Monday, September 25, 2006

the Iron constitution of the United states of our organs

I was walking downtown and came across something written in chalk along the sidewalk between petersons and the cooking school. "I love the constitution" was the phrase, and I was thinking about the different meanings of the word; first the obvious meaning which the legal encyclopedia online makes a reference to Aristotle:

"The concept of a constitution dates to the city-states of ancient Greece. The philosopher Aristotle (384-322 b.c.), in his work Politics, analyzed over 150 Greek constitutions. In that work, he described a constitution as creating the frame upon which the government and laws of a society are built:

A constitution may be defined as an organization of offices in a state, by which the method of their distribution is fixed, the sovereign authority is determined, and the nature of the end to be pursued by the association and all its members is prescribed. Laws, as distinct from the frame of the constitution, are the rules by which the magistrates should exercise their powers, and should watch and check transgressors."

In the history and development section of the wikipedia entry it states:

Excavations in modern-day Iraq by Ernest de Sarzec in 1877 found evidence of the earliest known code of justice, issued by the Sumerian king Urukagina of Lagash ca. 2300 BC. Perhaps the earliest prototype for a law of government, this document itself has not yet been discovered; however it is known that it allowed some rights to his citizens. For example, it is known that it relieved tax for widows and orphans, and protected the poor from the usury of the rich.

After that, many governments ruled by special codes of written laws. The oldest such document still known to exist seems to be that of Ur-Nammu of Ur (ca. 2050 BC). Some of the more well known among these include the code of Hammurabi of Babylonia, the Hittite code, the Assyrian code, Mosaic law, and likewise the commandments of Cyrus the Great of Persia.

Hey, there is a song by the english musical group Wire called "The King of Ur and the Queen of Um.", uhh, yeah. whatever. Then the american heritage stedmans medical dictionary offers this biological definition up:

"1.The physical makeup of the body, including its functions, metabolic processes, reactions to stimuli, and resistance to the attack of pathogenic organisms.
2.The composition or structure of a molecule. "

and from the free online dictionary, (hey, you cannot leave them out of this!) under the second definition of "Iron" as an adjective:

2. Strong, healthy, and capable of great endurance: an iron constitution.

and then, because we have not included a quote yet, in a page of progress quotes and quotations, provided by GIGA, we have something from Emerson:

It is wonderful how soon a piano gets into a log-hut on the frontier. You would think they found it under a pine-stump. With it comes a Latin grammar, and one of those tow-head boys has written a hymn on Sunday. Now let colleges, now let senates take heed! for here is one who, opening these fine tastes on the basis of the pioneer's iron constitution, will gather all their laurels in his strong hands.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, geting back to the point of orgin for this post- the person who wrote this in chalk on the sidewalk... was he simply espressing gratitude for his good health??? Probably not. Was he lacking in Iron? I! Is he a constitutional law freak? I dunno! But perhaps I noticed it because it is banned books week and I work in a public library and I feel a little pride and ownership in my usually mindless tasks and duties, because I help keep information accessible, and yes I will gather all the laurels in my strong hands....dammitt!

Stephen, pdx or 2:56:47 a.m.

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