Author Topic: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.  (Read 7325 times)

Razgovory

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #225 on: July 19, 2019, 12:54:50 pm »
I would characterize it as a religion, but it was a religion much more like the Greek Philosophical religions such as Neo-Platoism or Pythagorasism.  Buddhism might also be one, but I'm not informed enough on the subject to speak confidently.  Religion need not be received by a higher power, or even have a higher power.  It can come from rationalism.
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Malthus

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #226 on: July 19, 2019, 01:09:19 pm »
I would characterize it as a religion, but it was a religion much more like the Greek Philosophical religions such as Neo-Platoism or Pythagorasism.  Buddhism might also be one, but I'm not informed enough on the subject to speak confidently.  Religion need not be received by a higher power, or even have a higher power.  It can come from rationalism.

The problem is that there is nothing really to differentiate these "religions" from any philosophy - and every urban-level society we know of has some sort of philosophy.

The argument was originally about the deleterious impact of religion on progress. If the apparent problem is not religion, but philosophy in general, the argument becomes a lot more difficult to sustain.
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Malthus

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #227 on: July 19, 2019, 01:20:01 pm »
Whether Buddhism is a religion or not depends entirely on what form it takes.

For 99% of Buddhists throughout history, it's most definitely a religion. Indeed, in some forms it's in some ways basically indistinguishable from Catholicism - it has saints, heaven and hell, prayers, monks and nuns, etc.

The actual teachings of the Buddha, as far as we can discern, are not religious - it's an approach to life. "Philosophical Buddhism" is popular in the West, but the actual numbers of people following it are tiny compared to the number following it in one of its expressly religious forms.   

Same is true for Taoism. The actual Taoist classics, the Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu, are not works or religion, but of philosophy. "Taoism", however, as actually practiced, is a religion - though there have always been "philosophical Taoists" in China, usually among the inteligensia and in particular, among artists - the Chinese arts, in particular calligraphy and painting, were hugely influenced by philosophical Taoism.

 
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 01:24:10 pm by Malthus »
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Berkut

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #228 on: July 19, 2019, 02:09:34 pm »

But there are lgitimate concerns about Islamic ideas in the West in general, in places that are more vulnerable to radicalism because they are not as equipped to integrate, or where the numbers are just not the same.

This can be a concern, but Fundamentalist Christian thought in the US is the bigger threat here, both because of the numbers of adherents and the general acceptance of it in the wider populace as opposed to Islam.

I think my credentials as someone worried about fundy Christian influence on US politics are well established. :P
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Berkut

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #229 on: July 19, 2019, 02:14:01 pm »

The argument was originally about the deleterious impact of religion on progress.

Correction: THe argument was originally about the deleterious impact on progress of a specific religion on a specific time.

I don't think it is at all reasonable to say "All religious ideas have a deleterious impact on progress". That is clearly not true theoretically, nor in actual practical reality.
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Malthus

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #230 on: July 19, 2019, 02:50:25 pm »

The argument was originally about the deleterious impact of religion on progress.

Correction: THe argument was originally about the deleterious impact on progress of a specific religion on a specific time.

I don't think it is at all reasonable to say "All religious ideas have a deleterious impact on progress". That is clearly not true theoretically, nor in actual practical reality.

Fair enough.

Though by the same token, it is worth pointing out that, in some nations, non-religious ideas have had a deleterious impact on progress.

I do not think it adds to the analysis by defining these non-religious ideas as, in essence, religious.

Rather, the question should be: among ideas, both religious and not, what about them has had deleterious effects on progress, and how significant were those effects when compared with other factors that likewise had deleterious effects on progress?

In the case of China, an argument can be made that Neo-Confucianism, as embodied in the Chinese exam system in particular, had a definite deleterious impact on progress - despite the fact that Neo-Confucianism was, in fact, a rational and humanistic philosophy, and in the West at least, rationalism and humanism are usually thought of as creating progress.

