Thursday, April 30, 2015

(PD) Exam

Our scheduled exam is 8 am Friday.

Monday, April 27, 2015

(WR) Netiquette Reminder

Passionate discussion is great, but everyone please remember that all posts and comments must be polite, respectful, and attentively charitable toward those with whom we are speaking. If you are angry or annoyed in any way, refrain from posting until you calm down and can frame your coments with generosity. We are here primarily to understand, and while judgements are inevitable (and sometimes correct), we often must set them aside in the interest of a larger historical picture.

Monday, April 6, 2015

(WR) Confucius' Way

One or two of you balk in your blogs about the Confucian idea that there is only one path (rather than, as in Radhakrishnan, myriad paths that all eventually converge on one goal). But agreeing or disagreeing with Confucius about this is extremely premature. Until we fully understand the path he is recommending, we're in no position even to gauge whether we agree or not about its being the only legitimate one.

Of course, it is natural to leap to conclusions about what does and does not appeal to you about some new idea, but let's try to suspend that impulse for awhile, and for now try to understand what he is saying, and why a reasonable and intelligent person might say it.

(PD) Cormac McCarthy

We have not yet discussed various novelists (e.g.: Dostoyevsky, Melville) whose characters sometimes engage in philosophical musings or dispute. These are not really philosophical dialogues in their method or purpose, but they can sometimes be rather sharp. Here's a short exchange in Cormac McCarthy's masterpiece Blood Meridian between the young protagonist and a hermit he encounters in Texas in the 1840s:
     Lost ye way in the dark, said the old man. He stirred the fire, standing slender tusks of bone up out of the ashes.
     The kid didnt answer.
     The old man swung his head back and forth. The way of the transgressor is hard. God made this world, but he didnt make it to suit everybody, did he?
     I dont believe he much had me in mind.
     Aye, said the old man. But where does a man come by his notions. What world's he seen that he liked better?
     I can think of better places and better ways.
     Can ye make it be?
     No. It's a mystery. A man's at odds to know his mind cause  his mind is aught he has to know it with. He can know his heart, but he dont want to. Rightly so. Best not to look in there. It aint the heart of a creature that is bound in the way that God has set for it. You can find meanness in the least of all creatures, but when God made man the devil was at his elbow. A creature that can do anything. Make a machine. And a machine to make the machine. And evil that can run itself a thousand years, no need to tend it. You believe that?
     I dont know.
     Believe that.