How others study and learn is a mystery to me.Unfortunately, for me, I study and learn by fits and starts.
When I read a book, and it is like watching a torch burn, watching it catch fire and watching as its knowledge lights another torch in turn. One day recently, I was reading an essay by the great Spanish philosopher, Ortega, Mediations on Hunting, and he made remarks about Polybius, a Greek historian writing about Rome, and I began to read him, and soon I was finishing The Iliad and began to read Greek plays that I haven’t read in 50 years.
Like everyone, I am often guilty of saying to myself that I read such and such a book in college or high school. Unfortunately, I often cannot remember what they said. Simply recalling titles is hardly praiseworthy, so when I began to study the Greeks again, I once again discovered that the Greeks are incredibly good!
Why? They are full of vital force. They don’t age. Their voices remain alive with strong and tumultuous life. They aren’t uselessly theatrical.Homer, at the beginning of The Iliad plunges us immediately into a near-violent quarrel.The king of the Greeks is Agamemnon, and while powerful, he is very self-willed and stubborn and ruinously touchy.He is known as the “wide-ruling king,” but his pride overpowers his ability to reason fairly or clearly.He is always insisting tediously that his is the greatest of all the Greeks.They grow weary of hearing it.
Kurt Vonnegut -- Corporal Vonnegut -- famously told an assembly like this one that his wife had begged him to "bring light into their tunnels" that night. "Can't do that," said Vonnegut, since, according to him, the audience would at once sense his duplicity, his mendacity, his insincerity... and have yet another reason for despair. I'll not likely have much light to bring into any tunnels this night, either.
The remarks I'm about to make to you I've made before... in essence at least. I dare to make them again because other veterans seem to approve. I speak mostly to veterans. I don't have much to say to them, the others, civilians, real people. These remarks, I offer you for the reaction I got from one of them, though, a prison shrink. I speak in prisons a lot. Because some of our buddies wind up in there. Because their service was a Golden Moment in a life gone sour. Because... because no one else will.
Günter Grass warns in the Süddeutsche Zeitung of a war against Iran. In his poem with the title „What has to be said“ the Nobel laureate in literature demands, that Israel shouldn't get the German submarines which have the capability to launch nuclear weapons. LeAnder
"What has to be said
Why am I silent, silent for too long, what is obvious and was practiced in simulation games, at the end as survivors we at most will be footnotes.
It is the asserted right for a preemptive strike that could extinguish the Iranian people steered to organized jubilation, enslaved by a braggart, since in its realm of power the creation of an atomic bomb is suspected.
But why do I deny myself to name the other country by its name, a country in which many years by now –although kept silent – a growing nuclear potential is available, but beyond control, since not accessible for inspection?
The general concealment of this fact, to which my silence is subordinating itself, feels to me like a burdening lie and coercion, holding out punishment as soon as it is ignored; the verdict „antisemitism“ is well known.
But now, since from my land that over and over again is caught up and confronted with its very own crimes that are without comparison, but in turn businesslike, although with swift lip declared as reparation will soon deliver another submarine to Israel, whose specialty consists in its ability to steer all annihilating warheads to where the existence of not one single atom bomb is even proven, but as fearful apprehension wants to be evidence, I say, what has to be said.
But why was I silent for so long? Since I thought, my provenance that is tainted with a stain that can never be erased forbids to turn this fact into articulated truth, since I cannot expect the country Israel, I feel tied to and want to remain so, to put up with it.
Why do I only say it now, aged and with my last ink. Does the nuclear power of Israel endanger the already delicate world peace? Since what already tomorrow could be too late, has to be said today; but also since we –as Germans burdened enough-could turn into suppliers for a new crime that is foreseeable, why our partial guilt couldn't be blotted out by any of the usual excuses.
And I have to admit, I am silent no more, because I am tired of the hypocrisy of the West, as it is to be hoped many will unshackle themselves from silence, call on the causal agent of this discernible danger to abandon the use of force, likewise demanding an unhindered and permanent control of Israel's atomic potential and the Iranian nuclear plants by an international authority admitted by both countries.
Only in this way Israelis and Palestinians, more so, all people that live in this region occupied by delusion, close to each other and at enmity, and finally also all of us can be helped." Gunter Grass
I understand that Bibi is not happy with this. He moans of "ultimate anti-Semitism" and speaks of Grass's WW2 service in the Waffen SS. pl
Someone sent me this link to a piece of Stephen Vincent Benet's book length poem, "John Brown's Body" that won a Pulitzer in 1928 if I remember correctly. It is uneven. The best parts IMO are the descriptions of the two peoples, the armies and the leaders. The narrative that runs through it of some mythical mountaineer has always escaped me. That is probably my fault.
This description of the "marble man" is exquisite. pl
"The phrase dancing in chains is in Beyond Good and Evil, Chapter VII. "This world with which WE are concerned, in which we have to fear and love, this almost invisible, inaudible world of delicate command and delicate obedience, a world of "almost" in every respect, captious, insidious, sharp, and tender--yes, it is well protected from clumsy spectators and familiar curiosity! We are woven into a strong net and garment of duties, and CANNOT disengage ourselves--precisely here, we are "men of duty," even we! Occasionally, it is true, we dance in our "chains" and betwixt our "swords"; it is none the less true that more often we gnash our teeth under the circumstances, and are impatient at the secret hardship of our lot. But do what we will, fools and appearances say of us: "These are men WITHOUT duty,"-- we have always fools and appearances against us! " TS Wittig
For those who do not know, the "montagnard" peoples of SE Asia are non-Han, non-Cambode, non-Lao, non-Vietnamese peoples of Mon-Khmer or Malayo-Polynesian stock and linguistic roots. They are very tribal, animist if not Christian, and mainly hunter-gatherers. Many of them hate the Vietnamese with the passion reserved for oppressors who regard one as less than human.
In the main the Montagnard peoples sided first with the French and then with us in our wars against the Vietnamese communists. The "communist" factor in these wars meant nothiing to them. The "Vietnamese" nature of the enemy meant all. Our alliance with the non-communist Vietnamese was something they did their best to ignore. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) lived for a decade with these brave people. Many of our men became fervent partisans of the Montagnards and members of FULRO, the "Front Uni Pour La Liberation De La Race Oprimee." They still are.
"Inter Cultural Communication" is a much babbled of thing nowadays. Alan Farrell gives a glimpse here of the feeling that is the basis of real communication.