Saturday, June 30, 2012

Values



      The word "Values" irritates the hell out of me, and I think it has done for as far back as I can go.  It always comes with a smugness, and is usually accompanied by a door to door saintliness, which those of us who remain puerile, long to see crucified slowly and without benefit of vinegar. No doubt in my mind, this attitude is completely unreasonable, and even more so now that I have placed 'value' into a working definition of 'idea'. 

      I'd like to think my objection is rooted in an idea of 'values' as belonging to an annunciation of how things should be, which derives from a sense of divine order, of knowing ones place, or belonging to supply side economic theory and other such failures of imagination.  A sort of Dantesque vision of heaven, purgatory and hell,  all of which are nightmare.  And I have had a dislike of the name Dante ever since struggling through "The Comedy," as those without humor refer to it.  The phrase, "mother nature" and the word "pun" create similar morass in me.  


Friday, June 29, 2012

Plato's Definition.


      For Plato, no two tables were ever the same.  But they had certain qualities, or the 'idea' of a table.  An 'idea' of a table, was for him an imperfect replica of the real.  Four legs perhaps, and a surface that ran roughly parallel to the ground.  Something upon which a jug of water could sit without tipping over.  As well certain tables had qualities given to them. "This table was made by Uncle Pythagoras."  And on it goes in a manner that can define our being as driven by 'idea,' however delusional or inconsequential the 'idea' might seem.   Designer Sunglasses. Wearable Art.  Rain dance.

       And it's often the case the more a person knows about an object, the more interesting it can become.  Napoleon's cravat.  Queen Boadicea's chariot.  Tutankhamen's femur.  Value added, I guess.  And in my view, it is this adding of value to the real, that is fundamental to 'idea.'  And probably something we cannot escape this side of an evolutionary divergence. A mainspring in idea's collective, even if it does lead thought toward that awkward word 'materialism.'  A movement that conjoins with an understanding of the mind promulgated by that part of the medical profession devoting itself to the brains of living things.  And from which perspective, it's amazing and rather wonderful, how much like Chipmunks we people are.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hegel's Definition


      Idea, by Kant's definition, does me a confusing service.  I am tempted to think his definition an expression of how 'idea' in debate, or discussion, or disagreement should be politely understood.  And perhaps there are pills, or products of a distillery, or never listening to others, that could make Kant's definition more palatable.  More likely though, I am searching for something in the word 'idea' that gives it a purity around which minds could gather in a peaceable, or rational way.  After all, 'idea' does nothing.  It sits there, always flustered, in that part of the mind less preoccupied by heart rate or whether a pins and needles in the big toe is the beginning of the end.  And certainly, it is 'idea' as product, that informs action.  I might gallop cheerfully toward the hungry Lion.  And if I do, the answer from those who see such an action as foolish, is generally encapsulated by that disputed word 'education.'  I can hear, "Poor chap just didn't know any better."  

      There was a time, perhaps back when hierarchy was better established, when a mind could sit in well fed isolation, or tenure, and conclude as Hegel did, that 'idea' would, by moving a zigzag through time, advance toward perfection. Which meant that whatever its condition, all was right with the world.  I have heard this mentioned in various ways by the currant crop of nut cases in charge of us. They mostly prefer terms of the superlative such as, 'greatest,' then hastily subsume it within the phrase "under god."  And how easy it is to think of such dead ends as refuges for the cowardly. Yet there is no doubt in my mind that we are thoroughly stymied by what I guess is the advantage of immediacy.  We are not like Trees, that grow slow and patient then fall on the off chance a person might be listening.  We are petulant, prone to 'idea' when it grants us the advantage of a moment.  And this, I'd argue is more easily done within an 'idea' of the far distance as taking care of itself.  Worth remembering, Hegel himself, preferred to call his great work on 'idea,' an understanding of 'spirit,' or 'animating principle.'  Like many of his class, he was for a while a big fan of that Job Creator in Chief, and man of action, Napoleon Bonaparte.  


