The Worst Day: Consequences, Analysis.

 After I snapped to…
I walked all the way home from the school. It wasn’t a crazy distance, but a bit further than the sort of walk you’d do every day on a deadline. I made it safely home, went up to my bedroom and slept for three days.

I felt guilty about what happened with Weaver. You see, I hadn’t realized at the time I had been drugged. Looking at the facts now, it’s obvious. But this was before the term “Date Rape Drug” was a common thing. I thought my will and my body had personally failed, and I’d LET him do those things to me. Not to mention I was going to therapy for a needle phobia. The doctor was hinting that there was something deeper wrong with my psyche, and, here was clear evidence all was not well.

Well, of course you wanted sex. Some people just… freeze when they are afraid, rather than running away. That’s what those shrinks said, at any rate.

This means I spent years thinking that my subconscious just shut down my body against my very intense will to get away and/or defend myself as needed. I developed a higher distrust of myself than I had for others. I really do not recommend this option. It is a great way to literally make yourself crazy.
Then, to put the icing on the cake, friends talked me into trying to make a deal out of it. There was no evidence (hey, I was drugged out of my mind for three days and had a shower at the end of the third day. I don’t’ remember making the decision to shower, I just remember getting out of bed, and the next thing I know I’m showering. Probably a good thing before I went to school on Monday, you know?

Then we had the monkey trial with the principal, his parents, him and me. My dad was working and mom wouldn’t come. But, both of his parents were there, and looked sharp and competent. Tellingly, they also looked like they did this before.

But, because my parents weren’t there to support me, I looked like I was lying. And, because I was still messed up, I looked even more like I was lying. Because I didn’t realize I was drugged I looked even more like I was lying. I won’t go into details. The heartbreaking thing was to watch Weaver’s dad’s face. He KNEW something had happened, but he felt helpless. Guilt made him somber and heavy eyed. His mother was out to crush me personally because I was threatening her baby. She was an old hand at political wrangling. I was just a mess.

After that exercise in humiliation, we were walking back to our class…unsupervised, as well as passing the music room where it all had happened in the first place.

He leaned in and started whispering to me. “I didn’t get you before, but I will.”

I looked at him. ‘What? How do you figure?”

“See, you are MINE. I’m not going to let you get away. I got to you before. I can do it again.”

I edged away. NO one was around. I picked up the speed and tried to keep my distance. I was NOT going to run away. I wouldn’t give him that. I was terrified, but I wasn’t going to act out of fear. He WANTED me to be afraid. I wasn’t going to give him that satisfaction.

“I know who you are, now. I won’t let you,” I hissed.

Then he uttered a raving stream of obscenities, called me a whore, etc, and that I would damn well LIKE it when he came for me again.

I said, “I’ll rip your balls off with my teeth and shove them down your throat if you even try!”

He told me he had always known he had a mission in life. And that mission in life was to sleep with every woman on earth… no matter how old, no matter how young, or whatever it was they wanted. He would do it, and it was his job. He spoke in a different voice, he spat and raged, and I’d never seen him that angry, or hell, even angry at all. This emotion even reached his eyes which blazed at me. His voice was gravely, nearly incoherent with something that burned like rage. But he was backing away from me.

I told him to eat shit and die. I stopped and watched him, daring him to do something. Turn one corner, walk 20 feet and we were in front of the office. He took another step back.

Mysteriously, a hall monitor showed up. Weaver’s lips snapped shut and he walked away. I folded my arms, and kept watching. He broke into a run. I scratched my head, baffled.

After all this, and another odd incident, I went to my friend Andrea. I told her the whole thing.

After acknowledging all this really sucked, she said. “You know this asshole did it before.” Keeping in mind that Andrea was an evangelical. Not even remotely stereotypical, but when she swore, you could guarantee it was an event. She had a lot of provocation in her life and rarely let loose.

I blinked. “WHAT?” I said. “I mean, I said his folks looked like they’d done this before, but… I thought that was just me.”

“Nope. Did you know one of his victims has a kid? Do you want to meet her? Get to choir class tomorrow an hour early. She’ll be there. You guys will get along, trust me.”

I sat there, flabbergasted, trying to wrap my head around it.

