juliespeaks

The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.

THEM AND US

THEM AND US

When I first began this blog I promised there would be no discussion of politics.  Aside from voting I have no interest in politics. This is as close as I’ll come to that subject.

It never ceases to amaze me how much different various cultures are. I once visited the Asian Museum in Golden Gate Park and left with the distinct impression that the Japanese were a peaceful people and the Chinese were militaristic. (Don’t ask me how that squares with the existence of Kamikaze pilots.) It’s unfair to draw such a conclusion but that is the impression the exhibits create.

I’m not a student of the culture of any country but I’m a bit envious of some which prioritize ideas and philosophies far different from those of the citizens of this country.  I continually ask myself why we have not incorporated some of those ideas into our lifestyle.

A partial answer might be that, compared to cultures with centuries of traditions, Americans are infants on the cultural stage. From the start our philosophy has been one that says “Work hard and pull yourself up by your bootstraps and hurry up and do it now.”  Of course there’s more: there’s respect for freedom, a willingness to help the downtrodden.  But there isn’t much in the way of being spiritually conscious. By spiritually I do not mean religiously. I mean an awareness of, and appreciation for, those things that nourish the soul: love, beauty, friendship.

Look at the ancient Greek respect for beauty; the Indians respect for nature; the tranquility prized in Japan; the French high regard for food and the way in which it is eaten – all unmatched in America.  The manner in which food is presented in a Thai restaurant reflects a consciousness of beauty not seen in most American restaurants.  A Japanese garden is tranquil; conducive to relaxation and, introspection.  How many places do you know of that invite you to sit, absorb the beauty of nature and think?

When my children were growing up I wanted to regularly take them to the opera, a symphony, a ballet, but the cost of four tickets was prohibitive.  Not so in some European countries where the arts are subsidized and tickets are close to gratis.America is far wealthier than some of those countries so if they can do that, why can’t we?

If I compare the architecture of a Buddhist temple with a cathedral in New York, or Chicago or San Francisco it seems to me the Buddhist temple says “Come in. Seek greater peace and tranquility.” The cathedral says, “Look at how grand and magnificent I am.”

We sit down to dinner, often made from frozen foods or carry-out, gobble it up in  ten minutes and rush off to a Little League game or plop in front of the TV for hours of mind-numbing ‘entertainment.’  An Italian family sits down to a dinner of five, home-made, courses and spends two or more hours enjoying their meal and the interaction between family members.

When the Japanese Shoguns were overthrownJapansent delegates throughout the world to study the educational, economic, welfare, health care and political systems of other countries.  Its goals were to emulate the best of the lot. They were smart enough to be willing to learn from others. Has the U .S. ever done anything comparable? Isn’t it possible the health care system of Sweden or Poland or any other country is better than ours?  Could it be that if we emulated the educational system of Russia or China our kids might not score lower academically than the kids in half a dozen other civilized countries?

Israel, like America, is a nation of immigrants. Most of those immigrants are taught Hebrew and become independent and self-supporting within six months or less.  We, on the other hand, find ourselves facing numerous problems occasioned by those who do not speak and read English.  Why? Israel’s methodology isn’t a state secret: it’s not written in code.

This you may not believe. There are some remote South Pacific islands where it is common practice to hire an older woman to introduce a young man to sex.  WHAT?  That’s right. Betcha ten bucks those boys become lovers par excellence.  That is not something to easily dismiss. Is there something to be learned from that practice?

I really don’t care who our next President will be but I’d be grateful if he or she was someone who did not wear blinders: someone who recognized we could learn from others and did something about it.

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Julie Rose

julierose601@gmail.com

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LONELY HEARTS

LONELY HEARTS

Soon I will move to a different apartment..  My goal is to pack at least one box a day and today was book day.  I’ve already recycled a dozen or more and as I began to pack the rest I had to pause a minute when I uncovered The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.” (Carson McCruthers, 1981, Bantam paperback), one of those I haven’t yet read. Thinking about the title alone nearly brought tears to my eyes and, despite excellent reviews,  I’m not certain I want to open the book and travel into the depths of spiritual isolation the author portrays.

With a grin on my face I thought about the personal ads found in most newspapers  – the voices of those lonely hearts hunting.  How lonely does one have to be to resort to those ads?  Some are honest and heartfelt, some desperate, and some amusing.  Does the lonely hunter ever find the heart that beats in tune with his; the mind that operates on the same train track; the feet that march to his cadence?

These lonely hearts attempted to be serious –

  • …a friend to have fun with, to kiss to love to cuttle all the good thins in live….(Back to first grade and spelling lessons for you kiddo)
  • Looking for a man who is Genuine and tells the truth…a real Country gentleman between the ages of 54 and 60 — (Must  he wear a tam and carry a walking stick as well?)
  • …I look great in jeans, have great legs …I love being pursued and captured… (Place this ad in ‘Field and Stream’ but stay away from the NRA.)
  • Sensitive male seeks dominant female with extensive knowledge of  knots. (Go  to the closest marina buddy!)

These gave humor a shot –

  • Single, attractive, self-absorbed woman, 34, seeks to save money by spending yours. (Listen up ladyhonesty is one thing – idiocy another.)
  • Male, 34, very successful, smart, independent, self-made.  Looking for girl whose father will hire me. (Off to a shrink with you, fella.)
  • You’re probably wondering why an accomplished PhD, LLB, MBA, DDS, MD and Rhodes Scholar like me isn’t married  yet.  I’m a meeskate. (Baby –no man would have enough wall space for all  your certificates and blue ribbons, let alone your ego.)
  • Looking for nice man, 25-35,  to replace my 70 year dead husband. I can dream, can’t I? (Good luck, Granny.)

I admit that’s not very erudite but it was fun writing it and if it brought a smile to your face I’ve done my good deed for the day.

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Julie Rose

julierose60@gmail.com

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HUMANITY

HUMANITY 

With a good amount of perseverance I’m sure I could find umpteen definitions of, and quotes about, what it means to be human.  Though others far brighter than I may have written intelligent and thoughtful reams on the subject, I’m not going to go in search of them. I’m satisfied with my own definition.

 

HUMANITY

If you say you belong to the human race,

are neither a beast of the field

nor creature of sea or sky,

I have a few questions for you.

 

Do you weep on encountering suffering?

Can you cling to hope in the face of despair?

When the snow falls do you feed the birds?

Would you kick your dog, step on a spider?

Do you offer your arm to the blind, avoid the infirm?

Would you invite a hobo to your table,

Give him warm socks and a coat to wear?

 

Do you know the difference between light and darkness,

Honor and shame, attention and neglect?

Between a playground and a jail, between a hug and a punch?

Can you ignore skin – black, white or yellow?

 

When did you last plant a flower, thrill to the music of Bach,

Read a great book, utter a heartfelt prayer,

Enjoy a walk in the woods, a swim in the sea,

Stand in awe at the base of a mountain?

Applaud a child’s curiosity?

 

Have you won the respect of others, the affection of children?

Did you bring a smile to someone’s face today?

Have you an inner spark you keep hidden

That if let loose might comfort another?

Do you believe in the goodness of man?

 

Which are you:

One who enters a room and says “Here I am”

Or one who enters and says “Ah, there you are?”

 

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Julie Rose

julierose601@gmail.com

 

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