There are times when we feel that the only thing sharp about us is our shadow. Clear thinking, incisive judgments, emotional clarity, and even sharp dressing, have all been swept away by fatigue, ceaseless monotony, dull repetitiveness, lack of initiative, or pain. Perhaps, though, we can use our shadows to alleviate some of these symptoms and the resultant enervation. Just a glance at your shadow shows you that there is something incisive about you – your solid, sharply defined contours. Your shadow is just as unique as yourself and can serve as a reminder of that uniqueness; that you may be observing and remarking on it in your head, or maybe even aloud, can easily serve to remove your mind from your mundane or troubled existence. Looking at yourself without actually looking at your physical body can also allow for observation without the sense of vanity, the sense of self-absorption, or the sense of self-denigration some may feel when looking in a mirror or at a picture of themselves. A sharp silhouette can sharpen us up simply by being a reminder that we are real and substantial, or we couldn’t be interrupting the light. And shadows are fun to play with too, don’t you think?
Being clean means something a little bit different to everyone. For some it means showering or bathing every day, or more; for some it means once a week or once a month with water. And for some doesn’t mean bathing at all in the west’s traditional sense. Clean may also mean sharpness of execution or winning everything or a strictly defined end or break. The one thing all these types of clean or cleanliness have in common is the idea of edges, of sharp differences between one state and another. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one state is better than another, just that there are perceived stark delineations between the two states. As tends to be the case, we assign positive and negative values to the cleanliness concept; clean/unclean itself is something judged by parties not cognizant of the circumstances. These attitudes do not allow for any of the gradients or degrees implicit in everything to do with life and the living of it. If there is a clean break in a relationship of some kind the assumption is that there will be no contact whatsoever between the parties and this is very rarely the case. If there is a clean sweep in a political contest or any other kind of contest there are sure to be fits and starts, not smooth sailing to an uncontested victory. And if the execution of a task appears clean, sharp, and flawless, undoubtedly there was much blood, sweat, and tears spent to present the end product. Physical cleanliness can be viewed in the same manner. A person or object may appear to be less than clean, but may, in fact, be completely sterile while a person who appears undeniably clean may be crawling with unsanitary microbes. Which brings us to judging by appearances: it is never a good idea to look, assume, and judge. Only knowledge gained by studying the circumstances can inform you of the cleanliness of an object or event. Should you make uninformed judgements or search for the truth of a matter before judging?