And, there she was. She was a prim, elegantly dressed redhead. She was gorgeous, and holding a blond, curly haired baby who even looked like Weaver. It chilled me to the bone, but the most shocking thing of all was how HAPPY this woman was. To my mind, this asshole ruined her life, and here she was cuddling this beautiful child as if it was all she ever wanted. My mind was blown. I was awed, mystified and creeped out.

She was wearing a crucifix. I knew that meant something, but I wasn’t thinking very clearly at the time.

“You… look so happy.” I said.

She smiled. “Well, I have a baby boy, who is a gift to my life.” she said.

“But… you didn’t want him.” I gasped.

She smiled at me. “Yes, but is it HIS fault? Should I blame Christopher for it? He did nothing wrong.”

I was too much of a coward to cry. I made a strangled sound.

She went on. “You know, what he did is wrong. That’s not a question. But it gave my life meaning and focus. The best I can do is make his life worth living. Just because he is related to the man who did this, doesn’t mean history has to repeat itself.”

“But how…” I asked. I just couldn’t finish the sentence. I couldn’t imagine someone like her being as stupid as I had been.

She looked at me sharply. “Weaver was capable of being a very sweet boy.” she said. “He is not a man and I won’t call him one. He is also very persuasive. I trusted him, and… you know the rest.”

“I’m sorry.” I whispered.

She shrugged. “There’s nothing for you to be sorry about. A terrible thing has brought me blessings. I only wish I could do something for you.”

I staggered out, convinced I’d met a living saint. Hell, I wasn’t even remotely Catholic.

It wasn’t until after I dropped out of college, and went to another SANE psychologist who actually had a day job. She worked as a Friend of the Court, and interviewed rape victims for the police and the courts, not to mention did checkup work on people who made insanity pleas.

She was the best therapist I’ve ever had, and the only reason I have flesh and blood respect for the profession at all. She’s the one that pointed out that everything I described was TEXTBOOK for getting the date rape drug. She even said he must have doped me up with enough to stop an elephant. And… the fact I was able to get up in short order (relatively speaking) was an unqualified miracle. No doctor could explain it., and she knew quite well how the drug worked. She had enough of a medical background to become a shrink, but she realized she did not want to prescribe drugs. She’d only figured that out after going through most of the education to figure out how they worked. Like I said, best psychologist ever.

Even after I met the good psychologist, I saw Weaver one last time. He was working at Lowes. He did not have that old superior expression on his face, his cherubic good looks had seen better days. He actually looked as if he’d been run over several miles of very rough road. I wondered if he’d spent time in prison.

When he saw me, his eyes flared. He knew who I was, and he was afraid.

But I turned around and left the store, and haven’t shopped at Lowes since.

The Worst Day of My Life

Originally I had posted here about my experience of rape and what I thought about it. Turns out, I was not very clear about the event, and it’s buried in there somewhere with a bunch of other stuff. 

So here’s the full story.  It’s safe for work, I guess, but it’s kind of intense.

Heartfelt thanks to Declan Finn for editing it for me.  I really wasn’t in the mood to do so after I finished writing it down.

FYI, this is Part I, of II.

I was really looking forward to tenth grade. I wouldn’t be a freshman anymore, which was a gift in itself, and some of my friendly acquaintances were coming over from middle school that year. The most notable was Weaver.

He was a handsome lad, one I’d spent lunches in the library chatting with for almost two years. For one, he seemed like a shoe in for the popular crowd. He was handsome, nerdy but not in a divisive way, and generally fun to spend time with. He was also very fit, and had some self defense training. For all I knew it was his four point GPA that made him unpopular. But why did he have to spend his lunch times in the library? For me, my presence tended to attract riots of teenagers desiring to wipe the floor with me. PE was similarly untenable. I attracted trouble. All I wanted was to be left alone. Since, “I didn’t do anything,” was as common as Buddhists monks chant OHM, I couldn’t exactly say that in my defense.

