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Ferguson & Empires

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  • Aija Veldre Beldavs
    ... haven t seen the series, but have heard good empire apologist Niall Ferguson on TV. Ferguson is certainly worth listening to, and some of his
    Message 1 of 12 , Jul 1, 2008
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      > The horrible impulse in some of humanity to organize via racial
      > philosophy and ideology continues and my only defense against it is a
      > radical, individual, instinctual existentialism. For those who have
      > access to American public television programming, I recommend the
      > current three-part series, "The War Of The World" by Niall Ferguson. Do
      > we adapt and survive as individuals or as members of nations, empires,
      > or particular ethnic groups?
      > Mary

      haven't seen the series, but have heard "good" empire apologist Niall
      Ferguson on TV. Ferguson is certainly worth listening to, and some of
      his interpretations of history are worth examining, but the Baltic folk
      experience is anti-empire: as "undeutsch" (non-German) within the
      Russian Empire, Baltic indigenous people before Enlightenment and Herder
      were considered inferior (like the Irish in the West) and not in need of
      education since laborer peoples weren't supposed to be capable of higher
      sensibilities.

      Enlightenment in contrast didn't deny these sensibilities, but at the
      time assumed indigenous people would be assimilated to Higher Culture,
      which in the Baltic was declared to be equivalent to German and
      Christian. Herder went a step further than Enlightenment by stating
      indigenous languages and culture were in themselves valuable to humanity
      in terms of ecological variety.

      many Balts and Finns, as members of underclasses, were strongly leftist
      prior to the recently documented secret murder of Finns in Karelia
      before the invasion of Finland and prior to purges in 1937 in Russia of
      Latvian Reds prior to the invasion of the Baltic.

      i can agree with Ferguson there are more and less cruel empires, but
      that doesn't mean that Empire is an optimal structure in terms of
      enlightened, humane values. the British Empire, even as it opposed such
      gross forms of asymmetry of rights as caste, slavery, and female
      infanticide or suttee/sati, imposed its own inequalities in terms of
      religion, race, and class. it was no different from other empires in
      that it assumed One culture was more equal than others: British culture
      as superior. (i have no reason not to believe that enlightened Western
      Europeans no longer hold this prejudice.)

      Empire can also be opposed in it claim to right of "lebensraum,"
      colonial privileges, paternal over-seership, and Manifest Destiny, even
      if relatively benign. Empire does carry with it a layer of monoculture
      and normalization, such as mcdonaldisation. structurally a federation of
      a variety of states united by enlightened and humane humane laws with
      safeguards against aggression by any member is better if humane values,
      including diversity, are the goal.

