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Posts Tagged ‘Voltaire

The critical mind of Voltaire could summarize an entire philosophical book into a sentence

I just read a tiny story called “Micromegas” of 15 pages that condensed Voltaire highly critical mind.

In short, two men from far away stellar systems, both at least a mile tall and can live over 10,000 years and are endowed with 3 dozen sensory organs… and still Not satisfied and banned from their huge planet, still worried about the nature of their souls…). They haphazardly landed on earth, after boarding comets and earth arboreal light.

They had to look into a microscope to discover that these insects of humans do exist. The two men are interested in figuring out if these “insects” have soul and how different is their understanding of what is “The soul”.

At first, the giants were convinced that earth had no living creatures since they walked it quickly and crossed its shallow oceans without seeing anything that moves.

Actually the giants comprehended French but Not Greek to communicate with these French adventures in the North pole.

The giants discovered that these human insects have vast knowledge in geometry, algebra, and enough adequate instrument to measure their length and the circumference of earth and the distance to the sun…

“Since you know many things of what is external to you, how good are you in knowing what’s inside you?

One French in the boat described the state of human cruelty, of the perpetual wars among the human. Thousands in turbans, under a Sultan who never stepped out of his palace, massacre and burn villages of thousands of soldiers in metal headgear, under another king named Caesar or King and with different religious mythical ideology. And vice versa.

These human Princes are meant to eradicate the human species. Wars that will kill far more humans from famine and diseases for a piece of muddy land. Those barbarous urban oligarchies, who have never knew or seen who is being killed, keep thanking their Gods for their war achievement.

On the definitions of the Soul of a few philosophers of the period, such as Descartes, Leibniz, Locke…

One philosopher mentions Aristotle and his “entelechie”, a reason that extends the power to exist as is, and he quotes in Greek the definition, a language he doesn’t master, but he has to quote in order to impress.

The Descartes disciple claims that the soul is a pure spirit that is formed in the womb, but the person loses its meaning as he starts attending schools. It is then useless to have a soul if we end up totally ignorant about it, as we go on living. “And what you say about the spirit?” It is Not matter that can be divided and measured and described… “You can describe a few attributes of a matter, but do you know the deepest structure of any matter and the consequences of lacking of it?”

A Malebranche disciple claims that it is God that thinks and do everything for him and he doesn’t have to worry about anything. “Then there is no point for your existence”.

A disciple of the British Locke said: “I think only at the instigation of my senses. That there are immaterial and intelligent substances, I have no doubts about them. I hardly doubt that it is impossible for God can communicate spirit to material elements, if He wishes it. I contend that there are far more possible events that can occur and which I cannot think about or fathom…”

Among these insects, there was someone wearing a square bonnet (a Jesuit?) who vehemently repeated St. Thomas claim in the “Somme”:” Every thing in the sky and on earth were created for the humans”. The giants laughed their heart out and had a great moment on hearing this.

The giant from star Sirius decided to write a philosophical book, with as small characters as it was possible for him to reduce, and offered it to the human insects. The scholars at Paris Academy opened the book and discovered it was mostly blank.

Note: I will be reading Zadig by Voltaire and might review this other short story.

 

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Masterpieces. In Literature? Since when?

“We judge a great man by his masterpieces: His faults are irrelevant” Voltaire.

Apparently, in the western civilization, it is the same French Voltaire who first coined the terms “Homme de letter” and “Chefs-d’oeuvre” in the 18th century.

The world knew plenty of masterpieces in literature before the advent of the western civilization. The ancient Greek specifically build a library so that the works of Homers be transcribed and made public. The Arabs used the term Tehfa for the grand works in literature.

Petrarque  wrote on April 13, 1350: “This is what I affirm: We show elegance and skill when we express in our proper terms“, meaning that a masterpiece should be written in the popular language of the country in order for the common people who can read to comprehend the manuscript. Since then, Boccaccio and Dante followed suit and kept Latin at bay. And that’s how the Europe Renaissance took a giant step forward in achieving all kinds of masterpieces in literature, art, sculpture, painting…

A Masterpieces in literature creates its proper criterion, and it is the most audacious and unique expression of a personality.

