To Err Is Human

Michelle Obama is in the news this week because of the publication of her book, “Becoming”. In the book, she makes the statement that she will “never forgive” Donald Trump because he pushed the “birther conspiracy”. For those wondering, that was the claim that Obama was actually born in Kenya.

It’s clear from the context that she sees never forgiving the President as some kind of moral stance, a victory over Trump. Sadly, it’s nothing of the sort—not because of anything to do with President Trump, but because forgiveness is not for the benefit of those whom we forgive.

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It’s for our own benefit.

Now, I used to hold Michelle Obama’s opinion. I would refuse to forgive people because I thought that if I forgave them, it meant that what they did was somehow OK. It meant that they were right to do it, or that they were not at fault for doing it. It meant that I was letting them off the hook.

But forgiveness has nothing to do with any of those things.

A man much wiser than I am once explained forgiveness as follows.

If you could push a button and make a person experience immense pain for what they’ve done … forgiveness is where you choose NOT to push the button.

It doesn’t mean that you’ve forgotten what they’ve done. It doesn’t mean that what they did was acceptable in any sense. It doesn’t make them into good people.

It simply means that you don’t want to see them punished. It means that you no longer see yourself as the avenging angel put here to make their life miserable.

And when he said that, I realized that I didn’t want to be that guy. I didn’t want to be the guy who wants to cause pain to other people. Wanting to be that guy made me as bad as they were. Instead, I wanted to be the guy who decides not to push the button.

Now, am I able to follow this at all times with all people?

Of course not. I’m your standard-issue humanoid, full of all of the usual foibles and failings that we are all heir to.

But it has given me an ideal, a goal against which I can measure myself—can I be the man who refuses to push the button, the man who is willing to forgive, the man who doesn’t want to see other people suffer for what they’ve done?

So that is my wish for today, in these most divided and divisive times—that we can all learn to forgive each other for the other person’s faults, both real and imagined.

Today, I’m on the eighth floor of a bayside hotel in San Diego, because my gorgeous ex-fiancee is attending a medical workshop here. The sun is shining, the bay is sparkling, life is good. Some photos below.

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That’s the “Star of India”. I knew about it because it used to run salmon from Alaska to San Francisco in the 1920s, but I’d never seen it except in photographs. It’s still sailing, doing bay cruises. It’s an amazing old ship, the oldest iron-hulled vessel still sailing.

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That’s the “HMS Surprise“, a replica of a Royal Navy frigate which was used in the film “Master and Commander”. The film was made from several of the books by Patrick O’Brien called the “Aubrey-Maturin Series“, some of my favorite reading.

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A couple views of the “Ruby Princess”, one of the Princess cruise ships that came in for two days and has now gone on again. I can never get used to the immensity of the modern cruise ships.

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The view from the hotel window. In the distance, there is the USS Midway, the World War II ship that is now a museum.

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Aircraft carriers old and new. In the distance is a modern carrier being refitted. On the right is the USS Midway.

Yeah, I know … all my photos are of ships. Hey, I’m a swabbie, a surfer, a diver, and a commercial fisherman, what can I say? I am enamored of all the vessels used by us poor fools that put to sea …

My best wishes to all, for love, for life, for sunlight glittering on calm waters, and for forgiveness for all of our trespasses,





89 thoughts on “To Err Is Human

  1. “If you could push a button and make a person experience immense pain for what they’ve done … forgiveness is where you choose NOT to push the button.”

    Nice quote! Forgiveness is the opposite of revenge, morally speaking.

    Regarding buttons to cause pain, this may be a reference to an old study that showed how easy it was for people to push that button.


  2. I thought the Obamas would rather let that dog lie.
    Here is CNN’s list of Trump’s claims:

    Was Trump really a birther? To me, all his comments are questions about why Obama would not release his birth certificate. Questions, not claims, and good questions. I was hoping someone would finally clear this up.

    My opinion is that Obama did want to hide something on that birth certificate and it was not where he was born. My guess is that it was something about who the father was. Which is a whole different question.

    Michelle never struck me as the forgiving kind.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mr. Eschenbach,
    As a fellow nautical type, I love the photographs. Your essay prompted me to look up the history of the replica “HMS Surprise” and I was pleased to discover that I had seen her under sail in her previous life as “HMS Rose.”

    I, too, am a devotee of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels and was filled with trepidation over any attempt by Hollywood to make a decent movie derived from the series. To my amazement and delight, Peter Weir made a decent job of it. His “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” was not half bad.

    I give Weir a tip of the hat; I didn’t think it could be done.

    As for the carriers— for the life of me, every time I look at them from certain angles, I cannot understand why the damn things don’t tip over.



    • “As for the carriers— for the life of me, every time I look at them from certain angles, I cannot understand why the damn things don’t tip over.”

      A: Two steel encased, lead lined, uranium-filled nuclear reactors deep below the water line.


