Sunday, March 26, 2006

What's the Reason?

Last month I argued that not all speech is equal even if it should be legal--that the outrage of Muslims over a portrayal of a violent Mohammad (which he was) isn’t the same as the vicious lies about Jews in the Arab press. Andre Glucksmann, the French philosopher, makes the same point:
“This is where two philosophies clash. The one says yes, these are equivalent "beliefs" which have been equally scorned. There is no difference between factual truth and professed faith; the conviction that the [Nazi] genocide took place and the certitude that Muhammad was illuminated by Archangel Gabriel are on a par. The others say no, the reality of the death camps is a matter of historical fact, whereas the sacredness of the prophets is a matter of personal belief. This distinction between fact and belief is at the heart of Western thought. …” (Hat tip Pastorious.)
Thinking back to the Cold War, the threat of communism made it imperative that we define the essential difference between the free world and the collectivist world. Today, the resurgence of Islam, and its threat to the West, prompts a similar comparison. What makes us different?

Why has human achievement been the exception during most of human history with an occasional spark amidst the smothering oppression of authority while during the last three hundred years a compounding of knowledge from generation to generation has created an exponential cascade of human innovations in the West and everywhere in the world that has welcomed Western culture? What makes oil-poor South Korea, Japan, Israel and India more hopeful than Egypt or Iran?

In the morass of multi-cultural moral equivalency, these questions are forbidden. They should, however, be center stage.

90 Comments:

Blogger beakerkin said...

The reason Islamic societies do not produce is that it is a colonial based theft system. The dhimmis were supposed to do all the hard work and commerce and be taxed for the right to live.

Jews, Armenians and others performed the drudge work of Commerce. The masses were content with a series of never ending wars fed by a hateful religious fervor.
Meanwhile the corrupt elite live a life of luxury an sloth.

Political Islam is used to justify
the exisisting elites. However as in Iran when Islamic revoulution fails it is because of individual faults or the people weren't pious enough. The fact that theocracy is not comaptible with a moden economy is a non starter.

3/27/06, 3:09 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

OT here....

About those riots in France, see this.

3/27/06, 8:44 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Jason:

For an economy to be dynamic, its consumers have to be forward-thinking, creative, and open to change; furthermore, time has to matter.

Muslims are none of these: They are backward-thinking (always harking back to a so-called 'Golden Age of Islam'), uncreative (there are far too many restrictions for people to be free to be creative), slothful (praying five times a day is not conducive to an efficient use of one's time), and time to many Muslims is of little consequence (just go and live in Saudi Arabia a while and see how disrespectful of time those Muslims are).

In short, an economy dominated by the Qur'an and Islamic doctrine will always have a hard time catching up with the free world.

The catching up they have done in recent years is due, in large part, to the technology they have been able to buy, and the services of skilled labour they have been able to import.

3/27/06, 9:59 AM  
Blogger Brooke said...

Shutting out 1/2 of your population (women) from contributing economically and with innovative advance doesn't help the cause, either.

3/27/06, 11:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why has human achievement been the exception during most of human history with an occasional spark amidst the smothering oppression of authority while during the last three hundred years a compounding of knowledge from generation to generation has created an exponential cascade of human innovations in the West and everywhere in the world that has welcomed Western culture?

I suspect your validity of your argument depends upon agreement with the supposition that "human achievement" and "Western innovation" are "good" things.... and that a life based upon "facts" and therefore that truth is indeed somehow "better" than one based upon mere "belief's". But is it?

Was Sancho Panza's fact/ reality-centered life "better" than "Don Quixote's"? Yes, Don Quixote was a "crazy fool" who tilted at windmill's, but wasn't he the one pursuing the "Impossible," yet incredibly soul-satisfying, Dream? If I had to choose between the active, but fantasy filled life of Quixote and the passive fact-based life of Panza, I would choose Quixote's. For Quixote actually "lived" a life of which Panza could only "dream".

And I would also argue that it is "western" thought that is indeed the more Quixote'esque of all human cultures. It is NOT the fact/reality truth based "scientific" distinction that alone makes Western "culture" superior to all others. It is the FACT (;P) that it empower's more of "us" than "them" to dream those perhaps impossible, yet somehow restlessly beautiful, dreams.

But then again, perhaps my "measures" are different from those of most. For as much as I admire truth, there is also much that must be said for beauty and measure as well.

Plato "Philebus"

SOCRATES: And now, Protarchus, any man could decide well enough whether pleasure or wisdom is more akin to the highest good, and more honourable among gods and men.

PROTARCHUS: Clearly, and yet perhaps the argument had better be pursued to the end.

SOCRATES: We must take each of them separately in their relation to pleasure and mind, and pronounce upon them; for we ought to see to which of the two they are severally most akin.

PROTARCHUS: You are speaking of beauty, truth, and measure?

SOCRATES: Yes, Protarchus, take truth first, and, after passing in review mind, truth, pleasure, pause awhile and make answer to yourself--as to whether pleasure or mind is more akin to truth.

PROTARCHUS: There is no need to pause, for the difference between them is palpable; pleasure is the veriest impostor in the world; and it is said that in the pleasures of love, which appear to be the greatest, perjury is excused by the gods; for pleasures, like children, have not the least particle of reason in them; whereas mind is either the same as truth, or the most like truth, and the truest.

SOCRATES: Shall we next consider measure, in like manner, and ask whether pleasure has more of this than wisdom, or wisdom than pleasure?

PROTARCHUS: Here is another question which may be easily answered; for I imagine that nothing can ever be more immoderate than the transports of pleasure, or more in conformity with measure than mind and knowledge.

SOCRATES: Very good; but there still remains the third test: Has mind a greater share of beauty than pleasure, and is mind or pleasure the fairer of the two?

PROTARCHUS: No one, Socrates, either awake or dreaming, ever saw or imagined mind or wisdom to be in aught unseemly, at any time, past, present, or future.

SOCRATES: Right.

PROTARCHUS: But when we see some one indulging in pleasures, perhaps in the greatest of pleasures, the ridiculous or disgraceful nature of the action makes us ashamed; and so we put them out of sight, and consign them to darkness, under the idea that they ought not to meet the eye of day.

SOCRATES: Then, Protarchus, you will proclaim everywhere, by word of mouth to this company, and by messengers bearing the tidings far and wide, that pleasure is not the first of possessions, nor yet the second, but that in measure, and the mean, and the suitable, and the like, the eternal nature has been found.

PROTARCHUS: Yes, that seems to be the result of what has been now said.

SOCRATES: In the second class is contained the symmetrical and beautiful and perfect or sufficient, and all which are of that family.

PROTARCHUS: True.

SOCRATES: And if you reckon in the third class mind and wisdom, you will not be far wrong, if I divine aright.

PROTARCHUS: I dare say.

SOCRATES: And would you not put in the fourth class the goods which we were affirming to appertain specially to the soul--sciences and arts and true opinions as we called them? These come after the third class, and form the fourth, as they are certainly more akin to good than pleasure is.

PROTARCHUS: Surely.

SOCRATES: The fifth class are the pleasures which were defined by us as painless, being the pure pleasures of the soul herself, as we termed them, which accompany, some the sciences, and some the senses.

PROTARCHUS: Perhaps.

SOCRATES: And now, as Orpheus says,

'With the sixth generation cease the glory of my song.'

Here, at the sixth award, let us make an end; all that remains is to set the crown on our discourse.

PROTARCHUS: True.

SOCRATES: Then let us sum up and reassert what has been said, thus offering the third libation to the saviour Zeus.

PROTARCHUS: How?

SOCRATES: Philebus affirmed that pleasure was always and absolutely the good.

PROTARCHUS: I understand; this third libation, Socrates, of which you spoke, meant a recapitulation.

SOCRATES: Yes, but listen to the sequel; convinced of what I have just been saying, and feeling indignant at the doctrine, which is maintained, not by Philebus only, but by thousands of others, I affirmed that mind was far better and far more excellent, as an element of human life, than pleasure.

PROTARCHUS: True.

SOCRATES: But, suspecting that there were other things which were also better, I went on to say that if there was anything better than either, then I would claim the second place for mind over pleasure, and pleasure would lose the second place as well as the first.

PROTARCHUS: You did.

SOCRATES: Nothing could be more satisfactorily shown than the unsatisfactory nature of both of them.

PROTARCHUS: Very true.

SOCRATES: The claims both of pleasure and mind to be the absolute good have been entirely disproven in this argument, because they are both wanting in self-sufficiency and also in adequacy and perfection.

PROTARCHUS: Most true.

SOCRATES: But, though they must both resign in favour of another, mind is ten thousand times nearer and more akin to the nature of the conqueror than pleasure.

PROTARCHUS: Certainly.

SOCRATES: And, according to the judgment which has now been given, pleasure will rank fifth.

PROTARCHUS: True.

SOCRATES: But not first; no, not even if all the oxen and horses and animals in the world by their pursuit of enjoyment proclaim her to be so;-- although the many trusting in them, as diviners trust in birds, determine that pleasures make up the good of life, and deem the lusts of animals to be better witnesses than the inspirations of divine philosophy.

PROTARCHUS: And now, Socrates, we tell you that the truth of what you have been saying is approved by the judgment of all of us.

SOCRATES: And will you let me go?

PROTARCHUS: There is a little which yet remains, and I will remind you of it, for I am sure that you will not be the first to go away from an argument.


...and that's the Ying and the Yang of my tale....

-FJ

3/27/06, 12:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw - I'm not trying to say that "dreams alone" are sufficient. Osama bin Laden is the "perfect" modern day example of a Don Quixote. But his "dream" lack's "measure" and "beauty" in the the means/ methods employed for achieving his desired end (future truth).
It also assumes at least one major FALSE belief...that without an equivalency of "mind", all men are capable of emulating MTP.

-FJ

3/27/06, 12:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooops, bad link... Ying and Yang

-FJ

3/27/06, 12:47 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Interesting that Farmer mentions Don Quixote because Spain was under the boot of the Islamic Moors for over 700 years.

As I interpret the novel which Cervantes wrote--a major breakthrough, speaking in a literary sense--reality and beliefs (dreams?) need balance. I don't see Islam moving toward any balance.

Also, Don Quixote's beautiful dream necessitates his constantly having to be rescued. And his inability to come into the Modern Age is both good (Ideals are good) and bad (Reality must be contended with).

Check the final chapter of the novel for the resolution.

I'd like to discuss more about Don Quixote, but it's almost time to give a few piano lessons. IMO, this novel is a masterpiece. But, as a Spanish major, I could be biased.

3/27/06, 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I offer the following not to completely undercut my argument, but rather to acknowledge the importance of reality and truth (which I maintain are insufficient unto themselves in explaining the "superiority" of Western Civilization over all other others)...

"But if you build your life on dreams it's prudent to recall; a man with moonlight in his hands has nothing there at all." -- Don Quixote

Perhaps no group of statesment enjoyed Don Quixote more than the Founding Fathers of the United States. "Dear sir: I have received your letters of the 29th of October and the 9th of Novr. The latter was handed to me by Colo. H[enry] Lee, with 4 Vols. of Don Quixote which you did me the honor to send to me. I consider them as a mark of your esteem which is highly pleasing to me, and which merits my warmest acknowledgment. I must therefore beg, my dear sir, that you will accept of my best thanks for them." So wrote George Washington in a letter, which he addressed from Mount Vernon on Nov. 28, 1787, to Diego Gardoqui, Spain's first ambassador to the United States. During the American Revolution, Gardoqui had functioned as the conduit for the millions of pounds that the Spanish gave to the American cause. Spain's financial contribution to the American Revolution was equal to that of France, with Gardoqui serving as the Spanish counterpart to the Frenchman Caron de Beumarchais, author of the play on which Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro is based.

Washington was not able to read the four-volume Spanish set of Don Quixote he got from Gardoqui, which can still be seen in his library at Mount Vernon, but he did read an English translation that he obtained soon after. Don Quixote was also a favorite of Alexander Hamilton, John Adams (who travelled with the book in his saddlebags), and Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson, as he told his son-in-law to be, Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., thought that next to French, Spanish was the modern language "most important to an American," given that "our connection with Spain is already important and will become daily more so. Besides this the ancient part of American history is written mostly in Spanish." Jefferson supposedly taught himself Spanish in a few days in 1784, while crossings the Atlantic on his way to Europe, by means of a copy of Don Quixote and a borrowed Spanish grammar, according to what he later told John Quincy Adams in 1804. Adams took the story with a grain of salt: "But Mr. Jefferson tells larges stories," wrote Adams in his diary.33 Nontheless, throughout his life Jefferson was an ardent proponent of Don Quixote, insisting that his daughters Martha and Mary read it as part of their learning Spanish.