Though, in my estimate of him, something had seemed… off. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Sure, he was obsessed with sex, but… um, teenage boy, right? He had a love for obscure facts and interesting history, and he was a cello player – like me. We got along pretty well. But I could not shake that sense of off-ness. He basically took everything lightly. Not a class clown, they took SOMETHING seriously, but not Weaver. All things crossed his face without a ripple; easy going, quietly confident, and placid.

I was so far beyond desperate for companionship I was obsessed with seeing him again. I had fallen in love with his memory, and that is always a dangerous thing. It didn’t help that he’d sent me notes during the first part of the year, through a mutual acquaintance. It was just enough to get my heart thumping.

This was somewhat awkward for me, always having been an outcast– even among the outcasts. It was not a good time, despite the fact most of my friends turned out to be male.

So the day we finally met we had a real chat, and he made friendly, if not leering overtures. I was captivated. He said that there were things going on now (it was Thursday or Friday), but next week he’d be happy to spend some private time just between friends. How did Monday sound? He advised I not pick up lunch, because he was going to bring in some food from Outside. This was forbidden and very risky. Kids were suspended over things like that. He even suggested I skip breakfast, and made some allusions to my weight. So I was assiduous about avoiding food during lunch time. Fortunately for me, I hadn’t bothered to avoid breakfast.

Come to find out, he’d only brought me a large beverage, saying I didn’t need those extra mickey-D’s calories. See, this was before Mc Donalds had salads.

He was going to play cello for me, finally. He not only alluded to music, but maybe some making out– in respect to my wishes that we go only so far and no further. Yeah, I was old fashioned and wanted to wait for marriage.

At any rate, I tried said beverage, and… it tasted funny. It was a huge 20 oz cup, they’d probably ban it today. But I was hungry and I took a few big swigs. He made noises about the machines being low on syrup. Funny, it even tasted a bit like that. It was my only access to any sort of food or drink that afternoon, so I had more than I would have based on taste alone. I watched him enviously as he wolfed down two big cheeseburgers. But then, he was slender and ripped, right?

He finally led me out the back way out of the lunch room and we went to the orchestra room. He played a nice cello piece for me. I remember thinking his work was technically proficient, but… strangely flat, without emotion.

Then he thought we should hide out in the double bass cabinet. You know, get some privacy. I thought it was all good fun, so, sure, why not? And, the first few kisses were really hot, so the the weirdness from before all seemed worth it.

Then, my left arm felt weird. It inexplicably went slack and slid down his side. I heard it thud as it hit the side of the cabinet– but I did not feel the impact. I took a startled step back in shock. It was more of a stumble as my legs did not work properly, so I slid down the side of the bass cabinet until I was crumpled down at the bottom in a heap. I wasn’t even aware of the discomfort that this contorted position should bring. At which point I started to hyperventilate and focus VERY HARD against this weird rebellion in my synapses.

I tried to cry out, or move my legs. But my body was as responsive as sacks of wet sand. My limbs felt cold and dead… I could sorta vaguely feel the blood pumping, but that was it. I threw all my will into making myself move, and that’s when I realized that Weaver had been helping the slide down, and not asking the usual sorts of “is something wrong?” That you would expect when your body suddenly doesn’t work properly. He was maneuvering me back into a sheltered corner of the music room where he had more room to work yet not be seen.

He’d gone into a workman like fascination– maybe a fugue state. The look on his face that of a delighted child, as moved me out into the room proper. He layed me down and started undoing my pants and shirt. I still tried to will myself to move, but it was about as useless as hitting my head against a brick wall. Eventually the effort became painful. . He was working slowly, without saying anything to me. He mouthed words, but he was talking to himself. “And now… we open the shirt…”

I managed one last twitch of my face. He didn’t look up from what he was doing. My face was irrelevant anyway. After he’d assured himself access to all my hidden parts, he sat back and admired his handiwork. I mentally screamed and struggled to no avail. Then, he picked up an arm, then dropped it. I heard the thud of my arm against the carpet, but I still didn’t feel the impact. Yet I could feel it when he touched me to move. It was the heat I think. He laughed out loud and giggled like a happy toddler. He did this to my legs, too. Then, he did this to other parts… it wasn’t even a sexual thing, somehow, just… a monstrous and childlike expression of total control. He continued flopping arms and bits around just to see them move in novel ways, and laughing with glee as things flopped back to neutral when he stopped.

