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chad
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Pacifism

Pacifism, "a commitment to peace and opposition to war" (Stanford Enc.) gradually gained popularity during the "Age Of Imperialism" and into the 1900's, when, as we read in "This Side Of Paradise", fascist movements were gaining strength, during WW1 and WW2. Did you see "pacifism" as something that came from "Nature", or something that "Nature" created? We generally view Nature as a wild place with no rules- contrary to the nature "The Jungle Books" which abides by the Law of The Jungle.
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chad
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Re: Pacifism

Anyway, we can view "pacificism" as a movement, which may have begun in the jungles of India, and then gradually gained popularity as the world enagaged in increasingly more "modern warfare." The warfare of the 20th century had been described as leaving an "unnatural" amount of carnage, and "pacifism" may have helped to provide a "natural check" on the amount of killing. So, our morals and laws do not necessarily come from religion, but Nature- one "major rager" point of The Jungle Books. And remember canon law and natural law are two distinct bodies of law, which diverrge and converge on different points of law.
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Law and Religion

An academic research project might focus on points in history where law and religion either converges or diverges- as important turning points in human history. The project might be historical, antholopological, literary, legal, religious or so forth- I think there are a few out there now.

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Re: Law and Religion: the ten commandments

We can use the famous ten commandments and the Moses story, as an example. Some people feel the commandments came from God, and maybe others believe it was a made-up story. In any case, Moses's time seemed to be a point in history were law and religion converged.

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The Monkeys

The monkeys, who kidnap Mowgli, seem to represent either socialism, or communism, or certainly some form of collectivism, which gained popularity after the decline of Imperialism. B&N notes that Kipling, in his many travels in India, would ecounter these old ancient civilizations now only occupied by monkeys. In fact, if you go to The Animal Kingdom at WDW, there are several great monkey exhibits which contain ancient south Asian civilization dwellings- the exhibit is quite impressive, but I wonder if there are still some of the monkey civilizations which Kipling used to encounter, in Asia or in India.... Chad
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The Monkeys and ....The Snakes

And also present in the "ancient civilization": snakes, who are found at the bottom of a trap, much like in the "Indiana Jones" movie. The snakes, and Kaa, in particular, represent the draftors of the new society after an "imperialistic" regime falls- like Marx, or Lenin, or maybe like Washington, Jefferson and Franklin, although we tend not to think of the founding fathers as snakes (lol), or as people that wish to trap or decieve. Historians do cite an "American Imperialism", however. But note how Kaa weaves in and out of the monkeys at the end of the fight, like he's sewing a "patchwork quilt."
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The Wolf

[ Edited ]
The wolf has been made an "American Icon" through popular novels such as "The Call of Wild" and "White Fang" by Jack London, written @1900. The westward expansion of the U.S. during the 1800's has been described as a "taming of the wild", including North American animals like the wolf, which was eventually placed on the endangered species list in the twentieth century, after a series of bounties was placed on its head throughout the 1800's. "The Call of the Wild" alluded to, among other things the wolf's howl, which came from millions of wolves as opposed to only thousands today, giving the wild almost a different sound back then, when compared to the wild of the present day. But, by writing about a wolf pack which adopts a human child, Kipling also chose the wolf to be at the center of man's encroachment of the wild. Although the wolves and the animals in the "Jungle Books" are given human qualities, coined "anthropomorphism", real wolf packs have social hierarchies and social rules, which perhaps comprise the core of "Jungle Law" in the story, or perhaps "Natural Law" in the real world.
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Weaving

Kipling uses weaving in several metaphors in "the Jungle Books", describing weaving/sewing as somethiing that both binds and tears apart. In general, civilizations rely on fabrics to survive, but the manufacture of those same fabrics has also led to their demise. The story usually begins in China, with the manufacture of silks and the subsequent trade that took place with various civilizations along the silk trade routes, which included India, who eventually became silk "self-producing." So, in general, it's a sell on a fabric, made of silk or cotton, which leads to the production of the fabric in your own country when it eventually acquires the "know- how", or the technology on how to produce it. Why buy it, when you can produce it yourself? Right? Well, we, in the U.S., have our own story of textile producing, beginning with "Slater the Traitor", an Ameircan sympathizer (defector?) who arrived with textile manufacturing technology from England. With the new technology, the textile industry in the NE thrived with the cotton produced in the south, until the civil war that is, which transferred cotton production overseas and moved the NE textile industry to the southern part of the U.S. Now, I believe, most cotton and textiles are imported, from countries like India, which recently had a textile manufacturing disaster. But...... all of this, in contrast to Mowgli, who brings home the hide of Shere Khan for Akela, his wolf father, to lay upon.
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OMG, it's still here!

