Category Archives: Labyrinths

Walking Countre-5-60-7 Into the Centre: Slogan Time!

The Tenth Meeting of the Mariposa Hunt Club (hunting the wild Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice), recorded this 28th day of May, 2019, began with a debate. The date is significant, by the way, because it marks the end of the second month of the Leacock Anniversaries, which began March 28th, the 75th anniversary of his death, and will end December 30th, the 150th anniversary of his birth. In between will come a re-writing of The Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice in time for its 100th anniversary. The Mariposa Hunt Club knew all this, of course. I am simply reminding you.

The debate concerned the nature of the Centre of the labyrinth. Is it a ring in its own right, or simply an extension of Countre-5-60-7 on the way in, and Clockre-9-60-7 on the way out, according to the naming scheme previously adopted? All agreed that in either case the number 8 ought to be awarded to it, as being 2 to the power of 3, or 10 in base-eight arithmetic. So much was obvious.

I did not take detailed notes of the debate, only the decision, which was pragmatic and both-and. The Centre was deemed to be both a ring and not a ring, both a stage in its own right and an extension of the rings immediately prior and posterior, arrival and departure being both events in their own right and each too brief to be made the agenda for an entire meeting. The walkers would consider the contents of their slogan while they walked Countre-5-60-7, and make their decision when they reached the Centre.

They found in Ring Five a little relief after the tight turns of the previous two. (In the labyrinth in my yard Ring Six must wind its way among some trees, making it unusually tortuous. Milk and garter snakes occasionally sun themselves there at the base of the trees, although I have never seen a rattlesnake in the labyrinth. Nearby occasionally, but not within it.) Ring Five is not all that long, however, and they felt the pressure to work quickly.

They decided their Slogan needed to express four ideas:

First, that Social Justice is, or appears to be, an Unsolved Riddle because of Fear;

Second, that Social Justice is, or appears to be, an Unsolved Riddle because of Impatience;

Third, that Social Justice is, or appears to be, an Unsolved Riddle due to a preoccupation with Individuality instead of Collectivity;

Fourth, that Social Justice is, or appears to be, an Unsolved Riddle due to a preoccupation with Collectivity instead of Individuality.

They fully realized, of course, that both Social Justice and the unsolved riddleness of it are more complicated than that, but they agreed that those four ideas captured the essence of what needed to be done and the right way to go about it.

For a brief time at the Centre they stood considering alternative wordings. They then gathered in a circle around Mayor Josie Smith who closed her eyes, paused to let the spirit move her, and announced their Slogan:

“DAUNTLESSLY, STEP-BY-STEP, BOTH ONE AT A TIME AND ALL TOGETHER!”

Afterwards, as they sat around diminishing the supply of refreshments and feeling good about what they had done, they asked Mayor Josie why she had chosen ‘Dauntlessly’ instead of ‘boldly’ (more positive, thought some), or ‘fearlessly’. “I didn’t choose it,” she said, “it just came to me. But I think it’s the right word. It sets the right tone, strong enough for the job, neither too aggressive nor too cautious. It’s a both-and word. And I’m hearing an echo from somewhere, but I can’t think where it is. Dauntless the something something from high school or university, I think, but I can’t remember the rest.”

“Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set and blew ‘Child Roland to the Dark Tower Came'” quoted Deanna Drone. “Browning.”

“Well done, Deanna!” enthused her brother Thoreau. “And do you know that ‘slug-horn’ and ‘slogan’ come from the same root? They’re from the Gaelic sluagh-ghairm, meaning a battle cry.”  And all agreed that with such a pedigree, ‘dauntless’ it would have to be.

“So how to we proceed now?” asked Martha Yodel, evoking much head-nodding and affirmative vocalization.

“Dauntlessly, step-by-step, one at a time and all together,” said Mayor Josie. “We walk out of the labyrinth in exactly that way, and if we do, repeating it over and over as we go, we will discover what each and all of us must do, individually and together, as neighbours, as citizens, as Mariposa, as our Province, as our Country, as our World must do. We must push past the Unsolved Riddle, push it aside, render it irrelevant, and meet Social Justice face to face: dauntlessly, step-by-step, one at a time and all together.”

