The Mind – A Great Odyssey
An octogenarian mind has a plethora of experiences to share, bemoan and cherish. The dips and sways during a lifetime are one great roller coaster ride. Some mind choices along the way will chastise and haunt. Some will make you weep. Some will make you smile with joy.
The wiring is likely the most important part of the mind – a well-engineered mind that keeps the mind focused on its chosen field and/or fields of interest…that DNA stuff that a relatively few can talk about. There are people who can stay their course, who have minds that stay focused on ultimate goals they wish to reach. There are those of us who are like moths to light, forever longing for some elusive Nirvana, some peaceful way station along the way where life yields pleasure and forever love. Often, we, those people are referred to as ‘Romantics’.
The environment can alter choices and deeds surely, but it is the mind that in its uncanny ability and unique engineering can wipe away most of its ‘carrier’s’ ugly parts and proceed with its eventual destiny. It is with joyous envy that I sprinkle dashes of remembrance to a few people of history that have given me small fractions of wisdom, hope, and pleasure, people who had those mind attributes that I covet and wish to have possessed.
My mind conjures up people like Arnold Palmer, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Aristotle, Plato, Socrates. What could a golfer, a couple of scientists, and a group of philosophers really have in common?
At the Phoenix Open PGA Golf Tournament some years ago, I met and spent a delightful afternoon with Arnie Palmer and a small group of admirers. Arnie shared with us some of his experiences after leaving his Pennsylvania farm. Golf had been his obsession, and he knew early on that he wanted to compete and win major golf tournaments. He stayed true to that single-minded dream, and he became one of the most adored man in the sport. His ‘simple man’ of the land image endeared him to millions of fans, and the phrase, ‘Arnie’s Army’ became a television staple when talking about the great golfer’s fans. Arnie was simply a man who could walk among Kings, Presidents, and the common man. He knew where he was in his journey. Meeting Arnie, sharing space with this man who was my idol, was one of the singular events of my life. I loved the man.
Comparing Arnold Palmer’s mind with the minds of Einstein, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and Marie Curie would perhaps seem frivolous, but there is commonality. Each had enquiring minds, single-minded interests.
Albert Einstein, of course, brought our eager world into Science in monumental ways, his mind touching so much of what today we take for granted, in sophisticated manufacturing principles to household products. A German-born theoretical physicist, his mind was magnificently wired for Science, he would amaze his contemporaries with his scientific knowledge, would develop his ‘Theory of Relativity’ and win the Nobel Prize in 1921…and, he was also ‘human’, married, had two sons, divorced, lived a life lush with fame, alerted President Franklin Delano Roosevelt of the potential development of ‘extremely powerful bombs’ – which led to the ‘Manhattan Project’.
Marie Sklodowska Curie was a Polish French Physicist and Chemist who conducted pioneering research on the study of radioactivity, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice. She was also the only woman to win the Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields. She was the first woman professor at the University of Paris…an amazing lady who contributed greatly to the world of Science.
With the great philosophers, their single-minded queries into the knowledge and thinking of their time would forever be a part of our educational system, and pass through the halls of colleges and universities…’Aristotelian Logic, Socratic Method, Platonic Theory’, all phrases heard daily in classrooms across the land. In his famous ‘Dialogues’, Plato discussed not only the physical world, but the metaphysical as well – immortality, the mind, Man. These were ‘Mind-Giants’ who led the way to logical thinking.
The lives of these few great people among so many that could be mentioned were astounding and serve as role models for those who tenaciously hold onto their dreams, their love of a specific subject, be it arts, industry, science, sports, those who have the minds and the wills to achieve.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste’, it has been said.
On a personal level, my mind was put ‘oh hold’ for much of my younger life by a chaotic Appalachian youth and a sojourn of ‘lotus-eating’ – then, in those early years of manhood, would have been the time to begin my serious writing. Something was missing in my life, a vague wispy dream of family and love, and the path I took to finding those most genuine realities were laden with ‘lotus flowers’ and ‘Mr. Bacchus’. I was blind to a sure path that would lead me to writing. One path was left to follow yet another.
In short, my mind in so many ways I’ve wasted.
The latter part of this life that is left to me is taken up with writing. I call it my therapy. I love to write… Nineteen books, some 400+ blog posts, and some poetry thrown into the mix. There is no Nobel, no Pulitzer, no award I can imagine coming to me. I’ll be satisfied with some of my books being read and enjoyed – with, hopefully, some Amazon reviews thrown in.
Moral to the story here? To the extent there is one, if writing is your ‘dream’ and you feel you can do it well, begin and grow with each new Blog post, Book, and Poem. You will get better with each new stroke of your pen, or, sadly, you will become someday an octogenarian loving soft vanilla ice cream…
Two scoops on my cone, please!
BR Chitwood – June 22, 2019
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