Monday, December 26, 2016

Boxing in the Fog

Those who’ve wondered what it might be like to be in the sky inside wondrous clouds massively crowding a blue sky would have their answer this morning down on the ground on the shores of Wolverine Lake in the Village of Wolverine Lake, MI. The clouds are down to inspect the lowest reaches. The fog hides all details. Houses, trees, cars, and the doomed remains of snow (the temperature is trying to pass 50 ° F) are only barely sketched in. All else is a white mist. So much, for starters, about the fog.

As for boxing, today is Boxing Day in England, the second day of Christmas elsewhere in Europe. It is also a holiday for all Federal Employees—but only because the 25th fell on a Sunday this year. More is available on Boxing Day in an early post on this blog, titled “The Day After ” (link) written some seven years ago. In that post the links between Christmas and the ancient Saturnalia are also traced. So it is very foggy on this Boxing Day of 2016. If you had the vague impression (as Brigitte and I did until I wrote that post) that Boxing Day is celebrated by boxing matches, you will be corrected. But that interpretation lingers. And checking the news while glancing out the window this morning, I imagined that our politicians, serving or just elected to serve, are well described by the view at Wolverine. They’re boxing in the fog—and no punch ever lands in this thick mist.

This blog began with a post on cyclic history (link). There I suggest that theories of cyclic history are much more likely to be true than belief in a Progressive March toward Perfection. Based on my teachers of history, we’re now part of a great decline in culture. It has happened before, is happening now, and will again a thousand or so years from now, give or take. Cyclic history is not an exact science. The past, however, keeps recurring.

Brigitte brought an example of that to my mind this morning. A story in the Times Digest tells of ISIS fighters smuggling weapons tied to the bellies of sheep. Okay. That’s in 2016 (still). The story reminded Brigitte of a Greek saga that, she thought, clearly mirrored it. I had a very vague memory too—and went to look it up. It turned out that Brigitte’s memories still work with relatively fine precision. When Odysseus falls into the hands of Polyphemus, the Cyclops, around about the 1200 BCs, he and his men manage to escape the Cyclops’ clutches by hanging on to the bellies of Polyphemus’ sheep that he, the Cyclops, lets out of his cave to graze.

Not an exact parallel, to be sure. Are we to associate ISIS with Odysseus? And the Cyclops with one Donald the Trump. Not very close. But the time distance between 2016 and 1200 BC is some 3,216 years. Thus it is likely that in the year 5232 AD some such tale may have some currency. But a true Cyclops has only one eye. That’s strong evidence that Trump might not qualify. In this fog, it’s hard to see the truth.

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