Friday, March 03, 2006
I had a dream that Muslims were blowing up Glouchester Cathedral, and I was on top of Glastonbury Tor listening to a girl recite poetry as everything came to an end.
I DIED for beauty, but was scarce
Adjusted in the tomb,
When one who died for truth was lain
In an adjoining room.
He questioned softly why I failed?
"For beauty," I replied.
"And I for truth,—the two are one;
We brethren are," he said.
And so, as kinsmen met a night,
We talked between the rooms,
Until the moss had reached our lips,
And covered up our names.
Emily Dickinson (1830–86).
Rohde: Daughter of Cartoonist sought out by 12 Men
A group of Moslem males have tried to get at the daughter of one of the 12 cartoonists who drew the cartoons of Muhammed at her school. The political spokesman of the Liberals, Jens Rohde, revealed this during an interview with TV-Avisen while explaining his and the Prime Minister's attack on the business community in Denmark, charging that they have put profits over Freedom of Speech.Not at school
Rohde says that the 12 cartoonists have had their lives overturned and are now living in hiding, after receiving several death threats.
"And a daughter of one of cartoonist was sought out by 12 Moslem males - they were looking to get to her. Fortunately she wasn't at school," Jens Rohde said.
Meting with Cartoonists
Later Thursday night, Jens Rohde told Ritzaus Bureau that he was told of this incident during a meeting with the cartoonists.
The Police Intelligence Service did not wish to comment on this.
The Police Intelligence Service is the branch of the police that provides protection for citizens deemed to be in danger.
Update: But dagbladet.no managed to get a comment from the Police Intelligence Service :(Dagbladet.no): En gruppe muslimske menn skal ha prøvd å få fatt i datteren til en av tegnerne bak de tolv karikaturene av profeten Muhammed som ble publisert i den danske avisen Jyllandsposten i fjor.
Det sier det danske partiet Venstres politiske leder Jens Rohde til dansk tv i kveld.
De tolv tegnerne skal ha fått snudd fullstendig opp ned på sine liv på grunn av raseriet tegningene deres har utløst. Rohde hevder 12 muslimske menn skal ha møtt opp på en skole for å få fatt i datteren til en av tegnerne.
- Heldgvis var hun ikke på skolen, sa Rohde til danske TV Avisen.
Venstre-lederen sier til nyhetsbyrået Ritzau at han fikk vite om episoden under et møte med noen karikaturtegnere. Dansk politi har ikke bekreftet opplysningene.[more at link above.]
[Rhode continues in an interview on Danish television:] we have 12 cartoonists in this country who have to live in hiding under protection, have had their lives turned around. The daughter of one of the cartoonists was sought out by 12 Moslem males at her school - they wanted to get at her. Luckily, she wasn't there, and these people [ the 12 cartoonists] now live with fatwas over their head. And this is where I think that all of us ought to back these people up and say that we don't want to allow this kind of thing to happen to our cartoonists - we need to back up their right to exercise their profession.
From the comments section:
" The daughter of one of the cartoonists was sought out by 12 Moslem males at her school - they wanted to get at her."
Is there any verification of this account? Any eyewitness? The account as presented is not sufficient.
Comment by Patriot — March 3, 2006 @ 4:01 am
No, there is no verification. But Jens Rohde is a known politician who would lose greatly if he lied and the cartoonists are available for interview through the Police Intelligence Service, so I don't see how this could not be true.
Yeah, call me a dumbass for trusting politicians, but they don't lie when it's easy to check their facts.
Comment by Administrator — March 3, 2006 @ 4:10 am
There is no proof that they meant any harm to her. God is allowing the world to change to Islam. It remain me of might France stakeing in fear because moslim woman are wearing the hijab what abrunch of chichen shit the french are. Now Begium want to ban the moslim woman from wearing the burqa because the begium people are strakeing in fear when they see one old moslim woman walk down the street wearing the burqa with her cane to help her walk.
If it's true, then what next? If it's not true, then what next? More of the same either way. So what next?
Thursday, March 02, 2006
It just keeps getting better. We had our meeting this evening and our final resolution is that next week we'll meet at the Vancouver city public library atrium. We can't get much more public than that.
What radical and revolutionary things do we do at these meetings, you ask? We sit in public places and speak openly about our opinions of Islam. We say such things as "Murder is a bad thing." We say that even if it's a good thing according to Islam it's a bad thing objectively, and we aren't going to remain silent. "Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them," is a nasty and disgusting thing for any work of fiction to include, and for a so-called religious text to demand that its adherents carry it out is more than bad, it's evil. We say that in public. In this country that brings us close to criminality. We say that's a bad thing too.
One of our members spoke this evening on the nature of homicide bombers. forget the cliches of the poor and oppressed striking out at injustice in any desperate way they can. Our speaker explained that they acqquire great benefit from murdering others, benefit to themselves in terms of legacy, of promised rewards, in financial rewards for their families, in prestige for their families. And far from being poor and oppressed, these evil monsters are generally afluent and "educated." These evil monsters gain personally, however twisted their internal and cultural logic might be to sane people. We say these things in public. these are not heroes, not martyrs, not freedom fighters, not noble men and women sacrificing themselves for the good of others; these are people twisted into monsters because their soicieties are psychotic, and in that psychosis they feel that they are gaining personally by committing murder. They are garbage. We say so in public.
We sat for hours and discussed more things about Islam and the state of our nations. We talked about these meetings held around the world that are becoming more popular as people realise we are not alone and not to be silenced any longer. Next week we take this to a new level of publicity. No hiding, no fear, no more silence.
I'll return tomorrow to fill in further details.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Islam is evil. Beating up women is a crime. Mutilating children is deserving of the worst our laws provide for. Rioting and burning and bombing and killing are acts of war against us, and we do not have to respect those who commit those acts. They who do so are usually Muslims, and they are motivated by Islam.
If you will meet your friends and members of your communities, leave a location here so they can meet you. We'll be at McDonald's from 7-9:00 at Main and Terminal sts, Vancouver, Canada.