      • I remember in class when the subject matter involved buoyancy, center of gravity, center of buoyancy changing with inclination, buoyant forces, metacenter and metacentric height, inclining moments, etc. ….. most of the mechanical engineering majors switched to civil engineering if they remained in engineering at all. LOL

        One amazing vessel is the Coast Guard self righting patrol boats. When they roll over they pop back upright like a duck! Seat belts and snorkel required! 😉


    • I too loved the 20+ books and sweated over how the flick would mangle it all. I loved the movie! And I read that they had filmed a ton of Surprise footage to go into the sequel.

      Then much later I believed something terrible had happened to the replica Surprise? Now I’m happy to see her afloat and once more wishing for more films from the books.


  4. If you get a chance, go to the San Diego Maritime Museum and take a harbor tour on their swift boat. It is berthed on the other side of the pier from HMS Surprise.


  5. I wonder if she also doesn’t forgive Hillary and her campaign for raising the issue in the first place?

    another example of blaming trump for things that happened before he got involved.

    But on the issue of forgiveness:

    Forgiving someone doesn’t meant that you forget what they did, and it doesn’t mean that you trust them to not do it again. It merely releases your anger over the issue.

    what’s that saying, when you start on vengance, dig a grave for two or something similar? Forgiveness is making the decision NOT to start down that road.


  6. My perception of forgiveness is taken from a biblical scholar (can’t remember the name) who maintained that the act of forgiving is only to be given when the “bad” guy repents. Seems reasonable to me.


    • Chad Jessup November 9, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      My perception of forgiveness is taken from a biblical scholar (can’t remember the name) who maintained that the act of forgiving is only to be given when the “bad” guy repents. Seems reasonable to me.

      Absolutely a mistake. Most folks never repent. If so, you’ll be stuck with your anger and bitterness for a lifetime.

      Forgiveness has nothing to do with what the person does or doesn’t do. It is a choice that you can make whether or not you want to cause the person pain.

      Do you want to be that person, the one that sits around wishing that other people are in agony?

      Up to you … but I’ll give it a pass …



      • Chad, “the act of forgiving is only to be given when the “bad” guy repents”

        I only partially agree. I could understand forgiving someone who doesn’t repent, if it is about an isolated action with not a chance of being repeated in the future. In that circumstance and for my own peace of mind, depending on the action, I could forgive. For something as ridiculous as this Obama issue, I certainly could regardless of repent if it happened to me, it didn’t really cause any harm to begin with. Perhaps some emotional distress for a limited ammount of time.

        Willis: Do you want to be that person, the one that sits around wishing that other people are in agony?

        lol, that’s a bit extremist isn’t it? There are degrees of unforgiveness. I can wish that something bad happens to the person who, for example, may have proffited from selling drugs to a child of mine who may have died from an overdose (it is only an example, not something that actually happened to me), and who keeps selling drugs without repent, without it meaning that I want to see the person in agony. Some prolongued jail time could suffice.


        • Thanks, Nylo. I not only don’t want to be that person, the one that sits around wishing that other people are in agony. I don’t want to be the person who sits around wishing that something bad happens to them.

          I have great faith in the efficacy of karma. Some once described karma to me as hitting a golf ball in a tiled bathroom … I don’t need to wish harm on someone who hurts others, they’ve done a great job of that already.

          My best to you, always good to hear your voice,



      • In the Christian tradition there is the concept of “humans being formed in the image of God”. A central part of that tradition is that humans have the ability to forgive just as God does. Repentance is very like forgiveness in that it is for the repentant ones healing and benefit. Misapplying these actions and withholding them diminishes our humanity and is a loss to ourselves as well as those we interact with.


      • ” … the act of forgiving is only to be given when the “bad” guy repents. Seems reasonable to me”
        Not quite accurate. Forgiveness is extended but it is not always accepted. Reconciliation requires the offer of forgiveness (done, sealed and delivered), and the acceptance of forgiveness offered. One can’t accept forgiveness without admitting wrong, so reconciliation requires both.

        And thanks, Willis, for the thoughts and the beautiful pictures. I was walking along that same area last August. Very, very pretty in addition to all the beautiful old and new vessels.


    • “My perception of forgiveness is taken from a biblical scholar (can’t remember the name) who maintained that the act of forgiving is only to be given when the “bad” guy repents.”

      I think that has to do with the political or matters the state- or in this case the church.
      Or when does a church representative forgive someone and it has to do with criminal behavior or sin.
      Repenting is about recognizing one has committed a sin and a honest desire not repeat it [though one might repeated it- because humans are humans]. Of course it wouldn’t in any case altered the fact of a crime being committed and the consequences of justice.
      But forgiveness on personal level is what you want to do to a person who may “deserve” ill intentions on your part- because the person harmed you or harmed someone else. As in this case, Trump apparently harmed Michelle’s husband.
      [Personally, I would not inform someone, that I will not forgive them.]
      I think it’s possible Michelle, can’t forgive Hillary Clinton and by saying she won’t forgive Trump, she actually talking to Clinton. Otherwise, I would have to think that Michelle is being stupid.


    • Chad, In my opinion that was a poor biblical scholar (if you quoted them correctly – it’s hard to tell with no reference or name)..

