August 31, 2006
That question has stumped many great minds.
Not Darcey. He can answer that age old query, “What is a sonofabitch, exactly?“
August 31, 2006
Fausta has an excellent post today, in which she discusses the Durham rape case and provides some excellent links to blogs and articles. of course, Fausta being Fausta, links to other interesting- and irresistable stories.
She covers ‘House’ star Hugh Laurie, Homeland Security, Art and a link to a really interesting link to a post by Kobayashi Maru.
There is more, so head on over.
The Anchoress posts today are just…sublime. In particular, her post, How A Non Catholic Respectfully Communes At Mass, is a post that ought to be framed. What is said, what is left unsaid and what is partially said, are instructive and insightful on every level. Her remarks are personal, political and are a not so subtle moral statement. Another post, Incurioser & Incurioser- Bush Or The Press, is another keeper- and an eye into insight.
Dr Sanity is discussing Pinnochio, Tom Sawyer and D’Artagnan. There’s a reference to Freud we could make, but we will contain ouselves.
Neo has a couple of fascinating reads, not only because the subject matter is fascinating, but because Neo is also a great writer. Her post, A Trip Back In Time: Khomeini And The Revolution, Part One appears to be the preamble to a fascinating time in history, with repucussions that are still being felt today.
Shrinkwrapped posts a missive from a reader- a retired career intelligence analyst, who as Shrinkwrapped notes, “knows how to construct a position. Reasons For Optimisms: Part One, is a post that forces us to look at reality through a different set of lenses. You might be surprised at what you see.
August 31, 2006
Order from chaos. A big part of our lives is derived from engaging in that endeavor.
Any teacher will tell you that a child learns by finding order in the chaos of new ideas, to make sense of the world around him or her. The best teachers encourage that exploration and the questions that are a necessary component of learning.
The organized study of science has been broken down into various disciplines, so that we might better understand our universe, is also about finding order and understanding scientific phenomena. The miracle drugs and technologies that have so impacted our lives, came about as the result of finding understanding and harnessing the order from the chaos. The cure for cancer and other diseases will come about because scientists diligently examine and learn from studies in chemistry, biology, anatomy and a host of other scientific disciplines.
The primary goals of psychologists and psychiatrists, are to help their patients find order in the chaos that has overtaken their lives and in some cases, to recognize the ‘triggers’ that might upend their lives, by teaching the patient that they can manage heir own lives- again, order out of chaos.
Religion, faith, the search for God and finding meaning, is very much about finding order from chaos.
So what happens when our natural instinct and need to find order from chaos is impeded?
I think there is a war here, but it is not a war between religions, but as Ali says, between Violence and Reason. Violence has a theology, but so does Reason [emp-SC&A]. And coming back to the Anchoress’ point, I think that failure to confront and examine the “war within the Law of God” will leave people in the US with the impression that this is a different war, and that all Muslims are prone to go off like popguns in Jewish neighborhoods. I think it’s time to come to grips with what Violence is truly saying in order to let Reason prevail.
I want to reiterate this: for every act of violence in the west, there are ten in the Muslim world. The ideology of Violence must be defeated, because it will never surrender – but that need not mean that Muslims must be outcast, or that being Muslim is at all incompatible within being humane and just. What we should do is speak and live reason, even if we have to carry a gun to do this. I must, in the end, have a radical addiction to freedom, because I would rather live in an armed society than in one which carried out pogroms against innocent Muslims.
Now, let’s examine this a bit more closely. For those who would place violence over reason, there is clearly an attempt to subvert those who might seek order from the chaos. In societies, cultures and even religions, the notion of order from chaos is upended if violence is given reign over reason. When violence or a culture of violence is given dominion over reason, we are going back in time, reverting to more basal instincts.
Those for whom reason and order are the ‘primary directive,’ cannot allow the wholesale degradation of a people into violence or chaos, led by a few dysfunctional and evil men. This is not a matter of religion. Anyone, regardless of religion or even belief, realize that real believers understand that we were not put here to blow each other off the face of the earth. If we turn a blond eye or ignore the plight of Muslims under these repressive an dysfunctional regimes, we do so at our own peril.
