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as i see it - Pt. IV


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#1 ara baliozian

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Posted 12 November 2004 - 12:32 PM

Friday, November 12, 2004
************************************
Our intellectuals today do not aspire to expose the charlatans and overthrow the oppressors half as much as they do to join their ranks.
*
We are all dissidents, if not against the state, then against the dissenters.
*
It is not easy writing for readers who know better. It is even more difficult writing for readers who know everything and are never wrong. Hercules had it easy: his labors were only twelve in number.
*
An old Catholic once told me: “When I go to confession, I tell the priest: ‘Father, you know me, it’s the usual.’ And he understands because he has been my confessor for many years.” Now, imagine if you can this old man to be an Armenian confessing to an Armenian priest. Not only the priest would insist on hearing every single sordid sin but also, at the end, after accusing the old man of covering up, he would refuse absolution.
*
What’s the difference between an Ottomanized Armenian and a Turk? The Turk does not pretend to be the opposite of what he is.
*
When honest men keep silent, only the loudmouth charlatans are heard.
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#2 ara baliozian

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Posted 13 November 2004 - 12:15 PM

Saturday, November 13, 2004
************************************
FROM MY NOTEBOOKS
*********************************
One does not kill in the name of God but in the name of an idol. Pascal is right: "The worship of truth without charity is idolatry."
*
What would happen to him if he were to convert to Hinduism, asks Toynbee, and he answers: "In the hierarchy of castes I should rank below the sweepers."
*
In his book of travel impressions, Denis Donikian quotes a woman in Yerevan as saying: "Today no one gives a damn about the people. If they want to build a church they go right ahead and build it. Speaking for myself, I have lost all faith. Believe in what, may I ask? And what's the use of buying a newspaper? I am not illiterate. I wouldn't mind reading a newspaper. But I can't afford one."
*
Elsewhere: "Once upon a time there was a country in which everyone spoke the same language and no one understood what the other was saying."
*
When criticized, Donikian writes, our politicians have a pat answer: "Our present problems are the gradual accumulation of many past problems."
*
Why is it that the very same readers, who accuse me of dipping my pen in arsenic, dip theirs in cobra venom?
*
Knowledge advances, propaganda stays the same. If you say, "Tomorrow I will think what I thought yesterday and what I think today," the questions you should ask yourself are: "What if my thoughts are not mine but someone else's? And what if someone else's thoughts are the thoughts of an ignoramus?"
*
Trash my kind of ideas
and alienate all those who think as I do.
Alienate those who do not parrot your sentiments and thoughts
and surround yourself only with like-minded men.
In the company of exclusively like-minded men,
entertain the illusion that most people think as you do.
Live in that misconception long enough
and blur the line that separates reality from illusion.
And is not confusing illusion with reality
the first stage of insanity?
*
Like Captain Boycott and Judge Lynch, Bush has enriched the English language with a new word: Bushism, meaning any incoherent and nonsensical sentence.
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#3 ara baliozian

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Posted 14 November 2004 - 12:03 PM

Sunday, November 14, 2004
*************************************
Preachers are licensed and their sermons pre-approved by the state in Turkey. Some would call this censorship, others, the only way to curb fanaticism, hatred, and war.
*
If, to be fallible is human, to consider oneself infallible must be inhuman. As for readers who write as if this thought has never penetrated their skulls: my only explanation is that their ego must be so swollen that it has smothered their reason and rendered it inoperative.
*
Graffiti are like postage stamps: expressive of a nation’s character, style, and concerns at a given time. Some day I would like to compile a chronological anthology titled THE WIT OF A NATION. A few samples follow:
-Aunt Jemima is an Uncle Tom.
-No Easter this year, they found the body.
-Hugh Hefner is a virgin.
-If you liked Hitler, you’ll love Lyndon.
-Half the way with LBJ.
-James Baldwin eats watermelon.
-Where is Oswald now that we need him?
*
A bully’s unspoken motto: “There is more wisdom in my ignorance
than in your knowledge.”
*
My favorite ism is skepticism because it questions the validity of all isms,
including its own.
*
Some people use the truth like a club with which to clobber their adversaries; and whenever truth is not on their side, they use lies the same way. Their primary concern is neither truth nor lies but to assert their own superiority. There it is, the root of all autocratic regimes. To speak of democracy or human rights to this species is like speaking of animal rights to wolves and hyenas.
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#4 meow

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Posted 14 November 2004 - 02:12 PM

Ara, now that you have two separate "corners", shouldn't it be called "Ara Baliozian's Alcove"? tongue.gif Get four corners and you can start to call it "Ara's Square".

#5 Armen

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Posted 14 November 2004 - 04:51 PM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 14 2004, 12:03 PM)
My favorite ism is skepticism because it questions the validity of all isms,
including its own.


