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Theme Changer

 Topic: Thought provoking works of life and morality.

 (Read 18162 times)
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  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #90 - February 06, 2017, 07:18 PM

    Not just in the USA I'm sad to say. SJW's (as I define them) are alive and well in the UK.

    yeez, I'm glad you're enjoying the thread. You seem quite knowledgeable about the quran, are you also learned in the bible? This is one of my favourite passages from the bible. What distinguishes it from the quran is that it has nothing to do with god, but is all about humanity. It's and forbidden love and wonderfully erotic.

    The Song of Songs is unique in its celebration of sexual love. It gives the voices of two lovers, praising each other, yearning for each other, proffering invitations to enjoy. The two each desire the other and rejoice in their sexual intimacy. The "daughters of Jerusalem" form a chorus to the lovers, functioning as an audience whose participation in the lovers' erotic encounters facilitates the participation of the reader.

    Can you tell who is speaking in each verse? Or maybe its best you don't try. Read a story and enjoy the tale.

    Introduction (1:1–6)
    Dialogue between the lovers (1:7–2:7)
    The woman recalls a visit from her lover (2:8–17)
    The woman addresses the daughters of Zion (3:1–5)
    Sighting a royal wedding procession (3:6–11)
    The man describes his lover's beauty (4:1–5:1)
    The woman addresses the daughters of Jerusalem (5:2–6:4)
    The man describes his lover, who visits him (6:5–12)
    Observers describe the woman's beauty (6:13–8:4)
    Appendix (8:5–14)

    Song of Solomon

    Quote
    The song of songs, which is Solomon's.
    Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
    Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
    Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
    I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
    Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
    [7] Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions?
    If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.
    I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.
    Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.
    We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.
    While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
    A bundle of myrrh is my wellbeloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
    My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of En-gedi.
    Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.
    Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.
    The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.

    I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
    As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
    As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
    He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
    Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.
    His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
    I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
    The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
    My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
    My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
    For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
    The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
    The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
    O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
    Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
    My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
    Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.

    By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
    I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
    The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?
    It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
    I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
    Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?
    Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.
    They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.
    King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
    He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.
    Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.

    Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
    Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.
    Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
    [4] Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
    Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
    Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
    Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
    Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
    Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
    How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!
    Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
    A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
    Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard,
    Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
    A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
    Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.

    I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.
    I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
    I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?
    My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
    I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
    I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.
    The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.
    I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.
    What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us?
    My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
    His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.
    His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.
    His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
    His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.
    His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
    His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

    Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.
    My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
    I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
    Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.
    Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.
    Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.
    As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.
    There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.
    My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
    Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?
    I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.
    Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.
    Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.

    How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.
    Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
    Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
    Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bath-rabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
    Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
    How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!
    This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
    I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples;
    And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
    I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
    Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
    Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
    The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.

    O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.
    I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
    His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.
    I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.
    Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.
    Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
    Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
    We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?
    If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.
    I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
    Solomon had a vineyard at Baal-hamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.
    My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
    Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.
    Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.


    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #91 - April 01, 2017, 04:20 AM

    These Vietnamese Girls Were Abducted and Sold in China. One Daring Group of Do-Gooders Kidnapped Them Back.



    When hundreds of young women were sent off to brothels, factories and eager husbands across the border, a local children’s foundation hatched a heroic rescue plan.

    Quote
    On the back wall of the classroom at Sapa O’Chau, a bootstrap operation in Sapa town, far northern Vietnam, where hill tribe children study to be tour guides, colored-pencil drawings depict young girls with tears streaming down their faces. Some are shackled with metal cuffs; others are trapped in cages or giant jars. The most common scene shows a girl in a forest, trailing a male figure grabbing her by the wrist. “They may pretend to be your friend so they can take you away,” a tiny scrawl reads. “You must be very careful.”

    The students drew the pictures in May 2012, shortly before participating in a made-for-TV documentary by MTV Exit, an initiative that campaigns to end human trafficking. At one point during the program, the members of Canadian pop-punk band Simple Plan sit in a circle with the kids and ask if any of them knows someone who has been trafficked. One girl, Ly, raises her hand. About a year ago, she says, her cousin boarded the motorbike of a handsome boy whom she trusted. No one has seen her since.

