Cogitationes me

IIII. Thought of the day (for myself)

Today we are celebrating the greatest mystery of our time: the fact that a symbol of fertility (and constant renewal) can give birth to a symbol of sweet decadence — a rabbit laying chocolate eggs ! One can wonder what it has to do with the son of god being crossed and coming back to announced the zombie apocalypse. Go figure…

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Hopefull spring

Snow, mud and ice
Disappearing at last
As the sun warm us all

On this last day of winter, I took a walk into the park. It was a little colder than the previous day, as if the winter wanted to remind us that it was still there… However, the hopeful signs of the coming spring could be seen everywhere: in the tiny shoots of daffodils (which will flower at last this year, I expect) or in the birds that were starting to populate the bare branches of the trees and fill the air with their songs. Today, I have seen a female cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis), a downy woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) and two crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos). 

At the same time, the coming of spring brings hope of more  than sunnier and warmer days. The coronavirus pandemic has reached its first anniversary and it has now been a year also since we started confinement and mitigation measures. People are exhausted and fed up with the distanciation and the mask wearing. Unfortunately, the threat of more potent virus variants forces us to persist in our efforts. But warmer temperature will allow for more outdoor activities which will in its turn alleviate our mental stress and the increasing vaccination pace will soon help everyone to better defend against the virus and create enough immunity to starve its spread and mutation.

I have never seen a spring burdened with so much hope…

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cogitationes me

I. Le savoir sur le bout des doigts

Je me sert maintenant beaucoup de l’internet pour identifier (ou vérifier l’identification) de mes monnaies anciennes ainsi que pour des tas d’autres choses (comme des applications de traduction). C’est fou ce qu’on trouve sur l’internet de nos jours. Par, exemple, des scans complets de vieux livres de référence! Si j’avais eut accès à autant de documentations quand je travaillais sur ma thèse, les choses auraient sûrement été plus faciles (cela m’aurait peut-être évité d’aller passer un mois en Europe pour faire la tournée des bibliothèques universitaires afin de rassembler ma bibliographie et de faire des photocopies…).

Tout ce savoir à porté de la main et pourtant on retrouve toujours autant (sinon plus) d’idiots dans le monde. Comme quoi qu’il est insuffisant d’avoir accès au savoir, encore faut-il connaître comment chercher ce que l’on a besoin, avoir la capacité de l’interpréter et en avoir la volonté. Il n’y a pas pire Humain que celui qui refuse d’apprendre, car cette capacité à apprendre (accumuler et retransmettre le savoir) est ce qui nous distingue vraiment de l’animal. Le refus de l’amélioration de soi nous rabaisse donc au niveau de la bête.

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(Inspiré du COMMENTARIORUM QUOS IPSE SIBI SCRIPSIT de Marcus Aurelius — oui, je sais, le vrai titre en était Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν parce qu’en homme éduqué il écrivait en grec, ce qui m’est impossible)

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Reality check

We are all quite happy to have turned a new page into 2021. However, to be frank, the first half of 2021 will certainly be as bad as 2020. So don’t expect an overnight miracle! It will surely get worse before it gets better… Trump will still be in power until the third week of January and who knows what kind of horrors he can still come up with, we will soon experience a post-holiday jump in the number of COVID-19 cases, the new variants will spread more and more, we will still have to follow the sanitary measures (masks, distanciation, etc.) for a while and the vaccines will not start having any effect on the pandemic until spring, if not early summer. So, please be patient. Our sanity and decency will eventually be restored, hopefully before the end of the year.

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Happy / Joyeux Solstice

Like every year, I want to wish everyone a happy solstice. 

The celebration of the solstice goes back to the beginning of time (or at least, as far as we know, to the Neolithic). The winter solstice is when the polar axis of the planet reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun, making it appear at its lowest on the horizon and resulting in the longest night and the least amount of daylight. For all prehistoric cultures it probably meant the end of winter hardships and the promise of a new beginning. The sun dies behind the horizon only to be reborn, therefore the winter solstice festival is almost always linked to the cult of the Sun and the New Year. With time, those age-old rituals were integrated into each culture beliefs and evolved into the festivities of Christmas / Nativity (Western Europe), Dongzhi  (China), Festivus (geek culture), Hanukkah (Judaic culture), Karachun (Slavic cultures), Kwanzaa (African-American culture), Makar Sankranti (India), Saturnalia / Sol Invictus (Ancient Rome), Yalda (Iran), Yule (Germanic culture), etc.

