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    I assumed the slogan meant that the WaPo would be pulling out of the darkness any creepy thing that might try to drag democracy down a slimy cave. Ergo, democracy would be clinging to the sticky tentacles of that thing and WaPo would then vanquish the thing and gingerly pick democracy off in order to let it dry and thrive in the sunlight that already exists in the world. I didn't assume that WaPo was bringing the light itself. Although I do feel the slogan is a bit dramatic, even for our times, I say: let them have their fun, no harm done. As I posted on my Twitter feed, and will plagiarize myself here--I thought their slogan was "You obviously love great journalism!" I'm sure I couldn't be the only person who typed that but it made me giggle. Again. Anyhoo, kudos to WaPo for getting everyone thinking about democracy as something worth saving/something on its way out but worth acknowledging. Dissecting that tagline is no doubt stimulating interesting social studies lectures across the world in a time so few news stories are appropriate for younger viewers.

    Featured, Culture & Entertainment, Internet, Culture & Entertainment, Journalism, Operation American Greatness
    Lanced Infinity

    First, let me resist the binary that “you’re either for or against Trump,” at least for purposes of this discussion where we’re evaluating more than just a particular act in the voting booth. I don’t like much of Trump’s word choice, but Trump would not exist without the toxic, uncivil media and political environment we have today, full of double standards against people of a non-leftist point of view. (And yes, I’m operating in a bigger tent than just “conservatives” at this point in our political history.) Yes, this puts us in a “relativist” way of looking at things, which is discomfiting for me as a conservative. But from that perspective, Trump presents a possible way out of the leftist dead end. To square that with a more objective, the-ends-do-not-justify-the-means perspective, I have to assume that Trump’s media tactics can be cleaned up so they are not objectively distasteful and yet still effective. I think they can, but I grant that it’s debatable.

    But to be clear: no, I am not saying that lying or being gross is justified because the left does it too. I believe those are not the essence of his media strategy and that strategy, that incredibly effective strategy, could be cleaned up and made defensible and still quite effective.

    As for your line of argument based on “responsible” government, we have different priors. My assumption is that the reigning leftism in American government today is destructive and must be stopped. Fairly typically conservative. I also contend the destructive effects are imminent and becoming irreversible. Maybe I’m on the alarmist side, but still basically conservative. I gather from your comments, on the other hand, that you think we have a good long while to go before there is anything to be really alarmed about, even to the point that losing the Supreme Court would not be irreversible. I disagree. That is why I would risk a President Trump: not because I want “to bring down the monarchy,” but rather because I want to save it before it’s too late. A Hail Mary play is radical on the opening drive, but perfectly rational and conservative in the dwindling seconds of the fourth quarter. (For that matter, if I were to insist on my own priors – rather than acknowledge our respective priors are disputed – I could argue that you are trying to “bring down” what’s left of our constitutional republic by supporting Hillary, even if she will “safely” bring it down. For that matter, I do not believe it worthy to talk about the “safe” way to bring our own liberty to an end.)

    As for Trump’s policies, I will stipulate that he doesn’t have a core of values. Again, I make no secret that conservatives have a terrible choice in front of them. The way I approach it is this: I have to assume that I have no idea what Trump will do on any given issue, with the exception of those he’s made a big fuss about, like immigration, which he could not fail to carry through without a major blow to his ego, which he would not abide. But conservatives have a mediating force in the Congress, and so were Trump to go full left on a particular issue, conservatives would have about as much chance in thwarting it as if Clinton were in office. And obviously, a 50% chance that Trump will go left on an issue is better odds than Clinton offers.

    As for protecting the GOP brand, I am pretty open about being a Republican, but I find less and less about it to defend. I’ve come around to the view that one of the biggest issues facing our country – cyclic government dependency – will never be fixed in the regular course of accounting adjustments (probably by design), and that it must instead be addressed by immigration policy (also likely left unfixed by design). Thus, I see immigration as a sui generis issue, a threshold before any other problem can be meaningfully resolved. Until then, GOP credibility will continue to dissolve with ever more promises that will go unfulfilled because no one lacks the will or ability to stem low-skilled immigration to a country that already can’t take care of its low-skilled citizens. I think Trump has a point here that criticizing his “tone” rings hollow when he’s been willing to grab the third rail and hold on.

