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Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History - by Lee Harris

The following is the complete transcript of the chat session with Lee Harris. Please feel free to join in on the discussion forum.

September 16, 2004


Transcript of live chat session

TRANSCRIPT 10...

Chris OConnor:: Welcome Lee Harris!

misterpessimistic:: Welcome Lee!

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Welcome.

RickU:: Hullo Lee

Jeremy1952:: You do us a great honor being here, do it however you like

Aleeharris:: Hello, to everyone.

tarav:: Hello Lee

Chris OConnor:: Lee - you can click on the "Color and Font" and increase the size of the font

RickU:: You may also want to increase the size of the Chat window Lee

Chris OConnor:: Lee - actually, you cannot increase the size of your font...now that I check

Aleeharris:: That didn't work. But I think I can read okay.

Nostradafemme joined

Chris OConnor:: Lee - you can make your chat window full screen

Jeremy1952:: So let me say this right up front about "Civilization"

misterpessimistic:: How is Ivan treating you Lee?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Terrible?

Jeremy1952:: It has joined the short list of books from which I culled entirely new (to me) ideas

Aleeharris:: Ivan has not been as terrible as expected.

misterpessimistic:: good

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yeah, he lost punch coming in.

Chris OConnor:: Ivan was heading directly at me and then decided to change course and bother Lee

Jeremy1952:: I can't say I agree with it all... heck you probably won't in a few years.... but I am very glad I read it

misterpessimistic:: Jeremy: I do agree...the ideas presented were new to me.

Chris OConnor:: Jeremy - the sign of a good book is that it gets you to think deeply in my opinion

misterpessimistic:: but I do not agree with much myself

Jeremy1952:: I gathered from the posts

Chris OConnor:: LOL

misterpessimistic:: lol

Aleeharris:: Join the club. The ideas in the book were new to them too.

misterpessimistic:: At least I am clear when I post!!!

misterpessimistic:: lol

Chris OConnor:: Yes, misterpessimistic lived up to his name!

Chris OConnor:: haha

misterpessimistic:: Lee: New to THEM?

Aleeharris:: Sorry. I meant to say, New to me. I am dyslexic and I sometimes substitute the wrong word.

Chris OConnor:: The ideas are new to everyone. Post 9/11 is a different world.

Nostradafemme:: Hi Chris. Just peeking in for a minute.

misterpessimistic:: ah

Chris OConnor:: Hello Gerry

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Ah, good. I was hoping you'd mention that. We've corresponded before.

Jeremy1952:: I think the whole idea of a fantasy culture, well we may disagree on what is one or how it got to be that way, but the concept

Aleeharris:: Mr. Pessimist, you should have sympathy with the cognitively impaired.

Jeremy1952:: I find the concept very useful in understanding the world

MichaelangeloGlossolalia joined

misterpessimistic:: I do Lee...

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: hi room

Jeremy1952:: hi Michael

Chris OConnor:: Lee - are you able to concisely define the Muslim "fantasy ideology?"

Aleeharris:: My main concern is with creating metaphors and models that may be useful as new ways of looking at things.

Chris OConnor:: or the Islamic rather

Jeremy1952:: Our guest is early! That's never happened before

Chris OConnor:: Jeremy - so true!

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Your cognitive impairment has actually been a source of great challenge and strength, though, correct?

Aleeharris:: Yes, my dyslexia has been a blessing. If I had been told I had it as a child, I would never have read a book, and certainly I would never have written one. I would have had an excuse.

Aleeharris:: That is why it is hard for me to be a pessimist, because I am aware that what appears bad can turn out quite nice.

#Mike joined

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: You essentially had to learn a new way to read?

Chris OConnor:: Lee - wow, so true. When a child is told he isn't smart or has an impairment....he then does

misterpessimistic:: Lee: I am optimistically pessimistic

RickU:: Indeed Lee.

Jeremy1952:: What do you think the evolutionary significance of dyslexia is, Lee? Do you think it is just not bad enough to have been eliminated, or is it selected under some circumstances?

Chris OConnor:: mister - lol oh god

Nostradafemme:: I'm very impressed Mr. Harris....how were you able to overcome your dyslexia?

misterpessimistic:: Chris: I don't agree....from personal experience

RickU:: Yah...Mr. Pess is a cliché'.

Aleeharris:: No, it was invented by the Chinese, but no one told me about it. So I had to reinvent it. I memorized the written symbol like a picture.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Ah yes,

Chris OConnor:: mister - well, not for you and not for me, but that's how it seems to work for many people.

misterpessimistic:: I tend to take criticism and run for the goal with it

RickU:: Mr. P - it's a fact of research. If people are told they are a certain thing...often they become that.

misterpessimistic:: Lee: Explain the picture theory

misterpessimistic:: please

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: In chapter eleven, you seem to pooh-pooh the idea of "natural law". Do you think the case is weak, or just irrelevant against a fantasy ideology?

scrumfish joined

Jeremy1952:: <-- looking up chapter ll

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Let me be sure I got the right chapter.

Chris OConnor:: Welcome Scrum, Mike and others

Aleeharris:: Had problems. Hold on.

Chris OConnor:: Lee - ok

misterpessimistic:: I hope pctacitus makes it

Chris OConnor:: Yea, me too

misterpessimistic:: Mike: I enjoyed your posts!

Aleeharris:: I think natural law can be a useful fiction. But it can equally well be a dangerous one. It is always used by those who wish to overthrow established centers of power.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Beg pardon, It was chapter 10.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: A useful fiction?

Aleeharris:: Not that established centers of power don't need overthrowing now and then.

misterpessimistic:: AGREE

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Like Dan Rather's memos?

Aleeharris:: Yes.

Jeremy1952:: Ah. Chapter eleven. I disagree about 88%

#Mike:: MP - thanks, I enjoyed yours as well

RickU:: Indeed they do on occasion Lee

Aleeharris:: Disagree with what?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I believe in Natural Flaw. Any law, however natural, will be hijacked for political purposes.

