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little c
 20 Oct '17  06:49 : 0 recs

"Charles Darwin thought evolution happened so slowly that its effects took aeons to become clear, but what did he know? He lived before the age of the wire mesh bird feeder.

Feeding birds with seed and peanuts hung in cylindrical wire baskets is much more widespread in Britain than in continental Europe. It has been since the early 1890s and great tits, in particular, have evolved to take advantage. Scientists in England and Holland have found that British great tits have longer beaks than their European cousins because in the business of extracting even easily available food from feeders, length matters.

This is not the first time that garden fauna have shown how natural selection can produce unmistakeable changes in a few quick generations ... "


The Times - Social Darwinians - Longer reach means more food and stronger offspring, if you are a tit

Have you been to Down House with Lady Byron, Lord Byron? Dig deeper into Darwin’s work through our exhibition and interactive guide. The award-winning exhibition on the first floor of the house covers Darwin’s life, his scientific work, and the controversy which it provoked.

You will see many previously unseen objects including manuscript pages from the 'Origin of Species'; Darwin’s hat, microscope and notebooks; and a copy of 'Das Kapital' inscribed to him by Karl Marx.

Take a free tour round Darwin’s family rooms with hand-held multimedia guide, narrated by Sir David Attenborough and Andrew Marr.

English Heritage - Down House
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little c
 20 Oct '17  04:27 : 0 recs : edited 2 times : last edit 20 Oct '17  04:28

Good morning to you all this wet Friday morning here in London. Due to unprecedented demand from around the world, everyone reading 'Charles4', 'Serious Topics', 'The Third' and all other social media websites online this morning, why not try out the Queen of Spades, from eight until late on Saturday night? There will be music and dancing, if only to compete with Strictly Come Dancing, and far better food and drink. Afterwards, you can chill out in the spa, or work out in the gym. Take a swim or a walk around an empty City of London, as City workers go home for the weekend! The menu looks appetising enough

LUNCH MENU/

£29 Two Course
£39 Three Course
 
STARTERS

Organic Farmed Egg
Fregola, brocolli, parmesan, lemon balm and sage infused milk

Blue Fin Tuna
Marinated with Tasmanian pepper, cold infused bouillon of raspberry, fig and hibiscus

Les Landes Foie Gras
Creme brulée, Granny Smith apple, raisins and toasted hazelnuts

MAINS

Welsh Organic Lamb
Roasted saddle, chamomile, Goats yoghurt and smoked potato filled pasta

Acquarello Risotto
Roasted bell pepper, jasmine tea and tarragon

Line Caught Cod
Confit, heirloom carrots, kale. mimolette and saffron sabayon

DESSERT

Chocolate Cherry
Coffee, chocolate and black cardamom mousse, amarena and griotte sorbet

White Peach
Lemon balm and liquorice crémeux, consommé and confit white peach infused with tumeric

The White Millefeuille
Tahitian vanilla cream, Jasmine jelly, Voatsiperifery pepper foam


La Dame de Pic, Londres - Menu
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little c
 20 Oct '17  03:38 : 0 recs

Was the death of Stalin an audacious comedy of horrors, Goel?
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little c
 20 Oct '17  02:57 : 0 recs

President Xi of China is only confined to General Chat, because of the master of the battlefield. Were Xi free to fight on his own, the entire world would come under threat! Xi has ambitions of global leadership. China's economic prowess imply that his ambitions will, at least to some extent, be satisfied.

There is much still to do, however. Does China want to impoverish the rest of the world in its inexorable drive for global domination, or is it content for a wealthy and decadent West to look on as it creates its own brave new world in Asia?

And what about India and other emerging economies. Indians have remarkable skills in Information Technology (IT), for example. Will China employ Indian programmers, for example, and who will build the best software in the future. Will Silicon Valley retain its global pre-eminence for innovation, or can China find a way to take the lead?

