Sunday, November 12, 2006

School Play - For Real

The long awaited and much debated high school play is under way; my annual “artistic” effort. Since most are not be able or willing to attend it I will share a few specific ideas with those who care to read.

Before the play begins, I take advantage of the “captive audience” and set the scene. What follows is my “opening speech”:

“How could it happen? Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, the play you are about to see, is based on “historic truth”. In 1692, the little girls of Salem went mad, and the superstitious, religious fanatics that ran Massachusetts followed them into enormous crime.

Miller tries to give an excuse for the girl’s actions – sexual passion and lust – but in reality they just went crazy. If you don’t fathom how, consider this. In the many summers I have worked at Boy Scout camp, the devil only “visited” once while the boys were there, but when the girls groups came to the mountains, things were always different. Year after year, telling scary stories around the campfire led to hysteria that required spiritual (priesthood) intervention.

The accusations of the girls of Salem would not have harmed anyone if their parents and community leaders had not believed their fantastic claims were indeed possible. The truth would have saved them all.

In the end, nineteen men and women had been hung and one old man, in his eighties, had been crushed to death under a pile of stones; an attempt to force him to lie.

These murders, motivated by ignorance and fear and fanaticism it brings, came upon the community in three concentric circles of destruction. The first to be accused were the homeless vagabonds and ner-do-wells of Salem. But soon the accusations spread to those who had conflicts with the parents of the screaming girls, and to those whose land was tempting to greedy factions in the community. The girls somehow knew whom to attack in order to improve their parent’s fortunes. The final circle called out as witches were any who questioned the supernatural powers of the girls. Thus the few reasonable citizens of Salem found themselves on their way to prison and death.

That most of the victims could have escaped their fate by lying confessions, but refused, speaks to their devotion to the truth.

In the end, supernatural testimony was disallowed in the Massachusetts courts, and hundreds that awaited the noose were freed. The fall of the witch court in Salem broke the power of the Puritan Church in America, and in many ways set the stage for the protections guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Tonight I hope you will contemplate the evil that comes when fanaticism drives reason away. Consider that America is at war with religious zealots who stir up murder in the name of god. As in 1692 – Truth and reason are a shield against the evil of ignorance but they cannot protect us with out help of heroes.

This week (past week) we celebrate Veterans Day. We of cast and crew would like to dedicate our performance to the heroes who defend the freedom we have, that the people of 17th century Salem did not. Freedoms we could not enjoy without the sacrifice of our men and women in the military.”

Now back to the Agora:

Although all of you are invited to attend the play and all can surely read it for yourselfs, I feel to present a few powerful points and consider them with you. These gems of though are presented in order from the play.

1. The Reverend Hale has arrived with his books. Mister and Goody Putnam, frantic to find a supernatural cause for the deaths of their infant children, insist to the minister that one of the girls. . .

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Thomas Putnam: “. . . cannot bear to hear the Lord’s name, Mr. Hale; that’s a sure sign of witchcraft afloat.

Hale: *Holding up his hands:* No, no. Now let me instruct you. We cannot look to superstition in this. The Devil is precise; the marks of his presence are definite as stone, and I must tell you all that I shall not proceed unless you are prepared to believe me if I should find no bruise of hell upon her.

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Common sense tells us there is no such thing as a witch, but when “leaned” men; and their books say otherwise, blind faith in either can lead us to terrible foolishness.

2. It is interesting to me that, as the story progresses, reason is not used to evaluate the goodness or evil of the accused but rather they are judged by level to which they have conformed to the prevailing superstition of the Puritan Church.

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Elizabeth. *With an attempt at a laugh:* You will never believe, I hope, that Rebecca trafficked with the Devil.

Hale: Woman, it is possible.

Proctor, *taken aback:* Surely you cannot think so.

Hale: This is a strange time, Mister. No man may longer doubt the powers of the dark are gathered in monstrous attack upon this village. There is too much evidence now to deny it. You will agree, sir?

Proctor,*Evading:* I – have no knowledge in that line. But it’s hard to think so pious a woman be secretly a Devil’s bitch after seventy year of such good prayer.

Hale: Aye, But the Devil is a wily one, you cannot deny it. However, she is far from accused, and I know she will not be. *Pause.* I thought , sir, to put some questions as to the Christian character of this house, if you’ll permit me.

Proctor, *coldly, resentful:* Why, we – have no fear of questions, sir.

Hale: Good, then. *He makes himself more comfortable.* In the book of record that Mr. Paris keeps, I note that you are rarely in the church on Sabbath Day.”

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What is good and evil has been reduced to meeting attendance statistics. Seventy years of goodness are nothing, but you better get your name on the role.

3. And now the words of the Bible are used as a weapon against reason.

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Hale . . . It’s said you hold no belief that there may even be witches in the world. Is that true sir?

Proctor *-- he knows this is critical, and is striving against his disgust with Hale and with himself for even answering:* I know no what I have said, I may have said it. I have wondered if there be witches in the world – although I cannot believe they come among us now.

Hale: Then you do not believe—

Proctor: I have no knowledge of it; the Bible speaks of witches, and I will not deny them.

Hale” And you, woman?

Elizabeth” I – I cannot believe it.

Hale, *shocked:* You cannot!

Proctor: Elizabeth, you bewilder him!

Elizabeth, *to Hale:* I cannot think the Devil may own a woman’s soul, Mr. Hale, when she keeps an upright way, as I have. I am a good woman, I know it; and if you believe I may do only good work in the world, and yet be secretly bound to Satan, then I must tell you, sir, I do not believe it.

Hale: But, woman, you do believe there are witches in –

Elizabeth: If you think that I am one, then I say there are none.

Hale: You surely do not fly against the Gospel, the Gospel –

Proctor: She believe in the Gospel, every word!

Elizabeth: Question Abigail Williams about the Gospel, not myself!

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Reason is destroyed by blind faith in a book and by groundless superstition masquerading as righteousness.

4. Hale then confronts the husband of Goody Nurse, Francis, with an appeal to scripture in the face of reason.

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Francis: You cannot mean she will be tried in court!

Hale, *pleading:* Nurse, Though our hearts break, we cannot flinch; these are new times, sir. There is a misty plot afoot so subtle we should be criminal to cling to old respects and ancient friendships. I have seen too many frightful proofs in court – the Devil is alive in Salem, and we dare not quail to follow wherever the accusing finger points!

Proctor, *angered:* How may such a woman murder children?

Hale, *in Great pain:* Man , remember, until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought his beautiful in Heaven.

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Some times old respects and ancient friendships are the tools of reason – fear is always the weapon of evil.

5. Before the Judges, John Proctor pleads for reason in the face of another attack by blind faith in superstition. His life of goodness made nothing by tenants that masquerade as religion.

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Danforth: You are in all respects a Gospel Christian?

Proctor: I am, sir.

Parris: Such a Christian that will not come to church but once in a month!

