Clocks are Big: Machines Are Heavy (The Situation of Things)

 

dsc_yngyuu

 

Why does metis appear thus, as multiple (pantoie) many-coloured (poikile) shifting (aiole)? Because its field of application is the world of movement, of multiplicity and of ambiguity. It bears on fluid situations which are constantly changing and which at every moment combine contrary features and forces that are opposed to each other. In order to seize on the fleeting kairos ( the right moment), metis had to make itself even swifter than the latter. In order to dominate a changing situation, full of contrasts, it must become even more supple, even more shifting, more polymorphic than the flow of time: it must adapt itself constantly to events as the succeed each other and be pliable enough to accommodate the unexpected so as to implement the plan in mind more successfully…….. Victory over a shifting reality whose continuous metamorphoses make it almost impossible to grasp, can only be won through an even greater degree of mobility, an even greater power of transformation.

Reference

Marcel Detienne, Jean- Pierre Vernant, Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society

Fate, Fortune, Chance and Luck

In The Consequences of Modernity, sociologist Anthony Giddens suggests that new notions of risk and trust are distinctly modern developments that supplant earlier notions of fate, fortune, and fortuna; nowdays, the unexpected comes not from turns of fate or divine intervention but from risk………………. If Anthony Giddens and mark Bernstein are right, the prevailing tendency to  counterpose “modern” notions of chance, randomness, risk, and so forth with a “pre-modern” notion of fate, fortuna, and fatalism attributes universality to the semantics and categories of the modern formulation, which it privileges over an obscure amalgam, somehow connected with alterity and the distant past. A ‘from religion to philosophy’ paradigm has tended to dominate earlier Classical approaches to the subject…………………

Reference

L. Raphals, Fate, Fortune, Chance, and luck in Chinese and Greek: A Comparative Semantic History.

 

 

Wonder Food

Review

Why Not Eat Insects? Vincent M. Holt. Hanworth, Middlesex: reprinted by E.W Classey, 1967

According to the British Museum Catalogue, this curious and interesting little  work was first printed in 1885. F.S. Bodenheimer devotes several pages to it in his Insects as Human Food, and notes that the booklet has now (1951) almost disappeared. In London it was apparently only available at the British Museum, where it was destroyed by bombing…….. Due to its extreme rarity, and its timeliness now that our population explosion and dwindling resources have given us a rather unpalatable source of  ‘food for thought’, Why Not Eat Insects? is well worth  reprinting and E. W. Classey has performed the service.

Holts argument for insects as human food is partially directed at out common habits of praising one animal product as a delicacy, while expressing revulsion at the thought of eating another……………… Of course, as Bodenheimer points out, Holt was by no means the first to advocate such measures……………….

Roland. S. Wilkinson, Why Not Eat Insects, The Great Lakes Entomologist, vol 1 (8), 1968

…………………

In this country the foolish prejudices which forbid the use of many attainable articles of wholesome food, applies with force to frogs. Our starving peasants loath what princes of other nations would banquet on, and leave to badgers, hedgehogs, buzzards, herons, pike and trout, sole possession of a very nutritive and pleasant article of food.

………………..

The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1, No.14 (oct 3, 1840)

The West Side is considerable excited over the appearance of a wild man in the woods in the vicinity of Sucker brook about a mile south of the city………. Some of the children who have seen him say that they saw him catching and eating pollywogs and frogs.

 

Plattsburgh Sentinel, August 6, 1869

Note

Wild Mans association with wonder food/ miraculous cures for a starving population. Was the subject ‘always open to such misinterpretation.’

 

What do medieval wild men eat?

Cress and wild garlic ( believed to be a stimulant and appetite suppressor)

Processes of Arrest

Two UK police stations on lockdown after Chinese person they arrested started sneezing

…………. An unfortunate member of the public using the toilet at the time walked back into the waiting area and was told he could not leave because he was at the centre of a potential coronavirus drama. He said: ‘When I came out I was told “we have some bad news”……….

