It is said that if a newly-adult butterfly is aided in its eclosure from its chrysalis, it does not pump enough haemolymph into its wing veins and is thus so weakened as to be unfit for life after the final stage of its metamorphosis. Struggle is required for there to be life. Just as the gold, χρυσός, of the chrysalis must be cast off as life blossoms from pupa into imago, from juvenile into the image if not essence of man.
At this time of year, many have been or will be celebrating: the rededication of the Holy Temple, the birth of the Saviour, the Gregorian and Julian new year, and 年节. In light of the Au of beginnings, that chrysalis from which we emerge before we fail in practice then attempt to regain the element of value, we may wish to remember what it is exactly that we seek to regain: what we are thankful for and what we stand by/ for. Then we might be prepared to consider the phonic reality of that gold element, the au! of responsibility, forming that which is stable enough to be defined and agreed upon. Without the pain of that struggle, the creature is unable to fly at the end of its metamorphosis. I heard the last person I ever thought would think such things say today that the having of the female child has brought new ideas of advice for life. Suffering begins with creation.
Like in Martial, many of whose verses are devoted to quibbling with his plagiarists. The work he created was then taken from him: such is the price of creating that which is tender and loved. The work may be stolen or, possibly worse, undermined. This can be illustrated by the changes occurring in education, where even experts are cast out in the discrepancy of standards, addressed painfully beautifully here. People may ask: who cares about schooling when we are trying to live our lives, but the scholar of yesteryear could criticise where departures were made from fact to imagination: they may not have always been right, but even their mistakes are learned because they had read so much in the original. Any class that teaches critical thinking cannot today possibly borrow from that range and depth of examples. Today, we are supposedly free to go our own way, but who is there to stand as our chrysalis challenge, in which we are first restricted before we set ourselves free - once the blood has been schooled to pump through the wings?
We may become poor imitations of manliness, 'Johannes factotum,' i.e., the 'would-be universal genius' that Shakespeare was accused of being by Robert Greene, who incidentally also accused him of plagiarism, though possibly while he was still an actor not playwright. It follows that the jack, not master, of all trades has to borrow to make up for his lack of knowledge. Except the real question is how we are borrowing: whether to form a chrysalis from which we break free to create something new, or whether to steal from selfish interest.
One of my friends is a world-recognized inventor who has observed that award certification seems to supply companies with capital ideas to market. In general, there is little respect for people with ideas, particularly ideas that are hard and need work to access. The successful person waters down, or both grasps and understands how to adapt an idea, which is a specific skill. Learning is no longer about the pupa being silent to learn about the imago, trying to emulate the imago; rather, the imago is tailored to the pupa. In such role reversal much may be destroyed before real freedom is gained, left in ashes and fragments to baffle future generations.
"There is a versatility which appears profound: as there is a rapid motion of unconnected things which presents an appearance of continuity," writes Sir Arthur Helps in Cloister and Crowd. Without the expert, who is to help us clarify?
Loss of respect for extant systems means a nightmarish game of musical chairs as things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. And I shall say without blushing: it has never been the popular position to defend the less fortunate. The irony today, however, is that almost anyone might be this 'less-fortunate' the next time the music stops and one more chair is removed.
The grooves may suddenly stop, to be picked up
somewhere else - if not by the intellect, which is often responsible for
destroying systems to begin with, according to Helps.
He writes that rewards ought not be distributed according to merit, for lamenting over this injustice is often the very catalyst that is needed for creation; what is more, if we were rewarded only when we deserved it, we would feel punished: we may hardly deserve any honours, ever.
There is an aspect to the reason behind causation that may not be immediately apparent to reason. Instead of asking the why and how of the physical realities in this world, we might better infuse those dry bones of Ezekiel with domestic affections, refined philanthropy, or sincere religion, that they might not be so hard: "Oh, breath, breathe upon these slain, that they may live."
And in the mean time, for those of us in between, we who are Johannes factotums, perhaps we can breathe on those bones with our amateur appreciation, hoping that in this respect for origins, we, too, will find our wings when it is time, even if this moment comes later than anticipated.