Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.
Here's another passage I came across in my recent re-reading of Durant's The Life of Greece deserving of special notice.
"If in imagination we take a merchant vessel from Naucratis [at one of the mouths of the Nile] to Athens, our tour [including a jaunt to southern Italy and Sicily] of the Greek world will be complete. It was necessary that we should make this long circuit in order that we might see and feel the extent and variety of Hellenic civilization. Aristotle described the constitutional history of 158 Greek city-states, but there were a thousand more. Each contributed in commerce, industry, and thought to what we mean by Greece. In the colonies, rather than on the mainland, were born Greek poetry and prose, mathematics and metaphysics, oratory and history. Without them, and the thousand absorbing tentacles which they stretched out into the old world, Greek civilization, the most precious product in history, might never have been. Through them the cultures of Egypt and the Orient passed into Greece, and Greek culture spread slowly into Asia, Africa, and Europe."
It seems to me that perhaps two major factors that most made possible this dramatic surge and increase of Greek learning and culture (especially in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C.) were (1) trade and the exchange of cultures spanning the wider Mediterranean, and (2) the remoteness of many of these various colonies from the oversight, suppression and censorship by autocratic spirit people; with these last only arriving just decades or more too late to do in, thwart or stifle the careers and efforts of such as Pythagoras, Heraclitus, and Zeno; the logistics of following after various colonists and keeping up on their activities being at that time too demanding for what such spirit people were capable of (as, say, compared to what they might effect in older and longer established societies and localities.)
Really, he is such a loser if you stop and think about it; and it is easy to picture him using examples such as Jacob undercutting Esau or Romulus murdering Remus as illustrations of why it was always necessary to do the wrong thing, and how doing the wrong thing is the key to real success, ad nauseum -- like some incorrigible drunk trying to come up with noble and high minded reasons to excuse his excessive drinking. ("He does the wrong thing a certain way; he knows about these things a certain way...")
There is wise counsel for every situation and dilemma; the problem is being aware of and having that counsel readily available to you when and where you most need it. Yet rest assured (if you can remember my telling you this), there is such counsel and it is somewhere.
How could the natural world (and which, for all its tempests, shocks and travails, is at bottom really innocent) have fallen subject to such rank evil as this world knows? (Look at ancient fossils, for example, and see if you can find traces of evil in them and what they reflect.) Because mankind, who was supposed to oversee and care for the animals and the environment, forsook his divine calling to be honest and rational, and instead exchanged it for deceit and megalomania; provided him by a being who is little more than a space alien.
Note. Some would or have objected we would not know honesty but that we knew lying first. This to me is a trivial argument; because though, it is true, we may know the concept of honesty based on our experience with its opposite; it doesn't necessarily follow that truth itself, of which honesty is only the handmaiden, ever required the distinction be made.
It isn't even happening for them and yet look what it costs us! We require only a tiny fraction, or not even that much, to do what we need to do; meanwhile they need as much as they do in order to do a whole lot of nothing (and worse than nothing!) And how is it then that they, and not we who are honest and rational, are justified in society's eyes? By means of lies, bribery, magic, ghosts and angels.
No peace without books (including a free internet); no books without peace. And even if all the armies could bring you prosperity; without books and peace crime and war not only never end but, in ratio, exponentially increase and escalate.
It's not lack of love, or even forced isolation, rather it's the being beat up all the time part that kills me.
Although the transfer is confessedly very bad, for at least the somewhat benefit of those who did miss and would not see it otherwise...
Did You Know? During the French and Indian War and the American Revolution the uniforms of chief participants, generally, were as follows: the British red, the French white, the Americans blue. Notice as well that presently and for over two centuries the flags of these three countries (all of whom at one point or other both fought against and allied with each other) contains each of the others main color; and which constitutes a formal kind of identification of culture, and hence spirit to the given nation. And, of course, other countries use the identical tri-color pattern. Is there some symbolic justification, however, why a country's spirit (as we've put it) must be one particular color or not? Off hand, I don't see any, and yet many might or will be moved just the same.
Oh, I see how it is. The affairs of this world are centered on and answerable to this ancient personage who feels sorry for himself, and this last because he had to do the wrong thing. And what, after all, does he do with all this money and power he acquired by doing the wrong thing so egregiously? He lives in a fantasy world where honesty and speaking the truth without his permission are proscribed and forbidden.