The subject has a single utility: It is the yeast to rise the dough of its characteristic form. And the form is what defines a masterpiece and the author.

A masterpiece burst open taboo topics that normative cultures love to control. For example, same sex relationship, drag queen, taboo sickness of terminally ills…

A masterpiece in literature doesn’t serve the grand ideological trend or guideline of the period, such as the “Greatness of a nation”, “Progress”, “Technological breakthrough”, “globalization”, Capitalism, Communism, description of the Middle-Classes…

A masterpiece is meant to emancipate people from the common values, and thus, are fresh through the ages…

A masterpiece doesn’t talk about the future or the past: It is written by an author living his period and in his lifetime…

A masterpiece is not meant to describe any petty reality, or see meanness in life… The avid reader has already read all kinds of minor literature and he is set to discover and mine the gold in the masses of dirt…

The present is shown in its eternity: the present extends the sensation of immortality.

Nothing ever originated from pure abstraction that does not exist. All origins are generated from the sensation, and the idea of immortality is born from the simple fact of existing.

What counts is not reason but the seriousness of the author, camouflaged under comical and easy going style. We all can differentiate between a genuine and a copycat manuscript.

What counts is that “You liked the book”, that it touched a nerve, a hidden passion, a desire, an uplifting sensation, that demonstrated to you that you are not all alone, and the author happened to know you and is a friend of yours…

What counts is that the words feel like they are playing in a trance, dancing, cavorting, making sense to you.

Since humor is a scares ingredient, who manages to make you laugh is an angel: Like in “Too much ado about nothing“, Decameron, Life is a dream (Calderon)…

There are sentences that don’t sound funny to you, but they generate hilarious moments to others. It takes some training to discover the funny and this flap peeking in the cloudy sky, an opening to let sunshine seep in.

It is possible and beautiful to live a masterpiece, like a love story: We become better people when we read a masterpiece.

Publilius Syrus wrote in the first century: “The beautiful thoughts may be forgotten but never vanish

The are people who are masterpieces in the way they live, at least in moments of their lives, and they are very discreet and fragile creatures.

Do you think that it make sense to categorize masterpieces? Like collecting data from viewers and readers and analyzing the data statistically?

Note: Inspired from the French book “A propos des Chefs-d’Oeuvre” by Charles Dantzig

I read many times in different books that “The purpose of life is living.”  My earliest first interpretations were “enjoy and embrace whatever life carries you to do or experience, (sort of stoic attitudes)”  After pondering that interpretation, I reasoned: “What is living if not making a sense of life?” 

I hence reached a far more interesting alternative:  “Life is a means to carrying on whatever meaning you want to make of life while still alive.”

You may change decisions and passions at any time, and life would care less and will not impress any judgement upon you:  Life is meant to serve your desires and obey your “seventy-seven decisions” per day.

Living has many unsettling requirements (pissing, excreting, sweating, washing…) that forces you to change directions many times a day.  Making sense of life is recovering from the maintenance tasks and redirecting the frequent diverging roads toward your intended main decisions of your daily plan of actions.

One decision may give you remorse and you want to stay in bed, a vegetative; you refuse to act, move, speak, or communicate with anyone. Life has no problem with this decision to play dead; but it has to maintain itself and you have to go and get moving.  Either you decide to die in your dirt (that is also a courageous decision) or you get up and start acting, one step at a time.  Life care less; you want to die? Life is your obedient servant and would follow you desire.

“Know yourself” means: “Maintain your life at the level commensurate to your plan of actions.  Know your limitations and your potentials, body and mind, and improve. You over force life and it will fail you at any time.”   It is no secret that when you keep your body and mind fit then, you can expand your range of decisions and set the bar higher than usual.  Thus, when you decide to get fit, it means you are planning for a higher energy requirements of decisions to redirect the “sense of your life”, otherwise, why the bother?

