The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mid week ramblings

I am going to ramble today. Not because it's useful or entertaining but because it's my normal manner of thinking. You don't mind, do you?

I was contemplating the term "race" today. It was triggered by a book I am reading, a novel set in Ancient Rome. A character mentions "our race" at one point. We modern and sophisticated people "know" that race is a social construct and that it is a troublesome one. People say (and I include myself in this) that we are all one race... the human race. But that is a misunderstanding of what the word actually means. Race is akin to "breed" and means much the same thing: common lineage and physical characteristics. The downside of the word is that it allows for something called "racism" which is, of course, a bad thing. The weird thing is that we don't think it is a bad thing if we apply that to the so called "lower" animals. Dogs, cats, horses, and such. It's only if we apply it to humans that it becomes a problem. I suppose that's because the aforementioned animals cannot speak to or understand us or they might express some irritation with how we treat them.

I am not trying to justify racism here, I am just trying to give it some context.

When I was a child, we had a dog. Cindy was a poodle terrier mix. A mutt, actually, because her lineage was more mixed than just those two breeds. Most humans are the equivalent of mutts, the rarest thing in the human race would be a "purebred" human, one whose ancestry can be traced back, undiluted, to a single clan in prehistoric times. An impossibility. My own lineage includes Irish, English, and French. I am sure there is much more but those are the only groups I know of and that only goes back a century or so. I am reasonably sure there are many other ethnic groups in my family lineage.

Just something to think about.

I am a bit addicted to the History channel of late. I have always liked history, even as a child in school. Lots of my peers then hated it because it seemed unimportant and full of things to memorize. I suspect a number of those peers are spending a lot of time and money tracing their "roots" today. I had only one history teacher who taught it as I think it should be taught. It was my junior year in high school. He de-emphasized dates and emphasized commonalities between the past and the current. I have long felt that history is distorted as it is usually taught. That is, it is the history of kings and rulers, of "important" people. We should try to broaden that to include the "unimportant" people, the "commoners" and how they lived and struggled, why they joined the armies and fought the wars. This why I like the History channels, they do try to get into that a bit. It's why I liked the book "The Pillars of the Earth" and the one I am reading now ("Imperium: a novel of Ancient Rome"*). They tell history from the perspective of common people, not just the aristocracies. And it is fascinating to me when told that way.

On a related note, I notice that those of my peers who believe in reincarnation and think they have past lives always seem to believe these past lives were important ones, rulers and powerful people. I tend to think mine might have been horse thieves and highwaymen. I am more humble, I guess.

I don't really believe in reincarnation, though. The thought scares me a bit. Especially if I am right about my past lives.

* Thank you, Andreas, for recommending it


The Chubby Chatterbox said...

I have always considered myself a student of history and agree with much of what you say. History, as a subject of learning, has gotten such a bad rap over the years, probably because of so many uninspired history teachers, but I find it a totally fascinating subject, particularly anything having to do with Ancient Rome. On my last trip I spent a day wandering through the catacombs, which were incredible. I also agree that "Pillars of the Earth" is a wonderful book. You might also enjoy "Sarum" by Edward Rutherfurd, the story of England from the building of Stonehenge to the creation of the Salisbury Cathedral. 

FTell001 said...

To the Chubby Chatterbox....I keep a copy of Sarum on my bookshelves...always. Awesome book..and great to re read.

pearlvz said...

GAH but I have a hard time commenting here!!!

Love history as well.  And I agree with you about the reincarnation -- while I actually do believe in it, I suspect I was/have been rather common people...  Don't think I was ever Cleopatra or anything of the sort...


Douglas4517 said...

It seems Disqus is misbehaving of late. It took about 15 seconds before I was able to enter text. Sorry about that, Pearl. If it keeps up, I will revert back to Blogger's comment system.

On another note, maybe you were Marie Antoinette... Ever lose your head?

pearlvz said...

I actually suspect I was hung from the neck until dead. :-) Head and neck issues!!