Iris, by RWillowfish from /Cats

Iris #’s 1- 8

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St George: Wiki Excerpt

Saint George and the Dragon

Miniature from a 13th-century Passio Sancti Georgii (Verona)

The legend of Saint George and the Dragon was first recorded in the 11th century, in a Georgian source. It reached Catholic Europe in the 12th century. In the Golden Legend, by 13th-century Archbishop of Genoa Jacobus da Varagine, George’s death was at the hands of Dacian, and about the year 287.[27]

Saint George Killing the Dragon, 1434/35, by Bernat Martorell


   The tradition tells that a fierce dragon was causing panic at the city of Silene, Libya, at the time Saint George arrived there. In order to prevent the dragon from devastating people from the city, they gave two sheep each day to the dragon, but when the sheep were not enough they were forced to sacrifice humans instead of the two sheep. The human to be sacrificed was elected by the city’s own people and that time the king’s daughter was chosen to be sacrificed but no one was willing to take her place. Saint George saved the girl by slaying the dragon with a lance. The king was so grateful that he offered him treasures as a reward for saving his daughter’s life, but Saint George refused it and instead he gave these to the poor. The people of the city were so amazed at what they had witnessed that they became Christians and were all baptized.[28]

   The Golden Legend offered a historicised narration of George’s encounter with a dragon. This account was very influential and it remains the most familiar version in English owing to William Caxton‘s 15th-century translation.[29]

   In the medieval romances, the lance with which Saint George slew the dragon was called Ascalon, after the Levantine city of Ashkelon, today in Israel. The name Ascalon was used by Winston Churchill for his personal aircraft during World War II, according to records at Bletchley Park.[30] In Sweden, the princess rescued by Saint George is held to represent the kingdom of Sweden, while the dragon represents an invading army.

Excerpt II:



The martyrdom of Saint George, by Paolo Veronese, 1564


   A titular church built in Lydda during the reign of Constantine the Great (reigned 306–37) was consecrated to “a man of the highest distinction”, according to the church history of Eusebius; the name of the titulus “patron” was not disclosed, but later he was asserted[by whom?] to have been George.

   The veneration of George spread from Syria Palaestina through Lebanon to the rest of the Byzantine Empire—though the martyr is not mentioned in the Syriac Breviarium[17]—and the region east of the Black Sea. By the 5th century, the veneration of Saint George had reached the Christian Western Roman Empire, as well: in 494, George was canonized as a saint by Pope Gelasius I, among those “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to [God].”

The early cult of the saint was localized in Diospolis (Lydda), in Palestine. The first description of Lydda as a pilgrimage site where George’s relics were venerated is De Situ Terrae Sanctae by the archdeacon Theodosius, written between 518 and 530. By the end of the 6th century, the center of his veneration appears to have shifted to Cappadocia. The Life of Saint Theodore of Sykeon, written in the 7th century, mentions the veneration of the relics of the saint in Cappadocia.[35]


    Hercules, too, rescued a maiden, a daughter of the father of Priam, Leomedon, from a sea monster, but then was jilted in payment, hence beginning the first Trojan war.


Xenophon on the Turn from Presocratic Philosophy: Memorabilia I. 11- 16

 Blog Preface

  At the root of our theoretical attempt to reset the foundation of psychology is the suggestion that we simply follow Socrates in making the turn from pre-Socratic to Socratic philosophy. Our effort is to redirect psychiatry within a new comprehensive context- as distinct from dismissing what has been learned in the attempt to imitate the physical sciences. We assume a narrative: That modernity involved the attempt to turn to nature for an account of the fundamental causes of things, amounting to a Renaissance repetition of the ancient Greek discovery of nature. But the methods and models fail when addressing the human things, demonstrating a fundamental limitation of our science. Regarding man, simply put, our psyche-ology, does not attain knowledge. It addresses accidents and symptoms, while making itself a servant to the baser ends that usually govern mankind. What we say is that the science of the soul is no such slave. The obvious suggestion- if there has been a Renaissance repetition of the ancient Greek discovery of nature- is that we also follow ancient Greece in the emergence of Socratic from pre-Socratic philosophy. The following account of Xenophon allows one the best access to a direct account of the principle shown in the Socratic turn at the root of a psychology that may do more good than harm.

The full original is in the Menu above, accessible by hovering over “Philosophy.”

III. The Second Part of the Answer of Xenophon                        (original, pp. 15-23)

a) On I, i .10 The Impiety of the Other Philosophers in Conversation

b) On I, i .11-15  The Objections of Socrates to the Conversation of the Other                                                 Philosophers

c) On I, i .16 Socratic Conversation

1) The turn of Socrates to the Human Things

2) That Socrates Continued to study the Nature of All Things

3) The “What Is” Questions

4) Conclusion on Socratic Sophia and Phronesis

[From p. 15…

   …In attempting to show that Socrates was rather worthy of great honor from the city, Xenophon distinguishes Socrates from those who study the nature of all things, now called Pre-Socratic. In the second of three sections of the answer of Xenophon to the impiety charge in the indictment, he turns from the lack of impiety in the deeds to the lack of impiety in the speeches of Socrates. The account of the speeches aims to show that the jury “erred in judging what it is not manifest how they knew (I,i, 17).” At least part of the error of the citizens is to suppose that Socrates is the same as others, those who talk about nature. Like the answer of Socrates to the old accusers in Plato’s Apology (18 a-24b), the account of Xenophon here serves to distinguish Socrates from the atheistic tendency  of the natural philosophers. This has been prepared by the discussion of Socrates’ daimon, which surely distinguishes him from the atheistic natural philosophers. It will be our aim here to follow out the theoretical section* of the account of this difference.

   Xenophon begins by saying that Socrates was always in the open, in the gymnasium or marketplace, speaking much to all who would hear, but never was he known to be impious in deeds seen or words heard:

…For he never spoke considering about the nature of all things in the manner of most of the others, as the sophists call the nature of the cosmos and the necessities by which each of the heavenly things comes to be.

                                                                                 (Memorabilia I,i,10)

Those who talk openly about the nature of all things are impious because the discovery of nature at the beginning of philosophy undermines the conventional beliefs in the mythic opinions of the first and most fundamental things, the origin or man and the way of the cosmos. Natural philosophy gives an account of the “necessities by which each thing comes to be” without reference to the gods, in terms of elements and motion. Jaffa gives a good example in his study of Lear: the belief that Zeus will punish human injustice by throwing lightening bolts is undermined by the account of the cause of lightening in terms of electricity. So is the belief that the care of the gods for men ensures that there is no disproportion between one’s just deserts and one’s fortunes (Mem. IV, iii,14; Hesiod, Works and Days, 238-285; Aristophanes, Clouds, 395-97). Men’s sight of the heavens and the earth is purged of the imagination. In the turn from the opinion of the city to natural philosophy, it is found that the gods have fled.

   In Plato’s Apology, Meletus asserts that Socrates believes the sun to be not a god, but a stone (26d). Socrates responds that Meletus has mistaken him for Anaxagoras. The atheism of the pre-Socratic thinkers is much like that of modern scientific “empiricism.” This seems to have emerged through a Renaissance repetition of the ancient Greek discovery of nature. It is the emergence of philosophy as such, rather than Socratic philosophy in particular, that undermines custom and is fundamentally at odds with pious belief. Yet, Socratic philosophy is a kind of philosophy.

   Upon the discovery of nature, it appears that justice or right is not natural, but exists only by human convention and agreement. Justice seems to be without trans-political support in the more general cosmos. Hence, Plato’s Republic. In his description of the discovery of nature at the origin of philosophy, Leo Strauss states:

   It is not surprising that philosophers should first have inclined toward conventionalism. Right presents itself, to begin with, as identical with law or custom or as a character of it.; and custom or convention comes to sight, with the emergence of philosophy, as that which hides nature.

                                                                           Natural Right and History, p. 93)

   According to Xenophon, Socrates, for three reasons, held that even to give thought to such things as the nature of all things, is madness. These reasons are two practical considerations surrounding a central theoretical objection. First, Socrates considered whether such thinkers came to give thought to such things upon believing themselves to see the human things sufficiently, or whether they were “roused from the human things to consider the divine things (ta daimonia) as leading them to what is fitting to do.”

   The question of what is fitting to do is more urgent for men than the question of the nature of all things. Do these thinkers then know this- what is fitting to do- sufficiently from the human things, or do they turn to the divine things in order to learn this? Natural philosophy is criticized for being useless, and for not seeking a good that is human (as is theoretical wisdom, Aristotle, Ethics, vi, 1141b 2-8). The natural philosophers  disregard the human things, which lead to a knowledge of what is fitting to do, knowledge of right action. It is possible that the natural things are called divine in accordance with the beliefs of the city. But again, one wonders if there is not some kind of contemplation of the nature of things that is not useless but leads to what is fitting to do.

   Secondly, Socrates wondered that “it was not manifest to them that human beings were not empowered to discover these things.” (I,i, 13). The evidence of this limitation of humans is that even the “greatest thinking” [Note 11] or hubristic, of these talkers did not agree with one another, but took extreme opposite positions on questions of the nature of all things. In this, they behaved madmen. For as madmen exhibit extremes regarding fear, shame and worship (some even worshiping wood (hule), so these talkers exhibit extreme opinions. Worrying about the nature of all things caused…

…some to believe being to be one, others, infinitely many, and some (to believe) all always to move, others never to move and some (to believe) that all comes to be and passes away, others that nothing ever comes to be and passes away.

                                                                                              I,i, 14

   The extremes of the madman regarding piety are analogous to the extremes in thought of those who give thought to the nature of all things. Aspects of the regard of humans toward the gods are thus set in analogy with thought, corresponding to the distinction between characters of the passions and reason. This pattern of the presentation of the central objection of Socrates points to the question of whether or not the mean regarding piety is likewise analogous to the mean in thought regarding the first principles.

   The third objection of Socrates is, like the first, a practical objection. Socrates considered whether as those learning about the human things hope they are led by what they learn to do what they choose for themselves and others, those who pry into the divine things (ta thea) think that when they know the necessities by which each comes to be, that they will make wind (Aristophanes, Clouds, 385-395; Hippocrates, lost fragment), water seasons and other things when they need these things? Or are they satisfied only to know how each of these things comes to be (I,i, 15)? Do the natural scientists seek to apply their knowledge of the causes to produce the effects of these causes according to need, mastering fortune and the elements as one obeyed by wind and sea? Or are they satisfied with knowledge for its own sake? Is the contemplation of these material and efficient causes, the theoretical wisdom of an Anaxagoras or Thales (Aristotle, Ethics, VI, 7, 1141 b 4-5), the same as that self-sufficient and thus satisfying activity which is the health of the best part of reason (Ibid., 1141 a 4)?

   Socrates own conversation was rather of the human things (I, i, 16). Through this kind of conversation one hopes to learn both what is fitting to do (.12) and to be able to do what one chooses for oneself and others (.15). “Xenophon in the Memorabilia (I,i, 16) links this knowledge to being kaloi te k’agathoi,” noble (beautiful) and good. Xenophon presents the difference of Socrates as that of one who is concerned with an entirely different subject matter than that of the natural philosophers. Xenophon is silent, though, regarding the commonality of Socrates with the other natural philosophers as philosophers. It will be helpful to follow the account of Leo Strauss in attempting to follow the account of Xenophon of the revolution or “turn” by which Socrates was different and yet similar, or the same in part, to those who converse about the nature of all things.

   By the turning from the divine or natural things to the human things, Socrates is said to have been the founder of political philosophy (Leo Strauss, NRH, p. 120, HPP, p. 4). [Note 12] Socrates is said to have been the first who called philosophy down from heaven and forced it to make inquiries about life and manners and good and bad things” NRH, p. 120). According to the most ancient reports, Socrates, after this turning, “directed his inquiry entirely into the human things” (HPP, p. 4). It seems that Socrates was induced to turn away from the study of the divine or natural things by his piety (HPP, p. 4). The account of Xenophon here (I,i,10-16) of the founding of political philosophy appears to agree with these ancient reports in ascribing the complete rejection of natural philosophy to the origin of Socratic or political philosophy.

   But Strauss emphasizes that Socrates continued the study of the nature of all things, even if he did not do this openly. While Socrates was always in the open, Socratic natural philosophy may yet be hidden, even in or through this open conversation. It is not itself open or apparent to all. Strauss reveals an excellent example of this character of Socratic conversation when, in interpreting the central objection of Socrates to the natural philosophers, he finds a piece of Socratic cosmology. Strauss writes that the list of the opinions of the natural philosophers would seem to imply…

That according to the sane Socrates, the beings are numerable or surveyable; those beings are unchangeable while the other things change, and those beings do not come into being or perish, while the other things come into being and perish.

                                                                Xenophon’s Socrates, p. 7

The Socratic cosmology is presented as the silent mean between immoderate extremes, analogous to the mean regarding fear, shame and worship neglected by the madman. Strauss states that “Socrates seems to have regarded the change which he brought about as a return to sobriety and moderation from the madness of his predecessors (NRH, p. 123). “Socrates did worry about the nature of all things, and to that extent, he too was mad; but his madness was at the same time sobriety: he did not separate wisdom (sophia) from moderation” (Xenophon’s Socrates, p. 7; Memorabilia III. 94). The cause of the turn of Socrates to the human things may have been his pursuit of wisdom rather than his piety.

