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Ch. 10: The Tawdriness of the Miraculous and the Decline... 
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The Unbound and Learned

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DWill:

I'm sorry too!!! :offtopic: :offtopic: :offtopic:


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Thu Apr 23, 2009 9:59 am
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Thomas Hood wrote:
When context is unknown, readers do often resort to fanciful etymological explanation. Here is the kind of thing I frequently deal with:

http://www.i-tjingcentrum.nl/serendipit ... am-23.html
Cutting through hexagram 23

Harmen is a generous and meticulous researcher, but misled because of his dependence on etymology.


Actually I do not apply etymology but mainly make use of homonyms as given by the characters from the variant texts. Although I explore the etymology of Chinese characters I hardly ever use it as material for my writings. I mainly use the meanings of the characters throughout the centuries, as indicated by experts in the field.

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Caro (at the bottom) is correct. Hexagram 23 (Wen's interpretation) refers to the preparation of soil for growing crops.


Hmmm....I would like to see that backed up by facts and/or proper research, Caro did not give these. Maybe you can give me these by e-mail or pm? Thanks.

Harmen.



Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:41 am
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harmen wrote:
Hmmm....I would like to see that backed up by facts and/or proper research, Caro did not give these. Maybe you can give me these by e-mail or pm? Thanks.


A pleasure to hear from you, Harmen. Since the moderator does not want this discussion continued here, I will contact you directly.

Tom



Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:10 am
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Grim I was interested in your comments below in terms of the links between Hitchens’ views and revolutionary communist theory. Hitchens has of course renounced his youthful views, but through his great respect for Orwell, he retains links to the old left. If Chris is taking questions for Hitchens one area might be how his thought developed from left to right, and whether he sees his current outlook as aligned more with the left or the right.

There is a good article about George Orwell and his communist ideas in the New Yorker - http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/0 ... at_atlarge

Grim wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
The attractiveness of Leon Trotsky to impressionable youth was rather like the cult of Che Guevara, high on romance and low on facts. Orwell went the same path, fighting with the Trotskyite POUM in Catalonia and going on to write Animal Farm, which could almost be read as a Trotskyite work except that Orwell is too humane and sane to support Trotsky’s mad totalitarianism.
Yes, difficulty does arise when one is shifting from the theory of political philosophy towards its relationship to the functional practice of the political movement as unwittingly a disjunction inevitably occurs. Perhaps no small reason why Che is afforded a cult while Trotsky and Orwell are given the trust of dissimulators? Che was never a novelist where as Orwell and Trotsky were never more than intellectual revolutionaries.
I don’t have a high regard for either Che or Trotsky. Both were romantic revolutionaries lacking in clear vision of the consequences of their acts. Trotsky was more than an intellectual revolutionary. He was head of the red army in the civil war against the whites, responsible for setting the scene for the later tyranny.
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This is important as in the cases of Trotsky and Orwell, with regards to the personal dynamism Che, the theory was able to substitute its own frames of references and suggestions without the need for all that detailed of an awareness as to specific sociological and political function within which it would necessarily operate as a emergent process. Functional process was Che's legitimacy.
Are you claiming that Che Guevara had a more functional theory than Trotsky?
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In this sense, that the political theory of Trotsky and Orwell is a actually a simplified subset of rather particular assumptions opposed to a balanced theory tested in action, the projection of particular features onto disparate types of hypothetical situations based on preceding thought fostered a rather distrusting mutual development. Based on the almost implicit duplexity in creating a moral double standard rather than a more accommodating systems or meta-systems perspective concerning intraspecific competition within a community adopted by the pragmatic Che. Che and Orwell were different from Trotsky in many respects not the least in amount of respect they willingly afforded to alternative fields of thought and reasoning. The distrust of general intellectual reasoning (especially formal philosophy and philosophers) was a trait of Trotsky who saw action only in disregarding moral qualms. This results in a continual requirement for the taxation of a readers sensitivities towards a specific recognition that his works require careful reconsideration in light of its many presuppositions. Ignorance to what Trotsky represents may create an artificially stimulating read, but only through ignorance of the factors I have briefly outlined. To simply make the assumption that defining either Trotsky or Che as distastefully "low on facts" as constructive commentary constitutes an evasion regarding the reasonable nature and significance of association formed effectual responses to particular works, sentences, and words continually and more importantly dynamically as constructed and as identifiable in modern western society.
Trotsky and Che represented large social movements, but I don't think either of them had a good grasp of political and economic theory, hence the poor consequences of their policies.



Tue Apr 28, 2009 7:57 pm
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Christopher Hitchens will probably check these threads so DWill has a legitimate concern about drifting too far off topic.



