January 31st, 2012


Changing Tides

Changing Tides

Change is such hard work. - Billy Crystal

Just in time for the end of utopia month (or maybe a little late), I thought I would add a few of my philosophical musings about its antithesis, dystopia. I call it An American Prayer.

After September 11, 2001, our world had changed. I think everybody recognizes that. A few of my thoughts on this:

· We prayed to the gods of war that we may drink the blood of our enemies. We suffer a loss of blood and treasure that exceeded our original outrage.

· We prayed to the gods of wealth that we may be a land of plenty. We suffer the loss of fortune that our generation had never known.

· We prayed to the gods of wisdom that we may know the answers and solutions to our troubles. We suffer irreconcilable discord.

· We prayed to the gods of commerce that we may prosper and be productive. We have stagnated with no end in sight, filling only the coffers of the greedy.

· We prayed to the gods of our fathers that they may vanquish the infidels. Only to find we are the infidels ourselves.

Who says prayer doesn’t make a difference?

Let the rant quest begin.


Monthly Topic: The Dystopia of Augustine

Some military dudes stuck their noses in our networking facility the other day. They were curious about our school. One of them wanted to know if we believed in Christ. He was promptly informed of our doctrine on the matter: Christ is an eternal form. He returned again and again, but the Church kept burning him at the stake. What should we expect from a bunch of Pharisees? Even their main honcho was a Pharisee. The martial practitioner was satisfied that we are dedicated to education and the elevation of the human spirit.

A number of years ago I was curious why Christians have such a long track record of vicious brutality. What drives them to mug the Samaritan and leave him for dead by the side of the road? What is the source of this thuggery?

In order to answer the primary research question, I started to look into Christian literature. Augustine of Hippo (nothing to do with the fat river denizen) popped up in a number of texts. That led me to read his memoirs and his magnum opus inspired by the sack of Rome. This was the answer to my research question. Augustine was the source of degradation within the Christian tradition. Further research proved that my first impression was incorrect. Augustine was only one in a long line of charlatans going all the way back to the days of Peter, Paul, and Judas.

Still, Augustine gives us an idea of the degrading mechanisms of charlatan theology. His work is replete with techniques for exploiting people by abusing sacred texts and creating false paradigms. He rightly ridicules Pagans for believing the fabulous stories of criminal deities, but he asserts that the fabulous aspects of Jewish tradition are absolutely true. He recognizes the spherical nature of the Earth, but he abuses Jewish legend in order to rationalize the Church's flat-Earth dogma denying the existence of the Antipodes. He recognizes the existence of figurative meaning in sacred literature, but uses it to buttress literalistic despotism.

One of our students pointed out that the difference between Augustine and Jesus was that the latter learned from Pagans. Augustine expended a great deal of ink in condemning the works of Pagans that could have given him insight into the mission of Jesus. Instead, Augustine became just another Pharisee. It is no wonder that other Christians of his own day considered Augustine to be a crook. He was a con-artist who did a disservice to Jewish culture, the work of Jesus, and especially the people he successfully deceived.

Augustine places his City above the earthly urb. It seems to me that the earthly city deserves more credit. There is a higher polity, but we will not experience it by following the lead of Augustine. His sheepish facade poorly masks his canine features.

After a few hundred years the Vatican eventually recognized the value of Galileo. Do you suppose they will ever recognize the viciousness of Augustine?

The Wall Street 16 – Hapless Happer Leads Clueless Geriatrics in WSJ Fiasco

A recent Wall Street Journal piece "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" has generated a bit of a buzz on the right, along with the usual cast of global-warming-deniers. Sixteen scientists signed the declaration questioning the need for any real action to be taken on global warming, for a variety of reasons. While the list of signatories is impressive, none of them have published peer-reviewed papers or even have any specific credentials on climatology.

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Слушам и не вярвам на очите си!
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The Croatian "Yes"

Pozdrav, prijatelje moje! Greetings, folks! Look at this statement. "Croatia's place is in the EU, period. Always has been". There would've been nothing particularly remarkable in these words, had they not come from Gen. Ante Gotovina - the very person who used to be the main obstacle to Zagreb's entry into EU. It's exactly the guy who's considered by half of the Croatians to be a national hero, while the rest of them (and the rest of the world) think he's a war criminal. In 2005 he was finally arrested, and this unleashed the negotiation process with EU (similar to Ratko Mladic and Serbia). Now Gotovina is serving 24 years in jail, but this still didn't stop him from having influence over the hearts and minds of many Croatians. So you might imagine the shock he caused in the Euro-sceptic circles in Croatia when he voiced his support for his country's entry to EU.

At the end of the day, even without much enthusiasm and emotion, somehow by default, nearly 2/3 of the Croatians who voted on the referendum approved joining the EU in 2013 and becoming its 28th member (if no unexpected drama ruins the plan in the meantime). But far from the spotlight of the media, another big number remained ignored: 43%. This was the voting turnout on the referendum. And if we look at previous EU-joining referenda, it's one of the lowest turnouts in the history of the Union. Which tells us a lot not just about the Croatian particularities but also about EU's waning attractiveness.

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