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Saturday, November 12, 2011


3rd Mar Div: LAVA DOGS
For some people  marriage is a word and for others a sacrament but for many it is a sentence!!!  May your bonds be light, friend, and may you both delight in the sacrament of marriage and all the Four Loves this encompasses.  If you have that the loves Hugh Heffner partakes in are small and silly by comparison. 
Eros, as I am sure you know is just the icing on the cake; it is sweet but it is not nourishing by itself.  Friendship is warmth and comfort and joy.  In fact, I think I have had more comfort and joy from my dogs than from most women -except of course Mrs. Munro.  Happy is the man with a good, loving and loyal wife!
The great thing about dogs -and good wives and husbands - is their absolute fidelity until death. 
I also think this is the best quality of a Highlander or U.S. Marine also besides his undaunted courage and work ethic -absolute fidelity until death and beyond.  
THE LEAL AN' TRUE MON:WWI Scottish Highlander

A Leal an' True Mon I knew and loved: my grandfather Thomas Munro, Sr. in Salonika, Greece 1917. He taught me what honor, courage,  and justice were.  He struggled with moderation (temperance) and the demons of No Man's Land and the trenches. He killed hundreds of men and saw many thousands die and be killed.
Fidelity is not just one value or virtue but I think, with courage, a cardinal virtue or at least an essential part of justice which is a cardinal virtue.   Where would justice be without fidelity?  Socrates showed that every time of virtue (courage, justice, wisdom) naturally coexist with true sophrosyne (moderation).  Sophrosyne is a very difficult word to interpret but Cicero helps; in Tuscalan Disputations 3.8 he translates sophrosyne as TEMPERANTIA (temprerance), MODERATIO (moderation), MODESTIA (modesty) and FRUGALITAS (thrift or frugality a basic understanding of economics that resources are scarce and so must be husbanded).

For it is true love to be loyal to someone or something that is dead or far away and cannot longer help you in anyway whatsoever except perhaps spiritually.   The past is no more and the future, of course, does not yet exist. Yes, the past is dead.  Except in our memories and except in the relics of the past that surround us. There is always memory though we sometimes think of memory of being fragile and short-lived. But important things like great loves and great losses and great dangers and great joys we do remember as they seem to be impressed deeply and broadly in our neurons. To think is to use what we know and what we know is what we remember.  

We must ask ourselves that would liberty be if free minds were not faithful to justice, the truth, the law, customs and history?   What would truth be without the fidelity of the truthful? One has to only think of the censors of Winston Smith's 1984 or Solzhenitsyn's Gulags or the tormentors of Raoul Wallenberg (both Nazi and Communist).  What gives fidelity its value is thing or person that one is loyal to.
The SS swore absolute allegiance to their Fuhrer and their fidelity was horrible in its criminality and in fact though no one can deny the SS, upon the whole, were courageous and loyal they were most unjust and most intemperant.

One should not change a wife the way, for example one changes a shirt  or trades in a car for a "new model" as the old joke goes.   I have heard a Frenchman say that no one bathes twice in the same river or loves the same woman twice.  According to this hedonistic calculation women have only so many good years -their best are from age 19-30- so even an attractive 33 year old woman is past her prime and is not longer the woman she was, at say 25, or before she had children. 

Ingrid Bergman in her early twenties circa 1937
  Therefore, so the Frenchman says, why should I be loyal and loving to a woman who "no longer exists"; if she were eternally 25 I could love her equally but since she is not I will be satisified with what is left as long as it provides me some pleasure! This is an attitude, I think that only a rich and spolied Frenchman could have (or his American, Spanish or British equivalent).  I see here the mentality of Hugh Heffner here and I must say it scunners the mind and the heart of any Leal Mon (a loyal and true Highlander).  We all age though perhaps it is true that women are more beautiful than men by nature and age more rapidly than men.

