Forgive the introspection: Part Two

A good philosophical “coating of thought”.

In yesterday’s Part One, I focused on the hugely damaging effects of inequality in society. Reinforced only last Monday by an article by Professor Adam Levitin, a Professor of Law at Georgetown Law School. (Who also recently served on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Consumer Advisory Board and was Special Counsel to the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program.) Levitin’s article was published by Naked Capitalism and opened with this statement:

A lot of Americans — right and left — are frustrated with what has happened to the middle class. The gap between the superrich and the rest of the country has widened, and it seems like everyone is having to work harder just to stay in place: wages have been stagnant, two-incomes are nearly mandatory (creating a subsidiary child care issue), and millions have lost their home equity in foreclosures. While there are a lot of people who bemoan the fate of the middle class, and even some want to do something about it, they don’t or can’t do the heavy lifting necessary to figure out why the system is broken and who wants to ensure it remains that way.

(I strongly encourage you to read the rest of the article.)

Trust me, as a good middle class Brit (albeit now living in America), it’s not just Americans who are frustrated!

However, one happening in this modern world is wonderful. I’m speaking of the ways that ideas can circulate around the world.

Better than that, the wonderful way we can “listen in” on the reflections of others in a manner that would have been impossible twenty years ago.

A few days ago, Patrice Ayme (PA) published a post called Human Kind, Yet Evil Rule. As so frequently happens, it attracted a clutch of fascinating responses.  One of those responses came from a PA reader who writes under the name of EugenR. EugenR offered in his response a fascinating dialogue between a group of persons, and I saw that dialogue as promoting the value of philosophising about the more challenging aspects of present life.

Eugene explained, “It was edited from a conversation in the past. I found it to be a relevant response to the essay.” It matters not the names of the people described by the initials, what matters so much more is the value of an introspective “coating of thought”.

ooOOoo

EugenR: The worst rule the world, because they are the worst.

GD: Not for long

EugenR: For ever

GD: What about Non Violent Civil Disobedience ?

EugenR: At the end the “Non Violent Civil Disobedience” is a human organization, and as such it will either die out, or in worse case will have an organizational structure in which the worst bullies will be on the top. There is nothing new under the sun.

GD: At the end the truth, that at the age of internet is a simple finger click away, will win.

EugenR: At the end the truth wins, the question is when and at what price. In between the lie and cruelty celebrates. Just remember the last century events (Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Mugabe i mean Dr Mugabe, etc.). All of them are gone (except the least evil Dr Mugabe). Did you know Pol Pot studied in Paris? Don’t be upset by history but learn from it. And now you have the Islam fundamentalism, that is all about cultural and religious non tolerance, racism (Sudan, Darfur, etc.), legitimization of enslavement of the non Muslims, intellectual degradation of women, death penalty for apostasy (Under current laws in Islamic countries, the actual punishment for the apostate (or murtadd مرتد) ranges from execution to prison terms. Islamic nations with sharia courts use civil code to void the Muslim apostate’s marriage and deny child custody rights, as well as his or her inheritance rights for apostasy. Twenty-three Muslim-majority countries, as of 2013, additionally covered apostasy in Islam through their criminal laws.), etc.

GD: The real question is do we have less fear because we have more access to knowledge? Or more fear because the media has portrayed fear as the new normal? I am not sure that mass herd mentality works in modern society anymore. And that is how dictators ruled. The new fear is forced acceptance. It is worse. Or should I say financially forced acceptance.

AH: I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant. Take the example of Martin Luther King, Jr.

EugenR: Yes, they were in history few good leaders who won. Martin Luther King is among them, others are N.Mandela, M. Gandhi, V. Havel all of them won, but at what personal price. Two of them murdered, two served years in jail. And anyway after them came some scoundrels destroyed anyway their achievements. Still the strife for self evident justice (that’s what these leaders were after) must go on. But who are the new Mendelas, Gandhis, Kings or Havels? In the best case those who came after them are at the best Obamas.

AH: It is a process. In the last 500 years from time of Galileo (who was threatened by his Church for telling the truth about the nature of the planets) to today there has been tremendous progress on a global scale. We with progressive values and committed to the path of love, must remember that darkness is also part of human nature (perhaps an essential part) and remain vigilant — and hopeful.

EugenR: I assume you never lived in a country where the government terrorizes its citizens. Try to express your truth in one of the terror countries, like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. Try to say there, it is wrong not to let women to have education (about 50% of them are illiterate). Try to say something about freedom of faith. Communism was wiped out only 20 year ago, its leftovers are regimes like the one in N. Korea but also Cuba. You say, ……darkness is also part of human nature…. The question is not if darkness is part……..it definitely is and nobody can deny it, but how do you fight it. In most of the cases the fight is with even more darkness.

