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as i see it - Pt. IV


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#21 Sasun

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 01:13 PM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 16 2004, 01:59 PM)
Sasun:
you continue to be a source of inspiration to me.
thank you. / ara

I see, in your twisted world you are a hero exposing bigots, charlatans, bishops, fanatics, lunatics, bloodsuckers, etc... people just like me.

#22 Armen

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 01:33 PM

Sasun jan, you should take it as an honor (the inspiration thing) wink.gif . You see, people like me or Domino are not even inspirational smile.gif

#23 gamavor

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 09:13 PM

Do you all think Don Kihote will still be Don Kihote witout wind-mills? smile.gif

#24 ara baliozian

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 11:48 AM

Wednesday, November 17, 2004
*****************************************
It is easy to speak in the name of God, much more difficult to act with His wisdom.
*
Fanatics in one religion or ideology will spawn counter-fanatics in another. The dominant voices in both the Middle East and America today are those of fundamentalists: imams and televangelists -- charlatans who promise salvation in the next world by making a hell of this one.
*
What is anxiety? According to Rollo May, "anxiety comes from not being able to know the world you are in, not being able to orient yourself in your own existence."
Religions and ideologies are popular because they provide us with a compass. But since the north in one compass is the south in another, the result has been not harmony and peace but more confusion, anxiety and conflict.
*
In an enlightened world what will be abolished is not religion but its dogmas.
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Separation of church and state is a phony concept. Instead, we should speak of separation of church and its false claim of infallibility.
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If, in five or ten years, a weapon of mass destruction kills a million Americans, and Americans retaliate by killing ten million Arabs, (assuming the weapon is traced back to them), then all past massacres will become ancient history and no one will want to read about them because everyone will live in fear of being the next victim of a holocaust.
*
What the Turks did to us at the turn of the last century should concern us. But what we have been doing to ourselves should concern us even more.
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#25 ara baliozian

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Posted 18 November 2004 - 12:45 PM

Thursday, November 18, 2004
****************************************
Politicians are adept at making you think you are thinking when in fact you are parroting slogans of their own contrivance.
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The unspoken aim of an elite is the systematic moronization of the masses.
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We are all victims of politicians, if not the enemy’s than our own. People of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your charlatans.
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According to the Turkish version of the story, it was Bulgarians, Greeks and Armenians who provoked Ottoman massacres by killing Turkish civilians. If true, the question we should ask is: “Why did law-abiding subjects of the Empire suddenly behave like bloodthirsty savages?”
It can be said of massacres, what Merleau-Ponty says of torture:
“It is said, and it is true, that torture is the answer to terrorism. This does not justify torture. We ought to have acted in such a way that terrorism would not have arisen.”
*
Democracy may also be defined as fascism modified by anti-fascist checks and balances, which sometimes fail to check and balance.
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Thomas Mann: “The intellectual man is almost as much interested in painful truths as the fool is in those which flatter him.”
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#26 ara baliozian

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 01:04 PM

Friday, November 19, 2004
************************************
We cannot change history, but we can try to understand it, beginning with the fact that political decisions are not acts of God (like earthquakes and volcanoes) but acts of men, with their own set of prejudices, loyalties, interests, blind spots, limitations, idiosyncrasies, fears, doubts, and anxieties. In short, politicians are people like us, totally disqualified to assert infallibility.
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History may be summed up as a slow-motion avalanche of blunders and miscalculations by men of power whose central concern is to either maintain or increase their powers.
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Talleyrand is right: sometimes errors of judgment can be far worse than crimes.
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It has been said, and it is true, that we see things not as they are, but as we are. Our understanding is therefore enhanced whenever we think against ourselves, or we view reality as a succession of traps and ambushes.
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A version of the past that supports a specific political agenda cannot be right. Also, between a version that flatters our vanity and one that does not, the chances are the unflattering version will be closer to the truth.
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A Sudanese general on the genocide in Darfur: “It is not genocide; it is war, and in war bad things happen.”
Sounds familiar?
*
We have many kinds of literary awards except a Freedom of Speech Award. Can you guess why?
*
Because I dare to question the judgment and wisdom of our political leadership, I am sometimes accused of “self-hatred.” Figure that one out, if you can.
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#27 ara baliozian

