Friday, August 27, 2010

What would Sherlock have done?

"I observe that there is a good deal of German music on the programme, which is rather more to my taste than Italian or French. It is introspective, and I want to introspect."

Sherlock Holmes in "The Red Headed League"
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes has been in and on my mind the past few days. Periodically, I will read a half-dozen or so short stories regaling the adventures of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's premiere private investigator. This, I have been doing once again. They seem to clear my mind. In the photograph are David Burke, portraying Dr. John Watson, Jeremy Brett, playing Sherlock Holmes, and Jeremy Kemp, in the role of Dr. Grimesby Roylett, as they appear in the Granada Television production of "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." For those who appreciate authenticity and period material in films, note the sketch of "Chinese Gordon" on the wall behind the actors. General Charles George Gordon was the General David Petraeus of his era, and a national hero in Britain during the time of Holmes. Incidentally, he was killed in a 19th Century version of a holy war conducted by the Islamic Muslims against the West. Some things never seem to change.

Personally, I do not believe in "bliss"

Do peace of mind, happiness, contentment and even -- in the words of philosopher Joseph Campbell -- "bliss" exist deeply within each of us, or are these things to be found through external elements as in a place or through another person? (A discussion of Campbell's concept of "bliss" would make for an interesting post someday, I think.)

It has been my opinion that most people (perhaps, all people) who claim to have found peace of mind, happiness, contentment and their "bliss" either are liars or self-delusional. I could be wrong, but this is what I think. (Incidentally, Holmes more-or-less agrees with that.)

For myself, I know that something is missing in my life and, almost certainly, that ingredient is something within myself that I have lost or, possibly, has always been entirely missing from me. But, that is only part of the equation, I think, because I believe I must find the "right place" and the "right person" to bring out and to nurture that missing, internal element.

Yet, in the same breath, the longer I live, the less I believe there is such a place as the "right place." Maybe, not even the "right person."

I think that I could live in Warsaw or Firenze or Minneapolis or you name the metropolitan place for part of the year, but, maybe, then drift for a portion of the year and then, for sure, be near the woodlands of America for some of the year. I cannot understand why that is so difficult for anyone to accept or to believe.

Although if there were no such thing as the legend of the Holy Grail and an innate, insatiable desire among some men and women to find it, what fun would life be for them? Still, I do not believe in either a Holy Grail or in bliss. I suppose that is a paradox and self-defeating, and makes all pursuit trivial.

Ah, well …. the show must go on, just as I sometimes ramble on and on and on and on ....

The days dwindle rapidly now

On Monday or Tuesday, I will be gone from this townhouse, never to return. I am certain I will have a few memories of my nearly four months here, but no memorable memories.

When I rented this townhouse, I actually had hope I might be joined here for the summer while I sorted through my personal possessions, took care of unfinished business, got my affairs in order (that line sounds like something out of Sherlock Holmes, does it not?) and, together, plotted a course for the future. Obviously, that did not happen. Wishful thinking, but what is life other than a story of victories and defeats. So, here I am, three or four days away from going somewhere and still undecided where that somewhere will be.

There is a lake about twenty-five miles away where I have lived twice in the past, for about two years on each occasion. I looked at a house for rent at the lake a few weeks ago, but decided against it because I would have been locked into a lease through the end of next May. Too, too long, for me. I will be looking at another house at the lake in a day or two for which the owner said she would be willing to negotiate the length of a lease. We shall see.

I really would prefer to perch for another two or three months than to be on the road traveling with no goal or objective in mind. That would be like firing a rifle into the air and hoping the bullet hits something. I want to have specific targets in mind when I fire off my rounds.

I am laughing, though. This episode has a great deal of comic relief to it. Some few of you might know that I received my bachelor's and master's degrees here in Mankato. Several years ago, after being absent from "here" four months, I returned to resume by classes. I came into town cold (figuratively speaking, although it could have been literally as well) in January, with the temperature well below zero and no place to stay. I was preparing to spend the night in my car when I ran into a friend, who took me to his home (his parents' home, actually) and they put me up until I was able to rent an apartment.

