What would you do, or how would you react, if you were faced with someone who stated that he or she knew everything., or at least 98% about everything.
Well, guess what, I have had that “pleasure, and boy oh Boy, has it changed my opinion of the learned individual concerned
For those who are interested in what occurred I shall be brief, but in essence the statement arose from a discussion about the paranormal and the likelihood of reincarnation; both of which topics I had covered in a short story called Stepping Stones
My stance was that both were probable, based on the sheer volume of circumstantial evidence and personal experience, but almost impossible to prove as a definite item. I was told that I was wrong, and there was no point in even holding a discussion about such things. Further more, I was informed, the belief in such matters was both pointless and ridiculous, as such things never had or never could occur. In essence such belief was based on gullibility, trickery, deceit, and multitudinous smoky mirrors, and that I should focus my thoughts, and my writing, on more rational and real life occurrences. This, I was told, would focus my mind, and release energy for more rational and practical concerns
My answer was as short as it was simple. I told him that just as I could not prove that the paranormal and reincarnation did exist, so he could not prove they didn’t exist; and that is when the opening line of this post came in
“You are a genius!”
I pronounced merrily
“A genius, a God, and with a mind beyond compare”
But as I retired from this most august personage, so as to rest my weary body and mind – to go to bed – that is, I began thinking a little more seriously about what had occurred.
What did I think of his last comment, I found myself thinking. Should he be and an object of pity, and ridicule? Should he be censured for his apparent arrogance. or applauded for his wisdom and knowledge which seemingly, apart from an odd 2%, had no bounds.
Without going into more detail about my relationship with the individual concerned, it is safe to say that all such emotions within more are covered within the last paragraph, but such thoughts withstanding it certainly raised one of two thoughts that I intend to lay before you now.
There may be many readers of this post who would simply state that the speaker was being a blind and opinionated ignorant fool, for how can any one have so much wisdom at their fingertips yet refuse to accept anyone elses views apart from their own?
I see the validity of such arguments yet I have problem, for he lives, as we all in a world gripped, so it seems, by paranoia, fear, and increasing concerns about climate change and economic instability. Under such conditions is he not wise to hold such a firm position, and should his firmness of opinion be commended, and applied as a universal antidote to an oh so troubled world?
“Men fear death as children go into the dark”
Francis Bacon tells us
So, sitting high and mighty over all of us, and surrounded on all sides by his unshakable certainties, might he not have a solution and a message for us all?
After all, it must be quite handy for him, to be so secure, and so sure of his own worth, and his place in the world around him, but what of the unseen world which lie all around him? Those strange mixed up, and at times baffling wolds that us mere mortals inhabit, and which we struggle to cope with nearly every day.
Regrettably I find that I cannot support him, as that very evening I had been mulling over a copy of Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens, and in particular a fine passage concerning one Mr Podsnap, and his devotion to the noble art of Podsnapery, a passage which you will see below.
….Mr Podsnap was well to do, and stood very high in Mr Podsnap’s opinion. Beginning with a good inheritance, he had married a good inheritance, and had thriven exceedingly in the Marine Insurance way, and was quite satisfied. He never could make out why everybody was not quite satisfied, and he felt conscious that he set a brilliant social example in being particularly well satisfied with most things, and, above all other things, with himself.
Thus happily acquainted with his own merit and importance, Mr Podsnap settled that whatever he put behind him he put out of existence. There was a dignified conclusiveness—not to add a grand convenience—in this way of getting rid of disagreeables which had done much towards establishing Mr Podsnap in his lofty place in Mr Podsnap’s satisfaction. ‘I don’t want to know about it; I don’t choose to discuss it; I don’t admit it!’ Mr Podsnap had even acquired a peculiar flourish of his right arm in often clearing the world of its most difficult problems, by sweeping them behind him (and consequently sheer away) with those words and a flushed face. For they affronted him.
Mr Podsnap’s world was not a very large world, morally; no, nor even geographically: seeing that although his business was sustained upon commerce with other countries, he considered other countries, with that important reservation, a mistake, and of their manners and customs would conclusively observe, ‘Not English!’ when, presto! with a flourish of the arm, and a flush of the face, they were swept away. Elsewhere, the world got up at eight, shaved close at a quarter-past, breakfasted at nine, went to the City at ten, came home at half-past five, and dined at seven. Mr Podsnap’s notions of the Arts in their integrity might have been stated thus. Literature; large print, respectfully descriptive of getting up at eight, shaving close at a quarter past, breakfasting at nine, going to the City at ten, coming home at half-past five, and dining at seven. Painting and Sculpture; models and portraits representing Professors of getting up at eight, shaving close at a quarter past, breakfasting at nine, going to the City at ten, coming home at half-past five, and dining at seven. Music; a respectable performance (without variations) on stringed and wind instruments, sedately expressive of getting up at eight, shaving close at a quarter past, breakfasting at nine, going to the City at ten, coming home at half-past five, and dining at seven. Nothing else to be permitted to those same vagrants the Arts, on pain of excommunication. Nothing else To Be—anywhere!
As a so eminently respectable man, Mr Podsnap was sensible of its being required of him to take Providence under his protection. Consequently he always knew exactly what Providence meant. Inferior and less respectable men might fall short of that mark, but Mr Podsnap was always up to it. And it was very remarkable (and must have been very comfortable) that what Providence meant, was invariably what Mr Podsnap meant.
These may be said to have been the articles of a faith and school which the present chapter takes the liberty of calling, after its representative man, Podsnappery. They were confined within close bounds, as Mr Podsnap’s own head was confined by his shirt-collar; and they were enunciated with a sounding pomp that smacked of the creaking of Mr Podsnap’s own boots…..
There is so much more to this character in the YouTube video included at the end of this post, but mercifully, in real life such a personage is not wholly known to me and others, and it pleases me to report that Mrs Podsnap and Miss Podsnap (as was prior to marriage), are not quite so heavily affected in real life. Yet as I kissed my fair lady, the once Miss Podsnap”, a gentle and affectionate good night, I recounted the discussion that had so recently occured
” Bloody idiot!”
She muttered dismissively, as she snugly drew a thick duvet arround her
” I know he’s my Dad, and, yes, I love him, but, at times, dear God what a fool!”
So it was that the day in question ended, but the memory of the speakers words and gestures will stay with me for many a year to come.
I have spent so much of my life bedeviled by insecurity and an unsinkable raft of unanswered questions and conundrums, but despite the effects of such factors, I am glad to say there is still so much I do not know about life around me, and, I am sure, so much more I will never understand
I do not want to know, and have no desire to know, about so much of life. I never want to know everything about my wife, Miki. Certain facts do interest me, but which is better, to know or not to know. To theoretically know everything there is to know about life, or, at times, to simply stand back in awe and say;”WOW”
(Someone give me skull-please- I feel a dose of Hamlet coming on!…and who the hell ,was Yorick anyway)
I still like the Podsnaps of this world though, for do they not entertain us all. So long live Podsnapery I say, but not in massive doses, and certainly not every day.
I hope you enjoy the video below. It is strange how such characters, now over a hundred years old, still have a pertinent message for us all
Categories: Just a thought