“Amen to that!” said they all. And away they went, over hill and down dale, to their several or shared dwellings, happy in their work.

 

Walking Clockre-6-40-6: Today we have Consideration of Slogans

In the ninth week of the Leacock Anniversaries in 2019, on May 21st, we continue the Saga of the Labyrinth Walk by citizens of Mariposa in search of the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, under the guidance of Mayor Josie Smith.

The whole conversation in these meetings is becoming a little more focussed, which is what one would want in such a process. The Mariposan system for naming and numbering the rings of their labyrinth are described in the previous posting. Today they are walking clockwise around the 6th ring in order numbering from the outside, this ring being 40 units long (longest 140, shortest zero because it is not a ring at all but rather the chute into the centre), and the 6th in order of walking.

Last week the gang decided that when they reached Centre-8-Zero they wanted to have a “slogan” that would frame their search for practicalities, and that they would devote the next two walkings (Clockre-6-40-6 today; Countre-5-60-7 next week) to consideration of slogans used by others with the same objective, if they could find any.

I think it is appropriate at this stage for me, the taker of minutes for their deliberations, to point out that their slogan-hunt may have some link with the slug-horn blowing of the two moles-in-aspect whose adventures are unfolding, albeit slowly, in the Dark Tower Saga of the Leacock blog. ‘Slogan’, and ‘Slug-Horn’ are etymologically related, closely. Blowing a Slug-Horn and shouting a Slogan may be the same act.

When Mayor Josie proclaimed the search for slogans open, Sheldon Uttermost immediately reached for his lap-top, but the others asked him politely to put it away. They would see what they would come up with for themselves before they invited Aunt Google into the room. They would devote today’s walk to generating a long list, and next week’s to winnowing it down and inventing their own variations. When they reached Centre-8-Zero they would make their choice.

Here is their Long List:

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (The Golden Rule)
Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you. (The GR reversed)
Love your neighbour as yourself. (Anglican Prayer Book)
Liberty, Fraternity, Equality (French Revolution)
Life, Liberty, Happiness (American Revolution)
All for One and One for All
From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. (Karl Marx)
Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. (John Kennedy)
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. (Martin Luther King)
Ask not just what will government do for me, but what can I do for myself. (Richard Nixon)
With malice towards none, with charity towards all. (Abraham Lincoln)
We have nothing to fear but Fear itself. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)
Try to be a little kinder. (Aldous Huxley)
The essence of Social Justice is equality of opportunity and the alleviation of misery. (Stephen Leacock)
Give us people of good will whose hearts are in the cause and our happiness is assured. (Stephen Leacock)

The attributions I have assigned to each of these may be correct, or may not. They came from the group, and I haven’t checked them. This is a record of their conversations, not something scholarly.

The list could have been a lot longer. Each idea evoked discussion, because many beg for clarification. The meeting went on until nearly midnight. As the group made its way out into the street, I overheard Deanna Drone say, “It’s the Both-And part that’s difficult, isn’t it. We don’t want to take away the chance to be rich, only the chance to be poor. The chance, that is, the bad luck. Not the choice. We want to leave things alone when they are relatively harmless, and meddle with them when they are not. It’s all a big muddle.” And they danced off down the street singing:

Meddling with the Muddle
Is like falling in a puddle!
Let us throw off the befuddle-
Ment arising from our huddle
And go home to have a cuddle.

This sounded like a good idea to me, so I did it too.

Today We Have Renaming of Rings

In the eighth week of the Leacock Anniversaries, on May 14th, we continue the Saga of the Labyrinth Walk by citizens of Mariposa, under the guidance of Mayor Josie Smith.

This meeting began with a declaration by Mayor Smith. She said: “I am beginning to believe that this method of naming the rings of our labyrinth is not working. We tried to give them names from our solar system, another system of rings, but in fact they are not related, are only superficially of the same kind, and their names, arbitrary as they are, contain no information about the nature of each ring.