    You say: “The “preference for the status quo” is the sine qua non of “conservatism.”” That is too facile. No one seriously argues that conservatives cannot criticize the welfare state or the alphabet-soup bureaucracy, which have been status quo for over a generation. Besides, what conservatives mean by “status quo” doesn’t control while we’re on a leftist trajectory. There is no “status quo” on a freeway onramp – and we’ll soon be on the highway to disaster. What I am interested to know is: what is there about the credibility of the GOP as it exists today that is worth such deference as to yield to the speculative concern that Trump would substantially harm it? And what will the GOP’s capital buy after a Clinton tenure when it has bought so little to date? Most people hate both parties, and I’m starting to agree – the GOP too consistently confuses defending markets with defending business, and is often too anemic a defender of life and religious liberty. Are we to believe the GOP could have made its big move and gained major victories if only Trump would get out of its way?

    Again, I do not and cannot argue that the best reasons supporting Trump are typically “conservative” ones, except to the extent that one believes, as I do, that we don’t have another quarter to play and our best move left to play is, in any other circumstance, a very poor one. For that matter, the arguments against Trump make conservatism sound like an argument for managed decline.

    Noted & Quoted, Politics # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    I've given a little more thought to your citation of the Roman aqueducts, and I realize that I missed something important about it--it posed far more of a challenge to my characterization of the "hydraulic project hypothesis" as a "projection from contemporary life" than I at first understood.

    In my initial response, I focused on the distinction between the Romans as an antecedent Western people vs. the Nazca as a wholly extraneous, archaic people. But to the extent that the paquios are hypothesized as a "water distribution system" then they can be analogized to the Roman aqueducts, as you in fact did, and that is enough to make clear that the hypothesis--whatever its flaws may otherwise be--is not a projection "from contemporary life". So with deeply felt shame and contrition, I'm afraid I must retract that assertion of mine, despite my repeated asseverations to you and Bob that it was just obvious, etc.

    I still think the substance of my criticism of the hypothesis stands--namely, that it is a guess, a belief, not knowledge, and that we can never actually know what the paquios are, but only speculate about them.

    To the extent we’re referring to a particular narrative – “our history” or “history for us” – maybe we’re in the process of bringing or trying to bring Nazca civilization into “history for us.”

    And to the extent that we are trying to bring Nazca civilization into "history for us" via imaginative speculations that are unlikely to be true in the sense of scientific truth, then (on analogy with Machtpolitik) we might term that undertaking Machthistorie--bringing the Other into our history by intellectual or imaginative force. Nor am I necessarily objecting to that undertaking. Like the Freund/Feind distinction that lies at the heart of the concept of the political--like Machtpolitik itself--Machthistorie may be so eminently natural and necessary as to be hardly objectionable.

    Noted & Quoted, Science
    Lanced Infinity

    I enjoyed this one.

    I have been immersed in a similar matrix of issues on the Tibetan Buddhist side now for almost 2 years. The controversy around "self emptiness" and "other emptiness" brought to their peak expressions by Tsong-kha-pa and Dolpopa respectively mirrors this discussion in many ways, and differs in many others.

    The question appears here as - is mere negation of the self possible, or does it implicitly affirm, through the body of attributes of that negation, a greater, inherently existing self.

    This formulation is undoubtedly clumsy and probably misleading in a lot of ways. But I report on this because the question, in this and a multitude of other expressions, seems to me to be reiterated in almost everything I think about to any significant degree.

    Just a note continuing a previous discussion we've had, I think V mischaracterizes the Aquinas' MBoC. The appalling interpretation of the Church you refer to regarding the Nazi's is fully consistent with A. If you want to assert a duty for universalism for the Catholic Church, it's best to look elsewhere. A. clearly equates the Church with the MBoC.

    I believe Pope Francis has affirmed the restrictive interpretation of the MBoC and looks to the tradition of his namesake to support a broadening of the Church's pastoral program.

