“There is no great and no small
To the Soul that maketh all:
And where it cometh, all things are;
And it cometh everywhere.
“I am owner of the sphere,
Of the seven stars and the solar year,
Of Caesar’s hand, and Plato’s brain,
Of Lord Christ’s heart, and Shakspeare’s strain.”
“We are always coming up with the emphatic facts of history in our private experience, and verifying them here. All history becomes subjective; in other words, there is properly no history; only biography. Every mind must know the whole lesson for itself,— must go over the whole ground. What it does not see, what it does not live, it will not know. What the former age has epitomized into a formula or rule for manipular convenience, it will lose all the good of verifying for itself, by means of the wall of that rule. Somewhere, sometime, it will demand and find compensation for that loss by doing the work itself.” — from “History” [Essays, First Series (1841)] by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Take Emerson at his word. What are the strategies of “manipular convenience” that have been used to fabricate this place named for an historic event? What role has been played by categories? Were I a philosophe…well, I’m not.
Joseph Campbell gives us the stages of the Hero’s monomythic journey. Jung, his analytical psychology. I’ve glanced at these, both, in bumptious naïveté — and made too much of typographic games and accents diacritic [from δῐᾰκρῐτῐκός (diakritikós), penetrating, piercing, distinctive, in Greek; diacritique, learned, in French, all of which I am neither and none].
Then there are the Signs of the Zodiac and the poem I know only too well because I was born on a Wednesday:
“Monday’s child is fair of face / Tuesday’s child is full of grace / Wednesday’s child is full of woe / Thursday’s child has far to go / Friday’s child is loving and giving / Saturday’s child works hard for his living / And the child that is born on the Sabbath day / Is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.”
Would that we could elect the day of our nativity. I would choose Thursday.
Other more obtuse distinctions have played their occasional part here, too. Paper, Scissors, Stone, for example. And today I’ve happened upon the tastes of the tongue: salt, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami (whatever-the-hell that fifth one is; I’d thought there were just four). Hasty hindsight suggests that too much of this has been driven by the bitter-sweetness of life and a projection that that view is shared.
I wonder if you have sets or categories to contribute.