      For me, it’s more like it says in the Lord’s prayer: “Forgive us OUR sins as (in the same way as, or at the same time as) we forgive others”…

      Because we have been forgiven so much, we can extend it to others. I liked this explanation when I read it: [Link]( “Forgive or Forget it”)

      I would love to get an economists view on that parable – to me the King forgiving the one big debt was a way to give relief to the entire kingdom; but they just didn’t get it and pass on the benefit… I’d be mad too.


      • The big Nimitz-class carriers have to port at North Island. They are too tall under light load conditions get safely under the Coronado Bridge to the main naval facility just to the south of the bridge. The smaller LHD/LHA amphibious assault carriers (carrying helicopters/Harriers/ CV-22 Osprey)do port at Naval Base San Diego though.


  7. Sadly, it seems President Trump has signed on to the stupid as well:

    Question: What is your response to Michelle Obama saying she would never forgive you for your birther comments?

    Presidential Answer: Did she say that? I haven’t seen it. I guess she wrote a book and got a lot of money for it. Usually, they want you to have a controversy. You want a controversy? I will give you one: I will never forgive HIM for depleting our military. He made this country very unsafe. Everything was old and depleted. I will never forgive him for that …and other things, of which I will have more to say later.

    Ah, well … can’t win them all …



    • He knows how to push their buttons to get the Left to react. And usually in their TDS-driven anger, they don’t see his ulterior motive.
      He did this with his comment in 2017 before his inauguration by claiming that 3.5 million illegal votes were cast for Hillary, giving her the popular vote plurality in the Presidential election. The number (3.5 million) was certainly an untrue statement on Trump’s part, and the media pilloried him for it. But it forced the Left and the media fact checkers to address the reality that illegal voting was not “zero.” And if it wasn’t zero, then what was it? He forced the Left to admit there was indeed much illegal voting aligned for Democrats in many states and localities that could affect very close races.

      He did the same thing recently with his comments on the 14th Amendment and its birth-right citizenship clause. He made the untrue claim, that as President, he could deny US citizenship by executive order. It drove the Left insane. What was his ulterior motive?
      The WaPo did an extensive stroy on his claim and fact-checked the claims versus legal scholars views on the 14th Amendment.

      Why did Trump make that citizenship vs 14th Amendment claim? My view is he did it to force the Left to come to the defense of the 14th Amendment. Remember, also in the 14th Amendment is the clear provision that one must be citizen to vote. So by forcing the Left to defend the 14th Amendment, they also must defend that voting is privilege held only by citizens. Again, he’s going after the illegal voting and the push by many Progressives to extend voting rights to non-citizens (such as visa and Green card holders).

      So Yes, to err is human. But to bait the angrified Left into a logical corner is Trumpian.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Am I correct that you mean Trump has signed on to the stupid of not forgiving, as opposed to him being stupid for accusing Obama of diminishing our military? This was unclear to me in your statement.

      If the former, I won’t have much disagreement though it is Trump’s way to turn the tables on “gotcha” questions. If the latter is the correct interpretation, having been in combat, I have a strong belief in Reagan’s “peace through strength” philosophy. It is clear that Obama and Congress were very poor in maintaining our military strength during Obama’s terms of office. I am of the belief that the US image was sorely weakened and our adversaries took considerable advantage of this perceived weakness.


        • Michelle will not forgive Trump because he ran for president. And the reason he ran for president was her husband’s abominable behavior. Obama may not have been caught calling people “deplorables”, but he felt that way and treated middle-class America that way, no different than Hillary.

          It’s true that the birther theory arose from Clinton’s camp, but it caught fire on the right. Obama trolled those people, these “deplorables”, using it as a dog whistle to his own supporters, by refusing to release the certificate. If the controversy died down Obama would bring it up again in a speech or interview. Constant trolling. It was that contempt for working class and blue-collar people more than anything else that infuriated Trump, the only nominee ever to have driven a bulldozer and to have worked with bulldozer drivers, carpenters, plumbers, interior designers, electricians, and the rest of the people who build and maintain America.

          Trump counter-trolled the birther issue, and did it brilliantly; using Obama’s own tactics against himself. And Trump won, by denying Obama the use of this issue to play to his base. It was this experience more than anything else that convinced Trump that he should and could successfully run, using verbal jujitsu to turn the left’s out of bounds behavior against themselves. If you doubt me, ask The Man himself.

          As for Michelle, little remains of Obama’s legacy. Obamacare is now called ACA, his dialogue on race turned ugly, his foreign policy exposed as impotent or fraud, and what little remains of his executive orders is headed to the SCOTUS with almost no chance of survival. So yeah, she has reason to be resentful.


          • Don’t forget Obama’s “clinging to their guns and bibles” comment. That says it all about his distain for the middle class.


          • Actually, Obama’s superpac released a birth certificate showing that he was born in Hawaii back in 2008. It wasn’t any good, of course, because they had redacted the name of the father listed on the certificate. It stuck in my memory because I couldn’t perceive a reason, at that time, for the name of the father being redacted for a male child named “Junior.” I have since decided it was possible that the name on the certificate was not Obama Senior, but someone else that was over 21 and an American citizen, thus transferring natural born citizenship.