As for culture, Chinese and Indian food is amongst the best in the world. Instead of a visit to your local Chinese restaurant and supermarket, how about cooking something up for the legendary babe, prudence, at home. Would she show in the first place, and if she did, what would she want to consume?
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little c
 19 Oct '17  17:10 : 0 recs

The capability of any one individual is limited,” Xi Jinping warned five years ago as he assumed China’s leadership. Those words were unnecessarily self-deprecating. As the Communist party regrouped for the next great conclave in Beijing on Wednesday, the man now known as “chairman of everything” laid out a vision for his nation so grand that it took over three and a half hours to delineate; more than twice as long as his predecessor spoke for at the last party congress.

China is entering a “new era”, Mr Xi declared repeatedly; standing “tall and firm in the east”, and ready to move closer to centre stage and become a “mighty force” able to lead the world on political, economic, military and environmental issues. Though his words built on his first address as leader, which laid out his “China Dream” of renewed national wealth and power, they were vastly more confident – and understandably so.
After Mao Zedong’s death and the end of his devastating Cultural Revolution, party survivors (including Mr Xi’s own father) sought to institutionalise politics so that never again could one man wield such power. The unwritten rule was that leaders would step down after two five-year terms; on that basis, this congress would mark the halfway point in Mr Xi’s tenure, and would anoint his successor. The general secretary is not, as some have suggested, Mao Redux. But, even given the opacity of Chinese politics, there is little doubt that he is the country’s most powerful leader for decades. His anti-corruption campaign has proved both politically useful and immensely popular. He has established control – with unforeseen speed and thoroughness – through three concentric rings, asserting his power within the party; the party’s power over the country; and China’s power within the world. Many suspect he does not plan to step aside in 2022, and that no heir will be put forward at this meeting; one likely candidate was ousted this summer.
Instead, the event is all about Mr Xi: how many of his people achieve which roles, and how his thinking is written into the party constitution. Since 2012, he has purged rivals and their allies, gained immense control over the military and taken charge of the economy, usually delegated to the premier. Every sphere from the media and law to universities, private businesses and even entertainment has been squeezed as the party has reasserted control. Meanwhile, China is a growing force overseas – opening its first foreign military base, in Djibouti; launching the vast One Belt One Road international infrastructure project. The loss of American capacity, authority and influence – the sheer sorry spectacle of the Trump administration – has been a gift. At Davos this year, Mr Xi positioned himself as the champion of globalisation, free trade and action on climate change; he was hailed as a force for progress in the world. State media boast of the power of Xiplomacy.

All of this has been made possible by China’s blockbuster economic growth; but the narrative of global renaissance is needed because those years lie behind it. The party requires a renewed source of legitimation. Mr Xi’s speech implicitly positioned him as modern China’s third great leader after the revolutionary (Mao) and the reformer (Deng Xiaoping) and suggested a greater focus on rebalancing development to tackle inequality and environmental problems. Easier said than done. Optimists suggest that only centralised authority can challenge vested interests and push through the reforms essential to China’s long-term prospects, such as overhauling state enterprise and taxes; reining in debt; and ending the hukou system penalising rural migrants. Pessimists increasingly suspect that the anti-corruption drive is not the precursor of radical action but a substitute for it – and warn that in the long term concentrating power will bring instability at home and overseas. The challenges ahead are immense; the capability of any individual limited. But who would dare to remind Mr Xi?
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little c
 19 Oct '17  17:09 : 0 recs

The capability of any one individual is limited,” Xi Jinping warned five years ago as he assumed China’s leadership. Those words were unnecessarily self-deprecating. As the Communist party regrouped for the next great conclave in Beijing on Wednesday, the man now known as “chairman of everything” laid out a vision for his nation so grand that it took over three and a half hours to delineate; more than twice as long as his predecessor spoke for at the last party congress.