“Each ring,” she went on noting looks of interest on the faces in the circle, “has four characteristics. It has order, numbered from one to eight, from outside to inside, or from inside to outside, according to preference. We can call the centre the eighth ring, even though it isn’t really a ring. We could make it one if we had more room. In here it’s just a spot. We walk them in a different order, which is the second characteristic. Thirdly, we walk them in alternate directions: clockwise and counter-clockwise. Fourthly, they have different lengths, and that’s important to the quality of the walk.”

This triggered a brisk conversation about how to capture the four characteristics in four-word labels (including enjoyment of the pun on four-word and forward). What they came up with was the following scheme:

They put the direction of walking first, because it’s a word and the others are numbers. Then the geometric order, then the length very approximately, and finally the order walked. The whole walk in their indoor labyrinth, the way it was laid out, would therefore be summarized as follows, once they had finished playing around with the spellings:

Entre
Countre-3-100-1
Clockre-2-120-2
Countre-1-140-3
Clockre-4-80-4
Countre-7-20-5: Today’s walk
Clockre-6-40-6
Countre-5-60-7
Centre-8-zero
Clockre-5-60-9
Countre-6-40-10
Clockre-7-20-11
Countre-4-80-12
Clockre-1-140-13
Countre-2-120-14
Clockre-3-100-15
Endre

This, they realized, would be not that easy to remember at the start, but they would get used to it. At least the labels had meaning. This whole exercise took up a good chunk of the meeting, but they were satisfied with the result. After all, they noted, today’s walk along Countre-7-20-5, aka the Fifth Whole, would be a short one. How would the bawl lie on this one, and with what clob should they clobber it?

The bawl, they decided, necessarily lay right alongside Centre-8-zero, and that they therefore could fittingly clobber it with Imagination, anticipating both bawl and clobber as they would be when they got there. That way they could employ the next two walks, neither of any great length, to prepare.

As I say, today’s is a very short walk, so I am going to cut it that way, as they did. Suffice to say that they quickly decided that when they got to Centre-8-zero they would need to have a “slogan”, a simple phrase that would frame the practicalities they would need to resolve as they worked their way back out through all the rings. Their slogan would have to be something legitimately representing the sighting, maybe even the capture, of the wild Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice. They would tame it, or at least get a halter on it, during the walk out.

For the next two walks, therefore, they would consider slogans previously bawled by others, to see if they had enough clobber behind them.

 

Labyrinth Ring Moonbeam : 4th Walked : Getting Ready to Clobber the Bawl

Describing what was achieved during the Seventh Meeting of the labyrinthine Hunt for the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice in the middling city of Mariposa. As this posting turned out, it is appropriate that these folks are walking the ring they  have called Moonbeam, related to lunar, related to lunacy. This metaphorical reasoning is truly very, very difficult to control.

If you think the order of walking this kind of labyrinth is strange, don’t blame me. Blame the Cretans. Apparently they worked out the whole scheme: A circle of seven rings in convoluted array with a chute to the centre, to be walked alternating between clockwise and widdershins at each turn into the centre, then back out again; from outside into the third (numbered from the outside) ring, then second, then first, fourth, seventh, sixth, fifth, into the centre, out of the centre, then fifth, sixth, seventh, fourth, first, second, third, and outside again; in all, including entry and exit, 18 separate stages just like a golf course. This analogy is apposite because our little band of Mariposans had resolved in their previous seance to carry fourteen tools, like a golfer.

I wish I could recount for you in detail the conversation leading to the final list, but I cannot. It lasted four hours, continuing unabated during breaks, and all were talking fast because they were excited. Including the times when two or three were talking at once, I figure the average flow was a minimum of 150 words per minute, and could easily have been 175. Using the lower estimate, in four hours that’s 36,000 words. Nobody wants to read a 36,000 word blog post, least of all you. Perish forbid! I have already written 220 words and haven’t said anything yet. I had better cut to the chase and tell you what they came up with for their fourteen hunting tools, or “clobs”, as they decided to call them.

