Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 17th, 2016

Idioms: Mine

Same goes to poems: Mine

Note: Why I take cigarette breaks? I copy literary gems. During these breaks, a few of these gems are edited out and transformed to become idioms of mine. I’m contemplating publishing these idioms of mine, which I sincerely consider mine.

Ce concept Invariable de necessite (Maitre/ Escalve) a ete maintenu au fils des temps, par toutes les institutions, civiles, religieuses et locales. Les classes d’elites, celles qui echappent aux lois, survivent parceque ce symbol d’invariabilite doit etre preserver.

Les gestes qu’ils reproduisent en commun? La communaute des gestes ou des gens? La progression de l’humanite a transformee nos entités concretes en un symbol abstrait que l’on defend avec acharnement, au moyens de lois, discutions en abstraction, et appliquees selectivement

Le conflit permanent entre Maître et Esclave? Est-ce que cette these compresse l’eclipse d’une civilization au detriment d’une autre? Il faudrait changer la definition de civilite et de civilisation pour recouvrire notre humanite. Et pourtant, en politique, c’est la meme soupe qu’on nous sert en tout temps.

Il vaut mieux de chercher a connaitre le monde et trebucher sur un tresor, que de la connaitre pour faire une fortune? En tout cas, fortune ou tresor, if faut changer de perspective pour vivre heureux.

My backlog of articles to post on my blog is running in the hundreds: I had decided to post 3 a day, at most. The same routine is taking roots for my notes, destination FB and tweet. I decided to post 6 a day, and the backlog is increasing exponentially

If you want to make a deal to lose in a game: let it be an individual game. That’s your negotiated and consented deal. When it comes to negotiate a team losing games, it is very wrong at any level and no excuses are admissible. A team must have a tacit oath of loyalty that every member is to perform at best he can, and enjoy the friendship of the members. Otherwise, morale is chattered for a very long period: better search for another team

When teaching in universities, the students often forgot my name: They opted for Sir. Queen Elizabeth was obfuscated

Les panteres peuvent etre apprivoiser? En les norrissant proprement? Comme les prisoniers qui savent leur droits. Le pire est de relacher les panthers et les prisoniers qui sont blessés avant de les avoir traités

Ruling by a simple majority leaves the rest of the community in deserved suspicion that the majority will rig the next election laws in their favour. Unless the majority must earn its power by at least 5% difference with the second party: A hefty advantage that will Not scare off  the majority into drastic election law reforms.

Ruling by a simple arithmetic proportional law has proven to lead to gridlock as in most European governing systems. Some kinds of a cascading discrete levels of permitted proportions must be  carefully studied

Chaque individu a des appartenance multiple: Religion, sect, ses langues, tribue, nation, province, education, voyage, statu financier, urbain/rural, famille (large, petite, eparpillee…) C’ est bien si chaque citoyen peut assumer ses appartenance multiple. Ce qui est necessaire c’ est que les parties politiques et institutions (public et privees) exhibent ces multiple identitees. Il y aura des dechirement pour tout etre, meme les plus informés, mais au moin que le potential d’education est mis en marche

The deadly sin of Da3esh strategy is that it forgot that islam was meant to transcend ethinicity, languages and race.

You may graduate in engineering or natural sciences, but acquiring an experimental mind is Not in the educational program. Students in social sciences, psychology, sociology… study experimental design, learn to control and run experiments…They have a far better experimental mind than those in natural sciences, those supposed to be la crème de la crème in intelligence. Unless the educational programs are reformed to include design of experiment and running sophisticated experiments… it is an illusion that the engineers and natural scientists will make a significant reform in society.

And if the Jews in Israel are forced to return to their country of origins, simply because we believe their colonial behaviour is trampling on our existential characters? The same reasoning that colonial nations are voting against immigrants

La spontaneite n’est pas une affaire mentale: c’est un style de vie. Toujours apprendre avec joie.

La grande consession globale: dans les lieux de travailles, aux institutions publiques… ne prier pas, n’exige pas un local consacré a la priere, ne precher pas ton soi-disant religion. On s’en fout de tes abstractions et de tes genuflexions… Khafef te2l dammak

Bon, je comprend: quand on debarque dans un pays pour y demeurer, il vaut mieux apprendre et respecter la langue, les lois civiles et les droits civils. Ce que je ne comprend pas: Pouquoi dois-je  respecter l’Histoire monsongere et les coutumes qui ne valent pas mieux que les notre?