    Anismism, Featured, History, Philosophy, Religion # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    This is a good and thought-provoking post. I can't quite congeal my thoughts into anything coherent, but I wanted to say that. And to touch on the one part where I can be at least semi-coherent:

    All I can say is that I think there is some truth to your meta. Which is to say that there are certain things I consider to be truths that We Cannot Say, really, because if we say them then The Wrong People will hide behind them. Even saying so much as "It's Complicated" is one of those things. Right now, it's a Black and White discussion, and "it's complicated" is like saying that the motives of the war were complicated. Which they were in some ways, but not the genuinely important ones. And focusing on the unimportant is seen as a distraction. And, I think, is. Especially when there are voices who very desperately want to distract.

    One of the things I am grappling with is a print of a painting of Lee and His Generals, which hangs at my parents house and, on their passing, will end up in my hands. And it's a painting that has a very personal meaning for me apart from any reverence to General Lee. It's me, ten years old, looking at the painting of all of those generals in their getups and how it tickled my imagination. And going back to that place. Not nostalgia for 1861 so much as for 1988.

    But a painting of Lee and His Generals is, as objectively as it can be, inescapably a reverence. And if we were, at any point, to admit that it might be something else for some people in some circumstances, then people will find a reason for it to be about something-anything else. Which The Flag has demonstrated so clearly.

    It's why we can't have nice things. It's why we can't have the flag. Whatever some southerners might want it to mean, history and recent use has made sure that it will ultimately mean what its critics say it means (in the United States at least).

    Featured, notes, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, History, US History, War # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    You'll notice that in my post I hardly mention what happened in Charleston. This is because me Charleston is just one violent projection of this problem into the world, one among many, all more or less violent, though some merely symbolically or culturally so. As I said in the post, the obsession with the Confederacy has led to a segregated sense of history and southernness, a segregation enforced in a variety of ways, some of which involve physical violence, some of which merely involve silencing voices or drowning them with signs and symbols of the white southern identity.

    I mention this because who I am arguing against are precisely the voices you say we can't hear on that site. You are probably right about that, but since I grew up around and spent my formative years making such arguments, in mostly less well-formed ways, with the sort of people whose ideas wouldn't be welcome at OT (though Bob Cheeks once was, before he wasn't), I wouldn't be averse to them showing up now.

    Featured, notes, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, History, US History, War # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    I think Child of Mog is now my favorite of the various options now.

    I agree that experimenting with the live production site is generally bad practice, but totally appropriate for what we are doing. I’m still playing with the Commentariat stuff and will get back with my opinions once they are fully formed.

    Meta, notes, Web Design, Web Design, Using WordPress, WordPress Plug-Ins #
    Lanced Infinity

    These changes look like they will be fantastic. I already like the ability to go further back. When might we see the lower-left icons?

    notes, Web Design, Using WordPress, WordPress Plug-Ins # #
    Lanced Infinity

    Now, I could point out that this site is my site. I pay for it. I built it. I maintain it. All of its content appears under my name. There are many sites like it, but this site is mine - so, if you're not interested in what I find interesting, and are instead interested in what I do not find interesting, then you ought to look elsewhere. However, I do find the apparent contradiction in relation to the very concept of "interest" interesting, and I would be happy to investigate it further, time permitting, including by looking up and perhaps re-considering previous remarks on the idea of the non-prejudical or disinterested inquiry and how interesting we do or can or should find it.

    Culture & Entertainment, Culture & Entertainment, Internet, notes, Politics # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    I think I still have a copy of I and D in my book boxes, and haven't looked at it in a very long time, so may again. On the face of it, Heidegger puts the matter very well, though I don't think he rises at least in this passage to the challenge of the Neo-Judaic philosophers Cohen, Rosenzweig, Buber, Levinas, each of whom, sharing approximately the same logic, which at least three out of the four insisted was equally an ancient prophetic logic, was able to constitute a concept of the living God neither exclusive of nor excluded by the God of the philosophers. This problem was also central to the Al-Ghazali and Ibn Rushd debate, with Ghazali on the side of the living God against the causa sui, and Ibn Rushd on the other side, also the Spinozan side, but denying the implications attributed to their position by the faithful and the faithless.

