“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit. Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line, Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”—Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám (1048-1131)
Omar Khayyam was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet. He was born in Nishapur, in northeastern Iran, and spent most of his life near the court of the Karakhanid and Seljuq rulers in the period which witnessed the First Crusade. As a mathematician, he is most notable for his work on the classification and solution of cubic equations, where he provided geometric solutions by the intersection of conics. Khayyam also contributed to the understanding of the parallel axiom. As an astronomer, he designed the Jalali calendar, a solar calendar with a very precise 33-year cycle.—from Wikipedia
I’ve had a copy of the Rubaiyat for around 65 years. Not only because I’m enjoyed portions of his poetry—for instance: “Come, fill the Cup, and in the fire of Spring/Your Winter-garment of Repentance fling:/The Bird of Time has but a little way/To flutter — and the Bird is on the Wing.”
or: ”A Book of Verses underneath the Bough,/A Jug of Wine, a Loaf of Bread — and Thou/ Beside me singing in the Wilderness/ Oh, Wilderness were Paradise enow.”
Such expression was inspirational to me back when my blood was pumping with the fire of youth. It all had such a romantic, free spirit song to it. It was the stuff of which dreams are made.
It’s also been almost exactly 900 years since the Rubaiyat was written in 1120—close to a millennium ago—and should be a sort of a revelation to those who find it difficult to conceive of vastly greater intelligence and competence than their own so long, long ago—especially in places such as present-day Iran (then Persia). Personally, I’ve always suspected that human kind has dumbed down some over the past couple of thousand years. Whatever, I envy the intelligence of “Omar the tent-maker.” He has a place alongside da Vinci and Einstein in my personal pantheon of inspirational scholars of history.
I chose the introductory quote from the Rubaiyat above to point out to those impressed by lying politicians such as Donald Trump that much smarter people than they been around (even in Iran) for untold centuries. And one of them long ago pointed out (the introductory lines above) that words uttered today are not a mere ephemeral convenience of the moment, forgotten by the world overnight. They live on, and those who speak them are held accountable—hoisted more often than not, as it were, by they own petard. And yes, I have in mind here the likes of Donald Trump, virtue’s albatross in today’s world..
I mentioned da Vinci (1452-1519) because he was history’s probably all-time greatest mind—inventor, painter/sculptor (including the Mona LIsa), scientist, musician, mathematician. engineer, geologist, astronomer, writer, historian, cartographer, botanist, etc. Definitely one of a kind for the ages.
WITH SPACE TO SPARE here, I turn to the comparative mindlessness infesting modern-day politics at high levels. Bring on briefly, for instance, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, an antithesis of objectivity and intelligence in my view. Appointed to the court by Reagan in 1982 he is best remembered as having been charged with sexual misconduct by Anita Hill. HIs career as a jurist has been unspectacular. On Feb. 19 he urged the court to peel back long-standing libel protections for news outlets. This as Donald Trump was suggesting ways of penalizing Saturday Night Live for lampooning him—and continuing, of course, to rave about “fake news” and the press being “the enemy of the people.”
Thomas, charged with defending the tenets of our Constitution, thus proposes emasculating the very first amendment’s protections of Free Speech and Freedom the Press.
You all know by now how I feel about Donald Trump. He belittles superior minds with loud, repetitious use of the puerile simplistic portion of the English language. I’ll pause here for just this quote from one experienced expert of Republican descent: “We have a delusional, unhinged madman in the Oval Office, and anything is possible.”—David Stockman, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under President Ronald Reagan.