The People Principle ( or lack thereof-) Following the Procrustean Law ?

September 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm 9 comments

Source :

Just what exactly defines one’s “principles” or moral code by which we live ? I have written about situations and people who I feel “lack principles”. In fact on my About Me page I state”
“it is the principle of the thing”- BUT do I even know what I talking about- “principle of the thing” !!!!

prin·ci·ple (prns-pl)
1. A basic truth, law, or assumption: the principles of democracy.
a. A rule or standard, especially of good behavior: a man of principle.
b. The collectivity of moral or ethical standards or judgments: a decision based on principle rather than expediency.
A fixed or predetermined policy or mode of action.
A basic or essential quality or element determining intrinsic nature or characteristic behavior: the principle of self-preservation.

Who or what defines “principle” ?

I asked my mother, this morning,

if I were to say to you “he is a man of principles what comes to your mind”?

she answered with her 93 years of life-

a man who follows the rules and the law

Whose rules – whose laws ? Would a man following Hitler’s rules/laws in Nazi Germany be a man of principle

I asked

No ! of course not, it would be the man who went against those rules

she replied –

he would be a “just man”


just 1. guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness: We hope to be just in our understanding of such difficult situations.
2. done or made according to principle; equitable; proper: a just reply.
3. based on right; rightful; lawful: a just claim.
4. in keeping with truth or fact; true; correct: a just analysis.
5. given or awarded rightly; deserved, as a sentence, punishment, or reward: a just penalty.

The discussion with mum ended as she stated she was

I am too old to worry about it this morning and you just “know” if a man or woman has principles

I went in search of “principles” on the internet-
and a synonym for principle brought me to Procrustean Law

(Producing or designed to produce strict conformity by ruthless or arbitrary means.) –

Oh dear!!!! – not quite the definition I was looking for to produce conformity by ruthless or arbitrary meansthat would go against my principles but then again it may be how certain principles are determined in some societies!

In the Greek myth, Procrustes was a son of Poseidon with a stronghold on Mount Korydallos at Erineus, on the sacred way between Athens and Eleusis.[1] There he had an iron bed, in which he invited every passer-by to spend the night, and where he set to work on them with his smith’s hammer, to stretch them to fit. In later tellings, if the guest proved too tall, Procrustes would amputate the excess length; nobody ever fit the bed exactly, because secretly Procrustes had two beds. Procrustes continued his reign of terror until he was captured by Theseus, travelling to Athens along the sacred way, who “fitted” Procrustes to his own bed:
He killed Damastes, surnamed Procrustes, by compelling him to make his own body fit his bed, as he had been wont to do with those of strangers. And he did this in imitation of Heracles. For that hero punished those who offered him violence in the manner in which they had plotted to serve him.

This post has been swirling around in my head for some time- as I explored various subject matter not understanding the thinking of some the subjects and people I have covered. Friday found my mother and I giving an interview – the subject matter – “Communication of Culture”. How our culture( English) ( not born in this country) has translated into the “American culture”.

Of course I segued into questioning mode instead of answering mode- go figure 🙂

Exactly what was meant by the American culture?

I asked – Native American’s not withstanding-

it seemed to me to be a generalization, seeing as most US citizens hyphenated themselves eg. Polish- American, Irish- American, Italian – American, Afro- American , Chinese American, American- Slovak etc. etc

well you get my point .

How do you define American Culture? What are the principles of “American” culture ? Are those principles determined by the strongest hyphenated group of a community by time and population? What is acceptable to one cultural group may not be acceptable to another- who sets the bar?

Each non- native to these shores culture has brought their own values, history religions upon which they, presumably, base their lifestyles, lives and principles.

I have been banging on about lack of principles on this blog for years narcissistically believing that my set of “principles” which come, not from any religious persuasion but possibly a cultural heritage, are the norm. I have my doubts about that now as I walk through the situations I find myself and others having to deal with. I am surprised as to how naive I was. I thought I was main stream- I don’t believe I am anymore. I am out there somewhere on the peripheral.

There is the stock answer –

I can look at myself in the mirror every morning

but what if that mirror only reflects what YOU wish it to reflect? Then anyone, including the despots of history, can presumably look at themselves in the mirror and smile.