Benjamin Franklin, America's senior statesman, who organized the French and Spanish contributions to the American cause, listed Don Quixote in the first catalogue of his Library Company, in 1741. In his Autobiography,34 Franklin himself notes that he taught himself the French and Italian languages. "I afterwards with a little painstaking, acquir'd as much of the Spanish as to read their books also." Notably, Cervantes' Don Quixote.


...more on the Don

-FJ

3/27/06, 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what are some of the "errors/ untruth's" upon which Western Civilization has been built (to support my argument that "truth/ reality alone is insufficient"). And what is the measure of truth?

Nietzsche, "Will to Power"

512 (1885)

Logic is bound to the condition: assume there are identical cases. In fact, to make possible logical thinking and inferences, this condition must first be treated fictitously as fulfilled. That is: the will to logical truth can be carried through only after a fundamental falsification of all events is assumed. From which it follows that a drive rules here that is capable of employing both means, firstly falsification, then the implementation of its own point of view: logic does not spring from will to truth.


Nietzsche, "The Gay Science"

111- Origin of the Logical.

Where has logic originated in men's heads? Undoubtedly out of the illogical, the domain of which must originally have been immense. But numberless beings who reasoned otherwise than we do at present, perished; albeit that they may have come nearer to truth than we! Whoever, for example, could not discern the "like" often enough with regard to food, and with regard to animals dangerous to him, whoever, therefore, deduced too slowly, or was too circumspect in his deductions, had smaller probability of survival than he who in all similar cases immediately divined the equality. The preponderating inclination, however, to deal with the similar as the equal - an illogical inclination, for there is no thing equal in itself - first created the whole basis of logic. It was just so (in order that the conception of substance should originate, this being indispensable to logic, although in the strictest sense nothing actual corresponds to it) that for a long period the changing process in things had to be overlooked, and remain unperceived; the beings not seeing correctly had an advantage over those who saw (reality) everything "in flux." In itself every high degree of circumspection in conclusions, every skeptical inclination, is a great danger to life. No living being might have been preserved unless the contrary inclination - to affirm rather than suspend judgment, to mistake and fabricate rather than wait, to assent rather than deny, to decide rather than be in the right - had been cultivated with extra ordinary assiduity. The course of logical thought and reasoning in our modern brain corresponds to a process and struggle of impulses, which singly and in themselves are all very illogical and unjust; we experience usually only the result of the struggle so rapidly and secretly does this primitive mechanism now operate in us.

112-Cause and Effect.

We say it is "explanation "; but it is only in "description" that we are in advance of the older stages of knowledge and science. We describe better, we explain just as little as our predecessors. We have discovered a manifold succession where the naive man and investigator of older cultures saw only two things, "cause" and "effect,"as it was said; we have perfected the conception of becoming, but have not got a knowledge of what is above and behind the conception. The series of "causes" stands before us much more complete in every case; we conclude that this and that must first precede in order that that other may follow - but we have not grasped anything thereby. The peculiarity, for example, in every chemical process seems a "miracle," the same as before, just like all locomotion; nobody has "explained" impulse. How could we ever explain? We operate only with things which do not exist, with lines, surfaces, bodies, atoms, divisible times, divisible spaces - how can explanation ever be possible when we first make everything a conception, our conception? It is sufficient to regard science as the exactest humanizing of things that is possible; we always learn to describe ourselves more accurately by describing things and their successions. Cause and effect: there is probably never any such duality; in fact there is a continuum before us, from which we isolate a few portions - just as we always observe a motion as isolated points, and therefore do not properly see it, but infer it. The abruptness with which many effects take place leads us into error; it is however only an abruptness for us. There is an infinite multitude of processes in that abrupt moment which escape us. An intellect which could see cause and effect as a continuum, which could see the flux of events not according to our mode of perception, as things arbitrarily separated and broken - would throw aside the conception of cause and effect, and would deny all conditionality.


115 - The Four Errors.

Man has been reared by his errors: firstly, he saw himself always imperfect; secondly, he attributed to himself imaginary qualities; thirdly, he felt himself in a false position in relation to the animals and nature; fourthly, he always devised new tables of values, and accepted them for a time as eternal and unconditioned, so that at one time this, and at another time that human impulse or state stood first, and was ennobled in consequence. When one has deducted the effect of these four errors, one has also deducted humanity, humaneness, and "human dignity."


...the American fiction... "all men are created equal, and endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, among them life, liberty,and the pursuit of happiness.... the "Impossible Dream".


Nietzsche, "Will to Power"

488 (Spring-Fall 1887)
Psychological derivation of our belief in reason.--The concept "reality", "being", is taken from our feeling of the "subject".
"The subject": interpreted from within ourselves, so that the ego counts as a substance, as the cause of all deeds, as a doer.
The logical-metaphysical postulates, the belief in substance, accident, attribute, etc., derive their convincing force from our habit of regarding all our deeds as consequences of our will--so that the ego, as substance, does not vanish in the multiplicity of change.--But there is no such thing as will.--
We have no categories at all that permit us to distinguish a "world in itself" from a "world of appearance." All our categories of reason are of sensual origin: derived from the empirical world. "The soul", "the ego"--the history of these concepts shows that here, too, the oldest distinction ("breath", "life")--
If there is nothing material, there is also nothing immaterial. The concept no longer contains anything.

No subject "atoms". The sphere of a subject constantly growing or decreasing, the center of the system constantly shifting; in cases where it cannot organize the appropriate mass, it breaks into two parts. On the other hand, it can transform a weaker subject into its functionary without destroying it, and to a certain degree form a new unity with it. No "substance", rather something that in itself strives after greater strength, and that wants to "preserve" itself only indirectly (it wants to surpass itself--).

534 (1887-1888)

The criterion of truth resides in the enhancement of the feeling of power.


Ying and Yang...the world is "will to power" and nothing besides (and of course, that "Will" isn't ours).

How does one measure which society has obtained/ recognized the greater/ higher level of truth/ reality? Why the more powerful one, of course.

And the "better" one? I suspect one need look for a powerful lion that allows beauty to recline upon it's back. Is there a way to measure beauty? Maybe....

-FJ

3/27/06, 3:51 PM  
Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

We are presently / allegedly fighting a "war on terrorism" in which American soldiers are protecting Afghan government officials who are set to execute a man for converting from Islam; protecting them, mind you, from those who have "perverted" Islam.

Bush's first mistake in this "war" was to not remove any person hellbent on keeping "civilian casualties" to a minimum away from any tactical planning. If the enemy has enough manpower to bury their dead, they haven't been hit enough.

3/27/06, 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plato, "Philebus"

SOCRATES: Unless truth enter into the composition, nothing can truly be created or subsist.

PROTARCHUS: Impossible.

SOCRATES: Quite impossible; and now you and Philebus must tell me whether anything is still wanting in the mixture, for to my way of thinking the argument is now completed, and may be compared to an incorporeal law, which is going to hold fair rule over a living body.

PROTARCHUS: I agree with you, Socrates.

SOCRATES: And may we not say with reason that we are now at the vestibule of the habitation of the good?

PROTARCHUS: I think that we are.

SOCRATES: What, then, is there in the mixture which is most precious, and which is the principal cause why such a state is universally beloved by all? When we have discovered it, we will proceed to ask whether this omnipresent nature is more akin to pleasure or to mind.

PROTARCHUS: Quite right; in that way we shall be better able to judge.

SOCRATES: And there is no difficulty in seeing the cause which renders any mixture either of the highest value or of none at all.

PROTARCHUS: What do you mean?

SOCRATES: Every man knows it.

PROTARCHUS: What?

SOCRATES: He knows that any want of measure and symmetry in any mixture whatever must always of necessity be fatal, both to the elements and to the mixture, which is then not a mixture, but only a confused medley which brings confusion on the possessor of it.

PROTARCHUS: Most true.

SOCRATES: And now the power of the good has retired into the region of the beautiful; for measure and symmetry are beauty and virtue all the world
over
.

PROTARCHUS: True.

SOCRATES: Also we said that truth was to form an element in the mixture.

PROTARCHUS: Certainly.

SOCRATES: Then, if we are not able to hunt the good with one idea only, with three we may catch our prey; Beauty, Symmetry, Truth are the three, and these taken together we may regard as the single cause of the mixture, and the mixture as being good by reason of the infusion of them.

PROTARCHUS: Quite right.


-FJ

3/27/06, 4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Mexican drinks his beer and suddenly throws his glass in the air, pulls out his pistol and shoots the glass to pieces. He says, "In Mexico our glasses so cheap we don't need to drink from the same glass twice".

An Iraqi, obviously impressed by this, drinks his beer, throws his glass into the air, pulls out his AK-47 and shoots the glass to pieces. He says, "In Iraq we have so much sand to make glasses that we don't need to drink out of the same glass twice either."

The Kentucky boy, cool as! a cucumber, picks up his beer and drinks it, throws his glass into the air, pulls out his gun and shoots the Mexican and the Iraqi, and catches his glass. He says, "In America we have so many illegal Mexicans and Arabs that we don't have to drink with the same ones twice."

3/27/06, 4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ralph Waldo Emerson,"On Beauty"

BEAUTY
Was never form and never face
So sweet to SEYD as only grace
Which did not slumber like a stone
But hovered gleaming and was gone.
Beauty chased he everywhere,
In flame, in storm, in clouds of air.
He smote the lake to feed his eye
With the beryl beam of the broken wave;
He flung in pebbles well to hear
The moment's music which they gave.
Oft pealed for him a lofty tone
From nodding pole and belting zone.
He heard a voice none else could hear
From centred and from errant sphere.
The quaking earth did quake in rhyme,
Seas ebbed and flowed in epic chime.
In dens of passion, and pits of wo,
He saw strong Eros struggling through,
To sun the dark and solve the curse,
And beam to the bounds of the universe.
While thus to love he gave his days
In loyal worship, scorning praise,
How spread their lures for him, in vain,
Thieving Ambition and paltering Gain!
He thought it happier to be dead,
To die for Beauty, than live for bread.


What is Beauty? Is it something "to die for"?

To an American, I'd suspect that the certain cultural Je no c'est qua is "Freedom".

To the Muslim, I suspect that the stated goal is something rather "redundant" and therefore asymmetrical and rather ugly... "power". All pure "Iranian" yang...aka MTP... and so like the Spartan's and Cretan's (Minoan Palace Culture), who built their culture on the "single" virtue, that of "courage"... could not "grow".... for they had no defenses against "pleasure" (temperance) and were immediately "corrupted" and "destroyed" once removed from their "closed" environment and subjected to "temptation".

"Nothing in Excess" is a means to "Know One's-self"... of examining truth through experience and learning one's limits.

But taking virtue seriously is the moral correlative of the Rocinante effect. Who ever took virtue more seriously than Don Quixote, overwhelmed as he was with "the wrongs that were to be righted, the grievances to be redressed"? Don Quixote's advantage, however, was a final critical position from which he could see that an unexamined virtue is no more worth acting on than, as Socrates had earlier put it, an unexamined life is worth living. So much for falling in love with the words written in books and not attempting to verify and validate them through practice.

-FJ

(Apologies to L&C for taking so long to arrive at a destination)

3/27/06, 8:23 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
This will take some time to read! Stop by in a day or two; I may have a comment to make as to the information you posted. My carpal tunnel is twanging right now.

3/27/06, 8:57 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Of course Plato wants everything in its place, that’s his recurrent theme. But that begs the question. What is the proper place or balance? Fiction is worthy—as fiction, but not when passed off as reality. Knowing which is which (fiction or reality) is what is required. Knowledge is needed to survive and flourish. Ideas are worthless if you can’t assess their validity. If they are wrong they will blind you to reality and lead you to your death … as we see in the Islamic world. Here they refuse to face the problems of their culture and they sink deeper and deeper into despair.

Knowledge requires concepts that are drawn from and grounded in reality. It’s the ability to establish knowledge and pass it to the next generation that creates the compounding effect that I mentioned. Dreams are a dime a dozen in every society. Mark is right about Arab culture. Their literature has an emphasis on fortune, and escape from work. Al Ghazali believed causality was not inherent in nature. And so philosophy and science came to its end in Islamic culture as it was picked up in the West. Dreams they sill have. Reason is the tool they need. But reason in the full sense involves see matters in proportion as well as basing concepts on evidence. It’s a far broader concept than one finds in a college course on logic.