Now, history sort of is repeating itself, except it is hot and humid and I am on my way out of town rather than arriving. The next few days will be like putting the proverbial monkey at the keyboard and waiting to see what sort of story emerges.

Yes, we most certainly shall see.


Kaya said...

Fram, I can't believe that you mentioned Holmes. He is my favorite spiritual philosopher. And his book "Science of Mind" is my favorite book.

I don't believe in bliss also. I think that to a certain degree you are maximalist. I think that there is no such thing as the right place and the right person. The right place and the right person is an illusion. I do believe that you can make any place the right place if you have right attitude. I do believe if you love unconditionally you will see the people in different light. I do not believe that love vanishes instantly, it dies hard.

That is the most powerful, amazing and controversial post I have ever read. And the most interesting....

TheChicGeek said...

Hey there, Fram :)
I have the entire collection of Sherlock Holmes movies on DVD...collector's edition :) Am I cool or what!
There is something comforting about them to me...not sure what it is. Maybe they remind me of good times watching them when I was young.

I don't believe we find our bliss in a place or a person. We must first find it within ourselves. Places may crumble and people often come and go, but we will always have ourselves, be with our own self. When we find contentment in that oneness, in that solitude, then I believe we are truly ready to move beyond ourselves and make meaningful and lasting connections with others. It's more about being the right person, and like Kaya says above, loving unconditionally that we will find that bliss. I don't believe bliss is perfect's kind of about just living in the moment, accepting things we cannot change, changing those we peacefully in the midst of imperfectness. Wherever you are, embrace in that moment and appreciate even the smallest of things and happiness will come to you...this is what I believe.

Your post makes me feel a little sad, Fram. I wish for you all these good things.

I love the Brahms Symphony pretty, and the video is magical. When I see such natural beauty I always feel grounded and connected to me, you know, the real me, the girl inside me.

Look to the man deep inside yourself and love him just as he is...he is funny and smart and he is beautiful. This, I believe, is true.

Fram Actual said...

Your Holmes and my Holmes are two different men, Kaya. Your man is a teacher, mine is a fictional detective. No doubt, the language difference played a role in this uncertainty. Beyond that, thank you, very much, for the kind words.

We are agreeing on the "right place" and the "right person" concept, I think. You use the word illusion, while I use the word delusion. I suppose the difference is whether you are looking at someone or you the one being looked at by another.

I have a difficult time with the word, "love." I am not even certain I believe in it anymore.

I do not mean distinguishing between love for a companion and love for a child and love for a sibling. I mean simply and only in terms of the love a man has for a woman or a woman for a man.

Personally, I do not recognize the word "love" in terms of a man for a man or a woman for a woman. I could differentiate the concepts of my reasoning if there were reason to do so, but the shallow among us would not care anyway. They could not and would not see beyond the end of their own nose.

Not long ago, I wrote that the word "love" is now being tossed around like it actually means nothing. I love apple pie. I love you, although I do not know you other than on the internet. I love this actor or that singer. I love my puppy. I love Smith & Wesson revolvers.

How does one measure the use of the word "love" in this context when compared to the love a man and a woman have for each other? People either speak without thinking or no longer know what actual love is and how to give it or to receive it.

This is getting sort of lengthy. I will write another comment about your comment tomorrow (or, later today, depending upon where each of us resides).

Thank you, Kaya, for being introspective.

TheChicGeek said...

PS: It's good to love, Fram. Maybe we throw the word around because there are all kinds of love to be experienced. I am a romantic...Loving and expressing love are always a good, good choice.
How's that for love, Mister! :)

Fram Actual said...

Kelly, the surfer girl .... you surprised me with your sudden appearance.

I will respond to your comments later today/tomorrow or, maybe, in a while, depending on how long I stay awake and alert tonight. Right now, I long for a bit of Benedictine (maybe, the entire bottle) to settle my soul, my conscience and my nerves. I took a lady out for dinner tonight -- a friend and companion from a former incarnation. It is her birthday. Life is nice when you can part as friends.

Fram Actual said...

Kaya, the introspective .... here is Part 2 of my response ....