In this process, I knew what it meant to be a thing and not a person. He spent a fair amount of time doing this, but I can’t say how long. I just know that I made him happier as a volition-less object than… as me. I kept asking myself “WHY THE HELL DOESN”T HE JUST GET HIS OWN BLOWUP DOLL AND BE DONE WITH IT?! At this point, my sense of time was starting to warp, and my perceptions were making cut scenes, and things were getting colorful blurry and weird…

Yeah, I think that’s a good place to close the curtain….

 

 

WW I, & WW II– or Godwin’s Post

H. D. Girdwood [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

H. D. Girdwood [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m mostly reflecting on what’s going on on this post. For some reason, she turns off her comment box after a little while. Because she gets hundreds of comments, maybe? ;-)

I was a strange little girl. The moment I heard about WW II, (I was quite young, since my grandfather served) I would stage mock battles of the Battle of the Bulge with stuffed animals and make dioramas punishing Hitler. It is a satisfying war, because there are clear villains.

But really, it only gets more complex when you get older. You know that certain beliefs are evil, but it was harder to know that Germany was, in great part, a country held hostage by power–hungry mad men. These hungry men were also very good at seduction. It was the state-level equivalent of marrying a charming sociopath who turns out to be a serial killer. The sad irony was that the Wehrmacht were very good at providing what they promised– but at a terrible cost.  If one is desperate, and guided by circumstance rather than principle, one can overlook those sorts of horrors.  At least, until one has dispensed with the trivialities of  eating. Though a very sophisticated country, it was very desperate country thanks to the ‘concessions’ of WWI.

I learned more about WW II than anywhere else in a mental institution.  There I met a boy who believed that Hitler was the greatest man who ever lived.   What might surprise people was that he was not a racist, or even an avowed member of some organization based on racial superiority. He did not even think that white people (or, let’s face it anglo saxons–or nordic races:  there are plenty of us who are ‘white’ that a self-respecting Nazi would spit on.) were necessarily superior. He thought that particular part of Hitler’s “grand vision” needed some refining. He always said that making Jews the enemy was brilliant– but only because they had all the money one needed to jump-start the German economy.  And jump-starting a whole society is more important than a small, isolated and self-serving  group of wealthy businessmen, right? So, why not?

If this logic doesn’t chill your blood… I don’t know what to tell you. See a doctor– or a priest.

Nope. He really wasn’t a racist. What he was, was a well-read pragmatist who had no moral qualms about eugenics. Basically, his argument was that Hitler was closer to any other leader in history to delivering to his people what they wanted– whatever the cost.  And, until his mind started deteriorating from syphilis, he was brilliant at it.  He turned the function and admiration of the State into a well honed state religion. There was a time, when living in Nazi Germany could be a pleasant thing. Especially if you had been starving, out of work, and paying great bundles of cash– if you had it– for a loaf of bread.

The Jews didn’t see it coming, because the Renaissance took place even before heads started to roll. They were used to ugly looks and bad words in their direction, and there was nothing on the visible platform that bothered them.  Keep in mind, what Sarah said also applies, but I think there were a complex of factors that are worthy of examination.

Also, because there weren’t instantaneous communications, it was easy to hide– for a while at least– that some people just didn’t make it home.  Sure there was propaganda, but everyone told themselves that it was only the extremists rattling their sabers, needing someone to blame for what happened. This charade was drawn out by saying that these undesirables were being shipped out of the country.  Most Germans– and most Jews believed this. So they went willingly  onto the cattle cars, figuring that it was an efficient way to avoid the problem.  Except… it was a lie.

It will shed much light to recognize that this boy was also a BIG fan of Machiavelli.  Indeed that is his whole modus operandi for loving Hitler. Because he was the most prominent, most faithful follower of this criminal mastermind, who wrote the book for leadership by criminal masterminds.  If there was ever a justification for book burning, his how-to manual for being an awesome, well loved, yet brutal and totally dishonest autocrat is one of them.  You will note next to no similarities between this and reading Wealth of Nations.  Just saying.