3/27/06, 9:39 PM  
Blogger kevin said...

Not all RELIGIONS are created equal. Another great post BTW

3/27/06, 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plato's "Apology" to Jason...

Socrates - ...And although some of you may think that I am joking, I declare that I will tell you the entire truth. Men of Athens, this reputation of mine has come of a certain sort of wisdom which I possess. If you ask me what kind of wisdom, I reply, wisdom such as may perhaps be attained by man, for to that extent I am inclined to believe that I am wise; whereas the persons of whom I was speaking have a superhuman wisdom which I may fail to describe, because I have it not myself; and he who says that I have, speaks falsely, and is taking away my character. And here, O men of Athens, I must beg you not to interrupt me, even if I seem to say something extravagant. For the word which I will speak is not mine. I will refer you to a witness who is worthy of credit; that witness shall be the God of Delphi--he will tell you about my wisdom, if I have any, and of what sort it is. You must have known Chaerephon; he was early a friend of mine, and also a friend of yours, for he shared in the recent exile of the people, and returned with you. Well, Chaerephon, as you know, was very impetuous in all his doings, and he went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle to tell him whether--as I was saying, I must beg you not to interrupt--he asked the oracle to tell him whether anyone was wiser than I was, and the Pythian prophetess answered, that there was no man wiser. Chaerephon is dead himself; but his brother, who is in court, will confirm the truth of what I am saying.

Why do I mention this? Because I am going to explain to you why I have such an evil name. When I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the god mean? and what is the interpretation of his riddle? for I know that I have no wisdom, small or great. What then can he mean when he says that I am the wisest of men? And yet he is a god, and cannot lie; that would be against his nature. After long consideration, I thought of a method of trying the question. I reflected that if I could only find a man wiser than myself, then I might go to the god with a refutation in my hand. I should say to him, 'Here is a man who is wiser than I am; but you said that I was the wisest.' Accordingly I went to one who had the reputation of wisdom, and observed him--his name I need not mention; he was a politician whom I selected for examination--and the result was as follows: When I began to talk with him, I could not help thinking that he was not really wise, although he was thought wise by many, and still wiser by himself; and thereupon I tried to explain to him that he thought himself wise, but was not really wise; and the consequence was that he hated me, and his enmity was shared by several who were present and heard me. So I left him, saying to myself, as I went away: Well, although I do not suppose that either of us knows anything REALLY beautiful and good, I am better off than he is,-- for he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows; I neither know nor think that I know. In this latter particular, then, I seem to have slightly the advantage of him. Then I went to another who had still higher pretensions to wisdom, and my conclusion was exactly the same. Whereupon I made another enemy of him, and of many others besides him.


Jason,

The idea that all men are created equal should not be "passed off as a reality"? Really? Or do you think that the statement is "true"? I'm glad you weren't around in '76 to pooh-pooh dreams.

If you have no dreams, there can be no future which is different from today. The problem with the Muslims is... they do not dream enough! Knowledge is a "recollection of the past"...the future is, however, an as yet undiscovered country. I do not know it. Although some days, I think I do.

-FJ

3/28/06, 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jonathan Swift, "Battle of the Books"...

Things were at this Crisis, when a material Accident fell out. For, upon the highest Corner of a large Window, there dwelt a certain Spider, swollen up to the first Magnitude, by the Destruction of infinite Numbers of Flies, whose Spoils lay scattered before the Gates of his Palace, like human Bones before the Cave of some Giant. The Avenues to his Castle were guarded with Turn-pikes, and Palissadoes, all after the Modern way of Fortification. After you had passed several Courts, you came to the Center, wherein you might behold the Constable himself in his own Lodgings, which had Windows fronting to each Avenue, and Ports to sally out upon all Occasions of Prey or Defence. In this Mansion he had for some Time dwelt in Peace and Plenty, without Danger to his Person by Swallows from above, or to his Palace by Brooms from below: When it was the Pleasure of Fortune to conduct thither a wandring Bee, to whose Curiosity a broken Pane in the Glass had discovered it self; and in he went, where expatiating a while, he at last happened to alight upon one of the outward Walls of the Spider's Cittadel; which yielding to the unequal Weight, sunk down to the very Foundation. Thrice he endeavoured to force his Passage, and Thrice the Center shook. The Spider within, feeling the terrible Convulsion, supposed at first, that Nature was approaching to her final Dissolution; or else that Beelzebub with all his Legions, was come to revenge the Death of many thousands of his Subjects, whom his Enemy had slain and devoured. However, he at length valiantly resolved to issue forth, and meet his Fate. Mean while, the Bee had acquitted himself of his Toils, and posted securely at some Distance, was employed in cleansing his Wings, and disengaging them from the ragged Remnants of the Cobweb. By this time the Spider was adventured out, when beholding the Chasms, and Ruins, and Dilapidations of his Fortress, he was very near at his Wit's end, he stormed and swore like a Mad-man, and swelled till he was ready to burst. At length, casting his Eye upon the Bee, and wisely gathering Causes from Events, (for they know each other by Sight) A Plague split you, said he, for a giddy Son of a Whore; Is it you, with a Vengeance, that have made this Litter here? Could you not look before you, and be d——d? Do you think I have nothing else to do (in the Devil's Name) but to Mend and Repair after your Arse? Good words, Friend, said the Bee, (having now pruned himself, and being disposed to drole) I'll give you my Hand and Word to come near your Kennel no more; I was never in such a confounded Pickle since I was born. Sirrah, replied the Spider, if it were not for breaking an old Custom in our Family, never to stir abroad against an Enemy, I should come and teach you better Manners. I pray, have Patience, said the Bee, or you will spend your Substance, and, for ought I see, you may stand in need of it all, towards the Repair of your House. Rogue, Rogue, replied the Spider, yet, methinks, you should have more Respect to a Person, whom all the World allows to be so much your Betters. By my Troth, said the Bee, the Comparison will amount to a very good Jest, and you will do me a Favour, to let me know the Reasons, that all the World is pleased to use in so hopeful a Dispute. At this, the Spider having swelled himself into the Size and Posture of a Disputant, began his Argument in the true Spirit of Controversy, with Resolution to be heartily scurrilous and angry, to urge on his own Reasons, without the least Regard to the Answers or Objections of his Opposite; and fully predetermined in his Mind against all Conviction.

[11] Not to disparage my self, said he, by the Comparison with such a Rascal; What art thou but a Vagabond without House or Home, without Stock or Inheritance; Born to no Possession of your own, but a Pair of Wings, and a Drone-Pipe. Your Livelihood is an universal Plunder upon Nature; a Freebooter over Fields and Gardens; and for the sake of Stealing, will rob a Nettle as readily as a Violet. Whereas I am a domestick Animal, furnisht with a Native Stock within my self. This large Castle (to shew my Improvements in the Mathematicks) is all built with my own Hands, and the Materials extracted altogether out of my own Person.

[12] I am glad, answered the Bee, to hear you grant at least, that I am come honestly by my Wings and my Voice, for then, it seems, I am obliged to Heaven alone for my Flights and my Musick; and Providence would never have bestowed on me two such Gifts, without designing them for the noblest Ends. I visit, indeed, all the Flowers and Blossoms of the Field and Garden, but whatever I collect from thence, enriches my self, without the least Injury to their Beauty, their Smell, or their Taste. Now, for you and your Skill in Architecture, and other Mathematicks, I have little to say: In that Building of yours, there might, for ought I know, have been Labour and Method enough, but by woful Experience for us both, 'tis too plain, the Materials are naught, and I hope, you will henceforth take Warning, and consider Duration and matter, as well as method and Art. You, boast, indeed, of being obliged to no other Creature, but of drawing, and spinning out all from your self; That is to say, if we may judge of the Liquor in the Vessel by what issues out, You possess a good plentiful Store of Dirt and Poison in your Breast; And, tho' I would by no means, lessen or disparage your genuine Stock of either, yet, I doubt you are somewhat obliged for an Encrease of both, to a little foreign Assistance. Your inherent Portion of Dirt, does not fall of Acquisitions, by Sweepings exhaled from below: and one Insect furnishes you with a share of Poison to destroy another. So that in short, the Question comes all to this; Whether is the nobler Being of the two, That which by a lazy Contemplation of four Inches round; by an over-weening Pride, which feeding and engendering on it self, turns all into Excrement and Venom; producing nothing at last, but Fly-bane and a Cobweb: Or That, which, by an universal Range, with long Search, much Study, true Judgment, and Distinction of Things, brings home Honey and Wax.


-FJ

3/28/06, 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If human beings were domesticated animals, a successful farmer would be the one who produced the healthiest specimens, and could consistently increase their numbers.

Westerners are getting fatter by the minute and now require substantial and ever increasing medical interventions to keep them breathing. Their overall population numbers are also falling ever so rapidly. Are these valid indicators/ measures of civilizational superiority?

-FJ

3/28/06, 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...or is GDP the only valid measure?

Aren't noble lies sometimes necessary for the foundation of a viable state?

-FJ

3/28/06, 9:02 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
reality and truth (which I maintain are insufficient unto themselves in explaining the "superiority" of Western Civilization over all other others)

That may be so.

Freedom = "the impossible dream"

Cervantes satirizes much through his character of Don Quixote. Nevertheless, he holds up the pursuit of virtue as a worthy of ideal, even though the Don looks foolish and does foolish things. Of course, some of DQ's problems occur precisely because he views reality through his own distortion, based on too much reading.

Too much reading? Maybe that applies to you and me, Farmer. LOL.

Ivanhoe is another story which extols many of the same ideals which DQ held dear, but Ivanhoe was as much of a realist as he could be, considering the strictures of his times (He couldn't marry the Jewess Rebecca, but he was her champion).

Of course, Cervantes also satirized the Spanish culture itself, which held the Conquistadores in high esteem: they put their energies into the New World instead of into Spain. Once the Moors were defeated, the Reconquistador mentality remained, with nowhere to go.

Dreamers are needed, beauty is needed; but reality and practicality make a society a viable one. When either the dream or the reality is the sole modus operandi, chaos or stagnation follows, respectively. Either modus operandi can become smothering oppression (Jason's words).

Beak: Political Islam is used to justify the exisisting elites.

Yes! This has been true from the days of MTP, who was really all about unifying the tribes. "Religion" was the easiest unifier. The tribes were used to following their sheikhs, so the transition was fairly easy, though not without fractures, particularly when MTP didn't leave a clear successor.

Now, to return to Jason's posting here, with a Don Quixote twist (I'm not well versed in the philosophers, but I do know Spanish culture and literature)...Islam won't allow for the dream, thereby resulting in stagnation. And without the dream, there is no individual freedom. Of course, extreme individual freedom leads to chaos.

In Islam, chaos could be defined as "anything not Islamic." But I don't think that the Western definition of chaos is "anything which is not Western"; maybe "anything which would contribute to the significant of orderly society."

One final observation about Spanish literature...How many works of Spanish literature are considered "great"? Not many--at least as far as the general "literate" public recognize. (I specialized somewhat in La Generacion of '98, especially in Unamuno, a sort of Steinbeck) Cervantes, aka the Shakespeare of Spain, was really the only "biggie." Compare that to the literature of England, France, Germany, Russia (often as catharsis as it relates to oppression), various Asian poets (Asians don't do as well with prose, generally speaking), Islamic nations. Why the big gap between the artistic expression of Islamic cultures and the expession of other cultures, do you suppose? And did Spain's "desert" of literature have something to do with Moorish oppression and the results effected when that oppression was overthrown?

My personal opinion is that freedom, both the dream and the reality, encourages art. I admit that I, as a lover of Western civilization, am biased.

3/28/06, 9:03 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Farmer points out that our Founders liked Cervantes. Southerners liked Ivanhoe. Both are chivalric novels.

3/28/06, 9:04 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
And the bee represents ___________?

3/28/06, 9:08 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
If you have no dreams, there can be no future which is different from today. The problem with the Muslims is... they do not dream enough! Knowledge is a "recollection of the past"...the future is, however, an as yet undiscovered country.

The Muslims see no need to dream. MTP dreamed it all for them.

