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  #1  
Old 11-17-2008, 10:19 PM
stuyguy stuyguy is offline
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What does the biblical metaphor "inherit the wind" mean?

Inherit the Wind is one of my all-time favorite movies, but that's not was this question is all about.

If I'm not mistaken the original line in the bible reads "He who troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind." Now, I just heard someone on TV referring to someone "inheriting the wind." That guy's remark made me realize that I really don't know what exactly the phrase means. (FWIW, the usage by the fellow on TV did not clarify things.)

Can someone set me straight?

Thanks all, in advance.
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  #2  
Old 11-17-2008, 10:43 PM
Jesus Harold Christ Jesus Harold Christ is offline
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You build a house (and make to family) to avoid troubles like the wind (or fighting and have people you can trust), but if you bring in troubles into your house it is the same if you never had a house--the wind (fighting, mistrust) is inside.
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Old 11-17-2008, 10:49 PM
Jesus Harold Christ Jesus Harold Christ is offline
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It also implies the family will be destroyed.
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:32 AM
jackdavinci jackdavinci is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesus Harold Christ View Post
You build a house (and make to family) to avoid troubles like the wind (or fighting and have people you can trust), but if you bring in troubles into your house it is the same if you never had a house--the wind (fighting, mistrust) is inside.
What did the phrase have to do with the plot of the movie?
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:57 AM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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The full line is actually:

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind:
and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

The second line clarifies a little. However, it's a little hard to draw parallels, is the one who troubled his own house Cates*? If so, "the fool" seems to be referring to "he" and his case was certainly portrayed as the protagonist/correct side of the debate... on the other hand, the "servant" side makes a little sense. If you extend the overarching ramifications of the trial, the parallels fit in more nicely... the law was "troubling" intelligent people/the country, but eventually they got proven wrong and became servants to the "wise" thinking men, but It's still a bit of a stretch.


*I'm using movie names just for ease of comparison.

Last edited by Jragon; 11-18-2008 at 05:59 AM..
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:08 AM
Jragon Jragon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jragon View Post
The full line is actually:

He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind:
and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.

The second line clarifies a little. However, it's a little hard to draw parallels, is the one who troubled his own house Cates*? If so, "the fool" seems to be referring to "he" and his case was certainly portrayed as the protagonist/correct side of the debate... on the other hand, the "servant" side makes a little sense. If you extend the overarching ramifications of the trial, the parallels fit in more nicely... the law was "troubling" intelligent people/the country, but eventually they got proven wrong and became servants to the "wise" thinking men, but It's still a bit of a stretch.


*I'm using movie names just for ease of comparison.
Missed edit:
I should add that the Old Testament often equates the court (uh... the court) with wisdom and we often equate education (Cates) with the passing of wisdom so there's a sort of "schism" in that if the court is wise, and the passers of wisdom are passing on contrary ideas... who's right? Is the teacher in the wrong because he's not passing wisdom correctly? Or is the old wisdom getting in the way of the new wisdom?

Some food for thought to give the quote a little context:
Proverbs 1:7 "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction."

Anyway, I need to sleep and can't think straight, maybe that'll spark a little discussion at least.
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:41 AM
Electric Warrior Electric Warrior is offline
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I always interpreted it to mean that a man who causes trouble in his own household will inherit nothing (but the air), which I think fits in with the next line. It's saying that a person can be born into great fortune but our behavior in life will dictate where we end up.

