I've written before that one needs a shield in battles of this kind. I mean, in some sense, faith. Faith will give people the ability to withstand the barrages of hatred that come when one disagrees with the commonly accepted "wisdoms" of the day. Death Hippies, those who celebrate the death of others -- to satisfy recreational needs, I think-- will turn in hatred and violence against a Christian who defies them. Few people will willingly stand up to haters of that kind. Those who do need a shield. Without faith in something more than ones shoes, those things one hopes will carry one to safety, there's little reason to engage maniac haters. Yeah, me and my cowboy boots. For others, they need something more so they can find the confidence to stand up and be beaten and fight back. Maybe the worst isn't the physical fight at all but the scorn, the hatred expressed by the enemy, often our own, our Left dhimmi fascists. It might be hard for the average man to be hated by those he works with, those he lives next door to, those he shares a nation with. Cowboy boots don't do it for everyone. And really, I think that if one were to choose a mate to fight beside, it might just be better to have a man of faith rather than a mountain Berzerker in lizard skins.I do laugh, sometimes, at the things people write about me. I'm easy to find and easy to talk to, so one wonders why there's so much writing and so little asking me, the one guy who actually knows more about me than others. One thing I read is that I'm a Rightwing religious bigot. I'm not even one of those three things. I'm not religious. I'm totally determined to stick up for any poor guy being beaten by thugs, though. In that case one will find me Christian to the core, at least till the blood stops flowing. Or Jewish or Hindu or a man defending a woman. I have faith in my own self, and that's the only shield I need. Others might want the shield of Christianity. I can't help there. But I can stand with those who have it, and I'd be proud to do so.
I have faith in my own self, and that's the only shield I need.-don't you also need some kind of faith in your fellow man? That you can trust those standing with you and you can trust that those against you cannot stand for ever against a higher truth?
...or to put it on other words, don't you need to trust that the human community as a whole can be renewed culturally, that your fellows can find a way back from their nihilism, that they don't always have to be left dhimmi fascists: it is not enough to win a war; to win you have to know what it is for, the terms of peace you hope to help impose. This is why I often point out that the Christian God is also the god of our secular modern world. Historically, that's the source or connection between the classical and modern, and the enemy knows it on some level.
I think you're gilding the lily.People do what they do, and most do so because. Some will, some won't, and most will follow the majority, regardless. I think it's right that those few who think it through act if they act, so long as they act in ways that please me. But I'm just one guy, and no one cares much about that. I feel the same way. Lots of us together make whatever is. Life's not perfect. Often it's not good, and very often it's terrible. Still, we fight or we don't. It's choice we all make, even if we don't make it. It's the nature of the beast. I don't hold out high hopes for much more than normal reality. See it for what it is and make the best of it.
But seeing it for what it is requires going beyond yourself: man is the measure, not Dag, or John, or anyone alone... as you say, you're just one guy, so why accent faith in yourself?"lots of us together make.." - how do people get together and make? Because some will, some won't... Yes, but that is not going to be the line that leads people, and it may be only the start of explaining to someone why he is in a position where he can and should take the lead... majorities form, people follow, because of a winning mix of shared, public reason and faith. If we, as moderns, accent the faith of the individual, it seems to me we can't avoid the need also to guarantee that faith in terms of a larger vision of what individuals share in guaranteeing each other's freedom. Modernity is full of romantic and nihilistic traps, lonely and lost individuals...
I think you're gilding the lily.-This observation is interesting. how do we know when we should be satisfied with an understanding, and how do we know when we need to deepen it? When should we know enough to stop talking, thinking, and act, and when do we need something more to give us the faith and insight to act, an ability to see the opportunity?-I'm sure I don't have answers that can apply in many or all situations. No one key opens all doors and that's why a free society needs to be discussing what it is about and where it needs to go on many different levels. But one thing i believe must always be true is that our situations are always somewhere within an unfolding history, one that tends to grow in complexity as humans learn more about themselves and thus make their conflicts and dilemmas both freer and more complex. in other words, what is enough to know cannot be stable over time; we can never, as a species, rest...I believe that the Judeo-Christian monotheist revelation into the nature of our humanity is not exhaustible. It will continue to reveal new things because we will always have new experiences in relation to which the foundational revelations of our universal anthropological science (Jerusalem & Athens) will be deepened. We will forever learn more about what is yet implicit or inherent in our tradition. But that learning process has to be tied to events happening in real time and not only to the kind of off-line intellectual reflection we indulge in when writing. So yes, we need to know when to engage the new event and not be endlessly talking about the last one.
