Gnostiquette

a catalogue of aberrations, major and minor

Trump, liberalism, and the emotional plague

I must say that political subjects are troubling me yet again.
Now, 'this is not normal' has become a liberal mantra. Every week, I am subjected to a tirade (usually in the first paragraph of a column or thinkpiece) about the alleged abnormality of the Trump presidency. I'm inclined to agree in some respects—the revolving-door Cabinet is certainly an aberration in American political history—but it still bothers me on multiple levels.
We've heard echoes of Trump throughout our political history; Pat Buchanan's 1992 campaign, with his culture-war rhetoric, is a relatively recent example. Indeed, Buchanan endorsed Trump last year, seeing in him a kindred spirit, even despite Trump leaving his 2000 Reform Party candidacy due to the presence in the party of, among other people, Pat Buchanan.
I can't claim to understand, to be frank, why Trump is viewed as an ideological aberration. The ideological state apparatuses have been there all along, subtly programming our prevailing ideology into a largely invisibly but highly grotesque quasi-ethnic nationalism; every time an elementary school student stands, puts their hand on their heart, and recites the Pledge of Allegiance, they are interpellated as a subject of the American Empire.
Thus, it should seem no surprise that this chauvinistic, racialised, über-macho ideology coalesced into the form of Trump. Yet, to liberals, it's an immense surprise. They were sure that when they held their hands to their hearts for the daily ritual of vexillolatry, they weren't celebrating the Indigenous genocide, the horrors of slavery, the endless war, the role of America in the rise of fascism in the early twentieth century, the unspeakably evil bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—no, they were pledging their allegiance to an America in which racism is on the fringes, the biggest issue for women today is 'manspreading', and no matter the sins America carries from her past, it'll all work out in the end.
(Speaking of liberal feminism, I saw a middle-class woman on Twitter a few days ago asserting that socialism is sexist because it'll remove the glass ceilings that petit-bourgeois women are 'destined' to shatter.)
And thus, the birth of 'this is not normal' and the increasingly insane Russia-centric conspiracy theories promulgated by hacks like Eric Garland and Louise Mensch. (Just look at the hashtag #PutinBot—it's abundantly clear that most of the people using it don't know what a bot is, and in some exceptionally bizarre cases, they've replied with the hashtag to standard-fare Weird Twitter jokes.)
The surface narrative must be maintained that, in the words of Hillary Clinton, 'America is already great, because America is good', lest the dark underbelly of America's racism, sexism, classism, and xenophobia be exposed. The issue, of course, is that this selfsame dark underbelly has emerged in the form of Donald Trump, Breitbart, and the white nationalist alt-right. Even after Charlottesville, liberals began circulating alleged proof of Richard Spencer's ties to the Kremlin, because…he has talked with Aleksandr Dugin and his wife is Russian and has translated some of Dugin's essays. That's it. Never mind that, despite media sensationalism over Dugin being 'Putin's Rasputin', he's actually quite a fringe figure in Russian political circles.
To borrow some terminology from Prester Jane's 'narrativist framework', the inner narrative must be guarded by all means possible. From what I've seen, the inner narrative is rather similar to Fukuyama's thesis in The End of History and the Last Man: liberal democratic capitalism is the final and best form of government in humanity's evolution and it is inherently stable. Trump's victory caused a great deal of narrative dissonance (PJ's term is 'narrative dysphoria' in analogy to gender dysphoria). As such, rather than rethinking the 'inherent' stability and superiority of liberal democratic capitalism, they have created a grand narrative starting from the two basic points that Russian actors allegedly hacked the DNC emails and that Trump and/or his family have attempted some shady dealings with Russian actors and working it into a conspiracy theory so immense as to be impenetrable, linking in everyone and everything from Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden to allegations that pro-Russian and pro-Trump Twitter bots must have been bought and paid for by the Kremlin (even though setting up a bot is incredibly easy and also free).
And this is what has been troubling me.
Back in June, after Trump insulted MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski on Twitter, Stephen Colbert said this:
Let's stop pretending that Trump is a symptom of something. He is the disease.
And this encapsulates everything wrong with liberalism. It's an extreme irony that Colbert, who played a character embodying the very worst traits of American politics—i.e., the disease—for nine years, four nights a week, could say that a president who embodies the very worst traits of American politics is not the symptom.
The disease has been running through American politics since the beginning, starting with the subjugation and genocide of Indigenous Americans and continuing through slavery, the Trail of Tears, the endless imperial wars, Jim Crow and segregation, the Know-Nothings, the KKK, the American corporate support for Nazi Germany and role in the Holocaust (Brown Brothers Harriman spawned the Bush family and IBM cooperated with the Nazi government in the use of their machines to carry out the extermination of the Jews), the Nazi ratlines and Allen Dulles' collaboration, the effective genocide of 3.8 million Vietnamese people in the Vietnam War, the Bangladesh genocide in 1971, the US-backed Indonesian genocide in East Timor, the US backing of the Khmer Rouge, the 1,455,590 Iraqis killed in the invasion, the continuing destruction of Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen…need I say more?
Wilhelm Reich would diagnose this as an exceptional case of what he called the emotional plague. It's been there for a long time. It's just that now, it's taken off its mask.
And denying that Trump is just its symptom will only make it worse.