   In describing Socratic conversation, Xenophon presents a list of questions which Socrates would consider. Xenophon, famously, writes:

   His own conversation was always considering the things of humans, what is pious and what impious, what is noble and what is base, what is just and what unjust, what is moderation and what madness, what is courage and what cowardice, what is a city and what a statesman, what is the rule of humans and what is a ruler of humans and what is a ruler of humans, and others, of which knowing would lead one to be noble and good, but ignorance (of which) is justly called slavery.

                                                                                 (Memorabilia, I,i, 16

   The “What is” question points toward the form or idea (eidos) of a thing and identifies this with its nature. Contrary to both custom and pre-Socratic natural philosophy, the nature of a thing is shown not in that out of which a thing has come into being (Memorabilia I,i, 12) but by the end which determines the process of its coming to be (NRH p. 123). Particular examples at their completion are those which most fully show the nature or class character of a thing. Because the kinds or classes are parts of a whole, the whole has a natural articulation, the natural logos. [Note 13] An example of a point of this natural articulation is the fundamental twofold division between the “beings” and the “things” in the conjecture of Strauss of the silent Socratic cosmology presented above. In Book VI of Plato’s Republic, there are two kings, one the king of the intelligible and another king of the visible.

   Through the human things, Socrates discovered a new kind of natural philosophy and a new kind of being. It is due fundamentally to this difference in object that Socratic philosophy differs from pre-Socratic philosophy, and from our natural history and science. Strauss states:

Socrates, it seems, took the primary meaning of the word “nature” more seriously than did his predecessors; he realized that “nature” is primarily form or “idea.” If this is true, he did not simply turn away from the study of natural things, but originated a new kind of the study in which, for example the nature of the human soul or man is more important than, for example, the nature of the sun (HPP, p. 5). Contrary to appearances , Socrates’ turn to the study of the human things was based, not upon disregard of the divine or natural things, but upon a new approach to the study of all things.

                                                                             (NRH, p. 122)

[In Plato’s Apology, Socrates distinguishes between divine wisdom, which belongs not to men but to “the God,” and his own human wisdom, which consists in part in knowing he does not have divine wisdom. There too, though, he claims not to know how to cultivate the human as well. It is strange that we should know the human without knowing the divine, but this is true in one sense, that the human is accessible, or, “first for us”.]

   Socratic philosophy presupposes and emerges out of pre-Socratic natural philosophy. Before turning to the human things, Socrates himself studied natural philosophy (Phaedo 99) Socratic philosophy emerges when the appeal from custom to nature regarding the causes is transferred from the direct inquiries of the natural philosopher into the divine or natural things, to be combined with the political concerns of man with right or justice. Socratic philosophy appeals from customary beliefs to nature in asking the “What is” questions, which are parts of the question of the nature of man and how men should live. [Note 14] The asking of the what is questions implies the attempt to ascend from opinion to knowledge regarding the nature of man. By asking what is the best life for man, Socrates discovered natural; right, and in this founded political philosophy. Strauss writes that ” the distinction between nature and convention which marks the emergence of natural philosophy retains its full significance for Socrates and for classical natural right in general” NRH, p. 121).

   From the inhuman madness of natural philosophy, not unlike the attempt to know “Being” directly in metaphysics since Aristotle, Socrates returns to begin from the things that are first for us” NRH, p. 123-4), from opinion, (NRH, p. 124), from [page 22] the visible looks eidos), or from common sense (NRH, p. 123). Socratic philosophy begins from custom or from the beliefs of the city (Mem. IIV, iv, 30-31; Aristotle, Ethics, 1096 b1-12), regarding the way of the cosmos and the things good and bad for man. This teaching of custom is embodied in “visible” poetic images for apprehension by the human imagination. Conversation regarding the most important things ascends from opinion because opinion proves to point toward knowledge and truth as an artifact points toward its original. Strauss states:

   The opinions prove to be solicited by the self subsisting truth, and the ascent to the truth proves to be guided by the self subsistent truth which all men always divine.                                                                                        (NRH, 124).

   But upon returning to the human things, Socrates does not hold conventional beliefs conventionally, as axioms taken as known from which to reason downward toward a conclusion. For example, he does not begin as do his accusers by assuming that they know what piety is and what Socrates thought, and conclude from this that Socrates is guilty of impiety for not believing in the gods of the city. Believing in the gods in which the city believes may not be the whole of piety. Socratic philosophy rather turns the opinions into “steppingstones and springboards to reach what is free of hypothesis at the beginning of the whole” (Republic 511 b5). Trust in the visible things is transformed into dialectical insight. [Note 15] Socrates cannot believe the conventional opinions as these are conventionally held any more than one could believe the shadows of visible artifacts to be real things (Ibid, 514 b5).

   Strauss writes: We have learned from Socrates that the political things are the key to the understanding of all things” (Thoughts on Machiavelli, p. 19. Also, Xenophon’s Socrates, p. 8). Socratic philosophy replaces the activity of the poet of making myths with the construction in speech of the best regime. On the principle that the political things are the key to the understanding of all things, the most thorough account of the good life and of the highest beings is presented by Socrates not in a dialogue on questions of metaphysics or epistemology, but rather, as in Plato’s Republic, in a dialogue on the regime (politea) which asks the question “What is justice,” and is answered by the theme of the best regime. The just and unjust are the central pair above which the good form has a what and an opposite. The Socratic cosmology is seen reflected in the nature of the soul, which is in turn reflected in the political things, and especially the articulation of the best regime. (501 b1-7; also 506 e1-507 a3, 490 b4-5; 484 c2-d6,540 a8-b1; 368c6-369 a1).


 Socrates held that seeing the things of which the what is question is asked would lead one to be “noble and good (I,i .16). Socratic phronesis and sophia are joined in this activity. In the Socratic work of unfolding and going through the treasures which the ancient wise men have left written in books, Socrates seemed to Xenophon to lead those hearing into the noble and good (I, vi .14). Socrates is one who by his thought is the cause or source of eupraxa, well-doing or right action (Aristotle Politics VII.iii; Memorabilia I, iv .15). By Socrates’ contemplation, he is enriched with virtue (IV, ii. 9), which is wisdom (III, ix, 5), and thus blessed. By the activity of his well ordered soul among his companions (Strauss, XS, p. 116-117), they are led into the virtues, or into the noble and good (NRH p. 128, Aristotle, Ethics, 1144b12, 1145 a1-2).

   Because Socrates goes beyond the beliefs of the city regarding the highest beings, we find again that he is in a way guilty as charged, and that Xenophon hides his account by hiding the wisdom of Socrates. Xenophon hides the wisdom of Socrates because the city cannot judge correctly regarding the whole of wisdom from the appearances which can be made visible to all. The citizens cannot see the difference between Socrates and the natural philosophers which makes his similarity with them an aspect of his virtue. Socrates brings conventional piety to its completion in his contemplation of the beings, his moderate cosmology, just as Socratic foresight is the fulfillment of conventional divination. The attempt to reconcile the city to philosophy is limited to opinion. The philosopher can be reconciled to this limitation. After the ascent from opinion or law to nature, “It appears more clearly than ever before that opinion, or law, contains truth…” (Strauss, HPP, p. 4) It is possible for Xenophon to veil his account of the philosophic activity of Socrates in an account given in terms of opinion because of the analogous relation of opinion to knowledge, or because the many opinions point toward the philosophic life.

Postscript on Modern Psychology

   “What is sanity and what madness” is one of the Socratic questions, showing the place of psychology within Socratic political philosophy. Psychology as a separate science was just emerging, as in the direct essay of Aristotle of the title Psyche, a study of dreams, and of course his Ethics, his “structure and dynamics” of the soul. He follows the fundamental division of the two parts of the soul, distinguishing “ethical” from intellectual virtue so well that it must be argued that the Good is still king of the intelligible, and that there is par excellence good and evil regarding intellectual virtue. The intellectual virtues are the measure of the practical and theoretical faculties disturbed in madness, not so that all the imprudent and unwise might be quickly drugged for the great benefit of the whole, but so that we have any scientific measure at all. The neurons and chemicals cannot provide this. The right functioning of these faculties is not the normal, though the symptoms, say, of what is called “schizophrenia,” or the symbols mis-produced in “psychoses,” cannot be understood without reference to the right functioning, and indeed, we say, the knowledge within. In addition to ethical vice, there is intellectual vice, understood in the collective shadow figures of literature and history. But that Justice is the good of the soul, and either is or is necessary to human happiness, while the unjust soul is in faction with its own true nature and within and with the outside world- this ground is shown most clearly through the best regime beginning from the three part soul, before moving to the two and the transcendent one. The three part city and soul: where three elements appear in a type represented by Monarchy, Aristocracy and Polity, seeking reason, honor and pleasures or compassion- is the basis in thought of the common model or archetype that connects political science and psychology. These arise in each city due to the dominance of the elements of the spirited pursuit of honor and beauty, the wisdom of its assembly, and the baser concerns of the many, as written by Plato at the opening of Book VIII of his Republic.

   Our psychology and psychiatry must now follow the Socratic turn, or the destruction of our civilization is likely. The very science that unleashed these powers has hitherto made it impossible for us to inquire into how these powers might be used well, even telling us that it is impossible to know anything about these matters most important to man, while profiting by the sophistic spread of drugs and first principles hardly better than what is available to the common man. By showing us the Socratic turn to follow the Renaissance repetition of the discovery of nature, Xenophon’s Socrates shows a way to subordinate the new technologies within a genuinely scientific pursuit that is appropriate to the faculties of man, rather than the instruments of science extending the bodily senses.

P. S.: The whole of the paper from which this blog is derived may be typed out from the original printed copy in the Philosophy section, available in the menu above.

Notes [to III, a] pp. 15-

Note 11: Under custom, it is impiety to think big or great thoughts, a hubris the opposite of moderation, punishable by the gods. But Socratic philosophy seems to follow a path that is both great thinking and yet not immoderate toward the gods in the way that the sophists or natural philosophers are, because Socrates did not separate wisdom from moderation (III, ix, 4-6).

Note 12 NRH will be used to refer to Leo Strauss, Natural Right and History, HPP to The History of Political Philosophy.

Note 13: There is a similarity between the Socratic turn toward the eidai and the statement of John 1: 1 that the word (logos) was in the beginning.

*Taken from a 1985 paper for the class of Wayne Ambler on Xenophon, at the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas. The Socratic turn has also been described in “Philosophic Psychology” and the Introduction to Philosophy essays in the menu at the top of the page.

The Dixboro Ghost: Commentary

   Here is a genuine ghost story for the Halloween season. Our Michigan local history of the Dixboro Ghost is told quite well by Carol Willits Freeman in her book Of Dixboro, Lest We Forget, and by Russel Bidlock, in a 1962 paper, “The Dixboro Ghost,” presented to the Washtenaw County Historical Society. This Michigan Pioneer ghost story, too, is especially astonishing in a number of ways that invite our musing and commentary in the harvest season.

   Among the reasons that this appearance or apparition is astonishing is that the man who experienced it testified in the Washtenaw County Court before the Justice of the Peace, in December of 1845, to nine separate apparitions between September 27 and November 6th of that year. In this, the ghost of Martha Crawford-Mulholland apparently revealed three murders- her own, that of her sister, and possibly of a tin peddler who disappeared when passing through Dixboro, his horse and cart left undisturbed. The ghost may also have prevented a fourth murder, that of her son Joseph, who would likely be in danger from her apparent murderer, James Mulholland. The Ghost herself seems changed- pacified- through the appearances. As she- the ghost of Martha- says in her final word,

I wanted to tell a secret, and I thought I had.

    Isaac Van Woert, the one who saw the ghost, was travelling to Ann Arbor when his wagon broke down, and he was forced to turn back to Dixboro. Isaac had come from Livingston New York seeking a life Michigan with his wife and two children. Even then, Ann Arbor was a flourishing town, while Dixboro seemed to develop less, and became a suburb, as if stuck in time. John Dix had founded the town, but was unpopular. Dix had left in 1833 for Texas, just three years after the brothers James and John Mulholland arrived in 1830. Dix and Mulholland together were assessed a 50$ “indictment” by the United States. And the Mulhollands live on the corner of the general store. James had a wife Ann, who had become ill and disturbed when her sister, a young widow from Canada, came to visit with her young son Joseph, then about 5 years old. Unknown to Isaac and his family, Ann, James and most recently Mary had just died in Dixboro, the pall of the funeral week barely passed. Van Woert saw that Mr. Hawkins had a building under construction, and applied for the work. Needing lodging, he was directed to Joseph Crawford, now about 15, whose mother Martha had just died, and whose house was then available. From where it is that Joseph is summoned, and why he is not himself living in his mothers house is important to our story, but it is noted that Joseph later married Jane, the daughter of a Mr. Whitney, who had recently bought property on the north side of Main street or Plymouth road. Joseph later bought and owned this property until 1864. As He is found by Isaac moving a load of stone, and may have been working in lots 7 and 8 on the Whitney house he would later own with his wife.

   The first time the ghost appeared, she did not speak. Three days after arriving, Isaac was before the front window, his wife gone to visit a neighbor, Mrs. Hammond, two “rods distant,” and his sons playing in the back yard, about sunset. Combing his hair in the window, where one might see a reflection, there appeared…

…a woman with a candlestick in her hand in which was a candle burning. She held it in her left hand. She was a middling sized woman, wore a loose gown, had a white cloth around her head, her right hand clasped in her clothes near the waist. She was a little bent forward, her eyes large and much sunken, very pale indeed; her lips projected, and her teeth showed some.