Having said that, I don't want to imply that an event unfolds without people involved doing any "offline" processing. An event entails people giving off and negotiating signs of what the event means and anticipating how it will be remembered. Of course, how it will be remembered by future writers is not something they can entirely control although they will set some parameters...
I'm sure there are limits to Humanness, the same as there are limits to the possible number of chess moves in combination over the course of a game. I think, too, that there will be few who go beyond the average range and pattern of moves available in either life or chess. Even those high masters can only go to the outer limit before they have to stop, there being no alternative move in the legitimate game. But within the nearly infinite possibilities, and those we cannot know till they happen, we still have to accept that they will be few beyond the routine of usually. Most people usually do; and that's about what we should hope for.To think that people should do the different for the greater good is a frightening thought, which we've seen played out in flesh. As bad is the idea that people should not do the different, also played in meat and bone.I argue often that we don't know the knowable as yet, probably never will, and shouldn't stop trying to understand it even though the hope is beyond us of ever finding out the ultimate Good. It's not the knowing, it's the finding out a bit more that matters. It the not knowing, and the acceptance of not ever knowing, that makes it worth the game. Having thought and having lived and having tired, we must accept that it's the bet we can do and will try to do better next time. "Given what is so far, I will try this...." Aporia. I leave it open till next time, by which time I hope to learn more to do better. Meanwhile, knowing the perfect will never arrive, I will act thusly, right or wrong unknowable till it's passed by. If others act along with me, then we do. But it's not a matte of popularity: Hitler, said Einstein, didn't need a hundred "German Science" professors to prove him wrong. He only needed one. But as the universe unfolds, Einstein wasn't as right as the thought. He was right enough for the time. Others are righter because of him. And most people are like I am: not a clue. I, pleased and proud to say, don't have an opinion. To demand conformity to Newtonian physics is as absurd as to demand the same of Relativity. But until we find ourselves living in the string multiverse, the Human is limited. We have to act on what we think we think we know as best we can. The beauty of that is in finding out and in loving the finding out that one has been wrong. With the foreknowledge that one is wrong, and in having a sense of humor, one can live and let live and let think. Most will fall into the middle always, and some few will be so far out there that the rest of us won't even know about it. We'll catch up someday, like when I figure out Euclid. But till such time I see most people as most people, not as anything particularly special, not as moving quickly toward anything more than more of the same, though perhaps with better food and medicine and social relations for all, i.e. toward more freedom if some few fight those some few who fight it.People are people, and they do the normal. One need guard the normal from the freaks. That's where we're losing today, and have in the past. If Judeo-Christianity is a preservative of the normal, of the mediocrity, of the boring and philistine, then by all means we should promote it and defend it by any means necessary so long as it allows for the freedom of those who don't pay it much heed. Most people are herd animals, and whether the Church guides them or whether they break away and lose themselves is not up to me to decide the good or bad of. My concern is the matter of choice for the individual. Most people do what most people do, and they are more or less predictable until they aren't. Till they aren't we should expect more of the same from most. Those of us on the outside, those wandering around on our own, are responsible for our best guesses. Not knowing is the thrill of the discovery of what comes. Most people don't like that. For that I am grateful. It makes my life much easier. Those who make my life difficult are those who control those who don't wish to be controlled. Whether it's ultimately good or bad to challenge and destroy the controllers is something I guess I'll find out if I live so long. Those who don't know and don't care are just right with me. I wish I were one of them. I live my freedom, within the bounds of the Human, and it's nothing much. It might well be far less than others have. But it's mine. I have my pack and my sandals, and I go where I go. I do so on my own authority and take my own risks, meeting on my road those who are not moving at all. Maybe yes, maybe no; I don't know about God. I go till I find a ditch that takes me. Such is life. It'll go on for others just like always before.It's a strange land, and it always get stranger with each step. But it's still a common strangeness. I don't hope for much more than that. I think it's good enough in itself. Do what we do, hope it's not so bad, and try to do better next time. There's only so much we can do, and it's all pretty much been done before. Maybe the Machine is simply moving of its own accord. Nothing surprises me anymore, though I see the strangeness always. It's just more predictable strangeness. Sometimes you just have to laugh.