Chris OConnor:: Well, 78% of statistics are made up on the spot

Nostradafemme left

misterpessimistic:: Lee: Do you really think that radical Islam is functioning PURELY on a fantasy?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Chris, I heard it was 98%

Jeremy1952:: I think you wildly exaggerate the degree to which parenting, and culture for the matter, determine who we are

Chris OConnor:: lol

Aleeharris:: Do I think Islam is pure fantasy? No.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I would agree that they determine us either by conformity or by reaction to it.

misterpessimistic:: Radical Islam

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: A great deal anyway.

Chris OConnor:: Jeremy - what other factors are involved? Nature and nurture

RickU:: Indeed Brother

misterpessimistic:: Is that the only motivation they have for attacking us?

Jeremy1952:: Well if I understand Lee correctly, he is putting it almost all at the feet of culture

RickU:: Nature Nurture and capability Chris. Not all of us are equally capable of being rational in my opinion.

izanotski joined

misterpessimistic:: True Rick

Aleeharris:: Of course they have a complaint. They would like to dominate their world but they don't know how to do it., Therefore they blame it on someone else.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: At this point, I think radical Islam is in M. Scott Peck's People of the Lie territory.

Jeremy1952:: Neither, really; cultures have evolved ways of turning out people different than how they would have otherwise.

Chris OConnor:: Welcome Izanotski

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: mister--the hardcore fascist Islamists would attack us no matter what we did... they require an enemy to have an identity at all. But most Muslims hate our foreign policy, and some cheer Bin Laden's side just because he gives the US what they see as a taste of its own medicine.

Jeremy1952:: Am I somewhere near the mark, Lee?

RickU:: That's a fairly reasonable assessment of radical Islam

#Mike:: Lee - why did you feel it necessary to describe Al-Quaeda and other Islamists as a fantasy ideology vs. religious fanatism

misterpessimistic:: Michaelangelo: I agree with that

misterpessimistic:: to an extent

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: An excellent question.

RickU:: #Mike : What is the difference?

Aleeharris:: You say that cultures turn people out differently than they would be otherwise. But what is otherwise? You can't define what man would be by nature. There is no such thing.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, what's the distinction?

RickU:: Another good point Lee

Jeremy1952:: No, I don't' say so.... I am trying to paraphrase what I think you say, with he purpose of understanding it

Aleeharris:: I think that religion is a fantasy, as is art and politics.. They are attached to us by our fantasies.

misterpessimistic:: You are not religious Lee?

Chris OConnor:: which makes sense

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: maybe humans require fantasy in order to bond

Jeremy1952:: We were on chapter eleven, and the necessity for shame; and I don't see it that way.

RickU:: However, I think there IS such a thing. Man IS something by nature. It's just not easy to identify what it is...especially since man itself is so diverse

misterpessimistic:: fantasy and myth are good

Aleeharris:: I have been working on the problem of what religion is for some months. I once thought I understood it, but I now see that I don't.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Most interesting.

#Mike:: Lee - but you seem to define fantasy ideology as something new (20th Century) to the world where religious fanatism is as old as history

Chris OConnor:: yes, very

RickU:: And in fact, each man IS something by nature....but the "nature" is different for every "man"

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: even atheism, when it bonds a group, becomes a fantasy... "we are the righteous atheists, fighting ignorance" is more of a story than a truth.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Lee, are you familiar with "Spengler" at Asia Times?

Aleeharris:: religare is the Latin word to tie together things that are not bound by nature.

Jeremy1952:: I think we know more about human nature than we realize. It is like the fish/water thing; so much is the same that we don't see it

misterpessimistic:: Same here Lee. I grew up Catholic, but kind of rejected it from the start now that I look back...but I still do not understand it

Aleeharris:: Yes, I have read some Spengler.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: human nature: tell a story bonding your group in relation to or against other groups.

Chris OConnor:: Lee - are you able to read and keep up with how fast things are coming at you? We can slow it down a bit.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I find him most fascinating.

Jeremy1952:: Never heard that one, Michaelangelo, but I'd have to agree: atheism has no truth nor antithesis to ignorance. Science has that.

misterpessimistic:: Michael: I fight ignorance every chance I get

Aleeharris:: It is what ties people together enough so that they can become reasonable with each other.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I fight ignorance with ignorance.

misterpessimistic:: lol

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: my ignorance is more accurate than yours

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: So do I. Especially my own.

Jeremy1952:: It is not ignorant to believe in god; it is matter of "knowing" something that isn't true

misterpessimistic:: I just encourage people to actually THINK

misterpessimistic:: whether or not they agree with me

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Their "actually thinking" may differ from yours.

misterpessimistic:: in the end

Aleeharris:: It is like the Roman love of patria. Only in Islam, it is a nomadic version. A portable empire to the sedentary empire of the Romans. Islam is an empire that is still alive.

RickU:: Michael - but there's a problem with that. You can't tell the story accurately if you don't speak the same language, use the same idioms and haven't grown up in the same environment. Literature, and word of mouth by translation...are still, by translation, and that's a secondary translation...as you've translated your experience into words in the first place

Jeremy1952:: . . . unfortunately for the rest of us

misterpessimistic:: that's fine...but I can spot NON thinking a 20 paces

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: rick--true... telling a story is more than words, it's a series of bonding events that may be nonverbal

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: That idea would make of Islam an imitation of the lews.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: some stories are more portable than others

Aleeharris:: Every aspect of the Arab way of thinking about the world differs from ours. This is not said a s a criticism, just as a warning. We think we know what they mean, but we don't.

Jeremy1952:: What are lews? Not familiar with term/group

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--every aspect?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: And they think they know what we mean, but don't?

misterpessimistic:: I don't think I know what my NEIGHBOR means!

misterpessimistic:: I always question everything

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Even questioning?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: the Jungian psychological types have trouble communicating, even if they're in the same religion

misterpessimistic:: never accept pre-chewed truths

misterpessimistic:: yes even questioning

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Good, so have I.

misterpessimistic:: I believe that ever answer has another question

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I have questioned whether I have any business questioning at all.

Chris OConnor:: Mister - you don't even see the point behind that statement? You and your neighbor disagree at times, but you are on the same wavelength. You value similar things in life.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: But I digress.