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kant's Definition


      Necessary for mental health to regularly digress from those things that dominate the day to day routine, and to do so, defining 'idea' is one of many valuable exercises.  Traditional definition gives a meaning to 'idea' that offers it up as a mental activity, and generally the definition promotes words like 'product' or 'concept' so as to suggest that 'Idea' contains a constructive element, or at least a potential for usefulness.  And there is that area of debate which suggests that all things are 'idea' because that's as close as we can ever get to a thing.  Which means, that try as I might I can never actually be a table or a bucket of ice cream, even if through some error of judgment, I might believe the 'idea' that I am a table or a bucket of ice cream.

       In the political arena, 'idea' can quickly become dogma, or its uglier cousin idealism.  Which is to say that I can call a table a bucket of ice cream, and as long as I do it loudly enough, and as long as I can persuade others, a table will become a bucket of ice cream.  Then time comes for ice cream consumption, a moment that should have a precision of qualities that might include a spoon as well as a table, but which certainly includes memory of previous encounters with similar qualities whatever name they might collectively have been known by.  Or as Kant would have it, 'idea' is no more than an object of reason that makes some sort of sense but isn't necessarily fact.  And how much better I might understand others, if I believed him, instead of daily being made speechless by rage.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Status of Dour


      Even when he catches a glimpse of  his favorite, a Gardener should never cultivate optimism.  He should develop an allergy to cheerfulness of all kinds. The sunny disposition is for him a purview that should only ever be observed through the binoculars, and perhaps only once a year.  His lot is that of Patient Saint, without emotion of any kind.  And when the season is full, just crucify me in the Vegetable Garden as an example to those of my comrades who may still have tail feathers enough to swank about as Peacocks do.

       And I have found that sometimes maintaining the status of dour, droops the back, brings on an arthritic or Republican understanding of the physical side of being.  That little twinge could well be terminal, and that bite mark belongs to something with four legs and short ears that breached the ramparts.  But better to see in it an opportunity to stare at that part of literature financed by Monsanto or some other corporate entity that profits from crop failure but can do nothing for drought.  Yes indeed, there are plagues out there I have never even heard of, and all of them heading our way..  


Monday, June 25, 2012

Oh Running Bean


      One of the more problematic moments in the short life of a Gardener is his decision to put on airs and graces around Running Beans. I am one of those who has sneered mightily at the fuss made of them.  I have seen the Bamboo canes, the rocks on strings, the oozing of emotion during description of flavor, and the padding about with tying technique.

       The Bush bean, I have argued, is good for over all physical and moral health.  I have insisted that slowly moving, bent double down a line of Bush Bean at high noon in June is character building, and I have seen it as that opportunity to bond with the agony of being a legume so prone to Leaf  Pox and Beetle. As well I have compared Running Beans to dish-washing machines, the sport utility vehicle, diet soda with French fries and George C, Ballas, Sr., the inventor of yet one more stain on the reputation of humanity, the weed eater.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dry


       It's the heat factor.  No other way of putting it.  And a person has to wonder what HVAC means once it's in the hands of a Job Creator.

       More manageable if it came with rain.  Fortunately I am a temporal being, and at work I guess, the A part of HVAC is the only thing that actually matters.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tape Dispenser.


      Mockingbirds here have developed an aspect that I would like to describe as reflecting the elderly political figure. That bad tempered, know it all with a walking stick. It is a sort of ‘get off my lawn" attitude.  And at this years conference of Mocking Birds, which cannot happen soon enough for me, I do hope they have as a guest speaker, someone familiar with the world beyond.  Our Mockingbirds have become insular I believe, their horizon so narrow they have forgotten the arias and movement of sound, and their little dances, that once they were proud of.  And at the conference of course, it's their time to molt.  Which is a humbling experience, because your'e not fooling anyone when you are in the process of replacing your feathers.