3/28/06, 9:09 AM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

"All men are created equal"

Those famous words! And the next clause speaks of "endowed by their Creator."

So, "created equal." Do men then proceed to corrupt that equality? The Declaration, of course, goes on to speak of man's laws which oppress.

3/28/06, 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about their "maintenance"?

Is "global warming" caused by "human activity/fossil fuel burning" a reality... or a "noble lie" of the Left?

Is a five month old fetus "life" an does it have a "soul"? Or are these simply "noble lies" of the right?

Are people who live in Tijuana substantially different from those who live in Los Angeles? Or is that simply a "noble lie" told by Americans?

-FJ

3/28/06, 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the bee represents ___________? ...

...an ancient philosopher, of course!

... the spider is a modern... surrounded by the now empty husks of the "empirical knowledge" he has captured and the dusty yet fragile "web" he has constructed from it.

-FJ

3/28/06, 10:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw always...

I wish I had your gift for putting things so succinctly. I tend to drone on and on lke an old woman...

Your observations on Spanish culture are absolutely wonderful! Thank you for sharing your insight. I agree with your conclusions.

-FJ

3/28/06, 10:12 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Jason:

Off the point a moment, but have you read the book, The End of Faith, by Sam Harris? I think you'd probably enjoy it.

3/28/06, 10:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason,

Do you think that Greek theatre served any purpose "other" than entertainment? The Iliad? The Odyssey? Who is your favorite hero, Achilles? Odysseus? Agamemnon (your golden mask)?

The Muslims favor MTP.

Of course the "modern" (WWII era) hero was "Joe Everyman in a democracy". But, our post-modern heroes are Tupac Shakur and P-Diddy. Some call it "progress".

-FJ

3/28/06, 10:42 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

First of all, the prime example of dream-worship is communism. Here the dream was to create a society where everyone would share and share alike. There would be no money; and people would work because they wanted to help others—not because they wanted to get paid. The communists dreamt of creating a new man—a Soviet Man. Trotsky used to boast that the communist man would be comparable to a Goethe or Aristotle. All the old theories about economics, human nature, and governmental power were hastily tossed out as antiquated.

What resulted? The dream became a nightmare.

Fiction, dreaming, hypothesizing, etc. are all fine at the margins. When extending knowledge and building on the wealth of human achievement, one needs to project beyond the known but subject those extrapolations to rational analysis. Before the evidence is in, one doesn’t mistake a wish for a fact. When you make “dreams your master,” as Kipling would say, you risk disaster. Reason and reality have to rule in the end. Human nature can’t be wished away, as communists had hoped, but must be faced and accepted.

3/28/06, 11:30 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Thanks, Mark. I did read most of it and I think it is a decent book. I’ve seen him talk on C-Span and he is a reasonable thinker. I believe George Mason (from 6th column) might have a review of the book.

3/28/06, 11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw - If you want to really know how to create a modern democracy, one must carefully study the art of weaving...

Plato, "Statesman"...

...and have left, as would appear, the very art of which we were in search, the art of protection against winter cold, which fabricates woollen defences, and has the name of weaving.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Very true.

STRANGER: Yes, my boy, but that is not all; for the first process to which the material is subjected is the opposite of weaving.

YOUNG SOCRATES: How so?

STRANGER: Weaving is a sort of uniting?

YOUNG SOCRATES: Yes.

STRANGER: But the first process is a separation of the clotted and matted fibres?

YOUNG SOCRATES: What do you mean?

STRANGER: I mean the work of the carder's art; for we cannot say that carding is weaving, or that the carder is a weaver.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Certainly not.

STRANGER: Again, if a person were to say that the art of making the warp and the woof was the art of weaving, he would say what was paradoxical and false.

YOUNG SOCRATES: To be sure.


Of course the true statesman knows how to weave the warp and woof (not a harsh and single warpish mono-filament cloth that Muslim's prefer)

"Statesman" (continued)...

STRANGER: Then the true and natural art of statesmanship will never allow any State to be formed by a combination of good and bad men, if this can be avoided; but will begin by testing human natures in play, and after testing them, will entrust them to proper teachers who are the ministers of her purposes--she will herself give orders, and maintain authority; just as the art of weaving continually gives orders and maintains authority over the carders and all the others who prepare the material for the work, commanding the subsidiary arts to execute the works which she deems necessary for making the web.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Quite true.

STRANGER: In like manner, the royal science appears to me to be the mistress of all lawful educators and instructors, and having this queenly power, will not permit them to train men in what will produce characters unsuited to the political constitution which she desires to create, but only in what will produce such as are suitable. Those which have no share of manliness and temperance, or any other virtuous inclination, and, from the necessity of an evil nature, are violently carried away to godlessness and insolence and injustice, she gets rid of by death and exile, and punishes them with the greatest of disgraces.

YOUNG SOCRATES: That is commonly said.

STRANGER: But those who are wallowing in ignorance and baseness she bows under the yoke of slavery.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Quite right.

STRANGER: The rest of the citizens, out of whom, if they have education, something noble may be made, and who are capable of being united by the statesman, the kingly art blends and weaves together; taking on the one hand those whose natures tend rather to courage, which is the stronger element and may be regarded as the warp, and on the other hand those which incline to order and gentleness, and which are represented in the figure as spun thick and soft, after the manner of the woof--these, which are naturally opposed, she seeks to bind and weave together in the following manner:

YOUNG SOCRATES: In what manner?

STRANGER: First of all, she takes the eternal element of the soul and binds it with a divine cord, to which it is akin, and then the animal nature, and binds that with human cords.

YOUNG SOCRATES: I do not understand what you mean.

STRANGER: The meaning is, that the opinion about the honourable and the just and good and their opposites, which is true and confirmed by reason, is a divine principle, and when implanted in the soul, is implanted, as I maintain, in a nature of heavenly birth.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Yes; what else should it be?

STRANGER: Only the Statesman and the good legislator, having the inspiration of the royal muse, can implant this opinion, and he, only in the rightly educated, whom we were just now describing.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Likely enough.

STRANGER: But him who cannot, we will not designate by any of the names which are the subject of the present enquiry.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Very right.

STRANGER: The courageous soul when attaining this truth becomes civilized, and rendered more capable of partaking of justice; but when not partaking, is inclined to brutality. Is not that true?

YOUNG SOCRATES: Certainly.

STRANGER: And again, the peaceful and orderly nature, if sharing in these opinions, becomes temperate and wise, as far as this may be in a State, but if not, deservedly obtains the ignominious name of silliness.

YOUNG SOCRATES: Quite true.

STRANGER: Can we say that such a connexion as this will lastingly unite the evil with one another or with the good, or that any science would seriously think of using a bond of this kind to join such materials?

YOUNG SOCRATES: Impossible.

STRANGER: But in those who were originally of a noble nature, and who have been nurtured in noble ways, and in those only, may we not say that union is implanted by law, and that this is the medicine which art prescribes for them, and of all the bonds which unite the dissimilar and contrary parts of virtue is not this, as I was saying, the divinest?

YOUNG SOCRATES: Very true.

STRANGER: Where this divine bond exists there is no difficulty in imagining, or when you have imagined, in creating the other bonds, which are human only.

YOUNG SOCRATES: How is that, and what bonds do you mean?

STRANGER: Rights of intermarriage, and ties which are formed between States by giving and taking children in marriage, or between individuals by private betrothals and espousals. For most persons form marriage connexions without due regard to what is best for the procreation of children.


Are you familar with the rituals and traditions associated with the mysterious "peplos scene" atop the Parthenon?

Seems at some point in time, the Atheneans stopped trying to emulate Agamamnon, and started to favor Odysseus' wife... Penelope. Or was it Arachne?, or perhaps Theseus who used Ariadne's thread to find his way out of the maze after defeating the Minotaur? I forget.

-FJ

3/28/06, 11:36 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Jason: The first half of the book made me burst out in laughter from time to time! :-) He has such a way with words.

Not that the book isn't serious; but it was just the way he phrased things.

3/28/06, 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again, Jason you are right. Communism in isolation (by itself), un-balanced, is a tried and now failed concept. Idealism, without a grounding in reality, is extremely perilous.

Plato, however, used the idea of communism when constructing his second best "Republic"... balancing the communist rulers (gold) against and aristocracy of virtue (silver Guardian Class) and a democracy (Iron and brass - merchants/ peasants)... a kind of separation of powers that required of communists (gold), that they be "wise", guardian's (silver) "courageous", and citizen's (iron/brass) "temperate". He was investigating a kind of balance/ proportionality. Balance of Powers. Senate vs House vs President vs Judiciary.

And I agree with you (and Aristophanes) of the "discontent" that idealism sews amongst a populace. His constant jabs at the Socrates of the "Thinkery", his infamous "Cloud Cuckoo-land" or female headed "Lysistrata") are but a few examples.

But what I am also saying, is that if you wish to "attack" or "reform" Islam, one must do so in the realm of "idea's", some "true", but others "false".

America's (and the West's) strength has come from a "competition" of idea's. We won the most recent "battle against communism". But that doesn't mean that new forms (ie - China's "Three Represents") are simply houses of cards waiting to fall. Or that "old forms" like Islam, are necessarily "backwards" and "inferior". Have you ever studied Platonic solid's or searched for the most "stable" geometric forms? (Plato, "Timaeus")

-FJ

3/28/06, 12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of balance and symmetry, have you ever studied the proceedings in the US Senate and compared it to the Iranian parliament? Which appears "more stable" to you?

-FJ

3/28/06, 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS - One day, you should watch the Senate Page's rotate in and out of their 4 stations on C-SPAN. I suspect it serves as a constant visual reminder to the Senators just "why" they are there.

-FJ

3/28/06, 12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pps - Did you spot he "peplos" in the shot of the Senate chamber?

;-) FJ

3/28/06, 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ppps - Did you notice what Hera was doing with her veil in the recreation of the Peplos scene? I suspect something was being "hidden" from Zeus (Necessity). Who was she?

-FJ

3/28/06, 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone here ever travelled to Larissa? I tried to get directions from Mapquest, but it wasn't listed.

-FJ

3/28/06, 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mohammed...you're some kind of prophet, aren't you? Do YOU know the way to Larissa? Jesus Christ, I sure wish I could find my map. Maybe Theatetus knows. He's the geometrician always talking about "true" opinion. Laches knows... at least he thinks he does.

-FJ

3/28/06, 2:56 PM  
Anonymous Jason Pappas said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/28/06, 5:25 PM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

Hi Jason, I found this interesting article about Islam here:

http://www.harunyahya.com/articles/clash_of_civilizations.php

The “Clash of Civilizations” is the Product of a Darwinist Mindset

BY HARUN YAHYA


The cartoon caricature recently published in Denmark, which has caused such distress throughout the Islamic world, has once again raised the claim of a “clash of civilizations,” whose flames have been so persistently stoked by certain circles. The caricature in question and the idea of a clash of civilizations are nothing more than reflections of the dark mental framework, tending towards violence, of Darwinist and materialist circles.

Certainly a great intellectual struggle is taking place today, dividing the world into two camps. However, these two sides do not represent Muslims on the one hand and Jews and Christians on the other. On the one hand are those who believe in the existence and oneness of God, and on the other, those who deny His very existence. To put it another way: on the one hand are devout believers in the divine God-inspired religions. And on the other are atheists, and the supporters of Darwinism, and materialists who stand opposed to religious moral values.

This intellectual struggle between believers and deniers has been going on since the dawn of history. Believers in all eras have spoken to others of the existence and oneness of God and called on them to abide by the true religion. Deniers, meanwhile, have made great efforts to turn people away from God and His religious moral values and towards amorality and wickedness. This philosophical struggle is still going on today, between believers in the one God and the materialistic Darwinist mindset that forms the basis of all atheistic ideologies.

Islam Commands Peace and Tolerance

Darwinists’ efforts to encourage a clash between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian civilizations are all in vain. Islam is a religion that commands peace, that calls on people to resolve their differences by way of reconciliation, and that enjoins them to behave with justice and benevolence. Nobody who sincerely abides by the Qur’an and the Sunnah of our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) can ever choose a path of conflict. Devout Muslims are tolerant, forgiving, modest, understanding, gentle, sincere and honest individuals, in line with the moral values commanded by God. A believer who lives by these values is also tolerant towards members of other faiths and belief systems.

