really look at the term “bellwether,” beyond thinking it had to do with the weather. Wrong!

A bellwether is one that leads or indicates trends. The term is derived from the Middle English bellewether and refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram (a wether) leading his flock of sheep.