   She moved slowly across the floor until she entered the bedroom and the door closed. I then went up and opened the bedroom door, and all was dark. I stepped forward and lighted a candle with a match, looked forward but saw no one, nor heard any noise, except just before I opened the bedroom door, I thought I heard one of the bureau doors open and shut.

The courage and open mind of Isaac are noteworthy, as well as his rational and responsible proceedings, given human ignorance regarding such matters. It is interesting too that the ghost chose- or Isaac was able- to see and hear her, rather than for example Joseph, who would have been disturbed and not believed. The purpose does seem to be to make the matter public. A few days later, Isaac spoke of what he had seen, and learned then, for the first time that a widow Mulholland had lived there and had recently died. It is likely he spoke to Mrs Hammond, the neighbor, though it may have been to Jackson Hawkins. It does not seem he spoke directly to his landlord, the 15 year old Joseph.

   The second time Isaac sees her, still early in October, she speaks. she says,

‘Don’t touch me- touch me not.’

Isaac steps back and asks her what she wants She says to him:

‘He has got it. He robbed me little by little, until they kilt me! They kilt me! Now he has got it all!’

Isaac asks her then, “Who has it all” She answers:

‘James, James, yes, James has got it at last, but it won’t do him long. Joseph! Oh, Joseph! I wish Joseph would come away.’

   James had petitioned the court to become executor of the estate of Mary by having her declared incompetent. But as Joseph, and not James, is the landlord, this does not seem to have worked- yet. It is possible too that she refers to something else that James does have, such as money or gold, from the joint enterprise with John. It is not said how John dies, but throughout the story, there is no suspicion that he was murdered by James. It is possible that the event of the ghost prevents the plots of James from occurring. Throughout the appearances, it is as though the ghost were trying to protect her son Joseph, and figuring out gradually how this might be done. In the third appearance, she appears in the night in his room, and he does not know what hour it is, so it is as if he were awakened. Here she says:

James can’t hurt me any more. No! he can’t I am out of his reach. Why don’t they get Joseph away? Oh, my boy! Why not come away?”

It is almost as if she is calling Joseph to come where she is, out of the reach of James. And who is it she thinks of when she she asks, why  “they” do not get Joseph away?

The fourth appearance is an apparition that is of a scene past, rather than of the ghost herself, and includes a person then currently living. The testimony of Isaac is as follows:

   The fourth time I saw her about 11 O’clock P.M. I was sitting with my feet on the stove hearth. My family had retired, and I was heating a lunch, when all at once the front door stood open, and I saw the same woman in the door supported in the arms of a man whom I knew. She was stretched back and looked as if she was in the agonies of death. She said nothing, but the man said, “She is dying. She will die.” And all disappeared, and the door closed without a noise.

   As Carol Freeman relates, “The night before she died, she went to a neighbor’s house where she “fell into a fit of delirium” and was carried home by her brother-in-law. He was heard to say, “She is dying. She will die” (Freeman, p. 23). This neighbor is likely Mrs. Hammond, 2 rods distant. If Isaac has heard this from the ghost for the first time, the confirmation is astonishing.

   The fifth appearance is the first in daylight, at least since the ghost appeared in the windowstill in October, “about sunrise.” Isaac testifies, “I came out of my house to go to my work, and I saw the same woman in the front yard. She said:

I wanted Joseph to keep  my papers, but they are ____.

Van Woert explains, “Here, something seemed to stop her utterance. Then she said,

‘Joseph! Joseph! I fear something will befall my boy.’

Van Woert concludes, “And all was gone.” The papers may relate to the interest of the ghost in the bureau drawer, though another possibility for this will soon appear. James may well have stolen the papers from the division of his property with his brother John, which the ghost would intend to be passed on to her son Joseph.

   In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Horatio also sees the ghost, confirming it is not one mind’s delusion. Horatio, a scholar, explains that the ghosts of damned spirits return at sunrise from wandering because they fear “Lest daylight should look their shames upon.” According to Puck and Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, these willfully exile themselves from light, in contrast with the Fairy sort of spirits, who “oft make sport” with the morning’s love.” Some Protestants believed that all ghosts were bad, while others did not believe in them at all, rejecting these with Purgatory. It is not clear what role the Dixboro Methodist church plays in the story. A R. Stoddard is a Methodist minister in Ann Arbor in 1839. But there is not yet a Church and preacher in Dixboro.

   In Hamlet, a ghost too reveals a crime, and there is similarly the difficulty of the protagonist to bring the murderer to Justice when the crime is hidden.

   The sixth appearance is again at night, at midnight, still in October. Again the room became light though no candle was visible, and Isaac sees the same woman standing in the bedroom. Isaac looks at his wife, afraid she will awaken, but the ghost tells him,

‘She will not awake.’

Van Woert testifies: “The ghost seemed to be in great pain; she leaned over and grasped her bowels in one hand and in the other held a phial containing a liquid. I asked her what it was. She replied,

‘Doctor said it was balm of Gilead.’

Then she disappeared. She does not say that it is this balm, but that the doctor said it was such. A balm, though, is not an oil in a vial, but an ointment. “Balm of Gilead” is made in the US from cottonwood trees (and so is similar to turpentine). In the Eastern Hemisphere, it is the original anointing oil, grown in the suburb of Jericho that would be Gilead, and this is a fragrant healing ointment. It is also the name for universal tonics or remedies as were popular at the time and sold by paddlers.

   The last three appearances concern the ghost’s own purgatory. While working at a bench as he did in the evenings, the same woman appeared, saying to him,

 I wanted to tell James something, but I could not. I could not.

Isaac asks her what she wanted to tell James. She answers,

‘Oh, he did an awful thing to me.

Isaac asks her who, and she answers,

‘Oh! he gave me a great deal of trouble in my mind.’ ‘Oh, they kilt me, they kilt me!’

which she repeated several times. Isaac then walks toward her, but she kept the same distance from him, as does a rainbow or mirage. Isaac asks her if she had taken anything that killed her. She answered,

‘Oh, I don’t____. I don’t _____.’

Isaac relates, “The froth in her mouth seemed to stop her utterance,” showing him what she could not tell. Then saying again, “They kilt me,” Isaac asks, “Who killed you,” and she answers: “I will show you.” Isaac then relates:

   Then she went out of the back door near the fence, and I followed her. There I saw two men whom I knew, standing. They looked cast down and dejected. I saw them begin at the feet and melt down like lead melting, until they were entirely melted; then a blue blaze two inches thick burned over the surface of the melted mass. Then all began bubbling up like lime slacking. I turned to see where the woman was, but she was gone. I looked back again, and all was gone and dark.

As copper has a green flame, we might consider whether lead or other metal has such as lead or arsenic happens to have a blue flame. The image of damnation, for murder, is similar to the melting of the Wicked Witch of the West in the movie the Wizard of Oz. The two men known to Isaac are James but not John, nor Joseph, but possibly the peddler selling the balm of Gilead. The only other man in Dixboro we know he knows is Hawkins, on whose building Isaac is employed, though it would seem strange if he already had met the peddler.

   In the eighth appearance, Isaac relates:

   The next time I saw the woman was in the back yard, about Eight O’ clock. P. M. She said, “I want you to tell James to repent. Oh! if he would repent. But he won’t. He can’t. John was a bad man,” and muttered something I could not understand. She then said, “Do you know where Frain’s Lake is? She then asked another question of much importance, and said “Don’t tell of that.”

Van Woert later said that what he was told not to tell pertained to the well at the corner of Mill and Main, near Martha’s house. The well has since been filled in. Frain’s Lake is up the road to the East about a mile or so.

   I asked her if I should inform the public on the two men that she said had killed her. She replied, ‘There will be a time, The time is coming. The time will come. But Oh! Their end! Their end! Their wicked end. She muttered something about Joseph, and all was dark.

   When Martha Mulholland had come to visit her sister Ann in 1835, she begun the courtship with John, and planned to marry him, when Ann, disturbed, told her a terrible secret about John and James that has never been revealed. Martha then attempted to break off the engagement and return to Canada, but according to the story James then threatened that she would never reach Canada alive. Still, it is difficult to explain why she would then remain and marry John, except that she was pregnant. A child Martha had with John had died shortly after his father. One does note that every person standing between James and the property of his brother has died untimely. One wonders about the earthly end of John Mulholland. Martha had been taken to see a doctor Denton at the University of Michigan in 1845, just before she died. She offered to tell the doctor the secret if he would then bleed her to death, as she did not want to live after revealing it. The doctor, though, refused of course, but never did reveal the secret, likely as according to the Hippocratic Oath.

   In the ninth appearance, she is dressed in white, and her hands hang down at her side, as though her doing were done. She “stood very straight,” and “looked very pale.” She said, “I don’t want anybody here, I don’t want anybody here. She then muttered words he could not understand, except occasionally the word “Joseph.” She then said to Isaac, “I wanted to tell a secret, and I thought I had.”

And all was gone and dark.

   The secret may be that James and John killed the peddler, and then killed every person who knew about this: John who told Ann, Ann who told Martha, Martha who told…  But does murder fit the secret which Martha would not want to continue living having disclosed? It is possible that because she told the doctor, and Isaac testified before the Justice of the Peace, the body of Martha was exhumed in January, as the public demanded when the testimony of Isaac became known. It was determined then, famously, that Martha was indeed poisoned, and by a person other than herself, though what the poison was is not said. Notes from this coroner’s inquest would be very interesting with the hindsight of 173 years of the progress of science.

   The well might have been checked for a bottle from poison. The lake, too could now be searched better, and the bodies of both Martha and Ann exhumed, along with that of John. Many records no doubt exist, such as from the lawsuits for slander- none of which were brought against Isaac Van Woert, who speaks quite carefully in his testimony. Isaac continued living in Dixboro for about two years.

   That the Mulholland property was sold at a Sheriff’s sale means that it was not sold when James left Dixboro. He may have disappeared, or even suffered a fate similar to those he made suffer. The alternative explanation for the appearance of the ghost is that it was part of a conspiracy to banish Mulholland “because of his mistreatment of both his wife and his sister in law.” But on the 1874 map of Superior Township, a W. and an S. Mulholland own property just east of Dixboro, so it may be that his wife and some children remained.

   Ellen Hoffman, in an article, “The Dixboro Ghost” in 3 parts [See Appended section], adds some details regarding James and John. The property division was made by John when he was near death and in failing health, and all was not in place when John died. John was two years older than James, though the arrived in Dixboro two years later. James had brought Ann from Canada, though her maiden name, the same as that of Martha-  is yet unknown. The Mulhollands came from County Monaham in Ireland, and later sold 40 acres to Samuel their father. Samuel petitions the court in 1846 to appoint his sons Sam and William executors, but he does not ask that James be so appointed. And these would be those names owning property east of Dixboro on the map of 1874. Hoffman finds the second wife of James as well….

A site called “What Lies Beyond” adds:

However, James didn’t leave the area immediately. In 1838, he had married Emily Loomis and when she died in 1847, the two had four young children, one of whom was only 4-weeks-old. Although there was no evidence to charge him with murder, or any other crime, townsfolk condemned James, then 34, for his greed and blamed him for Martha death. Because he was no longer welcome, he gathered up his family and belongings and departed Dixboro for parts unknown, never to be seen nor heard of again. In 1852, some of his former land holdings were sold at public auction.

In the end, Martha’s son, Joseph Crawford, inherited John Mulholland’s estate and by 1850, he was the only one of the principals with a connection to the Dixboro ghost still living in Superior Township. He was a successful businessman, married in 1855 and later settled in Livingston County.

[Note 1]

   Another reason that the Dixboro apparition is astonishing is the spirit-ology assumed by the ghost and the literary imagery. It is accurate, and includes things of which a carpenter and family man is not likely to think, while excluding anything false that would indicate it was the work of human contrivance. The wish of the ghost that James could repent means that the ghost has been freed from revenge or the inability to forgive, as though making it through purgatory. That James, or such a murderer, cannot repent, as though they had extinguished the light of their own conscience, here too has another example. In these cases, it is as though the soul itself of the community wished to purge the disturbance, as of terrible crime. In murders, bodies are said to rise toward the surface, symbolically true. Socrates too notes that crime of public significance is sometimes revealed by a kind of divine madness (Phaedrus 244d-e). Yet it is difficult to imagine one more sane in his proceeding, having seen and spoken to a ghost, than Isaac Van Woert.

Note 1: Author: Graveyardbride.

Sources: John Robinson, WFMK, April 29, 2017; Ellen Hoffman, GLakes-Tales Blog;; Washtenaw Impressions, Washtenaw Historical Society; and William B. Treml, Ann Arbor News, October 31, 1972.


II The Dixboro Ghost: Psychological Commentary

   What Socrates says to Phaedrus is that love should not be rejected and favors given rather to the non-lover on the grounds that love is a madness, because there are some forms of madness that are a gift from the gods, and love is one, like prophecy, tragedy and lyric poetry. As translated by Hackforth, Socrates tells Phaedrus…

…When grievous maladies and afflictions have beset certain families by reason of some ancient sin, madness has appeared among them, and breaking out into prophecy, has secured relief by finding the means thereto [fleeing to the gods in] prayer and worship, and in consequence thereof, rites and means of purification were established, and the sufferer was brought out of danger, alike for the present and for the future. Thus did madness secure for him that was maddened aright and possessed, deliverance from his troubles…

   The event of the Dixboro ghost is quite like this second form of divine madness, as Isaac is otherwise wholly sound. Phrenology being then the fashion in psychiatry, these were brought in, and the head of Isaac measured. He was judged “bilous” among the four humors.