China is entering a “new era”, Mr Xi declared repeatedly; standing “tall and firm in the east”, and ready to move closer to centre stage and become a “mighty force” able to lead the world on political, economic, military and environmental issues. Though his words built on his first address as leader, which laid out his “China Dream” of renewed national wealth and power, they were vastly more confident – and understandably so.
After Mao Zedong’s death and the end of his devastating Cultural Revolution, party survivors (including Mr Xi’s own father) sought to institutionalise politics so that never again could one man wield such power. The unwritten rule was that leaders would step down after two five-year terms; on that basis, this congress would mark the halfway point in Mr Xi’s tenure, and would anoint his successor. The general secretary is not, as some have suggested, Mao Redux. But, even given the opacity of Chinese politics, there is little doubt that he is the country’s most powerful leader for decades. His anti-corruption campaign has proved both politically useful and immensely popular. He has established control – with unforeseen speed and thoroughness – through three concentric rings, asserting his power within the party; the party’s power over the country; and China’s power within the world. Many suspect he does not plan to step aside in 2022, and that no heir will be put forward at this meeting; one likely candidate was ousted this summer.
Instead, the event is all about Mr Xi: how many of his people achieve which roles, and how his thinking is written into the party constitution. Since 2012, he has purged rivals and their allies, gained immense control over the military and taken charge of the economy, usually delegated to the premier. Every sphere from the media and law to universities, private businesses and even entertainment has been squeezed as the party has reasserted control. Meanwhile, China is a growing force overseas – opening its first foreign military base, in Djibouti; launching the vast One Belt One Road international infrastructure project. The loss of American capacity, authority and influence – the sheer sorry spectacle of the Trump administration – has been a gift. At Davos this year, Mr Xi positioned himself as the champion of globalisation, free trade and action on climate change; he was hailed as a force for progress in the world. State media boast of the power of Xiplomacy.

All of this has been made possible by China’s blockbuster economic growth; but the narrative of global renaissance is needed because those years lie behind it. The party requires a renewed source of legitimation. Mr Xi’s speech implicitly positioned him as modern China’s third great leader after the revolutionary (Mao) and the reformer (Deng Xiaoping) and suggested a greater focus on rebalancing development to tackle inequality and environmental problems. Easier said than done. Optimists suggest that only centralised authority can challenge vested interests and push through the reforms essential to China’s long-term prospects, such as overhauling state enterprise and taxes; reining in debt; and ending the hukou system penalising rural migrants. Pessimists increasingly suspect that the anti-corruption drive is not the precursor of radical action but a substitute for it – and warn that in the long term concentrating power will bring instability at home and overseas. The challenges ahead are immense; the capability of any individual limited. But who would dare to remind Mr Xi?
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little c
 19 Oct '17  10:13 : 0 recs : edited 1 time : last edit 19 Oct '17  10:15

It is reasonably safe to live with your gods at the British Museum, but is it safe to live with gods elsewhere? For the last 40,000 years – for as long as human beings have had the same sort of brain as we do – groups of people living together have tried to find patterns underlying the natural world on which they depend. All groups appear to come to a shared narrative, which seeks to explain their community’s place in the world, and to reconcile the transience of an individual life with the enduring existence of the group. They also seem to develop rituals which reinforce the belief in that narrative, and articulate the place of every individual within it.

Believing and belonging appear, everywhere in the world, to be closely connected phenomena. To be a member of a group has, throughout human history, been to share its story and to participate on a regular basis in its enactment. These communal expressions of faith have been manifested in the objects used in or for religious practices. These stories appear to be a virtually universal phenomenon. They usually articulate social behaviour and accommodate both the dead and those not yet born within one narrative. They are valuable forces for survival where communities confront threatening natural phenomena, such as Ice Age winters, drought or disease, or recurrent dangers like war.

The stories and the rituals together are powerful forgers and markers of a shared identity. Even today, groups confronted by other existential threats often choose to reaffirm this pattern of believing and belonging. The British Museum is embarking on a 30-part radio series, written and presented by former Director Neil MacGregor, and an accompanying exhibition which seeks to explore this apparently global human phenomenon. The project is the fourth partnership between BBC Radio 4 and the British Museum, following on from A History of the World in 100 objects, Shakespeare’s Restless World and Germany: memories of a nation.