Danforth, *restrained – he is curious:* Not come to church?

Proctor: I – I have no love for Mr. Parris. It is no secret. But God I surely love.

Cheever: He plow on Sunday, sir.

Danforth: Plow on Sunday!

Cheever, *apologetically:* I think it be evidence, John. I am an official of the court, I cannot keep it.

Proctor: I—I have once or twice plowed on Sunday. I have three children, sir, and until last year my land give little.

Giles: You’ll find other Christians that do plow on Sunday if the truth be known.

Hale: Your Honor, I cannot think you may judge the man on such evidence.

Danforth: I judge nothing. *Pause. He keeps watching Proctor, who tries to meet his gaze.* I tell you straight, Mister – I have seen marvels in this court. I have seen people choked before my eyes by spirits; I have seen them stuck by pins and slashed by daggers. I have until this moment not the slightest reason to suspect that the children may be deceiving me. Do you understand my meaning?

Proctor: Excellency, does it not strike upon you that so many of these women have lived so long with such upright reputation, and –

Parris: Do you read the Gospel, Mr. Proctor?

Proctor: I read the Gospel.

Parris: I think not , or you should surely know the Cain were an upright man, and yet he did kill Able.

Proctor: Aye, God tells us that. *To Danforth:* But who tells us Rebecca Nurse murdered seven babies by sending out her spirit on them? It is the children only, and this one will swear she lied to you.

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Reason against blind faith, and scripture misrepresented to sanction evil.

6. Hale demands that the Judges allow the arguments to be placed by lawyers, a last appeal to reason. The judge scoffingly replies:

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Danforth: Mr. Hale, Believe me; for a man of such terrible learning you are most bewildered – I hope you will forgive me. I have been thirty – two year at the bar, sir, and I should be confounded were I called upon to defend these people. Let you consider, now -- *To Proctor and the others:* And I bid you all do likewise. In an ordinary crime, how does one defend the accused? One calls up witnesses to prove his innocence. But witchcraft is ipso facto, on its face and by its nature, an invisible crime, is it not? Therefore, who may possibly be witness to it? The witch and the victim. None other. Now we cannot hope the witch will accuse herself: granted? Therefore, we must rely upon her victims – and they do testify, the children certainly do testify. As for the witches, none will deny that we are most eager for all their confession. Therefore, what is left for a lawyer to bring out? I think I have made my point. Have I not?

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Perhaps this is part of the reason that supplying a lawyer is no longer up to the judge’s digression in America.

7. Having ruled lawyers were not necessary, Danforth goes forward with the trial and soon show’s how wrong he is. There is evidence found in a poppet (a little doll) which is being used to convict Proctor’s wife of witchcraft. Proctor swears and sites witness that his wife has not kept poppets since she was a girl His call to reason and witnesses is answered by the Minister Parris, with this fantastic argument:

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Parris: Why could there not have been poppets hid where no one ever saw them?

Proctor, *furious:* There might also be a dragon with five legs in my house, but no one has ever seen it.

Parris” We are here, Your honor, Precisely to discover what no one has ever seen.

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So much for the rules of evidence in the world of blind fanaticism.

8. Mary Warren tries to explain how religious hysteria can be mistaken for satanic manifestation.

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Hathorne: How could you think you saw them unless you saw them?

Mary Warren: I – I cannot tell how, but I did. I – I heard the other girls screaming, and you, Your Honor, you seemed to believe them, and I – It were only sport in the beginning, sir, but then the whole world cried spirits, spirits, and I – I promise you, Mr. Danforth, I only thought I saw them but I did not.

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But neither reason or sworn testimony is adequate to stand against fanaticism and fear driven by ignorance. Marry Warren turns on John Proctor to save her own life. She joins in the lie, and Proctor is convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to death by the supernatural testimony of hysterical children.

9. Three months later Hale comes to see Proctor on the day of his execution. Hale begs with Elizabeth to convince her husband to admit to witchcraft – even though they now both know there is no such thing.

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Hale, *continuing to Elizabeth:* Let you not mistake your duty as I mistook my own. I came into this village like a bridegroom to his beloved, bearing gifts of high religion; the very crown of holy law I brought, and what I touched with my bright confidence, it died; and where I turned the eye of my great faith, blood flowed up Beware, Goody Proctor – cleave to no faith when faith brings blood. It is mistaken law that leads you to sacrifice.

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Hale has realized too late the flawed nature of faith without reason.

10. For a while, John Proctor considers giving the lie that he has seen the devil to see. But when the court attempts to use him to accuse others, when they attempt to recruit him into their fanaticism, he withdraws his confession and accepts death.

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Hale: Man, you will hang! You cannot!

Proctor, *his eyes full of tears:* I can. And there’s your first marvel, that I can. You have made your magic now, for now I do think I see some shred of goodness in John Proctor. Not enough to weave a banner with, but white enough to keep it from such dogs. *Elizabeth, in a burst of terror, rushes to him and weeps against his hand.* Given them no tear! Tears pleasure them! Show honor now, show a stony heart and sink them with it!

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Proctor and the others die, victims of ignorance, superstition, religious fanaticism and fear; they die heroes of Reason!

So once more we return to the claim I make before each performance; that Reason is the only cure for fanaticism and fear, but that while there are so many under the sway of ignorance, we owe our freedom and our lives to those who are willing to sacrifice both for sake. Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for “a bunch of pampered Americans who do not understand the wonder of their freedom, the dangers that beset it; or the sacrifice necessary to maintain it”. To keep the evil of Salem in the distant past, in far of lands, and on the high school stage; the line between darkness and light must be maintained by those who are willing to fight for the survival or reason and truth.

39 comments:

Reach Upward said...

We ask much of those that serve to protect our freedoms.

Last summer I sat in the Seton campsite at Loll while a friend related how he felt upon returning from having served in Vietnam. He said that one experience sums it up. He was at a gathering where people were chatting in informal groups. He was introduced to one such group. When he explained that he had recently returned home after managing to survive Vietnam, a woman whom he did not know stepped forward and said, "Oh! You're one of those baby killers!" She then spat in his stunned face.

A grand lady that lives nearby related to me over the weekend how her husband, who fought in many battles in the Pacific theater during WWII, regularly grappled with memories, thoughts, and feelings resulting from those battles throughout his life until he passed away three years ago.

I find it interesting that many that find themselves reviled for their service to our country express pride at protecting the right of their detractors to freely express themselves.

MindMechanic said...

Reach...

Let me give you a contrast...

Walking down the street in Woodbridge town in England I was approached by a short old man. He was dressed in a 3 piece suit, tie, and wellies (rubber farming boots). He walked up to me without a word...tears filled his eyes. He hugged me, tried several times to meet my eyes...then just walked away.

In the outdoor markets near the Sharque Mall in Kuwait City I was approached by an old man dressed in typical clothing...robes and head-dress. He spoke several things that I didnt at all comprehend, then he took my hand, bowed slightly, and placed my hand to his forward three times. I understood one of his words. Shukran. Thank you.