I am happy to see the B&N book club still here- i am busy working on my novel, and doing some other things. Believe it or not, what reminded me was "The Jungle Books" which I recently picked up again, after "kind of" abandoning it so long ago. And I just read "The White Seal."-so, am I picking up on Kipling making fun of the "technocracy' that had developed in Britain during the late 1800's? During the age of Imperialism, India was being governed by the "India Office" which was a bureacratic, diplomatic, technocratic "arm" of the British government and quite possibly became the government for a length of time. But the story , as you know, takes place in the northern pacific.
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The White Seal

My guess is that it's about the Crimean War impacting the Indian revolution. More on the later...
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Rhythm

The rhythms and sounds of the forest, jungle and ocean always draw me in, away from the sounds of civilization, and I never really feel like leaving. So as you listen to music this holiday season, or whenever you listen to music, try to perceive a primal African, Indian, Western, or Eastern beat, or if you're lucky to live close enough to a forest or an ocean, try to listen to and feel the rhythm of the wild. Merry Xmas!
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Toomai of the Elephants

The legenday elephant circles, where elephants dance to rhythm they create with theire feet, are the centers of what I consider to be the main theme of the Jungle Books. and that is, civilizations which grow from the center outward, like a tree, and stronger than civilizations which are created by simply drawing a circle around a territory, and thereby contain everything within that circle. At the centers of civilizations we might find in the jungle, if we can call them civilizations, we might find tribal dances and rhythms of man and animal, like the elephant. And at the center of modern day civilizations we find not only music, specifcally national anthems, but also the steady beat of time.
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Re: Toomai of the Elephants

People and animals, like the elephant, were employed to maintain the lines of civilizations formed during the age of Imperialism and prior to. And maybe, not so happy about this particular story, if there were any truly happy stories in the Jungle Books, would be the employment of the tamed elephant to round up the wild elephant for use in war, lumbering, and hunting. And as I stated, people, not just animals were employed to hold new lines formed during the age of imperialism. For example, people from different regions of Africa were recurited into colonial militaries to maintain order in newly formed African colonial states, or, a better example might be the use of the British-Indian army to fight in the Crimean War. The breaking up of the elephant circle(s), perhaps legendary, and the subsequent utilization of the elephant for war, lumber, or for princely use is perhaps similar to how the civilizations of India were split into various functions or "castes" during the age Imperialism. Yet the remnants of early civilizations in India, like the elephant dance, still remain. Also notice the elephant's wardrobe changes as his functional role changes, until we finallty see Kala Nag in his most natural state after he leaves the dance of the elephants.
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Re: Toomai of the Elephants

This story is one of my favorites of "The Jungle Books"- in the way the story transitions from the soldier and the loss of his dog during the mayhem of a downpour, to the "talking animals" of the militia, and then transitions back again to the "human" viceroy gazing across the the plain at the marching line of animals and humans. Kipling obscures the often " hard" line between civiliization and nature with his use of talking animals"-, but writes about a time when the line between nature and civilization, a marching military line in this case, consisted of both man and beast (I.e. soldiers, elephants, camels, horsese, etc.)- more so than the modern day militiias. But "The Jungle Books" and other books of this time period are about the lines of civilization being created and then those same lines formed tearing the civilization apart (I.e. invection)- Aghhh!!! damned if we do, or damned if we don't. In the case of India and also Africa, the best example would be the use of native peoples to fight in colonial wars, and the later separation of the trained "mercenary native" from the imposed rule to independence. And the recurring history lesson, in general, is the creation of a military to maintain the lines of a civilization, and the subsequent loss of control of that civilization over it's own military, which either changes or destroys the civilization it was designed to protect. Is this the U.S.? Well, maybe.