Lion of the Blogosphere

A Pauper, a Prince, the Pope and Death

I photographed this 500-year-old roundel at The Cloisters. The meaning seems pretty obvious to me. No matter what station you achieve in life, at the end you still die.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 16, 2017 at 7:13 pm

Posted in Art

51 Responses

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  1. The Cloisters is a great museum. Ft. Tryon Park in general is great. Totally underrated piece of NYC, although it’s nice that it’s not swarmed with tourists.

    Anon1

    July 16, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    • It’s not exactly empty. On a weekend in the summer, there are a lot of people there.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      July 16, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      • Lion, you really really need to stop fearing death. God expects us all to be heroes and part of that is living life without fearing death. That being said, it is difficult to spend some time at, for example, the DMV or Penn Central and imagine oneself married to most of the losers one sees there: but God created us all in his image, and the joy so many people feel even at second-rate museums like the Cloisters (well it is a good museum, in its way, but the art there just does not compare to the best of medieval art in the correct context) or (the joy one feels) in second-rate marriages (let’s pray they continue to love each other in spite of everything, and why shouldn’t they – I am right and I mean it) ) (the Cloisters is a good museum but, even today, I could easily round up ten or twenty roughly medieval artists who could make that place ten times better) is something we should all reflect on. God loves us all. Sorry for writing a comment that needs to be read twice to be understood – but, believe me, I care. This is more important than recreational or even pure STEM. God loves us all.

        howitzer daniel

        July 16, 2017 at 7:56 pm

      • Losers you say?… I would consider the Bible/OT the first and definitive text on what a loser is. It covers height, hair, skin aesthetics, facial features, disabilities, physical strength/size, wealth, and power, among other endowments.

        “That being said, it is difficult to spend some time at, for example, the DMV or Penn Central and imagine oneself married to most of the losers one sees there: but God created us all in his image, and the joy so many people feel even at second-rate museums like the Cloisters (well it is a good museum, in its way, but the art there just does not compare to the best of medieval art in the correct context) or (the joy one feels) in second-rate marriages (let’s pray they continue to love each other in spite of everything, and why shouldn’t they – I am right and I mean it) )”

        DaddyFrank

        July 16, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      • DaddyFrank: Hey thanks, I think you see what I was trying to say! I have no doubt that, of the thousands and thousands of descendants God promised me, many will be “losers”: But they will all be loved by G*D so so much, and when I at the DMV or Penn Station, seeing so many unattractive people who look my future descendants, I try not to forget that. You see, before we were born, even the least attractive of us had the courage to say to the Lord, Yes, Lord, I will be born, as you wish, in a world where I will be seen by some as a loser. That is not important! Remembering that makes it easier to understand what I was trying to say, in my copyright-free way, when I said God expects us all to be heroes. (Let’s pray they continue to love each other in spite of everything, and why shouldn’t they – I am right and I mean it.) Una furtiva lagrima …. Come on, hope like I do that they all find love. That is what I think when I look at them. (This is all straight Biblical reasoning, the Book of Proverbs is clearest, but Song of Songs and Chronicles also are pretty easy to understand).

        howitzer daniel

        July 16, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      • Religion is designed for people who fear death. If you’re OK with death (face it: anything with moving parts wears out) you have no need for religion.

        Anthony

        July 16, 2017 at 10:59 pm

      • “Yes, Lord, I will be born, as you wish, in a world where I will be seen by some as a loser. That is not important! Remembering that makes it easier to understand what I was trying to say, in my copyright-free way, when I said God expects us all to be heroes.”

        That’s Moses’ life story, no? Seen as a loser by some for sure, but ended up being a great hero.
        Maybe you’re giving less credit to the autonomy forebears have in their “loser” offspring; alcoholism or incest could have occurred and snowballed from there.

        This message of love though is beautiful, so please don’t stop.

        DaddyFrank

        July 16, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      • I wanna go to that museum. Never been. Time to smell the roses, if not now, then when? I’m 58. Is it a nice place to run and swing kettlebells?

        Yakov

        July 16, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      • If you’re OK with death (face it: anything with moving parts wears out) you have no need for religion.

        If you correctly conclude that you possess an immortal soul that lives on after death and your choices in this life can seriously affect the fate of your soul after you die, you better get busy figuring out as best you can which religion is the most correct and sign up post haste!!

        Andrew E.

        July 16, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      • God bless you Howitzer Daniel. You are a beautiful soul.

        Two in the Bush

        July 17, 2017 at 3:23 am

      • I didn’t mean the museum, obviously. I meant the grounds around. Is there a park to run and swing kettlebells? Who runs in a museum? Nobody, only little kids, who shouldn’t be the first place. I just assumed everyone would understand, but apparently not.