AH: I have never lived in a terrorizing country. I did have terrorizing parents and an entrenched belief in a terrorizing Pentecostal God. I am a racial minority in a world that devalues everything I do because of my skin colour. We all have our challenges. In the end, it is arrogant for me to think you can make (force) people do what I think they should do or feel what I think they should feel. This is exactly the mindset of the dictator and I reject that thinking completely. The best I can do is look at my inner signaling. I seek to elevate my own consciousness and change myself for the better. The next step is the social conversation. I share my thinking and values with others in the hope that they too will be inspired to change themselves for the better.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

EugenR: Sorry Alexi, this time M.L.King had it wrong. The Nazis were defeated by Stalin, just because his cruelty did not have limits, while the Nazis limited their cruelty only to the non Germans. Without Stalin the Western powers would never stand against the Nazis.

AH: If you think about it carefully, the darkness of Hitler was replaced by the darkness of Stalin. This was true for the USSR, East Germany, East Berlin and most of East Europe. So Stalin did not drive out darkness, he just replaced it with his own dark shadow.
Alexi: Stalin was in control by 1923, ten years before Hitler (Lenin tried to stop him at the end of his life).

PA: The French started the nuclear bomb program in 1938. Nobel Laureate Irene Curie was certain that a bomb could be made. The program went to Manhattan, in total secret to the Nazis, and total opening to Stalin. Hitler would have been nuclear bombed into submission.

EugenR: If we speak about destiny probably Hitler would survive even the nuclear bomb, as he survived about 30 assassination attempts. If to believe in God here you have him. God is against humanism and humanity, and mainly against his “chosen people”. As he misled His Own People, some Jewish rabies made a trial of God in some extermination camp, and their verdict was, Death penalty. But then after the verdict they went to the next ceremonial pray. The religion is not about morality (mostly in contrary), not about reality or evidence, not about belief in truth (I know many skeptic believers), not even about tribalism since there are religious newcomers, who did not grow in the tribal tradition.

It is all this about some false answers to questions of eternal life? It can be right for some, but not for everyone. So tell me, what it is all about? The faith in communism did not include even belief in eternal life, and still it has so many followers. It seems religion or faith is a need of the human spices to believe in some fundamental dogma, be it even an obvious lie, all it needs is enough followers, and supporters of a false idea. In a way to be a football club fun is also a religion.

ooOOoo

As I said, I found the dialogue a compelling example of thinking ideas through.

12 thoughts on “Forgive the introspection: Part Two

  1. Humanity: from tribalism to the present day masochism

    Humanity is fundamentally tribal. A tribe is a number of humans, say fifty. Enough to scare off, and kill, a sufficient numbers of predators. That was fundamental, be it only to access water (a non-obvious proposition in Africa).

    Predation is something hard to imagine nowadays (and yet, ironically enough we are becoming victims of it again!) For tenths of millions of years of human evolution, before an alliance could be made with wolves, human beings were in a constant war with super predators. The notion of super predator is the stuff of legend. Why? Because humans eliminated most of them in the last 50,000 years (around the date when Neanderthals exterminated the giant European Cave Bear).

    Eurasia and the Americas enjoyed their respective lions, at least 25% larger than today’s largest African lions. Homotherium (Eurasia), and Smilodon (America) were saber tooth cats, the latter was huge. The path into America was probably barred by the extremely carnivorous, lion faced Short Faced Bear, Arctodus Simus, who probably ran down bisons and horses. Standing, Arctodus reached nearly four meters tall.

    Giant hyenas and giant baboons prowled in Africa. And so on. All super predators were eliminated by man (directly and indirectly).

    Human beings evolved in fear, fighting safety only in numbers and military discipline. Fascist obedience behind rulers was a life-saver during millions of years. It probably evolved into an instinct (a natural neurological pattern for human beings). Baboons already have it.

    I call this the fascist instinct. Religions, superstitious or not, the madness of crowds, hyper nationalism, blind obedience to orders all come from this natural human tendency.

    In particular, there is in human being a natural tendency to be subjugated, scared, so as to all later unite in the terror of the moment. This tendency to enjoy unity from terror is no doubt at work in the rise of the present plutocracy, and the revered myth that we don’t have the means to serve our Lords, except if we engage in more austerity, and subjugation to the laws of the market (that is, the laws of those who had the capital to start with, said capital often obtained by hook and by crook, such as legal tax avoidance by the richest)

  2. An Interesting dialogue .. I guess you already know where my thoughts are?

    I have to agree with AH as he said ” We all have our challenges. In the end, it is arrogant for me to think you can make (force) people do what I think they should do or feel what I think they should feel. This is exactly the mindset of the dictator and I reject that thinking completely. The best I can do is look at my inner signalling. I seek to elevate my own consciousness and change myself for the better. The next step is the social conversation. I share my thinking and values with others in the hope that they too will be inspired to change themselves for the better.”

    Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.
    Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
    ― Martin Luther King, Jr.

    While I readily admit, both Light and Dark of our natures is part of who we are, We can not experience the Good without there being Bad. We need balance within..

    And I am also reminded of a quote by Confucius..

    “To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.”

    Blessings Sue

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