Beams And Motes, Memes And Quotes


“A single word can brighten the face
of one who knows the value of words.
Ripened in silence, a single word
acquires a great energy for work.”-Junus Emre

Beams and Motes refers to Jesus’ advice, “do not tell your neighbor how to remove a speck of sawdust (mote) from his eye when you have an entire plank (beam) in your own.”

Memes in the current and present definition are the fundamental functional units of language, expression, thought and memory. A phrase can be a meme. An acronym can be a powerful meme. Think PTSD or the acronym meme PO invented by Edward deBono as a tool for lateral thinking. A rose is a rose is a rose, in the words of Gertrude Stein, is a meme. Similarly we can say “meme” is a meme, and further, “a meme is a meme” is a meme.

Upset the Apple Cart to find the Hidden Jewel

Someone wrote as an answer to the question, what is it that essentially distinguishes humans from other animals, “Hawaiian Shirts!” That the statement is superficially true but not correct is an example of PO, a provocative operation that compels you to try to reconcile the dissonance, a paradox or counter-intuitive or counter-factual statement.There is an excellent French word, “invraisemblable,” not true seeming, unlikely. Why is a statement true but not correct? A better answer to the original question would be abstract pattern recognition.


Inauguration of the new sculpture, Puzzle, at the Grand Marais Public Library

Humans are problem solvers and one of our most valuable tools is to recognize patterns, not only visual but on many other levels of logic, behavior, representation and correlation. Coincidence is not causality but it is a good clue. We try to find patterns, as if all things were pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and our challenge is to find how they fit together. We classify, generalize, interpolate and extrapolate. We like to make rules to govern our thoughts and behavior. Then we extend the rule, the generalization or pattern definition to see how far it will go until we run into a contradiction. Given the complexity of the universe we might better sometimes accept without shame, as Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said about pornography, “I can’t define it but I know it when I see it.”

To Know the Means Look at the Extremes

“Presuppose and put it to the test.” Faced with a contradiction or limit to our generalization or algorithm we try to deny it rather than see it as PO. Many times we rationalize. Emerson wrote, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.”

The Existential, Viral, Fractal, and Subjective Nature of Memes

Symbols, letters, words, are like hyperlinks in the myriad dimensions and levels of the universe and of each person’s mind; the exact nature or meaning, the connotations, are necessarily different for each person and for any person from one moment and context to another. The medium and the message, the structure and the contents. The map is the territory. Like a cascade or chain reaction propagating internally, within the mind, and externally, through time and the universe.

Deep or shallow is a measure of the person more than a characteristic of any meme. The connotations of symbols and images, memes, concepts, thoughts and ideas, have only subjective power, the energy referred to in the poem, in relation to and with each person. What resonates with one is wasted on another.

The Turkish TV series Yunus Emre is on Netflix in the USA. It loosely dramatizes the life of the Sufi Dervish poet who lived in 13th century Anatolia and his mentor or guru Taptuk Emre. Taptuk Emre speaks in parables, metaphors and aphorisms. In our world, especially in politics, circumlocutions and indirection are abused to hide the truth. With Taptuk Emre the tangential and sometimes seeming to be irrelevant words and phrases reveal the truth within each hearer or reader.

Taptuk Emre says, “Don’t know what you know, know what you don’t know.” One connotation of this is about Pride, Anger, and Ego. A parallel could be, don’t let your knowledge interfere with learning.

He tells of a Holy Man on his pilgrimage to Mecca. Standing outside the shrine the Holy Man recognizes Satan with many horses’ reins draped over his arm up to the elbow. The Holy Man asks Satan, are you waiting the horses’ return? Satan agrees. The Holy Man then asks, am I one of them? Satan smiles, “I do not need reins to ride you.”

God permeates the whole wide world,
Yet his truth is revealed to none.
You better seek Him in yourself,
You and He aren't apart - you're one.
The man who feels 
the marvels of true love
Abandons his religion and nation.

“Faith, Hope, and Love… And the greatest of these is Love.”-St Paul

Oneness, One World, One Love, One Life. I see the threads connecting Buddha, the Torah, early Greek Stoics and Cynics, the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Christianity, Islam, Rastafarian and Bob Marley.

Heads-up: On Netflix the two seasons are presented as consecutive continuous episode numbers. Around episode 20 must be the second season with better subtitles translation to English and better sets and picture quality; even script writing seems better. In the first season each episode has 15-20 minutes of recap (you can fast-forward past it) followed by 40-50 minutes new content. Season 2 has shorter recaps introducing each episode. Some viewers have less patience, though impatience is associated with the goose of Pride as you may learn in this series. Those viewers may be content to start around episode 19. Much of the first season is recapped in brief flashbacks and dreams in the following episodes.


A single word can brighten the face

by Yunus Emre

English version by Kabir Helminski & Refik Algan
Original Language Turkish

A single word can brighten the face
of one who knows the value of words.
Ripened in silence, a single word
acquires a great energy for work.

War is cut short by a word,
and a word heals the wounds,
and there’s a word that changes
poison into butter and honey.

Let a word mature inside yourself.
Withhold the unripened thought.
Come and understand the kind of word
that reduces money and riches to dust.

Know when to speak a word
and when not to speak at all.
A single word turns the universe of hell
into eight paradises.

Follow the Way. Don’t be fooled
by what you already know. Be watchful.
Reflect before you speak.
A foolish mouth can brand your soul.

Yunus, say one last thing
about the power of words —
Only the word “I”
divides me from God.

The fault belongs to who speaks of it

Mind your words, do not mind others words

Do not waste strength on being offended

Calling the vicious innocent would be vicious to the innocent

Slander belongs to the speaker

Noah’s son said I know how to swim

The World is a lie, your property is…

If you break a heart once you do not need to pray



One thought on “Beams And Motes, Memes And Quotes

  1. Pingback: Rules Are For The Blind Obedience Of Fools | Everything I Learned From My Sled Dogs And More!

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