* Chinese Dragons
Myths are needed
It appears that we require mythical creatures, such as the dragon, because of their function as symbols or metaphors. It also appears myths, such as the story of “St George and the Dragon,” are more powerful because they are narratives. They have a context. Certain mythicals animals are the embodiment of a story, which is the case with the phoenix. The phoenix rises from his own ashes. So the phoenix is a both a symbol and a story.
However, in itself or himself, our mythical dragon does not tell much. The meaning he has is the meaning we tag on him. So, given that in the Western World and Middle-Eastern countries he symbolizes evil, we seldom isolate him. Evil is perpetrated onto someone as in the story of “St George and the Dragon.” However, we can redeem the evil dragon by turning him into a protector, but, again, he would have to protect someone or something.
From St George to George the dragon-slayer
Consequently, although St George is no longer a saint, it may be unwise to dismiss him altogether. Formerly a saint, George is now mythic. He is the mythic dragon-slayer and we require dragon-slayers even if the new George does not get on his horse, take off his sword and slay dragons.
St George’s Requests
However, we can remember that after saving the king’s daughter, George made requests, one of which was never to forget the poor, which is Christian thinking but also transcultural thinking.
Yesterday, as I was browsing the pages of Northrop Frye’s Words with Power, these words slimply leaped up the page:
Then again, Christ is constantly associated with the miraculous provision of food. Miracle of feeding large multitudes with very small amounts of food are recorded in all four Gospels, sometimes more than once, and such miracles are explicitly antitypes of the provision of manna in the wilderness (John 6:49-51).
Dragons still dwell among us. A few days ago, in a televised interview, a candidate for the leadership of the Republican party stated that health-care reforms were not constitutional. If Barack Obama were not President of the United States, a Nobel Laureate, admired all over the world, and ably assisted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the world would have laughed or stood in horror as it listened to a metaphorical dragon.
Just how can a candidate to the leadership of the political party, express such complete disregard for the welfare of the nation and think he is qualified for the job he is seeking? Before the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, slavery was not looked upon as morally reprehensible, but times have changed.
The former slave is now on the same footing as his former owner, which means that we can no longer oppose social programs as they are consistent with the notion of equality, as is paying one’s fair share of taxes.
Many of my blogs are about fairly tales and mythic creatures, but as mentioned above, they re-present in our imagination what does exist palpably or what should exist. They are born of a need to compensate for an imperfect world.
Scapegoating and Obstructionism: it’s official
Journalists have now used the words scapegoat and obstructionism in connection with the manner in which Congress operates and treats President Obama. Certain members are short of faults, so they try to create faults that they can impute to President Obama and his administration. But they have showed they were robotic naysayers by saying ‘no’ when it was in their best interest and that of the party to say “yes.” Just imagine the phone calls and the e-mails the naysayers received from the more enlightened members of the Republican party.
A Swordless George
But, George may have to use his pen and write words with power: metaphors, symbols, etc. to defeat inequality. He cannot use his sword. The horrific attacks of 9/11 were a prelude to great distress and to a financial disaster, so swords must be put away as the US rebuilds.
US: Foreign Policy
However, there are happy pages to this chapter. President Obama did as he said he would do. He listened and asked members of his administration to listen. The picture of President Obama having a polite discussion with President Karzai of Afghanistan is etched in my mind. That is how real Christians treat others.
I am therefore confident that, like the phœnix, the United States will rise from the ashes of war and it comforts me to think that as commander-in-chief the President is looking after the veterans.
The world must fight terrorism, but they must do as did the Navy Seals. The Navy Seals did kill Bin Laden, which is what they had to do. But George, as in Washington, may prefer to fight inequality, prejudice, anti-tax extremism, the death-penalty, etc. Wars kill, maim and cost a fortune.
I still think that the humanists went a little too far in their rejection of Jacques de Voragine’s Légende dorée or Golden Legend. We still need miracles. By the way, The Golden Legend, i.e. the text, is now online. Click on The Golden Legend or Légende dorée.
Beethoven: Two Piano Pieces, Ginluca Cascioli (piano)
(please click on title to hear music)
[i] Northrop Frye, Words With Power, Being a Second Study of “The Bible and Literature” (Viking, the Penguin Group, 1990), p. 287.