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There are signs 2024 is going to be a disastrous year
My favorite philosopher William Shakespeare was said to recognize 20,000 flowers and often used their qualities to complete a scene, to add meaning to plot and dialogue, and to put another hat or cloak on a character. He understood that the theologians of the time had created the Elizabethan Chain of Being so kings could claim a divine right to rule came directly from God. It is a lasting scheme.
We still have false and “real” kings in the world who believe God has crowned them. We have one who has committed criminal acts and must defend himself in four courts and in every X (Twitter) because he has broken every commandment. The chain of responsibility stretches from God to humans to animals to plants to minerals and lastly to earth and rocks.
When our ancestors killed a mastodon for the protein, a leader had to lead the killing to take place and arrange for T-bones to be cut. But to get to where mastodons lived, leaders also had to be picked to lead Homo sapiens from central Africa to five continents. By the 17th century the English ruled by Queen Elizabeth had assigned everything in their world to a chain from God to rocks.
Naturally, God and his angels and other spirits reigned at the top while the earth and rocks anchored the chain. There are thousands of links in the Chain of Being, so I’m going to just hit a few of the high and low links.
The animal bracket is led by the lion king and ends with Mickey Mouse
At the top of the chain is Almighty God flying above angels, demons (fallen angels), stars, moon, kings and queens, princes, nobles, humans, wild animals, domesticated animals, trees, other plants, precious stones, precious metals, other minerals and, in last place, rocks. (Does the chain predict why some people have rocks for brains?)
Why was Queen Elizabeth chosen by God to be at the top? Remember your history. Henry VIII had no sons so his daughter Elizabeth from Queen Anne Boleyn, whose head was removed by Henry for not having a son and fooling around with courtiers.
Among humans, nobles and merchants were just below kings and queens, and at the bottom of the human section were all workers, servants, and peasants. Merchants were near the top because they sold stuff and were rich. In the “animals” bracket, lions (the “King of the Jungle”) were at the very top and rats and mice (poor Mickey!) were at the bottom.
Trees were at the top of all plants (the mighty English oak may be 1,300 years old) while grass was at the bottom. Minerals were above rocks in the lowest category because they added life to other things in the chain. The divine order of the family is always father, mother, sons and daughters in that specific order.
Wonder why female elephants always lead elephant herds while males always lead chimps and human families in Catholic, Protestant and Jewish families? It’s because of the chain. The lion is called king but it’s queen lion who has her pride in tow while the king is out screwing around. So is the elephant bull. He doesn’t have the genes to be a loving father. The chain is why eldest-son Prince William will follow King Charles on the English throne instead of Prince Harry.
Where Do Orcas, Donald Trump, and Horses Reside in the Chain of Being?
An Englishman high on the Chain of Being by the name of Lord Acton dropped this rule on us: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Or perhaps you remember the modern observation that most organizational hierarchies such as business corporations have a tendency to promote an excellent employee to more responsible positions until he reaches a level where he is incompetent. He then receives an appropriate punishment. The same thing happens to lesser people in the Chain of Being.
But the top guys in the chain – the kings, queens, nobles and merchants – can end up dead if they violate the rules. People in Elizabethan England believed that God had established all the rules and was very angry if someone he had given divine rights to had violated his commandments, particularly if they had murdered a king, queen or noble to take their place.
Even William Shakespeare, certainly the greatest, smartest, self-educated writer in the Western World, sincerely believed in the Divine Order. Many of his 37 plays have plots that revolve around this belief. His historical plays plus his tragedies such as Macbeth and Hamlet are about God’s insistence on maintaining order in the universe. When Macbeth and Lady Macbeth murder King Duncan in his sleep, a king chosen by God by divine right, the audience in the Globe Theater knew that both were going to get their come-uppance.
And even King Duncan’s horses know immediately about the murder. An observer reported: “And Duncan’s horses – a thing most strange and certain – Beauteous and swift, the minions of their race, turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, contending against obedience, as they would make war with mankind. They ate each other, to the amazement of my eyes that looked upon it.” Whenever the upper classes were involved in some incident in Shakespeare’s plays, unusual things happened.
Are orcas trying to tell us that terrible things are going to happen in our future?