Aleeharris:: Islam is an imitation of Judaism. There is an interesting book by a Persian scholar called Hagarism--actually she is English, but the book shows that the first non-Islam account of the conquest showed that Islam was a form of Messiahism.

misterpessimistic:: we do have the business to question

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I question the neural circuitry that makes me question things

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, a scholar of my acquaintance has shown me just how much Islam is an imitation of both Judaism and Christianity.

misterpessimistic:: ALL three major religions are based on the same nonsense

RickU:: Expound Michael

Aleeharris:: The problem of questioning. What makes any of us competent to question?

misterpessimistic:: they are all offshoots

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Of what?

RickU:: Indeed Mr. P

misterpessimistic:: Islam acknowledges Jesus and Abraham

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Not really.

Jeremy1952:: Does it deny it, Brother William? I think Islam declares itself an offshoot

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I don't think people wait until they feel competent to question

misterpessimistic:: Of prior myths

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Abraham, yes.

Aleeharris:: For example, what value is there questioning the obscure parts of quantum theory. Will it enlightened you?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Jesus, no.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think Islam was the natural result of Judaism and Christianity

#Mike:: Lee - do you think that there is an inevitable West/East conflict?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--it might... if it leads you to a productive thought experiment

misterpessimistic:: If scientists did not question, there would be no quantum theory

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: But I think we're moving to fast. I really want to hear Lee, so I will shut up now.

RickU:: Indeed Lee - by that reasoning why question anything that you don't fully understand...if you can ever fully understand anything.

Aleeharris:: The problem is not Islam as a set of theological doctrines. Nor is it the Koran. It is a cultural tradition that forbids male to relate to each other in an egalitarian spirit.

RickU:: Perhaps it was just a bad example...but the idea behind such an exercise is that it MIGHT enlighten you.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: YES!

Aleeharris:: Yes, I am getting a bit confused. I don't want to ignore anyone. This is why I think protocols are so important in life.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I will lay out.

Aleeharris:: 'That is, to prevent confusion and unnecessary conflict.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I'd say there are multiple Islam's, and some wish to dominate others.

Chris OConnor:: Please slow it down folks....and no side conversations for awhile

misterpessimistic:: As with any fundamentalist sect, it is those who apprehend and manipulate the tenets of any ideology that cause the problems

Aleeharris:: Islam's genius is that it is acephelous--it has no head. It is multi-centered. That is why it can resist, and not conquer.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Is confusion bad? It always seems to lead me to some new insight, if I allow confusion to do its job.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: From Lee's comment it makes sense that Islam and democracy are incompatible.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Agreed, again.

misterpessimistic:: Brother: Islam, or those who have apprehended it?

Aleeharris:: Democracy is incompatible with most culture--a select few culture in man's history have been cut out for it. Obnoxious egalitarianians, I call them.

RickU:: The same I would think applies to Christianity.

misterpessimistic:: Do we really know TRUE Islam?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: How do you distinguish a religion from specific cultural groups who use religion as their flag, yet have different behavior?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: MP: everyone is a "fundamentalist" about something.

RickU:: The same multi-headed beast that is.

misterpessimistic:: Or just the NEWS version

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I watch little news.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: If Democracy doesn't work for some cultures, can it be shown that some other system does work for them?

Aleeharris:: Actually I think that Christianity has been the precondition of modern egalitarianism.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Agreed, again, Lee.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: In fact, Protestantism was the sine qua non of America, as far as I'm concerned.

Chris OConnor:: Unfortunately, I agree too

Aleeharris:: Yes, there are other systems, and ones that afford a high degree of civilization. But people like us insist on having our own way. We Americans are spoiled to that.

misterpessimistic:: Spoiled we are! Agree!

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--which system can be shown to work (and define "work") for Arab cultures?

Aleeharris:: The Protestant spirit is not sufficiently appreciated.
Jeremy1952:: I'm sorry lee, that's just nonsense

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, to Lee.

Aleeharris:: We tend to look upon religion as theology, and not a way of living with each other. How we live with each other is not nonsense.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: This is where "Spengler" has been invaluable to me.

Jeremy1952:: Christians are as happy as every other nut group in demanding people toe the line

#Mike:: Lee - that brings up one of my big questions in your book: the Spartan Legacy. Do you really think Sparta had that much influence on Western culture?

Aleeharris:: Christianity from the beginning reached out to the rejected and the despised--this was a deeply needed egalitarian impulse in a world that was sinking into slavery and despotism.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Agreed, again Lee. It is all about how we live with each other.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: What currently reaches out to the rejected and despised?

Aleeharris:: Yes, Sparta's influence has been enormous.

Jeremy1952:: And then turned around and did its own rejecting and despising

Jeremy1952:: The cause and effect simply doesn't follow

Aleeharris:: It was in Sparta that the West realized the power of discipled education.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I think we're pretty much on the same wavelength, and so I will pretty much stay out.

misterpessimistic:: Christianity accepted all comers because the numbers would grow quicker

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I'm not sure American Christianity currently reaches out to the rejected, unless they're the already Christian dogma-accepting rejected.

Jeremy1952:: We have some very good things in the west... but they follow from Protestantism?

#Mike:: Lee - was not Rome more influential?

Aleeharris:: Yes, Christianity did as you said. All systems fail--but Christianity is unique in insisting on massive and global reforms every so often.

Chris OConnor:: The section about Sparta was fascinating. I can't fathom existing in such a society.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Well, it did promise "life abundant."

misterpessimistic:: I liked that Chapter

misterpessimistic:: I do not know much about Sparta to offer much.

Aleeharris:: Rome and Sparta were understood in much the same light--an egalitarian republics.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I see a lot of Christian groups moving toward the apocalyptic belief in a confrontation with the Islamic world... not sure that's a positive trend.

Aleeharris:: I agree.

misterpessimistic:: No it is not Michael

RickU:: Chris - Me either ...but it did apparently shape how we would operate in successful societies in the future

Chris OConnor:: Brother - no need to stay out of the discussion

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: They fail to realize that the apocalypse is always going on.

#Mike:: But Rome's influence seems greatest when it was no longer a Republic?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: That the wheat is always being separated from the chaff.

