Lincoln Blogs


John C. Calhoun: Father of Secession
February 23, 2009, 1:57 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

I recently finished a paper on John C. Calhoum, a nineteenth century statesman from South Carolina who was very influential in bringing about the American Civil War. Click here to read it.



Symbolism in ‘Moby-Dick’: Brilliance Between the Lines
October 30, 2008, 2:13 pm
Filed under: Books, School Papers

There are a number of important symbols in the famous Moby-Dick by Herman Melville. The story is told somewhat allegorically, with each character or object in the tale having its own meaning. Among these things are the whaling ship the Pequod, which symbolizes doom, Moby-Dick the whale, which stands for contradiction and the uncontrollable things in life, and a sailor’s coffin, which represent both life and death. All of these symbols are used brilliantly by Melville, and help the reader to understand the meaning of the book.

One of the important symbols is the Pequod, a whaling ship that is captained by Captain Ahab. Ahab’s mission in life is to kill the great white whale, Moby-Dick, who had once taken Ahab’s leg. In the story, the Pequod is in the hunt for Moby-Dick, an effort which is destined to fail. The ship’s very name depicts failure, as it is named for an Indian tribe in Massachusetts that did not survive after the arrival of the white men. Painted a morbid black and adorned with whale bones and teeth, the ship contains images of death everywhere the sailors look. It is decorated like a coffin, and that is what it eventually becomes.

The next example of symbolism in Moby-Dick is Moby-Dick itself. Moby-Dick is a great white whale whom Ahab has been unable to kill for years. We learn that it once took off Ahab’s leg, for which the captain has always hated him. One of things it represents is everything in the world that is random and uncontrollable. In a way, it simply stands for nature. It is massive and destructive, but nonetheless beautiful and awe-inspiring. It cannot be stopped or controlled by the sailors, like a violent storm, yet there is a sense of wonder about him, like a beautiful sunset. Moby-Dick’s color is also symbolic. It is white, which expresses contradictions. White is used to signify purity and goodness, but also emptiness. Each member of the crew has his own view of the whale; some are afraid, others are amazed, and Ahab is hateful.

Another symbol used in Melville’s classic is a coffin that belongs to Queequeg, a sailor on the Pequod. It’s meaning changes from death to life as the book progresses. Queequeg first has the coffin built when he is seriously ill and fears death. However, when Queequeg recovers, he uses it as a chest to store his possessions. It is later rigged as a life buoy, representing life for the sailors on the Pequod. When the ship sinks and Ishmael, a sailor on the Pequod and the narrator of the story, uses the coffin to stay afloat, it ends up saving not only his life, but the life of the tale.

Moby-Dick, a priceless, timeless piece of literature by Herman Melville, contains deep symbolism that helps the reader understand the meaning of the book. Melville uses the Pequod to symbolize doom, Moby-Dick to symbolize random and uncontrollable nature, and Queequeg’s coffin to symbolize first death, then life. Without these symbols, Moby-Dick is good read. With them, it is a though provoking masterpiece that has been enjoyed by several generations, and will be enjoyed by many more to come.



John Locke and Natural Rights
October 20, 2008, 3:38 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

John Locke was an English philosopher who lived in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries; his beliefs and writings helped bring about the American Revolution. A devout protestant, Locke strongly believed in the natural rights of man. His basic thesis maintained that in a state of nature, men have a “perfect freedom to order their actions, and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of law and nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man.” He professed the idea that man has a natural right to life, to liberty, and to property, and he justified his beliefs on the foundation of natural law. Locke’s view of natural law was simple: there are certain laws whose content is set in nature by God and that have validity everywhere.

Locke believed in the natural rights of man, but he also believed in the sin nature of man, which is why he saw the need for government. He said that we should have government because due to the “corruption and viciousness of degenerate men” they would not be able to defend their rights. Without government, man’s sin nature would overcome their sense of natural law, and their rights would be exploited for evil. “The great chief end” for men to have government “is the preservation of their property; to which in the state of nature there are many things wanting,” he wrote. It was his strong opinion that men should give up as much power as is needed to defend themselves in exercising their natural rights, an idea called the “social contract theory.” His beliefs on government can be summarized in the following statement:

“[The] freedom of men under government is to have a standing rule to live by, common to every one of that society and made by the legislative power erected in it; a liberty to follow my own will in all things where that rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, arbitrary will of another man; as freedom of nature is to be under no other restraint but the law of nature.”

