Much Love Monday

There are rules in life that oppress, and rules that set us free. Just like there are rulers who do the same. And now that I mention "rulers", one is reminded that in the rules and rulers share something in common with "straight lines".
But how many "good" rules are as straight and narrow as ruled lines? You might tell me that when plants go wild and crazy, one can train them by tying them to a stick, which is straight, and guide them into more harmonious forms. That may be true.
But where did we get the idea that things need to run in straight lines? How do we get from the Sanskrit word for king, raj to the Latin rectus, straight/right?
Let us, for the purpose of antithesis, now imagine a bent stick. Can it be a measure or standard for other things? That would be difficult. "Bent", through lack of standard application, is not universal. And why not a circle, then, as the perfect form to guide us? Now I shall be controversial, and say that measure is not always had by all people to an equal degree. Only the person who has measure can pass it on. Correct standards originate from a "better" source (hence the symbol of the king). They are  not circular because there is an attempt to continually improve, which does have a forward, upright type motion, as one attempts to leave bad habits behind.
That said, as one seeks the better standard within oneself, one might not necessarily move in a straight line. Sometimes one might even move backwards before moving forwards. For example, it is said that artists' failures give them the material for their later successes: through the failed expression, they learn about themselves, how to do better next time. That's far from appearing straight forward!
But Vitruvius writes in his Ten Books on Architecture that when the oars of a ship plunge into the water, they no longer look straight, but appear bent, due to refraction. So, what is straight can at times appear bent.
Similarly, what is not straight can be made to appear so, as in many examples of entasis - that old trick used to make columns in temples look straight when, really, they are slightly curved. Entasis, ἐντείνειν, means stretch tight, and you guessed it, "stretch", at least in English, is related to "straight".
Our perception of what is and isn't straight is sometimes skewed, given our context: ἐντείνειν also means "put into". We are "put into" a context in life. We are made free, and straight, by "stretching" out of our contexts. Good rule allows us to grow, not like wild beasts, but in a way that teaches us that there is order in life that takes our measure into consideration.
Έντείνειν looks straight, because it is bending in a context. So to come full circle to - and not! Because the point has moved on from - the question at the beginning of this post: which are the rules that oppress? The answer is: those unwilling to bend to the context. So for today's Much Love Monday, I love the opposite: rules and rulers with flexibility.

Elements: Animus.

No comments:

Post a Comment