    Philosophy, Religion # # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    I find that indulgence of verbal "license" almost invariably leads to deterioration of discussion, as the resort to words generally deemed offensive almost always marks a decision against the requirements of any serious inquiry to be conducted in common, and in favor of prejudice in the full sense of the term, though not incidentally also in the everyday social-political and legal sense. Brutal words deployed brutally are already brutal conduct, proxies for and often preludes to worse - "fighting words."

    I do aspire to discuss things that are difficult to discuss, because other discussions are not interesting to me, but the pursuit of such discussion precludes and is precluded by, is short-circuited by, a refusal of mutual respect. There is, furthermore, nothing of interest to me to be said about "fuck, shit, or even nigger" in the language of "fuck, shit, or even nigger." Being "perturbed" by any resort to the latter is not a question of entitlement. It is a matter of reasonable estimation of a discussant's clear intention to perturb.

    I remain confounded, and continue to be appalled, by your apparently irrepressible penchant for saying nasty and ridiculous things nastily and ridiculously. I mean especially the sentiment about gentile, black, and other brains. It's hard for me to imagine why you put it forward here, except out of a perverse and unwelcome desire to provoke just this kind of attention. Next time, I'll just delete it, and I suppose I'll have to ask you to stop commenting or I'll have to put you on permanent "moderation." I don't want to. You seem capable of much better.

    Featured, Culture & Entertainment, Internet, notes, Philosophy, Philology, Untimely # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    When I set AG coming up on 3 yrs ago, I decided not to include a blogroll because they seemed to me to be generally in a state of digital ruin.   I could see they once functioned as a community building tool, but all the dead links I encountered said that was becoming more and more in the  past.

    It also recalls for me, now, an erstwhile passage from my exploration of digital ruins, Post #74

    What changes and what stays almost the same in the experience of abandonment and ruin as one travels through digital-analog space?  This socially created, technologically mediated, transduced space deforms, re-forms, informs, conforms, confounds, conjoins the experiences of human and machine individuation and collectivity moment to moment, each arising as ephemeral wholes dependent on their decaying parts.

    The passage now exists as a saved draft in my dashboard, and now here.  The words in random order still occupy Post #74.

    No conclusion to all this, just sayin.

    At any rate, I like the current update in the site.  It's getting much closer to the sense I have of what you've been working towards.

    I hope everyone has a thankful Thanksgiving.




    Culture & Entertainment, Internet, Web Design # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    I don't take such phrases as categorically poor writing, although I leave to your judgment in this case.  Whether Chaucer in The Knight's Tale, describing  death as being "Allone, withouten any compaignye" or Shakespeare's murderous "most unkindest cut of all",  I rather like the non-conforming unruliness of the well crafted redundancy.

    International Relations # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    A Levinasian paradox: she was a Polish RC right-wing nationalist bigot, yet she issued an appeal, itself in entirely anti-semitic terms, for the rescue and defense of Polish Jews, and founded a branch of the "Home Army" to carry out that purpose. The Israelis awarded her the honor of "the righteous among nations", but only after she was safely dead.

    Speech-act theorists have the notion of "performative contradictions", that there are non-isomorphic correspondences between what one says and what one does. Her case is the flip side of that coin. Human beings are complicated.

    Featured, notes, Philosophy, Philology, Philosophy # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    I think there's plenty of blame to go around here. Gopnik seems stunningly ignorant of the Western theistic tradition, at least based on the quote you reproduce. Much of Hart's language God as "the ground of Being," "Being itself," etc.)is lifted, without much alteration, from the leading lights of Christian philosophical theism. The fact that many of his atheist critics seem unaware of this reinforces the impression that they haven't bothered to actually learn much about the tradition.

    As far as Hart himself goes, however, I'm inclined to agree that he hasn't done much to show how his rather rarefied philosophical theism comports with concrete religious beliefs and practices (full disclosure: I haven't read the entire book). In his defense, it could be said that his explicit purpose was to provide a kind of lowest (greatest?) common denominator drawn from traditions east and west. And that he has written elsewhere in a more explicitly Christian vein (Hart is Eastern Orthodox by confession, I believe). But I do think he elides some of the problems that have been canvassed--particularly in the last several decades--in reconciling the God of Greek metaphysics with the God of the Bible.

