Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Viet Nam

Alexander II: Tsar of Russia

Ivan the Terrible had cancelled all privileges that the noble class might have enjoyed before his reign:

1. the noble class could no longer inherit lands or serfs because all Russia was owned by the Tsar;

2. the noble could be flogged and executed on a whim of the Tsar without any due recourse.

In 1790, the Tsarine Catherine restored many privileges to the noble class, including inheriting lands and selling or bartering the serfs working the land as a collective or “mir“.  The noble could no longer be flogged, executed, or had to pay taxes. Titles and lands could not be confiscated without due process before a jury of peers.

Catherine had captured Belorussia and Ukraine from the Polish Kingdom and ventured toward the Caucasus regions.

By 1830, the class of nobles were emulating their counterparts in France, England, and Germany and even went way farther in their recklessness: a noble status was measured to the number of “souls” or serfs that he possessed.

The spirit of the French Revolution got activated in this climate of total servitude.

In 1850, Alexander II acceded to the Imperial throne. He abolished servitude before Abraham Lincoln decided on that policy in 1863.

Alex put an end to censorship of the press and promoted free expressions in universities; the legal system was replaced by public juries; the forced military service of 25 years was suppressed.

Cities were opened to whoever wanted to come in and settle; the Jews were permitted to attend universities. The word “glasnot” or openness was first used at that period.

In 1874, university students created this movement code named “to the people” and headed to rural areas with the intention of aiding peasants; the peasants got suspicious and the students returned to their urban centers.

Tolstoy got pretty angry when his serfs declined his offer to re-purchase the collective land as Tsar Alexander II had emancipated all kinds of slavering systems in Russia:  The serfs didn’t find it right to buy lands that they considered belonging to them as a community.

This remind me of a recent “similar” obstinate attitude:  Viet Nam had asked the French multinational Michelin (manufacturing tires) to re-invest in Viet Nam.  Michellin didn’t digest the fact of re-purchasing rubber plantations that it owned there during the colonial period.

The day of his assassination in 1874, Alex was to sign far reaching reforms on Constitutional monarchy.

The nihilist and terrorists groups got apprehensive that these reforms will kill their plans for “drastic revolution” in blood.

Alex was the target of several previous assassination attempts and the Imperial family was haunted by the vision that outside the Palaces was a hell of the real world.

The succeeding Tsar Alexander III cancelled all previous reforms and spent his life counter attacking the virulent terrorist groups; he instituted a new counter terrorist police force that encouraged further hatred to the regime.

There are passions and passions. Part 2

In part one I wrote:

“There are strong individual passions; there are the “power to be” strong passions, and there are abstract passions that ideologies, religions, and customs would like you to incarnate for a homogeneous community stability.  All those institutions want to select for you the kinds of passions that are appropriate to your well being and development” and I described what I meant by individual strong passions.

In this article, I will attempt to discriminate among the various strong passions from the “power to be” and religious ideology of passion.

Basically, an ideology transmits perceived habits and models for interpreting social and political conditions.

To a lesser extent, an ideology communicates explanations and lead us to make choices for situations and events. It is my contention that every ideology or political party implicitly exhibits a philosophical line, a philosophical construct that is fundamentally a process of prioritizing our individual set of passions, which cannot be changed, but re-ordered, a line focused as a collective of like minded association.

Thus, it is beneficial for any ideology to debate the philosophy that is most compatible to its priority of passions.

Abstract passions of an ideology changes when it comes to power.

For example, during John Kennedy short Presidency, many were enthusiastic joining the Peace Corps; they were willing to share the hardships of communities in remote unprivileged  regions of the world.  In the meanwhile, the power to be was escalating the war in Viet Nam and attempting to destabilize the regime in Cuba.

The French Revolution disseminated the abstract values of equality, liberty, and freedom while the “power to be” installed the guillotine to harvest thousands of heads in the name of the purity of the revolution.

Communist ideologies talked the language of youth’s hopes of economic fairness, socialism and distribution of wealth and then when the regime came to power the set of passions changed.

I cannot help but imagining a conversation between a communist party line administrator and a member of the party:

Party line administrator: “So, you are a dedicated party member; you are passionate about peasant’s life style.  No problem, you are assigned to work the land; preferably with a community of peasants for proper training and practices.”

Memeber: “Oh no!  I am an intellectual. My passion is to read reports, analyze data, and mostly criticize deficiencies in the system.”