John Locke’s writings were extremely influential in bringing about the American Revolution. The list of his major works includes An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, and Two Treatises on Government. Clearly, he was highly knowledgeable in many fields. Two Treatises on Government, perhaps his most famous work, had a great impact on many of America’s founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and others. As mentioned above, he wrote of man’s right to “life, liberty, and property,” a belief that is also explicitly stated in the Declaration of Independence. His social contract theory, promotion of governmental separation of powers, and belief that revolution is a right had a significant effect in bringing about the American Revolution against England, as well as in writing the Constitution of the United States.



Thomas Hooker and the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
September 15, 2008, 12:31 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

Thomas Hooker was a prominent Puritan and Colonial leader who is well known for his role in founding Connecticut and creating the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut in the 1600s. He was a very pious man with strong character, and was once called “The Light of the Western Churches and the Pillar of Connecticut Colony.” An independent thinker, he became a Puritan and devoted himself to God. His influence on the American colonies was great; in 1636 he and his congregation formed the Hartford colony in the Connecticut area. Later, Hartford and two other colonies merged to form Connecticut. Hooker was also significant in the future of the United States, as he assisted in creating the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.

The Fundamental Orders of Connecticut is considered to be the first written Constitution in the Western tradition, and many of its ideas are seen in the American Constitution. Perhaps the most important point in the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut is the first, which lays out the method for electing the officials of the Colony, and the duties of these officials.

The first [of two yearly assemblies] shall be called the Court of Election, wherein shall be yearly chosen from time to time, so many Magistrates and other public Officers as shall be found requisite: Whereof one to be chosen Governor, which being chosen and sworn according to an Oath recorded for that purpose, shall have the power to administer justice according to the Laws here established, and for want thereof, according to the Rule of the Word of God.

This section is important because it describes a means of electing official that is still used today in America. Its ideas were used in the United States Constitution over one hundred years later. The concept of democracy is one of the things that makes America great, and it is and was very important in the colony of Connecticut, and the United States of America. This section in the Fundamental Orders also speaks of “the Rule of the Word of God,” which shows that the very earliest founders of the United States believed the Bible, and used it as their basis for all of their actions.



First Essay of the School Year
August 20, 2008, 6:16 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

King John reigned as king of England from 1199 to 1216. He was despised by his subjects for his injustice towards them. They had reason to hate him, for though they were punished harshly if they did not follow the law, he was above the law in his own mind. The evil king is said to have murdered his nephew with his own hands, a crime for which he should have been severely punished. However, he was not prosecuted in the least. As well, King John taxed his subjects unfairly, causing many of them to starve. He grew more and more wealthy by stealing from the dying commoners. Finally, John imprisoned those who he thought deserved it, without even giving them the right to a fair trial by jury.

The actions of King John were the direct cause of the writing of the Magna Carta. All of the provisions in the historic document were responses to specific injustices of the king. For example, the Magna Carta stated that the king could not collect new taxes without the agreement of the barons and the bishops. This was the effect of John’s harsh taxing of the people. Also, it was written in the Magna Carta that no man could be put in prison without a proper trial with a jury. John’s unfair imprisonment of people brought about this provision in the Magna Carta. Another section in the Magna Carta said that the king would be subject to all laws, a response to King John’s belief that he was above all laws. Lastly, the Magna Carta also provided for the separation of Church and State. Since John’s officials had attempted interfere with religious officials and ceremonies, it is clear that this section of the Magna Carta was written with this fact in mind.

The Magna Carta contains many important themes and ideas, many of which would be significant for the future of both Europe and North America. One of the main points in the Magna Carta is that the king must be under the law. This is an idea still found in Europe and America today. This document also prohibits the king from taxing the people unjustly, one of the main theme in the Declaration of Independence. The Magna Carta gives people the right to a fair trial by jury. This system is still used in the Europe and the United States today. The Bill of Rights, which give the people of the United States many liberties, contains many ideas first seen in the Magna Carta. Samuel Adams, one of America’s founding fathers, mentioned the Magna Carta and its importance in the Boston Gazette in 1769.