    Regarding this, Hart has consciously and explicitly positioned himself on one side of a debate that has been ongoing in Christian theology since at least the mid-20th century. A series of big names, particularly in Protestant theology, undertook a rethinking of the inherited concept of God. In several cases they drew on Hegel (among other sources) to redescribe God in more historical, dynamic, and relational terms than (it was thought) were permitted by the "static" categories of Scholasticism. I'm thinking here of, among others, Barth, Jurgen Moltmann, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Robert Jenson. To see how Hart positions himself vis-a-vis this movement, you might take a look at an article he wrote specifically on Jenson's theology:

    This is still very much a live issue in contemporary Christian theology; if anything, classical theism of the Hartian variety seems to be, as far as I can judge, somewhat on the defensive these days.

    Sorry that was so long!

    Anismism, Featured, Philosophy, Religion, Yoga # # # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    I typed out a brief response at CT, somewhat in a hurry, since I had to attend a local environmentalist meeting, but it failed to register, (likely because I failed to press send). But it might make more sense to respond here, because, ya know...

    I didn't mean to recommend "Heidegger's Silence", if that was the exact title and I don't even remember when I read it. It was just an example of a certain sort of tendentiousness, in twisting his thought-themes to pre-conceived purpose.

    I might take up you recommendation of the Rosenzweig/Heidegger book, if I can locate a cheap copy sometime. (Since I've never read Rosenzweig).

    As to Levinas, he explicitly cited Rosenzweig as one of his principal precursors/influences. But I read a Levinas essay on Buber, which made plain to me how much more incisive a thinker Levinas was.

    As an aside, I once read an essay by a then young Canadian scholar (Rebecca? Cornay?), which made a convincing case that Walter Benjamin, who was also strongly influenced by Rosenzweig, was a critic of Heidegger avant la lettre, anticipating the latter's future "positions". One curious fact uncovered was that early on, in 1916-17, in his early "theological" writings, Benjamin cited an article by Heidegger, when they both were equally obscure, as the foremost representative of the "historicism" that he was bent on criticizing.

    It certainly is a "misfortune" that one of the most central and seminal philosophical thinkers in the 20th century, and the founding figure of existential phenomenology and hermeneutics was a Nazi, which is always to be taken under advisement in approaching his work. Equally that doesn't vitiate the quality or validity of his work or the questions and themes it raises. Those issues are to be criticized on their own merits, as are the works of his various "progeny", who didn't labor under such a dark cloud of suspicion.

    But we're now due for another go-round on this issue. (Why Heidegger exactly preserved his private journal and thus allowed for its belated publication is itself a question. But it's "black", because it was bound in black). As of now, before the polemics have died down and the actual contents are combed over, dated, and contextualized in a more "scholarly" manner, I think it shows what was already known, that Heidegger was prone to a certain self-aggrandizing solipsism and a "coldness" toward worldly events, (as merely "ontic"), while pursuing his obsessive project of thinking. If some of it might reflect anti-semitic prejudices, some of it likely reflects the stresses of a disastrous war, which the Nazis had precipitated, (hence, e.g., Nazi propaganda about FDR and the Jews reflected some measure of real trepidation, as with the Morgenthau Plan). And it's also worth keeping in mind that Jews were not the only targets of "Aryan" racism. Probably, the Nazis murdered more Slavs than Jews, (and I'm not talking about direct combat). Even as Germany itself and its "Volk" were succumbing to self-incurred destruction and ruin. If Heidegger withdrew into the "purity" of thinking, it might have been all he could bear, (on the assumption that he wasn't a stupid man).

    But I would like to suggest another "reason" why Heidegger was never able to issue any apologia for his actions, other than that he remained an anti-semitic "true believer" or that he had a "peasant" stubbornness, whereby he wasn't going to deny what he'd done, (which didn't amount to having planned and intended it all), but he also wasn't going to kow-tow and pretend it hadn't happened. The Shoah (and much else) was an historical black hole, of inconceivable horror beyond any conception hitherto of evil. And as such, it can't be "recuperated", in any way rationalized or "justified", subjected to any order of "reason", least of all to be instrumentalized for subsequent purposes. But for Heidegger to continue on his "ontological" path of the thinking of Being, (even if it had nothing to do with what traditionally was meant by ontology), and then to attempt to "comprehend" that black hole as an E-vent of Being, could only have resulted in some sort of monstrous gnosticism, that would defy all worldly intent. When Levinas opposed his "fundamental ethics" to Heidegger's "fundamental ontology", he was precisely avoiding any such imprisonment of thinking.

