Cui dono lepidum novum labellum, To whom do I dedicate this new, charming little book, Arida modo pumice expolitum, just now polished with a dry pumice stone? Corneli tibi namque tu solebas, To you, Cornelius, for you were accustomed, meas esse aliquid putare nugas, to think that my nonsense was something, iam tum cum ausus es unus Italorum, then already when you alone of Italians, omne aevum tribus explicare cartis, dared to unfold every age in three papyrus rolls, doctis Iuppiter et laboriosis, learned, Jupiter, and full of labor. Quare habe tibi quidquid hoc libelli, Therefore, have for yourself whatever this is of a little book, ualecumque quod o patrona virgo of whatever sort; which, O patron maiden, plus uno maneat perenne saeclo, may it remain everlasting, more than one lifetime.
Causes of World War II: Susan Heep, Pinterest.
Geneva Disarmament Conference 1932
“This was a success for Hitler because: a. it wrecked the conference b. it left him free to rearm however he wanted c. it drove a wedge between the French and the British d. British politicians, while they were trying to persuade Germany to stay in the Conference, had agreed in principle that the arms clauses of the Treaty of Versailles were too harsh.”
Prelude to World War II and the Partition of British India
Hitler’s virulent anti-Semitism had, since 1933, helped fuel his rise to dictatorial power over Europe, whose aggressive expansion into defenseless Czechoslovakia in 1938 was sanctioned by Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain at Munich. On the eve of World War II Chamberlain spoke of his pathetic betrayal as “Peace with Honour” claiming it would bring ‘peace in our time’ Gandhi when asked what he thought about the persecution of Jews, replied, “My sympathies are all with the Jews. The tyrants of old never went so mad as Hitler. Gandhi expressed his tacit support of Chamberlain’s policy and called for simultaneous world disarmament: “I am as certain of it as I am sitting here, that this heroic act would open Herr Hitler’s eyes and disarm him.” To Agatha Harrison he wrote “My participation in the event of war would be no participation.” Gandhi’s Passion: The Life and Legacy of Mahatma Gandhi, By Stanley Wolpert.
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. William Shakespeare.
Trust dies but mistrust blossoms. Sophocles.
The dome of eternity.
The concept of universal harmony as it was understood during the Renaissance originated with Pythagorean and Platonic proportional systems found in geometry, music, and ultimately, nature (Koenigsberger, p. 173). The ideas of many mathematicians and philosophers were used in Brunelleschi‘s dome and Renaissance building techniques. ―Several examples of conceptions of harmony in theories of art and architecture, and also in suppositions about nature and reality, have been brought forward [by scholars].‖ (Koenigsberger, p. 173). Notions of harmony and beauty are integral aspects of the architecture and art of this period. One of the most important philosophical aspects of the dome is its shape. Although the dome is not a perfect sphere, it is intended to represent one. The spherical shape has many philosophical implications. The sphere is derived form the shape of a circle. The circle has been used to represent several key philosophical ideas in Renaissance culture. The origins of this philosophical context go back to the ancient Greeks, particularly the philosophy of Plato. What is important about the philosophy of the circle is not any particular circular shape. It is the universal idea of the circle that is relevant. There are certain properties that all circles possess. The line that forms a circle continues indefinitely on its prescribed path, symbolizing eternity. Eternity is an important concept in Christianity, so the circle was an important icon in Medieval and Renaissance art. The circle is also associated with God and Heaven, which are eternal according to Christian thought. Anthony Kenny conveys Plato‘s Idea of the circle in a nutshell: ―My subjective concept of the circle — my understanding of what ‗circle‘ means — is not the same as the Idea of the circle, because the Idea is an objective reality that is not the property of any individual mind‖ (p. 50). This statement can be better understood by exploring Plato‘s philosophy of Forms. According to Plato, everything in the physical world is a copy or shadow of a universal Idea. This world of universal Ideas or Forms is ideal and unchanging. The universals are Ideas themselves and the copies of the Ideas in the physical world are referred to as Particulars. One way to approach this philosophy is via Plato‘s cave analogy (cf. 521c-535a of Plato‘s Republic). Plato presented his concept of education by describing a cave in which humans are chained to a wall and cannot move. In front of them is a fire that provides light. Objects in the outside world, which the imprisoned ones cannot see, are reflected as shadows on the wall in front of them, so they can only understand the physical objects outside of the cave as shadows. In the analogy, the real objects outside are the universal Forms, while the shadows of the objects visible inside of the cave are Particulars. So the world of Ideas is more real than the physical world for Plato, but humans are shackled to the physical world, unable to fully experience universal Forms. Plato‘s philosophy parallels the concept of Idealism. The world of Forms is ideal, from which everything in the physical world is a copy. So Plato espouses the idea that the Ideal does exist, but humans cannot fully 6 experience it. Plato‘s philosophy was easily reconcilable with Christian thought during the Renaissance. For Renaissance thinkers, God is part of the ideal world, while humans inhabit the imperfect physical world.
Go to the link above for chapter and verse on how the rule of law came into being and is still the same in definition and condition after millenia. Tyrants learn nothing from law as they become blessed with the ability to abuse power at will and terrorize truth.