My own experience is that there is no such thing as lasting, unconditional love. How does a woman stay forever with a man who beats her? How does man stay forever with a woman who drinks herself into absolute oblivion whenever she feels stress? To live under such situations is unconditional love, maybe, by some definitions, but, I believe, to remain in such a relationship is to be the most foolish of fools. I think I might define that as obsession with another or dependency on another, rather than love for another.

As for love dying hard or vanishing instantly, I think love -- even after a relationship is finished -- might last for months or years or even decades, but when it ends, it dies in an instant, in an explosion.

For instance, we love each other but have problems. We separate. Despite our differences, our love lingers. But, a year later, I see you in a restaurant with another man. For me, that is the moment my love vanishes and will never, ever return. Or, it might be that during an argument I say something mean to you that penetrates you to your soul. That is the instant your love for me vanishes forever. This is what I think.

All right. If I did not respond to any of your thoughts adequately, please, tell me.

And,thank you, again, Kaya, for being so daring as actually to express your feelings and thoughts. It is amazing to me how many people are afraid to be themselves.

Love is an exchange of souls, not the selling of souls .... you may quote me .... just teasing, but it is true, I believe ....

Fram Actual said...

Off the top, Kelly, yes, you are cool, with or without Sherlock, you are cool ....

Next, I am not certain "bliss," or whatever term we should use, is something that could ever be found within me. Different people have different talents or abilities or strengths. I can hunt down anything on Earth, but can I live without a hand to hold or a smile which reflects genuine love? Maybe, but I am not certain, and I do not want to be that way even if I could survive that way.

Can I love unconditionally? It depends. I have stayed with a woman who had cancer and cared for her, but can I stay with a drunk or a drug addict .... no, that is too unconditional for me .... maybe once upon a time, but not now.

I hope you were not left up in the air regarding my comments about love, Kelly. It is that the word has lost much of its meaning to me.

There once were other words: Friend, best friend, like you, like you a lot, think the world of you, think you are wonderful, like you better than anyone else I know, want to be with you, make me feel good being with you ....

These and other words and expressions suddenly have become one word = love. How is one to know what love is or what the word means anymore?

You know a bit of my history. Once, I carried a man over my back for a few miles to get him to a place he would be safe. I cared for him, but I did not love him according to my interpretation of the word love. No way. He was a friend, and I liked him and I risked my own life to save his -- but, did I love him? No. No way.

A few weeks ago, I used an analogy regarding the word actor. Somewhere along the line, that word was not enough, so the word "star" was born -- probably, among public relations types. Then came the "super star." Now, it seems, anyone who ever had made a film is a super star no matter how good or bad they might actually be at their craft.

Part of this, with me, no doubt, is my background. As a once-upon-a-time journalist, words should have precise, distinguishable meaning to my way of thinking. This is so there is no misunderstanding, no confusion.

Now, next. I know you pretty well, Kelly, and I know you toss the word "love" around meaning different things in regard to different people. It works for you; it does not work for me.

So what? As long as two people know how the other thinks and operates and feels, so what? This means, to me, that if you would see me write to someone, "I love you," you might need to question me because you understand my meaning of the word. If I see you write to someone, "Love, kisses and hugs," all I need to do is to remember that this is Kelly being Kelly, for sure.

Sometimes, though, what troubles me is that not everyone knows how I think and not everyone knows how you think.

I really do appreciate your thoughts and your advice, Kelly, but do not forget there always will be a Don Quixote or a Galahad or a Perceval or a Fram searching (probably in vain) for something missing inside of themselves. Just give us a smile now and then, and everything will work itself out ....

Now, I am tired and ready for sleep .... take care ....

Kaya said...

Fram, I feel stupid right now about Holmes. I should read more carefully. I always get in some stupid situations because of my language.

You inspired me to start another philosophical blog. I try to stay strong not to open it because it will be my third attempt to write a "thoughtful" blog and not get bored with it. You brought so many interesting topics which excite almost everybody. How you can do it? It's a mystery for me. I didn't understand what the expression "the powerful blogger" meant, it was just a kind of myth to me. I am getting it right now when I read you posts and people's comments. You made this blog kind of forum of many opinions and thoughts. Wow!!!

