by Gaither Stewart
16 February 2009
“To seduce also means to destroy”
I ran into a reference to The Fable of the Bees: or, Private Vices, Publick Benefits and found the suggestive old poem extensively reproduced and commented on line. The work consists of a poem, The Grumbling Hive, or Knaves Turn’d Honest, and an extensive prose commentary. The poem which first appeared in 1705 was intended as a commentary on England, as the Dutch Englishman, Bernard de Mandeville, saw it. Here is a stanza:
A Spacious Hive well stock’d with Bees,
That lived in Luxury and Ease;
And yet as fam’d for Laws and Arms,
As yielding large and early Swarms;
Was counted the great Nursery
Of Sciences and Industry.
No Bees had better Government,
More Fickleness, or less Content.
They were not Slaves to Tyranny,
Nor ruled by wild Democracy;
But Kings, that could not wrong, because
Their Power was circumscrib’d by Laws.
The ‘hive’ is corrupt but prosperous, yet it grumbles about lack of virtue. A higher power decides to give them what they ask for. It’s all quite familiar and contemporary. Eh?
(Rome) Since I have been over the whole route, from the political no-man’s land of the “majority”, across the cavernous divide to the independent and autonomous state of intense engagement, paying for my mistakes and reaping immeasurable rewards along the way, I can now permit myself some liberties of opinion. Still, I listen and listen and listen and wonder where I stand in the never-ending discussion on What is to be done? Like other emancipated people I wonder not only about my own ideas but also about those persons of Power dedicated to the methodical conditioning and fierce control of the malleable consciousness of the masses, Power dedicated to the seduction of humanity.