Saturday 20th of April 2024

the oak tree pyre of hercules...

oak leaves

It is interesting to contemplate the fact that the same thing that is causing the glaciers to melt and the inundation of low-lying areas — industrial, technological, and economic progress — is an intrinsic part of the same phenomenon that is dissolving religions, families, politics, and so forth.

And yet, there are so many people who have erected mental dikes against reality, believing somehow that by sheer power of will, they can turn back the rising tide! This, instead of learning how to adapt by building arks (I’m speaking metaphorically) capable of riding out the Great Flood — the literal one, and the symbolic one.

Read more from Rod Dreher:


Lovely. Except one thing, the two “concepts” are not linked

The evaluation of global warming processes is based on rigorous sciences, with precise enough calculations that tell us of the major problems dependant of our actions such as our desire of comforts are looming, i. e. more anthropogenic CO2 equals more heat — while the other “problem" is based on the mismanagement of our relationships, through whatever misunderstandings — from illusionary faith to bad psychology. 

The first “problem is totally independent of our measuring it, while the second is dependent of our variable faith in the system — a system that relies entirely on our faith in the system. Democracy — the system that is supposed to give us a voice in the system —  should be better than what we get, which is not much more than having faith in the lies from our chosen rotten politicians. 

Loosing sight of nature in our human nature can create these cultural mis-adaptations. We invent beliefs to suit an ideal of what we think we should be, while forgetting the equations that evolved us to where we are — because living in uncertainty of meaning is hard work thus our motivating drug will be the delusion in milking the system we have created to suit our delusion.

Most mental illnesses — apart from medical deficiencies including mechanical defects of the brain — stem from not being able to reconcile who we are with the image of who we think we should be. Uncertainty is a bitch. 

In general, our cultural super structures demand a certain submissiveness to its decrees and, true to form, some of us reject them because we see the obvious contradictions and the limiting factors, including the hereditary, class and privilege factors which could piss us up beyond being nice about it.  

These are complex cultural fluxes upon which many philosophers have broken their teeth. The main complexity resides in the evolution of our systems — and in the interpretations of the evolution of these systems, in which the desire to have what the others have, seems to relatively rule through envy (mimetism) and greed (ownership)— though for some people, being different becomes the main essence of their life. 

This is where our social constructs invent an extended gamut of discreet parameters, that appear to be different but are only allowing a safe variability in the system. What the author of the article at top is questioning is the amount of variability allowed in the system without the system breaking down — or creating a new social (moral) system in which the old parameters of control become obsolete. 

We can have tattoos as long as we pay our taxes and that the tattoo parlour pays its taxes. Cashless exchanges are very borderline, while many large industries can escape taxation by “allowed” fiddles through many loopholes, such as “friendships with politicians", lobbying and clout. Ordinary workers don’t have this luxury and are often footing the bills. 

Politics are thus still unable to manage a proper equality. They constantly revise the greed system in order to add “value" such as reducing taxes to the rich, to gain more greedy voters than try to define a more equivalent system. It’s always a relative proportion of those greedy bastards versus those who wish for a bit more equality, though the latter ones will be advised to work harder to gain more greed, which is a fallacy as much as it is a con-job. 

Since the beginning of "Western civilisation", working hard has never been an enriching entreprise, except that the hard work of the poor toiling people fed the churches collection plates and kingdoms own greed. 

Investing is the name of the game, now. We let the Chinese do the hard work. But this disparity only works for a time, so we keep adjusting the rules and move the goal posts for profit.

In most things we do, we try to find value because we are taught to gain value. Most of philosophy and faith has been developed to assign a value to whom we are when, intrinsically, we have no more value than a swarm of gnats that is heating the surface of the planet because we don’t really know what we’re doing. 

