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Recent news reports out of South Asia tell of tribespeople on the Andaman Islands shooting arrows at Indian Army helicopters delivering aid. Authorities take this, ultimately, as a good sign. It means that the tribes have survived to the extent that they continue to offer their customary hostility to all outsiders (and given the track record of Western Civilization vis-a-vis indigenous peoples, I can't imagine why).

There is something striking about this. The image of bark-wearing "savages" "stuck in the Stone Age", who have undoubtedly witnessed something of the same calamity which the rest of the region has suffered, still offering the same ferocious and unmitigated response to anything from outside their islands, in spite of all. It speaks to me of a tenacious courage that won't take no shit from no caravels, tsunamis or helicopters, no matter if they're coming to kidnap your kith and kin or wipe out your village or drop boxes of ramen noodles and bottled water.

King Canutus had his henchmen flog the North Sea when it wouldn't obey his royal edicts. And it may be true that on one level, Andamanese archers letting fly on ultimately benevelont Indian helicopters strikes the same note of sad folly. Neither Canute nor the Andamanese tribespeople really understood what or to whom they display such warlike glowering. But it is also true that we humans are a courageous and indefatigable bunch, and not even the raging sea that stole our best beloved can hold us down.

Today (3rd of January) is the birthday of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman orator, jurist, consul and philosopher. In his honor I went out and purchased a copy of his "Dream of Scipio", a classic and beautiful text which all of us labouring under these sad, calamitous times can draw solace from. I am by no means an unqualified admirer of Roman Stoicism, but it does speak much to me, and by mentioning this here, I hope these works may offer some comfort to you, as well.

Peace and Health,


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