About video. Brams is my favorite composer. Actually, there are a few of them, Bach, Brams and Vivaldi.... I didn't listen to the symphony #3 for a long time, just too many memories. Today in the morning I finally gave up and found out that all memories associated with this music are gone. Good.

TheChicGeek said...

Thank you, Fram :)

I believe perhaps your definitions of love and bliss are more in line with the ancients.

Bliss...a state of extreme happiness, and in the Old English definition, joyful.

You are right that different people have different strengths and abilities. Some people are not capable of fully loving another...Our life experience forms our longings, and our life experiences can get in the way of our being free within our deepest self to let go and love, to take a chance, to be vulnerable.

The American definition or modern definition of love is a strong positive emotion of regard and affection, kinship or personal ties. I believe we can express that kind of feeling to someone we've never met personally.

The Ancient Greeks describe love as Agape, a selfless love of one person for another without sexual implications...something more spiritual in nature. When you carried the injured man, you were expressing agape love through your weren't receiving anything from him for doing was a selfless act of love for a human being, for the sancity of life itself. You were also demonstrating Philia love through your loyalty in protecting this man, helping him to safety. Philia love is general love, a virtuous love, loyalty to friends, family and community.

Now, Eros....that's the the one that gets us in trouble, isn't it? Eros is a passionate love, love with an appreciation of beauty of a person, who they are inside, and also the more physical love of beauty itself. Eros love is sensual, is desirous and longing, more intimate. An Eros love does not have to be physical but I believe it usually is. One more thing.....I'm too long today...LOL

TheChicGeek said...

I believe also that unconditional love does have boundaries. Unconditional love is also more spiritual in nature...We can love a person, wish the best for them, and yet not live with them in our daily life. We embrace them as a person, exactly as we find them, but we respect ourselves enough, love ourselves enough not to allow ourselves to become entangled or co-dependent.

As for me, if I physically in your presence, or if I am making love to you and I tell you "I love You," you can be sure that LOVE encompasses all of these is personal, it is special, spiritual, selfless, loyal, it is eros love, and it is reserved only for you.
That kind of love is the hardest to find and the hardest to keep.

I understand what you are saying though about love, and it is often or the other party often wants a different type of love than the other is willing or capable of giving. So what is the answer? Do we always have to say, hello, I send you agape love, I send you philia, eros or just plain and simple love.

Only when we are in the physical presence of another will we really know what type of love we hold for them. It is easy to fool ourselves...especially when we allow passions and fantasies, our dreams and longings to take front seat to reality. We just don't know if our love is real and lasting until it happens. Time is the great teller of all, healer of all...

So Fram, I send you some agape and philia love and appreciation for who you are, just as you are. You are so very special in so many ways.
And now I will smile at you as I depart :)
Have a Joyful, Happy, and yes, Blissful weekend!


TheChicGeek said...

PS: Was that precise enough for He who tells Pretty Stories?????

Off I run now....for real :)

Bella said...


Came across your blog and read your entry with interest; you make some excellent points :)

Since you mention liking Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and the Granada series with Jeremy Brett, I thought you might find this website interesting:

Fram Actual said...

Kaya, anyone who knows two languages (or more) as you obviously do has at least two times the talent and the intelligence that I do. I repeat one of my "oft-said" phrases: Effective communication is the most difficult task in the world.

I am glad you are beginning another blog to express your thoughts, beliefs and feelings. So, I will give you another of my "oft-said" comments: Write for yourself, without expectations of anyone else reading it. If someone else does read it, so much the better. If someone actually makes a comment, you have arrived at the first stage of nirvana.

An illustration about myself: I enjoy watching football games, but once the game is over, I could care less about the players or the statistics or who will win next week's games. I want to talk about how people think and feel. I want to learn about what people believe and why they believe what they do. I want to know what makes you happy and sad and angry. This is what curiosity should revolve around, I think, knowing and understanding myself and the people around me. I want to understand life, if it is possible to do so.