Your only constraint, to a fulfilling healthy servant as life, is becoming expert mechanics in the maintenance requirements of life.  Life is a car to be oiled, repaired, and supplied with energy.  Car has no spirit:  It is your desire and decision to reaching destination faster, your desire has provided the spirit to designing and manufacturing a car or airplane.

Life is ever obliging when you appreciate its vast potentials and appreciate the need for careful and loving maintenance requirements.  The more actions (physical and mental) you put life through, the more efficient are your decisions and more timely the opportunities.

Life maintenance is the most time-consuming of all tasks.  Either you become expert mechanics or life will force you, against your will, for long period of recovery.  Sir, life has no intrinsic meaning; it is your meanings of life that need to be lived.  You maintain life or you be maintained; you choose.

Hegel wrote: “No one can claim to be free unless he is ready to confront death.”  I assume that Hegel started from the premise that this free man knew and experimented  how to live. Let me put it simply:  Any desire that is good for your well-being (example physical or mental health) is an excellent desire.  Voltaire joked: “I decided to be happy:  It is good for my health.”

This attitude is a win-win situation.  You may work hard for a good health but this is no guarantee or sufficient condition for developing healthy desires.  You have first to desire and then, keeping healthy becomes part of a mechanism that can be nailed down and maintained efficiently.

You were graced with life; get on with the maintenance part and let life serves your passions and desires.

“The old wise man died; an entire library is burned”; (Mar. 4, 2010)

African author, Amadou Hampate Ba (1900-91) was born in eastern Mali and had said “In oral culture Africa, when an old wise man dies then an entire library burns with him”.  Amadou focused his life gathering all the stories, myths, and history of the tribes living in the States of Mali, Senegal, Burkina Fasso, and Ivory Coast.  In every tribe or clan, there is a few storytellers or grios entertaining people around bonfires in evenings.  The storytellers teaches children of the history and traditions of the tribe, of nature, and the changing seasons.  In one of his books he wrote: “Aissata told her son: “Learn to cover the material nudity of man before you cover by word his moral nudity”

Author and poet Wole Soyinka received the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1986. Soyinka was born in western Nigeria from the tribe of Yoruba in 1934.  During Nigeria civil war, Soyinka was jailed for two years in secrecy (1968-69); he wrote in jail “This man has died”.  In his speech at Stockholm during the Nobel ceremony and titled “Let this past talk to this present” he lambasted the philosophers and thinkers of Europe’s 19th century (such as Voltaire and Hegel) for accepting the principle of slavery.  Wole said “All who have the passion for peace must make a choice: Either they include peace in this modern world, bring it to rational situations, and let peace participate in the spirit of human associations or force Blacks in Africa to kneel in abject conditions and deny them human dignity.  There is nothing more pressing than suppressing racism and apartheid; their structures have got to be dismantled.”

Historian and Egyptology from Senegal, Cheikh Anata Diop (1923-86) published “Negro Nations and culture, 1954”.  He claimed that African civilization precedes Greek civilization that borrowed form and content via Egypt of Antiquity.  Colonial powers were ready to admit that the black skinned (from head to toe) and the frizzled hair Egyptians were no proof enough to claim that the civilization of Egypt of Antiquity was necessarily African. This awkward logic was necessary in order to colonize Africa as devoid of civilizations, rational people, and high spiritual capacity.  European Egyptology erudite went as far as proclaiming that it was “inadmissible” that Ancient Egypt in Africa was a Black civilization.  Diop book was published in several languages and the Blacks in the USA used it for renewal of their civilized roots.

Note: You may refer to my new category “Black culture/Creole” for short biographies and literary samples of Black leaders and intellectuals.

Part two: What is your cult? (Jan. 15, 2010)

The “Pendulum of Foucault” by Umberto Eco; part two

The book query three authors specializing in the occult or diabolic manuscripts that were written and published in Europe in the last 600 years after the persecution of the Templar Knights.

The authors tried to put together the many pieces of the puzzle that were gleamed from ancient manuscripts in order to construct a rational and logical story of Europe history events.

