Celibacy, Courtship, Cultural Change, Cultural Traits, Culture, Happiness, Honesty, Late Night Thoughts, Lovers, Marriage, Poetry, Relationships, Seduction, Sexuality

Late Night Thoughts: Prose and Poetry, Children and Judgement, Priests and Celibacy, Culture and Change, plus more (July 31, 2018)

(About a 4 minute read)

Some of us who publish our poetry on the internet care more to get an idea across than get it across poetically.

We might break our sentences
Into several lines
As if they were poems
But they really are

There’s no crime in it, of course. The gods know life has so many much bigger things to worry about than whether someone likes getting his or her ideas across more than they

like expressing them poetically.  It’s just I’m curious why some of us do it that way?


The thought occurs to me this night that, while there have been in my life three or four women who have inspired me to write poetry to them, I’ve yet to be inspired to that by a woman who actually understands poetry.  Some pretty bright people don’t, you know.


My cleaning lady, Evelyn, gave me a tip the other day.  She told me how, when she’s trying not to judge people, it helps her to think of them as small children.   She didn’t say it, but I’m guessing their behavior is then more likely to bring out her maternal instincts rather than her judgmental instincts.


Sometime ago, a young man wrote to me asking for advice on how to “succeed at celibacy”.  He was planning to become a priest, and he’d read on my blog that I was happily celibate.  Specifically, could I tell him how I dealt with sexual cravings.

I felt forced to write back to him that I could not help him since he was proposing to become willfully celibate, and about that I knew nothing.

I myself am not willfully celibate.  I took no vow of celibacy, and I have never had to compel myself to stay celibate.

I became celibate over two decades ago when I gradually recognized that I had lost interest in pursuing partner sex.  I didn’t know why at the time, but I respected the fact that I had.  And that’s about all there was too it.


“Being your true self can only come from separating your thinking from crowd mentality.” ― Edmond Mbiaka

I believe I have noticed this about people who scoff at the notion of “being true to yourself”: Eight or nine in ten of them support and endorse the status quo.  To me, that’s telling because I think few things would be more subversive of the current status quo than large numbers of people being true to themselves.

‘Tis a sad thing most of us will never be able to separate our thinking from the crowd.  It’s not entirely our fault for that, either.  We evolved to think within the boxes taught us as children.  Those boxes are called “culture” — in the anthropological sense of the word — and culture (until quite recently) didn’t change all that much in most places from one century to the next.

Today, it is changing at blitzkrieg paces — but mostly in the fields of the sciences and technologies, rather than elsewhere.  Still, that’s impressive given a few hundred years ago, you could have gone centuries in most places with no appreciable changes.

So, it’s kind of hard to get too down on “group think”, since we evolved for it, to some large extent.

None of which lessens how dangerous it can be.


“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice.” ― Roy T. Bennett

Of course, the psychologists know it’s not quite as simple as Mr. Bennett represents it.  Attitude, happiness, optimism — all are at most only in part choices.  And that assumes we even have free will to begin with, which is an increasingly problematic assumption.


Apparently, many of us would prefer to ignore or to deny the evidence that we don’t have perfect control over our attitudes, happiness, or feelings of optimism.  Which makes me wonder.  Do those of us who choose to ignore or deny the evidence, actually choose to do so — or is that out of our control?


“I have seen the best of you, and the worst of you, and I choose both.” ― Sarah Kay

I have a suspicion that our standards have risen when it comes to partners.  Or, if they haven’t, that they might someday soon do so.

It seems to me that the internet makes easy shopping around — which is not by itself a bad thing.  In fact, while it’s always possible to win the lottery and find a great partner the first person you date, that’s not going to happen for most of us.  Shopping around will be essential to finding someone worth finding.

But today, I think the internet is going to make shopping around so easy and convenient that no one will want to stop until they have found the absolutely perfect, flawless, partner.  Or as close to it as they can get.

Which, given human nature, will mean folks begin countering that tendency by learning how to more effectively lie in order to create the illusion they are perfect.

Should be an interesting arms race.






8 thoughts on “Late Night Thoughts: Prose and Poetry, Children and Judgement, Priests and Celibacy, Culture and Change, plus more (July 31, 2018)”

  1. I like your collection of bits and pieces it can be a bit much sometime to read long blogs and we tend to speed the process up by doing a bit of skipping here and there.
    I’d like to know what you mean by understanding poetry or are you talking about appreciation , after all what appeals to us we claim to understand . I suppose there is a sort of snobbery about poetry which means it is rejected out of hand by many, and then there is the question of rhyme — some doesn’t.


    1. Thank you for your kind words, Kertsen!

      Good question about the poetry. Mostly I mean appreciate poetry. But I’ve also written a few pretty easy to comprehend poems, only they weren’t easy enough for my friends. I think some people just like their news delivered to them as straight up and forward as possible, and really aren’t all that into imagery, metaphor, etc.


      1. Complexity in music or poetry does not necessarily mean extra soul touching beauty. Mozart’s simple piano works are very moving and memorable but the torrential outpouring of Debussy is soon forgotten. In some very well known poetry we have stand alone lines that cannot be forgotten here are a few examples:
        A thing of beauty is a joy forever
        Was it for this the clay grew tall?
        What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare.
        Angels and ministers of grace defend us
        The moving finger writes and then moves on
        All things bright and beautiful


  2. What I wanna know, Paul, is how you can think Late Night Thoughts. It’s not even late night here, and my brain wants to go to bed so badly that I can hardly even follow your thoughts, much less come up with my own. Anyway, regarding prose disguised as poetry, I have the opposite problem. I write a piece of well considered prose, I look at it, and I say to myself, “Y’know, Carla, that’s not prose. That’s thinly disguised poetry. ”

    But then, I read further down in your thoughts, and I discover that some bright people don’t understand poetry. I start thinking to myself, “Oh, no! Maybe I’m one of those people! Maybe I think I understand poetry, but I really don’t! Maybe the only poetry I understand is the stuff that I write.” I worried a little while about that, but then….

    I got to the part of your Thoughts where you talk about shopping. And I was so tired that I thought you were literally talking about shopping. For things. Turns out you’re talking about shopping for people. People shopping for people and folks pretending to be perfect. And then I turned happy thinking that I will never either shop for people, or pretend to be perfect. Then I went to bed.


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