      If I was asked, I would recommend they invite a Yellow Chat, who could still be here at the end of September.  An even tempered and elegant creature who has this butterfly flight when he is at his most amorous.  This year he is the earliest to greet the dawn, and the last to say good night to daylight, and the only with feathers who breached the greed cage around the Raspberry.  His song and his various voices, all of which I am certain he is very proud of,  remind me of the tape dispenser at work.  "Chit" when you pull at the roll, "Chat" when you tear off a length, and a whole lot of confusion in between.  But I reckon he has stories to tell, raise the bar a little in the community of comrades.


Friday, June 22, 2012

One Minute Late


 
      It's the ordinariness of trash day that returns a pompous ass to the nitty-gritty of day to day.  And tomorrow is yet one more happy opportunity to participate in the workings of a fulfillment center, where my halo is not quite tarnished by a set of rules that includes disciplinary action for being "one minute late."   While the earlier thinkers in the period of industrialization began to wonder what it was that would replace God in the existential, those who came later began to consider the idea of 'possibilities.'  They were of course by then even further removed from the monastery of "one minute late" and much more engrossed by the alternatives to "one minute late."  An insight, I have no doubt, was gained from watching Chipmunk or Butterfly or water coming to a boil and seeing physics.

       I'll still say that the biblical interpretations of Being is the most poetic, even if thoroughly spoiled by a political imperative of providing an answer to the question "Why?"  The reality is that those of us sheep who wish to stray do so at our peril.  There is a "One Minute late" out there, that long ago might have been called a thunder bolt.  It's an egotistical maniac with a yearning to have a finger on the button that launches the thunder bolt, and he or she always has an answer to the question "Why?"  The true thing is, and I'd guess it's an act of faith on my part, time moves, things change and we are never there to see it.  It's the nature of belonging to matter. Something no one wishes to admit to because it would mean sacrifice of self.  And you have to wonder why God asked his son to carry that burden on his behalf, even if the answer may well be mysterious or "unutterable."


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ingenuity

 

       There always is the inclination to slump into self congratulatory impulse following an event deemed a success by those who designed it.  The sad fact is that yet again no answer to the great question was revealed by yesterday's solemn moments, except maybe during the consumption of ice cream with artisan Raspberry sauce that tiptoed, so beautiful it was.  Indeed, no new insight, other than those already pasted upon the imagination that exists in me by others who's motives I no longer trust.  And so I continue to start from the idea that today is actually the first day of winter.

  
 And for those who cannot manage the fortitude necessary to see it that way, then at least today is that part of the line that takes a being all the way to December Twenty First, when hope has its chance to spring again. And here it might be necessary to live in the outside, amongst the Ticks and things that creep, as well as the new growth and the dance of bird song on a warm breeze that smells of flower bloom, rather than inside a temple that might be called "Ingenuity."


       The question is,  "Was yesterday a moment for celebration or tears."  And here I have to put aside the Christian interpretation that has been well ingrained in me by the teams of smiley faces, and fish for some reason. I will note though, that central to the Christian lexicon is the word 'Joy.'  After all, yesterday or today or tomorrow is or was John the Baptist's birthday. The story is known and its ending always happy, the message "have you heard the news?" The answer "you are saved."




  
   But if I look into myself, which is as close to The Ancients as I can come, I see yesterday as an all embracing sadness. One of those things our being had to grapple with and then interpret, as we moved further into the northern places where winter called as danger does, without warmth or chance of food.  And no doubt in me it was winter that defined Eden as the past which put the future somewhere else. A failure of imagination in my view.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

June Twenty First


       There are times when a Junior Chief to the Chief  Protocol Officer's Assistant, yearns for the old days.  Slitting the throat of an innocent or two was always just so straight forward.  A little messy perhaps, but a matter of fact business, even if it usually left us all wondering what the hell it was we had just done, and why.  And in those days, so what if the field caught fire, central time turned to ash, these things were so much easier to explain away.  We were of course free back then, much happier and simpler in our ways, and so much easier to keep the young ones in line.
  