So what has this in common with (say) Wahhabi Islam? Certainly not much, when it comes to the content of their respective ideas!

Perhaps the key is this: in both cases, the dominant ideas achieved what amounted to a strangle-hold over the majority of intellectuals. The real issue is not necessarily the extremism of the content of ideas (Wahhabi Islam is extreme and Neo-Confucianism is not), but rather the degree to which they become unquestioned. Neo-Confucianism managed to do this through the support of the official bureaucracy as represented by the exam system - you only got a position as an official if you could write complex essays based on the Neo-Confucian interpretation of the Confucian classics. Wahhabis used a more primitive method, murderous persecution.

In the West, there were lots of ideas every bit as extreme as Wahhabi Islam - for example, look at England during the 17th century, with Puritans running around smashing Churches and outlawing dancing, with Fifth Monarchy Men trying to take over London in the name of "King Jesus"; the difference being, that no one sect was able to impose its ideas on everyone to the point where they became unquestioned. England in particular was forced to find ways of living with a population radically divided among irreconcilable cults, and while it's response to that seems primitive by our standards, it eventually lead to the series of compromises that - eventually - required more or less freedom of thought.

Neo-Confucianism is more like the ancient Greek doctrine of the "humours" in medicine - a set of ideas that, not religious in any way themselves, because ossified as orthodoxy and so retarded actual progress, just as medical theory could only advance when the theory of "humours" was discarded. The thesis here is that it isn't the content of ideas that is harmful to progress, but rather the ability of ideas to become orthodoxy that is harmful - and even quite benign ideas can do this. Though of course it is more noticeable and obnoxious if the ideas are not benign.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2019, 02:52:11 pm by Malthus »
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Monoriu

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #231 on: July 19, 2019, 05:39:53 pm »
I think one of the problems of Confucianism is that, while it attempts to address real world problems with real world solutions, it tends to focus on human relationships almost exclusively.  There is very little on finding the truth or about the relationship between humans and the world.  So when I read Chinese history books there is a lot of information on politics, wars, moral stories, etc.  Very little on science, economics, statistics, inventions.  The ideal is always perfect harmony among people, rather than finding out about the fundamental laws of nature.  And when there is a conflict between the two, harmony wins.  It is troublesome when the guy in charge declares that the earth is flat. 

grumbler

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #232 on: July 19, 2019, 06:48:03 pm »
I would argue against characterizing Neo-Confucianism as a "religion". If it can rightfully be a "religion", any school of thought or philosophy is a "religion" and the term loses any distinct meaning. 

Indeed, Neo-Confucianism was seen by its adherents as a humanistic and rationalistic reaction against ideas we would, in fact, more readily consider "religious": namely, Buddhism and Taoism. Its critics argued that Neo-Confucianism was itself 'infected' with concepts taken from Buddhism and, in particular, Taoism, but that's not really the same thing as it being a religion: the concepts that Neo-Confucianism took from Taoism were not particularly a "religious" way of seeing the world, more a philosophical one (namely, a concern with understanding humanity's relationship with the universe, whether morality is innate or learned, etc.).

The cornerstones of Neo-Confucianism weren't all that different from those of the Enlightenment in the West: the idea that reality is something that could be perceived through reason, and an emphasis on humanism. Which raises the question as to why Neo-Confucianism never lead to any flowering of science etc. The reason seems to be that Chinese philosophy remained straight-jacketed by pre-existing concepts, much as Western philosophy, for centuries, remained straight-jacketed by those derived from ancient Greece. 

My argument that "Confucianism (and especially Neo-Confucianism) was, for all intents and purposes, a religion" is not, obviously, an argument that it was literally, a religion, any more that my argument that Marxism was one, even though many of its followers acted pretty much exactly like it was one.

