Literature as Authority

Teaching / Scholarship / Literature / Bible /

Illiterate Authority
2017 03 19

Just watching a doc on a temple-roof full of MSs of the Koran: early texts. Muslims say that Allah dictated the Koran to Mohammed; Christians say that God dictated the Bible to believers, the believers thereby inspired by God (and maybe in other ways too).

Good. Still, I ask: where’s God’s testiony on the matter? Ditto Allah?
(Furthermore, how do we test God’s authority in this — or in any other — matter? How do we know God is telling the truth? How do we know we’re competent to understand? this, or anything?)

If the weatherman tells his audience that it’s 68o in Sebring, and then the weatherman drops dead, it’s no big deal: I can buy a thermometer at Walmart, located it in shade in Sebring, and expect a compatlble reading: 67o, or 71 degrees: thereabouts. And someone needs to remind everyone that a reading for Sebring of 68o F doesn’t mean — and never meant — that it’s 67o F at every point in Sebring, let alone at every hour. Point is: you measure a sample of points, and average them: note what representative of the many locaions.

It’s different whan there’s only one thermometer, or only one weatherman who can read the thermomenter. The weathermen dont have to obey some ritual about data gathering; no, just gather the data, and post it. Offer an explanation if something seems out of whack. You don’d need an expert on Sebring weather with magical access to the universe’s one thermometer. Indeed, if there’s only one expert, you can’t have reason, there’s no science: no one needs to take the concept of “termperature” too seriously.

So: with the Bible, ask God. Or ask Allah.

If there’s no answer, then remove Allah, or God, as a resource: you have no resources: unless you invent a better.

So, what do we make of Mohammed’s Koran? or Moses’, or Peter’s Bible?
Turns out there’s not much of anything we should make much of.

Ah, but what if you want to make a living? What if you want your family’s share of crops … game … and husbandery? Why then you’d better make a sharp guess as to who has the magical secret unconfirmable thermometer: then back whatever they say.

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Mis Moon

Teaching / Society / Science /

Easter 2018 04 01

Once upon a time humans watched the night sky. They always had. What species didn’t? What sighted species. But in the case of humans something was different: humans noticed that patterns in the sky of moon, of planets were predictable. Gradually our ancestors began to figure that seasons related to which star constellations. We predicted when the game animals would migrate past the entrance to our cave. We hunted, we ate. The sick baby got meat, survived to adulthood: reproduced.

Our ancestors noticed that where the moon appeared in which constellation had something to do with the flowering of edible grains at the river’s edge. We harvested. We hunted, we harvested, we planted.

We mapped! We mapped the heavens. Science was aborning.

But the tree of knowledge was toxic. Mapping the heavens was the natural property of the priests of the animals migrating, of the plants seeding. We began prdicting not only when animals would migrate past the cave but which priests would make the best moon maps. More and more sick babies survived. And more and more which priests would make the best maps had about as much to do with survival as this years World Series has to do with last year’s spring training. Once a bit more nourishment went to the better moon mapper; now 100% of the nutrients are gobbled by the church before baseball is even invented.

Now it’s not who has the better map: it’s whose lies are most bald-faced. Mis Moon Map indeed.

So it happens again and agan: inventing astrology takes brains, takes a willingness to sacrifice: Ruth’s priest will sabotage Dimagio’s priest: Mickey Mantle’s priest will sabotage the Brooklyn priests. Resources will be steered clear of intelligence, of honesty. And we’ll have what we deserved: Mis Moon Maps of zero validity.

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Victorian Rights

Teaching / Society / Culture /

Jan and I watched Effie Gray last night: John Ruskin and family’s abused bride. Even the servants, seeing the lay of the land, abuse her. Effie wants to be a good Ruskin wife, n body gives her a chance: they like it that she’s pretty, angelic-looking, models clothes well: she has high social status, but no human status.

I fell in love with John Ruskin in grad school, early 1960s, trying to cram my neglect of the Victorians into a semester or two of catchup. I’ll string some notes here, then develop, then edit.

First, summary: women’s rights — wives’ rights — weren’t the Victorians only areas of neglect.

Did you see Harold & Maude? A school the kid is applying to sends a questionaire, trying to get to know the kid: mother fills out the answeers, never consults the kid himself: that’s Effie Gray exactly. Her life is assigned to her, no one cares what her real reactions are.

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Cosby Kick

Teaching / Society / Justice / /

2019 04 12 The woman testifies that Cosby raped her, 1992 or some when: says she wants to kick hm in the face. I want to kick him in the face: and I’ve been an avid fan since the late 1950s. Indeed, my beer party friends from high school, racists if there ever were racists, loved Cosby, laughed ad laughed, no matter how lit we were.

