Archive for June, 2018

June 13, 2018

le Premier ministre japonais Shinzo Abe a prédit que l’Afrique deviendrait un centre de croissance mondiale au milieu du siècle.

June 12, 2018

Idea that it is science and technology (and STEM and blue staters, etc.), that are responsible for climate change, not religion or the religious (insofar as they are religious.)

Related Climate change is a problem created by technology. Not by religion, not by “human nature” in some general sense: Created by human attempts to make nature yield to its purposes.

Related There is no basis, within religion, to believe in climate change, just as there is no basis, within science, to believe in God. (A person of ordinary understanding, in order to believe either in God or in Climate Change, must defer to persons of authority.)

Related Climate change is a technology problem. If religious people (insofar as they are religious) mistakenly view it as a spiritual problem (i.e., a version of the flood), or as a spiritual problem of the wrong sort, they are really not to be blamed for the consequences of their being mistaken. (To be blamed, perhaps, are those who have adopted a technology without understanding its long-term consequences, without having some kind of exit plan.)

Idea That there are those enthusiastic about technology and who adapt to it readily and gracefully (roughly: blue staters), and those wary of technology and who adapt to it slowly and out of necessity (roughly: red staters), and this difference comprises part of the political problem when the changing of people’s use of technology becomes a moral (race slavery) or existential (carbon fuels) imperative.

In the current debate it is the “climate deniers” that are tasked with being a problem and rightly so. But it is the lovers of technology who have brought us to this dilemma and who may well bring us to the next one.

June 11, 2018

stoicism and democracy (assertion of personal rights versus decrease of personal wants)

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a social study: as one moves from a rural to an urban environment, which cliches tend to predominate? (are people more likely to say “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” in the town or in the country, for example?)

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after g-7 summit, g-7 nations should make clear they hold all u.s. citizens responsible for their government; should ignore President and concentrate on workarounds.

June 10, 2018

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June 9, 2018

Les bonheurs futurs, comme les rivages des tropiques, projettent sur l’immensité qui les précède leurs mollesses natales, une brise parfumée, et l’on s’assoupit dans cet enivrement sans même s’inquiéter de l’horizon que l’on n’aperçoit pas…. Bovary 2.3.132

June 8, 2018

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“The sophistry that undid me is common to the
majority of men, who deplore their lack of strength
when it is already too late to make use of it. Virtue
is only difficult through our own fault. If we chose
always to be wise we should rarely need to be
virtuous. But inclinations which we could easily
overcome irresistibly attract us. We give in
to slight temptations and minimize the danger.
We fall insensibly into dangerous situations,
from which we could easily have safe-guarded
ourselves, but from which we cannot withdraw
without heroic efforts which appal us. So
finally, as we tumble into the abyss, we
ask God why he has made us so feeble.
But, in spite of ourselves, He replies
through our consciences: ‘I have made
you too feeble to climb out of the
pit, because I made you strong
enough not to fall in.'”
Rousseau, Confessions,
Book II.

June 7, 2018

“You see, in this Monkey’s estimation it was my mission to pull her up from those very abysses of frivolity and waste, of perversity and wildness and lust, into which I myself have been so vainly trying all my life successfully to sink — I am supposed to rescue her from those very temptations I have been struggling all these years to yield to!” (Portnoy’s Complaint.)

June 6, 2018

We know that in the attempt to be freed of the enemy without, we can be tempted to feed the enemy within. To imitate the hatred and violence of tyrants and murderers is the best way to take their place. That is something which you, as a people, reject.... Pope Francis

In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.[…]

Each son or daughter of a given country has a mission, a personal and social responsibility. Your own responsibility as members of Congress is to enable this country, by your legislative activity, to grow as a nation. You are the face of its people, their representatives. You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics. A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk. Legislative activity is always based on care for the people. To this you have been invited, called and convened by those who elected you.

Police Shootings as Infrastructure Issue

June 4, 2018

Idea that the rash of police shootings of minorities might be looked at as (primarily) an infrastructure problem rather than as (strictly) a racial prejudice problem.

This is something that “just occurred” to me and which I haven’t vetted or thought through at all, and don’t have much information about; and it isn’t to suggest of course that racial prejudice isn’t a problem in a general sense, which it certainly is.

But the idea that occurred to me is that the reason all this is coming up “now” (the last decade about) is that it tracks with our income-inequality/ underfunding-of-the-government/ decaying-of-infrastructure problem — all of these being related. We’ve been neglecting all of government’s functions for years and these police shootings are one of its symptoms (undoubtedly magnified by issues of race).

Specifically, the line of argument I’m thinking of would go something like this (and, again, I say this without knowing how much police officers are paid vs. other public sector employees, and without knowing a lot of other pertinent details): “We’re not paying police officers enough to get and retain the quality of officer who can prudently and consistently adjudicate the chaotic situations he encounters, and as as a result we’re getting people who might be a little over-reactive in tense situations, and we’re getting these senseless shootings.”

Again, if it is admitted that U.S. infrastructure is in a bad state, and if it makes sense to think of police and other public servants as being part of that infrastructure, you don’t have to turn to arguments of racism to understand why these senseless shootings might be happening. They’re happening because we’ve failed to fund the government sufficiently.

June 3, 2018

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June 1, 2018

Idea about Crying of Lot 49: that a metafictional reading is potentially appropriate; that (though, no, I don’t know what this means, or how to take this further) the book is itself the “Varo tower” or its tapestries that Oedipa seeks escape from, (it’s being erected, woven, as we read, perhaps too); and the ending (maybe the mere fact that it ends) constitutes such an escape.