No more silence while fools jabber about islamophobia, while Islam continiues its endless campaign of murder and conquest. No more.
No more of these monstrous crimes, and no more excuses.
If Yourcenar is right then men are as badly cheated as are women. There follow two posts on women as women. The first deals with women in Islam. The second deals with a woman who is herself. When societies destroy the lives of women, they also destroy the lives of men. When men destroy the lives of women, they also destroy themselves. When a beautiful and lovely girl dies she destroys herself and hurts those who remain. but that would be her life, and I love her for it because it is her life and her life alone. If I were part it, so much the better for us both. I wasn't. I love her from afar, the goddess herself.
We'll follow this interview with two short outlines of the life of another American woman.
Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan: There Is No Clash of Civilizations but a Clash between the Mentality of the Middle Ages and That of the 21st Century
Following are excerpts from an interview with Arab-American psychologist Wafa Sultan. The interview was aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006.
Wafa Sultan: The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.
Host: I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?
Wafa Sultan: Yes, that is what I mean.
Host: Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not Bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don't mind...
Wafa Sultan: The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger." When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to start this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.
My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another time he calls them the "People of the Book," and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's wrath." Who told you that they are "People of the Book"? They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them "those who incur Allah's wrath," or "those who have gone astray," and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?
I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: Are you a heretic?
Wafa Sultan: You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural...
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran...
Wafa Sultan: These are personal matters that do not concern you.
Wafa Sultan: Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs.
Wafa Sultan: The Jews have came from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a Mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.
Below [after a brief bulletin from the socialist gods who know] is a brief chronology of the life of Carson McCullers.
In May 1949, Monthly Review began publication in New York City, as cold war hysteria gathered force in the United States. The first issue featured the lead article "Why Socialism?" by Albert Einstein. From the first, Monthly Review spoke for socialism and against U.S. imperialism and is still doing so today.
Politics as War by Other Means
by Lila Rajiva
Jyllands-Posten stood Clausewitz on his head. Its now infamous cartoons of Mohammed are not so much speech as acts. They are the latest round of politics as war by other means.
The cultural and political elite of Europe do not hesitate to suppress speech, in deference to the dominant group (as in the case of Zieler's Jesus cartoons) or with a view to upholding their pretense to anti-fascism (as in the case of prohibition of Holocaust denial).
Make no mistake. Jyllands-Posten is not in the business of promoting the freedom of speech. Nor are the European governments that rallied to its defense. What they claim is the license to injure the oppressed and marginalized.
The issue is not free speech. The issue is power. Who has it and who doesn't.
The powerless in Europe today are Arabs and Muslims, many of whom are immigrants, the chief target of the xenophobic European Right.
It's a matter of privacy. Not the privacy of my secret details, which are on display in public much of the time, and they don't matter anyway. The privacy is in the ownership and exercise of ones own life. When her choice is private, then her judgements have value and importance. Every woman has the innate private right to live and die like Carson McCullers. And within the bounds of free reciprocity, all have the right to value that as it is. If she, and if I, then we. Anything else is, at best, a relationship with a Human being that isn't as valuable as that of my relationship with my cat. And if that's our relationship with people, we aren't very Human at all.
1917: Lula Carson Smith is born on February 19 at 423 Thirteenth Street in Columbus, Georgia, the first child of Lamar and Marguerite Waters Smith.
1926: Lula Carson begins piano lessons at age ten.
1930: Upon her return from a visit to her aunt and uncle, she drops the use of Lula from her double name. She decides to become a concert pianist and begins piano lessons with Mrs. Albert S. J. Tucker.
1932: As a senior in high school, she suffers from rheumatic fever, which is thought later to have contributed to her crippling strokes in life. She announces to her friend Helen Jackson that she has decided to become a writer instead of a concert pianist.
1933: Carson graduates from Columbus High School and begins to read the works of Dostoevski, Chekhov, Tolstoy, and O'Neill. She has begun writing plays (in which she casts her brother and sister), the first of which is called The Faucet. She writes her first story called "Sucker," which she tries unsuccessfully to sell.
1934: Carson leaves Savannah, Georgia at age seventeen and travels to New York City, where she enrolls in creative writing courses at Columbia University.
1935: Carson meets James Reeves McCullers, Jr. through her friend Edwin Peacock.
1936: Her first published story, "Wunderkind," appears in Story magazine. She develops the idea for The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter while recuperating from a serious illness.
1937: On September 20, Carson (age twenty) and Reeves (age twenty-four) are married in the home of mutual friends. They return to Charlotte, North Carolina and move into Reeves's apartment. Carson begins work on her first novel.
1939: Carson finishes her first novel in April and entitles it The Mute. She writes a second novel entitled Reflections in a Golden Eye. She begins conceiving the plot for The Member of the Wedding.
1940: On June 4, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (formerly called The Mute) is published by Houghton Mifflin. On August 14, she attends the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Middlebury, Vermont and meets Louis Untermeyer and Eudora Welty. Reflections in a Golden Eye is published in two parts in October and November in Harper's Bazaar for five hundred dollars. Carson is ill for most of the winter.
1941: In February, Carson is stricken with impaired vision, stabbing head pains, and partial paralysis. She visits the Yaddo Artists' Colony in Saratoga Springs and meets Katherine Anne Porter and Newton Arvin. At Yaddo, she writes The Ballad of the Sad Café. She initiates divorce proceedings against Reeves. Her first published poem, "The Twisted Trinity," appears in Decision. She suffers her second major illness of the year with pleurisy, strep throat, and double pneumonia.
1942: On March 24, Carson is awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Though she wants to take her prize money and write in Mexico, her poor health prevents her.
1944: Carson suffers a severe nervous attack in addition to influenza and pleurisy. Her father dies in August of a heart attack.
1945: On March 19, Carson and Reeves remarry in New City, New York.
1946: Houghton Mifflin publishes The Member of the Wedding on March 19. She receives her second Guggenheim Fellowship on April 15.