As Neil MacGregor says: "Questions of faith have, in recent decades, moved to the centre of the global political stage – an unexpected return to a centuries-old pattern. But what are the connections between structures of belief, and the structures of society? In this project, using objects from the British Museum, and talking to experts from many disciplines, we try to explore some of these questions, looking at communities from deep history to the present day, in Europe and around the world."

As always the starting point for the project is the British Museum’s collection. Its depth and breadth means it is possible to find objects that reflect both living religious practices and faiths long extinct. While the questions and predicaments of humanity remain fairly constant, there is a wide variety of narratives and responses which are embodied in stories told and the different objects produced as part of religious practice. The series and exhibition both begin with a remarkable 40,000-year-old mammoth ivory sculpture known as the Lion Man. Depicting a lion’s upper body on the lower half of a man, it is the oldest known image of a being that does not exist in nature. It is the earliest evidence we have of beliefs and practices, and shows humans’ unique ability to communicate what’s in our minds through objects.

The focus moves from the emergence of societies to the elemental commonalities in all societies – fire, water, light and the seasons. The exhibition then looks at life and death, the protection of mother and infant, becoming an adult and the daily and weekly practices associated with faith. The show will also examine pilgrimage, looking specifically at Canterbury in Kent and Sarnath in India, festivals including the ancient Roman Saturnalia, Christmas, Kumbh Mela and the Siberian Ysyakh, and the concept of sacrifice, including ancient Greek animal sacrifice and Aztec human sacrifice. Objects will reflect polytheism, monotheism and atheism. The idea of living without gods is examined through objects from the French Revolution and the Soviet Union.

The Lampedusa cross made from pieces of a boat wrecked off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, carrying refugees from Somalia and Eritrea. Made by carpenter Francesco Tuccio, 2014. We conclude with the Lampedusa cross, a contemporary symbol of hope. The cross was made by Francisco Tuccio for refugees who had survived their boat sinking off the island of Lampedusa. At a time when the refugee crisis is placing huge extra demands on a small community, they are still able to think about the plight of others and go beyond protecting their self-interest, offering solace and hope through an expression of shared faith – transcending ethnic and cultural differences

British Museum - Living with gods
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little c
 19 Oct '17  08:10 : 0 recs : edited 2 times : last edit 19 Oct '17  08:16

The Renaissance was a period in European history, from the 14th to the 17th century, regarded as the cultural bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history. It started as a cultural movement in Italy in the Medieval period and later spread to the rest of Europe, marking the beginning of the Modern age.

The intellectual basis of the Renaissance was its own invented version of humanism, derived from the concept of Roman Humanitas and the rediscovery of classical Greek philosophy, such as that of Protagoras, who said that "Man is the measure of all things." This new thinking became manifest in art, architecture, politics, science and literature. Early examples were the development of perspective in oil painting and the recycled knowledge of how to make concrete. Although the invention of metal movable type sped the dissemination of ideas from the later 15th century, the changes of the Renaissance were not uniformly experienced across Europe.

As a cultural movement, the Renaissance encompassed innovative flowering of Latin and vernacular literatures, beginning with the 14th-century resurgence of learning based on classical sources, which contemporaries credited to Petrarch; the development of linear perspective and other techniques of rendering a more natural reality in painting; and gradual but widespread educational reform. In politics, the Renaissance contributed to the development of the customs and conventions of diplomacy, and in science to an increased reliance on observation and inductive reasoning. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term "Renaissance man".

The Renaissance began in Florence, in the 14th century. Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time: its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks. Other major centres were northern Italian city-states such as Venice, Genoa, Milan, Bologna, and finally Rome during the Renaissance Papacy.

The Renaissance has a long and complex historiography, and, in line with general scepticism of discrete periodizations, there has been much debate among historians reacting to the 19th-century glorification of the "Renaissance" and individual culture heroes as "Renaissance men", questioning the usefulness of Renaissance as a term and as a historical delineation. The art historian Erwin Panofsky observed of this resistance to the concept of "Renaissance".

