on the uses of satire

Laughing at the blind — Forrest makes an important point — and its not always easy to tell/discern the difference between legitimate social comment and intellectuallly (or morally) superior self-aggrandizment. When the Pharasee and the Publican stood side by side in the temple only one went away justified. And yet there may still be a place for satire.

But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD, and the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him,

“There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. He brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his meager fare, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him. Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was loath to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb, and prepared that for the guest who had come to him.”

Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man. He said to Nathan, “As the LORD lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”

Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul; I gave you your master’s house, and your master’s wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would have added as much more. Why have you despised the word of the LORD, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

Samuel 2:1-9

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5 responses

  1. To return to the discussion of selves:I agree that Cain/Abel, etc. are a more basic archetype of human consciousness than Mark’s Legion.It can certainly be said that we’re all two selves; call them the creative/destructive or the positive/negative or simply good/bad (Jekyll/Hyde), or godly/devilish, the most moralistic of the twin categories.So how to resolve the dichotomy:How about a spectrum:Heavenly……hellish, with many shades of consciousness and behaviour in between, perhaps most of us trusting (or hoping) that we fall at or above the midpoint.

  2. I think what our madman represents is a Jew possessed by a mulitude of foreign concepts, which he can neither accept nor entirely shake off. The fact that the neighborhood is full of pigs, while he himself is living among tombs… The scandal of one of these 10 Galilean cities is that it was built over a graveyard, rendering anyone who lived there automatically unclean.In our day, symbolically, then, this would be a man who has accepted society’s beliefs and viewpoints so thoroughly that he hardly has a thought of his own–although such a person will typically imagine himself as a unique individual who “has opinions,” not as one who simply lets opinions have him.Anything you want to say “can certainly be said,” but I’ve had people trying to convince me of this one all my life, and I might just be too stubborn.

  3. Sorry, the Galilean city with the graveyard is on Jesus’s side of the lake so I guess it isn’t among the “10 cities” here. Anyway, Jesus is going to the far side to talk to Jews living among the dead, ie among pagans who diss their customs and their God…Back to “satire.” Indirect criticism may be best for rulers who can think of two lies faster than you can tell them one truth, and thump on you if you don’t stop saying it. (What else is a political “leader”, usually?)Against some false church which somehow manages to “speak to” a group of people who certainly aren’t tuned into our channel… There’s always that danger of self-congratulation at the “sinners'” expense. If doing this helps get the crud out of one’s own eye, fine, but I get the impression that it just rubs it in deeper. (One of the things that always annoyed me about CS Lewis, though that could be because I was somewhere among his intended targets, just not all that close to wherever he was actually slinging his poop.)Back to multiple-meism. I don’t want to be unfair to Larry & others who find profundity in doctrines where I just find abuse of language. If a “self” has to mean a monolithic unchanging image of a person, that simply isn’t what I am, not even if I let the theorist fill my life with a whole series of them. Better to see one’s consciousness as a continuous (albeit wiggly) function of time–as most people would do, left blissfully unenlightened.

  4. multiple self language is an import from yoga and therefore sanskrit or some Indo-langauge loaded with baggage. I’m not sure we can be all that certain the word means the same thing to yogis as to Westerners.

  5. By-the-way example of Legion-at-Work…Try http://www.joebageant.com/joe/2007/01/the_tension_bet.htmlfor a pretty straightforward description of “What possesses ‘us’ ” as a nation & probably even as a civilization.

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