Monday, August 20, 2018

Salvete eis qui legant - 

Stoicism is coherent, I would say.  It accords with how life is.  It is a project, not a belief system.  Its doctrines have survived in a paucity of reporting and original texts, and stand or fail in our application of them and in our consciences.  To live according to Nature is a project, a quest, a  continuous goal.  In that regard, it parallels religious orientations, but it is not a religion; rather, an attitude and an empiricism.  


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Wow. Trump. What a Villain, and What a Shame for the USA.

(May 05, 2018.)   

The other day, President Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear agreement.  And now I read that Israel has launched strikes on the Iranian military installations in ruined, embattled Syria - something just short of an out-and-out attack on Iran itself.  Both actions are assaults on international peace and security, on Western credibility, and on human decency.  Both events are scurrilous blows to all the diplomats, leaders and activists who toiled for years to forge an anti-nuclear agreement with Iran, one that mitigated a great international threat without the firing of a single shot.  Both events simply hasten World War III, in my opinion, accelerating the current world-wide descent into barbarism, resulting in the suffering of further millions.

No statesman would have done this, in effect putting Iran back on the road to a nuclear confrontation and certainly setting back Iran's entrance into the civilized world of diplomacy; no decent individual would have gone back on America's word, backed out of our own promise, unilaterally tore up the contract; only an arrogant, giddy villain like Trump, dastardly, violent, and provocative, would have done this.  It is easier to understand Netanyahu's policy of endless violence - Israel lives under a shadow of Muslim and Arabic race and religious hatred - but Trump has no excuse.

But then, he didn't need one.  Because the Republican Party's answer to everything is always war and more war.  He and his adherents already despised the Deal, ignoring that it had succeeded in restraining Iran from direct development of nuclear weapons. They and Trump all harbor a primary contempt for diplomacy and a primary hunger for war.  And - of course - their obsession with destroying any of President Obama's substantial accomplishments.

This decision will alienate European allies; it will morally empower Iran to begin once more to develop nuclear weapons.  And, plainly, it served as a red flag to Netanyahu's Israel, signalling them to go ahead and begin undeclared war in Syria.  And so the USA joins not only the company of backward warlord-states like Russia, but also joins Al-Qaeda and such supra-national terrorist bands, all dedicated to a future of barbarism and carnage.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Jordan Peterson of Toronto, Humorous Interlude

Here's a good one - the joke's on me -

I bought the kindle edition of Professor Peterson's "12 Rules" (I thought) and then was dumbfounded to find a scraggly set of notes full of nonsequiturs and rather sloppy writing.  I was nonplussed - How could Random House publish this un-proofed mess?  It was absurd.

Hah-hah! (as Nelson would say).  I had picked up someone's own notes on Peterson, sold as an ebook!  No wonder it was relatively inexpensive. 

So - I have as yet to actually READ Professor Peterson's well-received book.  I will double-check the offerings on Amazon a little better next time....


Friday, March 30, 2018

Jordan Peterson of Toronto

Salvete, qui legantes sint - 

My sons have been talking of this "new feller", Professor Jordan Peterson, and the HUGE splash he has been making in the cyber-world.  From what I have gaathered so far, he's made of equal parts Joseph Campbell, Karl Jung, and Dr. Laura Schlesinger.  I have yet to read his materials.

But the online response to his teaching and exhortations has been, as I said, HUGE.  He's become an overnight Absurdity cure, apparently.  So tonight I will begin his book, "12 Rules: an Antidote to Chaos".  If indeed it's aimed at the problem of life in the modern world, it is ipso facto of interest.

Controversy surrounds him - so I make no pronouncements yet.  Would it matter if I did so, prematurely?  Not to the world, but to me - yes!  Defective as I am, I still need to try to be fair and accurate.

I have read a critique of him published recently by another author I need to read - one Pankaj Mishra, author of "Age of Anger", his book about the general return to authoritarianism and violent nationalism and so on world-wide.  Mishra's topic seems critical to me, watching from the sidelines as the world's bedbugs - Neo-Nazis, Tea Party-ists, and others of dubious intent - have come to the fore over the last decade or so.

More to come.  Valete.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Literary Gems: Education of Henry Adams

For someone who is literate, I've really read very little in my life.   And read a lot of it late, to boot. 

The other night, passing a book store's dollar-rack, I perused it and picked up 'The Education of Henry Adams', and am enjoying it.  I hasten to add that I have but begun it; as usual, I have about five different books in play; but I carry it with me daily. 

His encounters and discoveries mirror mine in a significant way, in that he finds himself ever erroneous in his expectations, and finds all his education in astonishments, reversals, and dismay.  To that degree, I am continually heartened as he relates the twists and turns of his 19th century upper-crust career. 

(More later.)