convergences Screen 21 | Consciousness

JOHN LEDYARD:
     They have a kind of armour
                 that covers the body
from the breast downward to the knees.
         This consists of moose-skin
covered externally with slips of wood
      sewn to the leather transversely
            and made short or long
as best suits the part
                of the body it covers.
JOHN WILLIAMSON:
The Indians being desirous to know
   something of our muskets
         I endeavoured
   to explain its properties
    and told them it would go through
their war dress, and kill them,
           though at a great distance.
    They laughed heartily
                at this intimation
and directly hung up
                one of their dresses
    on a tree, and desired me
          to fire at it.
I took the musket
               from one of our people
and at a distance
      of about twenty yards
                put a ball through it,
though the dress was doubled
          into 6 or 8 folds,
      and lodged the ball in the tree.
The Indians gazed at one another
           for some time
with fright and silent astonishment
         and it was with difficulty
that I persuaded the owner
              to take the dress again.

To consider one's life in the light of impending death, that is a human experience, as opposed to the self-awareness of a dog or a rat or a bacterium. The extended self-image in the context of time, that is what makes us human. But is that an advantage or a disadvantage?

John Webber: engraving detail

John Webber: detail from engraving


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