Thoughts in Perspective

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Real Sins: 1. Arrogance

This series of articles entitled "The Real Sins" is dedicated to all enlightened individuals that I came across in my life till now and who know or don't know how important they are to the world. Without them, our race will undoubtedly crumble like a poorly made building into the ground from which it was raised.

Arrogance is the first in our list but not because it's more important than the rest or that the list is alphabetical, it is nonetheless one of the most widespread. If by now you already said something like "well, yeah, it's obvious", then you just committed this sin, if you think I'm wrong, just take some time to think. All the sins I will present in this series of articles are strictly related to the mind so I hope nobody will say that I try to promote some new religion and other nonsense like that. All you need is an open mind and by opening your mind you traveled past the most difficult part.

Arrogance has two forms of expressing itself (as I observed through experience), first is the classical arrogant individual which is with nothing better than the one he is arrogant with or, even, is of much lower quality and second is the type of individual that feeds on his superiority without necessarily being perceived as arrogant by others. So, we should have arrogance that originates in ignorance and arrogance that originates from natural development, differences among people and a wrong attitude towards his own abilities (some could argue that this is not arrogance but pride). Soka Gakkai Dictionary of Buddhism identifies nine types of arrogance:
Nine kinds of arrogance explained in The Treatise on the Source of Wisdom and The Dharma Analysis Treasury. They are
(1) thinking that one surpasses one's equals;
(2) thinking that one is equal to those who are superior;
(3) thinking that one is only slightly inferior to those who are far superior;
(4) assuming false humility in affirming the superiority of those in fact superior to oneself;
(5) asserting equality with one's equals;
(6) asserting the inferiority of one's equals;
(7) thinking that one is not surpassed by one's equals;
(8) thinking that one's equals are not equal to oneself, i.e., that they are inferior;
(9) humbly acknowledging the superiority of superiors and vaunting one's inferiority (a form of false humility).
I strongly recommend people read the list many times, stopping at every point till a complete understanding is achieved. You are not obligated to agree with the ideas and if this is the case please write a comment and let me know. There are four actions, to think, to assume, to assert and to acknowledge meaning that arrogance is evidently connected to the mind, it's a conscious process which you can control. First of all, by thinking you are better than your equals you think "arrogantly" and by taking control of your mind you will start to control these thoughts. But another problem arises, how do you know who are your equals, who are superior to you, who are inferior. As you probably observed by now, there is a heavy emphasis on hierarchy and if you are a Christian for example you may think that everyone is equal, I actually encountered people who think this way. Aside from the fact that this idea has something slightly communist in it, where everyone is equal but some are in the end more equal than others, nobody is the same. Everyone has his own road, his own destiny, he makes his own decisions (more or less conscious of them). Some are better than others in different activities so it should be normal to acknowledge that you are "superior" to someone but "inferior" to another. If you feel that this hierarchy is not a "nice" thing you may not be arrogant, but you commit another sin, which is pride. 

Richard Chappell writes about humility and arrogance on "Philosophy, et cetera" and is of the opinion that arrogance originates in some kind of "inflated self-evaluation". This evidently means that you are not true to yourself, the problem anyway comes in relations with other people. You may be better than many others in a particular field, arrogance doesn't come from here, arrogance is a symptom of the ignorant.
Of the lessons also gained from the history of mankind is the fact that greed and arrogance, when combined, lead the oppressor to do injustice not only to others, but to himself as well; once this combination of greed and arrogance has misled him into a sense of undefeatable capability and power, as he takes the road of falsehood and aggression, committing the most heinous acts and proceeding from that sick imagination, to fall down the precipice and then into hell. - Saddam Hussein
I really don't know if Saddam actually is the author of this statement, to be honest, I was not able to verify the quote, not a scholarly thing to do, I know. Nonetheless I liked it so here you are, a (possible) quote on greed and arrogance from (former) Iraq president Saddam Hussein. Ironic isn't it?
Arrogance on the part of the meritorious is even more offensive to us than the arrogance of those without merit: for merit itself is offensive - Nietzsche
Nietzsche, one of my favorite thinkers. One of the things I like in his work is his courage to see the truth and to show it to others. I am nonetheless reticent to glorify him too much, after all, he was just a man and as a man he evidently wasn't always right. This quote is crucial for this article because it states a simple truth, an envious person can perceive the meritorious, as arrogant. Remember the two categories I mentioned at the beginning of the article? I will remind you the second category: the type of individual that feeds on his feeling of superiority without being perceived as arrogant by others. Nietzsche doesn't say that the meritorious are falsely perceived as arrogant, but that arrogant meritorious individuals are more offensive because of the offensive nature of merit itself.
"But no man has the right to set himself up as a purely moral judge and requiter, and punish the misdeeds of another with pains which he inflicts upon him, and so to impose penance upon him for his sins. Nay, this would rather be the most presumptuous arrogance" - Arthur Schopenhauer in "The World as Will and Idea", vol 1, seventh edition, page 449.
Moral judgments have a long history, mostly in Christian and Islamic countries/communities although all the world has suffered at least once from this form of ignorance. Morality appeared with the intention to make humans reject the bad and love the good, theory is once more very far from practice because this concept steadily developed into a weapon in the hands of frustrated, envious and ignorant people. Those who apply moral judgments to others usually do this because they try to hide their own moral weaknesses.
"Early in life I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no occasion to change." - Frank Lloyd Wright, from "The World's Best Thoughts on Life and Living" edited by Eugene Raudsepp
The well known architect makes an interesting point here, in the pursuit for an "arrogance free mind" one can develop a false kind of humility. This gives rise to another problem, is arrogance actually characteristic for some individuals, can some never learn to overcome it? Hypocritical humility is basically a form of arrogance which the individual only tries to hide because of moral and social norms, the existence of only these two options clearly shows that Wright does not see (for himself at least) the option of true humility, understood as knowing one's true place in the world.