            On one of Obama’s recent Africa tours, he allegedly stated that he was born in Kenya. I have never looked for the verification since his supposed father’s mother stated she attended his birth, and never retracted that statement.

            Finally, forgiving IS for the benefit of the person forgiving. I have always looked at it as saying, in essence, that I am not carrying this bucket of acid that is eating at me, I am walking away. It has nothing to do with wishing or not wishing pain upon the person being forgiven, it is strictly for the personal act of no longer inflicting pain upon yourself.

            Liked by 2 people

          • @Tom O

            I believe that the bio on his book jacket of his first book originally said that he was born in Kenya. That’s second hand though.


    • His response reminded me of the post you put up after the election where you quoted Salena Zito who said “the press takes him literally but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously but not literally”
      You also looked at how he went to the Army Navy game to show his support for the military and all those who serve in them.

      “You gotta understand, this is not figuratively but literally a matter of their life and death. Their own President may kill them. And to his great credit, Trump has shown that he knows the weight of that burden and the onus of that heavy relationship on him.

      Here’s the odd part. They don’t owe him anything. He owes them everything, because they are willing to die for him”.

      He doesn’t want to be sending them into harms way without all they need to do what’s asked of them.
      Unfortunately our leaders here in the UK don’t seem to have the same feeling for our services, allowing pernicious investigations into actions taken in the heat of battle.

      James Bull

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks, James, well said. I fear that Britain has currently lost its way. And while I have great faith in the good folks of the UK.

        However, I do wish they’d obey the first rule of holes, which says “When you find yourself in a hole … stop digging …”

        Best regards,



        • But we need to dig ourselves out of the “whole” of the EU and then move on to the other holes we’ve got ourselves into trying to be nice and PC to all and sundry.

          James Bull


          • You think the EU is bad now just wait for the European Republic

            Here’s the money quote from their manifesto:

            We recognize that Europe’s wealth is based on the exploitation of other continents and the suppression of other cultures over centuries. For that reason, we are happy to share our territory with those whom we have driven from theirs. Anyone who wishes to can be a European. The European Republic is the first step on the path to a global democracy.

            Which is the first step to a theocracy.

            Islam doesn’t need to invade. The “intellectuals” (talk about an oxymoron) are inviting them in to take over.


          • “But we need to dig ourselves out of the “whole” of the EU and then move on to the other holes we’ve got ourselves into trying to be nice and PC to all and sundry.”

            Digging is expensive, why not get serious about space exploration, then the world has another game.
            The path to using space resources will lead to getting electrical energy from the space environment- solar power makes sense in space, and there is enough area in GEO to power an earth population of tens of billions for millions of years [or billions of years- but within thousands of years humans would traveling to the stars].
            The focus of this space exploration should be to find resources that will create new markets in space.
            And a market which needs to begin in space is a market which sells rocket fuel [in space]. And lunar poles probably has mineable water. Lunar water at lunar surface is roughly worth about $500 per kg or about 1/2 million dollar per ton. And in near term there probably millions of tons of lunar water to mine, but in terms of first decade you would need to mine less than 100,000 tons of water or within a period of less than 5 years one needs to get to production of about 1000 tons of water per year or starting around with around 100 tons in a year, and doubling production rate every year. But once get to about 1000 tons and with future of being able to make more per year, you should be in the black or at least like Amazon developed.
            If you can buy as much lunar water as you want and at $500 per kg, one make rocket fuel at low price [at lunar surface] and allow the moon to be a viable destination. And with lunar rocket fuel you can can export stuff from the Moon back to Earth, but probably more significant place to export is not earth but elsewhere in space- Low lunar orbit, High Earth orbit, and Mars orbit- assuming Mars is explored.
            After determining whether the Moon has mineable water, the attention should shift to exploring Mars- to determine if and where “commercial” Mars settlement should be.
            If you have commercial lunar water mining and making rocket fuel, Mars become more viable as place for human settlements. But before towns on Mars, Mars needs to be explored, and if have commercial mining on the Moon, the political will to continue to explore Mars is strengthen. Or a flag and footprint type exploration of Mars [like Apollo] would probably not be enough exploration to determine if and where one could have settlement on Mars. Or Mars has a large amount area to be explored- as much as land area on Earth, whereas in comparison the lunar polar region is comparative a very small region. Also with the Moon, you exploring just the top surface of lunar surface, and with Mars looking for water resource under the martian surface is needed. Or mining Mars surface for water is not good enough [there is far more water at Mars surface than the Moon- but probably need to drill for liquid water and have much cheap price for water, like less than $5 per kg and need millions of tonnes of water in near term for a human settlement on Mars.
            Also finding underground areas on Mars could important in terms having towns on Mars.
            Roughly, the Moon is where you mine and people doing most of mining could do it, from Earth, with only a few people staying on the Moon. Mars is where you live and need to grow food there and have thousands people living there within a decade of starting a town on Mars. Now you can live in the Moon, but point is you can work on the Moon and can live on Earth, once cost of living on the Moon lowers enough, then more people could live on the Moon- say within a century.


