Arbitrating Death

Some deaths, it seems, we can justify either to our individual selves or to our country. Other deaths are murder. Some murders we can justify as not being the fault of the society itself but of individuals. But what we never do, what we have never done, is describe every assault of one human on another as murder no matter who or when it was carried out.

This is because we don’t view these killings from a standard viewpoint but from the relative view of our own interests – the status quo of business or the State. And we don’t believe we have any responsibility for the actions of others. Yet if society is all of us together then the actions of one person or the State do not just reflect upon them but are the outcomes of the decisions we all make on how we rule ourselves.

Murder is Murder

Hypatia was slaughtered by a Christian mob in Egypt. They thought they were doing god’s work as she was a scientist and a woman who taught student. We can look back with horror and argue they were wrong without, I think, looking at ourselves.

Plato talks about essences and attributes. Attributes are things that change about something in our world, the colour, size, shape of a thing (in his example a table.) We all have trouble thinking about essences, what makes a table a table that doesn’t change from one to another.

So we put men in uniform and we don’t call what they do murder. We herd cattle into farms and into slaughter houses and we don’t call it murder. Our enemies blow people up and we call it murder but they don’t.

We can always find excuses to miss the essence of sheathing we do because attributes blind us with their reasoned traditional acceptance.

Human beings murder, we do it without regard and we are all invested in it to some extent. Every abattoir is an Auschwitz and the thought and processes that make them a reality can be turned in an instant to murder people instead of animals.

We have been trying to reason ourselves out of this for generations but if we took a journey across the world we would conclude we are far distant from stopping murder. So far distant that we would not be in error to conclude part of the essence of being human is to kill things.

Solving Murders

There are hundreds of shows on TV around the world involving murder – the vast majority of these shows solve the murder clues and catch or kill the murderer. We can leave aside the known double-standards human beings have in defining murder with murder (when it comes to war and killing animals,) because the reason why we watch these shows is because murder fascinates us. It isn’t the causes and reasons for the murder that fascinates us, these are just the riddles and murder cases are just another excuse for riddle solving which we love to do. What fascinates us is death.

In particular making the dead somehow talk,  giving us an association with the dead by coming to understand who they were, what their names were, and finally why they died, because there always has to be a why. If you think about it, this is a perfect extension of faith, because our gods who have designed this world, murder us by our natures and we long to know why.

Religion is not a show but it is a riddle, filled with inconsistencies which we spend generations explaining because nature and faith do not agree. This planet is not run on ethical grounds; if it were life feeding on life would not be a core principle of nature, but gods all run on honour and ethics.

We hope to have an answer at the end of the show, I don’t believe we will unless silence can talk to the deaf, blind and dumb.

Shell Cases

Digging out my mother’s letters to scan I came across a shell casing I had not seen in years. It is pretty big and stand quite happily on its own with a fountain pen in it. It is made of brass and has M Vn on its base. The V being five in Latin. On this Halloween just gone having it again after so long made me think of the many things people adorn their desks and houses with that are actually from the dead or cause death. From the obvious weapons to the not so obvious; real feathers, ivory trinkets, leathers of all kinds, paper in abundance even today.

It isn’t that we are ghoulish it is just that we don’t think of these things for what they actually are any longer. We have given skin so many names that we are divorced from the deaths that give it to us. A separation that it appears we need for though we are great killers we are not all born killers and we like to lie to to ourselves in order to bear what we do and keep hold of what we have bought.

I wonder in this case, if the shell casing was discharged in war. If it is a keepsake from some battle. If the large round from it, killed. It is strange to think of that much murder holding my pen.

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February 2019
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