Philosophy

Culpability of Kings (Part I)

symposium

Round about the time of Pericles there lived Archelaus, a man of learning and station with a sharp and lively mind, a leader of men and a orator of the highest order. One morning he took one of his walks in a lovely Athenian garden near his home. After wandering amongst the flowers and trees and honey bees he came to a bench looking out over a pool of cool clear water. On the bench was the teacher Kallikrates, a man of little wealth and even less tact, but nonetheless possessed of a great skill with rhetoric and political thought. Archelaus took a seat next to Kallikrates and struck up a conversation. This is what was said between the two men that day.

 

Archelaus: Good morning to you Kallikrates! It is a beautiful day and I have taken a break from my writing to come an enjoy what the gods have chosen to bestow upon us. I see you had the same idea.

 

Kallikrates: The day is good enough. It is not hot and it is not cold. I suppose that is enough to please any man. How goes your writing? What is the topic?

 

Archelaus: I have been asked by the great Pericles to write a dissertation on just leadership and execution of the law. I have been working on it now for the better part of a week and I have come to standstill. It is frustrating beyond measure!

 

Kallikrates: Leadership is a topic dear to many men but familiar to almost none.

 

Archelaus: Pericles is a good man and he wishes to be made familiar with the topic. He wants to be a good and just leader of men. I do not wish to lead him down a bad path though so I have found fault with nearly all I have written so far. I cannot seem to grasp onto the basic issue: what is the balance between power and responsibility? What pains are there to assure the just execution of powers? I cannot reconcile the prerogative of power with the power of prerogative.

 

Kallikrates: Prerogative is the right word my friend so you are on the right path at least. Each class of man will take hold of the power promised him by tradition and by what is perceived as a natural right. The gods have their hierarchy, it is said, and man has his. The poor will sit down at the foot of the table and each man who has stepped further up the ladder of influence, or was at least born onto the appropriate rung thereof, will take his seat as befits the height he has attained. Pericles has a foot upon the highest wrong and therefore he will be able to reach out for the greatest power, he can claim the greatest prerogative.

 

Archelaus: So then I am right to bestow upon him, with my words, an acclimation of his authority and his wisdom? He seems to me a wise man, or at least a level headed one, but if he is like you say, at the heights of the ladder of influence as you so ingeniously described it, then has he earned the acclaim by right of striving or by right of birth? He is a great man but is he a great name? Should the people love him?

 

Kallikrates: You ask the wrong question. The people will love him or they will not love him. That is of no account. Doubtless there were millions upon millions who loved Xerxes, or through their fear or ignorance mistook their awe for love, but what did this affection say regarding the balance of his authority or the content of his deeds? I declare that there is little or no meaning in the love of man for a leader. Men will love what they will love. My son loves a youth by the name of Dionysus, a creature as beautiful and charismatic as he is cruel and stupid. My son will be driven by his love to do many things for this creature; sing songs, climb heights, excuse the basest of follies and the crassest of jokes and tricks. The love my son has for this Dionysus will do nothing to change the nature of the man. He either will or will not be what he is. If he is not he will have chosen a different path, perhaps in order to greater please and enhance the love shown by my son or for some other reason. But this will not prove that love can change a man nor will this prove that love is based upon virtue. My son does not see some inner virtue of Dionysus. My son loves what he sees and sees what he loves. He is a man and men will love what they will. And Dionysus will love what he does, iniquity and folly. Each will decide for himself what he will or will not love, if we believe that man has control over such things. Even if he does not have control, even if the gods dictate what a man will love, who will tell the gods what their place is to decide? The gods have their place on the ladder as well. They have their prerogative. Love does not decide prerogative nor will it settle the question of merit.

 

Archelaus: So I ask the wrong question. What, then, is the question I should be asking?

 

Kallikrates: What is the culpability of kings?

 

Archelaus: Culpability? What do you mean?

 

Kallikrates: If there is error made or a violence done against the law or against the trust or bodies of the people, to whom does the king answer, and to what degree shall he suffer?

 

Archelaus: Well he shall answer to the gods.

 

Kallikrates: Surely, but the justice of the gods has nothing to do with the justice of men. The gods will do what the gods will do. Man will do different, or else he would be of the gods.

 

Archelaus: I suppose that is true. So a king will answer to the people? To the laws?


Kallikrates: The king must answer to the laws of the people. These are the laws that govern the movement and the happiness and the comfort of people. The people will either be happy or they will not. If they are happy it will be through the just administration of the laws, and the only laws that can be justly administered are just laws.

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poetry

Tete de Poulet

schiele2

Edo equal onslaught sequel affront

Menage a deux never imbroglio

Do new the thing is odd sui encunt

He sings, “alack, please heed Benvolio!”