    Anismism, Featured, History, Philosophy, Politics, Religion # # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    CK, I love this. Like you, I've had misgivings about the liberal feminism that's popular right now, and I've found it hard to articulate these concerns without being lumped in with actual reactionaries. I'm probably rehashing stuff that was already said at the League, but your post here inspired me to articulate my own related musings.

    The problems with the feminism that is currently popular are the problems with the classical liberalism from which it sprung. The prescription to "treat like like" -- which is so general as to be unobjectionable -- has become a rigid, difference-eliding dogma. Liberals have not fully appreciated that applying "equality" as the perennial prescription can be expected to result in a stultifying homogeneity of values. Liberal feminists, by mandating that women achieve all the traditionally male trappings of "success", have not only made it difficult to extol the traditionally-feminine virtues, they've made it difficult to talk about feminine virtues at all. By erasing non-masculine virtues from public discourse, liberal feminists have reified the patriarchy more fundamentally than any misogynist ever could.

    Of course, men and women and transgender people are individuals and cannot be treated as exemplars of the category into which society assigns them arbitrarily. Liberals are surely right about this. But this is not the same as saying that manhood and womanhood (or trans-hood, if we're at that point) are identical. And just because it is improper to prejudicially categorize people based on their sexual organs doesn't mean that some kind of benign, celebrated diversity between groups is inferior to an enforced homogeneity.

    Featured, History, Philosophy, Politics # # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    About contemporary "liberalism" as an ideology: to an extent it seems to go into deliberate "we're not being ideological!" style expressions, becoming practically a nervous tick. Though not only is it an ideology, it could be argued everyone is ideological in some form. You don't have to say "this is an ideology" for an approach to political questions to be one, ideology doesn't have to announce itself upon entry to a room. Which makes the loudly pseudo-non-ideological stance of some progs ring even louder.

    As for libertarianism as "infantile liberal democracy", if by this you mean a nod to how despite liberalism's corruption into just the shrunken left hand of the same general "shut up and trust the ruling elite" stance that always lurks, every once in awhile a prog might suggest that the correct response of government to something just may be no response at all, you have a point. That said, such moments are few and far between for a reason. Don't want to sound like they're saying people have less control over their lives than they should as a general principle, as that would be Ideological & thus assumed to be wrong.

    But this...hoo boy:

    [...]the total state is never anything more or less than the manifold result of countless reasonable calculations of desirable degree of concessions of pure autonomy or of unlimited negative freedom. If libertarianism is still libertarianism under reasonable calculation of concessions, and everyone agrees out of calculation of self-interest to the totalitarian state, then the totalitarian state is also the libertarian state.

    Sounds like you're equating the actual formation of the total state with the aggregate choices of the populace as a whole (much as the snarkier form of progressive pointed at the near collapse of finance due to Capital Paradox and screamed "free market at work!"). This despite the practical root being that within the state the self-interest of some people always matter way more than others, and the dividing line between driving the steamroller and being the awaiting human pancake has nothing to do with what most defenders of such a system say it does.

    Featured, History, Philosophy, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics, Religion # # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    John 3:16 encapsulates a question, is belief static or dynamic? I believe threfore I am saved. Or, I believe and every action I take is the belief or nonbelief. That is, belief only exists in one's actions, not mental constructs.

    This was brought home to me a few years ago when the local paper did a Christmas time write up of the Council of Churches's jail minstry. Outrage ensued at giving jail inmates small items that would make ther lives easier. Then outrage at the outrage ensued.

    A minster wrote to the effect that Jesus died for our sins and that this was an object lesson on what happens when you turn the other cheek etc. That is all one had to do was beleive in Jesus. Acting like him was foolish.