        Yakov

        July 17, 2017 at 7:19 am

      • Fort Tryon Park is a very nice place, nicest in Manhattan, I definitely recommend it. Great views of the Hudson River. You will find both SWPLs plus middle-class people from the local neighborhood. Never seen any ghetto types in there. Ghetto types don’t like trees. It feels safer than Prospect Park.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        July 17, 2017 at 7:46 am

      • religious bleeding hearts are the worst *barf*

        destructure

        July 17, 2017 at 8:07 am

      • Fort Tryon Park is a nice place, but the demographics near the park can be a problem.

        A person was brutally assaulted in Fort Tryon Park a few months ago by a group of NAMs (most likely, Dominicans) who took his camcorder. The victim was probably an out of towner, White person who wanted to make a video of his encounters at the park.

        JS

        July 17, 2017 at 9:18 am

      • DaddyFrank, and Two in the Bush, thanks for the unexpectedly kind words. G*d loves us all, we will never forget that.

        howitzer daniel

        July 18, 2017 at 12:22 am

  2. so why be neurotic about your status? it may affect your life expectancy, or not. there are so many confounds when comparing high and low. it seems to me that a lot of the suffering which accompanies lower status (lower than what one wants) is self-imposed.

    and the kicker is that those who are worst afflicted by status anxiety tend to move up the most in status (from wherever they started). those who want a thing most are those who tend to get it.

    status anxiety is gay. american society is one enormous bathhouse.

    Beverly Hills Ninja

    July 16, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    • Status in America is only 3 things to most people — your measure of income, your living environs, and your physical appearance.

      Men tend to overlook status when it comes to women, because they are mostly interested in fornicating with them. Gold-digging women are of low status, and mono-lingual women (usually American women) are also of low status in a world that is increasingly global.

      Americans are generally seen as low status among the citizens of the industrialized world, simply because America is a country without perks.

      JS

      July 16, 2017 at 10:35 pm

      • Absurd. Rich people from other countries choose to move here because it is higher status than the other countries.

        not too late

        July 17, 2017 at 7:46 pm

      • Yeah, citizens from countries like China, whom we see a lot in Canada too…!

        JS

        July 17, 2017 at 8:53 pm

  3. ‘The meaning seems pretty obvious to me. No matter what station you achieve in life, at the end you still die.’

    And therfore what? What’s the thought that this inspires?

    Yakov

    July 16, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    • The obvious one is the tenth commandment “thou shalt not covet”.

      JW Bell

      July 16, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    • Most Americans are not following this rule. There are people that I knew who are now afflicted with Alzheimer’s, and a few of them never really enjoyed life. Of course, you admire them, because they were workaholics, chasing the American dream.

      JS

      July 16, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      • Right. The American dream is to have a vacation home you are too busy to use.

        Curle

        July 16, 2017 at 11:21 pm

      • JS, again lemme drill it into your head – I enjoy working. You think you gonna wrap your head around it one day?

        Yakov

        July 16, 2017 at 11:45 pm

      • Yakov — I enjoy taking it easy, and the good life is irrelevant from wealth accumulation.

        That’s what one of the Stoics said in Ancient Philosophy. And it’s even more true today, when we live in a post scarcity society, in a post materialistic world.

        JS

        July 17, 2017 at 10:11 am

      • ‘good life is irrelevant from wealth accumulation.’

        Not when you have a family, obviously. No state of chilled out bohemian bums can exist. This is very simple.

        Yakov

        July 17, 2017 at 10:28 am

  4. “No matter what station you achieve in life, at the end you still die.”

    Oswald Spengler

    July 16, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    • Interestingly, the real General Patton died a bizarre death. Several months after the war’s end he was riding in the back seat of his official car, on the way to a hunting trip in Germany, when the car got into a fairly minor crash with a military truck. None of the several other people in his car were injured and damage was minor enough that the car was soon repaired. In what had to be a million-to-one shot, however, Patton bumped his head at just the right (or wrong) angle to break his neck, and that was that.

      Peter

      ironrailsironweights

      July 16, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    • That is so wrong! Poor little George married an unattractive rich woman. So of course he would say things like that. But he was wrong.

      howitzer daniel

      July 16, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      • “That is so wrong” in my 8:52 comment refers to Patton’s childish statement about how little we achieve in life. How sad to be so brave and so gifted and at the same time so foolish! Well we need brave tough guys on our side, but it would be better if they did not talk about things that are above their station.

        howitzer daniel

        July 16, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      • “All glory is fleeting” is very unBiblical. Patton loved reading the Bible, I am surprised he would say anything like that. There is no greater glory than bravely following the leadership of G*d and that glory is not fleeting!

        howitzer daniel

        July 17, 2017 at 2:33 am

      • “All glory is fleeting” is very unBiblical. ”

        I dont see it that way. Very in line with Ecclesiastes: “there is no profit under the sun”, “there is no remembrance of former things” etc…

        Lion of the Turambar

        July 17, 2017 at 9:36 am

      • It’s contextual, obviously. ‘Fleeting’ not ‘vanity’ is the true translation of the opening of Eсclesiastis. הבל הבלים הכל הבל.