We noted in Peace In The Middle East Starts At Home, that
The biblical tale of Abraham and Isaac is instructive. Now matter how willing his servant is, God does not allow Abraham to sacrifice his son.
God does not demand from Abraham that he obviate his role as a parent. He insists rather, that Abraham resume his natural role as a parent. God does not need Abraham’s son as a sacrifice.
God demands Reason over Violence, and order and not chaos. We are not meant to sacrifice our children- to use them in fact, as weapons to kill others- in His name. To parent and elevate our children is to find order and Reason in a part of our lives.
If we are to help each other, nourish each other and support each other as we fulfill the human destiny of progress, we accept that our mission on this earth is not to destroy each other, but rather, must accept as truth that the principal part of our lives is to keep Reason and order as an anchor against the vile and foul winds that are Violence and chaos. This is the message we repeat over and over again. The problems in much of the Islamic world are very fundamental and are in no way the result of anything other than a spectacular dysfunctionality. To place the blame elsewhere (on America, Israel, Jews, Christians, etc.) is no more than an attempt to validate the idea that chaos can take precedence over order, if and when that serves a particular need.
The accumulation of our contributions, as we endeavor to always demand and expect order rather than chaos, are what defines civilized society. Those that do not contribute or demand to that chaos rule the day, exclude themselves from civilized society.
Our adversaries, by deeds, actions and own admission, have come to value violence over reason. They have destroyed much and wish to destroy even more. They wish to upend the truth that we are not meant to destroy each other.
We do not exclude others easily nor do separate ourselves from others with great pleasure. In fact, this country was built on the principles and foundation of inclusion. We wish peace with our neighbors. Peace by definition, means order and Reason, a live and let live culture. Tragically, there are those that claim to want peace- but only if that peace is based on the threat of violence and capitulation to an evil that destroys, hates and rules by threat of chaos.
Dr Sanity, in Repression And The Mirror Of Insight, prefaced her remarks by noting “Freud is reported to have said that the very act of entering into civilized society entails the repression of various desires, impulses and feelings.”
In her post, Dr Sanity discusses order over chaos, albeit indirectly:
The most psychologically healthy… are those those that allow us to transform the primitive instinctual energy of even the most destructive emotions into works of art or entertainment that give pleasure to others (sublimation and humor); or behavior that is socially beneficial (altruism, anticipation, suppression). People who achieve optimal psychological health are those who have come to satisfactory terms with their neurobiology. They are people who have learned to accept their anger, rage and other potentially deadly emotions and, instead of destructively acting out, repressing, denying or projecting; have creatively expressed those feelings in a way that improves life both for themselves and for others…
Insight is a wonderful thing. The power or act of seeing into a situation and apprehending the inner nature or motivation of one’s self–especially the why–can be extremely liberating… Only by being aware of these kind of hidden truths and inner motivations can a person gain control over them and correct the behavior that they generate.
Without real insight, we are playing a kind of lottery.
In one form or another, we are all weighted down. We all carry some kind of baggage- our responsibilities, our homelife and the influences of our childhood all contribute to the ‘load’ each of us bears. It is true that with the help of a therapist, we can learn to ‘unload’ that baggage and bask in a kind of new found freedom. That said, without real insight into ourselves and understanding why individually and collectively, we must constantly work at finding order from within chaos, we will find oursleves weighted down again, very quickly. Without real insight, freedom from chaos soon becomes ethereal, because learned dysfunctional behaviors and biases reassert themselves.
In other words, a prerequisite to civilized society a clear demand that we find order in chaos. We must come to insight- to understand what motivates us and to recognize our biases and those dysfunctional behaviors that influences the choices we make. When chaos or violence, even dressed up as ‘reasonable expression,’ is allowed to the fore, our ‘civilized society’ suffers- and we and society reverts back to more primal behaviors.
Now, to be sure, some chaos is good. Art can make us see things in new and different ways and help us understand our world. Religion, too, can provide a kind of chaos. Like art and literature, religion today asks those things that challenge the status quo.
Those voices that call for and defend the policies of those who place Violence over Reason and demand chaos over order, are equally as dysfunctional as those for whom the ideologies of violence and chaos are a reality- and they are equally threatening to civilized society.