1947: Carson suffers a serious stroke in August and another stroke in November which paralyzes her left side.
1948: In March, Carson attempts suicide and is hospitalized in Manhattan. In the summer and the fall, she adapts and revises The Member of the Wedding into a play while in Nantucket with Tennessee Williams.
1950: On January 5, The Member of the Wedding opens at the Empire Theatre on Broadway. It wins the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for the best play of the season.
1951: Houghton Mifflin publishes The Ballad of the Sad Café.
1953: Carson and Reeves experience severe marital problems. Reeves attempts suicide and tries to convince Carson into committing a double suicide. She flees to France in fear of her life. On November 19, Reeves kills himself in a Paris hotel.
1955: Carson travels with Tennessee Williams to Key West in April to work on three manuscripts: the dramatization of The Ballad of the Sad Café, The Square Root of Wonderful, and Clock Without Hands. On June 10, her mother dies unexpectedly and this loss utterly devastates Carson. She works frenetically on The Square Root of Wonderful to cope with her mother's death.
1957: The Square Root of Wonderful opens on October 30 on Broadway but closes prematurely after forty-five performances. Carson suffers acute depression over the premature closing of the play.
1959: Carson becomes unable to work on her manuscripts like Clock Without Hands and the musical adaptation of The Ballad of the Sad Café so she begins writing children's verse.
1961: Clock Without Hands is published by Houghton Mifflin on September 18.
1962: By 1962, Carson spends most of her time in a wheelchair. She does little writing in 1962 because of her health. She undergoes an operation to remove a cancerous right breast on June 6. Surgery is also performed on every major joint of her paralyzed left hand.
1964: In the spring, Carson breaks her right hip and shatters her left elbow. Her collection of children's verses, Sweet as a Pickle, Clean as a Pig is published by Houghton Mifflin on November 1. She signs her last will and testament on November 8.
1966: Thomas Ryan completes his screen script of The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter and reads it to Carson. She works with Mary Rodgers on adapting The Member of the Wedding into a musical.
1967: On April 30, Carson is named winner of the 1966 Henry Bellamann Award, a one-thousand-dollar grant recognizing her "outstanding contribution to literature." On August 15, she suffers her final stroke, a massive brain hemorrhage, and lies comatose for forty-seven days. Carson McCullers dies on September 29 and is buried on October 3 in Oak Hill Cemetery, on the bank of the Hudson River.
American author who examined the psychology of lonely, isolated people. McCullers published only eight books. Her best known novels are THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER 1940), written at the age of twenty-two, and REFLECTIONS IN A GOLDEN EYE (1942), set in a military base. Both of the books have been filmed. Although McCullers depicted homosexual characters and she has female lover, the theme of homosexuality is placed in a wider context of alienation and dislocation.
Lula Carson Smith (Carson McCullers) was born in Columbus, Georgia, as the daughter of a well-to-do watchmaker and jeweller of French Hugenot extraction. From the age of five she took piano lessons, and at the age of 15 she received a typewriter from her father. Two years later she moved to New York to study piano at Julliard School of Music, but never attended the school - she managed to lose the money set aside for her tuition. McCullers worked in menial jobs and devoted herself to writing. She studied creative writing at Columbia and New York universities and published in 1936 an autobiographical piece, 'Wunderkind', in Story magazine. It depicted a musical prodigy's failure and adolescent insecurity.
In 1937 she married Reeves McCullers, a failed author. Before the wedding she him told her parents that she did not want to marry him until she first had experienced sex with him. "The sexual experience was not like D.H. Lawrence," she later said. "No grand explosions or colored lights, but it gave me a chance to know Reeves better, and really learn to love him." They moved to North Caroline, living there for two years. During this time she wrote The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, a novel in the Southern Gothic tradition. ...
[John Huston writes:] "I first met Carson McCullers during the war when I was visiting Paulette Goddard and Burgess Meredith in upstate New York," said Huston in An Open Book (1980). "Carson lived nearby, and one day when Buzz and I were out for a walk she hailed us from her doorway. She was then in her early twenties, and had already suffered the first of series of strokes that made her an invalid before she was thirty. I remember her as a fragile thing with great shining eyes, and a tremor in her hand as she placed it in mine. It wasn't palsy, rather a quiver of animal timidity. But there was nothing timid or frail about the manner in which Carson McCullers faced life. And as her affections multiplied, she only grew stronger."
McCullers's marriage turned out to be unlucky. They both had homosexual relationships and separated in 1940. She moved to New York to live with George Davis, the editor of Harper's Bazaar. In Brooklyn McCullers became a member of the art commune February House. Among their friends were W.H. Auden, Paul and Jane Bowles, and the striptease artiste Gipsy Rose Lee. After World War II McCullers lived mostly in Paris. Her close friends during these years included Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams.
Carson McCullers suffered throughout her life from several illnesses - she had contracted rheumatic fever at the age of fifteen and a series of strokes left her a virtual invalid in her early 30's. She died in New York on September 29, 1967, after a stroke and a resultant brain haemorrhage.
We have a duty to accept the rights and responsibilities of other, and to let them come and go as they will. To do so is, according to me, of value to all. In our time it means combatting Islam. When this battle's fought and won there will be other battles for those who come after us. We can fight this battle to free all the girls who might have loved us if only they did. And if we win and if they chooose, then us; and if we win and they choose others, then we'll know they and we and us are open and closed to others freely.
Carson and I, we would have hit on all the girls.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Is reasserting national and ethnic identity a bad thing? Food? Where does it end?
In France, a meal of intolerance
By Craig S. Smith The New York Times
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2006
More than 200 political activists defied a police ban to demonstrate here last week, scurrying across the Boulevard Saint Germain and under the plane trees of Place Maubert to engage in their forbidden action: eating "pig soup" in public.
With steaming bowls of the fragrant broth soon passing through the crowd, Odile Bonnivard, a secretary turned far-right firebrand, climbed atop a dark sedan with a megaphone in hand and led the crowd in a raucous chant: "We are all pig eaters! We are all pig eaters!"
