One of Johnsonâ€™s oft-quoted quips comes from the entry Boswell wrote on September 19, 1777.
Itâ€™s a great bit of literal gallows humor that is widely cited in the short form:
"When a man knows he is to be hanged...it concentrates his mind wonderfully."
I have used this quote so many times in my life that I can't count them all...
This is an example of the subconscious communicating an emotional memory to the conscious mind.
(You can also see why I had a terrible hang up about my ears sticking out in the early part of this life! Only when I lost my hair with Chemotherapy aged 25 did I realise that they were not so bad this time.)
My Father the Policeman
Our parents are our parents for very specific reasons often to do with karma from previous lives. I keep this picture on view in my study so that I see it everything I enter the room.
It depicts a summer's day in our back garden somewhen in 1964. I am aged 10 and my father John Charles Baillie who served as a Palestine Policeman (1938-1945) is teaching me to play chess.
We played many games until the day I beat him several times then he decided he didn't want to play anymore! His job was done. The picture below is of my former "self" the day before execution in Prague 1946.
It then becomes self evident why my picture is placed on permanent display.
Chess is a metaphor for life and death. The game of Kings to settle disputes with symbolic armies that manoeuvre to distruction in a bloodless war that proves to be much more economically sensible in time, money and lives wasted.
The very black and white squares, 64 of them, represent the passage of night and day. This pattern is oft recreated in floor tiles in Masonic Lodges for the very same reason.
It also represents the duality of our 3 dimensional universe with absolutes. The Yin Yang made absolute in the material as a square the symbol of the solid physical world.
An Interesting Experience
My father would often say that he did not wish to know about his past because he could have been hung in a previous life! I'm light of the above this can surely be no random coincidence as the probability is way to high for chance alone.
Having studied photographs of my execution which I may add never fails to give me a tightening of the throat I was somewhat surprised to see that it was captured on film for Pathe News and documented on YouTube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdhuGeL_dOQ
It is a curious and interesting experience to witness moving images of your previous self being tried and executed.
I even walk the same way! I also have the ability to put myself into a detached third person frame of mind akin to out of body experience. I can see the same in the film.
The Austrian Method
Being a scientist I am interested in detail. As a child I would make a hangman's noose from string or rope when given some, this would no doubt give a psychologist a field day! It is also why I love the Addam's family with their sense of normalising the macabre.
The Austrian Method involves a short drop as opposed to the hangman's calculation used in British Executions. This involves the body weight being proportional to the length of rope needed!!! You can tell I'm a physics teacher can't you! ðŸ˜€ðŸ˜€ðŸ˜€
At a guess the censors obviously didn't wish the delicate British public to see the entire version of events.
However KD's deputy Karl Hermann Frank gets the full treatment for French audiences.
ProcÃ¨s et exÃ©cution de Karl Hermann Frankhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozKf0yKTJLI
I should add that it is all part of the healing process to expose and open up these subconscious wounds to the light of day 8 months on I can view these with detached interested rather than intense sadness and emotion.
In conclusion we died like Prussian Officers.
Finally one quote
"My chief qualification for the job is that I have been in almost every cell in the Moabit Prison in Berlin"
In this life I often muse that should I be put in prison I would find it no problem as like a Buddhist monk I have the ability to meditate and detach my spirit. I am capable of living within my own non physical space quite happily and travel at will mentally.