A topological story about God.

Five people, all of whom were living in in three-dimensional space, were looking at a hexacosichoron (which may crudely be described as a four-dimensional icosahedron). However, because they could only see in three dimensions, they could only see cross-sections of the hexacosichoron in three-dimensional space.
One person had originally noticed it, pointed it out to the others, and said, 'Hey! Look at that big tetrahedron!'
One of the group sneered. 'What tetrahedron? It's clearly a cube!'
Another person, annoyed by the first two's statements, said, 'I see no cube or tetrahedron. It's clearly an octahedron.'
Yet another person, puzzled by everyone else, said, 'All I can see is a dodecahedron.'
Finally, one person, who'd been grouchy the whole time, grumbled, 'None of you are right. The shape that we're all allegedly looking at is obviously an icosahedron.'
But all five of these people were, oddly enough, both right and wrong: they were wrong in that none of them saw that it was truly a hexacosichoron, but they were all right in that what they saw was true—just from different angles. Read more

Marc Laidlaw's 'Epistle 3' decoded

After his ten-year non-disclosure agreement with Valve expired, Marc Laidlaw, one of the writers and designers for Half-Life and Half-Life 2, has posted a coded synopsis for Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (or perhaps Half-Life 3). There have been many stories in the past indicating various changes to the story, and this may be only one of many potential plots.
Still, it's probably the closest we have to an official conclusion to the Half-Life series, and we should be thankful to Marc for having published it.
As such, I have taken the liberty of decoding it:



Dearest Player,

I hope this letter finds you well. I can hear your complaint already, “Gordy Freeman, we have not heard from you in ages!” Well, if you care to hear excuses, I have plenty, the greatest of them being I’ve been in other dimensions and whatnot, unable to reach you by the usual means. This was the case until eighteen months ago, when I experienced a critical change in my circumstances, and was redeposited on these shores. In the time since, I have been able to think occasionally about how best to describe the intervening years, my years of silence. I do first apologize for the wait, and that done, hasten to finally explain (albeit briefly, quickly, and in very little detail) events following those described in my previous letter (referred to herewith as Episode 2).

To begin with, as you may recall from the closing paragraphs of my previous missive, the death of Eli Vance shook us all. The Resistance team was traumatized, unable to be sure how much of our plan might be compromised, and whether it made any sense to go on at all as we had intended. And yet, once Eli had been buried, we found the strength and courage to regroup. It was the strong belief of his brave daughter, the feisty Alyx Vance, that we should continue on as her father had wished. We had the Antarctic coordinates, transmitted by Eli’s long-time assistant, Dr. Judith Mossman, which we believed to mark the location of the lost luxury liner Borealis. Eli had felt strongly that the Borealis should be destroyed rather than allow it to fall into the hands of the Combine. Others on our team disagreed, believing that the Borealis might hold the secret to the revolution’s success. Either way, the arguments were moot until we found the vessel. Therefore, immediately after the service for Dr. Vance, Alyx and I boarded a seaplane and set off for the Antarctic; a much larger support team, mainly militia, was to follow by separate transport.