There have been many more good then bad.

I also pretty vividly remember travelling the highways of Saudi Arabia and having a busload of locals waving their sandals at us, a sign of utter contempt. Could have got mad...nah...I just waved at them in return. With my left hand. I won. ;-)

I dont know that I deserved any of those accolades. I always get uncomfortable when people thank me for my service. It was just my choice. I think back to all of our conflicts...I dont know that I measure up well to many of our nations heroes.

I didnt serve during VietNam and if I had been of the age to serve I honestly dont know that I wouldnt have been one of those kids heading to the mountains or Canada. I was young but pretty aware then. I saw VietNam for the political mess that it was. My father and I got in several heated discussions after the war was over (he served in both Korea and VietNam). I'm glad I didnt have to make that decision. I think it is tragic that our soldiers bore the brunt of our country's anger at it's politicians.

But its not like I havent heard the same type of comments (murderer, babykiller, etc). I just consider the source and move on. Sometimes I just smile and offer to them that I was just doing what my commander in chief, Bill Clinton, ordered...that usually shuts them up.

I wish more emphasis was placed on the sacrifice of the families. I wish more emphasis was placed on the every day citizens duties.

Even though I am not THRILLED with the outcome of the last election, I am not un-happy. Heck...I AM thrilled that people voted. I am thrilled we have this great process. I am thrilled the military doesnt decide to act on its own and just overthrow US governments. I'm glad our citizens dont vow riots and bloodshed when they dont get the results they want. For all its flaws...I love this great country of ours. I hope for nothing but success for the current batch of politicians. I hope for their wisdom and pray for their guidance in leading the country.

Anonymous said...

Vegimatic from Washington DC.

I had an interesting flight out last night. I met Joe Cannon, mistaking him for his brother the congressman Chris. Secretary Mike Leavitt was a few rows ahead of me. I sat next to a woman and her 15 month old baby who was Leavitts fund raiser and now a republican lobbyist for clean water.

I learned two things....First being political is a career. The professor (democratic) that does the returns for byu tv was also in on the conversation. Is is a member of some democratic think tank trying to figure out how they won.

These folks all knew each other and had worked with each other for years.

Second, because it is a career politicos are just hired guns. And there were a plane load of them.

It was very informative of how Washington works.

How does this compare with the play?

I think that the entrenched in Washington on both sides of the isle want us to be superstisious and wave our hands and "vote" change to placate us and then continue doing what they were doing prior to the election.

It is going to be fun to watch.

Good luck with the play Lysis

Anonymous said...

Miller's *Crucible* has only a passing resemblance to anything ACTUALLY historical -- the play has more a POLITICAL bent than an HISTORICAL basis.

Lysis tends to vent his scorn on the "mad" children who were but only a reflexive part of a religio/utopian community of "believers" -- ALL given to an equal share of menace, hysteria and gullibility.

However, the incredible evil that occurred in Salem was sanctioned and promoted with FEAR from the TOP DOWN -- not the other way round.

The lesson of the *Crucible* is that those who use FEAR to PROMOTE EVIL designs and the manipulation of a community of believers are truly the agents of Satan and MOST to be condemned!!!!

Lysis said...

Anonymous;

I think you have pulled “my scorn” out of context. Ideed I do condemn the girls who lies killed 20 people but I clearly stated above:

“In 1692, the little girls of Salem went mad, and the superstitious, religious fanatics that ran Massachusetts followed them into enormous crime.”

and

“The accusations of the girls of Salem would not have harmed anyone if their parents and community leaders had not believed their fantastic claims were indeed possible. The truth would have saved them all.”

I agree with you that the evil that occurred at Salem was sanctioned and promoted from above. I would also point out that it was the King’s governor who disallowed “supernatural” testimony in trials and stopped the madness, from above as well.

I also agree with you when you say that the lesson of the *Crucible* is a warning against those who use fear to promote evil, and that such must be condemned.

Having said this, I will point out that at times fear is justifiable. There were never any witches, there was never any reason to hang those accused of such a charge. However there are real dangers in the world that must be combated. It is foolish to assess the injustice of attacking the innocent and then extrapolate an argument that we should not fight against the true monsters of the world. The Devil has no power to harm, no spirit can be sent out to kill, but Nazis can engineer mass murder, Communists can crush freedom and exterminate entire populations, Saddam and his murder rooms and torture chambers sought to crush humanity while he planed to churn out super weapons to intimidate the world, Islamic fanatics can bring down buildings full of innocent people and engineer bloody war against freedom, pluralism, and the West.

We must be careful not to “Throw the baby out with the bath water.” We must recognize the true evil of religious fanaticism that lead to murder in 17th century Salem and in modern New York and in 21st century Baghdad. We must be willing to fight such ignorance as best we can – with reason when possible, with all the powers at or command when reason fails.

Had the folks of Salem hesitated from standing against real monsters, be they brigands, marauding Indians, or fallen kings; just because they had once unjustly accepted the hysterics of screaming girls; they and the world would have suffered greatly.

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

I sense a little political baiting in your response and I have to say...I agree.

Like when the democrats use the specter of social security collapse to frighten the elderly; all so that they can secure votes.

Or when they use race baiting tactics trying to frighten the minority groups into voting.

Or when they claim there is this mythical push to steal freedoms.

Or when they claim there are violations at the polls...mysteriously...only at the polling stations they lose at.

yep...and I agree. Despicable.

MindMechanic said...

Irrronico...

From the "for what it is worth" category...

I had the great pleasure of attending the "The Who" concert last night. It was a GREAT concert..."3 Mo Tenors" will have a lot to live up to this Friday.

But...there were some very ironic messages (that I wonder if they even) get in both their music and the choreographed imagery.

A recurrent theme was peace and the evils of war. Now..we ALL want peace...except of course those clamoring to behead all infidels...and any innocent 7 year old children that has somehow managed to offend them.

ANYWAY...some of the images they posted were of the graves of British soldiers during WW2, as well as other scenes of war and gore. Then, as the music switched to the famous chorus, "we wont get fooled again!' the images switch to 5 playing cards (a royal straight) all with peace images...the dove, a rainbow, a peace sign, a heart, and a "no war" slogan.

The image was clear- end the fighting...peace is the answer...no war. And of course the crowd erupted in cheers to the images.

We wont get fooled again. No no.

except...that is PRECISELY what happened to the British. Neville Chamberlain in all his wisdom decided that peace was the answer to Herr Hitler and he instituted "the appeasement policy." The result was Herr Hitler made sure to fill all those british graves of which we were treated to.

Jump forward. Next year will be the 70th anniversary of Chamberlains appeasement policy. And now we have countries and politicians that believe the answer to ending the war against muslim terrorists is appeasement.
France in a desperate attempt to ensure the world not see them as having ANYTHING resembling a spine has done the immediate (and not unexpected) soft shoe backpedal on Iran and North Korea.