      aija
    • bhvwd
      ... is a ... have ... Ferguson. Do ... empires, ... Niall ... of ... folk ... Herder ... need of ... higher ... the ... Culture, ... stating ... humanity ...
      Message 2 of 12 , Jul 1, 2008
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        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Aija Veldre Beldavs <beldavsa@...>
        wrote:
        >
        >
        > > The horrible impulse in some of humanity to organize via racial
        > > philosophy and ideology continues and my only defense against it
        is a
        > > radical, individual, instinctual existentialism. For those who
        have
        > > access to American public television programming, I recommend the
        > > current three-part series, "The War Of The World" by Niall
        Ferguson. Do
        > > we adapt and survive as individuals or as members of nations,
        empires,
        > > or particular ethnic groups?
        > > Mary
        >
        > haven't seen the series, but have heard "good" empire apologist
        Niall
        > Ferguson on TV. Ferguson is certainly worth listening to, and some
        of
        > his interpretations of history are worth examining, but the Baltic
        folk
        > experience is anti-empire: as "undeutsch" (non-German) within the
        > Russian Empire, Baltic indigenous people before Enlightenment and
        Herder
        > were considered inferior (like the Irish in the West) and not in
        need of
        > education since laborer peoples weren't supposed to be capable of
        higher
        > sensibilities.
        >
        > Enlightenment in contrast didn't deny these sensibilities, but at
        the
        > time assumed indigenous people would be assimilated to Higher
        Culture,
        > which in the Baltic was declared to be equivalent to German and
        > Christian. Herder went a step further than Enlightenment by
        stating
        > indigenous languages and culture were in themselves valuable to
        humanity
        > in terms of ecological variety.
        >
        > many Balts and Finns, as members of underclasses, were strongly
        leftist
        > prior to the recently documented secret murder of Finns in Karelia
        > before the invasion of Finland and prior to purges in 1937 in
        Russia of
        > Latvian Reds prior to the invasion of the Baltic.
        >
        > i can agree with Ferguson there are more and less cruel empires,
        but
        > that doesn't mean that Empire is an optimal structure in terms of
        > enlightened, humane values. the British Empire, even as it opposed
        such
        > gross forms of asymmetry of rights as caste, slavery, and female
        > infanticide or suttee/sati, imposed its own inequalities in terms
        of
        > religion, race, and class. it was no different from other empires
        in
        > that it assumed One culture was more equal than others: British
        culture
        > as superior. (i have no reason not to believe that enlightened
        Western
        > Europeans no longer hold this prejudice.)
        >
        > Empire can also be opposed in it claim to right of "lebensraum,"
        > colonial privileges, paternal over-seership, and Manifest Destiny,
        even
        > if relatively benign. Empire does carry with it a layer of
        monoculture
        > and normalization, such as mcdonaldisation. structurally a
        federation of
        > a variety of states united by enlightened and humane humane laws
        with
        > safeguards against aggression by any member is better if humane
        values,
        > including diversity, are the goal.
        >
        > aija
        >No reason not to believe? Aiija, If you get the pronounds correct we
        might build a fabulous world. But it is mostly for you, we old
        Americans are tired so come try to take our future, it is wild and
        still free. Bill
      • mary.jo11
        aija, Surely you re not surprised I consider empire and/or culture equally harmful and beneficial to the individual. The term folk connotes both security and
        Message 3 of 12 , Jul 2, 2008
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          aija,

          Surely you're not surprised I consider empire and/or culture equally
          harmful and beneficial to the individual. The term "folk" connotes
          both security and horror for me. I realize there is an
          educational/vocational imperative to generalize about history and
          culture, but for the individual these are problematic when one needs
          to reject given values and traditions. I don't promote individualism
          as dogma but as personal necessity. We should validate the benign
          Other in our midst, regardless. We join at our own peril, and isn't
          this what some existentialists have so poignantly demonstrated with
          their own reckless endorsements?

          Mary
        • louise
          ... Mary, What I have a difficulty with are the general terms, if not tied to clear philosophical ideas. Existlist was often at its best when we were
          Message 4 of 12 , Jul 2, 2008
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            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "mary.jo11" <mary.jo11@...> wrote:
            >
            > aija,
            >
            > Surely you're not surprised I consider empire and/or culture equally
            > harmful and beneficial to the individual. The term "folk" connotes
            > both security and horror for me. I realize there is an
            > educational/vocational imperative to generalize about history and
            > culture, but for the individual these are problematic when one needs
            > to reject given values and traditions. I don't promote individualism
            > as dogma but as personal necessity. We should validate the benign
            > Other in our midst, regardless. We join at our own peril, and isn't
            > this what some existentialists have so poignantly demonstrated with
            > their own reckless endorsements?
            >
            > Mary
            >

            Mary,

            What I have a difficulty with are the general terms, if not tied to
            clear philosophical ideas. Existlist was often at its best when we
            were informal, when learning is taken seriously but worn lightly, and
            there is room for shared personal anecdote, within reason. I agree
            with you, that "folk" may connote both security and horror, but I do
            not find the idea of "validating the benign Other" provides any sort
            of consolation. It is all so exclusive. Existentialism has become
            such a catch-all term it is rather absurd. In promoting
            individualism, you are exact in your terms. Yet there are many ways
            to be an individual, and some of them are criminal. You personally
            live in a moral way, so that in arguing here, sincerely and with
            honesty for your own vision, there is no suggestion of incitement to
            irresponsibility. That is a kind of connection to
            existentialism ,but we do not seem to be in existential territory.
            My quarrel with your position is really that you sometimes promote
            moralism, by your confidence with denunciation. I think the
            existential tradition still has plenty to offer, and that it can take
            us beyond moralism without destroying decent custom and morality for
            ordinary people who, as I have been so thoroughly instructed by
            experience, really have little care for philosophical thought.