Neo-Confucianism took a lot of the mystical elements of Taoism, in particular the concept of a separate "heaven" that acted, not in accordance with the will of some 'gods' or other, but, rather, as a force in the universe much like gravity - pervasive, but not completely understood.  The tenets of Neo-Confucianism were not subject to change through observation and correction; they were based on universal truths (including the truth that ritual had an impact on the environment, and not just the person engaging in the ritual).  The key to understanding the burden the Confucianism to some extent, and Neo-Confucianism to a greater extent, placed on modernization was that the Chinese were sure they had the answer to the problems of society, and so were dismissive of any knowledge or progress that didn't bring them closer to that answer.  That's what religions effectively do to retard progress.
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Razgovory

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #233 on: July 19, 2019, 07:11:06 pm »
I would characterize it as a religion, but it was a religion much more like the Greek Philosophical religions such as Neo-Platoism or Pythagorasism.  Buddhism might also be one, but I'm not informed enough on the subject to speak confidently.  Religion need not be received by a higher power, or even have a higher power.  It can come from rationalism.

The problem is that there is nothing really to differentiate these "religions" from any philosophy - and every urban-level society we know of has some sort of philosophy.

The argument was originally about the deleterious impact of religion on progress. If the apparent problem is not religion, but philosophy in general, the argument becomes a lot more difficult to sustain.


Yes, it does become rather hard to sustain doesn't it?  I should point out that the philosophy I mentioned were very much religious.  Pythagoras had a cult and Neo-Platoism was the preferred religion of the Emperor Julian.  Unlike Marxism these religions focused very heavily on metaphysics and promoted belief such Monad and a demiurge.
I've given it serious thought. I must scorn the ways of my family, and seek a Japanese woman to yield me my progeny. He shall live in the lands of the east, and be well tutored in his sacred trust to weave the best traditions of Japan and the Sacred South together, until such time as he (or, indeed his house, which will periodically require infusion of both Southern and Japanese bloodlines of note) can deliver to the South it's independence, either in this world or in space.  -Lettow April of 2011

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garbon

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #234 on: July 23, 2019, 06:09:37 am »
Poor Hunt. Just a third.
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HVC

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #235 on: July 23, 2019, 06:20:08 am »
Listened to the announcement on the radio. Were they trying to be the oscars or something?
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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #236 on: July 23, 2019, 06:56:19 am »
One thing I am now slightly surprised didn't get more attention was his casual use of "oppidans" on what IIRC was the people of Britain in general.

I know its Eton slang for pupils who board in town, but also -as I've recently realised reading a book on Augustus- was the Roman word for the towns of the conquered natives.

Hardly a flattering association. But nobody seems to mind.



mongers

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #237 on: July 23, 2019, 07:13:56 am »
One thing I am now slightly surprised didn't get more attention was his casual use of "oppidans" on what IIRC was the people of Britain in general.

I know its Eton slang for pupils who board in town, but also -as I've recently realised reading a book on Augustus- was the Roman word for the towns of the conquered natives.

Hardly a flattering association. But nobody seems to mind.

What do you expect from our soon to be bullshitter in chief.

All of these classical illusions are just frippery to cover up the core problem with him, he wings it, fobbing off people with this comedy/charm act, because he has no clear policy or set of internally consistent set of values.

In other words the Boris Johnson show is camouflage for a colossal ambition with delusions of being the great statesman, but from someone unwilling to have ever put in the necessary serious work.
"We have it in our power to begin the world over again"

mongers

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #238 on: July 23, 2019, 07:32:38 am »

Quote

Ivanka Trump 
@IvankaTrump
    
Congratulations @BorisJohnson on becoming the next Prime Minister of the United Kingston.


 :huh:
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garbon

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Re: Prime Minister BoJo It Is.
« Reply #239 on: July 23, 2019, 07:33:36 am »
The Trumps love him.
"I've never been quite sure what the point of a eunuch is, if truth be told. It seems to me they're only men with the useful bits cut off."

I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows, but now the damned things have learned to swim.