Aleeharris:: Apocalypticism is one of the movements that sweeps whole periods clean---it doesn't occur, but the belief that it will occur is transformative.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Bingo.

Chris OConnor:: Lee - good point

misterpessimistic:: Yes. Lee.

Jeremy1952:: Unless, of course it turns in to a self-fulfilling prophecy

Aleeharris:: Yes, Rome as an Empire was far mightier than as a Republic--not less free

Chris OConnor:: Jeremy - but when has it?

misterpessimistic:: I read about something similar in Charles Kimball's book "When Religion Becomes Evil"

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Self-fulfilling prophesies are becoming more and more possible

Jeremy1952:: Learning from history is good, on the one hand; but on the other, humans have never had the technology we have now

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it doesn't take that many people now to open the "vials of wrath"

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: All the more reason for pre-emption then, eh?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I agree Jeremy... we've never re-enacted the Crusades with nukes before.

misterpessimistic:: and the packaging is better today too Michael

Jeremy1952:: bingo

Aleeharris:: Most of our technology is magic to us. Few of us understand how the techno world works. And fewer care.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Which is a shame.

#Mike:: Lee - good point, and Rome's influence on Christianity's development also seems critical

Jeremy1952:: I'm not sure why we should. Care how it works. But we do need to know what it can do

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Without Rome, there'd be no book of Revelation

Chris OConnor:: Jeremy - true

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think we need to know how WE work, even more than how technology works.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I don't see how we can ever really know how we work.

Aleeharris:: yes, the Church picked up the system of the central hierarchy from the Romans.

misterpessimistic:: When we don't care, we take things for granted.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: That would be like taking our eyes out to look at them.

izanotski:: Did I miss Lee's answer to which religion now is appealing to the 'rejected and despised'?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I don't think we can know completely how anything works, but we can learn by successive approximations.

Jeremy1952:: Ah, now there's a good point, Michael. And a good reason not to accommodate religion

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, but that hierarchy was shattered at the Reformation. And thus, America became possible.

Aleeharris:: Yes, Indeed--there is what we desperately need to know. How we work.

Aleeharris:: The problem is that self-knowledge is difficult both at the individual and at the collective level--perhaps worse in the latter case.


MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Accommodate religious beliefs, just don't accommodate fanatical behavior. I've met fanatical atheists; they're as obnoxious as fanatical Christians or Muslims.

Jeremy1952:: Like everything else that we have good information on, Lee, we are learning from science.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I still maintain that everyone is a fanatic about something.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Self-knowledge usually comes from trial and error

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: mostly error

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I wonder if fanatic isn't sometimes just a word we used to criminalize "what we don't like."

Jeremy1952:: But as long as attachment to ancient fables guides behavior we won't understand on a large scale

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I agree with Brother, although people have different behavior. Some defend boundaries gently, others with pre-emptive force.

misterpessimistic:: Brother: Are you a fanatic about making us fanatics?

Aleeharris:: Yes, the strangest fact about America is this. IT become the home of congregationalism, a protestant form of church organization in which everyone was equal in authority.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I'd distinguish between fanatical beliefs and fanatical behavior. My wife's church is fundamentalist, but they're all very nice people. I can reject their dogma without rejecting their cultural integrity.

Jeremy1952:: Only on paper, Lee. It never really works that way

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Nice doesn't necessarily equal good. but I take your point.

Aleeharris:: Congregationalism was doomed in Europe---but it spread like wild fire here. It was created in Europe, but made for the USA.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--how common is that today though? I don't see that many Christians accepting that each person in the congregation has the right to their own interpretation of scripture.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: It's another useful fiction,

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: YES!

Aleeharris:: No a fanatic is a real person. We all know fanatics who agreed with us to our horror.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Brother--I'd say they're good people. They don't have to believe in evolution for me to see them as good.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I don't "believe" in evolution, either.

Aleeharris:: That is, fanatics who are on our side, but who fill us with horror and revulsion.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: But that's not where we should go.....

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I agree with Alee, it's behavior more than belief.

misterpessimistic:: no fanatic is on my side

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, I know of what you speak, Lee.

misterpessimistic:: a fanatic is dangerous, no matter how much sense he she makes

RickU:: I agree w/ Jeremy's last.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Within my own family, even.

Jeremy1952:: ty Rick

Aleeharris:: No, It is always easy to show how a cultural system fails. In fact, we egalitarian minded Americans seem compelled to do that, probably in order to protect our freedom.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: does fanaticism run in families?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--but how do you tell which part of a culture was responsible for failure? A democracy might fail, not because it's a democracy but because of some other factor...

Aleeharris:: The fanatic cannot see the point of view of the other person--he does not even believe him to be sincere.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Or even exist, as anything more than an abstraction.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: In a multivariable system you can blame any variable for the failure of the whole

Jeremy1952:: Whew, that lets me off the hook then, Lee

Jeremy1952:: I'm convinced of the sincerity of the "others"

Jeremy1952:: It's part of what makes them so scary

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Mark Steyn made an incredible point in a column the other day.....

Aleeharris:: Democracy is a difficult system--it is like a difficult jump from the high bars. Some people can do it easily- Others get hurt.'

#Mike:: Lee - have you any new thoughts on the subject or revisions to your ideas since the book?

RickU:: Lee - difficult indeed...in any form of Democracy someone is going to get hurt

misterpessimistic:: Democracy is taken for granted

izanotski:: Is there a similarity between the actions of a single fanatic, the actions of a single fan, and the actions of the mob, and a single member of a mob?

RickU:: That is, indeed, part of the reason for a constitution.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: at least democracy provides rapid turnover.... probably better than letting a family of despots become more and more corrupt until civil war breaks out

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: It's the terrorist who cannot see the humanity of the little girl 18 inches away from him, while we train our bomber pilots to think of blips on a screen a hospital, holy sites, and "oh, there's the enemy, let's hit that one."

misterpessimistic:: people should be educated in government and politics more and have to test to vote

RickU:: Rules for the democracy are set in 'stone'.....kind of...not really

Aleeharris:: Yes, I have many thoughts about where I went wrong in my book. That is why I am writing another one.