      These days, so hedged about with regulation and the inevitable confusion that results from sensitivity training, it's no wonder that hats could have been just slung up there on the fence post with no attempt whatsoever made by the Officiating Priest to demand a conflagration.  The heat sodden and doddering old fool heard, "We could burn them later." I watched him wilt, and it would have been off to vanilla ice cream with artisan raspberry sauce and carrot cake, followed by a sour dough pizza.  Fortunately wiser heads prevailed.
 





Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Suggestion Box



      Tomorrow is the big day.  Procession with hats, staff and/or rod, and a mirror.  Then conflagration of hats.  Followed by consumption of ice cream and there could be Raspberry sauce.  In the suggestion box this morning, several caught the attention of the Officiating Priest who, I am told, is already rather nervous. A condition in him that can produce wishy-washiness.  

    One suggestion from the box, argued for the drowning of hats in the pond, which given complete lack of rain, fields of tinder, and temperatures probably in the nineties, might make perfect sense. Also, in the same handwriting, a suggestion that perhaps hats should be drawn onto a piece of paper which would then be pasted to the forehead of those participating in the procession, which also seems quite sensible.  As well there was a scribble or two about the composting of hats, which of course is out of the question and clearly a product of a fevered and over excited imagination.  And there was the usual, "what's the difference between a staff and a rod."  Nor does anyone seem to remember what the mirror is for.

 
      But one of the responsibilities of being a Priest is the maintaining of what we in the trade call 'long sight.' Which is another way of saying 'never being wrong.'  It's simple really, God gave our species the ability to reason only because he enjoys watching us beat our heads against his brick wall.  Which means the work of a Priest is to find reasons why drowning of hats in the pond is not a good idea.  And why pasting a drawing of a hat onto the forehead is not a good idea.  And why composting of hats misses the point altogether. 

     A first instinct might be to see in all three suggestions the diabolic workings of a hat loving mind attempting to avoid a conflagration of their hat which would consume it utterly.  But that might be deemed a primitive or fascist instinct, rather than a faith-based and symbolic one.  So as a chief advisor to the Priest's chief community relations assistant, in my email I'll include, "chance of contact with flesh eating bacteria" as one argument against drowning of hats in the pond.  And "sad lack of commitment" as a reply to the pasting to forehead suggestion.  With respect to composting of hats, hanging hats on fence posts and so on, I'm inclined to think a withering stare from the Officiating Priest accompanied by a  gesture with rod or staff, should suffice to put paid to any further nonsense.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Little Vandal


    Oh Lord!  There's a Fawn in the cut grass, about ten foot from the Vegetable Garden.  And quite clearly he or she has been dropped off at day care by a mother who wishes to spend her day nattering with other mothers. 

    They'll probably go to lunch somewhere, eat far too much, walk down to the river to bathe, spend the afternoon in armchairs. In the meanwhile those of us who run day care are nervous and tense and stressed and twitching.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Vandals

  
      The Cherry trees, quite unnecessarily vandalized. And that passing nibble that can send hope into a decline from which it does not recover.  And where is a  Coyote when you need one.

    The newborns of my own species are rather unpleasant to look at. They sort of look boiled.  I definitely don't see them as endearing or sweet or charming, and certainly not innocent.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

John the Baptist


      Saint John's Feast, refers to John the Baptist's birthday.  Which in the tradition is six months before Christmas, because John was apparently born born exactly six months before Jesus.  The day of his birth is written into the calendar as June Twenty Fourth, and there is especial reference to the evening of June Twenty Third in the same way that Christmas Eve is precious.