Our social networks need these values (religion, ethics, morals, patriotism, trade) to maintain relative cohesion. For many years, this cohesion was ideally maintained through religious beliefs. I say ideally because the truth has been far from us sticking to this morally funded concept. Draconian punishment had to be enforced in order to make some (possible most) people submit. As well, certain inducements (money, rewards, medals, indulgences) were (are) also part of the constructs. Morality is often at the bottom of the pack to maintain the “ideals”.

Apart from the glorification of courage on the battlefields and building cathedrals, the history of our western values and even that of our “families” is also built on hushing the unsavoury things that were not “acceptable” moral parts of the system, by various means of silencing. 

In most “families”, there are gay members, secret abortions, individuals who have been born “out of wedlock”, philanderers and people committing violent acts that shan’t be spoken of. Some people will submit to the alpha, while the alpha will use “aggressiveness” as a form of control over others. So as we dream of the “ideal” family, the “ideal” religion and the “ideal” politics, all there is, behind the glory, is a hidden controlled set of bunfights (religious people will call these sins) in a structure that is as hollow as a cardboard box. Some people see through this illusion and might spill the beans. The Christmas barbecue can have its awkward moments when the truth comes out.

Some philosophers will relate the evolution of our Western society to its origins in “Athen and Jerusalem”. Fair enough. A long way from these “origins”, the next steps to improvements were to eliminate these origins and replace them with sciences (truth) and arts (decorative philosophical delusions).

With a BA in Liberal Arts (USA, Italy), a Masters in Philosophy of Art and a PhD that explored how church architecture expresses the human relationship to god through world and community — Dean of the School of Philosophy and Theology at the University of Notre Dame, Australia, Renee Kohler-Ryan is interested in the ways that philosophy both enriches and responds to culture, particularly in the Philosophy of the Human Person, Political Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, Aesthetics, and the relationship between the catholic intellectual tradition and the arts.

What a CV mouthful!... Renee Kohler-Ryan tells us:

The moment has come for academics to take stock and avoid living in bad faith. At the crossroads, the choice becomes one of renaissance or an admission that the fullness of academic inquiry has reached a dead end. We have the chance to take on the attitude of those who think themselves second-best - and so become capable of seeking out what they do not yet know.

Avoiding bad faith? Faith is intrinsically bad altogether — and faith should be avoided in any philosophical discourse. But the religious people always try to appear philosophical, when all they are doing is limiting the scope of the discussion by introducing the “hand of god” in the constructs. This is the same with many other “philosophers” who by end of a fine philosophical proposal cannot get away from the religious ditch:

Girard's fundamental ideas, which he had developed throughout his career and provided the foundation for his thinking, were that desire is mimetic (i.e. all of our desires are borrowed from other people), that all conflict originates in mimetic desire (mimetic rivalry), that the scapegoat mechanism is the origin of sacrifice and the foundation of human culture, and religion was necessary in human evolution to control the violence that can come from mimetic rivalry, and that the Bible reveals these ideas and denounces the scapegoat mechanism.é_Girard

You can sound the alarm bells and see where this is going like a trail of breadcrumb leading to Jesus Christ… Quite disappointing from a leading philosopher. 
The basic animalistic violence that was individually spurn from natural forces in competition for survival have now been coded with bigger and better wars, between social constructs. The Western culture could be defined as the best civilisation because it has the biggest dick — by this I mean the biggest army. Without this attack/defence system, the Western civilisation would be less than ordinary and would appear as a total deceitful crock, as failure, on a philosophical level, even with the driving force of redemptional greed.

Back in time, the stories of heroes were used to construct beliefs in one-self in a social network. Take Hercules and thus Jesus Christ. Both have melded into some form of supernatural force, with the Christ story taking over the main narrative in our “modern” world, for sheer convenience of ruling by Roman emperors, till the present and past US Presidents, over a herd of sheep. 

Heracles — Glory/Pride of Hēra, born Alcaeus or Alcides was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of the god Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson and half-brother (as they are both sired by the god Zeus) of Perseus (weirdoes) — was the greatest of the Greek heroes, a paragon of muscle maleness, the ancestor of royal clans who claimed to be Heracleidae, and a champion of the Olympian order against the chthonic monsters. Phew. We are saved by Captain America.