Justice for All
May 4, 2008, 8:26 pm
Filed under: School Papers
Under the Athenian system of ostracism, every free man could specify who he wished to see ostracized by writing the name on a and dropping it into an urn. An illiterate Athenian, not recognizing Aristides, once asked him to write on his potsherd on his behalf. Asked what name the man wanted written, he replied, “Aristides.” Surprised, the statesman inquired whether Aristides had ever injured him that he should wish to see him banished. “No,” replied the man, “I don’t even know him, but I am sick of hearing him called, ‘The Just.’” Aristides, in silence, wrote his own name and handed it back to the man.

Aristides was an Athenian statesman, general, and founder of the Delian League, which developed into the Athenian Empire. Plato once called Aristides, who was nicknamed “the Just,” the only man in Athens worth admiring. He lived up to his nickname in this anecdote, and was just even though he knew it would hurt him.

Consider also Regulus, a Roman who was taken prisoner by the Carthaginians. The Carthaginians were trying to make peace with Rome, so they sent Regulus along with several ambassadors to try to make terms. Regulus made a promise to Carthage that, if the terms were not accepted, he would return. When he reached Rome and was asked for his opinion, he gave what he thought was a just answer, namely that the Romans should decline the terms because they were bad for Rome. He was taken back to Carthage and tortured for his answer. The reply of Regulus was the right and just one, even though it cost him his freedom and his life.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.”

Whether serving as a statesman or a general, or founding the Delian League, Aristides was a just man. We should strive to follow his example, and obey Deuteronomy 16:20 by “follow[ing] justice and justice alone.”



Edward Jenner: The Great Lifesaver
April 11, 2008, 6:04 pm
Filed under: History, School Papers

I wrote this paper on Edward Jenner for biology class. I found that he was a fascinating person to write about. Click here to read the paper.



The Justice of Hell in the ‘Inferno’
November 21, 2007, 3:59 pm
Filed under: Books, School Papers

In Dante’s Inferno, there is an inscription on the gate that leads to Hell. “Justice moved my great maker; God eternal / Wrought me: the power and the unsearchably / High wisdom, and the primal love supernal (III.4-6). This inscription on the gate is completely true, and the motivation of God to create Hell is completely justified.

The inscription on the gate means, simply, that God created Hell as an act of justice. Without it, He could not properly punish sinners, who deserve nothing less. Although Hell was created as a severe punishment, the inscription says that God had wisdom and love.

Many people ask why God would create such an awful place as Hell. The gate of hell answers this question. Without hell, we would not see God’s justice. And if there were no Hell, we would not see God’s mercy, grace, and love either, for there would be nothing to save us from.

This creation of Hell is unlike any other creation, in that it is an eternal place of horror that many would call bad, but that is, once considered more carefully, a just place. It is utterly unique in its contradictory, yet co-existing traits.

This wisdom of the justice of hell is demonstrated throughout the book. All who are in hell have committed dreadful sins, but none are repentant. Consider Vanni Fucci, who is in hell and hates and curses God. He is obviously not sorry for his sins, and does not think he deserves his punishment. In reality, it would be absurd for him not have to endure some sort of punishment.

Jonathan Edwards once said, “The sight of hell torments will exalt the happiness of the saints forever…. Can the believing Father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell?… I tell you, yea! Such will be his sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish his bliss.”

So we see that the creation of hell was not an evil act, but a just act that shows the justice and mercy of God. Without Hell, sinners who deserve punishment would not face justice. God’s mercy would also be hidden, since none would be punished, and therefore none saved.



‘The Unexamined Life is not Worth Living’
August 23, 2007, 2:10 pm
Filed under: School Papers

When Socrates said, “The life which is unexamined is not worth living”, the philosopher was telling us that we should carefully analyze our actions, a piece of advise for which he should be admired. We should not ignore such a thought-provoking statement about life. The philosopher is telling us that we should carefully analyze our actions. The examination of life is the evaluation of events past and present. By examining our lives, we learn from our mistakes. Although a person who does not examine his life should still continue in existence, examining his actions will make his life much more fulfilling. Without the thorough examination of life, it is almost worthless.