    "God becoming or incarnated as (a) human being remains the indistinction of transcendence and immanence, even if seen as the disappearance of the former into the latter. In all instances, questioning whether the result is to be thought “spiritual” (transcendent and absolute as for Hegel as Christian) or “material” (immanent and absolute as for Kojève’s Hegel as atheist) refers us back to the solution announced in Christ, and in principle socialized in secular modernity, and whose deferred collapse as difference or dichotomy is historical time."

    The physical is the spritual, the spirtual, the physical.

    Anismism, Featured, History, Philosophy, Religion # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    The appeal of this sort of historical what ifs, time travel fictions and whatever permutations I've left out includes (certainly not limited to) a psychological theater of regret loss and grief, distanced by warped tme and space to a more intellectual and seemingly manageable dimension. It would seem though that it's difficult enough to manage the present, much less a proliferating past.

    Hope everyone is well

    Featured, History # # # # #
    Lanced Infinity

    Oh, our conversations will get less frustrating as you learn the other 90% of what I'm on about. ;-)

    In this case, although there was a progressive-Enlightenment element among the Founders--primarily Jefferson--the idea of "progress" was more tied up around Protestantism and liberation from papism. In fact, the famous deist Thomas Paine in his even more famous "Common Sense" suggests that Divine Providence created America as the home for True religion, i.e., Protestantism!

    Yes, I know I sound like one of those Christian America cranks like David barton, but the evidence for my thesis hides in plain sight, obscured only by the secular revisionism of the 20th c.

    "Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America is a strong and natural proof that the authority of the one over the other, was never the design of Heaven. The time likewise at which the Continent was discovered, adds weight to the argument, and the manner in which it was peopled, encreases the force of it. The Reformation was preceded by the discovery of America: As if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the persecuted in future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety."

    Not one American in 1000 knows that's in "Common sense," one of the seminal documents of our revolutionary liberty. [I doubt Paine personally believed that, but it tells you about his audience, the theogico-political landscape of the Founding era.]

    There's more of course, my dear CK, at the proper time. While the outlier Jefferson was enamored with the French Revolution, Hamilton, John Adams and Gouverneur Morris were appalled. Even Paine said he went to Revolutionary France to save them from atheism!

    As for "Godtalk," carved in the stone of the Jefferson Memorial is the question

    "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath?"

    Yup, even Jefferson.

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    Lanced Infinity

    Interesting. So you're saying that taken to its logical extreme (which could be either nihilistic or fantastical by the way) liberalism ends up having to recognize that there just isn't any way for us to reproduce in a way that's consisted with "right" living. It's all rape. Unfortunately, that becomes a nihilistic justification for borderline reasoning. It doesn't even play both ends against the middle. It plays one end against the middle and then acts as if both ends are being played. What we want to do instead is reject both extremes and then have a dynamic connection to the relative truth that can be worked out well in between. That is better than what I see as Hegelian dualism used in the unconscious pursuit of philosophical unhappiness. But I also sympathies with the notion that human reproduction is a problem no matter what. Lots of great people didn't participate for that reason. But the removal of their genes from the gene pool may also explain why we're so bad off at this point.

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    @ CK MacLeod:

    I was sloppy in my moral/ethical formulation. I agree with your response about the need for actualization up to a point. Although "state of mind" and mental capacity are generally recognized as an aggrevating or mitigating factors.

    From a karmic perspective, the state of mind is inseparable from the action. Maybe the end of your last paragraph comes at that from a different angle, but is still similar?

    At any rate, a more precise, but maybe not clearer formulation: The moral/ethical dimension resides in what ontological status we attribute to our cyborg selves. I'm thinking of for instance - are we still merely human or do we thin of ourselves as some H+, Transhuman, post singularity consciousness, global or universal perspective?

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    "Shared identity" seems to me more a product of primate evolution than that of the "imperial nation state". What's a difference of at least degree and maybe kind is our cyborgization leading to the NYTE image at the end.

    A similar, but more developed image shows all the class C networks of the internet in 2003.