   The story does not concern Isaac personally, and so is a collective content in the sense of an issue concerning the community.

The phenomenon of apparitions of course occurs, and the question is whether these are what they seem to us to be, or as these present themselves. It is especially interesting when true things are revealed. In this case, it is very odd that Martha shows Isaac the scene of James carrying her from the house of Mrs. Hammonds- showing him an apparition of both herself and one then living, in order to communicate a truth.

   As in the case of Hamlet, the question arises as to whether the event of the appearance of the ghost might not be caused by the conscience of the king, or in this case the conscience of James Mulholland. This is at least an intriguing third possibility that allows us an alternative on the question of whether or not ghosts exist. That a specter is produced for Isaac showing a both James and Martha, and the specter here is distinct from the person of the ghost, is also revealing and intriguing.

   From Shakespeare, a teaching of Horatio on ghosts relates the cause of their trooping home to their beds in Churchyards before the approach of the sun, “for fear lest day should look their shames upon,” as Puck tells Oberon. Oberon explains to Puck, though, that they, the fairies, are “spirits of another sort.” The key indicator is that he often consorts with the dawn sunrise.

   The central of the nine appearances occurs at dawn. An ordering of the nine appearances, in groups of three, also appears.

   And in his Life of Dion, Plutarch writes that Dion and Brutus, both students of Plato, were alike also in seeing an apparition:

…by preternatural interposition both of them had notice given of their approaching death by an unpropitious form, which visibly appeared to them. Although there are people who utterly deny any such thing, and say that no man in his right senses ever yet saw any supernatural phantom or apparition, but that children only, and silly women, or men disordered by sickness, in empty and extravagant imaginations, whilst the real evil genius, superstition, was in themselves. Yet if Dion and Brutus, men of solid understanding, and philosophers, not to be easily deluded by fancy or discomposed by any sudden apparition, were thus affected by visions that they forthwith declared to their friends what they had seen, I know not how we can avoid admitting again the utterly exploded opinion of the oldest times, that evil and beguiling spirits, out of envy to good men, and a desire of impeding their own good deeds, make efforts to excite in them feelings of of terror and distraction, to make them shake and totter in their virtue, lest by a steady and unbiased perseverance they should obtain a happier condition than these beings after death…

It is interesting in comparison that our Isaac Van Woert is not unsteadied, nor is his apparition ethically inferior or jealous of his happiness, but rather learns top hope James will repent.

   The purpose of our strange holiday called Halloween is, or can be, to accustom ourselves to facing terrors, including the innate human fear of the dead. Gazing once as a seven year old out the back car window into an empty field, I asked my mother, “What if there was a dead body out there! She wisely answered, “It is not the dead ones you have to worry about, but the living.” And so in martial arts, we teach overcoming the fear of the dark, and clumsiness, too. We notice too that at night, one approaches not out of the artificial light, but out of the darkness.

Late notes: Here is a breakthrough in Dixboro ghostology: On a hunch, I looked up Independence, Texas, in Washington County, there east of Amerillo and North ‘o Houston. Dix went there from Dixboro, and Mulholland was his buddy. Strangely, I found a very similar Mulholland family in Independence Pennsylvania, with numerous similar names and dates. A James Mulholland also appears in the earliest records of the Seventh Day Adventists out in Iowa, from where the “Spectator” wrote.

Isaac Van Woert turns out to be the grandson of Isaac  Van Wart who captured Major Andre in the Revolutionary War, leading to the arrest of Benedict Arnold. Bidlack reports this, but there is no record of our seer in Livingston county NY. It is rather Livingston city, where Van Wart is from, and has his grave. In capturing Andre, Van Wart and 2 others declined substantial bribes at a crucial turning point in the Revolution. So something of the spirit of his grandfather may have allowed Van Wart to see the ghost.


Appendix A: Ellen Hoffman on Mulhollands and the Dixboro Ghost

From “Dixboro Ghost Part 3: Are We Related?
…According to the 1881 History of Washtenaw County, the Mulhollands were a family of weavers in Ireland, but their professions shifted to farming and other trades after arriving in the U.S. James and John Mulholland worked diligently to earn money to buy the kind of large farms not attainable in their homeland. By 1832, the brothers obtained their first land patent for 80 acres in Section 18 of Superior County, the same section in which Captain James Dix, the founder of Dixboro, bought in that year. In 1835, after more of the family had arrived from Ireland, James purchased another 40 acres in Section 20, a parcel which was sold to his father Sam sr. and where my great-great grandfather Samuel Mulholland jr later farmed. The description of this latter property looked like this, rather arcane for those who are not surveyors or deed writers:

Sw 1/4 of the Nw 1/4 of Section 20 in township 2 South of Range 7 East [Superior] in the District of lands subject to sale at Detroit Michigan Territory containing 40 acres (Land patent, certificate 8030, issued 9 Oct 1835, to James Mulhollan of Washtenaw County Michigan Territory)

John and James had continued to buy homestead property in Michigan, expanding beyond Washtenaw and picking up large parcels in Livingston and Ingham counties in 1837. In a history of Livingston county, it was pointed out that the Mulhollands never lived on their homestead but sold it off for a profit in the following two years. 
The patents show John and James held all but the Section 20 lands in common not in joint tenancy. Just prior to his death and in failing health, court records show John arranged for a division of the land held by himself and his brother. While John attempted to get his estate in order before his death, he was unable to get all in place.

With John’s death in June 1840, Martha became the administrator of John’s estate under Probate Court order to produce an appraisal of “goods, chattels, rights, and credits” in 1840. When the estate had not been appraised, James went back to the Probate Court in 1841 indicating that it needed to be done and that there were debts to be settled and he was the primary creditor. The court ordered a $1000 bond to bring in appraisers, but in 1842 Martha herself indicated she was not able to comply due to failing health, and requested that the court appoint a new administrator to review the estate. Despite continued claims and counterclaims, the estate remained unsettled until 1846, when John’s father Sam sr. petitioned the courts to appoint his sons Sam jr and William, John’s younger brothers, as administrators. In the petition dated 19 Jan 1846, Sam was sworn as stating:

The undersigned Samuel Mulholland would represent that he is the Father of John Mulholland late of Superior in said county deceased that said John Mulholland died at Superior aforesaid sometime in June in the year AD 1840 intestate leaving real and personal property to be administered. The undersigned further represent that the said deceased has no children now living and that it is necessary that some person or persons should be appointed to settle the estate of said deceased as there are debts to be collected and paid. The undersigned would waive his right to administer said estate on account of his extreme old age and requests you to appoint Samuel Mulholland jr and William Mulholland brothers of said deceased and sons of your petitioner administrators for said estate upon their [young hand?] for the faithful discharge of that trust.

With Martha’s death in 1845, eventually most of John’s remaining estate formally went to his stepson Joseph Crawford, Martha’s son from her first marriage as there was no will. If James felt some resentment for Martha’s teenage son, not even a member of the Mulholland family, inheriting the land and money he had worked so hard to attain with brother John, and likely had further plans to exploit, it would not be a surprise.

   James left Ireland and immigrated to Quebec, Canada in 1826 and by 1829 was living in Washtenaw, Michigan. He was an early settler in Dixboro founded by John Dix. In county civil court records from November 1829, James appeared in the court with Dix for an indictment of $50 owed to the United States. The indictment does not indicate the reason for the assessment but it must have been paid, as the two were released on their own recognizance and ordered to pay up or appear at the next court session. They do not appear again at the next court session.

The exact date that James married his first wife, Ann Mulholland, is unknown as is her maiden name, although some reports indicate she came with him to Michigan. By the time of the 1830 census of Panama Township, later divided into Superior and Salem Townships as we know them today, James is listed as living with a woman (most likely his wife Ann) between the ages of 20 and 30, about the same age as her husband, and with a son under five. In 1834, the household had grown to five with the addition of another adult male, presumably brother John who immigrated in 1831, and a daughter under 5. These early census records did not have names for any but the head of household. As a result, the names of most of James’ children have been lost to us unless new records are discovered. Only one son of James is known from a sad story of a toddler who got too close to the fireplace and burned to death when his clothes caught fire. James jr. died after his mother Ann, living from 1835 to 1838.
Martha Crawford and son were not listed as living with her sister Ann’s family in mid-1834 when the census data was recorded. She is reported to have arrived in mid-1835 from the later court hearings related to her enigmatic death. John and Martha were married in December 1835 when John was 33. When John died in 1840, he left behind a son reportedly born in 1836 but who died later in the same year as his father.
James remarried to Emily Loomis in 1838 after Ann’s death about 1836-7, all before John then Martha died. While the ghost story claimed James and his second wife had only one stillborn child, in fact they had at least two more children. Further, he and his family did not flee immediately after the 1846 inquest, nor were any criminal charges ever filed against him. In an interesting vignette reported in a Universalist Church publication in 1847, Emily Loomis Mulholland’s death is noted, indicating the family remained in Superior Township: 

Death. In Superior, on Ap 25 last [1847], Mrs. Emily, wife of Mr. James Mulholland, in the 34th year of her age. She has left a husband and four small children, the youngest about four weeks old, also an aged Father and Mother, to mourn the loss of a faithful child and virtuous Mother. She has been a member of the Universalist Church in Ann Arbor about nine years. (published Dec 1847, The Expounder of Primitive Christianity, v. 4, p. 175)

By 1850, only Martha’s son, Joseph Crawford, remained in Superior Township of all the characters from the Dixboro Ghost Story. He retained his inheritances, with the records showing he owned property worth $1000. Joseph married in 1855, and by 1870 he too had left Superior Township, moving initially north in Michigan to Livingston County where other Mulhollands had settled, and later to Ogemaw where he became one of those revered early settlers, dying shortly after his move there.

Mounting Problems for James Mulholland

For James Mulholland, the evidence suggests his departure from Superior Township after the ghost inquest may have been as much about finding a wife or caretaker for his four orphaned young children rather than any guilt over what happened to his sister-in-law. He did not flee immediately as has been recorded in legend but did eventually move on, and over time, community sentiment eased after the initial hysteria brought on by the wild tales of Martha’s ghost and perhaps gossip by a few who didn’t like James. Whether the community feud also rendered family ties to his father and siblings is unknown, but Sam jr. did testify to the Probate Court in 1846 that there were unpaid liens on John’s estate, perhaps providing some evidence the family was sympathetic to James’s complaints.

Debts may also have contributed to the disappearance of James as suggested in earlier histories. His lands were seized by the courts for unpaid debts. Initially land in Section 19 of Superior was sold at public auction in late 1849 for debts owed by James, his brother-in-law William Loomis, and David Bottsford, another original land owner in Washtenaw County.James debt problems continued to mount. Frederick Townsend petitioned for redress in the Detroit courts in February 1850 and as a result James’ two remaining lots in Dixboro were seized by the sheriff of Washtenaw County. With no creditors coming forward after 15 months, the lots were auctioned at a sheriff sale in fall 1852. Townsend was allowed, rather conveniently, to purchase the two village lots owned by James for $100, far below the actual value. As history has since recorded, based on Michigan laws at the time, this process of land seizure and repurchase was a corrupt one in which a debtor could collect and profit with little evidence and often few others being aware of the court orders and sale.The ending of the recorded ghost story stating it is uncertain where James Mulholland went remains true, as neither he nor his children have been located in official records after Emily’s death in 1847 and with the loss of his property in 1850. 


Appendix II: Isaac Van Woert is a descendant of Isaac Van Wart who captured Major Andre in the Revolutionary War (Bidlock) : From Wikipedia:

Isaac Van Wart (October 25, 1762 – May 23, 1828) was a militiaman from the state of New York during the American Revolution. In 1780, he was one of three men who captured British Major John André, who was convicted and executed as a spy for conspiring with treasonous Continental general and commandant of West Point Benedict Arnold.[1][2]

American Revolution

A yeoman farmer, Van Wart joined the volunteer militia when New York was a battle zone of the American Revolution. Overnight on 22–23 September 1780, he joined John Paulding and David Williams in an armed patrol of the area.[1][2] The three men seized a traveling British officer, Major John André in Tarrytown, New York, at a site now called Patriot’s Park. Holding him in custody, they discovered documents of André’s secret communication with Benedict Arnold. The militiamen, all yeomen farmers, refused André’s considerable bribe and delivered him to Continental Army headquarters.[3] Arnold’s plans to surrender West Point to the British were revealed and foiled, and André was hanged as a spy. With George Washington’s personal recommendation, the United States Congress awarded Van Wart, Paulding and Williams the first military decoration of the United States, the silver medal known as the Fidelity Medallion. Each of the three also received federal pensions of $200 a year, and prestigious farms awarded by New York State.

Personal life

Van Wart was born in the farm country of Greenburgh, New York, near the village of Elmsford. He lived on the frontier and his birthdate is not recorded.

Van Wart married Rachel Storm (1760–1834), a daughter of Elmsford’s most prominent family (from whom the settlement’s original name, “Storm’s Bridge”, was derived). He divided his time between his family, his farm, and his church (he became an elder deacon of the Dutch Reformed Church). Van Wart was buried in the cemetery of the Elmsford Reformed Church in Elmsford, New York.[4] His tombstone said that he died at the age of sixty-nine.