Those festivities were also often linked with the worship of entities/deities that resurrected (they died and rose again) in correlation with fertility or after-life cults (many being part of mystery cults): Attis, Baldr, Dionysus, Dumuzid, Ishtar, Izanami, Jesus, Mithra, Osiris, Persephone, Quetzalcoatl, just to name a few. That’s what makes comparative mythology so interesting (for which Jesus is a fascinating study case).

Of course, this year everything feels different. We had a very bad year and we yearn for much better time. Therefore, whatever you are celebrating at this time of the year, I want to wish you all Merry Festivities (by yourself) as well as a happy and much better New Year ! Take care and be safe!

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Comme chaque année, je souhaite à tous un joyeux solstice.

La célébration du solstice remonte au début des temps (ou du moins, à notre connaissance, au néolithique). Le solstice d’hiver se produit lorsque l’axe polaire de la planète atteint son inclinaison maximale loin du soleil, le faisant apparaître à son plus bas à l’horizon et entraînant la nuit la plus longue et le moins de lumière du jour. Pour toutes les cultures préhistoriques, cela signifiait probablement la fin des épreuves hivernales et la promesse d’un nouveau départ. Le soleil meurt derrière l’horizon pour renaître, donc le festival du solstice d’hiver est presque toujours lié au culte du soleil et du nouvel an. Avec le temps, ces rituels séculaires ont été intégrés dans les croyances de chaque culture et ont évolué vers les festivités de Noël / Nativité (Europe de l’Ouest), Dongzhi (Chine), Festivus (culture geek), Hanoucca (culture judaïque), Karachun (cultures Slaves), Kwanzaa (culture afro-américaine), Makar Sankranti (Inde), Saturnalia / Sol Invictus (Rome antique), Yalda (Iran), Yule (culture germanique), etc.

Ces festivités étaient aussi souvent liées au culte d’entités / divinités ressuscitées (elles moururent et ressuscitèrent) en corrélation avec la fertilité ou les cultes d’après-vie (beaucoup faisant partie de cultes à mystères): Attis, Baldr, Dionysos, Dumuzi, Ishtar / Innana, Izanami, Jésus, Mithra, Osiris, Perséphone, Quetzalcoatl, pour n’en nommer que quelques-uns. C’est ce qui rend la mythologie comparéé si intéressante (pour laquelle Jésus est un cas d’étude fascinant).

Bien sûr, cette année, tout est différent. Nous avons eu une très mauvaise année et nous aspirons à de bien meilleurs moments. Par conséquent, quoi que vous fêtiez à cette période de l’année, je tiens à souhaiter à tous de joyeuses fêtes (par vous-même) ainsi qu’une bonne et meilleure année! Prenez soin de vous et soyez en sécurité!

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عطلات سعيدة للجميع

祝大家節日快樂

Feliĉaj Ferioj al ĉiuj

Frohe Feiertage für alle

Ευχάριστες διακοπές σε όλους

Happy Holidays nan tout

חג שמח לכולם

सभी के लिए खुश छुट्टियाँ

Buone Feste a tutti

すべてにハッピーホリデー

Beatus festis in omnes

Счастливые праздники для всех

Felices fiestas a todos

Chúc mừng ngày lễ cho tất cả

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Thought of the day [002.020.282]

Debate after-thoughts

The VP debate was more civil but no one really answered the questions and Mike Pence was lying so much that, for an instant, I had the vision of the moderator being struck in the heart by the elongated nose of Pensoccio ! He was mild-mannered and yet as disrespectful as his master would have been to Kamala Harris. He should not even have been there as he should have been in quarantine in Washington because he was exposed to infected people and should be ready to take over the presidency if — gods forbid — something would happen to Trump.

All in all, it was another annoying debate that won’t change anyone’s opinion since everybody is already disgusted by American politics under this presidency. We cannot be nauseated more than we already are… However, Harris did well, stood her ground (I like the looks she gave Pence) but I am wondering if she should have avoided playing the same game and honestly answer more questions instead. On the other hand, Pence was so bland that he looked like a doll (Dull? Undead?). Even the fly on his head lost interest and flew over the cuckoo’s nest… Meanwhile Trump is planning to use his contagious personality in another rally hoping to make his campaign viral… Could it be a fetal mistake?

I can’t wait for November turd…

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