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 01:19 PM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Nov 15 2004, 07:36 PM)
Ara, science is a certainty. Mathematics is a certainty. Is there any evil in them?
Just like natural sciences have absolutely certain laws, so the spiritual realm has its laws that are even more certain. But what do you know about science? You are a layman, maybe you heard something but you really don't know science. Likewise, you know nothing about spiritual laws. To you it all sounds like a bunch of lies or illusions or dogmas. But are you right? Can an ignorant man be right judging about a field he doesn't know a thing? Of course no. If you don't know mysticism then why do you question it? What makes you think that you are right hypothesizing that a chemical imbalance is happening in a mystics brain? Why can't that same thing said about your brain if we are going to make empty speculations?

What evil are you talking about? Hitler and mysticism? You once again confirm your ignorance of mystic traditions. Wishful thinking and starting a world war are absolutely not what a mystic does.

Do you realize that you have adopted a dogma yourself, which consists of questioning and rejecting anything and everything including yourself and your questioning? That is one big confusion. And if you think that the world consists of uncertainties then you should not even attempt to make any assertion whatsoever, about anything. It is hypociritical to claim that you don't know anything and at the same time prove the whole world wrong. If you don't know then stop saying anything. Nobody needs to learn how to doubt and question, everyone does that very well as you can see around.


the certainties of science and math have nothing to do with the certainties of faith and metaphysics.

everyone agrees 2+2=4, but everyone does not agree about the fundamental principles of religions.

#28 ara baliozian

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Posted 19 November 2004 - 01:21 PM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Nov 16 2004, 07:13 PM)
I see, in your twisted world you are a hero exposing bigots, charlatans, bishops, fanatics, lunatics, bloodsuckers, etc... people just like me.


why would you want to argue with one who is an ignoramus and lives in a twisted world?

i consider myself lucky indeed that we don't live in the middle ages and i am not a heretic and you are not a bishop. / ara

#29 ara baliozian

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 12:21 PM

Saturday, November 20, 2004
*********************************
It is a mistake to identify the people with the regime, especially if the regime is non-representative, and all regimes are to some extent non-representative, including democracies. Consider the case of the Bush Administration today. Roughly speaking it represents only the interests and values of only 25% of the people, since 50% don't vote and the remaining 25% voted against him. And of the 25% that voted for him, one is justifying in wondering how many of them did so on the basis of deceptive slogans that exploited their prejudices and fears. For more on this subject, see GAG RULE: ON THE SUPPRESSION OF DISSENT AND THE STIFLING OF DEMOCRACY by Lewis H. Lapham (New York, Penguin Press, 2004).
*
Speaking of the unpopularity of democracies and the ease with which they slide into fascism, Lapham writes: "Nobody ever said that democratic government was easy, which is why, during the twenty years between the last century's two world wars, it failed and was abandoned by the people of Italy, Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Albania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Austria, and Germany."
*
And finally, here is Spengler on the undemocratic nature of democracies: "A small number of superior heads, whose names are very likely not the best known, settle everything, while below them are the great mass of second-rate politicians selected through a provincially-conceived franchise to keep alive the illusion of popular self-determination."
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#30 Sasun

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Posted 20 November 2004 - 09:23 PM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 19 2004, 02:21 PM)
why would you want to argue with one who is an ignoramus and lives in a twisted world?

i consider myself lucky indeed that we don't live in the middle ages and i am not a heretic and you are not a bishop. / ara

Being ignorant myself I always argue with ignorant forumers. That you are ignorant is no news to me. But I didn't know that you also harbored so much hate to spirituality and religions and lived in such a twisted world where your critics became your executioners - that is something extraordinary.
From now on I will argue with other ignorant people who no matter how ignorant nonetheless do not have paranoic feelings towards my person even if I kept criticizing them. Have a nice career in your world and hope you sleep well at night.