 

Fabrique du mal, wrenched upwards blessed red

Blaise Pascal holds it releases winter

Chaise bestride agape invites lonesome head

Plenum pensees, critic, a dissenter

 

Mum of words and yet ample of mumbles

Leche la chatte, I work in trade of kind

Your maw, a treat, and so soft it humbles  

A vessel for my milk is thus defined

 

I quibble with my thoughts of dark remorse

Supine with my prick hard-pressed to deflate

Warm dew speckled lips pout around the source

Pleased with my renown as a reprobate

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poetry

Mythos Taxonomy

Linnaeus_Andromeda

Fly on Agelaius phoeniceus

Equus quagga as indiscriminate

For Kentrosaurus aethiopicus

Cygnus buccinator dust off hate

 

Blast thee, Atalanta, at Sus scrofa

Bloom, bloom, light of old elements at play

Indoctrinate, embrace mellow fauna

Spike, Dynastes hercules, Omphale

 

Bleed and drain the gleaming spermaceti

Wept and moaned a foul night distraction

Dust the wine of cold rust Cognoscenti

Agony, this delayed satisfaction

 

Die a thousand deaths of bland necrosis

Live a thousand more lives of love and rage

Drink deep the froth of Vipera aspis

And from this lonely essence disengage

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Civil rights, poetry

White White

Jasper Johns

What do you know when you know what you know?

Have you seen any sort of disaster?

I know how you know what you know you know

Can your rhyming scheme fail any faster?

 

All rock, and in eve thought to way that cracked

The rain has fallen down there, quay,

sush out of reach and lay me out the fact

Draught of a fine lupine the pank in they

 

Clouds of teargas steam rising plus ultra

Big fat white pig billow willow coughing

LRAD blaring piggies swearing area

Deny it wasteland fly by it crying

 

Same time same place same crime same race, white white

I don’t see it walking or defying

Rise rise rinse and repeat onslaught flight flight

The blue makes you white there’s no denying

 

Tactical munitions, facile in thought

Blaze and akelarre believer guns cocked

thirst and burn and thrust and churn they’re distraught

West Ferguson and waiting waiting rocked

 

Blue race bubble bubble toil and trouble

I’ve it in me stand alone monolith

Get your ass on the street on the double

Shit is going to hit the fan forthwith

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Civil rights

Hands Up!

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man

I saw his hands in the air

I did and I didn’t care

He had the wrong look on his face

did not have deference enough for his race

I was offended by his stance

By his glance

Threatening my authority

My superiority

My prerogative

           To decide

What constitutes a homicide

The greatest crime I can divine

Is the destruction of what is mine

My property, my material goods

My primacy, my wholesome neighborhood

I shot him in the back you see

Because I cannot stand to be

His equal in society

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Death

Robin Williams Dead At 63

RobinWilliamsMagnum

One of my favorite actors and comedians died today. Robin Williams committed suicide at his California home, according to his wife and his agent. He had suffered from clinical depression and substance abuse for most of his life.

Aladdin was one of my favorite films of all time and really influenced my own sense of humor. He also starred in classics like The Birdcage, Mrs. Doubtfire, Good Will Hunting, Insomnia, 1 Hour Photo (one of his best roles in my opinion) and had a fantastic guest spot as the anarchic anti-hero Merritt Rook on Law & Order: SVU.

As a person who suffers from clinical depression and bouts of severe self-loathing I can relate to what Mr. Williams must have gone through. I hope his family can find some comfort from the fact that his comedy made literally MILLIONS of people laugh and his acting inspired a generation of people to get into the craft. Rarely does someone have such an impact on so many in such a positive way. It is no shame to succumb to depression, just as it is no shame to be done in by diabetes or cancer, but too many people still see mental illness as a disease one can “get over” or “overcome”. That is not the case. It is painful and ruinous and can destroy lives. If you or someone you care about is suffering from depression please see a doctor or talk to a counselor. If you need help RIGHT NOW contact the Suicide Prevention at 1-800-273-8255 or @ http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

 

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Activism, poetry, Police

A Strange Sort of Justice

Happy as a Pig In Shit

Happy as a Pig In Shit

You boys in blue

There is nothing just about you

There is no law

There is no order

Save for racism

Corruption

brutality

and murder

Eric Garner

Eleanor Bumpers

Michael Brown

Abner Louima

Patrick Dorismond

Ousmane Zongo

Rodney King

Tyisha Miller

Lynch mobs with shiny badges

Scared little men

Who fear

Those they are tasked

To protect

Instead they serve

A strange sort

of Justice

Law of power

A choke hold

Around a throat

Screaming for respect

The darker the skin

The harder they stomp

And kick

and punch

Amadou Diallo

Sean Bell

John Weerd Smith

Kendrec McDade

Lorenzo Collins

They bleed blue

if they bleed at all

They hide behind

a ghastly wall

of bodies culled

from the population

of men and women

denied the right to live

in peace

the greatest crime one can commit

In America

Is to be born black

or poor

“when you’re in trouble look for a cop”

unless you look like

Ramarley Graham

Marlene Pinnock

Kathryn Johnson

Marshawn Pitts

Adolph Archie

Henry Glover

Ask a question

RESISTING ARREST

Don’t look the officer in the eye

RESISTING ARREST

Fight back

RESISTING ARREST

Call for help

RESISTING ARREST

Officer Porker is judge

jury

and executioner

His will is law

and thy will be done

 

When white sheets went out of fashion

Klansmen turned them in

For blue shirts and silver badges

Protect and serve

The powers that be

But the iron fist

for you and me

Mayor Daley said it best

“The police are not here to create disorder, they’re here to preserve disorder.”

 

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