    “I dream of her a lot,” Ly says in front of the camera.

    I watched the video with Sapa O’Chau’s then-general manager, Peter Gilbert, one evening at the organization’s shophouse office in town. Onscreen, none of the other students volunteered an answer. But three of their own classmates had vanished down the mountain. One girl had been taken in the same manner as Ly’s cousin. The other two, also girls, had gone on their own. They had wanted to be tour guides, but their lack of English made this unlikely. “I think they felt life would be tough here, and they didn’t see much hope,” Gilbert said. “I guess they decided to go together, or maybe one first made that decision and then worked on the other until she agreed as well. And then they just disappeared.”




    Quote
    Outside on the veranda, Gilbert smoked a cigarette as I asked how the kidnappings worked. He stressed that he couldn’t be sure — no one I talked to is sure — but he ventured that it was usually someone the girl knows: a boy she meets, maybe one who has a nice motorbike, nice clothes, who takes her shopping, tells her nice things. The girl falls in love, comes to trust the boy.

    “Then one day, maybe she gets on that motorbike, just for a little ride around the lake,” Gilbert said. “But suddenly he drives her miles away, and it’s not long before she’s lost, and she can’t get off the bike because she’ll hurt herself. The girl gets threatened, the boy takes her phone; maybe he takes her somewhere where it’s not just one boy but a group of them. And all of a sudden she’s helpless, trapped, captured.

    “Then it seems to be they end up in a brothel, or married, forced marriage. I’ve heard a story that the girls prefer the brothel because it’s probably closer to the border, so it’s easier for them to get away; whereas, if they were married it’s probably thousands of miles away and they could disappear into the interior of China.”

    China — that’s where they go, anyone in Sapa will tell you. The country is desperately bereft of women, the result of a cultural preference for boys amid the one-child policy. China shares a long, porous border with Vietnam across which traffickers can easily spirit girls like Ly’s cousin. They pluck them from all over the region, luring or simply seizing them with a range of methods, from pretend romances to promises of employment to forcing them in a car and driving off.

    If trafficking happens in pockets, though, Sapa is unique, for in few places is the world changing so quickly as at this outpost of development in the Himalayas’ eastern extremities, the gateway to northern Vietnam’s hill tribe communities. While striking in variety and interest, not least for their famously vibrant traditional forms of dress, these groups are by and large impoverished, uneducated and disconnected from the protections of the state, heightening their vulnerability to predators. The Black Hmong and Red Dzao people who predominate here are no exception; Sapa’s tourism explosion has engendered a new normal of interacting with outsiders, leaving minorities perhaps even more exposed.

    I caught wind of what was happening in Sapa in late 2012. There was a buzz about girls who “go to China” or “get stolen” that if you were paying attention was impossible to miss. One only needed to chat with the minority women hawking textiles in the street, shoot pool with the proprietor of a hotel or hang around Sapa O’Chau to begin to grasp the extent of the phenomenon.

    It was hardly monolithic. Some girls were taken outright, but others went of their own volition, spurred by a bad home life, an abusive husband or some dreaded, inescapable fate. Phil Hoolihan, manager of the H’mong Sapa Hotel, told me how one of his staffers, a 16-year-old Black Hmong girl, tried to kill herself after her parents ordered her to marry someone she didn’t love. She already had a boyfriend, but he couldn’t afford the dowry — about $1,500, the price of a water buffalo — and the father said she had no choice. “So she ate the poison leaf,” Hoolihan said, and he meant it literally. She was still in the hospital. “It was her escape method.”

    During the period in which Sapa O’Chau lost its three students, Gilbert had been running a tour guide class; the first two girls, the ones who set off together, were enrolled. One day they just stopped coming. “We still care about those kids a lot,” he said. “But it just seems like almost a part of life here that it’s not that shocking, not something people are still talking about today.”

    Those two never returned. But the third girl, Thi, actually made it back to Sapa. No one could say exactly how. But everyone knew she had resumed her job as a tour guide, the one she had held before she left town about a year earlier.