One of the world’s most intelligent top predators has been acting like they all have killer whale Post Traumatic Syndrome Disease. They may be acting like Duncan’s horses. Fish scientists are saying that orcas have been performing some fascinating but very puzzling acts lately.
Perhaps it is the first time orcas have expressed PTSD by attacking boats in different climes around the world, sinking some of them. Orcas have been attacking boats for more than three years, damaging many and sinking a few. In the latest incident, three orcas off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula destroyed the rudder and put a hole in the side of a yacht, which quickly sank. Passengers were not attacked.
The Orca Behavior Institute, based in Washington, has received several hundred reports of similar attacks in less than four years. A few reports contain comments about human observers cheering orcas as they attacked nearby boats. Many comments on social media applaud “Team Orca” for finally fighting against humans.
A few scientists say the orcas are just having fun. Robert Pitman, a marine ecologist at Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute, presents reasons for the attacks: “They’re intelligent social animals, and they live in what I think is probably an under-stimulating environment for their mental capacity.” Reminds one of tired farmers in a small town going to the local saloon on a Saturday night.
Actually, orcas are not whales. They are the largest member of the dolphin family at 30 feet and weighing many tons – with four-inch teeth. Their diet includes tiger and other sharks, seals of all kinds and fish. Pod members are talking all the time with each other and are expert in hunting in packs like wolves. Are they trying to tell us something with their latest weird and destructive behavior?
Do we have any idea about who we are?
Maybe orcas know who we are. One of my favorite columnists, Karen Tumulty of the Associated Press, asked a big question in her last column: “Opinion: Is This Who We Are?”
Breaking News! I have just read in the Guardian that the Vatican has instructed priests not to spend more than 10 or 15 seconds in blessing same-sex couples – and be sure to use the sign of the cross in the end!”
My God, folks! Is that who we are?
Back to Tumulty. At the end of her column, Tumulty makes a statement all Americans need to consider: “If Americans, knowing everything they now know about him, reelect Trump – or come close to doing so – it will be time for us all to quit lying to ourselves.” In her text, she uses a phrase President Joe Biden has used often to describe Trump’s policies at the U.S.-Mexican border, at the Charlottsville march in 2017 when American Nazis shouted: “They will not replace us!” and other derogatory exclamations directed at Jews, and a woman was killed by a Nazi driving over protesters.
She also recalls statements made by Trump at his many MAGA rallies. She quotes former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, who told this to CBS News while watching the attack on the capitol on January 6th: “What we’re currently watching unfold is un-American. I’m disappointed, I’m sad, this is not what our country should look like. This is not who we are.”
Then, a few hours later, while kissing Trump’s posterior, he really determined who he was. In a book titled Is This America?, Sherrilyn Ifill quotes the testimony of Fannie Lou Hamer, a black sharecropper who was appearing at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee in a dispute about delegates in 1964: “Is this America, the land of the free and home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives are being threatened daily, because we want to live like decent human beings, in America?”
So, things haven’t changed much because now liberal politicians, election workers, secretaries of state, talk show hosts, column writers, union officials, teachers, librarians, school superintendents, abortion doctors and workers face death threats because they are, or seem to be members of the Democratic Party who are working to save the country from Trump and MAGA fascism.
They can’t just take the internet, iPhone and all the social media off the hooks. In a talk at the New York Public Library this year, Ifill said she was a civil rights lawyer for 30 years and had never been out of work. Her interests and cases have come from the very policies that Trump wants to “dictate” to the American people: mass incarceration, racism, immigration, wealth inequality, educational inequity, segregation, police brutality and misconduct, and media bias. She also wondered why “tens of millions of our fellow countrypeople are fully prepared to elect again as president a man of such degraded moral character, a man so void of a spirit of public service, a man so fundamentally inclined toward theft, mendacity, cruelty and criminality that we can scarcely absorb the breath of his transgressions.
His supporters embrace him with religious zeal.” The picture of Trump holding up the Bible he has never read by a church he has never attended tells it all. He has done more to empty the pews of evangelical and fundamentalist Christian and Roman Catholic churches and turn them into “nones” than any person in history.
But perhaps the most truth was exposed when 17-year-old high schooler Darnella Frazier kept the lens of her iPhone on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes as he was choked to death by a Minneapolis policeman. It was seen around the world. Maybe an orca pod some day will tell us how that act changed the world.