“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” *
If being an Epicurean means anything it must mean thinking for yourself . I live in a city where there is one readable newspaper. One goes to dinner parties and one hears the issues and the views of the journalists on that paper often being regurgitated without critical analysis. The concentration (deliberate concentration) of the media is a challenge to democracy . In some towns and cities in the US all one can access is the paper, the TV stations, the radio stations and crude talk show hosts representing one line of political thinking (if thinking is the word).
Epicureans should enjoy their Gardens, but should not be idle in them. They should think for themselves and be suspicious of consensus. People everywhere tend to boast of their individualism. The reality is that they are, as a generality, hugely conformist and frightened of being apart from the pack. Where I live it is a bit of a joke.
*Oscar Wilde, quoted in The Scotsman.
This whole “world hates America” thing is a myth, a lie, pure and simple. It is to be refuted at every turn. America is the light of the world, the beacon of human destiny, and the world knows it. This is not because Americans are so great…it is because Americans are free to be great. To quote an English movie I saw once “Only in America, is Man FULL GROWN”. Something to do with not bowing to Kings, maybe.
I case you did not see it (it was in reply to an old post) the above is a comment by contributor Xiaoding.
Thank you, Xiaoding.
Only two cars sold in the US have a combined city/highway gas mileage of over 40 mile per gallon. In 2005 there were five. By contrast, 113 such cars are available in overseas markets. The irony is that two thirds of the actual fuel efficient cars are made by American manufacturers , but are not available in the United States. The corporate average fuel economy standard (CAFE) is currently 27.5 mpg and has not been modified in almost two decades.*
" There is three ways things can improve…"
"What does these three men think?"
"If there is advertisements like that….."
"He hasn’t had to answer for these questions"
I wanted to test over a ten minute period the extent of the misuse of the English language on an average news program (a news program because you expect sloppy language on other broadcasts with perhaps less educated people). The above appalling examples of misuse were picked up during only ten minutes of the McNeill/Lehrer news program on WETA last night, Monday 26th November. The speakers were all "well-educated" men, experts in their fields, and one was an experienced broadcaster, who should know better.
Shame on them! Epicurus , were he here today, would point to a decline in the culture, from the top. I quote Wittgenstein:
"The limits of our language are the limits of our experience."
You cannot have a great country if its leaders you cannot speak its language!
The British Red Arrows aerial acrobatics team have been banned from appearing at the 2012 London Olympics because they are deemed "too British". Organisers of the event say that the Arrows military background might be "offensive" to other countries taking part in the Games. The display team have performed at more than 4000 events worldwide, but Gordon Brown’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport has deemed the display team "too militaristically British".
This may seem obscure to people overseas, but these fliers are a national institution, like beer and Churchill. Being axed from a British-based event for being "too British" is viewed by the public as an insult. While the pilots are RAF officers, paid for by the RAF, they are "ceremonial", do not fly on active service, are there for show and goodwill
and are regarded as ambassadors. The Arrows performed a short fly-past in 2005 when the winning bid was announced, but their fly-past at the Games was to have been truly spectacular.
57% of all bank robberies in the EU occur in Italy.
Comment: Nothing much has changed. It was the same in Roman times, which explains why there were so many Epicureans in Italy. There was no point in trying alter something you couldn’t possibly change. Grow vegetables and peace be upon you!
Excavation work has restarted on the famous Villa dei Papyri in Herculaneum after an eight-year gap. "It is impossible, absolutely impossible, to excavate this villa without finding fantastic things," said Andrew
Wallace-Hadrill, the director of the Herculaneum Conservation Project. "We may find the lost scrolls of Aristotle, or we may find something even more exciting that we had not even thought of yet." Of the 100 plays written by Sophocles, only seven have ever been found. Euripides also wrote 100 plays, the vast majority of which have
The enormous villa, which lies just outside Herculaneum, belonged to Lucius Calpurnius Piso, Julius Caesar’s father-in-law. Around 1,800 scrolls, of middling importance, have been recovered since the villa was found 250 years ago, but archaeologists have only recently discovered two extra floors to the building. Work on the site
halted in 1999 after a previous excavation because of fears about the conservation of the site. Because the site lies four metres below the waterline, it is constantly flooded. In addition, the previous dig unearthed an unexpected complex of buildings that needed urgent restoration. Meanwhile, the first work on the main site of Herculaneum
for almost 30 years could begin as early as next year, with the aim of unearthing a collection of public records that will reveal the daily life of the city.