I offer one reservation: Anyone who’s ever been persecuted in a society based on persecution, such as the US, based in slavery, ought to have a free shot at anyone associable with the oppression. In other words, I can imagine it being argued that Satchel Page or Louis Armstrong should get a free ticket to lynch Ronald Regan and Sontewall Jackson. I don’t say it’s been proved, I say it’s arguable.

Please, I am not sayint that blacks are the only victims, not by any means: but they are victims: and should get some compensation.

Though I din’t know any blacks entitled to as much compensation as this one white dude deserves: special victim of kleptocracy..

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Losing the War

/ Teaching / Society / Survival / Evolution /

Lose a War – To a Superior Civilization

I just searched K. for a favorite quote I heard in 1970 and can’t find it: another casualty of the US censorng my domains. I’ll repeat the story real quick here. Upon founding FLEX I spent a lot of time in churches trying to forge alliances with social ameliorists. This and that protestant group, and more Catholic groups than I’d ever heard of. I repeated something that had appalled me to one of the Protestants: NYC cops, on public pay, were raising funds for Catholic churches. No one seemed offended. I was outraged. The pastor said, “There’s only one thing to be done: lose a war to a superior civiliazation!

Put it differently: a god, a superior force, correct coersion, is only only hope. Humans in themselves are not capable of proper behavior.

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Russians’ Trump Pee Tape

/ Teachering / Society / Epistemology / News /

2019 04 13 What’s this? Now we have rumors of tapes floating around of Trump and whores in a Moscow hotel peeing on each other? I lived my life happily without ever hearing of such things until the late 1970s: then my artist Rothe wanted me to make friends with a gallery in Virginia she’d been developing herself. The gallery owner turned out to be a cat freak, bred a particular race of cats, showed them: had friends and customers who bred and showed some other breed. The women were flirting with me, so were her employees: her framer was gorgious, and buxom, and didn’t keep her pants on for teen seconds once we were singing to each other out in the woods with a guitar. Anyway, these ladies’ gossip was goiung to cat shows in NYC: how gay the bulk of the male cat people were: how the main activity in NY at the Waldorf was the fags playing “golden showers”. That’s what they like to do: pee on each other, and film it.
gallery owner’s friend was a fag hag: she liked to be with fags, active fags. She remained dressed, just watched. I thought she’d yield eventually to my embraces: she didn’t. But my gallery owner began to look like whe wanted the same thing her framer had: me. The fag hag vaceted, and Miss Virginia asked me to instruct her in fellatio..Gladly. And I kissed her too, plenty. Very nice. And I never again, till today, hear any more about golden showers.

It now occurs to me, one reason a hotel like the Waldorf may have to be so obscenely expensive is knowing to clean the run every time a gang of fags party there.

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Ex-Post-Facto Facts

/ Teaching / Tools / Reason / Facts /

Russell Westbrook is amazing. I don’t like him, he rubs me the wrong way, but he’s amazing: a kamikaze on the basketball court. Game 1 of the 2018 Playoffs the Thunder announcer got himself fired. Russ executed an impossible feat of athleticism, the announder said, “He’s out of his cotton picking mind!”
Huh? Oh, some people are reminded of industrial scale southern ante bellum agriculture: cotton crops, black slaves for labor. Black slaves for no unions, no opposition …
Right. We’re a racist nation with a racist history: still steeped in racist euphemism: and double-talk.
I watch as many games as I can with my love. She’s way-more sophisticated about basketball than any other woman I’ve ever met: and, far more race conscious. She’s always asking me how many blacks are on the court. I don’t answer, I hadn’t notices, I don’t want to start noticing now. But that’s her background; not mine. Her family was garden variety Emerican: better than average, but not altogether better: better Christians than average; but by no means good Christians. Not a common species on earth.
Anyway, the Thunder guy says cotton-pickin’, the Thunder guy is out of a job.
Maybe the Thunder guy could partner up with this impossible Fox News bitch.

Anyway, the world is filled with people who voted for war, claiming they were voting for peace: voting for the status quo, whil claiming reform. people who voted for Nixon, but stopped saying so after Watergate: people who voted for Roosevelt, then change their minds.

When Judgment comes I want to ask God to tattoo everybody with icons for their political persuasion from year to year. What was our position on Saint Cyril in the Fourth Century? what was our position on Jews in the Fourth Century?

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