"Identity soup," as the broth has come to be called, is one of the stranger manifestations of a grass-roots backlash against the multiculturalism that has spread through Europe over the past 20 years.
People are challenging the care taken in Nazi-chastened Europe, and in France in particular, to avoid racial or religious insults of the sort that led to protests in the Islamic world this month after the publication of cartoons that most Muslims considered offensive to the Prophet Muhammad.
The movement began in the winter of 2003 when Bonnivard, a member of a small far-right nationalist movement called the "Identity Bloc," began serving hot soup to the homeless.
At first, she said, the group used pork simply because it was an inexpensive traditional ingredient for hearty French soup. But as the political significance of serving pork dawned on them and others, it quickly became the focus of their work.
Made with smoked bacon, and with pigs' ears, feet and tails, together with vegetables and sausages, the soup is meant to make a political statement: "Help our own before others."
The "others," Bonnivard explained, are non-European immigrants who she and her fellow far-right political activists say are sopping up scarce resources that ought to be used for descendants of the Continent's original inhabitants. In other words, the soup is meant to exclude those who do not eat pork - for the most part, Muslims and Jews.
"Other communities don't hesitate to help their own, so why can't we?" she asked, noting that Europe's Islamic charities serve halal food to disadvantaged Muslims and its Jewish charities operate kosher soup kitchens.
In France there is little tolerance for anything that challenges the republic's egalitarian ideals. But the authorities initially left the pork soup kitchen alone, shutting it down only once to avoid an altercation with a group of indignant French leftists.
That was before the riots that swept France in November, forcing the government to face up to the deep alienation felt by the country's Muslim youth. As winter closed in and other pork-soup kitchens run by similar-minded groups popped up in Strasbourg and Nice - as well as Brussels, Antwerp and Charleroi in Belgium - the authorities worried that they might be witnessing the start of a dangerous racist trend.
In December, Bonnivard said, a van of plainclothes police chased her soup- bearing car through the streets, and several busloads of police officers arrived to stop her group from setting up at their usual spot near the Montparnasse train station, citing "the discriminatory nature of the soup." She and her band filed an appeal.
A Paris police spokesman said the appeal is pending and will be decided "on the basis of the current regulations, in particular concerning risks to public order and incitement to racial hatred." The political soup servers have been playing cat and mouse with the authorities since then.
Bonnivard talks glowingly of the camaraderie engendered by her group's gatherings, whose motive, she said, is to defend European culture and identity. "Our freedom in France is being threatened," she said. "If we prefer European civilization and Christian culture, that's our choice."
She added: "Instead of wasting money on the tsunami or other foreign problems, we should start here. We have three million people unemployed."
A woman named Hélène, 61, who is not homeless but comes to Bonnivard's soup kitchen to eat because she has little money left for food after paying her rent, said: "At least here there are people who are of the same mind as me. The French, and the Europeans in general, roll over for foreigners, and particularly Islam."
This being France, most soup kitchens provide the downtrodden with a complete French dinner, including cheese and dessert. Bonnivard's group even offers a glass of red wine with every meal.
"The only condition required for dining with us: eat pork," reads the group's Web site, which bears the image of a wanted poster for a cartoon pig in a pot framed by the words, "Wanted, Cooked or Raw, Public Disturbance No. 1."
The site adds that, "cheese, dessert, coffee, clothing and candy go with the pork soup. No soup, no dessert."
Most of the homeless who came for the soup seemed most interested in filling their stomachs.
Michel Bewulf, 27, wearing a black knit cap and new black parka provided by Bonnivard's group, said he did not think the homeless who came to the soup kitchen did so because of the politics.
"There is pig in the soup," Lucien- Boun told a man of uncertain provenance who approached for a bowl.
She hesitated with her ladle as she spoke to his friend. "It's O.K.? You told him? He eats it? So it's all good. Here you go, bon appetit!"
The police initially granted permission for the "European solidarity feast" that Bonnivard's and the other rightist soup kitchens planned for last week. They later changed their mind, notifying her at her home at dawn of the morning of the march.
By evening, four vans filled with riot police were waiting at the group's designated meeting point outside a conservative Catholic church.
Bonnivard and her confederates huddled in a nearby café, plotting ways to serve their soup before the police could stop them.
"They're more afraid of us than any march by Islamists or Jews," Bonnivard's husband, Roger, later declared as people slurped soup around him. Bruno Gollnisch, the silver-haired number two of the far-right Front National, mingled in the crowd, calling the "persecution" of the soup kitchen a "betrayal of the French identity."
Other activists handed out slices of oily sausage as flags bearing the fleur de lis fluttered overhead.
"We're not yet living in a land of Islam," Bonnivard bellowed from atop the sedan.
"She then went on to describe me as a liar, a hypocrite, a coward and arrogant," whimpered Red Ken, during an interview in his office. "On November 21, 2002 she published a profile of me in which I was described as a 'snappy, snarling brute', 'voracious', 'frightening', 'ugly', 'raging' and 'gripped by paranoia'."
Recently there have been a large number of demonstrations by defenestration committees around the world, and all of them share the same slogan: "Throw the bastards out of office."
Years ago I corresponded with a woman who was completing her doctoral thesis on Piet Mondrian. We'd meet occasionally in Manhattan, visit art museums and libraries, do romantic things that young students do. We had a nice casual relationship. I have fond memories of Mondrian.
These days I correspond with a lady who has a friend finishing her doctoral thesis on Nietzche. Our relationship is a bit stranded on the rocks. We meet for lunch, we visit art museums and libraries, do romantic things that a couple of old people can barely manage if my back isn't too painful. And I grit my teeth hearing about her friend who tells her that I'm a fascist bigot who knows nothing. Her friend knows. She knows all about Islam and it is a religion of peace. I'm a religious Nazi.
Mondrian escaped from the Nazi invasion of Europe and fled to Manhattan. One day he looked out his hotel window and saw the cars on the streets below. He eventually painted the scene as he liked it. It's called "Broadway Boogie Woogie." I like it.