Before I give you the list, however, I draw your attention to the other essential occupant of a golf bag, that being the ball, or rather for most golfers, a supply of balls. The purpose of the clubs is to overcome the inertia of the ball. The ball may therefore be described as an inert force which refuses to move in the desired direction until firmly overcome. Those who dream of Social Justice face many such forces, equally inert or more so. A golf ball, after all, is designed to fly or roll when struck. Unlike a soccer ball or a hockey puck, however, it is a sitting target. A skilled practitioner using the right club for the situation, therefore, can do almost magical things with it. I could embroider my analogy at much greater length but will not, having passed 400 words and still not said anything.

Golf clubs used to have colourful names, like driver, putter (both still used), spoon, mashie, niblick, cleek, brassie (all now obsolete). Most clubs are numbered nowadays, a great loss to the poetry of the game. But I digress.

The fourteen ‘clobs’ finally chosen by the Mariposan band on their trek around Moonbeam, the fourth ring, are as follows:

Pluraliser :: used for recognizing Pluralism;

Puzzler :: used for recognizing Unsolved Riddles;

Coherenator :: used for overcoming Fragmentation;

Completer :: used for overcoming Incompleteness;

Concluder :: used (always most carefully) for overcoming Inconclusiveness;

Congruver :: used for reconciling incongruous juxtapositions;

Both-Ander :: used for coping with hazards of the either-or kind;

Knowledge :: should always be complemented by application of the Both-Ander;

Imagination :: the indispensable clob; no inertia can be overcome without it;

Compassion :: clob for choosing the appropriate direction;

Humour :: clob for dealing with inherent imperfections;

Conversation :: everyday, working clob;

Negotiation :: clob for overcoming conflicting inertias;

Education :: clob for learning the game and basic clobbing skills.

The game, which could be called Gulf but also might be called Bridge (if that game-name were not already taken), must also be further learned by playing it, a process called Experience.

It is important to note,—and the participating Mariposans did note it,—that except in those situations in golf where one is permitted to “tee-up” the ball, the player will  find that the ball, after application of the club, always rolls into a ‘lie’ of some kind, be it good, bad, up-hill, down-hill, level, etc. Thus each stroke of the game may be succinctly described as overcoming the inertia of the ball as it rests in its lie and moving it closer to the hole. Gaining the hole is an incremental process which cannot normally be accomplished in one felled swoop. Furthermore, the game is not complete until the player has put the ball into 18 holes, that being the number for Life in Jewish numerology.

By changing the spellings slightly we can thus describe each stroke of the ‘game’ which is the Hunt for the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice: To address the ‘bawl’ (as in Vale of Tears) and its ‘lie’ with the appropriate ‘clob’ (using a ‘tea’ where allowed), and to move it stroke by stroke into the ‘whole’. Since courses in this game are always found in natural environments, the number of wholes may vary.

The Mariposans now have their bagful of clobs and are ready to address the bawl and clobber it, as the expression goes. I urge you to remember, however, that this gulf course is a labyrinth, convoluted in shape, and requiring to be walked both ways to attain its end. Imagine what the game of golf would be like if it were played from tee to green and back again along a route that offers no fair way but only a crudely cultivated, ever-changing, un-mapped wilderness of rough, scrub, bunkers, water hazards, pine straw, and areas that are out of bounds.

Hunting the wild Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice is no game for the faint of heart.

 

 

 

The Ring Mercury: Second in Order, Second Walked

Week Five of the Leacock Anniversaries, Wednesday April 24th, 2019.

I note in passing the interesting fact that the even-numbered rings of a Cretan or Classical Labyrinth are walked in order, and the odd-numbered rings in a jumble of reverse orders, the walking order going in being 3-2-1-4-7-6-5-8. Going out the order is reversed. I have no idea whether this fact has any mystical significance.

