May 3


Why do we care about history - beyond the obvious opportunities for making money out of tourism? It is, we are told, so that we can learn lessons from it, and thereby make a better world; alas, I can find no evidence that this worthy theory has yet been put into practice. If it had, then surely God and all related religions would have been abolished not just from the legislation but from the human psyche centuries ago, and all testosterone-driven alpha males prohibited from any position of power, authority or leadership in any area of human life. Clearly neither of those outcomes is likely to happen in the near future, so I guess we will just have to stick to tourism.

Sigmund Freud invented the Id, the Ego, and the Super-Ego as a generalised means of explaining human behaviour; but it seems to me that he generalised too broadly, and that we really need a second scale, the Id, the Ego, and the Super-Id, and then we can make a clear distinction between those whose lust for power is all about fulfilling the aspirations of the Id, and those with very different aspirations driven by the Ego. Perhaps we can even state that one is the Zero while the other is the Positive, that one is the "pulchra" while the other is the "saurus".

There are alpha females too of course... Super-Idessess as well as Super-Egotisticae. I leave you to decide which category the alpha female below belongs in.

Thanks to Ze'ev for the cartoon
She was born Goldie Mabovich, this day in 1898, in Kiev, in the Ukraine. When she was eight, the family escaped the Pale, bound for the Kingdom of Alphalia, settling of all unlikely Jewish stadtls in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Then, in 1921, now Goldie Myerson, she and her husband emigrated to Palestine, joining Kibbutz Merhavia, from where she served the Histadrut, the Trades' Union organisation, as kibbutz representative, then as secretary of the Women's Labour Council, finally as a member of the national executive.

During Hitler's War she ran the political department of the Jewish Agency, and was one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence on May 14th 1948. In 1949 she entered the Knesset, served as Minister of Labour from 1949- 1956, the year in which she formally changed her name from Myerson to Meir, and from Goldie to Golda. From 1956 to 1966 she served as Foreign Minister, from '66 to '69 as secretary-general of Mapai, in which capacity she brought the various left-wing groupings together to form the Israel Labour Party. When Levi Eshkol died (on Feb 26th 1969), she became Prime Minister, responsible for the disaster of the Yom Kippur War, resigning finally on April 10th 1974. She died on December 5th 1976, having kept secret for twelve years the fact that she had leukemia.

Amber pages:

Niccolo Machiavelli, Italian political philosopher, came somewhat deviously and opportunistically into the world, today in 1469

Pete Seeger, folk singer, likewise born today, in 1919, and all the flowers, for your information, went to his mother's hospital bedside, as they should

Lord Byron swam the Hellespont - today in 1810, though a Greek named Leander had already achieved this feat, several Sherpa Tenzings previously; and he did it, not just once but every night, to get to his beloved Hero's bed - and still had the energy for a night of still more breaststroke. In Byron's case, accompanied by one Lieutenant Ekenhead, of the HMS Salsette, the ship on which Lord George and his travelling-companion Hobhouse had hitched a ride from Smyrna, heading for Constantinople (click here for more).

And two items that I don't suppose I shall be writing more about:

New Zealand proclaimed a British colony, today in 1841

The first black lawyer admitted to the bar (in America; there had been lawyers of some sort in other parts of the world, including Africa, for millennia probably) passed his exams. Macon B. Allen by name. Today in 1845. I wish him well.

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