One of the finest examples of this is the status of Jews and Christians under Islamic rule in the earliest years of the Islamic period. Anyone looking in an unbiased manner at this period in history will discover that the People of the Book always lived in peace and security under Islamic rule. Indeed, Christians and Jews who were oppressed by rulers of different faiths and sects of the time sought shelter in Islamic lands and found the security they sought in Muslim countries. The chief reason why the People of the Book could live in such peace and comfort is that the behavior that Muslims adopted toward them was determined by Qur’anic moral values.

Past Disagreements Result from Practices Incompatible with Religious Moral Values

At certain times in the past, disagreements between the two civilizations stemmed not from the societies’ respective religious faiths and cultures, but on practices, interpretations and decisions incompatible with religious moral values. The cruelty inflicted during the Crusades was the activity of an aggressive group who claimed to be acting in the name of Christianity, but actually had not the slightest religious morals—and even destroyed Byzantine churches on their way. Their savagery was not the product of authentic Christianity, but of a materialist mindset whose origins go back to pagan Sumerian myths. The Knights Templars, who wreaked such misery in Muslim lands, were a society totally distanced from Christianity, and their perverted beliefs perpetuated some of the Ancient Egyptians’ superstitious traditions.

One of the common goals of all three monotheistic religions is for all peoples to live in peace, security and happiness, and any conflict opposed to this ideal is regarded as an error by all three. Therefore, sincere Muslims, Jews and Christians can never be in conflict with one another.

On the other hand, it is a fact that Darwinists and materialists have targeted religion and religious moral values and combined the many means at their disposal to act together against true believers. To eradicate the negative, destructive effects of atheistic, materialist indoctrination and bring about societies in which proper moral values, happiness, peaceful security and welfare prevail, what needs to be done? An intellectual struggle must be waged against Darwinism and all materialist philosophies, which represent the foundations of atheism. The end of Darwinism will also spell the end of materialism and atheism, and all the problems that distance people from religious moral values can be resolved.

The System of the Dajjal (Antichrist) Is Also Based on Darwinism

Because Darwinism targets all communities and leads mankind into terrible tragedies, the intellectual struggle waged against it should be performed on a wide-ranging, global level. In the teeth of Darwinist propaganda waged intensively in newspapers and magazines, in documentaries and television programs, everyone must be informed that this perverted ideology has absolutely no scientific value—and of the kind of dangerous assumptions it poses. The more people realize that the theory of evolution is in a state of scientific collapse and that Darwinism consists of hollow indoctrination, the less effect its propaganda will exert. Once Darwinism ceases to wield any intellectual influence and no longer encourages populations towards atheism and lack of faith, religious moral values will spread rapidly along with peace and security on Earth.

The great Islamic scholar Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, who concentrated on the intellectual struggle to be waged against Darwinist and materialist philosophies, underscored the fact that in the end times, this intellectual struggle would assume an even greater importance. Bediuzzaman stated that the Dajjal—the worst corruption of the end times—would assume the leadership of Darwinist and materialist movements. He warned Muslims of this specifically:

A tyrannical current born of Naturalist and Materialist philosophy will gradually become strong and spread at the end of time by means of materialist philosophy, reaching such a degree that it denies God. . . . And the greatest of them, the Dajjal, who will come to lead them, will manifest awesome wonders, a sort of spiritualism and hypnosis; he will go even further, and imagining his tyrannical, superficial rule to be a sort of dominicality, he will proclaim his godhead. (Letters, "Fifteenth Letter")

As Bediuzzaman suggests, Darwinism is the main vehicle, and indeed the religion, of the Dajjal. The system of the Dajjal leads people towards denial, atheism and immorality, using Darwinism as a supposedly scientific rationale for doing so. Thus for some Muslims to say that there is no need for an intellectual campaign against Darwinism is much like saying that there is no need to fight against the system of the Dajjal, which ill befits any Muslim. Asking, “Why fight Darwinism?” is equivalent to saying, “So what if the Dajjal spreads corruption to his heart’s content? It is of no concern to us.” Saying, “Darwinism is hardly that important,” means ignoring the activities of the Dajjal. No sincere Muslim can cover up or conceal the actions of the Dajjal. On the contrary, Muslims must seek to expose the Dajjal’s plots and frauds, and to eradicate his system on a systematic, intellectual basis.

The Struggle against Darwinism Must Be an Intellectual One

Darwinism cannot be eradicated with weapons, or acts of violence or aggression. It can be neutralized only by emphasizing the scientific evidence. In one hadith, our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) has revealed that in the end times, the system of the Dajjal will melt away “like salt in water,” comparing the system that would intellectually eradicate it to water:

When the enemy of God [Dajjal] sees him [Jesus, son of Mary], he will [disappear] just as salt dissolves in water. (Sahih Muslim)

The “water” that will dissolve the system of the Dajjal in the end times is knowledge. Salt cannot be dissolved by burning or bombing it; it can only be washed away. Darwinism will also disappear when the invalidity of the theory of evolution is explained in high schools and universities. Aggressive and radical movements such as communism, fascism, racism, terrorism and anarchism will lose all support once Darwinism is defeated. The system of the Dajjal, the cause of chaos and corruption upon Earth, will vanish intellectually.

Why Do Some People Seek to Avoid the Intellectual Struggle Against Darwinism?

Some are ill-informed, imagining that Darwinism is based on scientific foundations and supported by countless proofs. Such people erroneously believe that evolution is a powerful hypothesis and imagine that no one can oppose ideologies that seem so strongly scientific. They believe that this theory, unfounded and outdated, which has sought to deceive by means of lies and fraud for almost two centuries, is actually based on an unshakeable foundation.

The fact is, however, that the theory of evolution, which has long been kept alive solely through intense propaganda and fraud, is only a deceptive speculation. Science does not support the theory of evolution at all. No scientific findings whatsoever support evolution; on the contrary, they refute it. The reason why the theory of evolution is kept constantly in the spotlight, despite its being deceptive, is because it’s undertaken for ideological reasons, providing the foundation for atheism and materialism.

Some Muslims, taken in by its entirely speculative methods which magnify it in their eyes, imagine that they can never overcome it, and thus seek to give the theory an Islamic slant. Not wanting to oppose science, they try to chart a middle way between the theory of evolution, which they assume to be scientific, and Islam—and to back up these claims, use pagan beliefs left over from societies as old as the Sumerians, quoting people they regard as great scholars to give the impression that “this is what the religion says.” Yet this passive, conciliatory approach is a clear excuse for not engaging in an intellectual struggle against Darwinism.

Since they fear they cannot overcome Darwinism on the intellectual level, such people engage in a defeatist campaign. Yet for a true Muslim with a sincere belief in God and who appreciates His great might, such a method is utterly humiliating to wage a passive, defeatist campaign. There can be no question of opposing Darwinism by saying “we actually believe the same thing.” Muslims believe the truth that God has created all things. Therefore it is impossible for a Muslim to share the same beliefs as a Darwinist. It is not possible for a Muslim who fears God as he ought to advocate the same ideas and ideology; a Muslim must engage on a clear, optimistic intellectual struggle against Darwinism.

People unaware of this fact and claiming that man developed through evolution may be asked how the jinn and angels were created. They will of course reply, “God created them.” Surely, any Muslim who knows that God created the jinn and angels must be able to reason that God created Man in the same way. They are so confused that they cannot realize that our Almighty Lord, Who created the angles with the simple command “Be!” created Man in the exact same way.

For people who fail to perceive the danger of Darwinism and the struggle it wages against faith in God, it would be much better to say nothing at all rather than employ mistaken methods. Resorting to incorrect and irrational methods out of a concern that they are not strong enough to prevail in the struggle is a mistake. It is a grave error and lack of responsibility towards God not to perceive that Darwinism is a terrible danger that must be opposed with all one’s might and completely eliminated.

What Can People Do to Support the Intellectual Struggle against Darwinism?

Every Muslim who hopes to neutralize the corruption of the Dajjal must strive against Darwinism on the intellectual plane. The evidence that undermines the theory of evolution must be explained, copied and disseminated. It is impossible for even a single protein to come into existence by chance. Life cannot emerge from inanimate matter. The complex structure of the cell and its organelles cannot be explained in terms of coincidence. And not a single fossil indicates that living things are descended from one another. Mutations and natural selection cannot give rise to any new species—all of which refute the deceptions of Darwinism.

The technological means presently available are a great blessing for Muslims, making the intellectual struggle against Darwinism and materialism a great deal easier and faster. There are hundreds of articles, books, documentaries, CDs and web sites that present full supporting evidence for the invalidity of Darwinism. Everyone who wants to take part in the intellectual campaign against Darwinism can make use of these by copying and distributing them.

If you wish to participate, there’s a great deal you can do. You can analyze the hundreds of works already published on the subject. You can read books on the subject, then pass them on to others, and ask them to do the same once they have read them. You can photocopy a great many books and hand them out. There are hundreds of books and articles on the Internet available free of charge that you can download, print out, and distribute to neighbors and colleagues. You can copy extracts from these works to Internet chat rooms and forums, thus revealing the facts about Darwinism to hundreds of people at once.

You can obtain documentaries on the subject to watch at home, at work or in school. You can then copy them and enable even more people to watch. You can get hold of audiocassettes and listen to them, and have others do the same.

You can prepare posters for school or at work, displaying evidence that the theory of evolution is invalid. Posters, stickers and pictures for that purpose are available for free over the Internet. Or you can photocopy illustrations from books and summaries of articles and use these as well.

You can donate these books to local libraries and set up a book club, giving many people access to the truth.

If people genuinely wish to become involved, there is much that they can do. The important thing is not to fall into the error of thinking “What good can I accomplish by myself?” What matters is how much everyone makes use of the genuine means available, whatever they may be. It is Almighty God Who will bring about the results, Who will reward those who make sincere endeavors. It is revealed in the Qur’an that everyone will enjoy the full reward for his efforts:

. . . That man will have nothing but what he strives for;
that his striving will most certainly be seen;
that he will then receive repayment of the fullest kind;
that the ultimate end is with your Lord. (Qur’an, 53: 39-42)

Conclusion

Muslims have a responsibility to wage an intellectual struggle until no corruption remains on Earth. Today’s most serious and dangerous form of corruption is Darwinism. Instead of erroneously thinking, “Darwinism is a matter for scientists, of no concern to me,” Muslims need to intellectually neutralize this ideology that is still responsible for so much oppression. Anything less would mean turning a blind eye to cruelty—a grave responsibility that no true believer would ever wish to assume.

Remember also that the intellectual struggle of true believers has already been won! Believers will inevitably overcome all atheistic ideologies, Darwinism included. God imparts these glad tidings in the Qur’an:

As for those who make God their friend, and His messenger and those who believe: it is the party of God who are victorious! (Qur’an, 5: 56)

Therefore, the faithful must act in the confidence that their struggle against atheism will be victorious, and strive for the honor of defending the truth. By the will of God, the corruption of Darwinism will come to an end, and our Lord’s truth will triumph over superstition. But believers must work to reap the rewards of this intellectual victory.

3/28/06, 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely some very logical and scholarly work has been done above. To say that Islam is not either, and not interested in the pursuit of truth, is a GRAVE mistake. I think I need to start being a LOT more obscure and obtuse in my future writings. Right opinion and true opinion are very difficult to separate... even for one familar with the difference. To think that one can readily/ easily separate and/ or distinuish FACTS from opinions/ beliefs in an even LARGER one... for one would have to KNOW the difference, know what they don't know. And people who do not know what they don't know, aren't even asking the questions. Throw in the fact that many of these are the very mistakes that make human society possible/ livable...

-FJ

For if "you know your enemy and know yourself," Sun Tzu wrote, "you need not fear the result of a hundred battles." But, Sun Tzu warned, "If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat."

We no longer know ourselves, let alone the enemy. Anyone who awaits "the End of Beliefs" is not only a fool... but a very dangerous one.

3/28/06, 7:06 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Catherine, I've heard devout Muslims argue that point of view. They want to appeal to conservative Christians as kindred spirits by claiming that both religions are similar and both oppose secular-materialistic-atheism. Some conservatives are sympathetic; I talked about one here. But most realized that Islam is very different from the religions found in the West.

Most of the falsehoods in that article are dealt with by the authors of these good books.

What’s funny is that some (on the left) are trying to say that Bush is fighting a holy war against Islam because he is a devout Christian. And the above author is saying that it is atheists that are driving Christians and Muslims apart. You never know what people will dream up next.

3/28/06, 7:36 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
Thank you for the compliment. Studying Spanish culture is one of my favorite pursuits.