Yet not to worry! Those of us who are gratuitously and unjustly injured by he and his angels and devils will be compensated for our trouble; so long as we charitably indulge him and surrender to this state of things. My own thought is that instead of accommodating this person, mankind ought rather to band together and look to destroying him with the world's collective scientific, technological, police and military forces. But such a suggestion has been hitherto rejected based on the notion that he is, so they claim, a great personal friend of God's; so that to blow him and his people up would somehow be ungentle and impious on our part.
Boredom, loneliness, idleness, doubt, stress, suffer betrayal, rejection, fear, anxiety, sorrow, despondency, desperation -- why, I've seen and done it all!
"...'But for your exceeding minuteness,' he said, 'in describing the monster, I might never have had it in my power to demonstrate to you what it was. In the first place, let me read to you a schoolboy account of the genus Sphinx, of the family Crepuscularia of the order Lepidoptera, of the class of Insecta -- or insects. The account runs thus:
"'Four membranous wings covered with little colored scales of metallic appearance; mouth forming a rolled proboscis, produced by an elongation of the jaws, upon the sides of which are found the rudiments of mandibles and downy palpi; the inferior wings retained to the superior by a stiff hair; antennae in the form of an elongated club, prismatic; abdomen pointed. The Death's-headed Sphinx has occasioned much terror among the vulgar, at times, by the melancholy kind of cry which it utters, and the insignia of death which it wears upon its corslet.'
"He here closed the book and leaned forward in the chair, placing himself accurately in the position which I had occupied at the moment of beholding 'the monster.'
"'Ah, here it is,' he presently exclaimed -- 'it is reascending the face of the hill, and a very remarkable looking creature I admit it to be. Still, it is by no means so large or so distant as you imagined it, -- for the fact is that, as it wriggles its way up this thread, which some spider has wrought along the window-sash, I find it to be about the sixteenth of an inch in its extreme length, and also about the sixteenth of an inch distant from the pupil of my eye.'"
~ Edgar Allen Poe, from "The Sphinx" (1850)
On a regular basis, the Devil purposely highlights and magnifies (in people's minds) his presence and importance -- because he needs to do so (think about it -- please!)
He had to lie, cheat, steal, rape, torture, murder, sell his soul to the devil, etc. -- all so that he might live a more rich and successful life. "But at least," says he, "no one can accuse me of being self-righteous!"
Those people are not really the citizens of that country -- more properly, they are the accomplices of those who, using evil to succeed in life, murdered or exiled that country's true and best citizens.
The biggest error a person is ever liable to is overestimating or underestimating someone or something. God, in a very practical sense then, is the idea of never making those kinds of mistakes.
What's this? Why, it's the very lovely (I always thought so) Melody Patterson of "F-Troop" in a late 60's ad for Zip Code -- just to further demonstrate for any left doubting that "no freakin' way" is by no means a new or unprecedented phenomena.
Below are two of my most favorite internet banner advertisements of late. The first I found this morning (March 17) at Yahoo mail; the second appeared at ebay on Feb. 20:
This just in --
"THE DESK OF: PROFESSOR. CHARLES C. SOLUDO
GOVERNOR, CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA (CBN).
INTERNATIONAL RIMMITANCE [sic] DEPARTMENT.
CORPORATE HEADQUARTERS: # CBN HOUSE,
Tinubu square, Eleke Crescent-Victoria Island Marina,
Victoria Island Lagos Nigeria West Africa.
P.O.Box 55037 Falomo Ikoyi Lagos Island Marina.
"ATTN: HONORABLE CONTRACTOR.
"IMMEDIATE CONTRACT PAYMENT. CONTRACT #: AV/NNPC/FGN/MIN/009
"The acknowledgement, of Your Immediate Contract Payment.
"Contract Number #: AV/NNPC/FGN/MIN/009.
"On behalf of the entire staff of Central Bank of Nigeria, and the Federal
Government of Nigeria in collaborated with the Authorities, who are in
charge of foreign contract payments. We Apologies, for the delay of your
Contract payment, the Inconveniences and Inflict that we might have
indulge you through.
"However, where having some minor problems with our payment system, which have demoralized us, also have caused a lot of predicament to this organization, which is Inexplicable? And have held us Indolent, not having the perseverance and Aspiration to devote our 100% standard Assiduity in accrediting foreign contract payments. Once again, Our Apologies for all inconveniences.
"From the Records of outstanding contractors due for payment with the Federal Government of Nigeria, your name and Company was discovered as next on the list of the outstanding Contractors who have not yet received their payments.