#31 ara baliozian

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 11:34 AM

Sunday, November 21, 2004
*************************************
“He who knows does not speak”? Some truth in that. Socrates spoke a great deal but his central message was: “The only thing I know is that I don’t know.”
*
For every slogan there will be a counter-slogan, for the same reasons that the self-interest of one will conflict with the self-interest of another.
*
To approach history with a slogan or thesis or agenda and to defend it at all cost is to act like a lawyer who is hired to plead “not guilty" for a client he knows to be a serial killer. (Hence, the popular joke: “Please, don’t tell my mother I am a lawyer. She thinks I am a pimp.”)
*
To say that Turks are bloodthirsty savages is as racist as to imply that Armenians are compassionate because they were the first nation to convert to Christianity.
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Perhaps what I have been trying to do is to expose the charlatanism and lies of elites or men at the top of the food chain (political and religion leaders) who pretend to know better but whose knowledge is disguised self-interest.
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The American theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, believed that sin is social, not just individual. The same could be said of prejudices, intolerance, and hatred.
*
Religion is one thing, imams and bishops another.
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#32 ara baliozian

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 11:38 AM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Nov 21 2004, 03:23 AM)
Being ignorant myself I always argue with ignorant forumers. That you are ignorant is no news to me. But I didn't know that you also harbored so much hate to spirituality and religions and lived in such a twisted world where your critics became your executioners - that is something extraordinary.
From now on I will argue with other ignorant people who no matter how ignorant nonetheless do not have paranoic feelings towards my person even if I kept criticizing them. Have a nice career in your world and hope you sleep well at night.


i hope i am not the first to observe in you some very deep resentment against all those who dare to disagree with your dogmatic and intolerant assertions. if you plan to speak in defense of spiritualism, i suggest you do so in a more spiritual manner...in the name of consistency if not logic. / ara

#33 Nakharar

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Posted 21 November 2004 - 01:49 PM

Ara, you have to step out of your little flat and go out into the real world. I know you suffer from agoraphobia, which is really a fear of people actually. Maybe your mind has already started playing tricks on you. It must be difficult to rehash the same old repetitious lines in a different order every day. Go out enjoy the little pleasures of daily life of which there are many. I can assure you it will make you feel much better. At least it will help you get out of your intellectual malaise. There is no need to be so bitter and suspicious of others. You seem to be the antithesis of Rousseau. Not all of us are augres and I'm sure that Sasun isn't the inquisitor himself.

QUOTE
i hope i am not the first to observe in you some very deep resentment against all those who dare to disagree with your dogmatic and intolerant assertions.


Maybe you didn't realize it, but this couldn't have been a better description of yourself. With one difference of course. Your "assertions" are sheathed with an appearance of self-effacing enlightenment.

#34 ara baliozian

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 12:19 PM

Monday, November 22, 2004
**********************************
Jean Rostand: “Language common to all men: mathematics and erotics.”
*
Jean Rostand: “My Godlessness is no less mysterious than your God.”
*
It is said: “Do not judge a man by his own opinion of himself,” or a nation’s history by its own historians.
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The human brain is the seat of reason as well as unreason, and unreason has played a far more decisive role in human history than reason.
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The reason why we don’t understand God is that He does not want us to understand Him.
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Polish proverb: “A guest sees more in an hour that the host in a year.”
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Alexander Chase: “Memory is the thing you forget with.”
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Latin proverb: “Hay is more acceptable to an ass than gold.”
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Abbie Hoffman: “The idea that the media is there to educate us, or to inform us, is ridiculous because that’s about tenth or eleventh on their list. The first purpose of the media is to sell us shit.”
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Shavarsh Missakian: “I see charlatanism and cheap chauvinism everywhere, but not a single trace of self-sacrifice and dedication to principles and ideals.”
*
Gostan Zarian: “The Armenian nation is like a family whose members devour each other because of conflicting interests.”
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#35 ara baliozian

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Posted 22 November 2004 - 12:22 PM

QUOTE (Nakharar @ Nov 21 2004, 07:49 PM)
Ara, you have to step out of your little flat and go out into the real world. I know you suffer from agoraphobia, which is really a fear of people actually. Maybe your mind has already started playing tricks on you. It must be difficult to rehash the same old repetitious lines in a different order every day. Go out enjoy the little pleasures of daily life of which there are many. I can assure you it will make you feel much better. At least it will help you get out of your intellectual malaise. There is no need to be so bitter and suspicious of others. You seem to be the antithesis of Rousseau. Not all of us are augres and I'm sure that Sasun isn't the inquisitor himself.
Maybe you didn't realize it, but this couldn't have been a better description of yourself. With one difference of course. Your "assertions" are sheathed with an appearance of self-effacing enlightenment.


one reason i don't travel is the prospect of meeting people like you.
I urge you to go underground and stay there. you will be doing mankind a great favor! / ara

#36 Nakharar

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 09:16 AM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 22 2004, 07:22 PM)
one reason i don't travel is the prospect of meeting people like you.
I urge you to go underground and stay there. you will be doing mankind a great favor! / ara


Why should I go underground? Heaven forbid, I might bump into you.