The people of the middling city of Mariposa, you will perhaps recall, under the leadership of Mayor Josie Smith, are treating their hunt as a walk through such a labyrinth, and have named the rings to make them more memorable. In walking order the rings are Sunny, Mercury, Venus, Moonbeam, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Earth. Last week they decided to make Sunny the Ring of Imaginative Energy. Now they are going to walk Mercury, whose purpose remains to be discovered.

Things that remain to be discovered, however, do not remain long in that uncertain state in any process led by Mayor Josie Smith. That’s how she came to be mayor. She marches   things right along. She moves and shakes. She gets things done. The purpose of the exercise being to hunt down and tame the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, then she will hunt it down and tame it, however unruly it may try to be. But she is no dictator. She will both lead her people and be led by them. Her great-grandfather Josh, who began the Smith political dynasty, was a corrupt manipulator. Mayor Josie will have none of that.

“When I can’t sleep,” she told the group, “I think about Mariposa. I know that sounds corny, and funny, but it doesn’t make me go back to sleep, it makes the wakeful hours pass pleasantly. I think of their lives, their liberties, and their contentment, which are all part of my business in important ways. I think of them separately, and I think of them all together, and I wonder what I can do to make their lives better, their liberties fuller, and their contentment more complete. But then sometimes I wonder if their contentment really is my business. I would like them to be content, but I wonder if I am supposed to do anything about it, directly I mean. As a by-product of the other things I do, that the City does, perhaps. I can’t see the City having a Department of Contentment, although I suppose that all our departments are intended in some way to prevent discontentment. Is being undiscontented the same as being contented? When I get to that one I go back to sleep.” Everybody laughed. “But I think our question is a parallel one,” she went on. “Is Social Justice merely a lack of social injustice, or is it something more? Can there be social justice for some people and not for others at the same time? Or even for the same person? What happens if making society more socially just for one person makes them more unjust for another? How do we untangle all this?”

“That’s a huge question, bigger than all the others, I think, because it could happen no matter what we mean by social justice”, said Thoreau Drone.  “Maybe we should save that one for the Venus Ring, the outer one. I think we should talk about what we mean first. If by ‘social justice’ we mean something narrow, then maybe the contradiction question, if I can call it that, would not signify much. But if we mean something wide, then we may have to deal with it.”

Everyone knew that Sheldon Uttermost would have something to say about that, so they waited for him to say it. He did: “I think we can’t escape it. Anything we do as a society is going to benefit someone and hurt someone else, even if the hurt is only having to pay for something you don’t need yourself. But I agree, the wider we cast the net, the more unwanted fish we are going to catch. Not to mention old tires, plastic bottles, and other garbage.”

“But maybe we have to catch some of that if we want to catch the ones we do want,” said Martha Yodel. “That happens all the time. If we provide more generous financial support for families, as a necessary part of raising Social Justice, then more people are going to abuse it, or appear to be abusing it, and the people who are paying, who don’t benefit directly, are going to feel hurt, maybe are hurt, if the abuse is real.”

“Or what about climate change,” said Deanna Drone. “If we do something about that, then people in the future benefit, and the people who get the jobs to do it, but lots of others are hurt, at least in the short term, those who lose the jobs in coal and oil and gas. Whole towns, whole cities even, could disappear. It’s happened in the past. What are Nineveh and Tyre now?”

You can see where this is going, and I am running out of space for today. Suffice to say that by the time they got around the Mercury Ring they had decided to dedicate it to the question of scope, and that because it’s the second-longest ring they would make the scope wide: ‘Social’ in ‘Social Justice’ would mean social, economic, environmental (or ‘natural’ as some would have it, meaning to include justice for Nature), cultural, political, also including important sub-categories of these such as educational and healthal, also encompassing both the individual and the collective. There’s much to be said for that approach, of course, but it does complicate the project. If the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice is that kind of creature, then it won’t be hard to find, but it will be hard to catch, let alone tame.

 

Into the Labyrinth: The Sun Ring

Week Four, Monday April 15th, 2019. This posting should be written on Tuesday, but it’s a short week because of Passover and Easter.

