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Friday, April 29, 2016

Y is for WHY

 D.G. Hudson decided to post about me today.  How nice of her.  Go pay her a visit, will you?

 http://dghudson-rainwriting.blogspot.com/2016/04/y-yeomans-roland-author-z-blog.html

"The book is a curiosity to me, it is such a pretentious affair, and yet so 'slow,' so sleepy; such an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print." 
- Mark Twain on The Interpretation of Dreams


 "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young."
 - Mark Twain

I blinked my eyes in confusion.

Freud's ghost dissolved into boyhood, and then slowly re-focused into young adulthood.

The ghost of Mark Twain looked as startled as I felt.  I sighed as I thought I understood.

Which of us has not longed to begin again, wiser for all the mistakes and foolish choices we have made over the years?

But would we live any wiser, any better?  Or would we only make new mistakes, take different roads best left untrod? 

Freud seemed to be unaware of his metamorphosis.  

His unconscious was flinching from the revelations of some of his bitter mistakes, dysfunctional life choices, 

and perhaps the regrets to which they had given birth.

Freud cleared his throat as if to likewise clear his mind from the mistakes Wyrd and Twain had exposed.

"We come now to the letter Y in our Free Association Exercise.  What occurs to you, Roland?"

"Why," I said to a suddenly scowling Freud, and I spelled it out, "W-H-Y."

Freud frowned, "Why?"

"Exactly," I said as Twain fought a smile.

"When as a boy, I saw the across the-street neighbor beating down his front door with a fence post, 

or when I watched the wife of a smart chemical engineer throw herself down on the floor, 

beating it with her fists and feet in a fit of temper, 

or gulped as a driver veered in front of my step-father's car to get ahead of him, 

risking so much to gain so little,

I asked WHY?  

It is what drove me to study psychology.  Isn't that what prompted you into it as well?"

Freud shook his head.  

"When I was 26, I fell madly in love with Martha Bernays.  My lab job did not pay well enough to marry, 

so I studied medicine for three years and was finally able to marry her."

I nodded my head.  

"I still ask WHY?  Why are we so cruel to those who cannot fight back?  Why is the world getting darker and darker?"

Mark smiled, "I am gratified to be able to answer those questions promptly, Roland: I don't know."

Freud snapped, "Twain, you support my feelings about the majority of people."

"Yeah?" snorted Mark.  "Well, I didn't spin a whole theory on just one child."

It was my turn to frown, and Mark said, 

"Despite old Saw-Brains' theories about how children are sexual beings who develop into adults with unconscious issues, 

Freud saw only a single patient during his lifetime who was actually a child."

I turned to Freud who only shrugged, "One was enough."

Mark sighed, 

"Keep asking WHY, Roland, and keep trying to answer that eternal question. 

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young."

"As if you knew anything about life, Twain."

Mark drawled, 

"I didn't charge folks a pretty penny just to tell my dog in front of them that you thought they was lying."

I frowned again, and he went on, "Old Coke-Head transferred his affection to his dog."

Mark put out his cigar. 

"He involved his Chow Chow, Jofi, in therapy sessions, saying things like: 

'Jofi doesn’t approve of what you’re saying.' 

Patients complained that he was more interested in the dog than in them, 

which on the basis of the evidence may very well have been true."

Freud sniffed, "The more I learned of people, the more I liked my dog."

Mark nodded agreement.  "Me, too.  But I didn't charge folks to listen to me talk to him!"

25 comments:

  1. Another brilliantly thought-provoking post, Roland. I like those Twain quotes and that question... 'Why?' Don't we all ask this - all the time and ponder the possible answers?

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


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    1. Yes, WHY? is often the question I ask throughout every day. Lovely to share this challenge with you. :-)

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  2. Another brilliantly thought-provoking post, Roland. I like those Twain quotes and that question... 'Why?' Don't we all ask this - all the time and ponder the possible answers?

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos


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  3. It is true, who among us at one time or another wouldn't wish to start over. But if we could, we'd probably go to the start over table with the same baggage, thus the life script would not be rewritten. Great series, Roland!!!

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    1. Thanks, Teresa. Your Death By .... is a great series, too. :-)

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  4. HA! Great last line. You really have Mark Twain down perfectly.

    @Kathleen01930
    Meet My Imaginary Friends
    #AtoZchallenge

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    1. I've read enough of his personal letters to start thinking of Mark Twain as a personal friend! Your excerpts have all been riveting.

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  5. I don't know about starting over, but I would like to travel to the past and fix a few things. . .(but would it fix it or stir up other problems?) Is there such a thing as paradox in time travel? Or is it assumed?

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    Replies
    1. Please do drop by my blog sometime today. . .I'm posting something you may want to see.

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    2. I think the price tag for starting over would be to re-live all the boring, tedious moments, too. Or would they be tedious then? We might cherish them as the fragile treasures we let slip through our fingers unknowing. I am headed there now. :-)

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  6. Why? Because, as humans, we are flawed, duped into believing/thinking that all this *waves arm at the world around her* is actually real, something solid and unchanging, when the truth is quite different. EVERYthing is in a constant state of flux and change and we all die. Until we (humans) accept and come to terms with the reality of our own death we will cause problems for others.

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    1. The tragedy is not that we die but what we allow to die within ourselves before our bodies fail: dreams, hope, compassion, kindness. :-(

      I've enjoyed sharing this challenge with you, Bish. :-)

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  7. As usual Twain comes up with the only answer to the unanswerable question.

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    1. That's Mark Twain for you! Great to have met you in my Anti-Blog Tour Blog Tour!

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  8. "The more I learned of people, the more I liked my dog." I always agreed with that sentiment.

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    1. Mark Twain wrote that sentiment. Freud lived it!

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  9. Great post, Roland! Love the quote about learning your whole life! That is what I strive to do.

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  10. Twain sure got Freud there! I'd have to agree that dogs, cats and other furry creatures are often preferable company to that of humans.

    Cheers - Ellen

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    1. Especially dogs and cats, Ellen. Tigers not so much!! :-)

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  11. Why is always a good question. It troubles people, though. And can be overused. Depending on the situation.

    Liz A. from Laws of Gravity

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    1. Many times when people ask that question, they do not want an answer, they want a reprieve. :-(

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  12. These conversations have been enthralling, though at a distance perhaps from my writing style and issues (I think) of class, gender, and race. But I could be wrong for I love the clash of humor and wit between Freud and Twain. It's been a fascinating month.

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    1. I hope I have not offended you in any way. It is not Freud's or Twain's fault -- it is only my own. The two ghosts are glaring at me now!

      I am glad you liked some of the humor and wit. :-)

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  13. "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young."
    - Mark Twain

    I have long loved this quote, which you blessed us with.

    I first heard this quote not from reading Twain, rather from a 70 year old Chef, and Restaurant Owner, ie Otto Linsel aka 'Crazy Otto'. Otto once told me: "you know Bob, I try to learn something new every single day, otherwise I feel as if I've failed life itself." -and- "You can learn from the simplest of People, and Creatures too".

    Of course Otto was a very big Twain Fan, and obviously Twain's words resonated with him for the rest of his life, mine as well, yours also...Thank You Roland. Keep up the great body of work, books and blogs.

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