            Louise
          • Aija Veldre Beldavs
            ... being stuck in one spacetime version of a term does create problems... are you also against its synonyms people and people s movements? communities? how
            Message 5 of 12 , Jul 2, 2008
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              > aija,
              >
              > Surely you're not surprised I consider empire and/or culture equally
              > harmful and beneficial to the individual. The term "folk" connotes
              > both security and horror for me. I realize there is an
              > educational/vocational imperative to generalize about history and
              > culture, but for the individual these are problematic when one needs
              > to reject given values and traditions. I don't promote individualism
              > as dogma but as personal necessity. We should validate the benign
              > Other in our midst, regardless. We join at our own peril, and isn't
              > this what some existentialists have so poignantly demonstrated with
              > their own reckless endorsements?
              >
              > Mary

              being stuck in one spacetime version of a term does create problems...
              are you also against its synonyms people and people's movements?
              communities? how about consumers and consumer movements, then?

              i suppose there are those who think folklorists are some kind of
              sinister bunch, studying nefarious knowledge or that which is hopelessly
              outdated, and they would like indigenous peoples throughout the world
              should just shut up and dissolve. never mind that folklore studies
              living, dynamic, evolving human systems, just like related fields like
              anthropology and sociology, except it concentrates on the noncommercial
              artistic production also of ordinary people, while folklife takes
              special interest in non-dominant material culture.

              you have your take, here's mine based on actually working in the field,
              not just folkloristics but also with disadvantaged people in communities:

              humans have been living in hearths or households (which of course are
              NOT composed of just related people if the society is not radically
              endogamous and exclusive (the early dispersed societies in the Baltic
              were not, different anthropological types intermarrying) and small face
              to face groups since before being humans.

              social engineers have to work very hard to destroy mutually supportive
              relationships as such development has been a natural part of humans
              evolving. where this succeeds, people are less likely set free as
              become a) manipulable within mass society &/or b) dysfunctional.

              i believe people become free as they develop ever deeper and wider
              understanding of what the nature is of connectedness.

              there are all kinds of societies, including more open and closed. there
              are membership rituals to include those that are not members, marriage,
              adoption, blood brotherhood, and even strange things such as bee swarm
              kinship in the Baltic (an archaic kinship type based on sharing rights
              to forest honey as bee swarms migrate into unknown territory).

              tradition - (good, bad, both, neither) is a flexible mechanism of
              adaptation, not fixed, evaluated in terms of what it does. it takes at
              least two people, and usually more, to have tradition in that tradition
              involves communicating experience with someone other than oneself.

              aija
            • mary.jo11
              aija, I have the luxury of choosing to be contrary and non-traditional. Some Others do not. When you use a popular phrase such as the nature of connectedness
              Message 6 of 12 , Jul 3, 2008
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                aija,

                I have the luxury of choosing to be contrary and non-traditional. Some
                Others do not. When you use a popular phrase such as the "nature of
                connectedness" I cringe, because my experience is that only those who
                experience it know what it is. I've bleed on both sides of that sword.

                Mary
              • Aija Veldre Beldavs
                ... sorry your experience of connectedness has been negative. mine has been more positive than negative, though i ve learned from both, and it has been a means
                Message 7 of 12 , Jul 3, 2008
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                  > I have the luxury of choosing to be contrary and non-traditional. Some
                  > Others do not. When you use a popular phrase such as the "nature of
                  > connectedness" I cringe, because my experience is that only those who
                  > experience it know what it is. I've bleed on both sides of that sword.
                  > Mary

                  sorry your experience of connectedness has been negative.
                  mine has been more positive than negative, though i've learned from
                  both, and it has been a means for me to develop as an individual.
                  alienation, connectedness, freedom, and enslavement are universally
                  experienced in different degrees both individually and collectively.

                  aija
                • mary.jo11
                  Raising children has been the significant experience of my life, and I not so humbly consider it a contribution to society. I take issue with solidarity,
                  Message 8 of 12 , Jul 3, 2008
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                    Raising children has been the significant experience of my life, and I
                    not so humbly consider it a contribution to society.

