The Web Of Soothing Lies

A lesson from mankind’s experience is that all past generations have lived “interesting times”. Popular amnesia likes to lose sight of this; therefore, we think our day’s vicissitudes are unprecedented. That said it appears that we are departing from the cast of the past in a way that shatters patterns. Below follows a move through time to the discernible future in our present.

During the development of “Western Civilization”, our relationship to authority changed significantly. We went from chaos to submission and then, once order returned, we grew into a participatory system based upon delegated power. This is the condition of our day that might be surpassed through that new departure.

Breaking With the Past?

Duly Noted

Forgiveness not met by regret implies subjugation.

The practical use of history is its distorted exploitation. This abuse accompanies the following discourse about the present.

Perceived developments that disturb the world order and our holiday peace produce sundry responses. Some are echoes of a fictitious past that nets new soothing errors in fact or logic that cater to self-deceit. If that is so, then a purpose can be to avoid the challenges of self-protection. Behind this hides the attempt to skip the effort that self-defense causes. Problem solution by denial ties to a vice of our culture to wallow in the luxury that isolates failures from their unpleasant consequences. 

This lets the PC-infected to excuse criminals as the victims of “society” while the cornered policeman that confronts him becomes a violent racist. A symptom of this decadence, which helps us to avoid our duties, we encounter in miss-educated children. Parents are too lazy to educate their kids, so they raise them to become brats. The theory is that, if it feels good it is right to do it, even if the results are wrong. Indulgence in inaction is wrapped in excusing slogans. These pretend that (a) nothing that should not be happening is occurring, and (b) that to say “no” could warp the child’s psyche. Therefore, the little tyrants are badly socialized and, for that reason, their misdeeds grow as they mature.

Marxism Is Still Alive

Looking at the world today, it would seem that Samuel Huntington's thesis of a coming clash of civilizations has been entirely vindicated by the facts. The conflicts that dominate the headlines these days are mostly of an ethnic or cultural nature: the continuing problem of Islamic terrorism and “stealth jihad”, the riots in the United States following the Ferguson incident, and demonstrations in the Netherlands against the custom of “Zwarte Piet”. And in case the reader remarks on the omission of the “new cold war” with Russia, it can also be explained as a revival, not of the ideological confrontation with communism, but of the age-old clash between Western and Orthodox Christianity. 

Telling Tales

Duly Noted

1. Revealing: A reputable Swiss weekly presented Koran verses that incite to violence against unbelievers –which means you, the world and me. The intent: show that violence in the name of God is not an error of confused followers. 

The response of Islam experts: to read the Book, you need to be an expert. That confers power because you must believe what they say and not what you see. 

The expert excuse for the inexcusable: The Prophet advocated and practiced what has been normal in his time in backward places. Also, Mohammed was under the pressure of enemies, which influenced his pronouncements. Does this mean that not God –who was hardly pressured- but a man, is the Book’s source? Considering the factors of limited time and plenty of enemies, one wonders how violent Christ’s should have been by that standard.

René Girard On The “Ontological Sickness”

Owen Barfield in 1922
Owen Barfield in 1922

Owen Barfield (1898 - 1997), the English philologist and literary critic, is not an author whom one casually connects with the natively French but long-naturalized American anthropological thinker René Girard (born 1923), but one of Barfield’s coinages – the concept of “internalization,” which he develops in his History in English Words (1926) – makes a good introduction to Girard’s concept of “ontological sickness,” the proposed topic of the present discussion. Barfield uses his term “internalization” to designate an essential characteristic of modernity that can be traced back to the late Seventeenth Century only to reach a degree of alarming acuity three hundred and fifty years later. In both the Pagan order and the medieval Christian order, people grasped nature as vital and as having a reciprocal relation with the individual human being. This perception is rooted partly in the agricultural pattern of the classical and medieval societies, but also powerfully intuitive irrespective of its context. Human beings under this intuition share the cosmos with other beings of various hierarchical orders, some of whom exert influence on people, as the planets and stars supposedly do according to the precepts of astrology. One need not take the propositions of the astrologer literally in acknowledging that, even by modern, skeptical criteria, his nowadays much-disparaged cosmic science grasps an essential truth: That every creature has an environment, with whose fluctuations the creature’s life remains intimately entangled.

Smears Stick

Duly Noted

Defamation is complete when its pretensions can be used as its proof.

Some countries, parties, and leaders are anathema to our opinion makers. Not everybody nominated as “Berserk Monster” is innocent; some of the pilloried are. America should know about “war by blame” as the “Tea Party country” is credited with global evil.  The category of impostors is shared with Israel, Switzerland, and Hungary. Capitalism, the Britons (Farage) are also Hall of Shame inductees. 

The case of Hungary and Premier Orbán is sufficiently remote to lend a perspective for an evaluation that might contradict standardized opinions. To correct the main-line media, the “accused” will be allowed to present his case here. 

Our Culture And Our Neglected Security

Duly Noted

1. All those that mistakenly entertain the notion that they have not been raped by Bill Cosby, please step forward.

 

2. Obama’s ukase to grant amnesty to illegals has its pros and cons. Going beyond these, a question arises: What will happen when the next ten million shows up and become assertive?

 

Absurdities Called Public Affairs

Duly Noted

Some news presented with a straight face are hilarious, or would be that, if only they would not be serious. Here a collection of recent absurdities.

1. Turkey’s strong man flirts with a chauvinism coupled to Islamism. Authoritarian regimes will, in the context of backwardness, like to pretend that the sons of the Great Nation have invented everything. Erdogan claims that Moslems have discovered America. (They just did not let anyone find out about it.) Subscribing to a fantasy would not be noteworthy. What makes Erdogan’s (“the minarets are our missiles”) excursion in the past notable is that the doubters are accused of being anti-Turkish. The critics claim that they are only pro-sanity.

 

Winning And Losing: The West Against Itself

“God is on the side of the larger battalions” is credited to Napoleon. Well, he knew about winning and losing wars. His only problem: the final sequence of these occurrences. His stature makes it risky to argue with him. Nevertheless, reservations emerge. Not because his demise was due to the size of his shrinking divisions. Attribute that to sea power and his politics of war and peace that conspired to secure him a one-way ticket on the British Belorophon to a safe island. 

Victory and defeat are not singularly determined by physical means. Having been in 1956 on the losing side of the only war the Soviet Union has fought against another “Socialist State”, the author is well aware of the factor of size and equipment. However, even regarding that unequal conflict, the political factor, has been decisive. An excursion into “history” helps to put some aspects of the present into focus. 

Shame. On All Of Us.

Duly Noted

The record of the last century has been assembled with mosaic pieces of horror. This explains inquiries directed at those that, as conscious contemporaries, have witnessed these wrongs. The past’s adults are faced with a question: “What were you doing? How could you allow such misdeeds to happen?” The answer tends to be “we knew nothing and cold do nothing”. 

Whatever the merits of the defense might be, in our day the question, -and the original answer- is again emerging. The compromising case of being an inactive observer posing as an accidental bystander reoccurs. Our welfare, pseudo-safety and the convenient claims of exceptionalism reappear. Soothingly, the excusing pretensions we love, suggest that there is no problem and that all analogies are irrelevant, while the discerned parallels are not applicable. Well, it is not necessarily so. Also, the denial prompted by the wish to self-sedate releases unexpected forces. These will ultimately haunt those that “failed to notice” what did not fit their preconceptions and went contrary to the desire of the uncommitted to be left alone.

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