I can go on and on with this but I would like to finish with a definition of arrogance given by the Abrahamic tradition (Judeo-Christian-Islamic) and for this I chosen a hadith narrated by 'Abd-Allah ibn Mas'ood where the Prophet said: "(...) Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people". Due to the tragic situation in the world today where ignorance is overwhelming I feel compelled to add that this quote isn't in contradiction with Christianity and I recommend to my Christian readers to study the Quran and the hadits, and to my Muslim readers, to study the Holy Bible. Few people know that The Christian Bible is a canonical book in the Islamic religion.

If you have any questions or comments please write a message and I or maybe other readers will try to answer.
Related:
- Golden Verses of Pythagoras: 1.the Practical Virtues
- Not Knowing God
- Truth is

[article slightly modified on May 4th, 2012]

Thursday, February 23, 2012

12 Angry Men [Movie / 1957]

Out of all the movies that are worth watching there are some that manage to climb to the top without any special effects and extravagant props and locations, that rely strictly on dialogue, plot and actors, 12 Angry Men (1957) is such a movie. The whole action takes place in a single room (without counting the bathroom and the short introductory part that takes place in the court room. The jury has to decide the fate of a boy who supposedly killed his violent father.

The reason I recommend this movie is because out of the 12 jurors, only one sees the gravity of the situation, only one is willing to discuss about the case while the others just want to get it over with. There are people who can't get over their own experiences or have preconceived notions, there are people who simply don't care or who are cowards... the movie in a way describes a whole community/nation, even our entire species, in the face of a hard decision. The first one who questions a majority is initially perceived as a madman because, well, "the evidence is clear". He (the first dissenter, played by Henry Fonda), was in fact the only one who either succeeded in looking at the situation in an objective manner, or felt of the boy's drama as rather familiar, I am inclined to go with the first possibility. What we can learn from this movie is not that the American judiciary system is the best (although we can not rule out this intention, we are speaking of an American movie after all) but that we may have barriers that hinder clear thinking and not even know about them. We should daily make mental exercises when we distance ourselves from the world and see it from the sky, and looking down all problems are not problems, but possibilities. We will only see reality when our eyes, hearts and minds are clear.

The movies is directed by Sydney Lumet and written by Reginald Rose.
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Slava Gerovitch - InterNyet [the Soviet Quest for the Internet]

Slava Gerovitch does a very good job in presenting the history of Soviet Union's quest for the Internet, this little articles will provide readers the necessary information to efficiently compare American and Soviet developments in this field of technological development. The Internet we use today traces its roots to Arpanet which was basically a system of computers interconnected in order to share processing power. The Soviet Union also envisioned a 'web' of computers in order to control/monitor labor, production and retail, meaning the economy. Glushkov went so far as to propose the elimination of paper money and the implementation of a complete electronic payment system, and he did this in the early 60s. The proposal did not manage to make itself popular.