In Roman times and the modern West, Heracles is known as Hercules, with whom the later Roman emperors, in particular Commodus and Maximian, identified themselves with. 

Hercules had to fight mythical figures — while Jesus, the son of a god as well, was also fighting mythical evil. Ah, the old devil and his bad nasty gang of rebel angels — a convenient evil to our Dr Jekyll. We’re nice. We’re heroic. We fight hydras and our inner demons for breakfast. 

This is all bullshit of course. We should try to be good and have an enjoyable life for the time of its short duration. Hercules' and Jesus' “fighting” methods were different; Jesus used “the faith in god” and turning the other cheek to surprise the adversary (when was the last time you saw some westerners do this trick?), while Hercules used poisoned arrows and his big beefy muscles. Now, thank god, we're back in Captain America territory with Hercules...

With the Hercules imageries, there is this noble "super man" who can solve impossible tasks — like answering the impossible question on the Think Tank Show — yet he cannot “keep it in his pants”, as we would say nowadays. His death, from a poisoned coat, gifted to Hercules' beloved with deceit by one of his victims, is a fascinating story of “don’t mess about”… It’s a  bit universally relative in the sense that we collect what we sow. Yet, despite his various infidelities, Hercules was and remains idolised for his strength.

For those who don’t know the full caper of this great amusing myth, let’s revise our “history”.
Having accomplished great deeds, Hercules killed a man in anger and his punishment by the council was for him to become a servant/slave to Omphale, the Queen of Lydia. Hercules was thus doing “occupations unworthy of a man”, like washing, cooking, cleaning. He was in a lower servitude than Hagar the Horrible caught at home, under the control of Helga, his wife, who “took him prisoner”…
However despite these slavish tasks, that included some lovely sex as well, Hercules thus fell in love with “his” mistress the queen until the end of his “punishing sentence”. Going on more wandering, our lad next met Deianeira, daughter of the god OEneus, with whom he fell in love. Hercules, wanting to marry Delaniera was problematic since she already had been promised by her dad to the god Achelous.
So, our hero Hercules had to fight with Achelous in a famous wrestling match in which Achelous could change shape and form a bit like that bastard monster in Monsters Inc.
When Achelous turned into a bull, Hercules was so strong that he broke one of Achelous horns…
As an aside of course, a passing witness to the fight, the Goddess of plenty, Fortuna, took the horn and stuffed her treasures in it… You know the image? Fortune and the horn of plenty?
The victory of the fight, eventually was Hercules', who departing with his hard-won bride went on again on the wandering trail of adventures…
Having to cross a deep river, a Centaur offered his service to carry Deianeira to the other side. Of course nature being what it is, the Centaur tried to run away with the fair lady and Hercules used his poisoned arrows to bring the “would-be” ravisher down. With repentance, the dying Centaur, Nessus, offered his magnificent coat to Deianeira  though it had been slightly stained by his now poisoned (from Hercules arrow) blood. The Centaur’s deceit was to make Deianeira believe that "should Hercules' love for her be waning, she should get him to clothe himself in the magnificent coat and his affection for her would be revived"…

This white robe. It is costly. See, my blood
Has stained it but a little. I did wrong:
I know it, and repent me. If there come 
A time when he grows cold — for all the race
Of heroes wander, nor can any love
Fix theirs for long — take it and wrap him in it,
And he shall love again.”

                            Lewis Morris

Deianeira took the gift thinking that she would never need it because "love is eternal"… 

Hercules went on more trips, delivering the oppressed from suffering (miracles anyone?), and came back to the court of Eurytus, where he met again with his “first love”, Iole. 

Deianeira got wind of Hercules' passion for Iole. She was taken aback but remembered the "coat of love" given by the Centaur. She sent Lichas, a messenger, to deliver the magnificent coat to Hercules. As soon as Hercules dressed himself with it, he started to feel death a-coming. 

