A Paradox, Now In Plain English —-

Something’s been bothering me about my previous post — I think I haven’t been clear and direct enough. The post isn’t about the quote — nor is it really about spices.
It’s about the grabbing and grasping and selfishness that’s coming to characterize our American society ; and how alien that is to our reality, our history, and our ideals.

There’s a link here to Penzeys catalog  ( just click on the link and page through to Bill Penzey’s “editorial”) so we all can hear what Wisconsin businessman Bill Penzey is saying, publicly, in his company’s catalog about America and Americans. He restores my faith in my fellow Americans after Wisconsin’s shocking repudiation of working men and bargaining and teachers— TEACHERS!!!!!— and the tacit repudiation of compassion and compromise.

Here’s plain speaking at its best, reinforced by the many people from Wisconsin whose cooking stories are interspersed in the catalog pages — Their cooking stories are also their life stories, and their philosophies, and their values. Like I say — I found it restorative. And I think I need to say this flat out, instead of leaving it tacit.

One may only get that which he is willing to let go of.

The cool water of the running stream may be scooped up with

open, overflowing palms.

It cannot be grasped up to the mouth

with clenching fists,

no matter what thirst motivates

our desperate grab.

Sheldon Kopp, The Buddha Book

The implications of this truth are vast, in physics, relationships, personality, character, and –most important and urgent — politics and public policies. We Americans ignore it at our peril.

(I urge everyone to take a look at page 62 of the Summer 2011 catalog of Penzeys Spices, of all things. Not necessarily to order spices! — although I use lots of Penzeys spices myself — but to read Bill Penzey’s “One for the Road” with which he concludes every issue of the catalog. His is an extraordinary statement, and the cooking stories of contributors, which always appear in every issue, are extraordinary this time as well. Here are real people of Wisconsin — in their own unfiltered voices.)

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2 Responses to A Paradox, Now In Plain English —-

  1. Stef says:

    Judith, I “got” (i.e., understood) what you were saying in your original post. I chose to respond with the “easy” reply of focusing on spices, because quite honestly, I find that putting any other entity down (be it an individual, or an institution) only serves to 1) disrupt my own personal peace, and 2) adds more anger/aggression/irritation/suffering into the world – and I personally believe the world has enough of that already. So, instead of bantering about what is right/wrong/good/bad/etc., I try and live my life in accordance with the best ideals I know at the time (and not always being successful, mind you, but *trying*), and hope/believe that my actions speak louder than any words my hands or tongue might compose.

    So – there’s my flat out response to my formerly tacit comment. 🙂


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Stef, I truly believe I understand where you are coming from, because basically I come from the same place. Calm, reasonableness, civility — are my values, and I try to embody them. The “noosphere” is already inflamed enough without my adding to it.
      And it’s quite clear that your actions speak loud and clear of your values — to anyone who’s followed your blog (like me) for any length of time! 🙂

      Two factors enter into my wanting to spell this one out, and damn the torpedoes (a famous saying from WW II, for the young’uns among you). First, Pauline’s comment — she being one always to speak her truth loud and clear and out there, for which I admire her immensely, not least because it is not at all my own style —made me want to try speaking more plainly for my own sake this one time.
      Second, Bill Penzey, who is a businessman, has the courage and conviction to speak out in his catalog — which has got to be a big risk. And what he says is not partisanly political, not inflammatory or aggressive. It’s about ideals and values and America and his great love for his country. Our country. And his hope for it.
      On the rare occasions that I allow myself to speak out on difficult issues, it’s usually ineffective because I just get hotheaded and tonguetied. So Bill Penzey here is saying what I wish I could say, but can’t. He speaks for me — I think perhaps he speaks for many many Americans, and maybe my little blog will enable a few more to hear his words.
      To quote Pauline, “When do we come together as a people united in wanting what’s best for all?”
      Maybe now?


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