(or an anthropomorphic frolic through paltalk)
Welcome to my continuing fascination with mixed metaphors. "TO CAST PEARLS BEFORE SWINE" Such a descriptive phrase. The sacred, pure pearl thrown at the trotters of the unclean, dispised pig. The phrase comes from the Gospel according to St. Matthew. It forms part of a chapter about judging others. "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."
An interpretation of this excerpt from St. Matthew is: Save that which is good and holy for that which IS good and holy. This implies that some people, no matter what, are not worthy of our attentions. Dogs, carnivorous creatures with threatening canine teeth; and pigs, who wallow in mud, would neither understand nor appreciate a thing of such wondrous beauty as a pearl. It suggests, not too kindly, that the untamed ravenous ones, and the great uncleansed wash of humanity; have not the innate disposition to appreciate certain gifts. In fact, they may even be so ungrateful as to attack you; regardless of the supposed bounty bestowed upon them.
Pearls, through objects of beauty, are imbued with sadness. A pearl is, after all, the result of an irritation by a grain of sand which has lodged in the unprotected softness of an oyster. As it cannot be expelled, the oyster does the next best thing. It isolates the irritant by gradually coating it with layer after layer of nacre, making the object less dangerous and irritating to its soft tissues. And so, a thing of irritation becomes the wondrous gemstone, the pearl. Synonymously, as nacre forms the layers of a pearl; commonplace words can be imbued with multitudinous layers of meaning. Sententiously, we are liable as to whether we use this skill to create pearls or onions.
Swine or pigs are sometimes revered, and sometimes abhorred. In Buddhism the pig is integral to the image of the Dakini, with whom it is equated with wisdom. The Jews and Christians are forbidden from eating the flesh of the pig. "And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase." (Deuteronomy 14:8) Animals can 'cop a bad rap' in the Bible. Probably partly to do with the fact that the Bible 'gives us dominion over them'.
The Qur’an also prohibts swine flesh in a couple of places (The Table & The Cattle): 005.003: "Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah." It is looked upon as an unclean animal whose flesh should not be eaten. What a strange and complex world of words and symbols we live in; where a single word can be imbued with so many layers of meaning.
This phrase "to cast pearls before swine" is often used in an arrogant, intimidatory and egotistical way to imply that the recipient is unworthy. So, whether "to cast pearls before swine" is simply asking whether one should share their knowledge or wisdom with others.
"OR LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR" Traditionally, the 'dogs of war' are the horrors of war; those of famine, sword, and fire as penned in "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare. Marc Anthony intones these words over Caesar's inviscerated body after Caesar was slain by the Senators of Rome in a coup d'ètat of despicable proportions.
"And Cæsar's spirit, ranging for revenge, With Ate by his side come hot from hell, Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice Cry 'Havoc!' and LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR; That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial."
(Now, as an aside, Ate was the Greek Goddess of discord and destruction or the Goddess of vengeance and mischief. IT is claimed that she was driven out of heaven, and took refuge among the sons of men. The cry'Havoc!' was the signal to kill and pillage without mercy. It is a military cry to general massacre without quarter.) I have come across a few 'Ates' (pseudo-warrior queens) and 'Brutuses' (alpha-male wannabes) in chat, but to my eternal chagrin, I have not stumbled upon many 'Marc Anthonys'. By the way, Cassius has defintely been cloned in here so watch out for the sneaky bugger.
"THAT IS THE QUESTION" The question is the crux of the issue. The question referred to in the title is from Shakespeare's Hamlet. Act iii. Sc.1.
"To be, or not to be: THAT IS THE QUESTION: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?" (This is from Hamlet's famous speech where he ponders on whether it's worthwhile living mostly because people treat each other so stupidly and badly.)
So we find everyday people becoming other than their natural disposition. They 'LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR' without cause or favour. "Havoc" may not have been heard as a war cry in the chat battlefield either, though I have heard, "Boot the mongrel!" on numerous occasions. Equate this snippet of Marc Anthony's speech to the chat medium and it is apparent that the 'pack mentality' rules.
So, I would advise to "CAST YOUR PEARLS BEFORE SWINE." That is, share the positive qualities of yourself ingenuously. If you, or they, misunderstand each other and "LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR" in the forms of retaliation and retribution; you denigrate yourself and also the recipient. Use not your words as weapons of war. Heed the oyster. Turn your irritations into pearls.
PS: (By the way, there are no swine or dogs in chat. Although, occasionally, with much delight and grattitude, I have stumbled upon a gleaming pearl...)