Enraged, because his life on earth was about to end, Hercules destroyed Lichas by sending him from Mount OEta down to the sea… Remember? Shooting the messenger?

Because his loyal servants refused to build a pyre for his funeral, Hercules tore huge oak trees, made his own pyre and got his friend Philoctetes to set it on fire by bribing him with the gift of the poisoned arrows…

As Hercules was leaving his mortal coil to become immortal again, Jupiter came down from his glorious skies, took Hercules to Olympus, where Hercules lived happy ever after with Hebe, the fair goddess of youth, which he married. Lovely.

Hercules became the divinity of sports. We now know where the Olympics came from, as the “games”, the Nemean Games, held in honour of Jupiter, Hercules’ father, were now dedicated to Hercules' good deed, beefy muscles and death...

Jesus is a more delicate story. Spending about three years of his adult life with a dozen blokes who went fishing — the myth's appropriation of the divine is more exclusive.  Jesus “sacrificed” himself as a redemptor of the original (obviously painful to humans) sin, thus to feel this pain of being human, he died on a cross  — to be resurrected three days later as a god, while he always was a god in the first place as specified by the Nicaea Council of the trinity. There is some more myth building here in our "who are we" story:

One of the main sources of criticism of Girard's work comes from intellectuals who claim that his comparison of Judeo-Christian texts vis-à-vis other religions leaves something to be desired.[52] There are also those who find the interpretation of the Christ event—as a purely human event, having nothing to do with redemption from sin—an unconvincing one, given what the Gospels themselves say.[34] Yet, Roger Scruton notes, Girard's account has a divine Jesus: "that Jesus was the first scapegoat to understand the need for his death and to forgive those who inflicted it… Girard argues, Jesus gave the best evidence… of his divine nature.”é_Girard

The very important philosophic work of Girard comes a-crumbling by a Roger Scruton. Both of them cannot be right, though both of them can be wrong.

The "symbolic flood” of being swamped by secular things — that is dissolving religions, families, politics, and so forth, and faith, is not the same phenomenon as global warming melting Antarctica. It’s a nice image but erroneous on a mimetism level.

And secularity is not against families at all. Secularity is actually broader in acceptance of all the "pitfalls" of humanity, which now are declared okay, including homosexuality. This acceptance should have a chance at reducing the angst of the people who feel rejected from the social network, because they were not part of the “accepted family”.

Some other philosophers would suggest that the evolution of our societies, especially our Western civilisation has been critically achieved by being “second best”. Here we should be looking at adaptation and developments of better ideas, to get better, which from time to time are not better, but in contradiction with already set weirdo disposable beliefs. 

What has been a driver of personal and cultural actions has been the underlying questioning forces below the illusions of ownership, while being a monkey.

Mimetism can works by contradiction to itself in the revolutionary spirit. The separation between us and them comes from doing something different to what we are told we should do. This is at the core of Alana Valentine new play, The Sugar House. While the parents try to contain the tide of nasty repeat by enforcing change "for the better", the rebellious kid finds out that the poor parents behaviour was not always pure, eventually ends up being caught back in the net of the system, in which money becomes the only value left as the defining article of relationship between being poor sods and rich bastards.

Since the mimetic rivalry that develops from the struggle for the possession of the objects is contagious, it leads to the threat of violence. Girard himself says, "If there is a normal order in societies, it must be the fruit of an anterior crisis."[8] Turning his interest towards the anthropological domain, Girard began to study anthropological literature and proposed his second great hypothesis: the victimization process, which is at the origin of archaic religion and which he sets forth in his second book Violence and the Sacred (1972).

