THEN AS NOW
In the Middle Ages both sides of human consciousness that which was turned within, as that was turned without, lay dreaming or half-awake beneath a common veil. The veil was woven of faith, illusion, and childish prepossession, through which the world and history were soon clad in strange hues. Man was conscious of him self only as a member of a race, people, party, family or corporation. Only through some general category. By Jacob Burkhardt. (Historian).
The present world of struggling nation states seems similar. The condition of the Eastern Mediterranean and in the time of Plato, though it was transposed to the globe. Then, as now, there were a multitude of states of varying size and constitution, all squabbling amongst each other, with a few large empires in the wings. The rest of the universe is to us, what the sands of Africa, the Tundra of Russia or the seas beyond the Pillars of Hercules, were to the Ancient Greeks. Then, as now, as Gilbert Murray put it in respect of Greece after the Peloponnesian war, "’The world was full of occult superstitions, cults of the anti-rational, faith in chance, and huge audiences attracted by orators who promise all’. By Hugh Thomas (Lord Thomas) 1981.
However, the most lively and splendid amusement of the idle multitude depended on the frequent exhibition of public games and spectacles. The impatient crowd rushed at the dawn of day to secure their places, and there were many who passed a sleepless and anxious night in the adjacent portico’s. From the morning to evening, careless of the sun or of the rain, the spectators who sometimes amounted to the number of four hundred thousand remained eager in attention. Their minds agitated with hope and fear for the success of the colours, which they espoused, and the happiness of Rome appeared to hang on the event of a race. By, Edward Gibbon ‘The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’ 1869.
A phenomenon throughout history, regardless of place or period, is the pursuit by government of policies contrary to their own interests. Humankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any other human activity. In this sphere, wisdom, which may be defined as the exercise of judgement acting on experience, common sense, and available information, is less operative and more frustrated than it should be. Why do holders of high office, so often, act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests. Why does intelligent mental process seem, so often, not to function? Elsewhere than in government, man has accomplished marvels, invented the means in our lifetime to leave the earth and voyage to the Moon. In the past harnessed wind, and electricity, raised earthbound stones into soaring cathedrals, woven silk brocades out of the spinning of a worm, constructed the instruments of music, derived motor power from steam, controlled or eliminated disease, pushed back the North Sea and erected land in its place, classified the forms of nature, penetrated the mysteries of the Cosmos. "While all other sciences have advanced", confessed our second President, John Adams.
"Government is at a stand, little better practised now than three or four thousand years ago". Barbara W Tuchman, Historian (1984).
"One might add, why do the free, and democratic nations of the world, who collectively, would be infinitely more powerful than all the barbarian dictatorships put together, offer little, but concessions and smiles when they are challenged? ‘The civilised world is frightened and has nothing better than concessions and smiles to offer to the assault of Barbarianism". Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian author.
Heinrich Heine (1797-1856)
The stranger, who wanders through the great streets of London and does not chance right into the regular quarters of the people, sees little or nothing of the misery there, only here and there at the mouth of some dark alley, stands a ragged woman with a suckling babe at her wasted breast, and begs with her eyes. Perhaps, if those eyes are still beautiful, one glances into them and shrinks back at the wretchedness of the world within them. The common beggars are old people, generally blacks, who stand at the corners of the streets cleaning pathways, a very necessary thing in muddy London, and ask for coppers (coins) in reward. It is in the dusky twilight that poverty with her mates, vice, and crime, glide forth from their lairs. They shun daylight the more anxiously, the more cruelly, their wretchedness contrasts with the pride of wealth, which glitters, everywhere. Only hunger sometimes drives them at noonday from their dens, and then they stand, with silent speaking eyes, staring beseechingly at the rich merchant who hurries along, busy, and jingling gold. Or, at the lazy Lord who like a surfeited god, rides along on his high horse, casting now and then, an aristocratically indifferent glance at the mob below, as though they were swarming ants. Or, at all events, a mass of baser beings, whose joys and sorrows have nothing to do with his feelings. Yet, over the vulgar multitude, which sticks fast to the soil, soar like beings of higher nature: England’s nobility. They regard their little island as only a temporary resting place, Italy as their summer garden, Paris as their social saloon, and the whole world as their inheritance.
The facts are that, about 120 million children are born every year, some 80 million in the developing countries. Of these, in the course of 1983 an estimated average of 40,000 young children died every day needlessly, about 15 million for the year. It is very hard to take in such statistics.
The ‘flinty’, Mr Muldoon Prime Minister of New Zealand, whose worst enemy would not describe him as soft hearted, has pointed out that 75 million children have died needlessly in the past 5 years, whereas total deaths in World War II came to 54,800,000, including civilians. Report from the Observer a Sunday Newspaper in England. (1984)
On BBC News Radio 4. I heard an Arab / Egyptian woman, she seemed quite educated and maybe not over enthusiastic about any particular religion, laughing that Sharon the Prime Minister of Israel is unwell. She said, "It is Gods punishment for him. This is the Arab way of thinking".
Hiding behind a, ‘Veil of illusions’, but mostly, the ‘Lazy thinking’ and the trite thinking of today’s, "Mr or Mrs Average or Nice Guy".
This of course, to me, is not, any thinking at all! Such a shame that so many brain cells in this person are not used, as she seemed bright and breezy! A popular, fashionable, instant, dumbing down of thought and with a fatalistic Pantheism. An Anthropological Anomy of impossibly (to argue with or bring reason to) disconnected thoughts and feelings in this form of shallowness.
(pantheistical and pantheistically)
Pantheism has worldwide popularity and by its own very nature, which is so attractive to backward medieval thought and modern cultures, those that are near to the group state of anomy. The ancients loved it! I wonder why, again, and again, when we have so much else to do and to concentrate on? This can be so very dangerous (suicide bombers and sub-groups) to our more advanced cultures! The Educators are at fault, again.
This type of thinking is costing us, as a country, taxpayers, and the giver’s, a fortune in aid. Most of us give to charity, where it will be wasted on people who think like this! God will dig the well for water, solve our politics, come and rescue us, and solve the ridiculous barbarities of our religions and without us having to do anything… All we have to do is drift around in a some Pantheistic Socialistic Dreamland in our Theocratic States or Countries, towing a line.
This neglect is happening and in some cases on the back of vast quantities of money coming from oil revenues. A Dictators, or a Rotten Governments Dream come true.