Covid and the Magic Power of 3

Illustration for article "Covid and the Magic Power of Number 3"The recent and still boiling controversy about the nature, choice, type, assortment, variety, disparity, quality, benefits or dangers of available Covid vaccines shows clearly that the approximation of ideas cannot abate the vehemence of passion. And passion leads men to display behavior remote from the precincts of reason.

The whole bears some similarities to fundamentalist evangelists, proclaiming fantastic religious beliefs to eager ears and unreasoning minds, or missionaries exposing a metaphysical creed to illiterate shepherds. Continue reading

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The Mystery of Things

Illustration for article "The Mystery of Things"There is a certain satisfaction, however idle, in finding the seeds and weak beginnings of social phenomena that affect the world at large. And in understanding the orientations and critical directions of the historical process we live in. Even if most of us remain helpless and impotent spectators of public calamities, or witness the vanity of conjecture and the inefficacy of predictions. Continue reading

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On Medicine and Dr. Knock

Image for article On Medicine and Dr. KnockHowever it might be varnished by imagination or sophistry, the Covid pandemic is one of the most extraordinary phenomena of our times – but it is also the culmination of a mode of thought gradually developed through a long historical gestation. For what originally was (and still is), the natural and necessary need for assistance by him who is sick or in pain, has evolved into assigning to the ‘other’ the responsibility (and the knowledge) of what constitutes our personal physical well-being and health.

Even in antiquity there were voices saying for example that “a man after thirty must be the physician of himself.” Others (few) expressed similar skeptical ideas throughout the centuries, especially when the purported benefits of the then current medicine clashed with frequent contrary evidence. Continue reading

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The Zeitgeist or Spirit of the Times

image for article Spirit of the Times, representation of the idea of the ZeitgeistTo understand Hegel (the philosopher) the reader must be in perfect health, though sometimes the minds of geniuses deliver compact nuggets of wisdom, understandable by the rest of us. One such instance is the idea of ‘Zeitgeist,’ the spirit of the times.

Pedantically speaking, Hegel preferred the form ‘Geist des Zeit.’ It was English poet and literary critic Matthew Arnold who introduced the term ‘Zeitgeist’ into the English language in 1848.

‘Zeitgeist’ gives a habitation and a name (1)  to a range of concurrent, palpable and often-irrational phenomena observed by many, and yet not immediately traceable to their source. Continue reading

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Black Lives Matter and Related Matters

For many or most history is the study of what man did in the past, in different times and civilizations. Yet man is both the protagonist and the writer of history. It is he who develops a historical understanding of the past. And while studying the past man really studies himself.

Which brings to the fore and in question the inherent subjectivity of history. Take the battle of Waterloo, for example. For some, the genius of Wellington ensured the victory of the ‘coalition.’ For others Napoleon’s hemorrhoids significantly influenced the outcome. An objective observer, while recognizing the unquestionable conclusion of the battle, would consider both Wellington’s skills and Napoleon’s physical conditions as contributing factors. Continue reading

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Pandemics and Ideologies

image for article Pandemics and IdeologiesA man’s life’s no more than to say ‘one’ – Hamlet tells his friend Horatio (1). And Voltaire has a character from one of his novels declare, “… We in a manner begin to die the very moment we are born: our existence is no more than a point, our duration an instant, and our globe an atom… I consider myself as a single drop in an immense ocean.”

On the other hand, whatever we see, new or old, flourishing or declining, either directly or by a very short deduction, leads man to the consideration of his own end. Accordingly, we find that the fear of death has always been considered as the great enemy of human quiet, the polluter of the feast of happiness, and the embitterer of the cup of joy. Continue reading

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Erewhon or the Crime of Illness

Front page of novel "Erewhon"Samuel Butler published his novel Erewhon in 1872. The title is the (almost) reverse spelling of ‘Nowhere’ and it applies to a country the author discovered. He probably had in mind the Southern island of New Zealand where he minded sheep for a while.

The protagonist, Higgs, tending sheep in a prairie, looks at a mountain in the distance and wonders what lies behind it. A native tells him that it is prohibited to visit that land. But inherent curiosity and the attraction of the forbidden prompt Higgs to attempt a visit.

After various treacherous obstacles he discovers a passage and finds himself in a beautiful rolling plain, where the air, nimbly and sweetly, recommends itself unto his gentle senses (1), whereupon he falls asleep. Continue reading

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Washington’s Bastille

The original fortress of he BastilleTrump’s supporters, having found the vanity of conjecture and inefficacy of expectations, resolved to prove their own existence, if not by violence, at least by physical presence.

They came forth into the crowded capital with an almost juvenile ambition that their numbers would be counted, their voice heard and their presence noticed. Continue reading

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The Power of Confusion

Image of confusionIt now seems certain that we have a Joe Bidet for president. For if a rose by any other name would smell as sweet (1), a Biden, metaphorically speaking, by any other name still smells like a poorly maintained sanitary device, however many euphemisms the imagination may body forth out of the forms of things unknown. (2)

The American election campaign with its arcane modalities, along with the contemporary pandemic narrative, and somehow functional to it, have revealed the progress of an inextricable confusion. Statistics, medicine, health, illness, science, opinion, belief, critique, criticism, freedom, law, crime, punishment, openness, censorship, liberty, compulsion, have lost their original meanings. And the amazed world by such amazing changes, no longer knows which is which. (3) Continue reading

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The Google Archipelago

Image of front page of the google archipelago transformed into google archipelagoDuring the cold war the West called dissenters those Russians in the USSR who voiced their complaints against the system. A definition – ‘dissenter’ – which, processed through the lexical grinding machine of the CIA and associates, was actually stripped of its original meaning to become a weapon of trivial instrumental imperialist propaganda. Said it another way, it was the dissenters who gave the pigs of the animal farm the tools for the pigs’ full spectrum propaganda.

But none can halt the inaudible and noiseless foot of time. (1) Continue reading

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