     In Brazil, Saint John's Feast is all about lighting fires and making hullabaloo. Because the tradition has it that Elizabeth, John's mother lit a bonfire to tell her cousin Mary, that she needed help with a new baby. Mary, was Jesus' mother.  And a person has to wonder what the Ancients would think of it all as it is today. One thing's for sure, they'd recognize us.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Saint John's feast


    Just as well some of us are alert and present in the world.  It came as a small voice, which I ignored at first because being incorrect is something I respond badly to.  My first instinct was to continue regardless, glare at the obvious, a little foot stamping at the right moment, followed by incoherent explanation of why I am right.  But grudgingly, I'll agree that this year the Summer Solstice does fall on the Twentieth of June which is a Wednesday, not a Thursday.  

     I guess it's the word 'solstice' which fills me with a sense of it as belonging to some nut eating pomposity that causes me to shrink into a deep cynicism and sneering.  I hate writing the word 'solstice' down, about as much as I hate the word 'pearls.'  It shakes that part of me that dislikes hats, horse races, boxing, the goatee and Shakespearean Actors.  Which is why I prefer 'The Twenty First of June' or the 'Twenty First of December.'  And I'll agree this still sounds like yet one more excuse for ineptitude and a fear of real things, but I would point out I am merely following the footsteps of Priests, Republicans, Democrats and those scientists who have television shows. 


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Air Filter as Apocalypse


    It might have been that last night there was A Rapture, because town this morning was unnaturally peaceful and very well behaved.  Everyone used their indicators, except for Gore-Lieberman.  His bumper sticker is beginning to fade and looked to me as though it might recently have been subject to attempted vandalism, probably a grandchild, so no wonder he was distracted and any way we all know his daily routine.  As well there were a few older model pickup trucks, a bobble head or two, and just the one oaf with a pair of yellow gonads.  Then fortunately, the Post Office was closed, not because of a holiday, but because somehow or other we had gathered ourselves far too early. And I must say I was quite relieved, because now that I am gainfully employed I usually feel saintly and deserving on Thursdays, before diving into the depth of depression that is my Sunday, or a calendar Friday, or trash day, depending on perspective.

 
     The Hardware Store, however, is under the auspices of Job Creators, so those who are employed there are never permitted to sleep or go home, they have to wear uniforms and are forced through some surgical procedure to smile no matter the circumstance.  At this time of year too,  the Hardware Store takes on what I guess are college students, and as a rule they are about as useful as a handkerchief, or maybe having tasted the retail industry they are very, very determined to remain aloof, so as to be better able to concentrate on their school work.   All the same, The Artist took her chance to acquire what I believe is called 'An Air Inlet With Filter.'  She knew exactly where it was, and what size it was supposed to be and where it was supposed to go.  I being 'handy,' which is always nice to hear even if I am not certain what it means, was charged with installing it.  And it looked simple enough, a couple of screws and I knew where the screw driver was, but sufficient to say that by that time of day when  a Postal Employee should have been enjoying a well deserved lunch break, my chances of  being pulled by my head into the heavenly presence were forever gone.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Procession, Conflagration then Ice Cream


    Hard to think of the Ancients as being exactly as we are. They didn't have the steel shovel head, or the light weight fiber glass handle. I am told their digging implement was an antler of some kind, so it is even harder to think of their world as being somehow simpler..  But they were adept at basket making and probably, in those old days, hats were made of reed, or grasses, rather than felt or cloth or paper.  Nor would they have had access to the sort of mass produced mirror that are now ubiquitous. Which is not to say that a reflection of appearance was no more or less of a cult amongst the ancients than it is amongst us.  After all, the effort of making an obsidian mirror is Neolithic in origin.  So I'd like to suggest, given how blurred and fleeting an image reflected by polished obsidian is, that back in those days, life was simpler, because it was easier to believe a compliment. 