  8. Thanks for the ship pictures. Only been in San Diego once and didn’t know they were there. I’m an East coaster so I’ve been aboard the USS Constellation (frigate from 1812) in Baltimore and the North Carolina (BB) in Wilmington NC. It amazed me how the North Carolina was a ship that big that was still claustrophobic because so much was crammed into it. Almost as tight as the Constellation (though with a lot more headroom :D). I’ve got to believe that the Midway wasn’t any more roomy.

    One thing about the Birther controversy and Kerry’s war record that I find puzzling/stupid/curious is that neither of them would release the records that would have put the issue to bed except for a fringe group that wouldn’t believe anything that they didn’t want to despite the evidence. What possible reason could they have had for not releasing them? If you have nothing to hide why hide it? Oh, and for Obama his mother was a US citizen so even if he was born in Kenya he still qualified as a US citizen as far as I can tell.

    I’m the same age as you and I commend you for your maturity on the matter of forgiveness. I just can’t forgive evil. I haven’t reached that point in my spiritual journey. It’s not so much was people may have done to me, but the sense that actions should have consequences.


    • His mother was under aged, those she could not convey natural born citizenship. I believe that was/is the catch. It is not whether she could convey citizenship, but could she convey natural born citizenship. She would have had to give birth on US soil to convey that since she was under age. Had she been under age and the father been a US citizen of legal age, she could have given birth anywhere and the child would have still been considered a natural born citizen. It is “natural born citizenship” that permits a person to be eligible to be president, not just citizenship. Or, at least, that is my understanding.


  9. Like you, when in a port city hosting old sailing ships, I go visit them. Something mighty romantic about the old ships until I notice the head room of the berthing and the lower deck areas, plus the shortness of bunks or lack of bunks (the USS Constitution). With my frame, I would have had a lot of knots on my head. I toured the Star of India and it wasn’t hard to imagine the living conditions – sparse would be a good word. If you go back to visit her, measure the captain’s bunk. I swear it was five foot long. Though I was a Navy guy, my only experience aboard a ship was a one day, overnight stay aboard a hospital ship to check a ruptured ear drum. My bunk was long enough, but I could not turn over. Shipboard living is always interesting no matter what type of boat you are on – not counting cruise ships and the like.


    • aGrimm, the bunks are narrow so that when the vessel is rolling you don’t slide from side to side of the bunk.
      Liked the first two photos but the object in the next two is an affront to the ocean.
      Traditionalist? Me?


      • The Oldseadog, for those who don’t have the pleasure of knowing him, likely has more miles at sea under his keel than I have miles on land under mine …

        And I must say, my dear friend, I’m totally shocked to hear that you disapprove of 12-story floating hotels like the Ruby Princess, complete with a casino and a golf course …

        Always good to hear from you, stay well, best of life to you and yours,


        Ruby Princess


  10. No, Hitlery Clintoon created the “birther” movement during the 2008 campaign, DJT bandied it about as a joke aimed at Hitlery and Bathouse Barri during his runup to being nominated.


  11. Willis, nice bit on the nature of forgiveness. Indeed, forgiveness is the decision/ action to release one’s anger at someone who has done you (or others) harm. One of Clint Eastwood’s greatest movies (I think his best by far) was “Unforegiven.” It’s a story about what happens to a person who cannot forgive himself.

    So many of the world’s ills would be resolved if more people would be willing to forgive. It’s one of Jesus Christ’s greatest messages (he had many). I’m an atheist, but there’s so much in Christ’s teachings if taken more seriously would help societies heal.

    Forgiveness can be very difficult, but is so liberating when achieved.

    Thanks for your short essay.


    • JP,

      While I agree with the “turn the other cheek” approach some who continue with the ‘unforgivable’ will continue with their actions until those actions have consequences. While I may forgive in a sense, I do not forget. I generally live by the rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. So it seems reasonable that doing to them what they have done to me or others is what they really want. You simply apply what they deem appropriate behavior.


      • Forgiveness is different from turning other cheek. Different ideas. One is the core idea of pacifism (turning the other cheek), the other has to do with one’s feelings towards someone who has done you harm. Turning the other cheek while harboring hatred embodies pacifism but not foregiveness. One can forgive someone slapping you, but that forgiveness does not require you to turn the other cheek if not doing so is in defense of another slap. However, striking someone for having slapped you in anger—even if the “reason” is to prevent another slap—is a failure of forgiveness.

        I believe in forgiveness but not in pacifism.


      • “Turning the other cheek” or “going the extra mile” are not entirely passive submission. The phrasing relates to what Roman military was allowed to “interact” with the locals. They were allowed to pretty arbitrarily strike someone with the back of their hand, but by turning the other cheek, allowing the next blow, but only in a proscribed manner.