Sure, sometimes you do "go on." We have different styles. But I learn from you even though the philosophers confound me much of the time. I'm "literature based."

3/28/06, 8:07 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
I meant to comment on this earlier:

If I had to choose between the active, but fantasy filled life of Quixote and the passive fact-based life of Panza, I would choose Quixote's. For Quixote actually "lived" a life of which Panza could only "dream".

The best society/culture allows for both. Another of those messages from Cervantes.

We no longer know ourselves, let alone the enemy.

In a way, this happened to post-Reconquest Spain. Of course, the enemy was, in part, the inbred and insane royals.

3/28/06, 8:13 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

FJ,
If you want to really know how to create a modern democracy, one must carefully study the art of weaving

Weaving is the perfect metaphor.

And when the weaving falters, will unraveling necessarily follow? I think so.

3/28/06, 8:19 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

The article which Catherine left is filled with many errors. It also contains a lot of wishful thinking.

3/28/06, 8:23 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

Farmer,

You said, "I suspect your validity of your argument depends upon agreement with the supposition that "human achievement" and "Western innovation" are "good" things.... and that a life based upon "facts" and therefore that truth is indeed somehow "better" than one based upon mere "belief's". But is it?"

Re: "But is it?" You bet your boopie it is!

Look, it's really not so hard. A moral code is a set of values selected to guide your thoughts and behaviors.

The operative term is "select." That's why moral codes can vary so much, and that's why we can have such varying assessments of whether something is good or not. It all depends on what you have selected as your "standard of the good," what you have selected as that one, fundamental value by which everything else is measured.

Reality doesn't play any cute games. Everything in existence exists in one form or another. It can go back and forth from energy to matter etc., but it's always there, one way or the other.

Exception: Life. Life is the one thing in all of reality, in all of existence, in the entire universe, that can, as they used to say in Star Trek, "cease to exist."

I know I've said this somewhere recently, but I love it, so I'll say it here: Hamlet got it right when he said, "To be (to exist) or not to be (not to exist), that is the question." Indeed, that is the one and only fundamental metaphysical question. Does something exist or not?

Only life, of all thing anywhere in all of existence, can exist and then poof! suddenly NOT exist.

That makes life the only absolute standard by which the value of something can be determined.

Does some action, some discovery, some human achievement, some Western innovation, some fact, tend to promote life? If it does, it is good. If it has no effect, it is neutral. If it threatens life, then it is bad.

You see, life is the only thing around that can be snuffed out of existence by something; nothing else in the universe can be snuffed out. Like Old Man River, it just keeps on rolling along, keeps on existing.

The only reason one might have to denigrate human achievement, Western innovation, and truth (the reality based kind, which is the only kind there is) and facts, would be that you do not accept "life" as your "standard of the good."

All you have to do to determine whether something is good or not is to figure out whether it tends to promote life. Does some particular human achievement, some advance in knowledge, the discovery of some fact, some Western innovation, tend to promote life?

Unless you do not hold life to be the absolute standard of the good in your particular moral code, you must consider stuff like human achievement, facts, truth, Western innovation etc. to be "good."

If you're a nihilist, death might qualify as your standard of the good; if you're a Muslim, the "spread of Islam" might be selected as your standard of the good.

You can have all sorts of moral codes, but only a moral code with "life" as it's standard of the good qualifies as ABSOLUTELY VALID.

You can try to make a moral code that selects anything other than life as its standard of the good, but none of them will be valid.

All the other moral codes suck.

3/28/06, 8:29 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

"Bush's first mistake in this "war" was to not remove any person hellbent on keeping "civilian casualties" to a minimum away from any tactical planning. If the enemy has enough manpower to bury their dead, they haven't been hit enough."

Right on, Beamish! Ralph Peters for President, eh?

3/28/06, 8:32 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Cubed,
Hamlet got it right when he said, "To be (to exist) or not to be (not to exist), that is the question."

My class just started its study of Hamlet!

Beamish has stated that he's considering me for the position of Secretary of Homeland Education. Beamish is running in '08.

3/28/06, 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cubed,

Get real. Moral codes are collections of "herd values" based upon "popular opinions/ beliefs of the moment" and completely unrelated to any absolute standard of "truth", unless one defines "truth" as LIFE having a "will to power".

They're transient and constantly changing (relative) opinions meant to help the HERD and ME to survive... although ULTIMATELY, when push comes to shove, they're meant to help ME survive. ULTIMATE Truth is what helps ME survive.

If you and I both believe that we won't attack and kill one another, that it's to our advantage to cooperate, we'll leave each other alone (until I need something to survive that you've got).

If, on the other hand, one of us believes that the other is out to harm us (whether true or not), we'll likely attack and kill the other unless one of us is under the self-sacrificial "delusion" that it would be "wrong" to do so (their is advantage in continuing to cooperate or that there may be some recompense in "heaven" aka Divine Justice).

The "truth" is whatever helps ME (not you) to survive. Life is not the standard. ALL/UNIVERSAL life is not the standard. MY Life is the standard. I cannot live at all or survive a single day unless I kill and destroy and CONSUME some other form of life, be it animal or vegetable, or preferably BOTH on the SAME plate. And some forms of human life (like that of a suicide bomber) is IMO worth LESS than nothing and needs to be EXTINGUISHED. Like ALL things of THIS world, the TRUTH is, it's "relative".

And what am I but a collection of silly and completely FALSE recollections (aka memories) of the past that is under the DELUSION that I "exist" and HAVE a will... until my next "psychic break" or "ego/superego" reformation that is. I am not completely in control. My repressive sub-conscious is always picking away as the right hemisphere of my brain tries to over-ride and control the left in a battle for dominance...leaving it to my "reptilian" ID to settle the score. And HE is rather "cold-blooded" and not into the "ethics" thing.

And what "allows" me to eat other animals but a "delusion" that they are not as "cognitively" developed as "human beings" are. But cannabalism is a mere TABOO. There's no TRUTH that prevents it. Just a form of delusional "mental block" called GUILT and centuries of civilizational "habituation" that makes the thought "disTASTEful".

So in other words, all "moral codes" are based upon FICTIONS, NOT truths. The TRUTH is, we are nothing but grubby, insignificant, and totally VALUELESS TEMPORARY collections of DELUSIONAL "forces" (not even atoms...there are no atoms)

Nietzsche, "Will to Power"

1067 (1885)
And do you know what "the world" is to me? Shall I show it to you in my mirror? This world: a monster of energy, without beginning, without end; a firm, iron magnitude of force that does not grow bigger or smaller, that does not expend itself but only transforms itself; as a whole, of unalterable size, a household without expenses or losses, but likewise without increase or income; enclosed by "nothingness" as by a boundary; not something blurry or wasted, not something endlessly extended, but set in a definite space as a definite force, and not a sphere that might be "empty" here or there, but rather as force throughout, as a play of forces and waves of forces, at the same time one and many, increasing here and at the same time decreasing there; a sea of forces flowing and rushing together, eternally changing, eternally flooding back, with tremendous years of recurrence, with an ebb and a flood of its forms; out of the simplest forms striving toward the most complex, out of the stillest, most rigid, coldest forms toward the hottest, most turbulent, most self-contradictory, and then again returning home to the simple out of this abundance, out of the play of contradictions back to the joy of concord, still affirming itself in this uniformity of its courses and its years, blessing itself as that which must return eternally, as a becoming that knows no satiety, no disgust, no weariness: this, my Dionysian world of the eternally self-creating, the eternally self-destroying, this mystery world of the twofold voluptuous delight, my "beyond good and evil," without goal, unless the joy of the circle is itself a goal; without will, unless a ring feels good will toward itself--do you want a name for this world? A solution for all its riddles? A light for you, too, you best-concealed, strongest, most intrepid, most midnightly men?-- This world is the will to power--and nothing besides! And you yourselves are also this will to power--and nothing besides!

858 (Nov. 1887-March 1888)
What determines your rank is the quantum of power you are: the rest is cowardice.


Fortunately for man, and CONTRARY to the opinions of philosophical IDIOTS like Herbert Marcuse, man is asymmetrical and all EROS. He also contains the seeds of THANATOS. A will for self-sacrifice... a desire for self-destruction. Without that, this TRUELY would be a bellum omne contra omnes... and we would all be mere APES in the jungle. Of course in most cases, Thanatos does not become readily "apparent" to a man until he reaches his "middle aged crazies"...the crisis.

Now go take your "humanitarian" life-centered moral-falsity-based claptrap someplace else. You certainly won't find it in Aristotle.

-FJ

3/29/06, 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

erratun...

NOT all Eros...

sorry.

-FJ

3/29/06, 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

erratum AGAIN...

NOT asymmetrical and ALL Eros.

I need another cup of coffee!

-FJ

3/29/06, 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cubed,

...and you might want to brush up on your ontologies a little bit...

to be...

in order for something to exist, it needs to join...for a fraction of TIME...with non-existance. Think of two circles (Venn diagram), one representing existance, the other non-existance, and touching at a point (in mind). That point is "now". ooops, "now" it's gone. We no longer "are", we "were", and are again "becoming" as a new thought enters our heads. (Plato, "Sophist")

Shakespeare was one hell of a great poet (not philosopher)!

-FJ

3/29/06, 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

today is not my day...

erratum...

In order for something to "be", "existance" needs to join...for a fraction of time...with "non-existance".

Cogito ergo sum

-FJ

3/29/06, 9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

actually, Shakespeare was a pretty great philosopher too. It's that silly idea that "being" was the same as "existance" that threw me. Didn't Aristotle ever teach you his 1st principle...

"The same attribute cannot at the same time belong, and not belong, to the same subject and in the same respect"

being is NOT mere existance

btw - Do you know what Socrates 1st principle was? "It is better to suffer an injustice than commit one". Now THERE is a moral code.

-FJ

3/29/06, 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shakespeare, "Hamlet"

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream (moral belief): ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin (moral belief preventing action)? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience (moral beliefs) does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.


-FJ

3/29/06, 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course there's another moral code very similar to Socrates' that I admire greatly..."Do unto others as you would have them do unto you".

It leads to more "options" than the more "reality" based OT "Eye for an Eye"...

-FJ

3/29/06, 10:10 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Well, cubed, FJ holds the antithesis of what we’ve been saying. He raises death (thanatos) to be on par with life and non-being to be on par with being. Universals, concepts, and principles aren’t empowering for the individual but merely get in the way of the will to power. It’s nice to have such a succinct summary of the opposite viewpoint.

3/29/06, 10:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nietzsche, "Genealogy of Morals"...

These English psychologists whom we have to thank for the only attempts up to this point to produce a history of the origins of morality—in themselves they serve up to us no small riddle. In the way of a lively riddle, they even offer, I confess, something substantially more than their books—they are interesting in themselves! These English psychologists—what do they really want? We find them, willingly or unwillingly, always at the same work, that is, hauling the partie honteuse [shameful part] of our inner world into the foreground, in order to look right there for the truly effective and operative force which has determined our development, the very place where man's intellectual pride least wishes to find it (for example, in the vis inertiae [force of inertia] of habit or in forgetfulness or in a blind, contingent, mechanical joining of ideas or in something else purely passive, automatic, reflex, molecular, and completely stupid)—what is it that really drives these psychologists always in this particular direction?

Is it a secret, malicious, common instinct (perhaps one which is self-deceiving) for belittling humanity? Or something like a pessimistic suspicion, the mistrust of idealists who've become disappointed, gloomy, venomous, and green. Or a small underground hostility and rancour towards Christianity (and Plato), which perhaps has never once managed to cross the threshold of consciousness? Or even a lecherous taste for what is odd or painfully paradoxical, for what in existence is questionable and ridiculous? Or finally a bit of all of these—a little vulgarity, a little gloominess, a little hostility to Christianity, a little thrill, and a need for pepper? . . .

But people tell me that these men are simply old, cold, boring frogs, which creep and hop around people as if they were in their own proper element, that is, in a swamp. I resist that idea when I hear it. What's more, I don't believe it. And if one is permitted to hope where one cannot know, then I hope from my heart that the situation with these men could be reversed, that these investigators peering at the soul through their microscopes could be thoroughly brave, generous, and proud animals, who know how to control their hearts and their pain and who have educated themselves to sacrifice everything desirable for the sake of the truth, for the sake of every truth, even the simple, the bitter, the hateful, the repellent, the unchristian, the unmoral truth. . . . For there are such truths.—


-FJ

3/29/06, 12:07 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

Anonymous, you said:


"Get real."