If a person does not examine his life, he may keep making the same mistakes and never change. He would go on in sin and error, not realizing or caring about his mistakes. This would be a tragic mistake, but avoidable if he simply examined his heart and actions for fault, which he would surely find, and pray that he would be able to correct them. Even the best people make mistakes, and the truly great ones recognize and fix them. The great general Robert E. Lee examined his life thoroughly until he died, and therefore found mistakes and improved upon them. He once said, “[Defeats] are sent … to prevent our falling into greater disasters.” But how can a person keep from falling into greater disasters if he does not examine the past?

The Apostle Peter says that while waiting for the return of Christ, one should “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him.” The only way a person can do this is to examine himself, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal his mistakes and help him to fix them. One should definitely do everything he can to obey what Paul says in the Bible, and examining one’s life is a large part of this effort of which Paul speaks. Although perfection is impossible, one can certainly improve himself by merely critiquing his actions for the better.

The examination of one’s life makes it much more enjoyable and pleasing to God. All people will commit sins, so inspection of actions will help in locating flaws. Once found, sins can be corrected. This will avoid many problems that occur because of sin, and will be a good step into becoming more like Christ. The benefits will be immediate, and the rewards will be great. Consider this example: there are two people, one who examines his life thoroughly, and one who does not care about past actions, but lives only for the present. The one who examined his life found many sins, prayed for forgiveness and for help in correcting them. The other also committed many sins, but he did not take the time to consider them. Most of the time, he did not realize his wrongdoings. He continued to sin and sin, getting worse everyday. The small act of examination of actions makes a huge difference in one’s life.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Despite the fact that a man with an unexamined life should still continue to exist, he will not achieve the fulfillment that an examined life will. A person who does not recognize his own sin will never be able to fix it, whereas a man who examines his actions and realizes his mistakes is able to improve upon them. Socrates’ wise words should be remembered and followed by all so that we can learn from the errors we make.



‘I Am Dutiful Aeneas’
July 19, 2007, 9:27 pm
Filed under: Books, School Papers

The Aeneid, a famous epic poem written by Virgil, has an important theme of duty. Aeneas, the main character introduces himself saying, ” I am dutiful Aeneas.” He does what he knows to be his duty always, even if he doesn’t want to. There are many examples of this.

In the first part of the book, Aeneas tells Dido, the queen of Carthage who he is deeply in love with, his story of the Trojan War. He tells of how the Greeks came out of the Trojan horse–the giant wooden horse in which Greek soldiers hid–and destroyed the city. He wanted to stay and fight, but knew that by doing so, he would die and thus condemn the rest of the survivors to death, for they were mostly weak, and he was their leader. So, he left the ruins alive, carrying his father on his back. Many followers came with him. They were shipwrecked on their voyage out of Troy, but found their way to Carthage, where Aeneas meets Dido, the beautiful queen of the city, and falls in love. Dido is amazed at this story, and wants Aeneas to stay in Carthage. But while in Carthage, the king of the gods tells him that his duty and destiny is not to stay and rule in Carthage, but to found a new city where his ancestors lived. He assumes this means Troy, so, he sets off to rebuild the city, leaving Dido. It pains him almost to death that he has to leave, as it does Dido. She commits suicide out of grief. This devastates Aeneas, but he stays the course, for he knows it is his duty.

He and his crew set sail, eventually making their way to Italy. Aeneas is led to the underworld, which he must visit if the suffering is ever to end, according to the prophetess Sibyl. So, he is led by Sibyl and brought down where he sees the ghost of Dido, who refuses to speak with him. His father Anchises also awaits him. Anchises shows Aeneas where following his duty will lead him, and tells him that who he believes to be the only god has created everything in the universe. Then, Anchises reveals to his son what god has destined for him: a long line of descendents in Rome, including Romulus, the founder of the great city, and Augustus, who will bring peace to the land. Aeneas now realizes that his duty and destiny is not to rebuild Troy, but to found Rome. This knowledge rejuvenates him, and gives him the courage to wage war, which is needed if he is to fulfil his duty.