Any day these days one can walk down a street in Kansas and see a lady wearing a tee-shirt or carrying a purse with the motifs originally designed by Mondrian. Walmart has racks of Mondrian design dresses. Mondrian's work has become wall paper. It's pretty.
My old friend, if she cares anymore, would likely be upset that her post-grad efforts are now the subject of conversation of fat ladies in Kansas at Walmart. She wasn't the type at the time back then to be a snob, but I think she'd still find it unhappy that her prized artist has become an unseen part of Middle America's polyestre set.
My friend looked at Mondrian's work and said "Doctoral thesis." The world looked at Mondrian's paintings and said "Wall paper."
My friend's friend looks at Islam and says: "Religion of Peace! For you, blah, blah, blah, the essence, blah blah, blah, is ungraspable! You are a bigot! Nietzche blah, blah, blah...."
There's more to be said for Mondrian than that his work is ultimately wall paper. I knew someone who wrote a doctoral thesis claiming great things for him. So who is right? Is my friend's thesis right that he is a significant artist? Or is the world at large right in saying he made designs that others successfuly turned into smocks for fat ladies?
When one strips away all the art jargon and presents the works of Mondrian to the world, the result is wall paper. When we strip away all the crap we hear and read about Islam, the resulting picture is one of murder and slavery and horror.
Those who study Islam and know it deeply and academically can go on for years about it's high significance. They are experts. They know. To those of us in Kansas, Islam looks like one big ugly mess. Who is right?
Monday, February 27, 2006
I remember the saying from a Marine Corp. boot camp drill sgt. who said, "There are three ways of doing things: Your way, the right way, and my way." The father of Jaws' author Robert Benchley, jr. wrote that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who put people in two categories, and those who don't. J. Fichte, one of my favorite German philosophers to hate, wrote of materialists and idealists that "that's just the way they are." Sometimes that lack of sophistication is profound. But not always.
Many years ago when I was a boy I found that I was so short of common sense that I "haint got a lick ern't." Well, silly me. I went to a foreign country and found a library where I got an essay by Karl Menninger on Common Sense. His thesis is that what passes for common sense isn't as valuable as some would have us believe, and that critical analysis, logic and rigorous reasoning and testing of assumptions, of empirical evidence, ie the ways of science, are stronger and better than "common sense." Years later I encountered Thomas Paine. When I get back home I'll have a lot to talk about.
In these long years on the road back home I've found there are actually more ways than my way, the right way, your way, the Marine Corp. way, and so on. There are ways that have no words or images to explain them. There is the Tao, there is the Eightfold Path of Wisdom, there is the straight and the crooked, the is Pathways to Madness. There is Heidegger's Paths. Thomas Grey sums it up nicely in its simplicity:
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Shakespeare, Macbeth (V, v, 19 ) puts it even better:
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
All of the above are filled with common sense observations backed up by rigorous analysis. We ponder our own paths even when we don't think openly. Even the drug addled and drunken, they have to poison themselves to quell the voices of internal inquiry. Some poison themselves with the intoxicating certainties of ideology or eschatological religion. To question is to live in a state of constant fear. The world's oldest known book shows us the depth and universality of the fear: When Gilgamesh holds the dead body of Enkidu he asks "Where Is my friend? Must I too, like my friend, lay me down, never to rise again forever?"
We observe in the course of our lives events that crush us, and if we have no defence, no protection, we are crushed. I don't despise those who seek protection. Only a fool wouldn't. Only a man who hain't got no senz. But there are ways, and then there are ways. We can look to Pascal's totally inadequate wager. We can look at Kierkegaard's rational fideism. We can look here, there, and anywhere; but in the final leg of the journey we come to see that we have to decide all by ourselves alone. I like Rimbaud's version: that these paths are bitter that can only lead to the end of the world. All of these considerations are based in some way on common sense and practical applications in daily survival, and all honed on the sharpening stone of life. We think whether we like it or not, and the thoughts are frightening for many. Eventually, sometimes soon, we just decide and go on regardless. And then there are those who don't get it. For some the Truth is the unknowable that remains after the illusion is removed.
We all of us know intuitively that there is mystery. That would be common sense. Some aren't satisfied with that as a way of knowing. Some of us, when confronted by X become cutters of illusions, those who shear away the veils of deceit and self-deception. We want to know, and we do so knowing that it can only be tragedy in the knowing. My cat knows nothing. My cat is happy. We who live lives of knowing live lives of fear. Every step through life is for us a torment. The path leads to death. We know. We know that we are fallen, and we do not live the lives of cats. We live lives of tragedy.
Islam, as so many of our pre-paid public intellectuals would have us repeat, does not mean "peace." Nor, as so many taqqiya artists would dun into us, does it mean it mean "submission." Islam means slavery. In Islam, man's relationship with his god is one of salve to master. It is total and complete. It is a willing surrender. Man, in a state of islam, is not the owner of his own life. Man is reduced, (according to me,) and elevated, (according to Muslims,) to the state of farm animal. According to Islam, the Moral is revealed in the Koran, and its practice is prescribed in the sunna. There is no more to know, and to think there is more to to veer into apostasy, to tamper with perfection, an therefore to become less. In Islam there is no fall, there is no path, there is no moral. There is only the acceptance of Islam and its ritual practice thereafter. There is no moral. There is no tragedy. It hardly rates as comedy.
Between the above sentence and this I stepped out for lunch. I could parse the experience to infinity. I don't because of lack of imagination and because I have control .Of the infinite number of possible things I might have considered only one is of any significance, and that only by personal choice: I noticed a man in a billiard shop breaking a rack of balls. My guess is that the balls went pretty much where he intended them to go. He has control. However, I'm not satisfied with that. I must also consider David Hume's understanding of the event I choose to consider. Billiard man has expert control over his game. His reality conforms to his efforts, and his expertise comes from practice, from common sense, and from deep analysis of the ways of billiards. Were we to explain to him that all of his expertise is of no value, that the balls go where they do because it is the will of Allah, he'd shrug and think we're Muslim. Were we to explain to him that all of his expertise is of no value, that the balls go where they do because it is the nature of his habits of mind to assume that because it is his past experience of such that the future must be so, then he would shrug and think we're stupid. Between the aggressively passive Muslim and the aggressively skeptical philosopher lies the shadow of the unknowable, the potential possibilities of billiards. I don't know even the simplest things. I lack common sense.