Ms. Bergman in her late 30's

Ingrid Berman in Autmn Sonata (1978) about 62 years of age

 But if my wife sacrifices her figure and her beauty and risks her health by bearing our children that does not make me love her less but more.  There is an old Irish poem "Beauty 'tis like the rainbow. When the shower is past its glory is gone. But beauty remains for the bard.  He sees her in youth, unchanged, unmarred and loves her all the more."   I loved my mother dearly because to her I owed my life and she reared and educated me until I was strong enough to take care of myself.  She sacrifced her life and her health and her career advancement for her children and grandchildren and also I think for the community around her to which she dedicated herself with true civic virtue.  I love my wife because not only was the object of my love from youth but also because she is my faithful companion in life, in sickness and in health and the mother of our children.   They say there are couples who are "faithful in their fashion" (that is to their love, their pleasure and their common freedom) but to me that is no fidelity at all. If we want to understand marriage and conjugal fidelity we have to understand what marriage is.  I am a traditionalist and marriage to me means the legal union of one man and one woman as husband and wife. Marriage to me means openness to children;  I suppose I am a simple man but I could never understand a woman who wanted to marry but wanted to "plan" or "put off children" for some "golden future time."  When faced with such a response I would bluntly ask a young woman's age and to which she would respond 26, 29, or 31 and I would say, and you think you have all the time in the world to have children?  I would say you are marrying late in the day. In the Auld Country, lassie, you would be considered a spinster already. This approach, needless to say was not successful in winning many hearts but it was successful at breaking off  hopeless relationships with persons whose worldview were so different from mine. 

For a marriage to work husband and wife must have things in common especially a worldview.  This does not mean they are exactly the same race, culture, nationality or religion but I have come to understand that these things are very important.  One can overcome differences but differences add to the difficulty one finds in marriage in any case.  I believe that husband and wife should agree to practice the same religion, for example, and this religions should be the religion of the most sincere of the two.  But it is possible for a couple to practice two (similar) religious faiths and to have two cultures and languages peacefully coexist in the same household.  But it is very dificult and not the norm.  Mere sexual union or cohabitation do not make for a couple certainly not a marriage.  A marriage presupposes fidelity, love and duration.  I may begin with the fire of passion but passion alone, beauty alone and sexual attraction cannot sustain a marriage.  Passion at its best can provide the memory of something that was great and glorious. 

But what makes marriage endure is a mixture of friendship, trust, gratitude plus physical companionship which of course includes sexual contact but mostly is just that joy in physical companionship that we also enjoy in our favorite pets.  Love between girl and boy begins with fun and friendship (perhaps on the side of the female) and on the side of the boy with an electric lust.  Willliams James said that Romeo wanted Juliet the way filings want the magnet.   I have never known a man to pursue a young woman with whom he did not have a strong sexual attraction.  In fact for most men once that conquest is made they quickly forget the dame.  This is why young ladies, if they are smart, will ration their sexual favors only to the truly worthy.  The brute male of little virtue -and such men are legion- has a very simple epicurean philosophy of life: "Find 'em. Feel 'em F**k 'em and forget 'em. "  The very essences of  infidelity and unfaithfulness and of a false man without honor.  One does not seduce a maid without lies and deceit.  

I have done many sinful and wrong acts in my life but one thing I have never done is deceived or harmed a young woman merely to satisfy my own lust.  I have treated them with respect even when I knew I could have overpowered them or seduced them with some convenient lies.  But a man of honor stops when the young lady says, "please stop" or says "I am a virgin".    To have been so honored -to be offered the body of a willing young virgin- was, at the time, a great temptation but also the offering of a gift.   One forgets the casual sexual encounters one may have had but one never forgets the innocent young virgins one could have had but one kissed on the cheek, held her trembling hand and walked her home in the dark to her family, untouched.   I like to think that those young girls -if still alive an well- because I am talking about 35 and 40 years ago- remember me with fondness and without hatred for I treated them with respect and without deceit even though I greatly desired (at the time) to have sexual intercourse with them.  But as I have since learned such feelings are just passing moments of infatuation and lust and are not love merely a pathway to love.

 I have tried to be a Leal an' True Mon (a Highland Gentleman) and thus treat the fair sex with respect and with all the Honour due this most beautiful, this most worthy, most essential and most gentle sex.

