Re: regarding the YINYANG: snakes and unicorns

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Fri Jul 27 2001 - 23:26:35 MDT

Party of Citizens wrote:

> Grasshopper:
> You have to allow for metaphors and a few enigmas in the Bible. For
> example what is the Biblical "unicorn"? And, is the Book of Jonah one long
> Divine comedy? I laugh a lot when I read it.

Party, granted the book of Jonah is a drama/comedy, as is the book of
Job. The bible surely contains other plays besides these. Suspect the
reason these books made it into the bible is that there were plenty
of copies made, from the time it was first written, so that the actors
could memorize their lines.

Regarding the biblical unicorn, mentioned 9 times in the old testament,
the term was translated from the Hebrew rem or re'em, and is now
thought to be a reference to the wild ox. Caesar found these in
Gaul and described them as follows: "These re'em are scarcely less
than elephants in size, but in their nature, color and form are bulls.
Great is their strength and great is their speed... The size and shape
of their horns are very different from our oxen."

I have even heard the speculation that the notion of unicorns came
about from traveler's descriptions of the rhinoceros. The notion
of a horse with one horn poking out of its forehead is a modern
invention, modern meaning in the time frame of the 1610 translation
of the King James bible.

Regarding snake handling, Ill pass on a bit of wisdom. Poisonous
snakes have evolved the technique of coiling up and striking from
that posture. They can strike fairly accurately at a distance of up
to about a third to perhaps half their length, if coiled. If a snake is
not coiled, it cannot effectively strike, or at least not hit a target.

When a snake is picked up in the middle or aft of middle, its primitive
reptilian brain has never developed (for some curious reason) the
reasoning ability to figure out which muscles to fire in order to reach
over and bite you. It may accidentally get it right, so I am not
suggesting you pick up a snake. Please do not test this out by
grabbing the next available snake. I am suggesting how the religious
zealots do it.

Even Non-poisonous snakes sometimes attempt to bite in self
defense. I have handled non-poisonous snakes, and they too
seem to get a bit confused when you pick them up off the ground.
If you ever see a video of snake handlers, notice that they do not
grab the snake and leave him on the ground, for then it might be
able to reach back and bite. They grab the snake and pick it
up. Then it kinda hangs there wondering what to do next.
But do leave it to the religious zealots, for they are many and
extropians are few.


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