Thoughts on a toilet
There are many bad times in anyone's life but there is only one, for everyone, which is the worst. The worst time is only survived with the occasional glimpse, or faint scent, of that which may yet prove to be the best.
Estas multaij malbonaj tempoj en iu vivoj sed nur unu, por ĉiu, kies la plej malbona. Tiun nur travividis pere de la okaza videto aŭ iometa flareto de tio kiel ankoraŭ pruvos la plej bonan.
Kindly corrected by rev_ero at duolingo:
Estas multaj malbonaj tempoj en ĉies vivo sed por ĉiu nur unu, kiu estas la plej malbona. La plej malbona tempo estos postvivita nur per okaza ekrigardo, aŭ subtila flarsenso de tiu, kiu ankoraŭ povus pruvi esti la plej bona.
I have taken three months to learn the language. There were mistakes but another Esperantan would have made some sense of it. My progress is about average for the average Esperanto learner. But it's good enough to comunicate complex expressions of perception already. Why would I want to do that?
Imagine there are people out there who know nothing of our language. They have their own, and they are very good with it, as are we with ours. Their language has become a thing of grace and beauty, which recreates not only what is seen but what is felt by every sense, including a sense of wonder within an immersive experience of abstract reality. Ours has too.
Simply by means of words a man's perception can rise from the dark despair of a prison cell to the peak of a mountain where he can lift his arms and fill his chest with fragrant air, lean back and gaze beyond The Moon and Venus into what we call infinity. It can only be given as a complex expression of perception which is a little more advanced than "Where is the toilet?"
The toilet question is recommended when travelling to strange and exotic lands. Once there and armed with useful questions and anticipated answers one soon discovers that apart from the flashing cities, beautiful architecture and stunning landscapes it isn't fulfilling. It is devoid of meaning. Let's call it a mystery and leave it at that. But do you know what a mystery is?
I called an absence of meaning a mystery. So then a mystery is an absence of meaning. It's different from having no meaning. If what is done or said has no effect then it has no meaning. Here you got two definitions for the price of one. A mystery is different.
A mystery may well have an effect, but what the effect will be is a mystery. Ultimately when the effect is felt then one's response to it may thereby be caused. Of course, to someone else, what exactly caused your response may well be a mystery to them no less than it is to you.
So whatever caused you to act that way, whether triggered by thought, habit, culture or something genetic was the answer to this riddle which is...
"The question is wrong."
The question should be "What causes a mystery?"
If we cannot find the cause it remains an absence, a container easily filled with superstition, religious devotion, nationalist fervor or any other bigotry one cares to mention.
Each of those is a candy-coated structure of complex expression devised to engage and contain our perception... for mysterious purposes.
"Let's all go out and become fish."
I'm not going to write about lemmings. I'm going to write about mystery and its meaning; cause and effect. But I'll get to that later. First I need to make sure all my little ducks are in a row.
There was a bit about a glimpse and a scent of the best. Remember that? I translated it into Esperanto. Then I illustrated what I mean by a 'complex expression of perception' which ended with a scenario of needing a foreign toilet. Then I focused on mystery for more than one reason.
Remember mystery as the absence of meaning as opposed to no meaning. Think of a mystery as a node within a network of cause and effect. The node represents 'something' and has a cause end on the left and an effect end on the right. The cause end absorbs the question "Why?" as to its immediate causes. The effect end emits the answer to "What does it mean" as to its immediate effects.
Each node may have other nodes connected to it as causes, and its effects may connect to other nodes as one of their causes. It's complicated but create a simple image in your mind. Paint a picture of three nodes where the one on the left is the cause of the one on the right via the one in the middle. Imagine it multiplied through three dimensions. Some of the nodes are close and others far away. Some of their connections are clear whilst others are mysteries...
One can imagine the mysteries and guess their causes and effects and describe them as stories at a fireside. The good ones become popular and a mythology is born. A mythology can be just one node in the network of a culture.
It is the undiscovered mystery of a foreign culture which leaves us sitting on a toilet feeling unfulfilled.
In our own country we perceive what is behind the flashing lights, we know what happens within our buildings, we are a part of the land and we feel what it feels. Its mood is ours and we are a part of its story. In a foreign country we cannot hope to explore this unless we speak their language or some of them speak ours. We cannot taste it unless we can share complex expressions of perception.
I can share them with anyone anywhere if they are willing to take three months to learn to do the same, and we can both double our chances of finding our way to the best of times.