Tuesday August 14th 2012 Tim
The word placebo has
origins in Medieval Europe. "Vespers for the Dead,"
included verse nine, from psalm one hundred and sixteen: "I will
walk before the Lord in
the land of the living." In Medieval times the verse went this
way: "I will please the Lord
in the land of the living." Or as it is in Latin "Placebo
Domino in region vivorum....." or something like it. Even today a
good funeral includes buffet and general largesse, and I'd say even
today many turn up for the food, the drinkies, their appearance and the
after party. In Medieval times these less than sincere
participants would more likely feign grief than risk being called "Placeboes."
My own preferred
translation of verse nine in Psalm one hundred and sixteen, would be
"I will please the Dead
in the land of the Living." And I say this
because I remember those who have died, and how they died and it doesn't
seem to matter how long ago they died. I remember their courage or
otherwise. I remember how they managed fear and loneliness. Sometimes
too I wonder why they died. More often though, I wonder what it is
they think of me, as we debate their opinion in what I suppose is a somewhat
one sided manner. "Be not afraid, " I guess. Not so much because
god holds your worried soul through the "valley of the shadow of death,"
rather because it's the living who'll remember you, and they might even wish
you were still around. And isn't it fun to use bold italics.