Il y a toujours, faute de mieux, la passion de l’echec. Avec un brin approprié de philosophie, ca peut etre la plus reconfortante des passions. Le malheur, ca arrive un peu au tard. Mais bien, une passion est une passion et vaut mieux que nulle

L’imprimerie, la poudre a canon, et la boussole. La dissemination de la culture, la resistance avec des armes et moyens apropries, et une idee de soi: “who are we as a people? What do we want to be as a unified nation?” We lack all these necessary tools to confront the assault of the new world order. And we persist on romancing our weakening status among the nations and societies.

Don’t apologize for what you did. Better, no need to apologize for what you failed to do. You lived and assumed as best you tried.

Etre plus instruit que les autres ne veut rien dire. Il faut y attache un facteur attrayant pour que la connaissance devienne necessaire et suffisante. C’est un de ces traits attrayants que l’on cherche vaillamment a mettre en relief.

Avec l’age, ce qui est adequat dans la societe s’oublie: on deviant trop ferme et inebranlable dans nos idee-fixes.

Comment apprendre que je ne suis rien et que pourtant je suis digne de vivre? (en nous comparons aux arbres?). N’apprend pas l’impossible: apprend a devenir quelque chose au moins.

Is it true that All revolutions are born in terror?

How can current terror attacks be stopped?

‘Virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue…’  Maximilien Robespierre, On the Principles of Political Morality (1794)

(We can justify anything with resounding nonsense)

As pundits and politicians stoked the recent shootings in California into an existential threat; as French troops were deployed in Paris; as Belgian police locked down Brussels, and US and Russian planes intensified air attacks in Syria following yet another slaughter perpetrated in the name of the so-called Islamic State, it was easy to lose sight of a central fact.

Amid the bullets, bombs and bluster, we are not only failing to stop the spread of radical Islam, but our efforts often appear to contribute to it.

(That’s exactly the purpose of the US, France and England: to extend terrors overseas)

“The war with ISIS is a battle of ideas and values. The youth that radicalise seek to be subsumed in something bigger than themselves and a world they’ve come to see as meaningless and material.

Fomenting violence and belittling their rhetoric only fuels the fire.

In this sweeping essay, Scott Atran, the foremost expert on the psychology of radicalisation, analyses ISIS in the context of past revolutions. An absolute must-read: ow.ly/VSgjr

World-altering revolutions are born in danger and death, brotherhood and joy.…
aeon.co|By Aeon

What accounts for the failure of ‘The War on Terror’ and associated efforts to counter the spread of violent extremism?

The failure starts with reacting in anger and revenge, engendering more savagery without stopping to grasp the revolutionary character of radical Arab Sunni revivalism.

(If we have to fool ourselves by calling Wahhabism as an Islamic revival)

This revival is a dynamic, countercultural movement of world-historic proportions spearheaded by ISIS, (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

In less than two years, it has created a dominion over hundreds of thousands of square kilometres and millions of people. And it possesses the largest and most diverse volunteer fighting force since the Second World War (And spreading everywhere people have felt subjugated and treated with indignity).

What the United Nations community regards as senseless acts of horrific violence are to ISIS’s acolytes part of an exalted campaign of purification through sacrificial killing and self-immolation:

Know that Paradise lies under the shade of swords, says a hadith, (third parties hearing of what the Prophet might have said); this one comes from the Sahih al-Bukhari, a collection of the Prophet’s sayings considered second only to the Qu’ran in authenticity and is now a motto of ISIS fighters.

(Almost most Islamic teaching are extracted from the collection of Hadith stories, and most of these stories are unreliable)

This is the purposeful plan of violence that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s self-anointed Caliph, outlined in his call for ‘volcanoes of jihad’: to create a globe-spanning jihadi archipelago that will eventually unite to destroy the present world and create a new-old world of universal justice and peace under the Prophet’s banner.

A key tactic in this strategy is to inspire sympathisers abroad to violence: do what you can, with whatever you have, wherever you are, whenever possible.

To understand the revolution, my research team has conducted dozens of structured interviews and behavioural experiments with youth in Paris, London and Barcelona, as well as with captured ISIS fighters in Iraq and members of Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria).