We catch up to our little band of Mariposan labyrinth-walkers as they wind their way widdershins around the third ring, the first to be walked, which they have decided to call Sunny. They prepared by cataloguing many of the different names the world has given the Sun, and telling some of the stories. We don’t have to go into all that, however. We are interested in the walk, not the prep-talk.

They are led by Josie Smith, the mayor of the middling city of Mariposa, Her followers number twelve, when all are present, but as is usual with such processes, all are usually not. Their names are, in order of appearance: Omur Ugabu, Josie’s husband; Sheldon Uttermost; Deanna Drone; Thorpe Bagshaw; Thoreau Drone, Deanna’s brother, known as Thor, or Uncle Henry for obvious reasons; Martha Yodel. Since the other six haven’t appeared yet, I’ll add them when they do. I will also, eventually, tell you all the stories, how these people   descend from the earlier inhabitants of Mariposa, and their present occupations.

Now you may think that I am stretching probability by giving someone the first name Thoreau, but I have precedents, in this case Thoreau MacDonald, a Canadian artist. I also went to school with a boy whose given names were Ralph Waldo Emerson, called Wally. These thing happen. Given names made out of ancestor surnames are of course quite common. I have one myself, for my middle name. But I digress.

Since Sunny was the first ring walked on the inward phase they decided to take their time while they figured out the protocols. Sunny would also be the last one walked in the outward phase, at the end of which they would emerge into the world outside, bearing,—whatever that would come to mean,—the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice. They decided not to think about that until the time came. They had settled, during the prep-talk, on the understanding that the Sun was the orb of day, the indispensable light source whence came the physical energy of life, and that Sunny would therefore have to stand for the the source of the imaginative energy they would need for their quest.

“The imaginative energy to do what?” was the question Josie put to them as they went their discursive way. They all threw answers at her which she wrote down on her flip chart after the manner of her kind. To understand Social Justice. To know how to identify it when we see it. To know what an Unsolved Riddle is. To know how it works. To know whether Social Justice is an Unsolved Riddle or something else. To know how being an Unsolved Riddle might change the nature of Social Justice. By this time Josie was having trouble keeping up. To know why it was called ‘wild’. To know what taming it meant. To know how to tame it. To know what to do with it when it is tamed. To know where to keep it. To know how to keep it. To realize that this is only the first ring and that we don’t have to know any of these knows yet, but will need to know them when we come back to Sunny walking the other way, on our way out.

“That’s a good one,” said Josie. It came from Deanna.

“We had better know most of them before we get there,” said Sheldon Uttermost, “because Sunny is the last ring, and not all that long.”

“Which one will we give to Mercury then?” asked Thorpe Bagshaw. “And Venus after that. They’re the rings that wrap around the others.” After considerable discussion they decided that Mercury, both second in line and second in place, should probe Social Justice, and Venus, first in place and third in line, should probe the world around it.

It took them some time to arrive at this decision, but having done so they hastened to the refreshment table. All that talk had worked up appetites in them all. Good talk does that.

 

 

 

 

 

Belabouring the Labyrinth Both Sunwise And Widdershins

Week Three, Tuesday, April 9th

When the Mariposa group assembled in Week Three to continue their Hunt for the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, they found that Mayor Josie Smith had called in the artists and had them paint decorated lines for a Cretan labyrinth on the floor. This did not please the badminton club, who had come to treat the old auditorium as their private space. They liked it because they were used to the low ceilings and century-old dust, while visiting competitive clubs were not. The TUROSJ hunters were delighted, however, and resolved to walk the labyrinth to open and close each meeting.

Thoreau Drone, Deanna’s brother, always called Thor, always ready with an alternative point of view, suggested they should walk in at the beginning of the meeting, and out at the end, to keep them centred. Mayor Josie had doubts. “I’m not sure that the point of the labyrinth is to be centred,” she said. “The human brain is not centred, it’s convoluted. I think the labyrinth is a simple image for that. I think the end comes when you return to the world outside, having walked back out the way you came in. The centre is half-way. The meditation process ends at the end. You walk seven rings in, going to the middle first and then in convoluted order from there, alternating sunwise and widdershins, outer then inner. You find the centre, then walk back out the reverse way. That’s fifteen stages, or sixteen if the way in and out of the centre is two, which I think it is.”

