Fellowship of Punditry

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Cul Heath

Mick Arran

Jeffrey Barbose

Inspector Lohmann

Eric M. Fink

Michael Lane

Rep. Mark B. Cohen

The Fellowship is accepting new members. Inquire within.

The Sages

  • David Weinberger
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    Distinguished Colleagues

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  • Into the Blogosphere
  • George Orwell

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    Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

    In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

    If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever.

    But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

    Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.

    Whatever is funny is subversive, every joke is ultimately a custard pie... a dirty joke is a sort of mental rebellion.

    In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

    All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome.

    At fifty everyone has the face he deserves.

    Most people get a fair amount of fun out of their lives, but on balance life is suffering, and only the very young or the very foolish imagine otherwise.

    John Stuart Mill

    Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.

    The amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.

    The general tendency of things throughout the world is to render mediocrity the ascendant power among mankind.

    Whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.

    A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

    Mark Twain

    Don't let schooling interfere with your education.

    All generalizations are false, including this one.

    A classic is something that everybody wants to have read and nobody wants to read.

    Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

    Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

    The Public is merely a multiplied "me."

    Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial "we."

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

    Only one thing is impossible for God: To find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.

    Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

    Winston Churchill

    The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

    I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.

    Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.

    Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.

    Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

    However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

    In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.

    Otto Von Bismarck

    When you want to fool the world, tell the truth.

    I have seen three emperors in their nakedness, and the sight was not inspiring.

    Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.

    Be polite; write diplomatically ;even in a declaration of war one observes the rules of politeness.

    Voltaire

    A witty saying proves nothing.

    If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.

    When he to whom one speaks does not understand, and he who speaks himself does not understand, that is metaphysics.

    I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.

    To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.

    Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

    It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

    The best way to be boring is to leave nothing out.

    Karl Marx

    Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.

    All I know is I'm not a Marxist.

    The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.

    Sunday, November 07, 2004

    eureka

    By Mary Desmond

    I know I am meant to phrase it, hullo that looks odd, but I have noticed attempts by several posters to suggest that we have outgrown a primal level of thinking and have moved forward from the magicko-religious age to an age of enlightenment and reasoned thinking. This ignores a trend in modern behaviourist studies and is belied by many of the comments left by reasonably intelligent people and by the american electorate.
    There are two quite interesting posts from et alia trying to use scientific method to rebut the certainty that the election was lost due to democrats identifying with gay mariage, abortion rights, and stem cell research. Indeed that is how I had read it. But why? Because enough people had said so and they had backed it up with an exit poll reading the highest figure 21% gave as their primary concern issues of morality. So et alia examines the argument more rigorously, isolating the variable, if it were true then certain things would follow. He pretty much demolishes the certainty that morality played any identifiable part in voting compared with 2000. Not surprisingly apart from the track back few understood the argument. Few accepted a difference between anecdotal evidence and quantitative analysis. No one suggested a form of qualitative analysis to objectify what they felt in their heart to be true. L'ame a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. But there are tests for that too. I later read an article by David Aaraonovitch in the Manchester Guardian i think one of the british broadsheets and he too analyses the data we have none of which suggests that the election was highjacked by the issue of victorian morality. Yet people still believe it to be so. He was countering the view that Bush and his supporters are stupid. His analysis was that they were employed and doing very well. I dislike Blair. And he may well have alienated Scotland. But as long as middle england is happy and these aren't stupid people they are just very well off, he will be re-elected with a large majority in parliament.

    Mick Arran here suggests also that americans have advanced beyond the need for superstition magick after all the age of reason has come we are all enlightened rational beings. There has been an awful lot of research to suggest that the part of our brains that can do crosswords is completely useless in terms of survival outside of buildings. The part that senses danger or reacts to a car pulling out suddenly is a part of our brain that liberals are ashamed to still possess. There is some fascinating research on what constitutes consciousness, how the brain works. But resisting the desire to ramble many experiments tend to suggest both that we are far more bigoted than we would like to believe but we have elaborate self-censoring that goes on usually before we act. Also most counter-intuitive scientific knowledge isn't really believed by people. Examples are we might say I know that x isn't true but I don't believe most people think that way. In most ways human beings do not believe the truth that science provides us, we believe in superstitions we live in the magicko-religious world.

    An interesting read is The Curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon. It's taken from a Sherlock Holmes story which provides incidentally most of the expert evidence for Al-Qaeda, the argument of absence. The whole book provides examples of commonly held beliefs which the aspergers/autistic protagonist takes to extremes but qualitatively we live in the same autistic world, a magicko-religious world. Few understood the statistical argument shown by et alia. Even those who understand scientific method chose to believe the evidence of anecdotes. What struck me was that what we take to be worthy evidence is closer to primal civilisations. It is not so much a concern that the religious right may have power but that liberals who claim to follow a rational humanist enlightened approach are far more superstitious and irrational in their mindset than their antithetical enemy. Since we clearly live in an autistic world, and human contact is between bishops on opposing squares and of opposing colours, then the only form of contact is conducted in the encounter with the void, the abyss. That is my eureka, friendship, love, family, festivities may all be beautiful divertissements but it is only through authentic encounter with despair, the desert experience, epic sorrow, that true connection flowers. America, Europe, western civilisation was only meant as a beautiful overture for Yeat's prophecy, the world be utterly transformed and a tragic beauty born. Shalom Shalom.


    Compare this to a standard view of america which is more accurate and what does that mean.other types of maps


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    posted by Mary Desmond at 11/07/2004 03:03:00 PM |

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