Van Wart died in Elmsford and is buried in the cemetery of the Old Dutch Reformed Church on Route 9.[5] A marble and granite monument was erected at his grave on 11 June 1829, bears the single emphatic word “FIDELITY”, followed by this epitaph,

On the 23rd of September 1780, Isaac Van Wart, accompanied by John Paulding and David Williams, all Farmers of the County of Westchester, intercepted Major André, on his return from the American Lines in the character of a Spy, and notwithstanding the large bribes offered them for his release, nobly disdaining to sacrifice their Country for Gold, Secured and carried him to the Commanding Officer of the district, whereby the dangerous and traitorous Conspiracy of Arnold was brought to light; the insidious designs of the enemy baffled; the American Army saved; and our beloved country now free and Independent, rescued from most imminent peril.

The three militiamen were highly celebrated in their lifetimes: commemorations large and small abound in Westchester, and can be found in many disparate parts of the early United States. Among other honors, each of the men had his name given to a county in the new state of Ohio (1803): Van Wert County, bearing a common alternate spelling of the name, is in the northwest corner of the state.

Still, Van Wart and the others did see their reputations impugned by some. André at his trial had insisted the men were mere brigands; sympathy for him remained in some more aristocratic American quarters (and grew to legend in England, where he was buried in Westminster Abbey). Giving voice to this sympathy, Representative Benjamin Tallmadge of Connecticut persuaded Congress to deny the men a requested pension increase in 1817, publicly assailing their credibility and motivations. Despite the slight, the men’s popular acclaim continued to grow throughout the 19th century to almost mythic status. Some modern scholars have interpreted the episode as a major event in early American cultural development, representing the apotheosis of the common man in the new democratic society.[6]

Van Wart and his companions are honored on the monument erected at the site of the capture in Tarrytown, dedicated on June 11, 1829, by the Revolutionary general and congressman Aaron Ward of nearby Ossining.[7] A Van Wart Avenue is located on the south side of Tarrytown, near the Tappan Zee Bridge. Three streets in the neighboring village of Elmsford, New York, are named for the militiamen, with Van Wart Street being one of the village’s main roads. White Plains, New York, has a Van Wart Avenue in the southwest section of the city, off NY Route 22.


  1. Jump up to:a b Raymond, pp. 11–17
  2. Jump up to:a b Cray, pp. 371–397
  3. ^ [1]“Vindication.” From New York Courier; reprinted in American & Commercial Advertiser, February 22, 1817. Account of capture of Andre, in rebuttal to criticism by Rep. Tallmadge. Depositions by Isaac van Wart and his neighbors, intended to refute allegations he and his companions were bandits or “Cow-boys”; Retrieved July 25, 2011
  4. ^ Austin O’Brien (August 1983). “National Register of Historic Places Registration: Elmsford Reformed Church and Cemetery”New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
  5. ^ Isaac Van Wart at Find A Grave
  6. ^ White, p. 49
  7. ^ “In Saw Mill River Valley: Elmsford and its Revolutionary Church and Graveyard” (PDF)The New York Times. 17 November 1895. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  • Bolton, Robert (1848). A History of the County of West Chester. Gould, Alexander S. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  • Cray, Robert E. Jr. (Autumn 1997). “Major John André and the Three Captors: Class Dynamics and Revolutionary Memory Wars in the Early Republic, 1780-1831”. Journal of the Early Republic. Univ. of Pennsylvania Press. 17 (3). doi:10.2307/3123941.
  • White, James T., ed. (1892). The Builders of the Nation. New York: Stanley-Bradley Publishing Co. Retrieved 25 August 2013.

Further reading

The First Meeting of Jerusalem and Ancient Greece: Josephus on Alexander, 333 B. C.

   Alexander, the pupil of Aristotle for a while, met with the High Priest at Jerusalem on his way to conquer Asia, as reported by Josephus. From Book xi. 4-5, Jaddua the high priest was in terror when he heard that Alexander was coming. Alexander had sent a letter to Jerusalem during his siege of Tyre, asking for provisions, auxiliaries, and suggesting that Jerusalem send tribute now instead to him rather than Darius. The high priest had answered Alexander that…”he had given his oath to Darius not to bear arms against him; and that he would not transgress this while Darius was in the land of the living.” After the siege of Tyre, when Alexander was approaching, he and the people then appealed to God for protection,…

…whereupon God warned him in a dream, which came upon him after he had offered sacrifice, that he should take courage, and adorn the city, and open the gates; that the rest should appear in white garments, but that he and the priests should meet the king in the habits proper to their order, without the dread of any ill consequences, which the providence of God would prevent. Upon which, when he rose from his sleep, he greatly rejoiced; and declared to all the warning he had received from God. According to which dream he acted entirely, and so waited for the coming of the king. And when he understood that he was not far from the city, he went out in procession, with the priests, and the multitude of citizens…

Alexander, when he saw the multitude at a distance, in white garments, while the priests stood clothed with fine purple and scarlet clothing, with his miter on his head, having the golden plate whereon the name of God was engraved, he approached by himself, and adored that name, and first saluted the High priest. The Jews also did altogether, with one voice, salute Alexander, and encompass him about; whereupon the kings of Syria and the rest were surprised at what Alexander had done, and supposed him disordered in his mind. However, Parmenio alone went up to him, and asked him how it came to pass that, when all others adored him, he should adore the High priest of the Jews? To whom he replied, I did not adore him, but that God who hath honoured him with his high priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very habit, when I was at Dios in Macedonia, who, when I was considering with myself how I might obtain the dominion of Asia, exhorted me to make no delay, but boldly to pass over the sea thither, for that he would conduct my army, and would give me the dominion over the Persians. whence it is, that having seen no other in that habit, and now seeing this person in it, and remembering that vision, and the exhortation which I had in my dream, I believe that I bring this army under the divine conduct, and shall therewith conquer Darius and destroy the power of the Persians, and that all things will succeed according to what is in my own mind. And when he had said this to Parmenio, and had given the High Priest his right hand, the priests ran along by him, and he came into the city; and when he went up into the temple, he offered sacrifice to God, according to the high priest’s direction, and magnificently treated both the High priest and the priests. And when the book of Daniel was showed him, wherein Daniel declared that one of the Greeks should destroy the empire of the Persians, he supposed that himself was the person intended; and as he was then glad, he dismissed the multitude for the present, but the next day he called them to him, and bade them ask what favors they pleased of him whereupon the high priest desired that they might enjoy the laws of their forefathers, and pay no tribute on the seventh year. He granted all that they desired; and when they entreated him that he would permit the Jews in Babylon and Medea to enjoy their own laws also, he willingly promised to do hereafter what they desired; and when he said to the multitude, that if any of them would enlist themselves in his army on this condition, that they should continue under the laws of their forefathers he was willing to take them with him, many more were ready to accompany him in his wars.

One interesting point in this story is the double true or verdical dream.  That Alexander had seen the name on the breastplate, and the high priest was instructed to show the name is rather astonishing. There is nothing like this in all the history of dreams. Another is of course the interpretation of Daniel. The five are Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, the legs being the East and West empires, then the feet and toes…5 from each, iron and clay, and from this will emerge 10 kings, in ch. 12, etc.

   A personal note: My first history lesson came from Mad Magazine, when at the age of 12 I read from Al Jaffe: Alexander the Great was not really so great.” I wondered about this through all my studies. One wonders why Alexander was not better advised- though he had dismissed Aristotle.


1) The goal is not world conquest. Don’t keep going east, but establish and consolidate- and enjoy! Rule for the good of the ruled and the realm: Why not?

2) Deal with the question of succession immediately, and work on institutions that secure Greek liberty. What if Alex had Thomas Jefferson and James Madison?

3) Don’t be all full of yourself. You MIGHT be lucky, but learn what a mortal god is- and go find Diogenes in his bucket!

76 Candidates for the 17 Greatest pure Rock Songs: Happy Fourth!

On Baptism: A Fragment

   The text for the day celebrating the Baptism of Jesus is John 1, after :19-34, and 3. Jesus does baptize after he is baptized by John. The word “Essene” apparently means “bather,” and with the Mikveh the Jews are likely the first Baptists. In the US, that was Roger Williams, founder of Rhode Island.
   The following is from my part of a discussion attempting to answer a question on what Baptism is. The inquirer had been told that baptism is necessary to become a Christian, and is either by water, by blood or by desire. At first, I think I know what they mean, but eventually, I figure out that I do not know what the statement cited intends to say. In the mean time, I have hit the fundamental points from which I would write an attempted account of the meaning of baptism- if I were to try to do that. The thoughtful reader may gather plenty on their own. It is a very hard question. Any comments are most welcome.


   Jesus did baptism passively, by John, not actively baptizing others. But I say: Socrates is saved,” a paradox. We align ourselves toward the mysteries. Mom says: “Baptism removes original sin” which is the proper answer. I also say “Noriega is not saved, despite being “baptized.” The mystery is a re-ordering of the soul, which is why one in such penance appears quite confused.
   What no one understands is whether by “water and the spirit” he means the outward ritual and the inward mystery it reminds us of, which comes by penance, or if it means the Christ, shown in the separate sacrament “Confirmation.” Jesus himself did baptism + transfiguration. Mysteries.

   We do baptism, then first communion, Eucharist and wine, then Chrism, anointing, and that seems as good as anyone gets it. Baptists were called rebaptizers, cause they figured a guy has to choose voluntarily. Who knows?

  The relevant scripture here is John 1:34, where John the Baptist contrasts “water,” his baptism, and says Jesus baptizes with the “Holy Spirit-” and we don’t know, again, what this means. But he says to Nic., “Are you a teacher of all Israel, and you don’t get this?” So it is not a new.

   Where is that quotation from? The Christians were not even called Christians until Antioch, in Acts 11-12, When Peter sees the vision and Paul and others begin to preach the way to non-Jews. Jesus did not tell them directly to do that (But it does seem correct).


   Oh, also, there is a diabolic opposite, as shown in Pink Floyd’s “The Wall.” But “Be not afraid. I go before you always.”
  Again, it is the core of psychology, and our psych can barely address it. Jung, Vol. 5, though, “Symbols of Transformation.” The Meno, 81 is just profound, especially with the Allegory of the cave..
   Our part is always penance. There are deep things too: Penance is accompanied by a regression of eros toward the origin, so Nicodemus, “…return to our mother’s womb?’ Through our mortal origin to His eternity, says Augustine. Cohen’s “Suzanne.”
  John, Andrew and James were followers of John the Baptist. Baptism seems to have been passed on from the earliest. It is Israeli: Mikvah. Peter says it is the meaning of Noah, “8 were saved by water.” It seems too to come from the washing of the newborn.

   I’m still trying to figure what that guy meant by “blood” and “desire.” I like how, in the Catholic Catechism, anyone, in a pinch, may do baptism, like if a guy is dying and wants it quick.

   Socrates in the myth of Recollection, in the Meno (81 a-e), and in the Allegory of the Cave (Republic VII), shows the mysteries too. Hence these are about human nature, not customs. The customs align us toward the mysteries, help us recollect- but we don’t do them by human making.

…Right, he could mean like Cohen’s Suzanne and the loss of love…but I doubt it! Romeo and Juliet ARE a saint! Or else it’s Juliet, but not quite Romeo alone. And the “blood” is just bloody weird. Bet it was a Witness. Maybe ‘e means the wine?

Remember? Reblog From Straight Arrow: No “Collusion?” Sater, Cohen and Trump Tower Moscow

Through: A Nibble, A Bite or a Meal, on WordPress, from New York Magazine, Weekend Edition, September 1 2017.

…..But Wait!….There’s More!…..on  ……”the Russian thing”……………

   Just so there’s no confusion: Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer emailed Vladimir Putin’s personal spokesman? Seeking help from the Kremlin on a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow? During the presidential campaign?
   Yes, this really happened. While most attention was rightly focused on the devastating flood in Houston, there was quite a bit of news on the Russia front — all of it, from President Trump’s perspective, quite bad.The revelations begin with a Trump business associate named Felix Sater . A Russian émigré who bragged about his Kremlin connections, Sater was a principal figure in development of the Trump Soho hotel and condominium project in lower Manhattan. Sater wrote a series of emails to Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, touting the Moscow Trump Tower project as a way to help Trump win the presidency.In November 2015 — five months after Trump had entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination — Sater wrote to Cohen that he had “arranged” for Trump’s daughter Ivanka, during a 2006 visit to Moscow, “to sit in Putins private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin.”The email went on, “I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected. We both know no one else knows how to pull this off without stupidity or greed getting in the way. I know how to play it and we will get this done. Buddy our boy can become President of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this.”

Felix H. Sater, right, attends the Trump Soho Launch Party in 2007 in New York with Donald Trump, left, and Tevfik Arif, center.

Could Sater be just a blowhard who exaggerated his influence with the Russian president? Perhaps. But Ivanka Trump did tell the New York Times that she took a “brief tour of Red Square and the Kremlin” during that 2006 visit. The Times reported she said that “it is possible she sat in Mr. Putin’s chair during that tour but she did not recall it.”

There is no evidence that Cohen, one of Trump’s closest associates, found anything improper in Sater’s pledge to get Putin “on this program.” Nor did Cohen or anyone in the Trump Organization bother to disclose the emails — or the Trump firm’s effort, even during the campaign, to profitably emblazon the Trump name on the Moscow skyline — until the correspondence was turned over to the House Intelligence Committee on Monday.

