Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Aristotalian logic

Forget that there are colonizers and colonized? Just two sides at war in Gaza?
Ghassan Hage, professor at the Univ.of Melbourne Australia, wrote:
The good unbiased westerner just told me: “Forget that there are colonisers and colonised, what there really is are two sides”.
Forget that there are people losing their land and people stealing it. What we have are two people with different histories.
Forget that the Israelis have killed tens of thousands of Palestinians, while the Israelis killed by the Palestinians can be counted in the hundreds.
For what there really is are two people prone to violence.
Forget that in terms of actual capacity to cause violent destruction the Palestinians are to the Israelis what a single ant is to an Elephant.
For what is important is that both sides ought to show restraint.
The good unbiased westerner is adamant:
“We don’t want to talk about the fact that one side is filthy rich and technologically over-equipped while the other is getting poorer and poorer; Nor do we want to talk about injustice, dispossession, racism and apartheid, for this doesn’t allow us to see what is wrong with both sides…
For the most important thing that one should always remember is that both sides are sides.
And if both sides did not side, there would be no side.”

Is that one of the fucked up Aristotelian logic, uttered by people sitting in comfortable peaceful conditions?

And what the American author Henry James wrote a century ago?

Henry James lived in England for 40 years and died there in 1916. Not until 1914, Henry James avoided being socially and politically engaged and kept aloof from the actual passions of existence. He was blamed for his “Mandarin” attitude toward life…

It was the start of WWI that got James in overwhelming intense activities and involvement, in his old age. He was everywhere, in Belgium, in France… visiting the hospitals, comforting the injured soldiers, raising money for belgian refugees, haranguing the US government to get engaged in the war…

James wrote: “hadn’t it been for the War, I should certainly have gone on as I was, taking it as the simplest and easiest and friendliest thing: but the circumstances are utterly altered now…” 

He wrote to a friend: “I have an imagination of disaster, and see life as ferocious and sinister… The war has used up words… We are confronted with a depreciation of all our terms, speaking with a loss of expression through increase of limpness, that may well make us wonder what ghosts will be left to walk… I eat my heart out alone… the paralysis of my own power to do anything but increasingly and inordinately feel...”

James was aware of the toll such cruelty takes on emotions and the resistance to compassion during these absurd instances, insensitivity adopted as a way of survival…

James had witnessed the US civil war, but didn’t participate because of physical problems in the back, and filled his time reading and writing. His two younger brothers did fight.

Henry James wrote to the newly wed wife of a husband who died in the war:

“I am incapable of telling you not to repine and rebel, because I am incapable to tell you Not to Feel… Feel for all you’re worth, even if it half kills you, for that is the only way to live…”

To his old friend Rhoda Broughton, Henry James wrote:

” I am sick beyond cure to have lived to see it. You and I, the ornaments of our generation, should have been spared this wreck… we have seen civilization grow and the worst became possible… this crash of civilization… the funeral spell of our murdered civilization…”

James’ idea of home was bound up with the idea of civilization. Culture, humaneness, civilization, and independence of thought were everything to James “We must for dear life make our own counter realities...”

Note: The part on Henry James was inspired from “Reading Lolita in Tehran” by Azar Nafisi


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

July 2021
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