We wont get fooled again?

Want to bet?

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that Lysis has more "faith" in REASON than "faith" in RELIGION -- but consistently, through post after post, what he MOST celebrates over BOTH is FEAR.

Re-read the posting "School Play -For Real" and count paragraphs that bash ONLY the "crazy" "mad" "insane" girls/children. FEAR, fear, fear. Compare that number with anything said against the evil THEOCRATIC leadership of that society -- Lysis' anti-female bias is embarrassingly evident when he observes, ". . . but when girl groups come to the mountains things were ALWAYS different . . . led to hysteria that led to SPIRITUAL INTERCESSION."

"Had the folks of Salem hesitated from STANDING against real monsters . . . they and the girls would have suffered greatly."-Lysis

The "afflicted children," at long last, had gone too far. They had accused the governor's lady and they had accused Mrs. Hall, the wife of the minister at Beverly.

No one STOOD UP AGAINST ANYTHING in SALEM, even a hundred years later the whole thing was still being swept under the rug.

What ended the "crying out" was a hypocritical leadership who started to lose control of the "insanity" when it began to make accusations too close to home!!!!

a quiet listener said...

IT'S OVER!! IT'S DONE!
I am thrilled to announce I no longer have the awful burden of the GRE hanging over my shoulders and that I did better than I could have dreamed. ... and I must confess that the agora helped my vocab score more than my flash cards. you see of all the words I studied on bonafied flash cards I didn't see any on the real test. but "umbrage" did show up and had I not been "wasting my time" reading lysis' post I wouldn't have known what it meant. thanks a ton! I look forward to seeing the play.

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

You strike the nail on the head.

Republicans who want to destroy social security -non existent witches.

Republicans politicians who want to harm minority groups – non existent witches.

CIA, FBI, Administration officials out to seal freedom – non existent witches.

Voting fraud by Republicans – non- existent witches.

But they choose to ignore the real monsters in the world. Just be nice and appeasing to the terrorists and they will be nice to us. Just give Kim Il the money and he’ll quit making bombs, just talk nice to the grizzly bear and he won’t ever eat you.

Indeed the Democrat propaganda machine is made up of screamers and hystericals, and a leadership that is pushing their agenda on the nation as they reach out for power. It worked in Salem in 1692, it worked in the midterm elections of 2006.


Flaccid;

These arguments are spongy even for you.

You say it is obvious that I have more faith in reason than I do in religion. I have equal faith in both. True religion and real reason are part of the same search for truth. True religion has nothing more to fear from reason than honest University lecturers or responsible bloggers.

I seems you have pretensions in arithmetic, but the number of times I point to the truth about the girl’s behavior dose not diminish the fact that I clearly stated that:

“The accusations of the girls of Salem would not have harmed anyone if their parents and community leaders had not believed their fantastic claims were indeed possible. The truth would have saved them all.”

The girls and their parents and leaders can all be wrong at once. How many times one mentions one group of the other is useless sputter.

The real monsters that the folk of Salem eventually stood against were the invading French and Indians, the Red coated troops that occupied their state, the Armies of the CSU that marched north to defend slavery, the Armies of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo that set out to conquer and enslave the world, the armies of Stalin, Mao, Pau Pot, and many others who sought to force the lies of Communism on the world. When it came time to stand against the real monsters of the world the people of Salem have stood in the past and many stand now. Just because they made a mistake in 1693 does not diminish the justice of their actions since.

Nor, as you point out, do good deeds of future generations remove the shame of their fanaticism in the case of witchcraft. They cannot be forgiven for that stupidity, but they can always serve as an example of what happens when reasonable people refuse to stand against evil; whether in Salem or Baghdad, it is the same.

I am glad you agree that the trials were stopped from the top down, a rare moment of candor on your part.

Finally, as to any bias I might have against either gender, it is not presented here. I have had hundreds of weeks of boy’s camp and scores of weeks with girls’ camps; I simply tell you the truth. I suggest you do a little research of your own before you challenge the statistics my experience allows me to present. Otherwise your bias is all that is reveled by such unfounded accusations; such “witch hunting histrionics” stirred against me.

Congratulations!!!!! A Quiet Listener. Glad to have been of some small service.

Reach Upward said...

You can deride Lysis as being sexist, but I can verify his contentions regarding boys camps and girls camps.

Indeed, I once chided Lysis in this forum for what I insinuated was duplicity. Having told me in my youth that he would never hire girls for camp staff, but later turning around and making it regular practice. Rather than duplicity, he instructed me, was that he had learned something new and valuable that he implemented.

I think that's what this forum is about: reasoning and learning valuable things. Hopefully it leads to implementing that which is of value as well.

Anonymous said...

The reason that tragedies like the Salem witch trials occur is ignorant faith, or persistence in error in the face of contrary proof or 'reason'.

It is unreasonable to assume that one's favored party is always correct or that the other party is senseless. Perhaps we should spend more time emulating Socrates (excellent post, btw) and questioning the Republican party. If we assume they're always right and that all liberals are "screamers and hystericals, [with]leadership that is pushing their agenda on the nation as they reach out for power," we'll end up like the foolish men who thought they were wise. It is a pity that there are no sensible liberals that post here. Maybe, though, we could ask for ourselves.

Lysis said...

Teaspoon;

Welcome to the Agora. Please feel free to take the gloves off and mix it up. Your opinions will not always be agreed with here, nor will you necessarily always be treated well, but you and your opinions will always be welcome

Let me support your position above in the following way:

Charlie Rangel is a great example of a Democrat who is not a screaming hysterical. NO wonder he got 96% of the vote in his New York Congressional district. I imagine that even his opponent voted for him. Joe Lieberman actually tells the truth to his own detriment; facings the screaming “girls” who turned on him and tried to hag him out to dry. Our nation can be grateful that conservatives in his state were willing to vote for him!

I am disgusted with Republican John McCain, who is eager to scream anything to position himself in the media. There are idiots all over the right, I am sick of folks like Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan being paraded out as though they represented the conservative views of Americans.

In my opinion, McCain and Buchanan are inventions of the media, to weaken reason. McCain was invented, whole cloth, by the media to get Al Gore elected by forcing G. B. II into an unnecessarily expensive primary. And Pat Buchanan is an embarrassment that the media continually dump on T.V. to damage conservative causes by tainting them with his bigotry and foolishness. Both of these “Republican” buffoons are perfect examples of screaming children manipulated by an agenda they are either too simple of too arrogant to see.

Dan Simpson said...

Charles Rangel is OFTEN a barking moonbat.

If you want to look for a reasonable democrat. I am proud to say that I voted for Jim Matheson when I lived at the U. And would have been more than happy to vote for him again.

I agree about Lieberman, though I don't always agree with his position, he is a dying breed of classy, honorable politician.

MindMechanic said...

Dan...