However, if you want a truly evil villain and are running low on inspiration, it’s a great read for seeing evil in action “for the greater good”–his. Or hers, even. There are all sorts of great gems here about decision making. So now that we now know what truly ostentatious evil looks like, lets go for something a bit more subtle.

Who was the real bad-guy in WW I ? Those in Europe would probably say royalty as a concept.  My husband would say Woodrow Wilson. I would point out that he didn’t start WW I. He would say, “Yeah, well he ended it by setting up WW II.”  Ol’ Cold Willy’s actions do inspire one to declare lifelong fealty to Franz Josef of Austria.  Or who knows, maybe I read too much Zmirak to be quite sane.  I’m not actually a monarchist– yet. I still believe that a Republic can work. But we must return to something closer to what our Founding Fathers intended.

Because, in case you haven’t read “Extraordinarily Popular Delusions  and the Madness of Crowds”, an unruly democracy will, if left unchecked, becomes indistinguishable from tyranny in the worst sense.  I argue we are mighty close to that, if he haven’t fallen off that cliff already. That’s what happened in France during/after the Revolution. The unruly Founding Americans managed to avoid this because they were already well versed in statecraft and also had seen the worst mob rule had to offer.  Many of them were on good terms with France, and had seen the ugly result while struggling with these questions. They lived on the border between civilization and chaos– chaos being defined by the fact that they were 13 tiny colonies clinging to the edge of a vast frontier messily divided up among hostile foreign powers.

The Founders were dealing with realities. The French were inflicting ideas on reality, convinced  the grand design would just work. Also, the Founders, by and large, wanted to create a place where one could just go back to farming. In reality they were conserving a life they already knew from the incursion of an outside other.  That, being “the madness of King George”.  The French, while they chopped off the heads of the old empire, still dreamed of replacing it with their own new utopia. This is an undiscovered country, even more so than the future– because you can generally count on the sun to rise in the morning with an ordinary future. But utopia is ultimately a stranger, an alien thing where anything seems possible.  Our naive culture thinks this is a good thing. Let me put it this way. Thomas More gave us that term. It means “no place”, and much greater suffering results when people forget those small, ugly facts. It is arguable that he was killed for it.

Nazi Germany was merely the reanimated corpse of the Weimar Republic.  It fed off the life and treasure of it’s own people, and it’s entire economic structure required  expansion, the pilfering of other nations and empire to keep the goods coming.  Going back to the insane assylem for a minute. Because the poor boy was insane and not especially good at economic logic, he did not recognize that the greatest disease of his hero was not his misplaced hatred or even his ravening insanity.  It was using a destructive,  unsustainable financial system to save a starving people.  By bribing some of them and killing off others. This is the ultimate zero sum game.

You may be screaming at me that of course the death camps were the worst feature. Certainly they are the worst outward sign. We have confused the most terrible symptom for the disease. But I tell you what made Nazism so terrible was that it required death camps.  The endless stream of cash required to keep the National Socialist engine running was the lifeblood of every productive human being within reach.

Hating Jews was just an excuse to get the public sanction to remove them from view so they could be taken a part and squeezed for every drop of monetary value they had.  Whatever taxes a given population would willingly give couldn’t be enough for the level of redistribution they used to buy the loyalty of his constituents.  Sounds disturbingly familiar, doesn’t it?

That is how top heavy the economic situation was, and it was mostly a vacuum of any economic value inside the country– save it’s people, and whatever wealth they may have.   Once those become the state’s responsibility, every one of those becomes another mouth to feed. In Germany’s case, the total absence of any kind of monetary value was due to the crippling sanctions demanded from them by the rest of Europe– notably the French, the English, and the United States.

These demands  came out of WWI.  Europe had lost her innocence, a whole generation of good men and energetic women, and her great hope in an optimistic future. The full brunt of the horrors of industrialization were made painfully evident, and sucked out the soul of the whole continent.  For this catastrophic loss,  they made Germany pay. They merely demanded all of her output for themselves.   Woodrow Wilson especially pushed for the punishment of Germany– but then he wanted everyone to suffer. But at least it gave him some ammunition to use back home.