    If this principle of thought is to be realized enough to end history, then maybe we are inadequate to the task. The internet images look quite organic. It is becoming more reasonable to ask who is driving information tech growth, evolution - us or the machines. Soon maybe we will be their neurotransmitters, their arms and legs while they are the locus of impossibly abstract thought of the Hegelian real.

    Then we will be left once again with our mere human consciousness, asking ourselves was it ever anything else.

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    Scott Miller wrote:

    It is destructive, not comforting.

    ...destructive sometimes to what we think we are or prefer to think we are, and to the goals and interests based on those conceptions... this fundamental problem is what Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, whom I majorly dissed in the essay, tried to grapple with: That the "truth" about human existence might not be something that served human happiness. Schopenhauer was convinced that the truth of human life on Earth was pain and frustration on the way to death. It led him to an interest in Buddhism (we can acknowledge disagreement about whether what he was interested in was authentically Buddhist), and to a philosophical position based on the negation of life, as against transcendence intimated chiefly through art. Nietzsche adopted and expanded upon this view, especially early in his career, during his Wagnerian phase, and never completely let go of it, even after - we could say inevitably - he had converted it into its complete contradiction (but always implicit within it), the unbounded yes to all that was and is/willing the eternal return.

    If Nietzsche hadn't been nearly blind, and beset with other chronic ailments, or had decided to devote himself with his limited energies to contemplation rather than writing, or hadn't been obsessed with the ambition to be great, he might have undertaken a systematic re-examination of philosophy - not just Hegel, though Hegel had examined the syndrome carefully - and have seen such total negations and affirmations converting into each other, as, in a sense, they always already have. (Schopenhauer is; Schopenhauer negates; Schopenhauer still is, despite the negation; Schopenhauer is, therefore, the affirmation of what he supposed he negated, and his importation of an aesthetic transcendence becomes the unbounded yes to all of the negation that ended up requiring it.)

    The unbounded yes is always already an unbounded no, and vice versa. They sometimes make for appealing poetic gestures, but both embody the fallacy of an immediate confrontation with the absolute. From the perspective of the absolute, they amount to the same thing, just with a negative or positive charge.

    Since we're telling tales out of school, it was a description of this fallacy that was my first useful encounter with Hegel's thought.

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    bob wrote:

    The multiplicity of Hegels alone should be proof enough for the existence of parallel universes.

    Parallel incomplete self-consistent universals. My Hegel describes the "revel." The literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin spoke of the "carnival." He was mainly interested in explaining why Dostoevsky's fiction seems so much more "alive" than anyone else's, and developed the idea of a "polyvocal" writing, then set about explaining how each main character in a Dostoevskian novel represents a self-contained universal perspective that seems to make perfect complete sense on its own terms, yet conflicts with each of the others, often disastrously: Ivan makes perfect sense to Ivan, and to us when we try to see the world from Ivan's perspective, but the same is true for the perspectives of Fyodor, Dmitry, Alyosha, Smerdyakov... That multiplicity of unities is also the "whole," or every human being's experience of the whole, and the resulting discord, suffering, and dissatisfaction equate with the fallenness of the world, as an index of the imperfection of human understanding, and, for Dostoevsky, the necessity of Christian faith.

    Modernity presents a series of attempts to impose "false wholes" - of which the latest and greatest might be democratic capitalism and its double, post-modern nihilism - leading to catastrophe. The whole is always bigger than any individual's ability to comprehend it. This perception is also fundamental, incidentally, to cybernetics and the turn away from attempting to program artificial intelligence: The environment always bigger than its reduction to language, no matter how clever or complex. The ancients, or some of the ancients, also understood this. My Hegel was comfortable with the notion and fascinated by its implications. The syndrome among his critics is to attempt to treat his writing as though it is and must be what Bakhtin opposed to polyvocalic: monological, which is the approach of the vast majority of writers and thinkers. Each of the Karamazovs is a hubristic monologist in a polyvocalic universe. The true monologue could be spoken only by God or, perhaps for a my-Hegelian, revealed immanently, since any new revelation, since it is significant and meaningful, must change the very ground and purpose of revelation. For the revelation to stand as a revelation, the universe revealed in the revelation can no longer be the same as the universe prior to the revelation. To say otherwise would be to say that the revelation was insignificant, and thus no revelation at all.

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