Unlike Pompeii, Herculaneum was almost perfectly preserved after the eruption of Vesuvius, down to the tiniest detail. However, the site, which was only discovered by mistake during the 18th century, mostly lies underneath a modern-day suburb of Naples.
"The breakthrough was that two palazzi collapsed last year, which convinced the residents above that it was not safe," Mr Wallace-Hadrill said. The new excavation work will be funded by a grant from the Packard
Humanities Institute and a grant from the European Union and the Region of Campania.
"We know what is underneath because of tunnels dug in the 18th century, which brought up all sorts of statues and frescoes," said Mr Wallace-Hadrill. The Basilica, which would have served as a town meeting hall, should contain public records of life in Herculaneum that would be invaluable to classical historians and may include Epicurean writings. Last year, the first complete painted statue ever found, the bust of an Amazon warrior, was unearthed from near the Basilica.
The villa is always associated with the Epicureanism of its owners. At the time of the eruption Epicureanism was very popular among Romans of all classes, but it was attacked and discriminated against by an unholy alliance of its Greek philosophical competitors and the emerging Christians, whose own travails did nothing to stop them bullying Epicureans and destroying their literature. It was all about power, not much about Jesus. But at least Epicureans had the sense not to seek martyrdom in the arena.
Thus former Republican National Committee official, John Lofton:
"It is ridiculous on its face to say that Christians can vote for non-Christians. It’s Christ denial, its something that’s very serious. And in fact, in a way things have gotten even worse by saying that religion doesn’t matter. Well, that’s the same as saying, whether they know it or not, that Christ doesn’t matter. He is the King of Kings, he is the Lord of Lords — which means Lord over politics, and no Christian can be complicit in having an unbeliever, who God calls wicked, rule over us."
Not for the first time my credit card has been compromised, this time by someone wanting to use my pension for downloading pop music from Napster. Last time an Italian "gentleman" took his floosy out to dinner in Rome at the precise moment that I was taking my wife out to dinner in London. Next day he tried, and failed, to buy his friend 500 Euros worth of jewelry in Rome. The credit card company, I must say, wins the award for the most vigilant company on the planet.
If you added credit card fraud to pornography, drug peddling and white collar stealing, sleazy theft must rank as the biggest growth industry in the world, maybe bigger even that flogging weapons to every Tom , Dick and Harry in the developed world. Hurrah for the human race!
(Whoops, sorry ! Of course, everything is wonderful, positive and improving. Must get that into my head!)
Meanwhile, I don’t have a usable credit card. I’ll think I’ll just rest in the garden.
Greetings on Thanksgiving Day!Â Â I think we in the West can be thankful for being able to express our opinions freely, without being arrested for them.Â All opinions are welcome on this blog.Â Â Personally I am thankful that the rationalists among us are at last fighting back against superstition and ignorance of science.
The rise in the number of those who are turned off religion and have to some degree or other become nontheist has much to do with the fact that religion is being forced on the unwilling by militant so-called Christians and Moslems. In the US and overseas, fundamentalist groups have halted certain science research, stopped abortions for raped women, reversed gay rights and pushed creationism (of all the really dumb things – an example of how awful the education system must be!).
September 11th saw religious fanatics killing 3000 people, and since that time there have been attacks by the God-fearing believers in Britain, Spain and around the world. Parts of Pakistan are no-go areas, where crazed extremists rule. Afghanistan, owing partly to our own incompetence, could well be lost to the same bunch of religious fanatics. And let’s not leave out India, where extreme, violent Hindus have far too much influence.
What can we make of this? We can absolve the religious by saying, well those people are not real Moslems or Christians. If you call yourself a Moslem or a Christian you have am duty to fight against medievalism in every country, and call these lunatics to account. Are moderate Moslems and Christians , the vast majority, doing this?
Rational beliefs, such as Epicureanism, are growing .Â Just don’t be afraid to express them!