Reference

Metro, ‘ Two UK police stations on lockdown after Chinese person they arrested started sneezing‘, 23. Jan, 2020

 

Further Misinterpretation ( Wonder Food)

“The vulgar opinion that Frenchmen eat frogs for want of better food is quite erroneous; the contrary is the fact; for a fricassee of these animals is an expensive dish in France, and is considered a delicacy. Its chief merit appears to me to be its freedom from strong flavor of any kind; a delicate stomach may indulge in it without fear of a feeling of repletion. In this country the foolish prejudices which forbid the use of many attainable articles of wholesome food, applies with force to frogs. Our starving peasants loath what princes of other nations would banquet on, and leave to badgers, hedgehogs, buzzards, herons, pike and trout, sole possession of a very nutritive and pleasant article of food. When devoured by the heron, it is in part converted into a source of wonder to the unenlightened; for the curious masses of whitish jelly found on the banks of rivers and other moist places and said by the country people to be fallen stars (2), are so far as I have been able to observe, masses of immature frog spawn in a semi digested state; and they seemed to me to have been rejected by herons just as we see hawks and owls reject balls of hair, feathers or other indigestible portions of their pray.”

The Irish Penny Journal, Vol. 1, No.14 (oct 3, 1840)

The West Side is considerable excited over the appearance of a wild man in the woods in the vicinity of Sucker brook about a mile south of the city………. Some of the children who have seen him say that they saw him catching and eating pollywogs and frogs. From the stories which have reached us it seems certain that a strange, though harmless being is wondering in the woods on the West Side.

Plattsburgh Sentinel, August 6, 1869

 

Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society (in the absence of frog)

My grandmother, who I find was born on the 6th of January, 1726, used to tell me, that when a girl at school she was taken some distance to see a frog that was exhibited as a show…”

W. Thompson, ‘Natural History of Ireland’, Vol. IV., 1856

Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society.

Interesting book.

Its also extremely well written.

It also made me laugh, in a discussion of a later author imposing Aristotle’s thought and terms into an older subject, the authors note that the subject ‘was always open to misinterpretation.’

Doing that myself to a degree relating apes to druids or more particularly wild men to spectral spirits.

Relationships here but also difference, if I attempted to impose a uniform relationship between the way a history of the druids was imposed on the Gauls and the manner in which the ‘spectral native’ is studied in post- colonial studies in Canada the cracks begin to show.

Considerable difference in being Roman and being Canadian in the late 19th/ early 20th century.

Anyway metis, I would not have marked the wild man as cunning, but my sense here has been a contemporary one.

Also no reason at the moment to suspect the medieval scribes marked the wild man as possessing cunning or metis (although now need to check carefully).

But I would put the considerable successes of the wild man as a narrative and its survival over a long period down to the fact that ‘ it was always open to misinterpretation.’

With metis  Its open to a pleasing form of ‘misinterpretation.’

Greek form of cunning seems useful to think in.

Werewolf/ wild women/ wild man.

At first glance with  werewolf’s and wild women in the context I know them (early medieval Ireland) cunning is not a term I would deploy. They are about as subtle as a rubber cosh.

‘rip it limb from limb’

In large degree and particularly with conrechta (werewolf ) nothing particularly concealed in the form of violence she deploys. She is in dispute and her behavior is justified. She has a case to make/ nothing to hide.

Spectacular public aspect, as long as the target is selected with care it demonstrates the injustice and correctness of her action.

Wild man by contrast is a flighty, vegetarian, hiding in the shadows and haunted by his own shadow and former self.

The loser in a battle of wits. He has been incorrect in his action and targeting resulting in expulsion.

If I had to deploy one term that all seem to share and could be described as cunning, it would be ‘concealment.’

Ir allows me to arrive at a particular sense of direction. A somewhat chaotic one.

If I want to misinterpret and force all roads to lead to ancient Greece.

I have to fishing it would seem.

Mêtis

Dominated by Cunning

There is no doubt that mētis is a type of intelligence and of thought, a way of knowing; it implies a complex but very coherent body of mental attitudes and intellectual behavior which combine flair, wisdom, forethought, subtlety of mind, deception, resourcefulness, vigilance, opportunism, various skills, and experience acquired over the years. It is applied to situations which are transient, shifting, disconcerting, situations which do not lead themselves to precise measurement, exact calculation or rigorous logic.

 

Reference

Marcel Detienne, Jean- Pierre Vernant, Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society

The Observers (as they say)

One skilled in dissimulation is veripellis, because he turns, vertit, his face and mind in different directions, diversa, whence he is also versutus and callidus

Isidore of Seville’s Etymologies

They are marvellously cunning: people say that they use bird-lime as ointment

Pliny, Natural History

It is easy to see that this device might occur to anyone who happened to observe……

D. Douglas, A History of Fowling, 1897