     Which is why I see the origin of hats as belonging to a sort of pandering to the ancient equivalent of a stressed out Job Creator, perhaps during nerve-racking hours immediately preceding exposure to the rest of us.  I imagine it was a Neolithic sycophant who produced the very first  "You look great in that hat."  And I am certain it was a moment as intense in its cravenness as it would be today, because in reality no one looks sensible in a hat, and I will not believe they ever have done because it is my opinion that deep in our being we are as truly averse to head wear as we are to socks.   So, in the reenactment of this years unwritten precept,  those of us who anticipate wearing a headdress should be reminded that I myself will carry a plane glass mirror as well as my staff.  This mirror will be backed by aluminum, and should reflect considerably better than obsidian.  But just for the sake of certainty, before any one is permitted to go near ice cream there will be a  hat burning, or "conflagration" as I will insist upon calling it.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Logy, Ic and Phy


   For those of us beyond band-aids and who are now using duct tape, great stressfulness is always elevated when reading work by the Great Minds.  This is especially the case when the subject matter contains 'logy' or 'ic' or 'phy' at the end of its title.  And you'd think an understanding could be summarized with a few words that would meet the criteria of an accurate representation, without dragging on through the minutiae after the fashion of a snail that had to prove it began its journey somewhere in Mesopotamia when the written word was first devised and was therefore obliged to be obscure to the point of vague.  And I too know what it is like to be called this snail, but at least with me the rule is I make no pretense to actually know what I am talking about, which proudly makes me a hobbyist.

    But it is odd how the professionals consider themselves to be suddenly beyond entry level.  I suppose it's an ordination of some sort.  And I have felt it in my work as a part-time mail order retail employee as I watch the blank stare of a new member, or associate, as we are so cruelly called.. Once the novice has been passed through the gate his obedience is maintained by the paranoia or discipline of peer pressure rather than anything remotely connected with the gorgeous adventure that might be a mind.  Which is why I am going to remove 'logy, 'ics' and 'phy' from the lexicon and I'm going to replace them with something like prison bars, or those bits of tape the cops use to mark off crime scenes. So call me a primate or a morpheme, if you have to, but remember I am tempted by the night shift, which I have heard is more character driven, because it does away with daylight altogether..


Monday, June 11, 2012

How To (4)



       With only ten days to go, I do know that a Human sacrifice is certainly out of the question.  Not only would there be possible legal consequences for a killing that current law would consider random, isolated and unsanctioned, but also there would be the difficult question of who to turn into a corpse.  Most of all, as the officiating priest, I would have to own a tremendous faith in the truthfulness of a procedure that ends with the death of a fellow Human Being.  Or in another way, I'd have to own a belief in the effectiveness of such a procedure to produce what I will call a 'beneficial result.' Nor am I so deluded as to define 'beneficial result' or 'truthfulness' as anything much beyond the 'service of me.'  And here I'll define 'me' as I'd define 'you.'  A loose leafed collection of disparate emotions that wish.

      And a person has to wonder how often reasons were pulled from the ether by other and more successful priests, whose own 'beneficial result' failed to materialize.  I too have been there, but am inclined to blush when I waffle.  All the same, I'd like to think a time comes when due to events far beyond the writ of a mortal being, I would take off my high hat, throw it into the air, mingle with the crowd and say, "You guys are right. This just isn't working."  But more likely, from looking around, the respectable refrain is always something more like, "You can have my hat when you pry it off my cold dead head."  Either way I am tempted to incorporate some sort of headdress into this years observance of June Twenty First.  Something with ear flaps, that justifies ice cream and excess.  


Sunday, June 10, 2012

How To (3)


     The standard that suggests all language has its root deep in the cognitive functions of my species, is one I find very depressing.  I say this because it suggests to me that meaning through language will always be a reflection of these structures.  And there I was thinking perhaps if I spoke Ateso or German or Balinese, I'd be at least wittier.

       I also find it very depressing when people curl a lip at Wittgenstein's "that which cannot be uttered........"  Then go on to accuse him of a total absence of usefulness.  I'd call them all bastards, but for two things. Today is my Friday and I have realized why there is a special place in my heart for those who are 'clinically' insane..