I have little problem with Matheson's votes, to be honest.

What drives me insane about him is EVERY commercial, EVERY campaign appearance, EVERY public appearance he looks like and sounds like just this incredibly WHINY guy...drives me nuts. Oh yeah...and I think the "I dont trust the federal government any more than you do" routine is getting a wee bit tiresome. Its little more than rhetoric and schtick.

I would LOVE to see him as a politician from, oh...say...California. I am curious if he would maintain his conservatively balanced voting record. My gut tells me that he votes the way he does because he has learned the dance. His fellow dems let him get away with it because they recognize that anything less and it is a seat in Utah they would probably loose.

Keep in mind, thats JUST an opinion based on his campaign tactics every two years. I dont know much more about him and I dont overly object to his voting record.

I saw where the (state) Constitution party candidates had more votes this year in some races than did the Libertarian party candidates.

I think if I was a third party leader I would be taking some notes...

Anonymous said...

"I have equal FAITH in both."-Lysis

My comment that "Lysis has more FAITH in REASON than in RELIGION" was meant to point out that FAITH was the CONSTANT among the three.

If REASON and RELIGION serve FAITH and not FAITH and RELIGION serving REASON then two of the three must be expedient to the ONE that MUST be SERVED.

However, Lysis wants to create a 'bizarro' TRINITY by making ALL THREE contemporaneous in the mind of Divine Jupiter -- which makes a fourth.

Augustine put it succinctly when he wrote 'Credo un intelegum' which means "I believe BEFORE I UNDERSTAND", which puts FAITH in the drivers seat.

However, its opposite, "I must understand BEFORE I BELIEVE", is directly in contradiction and puts REASON before FAITH.

Now if REASON is the absolute, it will constantly be in conflict with FAITH because it serves no other agenda than its own. It will find with early Christians that "A man cannot serve TWO MASTERS."

But, Lysis wants his "faith and eat it too" when he logically "demotes" BOTH reason and FAITH to be absolutes --

It cannot happen if one is a REASON . . . able MAN.

Or in the words of another 'divine' scholar, "Who's on first????

Silver Lining said...

I have to agree with Dan on the Charlie Rangel thing. I was surprised to read that. Even Mr. Rangel's consistency on the Bush tax cuts seems to be wavering now that he may be in a position to do something about it.

I would tentatively suggest Jim Webb among others to fall in the non hysterical camp. Actually, many of the Democrats that helped win the house and Senate are considered moderate Democrats. Should be interesting to see what the party chooses to do with the opposing view points.

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

Thank you for your clarification.

It remains true that you said, 'I had more faith in Reason than in Religion'. My answer stands.

True Religion and Right (Real) Reason are both worthy of faith. True Religion will be truth, so will right reason. It is the truth that is paramount. Even Pirsig’s version of Philosophy admits to that. So I am totally consistent in my search of truth; by reason and faith. Right reason and true religion are mutually admirable goals. There is no need for your false hierarchies or dichotomies.

Right reason and true religion; there can be no contradiction between them for both are the truth.

Anonymous said...

I have no experience with "Pirsig's version of Philosophy". Perhaps you are familiar with some work I am not --please enlighten me.

"Right reason and true religion: there can be no contradiction."
-Lysis

Save bearing your testimony for your goldfish on Sunday -- what the hell is "Right" reason -- that itself is a contradiction!

Would "false reason" be a form of reason? Certainly not.

Reason is like being pregnant -- either you ARE or your NOT. You cannot admit "RIGHT" reason anymore than you can be a 'little bit' pregnant.

You hide behind distinctions like "RIGHT REASON" but it is a distinction without a difference --Now perhaps if you wanted to refer to ARROGANT, SELF-SERVING/RIGHTEOUS "REASON" everyone at the Agora would understand what you were talking about.

Perhaps your "fall-back" position should be "super-correct-macho-right reason"!!!!

Anonymous said...

"Scientists decode Neanderthal genes - Results confirm Neanderthal's humanity ... their geneomes and ours are more than 99.5 percent identical.
ACHIEVEMENTS COULD SHED LIGHT ON EVOLUTION OF OUR OWN SPECIES!!!!

Lysis has no FAITH in Science or evolution or other forms of REASON he has no FAITH in

MindMechanic said...

Want examples of flawed reason?

"Japanese researchers offer the first scientific report of a cloned pig, named Xena, raising hopes that pigs could one day provide an unlimited supply of organs for transplantation thanks to their close physiological relationship to humans."

Hmmm...humans must be descendents of pigs. Eureka!

"Many diabetics cannot make insulin and therefore need an external source of this substance (not so for all diabetics - there are different kinds of diabetes). In the past, since human insulin could not be isolated very readily, diabetics injected either pig or cow insulin (the structure of insulin among pigs, cows, and humans is almost identical)."

I-freakin-dentical...proof that humans and pigs are genetic decendents of cows.

"The DNA material in the tiny sample of fossil bone came mostly from the Neanderthal's Y chromosome, a sure indication that their creature was a male, they said."

Taken straight from the article anon posted...

"Despite both teams' insistence that they see no clear evidence of interbreeding in the Neanderthal or human DNA, one noted anthropologist who was not part of the work disagreed."

And finally...

Anon says...
"ACHIEVEMENTS COULD SHED LIGHT ON EVOLUTION OF OUR OWN SPECIES!!!!"

"Lysis has no FAITH in Science or evolution or other forms of REASON he has no FAITH in"

And here you see the illogical leap to faulty logic. Flawed 'reason.' All it takes is an announcement that it is POSSIBLE that MAYBE this 'discovery' provides a link to a supposed seperation of human and neanderthal and anon LEAPS and embraces it as his reasoned proof of evolution.

Bats, pigs, and cows ALL have closer genetic links to humans than do apes...yet because we share some physical characteristics, some assume descendency from apes...ignoring the fact that...oh yeah...apes are still here.

Anon...a word of advice...since in the article you posted scientists equated this 'finding' as little more than dipping the tip of the big toe into the waters of understanding regardinh neanderthals and a possible connection to human...maybe it would be a good idea to not totally entrust your 'faith' into an unknown and totally unproven 'reason.'

And yet...I CAN see why some might believe they are in fact decended from apes...I think we all can...

Anonymous said...

Evidently MM and Lysis do not have faith in the things they do NOT have faith in --

One wonders if they DO have "TRUE" FAITH in the THINGS they DO have "TRUE" FAITH in.

And where did you read that I had FAITH in SCIENCE????

MindMechanic said...

Anon...

Your word play does nothing but gets you into trouble...how is it possible that you have not learned that yet?

You post as your trumpeted article to sound reason and proof of evolution a snippet...one little piece of an article that offers some possible evidence of a possible connection of a genetic link between human and neanderthal and then you dance about in naked glee about OTHERS lack of faith in science or trust in reason...

and the bigger joke? You dont see how stupid it makes you look.