Chris OConnor:: Slow it down a bit folks

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: if every system tends to put more and more power in the hands of fewer people, then you want a built in mechanism for shaking things up every so often

Chris OConnor:: Please slow it down a bit

misterpessimistic:: When will the book come out Lee?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I will lay out.

Aleeharris:: You cannot build in a mechanism for shaking things up. You can only hope you can produce people who will.

#Mike:: Lee - can you give us any "sneak peeks"?

Aleeharris:: I haven't finished my new book yet. I hope to soon.

Jeremy1952:: Hmm. Isn't, Lee, periodic elections just such a mechanism? Term limits?

misterpessimistic:: Lee: The Constitution is a mechanism for shaking things up

Chris OConnor:: Brother - that isn't what I'm asking people to do....just slow down a bit so Lee can keep on track

RickU:: Lee - you can provide an environment in which "movers and shakers" get to lay out their ideas for consideration...at the very least

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, but it won't work that way. I am content to just watch.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--but isn't that what democracy is supposed to be? A way to provide regular regime change?

Jeremy1952:: I mean, the mechanisms won't work if there aren't the people to support it

Aleeharris:: I decided to trace civilization as far back as I could, and I ended up learning a lot about primates.

Jeremy1952:: But that doesn't mean that there are not mechanisms

Aleeharris:: Our founding fathers would have been horrified to discover that we had political parties. They didn't want regime change, but a regime of virtue. they had a fantasy ideology themselves.

Jeremy1952:: Wow. I'm looking forward to reading it already

RickU:: I have had the same thought Lee. They wouldn't be happy that the party system came into place.

misterpessimistic:: True...parties were not an option

RickU:: (Likely)

Aleeharris:: I was also struck by a conspiracy among contemporary archaeologist to make it seem that mankind had a peaceful and harmonious prehistory--one big happy family

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Rousseaueans.

RickU:: But they also may not have recognized that such a large divisions could exist within their framework either.

Aleeharris:: Jefferson inadvertently invented the party system. He meant only to bring the republic of virtue back. He wanted there to be only one party--his.

Jeremy1952:: Not exactly "contemporary", Lee; that crowd has pretty much been out of favor for the last two or three decades

#Mike:: Lee - that was one of my major criticisms of your book (a book I liked, by the way), that you seemed to overlook the importance of agriculture (and eventual loyalty to land) in the development of civilization -- any thoughts?

RickU:: Just like they couldn't have envisioned automatic weapons, for instance

RickU:: Good question Mike! And kind of a nice lead in to a questioning the role of Nationalism (healthy/unhealthy/other)

Aleeharris:: yes, you are right about the Rousseau part. But there is also a big dollop of Marxist materialism. I accept the materialism,
but turn it around on the Marxist. I show that there was originally lots of inequality, and that certain civilizations produced equality.


Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I think a one world regime is practically impossible, and so nationalism becomes important for "shaking things up."

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Although strictly speaking "American" is not a nationality.

Aleeharris:: The importance of agriculture was neglected. I am paying attention to it in my new book.

Chris OConnor:: Brother - I agree. It will never happen

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think nationalism will be tested as people define themselves more and more by interest and associate regularly with people in far away places

Aleeharris:: You're right. We are not a nationality.

RickU:: I won't say that it will never happen

RickU:: It just won't happen in our lifetimes.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: So, for all intents and purposes, it won't happen.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think top-down rule is doomed in the long term

RickU:: We're a closed system...(Earth) Eventually. Someday...we'll come to equilibrium.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Exactly.

Aleeharris:: We are held together by a bond every bit as strange as the bond of Muslim. We fuss and feud with each other, but we are still ready to confront an attacker when he is attacking us.

Chris OConnor:: Hundreds of years minimum

misterpessimistic:: Are we not BECOMING a nationality

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Nope.

RickU:: And I think that's an important point Lee

Aleeharris:: No, I don't believe in equilibrium. We can never get it right--thank God.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Although, a la "Spengler" it would be a bad thing if we did.

Jeremy1952:: Here's the giant non sequitur of lauding Protestantism as a 'cause': it seems much more likely that an egalitarian religion was able to flourish in an egalitarian society

Jeremy1952:: A society founded, after all, by deists, deeply suspicious of religious authority

Aleeharris:: Thank God because it is only by getting it wrong and fixing it, over and over again, that we can retain our dignity and freedom as human beings. Otherwise we become puppets.

Brother William of Baskerville 02::

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think we're puppets anyway. We just like to think the strings are inside us rather than outside.

Jeremy1952:: Of course it could be either way but I don't think such purported causalities hold water

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: MG: Perhaps you are confusing necessary conditions for determinism?

Aleeharris:: Yeas, they were deeply suspicious of religious authority--that is why they chose congregationalism as the national religion. You could be a Jew or a Catholic, as long you stay in your own congregation.

Aleeharris:: No, we are not puppets. I have devoted my entire life to not being one.

Jeremy1952:: So the egalitarianism was a cause, not effect, of congregationalism

misterpessimistic:: AMEN!

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I find I can only maintain the illusion of free will by deliberately not noticing the factors that go into my actions.

Aleeharris:: I can never imagine an argument for determinism so powerful that it could persuade me that I was not free.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Arrows of causality are difficult to pin down, of course.

#Mike:: Lee - do you think that's one of the unique aspects of the West: our ability/desire to look at others and ourselves critically and reevaluate how we do things?

Jeremy1952:: And did you decide to do that, Michael?

Jeremy1952:: Or are you compelled to?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think freedom is relative.... I'm "free" because I'm not in prison. But my genes, emotions, etc. control me still.

RickU:: AMEN @ the puppet comment

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: You think you've got it all figured out, and then somebody comes along and stands you on your head.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy --was inevitable, I'd think

Aleeharris:: Of course, factors go into my decisions. But the decision can be free. Or again we may decide for it to not be free, as when we flip a coin.

Jeremy1952:: Control you, Michael, or ARE you?

RickU:: Michael - as well as societal constraints.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy --both

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Nature is what we were put on this earth to rule. That includes human nature, MG.

Jeremy1952:: If what you are controls you then ... you are in control

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I'm often controlled by societal constraints... so much so that I don't even THINK to defy various unstated taboos.