It is perhaps no accident that the factuality of the Italian Renaissance has been most vigorously questioned by those who are not obliged to take a professional interest in the aesthetic aspects of civilization—historians of economic and social developments, political and religious situations, and, most particularly, natural science—but only exceptionally by students of literature and hardly ever by historians of Art.

Some observers have called into question whether the Renaissance was a cultural "advance" from the Middle Ages, instead seeing it as a period of pessimism and nostalgia for classical antiquity, while social and economic historians, especially of the longue durée, have instead focused on the continuity between the two eras, which are linked, as Panofsky observed, "by a thousand ties".

The word Renaissance, literally meaning "Rebirth" in French, first appeared in English in the 1830s. The word also occurs in Jules Michelet's 1855 work, Histoire de France. The word Renaissance has also been extended to other historical and cultural movements, such as the Carolingian Renaissance and the Renaissance of the 12th century.

Alongside the Classical style, the Baroque is a period of artistic style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, dance, theatre and music. The style began around 1600 in Rome and Italy, and spread to most of Europe.

The popularity and success of the Baroque style was encouraged by the Catholic Church, which had decided at the time of the Council of Trent, in response to the Protestant Reformation, that the arts should communicate religious themes with direct and emotional involvement.

The aristocracy viewed the dramatic style of Baroque art and architecture as a means of impressing visitors by projecting triumph, power, and control. Baroque palaces are built around an entrance of courts, grand staircases, and reception rooms of sequentially increasing opulence. However, "baroque" has a resonance and application that extend beyond a simple reduction to either a style or period.
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little c
 19 Oct '17  04:52 : 0 recs : edited 1 time : last edit 19 Oct '17  04:53

As far as gods are concerned, Yahweh, Jesus Christ and Allah are all versions of the same monotheistic God. Akhenaten meaning "Effective for Aten", known before the fifth year of his reign as Amenhotep IV sometimes given its Greek form, Amenophis IV, and meaning "Amun Is Satisfied", was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty who ruled for 17 years and died perhaps in 1336 BC or 1334 BC.

Akhenaten is noted for abandoning traditional Egyptian polytheism and introducing worship centered on the Aten, which is sometimes described as monolatristic, henotheistic, or even quasi-monotheistic. An early inscription likens the Aten to the sun as compared to stars, and later official language avoids calling the Aten a god, giving the solar deity a status above mere gods.

Akhenaten tried to shift his culture from Egypt's traditional religion, but the shifts were not widely accepted. After his death, his monuments were dismantled and hidden, his statues were destroyed, and his name excluded from the king lists. Traditional religious practice was gradually restored, and when some dozen years later rulers without clear rights of succession from the 18th Dynasty founded a new dynasty, they discredited Akhenaten and his immediate successors, referring to Akhenaten himself as "the enemy" or "that criminal" in archival records.

He was all but lost from history until the discovery during the 19th century of the site of Akhetaten, the city he built and designed for the worship of Aten, at Amarna. Early excavations at Amarna by Flinders Petrie sparked interest in the enigmatic pharaoh, and a mummy found in the tomb KV55, which was unearthed in 1907 in a dig led by Edward R. Ayrton, is likely that of Akhenaten. DNA analysis has determined that the man buried in KV55 is the father of King Tutankhamun, but its identification as Akhenaten has been questioned.

Modern interest in Akhenaten and his queen Nefertiti comes partly from his connection with Tutankhamun (even though Tutankhamun's mother was not Nefertiti, but a woman named by archaeologists The Younger Lady), partly from the unique style and high quality of the pictorial arts he patronized, and partly from ongoing interest in the religion he attempted to establish. It is a monotheistic religion, and may be seen as a precursor of the religions of Moses, Jesus Christ and Muhammed.