Oh yeah? Why do we need writers than? Dollar will always do the job, no? I mean it always did. Why do you criticise Armenians? Out of patriotism? What patriotism? Leave them alone to assimilate peacefully. Why do we need Armenia anyway? There are lot of better and effective countries and nations. See, if you criticise Armenian you make them defensive and they will try to unite agaist you and stay Armenian. If you leave them alone they will assimilate more fast. So, you're doing a lot of harm actually. Don't think you can change anything. The only way is to assimilate because assimilation is more profitable. Why are you hampering this natural and positive process by your skepticism. Or what's the good of your skepticism if we are going to assimilate anyway. In this case it is just an empty position towards a natural, irreversable and real process. I mean your skepticism is just a self-fulfilling and self-satisfying irrelevant position.

Why do I read you? Because you are harmful. I think I need to rally everyone to be extremely skeptical of everything that you say. Ara ... mm who?

#6 ara baliozian

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 12:40 PM

Monday, November 15, 2004
************************************
SOME NOTES ON FEAR, DEATH,
AND IMMORTALITY
*******************************************
In almost every branch of knowledge or field of endeavor there will invariably be two schools of thought one of which will contradict the other. And where there are two schools of thought, the chances are, there will also be two sub-schools and so on...
*
Faced with two or more contradictory systems of thought, the layman will tend to choose that which comes easy or is not against his own interests. In that sense, all laymen are dupes of specialists, by they politicians, philosophers, theologians, lawyers, and elites in general.
*
What do we mean when we speak of immortality or resurrection? As a layman, I thought I knew, but then, when I read Karl Barth, one of the greatest Christian theologians of the 20th century, I realized that my understanding of the word had been based on a fallacy.
*
“Resurrection,” writes Barth, “means not the continuation of life, but life’s completion.” He goes on to explain: “The Christian hope is the conquest of death, not flight into the Beyond.”
*
By “conquest of death,” I assume he means the fear of death. That’s because one resists, defeats, and conquers only an adversary one fears.
*
“The Kingdom of God is within you,” also means, all knowledge and understanding begin and end in the convolutions of our cortex.
*
Paul Valery: “Our most important thoughts are those which contradict our emotions.”
*
Lichtenberg: “One can live in this world on soothsaying but not on truth-saying.”
*
Martin Luther: “God uses fear to impel men to faith.”
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#7 ara baliozian

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 12:41 PM

QUOTE (Armen @ Nov 14 2004, 10:51 PM)
Oh yeah? Why do we need writers than? Dollar will always do the job, no? I mean it always did. Why do you criticise Armenians? Out of patriotism? What patriotism?  Leave them alone to assimilate peacefully. Why do we need Armenia anyway? There are lot of better and effective countries and nations. See, if you criticise Armenian you make them defensive and they will try to unite agaist you and stay Armenian. If you leave them alone they will assimilate more fast. So, you're doing a lot of harm actually. Don't think you can change anything. The only way is to assimilate because assimilation is more profitable. Why are you hampering this natural and positive process by your skepticism. Or what's the good of your skepticism if we are going to assimilate anyway. In this case it is just an empty position towards a natural, irreversable and real process. I mean your skepticism is just a self-fulfilling and self-satisfying irrelevant position.

Why do I read you? Because you are harmful. I think I need to rally everyone to be extremely skeptical of everything that you say. Ara ... mm who?


the function of a writer is to expose charlatans.

#8 ara baliozian

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 12:44 PM

p.s.

i have nothing against assimilation.
if that's what an armenian wants....
but there are those who don't want that.
they want to keep their identity but cannot because they are surrounded by crooks and they find themselves at the mercy of bosses, bishops, and benefactors...

Edited by ara baliozian, 15 November 2004 - 12:45 PM.


#9 Sasun

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 01:16 PM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 15 2004, 01:40 PM)
Monday, November 15, 2004
************************************
“Resurrection,” writes Barth, “means not the continuation of life, but life’s completion.” He goes on to explain: “The Christian hope is the conquest of death, not flight into the Beyond.”

By “conquest of death,” I assume he means the fear of death. That’s because one resists, defeats, and conquers only an adversary one fears.

Wrong. Conquest of death means conscious awareness of and oneness with your own soul which has no birth or death.
QUOTE
“The Kingdom of God is within you,” also means, all knowledge and understanding begin and end in the convolutions of our cortex.

No, it means one can find Kingdom of God searching inside himself, and the method is prayer and meditation concentrating on yourself.
QUOTE
Martin Luther: “God uses fear to impel men to faith.”

Wrong. God doesn't want you to have any fear.
Faith cannot be impelled.

#10 ara baliozian

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 01:20 PM

by chemical imbalance in the brain i did not mean to suggest insanity.
Sanity and insanity,
heaven and hell,
God and the Devil,
Good and Evil -- they all have the same source:
the human brain.