I am happy you are free to enjoy Brahms again. None of us can escape our past and the memories from it, but if the memories that cause fear or sadness can be made secondary by new, positive experiences, then a person will be able to prosper and to live for today rather than think about yesterday.

Yes, good, Kaya. Very good.

Fram Actual said...

Kelly, I have been brain dead for three or four days now, so it is taking me a while to focus on coherent statements. And, now, you come along and are making me think. That simply is not fair.

Anyway, we, who are among the ancients, salute you. By the way, we Old Norse were mercenaries for and against the Old Mediterraneans (and others). They talked about love. We talked about .... well, never mind. But, look into the Varangian Guard or the Druzhina of the Rus or the Hird among the Norwegians sometime you are in the mood for browsing. (See, I told you I was brain dead right now.)

To be serious for a moment, it is impossible for me to make an adequate response to your comments. They were articulate and beautiful at the same instant. You have been thinking and feeling and sensing in the same breath. I believe every experience in your life has gathered itself within you to understand and to define actual love. You seem to have reached a hilltop where you can see far beyond what most of us ever will be capable of reaching.

Yes, that was precise enough, Kelly. It was sort of a magnum opus, and I am being serious. I think you truly are a magic girl.

The next few days will be strange days for me. I need to absorb a few things, and to decide whether or not I will go to the lake for a month or two -- the nearby lake, not Gitche Gumee.

How is everyone, by the way? I miss not hearing (reading) about them.

Fram Actual said...

Thank you, for the visit, Bella. That is a very beautiful name you have, I think. I have thought so since I was a child.

Well, one of my points would be that I think Jeremy Brett presented the finest portrayal of Sherlock Holmes whether measured on stage, screen or television. His final, so brief, appearance in the series was a most appropriate gesture to Brett's genius for the part.

From him: Well, done, Watson.

From all of us: Yes, well done, Holmes.

And, yes, I will check your site regularly.

TheChicGeek said...

Hello :)
My magnum opus...ahhh, I am smiling. I curtsy to you and the Ancients.
Thank you...

My baby, Angus jumped out of the convertible today while I was driving! He's okay, just cut his foot but it was very scary. I thought I ran him over because his leash was pulling to the back tires and he didn't make a sound when I screamed for him! He bled all over the leather seats too! My car looks as though a murder has taken place inside it! I must tie him in better when driving. We had quite the adventure today.

I hope you are finding clarity and direction through your meditations this weekend. I wish for you that only good and right decisions will come to your mind. A cabin on a lake sounds simply, beautiful....

Love from Magic Girl...LOL :)

PS: Do I need to be specific again???? :)

Fram Actual said...

Well, I suggest you sit Angus down and have a serious talk with him. Tell him you understand that he is a man and that men sometimes do stupid things, but you are not going to tolerate these little kid stunts from him. He probably learned his lesson, though. A scary moment, I am sure.

It probably would be a good idea to take a couple of photographs of your bloody car seats and show them to Angus whenever he starts getting too cocky. Sorry, now I am teasing ....

By the way, I once had a German Sheppard I named Argus. Refer to Greek mythology, if you are curious.

I think some of your questions/thoughts were answered in tonight's post.

No, Kelly, you are specific enough. See you around ....

TheChicGeek said...

Well, Fram, you know what they say, "Can't teach an old dog new tricks." I think the first spotting of green grass and Old Angus will be trying his acrobatic talents again...LOL
But then, that's Angus. He likes his excitement and adventure...good for Angus, but from my perspective, I think I best keep him on a tight leash! LOL

What did Angus do in Greek mythology? You will have to send me a link for a story. I would like that :)

Fram Actual said...

Well, Kelly, it has been a long time. I will use that as my excuse for my memory lapse.

I wrote "Argus" as the name of my German Sheppard, not "Angus." I meant to point out that the names were similar, not identical. But, I was in error anyway. Argus is a name often found in Greek mythology, but I named my dog "Argos," which was the name of the dog owned by Odysseus and which still recognized him after twenty years of separation.

Yes, all guys need to be kept on a tight leash.

Something special ....