Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fate can be Fickle - Be here now.

Mindfulness has achieved great notoriety of late but the human condition has changed little.

 Be here now.  Awaken to the moment because it is all we really have.

Speed Bump

Good one! 
There is a Scots poem written by Robert Burns in 1785, and was included in the Kilmarnock volume. According to legend, Burns wrote the poem after finding a nest full of mice during the winter.
Robbie Burns talks about the futility of trusting foresight in the face of fickle fate in his note to a mouse:

To a Mouse
, on Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough:
 But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,

And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blessed, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward,
though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

The first stanza of the poem is read by Ian Anderson in the beginning of the 2007 remaster of "One Brown Mouse" by Jethro Tull. Anderson adds the line "But a mouse is a mouse, for all that," at the end of the stanza, which is a reference to another of Burns' songs, "Is There for Honest Poverty", commonly known as "A Man's a Man for A' That".

 My spell checker doesn't like Gaelic...

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,

An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Standard English translation

Small, crafty, cowering, timorous little beast,
O, what a panic is in your little breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With argumentative chatter!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With murdering plough-staff.

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startle
At me, your poor, earth born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not, sometimes, but you may steal;
What then? Poor little beast, you must live!
An odd ear in twenty-four sheaves
Is a small request;
I will get a blessing with what is left,
And never miss it.

Your small house, too, in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are scattering!
And nothing now, to build a new one,
Of coarse grass green!
And bleak December's winds coming,
Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted,
And weary winter coming fast,
And cozy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel plough passed
Out through your cell.

That small bit heap of leaves and stubble,
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out, for all your trouble,
Without house or holding,
To endure the winter's sleety dribble,
And hoar-frost cold.

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

Still you are blessed, compared with me!
The present only touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye,
On prospects dreary!
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear!


A Man's A Man For A' That

Type: Song
Tune: For a' that.
Is there for honest Poverty
That hings his head, an' a' that;
The coward slave-we pass him by,
We dare be poor for a' that!
For a' that, an' a' that.
Our toils obscure an' a' that,
The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,
Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;
A Man's a Man for a' that:
For a' that, and a' that,
Their tinsel show, an' a' that;
The honest man, tho' e'ersae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,
A marquis, duke, an' a' that;
Butan honest man's abon his might,
Gude faith, he maunnafa' that!
For a' that, an' a' that,
Their dignities an' a' that;
The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,
Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,
(As come it will for a' that,)
That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,
Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.


Quotes about FICKLE: http://quotes.dictionary.com/search/fickle
"Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate."
-Emily Dickinson
 Even the most fickle are faithful to a few bad habits.
- Mason Cooley

The passion for money is never fickle.
- Mason Cooley


 Fame is fickle, but Obscurity is usually faithful to the end.
 - Mason Cooley

We are a puny and fickle folk.  Avarice, hesitation, and following are our diseases.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Opinions are formed in a process of open discussion and public debate, and where no opportunity for the forming of opinions exists , there may be moods--moods of the masses and moods of individuals, the latter no less fickle and unreliable than the former--but no opinion.  -- Hannah Arendt

Young men have strong passions and tend to gratify them indiscriminately. Of the bodily desires, it is the sexual by which they ar e most swayed and in which they show absence of control...They are changeable and fickle in their desires which are violent while they last, but quickly over: their impulses are keen but not deep rooted.
-- Aristotle

Only when human sorrows are turned into a toy with glaring colors will baby people become interested--for a while at least.  The people are a very fickle baby that must have new toys every day.   -- Emma Goldman

Gratitude is a fickle thing, indeed. A person taking aim presses the weapon to his chest and cheek, but when he hits, he discards it with indifference.

--Franz Grillparzer

 All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
Praise him.

 -- Gerhard Manley Hopkins

 The whimsicalness of our own humor is a thousand times more fickle and unaccountable than what we blame so much in fortune.

--  François La Rochefoucauld, Duc De

 You know the worst: your wills are fickle,
Your values blurred, your hearts impure

And your past life a ruined church--
But let your poison be your cure.

-  Louis MacNeice

 Oath and anchors equally will drag; nought else abides on fickle earth but unkept promises of joy.    --- Herman Melville

 What is the student but a lover courting a fickle mistress who ever eludes his grasp?

-- Sir William Osler

 Struggling over my fickle heart, love draws it now this
way, and now hate that--but love, I think, is winning. I

will hate, if I have strength; if not, I shall love unwilling.
-- Ovid

  With wavering steps does fickle fortune stray,
Nowhere she finds a firm and fixed abode;

But now all smiles, and now again all frowns,
She's constant only in inconstancy.

- Ovid

 Beneath the sun's rays our shadow is our comrade;
When clouds obscure the sun our shadow flees.

So Fortune's smiles the fickle crowd pursues,
But swift is gone whenever she veils her face.

- Ovid

 To face the garment of rebellion
With some fine color that may please the eye

Of fickle changelings and poor discontents.
Which gape and rub the elbow at the news
Of hurly-burly innovation.
- Shakespeare

God, for wise reasons, has made our affairs in this world, almost as fickle and capricious as ourselves.--Pain and pleasure, like light and darkness, succeed each other; and he that knows how to accommodate himself to their periodical returns, and can wisely extract the good from the evil,--knows only how to live.

-- Laurence  Sterne 

 When you get out on one of those lakes in a canoe like this, you do not forget that you are completely at the mercy of the wind, a nd a fickle power it is. The playful waves may at any time become too rude for you in their sport, and play right over you.
 - Thoreau


[fik-uhl] Show IPA
likely to change, especially due to caprice, irresolution, or instability; casually changeable: fickle weather.
not constant or loyal in affections: a fickle lover.
before 1000; Middle English fikel, Old English ficol  deceitful, akin to fācen  treachery, fician  to deceive, gefic  deception

Related forms
fick·le·ness, noun
un·fick·le, adjective

1. unstable, unsteady, variable, capricious, fitful. 2. inconstant. 1, 2. Fickle, inconstant, capricious, vacillating describe persons or things that are not firm or steady in affection, behavior, opinion, or loyalty.

implies an underlying perversity as a cause for the lack of stability: the fickle seasons, disappointing as often as they delight; once lionized, now rejected by a fickle public. Inconstant suggests an innate disposition to change: an inconstant lover, flitting from affair to affair. Capricious implies unpredictable changeability arising from sudden whim: a capricious administration constantly and inexplicably changing its signals; a capricious and astounding reversal of position. Vacillating means changeable due to lack of resolution or firmness: an indecisive, vacillating leader, apparently incapable of a sustained course of action.
Dictionary.com Unabridged

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