If two individuals desire the same thing, there will soon be a third, then a fourth. This process quickly snowballs. Since from the beginning desire is aroused by the other (and not by the object) the object is soon forgotten and the mimetic conflict transforms into a general antagonism. At this stage of the crisis the antagonists will no longer imitate each other's desires for an object, but each other's antagonism. They wanted to share the same object, but now they want to destroy the same enemy. So, a paroxysm of violence would tend to focus on an arbitrary victim and a unanimous antipathy would, mimetically, grow against him. The brutal elimination of the victim would reduce the appetite for violence that possessed everyone a moment before, and leaves the group suddenly appeased and calm. The victim lies before the group, appearing simultaneously as the origin of the crisis and as the one responsible for this miracle of renewed peace. He becomes sacred, that is to say the bearer of the prodigious power of defusing the crisis and bringing peace back. Girard believes this to be the genesis of archaic religion, of ritual sacrifice as the repetition of the original event, of myth as an account of this event, of the taboos that forbid access to all the objects at the origin of the rivalries that degenerated into this absolutely traumatizing crisis. This religious elaboration takes place gradually over the course of the repetition of the mimetic crises whose resolution brings only a temporary peace. The elaboration of the rites and of the taboos constitutes a kind of empirical knowledge about violence.
This is the Western Civilisation defined.

The mimetic theory has also been applied in the study of economics, most notably in La violence de la monnaie(1982) by Michel Aglietta and André Orléan. Orléan was also a contributor to the volume René Girard in Les cahiers de l’Herne — an independent publishing house in France — ("Pour une approche girardienne de l'homo oeconomicus").[16] According to the philosopher of technology Andrew Feenberg:

In La violence de la Monnaie [the Violence of Cash], Aglietta and Orléan follow Girard in suggesting that the basic relation of exchange can be interpreted as a conflict of 'doubles', each mediating the desire of the Other. Like Lucien Goldmann, they see a connection between Girard's theory of mimetic desire and the Marxian theory of commodity fetishism. In their theory, the market takes the place of the sacred in modern life as the chief institutional mechanism stabilizing the otherwise explosive conflicts of desiring subjects.

Presently the USA is in a crisis of faith, not dissimilar to that of Europe, especially to the French at the turn of the 19th-20th century. It will take a brave person or another 60 years for the USA to stop using the “God Bless America” syndrome as a measuring stick for their “exceptionalism”.

But unlike the French who were more or less doubting themselves as a nation then, and fought to get a political generalised secularity, the present crisis of faith in the USA is more on individual levels than at the political end of the pineapple. But it still is a notable crisis. Loosing faith in the system is okay if one believes one can survive in the system and use the system for advantage. People who doubt themselves and have lost faith in the system are in trouble, unless they quickly find a way to restore their own purpose that is not attached to a meaning of life, which would be defeating since there is no meaning of life. It’s a tricky process:

By CASEY CHALK • June 14, 2018

We are plagued by an epidemic of self-killings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report on June 7 noting the rise of suicide rates in all but one state between 1999 and 2016, with increases visible across age, gender, race, and ethnicity. In North Dakota, the rate jumped more than 57 percent.

This news was bookended between the suicides of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. This is the new, ever-more isolated America, resolutely proud in its autonomy and liberty, but simultaneously “insecure, powerless, afraid, and alone,” to quote Notre Dame professor Patrick Deneen. There is no silver bullet to stem the tide of suicides, though medical professionals consistently remind us that intimate interpersonal relationships and a clear life purpose reduce depression. A strong local identity, with a deep sense of rootedness, is one thing that fosters both.

We understand why people loose their footing, with a thirsting need for understanding and plugging the hole of who we are (they are) away from the old religious myths which do not fit the modern set up. We can do better than the tired old religious mythical tricks. We have to invest in scientific reality that gives people a purpose and to some extend an animalistic understanding of life. The meaning of life is simple: there’s none. But finding your own purpose is the key. Enjoying life as it can be improved — without cheating nor killing anyone, including preventing our governments getting involved in killing anyone else for whatever reasons, including "exceptionalism" and "hate of socialism" — is what our purpose should be, scientifically for better understanding of the processes of evolution and life on this planet. 