The Templar Knights were persecuted around 1344 by the French monarch Philip Le Bel and the pope of Rome: Templar Knights over extended their power base in acquiring vast lands and lending money to monarchs and princes and had become the most influential secret organization in Europe. The “initiates” or members were willing to die rather than divulge secrets.

The story starts from a cryptic message that it was attributed to the Templar Knights and found in the town of Provins in south-west France near the Cathar sect region. The various interpretations led to the belief that the fleeing Knights took refuge in the town of Tomar in Portugal and devised a plan to be executed for a period of 600 years.

Every 120 years, the headquarters of the “Invisible 36 Superiors” would be relocated to six different places so that each headquarters would relinquish the secret to the next headquarters.

Apparently, there are two secrets.

The initial secret was of religious nature and it became a cover up to the second secret for dominating the world.  The initial cult was based on the premises that either Jesus was not crucified and was whisked to Marseille in France and his descended initiated the Merovingian French monarchic dynasty or that Jesus died but Marie Magdalena was impregnated by Jesus and was whisked away to start a new dynasty.

The other more enduring secret says that earth underground is traversed by currents that can be controlled to spread havoc on earth crust if only the center or “Umbilicus” of the current could be determined; the center could be discovered if the entire pieces of a particular world cartographical chart can be put together and the sun ray hitting the right location on June 23 or Saint John Day at the beginning of earth summer solstice.

A quick summary of part one might be needed.  The plan would move from Tomar in 1344 to Scotland in 1464, then to Paris in 1584 at Saint Martin des Champs, then to Germany in 1704 at Marienburg near Dantzig, then to Bulgaria in 1824, and finally to Jerusalem (The Rock) in 1944.

The headquarters was transferred to Scotland but the next transfer to Paris didn’t take place and problems started. Every sub-cult wanted to put the pieces together all by itself since serious discontinuity of the pieces of the plan to rule the world was ruined.

One rumor is that the Jewish Diaspora got wind that the Christians have an important secret and got into their own investigative whirlwind and the Kabbala cult was expanded.  The ghettos were targeted for information because the abbot Pic de la Mirandolla referred in one of his speeches that Hebrew is the language to learn in order to decipher the cryptic messages using the Talmud.  The trend became to learn Hebrew and applying all kinds of combinational cryptology on the Talmud.

In fact, the Templar Knights had no connections with the Jewish religion; they had no Jewish sources or learned Hebrew.  The Free Masons inherited their cult from the Templar and added this myth related to Hiram and the Temple of Jerusalem.

Another rumor was that the Jesuits organization of Ignacio de Loyola was attuned to these secrets and working to put together the puzzle; the Jesuits were behind switching from the Julian to the Georgian calendar?  Anyway, France’s Grand Master Guillaume Postel died in 1581 and a Jesuit abbot confessed him.

Francis Bacon traveled to Prussia to connect with the Grand Master in Marienburg and he instituted many Templar Knights cults around Europe to gather information.

Most of the scholars in Europe were initiates in one or more of these cults such as Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, Voltaire, Condorcet, Diderot, d’Alembert, Lavoisier, Goethe, Mirabeau, Jules Verne, Francis Bacon, and on.   

Alexander Dumas wrote “Joseph Balsamo”, representing a Grand Master of Templar Knights; most of the heroes of Jules Verne are permutations on Cultists names such as “John Garral” in reference to the Graal or Robur le Conquerent and many of his novels are located underground and in the bowel of earth.  The frenzied endeavors to constructing vast underground tunnels, sewer systems, and metro lines in most European Capitals were decided and initiated by cultist sects; Salomon de Caus, one of the initiates, started the sewer system in Paris around 1665 at the demand of Colbert; Paris ended up with 23 kilometers of underground system.

Napoleon summoned the Jews in Europe to a conclave in 1806; the name of the convention was “Grand Sanhedrin”.  Apparently, Napoleon needed three pieces of the puzzle; since Napoleon failed to invade England then he wanted the last piece of the puzzle that he judged would be in the hands of the Jewish cults, the hierosolymitaine supposed to be waiting in Jerusalem (don’t ask me what is this sect).  The piece of puzzle, before the last, was supposed in the hands of the Paulician sect settled in Russia.