You're kidding, right?

3/29/06, 12:08 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

Jason,

Yeah. Well, FJ gives the best illustration I've seen in recent times of the reason for the widespread belief in "moral equivalence."

For most people, the reason for believing that one moral code is as valid as any other is not the result of formal training. It's more of a "trickle-down" experience; they've heard their teachers and others saying something like, "Your morality is no better than anyone's else."

And that's as far as it goes. No reason is given, no argument supported by evidence, no proof. And once that mindset is established in someone's head, it's hard to change it, no matter what evidence or proof may be offered to the contrary.

Since our schools have been infested with postmodernists who generally hold that all moralities are all equally valid, it's no wonder that every generation sees more who believe it.

Unfortunately, that idea - that one morality is just as good as any other morality - is unopposed in our schools (thanks to the fact that they are a compulsory, government-run, compelled curriculum system). There is no presentation of objective philosophy in the schools, so the crap is all our kids hear.

People think, "Well, philosophy is the stuff that retired professors in dusty, book-filled rooms up in a garret at some university amuse themselves with - it has no connection with real life, no impact on our day-to-day activities." You know, the old "Well, it's good in theory, but bad in practice" dichotomy.

That is so sad; little kids really enjoy stories based on philosophical principles (e.g., Aesops's Fables, among others) older kids enjoy learning some of the basics with stories that illustrate slightly more complex ideas (e.g., Ayn Rand's "Anthem") and kids who've entered puberty get a real kick out of honest-to-goodness formal philosophy, all five branches of it.

I wish I were forty years younger.

3/29/06, 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Philosophy is NOT for children, gentlemen... and certainly should never be taught to them. It should be religated to the guardianship of priests of the "mysteries". Otherwise, one is likely to produce an "Alcibiades", or worse, an "Alexander".

-FJ

3/29/06, 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Philosophy constitutes the "crown" of the liberal arts and sciences and mediator to religion. Liberal meaning "free". Liberal meaning "from books". Who do you know to be "more free" than a man with no morals? But then again, some say that "perfect freedom" often results in an absolute fom of slavery.

On the practicality of "studying" philosophy, and likely results...
Diogenes and Alexander. It is therefore impossible to become a "professor" of philosophy, a best one can only honestly become a "practitioner" of the art.

So beware of staring into the abyss, for one is likely to see ones-self staring back.

-FJ

3/29/06, 1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and btw - You asked the question, "What's the reason?" I can't help it if you don't "like" the answer.

Not everyone agree's with Nietzsche and the Pre-Socratics. But then, most of them are moderns.

-FJ

-FJ

3/29/06, 1:44 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Don’t get my wrong; Friedrich has his moments. However, his attacks on reason are problematic. The title question—what’s the reason?—was a trick question. The answer is that Islam rejected reason. Al-Ghazali closed Islam to reason and philosophy in the 11th century.

3/29/06, 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Islam is not closed to reason. It's closed to "differing" interpretations and based upon a single "set" of fixed-and-stable reasons. Kinda like the Torah... or the Catholic Church's interpetation of the King James version of the Bible.

The difference lies in the fact that they've begun staking their entire judicial system upon it. No "competing" interpretations are allowed....except when made by the most learned scholar (ie Khomeini or al-Sistani). Death to the apostate must be a foregone conclusion! Simply ask him three times to recant.

They've rejected "new" or "changing" or "competing" reasons. Islam has lots of reasons. It's already "decided" the answers, and willing to ACT on the basis of them. In that respect, they're nearly as useful a guide to action as "instincts" would be to an animal. No "thinking delay" required! Must cut quite a few milliseconds off their reactioon times!

Boy, doesn't that make them incredibly predictable? The guys who are supposedly hunting down Osama ought to really be ashamed of themselves!

-FJ

3/29/06, 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cause once you know the reasons for something one is shura not making any mistakes!

LOL!

-FJ

3/29/06, 3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

memory in the human mind cannot persist for long without "reason". Reason provides nails for a man's "portrait of Daedelus". Without a nail (of cause/reason), the portrait is likely to "fly away" (Plato, "Meno") and be forgotten. The process of human memory requires the catching of two similar birds (Plato, "Theaetetus") cause-effect to match to corresponding sensory input.

-FJ ;-)

3/29/06, 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The wax seal must match the signet ring that made the impression.

-FJ

3/29/06, 3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plato, "Theaetetus"

SOCRATES: Well, may not a man 'possess' and yet not 'have' knowledge in the sense of which I am speaking? As you may suppose a man to have caught wild birds--doves or any other birds--and to be keeping them in an aviary which he has constructed at home; we might say of him in one sense, that he always has them because he possesses them, might we not?

THEAETETUS: Yes.

SOCRATES: And yet, in another sense, he has none of them; but they are in his power, and he has got them under his hand in an enclosure of his own, and can take and have them whenever he likes;--he can catch any which he likes, and let the bird go again, and he may do so as often as he pleases.

THEAETETUS: True.

SOCRATES: Once more, then, as in what preceded we made a sort of waxen figment in the mind, so let us now suppose that in the mind of each man there is an aviary of all sorts of birds--some flocking together apart from the rest, others in small groups, others solitary, flying anywhere and everywhere.

THEAETETUS: Let us imagine such an aviary--and what is to follow?

SOCRATES: We may suppose that the birds are kinds of knowledge, and that when we were children, this receptacle was empty; whenever a man has gotten and detained in the enclosure a kind of knowledge, he may be said to have learned or discovered the thing which is the subject of the knowledge: and this is to know.

THEAETETUS: Granted.

SOCRATES: And further, when any one wishes to catch any of these knowledges or sciences, and having taken, to hold it, and again to let them go, how will he express himself?--will he describe the 'catching' of them and the original 'possession' in the same words? I will make my meaning clearer by an example:--You admit that there is an art of arithmetic?

THEAETETUS: To be sure....


-FJ

3/29/06, 3:34 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Islam has, no doubt, rationalizations but it doesn’t have reason. As you point out it is dogmatic to the core. The arbitrary adherence to fixed doctrine is surely the antithesis of reason. Reason is a process of knowledge through a valid procedure of inference based on empirical evidence and establishing a non-contradictory integration of existence. That’s a rough idea. Islam doesn’t have any sympathies for such a project.

3/29/06, 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a rough idea. Where'd you get it? Couldn't find THAT definition in my American Heritage. It wasn't something dreamed up by Karl Popper, was it?

-FJ

3/29/06, 5:22 PM  
Blogger Cubed © said...

Anonymous said...

"Philosophy is NOT for children, gentlemen..."


IS TOO!


"... and certainly should never be taught to them."

SHOULD TOO!

"It should be religated to the guardianship of priests of the "mysteries"."

SHOULD NOT!

(BTW, FJ, a period is ALWAYS inside a quotation mark, even if the quotation mark in question encloses a single numeral or letter. There are NO exceptions - one of those pesky "absolutes...")

"Otherwise, one is likely to produce an "Alcibiades", or worse, an "Alexander"."

And the problem is....?

(Period problem again...)

3/29/06, 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, I'll try and remember that.

-FJ

3/29/06, 6:53 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

It’s a description and not a definition. It deserves a book. I’m sure you realize that the concept of reason, rationalism, and epistemology is as varied as the number of philosophers in human history (both advocates and critics of reason.) I just wanted to give a hint of where I’m coming from but I obviously failed to convey the idea if you can ask me about Popper. I’m not in Popper’s camp by a long shot.

3/29/06, 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason, your main thesis is that Islam is uniquely bad in every way. Many religions contain stories that are impossible to verify. Islamic beliefs about the Qur'an and the prophet are not unique in this respect. Muslim stories are no sillier than Judaism's "burning bush", Christ's walking on water, or Baha'ullah's visitation with an angel. You cite Muslim stories to single out Islam for criticism and this is unfair.

This site's claim that there is no good in Islam that cannot be found somewhere else is a weak argument against Islam. In the Bahai faith, women cannot serve on a special "Universal House of Justice". Suppose I found a religion identical to Bahaism but for one small change; my "Universal House of Justice" refuses to exclude women. Now I can claim that there is nothing good about Bahaism that is not in my new religion. This can be applied to any and all religions.

Some Muslims interpret the Qur'an and the Sunna in a way that is compatible with liberal democracy. Islam, thus interpreted, cannot be described as evil. It may take some imagination, but religion has often been an imaginative process. The Torah contains many outrageous laws, like one calling for the execution of children who talk back to their parents, or stoning to death for women who wear pants. Through millennia of study and tinkering, Jewish scholars have found a way around these laws. Conservative Jews do not consider these laws as a reason to leave Judaism or to doubt the divine origins of the Torah.

By seeking knowledge as they are commanded to do, Muslims will encounter new ways of looking at religion. Some may leave Islam, but many will reinterpret Islam in a way that reflects the realities of our changing world. Sina dismisses these modern Muslims as dishonest.

Beruach Goldstein was motivated by his understanding of Judaism to empty an entire clip into a crowd of unarmed Muslims as they prayed in Mosque. His Jewish friends were motivated by their understanding of Judaism to build him a shrine.

Many Muslims are motivated by their understanding of Islam to condemn terrorism, and to support democracy and human rights. For example, Muhammad and the Quran inspired Sufism, one of the most enlightened and peaceful movements in the world.

Islam is not uniquely evil or dangerous. A claim like this about any religion is meaningless and dangerous. Religion is all about interpretation, but you give yourself the right to interpret Islam for all Muslims, which is unfair.

3/29/06, 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Catherine said...

Jason, I read your article earlier about Islam allowing freedom of religion, where did it go? Or was that you?

Anyways, the book you referred to "In Pursuit of Justice: The Jurisprudence of Human Rights in Islam" by Maher Hatout, is very interesting I might order it because it does give a refreshing perspective of Islam and how it can be compatible with the West, which I believe is a long shot! I already read the "Freedom of Religion" sample chapter which is significant, since we just had the situation with the Afghan convert. It is really interesting and if any of the other bloggers are interested I am listing the website that you listed earlier since that post is gone now:

FOR THE SAMPLE CHAPTER go to the site:

www.mpac.org

then click to the headline, called MPAC JOINS CALLS FOR RELEASE OF AFGHAN CHRISTIAN

then go to the bottom of the page and click the blue link under Related Downloads, called In Pursuit of Justice: Freedom of Religion

3/30/06, 12:12 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Catherine:

Certainly a great intellectual struggle is taking place today, dividing the world into two camps. However, these two sides do not represent Muslims on the one hand and Jews and Christians on the other.

These two sides most certainly do represent Muslims on the one hand and Christians and Jews on the other. Because Jews and Christians generally favour democracy and freedom. Muslims generally do not. But I would add atheists and Buddhist and all other religious and non-religious people to the other side. In fact, all people who value democracy and freedom. For Islam certainly does not!

On the one hand are those who believe in the existence and oneness of God, and on the other, those who deny His very existence.

Not so! Christians and Jews are monotheists too. But they cannot be on the same side as Muslims. Muslims take a very unique position on this. To Muslims, Christians are polytheists, because they believe in the Trinity. Didn't you know this?

To put it another way: on the one hand are devout believers in the divine God-inspired religions. And on the other are atheists, and the supporters of Darwinism, and materialists who stand opposed to religious moral values.

This is NOT so!

The clash of civilization is coming about because Muslims wish to rule the world, and they wish to Islamize it, too. That's why the clash of civilizations is coming about.

The Muslim world, through their newly-found riches, have been empowered like never before in recent centuries. They have also been emboldened by the weakness of the West. They see the West as being rudderless. So they are trying to usurp power.

This is a fight between the forces of liberty and the forces of bondage. Between enlightenment and darkness, if you like.

3/30/06, 3:01 AM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Catherine, that was a phony "Jason Pappas" which posted those links. Mark Alexander explains the matter well.

Anonymous argues that there are exceptions among Muslims who embrace liberal democracy. Yes, if you accept the term “Muslim” in a sociological sense that is merely a nominal label, then Muslims have all different types of beliefs. However, Islam, itself, doesn’t have such a capacity—it is illiberal at its core. The myths of Islam are Islam. They don’t allow a large-scale sustainable liberal order if taken seriously.