    Gilbert said he knew Thi — knew her well, in fact. Thi had attended his class, but she dropped out because she couldn’t deal with the rules or keep from fighting with the other kids. Gilbert hadn’t talked to her about China, though. He hadn’t talked to any of the ones who had returned about China. “I don’t want to talk to them, really,” he said. “I don’t want to stress them out.”




    Quote
    I met someone who offered to introduce me to Thi, and she and I sat down one afternoon in the town square. (The names of some of the girls have been changed.) It was a cool, clear October day, free of the dense flash fog that can sweep in so suddenly and obscure this place. Thi, who was 17 when we first spoke in late 2012, wore traditional Black Hmong clothes, colored indigo with patches of intricate, psychedelic patterns. Her fine black hair hung in a long ponytail over the back of her handmade outfit. On the concrete expanse before us, women sat on tapestries laden with handicrafts and tried to flag down tourists, some of whom bit — the stuff was cheap — some of whom just observed, often surreptitiously through their camera lenses.

    Thi’s tale began one day at her room in town, when one of her girlfriends dropped by with a boy she’d just met. The boy, shy, hung around the door, then left for a few minutes and returned with another boy. The newcomer seemed nice enough, and after they departed Thi didn’t think much of it. Later that day, though, she noticed her phone had been used to call an unrecognized number. When she dialed to see who it was, the second boy picked up. “Now we know each other,” he said.

    The next week, he called her, and they met again. He bought a shuttlecock, and they kicked it around the square with her friends. Then they went off on their own for a walk around the lake. When they settled on a bench, Thi texted with a girlfriend who teased her darkly. “Uh oh, first time, I don’t know if you go to China or not,” the friend said. Thi wrote back: “This time I go for sure!”

    It was only a joke. But then the boy suggested they take a quick trip to Lào Cai, the lowland border town both an hour and a world away from Sapa. Just to walk around, check it out. Thi claims he slipped her a “medicine,” a special drug that made her like him. The next thing she knew, she was on the back of his bike, headed down, down, down the mountain…




    Quote
    Another Black Hmong girl who had reappeared recently, Zu, had also been whisked away on the back of someone’s motorbike, and she too had resumed guide work at one of the Kinh-operated hotels in town. Virtually every lucrative enterprise in Sapa belongs to a member of Vietnam’s ethnic majority, the Kinh. Even the Red Dao House, named after the minority, is managed and staffed by Kinh. Its servers dress as Red Dzao people and bequeath Vietnamese and Western fare to large tour groups.

    Zu and I also sat down together in the town square, but she had to cut our conversation short because her parents didn’t like her staying out so late. It was already dark; the fog was rolling in. I asked if we could talk again. She said she would try.

    A few days later I sent her a text. Could she meet? Her reply made me uneasy: sorry i don’t want to talking about my life much.

    Usually there is some authority the journalist can consult with to add context to what’s on the ground. But no one at the international organizations in Hanoi, the capital, could tell me much about whether Vietnam’s ethnic minorities were being trafficked any more, any less or any differently from the rest. The picture is clearer in neighboring Thailand and Cambodia, where civil society is more developed and there are more anti-trafficking organizations. Here, state records almost never differentiate between minorities and Kinh. It seems a reflection of the uncertain esteem in which the government holds these people, isolated as they are at the fringes of a society that regards them as little more than cultural curios.

    It isn’t just minorities: Little can be said definitively about any human trafficking in Vietnam. The data basically don’t exist; meager official statistics portray only the fraction of cases that surfaced in government shelters and courts. Some ministries kept figures like officially received victims, charges pressed and convictions, but trafficking usually goes undetected. Survivors, if they return at all, usually come back on their own. For fear of stigma and discrimination, many keep their stories to themselves.

    Despite all this, there were some indications minorities might be unduly affected by the trade. Beginning in 2007, the International Organization for Migration, IOM, partnered with Vietnam to set up an assessment center for trafficking survivors in Lào Cai province, where Sapa is located. In a review of the project, the IOM stated that more than 90 percent of Lào Cai women entering the center hailed from minority groups, which comprise only 65 percent of the province’s population. Other women who passed through were also “largely from ethnic groups,” estimated at around 60 percent, the report said. “The evidence is anecdotal, but it does seem to be an emerging issue,” Florian Forster, the IOM’s then-local chief of mission, told me at his office in Hanoi. “We’ve been hearing a lot of stories.”