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pillars of Salt



      My own favorite is Lot's wife.  Some have argued she didn't want to leave the sin palaces of Sodom and Gomorrah, and why on earth should she. They had the hair stylists, the good shoe makers, the late night wallowing,  and a person could buy stuff that had probably been made in China or at least in Iran.  But, due to his preoccupation with the various theories of  "End Times," her husband had some kind of a premonition.   

    There are those who suggest he was an early predictor of earthquakes, or perhaps lightning storms.  Others put the onus of Lot's decision to leave town as having something to do with Lot's offering his daughters as bribes to those of his  neighbors who had managed to convince themselves he was harboring enemy agents.  Neither is a view I share, because as the family walked away from their home of twenty odd years, God through his angels,  told them not to look back, otherwise they risked being turned into pillars of either rock or salt.


      I can say what I want about Lot.  I can call Lot a pompous ass for thinking his seed so valuable it drove him to incest.  Even worse I can call him a Canaanite, as those who wrote Leviticus might have suspected.  But, I have to remember that when Lot was in Egypt, he could have made a great deal of money by telling Pharaoh that Sarah was Abraham's wife.  Which some have argued was only right because a hundred or so years previously Abraham had rescued Lot from the wretched Babylonians.  A loyalty you don't often see up there, on what I really must stop calling "The Dais."

    And I say Lot's wife is my favorite because I have actually seen her.  I didn't taste her to find out if she was salt, or an igneous rock, but she's still there, looking splendid on Mount Sodom, and it's a scramble to get to her, which on a hot day required an energy better given to the hourly rate for labor.  Nor did I think she looked sad or unhappy, or regretful in anyway.  I got the sense her mind had been made up long, long before becoming a Mrs. Lot, long before the birth of her children or the incident with God's plan to make an example of those who do not care for him.
 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fear of the Lord


      I would like to think that if God asked me to take my son up into the hills and cut his throat, I'd follow the advice of a president's wife and just say no.  Which is yet one more reason why I'd not make a good leader, or commander in chief, or corporate executive, or occupy any sort of position on the dais where great men and women like to preen.  But, back when God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as an exchange for many wives, good land, abundance and thousands more children, it wasn't called bribery.  It was called something like "Fear of the Lord."

      Abraham didn't look at God and say, "Bite Me."  Not at all.  He gathered his servants, walked for three days into the land of Moriah. Where, at the foot of  what in those days was called a 'mount,' Abraham made camp, and while the servants were busy making the beds or polishing the silver or rendering mutton fat, Abraham took Isaac for a walk into the hills.  And, whenever Isaac asked  a perfectly sensible question, like, "Why are you tying me up?"  Abraham lied to him.  But, in the end, it turned out OK for Isaac, because he too became terrified of the Lord, and he lived to be one hundred and eighty. 


Thursday, June 7, 2012

How To (2)



      The Ancients would by this part of the month be negotiating final arrangements for the Big Celebration.  And I imagine those who are chosen to lead parades get a little nervous at the prospect of something going wrong, and as a result probably become edgy and bad tempered and a nightmare to be around.  There'd be outfits and headdresses to worry about, words to remember and a host of concerns, all of which in my view accrue to any celebration devoted to precision.  A solstice is a single moment, so short in duration it requires a discipline best left to mathematics, or a clock, to comprehend.  And especially scary when that single moment becomes important to meaning. An error could be disaster. 

     Sometimes it would rain, or a morning fog, or some other spoiler or pillaging heathen would blanket the sky.  The wise would point and say "that's where the sun should be."  And there would be a general acceptance that most likely the sun was where it should be, and most likely winter was coming in the same why that it always had done, before the Priests took charge so they might reap the rewards as well as the dangers of responsibility.  Then one midsummer, the weather crystal clear, a slight chill from the east, the crowd wishful in the early light, and the priest and his political allies in their tall hats and pomp, high up on the wooden dais, each of them thinking, "Yes, I did this."  I have to think some of them dumb enough to believed it, and tomorrow I'll tell you why those on the dais still like to sacrifice the pure.