"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Are there no prisons?

How amazing the interconnected pathways of thought; where one cautionary tale begets another. 

This morning Dru Marland posted otter madness, a poem inspired by finding that someone who fishes on the canal system (where Dru has her home now) suggested that otters need to be 'controlled'. These anglers say otters pose a threat to the fishing of the area; 'an aquatic disaster'. If they could say so, I suppose the otters would likely feel the same way about a certain species that always takes more food than it can possibly eat from the world, and leaves every environment it populates worse off than it was before. 

Regular readers here might know that I am a big fan of Dickens' A Christmas Carol; a story of radical transformation. Thinking about those ignorant anglers in Dru's poem put me in mind of The Ghost of Christmas Present's parting gift to Scrooge:

"Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask," said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit's robe, "but I see something strange and not belonging  to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?"

"It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it," was the Spirit's sorrowful reply. "Look here."

From its foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment. 

"Oh Man! look here. Look, look, down here!" exclaimed the Ghost. 

They were a boy and girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish, but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread. 

Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude. 

"Spirit! are they yours?" Scrooge could say no more. 

"They are Man's," said the Spirit, looking down upon them. "And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it!" cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. "Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And hide the end!"

"Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge. 

"Are there no prisons?" said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. "Are there no workhouses?"

The bell struck twelve. 

I am suddenly reminded of the race for candidacy for the U.S. presidency ...


  1. Yes...

    I love that story, I always read it around November / December. Maybe more people should read it (and hopefully get the point!)


    1. It is good to know someone else reads the story. Sometimes it seems folks forget to have that experience of picking up the book and having the words work on your heart.

      All the best Stace