        As for that “extra mile”, the military were allowed to impress a local to carry a load for him. There was a limit to what distance that duty could be imposed, and by going an extra mile, the victim would place the soldier in a sort of legal jeopardy.


      • If you do not forget, you actually never forgive. You are thinking that forgiving is something you do to someone else, It isn’t. It is what you do to yourself. To forgive is to walk away from an incident and never look back, thus you no longer carry the pain of it. If you never forget, you never walk away from the pain, and it stays with you forever. You have allowed, at least in your mind, your offender to lay down his cross and walk away, but you will still carry your own until you say “this isn’t worth the pain,” and forget it, thus finally putting your on cross on the ground as well.


  12. The following isn’t exactly about the forgiveness of which you write, but I find it interesting. It could be rewritten, but it will do.

    Garth Brooks and two friends where watching the sunrise.
    One asked if Garth knew the difference between grace and mercy.
    The answer being: “Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve and mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve . . .” [Dan Roberts, according to Garth Brooks] Roberts has a Wikipedia page.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thanks, Willis. A great definition of forgiveness, one I shall remember next time I get angry. Yeah, that still happens at times…

    Thanks too for telling us more about your gorgeous ex-fiancee. It is wonderful when first impressions turn out to be sound, and good to know that like me, you re blessed with a spouse who remains committed

    My bride of fifty years thought I was rude, arrogant and unbearable when she met me at the end of 1965. We were at a party at the home of a mutual friend in Auckland. Afterwards, both of us were in a group that wandered from the party toward Middlemore Hospital, where my wife and her friend were trainee nurses..On the way, we called in at the abode of another mutual friend for coffee. Out came the cigarettes, wine and guitars. I sang songs by Paul SImon and Bob Dylan, then switched over to the blues. (In the sixties, what else?). Bride-to-be took a keen interest.

    We spent the next couple of years at opposite ends of the country, but couldn’t stop thinking about each other.

    After I moved back to Auckland, we met again, at another party. Then I saw clearly that nothing else mattered. We married in June, 1968. My bride has been reasonably successful at mitigating my arrogance (although I can still be rude on occasion).

    And she still loves blues, rock music and jazz.


  14. I’ve been round the Midway. It’s just post-WW2 and a good way to spend a few hours.

    My time on a navy vessel, an RN LPD HMS Intrepid, was mostly misery. They don’t look after embarked troops. My view of sailing coincides with that of Samuel Johnson, quoted also in one of O’Brian’s books:

    “No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.”


      • – But please, bear in-mind that back when Samuel Johnson made the statement, it wasn’t all that easy to get oneself in jail – because there were >200 offenses on the books for which they hanged you instead. And criminalising with the finesse to get jail (sorry – “gaol”) and not the rope, would require an expertise of criminal matters that you’d usually find yourself strung-up before you managed to amass. The “Newgate two-step”, I presume?

        Also, is it just me that’s bugged by people saying “the HMS”… “HMS” – that’s fine; “the good ship HMS…” that’s fine too, depending on whether the ship is good or not; but “the Her Majesty’s Ship”? – an oxymoronic word in there somewhere, I’m sure of it. Oh, pity the poor obsessed grammar Nazi……


  15. Great photos!

    While touring HMS Surprise, it struck me, so many men (200), so little room. Like many others, I fell in love with Patrick O’Brien’s “Aubrey-Maturin Series“ but never really got a sense of how crowded those ships were.


      • For contrast with the 200 man crew of HMS Surprise, the Moshulu, a windjammer built in 1903 that was twice the size of HMS Surprise had a crew of 33 (captain, 1st & 2nd mate, 1 steward, 29 able seamen)


        • The Surprise in the Aubrey books was a fighting ship so there was a marine contingent and you needed men to man the guns, 28 in the case of the Surprise. You also needed men for small arms fire and boarding the enemy. And there was attrition.


          • And the British could never find enough men for their ships, hence the impressment gangs. In most cases they didn’t have enough men to work both the sails and the guns, so the limited crew would first “set fighting sail” and then man the guns. During the war of 1812 one of the reasons the US frigates could best the British ones in single-ship engagements is we had enough crew to work both sails and guns, providing a crucial maneuvering advantage.


          • – and the British ships were ~2/3rds the size of the big American frigates; and had been at sea for decades during the Napoleonic wars, and were clapped-out; and having shortages of seamen and limited opportunities to replenish costly shot and powder, didn’t get a whole lot of gunnery practice.

            A lot of it came down to the drive and ingenuity of the individual Captain aboard; an eye-opener is the Wikipedia article on Shannon vs Chesapeake. Shannon looked as run-down as your average RN frigate, but was captained by a gunnery expert who’d innovated extensively in naval ordnance, and drilled his crew to a razor-edge. Whereas, the Captain of the Chesapeake had come aboard more-or-less that afternoon.