We also focused on youth from distressed neighbourhoods previously associated with violence or jihadi support – for example, the Paris suburbs of Clichy-sous-Bois and Épinay-sur-Seine, the Moroccan neighbourhoods of Sidi Moumen in Casablanca and Jamaa Mezuak in Tetuán.

While many in the West dismiss radical Islam as simply nihilistic, our work suggests something far more menacing: a profoundly alluring mission to change and save the world.

In the West, the seriousness of this mission is denied.

Olivier Roy, usually a deep and subtle thinker, wrote last month in Le Monde that the Paris plotters represent most who flock to ISIS; they are marginal misfits largely ignorant of religion and geopolitics, and bereft of real historical grievances.

They ride the wave of radical Islam as an outlet for their nihilism because it’s the biggest and baddest countercultural movement around. And how else could one explain a mother who abandons her baby to die butchering innocents in San Bernadino who never did her harm?

But the worldwide ISIS revolution is hardly just a bandwagon for losers.

Although attacked on all sides by internal and external foes, the Islamic State has not deteriorated to any appreciable degree, while rooting ever stronger in areas it controls and expanding its influence in deepening pockets throughout Eurasia and Africa.

Despite recent White House reassurances, US intelligence tells us that ISIS is not being contained. Repeated claims that ISIS is being degraded and on the way to inevitable defeat ring hollow for almost anyone who has had direct experience in the field.

Only Kurdish frontline combatants and some Iranian-led forces have managed to fight ISIS to a standstill on the ground, and only with significant French and US air support. (Trying to forget the Russian massive engagement?)

Despite our relentless propaganda campaign against the Islamic State as vicious, predatory and cruel – most of which might be right – there is little recognition of its genuine appeal, and even less of the joy it engenders.

The mainly young people who volunteer to fight for it unto death feel a joy that comes from joining with comrades in a glorious cause, as well as a joy that comes from satiation of anger and the gratification of revenge (whose sweetness, says science, can be experienced by brain and body much like other forms of happiness).

But there is also a subliminal joy felt across the region for those who reject the Islamic State’s murderous violence yet yearn for the revival of a Muslim Caliphate and the end to a nation-state order that the Great Powers invented and imposed.

It is an order that has failed, and that the US, Russia and their respective allies are trying willy-nilly to resurrect, and it is an order that many in the region believe to be the root of their misery.

What the ISIS revolution is Not, is a simple desire to return to the ancient past. The idea that ISIS seeks a return to medieval times makes no more sense than the idea that the US Tea Party wants to return to 1776.

‘We are not sending people back to the time of the carrier pigeon,’ Abu Mousa, ISIS’s press officer in Raqqa, has said. ‘On the contrary, we will benefit from development. But in a way that doesn’t contradict the religion.’

(Total nonsense: The results on the ground are not promising that development is on the rise)

The Caliphate seeks a new order based on a culture of today. Unless we recognise these passions and aspirations, and deal with them using more than just military means, we will likely fan those passions and lose another generation to war and worse.

Treating the Islamic State as merely a form of terrorism or violent extremism masks the menace. All novel developments are ‘extremist’ compared with what was the norm before.

What matters for history is whether these movements survive and thrive against the competition.

For our singularly self-predatory species, success has depended on willingness to shed blood, including the sacrifice of one’s own, not merely for family and tribe, wealth or status, but for some greater cause. (Mostly deep belief in myths)

This has been especially true since the start of the Axial Age more than two millennia ago. At that time, large-scale civilisations arose under the watchful gaze of powerful divinities, who mercilessly punished moral transgressors – thus ensuring that even strangers in multiethnic empires would work and fight as one.

Call it ‘god’ or whatever secular ideology one prefers, including any of the great modern salvational -isms: colonialism, socialism, anarchism, communism, fascism and liberalism.

In Leviathan (1651), Thomas Hobbes deemed sacrifice for a transcendent ideal ‘the privilege of absurdity to which no creature but man is subject’. Humans make their greatest commitments and exertions, for ill or good, for the sake of ideas that give a sense of significance.

In an inherently chaotic universe, where humans alone recognise that death is unavoidable, there is an overwhelming psychological impetus to overcome this tragedy of cognition: to realise ‘why I am’ and ‘who we are’.

In The Descent of Man (1871), Charles Darwin cast this devotion as the virtue of ‘morality… the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage, and sympathy’ with which winning groups are better endowed in history’s spiralling competition for survival and dominance.

It is the sacred values, immune to material tradeoffs, that bind us most.

