Sunday, March 4, 2012

"A single twig breaks easily but a bundle of twigs is strong"

That saying is attributed to Tecumseh, a Shawnee Indian chief, in the movie "Act of Valor."

I first heard the equivalent of that idea in the David Lynch movie “The Straight Story." Richard Farnsworth says (while demonstrating with sticks):
When my kids were young I played a game with them. I'd give each of them a stick. One for each of 'em, and I'd tell them to break it. They'd do that easy. Then I'd tell them to make one bundle of all the sticks and try to break that. And course they couldn't. I used to say that was family, that bundle.
I tried to extend that familial idea to hydrogen bonds: here

The US "mercury" dimea stunningly gorgeous coin design from the 1930s and 40shad a bundle of sticks on the reverse side:

1936 Mercury Dime designed by Adolph Weinman

The bundle was called a fascia after the old Latin term. I guess the notion of fascia had to be banished from  politics.


  1. The fasces date back to the day when a birch rod was used for punishment. The concept of many birch rods signifies the state collectively punishing. The bronze axe projecting indicates the power of the state to 'beat' or to 'execute' during the monarchy. During the republic, magistrates were not authorized to direct summary executions.

    This, the lictors who carried the fasces as they escorted various Roman officials did so to remind those viewing of the power over life and death...

    And the word Facist comes from the root word fascio/fasces.

    The notion of hydrogen bonds denoting the strength of nations has not caught on yet. But when you're dictator (or simply lictor), you'll have the opportunity to change all that (chicken little for president-for-life)

  2. Mussolini and the Fascist model were held in high regard by FDR and many Americans in the early 20th Century. Actually the bundle of twigs/it takes a village, "everything in the state, nothing out of the state" concepts of Fascism are still popular with many leftists today, though they've ironically re-branded the concepts as "Liberal" when nothing could be further from the truth.

    Adolph Weinman, designer the Mercury dime, was a German emigre who also sculpted Virtues and Traits of Character for the Wisconsin Capitol.

  3. LL and CF: Thanks for the insightful comments!