    Quote
    Diep Vuong’s nonprofit, Pacific Links Foundation, runs one of the only two survivors’ shelters in Lào Cai (the government operates the other). She said all 13 or 14 girls under her care were ethnic minorities and that she believed they were trafficked “disproportionately” overall. David Feingold, an anthropologist and filmmaker who has coordinated trafficking research for UNESCO, said that in Thailand and Myanmar, where he had experience, minorities were “disproportionately represented among trafficked people.”

    I heard a similar appraisal from Michael Brosowski, an Australian whose Hanoi-based NGO, Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, has directly rescued more than 400 trafficking victims. Their work pulling victims from the clutches of traffickers started in 2005 when Brosowski was sitting at a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City. A 13-year-old boy named Ngoc tried to sell him a flower. Brosowski spoke just enough Vietnamese to chat with him — and hear that his accent was from distant Thừa Thiên-Huế province in central Vietnam. Two ladies at the end of the street were taking money every time he bagged a customer. “His hair was scruffy and his eyes were distant, like he simply had not had enough sleep,” Brosowski said.

    Van Ta, a Vietnamese law student who was volunteering with Blue Dragon, called the women and demanded Ngoc’s release, saying he represented a big and powerful organization and would be going to the police if they didn’t send the boy home. That wasn’t exactly true — Brosowski had recently quit his job teaching English to start a foundation for street kids. But the ruse worked. In the process of bringing Ngoc back to his family, Blue Dragon learned there were other children trapped in the trafficking ring, so they rescued those, too. Soon they graduated to garment factories. It snowballed from there.

    In late 2012, Brosowski wrote me that he had noticed a “massive shift” to remote ethnic communities. A year later at his office in the capital, I asked if that was still the case. “Even more so,” he said. “But it’s hard to be sure. Is that a trend, or is it just what we’re seeing?”

    Over coffee in Hanoi, Van Ta, now Blue Dragon’s chief lawyer and a recipient of the U.S. State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons Hero” award, told me about the last girl he’d retrieved from China. “She didn’t know where she was,” he said. “How could we find her? So we just gave her instructions, over the phone. We said, ‘Now you have to be brave, find the right time to get out of the house, and run.’”

    At the time, Ta, another Blue Dragon staffer and a Chinese-speaking companion had already spent a day scouring the rural outskirts of Nanjing, the densely populated capital of China’s Jiangsu province, looking for places that matched the girl’s descriptions: a house next to a river, a big stone bridge, a certain kind of tree. They knew she was somewhere in or around the city. The problem was language. She had only learned a bit of Chinese since her would-be husband purchased her a year earlier, and reading signs was still beyond her. Neither was she fluent in Vietnamese, making it difficult for Ta to understand what she was saying.

    “She was from a minority,” Ta said. He found a picture on his phone and handed it to me. The image made my eyes widen.

    The girl — it was Thi.

    Somehow, this part of her account had been lost in translation.

    “How did you learn she was there in the first place?” I asked.

    “It’s a long and complicated story.”




    Quote
    From China, Thi had been able to contact Malcolm Duckett, an English teacher from Australia who was living in Hanoi. They’d met a year or so earlier when Duckett traveled to Sapa and signed up for a tour with her company. Thi had wanted to improve her English, so she asked Duckett for his email, and they struck up a correspondence. When Thi told him she was in China, he spread the news, and eventually it reached Blue Dragon. Ta got Thi’s phone number from relatives in Sapa she’d called from abroad.

    “Did the husband know she was talking to her family?” I asked.

    “Personally, I think he knew,” Ta said. “Because no one thought anyone could bring her back. The ethnic minority family has no money and doesn’t know where she is in China. Even if they know, it’s very far away, and they don’t speak Chinese. So that’s why the husband is confident to give her the phone.”