Jeremy1952:: That's disgusting, Brother Baskerville

Aleeharris:: Nothing controls you. That is where the root cause nonsense arose about the terrorists. They were acting freely. They are accomplishing a goal they set themselves. We are wrong to treat them as things.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I would apologize, if it were my fault.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, it's a kind of reverse fantasy ideology.

misterpessimistic:: I feel the constraints of society as well, but I tend to fight against them....much to my dismay sometimes...

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--we treat them as things when we kill them, aren't we? We're not saying they're free to change, but that we don't believe they can or will change.

#Mike:: Very true Lee

Jeremy1952:: No need to apologize: you express your opinion, I express mine, and then we have a Guinness

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Pinot noir, in my case.

Aleeharris:: The terrorists have wants and desires and ambitions. We don't like these, and most of us think that their ambitions are fantasies. But they are not mere mechanism subject to external cause.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--but we kill them, believing there's no way they will freely change.

Chris OConnor:: We're all products of our environments, cultures, genetics and countless other variables, but the terrorists ultimately made decisions for which they should be held accountable

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: If we believed they could change, we'd have less certainty about the need to kill them.

Aleeharris:: You feel the constraint of society, but thank God so do other people.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: No, we precisely DON'T treat them as things, because we kill them. We take them seriously, and think, "they should have known better".

RickU:: There IS a difference between sentience and non-sentience

misterpessimistic:: So has Bush

Jeremy1952:: On the other hand, Michael, if they thought WE could change, they wouldn't' feel such need to kill us

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy --true

RickU:: But it doesn't mean we shouldn't respect the non-sentient beings place in the world

Aleeharris:: Well, it isn't possible for us to kill them.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: That is, they share some common humanity and should have known better.

Aleeharris:: We are too civilized, for better or worse.

Jeremy1952:: It still seems worth while to try

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, evil always has the initiative it seems.

RickU:: That's a troubling thought Lee

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: we can change the minds of most Muslims if we show a standard of fairness, but I don't think you can change a hardcore fascist personality, except to marginalize him and make it so he has no immunity from consequence.

Aleeharris:: In this world, evil does have the initiative, But i think this is because we are all so skeptical of the possibility of the good.

misterpessimistic:: It is possible for us to kill any number of people nowadays...eventually leading to us as well

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: G K Chesterton: Over-civilization and barbarism are but an inch apart.....

#Mike:: But, if we don't kill them/defend ourselves, why would they change?

Aleeharris:: I disagree with Mr. pessimistic.

misterpessimistic:: Why?

Aleeharris:: I think we are rather well-behaved as a people.

misterpessimistic:: but it only takes one nut with one bomb to set off the chain

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Almost to the point of blinding conformity....

misterpessimistic:: if it were aimed at us

Aleeharris:: Yes, you are right, Mr. P.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: For good or ill, I'm not sure.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: most "good" people will do evil if an authority figure tells them they have to

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: or if the people they trust set the example

misterpessimistic:: hmmm

misterpessimistic:: yes Michael

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: No, most "nice" people would. Good ones wouldn't.

Chris OConnor:: Michael - yes, a proven point

Aleeharris:: Authorities become authorities often because they can be trusted.

izanotski:: We may be well-behaved as a 'people' but it takes just one person to screw it up.

Chris OConnor:: Michael - I'd like to think that we, in this chat room, are not a part of that "most people"

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: authorities become authorities because they can manipulate symbol systems

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: We haven't been tested toughly enough most likely.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Chris--I try never to rest in pride.

Chris OConnor:: Lee - and have earned and deserve that trust

Aleeharris:: We all contain "most people" within us, at some layer of our existence. It is not a bad thing, either.

scrumfish:: /nick scrumfish-away

misterpessimistic:: ?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: People tend to trust those who share their enemies, regardless of whether they ought to.

Aleeharris:: Yes, of course there are dreadful authority figures, But the concept of authority should not be treated as an automatic Bad Thing. That is simplistic.

#Mike:: Lee - do you think civilization is just tolerance and peaceable ness, or is there something more important?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes.

Chris OConnor:: Michael - excellent point

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: political parties being one example. I wouldn't trust either of them, but each gets trust because it postures as the opposite of something worse.

Aleeharris:: Yes, our survival has often depended on trusting those who share our enemies. That is wisdom in it.

Chris OConnor:: Lee - true

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: In a variegated system among diverse people, how could it be otherwise?

RickU:: Indeed...Authority of one kind or another certainly isn't always a bad thing.

Aleeharris:: I don't understand the political parties this year. They have disgraced themselves.

misterpessimistic:: I don't buy that "the enemy of my enemy' bull

RickU:: There have been several "benevolent" dictatorships that were quite successful until the heir took over

misterpessimistic:: maybe it was what happened in the past, but it is time to grow up past these catch phrases

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Parties are a "mean". They average out the diverse tendencies. I happen to think a two party republican (small "r") government is the worst, except for all the others.

Aleeharris:: You don't need to buy it, Mr. P. I am simply stating the fact that if someone is out to get you, you will welcome allies.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--I understand it. People are projecting their own dark side onto the other. Our society has a problem, and nobody wants to see it in him or herself, so they see it in the other side.

misterpessimistic:: But not one I didn't like much to begin with

Aleeharris:: The problem of succeeding a dictatorship is a tricky one.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Lee, how did the GOP let you down? (I know how it let me down, but ...)

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: turnover of power is inevitable... a flexible system will be able to ride out the periodic storms.

Aleeharris:: That is why a dictatorship is always foolish if there is any alternative.

misterpessimistic:: Because dictators flourish on their personality, and that is not necessarily inherited by the successor


MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: dictatorships may also induce dependency, which leads to greater violence later on when the strongman is gone

Aleeharris:: Yes, but what makes the system flexible? No document can do this. Again, it is the habits of the heart that keep us free.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, will trumps intellect.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I don't know if I like our current habits of heart

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: expectations trump will

Aleeharris:: Dependency also induced dictatorships. This seems to be what happens in the Mideast over and over.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: nods at Alee

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Will and expectations is a distinction I wouldn't press much.

Aleeharris:: Yes, some of our more recent habits of the heart are disturbing. I am 56 and sometimes I think that the kids are just awful.