Anonymous said...

teaspoon here

having identity problems, but:

anonymous the third to last,

It's interesting that you contradict yourself.

"Would 'false reason' be a form of reason? Certainly not."

"Now perhaps if you wanted to refer to ARROGANT, SELF-SERVING/RIGHTEOUS 'REASON' everyone at the Agora would understand what you were talking about."

The Bible (which you quoted) teaches that arrogance and self-righteousness are wrong; therefore reason based on these is false and, according to you, not reason (though you refer to it as reason).

Fro me, reason can lead to many conclusions, all of them good/right. Sometimes Faith steps in to show the best way; sometimes it doesn't matter. I believe lysis wrote "Right Reason" to dinstinguish from those who use non sequiturs and emotional appeal to motivate their associates or followers. If we want to reason we have to choose to rise above superficial word play and accept the difference between right and wrong/true and false.


All,

Today in sixth hour I was at 20/20 (aka World Peace Club). Our topic for the year, which we are to submit a paper on, is terrorism, peacekeeping, and conflict resolution. I joined the group and opted for this topic because I believed that maybe we could reach some valuable conclusions together.

Today, however, I tried for most of our meeting to convince the other members of what I had considered a simple matter. I had said that we needed to teach people to embrace reason and action based on reason. One classmate responded that we cannot teach them a right way to think or teach them to "embrace" anything. Even the 'advisory adult' thought that it was wrong to influence them to think a certain way.

I argued that we must accept these things as basic premises because:

1. Our topic is terrorism, peacekeeping, and conflict resolution. Therefore, we must assume that terrorism is wrong (euphamism= undesirable) and that peacekeeping and conflict prevention are right (necessary).

2. Any interaction we have with another group of people will affect them either positively, negatively, or not at all. We desire to affect them positively (they cringed at this word). If we affect people negatively (or not at all) it will lead to a magnification of the current issues, not a resolution of them. If we affect them, we will be changing them in some way.

3. If we as a group refuse to make decisions and act on them with the intent to change the world (or even propose decions) we will never change the world. The world will continue its decay until someone takes a stand and calls out the falsifiers.

The group could not agree or understand that to do something requires a willingness to do. Terrorists and tyrants are characterized by a willingness to do.

I worry that this group will turn out like the Salem adults, failing to stop the screaming terrorists and murdering dictators.

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

There I go again, assuming that you have actually read the books you quote from.

From Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, pg 342, in my copy; probably the same pink bound volume you have sitting on your shelf:

“Plato hadn’t tried to destroy arête. He had encapsulated it; made a permanent, fixed Idea out of it; had converted it to a rigid, immobile Immortal Truth. He made arête the Good, the highest form, the highest Idea of all. It was subordinate ONLY TO TRUTH ITSELF, (emphasis – mine) in a synthesis of all that had gone before.

People use “reason” wrong reason all the time. You, Flaccid, are an outstanding, if not upstanding, example of this. Aristotle and Ptolemy had reasoned that since motion throws things apart, the earth must be at rest in the center of the world. Copernicus shot that “wrong reasoning” down with right reason. Let me quote from another book you have never read:

*Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres* “But why didn’t he (Ptolemy) he fell anxiety about the world instead, whose movement must necessarily be of grater velocity, the greater the heavens are than the Earth?”

Thus right reason confronts wrong reason and Truth is discovered! The difference between the two is obvious to all who can think. You confuse religion and faith, opinion with reason, and limp accusations with arguments. Right Reason and True Religion are simply the “reason” and the “religion” that are in agreement with Truth.

As for Neanderthal genetics; what is the link to Darwinian Natural Selection? Your sputter that, confirming Neanderthal humanity - something I have never doubted - proves that I have no faith in science is as “reasonable” as Ptolemy claiming that seeing the sun move across the sky proves the earth is standing still. It is reasoning – but it is wrong reason. Again you seem to go out of your way to provide an example to prove the impotency of your arguments.

Anonymous said...

"Achievements could shed light on the evolution of our own species."

This is a DIRECT QUOTE and *THAT* writer's opinion -- even an APE could figure THAT out!!!!

The article claimed that Neanderthals (apes, only if you are as ignorant as one) and man had a COMMON ANCESTOR. THAT is what science and scientists claim -- if you have a problem with THAT, take "Witch Doctor Lysis" with you, cast a few spells; read a few entrails of disembowled cats, finger your juju beads, and curse all science to "NOT have a nice day."!!!! O(

MindMechanic said...

teaspoon...

Some of my observations over the course of the last several years...

-The people that profess themselves to be enlightened and peaceloving are some of the most angry, bitter, hate filled and intolerent people you will ever meet. And yes...that will manifest itself as a contradiction.

-as long as there ARE those willing to take a stand against oppressors there will ALWAYS be the individuals that blindly espouse a policy of non-violence, peace, and appeasement. Its easy for them...they can afford to take such simple minded stands because they know there will always be those willing to do the work for them.

-when it comes to terrorism there are many camps...none of them altegether correct. I dont think ANY of our leaders on any sides have it correct just yet...which btw is proof that I too have my own opinion re terrorists and that opinion isnt entirely correct either.

-All you can do is what you can do. Read, study, think, offer. You can lead a horse to water but can't make him think.

Nice to know things havent changed all that much in high school in 25+ years...

;-)

Lysis said...

Teaspoon:

Welcome to the world of the “relativists”. The battle you are engaged in is as old as mankind; it no doubt goes back to our Neanderthal stage. Reason is our only safety. The refusal to admit the existence of right and wrong; which is the absolute, and therefore paradoxical flaw, of relativism; makes the very reason they pretend to aspire to impossible in their fantasy world.

You deftly dealt with the flaws in Flaccid’s reasoning; you will be given many opportunities to practice this important skill as you move on in your studies. Good luck, and thank God the screamers can only call you names, not hang you for your thoughts; at least not yet.

MindMechanic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MindMechanic said...

"Achievements could shed light on the evolution of our own species."

COULD. COULD. or could NOT. As was ALSO cited in the article from which you drew your quote. Any ape COULD see that as well.

Except of course what we KNOW about you is that you dont read or study. You take the little pieces that fit your argument and like an ape, thump your chest. Proof of at least YOUR common ancestry.

COULD means nothing but possibilty. Tomorrow you COULD win the lottery. Tomorrow the world COULD end. You COULD actually present clear, intelligent, well thought out arguments.

All three of those examples are COULD. I highly DOUBT any of them will come to fruition.

"The article claimed that Neanderthals (apes, only if you are as ignorant as one) and man had a COMMON ANCESTOR."

No...anon...the article states it COULD provide a link to a common ancestor...not that they HAD a common ancestor. YOU took COULD and said hah! proof of evolution!

Genetically it is every bit as likely (and perhaps more so) that man COULD share a common ancestor with pigs, bats, and cows. The article shows only that there is SOME common DNA.

