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Musings - On the editor's mind

We, tell – and listen to – stories for a reason.

Way before the internet or radio or even telegraph lines, communities collectively gathered around the campfire to both tell each other the important stories of the day and to recall and pass down myths, the collected wisdom from their elders and their ancestors.

Today it is hard to pause and cut through the din of garbage on social media to reflect and revel in a good story that has a deep, larger meeting. Now, we don’t understand irony and are blinded by the shine of celebrities. This instant’s glitter will be replaced by another bright shining moment tomorrow. In the long run each is as empty as the sugary cereal or whatever flavor of chips shaken of a bag that is then crumpled up and thrown away.

There have always been stories with deeper meaning, however valuable and wonderful the tale itself, however fabulous the heroes and however they were aided or cursed by the gods. Such are some of the stories from the ancients, as the one Greeks told of the warrior Jason and his Argonauts in their search for conquest and riches.

It is a complicated tale, of course, full of challenges thought too difficult to overcome. Think of Jason as, if not a superhero, then supercharged, as Batman is in our tales of him today.

Before Jason was even able to sow dragons’ teeth, he had to harness fire breathing bulls with bronze hoofs for plowing up the ground.

These are metaphors of danger and destruction.

What comes from such violence?

From the dragon teeth planted into that land torn asunder spring fierce warriors who in a very different way from ducklings imprinting on a mother, attack all in their path.

Google “to sow dragons’ teeth” and find “this is used as a metaphor to refer to doing something that has the effect of fomenting disputes.”

What was the result of the U.S. military in Iraq for years and Afghanistan for decades, having unleashed destruction and mayhem into each society and upon the land? Into the ruins of each children grew into warriors pledging eternal and utter vengeance. This lesson has been true and not learned across the continents and centuries.

In the Middle East the land once called Palestine had been ripped up and its native peoples pushed around for 75 years, since Israel was born from war in 1948. Now, each bomb dropped, every bullet shot plants more dragons’ teeth, each fertilized in blood. Into the soul of each child and around every campfire one story is chanted, of death to the invaders, the killers of our fathers, our mothers, our sisters and our brothers.

The blood of families and neighbors and the dust of homes and villages destroyed all create a fertile potion from which more death and destruction will spring.

And that is why the myths of ancients are told and passed down through the ages: To weave a tale of warning to not repeat the actions of the past.

All people can listen to this tale, learn, take heed and act. Or not. As it has ever been so.


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