Meanwhile global warming is an incidental reactivity of matter as we fiddled with fossil fuels. And this isn’t a myth, nor is there any morality contained in the process.

Gus leonisky
your local Hercules with no muscles...

Picture at top: Oak Leaves by Gus Leonisky

the charm of delusions...


I only wish the charm may be of power

to win Alcides from this virgin's love,

And bring him back to Deianeira's arms.




the democratic right to be populistic...


from Paul Gottfried 

In a TAC commentary last month, Robert Merry responded to a lament by Brookings Institution fellow William Galston in The New Republic about an “anti-democratic populist” wave sweeping across Europe. In light of the ascent of a Euroskeptic coalition in Italy and the recent impressive electoral win by conservative nationalist Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz Party in Hungary, Galston believes that democracy has suffered a fateful setback: 

The global democratic tide which began in 1974 with the end of Portugal’s authoritarian regime crested in 2006, making way for anti-democratic populists. Many Western leaders have yet to come to terms with this new reality, hoping that anti-immigrant sentiment is just a passing phenomenon.

Merry addresses these complaints by pointing out that it’s not democracy but elites that have failed. There is after all no reason to assess the success of democratic government by how many Syrian migrants European countries take in or keep out. Democracy is about caring for one’s citizens, not turning over one’s cities to a mass of humanity from the Middle East. Nor is there anything intrinsically undemocratic about citizens in Hungary or Italy voting for officials who reflect their views on immigration. Why is it undemocratic to disagree with Galston, the Brookings Institution, or The New Republic? Are we supposed to be grading countries for democratic good conduct by how often their wishes coincide with the preferences of globalist elites?

That said, the matter under discussion may be more complicated than the above observations would suggest. There is no single operative concept of “democracy.” William Galston and those he attacks give dramatically different meanings to the same term; their conflicting understandings were already present when modern democracies took shape. As the franchise was extended and universalized in most Western countries in the early 20th century, the effect was not to limit government. It was rather to expand its reach in the form of public administration.

A common error, as I tried to show in my book After Liberalism, is to imagine that the defense of private property and other liberal freedoms develop contemporaneously with democracy. In fact, they precede democracy by many generations and are more characteristic of 19th century bourgeois liberalism than they are of the ensuing democratic age. The newly enfranchised “people” in the 20th century voted for governments and parties that provided social programs; they entrusted their lives to a class of “scientifically” trained administrators. In the United States, the Progressive movement in the early 20th century set out to empower scientific administrators who it was imagined would stand above partisan politics.

Democracy in some Western countries has always had a universalizing effect, inasmuch as the new administrative class hoped to apply their “science of government” in all climes and continents. What was thought to be “scientific” and therefore moral for one country supposedly had the same validity elsewhere. It was the duty of professional administrators to bring enlightenment to those who were still mired in premodern cultures. Then the judiciaries in developing democracies would define and often create rights for the energized administrative state, and the cultural preferences of the ruling class would be elevated to “human rights.” 

Robert Nisbet in The Present Age shows how burgeoning national administration in the U.S. during the early 20th century deliberately destroyed local and regional loyalties. And Nisbet’s hated public administration did not stop at imposing its will at the national level. It advanced to the international level as a protector of newly generated universal rights and scientific rule. This is clearly the idea of democracy that Galston has in mind. There is historical precedent for his interpretation of popular government.

Against this, however, there is another understanding of democracy that was in retreat for some time. Not surprisingly, this understanding is particularly strong in Eastern Europe, where national feelings still flourish and where progressive American fashions are notably weak. European populists scoff at what PC German jurists call “administered consensus.” They are equally contemptuous of international administrations and human rights tribunals. Populists are quite happy to see the popular will express itself politically, and they are certainly not calling for an end to social services. But they insist that their government’s actions be consistent with the traditions and values of their own nation. Populists do not consider themselves to be a mere collection of individuals. They are rooted in a people and view themselves as links in a generational chain. Furthermore, leaders like the president of Poland and the premier of Hungary never let their electorates forget that they belong to a Western Christian heritage going back a thousand years. 