Wed Apr 29, 2009 10:32 pm
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Robert Tulip wrote:
Quotes from this chapter

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prophets and seers and great theologians seem to have died out ...they ought to welcome the eclipse of this age of fraud ...Chariots in the sky ... speaks to the longing of every peasant ... miracle ... last word ... Hume ... possibilities ... laws of nature have been suspended ... delusion ... likelihood weighed ... report of the miracle ... odds must be adjusted ... obligation ... disbelieve the whole thing ... exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence ... encounters with spacecraft ... vivid and detailed ... huge new superstition ... Muggeridge ... launched the 'Mother Theresa' brand ... Kindly Light ... photographic miracle ... director ... going to say three cheers for Kodak ...sainthood of Mother Theresa ... scandal ... will further postpone the day when Indian villages cease to trust quacks ... Everything is already explained ... Argument from authority ... weakest ...ripping of the whole disguise is overdue ... sciences ... have shown religious myths to be false ... newer and finer wonders ...Marxist ... messianic element ... allow your chainless mind to do its own thinking


Chris, I'm reposting this set of extracts to note the themes which Hitchens discusses in this chapter. As well as an amusing critique of miraculous belief, Hitchens muses about the comparison between Marxist theory and the fraudulent claims of Christianity, begging the question of how he sees Marxism against his rather neoconservative current views. The comments on Trotsky, Orwell and Che relate to a discussion with DWill regarding how Hitchens aligns on the Gulf War, and how God is Not Great illustrates the sources of his political ideas.



Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:18 pm
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:up:



Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:22 pm
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Robert Tulip wrote:
As well as an amusing critique of miraculous belief, Hitchens muses about the comparison between Marxist theory and the fraudulent claims of Christianity, begging the question of how he sees Marxism against his rather neoconservative current views. The comments on Trotsky, Orwell and Che relate to a discussion with DWill regarding how Hitchens aligns on the Gulf War, and how God is Not Great illustrates the sources of his political ideas.

Robert, I know much less about Hitchens' political views than you do, and perhaps this is why I don't see clear political leanings behind his views on religion. I understand that it's hard not to read an author's politics into any discussion when you are aware of that politics. However, I will just say that if Hitchens' bio said he was still a dedicated leftist, I suspect I would not say,"no, can't be!" while reading his book. Anti-religion and left-of-center politics are still strongly associated in my mind. If you could say (or repeat, if you've already said it) how Hitchens' argument against religion in God Is Not Great aligns with neoconservatism (without extrapolating), that would help me out a lot.


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Thu Apr 30, 2009 5:48 am
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DWill wrote:
Robert, I know much less about Hitchens' political views than you do, and perhaps this is why I don't see clear political leanings behind his views on religion. I understand that it's hard not to read an author's politics into any discussion when you are aware of that politics. However, I will just say that if Hitchens' bio said he was still a dedicated leftist, I suspect I would not say,"no, can't be!" while reading his book. Anti-religion and left-of-center politics are still strongly associated in my mind. If you could say (or repeat, if you've already said it) how Hitchens' argument against religion in God Is Not Great aligns with neoconservatism (without extrapolating), that would help me out a lot.


Bill, at issue here is the ambiguous politics of the European Enlightenment. As I argued in my post on Hitchens’ Worldview, Hitchens is a true child of Hume and Mill. They of course were radical liberals, but, through their close alignment with Adam Smith, author of The Wealth of Nations, they also supported laissez faire economics, setting the scene for a big part of the anti-state, pro-freedom politics of modern conservatism. Hitchens reminds me of the politics of the UK magazine The Economist, which combines strongly liberal views on social issues with strongly conservative views on economics and security.

Noting also my previous reference to Hitchens’ adulation for Thomas Hobbes, we find a segue here into our next discussion on de Waal’s Primates and Philosophers. De Waal castigates Hobbes’ individualist theory “man is wolf to man” as empirically false, opening the question of how the assumptions of individualist morality are in serious error in their understanding of the evolutionary roots of morality. My impression is that Hitchens is sympathetic to the individualist assumptions characteristic of the European Enlightenment which underpinned an imperial narrative by denying the inherent sociality of human existence. This individualism is today expressed as neoconservatism, hence is seen in Hitchens’ support for the Gulf War.



Sun May 03, 2009 10:12 pm
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Okay, but what I was wondering was if I had missed, in God Is Not Great, some dependence on politics of his observations on religion. My thought is still that if we knew nothing of the author but what he said in this book, we'd have no strong basis on which to guess his politics.


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Mon May 04, 2009 8:00 am
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