Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Strange Platypus(es) Part VII

My secular colleagues often assert that humanity has a common obsession with the sacrificed and eaten god. Ritual sacrifice and ritual cannibalism. This is but one of a thousand arguments that all religions are really one and the same at their core, and rooted in "superstition" (whatever "superstition" may mean). I find it rather facile to stop there, however. There is something interesting that this common phenomenon reveals about the human psyche. In our deep-rooted, animistic core (I use the word animism without any sense of it being "degraded," "superstitious," or "barbarian". In some ways, I believe that the animists understand a good deal more about the world as it is than we do in secularized West. If we are to call animism "superstitious," then I find modern secularism equally so, the only difference being where each worldview keeps its "superstitions.") lies this fervent desire to kill god and by ingesting him, to somehow assume his power and so become god ourselves. It is interesting, then, to see how this plays out in Christianity. Man's very desire to kill god and eat him becomes the means by which salvation is effected. The author of life is too big for death, and so overwhelms it, the author of man is to big for man, and so cannot be held within him. Thus, the Son of God is lifted up and killed as a sacrifice for sin, and his body and blood become tokens of grace, and images of the Christ-Life within the believer. Ritual sacrifice becomes the Atonement, and ritual cannibalism the Eucharist. God is to big for man. To consume Him, one must either burst and be destroyed, or be made into a god himself. Thus does man's desire come full circle, thus does God make rebels and usurpers into sons and heirs.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Word-Wise Platypus

After perusing a calendar of archaic English, I am convinced that the English have forgotten more words for beer than most languages have words.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Platypus Misses Byzantium (But not Tea Bags)

Wherein is told the story of an amazing car break down,
a mildly expensive repair, a missed wedding,
and best wishes for an old friend.

Dear reader,

You must not assume the worst when you see the picture that has been thoughtfully placed at the head of this account. Our society is so given to that excess of morbid wonder, that one is fairly induced to plumb the depths of horror to produce even a mild sensation of excitement in the organ of feeling. A writer's heroines must suffer as veritable Psyches and our villains must be more cruel and tyrannical than the late King Leopold if they are to be of even the most casual interest. I suppose one might be induced to spend a great portion of ink here deploring the depraved conditions of our age and wax toward the highest pitch of moralism upon the point to put even an enthusiast to shame. It is quite excessive, and yet it is the tenor of our times, dear reader. I, however, never could abide a fashion, unless it be fashionable to be out of fashion which it always is in the right circles. So I will spare you, gentle reader, such a tower of execrations as the fashionable fashion demands.

To the meat of the matter! Our story begins with a rather extraordinarily unextraordinary couple upon a most extraordinarily unextraordinary trip! Namely, making the crossing from R- to P- on the occasion of one Right Rev. Daniel Price's wedding. It was a most unexpectedly expected event, and therefore merited the curiosity of the greater portion of the town of L-, L- County. As is known, dear reader, every Right Reverend, no matter how poor his incumbency, must be in want of a wife. The very constitution of the protestant church demands it, or else taxes shall be raised, popery return, the French make off with the high seas, the price of tea and coffee double, and the Empire be as good as done for! So it was generally agreed that a Reverend aged 30 and finally ready to be rid of his bachelorhood forever was at all costs to be supported. During their duty, then, to preserve the sanctity of church and Empire, our extraordinarily unextraordinary couple set out across the wastes in their intrepid vehicle. About a hour into their trip, however, there was a most dolorious and scandalous occurrence. Those with weak constitutions had best leave off here. The "check engine" light on the dashboard shone out with a most sudden and terrifying glow. What were they to do, our young couple? Calamity of calamities seemed suddenly to swoop upon them with the ravening rapaciousness of the American coyote for both knew through a previous warning that it was most assuredly the engine's cooling system that had gone. What were they to do? Custom and friendship demanded that they move on, and yet move on they could not! Yet the safety of a lady should be at stake if she should be subjected to the harsh inclemencies of the desert. Weighing in the scales, the lady's safety and honour bore the heavier and they were compelled, however regretfully, to turn back. Oh reader! Think not too harshly on them! Judge yourself what you would have done in their place! If there were any dishonour involved, I assure you that it was well expiated in the ongoing tortures and expenses of repairing their damaged vehicle! We must remember with the passionate spirit of the evangelical, we are not to judge lest we too be judged, nor condemn, lest we too suffer condemnation. With charity in our hearts, then, we must wish them well, and wish well with them to the Right Reverend Price as he enters together with his beloved into all the joys and raptures of the married state. Good night, dear reader, for now and remember that well worn saying: "The Platypus speaks Truth!"

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Platypus Sets Sail (For Tea Bags)

"This is no country for old men. The young in one another's arms, birds in the trees -Those dying generations- at thier song, the salmon falls, thhe mackerel-crowded seas, fish, flesh, or fowl, comend all summer long whatever is begotten, born, and dies. Caught in that sensual music all negelect monuments of unageing intellect."

"An aged man is but a paltry thing, a tattered coat upon a stick, unless soul clap is hands and sing, and louder sing for every tatter in its mortal dress, nor is there singing at school but studying monuments of its own magnificence; and therefore I have sailed the seas and come to the holy city of Byzantium."

"O sages standing in God's holy fire as in the gold mosaic of a wall, come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre, and be the singing-masters of my soul. Consume my heart away; sick with desire and fastened to a dying animal it knows not what it is; and gather me into the artiface of eternity."

"Once out of nature I shall never take my bodily form from any natural thing, but such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make of hammered gold and gold enamelling to keep a drowsy Emperor awake; or set upon a golden bough to sing to lords and ladies of Byzantium of what is past, or passing, or to come."

W. B. Yeats

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Two Tea Bags One Platypus

There is no wind upon the surface of the water
Life is so beautiful in the still moments
Furious energy has but one goal
The shrike upon the reed fills my heart