    Ta talked and texted with Thi for five days, trying to learn more about her location. Blue Dragon and Duckett had each managed to trace the internet protocol, or IP, address of a computer she was using to Nanjing, but only to some unspecified location in the city’s vicinity. Finally, Blue Dragon decided just to go. Ta and the other staffer — a driver who had only been on the job a week — flew 1,800 kilometers, checked into a hotel and got on the phone with Thi. They rented a taxi to search for her place, but it was no use. Plan B would have to do.

    “You have to take a deep breath,” Ta told Thi. “Don’t take anything, just go.” Her husband was sleeping; her mother-in-law had gone out. “Run!” Ta implored. “Run, run, run!”

    So she did. For two hours she ran, looking for some crowded, plausible place — a hotel, a supermarket — where she could hand someone the phone for Ta’s Chinese-speaking friend to explain that he and his daughter had gotten separated on their trip from another province and could the person please tell him where she was? Finally she found a taxi and put the friend on with the driver. The driver brought her to Ta. He tried to act normal, paid for the taxi and didn’t say anything. Neither did she.

    Earlier, when Malcolm Duckett, the English teacher, found Thi’s name in his inbox, it had come as a pleasant surprise. He hadn’t heard from her in about a year. She was writing in response to some group email he’d sent, saying she didn’t understand.

    “Don’t worry, it’s fine,” he replied. “How are you?”

    “Not so good,” came the next message. “I’ve been sold to a husband in China.”

    What? Really? Duckett was floored. He knew he had to act — but something also troubled him. If the typical kidnapping victim might have pleaded for help or demanded to be saved, Thi issued no such entreaties. “She was using language like, ‘I don’t like it so much here, I’d like to come home’,” Duckett said. “She didn’t say ‘Please rescue me’. So it makes me think that perhaps this happens so often they don’t consider it their right to complain, or such a terrible fate. And I guess she didn’t know what she could do to get back.”

    Duckett wasn’t so sure about her options himself, but whatever unease he felt he put aside and began spreading the word about her plight. Soon he identified some people in Sapa who knew of her abduction, though none were aware she had an email address; so Duckett took the lead, initiating an intense correspondence with Thi. If he could get her to perform a simple computing operation, he could pinpoint her location for someone to bring her home.

    That proved extremely difficult. Thi was no computer whiz, nor was she the clearest writer. Her limited English and Duckett’s inability to speak Hmong made Vietnamese their best shot, but he wasn’t completely fluent in Vietnamese, she even less so. Although he eventually engineered a way to obtain her IP address, and with it her approximate location, he ached to get her to do something more specific with the computer. If he could just have her type in some commands, Duckett could have known exactly where she was. He sent her screenshots of how to do it, explained in multiple languages, even put her on chat with a Vietnamese person. In the end, the chasm was too wide. “We tried and we tried and we tried and we tried, but I couldn’t communicate it to her,” Duckett said. “It was really frustrating. Because it was so close; all you have to do is press these buttons and we can have a solution.”




    Quote
    The buttons weren’t Duckett’s only problem. Even if Thi had pulled off the IP traceback, none of the international organizations he reached out to could actually go to China and rescue her. They could only provide support upon repatriation. Bringing her home was supposed to be the police’s job, but Duckett learned the cost and effort usually meant they would not. Only Blue Dragon was willing and able to make the trip.

    Brosowski, the Blue Dragon founder, is aware his organization navigates a gray area. On one hand, China is sovereign territory, and even in Vietnam the authorities hold sway. “On the other hand, we’re just going on behalf of a private citizen, just to look for someone’s daughter who’s missing,” he reasoned. “It’s not against the law to look for a missing person.”

    Ta and Thi traveled three days overland from Nanjing to Hekou in China’s southernmost Yunnan province, just across the Red and Nanxi Rivers from Lào Cai. In a formal ceremony at the border, Chinese officers escorted Thi halfway down the short bridge linking the two cities, saluted their Vietnamese counterparts and handed her off. Then they walked her through the border gate and into Vietnam.