One could argue that our shuffling Democracy is still suffering the consequences of his rule.  Europe certainly has, for WW II nationalized Germany’s great despair. Europe stared too long and saw too much in that abyss. Thus she give up all hope for humanity- or God.  Though I argue that she was set up for this devastating blow by having talked herself out of hope and God by the time WW I rattled to it’s universal defeat. All that was necessary was to verify the most cynical conclusions derived from the previous war.

But these two wars helped define modern life in ways the brainiacs of the Enlightenment could never hope to understand.  Because while some were indifferent to the God of Hosts, and referred him to stay remote and unknown, they also knew that an absence of such would lead to great horrors.  The modern nihilist says, “we already have horrors. What’s a few more? What does it matter?” It did not seem to occur to them that the specter of the primacy of words (with variable meaning) could ever return to primacy in the mind of mankind, after her thorough inculcation of Right Reason.

Perhaps someone needs to send Europe the memo.  While we did kill God (so Nietzsche did get something right) , but God did not die.  We just casually decided He didn’t exist.

Sunday Shrine: Cathedra Petri

By Ricardo André Frantz (User:Tetraktys) (taken by Ricardo André Frantz) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

 Today is the feast of the Seat of St Peter. “Upon this Rock I build my Church.”  Ahh Bernini.  So glorious!  (Yeah, I needed a break from Lent, too. ;-) )

  ⇓Yes, this image depicts an on-going mass.  Dude, taking pictures during mass? Really?  But it is a nice picture, and gives you a sense of scale.

But  I can understand why some people go, “but why all the stuff? Wasn’t Jesus a humble carpenter? What are you people on?”

Well, it’s like this. Jesus is your buddy, (which is a pretty radical position for a deity) and I’m not denying that. But he’s also GOD. And God is the omnipotent omnipresent creator of the universe and everything in it. He is Existence Itself. The culmination of All that is Good. He is Love, yes, I can go on and on about this all day… even all eternity. But the point is… think about when this was built.  What was it’s purpose?

⇓⇑Nice closer image of the chair. 

By Antoine Taveneaux (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“To glorify the Pope?” snarks the peanut gallery.  Well, I’m sure the man who commissioned this had an ego problem or two, but it was designed, built and dedicated to the Greater Glory of God.  At least some people here had intent, and it was meant not as a palace for a king, but a palace for God HImself. Meaning it should surpass the beauty of all palaces, the personal wealth of all kings, both in the past, in the present, and in the future.  And that is why Bernini made it as he did. Even if you question the Pope’s motives… will you question that this artist did not want to give his absolute best to God?

⇓Below here, is the altar of sacrifice. That is why the pillars have a vaguely abominable appearance. This is Cavalry.  Cuddly putti aren’t called for in that context. That is why the angels on top of the roof cornice are mourning..

By Dnalor 01 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 There were holy men working for the church, even back then. And they did not question it. It was built for the Faithful, and for God.  A church was the only establishment where ordinary people would see this kind of thing.

Furthermore, comparing a Pope to a king is ludicrous. The Papacy is the longest standing democratic institution on Earth.   How so? Look at the first picture.   It’s a shot from the Papal enclave that ultimately voted in Pope Francis.   Also, the Pope only teaches what Christ teaches, and cannot make up new teachings. He can reformulate rubrics and how things are done, but it must always conform to what Christ taught, or his teaching is invalid. So he does what Christ says, and is a servant of his Church, mostly to proclaim unity, arbitrate squabbles and represent her in the global theater.

Returning to the topic of elaborate and gilded churches, I have one last point. There is a tradition and teaching that a church is where heaven touches Earth, a place where God dwells amongst his people. (Hint: This is my body.) SO it reflects not only the glories of Heaven, the presence of God’s Glory on Earth, but also the Temple on the Mount. (Hint: He shall return in Glory.) If that isn’t reason to have glorious surroundings, I don’t know what is.

⇓Another attempt at scale and impact, backing off, trying to soak it  all in.

By Michael Day (St Peter’sUploaded by russavia) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

A Declaration of Purpose

fontofworlds:

This is a distillation of What SF and Fantasy are. This core philosophy is the reason why they alone have not forgotten what made the genre great in the first place.