                    I take issue with "solidarity," that existential ax, because of its
                    tendency to totalitarian impulses, in both private and public spheres.
                    The compromise and cost are usually not fully assessed until after the
                    damage is done. Maybe I'm just old and tired. Things just seemed more
                    romantic, idealistic, and possible when I was much younger. My hope
                    for the future is tempered not rusted.

                    This evening there will be fireworks and celebrations. We remember the
                    individual privateers, slaves, and free men and women who forged this
                    great melting pot into which we all eventually disappear, overly taxed
                    and underrepresented, still luckier than many. Nation seems a strange
                    and necessary construct.

                    Existentialism isn't a static concept or philosophy seeking objective
                    truths. Perhaps it's merely a vigilant advocacy for the silent alien
                    other who stands at the door but cannot or refuses to come in. It
                    recognizes a frustrating, unsolvable paradox. Even the most "normal"
                    or "well adjusted" among us might feel that kind of incommunicable
                    isolation.

                    E pluribus unum now seems a clever marketing scam, no pun intended.

                    Mary


                    >sorry your experience of connectedness has been negative.
                    >mine has been more positive than negative, though i've learned from
                    >both, and it has been a means for me to develop as an individual.
                    >alienation, connectedness, freedom, and enslavement are universally
                    >experienced in different degrees both individually and collectively.

                    aija
                  • Aija Veldre Beldavs
                    ... no problem, precedents exist if one is willing to look beyond the usual norm.:) many pre-agricultural & herding peoples related to a great variety of
                    Message 9 of 12 , Jul 3, 2008
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                      > Perhaps it's merely a vigilant advocacy for the silent alien
                      > other who stands at the door but cannot or refuses to come in.
                      > Mary

                      no problem, precedents exist if one is willing to look beyond the usual
                      norm.:)

                      many pre-agricultural & herding peoples related to a great variety of
                      animals, not just herd animals, and some societies remembered this even
                      after they became domesticated. Bear Woman doesn't get the kind of
                      support from her mate as the wolf or the penguin (of the latter some are
                      homosexual). Inescapably Nature has variety and she is the first living
                      book that people study as to what niches living forms occupy.

                      "Kungi raksta graamataa,
                      Saule kljava lapinjaa.
                      Lords/ masters write in a book,
                      Sun, she writes in a maple leaf."
                      (recorded in different variants, latv. folk/ daina-song)

                      there are archaic societies that recognized order and disorder/ chaos
                      beyond duality to be part of the same system. thus, awe and respect,
                      rather than vilification, fear, or hatred of the strange going back to a
                      cognitive revolution taking place throughout the world as evidenced by
                      cave and rock art. DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) spiritual experiences
                      going back to those days gives the experience of making the strange
                      familiar and the familiar strange, as well as sensing connectedness of
                      all within Nature/ the Cosmos.

                      until many Great Civilizations (starting with Zoroastrianism) classified
                      what was ambiguous as Evil, shamans, wise women/witches, tricksters,
                      third sexes, & so on were "our strangers" (all of them deviating from
                      the norm by choice or mis/fortune) esp. among such peoples as the
                      Uralic. ambiguous (potentially dangerous or helpful according to
                      circumstances), rather than Good or Bad natural forces or deities have
                      been more characteristic of archaic religions, and this is still the
                      case among a number of indigenous peoples who of course have modified
                      their traditions to fit current circumstances.

                      from the ecological point of view non-dominant alternative world
                      insights are worth studying and respecting as part of human experience,
                      especially since normative truths of any one society are widely taken to
                      be self-evident, including the dominant ones today.

                      animals and plants, later considered disgusting and associated with
                      witches or the Devil, such as toads, snakes, or mushrooms were in
                      earlier times respected as part of Nature. mystical experience, derived
                      from entheogenics &/or other means known in shamanism with reasonable
                      probability gave an early sense of all things being connected.

