Barry, My Liege :
One of my ancestors, Marcus Aurelius, was both a Roman Emperor and a philosopher ; his thoughts on living a happy life are indicated immediatley below.
'...Short then is the time which every man lives, and small the nook of the earth where he lives; and short too the longest posthumous fame, and even this only continued by a succession of poor human beings, who will very soon die, and who know not even themselves, much less him who died long ago.'
MEDITATIONS, Marcus Aurelius, Book 3,# 10
'If thou workest at that which is before thee, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly, without allowing anything else to distract thee, but keeping thy divine part pure, as if thou shouldst be bound to give it back immediately, fearing nothing, but satisfied with thy present activity according to nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound which thou utterest, thou wilt live happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this.'
MEDITATIONS, Marcus Aurelius, Book 3, # 12
Perhaps, My Liege, these words may offer some comfort.
Some of my ancestors achieved fame and notoriety while most did not. But, following Marcus Aurelius' proscriptions, life is only this moment since the past is infinite and dead and the future is equally infinite and unknowable.
Thus fame is not worthy of pursuit or worthwhle when obtained. For example, my surname of McKeever or MacIvor may possibly be related to a Norse invader of Scotland in the Ninth century named Iver. However, there appears to be no method of determining that with certainty since all records of Norse geneology in England and Scotland were destroyed in the Jocobite Risings of 1688 to 1746.
Here is a listing of some of the more famous of my ancestors for which records are readily available.
1. Marcus Aurelias Maximian De Rome
49th Great Grand Uncle - Marcus Aurelias Maximian De Rome, 121 AD to 180 AD.
2. Philip I of France
28th Great Grandfather - Philip I of France (23 May 1052 – 29 July 1108), called the Amorous.
3. William I The Conquerer
25th Great Grandfater, William I The Conquerer - William I (Old Norman: Williame I; circa 1028 - Frankrike, Jamtland, Sweden – 9 September 1087), usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes as William the Bastard
Husband of 25th Great Grandmother Charlemagne (2 April 742 – 28 January 814), also known as Charles the Great (German: Karl der Große; Latin: Carolus or Karolus Magnus) or Charles I, was the King of the Franks from 768, the King of Italy from 774, the first Holy Roman Emperor, and the first emperor in western Europe since the collapse of the Western Roman Empire three centuries earlier.
5. Henry II, King of England
22nd Great Grandfather Henry II, King of England was born 26 February 1133 in Le Mans, France to Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou and Maine (1113-1151) and Matilda of Normandy (1102-1167) and died 29 June 1189 in Chinon, France of unspecified causes.
5. King Edward I Longshanks Plantagenet
19th Great Grandfather Edward I (17 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots (Latin: Malleus Scotorum), was King of England from 1272 to 1307.
7. John Adams
1st Cousin 6x removed John Adams (October 30, 1735 (O.S. October 19, 1735) – July 4, 1826) was the second president of the United States (1797–1801), having earlier served as the first vice president of the United States. An American Founding Father, he was a statesman, diplomat, and a leading advocate of American independence from Great Britain.
Your faithful servant,
By the way, My Liege, one of the reasons I am happy to be an American is that notification of the fact of that ancestry as described above, so long as it is accompanied with two dollars, will obtain a good cup of coffee in many places.
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Friday, March 1, 2013
Barry, My Liege :
You will not consider it immodest when this writer offers a methodology for managing very good people as well as choosing the best option among several possible courses of action.
College and university students are bright and ambitious people, as you well know.
In order to challenge the best of students, this writer developed a position paper format over the past 25 years; this format has proven effective as a semester term paper assignment as well as a method for challenging the best and honing the skills of all.
My Liege, you may read an actual sample of this paper format in a paper written by student Min S. Chung in 2010 at this link :
[Copy and paste the link if it loads slowly.]
And, should you require a detailed tutorial in implementing this paper format, it is here :
Your faithful servant prays that you will consider using this tool as a means to manage your office and accomplish even more.
Your faithful servant,
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Barry, My Liege :
Your servant has discussed the relationship of economic theory to morality in another venue, which can be read here : http://www.mkeever.com/moral.html
Economic theory was born into a world in which the few wealthy people profited from the efforts of the poor majority in obscene proportions.
This theory, after all, cannot distinguish between a machine and a human child slave when comparing the relative costs and profits of each.
To the extent that economics contributes toward inequality and misery, we pray that you My Liege, ignore, studiously, the blandishments of that discipline.
Economics will merit serious attention only when the effects of its theories on real people are considered. Until then, we pray you treat its observations with suspicion.
Below is a short introduction to the effects of economics on England in the first part of the 19th Century :
“8. THE BIRTH OF SOCIALISM
Whatever the economists might claim to have demonstrated about the need for giving capital a free hand, there was no escaping from the fact that whereas, under the existing social order, wealth was being multiplied beyond the wildest dreams of a century back, the whole benefits of this revolution were absorbed by a minority of the population, while the majority were sinking from depth to depth of misery. And this majority comprised the very labourers who - on the authority of Adam Smith himself - produced the whole of the wealth. Nor was the contrast a matter of mere guesswork or intuition. In 1814, the year of Napoleon's overthrow, a certain Patrick Colquhoun, a metropolitan police magistrate, published a statistical estimate of the resources of the British Empire, in which the inequality of wealth was revealed, with at least an honest attempt at accuracy, in the dry light of statistics. Here it was stated that whereas some 400,000 of the well-connected and well-to-do were drawing family incomes of from two to four hundred pounds per annum, the labourers in the fields and factories had to keep body and soul together on a beggarly eleven.
Here, then, was the plain meaning of the state of things analyzed and favoured by the economists ; the landlord growing fat on his rents, the capitalist pocketing everything else above the eleven pounds or so per annum to keep each human machine grinding him wealth for over twelve hours in the twenty-four, and the man who turned to the soil or loom kept down by an iron law to a natural or unnatural rate of wages which might, according to a very liberal interpretation of Ricardo, rise, in the course of time - perhaps even to an average twelve pounds per annum !
To kick against these pricks might be - and, the whole school of middle class economists would assure you on one voice of ponderous indignation, was - quiet fallacious and unscientific, but one might at first be inclined to wonder how the poor, once confronted with such arguments as Colquhoun's statistics and their own bitter experience could provide, did not rise, as Shelley - who was after all of squire stock and might be presumed to feel the pinch of the shoe less keenly - counselled them to rise :
'Like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few' ”
From THE HISTORY OF BRITISH CIVILIZATION, Esme Wingfield-Stratford, D Sc., M.A., Ex-Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., London First Edition 1928, Second Edition, 1930, Reprinted 1932, 1933, 1938, 1942, 1945 and 1948, pp 922-923