Now...heres the tricky part...

how many species do humans share near or common DNA with Anon? And how many of those species must we then share common ancestry?

Anonymous said...

tsp

". . . between right/wrong and true false." -tsp

Is that incontrovertibly true, cross my fingers true, and true blue TRUE????

and

Horribly impure FALSE, devilishly Satanic FALSE, and lose my testimony FALSE????

Add all the modifiers you want --"RIGHT" REASON just obfuscates the issue. The word RIGHT, in front of the word Reason makes a deceptive redundancy.

What is WRONG is WRONG and has been indicted and PROVEN to be wrong BY REASON . . . NOT by wrong REASON and certainly NOT by FAITH.

Put your tongue in your cheek and repeat after me . . . "ARROGANT SELF SERVING/RIGHTEOUS REASON." Feel any better now????

Anonymous said...

Lysis:
Why the fixation on ZAAM?

Am I to assume that your quotation from ZAAM seeks to represent Robert Pirsig's "version of Philosophy????" (It doesn't)

If not, please characterize Pirsig's philosophy(in your own words)so that I (and tsp)can learn what "untrue false falsehoods" to AVOID in our education(s).

Also you attribute MY "philosophy" to be taken FROM Pirsig's philosophy -- since I don't know what HIS philosophy IS (neither do you, I suspect)I do not know if that is a bad thing or a GOOD thing and tsp could become confused on this important DOCTRINE and consequently suffer, through incorrect wrong reason, (does this work like math?) a horrendous loss of EGO!!!!

Lysis said...

To the Anonymous most recent above;

My quote from Pirsig simply seeks to show how he realized or at least recognized that Plato realized that the truth is paramount. I merely sought to use Pirsig and Plato to support my position that reason and faith are tools to seek that most important of goals, Truth.

This was presented by Pirsig, and I had hoped that the quote would help you understand how I see reason. Cicero, as well as Plato, supported the existence of right reason and right opinions as opposed to wrong (headed) reason and wrong opinion. As Teaspoon and Mindmechanic have amply demonstrated, there is a problem in the “all opinion is truth and any reason will do” position held by relativists. You, or someone in your anonymous ranks, have given clear example of how wrong reason can exist. That an A.P high school student can see it, and you cannot, speaks both to Teaspoon’s brightness and to your lack of savvy.

If you do not like to call Ptolemy’s contentions to support the geocentric world reason; then our argument has once more deteriorated to semantics and word definitions. This is the typical neo-lib retreat, which Teaspoon has already faced in the seminar mentioned above. I refer you back to Danforth’s carefully (and wrongly) reasoned rejection of the use of Lawyers to present arguments before the Salem courts. We have here, bad reasoning, wrong reasoning, wrong opinion – find a word you can work with. It still remains that Truth does not contradict itself and therefore true religion and right reason will never be in conflict.

This was the point I have made and remade again and again. You have and/or you flip flopping cronies have never challenged this position. All you do, like Teaspoons discussion leader, is pretend that you can discover the truth of something while denying right and wrong can exist.

Anonymous said...

IF, IF, IF Lysis DID read ZAAMM he looked at every single word, but didn't comprehend a thing. (I suspect THAT is why he prides himself on having READ so much; it distracts from the FACT that he COMPREHENDS so little -- in this case zilch)

The NEXT paragraph, AFTER the one Lysis quotes, formulates the ANTI-TRUTH PRO-GOOD THESIS of the WHOLE novel (You would think that a proponent of TRUTH would stand up and take notice. However Lysis pays no attention to Pirsig's argument, simply because he doesn't UNDERSTAND it!!!!

Pg 378 in my copy, which is NOT pink, but is clearly printed in black and white.

"That was why the Quality (GOOD)that Phaedrus had arrived at in the classroom had seemed so close to Plato's Good. Plato's Good was TAKEN (stolen by Plato)from the rhetoricians. Phaedrus searched, but could find no previous cosmologists who had talked about the GOOD. That was from the Sophists. The difference was that Plato's Good was a fixed and eternal and unmoving Idea, whereas for the rhetoricians it was not an Idea at all. The GOOD was not a form of reality. It was reality itself, ever changing, ultimately unknowable in any kind of fixed,(dialectically) rigid way."

"Plato's second synthesis is the incorporation of the Sophists arete into this dichotomy of Ideas and Appearances. He gives it(GOOD) the position of highest honor, subordinate only to Truth itself and the method by which Truth is arrived at, the dialectic. BUT (That's a Dolly Parton sized BUT Lysis) in his attempt to unite the Good and the True by making the Good the highest Idea of all, Plato is nevertheless USURPING aretes place with dialectically determined TRUTH. Once the GOOD has been contained as a dialectical idea it is no trouble for another philosopher to come along and show by DIALECTICAL methods that arete, THE GOOD, can be more advantageously demoted to a lower position within a "true" order of things, more compatible with the inner workings of dialectic -- his name was Aristotle."

What comes next IS Pirsig's philosophy as he expresses it in ZAAMM!!!!(and why do you suppose Lysis missed the WHOLE THESIS OF THE NOVEL????) Whatever his response -- it will CERTAINLY will NOT be the TRUTH!!!!

"He (Pirsig)felt that the solution started with a NEW PHILOSOPHY, or he saw it as even broader than that -- a NEW SPIRITUAL RATIONALITY -- in which the ugliness and the loneliness and the spiritual blankness of dualistic technological REASON (TRUTH) would become illogical. REASON (TRUTH) was no longer to be "value free", REASON (TRUTH) was to be SUBORDINATE logically, to Quality (THE GOOD), and he was sure he would find the cause of its not being so back among the Ancient Greeks, whose mythos had endowed our culture with the tendency underlying all the EVIL of our technology, the tendency to do what is "REASONABLE" even when it isn't ANY GOOD."

(TRUTH = EVIL) for Lysis and his learning impaired minions -- AP or not.

"This is what I (Pirsig) meant. Reason and Quality (TRUTH and GOOD)had become separated and in conflict with each other and Quality had been forced under and reason made supreme somewhere back then."

No Lysis You really DIDN'T read *Zen AND THE ART OF Motorcycle Maintenance* because you missed the WHOLE title . . . An Inquiry Into VALUES.


VALUES (THE GOOD) is better to teach than TRUTH!!!!

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

As usual, since you can’t get up a real argument you push a phony one.

Try to follow along.

My first point was simply that True Religion and Right Reason are concepts that have been held in philosophical debate for a long time. Some thing one of the Anonomy was questioning. Assuming that the Anonymous was Flaccid, who quotes but does not necessarily attribute Pirsig, I said:

“True Religion and Right (Real) Reason are both worthy of faith. True Religion will be truth, so will right reason. It is the truth that is paramount. Even Pirsig’s version of Philosophy admits to that. So I am totally consistent in my search of truth; by reason and faith. Right reason and true religion are mutually admirable goals. There is no need for your false hierarchies or dichotomies.”