Party line: “Oh yes? Why did you join our ranks and swore allegiance to our ideology and political economic lines?”

Memeber: “Well, my morale values and ethical standards yearned for fairness, equality, and justice, and human rights to all.”

Party line: “Too late.  We are now in power and the realities of staying in power demand that you be assigned to be rehabilitated in reform camps.  Fairness, justice, and equality of classes were nice slogans that need to be in operation through specific programs.  The counter cultural revolution is meant to reform naive members into pragmatic needs of the party.  You are worth what your hands, feet, and back can produce from the uncultivated land.  Would you prefer working the land or raising cows and pigs?”

Member: “Wait a minute.  What about a handcraft job?  I love to get my hand dirty in woodworking, in painting, in repairing electronic equipment, in maintaining mechanical machines.  Yes, I wouldn’t mind sanitary assignments, waiting on tables of the Politburo eminent members.  I am convinced that I love becoming chef in the kitchens where you receive diplomats and foreign dignitaries.”

It is up to graduate philosophers to analyze the party line and extract the corresponding philosophy out of hundreds that the human mind has constructed.

An ideology that misses opportunities to seriously debate its underlying philosophy is bound to fail as a gathering of focused passions.

I am aware of a case where a fresh graduate in philosophy and a fresh member in a political party attempted to stick his personal philosophy to the party ideology instead of objectively analyzing the underlying philosophy and allowing free discussion on the topic; it was an opportunity that was missed to debating a rough philosophy that had potentials to be fine tuned and accepted by the collective members.

Most political ideologies loudly claim that the members are the subject matter, that the members are the driving force and the main concern of the ideology.  That line of thinking should be the purpose of syndicates because that is the reason for instituting syndicates and professional associations. Political parties should avoid the technical hypocrisy of proclaiming that their goals are the members’ benefit. 

Members in political ideologies are simple cogs of focused abstract passions.

Fresh members in political parties are willing to slave for free and accept all the nonsense, constraints, and abject humiliation on opinion formally restrained because “they need apprenticeship period” to comprehend and thoroughly learn the mystery behind an ideology, as if it was a cult.

Those individual cogs who regurgitate the political lines and memorize them by rot and spew them integrally are the one who accede to the higher echelons and then reap the benefits and advantages; there are no rooms for divergence of opinions on ideological lines, otherwise, a new ideology is in the making.

It is worth noting that those who accede to the higher echelons are invariably astute power grabbers, but very limited spiritually because they fail to invest energy and time on personal reflections. Those limited minded “leaders” are imposed on society for needed reforms that invariably fail and leave tracks of long miseries and sufferings.

Any ideology is inherently a cult with many super imposed constructs of myths and verbal testimonies of elders that are added as the rank swells; these abstract constructs are meant to increase the obscure notions and make the ideology more fascinating and enduring to the youth, simply because the ideology failed to adhere to an explicit philosophy of rational cohesion.

Fundamentally, schisms are implicitly divergences on priorities of passions to focus on, which are interpreted as political differences.

Religions follow the same process as ideologies and end up splitting and forming schisms and cults.

The core of religions and political ideologies are of abstract constructs with the same consequences on societies.  The main difference between religions and ideologies is that religions invariably end up adhering to a philosophy as guiding rod and are thus enduring in all levels of life for many centuries.

Ideologies in religions are necessary passages for individuals’ spiritual development; they are the building blocks for getting aware and hopefully caring for human miseries and problems.  Ideologies are extensions to our spirit because we need the association of people to develop our soul.

Find me an individual who never joined a political ideology or at least cared in his youth to learn the ideologies of his time and I can forecast that this individual will specialize in his professional discipline and be a complete illiterate outside his field of specialty; he will end up a very narrow minded person with no heart or soul to count on for change and social reforms. 

I would be uncomfortable dealing with an individual who joined an ideology in youth and never felt the need to re-examine his ideology: I simple cannot believe that a young person can be bright enough and wise enough to knowing his strongest passions before dealing with the real world and people.

In many moments in life we asked “what is the meaning and purpose in life?

How about we start from the obvious?

We are a bunch of jumbled passions that drive our life and we ache to re-order our passions and discover the strongest passions that mean most to us.

We want to be discriminated as an individual, not on physical traits, but as thinking reflecting persons that have distinct set of passions that we managed to prioritize; we finally think that we know who we are and what drove our life. We want to be at peace with our soul and spirit.




June 2023

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