                      one of the first to suggest the role of entheogenics in the
                      break-through to a pre-agricultural human spirituality, Gordon Wasson
                      (Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality, 1967) observed that Europe seemed
                      to be divided into mycophobic and mycophilic regions (as in Uralic
                      peoples experience), France and the Mediterranean littoral from Majorca
                      and Catalonia to Provence being exceptions to generally western peoples
                      mycophobia. check out the more recent & rigorous study done by Johns
                      Hopkins University on psilocybin mushrooms for potentially legal medical
                      therapeutic use:
                      http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2006/07_11_06.html

                      aija
                    • bhvwd
                      ... usual ... of ... even ... some are ... living ... chaos ... respect, ... to a ... by ... experiences ... of ... classified ... tricksters, ... from ...
                      Message 10 of 12 , Jul 3, 2008
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                        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Aija Veldre Beldavs <beldavsa@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > > Perhaps it's merely a vigilant advocacy for the silent alien
                        > > other who stands at the door but cannot or refuses to come in.
                        > > Mary
                        >
                        > no problem, precedents exist if one is willing to look beyond the
                        usual
                        > norm.:)
                        >
                        > many pre-agricultural & herding peoples related to a great variety
                        of
                        > animals, not just herd animals, and some societies remembered this
                        even
                        > after they became domesticated. Bear Woman doesn't get the kind of
                        > support from her mate as the wolf or the penguin (of the latter
                        some are
                        > homosexual). Inescapably Nature has variety and she is the first
                        living
                        > book that people study as to what niches living forms occupy.
                        >
                        > "Kungi raksta graamataa,
                        > Saule kljava lapinjaa.
                        > Lords/ masters write in a book,
                        > Sun, she writes in a maple leaf."
                        > (recorded in different variants, latv. folk/ daina-song)
                        >
                        > there are archaic societies that recognized order and disorder/
                        chaos
                        > beyond duality to be part of the same system. thus, awe and
                        respect,
                        > rather than vilification, fear, or hatred of the strange going back
                        to a
                        > cognitive revolution taking place throughout the world as evidenced
                        by
                        > cave and rock art. DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) spiritual
                        experiences
                        > going back to those days gives the experience of making the strange
                        > familiar and the familiar strange, as well as sensing connectedness
                        of
                        > all within Nature/ the Cosmos.
                        >
                        > until many Great Civilizations (starting with Zoroastrianism)
                        classified
                        > what was ambiguous as Evil, shamans, wise women/witches,
                        tricksters,
                        > third sexes, & so on were "our strangers" (all of them deviating
                        from
                        > the norm by choice or mis/fortune) esp. among such peoples as the
                        > Uralic. ambiguous (potentially dangerous or helpful according to
                        > circumstances), rather than Good or Bad natural forces or deities
                        have
                        > been more characteristic of archaic religions, and this is still
                        the
                        > case among a number of indigenous peoples who of course have
                        modified
                        > their traditions to fit current circumstances.
                        >
                        > from the ecological point of view non-dominant alternative world
                        > insights are worth studying and respecting as part of human
                        experience,
                        > especially since normative truths of any one society are widely
                        taken to
                        > be self-evident, including the dominant ones today.
                        >
                        > animals and plants, later considered disgusting and associated with
                        > witches or the Devil, such as toads, snakes, or mushrooms were in
                        > earlier times respected as part of Nature. mystical experience,
                        derived
                        > from entheogenics &/or other means known in shamanism with
                        reasonable
                        > probability gave an early sense of all things being connected.
                        >
                        > one of the first to suggest the role of entheogenics in the
                        > break-through to a pre-agricultural human spirituality, Gordon
                        Wasson
                        > (Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality, 1967) observed that Europe
                        seemed
                        > to be divided into mycophobic and mycophilic regions (as in Uralic
                        > peoples experience), France and the Mediterranean littoral from
                        Majorca
                        > and Catalonia to Provence being exceptions to generally western
                        peoples
                        > mycophobia. check out the more recent & rigorous study done by
                        Johns
                        > Hopkins University on psilocybin mushrooms for potentially legal
                        medical
                        > therapeutic use:
                        > http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2006/07_11_06.html
                        >
                        > aija
                        >Kiss my ass. And thanks for the religous slime tour, call Obam, he
                        will get you a seet. Bill
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