#37 ara baliozian

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 12:32 PM

Tuesday, November 23, 2004
*************************************
Burmese proverb: “Futility: playing a harp before a buffalo.”
*
William Hazlitt: “Everyone in a crowd has the power to throw dirt: nine out of ten have the inclination.”
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Samuel Johnson: “A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.”
*
In his book of travel impressions, UN NOTRE PAYS (TROIS VOYAGES EN TROISIEME ARMENIE), Denis Donikian quotes an old lady in Yerevan as saying: “Our political leaders today are engaged in a policy of national devastation. Things are happening today that did not happen under the Soviets. Which means we are being slaughtered not with ordinary blades but with dull ones. And we are told to shut up about it.”
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Elsewhere: “I give a hundred drams to a panhandler. He says nothing – neither a thank-you nor a blessing. Nothing. Complete silence. ‘Tell me, my good man, I just gave you a hundred-dram note and you said nothing, not even a simple thanks. How come?’ ‘What’s the use of saying thank you to hundred drams? I say thank you only to those who give me a thousand or more.’”
*
To readers who complain that I repeat myself, I say: “You and I share one thing in common: a dislike of repetition. I too dream to live as an Armenian among Armenians and not to be exposed to the same old clichés ad nauseam. I too would like to read a commentary by one of our dime-a-dozen pundits that does not blame all our misfortunes on others – if not Turks then the corrupt West. I too would like to read a letter from one of our philanthropic organizations that does not end with the Panchoonie punch line: “Mi kich pogh oughargetsek” [Send us a little money], with a footnote informing me that my contribution is tax deductible. I too would like to meet an Armenian who does not just brag about Armenians being the first nation to convert to Christianity but whose words and actions are motivated by love and compassion as opposed to venom and intolerance. Will I live long enough to see these dreams realized? Did I say dreams? Make it, daydreams based on illusions, animated by wishful thinking, and born of chauvinist propaganda. Did I say daydreams? Make it, snowballs in hell.”
*
There is no God.
At last I can prove it:
Bush’s reelection.
But the Devil exists.
I can prove that too:
Dick Cheney’s reelection.
*

#38 ara baliozian

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Posted 23 November 2004 - 12:33 PM

QUOTE (Nakharar @ Nov 23 2004, 03:16 PM)
Why should I go underground? Heaven forbid, I might bump into you.


one of us must be a turk or an ottomanized armenian. / ara

#39 ara baliozian

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 12:07 PM

Wednesday, November 24, 2004
*************************************
Puzant Granian is dead. I wonder how many of my readers will recognize his name. He was a teacher, a poet, and a prolific author of fiction, essays, and criticism; also a community leader and a gifted orator.
*
I reread an interview published in 1980, where he speaks of Levon Shant (his teacher), Hamo Ohanjanian ("an undeniable moral force"), Roupen Der Minassian ("a man of immense power, spiritual as well as physical"), Gostan Zarian ("a daring explorer of the Armenian psyche"), and Nikol Aghbalian ("a writer of undeniable genius" with an "intense commitment to ideals"), and what comes to mind is the prince, in Giuseppe di Lampedusa's LEOPARD, who at one point says: "We were the leopards, the lions; those who will take our place will be little jackals, hyenas."
Our situation in a nutshell.
Jackals and hyenas.
Scorpions and frogs.
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Hindu proverb: "When an elephant is in trouble, even a frog will kick him."
Exactly! Our frogs have kicked our elephants to death.
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Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction."
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After an exchange of insults, disguised as views, with one of my gentle readers: "Now that you know me and I know you, let us do our utmost to avoid each other."
*
Between a philosopher and a slave, the state will invariably choose the slave.
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#40 Armat

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Posted 24 November 2004 - 12:57 PM

I just don’t understand how brittle and aggressive some people are in their “criticism” of Ara.
I like reading constructive criticism since there is much to learn from different points of view however calling names does not conjure up my brain cells. Why waste the energy.
Ara never claims to be infallible.




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