In October 1961, the Soviet Union made public its intention to 'computerize' their economy, this intention did not remain unnoticed. 'Rest assured', the CIA created a branch to study Soviet cybernetics. Two of the reasons the USSR did not achieve what it set out to achieve was that almost all the various agencies and ministries were in some kind of weird competition that did not leave much room for communication, that is why various computer 'webs' came into existence in the same time with no central system to link them, although, ironically, the plan was to have a centralized system. The second reason was that the military-industrial complex did not have much to talk about with the civilian world, military innovations almost never saw any use in any civilian industry, this certainly was/is not the case in the US.

Enjoy the reading, promote knowledge and free access to information.
Download from my Ubuntu One cloud

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Giuseppe Crespi (visual) and Arcangelo Corelli (audio)

This 'Duo' is special, it is dedicated to Italian baroque art, for the visual element I selected some works of Giuseppe Maria Crespi, a Bolognese painter and for the audio part I decided to go with Arcangelo Corelli.

Lets start with the music, by clicking play you will hear the 4th sonata (Op.1) in La minor. Corelli was born in 1653 and died in 1713, in between he ate, slept, talked, read and all the rest, oh yeah, and he also composed excellent music for which he was rewarded an important place in the history of western classical music and in our hearts. He came with some innovations in violin playing that caught the attention of many musicians of his time, nonetheless this (important) detail is not that important for casual listeners. To this day, many violinists still trace back their roots, as teacher - student, to the 'Corelli school'.



Giuseppe Crespi is mostly known as a genre painter, meaning that he depicted daily life (of the time), like ladies searching themselves for fleas. He was born in 1665 and died in 1747. He was named 'the Spanish one' because of his apparently admiration for Spanish fashion, a little detail of his personality. He was also considered a great caricaturist, some of his paintings remind us of that. While not being considered one of the great baroque painters, Crespi is an important player in that game.

1701 - Ecstasy of St Margaret of Cortona
1709 - Village Fair
1710 - The Scullery Maid
1720 - Searcher for Fleas
1720 - The Courted Singer
1725 - Bookshelf

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Modular Shops, what if?

I was thinking a few days ago about modular shops, could be an architectural subject, in fact a past post of mine on the Nakagin Tower has very much to do with what I'm talking about now. All cities, towns and some villages have shops, large or small, ugly, beautiful, intriguing, enigmatic, mysterious, doesn't really matter, what's important is the fact that once you decide to open your shop in a particular place it will be difficult to move it once you need more space or you want to get to some more profitable areas.

Most shops  (restaurants, bars, services) are situated on the ground level of apartment and office buildings, so what you would need is a Le Corbusier type of building that basically rests on crutches (thanks to modern building materials), where the ground level is empty and you can make a system of modular shops. If you want to move your library (as an example) from one city to another all you need to do is attach the "container" where your business is to a car/truck, move it to the desired destination and insert it into the empty spot. This will lead to greater economy and improved efficiency and mobility.

Friday, February 10, 2012

You Know You Are Dumbed Down If...

Most of my readers are very intelligent people and the list is growing, that is why I though of creating a list of things that you should not normally do. I hope the following words will help even a single individual to stand up and be his own master. If you feel the list is incomplete, write a comment.

1. ... You 'eat' what the media gives you.
This doesn't apply only to you believing the lies but also adopting their point of view. Who the media doesn't like, you should research not ridicule, who knows what you will really find. Even the alternative media isn't completely innocent, you should question everything they say also. I am basically saying, don't eat the shit they give you!

2. ... You think America stands for freedom, justice and prosperity.
The United States is a country like most other ex large and powerful countries. Arrogant, tyrannical and greedy. A superpower is an example of people living in peace with each other, a superpower is a country that promotes creativity, liberty and justice that has limited military power and relies on diplomacy. Now, America is like a declining Roman Empire with a next to useless Congress. Question everything American representatives (politicians mostly) say, most often you will go left when they say to go right.

3. ... You think your government loves you.
Most of the time politicians are like whores, they do anything for those who pay them while elections are more like beauty contests with no real importance. There are nonetheless smart and trustworthy politicians who most of the time are either attacked or ignored by mainstream media, they almost never get into a government and if they do, they are outnumbered. Also, if you think that your government loves you... you are past being dumbed down.

4. ... You think your government hates you.
No, it's not a contradiction, governments don't judge in love and hate but in useful or useless. If you are useful you are most probably dumbed down. Governments (this also applies to secret/public societies/groups) are machines of extremely good design (regardless of appearances) and that is why most of the time these are often considered a single unit and judged in accordance. You must endlessly let 'them' know that the people have the power while the people must know that power needs responsibility.