Are one’s principles determined by a culture from whence we came- is it history-is it predominately religion, can it be based on the amount of education one receives, knowledge of he world ? I have come across those of a “heavy religious” persuasion in my journey that are not of my particular code of ethics and yet their lack of principled behaviour- as I see it – seems perfectly acceptable to others of their ilk, cultures that clash , people who claim to be healers who can also be destroyers of healing – those that “use” and abuse people and children and property and those that turn a blind eye . Are principles weighed against based on monetary gain, power, the clique, a quiet life???

BUT maybe we are all following the Procrustean Law after all – if the bed of our journey in this life is too long or too short do we too, tend to stretch or amputate our principles to fit?


Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Blogging, everything else, hell is other people, notorious opponents of exactitude. Tags: , , , , , , , .

If you want to fix and cover up something – then you “own it”- John Sinclair and Anglemoss The Family Dollar- Design by Design – not Desperation -Lorain

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. joe smith  |  September 24, 2012 at 12:17 am

    Loraine, CSPAN Q&A program pertains to principles. It will show again at 11pm.

  • 2. Brian  |  September 24, 2012 at 2:51 am

    I have heard from a very reliable source that there are very high standards and principles for a good pizza.

  • 3. Dennis Lamont  |  September 24, 2012 at 10:21 am

    Methinks the all american aim is complete freedom with no social responsibility …and then wrap yourself in a flag and run in circles screaming and shouting when you don’t like whats going on.around you. My version of the truth …5280 shades of gray …..and if I shout it long enough it must be true, right ????? BTW life without a TV is getting better and better.

  • 4. Brian  |  September 24, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Our laws are politically written to appear that they are aligned with an unwritten principle of acceptable human behavior.

  • 5. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Yours or my unwritten law Brian? And aren’t “laws” open to interpretation all the time? How many principles of law have been stretched or amputated to fit the “bed” 😉 why is it Supreme Court Justices picked by conservative or liberal thinking etc…….?

  • 6. Dennis Lamont  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    As we have seen in the headlines over the last couple of days, it is now acceptable to shout “FIRE” in a crowded theater. Or worth $7.5 million to eat popcorn ’till you make yourself sick. All you have to do is pass a law and abortions go away, or drugs, or alcohol, or texting, or slavery, or civil rights violations, or speed limits, or stopping at railroad crossings, or even spitting on the sidewalk. As far as taking sides, since the beginning of our nation we have been unable to decide what we want out “gummint” to be, big, small, indifferent, nanny or simply out of the way. All of the benefits and none of the costs. Despite the propaganda, the Founding Fathers couldn’t decide either so they had the foresight and the faith to give us ways out …one of the first governments to do so.

  • 7. Brian  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:16 am

    “All you have to do is pass a law and abortions go away, or drugs, or alcohol, or texting, or slavery, or civil rights violations, or speed limits, or stopping at railroad crossings, or even spitting on the sidewalk.” Great way of putting it!

    The problem with many of the “happy laws” designed to appease the public, based upon the unwritten principles, is that that they do little to nothing to discourage the behaviors. Where is the written book of acceptable behaviors? The closest thing you may find is Dear Abbey in the local newspapers.

    As an extreme example, how many murderers actually consider shortly before they kill someone that they might get the death penalty after they kill someone? Also, if it is so criminal to actually act in a manner that kills someone else, since there is no exclusion in the law for the person or persons who carry out the death sentence, should they also be put to death?

    Who cares! The law was written to make the public feel safer from murderers. How’s it working for us?

  • 8. Loraine Ritchey  |  September 25, 2012 at 11:21 am

    NOT! laws are written for the law abiding 😦 I keep getting left with further questions and no answers.and to think in my youth I “knew it all!!!”

  • 9. Dennis Lamont  |  September 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I don’t think anyone can argue with the Golden Rule ….no qualifiers, no stipulations. I agree with you Brian, the vast majority of murders are spur of the moment things and chances are the majority of folk up for life are not repeaters. Other than a tool for enforcement I don’t think any one uses them as guidelines for life. do they ?????.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Recent Comments



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 190 other followers

September 2012
« Aug   Oct »