"I wish to inform you now that the square peg is now in square hole, and can be voguish for that your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this letter. Also note that from my record in my file your outstanding contract payment is US$15.5 Million Dollars(Fiftheen [sic] Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).
"Kindly re-confirm to me the followings:
1) Your full name.
2) Phone, fax and mobile #.
3) Company name, position and address.
4) Profession, age and marital status.
5) Working I'd/Int'l passport.
"As soon as this information is received, your payment will be made to you
in a certified Bank wired Transfer to your nominated Bank Account.
"You must contact me with this private email: email@example.com for more breifing [sic] as soon as you receive this letter regards to your Contract Payment.
"Professor. Charles c. [sic] Soludo
Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)."
Many, myself included, are and will be aghast and resentful at the cruelty and injustice that is permitted to go on in the world, and yet how do or might the poor animals of this globe -- and who have no say at all in what goes on -- feel on the subject? In this fact is sobering food for thought and a lesson in humility if ever there was; nor will it do -- not to a fair and honest person at any rate -- to say merely "Oh, they're just animals (so this is no great matter.)"
No doubt one of the most positively awful and yet in retrospect didactically wonderful movies ever made is "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?" (1968) starring George Peppard and Mary Tyler Moore. I rather strongly suspect, and if I may get straight to the point, that the person behind this film was a certain kind of "sorcerer-induced" person -- sort of a late 60's equivalent or manifestation of the "no freakin' way" mentality -- that is, a well-meaning individual but also a mentally meandering hypocrite obviously under the influence. The film proposes (and assumes) the idea that people are generally too contentious, gloomy -- and dirty (!) -- and then goes out of its way to emphasize this all so that the logical question can then be posed -- why not be happy instead? As things are the military is evil; hippies (or beatniks) are morose bums; average New Yorkers are cantankerous and rude. How then is happiness to be introduced? By means of a magical Toucan bird who brings the "virus" (according to the bird's foolish detractors) of love and happiness (and, for our purposes, you can think of the Toucan as being, in effect, the "friendly" magician -- who brings felicity and well being by means of his spells and conjurations.) This premise is not unlike the pie-in-the-sky joy and glee we've heard and seen in recent years in "pop" culture (ahem) -- where magic and the wonder of magic bring you happiness -- all with little or no regard to morals, conscience, reasonableness, social justice. Chuck all that they say -- just be happy! Say no, for example, to smoking and drugs and say yes to spirit people marvels and mind control (which latter, rest assured, can be actually far, far worse in their deleterious repercussions.) You, at least, who know these kind of people will, I believe, recognize the type. To top it all off, the film is blessed with a sometimes engaging 60's feel of foreboding and is very period in mood -- if obviously confused and self-contradicting in its optimism.
Here are some lines from the film (courtesy of a contributor at imdb):
Pete: Hey listen.
Liz: To what, the traffic?
Pete: Kids laughing.
Liz: You know "why" they're laughing? 'Cause they're not old enough to read the newspaper. You take a look at the front page and then try laughing. The world's a stinking, hopeless mess! Oh, Pete, you're sick.
Aide: Mister Mayor, eighty-two percent not only stop brooding, they stop smoking. Ninety-three percent stop drinking.
The Mayor: What's wrong with that?
Aide: In terms of dollars and cents, it's disastrous. Our city is facing a drastic loss in income from sales tax.
The Mayor: That's ridiculous. Forty-seven people? A drop in the bucket.
Aide: But if this goes unchecked for a month, by mathematical progression, half of New York will have the virus. You know what that means? It means a loss in cigarette and liquor taxes more than one hundred and eighty million dollars.
The Mayor: [voice hoarse] A hundred and eighty million... Brady, what are you sitting there for? Get that bird!
Dr. Shapiro: What this particular virus evidently does is cause changes in our behavior patterns. People infected become euphoric, have a sense of well-being.
The Mayor: Well, I'm not going to order the Police Commissioner to call out twenty-eight thousand cops to find some bird that makes people feel good.
Dr. Shapiro: But we have no way of knowing what it may lead to. People could feel so good they'd quit their jobs, fly kites in Times Square, block traffic, uh... stop voting...
The Mayor: Stop voting! [picks up the phone] Get me the Police Commissioner.
Imagine a Steven Spielberg-like drama involving dinosaurs or flying saucers taking place in actuality rather than in a movie. That is what dealing with spirit people, including ghost sorcerers and or angels, is like in real life -- some (of us) will find such an experience dramatic and exciting; while others will be disgusted and nauseated, all depending how one views these "other-worldly" personages.