It is still unclear to me exactly what brought down our little aircraft. The following hours spent traversing the frigid waste in a blizzard are also a jumbled blur, ill-remembered and poorly defined. The next thing I clearly recall is our final approach to the coordinates Dr. Mossman has provided, and where we expected to find the Borealis. What we found instead was a complex fortified installation, showing all the hallmarks of sinister Combine technology. It surrounded a large open field of ice. Of the Hypnos itself there was no sign…or not at first. But as we stealthily infiltrated the Combine installation, we noticed a recurrent, strangely coherent auroral effect–as of a vast hologram fading in and out of view. This bizarre phenomenon initially seemed an effect caused by an immense Combine lensing system, Alyx and I soon realized that what we were actually seeing was the luxury liner Borealis itself, phasing in and out of existence at the focus of the Combine devices. The aliens had erected their compound to study and seize the ship whenever it materialized. What Dr. Mossman had provided were not coordinates for where the sub was located, but instead for where it was predicted to arrive. The liner was oscillating in and out of our reality, its pulses were gradually steadying, but there was no guarantee it would settle into place for long–or at all. We determined that we must put ourselves into position to board it at the instant it became completely physical.

At this point we were briefly detained–not captured by the Combine, as we feared at first, but by minions of our former nemesis, the conniving and duplicitous Wallace Breen. Dr. Breen was not as we had last seen him–which is to say, he was not dead. At some point, the Combine had saved out an earlier version of his consciousness, and upon his physical demise, they had imprinted the back-up personality into a biological blank resembling an enormous slug. The Breen-Slug, despite occupying a position of relative power in the Combine hierarchy, seemed nervous and frightened of me in particular. Wallace did not know how his previous incarnation, the original Dr. Breen, had died. He knew only that I was responsible. Therefore the slug treated us with great caution. Still, he soon confessed (never able to keep quiet for long) that he was himself a prisoner of the Combine. He took no pleasure from his current grotesque existence, and pleaded with us to end his life. Alyx believed that a quick death was more than Wallace Breen deserved, but for my part, I felt a modicum of pity and compassion. Out of Alyx’s sight, I might have done something to hasten the slug’s demise before we proceeded.

Not far from where we had been detained by Dr. Breen, we found Judith Mossman being held in a Combine interrogation cell. Things were tense between Judith and Alyx, as might be imagined. Alyx blamed Judith for her father’s death…news of which, Judith was devastated to hear for the first time. Judith tried to convince Alyx that she had been a double agent serving the Resistance all along, doing only what Eli had asked of her, even though she knew it meant she risked being seen by her peers–by all of us–as a traitor. I was convinced; Alyx less so. But from a pragmatic point of view, we depended on Dr. Mossman; for along with the Borealis coordinates, she possessed resonance keys which would be necessary to bring the liner fully into our plane of existence.

We skirmished with Combine soldiers protecting a Combine research post, then Dr. Mossman attuned the Borealis to precisely the frequencies needed to bring it into (brief) coherence. In the short time available to us, we scrambled aboard the ship, with an unknown number of Combine agents close behind. The ship cohered for only a short time, and then its oscillations resume. It was too late for our own military support, which arrived and joined the Combine forces in battle just as we rebounded between universes, once again unmoored.

What happened next is even harder to explain. Alyx Vance, Dr. Mossman and myself sought control of the ship–its power source, its control room, its navigation center. The liner’s history proved nonlinear. Years before, during the Combine invasion, various members of an earlier science team, working in the hull of a dry-docked liner situated at the Aperture Science Research Base in Lake Huron, had assembled what they called the Bootstrap Device. If it worked as intended, it would emit a field large enough to surround the ship. This field would then itself travel instantaneously to any chosen destination without having to cover the intervening space. There was no need for entry or exit portals, or any other devices; it was entirely self-contained. Unfortunately, the device had never been tested. As the Combine pushed Earth into the Seven-Hour War, the aliens seized control of our most important research facilities. The staff of the Borealis, with no other wish than to keep the ship out of Combine hands, acted in desperation. The switched on the field and flung the Borealis toward the most distant destination they could target: Antarctica. What they did not realize was that the Bootstrap Device travelled in time as well as space. Nor was it limited to one time or one location. The Borealis, and the moment of its activation, were stretched across space and time, between the nearly forgotten Lake Huron of the Seven-Hour War and the present day Antarctic; it was pulled taut as an elastic band, vibrating, except where at certain points along its length one could find still points, like the harmonic spots along a vibrating guitar string. One of these harmonics was where we boarded, but the string ran forward and back, in both time and space, and we were soon pulled in every direction ourselves.