Originally posted on Otherwhere Gazette:

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

  • Humanity is worth saving.
  • One planet is not enough for humans. 
  • Experiments and efforts to reach space are not a waste of money, but useful for life on earth, and reaching beyond it.
  • The government is incapable of reaching out to the stars, private endeavors will be the ones to drive that movement.
  • We write and publish to persuade others toward that goal of reaching out to the stars.
  • Science Fiction stories further that persuasion and expansion of imagination.
  • This is why science fiction needs to be based in hard science, and also why fantasy needs to create the understanding of what it is that heroes do.
  • This is no way interferes with belief in a higher power – or conversely, requires belief in a higher power.

I listened to Toni Weisskopf deliver that thrilling declaration of what science fiction is for on…

View original 629 more words

Not Dead Yet: The Final Chapter

 

By 04ashplantc01 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Zombie dancer from Spamalot.

I suppose I should have explained this series sooner.  Occasionally I am wowed by the wide array of images that comes across when I search a word or phrase in Wikimedia commons. Then I decide to do a series of web posts about them.  In this case, it was “I’m Not Dead Yet”.  The fact that I turn 40 in a few days is entirely coincidental.  I’m not used to having age related stuff matter to me, so please have patience while I sort it out.

What struck me more is how it all seemed to tell a story that was related to the phrase– more or less. I mean, sure, I stuck in a ‘random’ collapsing galaxy (that was yet another hit on the search), but who doesn’t like pretty NASA images? And even a collapsing galaxy seems small and artistic when seen in contrast with a small part of the greater universe. Call it perspective on the bigger questions. Yet even that was not the end.  Okay fine, the last image being a zombie is my sense of humor getting the better of me. (As well as being true to the search. At least it’s a relatively attractive zombie.)  Ending on the theme of resurrection was not an accident.  But beyond that I don’t feel the need to spell it out.

 

Not Dead Yet, Part VI: “Dead Man’s Grave”?

From geograph.org.uk Author Evelyn Simak License: Creative Commons

So Evelyn tells us she does not know why Norfolk (or this part of Norfolk) was once called “Dead Man’s Grave”.   I have a theory.  If you search for the phrase, “Dead Man’s Grave” using the googles (presumably not a resource had back when) you find a reference to 2 Kings 13:21.  OR, if you are a student of the Douay Rheims or older standard texts, 4 Kings 13:21.  So it might be an accident of Wikimedia Search that this image comes up under “Not Dead Yet”, OR… somebody knows more than they are telling.

For the benefit of tired click fingers  (I’ll start at 20 to give a BIT more context):

[20] And Eliseus died, and they buried him. And the rovers from Moab came into the land the same year.

[21] And some that were burying a man, saw the rovers, and cast the body into the sepulchre of Eliseus. And when it had touched the bones of Eliseus, the man came to life, and stood upon his feet.

To have this area called “Dead Man’s Grave”  in context of this reading, hints at miracles.  If you think that’s crazy, keep in mind folks were far more versed in the readings than we are today. Even if they couldn’t read, the majority went to Mass every Sunday (presumably, if the name is well and truly ancient, it comes from a time before Henry the 8th, when England was Catholic) and heard the scriptures read, in total, once every three years.

Contrary to popular belief, scripture was read in the vernacular in Church, in England, in the medieval period.  There was a popular movement to evangelize the masses, up to and including creating a style of Gregorian chant accessible to the average layman. Those were not sung in Latin as one would expect, but in English, and are also chock full of references to scripture.

People were wont to memorize things more often, because paper was expensive. Also the monks taught that sort of thing to young smart fellows.  The merchant class had to come from somewhere.  So if someone nearly dies on the road, but seems to come back to life miraculously, remembering the place by a reference to the book of Second (or Fourth) Book of Kings seems fitting.

But what do I know, I’m just a writer.  :)

One book I want to write, was one from the perspective of a medieval atheist walking  on a ‘pilgrimage’ to Aquinas’ Paris. He wants to argue with The Angelic Doctor, and has many encounters along the way. Think a cross between Mindwalk and The Canterbury Tales.  Here’s hoping I learn enough history to make that happen. Buty that one is on the back, back burner. This stove is getting ridiculous!