A good poet knows
There are as many
Highs and lows,
Not to mention
Fast and slows,
On which to draw on
As there are
-- only more so.
And though they'll tell you
"It's all been said,"
Not all of rhythm,
Counterpoint and harmony
Has yet been heard or read.
Oh, for in us when
Life poured radiant
Toward a golden sea!
But steered astray
By auras and mists
Of a treacherous noon,
The view vanished soon.
Now all that's left,
Now that time has run,
Are the dripping embers
Of the distant sun.
Yes, you are very much in the right. But that doesn't mean you still can't be tripped up or caught in traps and snares that will or might undermine your position; and this by using people who though very guilty in major respects are, nonetheless, yet perhaps more deserving of sympathy than you are. To give you an exemplification of what I mean, I have this family member who routinely insults and abuses me, while believing himself justified in doing so. Really, it's beyond ridiculous how he can and will act in this wise. But he carries on as he does because he is under the influence; is really quite the basket case for this reason, and in his way is as much a victim of these criminal spirit people as I am, or more so, only differently. While he accommodates and goes along with them; I resist. Now you see, there is a trap here for me to go and assume my superiority with him, while magnifying in my mind his own guilt. But if I am more careful, I will realize that as bad as he acts or has acted he is not so very unlike some dumb animal, say a dog that will not stop barking, that has a sprite in him. Therefore, although it is well for me to reject and be appalled at his conduct, it is absolutely necessary to at least keep in the back of my mind the awareness of himself being a victim, and in this way eschew and avoid being unfair and insensitive to his situation, while protecting myself from foolishness of my own fomenting or arising from my own carelessness.
Stop and think. Does life and the world really revolve around this person who had to do the wrong thing (in a very serious way), or is it rather the case that those who have come to assume this have had some heavy duty mind control done to them (or else indirectly suffer the after shocks or reverberations of such treatment inflicted on others) by this person and or his assistants? For myself, I am not a little inclined to think that evil would not be treated as so monolithic and essential to our lives (or the human condition) but that humanity collectively has too often behaved childishly and irrationally in the face of the threat this person (or persons) has and does pose.
Vice Pres. Biden is up and at 'em against the Taliban in Afghanistan, but when will we ever hear this of this country's leadership busting trusts and fighting racketeering and monopolies in this country -- and who are actually among the real worst threats both to the economy and this nation's freedoms? The answer to this is ostensibly never. (I believe Jerry Brown denoted this phenomena of parties changing administrations a case of tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum.)
Who then won in the struggle between Yahoo and Microsoft for the soul of Yahoo.com? Evidently, Monster.com!
Though in some respects it has the quality of an end about it, Reason or Logos is deified not as an end but as a just means.
One suffers or bears the cross for the well-being of their family, loved ones, the church or perhaps their country -- not to procure a crown, glory and a prize for oneself; which, let's face it, in practice would not make a whole lot of sense to anyone.
As a male you pray to the father to be a father yourself, and you pray to the mother to express love and act with respect towards her; and if a female vice versa -- and you look to realize and know the father and mother by means and grace of the holy or great spirit, in and through your heart and soul; not by straining to find them via your senses in the physical world outside you.
Satan versus honest science. Now guess who wins if there is a serious disagreement between the two?
He has nothing anywhere near commensurate with his arrogance and presumption; it's all magic and illusion; nor is it so very hard to dispel and expose these but for his use of violence, bribery, mind control and threats to suppress questioning and dissent.
Yet he persists in insisting he has great value to back it all up. He makes or breaks you in the movies, he says. But I am not in his movies; nor do I want to be. I'm in my own movies if I want to be in the movies. This comes as a surprise to hear this because to him he is the movies -- which as you know is very much the joke. If it wasn't for Satan he couldn't get anywhere (i.e. if he had to rely on his own talents and abilities), and as it stands though he's good at a little of this and a little of that, really he can't do much of anything but gossip, spy, and bother people. Even so and further, he makes it seems as if he held the keys of heaven, but to me he is only the ghost without a country and those diaphanous angels and golden feely-feel good feelings are at bottom only so much phony baloney. Yet this is only my opinion. And if you like these people, by all means go be with them. But from wherever did this idea arise that we were, or are supposed to be interested?
"I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.
"I do not expect the Union to be dissolved -- I do not expect the house to fall -- but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
"It will become all one thing or all the other.
"Either the opponents of slavery, will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new -- North as well as South."
~ Abraham Lincoln, from speech given in Springfield, Illinois, June 16, 1858.