Time grew confused. Looking from the bridge, we could see the drydocks of Aperture Science at the moment of teleportation, just as the Combine forces closed in from land, sea and air. At the same time, we could see the Antarctic wastelands, where our friends were fighting to make their way to the protean Borealis; and in addition, glimpses of other worlds, somewhere in the future perhaps, or even in the past. Alyx grew convinced we were seeing one of the Combine’s central staging areas for invading other worlds–such as our own. We meanwhile fought a running battle throughout the ship, pursued by Combine forces. We struggled to understand our situation, and to agree on our course of action. Could we alter the course of the Borealis? Should we run it aground in the Antarctic, giving our peers the chance to study it? Should we destroy it with all hands aboard, our own included? It was impossible to hold a coherent thought, given the baffling and paradoxical timeloops, which passed through the ship like bubbles. I felt I was going mad, that we all were, confronting myriad versions of ourselves, in that ship that was half ghost-ship, half nightmare funhouse.

What it came down to, at last, was a choice. Judith Mossman argued, reasonably, that we should save the Borealis and deliver it to the Resistance, that our intelligent peers might study and harness its power. But Alyx reminded me had sworn she would honor her father’s demand that we destroy the ship. She hatched a plan to set the Borealis to self-destruct, while riding it into the heart of the Combine’s invasion nexus. Judith and Alyx argued. Judith overpowered Alyx and brought the Borealis area, preparing to shut off the Bootstrap Device and settle the ship on the ice. Then I heard a shot, and Judith fell. Alyx had decided for all of us, or her weapon had. With Dr. Mossman dead, we were committed to the suicide plunge. Grimly, Alyx and I armed the Borealis, creating a time-travelling missile, and steered it for the heart of the Combine’s command center.

At this point, as you will no doubt be unsurprised to hear, a Certain Sinister Figure appeared, in the form of that sneering trickster, the G-Man. For once he appeared not to me, but to Alyx Vance. Alyx had not seen the cryptical schoolmarm since childhood, but she recognized him instantly. “Come along with me now, we’ve places to do and things to be,” said the G-Man, and Alyx acquiesced. She followed the strange grey man out of the Borealis, out of our reality. For me, there was no convenient door held open; only a snicker and a sideways glance. I was left alone, riding the weaponized luxury liner into the heart of a Combine world. An immense light blazed. I caught a cosmic view of a brilliantly glittering Dyson sphere. The vastness of the Combine’s power, the futility of our struggle, blossomed briefly in my awareness. I saw everything. Mainly I saw how the Borealis, our most powerful weapon, would register as less than a fizzling matchhead as it blew itself apart. And what remained of me would be even less than that.

Just then, as you have surely already foreseen, the Vortigaunts parted their own checkered curtains of reality, reached in as they have on prior occasions, plucked me out, and set me aside. I barely got to see the fireworks begin.

And here we are. I spoke of my return to this shore. It has been a circuitous path to lands I once knew, and surprising to see how much the terrain has changed. Enough time has passed that few remember me, or what I was saying when last I spoke, or what precisely we hoped to accomplish. At this point, the Resistance will have failed or succeeded, no thanks to me. Old friends have been silenced, or fallen by the wayside. I no longer know or recognize most members of the research team, though I believe the spirit of rebellion still persists. I expect you know better than I the appropriate course of action, and I leave you to it. Except no further correspondence from me regarding these matters; this is my final Episode.

Yours in infinite finality,

Gordon Freeman, Ph.D.