5. ... You think secret societies are not real.
Skull and Bones, Freemasonry, Bilderberg, Jesuits, Illuminati, Carbonari and so on (Pythagoras had a secret society). Research them, use Google and/or a good library. People gather and act in secrete if they have something to hide, just think about secret agents during the Cold War or during World War II... or even more recent events. The best way to hide something is to make it public and discredit it. Also, remember the speech Kennedy had against secret societies. Secret societies are not necessarily evil some of the times they hide things from unprepared people, nonetheless, if you want a free and open society, secret societies have to go.

6. ... You tend to believe and do what others or your friends do.
This is the sheep mentality, almost all people want to feel like being part of a group, maybe a reminiscence of our tribal origins, who knows... study anthropology for this, but for now stick to studying some psychology and sociology. Don't be a coward, always argument your thoughts and always think before you act, independently of what others do.

With the risk of making the directions
too complicated, I would add "open can".
8. ... You think people who actually use their brains are not cool.
Being human isn't looking like a dumb fuck at a TV while eating hamburgers made from pig dicks and feeling all macho. A real human uses his mind to help others, to discover, to create, he uses his body to build and to protect. Read good books, listen to good music, watch good movies, what is good? Well, start studying aesthetics.

9. ... You think you are better than someone else.
If you want to feel like a 'superpower' then be a dick with others. If you want to be a 'superpower', be an example to others, you may be better but this doesn't make you better.

10. ... You don't 'Like' this.... Just jocking, you finally know you are dumbed down if after reading the previous nine statements you don't search the web and/or your local library catalog for the things I mentioned (secret societies, aesthetics, psychology, etc.), knowledge is like a tree with (possibly) infinite branches and whatever you might of heard until now, you need knowledge, even to work the land. Act now, be the best you can be, be free and independent.

Damn ! ... I thought something was missing...
All the best to you all.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Man Who Wasn't There (movie)

Imagine a barber living in a small American town in the year 1949, he has a wife and they live in a small medium class home just perfect for two people, nothing extraordinary here. It won't be long till you will discover that he is a little different from the others, silently observing everything and everyone. In my opinion he could even represent lucidity, never in the whole movie do you see him drinking alcohol although he is a heavy smoker. When learning of his wife's secret he doesn't react in any way and after helping his wife's boss with some dirty laundry he returns to normal like nothing happened. Ed, this being his name, is a difficult one to describe, and adding the fact that I'm trying not to divulge too much of the movie is even harder. I wouldn't go so far as calling Ed autistic, his lack of talking originates in his strong desire to talk only when he has something to say, when it comes to his apparent lack of emotions... well... you will see close to the end that he finally finds someone who is actually on his mind and tries to help without taking advantage.

This 2001 movie was directed by  Joel and Ethan Coen, the ones who also directed The Big Lebowski and No Country For Old Men so you should prepare yourself for a unique cinematic experience. Some of the main actors are Billy Bob Thornton, Frances McDormand, James Gandolfini (The Sopranos), Tony Shalhoub and Michael Badalucco.

Enjoy the movie, under the trailer there is a link to a torrent file, this is strictly for educational purposes. Enjoy. Help to keep knowledge and the Internet free.




Torrent 720p

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

David Preissel (visual) and Robert Schroeder (audio)

Welcome to another edition of "Duo", this time featuring the photographer Daivd Preissel and the electronic music composer Robert Schroeder.

Robert Schroeder was born in May 1955 in Aachen, Germany. At the age of 13 he got his first musical instrument, a guitar. 1970 marked his decision to put down the guitar and turn to electronics and electrical engineering and he specialized in the development and production of electronic music equipment. He was inspired at first by musicians and groups like Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, Klaus Schulze, Can, Deep Purple, Emerson Lake and Palmer. The song featured now (Invisible Danger) is from the album Brain Voyager released in 1985. The first 45 seconds will make you believe this is a very calm song, the piece slowly transforms into a heavy and dynamic composition. It was a nightmare choosing between this song and "Frozen Breath of Life", a cleaner and softer piece, just wished I could post them both. 



David Preissel (x-horizon) in a public statement from September 2011 declared that he will be "retiring from photography"... too bad because this Swiss artist has great possibilities judging from his work, my advice for him would be that art is the essence of life, breathing, touching, knowing, seeing, thinking art is the only thing that saves us, don't throw it away.

Compulsion of Stupidity
Hope
Lives like a tree
The Fall
Severity

The Spirit
Schism