“The king told Alice to begin at the beginning, go on to the end, and then stop,” said Deanna.

“Josie thinks the labyrinth is telling us to begin in the outer middle, go to the outside in stages, then back through the inner middle to the inside, then to the centre, then back through the inside through the inner middle to the outside and finally through the outer middle to the outside world. That’s a lot more complicated. But then so is the Unsolved Riddle of Social Justice, I suppose.” Sheldon Uttermost, as did many Mariposans, liked to live up to his name.

“Better that than riding madly off in all directions,” said Thorpe Bagshaw. Much nodding of heads.

“Maybe we should name all these stages,” said Sheldon. So they did that, as logically as they could. They were beginning to suspect that logic wasn’t going to get them far when the real Hunt started, but it might get them as far as some names. They decided to acknowledge the classical planets, those orbiting creatures visible to the naked eye, thereby adding them to their battery of metaphors: a hunt; a wilderness, a labyrinth; heavenly spheres. “There’s no such thing as too many metaphors,” said Martha Yodel, being the English teacher, and everyone was willing to agree, whether they really did or not. Here’s what the chart looked like when they had it, numbering the rings from the outside.

3. First & Last (Sixteenth) walked. Outer Middle. Sun.
2. Second & Fifteenth. Inner Outer. Mercury.
1. Third & Fourteenth. Outer Outer. Venus.
4. Fourth & Thirteenth. Inner Middle. Moon.
7. Fifth & Twelfth. Most Inner. Mars.
6. Sixth & Eleventh. Middle Inner. Jupiter.
5. Seventh & Tenth. Outer Inner. Saturn.
8. Eighth & Ninth. Centre. Earth.

“I am bothered by the names we are using,” said Thor with much hesitation. “They are our names, but they are not the world’s names. There’s a lot more to this naming business. If we’re going to take a pluralistic approach to Unsolved Riddles and Social Justice, maybe we should take it to the names of our labyrinth, then maybe we need to be a little more inclusive in our understanding. These names represent stories, after all. Why should we take just one?”

“Are we taking a pluralistic approach?” asked Josie.

“I sure hope so,” replied Thor. More head nodding at that.

“Yes,” said Deanna, “we must. That’s what everybody dislikes about us, that we always want to impose our names, our stories, on everything. If we’re going to have Social Justice, it’s got to be everybody’s Social Justice, not just ours.”

“I expect that goes for everybody in the plurality,” said Sheldon, “if we’re going to be one, that is. How can we be reconciled, in all the directions we’re supposed to be, if we don’t know each other’s names and make ourselves familiar each other’s stories?”

“It’s harder work being a pluralist than a singularist,” said Mayor Josie. “That’s the first thing I learned when I got onto Council. It’s all about doing as much good as you can for everybody. If you start playing favourites among all the different groups, then the whole thing falls apart. It’s very difficult, when they want different things.”

“Maybe that’s why Social Justice is an Unsolved Riddle,” said Thor, and the head-nodding brigade fired up again.

“Okay,” said Josie. “Here’s what we’ll do. We’ll walk the whole labyrinth to start and end each meeting, to keep the whole process in mind. Then we’ll take it one ring at a time each week, in walking order. That’s sixteen weeks. That should take us through to the end of July. Then we should pull things together and see where we are. Then we might take some time off. Then we should repeat the whole process, and wrap it up in December. What do you think?”

They all thought that was good.

“All right. Next week it’s Ring Three, the Outer Middle Ring on the Way In, called Sun and anything else we can find. Everybody look for names and stories, but we’ll have to be quick about that. We’re here for Social Justice, not to play games with mythology. But I think the mythology is going to help, especially with the Pluralism of it. But just how, I don’t know yet. It may take us a few weeks to find out.”

“We may have to make up our own mythology,” said Thoreau Drone.

“Maybe we will.”

Some refreshments remained when the meeting was over, but not for long.