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Society

 

But history has some downsides.  Without it we would approach everyone as a probable equal and, possibly with some caution, as a potential friend, without preconceptions; like an open-minded fool. It is history that confers such attributes as ethnicity, religion, and social status.  It is also the origin of our fear of strangers; and of known enemies.

History is also the basis of special pleading or treatment on the grounds of the past: some previous injury justifying current vendetta; or the converse, special privilege, often based on some claimed inherited status.  

In an ideal world we would disregard the history that precedes a birth.  All children would be given an unbiased start in life, through equitable education, nutrition, and parenting; to live their lives according to their ability, irrespective of historically imposed stereotypes or privilege or disadvantage. 

Like many if not all ideals this is obviously unattainable in the real world. New children are born all the time and the concepts of 'property' and 'truth', among others, are bound up with the past. But moving society in the direction of this ideal; and opposing attempts to move it in the opposite direction; seems to me to be a good principle.

 

 

 

 

Richard
January 2011

 

 

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Travel

Spain and Portugal

 

 

Spain is in the news.

Spain has now become the fourth Eurozone country, after Greece, Ireland and Portugal, to get bailout funds in the growing crisis gripping the Euro.

Unemployment is high and services are being cut to reduce debt and bring budgets into balance.  Some economists doubt this is possible within the context of a single currency shared with Germany and France. There have been violent but futile street demonstrations.

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Fiction, Recollections & News

A Discourse on History

 

 

 

On Australia Day 2011 again we hear the calls: Change the Flag; become a Republic; reparations for the White Invasion...

There are strong arguments for progress in each of these areas but as the following article discusses we first need to ensure that the changes that must be made are indeed progress; that we don't sacrifice that which has been achieved already.

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Opinions and Philosophy

Science, Magic and Religion

 

(UCLA History 2D Lectures 1 & 2)

 

Professor Courtenay Raia lectures on science and religion as historical phenomena that have evolved over time; starting in pre-history. She goes on to examine the pre-1700 mind-set when science encompassed elements of magic; how Western cosmologies became 'disenchanted'; and how magical traditions have been transformed into modern mysticisms.

The lectures raise a lot of interesting issues.  For example in Lecture 1, dealing with pre-history, it is convincingly argued that 'The Secret', promoted by Oprah, is not a secret at all, but is the natural primitive human belief position: that it is fundamentally an appeal to magic; the primitive 'default' position. 

But magic is suppressed by both religion and science.  So in our modern secular culture traditional magic has itself been transmogrified, magically transformed, into mysticism.

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