            The RN was used to winning every battle, and got seriously angst-ridden when the big USN frigates chewed-up their ships with relative ease. And then when Shannon captured Chesapeake, the shoe was on the other foot for a brief while. The War of 1812 must rank as just-about the dumbest war in human(?)kind(?)’s long history; but wars usually start because of stupidity, don’t they…

            Liked by 1 person

    • Dudley Pope’s “Ramage” series may also give a reader a better idea of shipborne life, because Pope doesn’t always stay with the officer hero. He does, however, hold up action now and again to lecture on Naval history! But then, Dudley Pope WAS a Naval historian, so maybe there’s an excuse.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Clarence Darrow said, in his 1932 autobiography, that “I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction.”

    I don’t read obituary notices. Mostly, I don’t keep track of people that have done bad things. But occasionally I will get word of death or well-deserved penury on the part of someone I don’t like, and think, “Well, there’s that one out of the way.”


  17. The O’Brian book that included the Johnson quote above is The Unknown Shore. It is not a Aubrey/Maturin book but has two characters who are very like them set in a previous era. It might have escaped some readers’ attention being not in the Aubrey sequence, Try it.


  18. Vengeance and forgiveness are self directed thoughts from my state of self awareness. These thoughts are malleable and constantly being adjusted, hopefully for the better if I were view myself in retrospect, which, it seems is quite often now that I have the time.

    My subconscious is another matter; relevant, although it remains like background noise, at times annoying and interfering with my concentration on the things at hand. I always seem to have the great response to some issue well after the opportunity has passed.

    Most of the time I have to forgive myself more than anyone else.


  19. vengeance, revenge, avenge. Interesting words, all from the latin root, via french which changed the spelling.
    Also, ‘vindictive’: “having or showing a wish to harm someone because you think that they harmed you; unwilling to forgive”, also from the same Latin root vindicō. So they say, it’s beyond my Latin. It also gets complicated because words evolve in so many different branches. vindicō: avenge, vindicate, claim, punish; liberate, deliver, spare; protect. Go back a step and you get vindex (“defender, protector”), go back another step and you get vīs (force, power, strength, violence, assault, affront). Oh well, so much for that approach.

    It did turn up this quote:
    “Vengeance is mine, … saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head. [Paul to the Romans, xii:19-20]”

    David Lang referred to this quote: ‘Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves’.
    This is often mis-attributed to Confucius.‘Before-you-embark-on-a-journey-of-revenge-dig-two-graves’
    What Confucius did say (not in these words) was “repay evil justly and rationally, using the established laws or let the court decides and don’t take it into your own hand.”
    It also mentions Jesus: “forgiving seventy times seven times”.
    And Lao Zi: “repay harms/evil with goodness”.

    Who really said that? Probably Japanese: “Hito wo noroeba, ana fŭtatsu — Curse a man, and there will be two graves.

    Besides, it’s generally not just two graves. It’s whole families, tribes, nations. The Hatfield–McCoy feud is just one example. Today, the 100 year anniversary of the end of WW1, is a good reminder of where these things can end up. The vengeance after that “victory” didn’t help either.


  20. That’s the “HMS Surprise“, a replica of a Royal Navy frigate which was used in the film “Master and Commander”.

    There is a “tall ships” event at Navy Pier in Chicago every year in late July IIRC. They get as many of the old sailing vessels as they can and you can go aboard most of them. Sometime in the ’90s I was visiting my parents and spent the day there. I can’t recall if the USCGS Eagle was there, but I do recall going aboard the replica of the Bounty which was made for the 1962 movie starring Marlin Brando. The information inside described the problems they had finding a shipyard to build it even then. Sadly, the replica Bounty was lost during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Details here.

    In 1980 I went on an evening party cruise in the Mi Dushi, an 80 foot wooden hulled ship originally built in 1925 as a fishing trawler I believe, while diving in Bonaire. I looked her up recently and she is still doing party cruises in Aruba.

    There are very few of the old sailing ships left and it’s a treat any time you can visit one. When I do I think about what it was like to cross the ocean “back in the day”. A very far cry from the comfort we enjoy now.

    There were many working sailing ships as late as WWI and unfortunately many were sent to the bottom by Felix von Luckner. The link is to a new book; I have his biography originally published sometime in the ’30s and it is a fascinating look into a vanished time. As a youth in the 1880’s he shipped out on several sailing ships and travelled around the world. Later as a naval officer he preyed on the dwindling fleet of merchant sailing ships that still transported essential cargo for the allied forces.


  21. – And by the way, I’m Canadian so I have to apologize for something, eh; here goes. The tall ships tend to move-around in packs, and our Bluenose is usually out-and-about with the others during tall-ship season; good coin to be made, and these ships are awful expensive to keep afloat.