Sufism is an eclectic mixture which found support after the 11th century philosopher, Al Ghizali, championed and converted to Sufism. To make room for this mystical practice he had to attack Hellenic philosophy. Thus, he sealed the fate of Islam as a backwards retrograde culture. That’s too high a price to pay to add a spiritual component to what was originally a warrior ideology.

3/30/06, 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jason,

I apologize for the rather "flip" remark linking your definition of reason to Karl Popper. I did not mean to imply that you necessarily subscribed to his philosophy (and that of a man for whom I've acquired very little respect, George Soros). But when you stated in your description of reason: Reason is a process of knowledge through a valid procedure of inference based on empirical evidence and establishing a non-contradictory integration of existence I thought perhaps you were falling into a philosophical hole and/ or describing something of an oxymoron, or perhaps a Holy Grail of sorts.

There are many people (Popper included) who believe that "empirical data" is the sine qua non of all knowledge and wisdom. After all, modern science has done incredibly useful and important things for mankind. But, fewer people are cognizant of the "limits" of science. Not all hypotheses are testable and verifiable. We will never be able to replicate the big bang and learn if what happens on the quantum scale behaves EXACTLY in the same manner and according to the same laws as those that happen on the cosmic scale. And there are processes and events that take centuries, millenia, or eons, or happen to transpire more quickly than existing instruments are able to record or in dimensions or in spectra our senses prevent us from detecting and of which we are totally unaware of. In this respect, the set of empirical knowledge we can acquire is extremely limited (based upon the infinitude of space and endlessness of eternity and our current time restricted position in an ever evolving universe). Swift represents it in his "Battle of the Books" as the extent of a spider's web in the "Library of Knowledge." Your spider can only postulate and "reason" based upon what he can capture in that web, and of course, have made it into that obscure corner of the library in which he resides (of course, it may have to accidently make it through the broken window of the building itself, first). Any other "reasonable" data, according to your description, requires a valid procedure of inference. Is the invocation of a Deity, a Creator, as explanation for the gaps in our "empirically collected" knowledge a valid procedure of inference? For valid procedure implies a standard, and I'd very much like to understand what that standard is. Is it related to the "scientific" aka "empirical" method? Must it be "logical" or "rational". Can it be "serendipitous?" or in some manner "irrationale"? Can it simply be an "impulse" originating from a "flash of intuition" and that forms the "original" hypothesis? Is the procedure "one" or can it be "many"? And who determines/judges its' "validity"? (Kant - Critiques of Pure Reason/Practical Judgement/etc.)

Nietzsche, "Zarathustra"

Calm is my soul, and clear, like the mountains in the morning. But they think me cold, and a mocker with terrible jests.
And now do they look at me and laugh: and while they laugh they hate me too. There is ice in their laughter."

6.

Then, however, something happened which made every mouth mute and every eye fixed. In the meantime, of course, the rope-dancer had commenced his performance: he had come out at a little door, and was going along the rope which was stretched between two towers, so that it hung above the market-place and the people. When he was just midway across, the little door opened once more, and a gaudily-dressed fellow like a buffoon sprang out, and went rapidly after the first one. "Go on, halt-foot," cried his frightful voice, "go on, lazy-bones, interloper, sallow-face!- lest I tickle thee with my heel! What dost thou here between the towers? In the tower is the place for thee, thou shouldst be locked up; to one better than thyself thou blockest the way!"- And with every word he came nearer and nearer the first one.
When, however, he was but a step behind, there happened the
frightful thing which made every mouth mute and every eye fixed- he uttered a yell like a devil, and jumped over the other who was in his way. The latter, however, when he thus saw his rival triumph, lost at the same time his head and his footing on the rope; he threw his pole away, and shot downward faster than it, like an eddy of arms and legs, into the depth. The market-place and the people were like the sea when the storm cometh on: they all flew apart and in disorder, especially where the body was about to fall.
Zarathustra, however, remained standing, and just beside him fell the body, badly injured and disfigured, but not yet dead. After a while consciousness returned to the shattered man, and he saw Zarathustra kneeling beside him. "What art thou doing there?" said he at last, "I knew long ago that the devil would trip me up. Now he draggeth me to hell: wilt thou prevent him?"
"On mine honour, my friend," answered Zarathustra, "there is nothing of all that whereof thou speakest: there is no devil and no hell. Thy soul will be dead even sooner than thy body; fear, therefore, nothing any more!"
The man looked up distrustfully. "If thou speakest the truth," said he, "I lose nothing when I lose my life. I am not much more than an animal which hath been taught to dance by blows and scanty fare."
"Not at all," said Zarathustra, "thou hast made danger thy calling; therein there is nothing contemptible. Now thou perishest by thy calling: therefore will I bury thee with mine own hands."
When Zarathustra had said this the dying one did not reply further; but he moved his hand as if he sought the hand of Zarathustra in gratitude.


Now, getting back to your definition, we just described the extent of empirical evidence as being limited by the extent of the spider's web and knowledge acquired as being the sucked-out husks of insects that were trapped by it. Obviously, this is what empiricists and many "modern philosopher's" and laymen like to think we "know", but it is also obvious from this example that there is much that we do not "know". An "ancient" philosopher, like myself, also believes in a kind of epistemology described by Plato's "Divided Line".

Next proceed to consider the manner in which the sphere of the intellectual is to be divided.

In what manner?

Thus:--There are two subdivisions, in the lower of which the soul uses the figures given by the former division as images; the enquiry can only be hypothetical, and instead of going upwards to a principle descends to the other end; in the higher of the two, the soul passes out of hypotheses, and goes up to a principle which is above hypotheses, making no use of images as in the former case, but proceeding only in and through the ideas
themselves.

I do not quite understand your meaning, he said.

Then I will try again; you will understand me better when I have made some preliminary remarks. You are aware that students of geometry, arithmetic, and the kindred sciences assume the odd and the even and the figures and three kinds of angles and the like in their several branches of science; these are their hypotheses, which they and every body are supposed to know, and therefore they do not deign to give any account of them either to themselves or others; but they begin with them, and go on until they arrive at last, and in a consistent manner, at their conclusion?

Yes, he said, I know.

And do you not know also that although they make use of the visible forms and reason about them, they are thinking not of these, but of the ideal which they resemble; not of the figures which they draw, but of the absolute square and the absolute diameter, and so on--the forms which they draw or make, and which have shadows and reflections in water of their own, are converted by them into images, but they are really seeking to behold the things themselves, which can only be seen with the eye of the mind?

That is true.

And of this kind I spoke as the intelligible, although in the search after it the soul is compelled to use hypotheses; not ascending to a first principle, because she is unable to rise above the region of hypothesis, but employing the objects of which the shadows below are resemblances in their turn as images, they having in relation to the shadows and reflections of them a greater distinctness, and therefore a higher value.

I understand, he said, that you are speaking of the province of geometry and the sister arts.

And when I speak of the other division of the intelligible, you will understand me to speak of that other sort of knowledge which reason herself attains by the power of dialectic, using the hypotheses not as first principles, but only as hypotheses--that is to say, as steps and points of departure into a world which is above hypotheses, in order that she may soar beyond them to the first principle of the whole; and clinging to this and then to that which depends on this, by successive steps she descends again without the aid of any sensible object, from ideas, through ideas, and in ideas she ends.

I understand you, he replied; not perfectly, for you seem to me to be describing a task which is really tremendous; but, at any rate, I understand you to say that knowledge and being, which the science of dialectic contemplates, are clearer than the notions of the arts, as they are termed, which proceed from hypotheses only: these are also contemplated by the understanding, and not by the senses: yet, because they start from hypotheses and do not ascend to a principle, those who contemplate them appear to you not to exercise the higher reason upon them, although when a first principle is added to them they are cognizable by the higher reason. And the habit which is concerned with geometry and the cognate sciences I suppose that you would term understanding and not reason, as being intermediate between opinion and reason.

You have quite conceived my meaning, I said; and now, corresponding to these four divisions, let there be four faculties in the soul--reason answering to the highest, understanding to the second, faith (or conviction) to the third, and perception of shadows to the last--and let there be a scale of them, and let us suppose that the several faculties have clearness in the same degree that their objects have truth.

I understand, he replied, and give my assent, and accept your arrangement.


And of course, if one wishes to practice and understand precisely what Plato means by his "highest" form of "reason", one should read his most "complete" example of it from the "divine" realm of absolutes entitled Parmenides. It is an example of what in my opinion Plato's most challenging dialogue, and ask,is THIS a valid procedure of inference? (Nietzsche's rope-dancer/Swift's spider)

Given Plato and Aristotle's derivations of this ancient epistemology, many modern universities divided their departments of knowledge based upon a hierarchy that goes something like this (and it varies) (from top to bottom) Theology - Philosophy - Sciences - Humanities. And of course, medieval educational systems were based upon a division of the seven so called liberal arts, the "lower" trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and "upper" quadrivium (geometry, astronomy, arithmetic, and music).

And my final question has to do with what you mean by a non-contradictory integration of existance? I find this to be the most daunting challenge and glaring impossibility. For given the obvious "gaps" in empirical knowledge (Plato's "understanding"), and a whole category of "data or thought" one might want to put in a bucket and call "non-existance" and the whole "ontology" of "being" which creates an artificial dualism of mind and matter that facilitates intelligibility of knowledge, I question the validity of the very premise that it must all be non-contradictory, for it to be classified as "reason" or "reasonable". For as the Parmednides dialogue proves, absolute one cannot equal itself, or then, it would not be absolutely itself. It would now be "two". And one would also learn, that absolutes cannot "exist" and any/all knowledge has become "impossible". And how do we "know" that the uni-verse is one and therefore non-contradictory and not a multi-verse in which "contradictory" integrations might "exist". And is any "error" allowed when performing the "integration"? Is "probability" and "statistics" a "valid technique" (and therefore Quantum physics)? Calculus? Algebra? Geometry? And finally, what accounts for the fact that much of man's behavior is irrational and unpredictable, for isn't that, in itself, proof that a non-contradictory integration of existance is impossible and that one must introduce non-existance (in mind) into the definition in order to account for existance? Is the "past" a part of existance? Is the future? Or once something has happened, has the event passed into the realm of "non-existance" and no longer applicable?

You set very high standards Jason, from which I can only conclude, there is no "reason" and no one "reasonable". Not in Islam. Not in the West. Not any"where",

-FJ

3/30/06, 11:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

erratum - after the Parmenides link replace "Nietzsche's rope-dancer/ Swift's spider" w/ "Swift's bee".

-FJ

3/30/06, 12:51 PM  
Blogger Mr. Ducky said...

Bravo Farmer.

About that which we cannot speak, we must be silent?

3/30/06, 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can speak. But recognize that we have but mere opinions.

-FJ

3/30/06, 3:22 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Ah, FJ. I knew my cryptic one-liner was inadequate when I wrote it so I quickly followed it with a disclaimer. I was aware that my use of the word “empiricism” has connotations that stem from the British Empiricists and 19th century Positivists, for which I have no sympathy. There are many more possible but plausible inferences, in that one line summary, which I would want to guard against. I had written a 20 paragraph article (in my head) to describe my view and deal with what you wrote but I don’t have to time to put in on paper in a coherent manner.

Let it suffice to say that if we continue, I suspect we’d see a shared interest in Hellenic thought but with you emphasizing Plato and my preference for Aristotle leading me to different conclusions. There is much that both share that is missing from philosophy of the last several hundred years. However, while I enjoy reading Plato, I’m unsympathetic to his epistemological idealism and dual realms of reality. In politics, his paternalistic state is frighteningly collectivist but if writ small and applied to a private firm, family, or the individual soul has considerable value. However, if writ large it goes against my libertarian principles. Still, his challenge is argued beautifully and grappling with his ideas is always profitable.

Thus, I’ve avoided dealing with what you wrote because of the ambitious nature of the task. However, I didn’t want to leave unacknowledged the value of this discussion even if I don’t have the time to do it justice … at this moment.

3/30/06, 5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps we can continue this discussion at another time, when you have more time. I look forward to hearing your views on Aristotle, for I must admit, I have not read most of what he wrote... finding his style of too "dry" for my taste, and suffering from a deficiency in intellectual stamina (not to mention capacity).

Till then "Forward Rocinante. There are dragons left to face, and damsels to rescue!"

-FJ

3/30/06, 6:44 PM  
Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

I would enjoy that.

And thanks for a stimulating discussion.

Thanks, also, to everyone who partook.

3/30/06, 7:27 PM  

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