Friday, December 30, 2016

Some thoughts on Lycanthropy.

Well, it's very nearly the end of the year and I've spent a day floating in the azure waters of the Sea of California, just south of Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. 

I've had a bit of time, time off the grid, time away from the frenzy of work, time away from the pings and bings and beeps and peeps and chimes and vibrations that are our overlords in our too-connected world.

I read somewhere, I forget where and when, that when a human walks for too long on concrete--when he is too long civilized and conformed and compressed and compacted and contracted and compelled and coerced and cajoled and calendared and conferenced and capacitied and checked and cheapened and chiefed, and you get the idea--he loses his sense of humanity, he becomes, in effect, in-human.

There is of course, and you've seen movies to this effect, a very old and very real psychological torment called lycanthropy.

This is a psychological delusion that manifests itself in a person who believes he has been transformed into a non-human animal, usually a wolf.

Nebuchadnezzar's behavior in Daniel 4 is an early manifestation, according to psychologists, of clinical lycanthropy. And, it's said that King Tiridates III of Armenia suffered from the disorder. When he was cured by Gregory the Illuminator in 301AD, he was so grateful he proclaimed Christianity the state religion, making Armenia the first of the Christian states.

Some millennia earlier, Odysseus' crew may have be afflicted by the ailment at the hands of Circe. I believe they turned into pigs.

I have never quite felt like I was turning into a wolf (but I shave every day just to be on the safe side) and, as a Jew, turning into something non-kosher would certainly offend my sensibilities, not to mention those of my wife, Uncle Slappy and Aunt Sylvie.

That said, as I have said so often, at work and at life, "The world is too much with us..."

So, that's my end of year look back and my beginning of the year look forward.

To be more away from wolves and more at home with myself. Even if I am at work and among the work I have to do.

Because even if the world is too much with us, as Wordsworth wrote almost 211 years ago, we don't have to be too much with the world.

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