an autodidact meets a dilettante…

‘Rise above yourself and grasp the world’ Archimedes – attribution

Archive for the ‘cosmic war’ Category

perceptions of war and fighting and other things

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and believe me, Schopenhauer never looked like that

and believe me, Schopenhauer never looked like that

Oscar Wilde once wrote: As long as war is regarded as wicked it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar it will cease to be popular.

This remark might seem trivial perhaps because Wilde himself is sometimes seen as a mere wit and because the word vulgar is now no longer popular (it has a certain vulgarity about it), but with different phrasing I’ve often thought along similar lines. In exasperation I describe to myself the current horrors in Palestine and Iraq and Syria as the acts of religious primitives, and fights in bars as the acts of bogans. I’m really talking about what used to be called vulgarity. it’s partly this way of thinking that makes me annoyed about the so-called war on terrorism, as if these were warriors, with their inherent fascination, instead of vulgar criminals.

Take cigarette smoking for example. When I see smokers on the streets these days, I think of sad sacks and the left behind. My zeitgeist-tinted specs see them as wash-outs and losers, adjusting my focus to catch clearly the ever-changing face of the properly vulgar, as it was once termed.

Written by stewart henderson

August 17, 2014 at 4:15 am

two quotes

with one comment

yeah yeah pseudoyeah, more pseudointellectual pseudobabble

yeah yeah pseudoyeah, more pseudointellectual pseudobabble

From Reza Aslan’s book on cosmic warriors and how we might deal with them:

If secularism arose in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in response to the erosion of religious certainties, perhaps the rise of religious identities can be blamed on the growing disillusionment with secularism.

as pious young men and women hectored and humiliated by pseudointellectuals such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Oriana Fallaci and Brigitte Gabriel, who make a living fanning the flames of racism and Islamophobia.

Unfortunately for you, Reza, secularism is continuing to rise, throughout Europe,  in Britain, in Australasia, in Canada, in Japan, and even in the USA, as every census and reputable survey conducted in every one of those countries in the last thirty years clearly indicates. But of course it’s not surprising that religious people have a problem with facts. Here in Australia, where the rise in secularism is accelerating, as recent censuses clearly show, we have been judged by the OECD as ‘the happiest country in the world’ – top of the Better Life Index – for the third year in a row. Now what was that about growing disillusionment Reza?

Reza Aslan is a liberal Muslim who reminds me of Jack Miles, a liberal Christian (who highly recommends Reza’s book). Both have interesting things to say, and knowledge to impart, in their vastly different fields of interest and expertise, but both just can’t help having a go at those they haven’t the mind to get a handle on – atheists. Or secularists, or nonbelievers or whatever. They just can’t help having their infantile moments.

I’ve not read Fallaci or Gabriel, mea culpa, but Aayan Hirsi Ali writes about the questionable value of Islam as I have written about the questionable value of Christianity, the religion I know most intimately. I suspect we share a concern about people who readily accept a thoroughly male supernatural being with a shady past as their lord and master. It just doesn’t seem quite right. It’s a concern we share with such other pseudointellectuals as Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Richard Feynman and Francis Crick, to name but an exalted few. However, I also suspect, or rather I’m certain, that Hirsi Ali has suffered for her apostasy quite a bit more than I have, and I admire her bravery. Is Aslan describing her as racist? Oh no, Allah forbid, he’s just describing her as cynically fostering racism and Islamophobia to sell her books. It goes to show, or at least suggest, that even the most liberal religious people can’t pull their heads out of their arses for long enough to see that most secular thinking and writing is sincere and passionate as well as true.

A shame, for I mostly agree with Reza Aslan’s approach to dealing with the cosmic religious warriors described in his book.

Written by stewart henderson

May 30, 2013 at 9:23 pm