Aleeharris:: Of course, I may just be an old fart.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I'd say a system which promotes more learning experiments on the part of more people would be a good one, as opposed to one which relies on authority to give commands.

misterpessimistic:: No...They are awful Lee

misterpessimistic:: and I am only 34

Aleeharris:: We agree--in part.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: We have the kids we deserve, I fear.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I think kids feel betrayed by adults, given a world they don't think can last.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: And hope.

Jeremy1952:: I was at my kids school, and teacher after teacher talked about what a wonderful class this is, one of the best

Aleeharris:: Maybe they will grow on you as you get older.

misterpessimistic:: I raise mine better than the average...much

misterpessimistic:: LEE lol

Aleeharris:: Good to hear, Mr. P.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: A girl once told me she drank because she didn't see any future for the world. Why be moral if you don't expect the world to survive?

misterpessimistic:: that is horse!

macbroo joined

misterpessimistic:: cop out

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Kids look worse than they are if you judge them as a group rather than individuals. So do Republicans, Democrats, etc.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Well, the end of the world, isn't really. It's just the end of us.

Jeremy1952:: Because its the right thing to do, Michael?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Hello Macbroo.

Aleeharris:: That is a great question Civilization require something to hope for, something bright to move toward. We are giving people nothing.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy--the "right thing to do" isn't easy when you have no framework for trust

Chris OConnor:: Welcome Macbroo

misterpessimistic:: True Michael...that is true for ANY group

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, "Spengler" again.

Jeremy1952:: What does the end of the world have to do with trust?

macbroo:: hi

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: judge any group by its loudest members, and you'll think the group is awful

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Mac, this is P-Prof.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy--it erodes faith

Chris OConnor:: Why does a dying man maintain his morality?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Here.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Because it's not his.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Chris--in hopes of an afterlife?

Aleeharris:: The first Spengler believed that civilizations just run out of stream--they age and decay.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Right.

Jeremy1952:: Morality is the best way to be. That's why its the way we are. Which, in turn, is why the fact that we all die is quite irrelevant

Chris OConnor:: There is no difference between believing the world will end, or knowing your own world will end

Chris OConnor:: Michael - ahh tis true

Aleeharris:: A man dying maintains his morality to set a good example to the world he leaves behind.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: morality promotes a framework of trust. It's hard to be moral to an enemy you believe will betray you.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: it's hard to be moral to people you see as immoral

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Although, although Chesterton despised the idea that we could never break out of the Cycles of History. I think I agree with him.

Jeremy1952:: It is not immoral to kill an enemy who will betray you

#Mike:: Lee - do you think that's why civilizations such as the Egyptian and Chinese stagnated for so long?

Aleeharris:: No, I am absolutely sure that the whole world will end with me. So I advise everyone to be very nice.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Some situations are set up so that being moral earns you punishment rather than reward. In those situations, people lose their morals.

Brother William of Baskerville 02::

Jeremy1952:: Lol Lee

RickU:: That's because morality is subjective

RickU:: morality, sorry

Chris OConnor:: hah

Jeremy1952:: Only on the edges, RickU

Jeremy1952:: At its core it is not

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Is the subjectivity of morality objectively true?

Chris OConnor:: Now that's self-confidence

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I've seen people who believed they were moral do immoral things to people they considered immoral.

Aleeharris:: China and Egypt were constantly going through crises that changed nothing.

RickU:: No Jeremy - There are very few moral "truths". They're displayed on and off in the worlds religions

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Maybe it was more complicated than that.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, Lee.

Jeremy1952:: Wrong place to look, RickU. Religions simply confound morality

Chris OConnor:: I thought China suffered due to an isolationist policy

Aleeharris:: Hegel argued that morality was subjective--up to us as individuals. Ethics was collective--it was what bonds us as a group.

RickU:: I don't think so Jeremy - they're a good place to look for a groups values (morals) as any

RickU:: Without being to ask them anyway

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: well, I tend to agree with C.S.Lewis that there must be some ideal somewhere by which to judge progress.

Jeremy1952:: It may be up to us as individuals, Lee; in fact I'm sure it is; but the inclination to be moral is an evolved attribute of human species

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Or progress is a meaningless word.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: some animals show both the moral and amoral traits humans have

Aleeharris:: Are there universal moral truths. Only if and to the degree that a society insists that they are, and enforced these truths as a moral baseline.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yup.

Jeremy1952:: Nope. Most of morality is innate and constant

Aleeharris:: For example, the way the world rid itself of slavery. It could no longer be tolerated by the civilizations that had to put up with it.

Jeremy1952:: It's just the parts that aren't that catch our attention

Chris OConnor:: Exactly. Morality is subjective...and that which a social group collectively agrees upon

Aleeharris:: How can you believe that most morality is moral and constant?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I do think though that sometimes we make progress only when we can afford to.

RickU:: Right Chris

Jeremy1952:: Nobody anywhere, anywhen, Lee, goes around whacking whoever around them they feel like

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: It would be moral of us to stop using so much oil, but I don't think we will until it runs out or there's an embargo.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I.e. Child labor was abolished only when survival no longer depended on child labor.

Aleeharris:: No, progress has been made by people who despire material goods.

Jeremy1952:: We get along with the people around us one way or another;

Aleeharris:: I meant to write despise.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: It would be moral of us to care as much for strangers as friends, but we don't do that.

Chris OConnor:: Jeremy - we've read books here on BookTalk that touched on the subjective nature of morality, such as Guns, Germs and Steel. I'm surprised you see it differently.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Lee the f5 key will allow you to edit your last post.

#Mike:: But if morality is subjective (i.e., relative), then how can we condemn the horrors of Nazis?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Most of our morals are pretty pragmatic... take care of those who may help you later, etc.

Jeremy1952:: We don't attack ; we don't rape; we act morally in our every day affairs

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Mike--we can subjectively hate it enough to fight it.

RickU:: lol..I went to look up despire - I thought it was just a word I wasn't familiar with

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: LOL
Aleeharris:: You condemn the horror of the Nazism by killing them.
Jeremy1952:: We don't kill the children of a woman we want to have children with

Chris OConnor:: The Yanomamo people consider murder and rape to be completely acceptable....under certain conditions

Jeremy1952:: Why not?