In any culture, an unwillingness to sell out one’s kin or religious and political brotherhoods and motherlands is the line we usually will not cross. Devotion to these values can drive successes which are out of all proportion to expected outcomes.

Asymmetric operations involving spectacular killings to destabilise the social order is a tactic that has been around as long as recorded history

Often these values, tethered to beliefs such as our ‘God is great, bodiless but omnipotent’ or our ‘free markets are always wise’, are attributed to Providence or Nature.

They can never be verified by empirical evidence, and their meaning is impossible to pin down.

The term ‘sacred values’ intuitively denotes religious belief, as when land is holy, but can also include the ‘secularised sacred’ such as the ‘hallowed ground’ of Gettysburg or the site of the attacks on New York City of 11 September 2001 (9/11).

The foundational beliefs of the great ideologicalisms and the quasi-religious notion of the Nation itself have been ritualised in song and ceremony and sacrifice.

‘Nothing human is alien to me,’ said Terence, the Roman slave who became a playwright and gave my own field of anthropology an enduring credo: to empathise with those most different from one’s own moral culture, without necessarily sympathising.

This is our call to comprehend. If we can only grasp why otherwise normal humans would want to die killing masses of other humans who have harmed no one, we might ourselves better avoid killing and being killed.

In our liberal democracy, intentional mass bloodshed is considered evil, an expression of human nature gone awry. But across most of human history and cultures, violence against other groups was considered a moral virtue, a classification necessary for killing masses of people innocent of harming others.

Besides, brutal terror scares the hell out of enemies and fence-sitters.

Kurdish leaders told my research group that when 350-400 Islamic State fighters came in a convoy of some 80 trucks to free Sunni captives (and massacre more than 600 Shia inmates) from Badoush prison in Iraq’s second largest city Mosul, a relatively well-equipped Iraqi army of some 18,000 troops under US-trained leaders immediately disappeared or ran away.

When I asked one Arab Sunni soldier embedded with a Kurdish Peshmerga force on the Mosul-Erbil front why fellow soldiers fled, he simply said: ‘They wanted to keep their heads.’ (Head beheading practices by ISIS and Saudi Kingdom)

The shutdown of Brussels in the wake of the Paris attacks, or of Boston in the aftermath of the marathon bombings in 2013, speaks to a comparable fear, and contributes to an underlying lack of faith in our own societies and values, something that terror attacks are designed to promote.

During the Second World War, not even the full might of the German Luftwaffe at the height of the Blitz could compel the UK government and the people of London to cower so (falling into the propaganda trap again: They cowered but Hitler spared them the indignity by stopping the bombing campaign).

Today, mere mention of an attack on New York in an ISIS video has US officials scurrying to calm the public.

Media exposure, which is the oxygen of terror in our age, not only amplifies the perception of danger but, in generating such hysteria, makes the bloated threat to society real.

This is especially true today because the media is mostly designed to titillate the public rather than inform it. Thus, it has become child’s play for ISIS to turn our own propaganda machine, the world’s mightiest, into theirs – boosting a novel, highly potent jujitsu style of asymmetric warfare that we could counter with responsible restraint and straight-up information, but we won’t.

The outcome is dangerous and preposterous. The US Justice Department, with overwhelming support from Congress and the media, now considers the common kitchen pressure cooker to be a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ if used for terrorism.

This ludicrously levels a cooking pot with a thermonuclear bomb that has many billions of times greater destructive power. It trivialises true weapons of mass destruction, making their acceptance more palatable and their use more conceivable.

In this present hyper-reality, messaging is war by other means. ISIS’s manipulation of our media creates a sense of foreboding of mass destruction where it isn’t really possible, and at the same time obscures any real future threat.

Asymmetric operations involving spectacular killings to destabilise the social order is a tactic that has been around as long as recorded history. Violent political and religious groups routinely provoke their enemies into overreacting, preferably by committing atrocities to get the others to drive in the sheep and collect the wool.

When the Romans occupied Judea following the death of Christ, the first revolts involved Jewish youths throwing stones.

The Jewish Zealots and especially their most extreme variant, the Sicarii (‘dagger men’), amped things up, attacking Roman soldiers and Greek underlings in self-sacrificial acts during public ceremonies, cranking the wheels of revenge and retribution.

(The occupied Palestinians are adopting the only weapon they have: kitchen knives)

 


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