    But on more than one occasion, when sailing from port-to-port, tall-ship-visit to tall-ship-visit, other skippers have challenged Bluenose to a friendly race. And gotten miffed when Bluenose refuses. And visited unkind quasi-public speculation on poor Bluenose’s head; ” – such a famous racing ship, and won’t race? – what a buncha’ chickens!” or words to that effect. Well so ya’ know, two facts apply:

    1) Bluenose is not allowed to race. This is a replica of a ship that never lost a race; and the ship need only lose one race to forever throw-away a Canadian legend, so it’s written right into its funding agreement that Bluenose may not race. Sorta’ like me; I fired one shot at one clay pigeon and hit it, and I’ll never skeet again because I’ve got a 100% record that I lose forever the first time I miss; and

    2) The tall ships are mostly square-rigged; Bluenose is a schooner. These were fishing vessels used to sail the east coast (Bluenose raced several Gloucester schooners), up inlets and among islands in quirky wind conditions; they’re supremely maneuverable and can handle just about any combination of wind, sea and current, but they top-out at ~12 kts. Square-riggers are designed to cross thousands of miles of ocean with little wind variability; the windjammers as an example, had tiny crews and took ~a half-hour to come about. They would be wrecked in a hurry if they tried to follow a schooner up a tight channel on a running tide; but out in the open ocean with good trade winds, they could top 20 kts. So not really that much of a fair comparison.

    And I’m sure none of you wanted to know any of that – sorry…


    • Y. Knott: “And I’m sure none of you wanted to know any of that – sorry…”


      It’s those seemingly useless tidbits that keep life interesting. Besides, now I know which ships to wager on, depending on conditions.

      Thank you.


      • Yeah, well, I erred; forgive me please? – it’d be divine… Reading up on Wikipedia, Bluenose lost several races; but never lost a series. And in a race against two racing schooners, Bluenose came-in third – oh, the shame of it…

        A colourful part of Canadian and New England history – good reading!


  22. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.
    Lewis B. Smedes

    From the marquee of the church around the corner….


  23. Willis: Sorry for topic busting.
    I followed an older story of yours about using a “Blue Driver” to debug your car computer. I am chasing a similar problem with the same tool and have some tactics questions.
    If you have time to share a bit more details of your own debugging please ping me at my Discus email address.


  24. To add a smartass quip to my comment above: Michelle wll never be able to play Bridge again because she’ll be triggered whenever anyone yells “Trump!’… 😉


  25. News reports state that Michelle says in her book that there are 14 words she regrets saying. Those are
    “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change.”
    Hmmm, I count 15 words. At the time, there were lots of comments about what she really meant. Still, I think that is 14 more words than Hillary regrets saying.

    Now, not to cause more words to be said in anger, but merely for the sake of discussion, are men more willing to forgive than women? This article makes that case:

    “When a little boy gets upset, he may have a tantrum and explode like a volcano yet 15 minutes later behave as if nothing happened. A girl is less likely to do this but more apt to simmer for long periods, not boiling over noticeably but not cooling to a calm, either.”

    Of course, the real question is not about boys and girls, but rather about our leaders and idols. Truth-ish?


  26. Willis I don’t normally post at WUWT, but I wanted to pose a question regarding your most resent summation of your prior works.

    How would you reconcile the thermoregulatory theory with all your thorough analysis of point in time forcing changes e.g. volcano’s, solar cycles etc. bear with me.

    I fully endorse your interpretation of emergent energy transfers.

    So any change in forcing will have a drag acting on it by the immediate response in convective transfer and resultant albedo effects. Additionally any existing thermal inertia will result in a lag as we see in the timing of the seasons with respect to the changes of input. Lastly we layer on the multi year dampening of input changes from the el nino emergent heat pump.

    After combining those three factors on top of a point change (volcano) I would expect the net effect to be muted and short lived. As you have beautifully shown.

    The question is how does this fit with the demonstrations of lack of solar correlation? Would not these three factors work to muffle and disguise the very purported cycle you are searching for?

    Another way of saying if you had found the cycle clearly that would be proof the thermoregulatory theory is wrong.

    People talk of “cumulative solar forcing” and strange metrics for sustained imbalance to cause changes over “long” periods.

    Clearly we have had changes since the little ice age and the MWP. Some where there is a gap that allows long term minor changes on the order of tenths of degrees per decade. Well regulated no doubt, but not perfectly obviously.

    So in my opinion there is still room for that multi decade mechanism for change. Ocean overturning, solar, Svensmark, volcanos, geothermal output, Man and 100 other unknowns could individually or cumulatively be in constant balance (imbalance) and the effects would be hidden in the noise as nothing is held constant. All muted and distorted in timing and location due to fluid dynamics.

    I’m not sure what my question is….this is the effect of train of thought writing.

    If all of this makes sense than a very tiny correlation could actually be significant as the small residual is all we would expect to find left after drag (instant emergent), lag (seasonal) and counterbalance (Heat pump).

    Data resolution and quality do not exist for a long enough period of time I suspect to identify a tiny residual of change at this point. Maybe when CERES turns 50….. Anyway this nonsensical post needs to end.


      • Another great piece of writing. I must have read it back in 2013, but clearly did not remember. (I have slept and drank since then)

        I would conclude that there has been no new material developments in the past 5 years which is again and indication of the sorry state of the “science”.

        Have a great day and a happy thanksgiving.


  27. I have a picture of me and my 12 year old son, (1997) on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln. We had gone motorcycle walk-about from Michigan. My oldest brother was Navy for 25 years.


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