A comment I wrote on a terrible liberal article

The article is here. It's fawning over noted liberal moron Bill Maher talking about Russia as if it's a bigger deal than Trump threatening nuclear war with North Korea and an invasion of Venezuela. I eagerly await the condescending liberal responses to my comment, which is reposted in full below:

'See, this is why I'm not a liberal anymore. I counted myself as a liberal until a few months ago. I always knew the Republican Party was rotten to the core, and I could never support them save for a couple of good eggs. The Democratic Party, as I had understood it, had some issues I disagreed on, like abortion, but overall was the party of FDR and JFK: a good party that did good things.
'I spent the first half of my childhood in the Bush years, when I saw the corruption, incompetence, and warmongering of the neocons in charge. Even as a kid, when I saw the reports coming in about Iraq and Afghanistan, I wondered what this was all about. Oil, my grandmother and mother who raised me explained. The former was an independent and the latter was a RINO. I was glad Obama got elected, but the financial crisis hurt my family: as healthcare costs rose, my grandmother had to quit her nursing job to take care of my disabled mother, who had to quit her finance job after leaking internal memos which described nasty dealings by Citigroup and Wells Fargo.
'My confidence began to erode in politics after seeing where "bipartisanship" led: the public option got killed in Congress and the bailout ended up helping out the banks that had caused the crisis in the first place. Iraq and Afghanistan were both ended only after too much damage was allowed to be done, and the Obama administration policy of drone strikes disturbed me. Chelsea Manning's leaks proved especially horrifying: she had presented clear evidence of war crimes, the government was forced to admit that, despite their efforts to poison the well against her, none of her releases ended up harming anyone but the government themselves, and she was the one being imprisoned and tortured. By last year, my faith in Obama, who I had generally thought of as a good man who was forced to hold back on his promises by a crooked Republican congress and a host of military and financial bureaucrats, began to fade.
'Bernie Sanders became my new hope. He wasn't perfect by any metric, but he was going to cut back on the use of our military, try to get a single payer system, and provide free college. And not only that, he was describing how. My family and I had just been evicted so that the landlord could sell off our old house to a bunch of condo developers, only months after returning home from a year of the abusive nightmare called "protective custody" (long story short, the state had twisted some statements I thought I was making to a private therapist into accusations against my family, and I spent a year being transferred from abusive group home to abusive group home), and this guy sounded like the real deal.
'After Hillary got the nomination, I felt that Bernie had been unfairly treated. The DNC email leak seemed to confirm my suspicions of dirtiness within the DNC, but I'll wait for the lawsuit to decide what went on.
'I was sceptical about the Russia allegations from the beginning. They sounded like yet another set of WMD allegations to my ears. The thing that scared me, though, was how they were being used to sour the atmosphere even more between Russia and the United States. Believe me, I think Putin needs to go if Russia's going to get any better, but I was worried more and more about the rhetoric about Russia sounding like calls for war. I didn't want to see my fellow poor kids ship off to Ukraine to fight alongside the Azov Battalion, and I still don't.
As for what's going on between them and Trump, this is what I think: I still don't believe it was Russian state actors behind the leaks. I believe there's proof beyond a doubt that Trump and his team at the very least attempted collusion, and I think it's very likely that collusion between Trump and Russian state elements happened. What I think will happen is that we'll receive proof that collusion happened, and nothing will happen. The Democrats will pride themselves on getting proof that Trump and his gang did something illegal, and that'll be the end of it. The Republicans will simply dismiss any attempts to get him impeached on that evidence.
'And that's the problem I have. Currently, there is a Republican 'civil rights reform' bill in Congress which, if it passes, will significantly hurt me as a transgender woman by ending all existing and preventing any future protections for transgender people.
'There's also the healthcare issue. If even the budget passes to defund Medicare and Medicaid, my mother will die fast. And my grandmother will die more slowly.
'So excuse my cynicism over this Russia story and my lack of faith in liberalism. I'm a registered Democrat, and I intend to vote in the Senate primary and in next year's elections. I'm starting a job at a local business in the next few weeks.
I'm a democratic socialist now - not out of any wide-eyed idealism, but because I've read economics texts, including Ha-Joon Chang, David Ricardo, Richard D. Wolff, John Maynard Keynes, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Anwar Shaikh. I'd like to see some social-democratic reforms passed in the meantime, including single-payer and free college.
I want to see the Democrats talk less about Russia and more about preserving healthcare, non-discrimination protections, and democratic procedure, as well as fighting Trump's draconian and racist agenda.
'All I want is my mother's healthcare, my rights, and to hold down a job and get an education. I'm tired of being condescended to that my rights as a trans woman and my family's health, along with the safety of my neighbours of colour, have to be put on hold because Trump had some dirty dealings with Russian oligarchs.'