Who are the Paulicians? The sect is one of the hundreds of “heretic” Christian sects according to the Orthodox Byzantium Church. The Paulician refuses the Ancient Testament, the sacraments, despises the cross, and does not honor the Virgin Mary: she was just a fast conduit to Christ already made in heaven.  The sect became widespread and engaged in many wars along side the Byzantium Empire; it reached the Euphrates River in Syria and established communities in the Arabic Peninsula. Emperor Basil of Byzantium ended up persecuting the Paulician sect that fled to Slavic lands.

Now, the Orthodox Synod in Moscow lambasted Napoleon as trying to establish the antichrist reign and rule the world. Napoleon would in 1812 invade Russia to connect with the Paulician branch of the Templar Knights and fail in his endeavor.

Baron von Brunswick convened all the European Templar branches to reaching a consensus: the cultists met and the meeting failed.

The secret service of Tsar Nicholas II, the Okhrana, disseminated protocols in ancient manuscripts and labeled it “Protocols of the Wises of Sion” and the Jews were persecuted in order to get a piece of the puzzle.

Hitler also wanted a piece of the pie.  He tried to invade England and Russia for the same reasons.  Hitler was very meticulous in killing as many Jews as possible, in a well oiled process, in order to discover the secret of the hierosolymitaine branch.

At this stage, the authors of the occults realized that the story was advancing in the wrong direction.

Since the Templar Knights had no connections with Jewish sources then the last branch is not in Jerusalem but the fort of Alamut in the south-east region of the Caspian Sea.  The “Old of the Mountain” was Hassan Ibn Al Sabbah who instituted what the European called the “Assassins sect” based on the word “hashasheen” or those that consumed hashish.

The initiates of Al Sabbah had terrorized all Moslem monarchs and princes and frightened the Crusaders when they attempted to kill a few of their leaders.  The Templar Knights were owed by this sect and valued those fearless initiates and connect with Al Sabbah sect and learned their underground current secret, their organization, and the techniques for training suicidal members.

Al Sabbah would kidnap select young men, drug them, and then move them to the fort.  The young man would wake up and be feasted for many weeks with best food, women, hashish, and everything that might give the man the impression of transplanted in heaven.  Then, when time is ripe, the young man would be drugged again and relocated outside the fort Alamut with instructions.  The move would be to kill an enemy at very close range and then commit suicide (feddayins) if not killed on the spot.  Sultan Salah El Din came very close to be assassinated twice and he decided to desist persecuting this sect.

The sect of Al Sabbah is a variant of the Shiaa Islamic schism: they believe that Ali, the son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad, is also a prophet as are all his descendents; the last prophet is to unveil his existence at the end of time.  This sect is one of the Ismailia sects that the Fatimid dynasty in Egypt disseminated.  The Druze sect in Lebanon is a variant of Ismailia.  Actually, one of the misinterpretations in transcribing manuscripts was confounding Ismaili with Israeli.

In the end, the authors interpreted the cryptic message the right way: the message was based on a commission list of a merchant at Provins; this list was not hidden in a case encrusted with diamonds but a rotting one. Actually, the commission list mentions streets, churches, and forts that are located in the town of Provins.  The town was famous for clothing and growing red flowers imported from Syria during the crusading campaigns.  The merchant jotted down in short hand the locations to deliver six bouquets of roses, 6 roses in each bouquet for 20 sous, for a total of 120 sous.

The cultist mentality wrecked havoc in Europe for 600 years based on rumors and the need for secrets to assemble people in organizations and associations.

Cultists are “Big” kids in need of secrets to perpetuate before merging into adulthood.

Famous Manuscripts Banned by the Vatican: (Part 2, April 19, 2009)

Thousands of literary works were indexed by the Vatican from around 1200 to 1966.

Virtually no author was spared indexing. Pascal, Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, Rousseau, Kant, Diderot, Stendhal, Lamartine, Hugo, Flaubert, Balzac, Saint-Simon, Proudhon, Zola, Sartre, and even Gide were indexed for part of their work. 