He goes into a seemingly unnecessary war against those whose evil would thwart the destiny of Rome. One of these evildoers is Turnus who was the chief antagonist of Aenas. Prior to Aeneas’ arrival in Italy, Turnus was the primary potential suitor of Lavinia, daughter of Latinus, King of the Latin people. Lavinia, however, is promised to Aeneas. Juno, determined to prolong the suffering of the Trojans and not wanting Rome to be founded, prompts Turnus to demand a war with the new arrivals.

At the end of the war, Aeneas overcomes the source of rebellion and evil, Turnus. Turnus begs for mercy and his life, and Aeneas does not really want to kill him, but he knows it is his duty. So, he delivers the fatal blow, conquering the enemy, and blazing the trail for the likes of Romulus and Augustus.

Aeneas’ sense of duty in the Aeneid drives him to go sometimes against his will for what he knows is the greater good. He does what needs to be done, no matter what the consequences. He says that there is “work which duty binds me to fulfil.” He does fulfil it, and ends up founding the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Aeneas introduces himself at the beginning of the poem as, “I am dutiful Aeneas” and continues to show himself dutiful.



Deadly Laziness
April 24, 2007, 9:36 pm
Filed under: School Papers

Laziness is a terrible problem in today’s society. People waste hours of their lives being lazy.

A recent study in the U.K. showed that laziness has cost health services billions of dollars. The study showed the impact that lazy and overweight people have on the health system and the funding that is needed to go into the health system just because people do not want to move. 287,000 people died in the U.K. in 2003 from a lack of exercise, with over 35,000 deaths directly linked to conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancers, diabetes, etc., all due to inactivity.

In the following paragraphs, I will show that laziness is a terrible vice that should be eliminated. Of course, we cannot, by law, force people to not be lazy, but if people knew the consequences of laziness, it would be a big step towards stopping it.

It is obvious that acts of laziness, which cost health services billions of dollars and are even responsible for deaths, as evidenced by a study in the U.K., are intentional . Although a lazy person may want to accomplish things, he will not give the effort needed. A person isn’t lazy because, “That’s how God made me.” He is lazy because he chose to be. In the example from the study in the U.K., the people who did not exercise clearly could have, but they chose to be lazy.

A lazy person, like those in the study group, did not become lazy overnight. Often, a lazy person is lazy because his parents did not train him not to be otherwise. Perhaps the parents did not make him do all of his homework, or do any chores. This almost always results in a lazy person. People also often imitate the examples of their parents, so sometimes the lazy attitude is learned.

No pity should be shown to someone who does not get anything done because he is lazy, like the lazy people from the study group in the U.K. If a person, for example, is fired for being lazy, we need not show compassion. We should, however, try to help him correct his mistake.

If a person is lazy as a child, he may not do his schoolwork, and will not ever finish school. He will not be able to get a job, and may even end up a homeless person. If a person is lazy as a child, his whole life could be ruined.

It would be a good idea to have a punishment for all laziness. Although some people are punished–by their parents or bosses–many get away with doing the least amount of work possible. If laziness were punishable it would result in more work being done. The world would be a much better place if laziness, which as we have seen causes thousands of deaths and billions of dollars, were eliminated; I hope you can understand that fact after reading this.



A Bill I Wrote
April 16, 2007, 11:22 pm
Filed under: School Papers

This is a bill I wrote for TeenPact, a week-long gevernment course I am taking at the capitol this week. Click on TeenPact in my links to find out more about it.

STATE OF OKLAHOMA

1st Session of the 1st TeenPact Legislature (2007)

Senate Bill #1 By: Dutcher

AS INTRODUCED

An Act relating to revenue and taxation; authorizing an income tax credit for certain children; defining terms; specifying the amount of credit; prohibiting use of credit for certain people; repealing all laws contradictory to this act; and providing the effective date.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:

Section 1. For the purpose of this act, “public school” shall mean a school supported by taxes, and “child” or “children” shall mean any person in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Section 2. All taxpayers whose biological or adopted children do not attend public schools but are educated by a private school or other means are to be eligible for an income tax credit of three thousand dollars ($3000) per child.

