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    Deuteronomy: The Last Book of the Law

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    J3ipolarGod
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    Posts : 174 Join date : 2010-11-27

    Deuteronomy: The Last Book of the Law

    Post by J3ipolarGod on Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:09 pm

    I think this is going to be my favorite part of this entire forum....



    This is an excerpt from the book "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" by Jeanette Winterson. More specifically it is a short 3 page chapter named Deuteronomy: The Last Book of the Law It and is bar none, one of the best monologues in the English language, I think. I know not all of you will read this but to those of you who do, thank you for taking the time for at least trying to appreciate what I interpret as good literature....

    Yes, I rewrote the whole chapter!

    I was going to put this into the Literature section but this always makes me think about what I'm thinking about a little more than usual. I reread this chapter once a month.


    "Time is a great deadener. People forge, get bored, grow old, go away. There was a time in England when everyone was much concerned with building wooden boats and sailing off against the Turk. When that stopped being interesting, what peasants there were left limped back to the land, and what nobles there were left plotted against each other.

    Of course that is not the whole story, but that is the way with stories; we make them what we will. It's a way of explaining the universe while leaving the universe unexplained, it's a way of keeping it all alive, not boxing it into time. Everyone who tells a story tells it differently, just to remind us that everybody sees it differently. Some people say there are true things to be found, some people say all kinds of things can be proved. I don't believe them. The only thing for certain is how complicated it all is, like string full of knots. It's all there but hard to find the beginning and impossible to fathom the end. The best you can do is admire the cat's cradle, and maybe knot it up a bit more. History should be a hammock for swinging and a game for playing, the way cats play. Claw it, chew it, rearrange it and at bedtime it's still a ball of string full of knots. Nobody should mind. Some people make a lot of money out of it. Publishers do well, children, when bright, can come top. It's an all-purpose rainy day pursuit, this reducing of stories called history.

    People like to separate storytelling which is not fact from history which is fact. They do this so that they know what to believe and what not to believe. This is very curious. How is it that no one will believe that the whale swallowed Jonah, when everyday Jonah is swallowing the whale? I can see them now, stuffing down the fishiest of fish tales, and why? Because it is history. Knowing what to believe had its advantages. It built an empire and kept people where they belonged, in the bright realm of the wallet...

    Very often history is a means of denying the past. Denying the past is to refuse to recognize its integrity. To fit it, force it, function it, to suck out the spirit until it looks the way you think it should. We are all historians in our small way. And in some ghastly way Pol Pot was more honest than the rest of us have been. Pol Pot decided to dispense with the past altogether. To dispense with the sham of treating the past with objective respect. In Cambodia the cities were to be wiped out, maps thrown away, everything gone. Nod documents. Nothing. A brave new world. The old world was horrified. We pointed he finger, but big fleas have little fleas on their backs to bite them.

    People have never had a problem disposing of the past when it gets too difficult. Flesh will burn, photos will burn, and memory, what is that? The imperfect ramblings of fools who will not see the need to forget. And if we can't dispose of it we can alter it. The dead don't shout. There is a certain seductiveness about what is dead. It will retain all those admirable qualities of life with none of that tiresome messiness associated with live things. Crap and complaints and the need for affection. You can auction it, museum it, collect it. It's much safer to be a collector of the curios, because if you are curious you have to sit and sit and see what happens. You have to wait on the beach until it gets cold, and you have to invest in a glass-bottom boat, which is more expensive than a fishing rod, and puts you in the path of the elements. The curious are always in some danger. If you are curious you might never come home, like all the men who now live with mermaids at the bottom of the sea.

    Or the people who found Atlantis.

    When the Pilgrim Fathers set sail it was not without the opinion of many that they were crazy. History has now decided otherwise. Curious people who are explorers must bring back more than a memory or a story, they must bring home potatoes or tobacco or, best of all, gold.

    And El Dorado is more than Spanish gold, which is why it could not exist. The ones who came home were mad with vision that had no meaning. And so, being sensible, the collector of curios will surround himself with dead things, and think about the past when it lived and moved and had a being. The collector of curios lives in a derelict railway station with a video of various trains. He is the original living dead.

    So the past, because it is past, is only malleable where once it was flexible. Once it could change its mind, now it can only undergo change. The lens can be tinted, tilted, smashed. What matters is the order is seen to prevail... and if we are eighteenth-century gentlemen, drawing down the blinds as our coach jumbles over the Alps, we have to know what we are doing, pretending an order that doesn't exist, to make a security that cannot exist.

    There is an order and balance to be found in stories.

    History is St. George.

    And when I took at a history book and think of the imaginative effort it has taken to squeeze this oozing world between two boards and typeset, I am astonished. Perhaps the event has an unassailable truth. God saw it. God knows. But I am not god. And so when someone tells me what they heard or saw, I believe them, and I believe their friend who also saw but not in the same way, and I can put these accounts together and I will not have a seamless wonder but a sandwich laced with mustard of my own.

    The salt beef of civilization rumbling round in the gut. Constipation was a great problem after the Second World War. Not enough roughage in the diet, too much refined food. If you always eat out you can never be sure what's going in, and received information is nobody's exercise.

    Rotten and rotting.

    Here is some advice. If you want to keep your own teeth, make your own sandwiches..."
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    Rhosauce
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    Re: Deuteronomy: The Last Book of the Law

    Post by Rhosauce on Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:39 pm

    Firstly, I'm just going to tell you I edited your post 'cause of the typos and punctuation issues... Uhh

    Secondly, I really like this. I can see why you chose to put it in this section rather than the literature one. It does make you think - it also made me laugh - and the style is so similar to when one writes a stream of consciousness. Except this time, it makes more sense.

    I like. Cool
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    Koblentz
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    Re: Deuteronomy: The Last Book of the Law

    Post by Koblentz on Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:39 pm

    It's an interesting read. Can you provide some context and your take on it?
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    J3ipolarGod
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    Re: Deuteronomy: The Last Book of the Law

    Post by J3ipolarGod on Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:46 pm

    It's something that I read and it really kinda hit me hard cause at the time I wasn't doing so good in school and was skipping class and being ridiculously lazy...

    In so many words I felt like it was saying to me "Shit or get off the pot!"
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    IngoSmith
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    Re: Deuteronomy: The Last Book of the Law

    Post by IngoSmith on Mon Nov 29, 2010 7:04 pm

    Sensei Allan Ruddock teaches us the hardest thing we face is living in this moment, right now. Its an idea i strive to live up to, and often fail. This passage is wonderful in its relation to that, thankyou.
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    J3ipolarGod
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    Re: Deuteronomy: The Last Book of the Law

    Post by J3ipolarGod on Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:34 pm

    Rhosauce wrote:Firstly, I'm just going to tell you I edited your post 'cause of the typos and punctuation issues... Uhh

    Secondly, I really like this. I can see why you chose to put it in this section rather than the literature one. It does make you think - it also made me laugh - and the style is so similar to when one writes a stream of consciousness. Except this time, it makes more sense.

    I like. Cool

    Yeah sorry about that. When I did the original post of that like 6 months ago, I did it at like 5 AM after rereading the chapter and was exhausted in the utmost brutal sense of the word.

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