I in no way intended to encapsulate all of Pirsig’s ideas. Pirsig is constantly misrepresented in “Educational circles”. I have already pointed out the misuse of his “no grades” experiment. I was simply looking for a source with which Flaccid seems familiar, not an easy task, in the hopes of given a reference to prop him up. To which effort I receive this screed from some anonymous contributor:

“I have no experience with "Pirsig's version of Philosophy". Perhaps you are familiar with some work I am not --please enlighten me. From Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, pg 342, in my copy; probably the same pink bound volume you have sitting on your shelf:

Hoping to help the unenlightened anonymous I quoted, word for word, the passage where Pirsig reference, and I believe correctly, Plato’s position. My only point, again, is to demonstrate that Truth is held in supreme respect by Plato, not Pirsig nor Aristotle, but Plato. I am not, as I have clearly stated before, at all impressed with Aristotle. I agree with Pirsig that Aristotle made a mess of Philosophy. My point remained, that Truth is supreme and that right reason and true religion are aspects of truth. Anyway, here is the quote as I presented it.

“Plato hadn’t tried to destroy arête. He had encapsulated it; made a permanent, fixed Idea out of it; had converted it to a rigid, immobile Immortal Truth. He made arête the Good, the highest form, the highest Idea of all. It was subordinate ONLY TO TRUTH ITSELF, (emphasis – mine) in a synthesis of all that had gone before. My quote from Pirsig simply seeks to show how he realized or at least recognized that Plato realized that the truth is paramount.”

I merely sought to use Pirsig and Plato to illustrate my position that reason and faith are tools to seek that most important of goals, Truth. This was presented by Pirsig, and I had hoped that the quote would help Flaccid understand how I see reason.

Now Flaccid (I think it is you, it is hard to tell since all the Anonomy are equally facial in their arguments) comes back with this angry but typically unimpressive stand:

“Plato's second synthesis is the incorporation of the Sophists arête into this dichotomy of Ideas and Appearances. He gives it(GOOD) the position of highest honor, subordinate only to Truth itself and the method by which Truth is arrived at, the dialectic. BUT (That's a Dolly Parton sized BUT Lysis) in his attempt to unite the Good and the True by making the Good the highest Idea of all, Plato is nevertheless USURPING aretes place with dialectically determined TRUTH. Once the GOOD has been contained as a dialectical idea it is no trouble for another philosopher to come along and show by DIALECTICAL methods that arete, THE GOOD, can be more advantageously demoted to a lower position within a "true" order of things, more compatible with the inner workings of dialectic -- his name was Aristotle."

I agree with Plato in this argument, NOT WITH PIRSIG! Plato does not usurp anything. That is Pirsig’s or sadly the insane, Phaedrus’, delirium. Truth has always been the supreme good. Plato’s recognition of that did not change anything’ least of all the importance of the hero in the ancient world. Leave that to Aristotle. Socrates and by default Plato maintained consistently that THE TRUE, THE GOOD, and THE BEAUTIFUL are one. Pirsig may say otherwise but Plato does not!

Thus we see you problem, Flaccid. You try to get you understanding of Plato, and, I guess, of truth and reason by reading snippets of *Zen and Motorcycles* year after year with the A.P. Students at Roy High School. You need to put Pirsig in context, not only of Plato’s dialogues, but to reasonable thought as well.

Just because Pirsig’s demented alter ego can syllogise his way, (and excellent example of wrong reasoning by-the-way) to the place where he can claim that Truth = Evil, does not make it so. IT WAS NOT SOCRATES, NOR PLATO, NOR “LYSIS” THAT SEPERATED TRUTH FROM GOOD. I reiterate that I believe as Socrates did, that the Good, the True, and the Beautiful are one!!!!!

So, I hope that the various Anonomy will now get back on topic and quit trying to derail the discussion about the need for Reason in defense of the Truth in the face of Superstitious Fanaticism. This is the only hope the West has. If we can get people to reason rightly they will choose the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Let’s get working toward that goal, and avoid the “quagmire” of semantics and word games.

Anonymous said...

"Even Pirsig's version of Philosophy admits to that."-Lysis

What we learn from this statement is that Lysis is representing Robert Pirsig's Philosophy and version of Philosophy as admitting to "something".

I do not find "sometimes admits", nor "often admits" nor ANY qualification at all about what Pirsig's version of philosophy admits -- Therefore, Lysis is obviously representing HIMSELF as an KNOWING "Pirsig's version of Philosophy" and trying to somehow bash MY arguments with it -- I haven't introduced Pirsig or ZAAMM into this discussion . . . LYSIS HAS!!!!

Followed by, "I(Lysis) in no way intended to encapsulate ALL of Pirsig's ideas."

What Lysis intended is clear -- what occured however, is that Lysis represented NONE of Pirsig's ideas -- in fact, Lysis dishonestly represents the OPPOSITE of what Pirsig had intended.

Lysis quotes Pirsig and misrepresents not only the quote but the WHOLE INTENT OF THE NOVEL and ALL of PIRSIG'S MAIN ARGUMENTS!!!!

There is a word that discribes such actions -- but, Lysis doesn't want to get into the "quagmire" of symantics and defintions that RESPONSIBLE and ETHICAL argumentation requires -- it cramps his style!!!!

It is obvious that Lysis agrees with Plato -- however, the fact that it was until NOW that Lysis finally realized that Pirsig DOESN'T is the grossest deception -- if Lysis had originally UNDERSTOOD Pirsig's antagonistic position on Plato and TRUTH do you think he would have all along been celebrating him and the novel????

The next thing Lysis needs to understand, that he doesn't yet, is WHY WHY WHY Pirsig rejects TRUTH over GOOD. I think Lysis is afraid to deal with Pirsig's arguments, because he doesn't UNDERSTAND them.

What Lysis doesn't understand he bashes as "symantics" and "definitions". My open challenge is for ANYONE to make a responsible argument WITHOUT semantics and definitions -- they are REQUIRED, not OPTIONAL!!!

Lysis said...

Flaccid;

It is plain what is in your understanding, but it is still obvious that you are unable and unwilling to discuss my original premise. All I get is more snippets from Pirsig and what you think I think he is saying. It is no wonder to anyone why I call you Flaccid; it is right reason. When you are done playing with words please deal with the original point which is that Reason is our defense against the evils of Islamic terrorism; that those who obfuscate the issue do so because they cannot defend their positions with arguments so they launch off into semantics.

MindMechanic said...

Hokey smoke...maybe it would JUST be best expressing what YOU guys got from Pirsig (or Plato, or Socrates, or Homer BTW, now that I am 3/4 of the way through the Odyssey) or better yet just expressing YOUR opinions re variations of a theme BY Pirsig.

Unless of course we can get Pirsig into the mix in person, or maybe channel Plato. Anyone know a good spiritual?

Lysis said...

Mindmechanic;

Where have you been? I channel Socrates all the time!! Just ask him!