        1:2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.

        Substitute fleeting for vanity.

        How does he conclude?

        12:12 And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

        12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

        12:14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

        This is all said in the context of Judaism and there are diametrically opposite approaches, which are equally legitimate. You don’t have to be Jewish to benefit from it, but keeping things in context makes sense. For most non Jews usurping our texts and interpreting them is an exercise in futility, though.

        Yakov

        July 17, 2017 at 10:45 am

      • “For most non Jews usurping our texts”

        Hey!

        Besides we have to.

        Regarding 12:11-12:12- clearly there is much sophistry in today’s knowledge and people chasing after the next theory, consensus, academic chair, “God particle” etc… that they have no actual wisdom.

        Lion o' the Turambar

        July 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm

  5. As a man, the point of life is to acquire as much money as possible while banging the hottest women available.

    Everything else is cant.

    JA

    July 16, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    • Only in America where sex with attractive women is seen as a business transaction. The same goes with higher education and universal health care.

      JS

      July 16, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    • In other words, being an alpha. I wonder, do alphas care if the woman enjoys the experience?

      Curle

      July 16, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    • “As a man, the point of life is to acquire as much money as possible while banging the hottest women available.”

      What happens to all the money after you die? It will probably go to some gold-digger who will use it to raise someone else’s kids.

      Rosenmops

      July 17, 2017 at 12:58 am

    • There’s really no reason to believe that no matter how long you live, you’ll live forever. Unless you believe in an ability to transcend our material universe (based on our current understanding of physics, this is entirely an article of faith).

      Panther of the Blogocube

      July 17, 2017 at 12:42 am

  6. Probably during medieval times, being high status could buy you a few extra years of life since you would have access to better food and more sanitary living conditions.

    sabril

    July 16, 2017 at 8:54 pm

  7. An interesting point raised in private Facebook group to which I belong is that when an intelligent, middle class or above person dies a non-accidental death before after 70 or maybe 75, it’s generally due to cancer.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    July 16, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    • I meant _age_ 70 or maybe 75. D’oh!

      Peter

      ironrailsironweights

      July 16, 2017 at 9:28 pm

  8. That is a beautiful roundel, and a reminder of a time when no job, no thing, was too small or unimportant to be done or crafted without incredible beauty.

    jjbees

    July 16, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    • “a reminder of a time when no job, no thing, was too small or unimportant to be done or crafted without incredible beauty.”

      Yes, that is the real takeaway of the photograph for me as well.

      Two in the Bush

      July 17, 2017 at 3:26 am

  9. Before zooming in I thought the guy on the right was Trump and that this was a gag.

    Peterike

    July 16, 2017 at 11:09 pm

  10. I must be an extremely high status person. I’m reading this thread while sitting in my car late at night parked in front of a Noah’s Bagels in SF. A p50-ish Asian guy walks up to the window and asks what year it is and if it drives well. It’s a 2011 Camry. Then 5 minutes later he comes back and wants to give me his card in case I ever want to sell the car. Could he really not know there are thousands of them for sale? Maybe it was a come-on – the last closeted gay guy in SF?

    Marty

    July 17, 2017 at 1:22 am

    • That’s hilarious. Maybe he thought it was a lexus but that would still be really bizarre.

      Two in the Bush

      July 17, 2017 at 10:37 am

    • Not very strange for an immigrant. Your car may have some unique features that he liked. Does it?

      Yakov

      July 17, 2017 at 10:53 am

  11. Interesting the the angel of death goes first for the Pope and the Pope looks evil. Do we know where the is artist from and what’s the historical context? Probably not.

    I think it depicts a famine, symbolizing economic and social problems if society, and the Church being responsible for it. The nobelman and the peasant are beseaching the Diety, the Pope is not. He is blessing the flock and telling them to accept G-d’s loving judgment instead of pulling their national resources together to get out if the crisis. This is opiate for the masses and the artist protests against this interpretation of religion.

    Yakov

    July 17, 2017 at 11:04 am

  12. Patton would have known this famous Latin phrase:

    Sic transit gloria mundi. (“Thus passes the glory of the world.”)

    The filmmakers knew that the average audience member wouldn’t have a clue
    as to its meaning if Patton said it in Latin.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sic_transit_gloria_mundi

    Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that means “Thus passes the glory of the world.” It has been interpreted as “Worldly things are fleeting.” The phrase was used in the ritual of papal coronation ceremonies between 1409 (when it was used at the coronation of Alexander V)[1] and 1963

    Nedd Ludd

    July 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm


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