Silly Grins

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gauntlets, Decimation, and Decisions

About those decisions.

This is not pretty, but the thoughts keep circling around a shape the conscious mind doesn’t quite understand in a way that can be fully articulated at the moment. Best to let simmer and stir occasionally.

Often times, before speaking, there was a search for words. The search was motivated by feeling a need to express thoughts in a way that could be understood by the ‘others’.

In the early stages, many of the others did not understand. Not that the thoughts were original or all that complicated, it’s just that there are certain stock words and phrases (chunks) that are more easily digestible than others. 

Casually leafing through books, seeing the forest from the trees is not always easy. Nor is it encouraged.

At least, that’s a phrase that has been lorded out over the years “used in negative constructions, often starting with can't or couldn't. Funny things start happening when taking a very close look at a tree, not just the bark or a core sample: 

There's the appearance of a familiar life-cycle, and everything else:


Leafing through books is no longer an escape from the world. There’s a kind of focus that such quiet rituals provide in terms of interchangeable mental lenses that some folks call paradigms.

These lenses and developing the ability to use them can almost be overwhelming. Still, at the core is the ability to construe meaning.
Each layer (generation), has to endure and develop through the environment of which they are a part of.

Now, for a recent look at what a second-hand discard turns up, two stories are relayed through choice cuts taken from each. 

But first, to make this a solid set of three, a brief word from one of the Kings.


I hung up, the scribbled a note saying what had happened and where I was going. I asked Hector Passmore, the more responsible of my roommates, to call my adviser and ask him to tell my instructors what was up so I wouldn't get whacked for cutting - two or three of my teachers were real bears about that. Then I stuffed a change of clothes into my backpack, added my dog-eared copy of Introduction to Philosophy, and headed out. I dropped the course the following week, although I had been doing quite well in it. The way I looked at the world changed that night, changed quite a lot, and nothing in my philosophy textbook seemed to fit the changes. I came to understand that there are things underneath, you see - underneath - and no book can explain what they are. I think that sometimes it's best to just forget those things are there. If you can, that is.


I’ll Cut Thee into Collops by M & M
At his trial in York he refused to plead, and “stood mute”,  as the law books say of one who, being arraigned for a crime, either makes no answers foreign to the purpose, thus refusing tacitly to throw himself upon his country for trial. There was a grim reason. Had he stood trial and been found guilty, as he certainly would have been, his estates, such as they were, would have been forfeited to the Crown and his wife and child left penniless. By “standing mute” he condemned himself to a terrible end, the peine forte et dure...

They took him to the prison-yard, and bound him, and piled flat heavy stones upon his body, calling upon him all the time to plead and save himself. But he would not, for all his agony. Only he cried to his servant Sam, who stood by in tears, to “lay a pound more of weight, lay on!” that the torture might be soon ended. Breaking from the group of bystanders, the old man ran to his master’s side and flung himself on the pile of stones that hid him from sight. It was enough: Walter Calverly’s moans suddenly ceased. But the gaolers seized Sam, and took him away, and hanged him for interrupting the process of the law.


The People Eaters by C.E. Maine
From time to time in the course of human history natural depravity plumbs to new depths – and not only during wars. The Sawney Bean case in the early seventeenth century concerned a family that lived in a cave and chose murder, cannibalism and incest as its way of life. For twenty-five years this family, rejecting all accepted standards of human behavior and morality, carried on a vicious guerilla war against humanity. Even a medieval world accustomed to torture and violence was horrified...

But he [the berserk husband], too, would have been taken and murdered had not a group of other riders, some twenty or more, also returning from the fair, arrived unexpected on the scene. For the first time, the Sawney Beanes found themselves at a disadvantage, and discovered courage was not their most prominent virtue. After a brief and violent skirmish they abandoned the fight and scurried like rats back to their cave, leaving he mutilated body of a the [wife] behind. At last the authorities had found a living survivor, a dead victim, and a score of witnesses. The incident was to be the Sawney’s first and last serious error of tactics and policy...

At no time did any one of them express remorse or repentance. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered that the children and grandchildren of Sawney Beane and his wife had been brought up to accept cave-dwelling cannibalistic life as normal. They had known no other life, and in a very real sense they had been well and truly “brainwashed”, in modern terminology. They were isolated from society, and their moral and ethical standards were those of Sawney Beane himself. He was the father figure and mentor in a small, tightly integrated community.  They were trained to regard murder and cannibalism as right and normal, and they saw no wrong in it...

(The last three sentences in this story have been omitted)


What actually does jump out is something that sort of sticks in terms of what it means to sacrifice oneself. Somewhere, someone had written that suicide in Japan was seen in three ways although reference #7 says there are basically two, honorable and dishonorable. One of those ways was illustrated by a couple of CEO-ish types who were being readied for trial. They ended up renting a hotel, drinking their farewell cups of sake and then taking their lives, but not necessarily to escape owing up to what they'd done. They didn't stand mute quite like Walter... they hung. Their final act was seen as an admission of guilt. At the same time, it also froze their assets for a year before allowing the family to inherit what was left. Whether honorable or not (maybe a bit of both), the police have it broken down into something like fifty reasons. 

Now, on to seek out more positive images.

Yeah, happy thoughts coming soon...


  1. Story 1 reminds me of the image
    "King of Fools"

    Story 2 reminds me of the image
    "The Foolish King"

    Story 3
    "King's lair"

    I feel most close to the 3rd story.
    I was once under the heel of an omnipotent "King".

    That's what I think he thought he was...that's almost how I saw any over taxed member of the Kingdom would.

    1. Fools, kings, and getting away clean.
      Glad the closest I'll ever get to anything like their story is what everyone sees on the silver screen. A little confidence sure can take people a long way in this world. Guess that's what is cringe-worthy about what is often done in the name of education, which is more like indoctrination.

  2. There are some deep, dark corners in the world. Just when you think you've seen it all in the headlines, something new (to the reader) pops up and makes it clear that no man should look into the abyss for too long...

    1. Yeah... I think I should start working on my ascent in terms of the life of this blog. Time to get my bearings. Looking at all the places marked on the mental map, 238 days should be just about right.