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Word Gems 

exploring self-realization, sacred personhood, and full humanity


Soulmate, Myself:
The Perfect Mate

the Native Girl and Jack



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Wikipedia: "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 American epic period war-drama film co-written, produced and directed by Peter Weir, set in the Napoleonic Wars. The film's plot and characters are adapted from three novels in author Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey–Maturin series, which includes 20 completed novels of Jack Aubrey's naval career. The film stars Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, captain in the Royal Navy, and Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin. The film, which cost $150 million to make, was a co-production of 20th Century Fox, Miramax Films, Universal Pictures, and Samuel Goldwyn Films, and released on November 14, 2003. The film grossed $212 million worldwide. The film was critically well received. At the 76th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. It won in two categories, Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing."



Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey’s ship approaches harbor at a picturesque South Sea island. He gives order to drop anchor. The crew prepares to trade with the natives, to resupply food and water. The indigenous tribes-people, paddling in canoes, swarm toward the clipper-ship at bay. Standing at the bridge, Jack surveys the busy concourse about him. Presently, a canoe positions itself immediately below his post. A native girl, outfitted in Western garb, stares up at him, and with invitation in her eyes. His attention arrested, he now returns a studied glance. For several seconds, he inwardly debates her offer, but then, turns aside.


Kairissi. Captain Jack and the native girl offer good metaphor of the mismatched couple in society.

Elenchus. One mate is psychologically-intellectually advanced but the other has unfinished homework to hand in.

K. Quite overdue. I suppose this could apply to either party.

E. I guess it could but, somewhere in the Word Gems archives, there’s a quote that goes like, “There are lots of men with beautiful and dumb women, but you never see a smart woman with a dumb guy.”

K. And what about us? – are we the “exception that proves the rule”?

E. To borrow one of your old jokes, I often let you think you’re in charge.

K. (small smile) But what shall we say about the mismatched couple in society?

E. Some people think that “mismatched” is the best way to go; that, these "opposites attract." That’s why some smart women feign “blondness” in order to win a man.

K. There’s some truth to that stereotype. Elizabeth's girlfriends at the tea-party thought so. Pretty Mary assumes that John won’t like her if he learns that she has a brain. He’d be threatened by the competition. This is very low-level stuff, of course, as the underlying presumption becomes, a good relationship is based on sex-appeal alone, and we won’t plan on talking that much.

E. And so we see Captain Jack at the helm up there, studying his “best offer” down in the canoe. But he’s a man of honor and will not take advantage of this uneducated native girl.



K. This is unusual.

E. It's noteworthy because, as an advanced person, he felt obligated to think for both of them, to look out for her best interests, too, even though, at the surface of things, she was agreeable.

K. But her truer self would not have said yes.

E. And this lack of authentic consent is what persuaded Jack to decline the offer.

K. This is very much in line with our discussion on “constructive assent.” Notice the compelling parallel: Jack rejects a surface-consent because he perceives no underlying meeting-of-the-minds; and with us, early on, with “constructive assent,” though we lacked verbal affirmation, we sensed something real, a true union of spirits. It’s a beautiful parallel-of-contrasts.

E. That author told me a story, something that happened to him a long time ago, and it’s much in line with “Captain Jack and the native girl.”

K. This sounds interesting.

E. In his characteristic way, he doesn’t “name names” nor offer too much detail, lest he “make someone famous” here, but there was a time when he found himself alone with, let’s call her, “a native girl” --someone quite beautiful but uneducated and unsophisticated.

K. This sounds like one of Della’s coffee-table romance novels. Did the native girl “rip her bodice” for the alpha-male?

E. She tried to. As it happened, she did offer herself, and in no uncertain terms.

K. How did he handle this?

E. Pretty much the same way Captain Jack did. He realized she didn’t know what she was doing and was too “needy,” too unaware, to be making offers.

K. Elenchus, it strikes me hard right now, but, even a well-educated “Mary” falls into this category. She too is unaware of her own neediness, which causes her to “settle” for a man named John who is not her ideal mate; and John, unlike Captain Jack, does not feel any duty to "think for her" regarding "her best interests."

E. I think that’s an excellent observation, and a true one. But there’s a footnote to the author’s story, a great life-lesson. Some time later, in brief correspondence with his “native girl,” she, in retrospect, assessed their ill-fated liaison to be a little humorous. She laughed at herself, how intoxicated and out-of-control she was in those moments with him; and, most tellingly, and even touchingly, commended him for not grasping for advantage during her time of weakness. She said, “thank you for not taking from me the only thing I have to offer a man.”

K. What a confession! and what a self-judgment! And what a unique experience for him, as so few men in history would have done this. But I want to say something about this whole subject of Captain Jack and the native girl.

E. Please.

K. This issue of “he realized she didn’t know what she was doing” just throws into bold relief the “clay feet” of the marriages of this world. I can’t help thinking of Jesus’ famous worlds, “they know not what they do.”

E. The implications here are very unpleasant. If someone is an advanced person like a Captain Jack, and you perceive that most around you “know not what they do,” then, is marriage even an option for you? – because, as you’ve said, almost everybody is an unaware native girl to some degree.

K. And now we’re back to Jesus’ “eunuch” teaching, with the unspoken dictum, “you have to wait, no matter how long the wait, until not only your true mate comes, but comes with sane mind.”

E. This means you can't marry a "native girl," even if she's your Twin! - you have to wait for the sacred "meeting of the minds," or there's no "union of spirits," as The Wedding Song put it. No wonder Jesus concluded with, “you won’t like what I say here, most of you will reject it.”

K. It's hard to sell many books or be invited on Oprah with a teaching like that.

E. Jesus' publisher wasn't crazy about it, and the reviews at the New York Times really sucked.

K. But, some time later, the native girl had nice things to say. And, trust me, this will be remembered long after the Times is a pile of dust.