Mysticism can produce a Gandhi as well as a Hitler. / ara

#11 ara baliozian

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 01:23 PM

Sasun
you deal in certainties.
it is extremely difficult to argue against certainties.
Everything you say may be questioned on the grounds that the source of all evil is dogmatism -- that is to say, certainties. / ara

#12 Sasun

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 01:36 PM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 15 2004, 02:23 PM)
Sasun
you deal in certainties.
it is extremely difficult to argue against certainties.
Everything you say may be questioned on the grounds that the source of all evil is dogmatism -- that is to say, certainties. / ara

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.

#13 DominO

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 01:43 PM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 15 2004, 01:20 PM)
by chemical imbalance in the brain i did not mean to suggest insanity.
Sanity and insanity,
heaven and hell,
God and the Devil,
Good and Evil -- they all have the same source:
the human brain.

Mysticism can produce a Gandhi as well as a Hitler. / ara


This is not an evidences supporting either of both positions.

It is expected that ones beliefs, what they are, how they act is the product of the brain, but this doesn't mean anything at all. The only thing its hows is that the universe that you live in is affected by how your brain work. Not only, Sanity, insanity, heaven and hell, God and Devil, Good and Evil, but the universe itself.

The universe is the brain, everything in it is the brain. smile.gif

#14 DominO

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 01:44 PM

QUOTE (Sasun @ Nov 15 2004, 01:36 PM)
Ara, science is a certainty.


This is not true, beside fundamental mathematic, nothing is absolutly certain in science.

#15 Armen

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 11:19 AM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 15 2004, 12:41 PM)
the function of a writer is to expose charlatans.


Only that?

#16 Armen

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 11:57 AM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 15 2004, 12:44 PM)
p.s.

i have nothing against assimilation.
if that's what an armenian wants....
but there are those who don't want that.
they want to keep their identity but cannot because they are surrounded by crooks and they find themselves at the mercy of bosses, bishops, and benefactors...


What is their identity? And what is it that these bishops and bosses do to mutate their identity?

#17 Armen

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 11:58 AM

QUOTE (ara baliozian @ Nov 15 2004, 01:20 PM)
by chemical imbalance in the brain i did not mean to suggest insanity.
Sanity and insanity,
heaven and hell,
God and the Devil,
Good and Evil -- they all have the same source:
the human brain.

Mysticism can produce a Gandhi as well as a Hitler. / ara


What is the right balance and why is it that Gandhi and Hitler have it imbalanced?

#18 ara baliozian

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 12:38 PM

Tuesday, November 16, 2004
***********************************
ON FAIRY TALES
*****************************
In his THE USES OF ENCHANTMENT, Bruno Bettelheim writes, the way a person transcends “feeling neglected, rejected, degraded” is by the “repeated hearing of a fairy story.” One could say that, chauvinist propaganda, religious rituals and prayers are to adults what fairy tales are to children.
*
Fear of the unknown is the source of all faith. We use certainties or dogmas as shields with which to protect ourselves from our own doubts, uncertainties, and anxiety -- or, if you prefer, feelings of rejection and degradation.
*
It could be said of anxiety, what has been said of God: “You may let go of God but God does not let go of you.” Or, we may convince ourselves that our faith will abolish anxiety of the unknown, but anxiety is destined to remain at the very roots of our being. That's because “we may believe that we believe, but we don’t believe” (Sartre).
*
When the eminent Catholic philosopher, Jacques Maritain, says our choice is between “God or radical absurdity,” he, in a way, also implies that, reality is dependent on our definition or understanding of it. But since reality follows its own inflexible laws independent of man and the choices he makes, this must be a patently false assumption. And it is this very false assumption that has led (or rather misled) man (who cannot create a single worm) to create ten thousand gods. For which transgression, mankind has paid, and continues to pay, a heavy price.
*
To those who accuse me of being against religion, morality, patriotism, and the very foundations of Western civilization, I say: On the contrary. All I have been trying to do is to understand and explain why is it that man behaves like a wolf to other men in the name of a higher principle. Why is it necessary for man to kill his fellow man in order to assert the validity of his faith and the superiority of his god?
*
Arthur Koestler on Zen Buddhism:
“Inarticulateness is not a monopoly of Zen; but it is the only school which made a philosophy out of it, whose exponents burst into verbal diarrhea to prove constipation.”
And even more to the point:
“Zen always held a fascination for a category of people in whom brutishness combines with pseudomysticism, from Samurai to Kamikaze to Beatnik.”
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#19 DominO

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 12:38 PM

QUOTE (Armen @ Nov 16 2004, 11:58 AM)
What is the right balance and why is it that Gandhi and Hitler have it imbalanced?


That's a good point, I do believe that there is no real imbalance, but rather flavors created by millions of years of natural selection... those mutations and "flavors" are natures way to make life "evolve."

#20 ara baliozian

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 12:59 PM

Sasun:
you continue to be a source of inspiration to me.
thank you. / ara




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