Indeed! The strangeness always creeps into the sameness: the more normal we try to be, the more we try do the same thing over and over, the more we iterate, the more change will creep in, with each iteration not being quite like the last, pushing us slowly to the realization of something new, a realization that surprises us when it happens since for long we've lived with a trend and expected it to continue, only to find, at certain points in history, that a shock, a significant event, changes our course. We wake up in a new world we didn't see coming.We have to act on what we think we think we know as best we can. The beauty of that is in finding out and in loving the finding out that one has been wrong.-this is what i love about you: an openness to learning from error, because you know that error is guaranteed. But, Dag, this is the same guarantee that the future can be and will be forever open. Why is error inevitable? Why is change inevitable? Because you cannot be a perfect model of what came before because you are already living in a somewhat different time (coming from a different starting point in the world of events, and having taken a somewhat different journey) and hence you are under the influence of different realities and different events that channel and deflect your imitation in unpredictable ways. So, even as you try to model something already known you can never really do it without error because you are not coming to the model in the same way it was come to or discovered originally.Yes, so much of humanity is imitation of norms but it is our errors that are inevitable that open the door to the discovery of new norms. There are leaders and followers, in the nature of things, but the human, as a whole, is inexhaustible because it it the playing out of the endless paradox: the human is defined by an eternal tension between openness and closure. Followers want the perfect closure but the more they try the more they mistake and create new possibilities that the open spirit of leadership can take up and use.The human is always recognizable, to an extent, and yet it is always somewhat different. No two people are ever exactly the same. We spend so much time thinking about the future because it can't be predicted. Why do we love blogging about unfolding events? Because we are immersed in events and scenes that are unprecedented, to some degree: e.g. no one knows how the present crisis in the financial markets is going to play out. No one really knows what will come of the present Jihad, or the Obama presidency. Within these phenomena are behaviours more or less recognizable as they struggle to model identifiable figures and forms of closure already known; but the endless possible combinations and mutations of these behaviours, in a system of unprecedented scope and scale, make the future unknowable, until someone takes up our errors and shows us the new possibilities in them. Check out Adam K's latest at the GABlog on these themes.I think the moves in the human game are inexhaustible, but that's not to say that there aren't some people who get exhausted. But if the masters truly discovered the limits of the game, they could master it and make outcomes predictable, e.g., they could grow rich in the stock market, or what have you. But that doesn't happen. All the economists in the world couldn't and didn't foresee what has happened in the last year as the old financial system collapsed.One need guard the normal from the freaks. That's where we're losing today, and have in the past. If Judeo-Christianity is a preservative of the normal, of the mediocrity, of the boring and philistine, then by all means we should promote it and defend it by any means necessary so long as it allows for the freedom of those who don't pay it much heed.Judeo-Christianity provides both for norms and for openness. It is different from other religions in the degree to which it reveals and questions the violent nature of closure on which culture depends, as it questions our dependency on sacrificial irrationality. And thus it makes a virtue of our struggle to defer closure, to avoid the need for human sacrifice; but just this struggle leads to a new understanding of norms and acceptable forms of closure. Anyway, all religions, even those that try to insist on perfect conformity in ritual find that a changing external world always frustrates, sooner or later: the ritual has to change and evolve to deal with the disruptions that exposure to reality creates. Disease, say, wipes out all the elders: ritual has to evolve...We are always human but as such we are the product of an incredibly long series of events that have left countless marks on our culture. These can be endlessly combined and recombined, along with demographic, environmental, economic realities, etc., changing the scenes on which we live and thus leading to new events and revelations. It is far more complex than chess because there is no end game, except where we must create and circumscribe games in order to determine winners and losers in our various contests over particular desires and scenes. In other words, there are finite games and then there is the infinite game that is human history. Judeo-Christian religion seeks to keep us patient and open to that infinite possibility, even as it provides models for conducting ourselves in life's finite games: it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
And all this time I thought ontology was boring! Slaps forehead. That was very cool, Peers.
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