The Merchant of Venice William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
“ If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that.”
The Mourning Bride by William Congreve (1670-1729):
“Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.”
Four Quartets, T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
“The historical sense involves a perception, not only of the pastness of the past, but of its presence”
These three poetic geniuses captured for us all the evidence we need to prove human kind has difficulty with change.
Yesterday I listened to a charismatic speaker drive home the importance of habits when designing the learning programs for occupational health and safety. If you repeat a best safety practice daily and make it a habit, the habit is more likely than not to improve your likelihood of safety. Well, he said it better than that, but he talked so quickly and sped from slide to slide so fast, I haven’t a chance of landing a quote. He was stressing the point of repeating things to permanently learn from them.
Well that lesson made me think about the importance of the years past.
Unlike the fancy fast talking speaker, poets leave their message on a page, delicately written so as to reflect its beauty. You just have to return to it over and over again. You can easily quote it back to others without the fear of misrepresenting.
Shakespeare clearly depicted Shylock, of Jewish faith, explaining his common traits in comparison to the Catholics. He was frustrated and felt discriminated against, misunderstood and cast apart from the large Catholic community. You certainly do not have to go too far to see this same phenomenon in the news today. Very brave souls are speaking to the media today, trying to explain the strife between religious and ethnic divides.
William Congreve took on the theme that so many movies have tried to capture, the fury of a woman scorned. Some of my movie favorites include: Nine to Five and The War of the Roses. A woman scorned is a smart, calculating, vindictive woman. As a matter of fact, I watched a fine example of that today. Some women and some men just have to strike out and make their vengeance real. They quite literally leave their mark. It is talked about, written about, sung about and poems are easily written about this historic subject.
T.S. Eliot said it best though. Pick a historic theme, or a historic pattern and you will see it repeating today! Professor Lee Berger, involved with the recent discovery of one of the earliest predecessor of man, the genus of homo naledi in South Africa. Naledi is considered to be a highly probable link between what we know of primitive bipedal primates and humans. But these are early days and the carbon dating of the bones have not been done. So we do not know if they have discovered the linkage. Professor Berger said “”… we had discovered the largest assemblage of fossil human relatives ever discovered in the history of the continent of Africa. ” But what they discovered was more than bones. It provided evidence of burial rituals depicted in burial chambers.
Once again, I am left with the opinion that truly nothing new under the sun these days.
Today’s writing exercise lead me to reacquaint myself with many of my favorite quotes. Once assembled, I could hear the authors all chime:
“You see Mo, history is repeating! Seek the answers in the historic periods of peace and harmony.”