Voltaire was the most indexed: each of his manuscripts was automatically indexed before reading it. Voltaire would occasionally sign Ecralinf meaning (Let us crush the despicable infamous Church of Rome)

Ironically, Darwin, Karl Marx, and Hitler were spared INDEXING.

The Defender of Peace” by Marsile of Padua (Rector of the University of Paris) is published in 1324 and banned by the Church. The manuscript said that the function of governance does not suit the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) because this urge for domination of the Church is the bane of all discords.  Communities should be governed by their own councils.

Baruch Spinoza published “Treaty on Theological-Politics” in 1670.  He is excommunicated (herem) by the Jewish Wise Men of the synagogue of Amsterdam and later indexed by the Vatican. Spinoza claimed that the Torah is false, that soul dies with the body, and that God exist only philosophically.  Religions instituted a God with 7 main characteristics so that their logical scaffold can hold: God should be One, Unique, Omnipresent, has absolute authority and rights over everything, that obeisance to God consist in justice and charity, that Heaven and Hell are the consequences of our behaviors, and finally that God is forgiving because everyone is a sinner. Faith does not dwell on whether God is fire, spirit, light, or thought.

Pierre-Augustin de Beaumarchais published “The Wedding of Figaro” in 1781. This manuscript said of the aristocrats “You were given the pain of being born, and nothing else”; and thus was blamed for disturbing the social construct.  Beaumarchais published also “The Barber of Seville”

“Praise of Folly” (L’Eloge de la Folie) by Erasmus of Rotterdam was indexed in 1511.  Under the mask of irony, Erasmus creates a Foul dominating the World and supported by ignorant idiots with humongous Ego; he attacks the theologians and scholastic specialties whom thrive in adding subtlety over subtlety in order to obscure any kind of comprehension.  In just the same century, the manuscript is re-edited 600 times.

“The Prince” of Nicolas Machiavelli is published in 1513 in Florence.  The book explains how a Prince should behave to acquire and then retain power and would be one of the founders of modern political thinking.

“The Third Book” of Francois Rabelais was published in 1532.  The previous publications “Pantagruel” and “Gargantua” were not spared indexing too.  The art of mockery far exceed that of Erasmus and his farces scorch all the princes.  Moliere would rely on Rabelais’ works for his comedies.

The Essays” of about 107 of essays by Michel Montaigne are published as of 1580 and was censured by the Church Inquisition.  The Church didn’t like the offhandedness of mixing sacred topics with profane subjects and the manuscript was judged morally too permissive.

“The new Stories” succeeds the famous fables of Jean de la Fontaine and are published as of 1674 and mocks the clerics and was indexed for “corrupting the moral and inspiring libertine behaviors”.  Before he dies, his confessor forced him to recant, and he did so that he may die in peace of that pest of cleric.

“The Spirit of Laws” by Charles-Louis of Montesquieu was published in Switzerland in 1748 to avoid censuring.  The author demanded that the three branches of executive, legislative, and justice enjoy independent powers for check and balance in governance.

“Therese the Philosopher” by Jean-Baptiste Boyer was published in 1748, in the same year that “Fanny Hill” of John Cleland was published.  This manuscript described in details the bacchant sacrilegious ceremonies that a Pope relished. The Marquis of Sade would imitate that genre of pornography.  It is rumored that these kinds of books influenced the French Revolution more than any other manuscripts.  The French National Library cataloged this book under “Hell” section.

“Emile” by Jean-Jacques Rousseau was published in 1762.  Rousseau offered a new educational system for kids so that the natural kindness of humankind is preserved; that kids enjoy their lives as kids and refrain from reading before the age of 12; that they wear loose garments to play leisurely.  The manuscript was indexed and publicly burned in Paris for inciting man to follow his instincts.  Rousseau will publish “The Social Contract” in 1766 and Geneva Council banished it.  In reaction, Rousseau abandoned his Switzerland nationality.


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