A U.S. Marine is loyal to the Corps but above all swears allegiance to the U.S. Constitution that is "We the People" not the president and not the Marine Commandant.  In the novel SEVEN DAYS IN MAY (1962) by Fletcher Knebel and Charles Bailey  ; it is a Marine (Col. Jiggs Casey) who remains loyal to the president and Constitution when he becomes aware of a Fascist conspiracy in the Pentagon led by an Air Force general who seems to have been a composite of General MacArthur, General Edwin Walker and General Curtis Lemay. 

The film script of SEVEN DAYS IN MAY is quite literate (by Rod Serling). It has a wonderul line which is the essence of virtuous fidelity. 
The General (Burt Lancaster) and the Marine (Kirk Douglas)

 The Air Force General (Burt Lancaster) said  "Do you know who Judas was?" and the Marine (Kirk Douglas) responds, "Yes. He's a man I used to work for and respect, until he disgraced the four stars on his uniform." 

SEVEN DAYS  IN MAY was a favorite book of John F. Kennedy though he never saw the film version having been assassinated before the film was released.  It has some quotations which are eerie in retrospect : "Why, in God's name, do we elect a man president and then try to see how fast we can kill him?"

Marine Col. Jiggs Casey remarks with true Marine Corps  irony when a high ranking senator makes fun of his numerous decorations as "fruit salad":
"On the contrary, Senator, they're standard awards for cocktail courage and dinner-table heroism. I thought you'd invented them. "   Fredric March as the president says to the ambitious would be American caudillo: "Then, by God, run for office. You have such a fervent, passionate, evangelical faith in this country - why in the name of God don't you have any faith in the system of government you're so hell-bent to protect? "  He is challenging his word, his integrity and his fidelity and of course proving it is all a shame. All the general has is naked ambition: Caesar aut nihil (top dog or dead).   Jiggs by the way opposed the Nuclear Treaty and the president's policy towards the Soviet Union but he remains loyal to his oath as a Marine:
The president (Frederick March)  says "So you, ah, you stand by the Constitution, Jiggs?

Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey (Kirk Douglas): "I never thought of it just like that, Mr. President, but, well, that's what we got and I guess it's worked pretty well so far. I sure don't want to be the one to say we ought to change it."  They even joke about the virtue of fidelity together using the president's dog as an example: the president (Frederick March says) "Trimmer is a very political dog. He doesn't have many principles, but he's loyal to his friends."   Col. Jiggs reminds others of the cost of service and the need for remembrance "You're just like a lot of civilians, Mr. Todd. After every armistice, you want to put us away in mothballs, like the fleet. When it comes to a little dying... "

What makes a Marine stand out is his ethos "once a Marine always a Marine." What makes a Marine is absolutely fidelity to duty and love of country above self.   A Marine is always faithful to his Corps, his country and his comrades. A Marine is civic virtue and patriotism personified.  The Marine's virtue is a virtuous, vigorous and intentional fidelity.  The good Marine knows the only way to a good society is through good individuals who know there is no "I" in team. The good Marine knows he will die, he will not live forever but he hopes America will live, if not forever, for a long long time.  We know one day there will be a final battle or the sad final disbandment of the heroes.  And when the evening comes at last and there is peace on every hill how peaceful will be our sleep for we saw not the sacred flame extinguished .  We saw not our Colors struck in our time.
We know every nation has its age of ascendancy and its age of decline.  We know that billions of years from now the earth will not exist and the stars will blink out one by one.   But we know one thing more important: love IS IMMORTAL.  Individuals are more important than the State because individuals ARE IMMORTAL. Marriage is a more important than an individual.  Marriage is the basis of family, education and in a larger sense our civilization, our faiths and national culture.   To me education is all about the deepening of the mind and strengthening memory so that our children -all the nation's children can grasp the keys to our heritage an immesurable , inexhaustible secret treasure which has the power to transcend even Sergeant Death.  As St. Paul said to the Corinthians "What is seen is transitory; what is not seen lasts forever."    True love waits and true love remembers because it is faithful.   And true love never forgets and never dies.