Thursday, December 27, 2012

Perfectly equipped

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
T.S. Eliot wrote, “When a poet's mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is constantly amalgamating disparate experiences."  That is precisely the point of this essay.  I could end the essay here, but it would be far too short to qualify for one of my essays.  
Even the Bible weighs in on the topic for this essay.  The American King James version translates 2 Timothy 3:17 in this way: “That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.”  Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains 2 Timothy 3:17: “That the man of God may be perfect - The object is not merely to convince and to convert him; it is to furnish all the instruction needful for his entire perfection. The idea here is, not that any one is absolutely perfect, but that the Scriptures have laid down the way which leads to perfection, and that, if any one were perfect, he would find in the Scriptures all the instruction which he needed in those circumstances.”
Those phrases that need to be underscored are “thoroughly furnished,” and “all the instruction which he needed.”
It was 41-degrees outside at 3:15 a.m., and to beat a forecasted rain, I jogged before I began my regular toning and strengthening exercises, but as I jogged, I thought about how perfectly dressed I was for this weather.  It wasn’t unusual clothing—a light jogging outfit, warm gloves, knit cap, and a reflector vest—but it suited the circumstances perfectly.
To be “perfectly equipped” is one of the reasons why I exercise and jog.  Indeed, it is preparation for unknown and unpredictable circumstances.  My mother’s second husband, who never exercised a day in his life, had a heart attack after shoveling and distributing a pile of gravel around his dog’s house.  I exert myself in numerous situations where I am confident that exercising helps protect me from a similar fate.
Being “perfectly equipped” in the area of exercise offers a shield to ward off disease, illness, and health problems.  Along with good nutrition, healthy eating and sleeping habits, it contributes, as well, to keeping my mind “perfectly equipped.”
My reading and writing and thinking, coupled with a vigorous and regular exercise program, help maintain a “perfectly equipped” mind.  To make decisions, solve problems, engage in educated and intellectual discussions, and come at life in a astute, intuitive, and discerning manner, a well-toned and exercised mind is important.
One caveat is necessary here.  When I say a “perfectly equipped” mind, I am not talking about having the best mind in the world nor am I making a comparison between my mind and that of others.  I am simply saying that you not only want to develop the best mind of which you are capable, but that you need to maintain it at peak capacity as well.
Being “perfectly equipped” is important when you are traveling.  To have to waste time making  purchases of things you simply forgot or left behind is unnecessary.  The more you travel the less likely it is that important items will be forgotten.  Using a list, having the right luggage, carrying an already-well-stocked toilet-articles kit, and having enough clothes to cover every trip’s location and length is essential.
“Perfectly equipped” has, in much the same way, been of assistance in completing a wide variety of home repairs.  When I need a new tool to do a job, I purchase it with the knowledge that I am likely to be using it again.  The accumulation of tools over the years has maintained a well-stocked tool box.
These are obvious examples, but they reinforce an important point.  To be “perfectly equipped” requires us to push ourselves harder, face new challenges, stretch our minds in new directions, and pursue new opportunities when they arise.  I listened to a recent high-school graduate who had done the minimal amount of work necessary to graduate.  He was not qualified to go to college, had gained minimum exposure to essential, basic information, and he took classes to accumulate the necessary credits to graduate, not for the purpose of expanding his own frontiers, stretching his mind, or because of interest in the course.
As an educator, my message to students has been consistent.  Education is a tool, and the more education you get, the wider range of tools you accumulate.  You not only learn better how to learn, but you begin applying your learning to a wide variety of problems and situations.  You actually begin forming the habit of thinking well.  And just like making home repairs when they occur, the more tools you have, the more likely you will be able to make the repairs necessary.  The wider the range of “learning tools” developed, the wider the range of decisions and problems you will be able to make and solve.
Students are faced with changes in majors, changes in job opportunities, changes in interests, needs, values, and beliefs, as well as changes in society and in the economy.  These are important learning opportunities for they challenge their thinking, force them to consider their future, and stretch them in new, different, and important ways—ways that will truly make a difference in their lives.  Think just for a moment of all the issues that people face in their lives once they are out in the real world—beyond college.
The Bible—as noted in 2 Timothy 3:17—is correct, and the beauty of this citation is one knows exactly what “perfectly equipped” means because the Bible provides the answer to  “thoroughly furnished,” and “all the instruction which he needed.”  If it were truly as easy when it comes to getting an education!  “Here is all you need to know to be ‘perfectly equipped,’” a professor might say, but it is never and can never be said! 
The quotation by T.S. Eliot, “When a poet's mind is perfectly equipped for its work, it is constantly amalgamating disparate experiences," could as easily have been written for me, a writer.  When I am working on a writing project—a book, essay, speech, or lecture—I am constantly combining, blending, and joining separate and diverse parts and, often, while I am exercising or jogging, the unity, confluence, or structure occurs magically as if by chance.  

But it is not really an accident (chance) at all; it happens because I am prepared, and preparation in any field, discipline, domain, occupation, area, branch, or sphere is the key.  You don’t prepare because you know what the future holds, you prepare to lay the foundation for a productive and active life!
- - - - - - - -
Hubpages is a terrific website for one reason: the quotations supplied are interesting, provocative, and worthwhile.   The “essay,” “Zen Quotes 2 81: Zen is full of paradoxes. So are Zen quotes...,” is true, but you will enjoy them just the same.  I was especially intrigued with the quotation from R.H. Blyth, which begins, “What is Zen? Zen means doing anything perfectly, making mistakes perfectly, being defeated perfectly, hesitating perfectly, doing anything perfectly or imperfectly, perfectly. What is the meaning of this perfectly? ...”

Now, I realize most readers will never have the opportunity to travel the outback in Australia; however, talk about needed preparation!  At Traveldudes  there is a wonderful essay, “Driving through Australia's Outback, be prepared for anything,” about what true preparation is all about.  The writer offers all the suggestions for what to take, all the warnings about what to expect, but ends the essay saying, “After all these informations... experiencing the outback with your own 4x4 is sooo awesome! It's an experience you will never forget and it's worth to save some more money for doing a trip like that.”
- - - - - - -
Copyright December, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing LLC

1 comment:

  1. Maximillion Ryan IIIDecember 27, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    I love the idea that though we are not perfect, we can become "perfectly equipped."


Essays, SMOERs Words-of-Wisdom, Fridays Laugh, book reviews... And Then Some! Thank you for your comment.