And there’s more: In January 2016, with the Moscow project apparently stalled, Cohen went straight to the top to get it back on track — or at least tried to. He sent an email to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s longtime personal spokesman, “hereby requesting your assistance.”

   Peskov confirmed that the email was received but said he did nothing about it and that it was not given to Putin.

So Trump was lying when he tweeted, shortly before his inauguration, that “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” The truth is that in October 2015, on the same day he participated in a GOP candidates’ debate, he signed a letter of intent for the Moscow Trump Tower project.

That is a “deal,” and Trump’s hunger to keep it alive may explain his reluctance to say anything critical about Putin. Or it may tell just part of the story.

The other part involves the whole question of collusion between Russian officials and the Trump campaign to meddle with the election and boost Trump’s chances. Sater’s boasts, by themselves, are hardly definitive. But of course there is the larger context, which includes the infamous meeting that Donald Trump Jr. convened in New York at which he hoped to receive dirt, courtesy of the Russian government, on Hillary Clinton.

Thus far we have the president’s son, son-in-law Jared Kushner (who was at that meeting), then-campaign manager Paul Manafort (also at the meeting) and now his personal lawyer all seemingly eager for Russian help in the election. Who in the campaign wasn’twilling to collude?

All of this is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the various congressional committees that are conducting investigations. Some have suggested that Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio, the unrepentant “birther” and racial profiler, might have been a message to Trump associates facing heat from prosecutors: Hang tough and don’t worry, you’ll get pardons.

But there was more bad news for the president: Politico reported that Mueller is now cooperating and sharing information with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Presidents can only issue pardons for federal offenses, not state crimes. Uh-oh.

….Moose and Squirrel Must Die…….OR NOT…..Weekend Edition…..

 (MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP/Getty Images)

   Responding to a Russian government demand to drastically slash its diplomatic staff in Russia, the Trump administration Thursday ordered Moscow to close three of its consular offices in the United States.

Russia will be required to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, the chancery annex in Washington and the consular annex in New York, the State Department announced.

The move was the latest tit-for-tat action in worsening relations between Washington and Moscow, despite President Trump’s expressions of friendliness toward President Vladimir Putin.

Angered over a package of congressionally mandated economic sanctions, Russia had ordered the U.S. to cut its staff in Russia by around two-thirds, to 455.

Frank Serpico

Serpico allows us to consider the difference between justice and law, and a provides a background for the new study of Police law. Police are under a different kind of law as administers of the law, with the extra responsibilities of the badge. The story of Serpico shows the blue wall of silence that demonstrates why the executive branch has proven incapable of checking, balancing and overseeing itself. The call to de-fund the police- while not practically serious- makes clear that the executive branches are dependent upon the legislatures for appropriations, and we will not fund the shooting of black men holding cell phones.

When one overlooks the scene of drugs and organized crime in America, one sees that this could not occur without the corruption of the police with money to look the other way. Serpico reported systemic corruption, and the reporting of David Burnham brought the issue to public attention. Peter Mass then wrote the bestselling book Serpico,” and Al Pacino played the role in a hit movie production. It is difficult to overestimate the effects these had on my early education, in high school, where I studies science, but little literature. Mr. Donahue had the book on a shelf pillaged by a sister, and we saw the movie. The first teaching was that the appearance of justice is not the same as justice. Later in life, when we saw the police impounding cars broken down and not impeding traffic, in less than 24 hours, and hears of many such property seizures, we could discern the systemic corrup[tion because of Serpico. We have had some incomplete progress on this issue in Michigan, though to some extent the corruption merely shift. It does not occur to us that the corruption is what allows the Oxy-heroin epidemic to occur, and that this makes us weak in foreign policy. Police do not see things in a comprehensive light, but obey authority, and are presented offers difficult to refuse.

Policing is new in modern society, having apparently begun with bobbies in London and in Philadelphia with Ben Franklin’s Fire department. The domestic and foreign executive offices were not previously distinguished, so that soldiers of the king were those who threw people in prison, hopefully for oppressing their fellow citizens. I am reminded of the genetic presentation of the origins of justice by the pre-Socratic and modern thinkers, and the Socratic treatment of this contract theory of justice. What all cities have in common is the attempt to prevent the few strong from oppressing the many weaker sorts through the force of the community as a whole. It is a replacement for the original tyrannies of nature that are the practical alternative to government. That is, crime fighting is the common purpose of all legitimate government. Its corruption- the corruption of the badge- to serve the self interest of its ministers is the decline of every civilization. Meanwhile, the gangsters tell themselves that if they did not provide the illegal things, the people would get them from another, so that they may as well profit. The enthroning of the idea of the successful; entrepreneur is sometimes indistinct from the honoring of the natural courage of gangsters.

Prohibition swelled organized crime in America, leading to the growth of new criminal gangs, which once were no larger than bands of bank robbers. The gangs continued to sell drugs after the prohibition of alcohol, and from these funds seem to have grown tentacles into all commerce, so that for example no concrete could be poured in New York City while obeying the law, and the Italian mafia would gain a certain percentage. Again drawing on the comprehensive picture, we note the difference between genuine economy and the “caterpillars of the commonwealth,” who weaken the economy by draining rather than producing value, and attacking private property. The epidemic of opioids turned about one third of a generation into prostitutes and thieves collecting money for the heroin mobs. It is as though the people in general did not notice until it entered and began draining the suburbs.

Organized crime then in part corrupted the appearance of justice, by corrupting the badge, to some extent, and only in part. It is interesting to observe the relative strengths and influences of crime and government, both here and, for example in Mexico, to see what can occur and what has occurred. As excerpted by Wikipedia,

In October, and again in December 1971, Serpico testified before the Knapp Commission:[9]

Through my appearance here today … I hope that police officers in the future will not experience … the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to … for the past five years at the hands of my superiors … because of my attempt to report corruption. I was made to feel that I had burdened them with an unwanted task. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist, in which an honest police officer can act … without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. Police corruption cannot exist unless it is at least tolerated … at higher levels in the department. Therefore, the most important result that can come from these hearings … is a conviction by police officers that the department will change. In order to ensure this … an independent, permanent investigative body … dealing with police corruption, like this commission, is essential …— The New York Times, December 15, 1971.[13]

Serpico was the first police officer in the history of the New York City Police Department to step forward to report, and subsequently testify openly about widespread, systemic corruption payoffs amounting to millions of dollars.[14]

In doing this, Serpico risked his life and more. He demonstrates the courage of the World War II era carried into the sixties, a virtue that seems more and more to escape the later generations. There is a sense in which police and soldiers too “lay down their lives for their friends,” as Jesus teaches, “greater love has no man than this.” John 15:13. Famously, when asked by one who is not involved in political action, but an actor, why he would make such sacrifice, Paco (again from Wikipedia) answered:

“Well, Al, I don’t know. I guess I would have to say it would be because… if I didn’t, who would I be when I listened to a piece of music?”[16] 

Wikipedia continues:

“He has credited his grandfather (who had once been assaulted and robbed), and his uncle (a respected policeman in Italy), for his own sense of justice.[17][18]

But why, in the higher sense, did these examples so effect him as to awaken what sleeps at best in most humans? What is it that causes heroes? Throughout his life afterward too, he seems to apprehend some mysterious intelligibility that is akin to justice and music, and the cultivation our genuine, and not merely apparent, prosperity and happiness.

More R.E.M Lyric Reading

On “Fire, or “One I Love

Lyric poetry in rock music is a speaking of the soul to the one loved. That’s why this one catches, as a rarefied essence. And it is fire. He does not sing the lines: ‘(she is coming down on her own now).” That is strange. It is to the one he has left behind because she did not come along on her own. So it is like Airplane’s “I saw you/ “Comin’ Back to Me.” That is just a dream.

Losing My Religion:


Oh, life is bigger
It’s bigger
Than you and you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I set it up

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

Every whisper
Of every waking hour
I’m choosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool, fool
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I set it up

Consider this
Consider this
The hint of the century
Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees, failed
What if all these fantasies
Come flailing around?
Now I’ve said too much

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

But that was just a dream
That was just a dream

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

But that was just a dream
Try, cry
Why try?
That was just a dream, just a dream, just a dream

“Losing my religion” of course intends the cliche,’ which, despite what is said, means more than exasperated or angry: it means being disillusioned. It means seeing beyond a love or the illusion of love, as in the opening and closing lines. The lengths equal to the distance in the eyes of the one loved is a nice line. But the analogy of love and faith is what catches the unconscious, as we secretly desire a spiritual lyric poetry. He sees himself, in the corner, seeing what disillusioned. If he refers to the spotlight of his own stage, seeing himself as the frontman of R.E.M., it means something like that the exasperation of love has led to the inspiration of R.E.M. lyrics. Losing my religion is then near to “losing my sanity” with losing the faith from the love- again despite what is said, that the song is about romantic rather than religious matters. It is similar then to when Jack White says,”I’ve been talkin’ to myself because I can’t forget…”

With a lyric poet as Stipe, his mere loves ARE of general significance.

Here is the collected wisdom on the matter:

Wikipedia: “Stipe has repeatedly stated that the song’s lyrics are not about religion. The phrase “losing my religion” is an expression from the southern region of the United States that means “losing one’s temper or civility” or “feeling frustrated and desperate.”[10] Stipe told The New York Times the song was about romantic expression.[11] He told Q that “Losing My Religion” is about “someone who pines for someone else. It’s unrequited love, what have you.”[12] Stipe compared the song’s theme to “Every Breath You Take” (1983) by The Police, saying, “It’s just a classic obsession pop song. I’ve always felt the best kinds of songs are the ones where anybody can listen to it, put themselves in it and say, ‘Yeah, that’s me.'”[13]

This disillusionment leads to what may be indistinguishable from madness, though it is temporary, and related to the inspiration. The indication of the Police song about unrequited love and obsession is very interesting. While Sting seems in error, Stipe seems correct in his response to “obsession,” from the first line. He means by this a true love, which is self sacrificing. It is of the sort that one does not love in this way again. The song may even communicate this correct response to the circumstance of one’s one crucial love.

R.E.M. – Losing My Religion (Official Music Video) via @YouTube

The video is full of clues, including the “hint of the century.” It is as much a primary work of art as is the song. The writing that appears in a flash is da Vinci’s discovery and invention of the helicopter. This, the helicopter, is related to the theme of wings and sprouting wings. It would be the modern, mechanistic and artificial mode of ascent, as opposed to the natural development of love. The groups of figures are, first, the band, Second a group from Art, From what first appeared to me as Peter Breugels and da Vinci’s School of Athens and the Death of Marat or the tragedy of the French Revolution. It is , a set of definite references to Art history, Caravaggio and certain others, woven to tell a story. I do not understand the Persian and Hindu references, but this would make a third group. The spotlight, and the work of music, is represented by a fourth group, the communist workers, and in one scene these are him singing. It is difficult to place the homo-eroticism and the conflict regarding the princess and the angel wings, but the question concerns eros, ascent and sin. “Choosing my confessions” coincides in the video with homoerotic sin, or a festering of the appetites in a deserted love, as Nash says, “I embrace the many colored beast.” We will be working on the meaning through the video, as Stipe said in a 2004 concert that the song belongs to us, the fans, and refers to a collective matter as well, expressing something for us and for the age.

The video opens with spilt milk, I believe as in the proverb, “don’t cry over spilt milk.” The members of the band are then looking up, apparently as the angel descends, like inspiration into lyric poetry.

There are then the wings and reference to the angel, who falls and enters on various occasions, a homoerotic shadow figure, partly unconscious. The theme reminds of the teaching regarding love and the growth of the soul’s wings.

Eric Ducker, in “Rolling Stone, reports Stipe’s explanation of the idea:

“I’m not supposed to tell anybody the idea, but if you want, I’ll try to explain it to you.” I told him there’s a story by Gabriel García Márquez called “A Very Old Man With Wings” in which this freak angel arrives and nobody knows quite what to do with it. So it’s that story, told abstractly through the style of these guys called Pierre et Gilles, who are these iconic gay photographers that take how Indians do their gods and goddesses, then they do that to the Western gods. I said that it would be interesting to have an Indian copying two French guys copying Indian work. That’s the style of one piece [in the video], that’s the heavenly abode. And the place where the angel lands, it would look like Caravaggio, whose lighting I really like. Then there’d be propaganda posters, which is a third group of people who might see this event, but might misinterpret it or come up with a different solution altogether.

The archetype on which the plot is written has similarities, then, to Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust theme.

There will be some benefit to the consideration of the images in Jungian terms, of shadow, anima, self, wise man, child and such. The one who suffers is the adolescent child emerging into love, and the young adult erotic questions. The divine woman and her cohort are pictured in the mode of the icons of the Upanishads, seen as the Hare Krishnas have spread these among us, depicting stories from the Hindu books similar to our Homeric epics.

Hmmm “…how the Indians do their gods and goddesses, then they do that to the Western gods?” Ok. Poets.