How this relates to the film/play and its characters I am not quite sure.
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  #8  
Old 11-18-2008, 06:47 AM
Hostile Dialect Hostile Dialect is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jragon
The second line clarifies a little. However, it's a little hard to draw parallels, is the one who troubled his own house Cates*? If so, "the fool" seems to be referring to "he" and his case was certainly portrayed as the protagonist/correct side of the debate... on the other hand, the "servant" side makes a little sense. If you extend the overarching ramifications of the trial, the parallels fit in more nicely... the law was "troubling" intelligent people/the country, but eventually they got proven wrong and became servants to the "wise" thinking men, but It's still a bit of a stretch.
ISTM that "you shall inherit the wind" was intended to be a hypothetical condemnation of Cates' actions by the bible-thumping crowd. Or, inversely, a reference to the trouble the bible-thumping crowd caused by trying to (effectively) ban science in schools.
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:10 AM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hostile Dialect View Post
Or, inversely, a reference to the trouble the bible-thumping crowd caused by trying to (effectively) ban science in schools.
That's always how I read it. The one who was doing the "troubling," and also "the fool," was Brady. He and his crowd were trying to create a division between knowledge and religion that Drummond in particular didn't believe in. They were going to a lot of trouble over nothing and they were going to have nothing to show for it.
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  #10  
Old 11-18-2008, 10:11 AM
Crotalus Crotalus is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric Warrior View Post
I always interpreted it to mean that a man who causes trouble in his own household will inherit nothing (but the air), which I think fits in with the next line. It's saying that a person can be born into great fortune but our behavior in life will dictate where we end up.

How this relates to the film/play and its characters I am not quite sure.
I think this is the right interpretation. It is often useful with hard to interpret bible verses to look at several translations. I found that the Contemporary English Version translates it this way:

Fools who cause trouble in the family won't inherit a thing.

They will end up as slaves of someone with good sense.
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  #11  
Old 11-18-2008, 10:43 AM
FriarTed FriarTed is offline
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I always thought "The Wind" was a reference to Divine Wrath- so that if you stir up conflicts within your family/community, even over what may seem to be a righteous cause, you'll be inheriting The Wind of Divine Retribution
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  #12  
Old 11-18-2008, 10:58 AM
Skara_Brae Skara_Brae is offline
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The line addressed to the preacher, Rev. Brown, from Brady.

From SparkNotes:
Quote:
As Reverend Brown's back-and-forth oration with the crowd reaches a frenzied pitch, the preacher asks the crowd if they curse and cast out the man who denies the story of Genesis, referring to Cates by pointing at the jail. The crowd responds furiously, which causes Rachel to shake. Reverend Brown asks the crowd if they should pray for God to bring his hellfire down on Cates. He goes further, comparing Cates to the Pharaohs and asking for “his soul [to] writhe in anguish and damnation.” Rachel interrupts and asks her father to stop condemning Cates. Reverend Brown calls out for the Lord to punish those who want to forgive Cates.

Brady, who has been growing uncomfortable with Reverend Brown's sermon, interrupts. He cautions Reverend Brown and suggests that the preacher should not try to “destroy that which you hope to save.”
Here's where the quote is used, to the man who is condemning is his daughter. At the end of the play too, the daughter runs away with the schoolteacher, so the preacher is left with nothing.
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  #13  
Old 11-18-2008, 11:04 AM
delphica delphica is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hostile Dialect View Post
Or, inversely, a reference to the trouble the bible-thumping crowd caused by trying to (effectively) ban science in schools.
And the kicker of the title is supposed to be that THE BIBLE is the source for the advice that the Bible-thumpers are ignoring.

The reference can even be applied more broadly, not just about church/state issues. The "troubling their own house" refers to fear-mongering and squelching dissent in general, not only Bible-thumping. Remember that when this first came out, the connection to McCarthyism would have been obvious. It's funny (and by funny, I mean alarming) that today the religion in public education issue is much more topical. So a society that spent its time and energy on a witch hunt for communists would be self-defeating (as evidenced by the space race -- we in the U.S. were focused on rooting out communists, and the U.S.S.R. was focused on launching rockets -- and look who won).
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  #14  
Old 11-18-2008, 11:10 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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You trouble your house, you cause stress. Stress leads to indigestion and farting.
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  #15  
Old 11-18-2008, 08:18 PM
Hostile Dialect Hostile Dialect is offline
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So they did have something to show for it! Well, something to smell for it, anyway...
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