Section 3. Parents may not claim the tax credit authorized by this act for a child who attends a public school.

Section 4. All laws or parts of laws in conflict with this act are hereby repealed.

Section 5. This act shall become effective 30 days after approval by the Governor or its otherwise becoming a law.



Refutation of Orpheus and Eurydice
March 9, 2007, 3:46 pm
Filed under: School Papers

This is another myth I refuted for writing class.

There is an old myth of a brave husband and his wife, that has a good story line and is enjoyable to read. But it is only a myth, not to be taken as historical fact.

The myth is as follows: Orpheus, the poet of Rhodope, fell in love with the beautiful Eurydice and asked her to marry him. She agreed, and a splendid wedding was held. Hymen, the god of marriage, attended the feast, but did not bring his usual blessings. As a result, the new bride Eurydice was bitten on the ankle by a poisonous snake and died. Longing to see his wife again, Orpheus went to the Underworld to beg Pluto, god of the Underworld, and his wife, Persephone, to reverse Eurydice’s swift death. Pluto, Persephone, and all those in the Underworld were moved to tears after hearing how much Orpheus loved and missed his wife. Pluto agreed to reverse Eurydice’s death, but on one condition: Orpheus was not to look back at Eurydice until he had emerged from the Valley of Avernus. He excitedly agreed, and Eurydice was presented to him. Orpheus headed out on the journey, with Eurydice following closely. After a short time, Orpheus longed to look at his wife, and began to worry she was no longer behind him.. As he did, she dropped back, and Orpheus clutched for her, only to reach for the receding air. Eurydice said her final goodbye to Orpheus, and died a second time. Devastated, Orpheus spent the rest of his life alone and heartbroken.

This myth is false for a number of reasons. It is improbable, obscure, impossible, and illogical. I will show this in the following paragraphs.

The narrative, first, is improbable. There are no motives for any of the actions, except of course when Orpheus goes after his bride.Why didn’t Hymen bring his usual blessing to the wedding? Did he have something against Orpheus or Eurydice? Also, why wasn’t Orpheus allowed to look back at his wife until they were out of the Valley of Avernus? It is not likely that Hymen, a god, would just forget his blessing, or that Pluto would just make up a rule for no apparent reason, preventing Orpheus from looking at his wife. Unless the author just forgot to include these necessary details, these important missing parts of the story are improbable.

The story is also very obscure. There is no physical evidence of this actually happening, and no one claims to have witnessed it. The tale is not found in any historical documents, either.

Not only is the tale improbable and obscure, but it is impossible. It breaks the laws of nature that a person could die, be rescued from the afterlife by a mortal and then die again and return to the afterlife. You might respond to this point by bringing up the fact that Jesus died and was resurrected and also brought other people back to life. The apostle Paul also raised a man from the dead. The difference is, Jesus was God, and therefore had the power of God, and it wasn’t really Paul who raised that man from the dead, but God working through him. Orpheus just marched right into the underworld, got his wife, and then went back to earth.

Besides being improbable, obscure, and impossible, this myth is also illogical. It says that because Hymen didn’t bring his blessing, a snake bit Eurydice. That is clearly the logical fallacy of “post hoc, ergo propter hoc”, which in Latin means “after this, therefore because of this.” Just because she was bit after Hymen failed to bless them, it doesn’t mean that she was bit necessarily because of it. That would be like saying, “He ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich the other day, and broke his leg the next day. I’m never eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again.” It is obviously a fallacy.

In the paragraphs above, I have stated clearly why this narrative is a myth. I have shown how it is improbable, obscure, impossible, and illogical. Readers, after reviewing the evidence I have presented, I urge you to read and enjoy this story not as a historical account, but a myth.



Refutation of Jason and the Argonauts
February 21, 2007, 6:54 pm
Filed under: School Papers

In the writing course I am taking, we are learning about how to refute a myth. Here is one that I did. I know it may seem obvious that it is false, but this makes it more clear why. Click here to see another refuted myth.