As for other religions, Hinduism has many gods, and Buddhists may not believe in the concept of a god in the first place. Other societies worship their ancestors, Mother Nature and even the sun, moon, planets and other stars. They may, in all truth, be worshipping only themselves, for what else is God for?
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little c
 19 Oct '17  03:18 : 0 recs

Glasgow is not really known for its gods, Slightly Optimistic. Glasgow has a Saint Mungo, and Scotland has Saint Andrew, but as for gods, Christianity is not specifically Scottish in nature, even in its most puritanical form!
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little c
 19 Oct '17  02:42 : 0 recs : edited 1 time : last edit 19 Oct '17  03:06

The histories of humankind and planet Earth are intimately linked. Ice ages lowered the level of the Bering Sea far enough to let Eurasian nomads walk into what is now Alaska 13,000 years ago. A tidal wave wrecked Fukushima power station and with it the image of nuclear power in both Japan and Germany. But can a volcanic eruption in Central America really account for the suicide of Cleopatra halfway round the world a few years later?

Shakespeareans will always prefer the version in which the queen of Egypt clasped an asp to her bosom because she couldn’t bear the thought of life without Marc Anthony. Scientists at Yale have another theory involving floods, famine and an inverse correlation between glacial ash deposits and precipitation…

The Times - Arable Histories - A new academic study links a volcano to Cleopatra’s death

Britain is the first society to operate without shared religious beliefs and rituals at its heart, according to the former director of the British Museum, who said that even the Christmas story had “evaporated” for most people. Neil MacGregor is to host a 30-part series on BBC Radio 4 called Living with the Gods, which will feature objects from the British Museum’s collection that illustrate 40,000 years of “believing and belonging”. He said that the rituals of religion could bring communities together but the decline of religious belief was “a striking phenomenon across western Europe”, particularly in Britain.

British Museum - Living with gods

Do you currently live with gods, Slightly Optimistic, in Glasgow?
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little c
 18 Oct '17  18:23 : 0 recs

Don't have nightmares!
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little c
 18 Oct '17  16:32 : 0 recs

Try Charles's!
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little c
 18 Oct '17  15:46 : 0 recs

Let us therefore concern ourselves more with the living, Lord Byron, than the dead! Where in London should we currently go to find some life?
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little c
 18 Oct '17  15:43 : 0 recs

There are graves in the River Thames, Lord Byron, at Wandsworth, for example!
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Lord Byron
 18 Oct '17  15:21 : 1 rec

Throw em in the thames, no graves, forget them.
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little c
 18 Oct '17  08:38 : 0 recs : edited 3 times : last edit 18 Oct '17  09:18

You can write my eulogy, Eliazabeth; that little c was not missed, is not missed and never shall be missed! Amen! It is quite magical though, isn't it, Elizabeth, the way in which we can communicate today? The digital revolution allows us to talk to one another in ways we could not really have imagined even a generation ago!
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prudence
 18 Oct '17  07:59 : 1 rec

You could pay to have on your gravestone .... l wasn’t missed.....

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little c
 18 Oct '17  07:58 : 0 recs

We are particularly good today, Elizabeth, are we not?
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little c
 18 Oct '17  07:57 : 0 recs : edited 1 time : last edit 18 Oct '17  07:58

"Let us shuffle off our mortal coil, Elizabeth!
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th' oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th' unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveler returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now,
The fair Ophelia!—Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered."


After all, who would put up with all life’s humiliations, Elizabeth, the abuse from superiors, the insults of arrogant men, the pangs of unrequited love, the inefficiency of the legal system, the rudeness of people in office, and the mistreatment good people have to take from bad—when you could simply take out your knife and call it quits? Who would choose to grunt and sweat through an exhausting life, unless they were afraid of something dreadful after death, the undiscovered country from which no visitor returns, which we wonder about without getting any answers from and which makes us stick to the evils we know rather than rush off to seek the ones we don’t? Fear of death makes us all cowards, and our natural boldness becomes weak with too much thinking. Actions that should be carried out at once get misdirected, and stop being actions at all. But shh, here comes the beautiful Ophelia. Pretty lady, please remember me when you pray.
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