17 February 2015

Wandering thoughts on some outdated notions

In this entry, I will write down aimless thoughts. I will interrupt the text exactly two times with images of paper scraps.

Guardians can be good, and guardians can be bad. Let’s say that your main interest is in woodworking, and your guardian is a master woodworker who is willing to teach you the trade. In this case, you might consider your guardian ‘good’. On the other hand, if your guardian strikes you with a sword because you failed to salute a portrait of Saint Irenaeus, you might consider your guardian ‘bad’.

Here's the first torn scrap of paper:

We also have another word: comedy. Sometimes people use this word to describe a piece of literature that is light in tone or that ends happily. Sometimes people use the word to describe a work of art that makes us laugh. And we have a modern phenomenon called the ‘sitcom’, which means ‘situation comedy’ – I’ve enjoyed these shows whenever I’ve seen them on television. Does it sound strange to call a sitcom a ‘work of art’? That’s something to think about.

Also, we have stand-up comedians. What is the difference between a stand-up comedian and a jester? And what is the difference between a comedian and a biblical prophet?

Let’s say that you’re a king who lives in the ancient past, and you allow both jesters and prophets to berate your excellency: How do you judge whether this or that jester or prophet is good at their job?

I suppose that, even if its content disparages my royal self, as long as the jester’s speech causes me to laugh, I will call the jester ‘good’. There are probably all sorts of fine shades to this type of judgment, but, since I’m a simpleminded king, I follow this easy rule: As long as I laugh, the jester remains employed.

But what about prophets? A jester’s success is indicated by laughter – is there an equivalent for prophets? Laughter is to jesting as blank is to prophesying.

Here's another torn scrap of paper:

We also have this other word: poetry. Is there a difference between poets and prophets? Between poets and jesters? What makes a good poet? And what about the difference between a poet and a stand-up comedian? Or a poet and a rock star? Did poets sing their verses in old days? Did a lyre or harp accompany every poet’s words? Are these things (verse format; singing aloud; instrumentation) wholly necessary? When I myself hear the word poet, I imagine a book with printed words. There must have been a gradual change in the poet’s job description, over the years.


The idea of evolution is sometimes represented in an oversimplified way. A fish swims toward the shoreline, and the fish grows legs and creeps onto the land; then, becoming more and more upright, advancing from crawling to walking, the creature morphs into a biped; and it soon acquires a business suit and a briefcase; then huge wings sprout from its shoulder blades, and it ascends into the blue sky, snatches up the deity with its talons, and hastens to the outer darkness where it encounters an enemy spaceship. And the appearances of both the deity and the evil ship’s pilot, we now notice, are indistinguishable from our protagonist Charles Darwin.

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