Below we see a bit of common sense tempered with intelligence and experience:
Fichte, like the proverbial broken clock, gets it right: It depends on the kind of person one is. One can look at the potential possibilities of the possible tableau, and from the infinitely parsable, one chooses. Why would one choose concern for the plight of the Palestinians? Why would one choose concern for the plight of the Israelis?
Common sense tells us it's a minor conflict that involves very few people, only a minute number of whom we could ever in a whole long life-time ever know on a personal level. Of all possible conflicts between others, those we are not, why would we concern ourselves with this one, one of the least important and least harmful to the greatest number? Objectively, the conflict is trivial in Human terms of scale. Who cares? It's a small and low-intensity conflict between a small number of primitive hunter/ gatherers, beduin, and a group of Modernists who have inserted themselves into the midst of resentful reactionaries. Common sense would suggest that everyone just get over it. Instead, it is the defining issue of our time. Where we stand on this issue defines our world views, our epistemologies, our very reason for being. We don't get over it. We fetishise it. This conflict, if it exists at all, only exists for us because we choose to think so. I choose to involve myself in this conflict, man-made as it is, for a number of reasons, personal and public.
Publicly, it is of concern to me as a matter of control. I might admit to a smidgen of common sense. My common sense tells me that this struggle is one between Revolution and Reaction. I opt for Revolution if only because that's the kind of person I am. My sense tells me that there is less illusion in Revolution than in Reaction, and that once the illusion is cut away, what remains, the obscure, is probably closer to truth than otherwise. I opt for the revolutions of Modernity because I find there is less of my cat's life in Modernity that in Reaction. There is greater control in free inquiry than in slavery. There is greater freedom of inquiry in Modernist Zionism than in primitive submission to 7th century tribal rites of Islam. More enquiry is less illusion; therefore, more likely the possibility of truth.
I understand the practical benefits accruing from the Treaty of Westphalia of 1648. The concept of national identity and group solidarity leads in its own way eventually to the concepts of self agency and joint stock companies. It leads to the individual acting in enlightened self-interest within a community of like persons. That would be your capitalism. That would be your billiard player. That would be control.
One reason I hate Fichte, also von Herder, also so many others in the course of this blog I've written about, is the concept of exceptionalism based on ethnicity. Our writer above is likely against Zionism for the very reasons I argue against Fichte. If there is a universal moral, what makes one group based on ethnicity excused from its obeyance? Why are they excepted? And what gives them the right to impose upon another group? To claim exceptionalism is to deny universality. One will not find me denying either ethnicity or moral universality. The one I argue from experience and analysis, the other I argue for simply because when one cuts away the illusion there is left the mystery.
I favor Zionism on the grounds of the observable benefits of the Treaty of Westphalia. Some Jews argue against it on the grounds that it violates the principles of universality and the oneness of Man. Zionism is an exceptionalism. Some Jews argue against Zionism on the grounds that it contradicts their religious views, altogether obscure to me. And finally, we are left with the observable fact that all Jews are Jews. We could be skeptical, but let's not. Let common sense prevail for now. Zionism is in conformity with the Treaty of Westphalia, a treaty most of us accept as given. Large groups are due nations based on numbers, unities of custom and tradition over time, of common language, by self-definition. Jews and Kurds seem to qualify on those grounds as nations. One must honestly ask if Basques and Eskimos do. And to answer that honestly, one might refer to Engel's later writing partner, Eduord Bernstien, who claimed that in the life of nations there are those who can and those who can't. One must sometimes bow to the somewhat humorous realpolitik of Communists.
I argue in favor of Zionism partly in terms of prudence and practicality, that with a large group of identifiable ethnic people one must form a nation in the general and in the individual interests; and that this particular group is singled out for extermination by too many other groups to bother counting, both now and throughout much of our history. The universality of the moral of Man is not the same as the universality of the brotherhood of Man. Frankly, mate, we ain't kith and we ain't kin. I would like you better not as a pretender to my brotherhood but as a man among men. Scots wa hae where Wallace bled, like them or no, those are mine in some remote sense. One of the last men to go down during the collapse of Constantinople, he was a Scot. I know about him because he is mine. The Jews know because the Jews are theirs. I know that a Scot died defending the Greeks. I know there is transcendence. I know too that the Greeks have never heard of the Scot who died trying to defend them. I know that between Donald Grant and Dagald Walker there is a bond. I know that between the Highlands and the Horn lays the mystery. I favor Zionism because it is demonstrably less illusory than the Caliphate. I can see Donald Grant in Constantinople and I can see myself in Jerusalem. There is truth in the existence on the ethnicity of the Jews as there is truth in the ethnicity of the Scots. The brotherhood of man is illusion. There is prudence and benefit in the Treaty of Westphalia, and there is illusion in the Caliphate. Proof? Look so far as Sophia and so near as London. Look so far as East Jerusalem and look so near as West Jerusalem. The stance is telling. One is reactionary or one is revolutionary. It depends on the kind of person one is.
These past eight months of near daily writing on the intellectual history of reaction will show that Modernity is revolutionary and beneficial, less illusory than reaction, and therefore more likely to be the mystery of the remaining.
I'll return again to the metaphor of the billiard player. Recently we posted a comparison between B.F. Skinner and Viktor Frankl. One argues for environmental determinism, the other for self-agency. This is of a piece when one argues for or against Palestinians, so-called. There is a machine that controls or there is not. Frankl, inmate of a Nazi death camp, accepted the externality of the machine as obvious and given, and he accepted his agency within. Most died,;and like Primo Levi, Franlkl survived. We can count the survivors. The drowned, as Levi writes, had no names because they were dead already. I write this name, and I want you to shout it out in any moment of agony: Tom Cunningham.