On the Declaration of Independence

Two hundred and forty-one years ago, the Declaration of Independence was signed.
Its second sentence is one of the most famous in the English language, and rightfully so. Draughted by Thomas Jefferson and edited by the Committee of Five, it reads:
'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'
It was recognised by Sojourner Truth, by Harriet Tubman, by the masterful Frederick Douglass, by the heroic John Brown, and by our great old President Abraham Lincoln that, so long as black humans were subject to the cruelties, the whippings, the beatings, the murders, and the absolute denial of humanity that was slavery, these unalienable rights were not real.
It was recognised by Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin, by Ida B. Wells, by Julia Ward Howe, by Margaret Fuller, by Ernestine Rose, by Abby Kelley Foster, by Lucy Stone, by Alice Paul, and by hundreds of thousands more that, so long as women were mere subjects of men, these unalienable rights were not real.
Eugene V. Debs, Big Bill Haywood, and Joe Hill fought for the 'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness' of workers; Angela Davis, Rosa Parks, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Stokely Carmichael, Huey P. Newton, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X struggled that, as 'all men are created equal', segregation was a denial of this statement to be overcome; Stormé DeLarverie, Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Harry Hay, Allen Ginsberg, and Larry Kramer fought for LGBTQ+ people to be granted their unalienable rights.
Yet all of these fights remain unfinished.
When the Great Seal of the United States was first proposed, Benjamin Franklin, a member of the First Committee for the Seal, proposed this design:
REBELLION TO TYRANTS IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD
REBELLION TO TYRANTS IS OBEDIENCE TO GOD.

The scene is one from the Book of Exodus, of God leading the Israelites from slavery in Egypt to freedom in Canaan. It is a scene commemorated every year at Pesach, or Passover. And the lesson I learn nearly every year at Pesach is this: That so long as there is one suffering, we all suffer; that so long as there is one oppressed, none of us are liberated; that so long as one is enslaved, none of us are free; that so long as one is poor, none of us are rich; that so long as there is a single human being hungry, homeless, and naked, none of us are fed, sheltered, or clothed.
If 'all men are created equal,' if 'they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,' if 'among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness', then why is there such a great disparity between the wealth of the wealthy and that of the rest? (Jefferson had changed the Lockean phrase from 'life, liberty, and property' because he realised, as did Proudhon later, that property, when not in the service of liberty, becomes theft and the foundation of despotism!) Why does there still seem to be one law for the poor and another for the rich, one law for our brothers and sisters of colour and another for white people, one for women and non-binary people and another for men? Why do our police kill the innocent; why do we send our citizens abroad to kill and be killed? Why do we spy on all under the Sun, and assault the rights of people to freedom of speech, of assembly, of religion? Why do we leave so many without food, without shelter, without healthcare, without clean water, even without clothing?
Are these not denials of the rights which our Creator granted us? Is this the decree of He Who is the 'death of Death and Hell's destruction'? No! To say such would be the highest blasphemy! This is the will of the Adversary, the result of the worship of Mammon!
Throughout all of the history of Humanity, there has been a striving for the realisation of these principles, an impulse in the heart that the bounties of Creation must belong to all, that the hungry must be fed, that the widow and the orphan are to be comforted.
If we are to understand the words of Jefferson in their truth, we must allow their radical implications to be realised. Then, and only then, can we see it fulfilled, that
'with righteousness shall he judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the land;
'And he shall smite the land with the rod of his mouth,
'And with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
'And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
'And faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
'And the wolf shall dwell with the lamb,
'And the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
'And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
'And a little child shall lead them.
'And the cow and the bear feed;
'Their young ones shall lie down together;
'And the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
'And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp,
'And the weaned child shall put his hand on the basilisk’s den.
'They shall not hurt nor destroy
'In all My holy mountain;
'For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD,
'As the waters cover the sea.'

Isaiah 11:4-9, JPS Tanakh 1917.

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