Archive for the ‘Isaac Newton’ Category

Once recently, a friend mentioned offhandedly that she was trying to stop talking about people behind their backs. I thought to myself, wow! that’s neat! I wonder how she’ll do? It didn’t really occur to me until about an hour later, when I noticed myself talking about somebody behind his back, that perhaps I should work on this too. Thus began my yo-yo attempt at being nice behind people’s backs.

I just finished a book called Ghostwalk (written by Rebecca Stott) which is about alchemy, Isaac Newton, and a few killins’ (I won’t say by whom, in case you want to read it). In the book there is a lot revealed about Isaac Newton, including a list of sins that he’d committed (written in code, of course). Here are a few interesting ones:

1. Using the word (God) openly. 2. Eating an apple at Thy house. 3. Making a feather (quill?) on Thy day. 4. Denying that I made it. 5. Making a mousetrap on Thy day. 6. Contriving of the chimes on Thy day. 10. Putting a pin in Iohn Keys  hat on Thy day to pick him. 13. Threatening my father and mother Smith to burne them and the house over them. 17. Stealing cherry cobs from Eduard Storer. 26. Calling Derothy Rose a jade. 43. Missing chapel. 44. Beating Arthur Storer.

There are lots of strange (and mildly amusing) things in this list (even more in the expanded version) which is perhaps why it was written in code (putting a pin in somebody’s hat to prick them? sheesh). Of course, I’d be mortified to find that in the year 2500 someone decoded and read my secret-list-of-sins journal.

But Isaac Newton was an alchemist. He knew that a person grows more and more spiritual with every bad habit he (or she) releases into the wild. He, like spirit seeking folks before and after him, felt the burn of guilt that follows doing something that you feel is wrong, something you have challenged yourself to overcome.

I talk a little shit about people from time to time (pardon my Old English). Sometimes I don’t for a while. It confuses me, because sometimes somebody does something that really bothers me or hurts my feelings, and talking about it, telling about how mean that person was or how thoughtless, makes me feel better. Until I begin to feel guilty about talking so mean about them, anyway.

Like Newton, I want to be better. I want to burn that part of me away, let it go.

Step 1: admit to millions of people that I talk smack about others. (ok, my readership is slightly lower than that, but we’re talkin’ potential here!)

Step 2: read a self-help book.

Step 3: begin again.


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