Jung considers the soul in terms of three levels, each with an aspect that is more or less unconscious. The “shadow” is similar to the Freudian unconscious, containing repressed memories, parts of ourselves not acceptable to our conscious persona, as we see ourselves. Deeper than this, though, are the archetypes of the collective unconscious, and what Jung calls “anima,” the Latin word for soul, is the etherial “She” behind the love of every man for every woman. The corresponding function in a woman is called “Animus,” or spirit, and these are related to the formation of the imagos, shaped decisively by the parents, by which one find their fitting love. In the 5th volume of his collected works, Symbols of Transformation, Jung discusses the battle of the hero for deliverance from the mother, the same as the earth or cave, so that the soul might ascend. What is born from the death of love is also a child, but the adult or true self, and it is this, also like a nascent faculty, which integrates the contents of the archetypes in the unconscious, considered now to be knowledge in the soul. It is this child then that pursues wisdom and is guided by the wise old man,” the archetype of the philosopher. The “You,” then, the woman who appears as semi-divine, the beloved as carrier of the “projection” of the anima. The soul of a man produces an image that at once is and is not the beloved, and this image is the feminine unconscious of the male. Hence the beloved appears more beautiful to one in love, gilded by the charms and favors attributed to Aphrodite. But the form of the beautiful is the only one to appear in the visible at all, the first condcete experience of the divine as distinct from the contents of the imagination regarding the divine.

Wikipedia: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, subtitled “A Tale for Children” is a short story by Colombian writer and author Gabriel García Márquez. … into the sea, he sees a very old man with wings laying face down in mud in his courtyard.

…”The priest, Father Gonzaga, comes by the house because he is surprised by the news of the angel. At this time, onlookers are making hypotheses about what should happen to the angel, saying things like “he should be the leader of the world,” or “he should be a military leader in order to win all wars.” However, Father Gonzaga decides to determine whether the man is an angel or not by speaking to him in Latin. Since the man with wings did not recognize Latin and looked too human, the priest decides the man could not be an angel.”

The semi-divine woman is the one beloved, although the homosexual angel is a representation of the self, again half in shadows.

The adolescent suffering similar to the crucifixion is similar too to The Martyrdom of St. Sebastian by Antonnello de Messina. This too has a man tied to a post impaled by darts, bloodless.

Antonello da Messina - St. Sebastian - Google Art Project.jpg
Sodoma 003.jpg


Saint Sebastian (c. AD 256 – 288) was an early Christiansaint and martyr. According to traditional belief, he was killed during the Roman emperor Diocletian‘s persecution of Christians. He was initially tied to a post or tree and shot with arrows, though this did not kill him. He was, according to tradition, rescued and healed by Saint Irene of Rome, which became a popular subject in 17th-century painting. In all versions of the story, shortly after his recovery he went to Diocletian to warn him about his sins, and as a result was clubbed to death.[1][2] He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church.

Caravaggio – ›

Wiki: Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian painter active in Rome for most of his artistic life. During the final four years of his life he moved between …


The Caravaggio figure indicated as the lyrics say “hint of the century” is from his painting of St. Jerome translating the scripture.

Saint Jerome Writing-Caravaggio (1605-6).jpg

Caravaggio had an interesting dispute with a rival painter, who describes him as representing carnal rather than heavenly eros, which is represented by the rival painter himself, in winged figures. But let us look for the drama or plot to the video, and try to see how this goes with the lyrics of “Losing My Religion.”

Following the spilt milk, and the attempt of his friends to comfort his despair, as he says, “the lengths that I would go to, he appears winged. He spreads his arms to say “bigger,” and these become his wings. His transcendence of the love is the lengths to which he must go. When he says “That’s me.” there appears first the homosexual angel with small wings, a cupid -like figure, or cupidity. He repeats “that’s me, and the spotlight is the communist workers, and again it is the suffering adolescent martyr when he says “losing my religion.”

“You ” is the anima figure, the princess, pictured with her cohort, and she is also “you on the occasion of her other appearance. The first time she appears centrally, is is at the word “I thought that I heard you sing.” Then at “trying to keep an eye on you, it is the homosexual cupid and the old St. Jerome looking up at the divine appearance of the beautiful in the one loved. Then, at “I’v said to much, the old St. Jerome figure falls, revealing that the cupid figure and he were in a heavenly condition. The cupid figure reaches down, but cannot reach Jerome, and the old bearded man picks up Jerome and points to him, at “hint of the century.” This is the same as the slip that brought him to his knees, humbled him, but brought him down, like losing his religion. The slip may have been to share his confession with the one loved. “Failed.” The attempt may have been to share confession with one loved who was not faithful, or had 11 gallows on her sleeve. A possible reading that may be in the right direction, and would explain the tension in the imagery.

Much more might be unraveled. Who is the second old man from Caravaggio, equivalent to the man who receives the angel in the story of the old man with wings? Who are the other Persians and the idolatrous Canaanites or Babylonians with the cow? The song is, after all about religion, if in a way not likely to be understood, and this would be to bring Jerome a crutch, and to look to lyric poetry for inspired songs.Who are the two who bring Jerome a crutch, and the one looking up to the heavenly cupid? There are wings in every group, including the communist workers at song, with something like an emblem. The artificial wings of the helicopter occur on the word “try.” To laugh, sing and try would go along with love, but that is here only a dream, as the one loved is one who does not love. Some are like that, the poorer, though less pained. Only the soul of the philosophers recover’s its wings.

Stipe has done well to keep his loves private, but one expects that “Losing My Religion” is written over the same love as Country Feedback, which Stipe calls his favorite R.E.M. song. Here the ducks are arguments the one lost has set out in a row.

Swan, Swan, Hummingbird

There is a very good reading of “Swan” on the Songmeanings site, unraveling particular lines from publications during the civil war. The scenes are from a publication from a prison camp, with trinklets being made of anything to sell for greenbacks, as to the captain. The futility of the Civil War is the theme, the price of heroes being inestimable to the captain’s mother. The beginning and the end reference the Christ, who emerges occasionally in the semi-automatic lyrics. “Girl and dog he bore his cross-” the family he was beginning was sacrificed in the war. Here are the lyrics from”

Swan, swan, hummingbird, hurrah
We are all free now
What noisy cats are we?
Girl and dog, he bore his cross
Swan, swan, hummingbird, hurrah
We are all free now
A long, low time ago
People talk to me

Johnny Reb, what’s the price of fans
Forty apiece or three for one dollar?
Hey, Captain, don’t you want to buy
Some bone chains and toothpicks
Night wings, or hair chains?
Here’s your wooden greenback, sing
Wooden beams and dovetail sweep
I struck that picture ninety times

I walked that path a hundred ninety
Long, low time ago, people talk to me
A pistol hot, cup of rhyme
The whiskey is water, the water is wine
Marching feet, Johnny Reb
What’s the price of heroes?

Six of one, half dozen the other
Tell that to the captain’s mother
Hey, captain, don’t you want to buy
Some bone chains and toothpicks?
Night wings, or hair chains?
Swan, swan, hummingbird, hurrah
We’re all free now
What noisy cats are we?

Long, low time ago, people talk to me
A pistol hot cup of rhyme
The whiskey is water, the water is wine.

From Twitter:

“This is a song about a war that, our country inflicted on itself a few decades ago..

REM – Swan Swan HThe page on “Swan” is VERY good. What is the connection of Johhny Reb to the bearing of the cross and wine? If the Captain has paid the price, they are not in a prison camp, but…. The civil war trinkets remind of Ophelia selling flowers and Edgar in Lear… “What noisy cats are we” comes direct from a civil war writing Rikdad suggests: compare Duck, Duck, Goose,” an arbitrary selection, as of which would die in the war or arranging those in the prison camp. The largest and smallest birds, and two very special birds. The Swan loves once, for life, then sings the “Swan song.”

Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, Galilee, but it is of course eucharistic, the bread and wine. “Do this in remembrance of me,” He says at the last supper. Rikdad Songmeanings: A telling phrase is “wooden greenbacks”: Greenback is a name for the US dollar, and “wooden”, applied to currency, means false or worthless. This would describe Confederate currency near or after the end of the war, when it ceased to have monetary value.

Try Not To Breathe

I will try not to breathe
I can hold my head still with my hands at my knees
These eyes are the eyes of the old, shiver and fold

I will try not to breathe
This decision is mine
I have lived a full life
And these are the eyes that I want you to remember, oh

I need something to fly over my grave again
I need something to breathe

I will try not to burden you
I can hold these inside
I will hold my breath
Until all these shivers subside
Just look in my eyes

I will try not to worry you
I have seen things that you will never see
Leave it to memory me
I shudder to breathe

I want you to remember, oh (you will never see)
I need something to fly (something to fly)
Over my grave again (you will never see)
I need something to breathe (something to breathe)
Baby, don’t shiver now
Why do you shiver? (I will see things you will never see)
I need something to fly (something to fly)
Over my grave again (I will see things you will never see)
I need something to breathe, oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh

I will try not to worry you
I have seen things that you will never see
Leave it to memory me
Don’t dare me to breathe
I want you to remember oh (you will never see)
I need something to fly (something to fly)
Over my grave again (you will never see)
I need something to breathe (something to breathe)
Baby, don’t shiver now
Why do you shiver now? (I will see things you will never see)
I need something to breathe (something to breathe)
(I have seen things you will never see)
I want you to remember

Old folks home residents are this song, a good one for the workers to know the circumstance. The poetry of Stipe extends in its breadth to thought on death, said also to be the beginning of philosophy.

The one dying is concerned for others and feels bad about burdening those caring for them, and so would even try not to breathe. He tries to suppress shivers. The end of the first verse is indeed as one who has chosen euthanasia, as these will do even from feeling a burden.

As the one dying enters something like a delusional state, the lines become deeper and enigmatic.

I need something to fly over my grave again
I need something to breathe.

Air. The one dying needs air and a memorial at the same time, and wants their person to remember:

I want you to remember, oh (you will never see)
I need something to fly (something to fly)
Over my grave again (you will never see)
I need something to breathe (something to breathe)

The one dying has seen something, or things their person will never see, but says, leave it to memory.” The last lines are “will see,” related again to what they have seen but fail to communicate:

(I will see things you will never see)
I need something to breathe (something to breathe)
(I have seen things you will never see)
I want you to remember.

Though they want us to remember, these things are left to memory.

On Songmeanings, it is related that “There is a Southern saying that says every time you shiver, an angel has flown over your grave. So the death theme, connected with angels, is plausible.” (middleofsomewhere93on June 02, 2006).

Lennon Imagine

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

This song works, if one does not take it literally.

It is about the imagination, and assumes that religion, nation and possessions as illusory are the cause of war. As such, it is VERY interesting.

Lennon is thought “communist” for this. Communism, of course, appears in the New Testament, among the missionaries, and in the very small city of Plato’s Republic, and then among about 10% of the city, the guardian class. It works among those who literally do not care about bodily goods, and need not even feed a family. Marxist communism, though is different. It begins in atheism, assumes materialism, then calls for violent revolution on the basis of the envy of the many for the rich, who are always few. The aim is tied up with an imaginary utopia that is not well thought though, and with universal dominion, or the aim at world government, as is the fascist on the right extreme. But the rich need laborers, and the poor need jobs.

But what if the problem is rather tyranny, and the defense of liberty? We keep our particular nation because liberty is rare and fragile and necessary to human life, as one would otherwise be governed essentially by another- rather than only accidentally, by such annoyance as the tax.

In Book II of Plato’s Republic, Socrates identifies the luxurious desires, as evident in Glaucon, with the cause of war. The desire for goods leads one city to chop off a piece of the property of its neighbor. Glaucon, and the human spiritedness in general- cannot be contented with the city called the city of pigs.

For practical purposes, we refer to Aristotle: What is held in common gets less care. Plus property is an instrument of action. When I go to get into my car, say, to save a suicidal friend, and my communistical buddies are out joy riding…. Hence, we recognize private property. There is no substitute for the prudence of each- it is the best we can do.

There is some connection of this in the Republic to the fall of man, and reason we do not remain in the innocence of childhood- for which we still struggle to give a reason! The soul of man is called to ascend. Hence, as Leo Strauss writes, humanism is not enough. Man is the creature that seeks to transcend his humanity, in the direction of the divine. But this possibility allows for the possibility of descent into the bestial- in the odd sense in which, in “this world, good and evil appear balanced. So it is, for example, that the sexual revolution also increased pedophilia, if it allowed the recognition and even the cure of its damages in some cases. Still, when the soul does find that in which it is content, the desires return to limits of the genuine animal nature, rather than the unlimited condition of human lusts- when eros that ought be above is trapped below.

But most interesting is the assumption about religion and the imagination of heaven and Hell. I will be updating this blog, too, as I am still the Newton blog a few pages back.

Lennon is of course thinking of how adherence to one’s own, or our love of our own in preference to what is foreign, and from this, our own doctrines, flags and interests. Famously wars are fought over religions, so much so that this is the first thing that might appear about the religious customs. Once one raises the question of the images of heaven and hell, even realizing that the Old Testament does not settle the question. Some thinkers too, as Newton, suggest a Christian mortalism, upon realizing that the visible images refer to true thing about the soul, such as the ascent in Plato’s Republic. But then it is suggested that the soul, in turn is the gateway of genuine metaphysics, and inductively, evidence of its higher analogue, baptism suggesting the truth of the immortality of the soul.

As we forgive, we are forgiven. The soul just works that way, for a brief time or forever. But there are things that are and things that are not our business. Socrates distinguishes divine from human wisdom, and famously denies he has either. Socrates and Jefferson fit well together. What men owe to the creator, we cannot give to human rule, and what are obligations to God can be rights regarding other men.

