clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Language of Transgression

At left, a bust of the man you know as Julius Caesar. This is a bust in the Museum at Naples. It's also my favorite of all. In person, you feel it compelling you to act on orders.

I intended to write an entry every night this week. I've had some network trouble. Apologies.

I am writing now of transgression. I write of the act of harming another. I know this topic well as do you, dear readers.

Tonight, Commentaries on the Gallic Wars. Ick. I hear recoil. I hear retreat.


I've read them. I've translated them. I've studied them. I've even lectured upon them. They are magic.

What you learn from Caesar ( and just about any translation you'll buy is good unless you download something free) is that transgression, betrayal, disappointment, misdirection, and physical harm are all first cousins.

Try this version. It has trouble but then so do they all. caesar.

Telling you I will do something and then doing something to act against you is a betrayal. It leaves a scar of hurt mostly because I didn't estimate your depth of deception. I was at fault. You hurt me because I failed. Every time I hear your name, I'll know this hurt.

Acting against you openly and telling you through my emissaries that I intend to go on acting against you and converting others to my cause is an affront. It is a direct style of transgression aimed at you. I am telling others that you are impotent to stop me and I am convincing them to side with me.  You support erodes. You statue diminishes. You self-esteem must suffer.

Waiting until you are content. Letting you believe it is a quiet time, and then harming your allies. Hurting the people you told you'd protect, people who work with you, people who trust you to keep them safe: this indirect attack is perhaps the must cutting. I hurt them to hurt you. Of course, you cannot be everywhere.

But then, let's look at you. There's a problem there. Oh, you say you're just keeping your guard up. You say you're just being on alert. Your actions exclude others. You respond to my attacks by your own and the causalities from your actions look just as bad on the six o'clock.

You march about doing harm telling everyone it's a "defensive action." You have to do it to protect your interests. Naturally - we all agree until the body count is published.

What is most telling and most cold is however your account of your actions. It is dispassionate. You were wronged and so in proportionate force debated in council you responded. More wrongs, more response. We lose track of harm and response eventually. We know however from your prose you did too. We see that harm - transgression - is just a means to you. It becomes a way to ensure a type of stability you control.

You come to love the fight for the privilege it bestows upon you. The transgressions grow and with them a kind of esteem for you are a war lover. You live for the conflict and use it to shape the other events around yourself ... events which otherwise are outside of your grasp.

Now, read some Caesar and tell me the dispassionate narrative about the transgressions does not create a more interesting character doing the telling than any meaningful joy in the tale.

Read widely. Write often. I hope you are writing.

I'll try and write tomorrow and them an update on Monday.

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