Alas, in my experience, people are lazy and peddle anything they see or read, just to be accepted, just to be left alone...
One can see at a glance that this exercise in dialectic is in sympathy to some degree with the idea of getting people to think independently. Not to become excited: I write constantly here and elsewhere about boundaries and authority.
There is a difference between dialectic and education, and the obvious difference is between the Greek and the Latin. The Latin term refers to raising children. The Greek to discussing with independent adults. If we rear by education we infantalise our charges, lapsing into a condition of in loco parentis, of which we here have written disparagingly. If people are going to arrive at independent thinking, then it would be a matter of privacy as opposed to publicity. One has no right to educate adults but much opportunity to discuss as equals whatever comes to mind and is of interest.
In these past pages we've looked in some detail at the history of social work as an outgrowth of European missionary vocation. Please refer here to archival material on Henry Mayhew. We have also written often on Plato's Myth of the Metals and the Philosopher Kings. Another place to find our positions is Elenchus and Aporia. And finally, in our on-going analysis of gnosticism and the origins of Nazi exceptionalism. In fact, the majority of this blog is dedicated to the discussion of the relationship between the self-identified elites and the so-called masses. If I had a few minutes of peace here I'd write more. As is, I'm swamped by crazy people making incomprehensible demands.
Regarding the cartoons, it should be common knowledge by now that they were originally commissioned by a newspaper publisher who was approached by a children's book writer who couldn't find an illustrator to illustrate his book on Mohammed. He couldn't find an illustrator who wasn't afraid of being murdered by Muslims in Denmark for doing so. What makes Muslim sharia valid in Denmark? Are Danes subject to sharia in Denmark? In practical terms, de facto, yes, if they are afraid to act counter to sharia from fear of murder for doing so. Sharia is triumphant in Denmark if that is the case, and then there is not one law for Danes but two. In effect, if there are two legal systems in contradiction in one nation, then there is no law but that of every man against every man; and that, as Hobbes points out so beautifully in The Leviathan, is chaos and civil war. Worse, it is the end of legitimacy of the original legal Danish state.
From Hobbes to Rousseau to me, we all agree that the legitimate state acts as final and armed arbiter of the civility of the commonwealth. I give up my right to kill my obnoxious neighbour in exchange for the the right to live without fear of him killing me when my back is turned. He and I both give up our rights to defend ourselves in favor of giving that right of force to the state. When there are opposing forces of legitimacy in one land, when there is my force and your force, and when there's no common agreement that mine is valid and yours is not, then we descend into civil war. If the law, as agreed upon in advance by the public and plurality, agrees that everyman has the right to express himself short of direct and immediate harm, then that is the law. To claim exceptions for some based on another form of law, and then to back that exceptionalist claim by force of murder is to defeat the purpose of the original social contract.
The question then is whether the cartoons were a direct incitement to violence. They were published in an Egyptian newspaper shortly after they appeared in Denmark. No one in Egypt seemed to care. Months later, after concerted efforts at inflammation by Muslim provocateurs from Denmark moving through the Middle East with the original cartoons and additional crude forgeries, then there were organised campaigns of public violence. The proof is that the cartoons, rather than being objectionable in the first place, even in Egypt, exist in themselves, and that only provocation made them an issue on the part of those who had an agenda of their own that had nothing to do with objective responses from Muslims who are as free to choose to react to them as they are free not to. The Danes, following legitimate and universally Danish national law, did not provoke violence; but the Muslims, incited, chose to react violently. As Lenny Bruce once claimed: "There are no dirty words only dirty minds." Yes, we understand that Muslims do not and canonically cannot accept personal responsibility for their actions outside the confines of Islam. If we claim that Mohammed is a pig, we can be fairly certain that the average Muslim will kill himself and a dozen innocent bystanders in response. That cannot and must not prevent us from claiming if we so choose that Mohammed is a pig. Regardless of whether Muslims can acept law and responsibilty outside of Islam the fact remains that their law is not exceptional in the greater scheme of the prevailing law. If they cannot abide by the common codified law of the land, then it is not imperative that we obey their law and ours as well, it is imperative that Muslims obey our common law or that they leave for other lands, or that they commit crimes and are processed through the local admisitration of justice as anyone else will be.
The question arises whether this is an act of islamophobia. It might well be, and so what? Again, one must decide what's important in life, privacy or publicity. The individual is private and not the possession of the publicity itself. Or, one may take the opposite view of communitarianism, that the person is indeed the possession to the whole of whom he is an otherwise meaningless atom. That would return us to von Herder and Fichte and the origins of Naziism, which we have dealt with here in other essays in deep and vast detail.
Before they do for each of us there is the small matter of the details of living. That would include the common sense problem of the reason one bothers. Schopenhauer might be onto something.
Just because I can, I'll repost an old essay below to further my agruments above.
Metaphor, Authority, and the Moral (4)
Why Left dhimmi fascism? How did the West get itself into this bind whereby anyone with a "grievance" can claim victimhood and compensation while the West ties itself in knots of guilt and self-loathing? In past posts we've searched through history to examine the ideas of the Counter-Enlightenment thinkers who concocted the base for this idiocy, thinkers such as Herder, Fichte, Heidegger among others. Recently we've looked at the history of the Renaissance popes of the Catholic Church and the Protestant Reformers. We've seen the story of Sawney Beane, of morality based on the authority of one cannibal living in a cave. Here we will continue on that theme of moral authority and the metaphors that motivate us in our moral lives.