This appeal to a common history and ancestry calls to mind how John Jay in Federalist No.2 described the providential blessings of the new American republic:

Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country, to one united people; a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established their general Liberty and Independence. 

With due respect to Galston, Orbán could not have expressed populist sentiments any better. The Hungarian premier won a national election overwhelmingly this spring with a higher proportion of eligible voters than existed in John Jay’s America. Orbán’s democratic mandate is far more evident than that of the EU bureaucracy that he and his voters detest.

Paul Gottfried is Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for 25 years. He is a Guggenheim recipient and a Yale Ph.D. He is the author of 13 books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents.


Read more:


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From our friend Willie (William Shakespeare), we could get the fluxed answer to the relative question. This tirade comes from his "problem" play, Troilus and Cressida, in which the ambiguity of choice is unresolved until death.





The Heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre

Observe degree, priority, and place,

Insisture, course, proportion, season, form,

Office, and custom, in all line of order.

And therefore is the glorious planet Sol

In noble eminence enthroned and sphered

Amidst the other, whose medicinable eye

Corrects the ill aspects of planets evil,

And posts like the commandment of a king,

Sans check, to good and bad. But when the planets

In evil mixture to disorder wander,

What plagues, and what portents, what mutiny,

What raging of the sea, shaking of the earth,

Commotion in the winds, frights, changes, horrors

Divert and crack, rend and deracinate

The unity and married calm of states

Quite from their fixture. O, when degree is shaked,

Which is the ladder to all high designs,

The enterprise is sick. How could communities,

Degrees in schools, and brotherhoods in cities,

Peaceful commerce from dividable shores,

The primogenitive and due of birth,

Prerogative of age, crowns, sceptres, laurels,

But by degree stand in authentic place?

Take but degree away, untune that string,

And hark what discord follows: each thing meets

In mere oppugnancy. The bounded waters

Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores

And make a sop of all this solid globe.

Strength should be lord of imbecility,

And the rude son should strike the father dead.

Force should be right, or rather, right and wrong,

Between whose endless jar justice recides,

Should lose their names, and so should justice, too.

Then everything includes itself in power,

Power into will, will into appetite,

And appetite, an universal wolf,

So doubly seconded with will and power,

Must make perforce an universal prey,

And, last, eat up himself.



Ulysses cannily delivers this address on the breakdown of hierarchy before a council of Greeks in the first act of the play. 

when the heavens open up... more...

Immense rains in the Eastern U.S. are causing more flash floods — and it will get worse, experts say

Torrential rains have become more frequent and more intense, with extreme flooding and perilous infrastructure failures. Large storms now drop far more rain at a faster clip because warmer air holds more water, according to experts. 

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the mafia and christianity came from italy...

Season 3 features six episodes that “take viewers on an interfaith journey around the globe, traveling to 30 different cities of historical and anthropological importance, including Jerusalem, Kathmandu, Jericho, Rome, Bethlehem, Paris, Prague, Hanoi, Toronto and Lourdes. The series’ filmmakers met with 13 religious experts, eight priests, three druids, three shamans, one imam, one rabbi, one former executioner, one nun, two 'living goddesses' and hundreds of monks. The series interviews believers of many faiths including Christians, Jews, pagans, druids, Muslims, Hindus, Jains, animists, Buddhists and agnostics,” the show’s synopsis reads.


"What? No nihilists? No atheists? No multigod believers? No humanists? no secularists? No demons? No dreamtime?" asks Gus

“Capitalism,” says Saviano, “needs the criminal syndicates and criminal markets… This is the most difficult thing to communicate. People – even people observing organised crime – tend to overlook this, insisting upon a separation between the black market and the legal market. It’s the mentality that leads people in Europe and the USA to think of a mafioso who goes to jail as a mobster, a gangster. But he’s not, he’s a businessman, and his business, the black market, has become the biggest market in the world.”

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