Doing as you’ve been done by

golden rule

golden rule

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“… ardent feminists … seem so bent on treating men the way they have taken exception to being treated by men.” (klewso, 11 March 2013, commenting on Destroy the Point by Helen Razer)  

Jesus made no copyright claim in respect of the Golden Rule (see Matthew 7:12). In his view, it succinctly sums up the teachings of the Torah and the Prophets. We also have Socrates on the subject: “Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.” And his words carry the imprint of the Vedic tradition: “This is the sum of duty. Do not unto others that which would cause you pain if done to you.” And although there are those who – for a range of reasons, semiotic and otherwise – take issue with the Golden Rule, it is nevertheless widely accepted as valuable and worthwhile.

Monsieur Klewso’s comment actually begins: “What I find most intriguing about ardent feminists …” Perhaps ‘intriguing’ is not, in fact, the most accurate description of his response to being bad-mouthed; it certainly doesn’t describe my response.

Razer herself pulls no punches: “Women are not nicer. Women are not a civilising influence. Women are just as capable of avarice and stupidity as anyone. … Women are not gifted, either socially or biologically, of anything special. If we believe that they are, then we must also accept the possibility that the gender could be marked with unpleasant characteristics.” (Destroy the Point)

In a more recent post, Razer asks: “Why should we think masculinity is all bad? It is a simple question but WHY are we still trying to privilege ‘feminine’ qualities over masculine ones when so many feminine qualities are shit?” (Paglia, Pugilism and Pants-less Threat, 08 January 2014)

There seems to be a growing public taste for rudeness, vulgarity, profanity, and other forms of verbal abuse – atheists and ‘fag-hating’ fundamentalists, ardent feminists and so-called ‘everyday people’ alike. And it seems to have arisen from the the same source from which we dug up “zero tolerance”, “war on terror”, “rape culture” …

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Helen Razer’s post, Destroy the Point, first appeared on her own blog, Bad Hostess, on 09 March 2013. It was republished two days later by Crikey

The Socratic and Vedic versions of the Golden Rule (together with an interesting and wide-ranging selection from other sources) are to be found on GoodReads

The “golden rule” image appears in an article titled, Hurting Others Causes You Pain: Golden Rule Validated, under the banner, “NLP Discoveries with Mike Budrant”, on Psych Central.  

But wait … there’s myrrh!

But wait ... there's myrrh

But wait … there’s myrrh

The Christian holy day known as Epiphany “[commemorates] (at least in western tradition) the visit of the Magi and Jesus being revealed to the Gentiles” (from Finding a New Way Home) is celebrated on 6 January. According to timeanddate.com, “It commemorates the first two occasions on which Jesus’ divinity, according to Christian belief, was manifested: when the three kings visited infant Jesus in Bethlehem, and when John the Baptist baptized him in the River Jordan. The Roman Catholic and Protestant churches emphasize the visit of the Magi when they celebrate the Epiphany. The Eastern Orthodox churches focus on Jesus’ baptism.”

All history is redaction – ie, it re-frames and retells our “old, old story” in such a way as to please the current audience. The past is perpetually being re-examined and reinterpreted.

Recent memes appearing on Facebook – but not including this one from catholicmemes.com – have commented on what three wise women would have done. One version asserts that they would have “asked directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, brought practical gifts, cleaned the stable, made a casserole … and there would be peace on earth.” (From mickiemuellerart.com)

I don’t think so! (Especially that last bit.)

Another version of the meme adds that “Three Wise Feminist Women would have … lobbied King Herod for gender equality.” In its lower right corner, the image carries the wording: Destroy the Joint. But, according to Helen Razer, “Destroy the Joint misses the point”.

My back is up, my hackles on end. If there is to be anything more than talk of gender equality, then it is blatantly obvious that the faults, shortcomings, and weaknesses of humankind will be owned (and owned up to) by all.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio is said to have been born on 29 September 1571 and to have died on 18 July 1610, although Wikipedia has question marks beside both of these dates.

Arrogant, rebellious and a murderer, Caravaggio’s short and tempestuous life matched the drama of his works. Characterised by their dramatic, almost theatrical lighting, Caravaggio’s paintings were controversial, popular, and hugely influential on succeeding generations of painters all over Europe.

The Supper at Emmaus (1601), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

The Supper at Emmaus (c 1600), Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio

Two of Jesus’ disciples were walking to Emmaus after the Crucifixion when the resurrected Jesus himself drew near and went with them, but they did not recognise him. At supper that evening in Emmaus ‘… he took bread, and blessed it, and brake and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight’ (Luke 24: 30-31). Christ is shown at the moment of blessing the bread and revealing his true identity to the two disciples.

The majority of the text presented here is adapted from the National Gallery web-site.

The image reproduced here comes from the Betty Baroque blog.

See also Wikipedia’s article on Caravaggio.

White lily

But Shakespeare also says, ’tis very silly / To gild refinèd gold, or paint the lily. (Lord Byron)

white lily (12 Jan 2012)

white lily (12 Jan 2012)

Visiting a friend’s garden after a spell of gentle summer rain, I was fortunate to capture these pristine blooms early in their flowering season. My internet research suggested that they might be a variety of Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum), but – judging from the various photographs I have viewed on the web – this name appears to refer to a number of variant forms.

I have long associated these demure white trumpets with Easter – despite their appearance in florists’ windows in time for Christmas, during our New Zealand summer.

white lily (12 Jan 2012)

“The lily was a popular flower in ancient Jewish civilization and is mentioned in the Old and New Testaments,” (according to a journal recording the meanings and legends of flowers – see http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/flowers/l.html).

Among Christians, it is a symbol of chastity and virtue. “Through its association with the Virgin Mary, it also became the symbol of virgin martyrs and saints.”

“In ancient Greek and Roman marriage ceremonies, the priest placed a crown of lilies garnished with ears of wheat on the brides head, as a symbol of purity and abundance.” (Read more at http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/flowers/l.html.)

Incidentally, for many New Zealanders, the proper Christmas lily is the Royal Lily, Lilium regale – but I much prefer the pure white flowers in my friend’s garden.

PS: The flowers I photographed are, in fact, Lilium longiflorum (see the comment from Barbara below).

Ghost on the wall

The phantom bill-paster meets
the ghost in the machine;
the moving finger writes,
and having writ …

No deus ex machina here,
where agile fragile taggers clamber
and stagger, upstaging
one another …

The writing’s on the wall, Belshazzar!

ghost on the wall (06 May 2011)

ghost on the wall (06 May 2011)

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If you’re interested:

The writing on the wall

Ghost in the machine

Deus ex machina

Serpents … in the garden and in the wilderness

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. (John 3:14, RV)

Adam and Eve, by Albrecht Durer, 1504

Adam and Eve, by Albrecht Durer, 1504

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[1] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of any tree of the garden?

[2] And the woman said unto the serpent, Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat: [3] but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

[4] And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: [5] for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. (Genesis 3: 1-5, RV)

[6] And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

[7] And the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.

[8] And the LORD said unto Moses, make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a standard: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he seeth it, shall live. (Numbers 21: 6-8, RV)

In the beginning …

The King James Bible is 400 years old this year, and the music of its sentences is still ringing out. But what exactly made it so good? Ann Wroe gives chapter and verse … on More Intelligent Life.

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I’m preparing something more on the Word of God; in the meantime, this link makes good reading.