The Catholic Church has, for many in the West, lost its position as a moral authority. Whether that's right or wrong is a matter of dispute, but it is the objective reality in the West. It leaves a moral vacuum. Worse, it leaves a hatred in the collective mind of the very idea of an organised moral institution. The Protestant Reformation arose from that revulsion the Catholic Church brought upon itself and the world. Unfortunately, Protestantism isn't much better than the Catholic Church, in the eyes of many. The very idea of religion at all, and of God, is a source of hatred for many. For the past 250 years science has provided some kind of stop-gap as an authority, if amoral, but it too is discredited. We are left standing as the children of Sawney Beane, the ignorant children of a cannibal who has raised us to look upon the world as empty of meaning, as people as things to be eaten. We are the vacuous creatures of consumerism. We are assailed by Islam, a vigorous and primitive force of reaction and fascism; and Islam is aided and abetted by those among us who are atheists in a sense so deep that the world has never before experienced anything so despairing: people in the West generally have not anything at all to believe in but MTV.
The argument is that there is no authority to base our beliefs on. We ask an empty universe for answers to our moral questions, and in return we receive radio static and x-rays. It will not do. We ask each other, and we receive nothing better than one man's opinion, he possibly being Sawney Beane. The echoes from the cave of morality discourage.
Some of our more repulsively stupid fellows, usually our intelligentsia, feel that there is no universal truth, that there is only contingent truth, relative morality, and finally, that there is only astrology or tarot cards to base our morals judgements on. Some go so far as to opine that there is no such thing as truth at all, it being a social construct-- usually described as concocted by the dominant class in support of its own power, we being dupes who believe in phantasy that tricks us into acting against our own interests. The idea is originally Platonic, Plato being, as Neil Postman writes, "the first systematic fascist." That "narrative" is the dominant one in the West today. It leaves us in a state of moral stupor. I argue that the current Left dhimmi fascist moral narrative is as corrupt and disgusting as anything the Catholic Church is accused of. I argue that we today are in a state of public moral ruin. We cannot fight Islam if we do not care at all for our own lives. If we have no meaning as people, if our lives are no more worthwhile than the lives of chickens and Amazonian rain forests, then we are doomed to die out and to be overrun by Islam. Many in the West feel that that would be a good thing, the end of our revolutions of Modernity. Those who so argue are fascists. They are my enemies. What do we fight them with? What authority do we claim that proves us right in our struggle to further our revolutions?
We have written here many times on Georges Sorel and the Myth of the General Strike. Sorel is right, in our opinion, that the Myth is essential rather than the kind of myth it might be. We require a reformation of our social and therefore universal myth if we are to not only survive but triumph. I intend to win. To win, to survive at all, we must reform our Myth of what it is to be moral.
Math is a metaphor. Language is a metaphor. So too are Time, Money, Colour, Shape, Extension, and so on. And yet, Human myths, metaphors though those concepts are, they are also Human realities, and they are universal. So too must be our reformed Morality. But it must also be authoritative.
Where do we begin? I begin with the story of Lazarus from the Book of John, 11: 39-44, perhaps surprising for one self-proclaimed atheist:
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
The verses above distinguish clearly the problem of the Moral from that of the ethical. The ethical hardly interests me, it being a matter of how to act like a decent person. I don't much care. It is the Moral that is of concern. Look at Lazarus arisen. His ethical behavior is not important to the story of his reliving. The moral of his new lease on life is what is.
Suppose, if you will, that Lazarus is a smelly and creepy guy who has no job, hangs out in the market place and gropes women, and shop lifts. He might be unethical, but to Jesus that is not important. What is? Jesus could have raised up Brad Pitt or Clark Gable. He did not do so. He chose a guy who wasn't special. He did not pick a man who had qualities the world missed and wanted back for however long the life could last. He chose a guy off the street. Ordinary nobody guy is as important as Brad Pitt for some reason. Why him?
Lazarus, if no one else, must have wondered. And perhaps Lazarus was pleased. But Lazarus must also have been anguished: What was he supposed to do now that he found himself alive again after being so comfortably dead already? He found himself back on the street, in need of the things one requires to keep body and soul together. He had to return to shoplifting and girl groping and smelling bad. His ethical problems pale in the light of what the moral of his story is. Having returned to life, what was the meaning of it? What was he supposed to live? Forget what he was supposed to do, that's obvious: he had to live. But why? Was he supposed to live because the city ran out of shoplifters and gropers who smell bad? Not likely. So what is the purpose of his life? He has it again, and aside from making a living, what is he supposed to be? What isn't trivial? And what is important? What is so important that it makes his new life worth the effort of having raised him up from the dead? Watching MTV isn't likely what Jesus had in mind for him. Being thankful and acting as Jesus's servant isn't likely either because it's not something he would have done had he been allowed to die in peace. No one would like to live again only to do something in the new life he wouldn't have felt right about in the old. Lazarus, I believe, was free to choose his own destiny-- if he could understand what it was. A clean slate. A chance to do anything at all from the beginning. What would he choose? What could be important?
That, according to me, would be the Moral. Not the what but the why. The moral would be as mythical and as real a metaphor as math and time and money.
I argue that we in the West have generally lost the authoritative moral that tells us Why. Our metaphor of Why is as corrupt as the Catholic Church in the Renaissance. We have no legitimate metaphor and no authority we can believe in. We are as lost and helpless as the children of Sawney Beane. Our moral authority could as easily be a cannibal living in a cave. How do we know if he's right or wrong, and if we hear from others, from even so many as all others, how do we know they are right? Everyone could easily be wrong about the moral, as wrong as Sawney Beane. And how would we know? Where do we turn for the answer of true authority? We turn, I suggest, to the metaphor of morality that is as solid as the metaphor of math and as universal.
We in the West do not have an agreed upon universal moral based on true authority. Without that we are like Lazarus standing in the dust wondering what to do next.
Every morning when we awake we are like Lazarus arisen from death: we are alive again and faced with what we live for. What do we live that isn't more of the same trivia? If it's more of the same trivia then why do we live at all rather than not? If it's the same trivia, we would have been better off being dead so as not to have to suffer more of it. Reliving would be no good thing. We wouldn't thank anyone for that. And yet we do wake each morning to face a new day of life. I think we in the West find that harder to do daily. I think Islam triumphs because we have lost our moral.
And to all who managed to get through that, I thank you.