Jeremy1952:: Lots of animals do

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy -because you'd lose the woman, for one thing.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: They live in grass huts, right?

RickU:: Aztecs thought murder was fine too (ritual sacrifice)

Aleeharris:: I vote that we make "despire" a word--a word in search of a definition.

Chris OConnor:: Jeremy - Yes, we certainly do kill them. The Yanomamo do indeed.

Jeremy1952:: And that's why you don't do it? I don't think so.

RickU:: seconded

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I have one I want to nominate as well.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: The Aztecs were wrong.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy--hard to say why... we all want to be seen as good people, but do we really know why we do things?

Jeremy1952:: BTW Chris, if we are looking at sources, a lot of my ideas come from Pinker

Chris OConnor:: The Yanomamo go to a neighboring tribe and kill the children and men and steal the women, take them home, rape them, etc...

Chris OConnor:: Jeremy - ahh

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I don't want to see myself as a bad person... but is that social pressure, internalized social pressure, early imprinting, or genetics?

macbroo:: please don't talk about that stuff

Aleeharris:: No, we don't kill the children of the woman we want to have children with--but that is simply a tautology.

Jeremy1952:: Doesn't matter to my point, Michael.... we do lots and lots of good things, all the time, all of us

#Mike:: But "killing them" is not the same thing as determining it is an immoral position. What's to prevent us from doing the same thing or going down the same path?

Jeremy1952:: Good moral things that we don't' even think about and don't question why others don't do it

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy --but why do we do good things? To avoid feeling bad about ourselves?

Jeremy1952:: This is the moral foundation, the evolved commonality

RickU:: Lee - I have to know before you decide to run...What did you think of this experience (I'm presuming from your initial reaction that this is new to you)?

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: If that 's the best we can do, ...

Jeremy1952:: No, we do good things because that is who we are.

Aleeharris:: There is no law or rule or insight that prevent people from going bad--you must at some point be willing to keep them from acting to dominate you or those you love.

Chris OConnor:: Rick - good question!

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy --"who we are" is a tautology.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Yes, your book made that clear.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Alee--maybe it's all about repeated learning trials, rather than dogma.

Chris OConnor:: Lee - and who are you voting for in Nov.?

Jeremy1952:: Only if you deliberately ignore the longer phrase that it is shorthand for

Aleeharris:: Yes, I am aged, and it is getting to be my bed time. The experience has been invigorating, but I feel rather bad that I couldn't respond to everyone's remarks. I found myself writing like crazy, and then trying to catch up.

Aleeharris:: Who I am voting for?

Jeremy1952:: Well thanks so much for coming

#Mike:: But how can you even say it's "bad" if morality is completely subjective. What keeps me from going "bad" if I believe all morality is relative?

Chris OConnor:: Lee - you've done a fantastic job

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Thanks, indeed.

RickU:: Thanks a lot indeed

Jeremy1952:: And glad we could give you a new experience!

Chris OConnor:: Lee - Yes, we do have a presidential election coming up!

Aleeharris:: I just don't like Kerry. It is a position that I feel, and hence I cannot offer an intelligent argument.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Mike--I know I don't like eating vomit. Nobody needs to punish me if I eat vomit; it's a physical reaction. I feel the same about "Evil".

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Feelings, nothing more than feelings.....

Aleeharris:: Perhaps he has too much hair.

Chris OConnor:: Lee - wow....you and me both

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Growing on the inside, I fear.

Aleeharris:: Yes, but feelings are vastly under appreciated.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I like Kerry because he's a flip-flopper, and I like sandals. I get all my beliefs from talk radio.

Chris OConnor:: I didn't want to steer this to a discussion of the election though

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I appreciate them, much.

Chris OConnor:: too heated for now

#Mike:: Michael - but why do you have that intrinsic reaction?

Chris OConnor:: Michael - ROFL

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Mike--because I was raised without violence, and violence makes me physically ill.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I wish politics wasn't all marketing and branding

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Domestic tranquility isn't on the agenda I'm afraid.

Chris OConnor:: Lee - Yes, I agree

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: We are the strangest country ever.

Jeremy1952:: I don't see where the democrats have been particularly unpleasant, or disingenuous anywhere to the scale that the republicans are

RickU:: As you become more familiar with the forum Lee - it should become quite rewarding.

Chris OConnor:: Brother - strange, but successful

Aleeharris:: I was raised without violence, and I loathe it too. But I think those who particularly hate it have an obligation to understand it.

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Successful because strange, I hope.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I agree lee.

RickU:: I don't abhor violence

#Mike:: Michael - so was it a fantasy of subjective morality that lead to that upbringing, or can we ever say something is "evil" as a truth?

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Mike--I don't know if "evil" has meaning unless you attach some concrete thing to it

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: I don't either, but I do respect "HONEST" pacifism. Maybe they see something I don't. But the reverse may be true too.

RickU:: In fact, I embrace that it will happen to me

Aleeharris:: If you forgive me, I must now bow out. My head is spinning a bit. I have been writing all day, since 4:30 this morning.

RickU:: And that I must react to it.

Chris OConnor:: Lee - you've been a pleasure. Thank you very much for spending the time with us tonight!

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Thank again, lee.

RickU:: G'night Lee...it's been great

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I could show why widespread dishonesty might be bad for social cohesion, but I can't prove social cohesion is "good" in any absolute way. I just know it feels bad when you don't have any.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: bye Alee

Aleeharris:: But my deepest thanks to everyone who has come on board. I will try to visit again.

Chris OConnor:: And thank Alan for his assistance

scrumfish:: Thank you

#Mike:: Lee - Thanks

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: I have to go too... later guys

Chris OConnor:: Lee - we've enjoyed it

Jeremy1952:: That's your genes talking to you, Michael

Chris OConnor:: Goodnight Lee

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: Jeremy --it could be

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: MG, yes, it is hard to prove an a priori.

MichaelangeloGlossolalia:: later everyone

Brother William of Baskerville 02:: Impossible possibly.

Aleeharris:: goodnight


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