We like where Strauss says on the supposed impiety of Socrates, “One would think he would be excused by the difficulty of the subject matter!” It is indeed amusing that men once held one another obligated to act as if such things were simply known- the physics of transubstantiation and such. As it is amusing to hear what God plans and wants. The image of the immortality of the soul is so profound a mystery that to commit injustice over it was surely to miss the true sacrifice called for the prophets.

So, when I used to tweet John’s #9 dream, I’d swear I was channeling him, even for Yoko, on his birthday, like to let her know his love for her is eternal, and he doesn’t mind if he was wrong about the imagination of heaven. “Across the Universe,” too.

New Twitter Site at m.mcdonald77 Twitter

Having locked myself out of the old twitter account AND having had my old e-mail ruined in 2016 by Trump-Russian interference (no one cares), here is the new site.

My millions of adoring fans will now be again filled with wit and witticisms, having suffered in McDonaldless ignorance for well over a month, without sarcasm having to take this old world only seriously.

At least now, someone will re-tweet my WordPress!

Tweet: Nice Hack, Russia

A few months ago, I called the office of Senator Stabenow here in Michigan to ask that Congress do something about Microsoft and the compulsory downloads that were overloading the disk and ruining the computer. The fellow receiving the call may have even made fun of me, blowing a bicycle horn while I tried to tell him what we, the users, are seeing on the internet. Now it turns out that was an indication of the huge hack including the Pentagon. That may be the third or fourth time that has happened to me during Trump-Russia. I believe they again tried to influence the election, but could not counter the swelling wave of revulsion to our little tyrant.

Data collection and the monopoly tactics of the big internet companies have made us the vulnerable dupes of tyranny. Our knowing this has been the only thing that has had any effect throughout, but it does appear that if Putin wishes to further disable free government, he will have to resort to old fashioned methods. Our nation must be on high alert for the next while.

One suggested response is that we push the Russians out of Crimea according to the 1994 treaty they violated. Or sanctions could create enough suction to pull them out.


Emma Willard: On the Education of Women

Socrates, in Plato’s Republic, is the first to seriously suggest something like equality and the same education for women. His criticism of Sparta includes leaving the women uneducated. Emma Willard is the first founder of a high school for ladies, and the teacher of Miss Clark, or Mary Clark, the first teacher of women in Ann Arbor, Michigan, just before the University of Michigan was getting started after 1837. She considered her work a demonstration that women ware capable of the same subjects, and the height and breadth of her mind is nearer to philosophy than any other example. The following essay is a marvel, and she will prove to be a great neglected American writer. Sarah Grimke, Mary Shelly and the first Suffragettes had not imagined the whole movement toward the full equality of women, but the hot topic then- as evidenced in the Inauguration speech of John Tyler- was whether there ought not be much the same education. Willard spoke to the New York legislature to persuade the allocation of 4000$ for the Troy Female Seminary.

Copied from College

Improving Female Education by Emma Willard, 1819

From Emma Willard. An Address to the Public Particularly to the Members of the Legislature of New York Proposing a Plan for Improving Female Education. Middlebury: J.W. Copeland, 1819.

      If the improvement of the American female character, and that alone, could be effected by public liberality, employed in giving better means of instruction, such improvement of one half of society, and that half, which barbarous and despotic nations have ever degraded, would of itself be an object, worthy of the most liberal government on earth; but if the female character be raised, it must inevitably raise that of the other sex: and thus does the plan proposed, offer, as the object of legislative bounty, to elevate the whole character of the community.

      As evidence that this statement does not exaggerate the female influence in society, our sex need but be considered in the single relation of mothers. In this character, we have the charge of the whole mass of individuals, who are to compose the succeeding generation; during that period of youth, when the pliant mind takes any direction, to which it is steadily guided by a forming hand. How important a power is given by this charge! Yet, little do too many of my sex know how, either to appreciate it or improve it. Unprovided with the means of acquiring that knowledge, which flows liberally to the other sex-having our times of education devoted to frivolous acquirements, how should we understand the nature of the mind so as to be aware of the importance of those early impressions, which we make upon the minds of our children? –or how should we be able to form enlarged and correct views, either of the character, to which we ought to mold them, or of the means most proper to form them aright?

      Considered in this point of view, were the interests of male education alone to be consulted, that of females becomes of sufficient importance to engage the public attention. Would we rear the human plant to its perfection, we must fertilize the soil which produces it. If it acquire its first bent and texture upon a barren plain, it will avail comparatively little, should it be afterwards transplanted to a garden. . . .

      Not only has there been a want of system concerning female education, but much of what has been done, has proceeded upon mistaken principles.

      One of these is, that, without regard to the difference periods of life, proportionate to their importance, the education of females has been too exclusively directed, to fit them for displaying to advantage the charms of youth and beauty. Though it may be proper to adorn this period of life, yet, it is incomparably more important to prepare for the serious duties of maturer years. Though well to decorate the blossom, it is far better to prepare for the harvest. In the vegetable creation, nature seems but to sport, when she embellishes the flower; while all her serious cares are directed to perfect the fruit.

      Another error is that it has been made the first object in educating our sex, to prepare then to please the other. But reason and religion teach, that we too are primary existences; that it is for us to move, in the orbit of our duty, around the Holy Center of perfection, the companions, not the satellites of men; else, instead of shedding around us in their proper course, we must accompany them in their wildest deviations.

      I would not be understood to insinuate that we are not, in particular situations, to yield obedience to the other sex. Submission and obedience belong to every being in the universe, except the great Master of the whole. Nor is it a degrading peculiarity to our sex, to be under human authority. Whenever one class of human beings, derive from another the benefits of supports, protection, they must pay its equivalent, obedience. Thus, while we receive these benefits from our parents, we are all, without distinction of sex, under their authority; when we receive them from the government of our country, we must obey our rulers; and when our sex take the obligations of marriage, and receive protection and support from the other, it is reasonable, that we too should yield obedience. Yet is neither the child, not the subject nor the wife, under human authority, but in subservience to the divine. Our highest responsibility is to God, and our highest interest is to please him; therefore, to secure this interest, should our education be directed. . . .It is the duty of a government, to do all in its power to promote the present and future prosperity of the nation, over which it is placed. This prosperity will depend on the character of its citizens. The characters of these will be formed by their mothers; and it is through the mothers, that the government can control the characters of its future citizens to form them such as will ensure their country’s prosperity. If this is the case, then it is the duty of our present legislators to begin now, to form the characters of the next generation, by controlling that of the females, who are to be their mothers, while it is yet with them a season of improvement.

      But should the conclusion be almost admitted that our sex too are the legitimate children of the legislature; and that, it is their duty to afford us a share of their paternal bounty; the phantom of a college-learned lady, would be ready to rise up, and destroy every good resolution, which the admission of this truth would naturally produce in its favor. . . .

      That nature designed for our sex the care of children, she has made manifest, by mental, as well as physical indications. She has given us, in a greater degree than men, the gentle arts of insinuation, to soften their minds, and fit them to receive impressions; a greater quickness of invention to vary modes of teaching to different dispositions; and more patience to make repeated efforts. There are many females of ability to whom the business of instructing children is highly acceptable, and who would devote all their faculties to their occupation. They would have no higher pecuniary object to engage their attention, and their reputation as instructors they would consider as important; whereas, whenever able and enterprising men, engage in this business, they considerate as merely temporary employment, to further some other object, to the attainment of which, their best thoughts and calculations are directed. If then women were properly fitted by instruction, they would be likely to teach children better than the other sex; they could afford to do it cheaper; and those men who would otherwise be engaged in this employment, might be at liberty to add to the wealth of the nation, by any of those thousand occupations, from which women are necessarily debarred.

      But the females who taught children would have been themselves instructed either immediately or indirectly by the seminaries. Hence through these, the government might exercise an intimate, and most beneficial control over common schools. Any one, who has turned his attention to this subject, must be aware, that there is great room for improvement in these, both as to the modes of teaching and the things taught; and what method could be devised so likely to effect this improvement, as to prepare by instruction, a class of individuals, whose interest, leisure, and natural talents, would combine to make them pursue it with ardor. Such a class of individuals would be raised up, by female seminaries. And therefore they would be likely to have highly important and happy effects on common schools.

      It is believed that such institutions would tend to prolong to perpetuate our excellent government.

      An opinion too generally prevails, that our present form of government, though good, cannot be permanent. Other republics have failed, and the historian and philosopher have told us that nations are like individuals; that at their birth, they receive the seeds of their decline and dissolution. Here deceived by a false analog, we receive an apt illustration of particular facts, for a general truth. The existence of nations, cannot, in strictness, be compared with the duration of animate life; for by the operation of physical causes, this, after a certain length of time, must cease: but the existence of nations, is prolonged by the succession of one generation to another, and there is no physical cause, to prevent this succession’s going on, in a peaceable manner under a good government, till the end of time. We must look to other causes and seasonably prevent their operation, then might our latest prosperity enjoy the same happy government, with which we are blessed; or of but in part, then might the triumphs of tyranny, be delayed, and a few more generations free.

      Permits me then to ask the enlightened politician of my country whether amidst his researches for these causes he cannot discover one, in the neglect, which free governments, in common with others, have shown, to whatever regarded the formation of the female character. . . .

      But while, with an anguished heart, I thus depict the crimes of my sex, let not the other stand by and smile. Reason declares, that you are guiltier than we. You are our natural guardians,–our brothers,–our fathers, and our rulers. You know that our ductile minds, readily take the impressions of education. Why then have you neglected our education? Why have you looked with lethargic indifference, on circumstances ruinous to the formation of our characters, which you might have controlled? . . .

1. Females, by having their understandings cultivated, their reasoning powers developed and strengthened, may be expected to act more from the dictates of reason and less from those of fashion and caprice.

2. With minds thus strengthened they would be taught systems of morality, enforced by sanctions of religion; and they might be expected to acquire juster and more enlarged views of their duty and stronger and higher motives to its performance.

3. This plan of education, offers all that can be done to preserve female youth from a contempt of useful labor. The pupils would become accustomed to it, in conjunction with the high objects of literature, and the elegant pursuits of the fine arts; and it is to be hoped that both from habit and association, they might in future life, regard it as respectable.

To this it may be added that if housewifery could be raised to a regular art, and taught upon philosophical principles, it would become a higher and more interesting occupation; and ladies of fortune, like wealthy agriculturists, might find that to regulate their business was an agreeable employment.

      In calling on my patriotic countrymen to effect so noble an object, the consideration of national glory, should not be overlooked. Ages have rolled away;–barbarians have trodden the weaker sex beneath their feet;–tyrant have robbed us of the present light of heaven, and fain would take its future. Nations calling themselves polite have made us the fancies idols of a ridiculous worship, and we have repaid them with ruin for their folly. But where is that wise and heroic country, which has considered that our rights are sacred, though we cannot defend them? that tho’ a weaker, we are an essential part of the body politic, whose corruption or improvement must affect the whole? And which, having thus considered, has sought to give us by education, that rank in the scale of being, to which our importance entitles us? History shows not that country. It shows many , whose legislatures have sought to improve their various vegetable productions, and their breeds of useful brutes; but none whose public councils have made it an object of their deliberations, to improve the character of their women. Yet, though history lifts not her finger to such an one, anticipation does. She points to a nation, which having thrown off the shackles of authority and precedent, shrinks not from schemes of improvement, because other nations have never attempted them; but which, in its pride of independence, would rather lead than follow in the march of human improvement; a nation wise and magnanimous to plan, enterprising to undertake, and rich in resources to execute. Does not every American exult that this country is his own? And who knows how great and good a race of men may yet arise from the forming hand of mothers, enlightened by the bounty of that beloved country,–to defend her liberties,–to plan her future improvement,–and to raise her unparalleled glory?

Facebook Etc., Data Collection and “Consent”

Consent is necessary but not sufficient to secure rights in the internet age, for the obvious reason that we do not know the extent of that to which we consent. We agree to let our child get on the school bus, but not to be then bussed into a child trafficking ring. Nor may our consent to one be construed as consent to the following implications. The citizens never agreed to sell their voting rights, nor to allow their world to be conducted into tyranny only because we could not imagine the political power of targeted marketing- not to mention things not yet imagined nor forbidden.

The US Congress has the authority and responsibility to make tyhese decisions, but the billions of the 4 or 5 great internet companies are a bit persuasive on the surface. We choose now how the internet will impact our world, forevermore until tyranny destroys this age.

Just a little side note: Subliminal influencing is not yet forbidden by law, though it would be subject to civil suit for demonstrable (!) damages. This is our Congress, people. We elected them. Lets let them hear from us, and get us fogies ready for the internet age!

Any company that does not take advantage of data collection and targeted control now cannot compete. Hence the scrupulous are gone, and these 5 remain. The purpose of regulation is to limit companies to profiting from the real value they make, not from the power gained by their great wealth nor the advantage of their privileged position behind the curtain of the complexity of the internet. Duh!

Google is a SEARCH engine. By taking money for prominence, they become an advertising engine, then a data collection and sale engine. On WordPress: I agreed to allow moderate advertising in exchange for free writing, NOT to have the data of my visitors bought and sold. Hospitality remains a principle for us, even from Homeric Greece. Twitter sold fake followers, and half of Trump’s followers were fake. THEY, i.e., the unscrupulous Republican strategists, ran Trump up the flagpole with Russian internet assistance intended to fight terrorism, not to help Putin expand.