There is a story of Jason and the Argonauts, in which Jason performs many acts of bravery and heroic deeds. This tale is exciting and enjoyable to read, but it is sadly false.

The myth is as follows: Jason—who was raised by a centaur (a creature who was half horse and half man) far away to avoid being killed by his uncle—and his men the Argonauts were on a dangerous mission to recover a golden fleece, which would make Jason king of Thessaly. They were headed to the kingdom of King Aeetes, where the fleece was at that time. Jason was sent on the mission by his uncle, Pelias, who had overthrown his father.

After surviving many dangerous ordeals, the Argonauts arrived at Aeete’s palace. At first, Aeetes denied that he had the fleece, but finally, he decreed that he would award it as a gift to anyone who could yoke two fire-breathing bulls to a plow, sow a dragon’s teeth into the plowed land, and overcome the fierce army which would spring up from the dragon’s teeth. Jason accepted the challenge, although it seemed impossible.

In the middle of the dark night, Aeetes’ daughter, Media, came to Jason and said that if he would marry her, she would help him. Jason promised to make the princess his wife and she gave him an ointment to protect him from the bulls’ fiery nostrils. She also gave him a stone to throw among the armed men; she promised that the stone would cause their defeat.

The next morning Jason spread the ointment on his body and on his spear and his shield. Then he went to the field to do battle. Just as Medea had promised, the fire did not harm him. When the warriors sprang up from the dragon’s teeth, he threw the stone and the warriors became so that they turned on one another. He obtained the fleece, and returned home with it.

This tale, although exciting and enjoyable to read, is quite simply a myth, as opposed to a historical account, for a number a reasons, namely that it is improbable.

First, it is extremely improbable. There is no reason in the text as to why Aeetes would care for the fleece. Why does he make Jason accomplish the nearly impossible tasks for such a simple thing? Also, why would the king’s daughter favor Jason so much against her father’s will, without even meeting him? No answer to these questions is given in the tale.

The story, besides being improbable, is terribly obscure. It is very old, and most likely grew more and more mythical as it was passed from generation to generation. This story is not found in any historic documents, and no one claims to have witnessed it.

It is also inconsistent and illogical. How was Jason able to yoke two fire-breathing bulls to a plow, sow a dragon’s teeth into the plowed land, and overcome the fierce army which sprung up from the dragon’s teeth, but not able to kill one man, Pelias. It is also illogical. Why would a simple fleece make a man king of a nation?

Finally, the narrative, as well as improbable, obscure, and illogical (as if that weren’t enough), is impossible. It breaks the laws of nature for someone to be half horse and half man, as the centaur at the beginning of the story was credited as being. A person might answer this by saying, “Well, maybe they existed in that time, but are extinct today.” Then, where is the archeological evidence? There is none. It is also impossible that an army could come out of a single dragon tooth, and that a bull could breathe fire. Obviously, the author just wrote this to make the myth more exciting.

As much as we wish this story were true, that Jason really was as brave as in the story, and that he defeated two fire breathing bulls and an entire army, we simple have to read it as a myth.



Actions Speak Louder Than Words
February 7, 2007, 8:14 pm
Filed under: School Papers

“Actions speak louder than words.” The author of this proverb should be praised for his knowledge and understanding of man’s nature to not support his words with his actions.

This proverb means that a person’s actions communicate more clearly than his words. If a person wants others to believe his words, he should “speak” with his actions.

If a person talks with his actions, he is more convincing than if he were just speaking, and if his actions are consistent with his words, people will think him more trustworthy.

Consider this analogy: Two candidates are in a political race, and each one wants to impress the voters. One man speaks of how good he is, in an effort to win over the voters, whereas the other goes out and actually works and accomplishes things. The people will trust the one who let his actions speak, instead of just talking.

Judas Iscariot said that he was a loyal follower of Christ; if a person just heard his words, and not his actions, he would think of him as a good disciple. But his actions spoke louder than his words, as he betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

John Locke, an influential English philosopher, once said, “I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts.” In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

In an effort to be trustworthy and not hypocritical, we should let our actions speak louder than our words.