The Importance of Self-Reliance
Emerson begins his major work on individualism by asserting the importance of thinking for oneself rather than meekly accepting other people’s ideas. As in almost all of his work, he promotes individual experience over the knowledge gained from books: “To believe that what is true in your private heart is true for all men — that is genius.” The person who scorns personal intuition and, instead, chooses to rely on others’ opinions lacks the creative power necessary for robust, bold individualism. This absence of conviction results not in different ideas, as this person expects, but in the acceptance of the same ideas — now secondhand thoughts — that this person initially intuited.
The lesson Emerson would have us learn? “Trust thyself,” a motto that ties together this first section of the essay. To rely on others’ judgments is cowardly, without inspiration or hope. A person with self-esteem, on the other hand, exhibits originality and is childlike — unspoiled by selfish needs — yet mature. It is to this adventure of self-trust that Emerson invites us: We are to be guides and adventurers, destined to participate in an act of creation modeled on the classical myth of bringing order out of chaos.
Although we might question his characterizing the self-esteemed individual as childlike, Emerson maintains that children provide models of self-reliant behavior because they are too young to be cynical, hesitant, or hypocritical. He draws an analogy between boys and the idealized individual: Both are masters of self-reliance because they apply their own standards to all they see, and because their loyalties cannot be coerced. This rebellious individualism contrasts with the attitude of cautious adults, who, because they are overly concerned with reputation, approval, and the opinion of others, are always hesitant or unsure; consequently, adults have great difficulty acting spontaneously or genuinely.
Emerson now focuses his attention on the importance of an individual’s resisting pressure to conform to external norms, including those of society, which conspires to defeat self-reliance in its members. The process of so-called “maturing” becomes a process of conforming that Emerson challenges. In the paragraph that begins with the characteristic aphorism “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist,” he asserts a radical, even extreme, position on the matter. Responding to the objection that devotedly following one’s inner voice is wrong because the intuition may be evil, he writes, “No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature . . . the only right is what is after my constitution, the only wrong what is against it.” In other words, it is better to be true to an evil nature than to behave “correctly” because of society’s demands or conventions.
The non-conformist in Emerson rejects many of society’s moral sentiments. For example, he claims that an abolitionist should worry more about his or her own family and community at home than about “black folk a thousand miles off,” and he chides people who give money to the poor. “Are they my poor?” he asks. He refuses to support morality through donations to organizations rather than directly to individuals. The concrete act of charity, in other words, is real and superior to abstract or theoretical morality.
In a subdued, even gentle voice, Emerson states that it is better to live truly and obscurely than to have one’s goodness extolled in public. It makes no difference to him whether his actions are praised or ignored. The important thing is to act independently: “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think . . . the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” Note that Emerson contrasts the individual to society — “the crowd” — but does not advocate the individual’s physically withdrawing from other people. There is a difference between enjoying solitude and being a social hermit.
Outlining his reasons for objecting to conformity, Emerson asserts that acquiescing to public opinion wastes a person’s life. Those around you never get to know your real personality. Even worse, the time spent maintaining allegiances to “communities of opinion” saps the energy needed in the vital act of creation — the most important activity in our lives — and distracts us from making any unique contribution to society. Conformity corrupts with a falseness that pervades our lives and our every action: “. . . every truth is not quite true.” Finally, followers of public opinion are recognized as hypocrites even by the awkwardness and falsity of their facial expressions.
Shifting the discussion to how the ideal individual is treated, Emerson notes two enemies of the independent thinker: society’s disapproval or scorn, and the individual’s own sense of consistency. Consistency becomes a major theme in the discussion as he shows how it restrains independence and growth.
Although the scorn of “the cultivated classes” is unpleasant, it is, according to Emerson, relatively easy to ignore because it tends to be polite. However, the outrage of the masses is another matter; only the unusually independent person can stand firmly against the rancor of the whole of society.
The urge to remain consistent with past actions and beliefs inhibits the full expression of an individual’s nature. The metaphor of a corpse as the receptacle of memory is a shocking — but apt — image of the individual who is afraid of contradiction. In this vivid image of the “corpse of . . . memory,” Emerson asks why people hold onto old beliefs or positions merely because they have taken these positions in the past. Being obsessed with whether or not you remain constant in your beliefs needlessly drains energy — as does conformity — from the act of living. After all, becoming mature involves the evolution of ideas, which is the wellspring of creativity. It is most important to review constantly and to reevaluate past decisions and opinions, and, if necessary, to escape from old ideas by admitting that they are faulty, just as the biblical Joseph fled from a seducer by leaving his coat in her hands, an image particularly potent in characterizing the pressure to conform as both seductive and degrading.
It is criminal to spend the income from the sale of intoxicants on the education of the nation’s children or other public services. The government must overcome the temptation of using such revenue for nation-building purposes. Experience has shown that the moral and physical gain of the abstainer more than makes up for the loss of this tainted revenue. If we eradicate the evil, we will easily find other ways and means of increasing the nation’s income. (Mahatma Gandhi. Harijan. 21 September 1947)