    “Wow!” Thi exclaimed of the moment. “Vietnamese policemen from this side coming, and China coming, they say ‘Nice to meet you,’ very scary. After that the Chinese policeman gave me to them. Then the Vietnamese policeman take me in, and he say, ‘How old are you?’ I say, ‘17!’ ‘Which year you born?’ ‘I born 1995!’”




    Quote
    Thi could be a difficult person to read, and if the experience had shaken her, it didn’t show. Duckett felt the same way, and he struggled with it. “I wonder how it’s affected her,” he said. “She was happy to be brought back, but it seemed like a situation like, ‘I prefer it, I prefer it — I prefer it here it Vietnam. I didn’t like it in China.’”

    Maybe, Duckett conceded, he needed to understand the Hmong better to understand Thi’s mindset. Or maybe Thi was just very good at accepting her situation.

    “It just really struck me,” he said finally, “how it seemed like she wasn’t — like she wasn’t trying as hard as she could have to, to get back.

    “Did you get the feeling when you talked to Thi that she had a strong desire to come back?”

    One girl I interviewed had plunged from a fourth-floor window to evade her captors. Another had walked out on her new husband while pregnant with his child. Zu, with whom I eventually reconvened, had convinced her Chinese mother-in-law to let her work in a factory to earn money for the family. When she had pilfered enough, she made a break for it with two other brides, both of them Hmong.

    Brosowski told a story about a trio of Kinh girls from southern Vietnam whose traffickers lured them across the border, locked them in a room, went out to find buyers for their virginity and came back to an empty house. The girls had kicked down the door and escaped. They ran until they were out of breath, and by some miracle the residence they approached for help was inhabited by a couple who had lived in Vietnam and remembered the language. The couple offered to hide the girls in their attic until someone could get them. One of the girls called mom, mom called the police and the police called Blue Dragon, which quickly picked them up.

    When the trio was safely back in Hanoi, they stayed at a government shelter. One day Blue Dragon asked if they were ready to go home. The girls said they were scared because other residents of the shelter had been rejected by their families, or their neighbors had criticized them. Some had actually returned to the shelter.

    Blue Dragon’s response was to organize a big party in the girls’ village to welcome home “the heroes who beat the traffickers.” “Because they did,” Brosowski said. “The traffickers spent all that money to drive them to China, and I can just imagine the look on their faces when they came back and their house was empty. These girls won. So let’s tell everyone in the village, these girls are heroes, not victims. And it worked. They never had a problem. One of them is working as an accountant or a bookkeeper in a big company now. She got her tertiary degree. I think she’s actually married.”

    He added, “I guess they were lucky in some ways, because they did escape.”




    Quote
    In Hmong tradition, if a boy wants to marry, he kidnaps his bride. The practice fascinates the Vietnamese, and it has been stereotyped and romanticized in the national media. In 2009, the Hanoi-based rock band Ngũ Cung scored a hit with the song “Wife-Stealing: A Hmong Practice.” The custom almost always comes up in conversations about trafficking in Sapa. Some argue the normalization of kidnapping puts young women at a higher risk of falling victim to the trade, and videos posted to YouTube make clear it can be a harrowing experience.

    Others think it’s largely overblown. Tam Ngo, an anthropologist who has studied the Hmong, said the “abductions” are usually symbolic, consensual affairs. “I think it’s a very sweet, beautiful little custom,” she said.

    When I met Thi on that clear October day, she lingered on the memory of her wedding in China. She recalled the compliments, how everyone told her mother-in-law how lucky her son was to marry such a beautiful young girl. She remembered watching the DVD of the ceremony and where in the house the pictures had been placed: four or five on the table, a small one downstairs, a big one hanging on the wall. She said she had dreamed of getting married, and that when the moment finally arrived, it struck her that it would never come again.

    More than a year later, I returned to Sapa and sat down in the square with Thi a second time. She wore a bright pink jacket and pants over her Black Hmong clothes and appeared taller than before, and her English seemed better. The previous week it had snowed, an extreme event here, and Thi showed pictures of the frost on her phone. As we chatted I told her about the other survivors I had interviewed, and it took us a while to ascertain that one of them was Thi’s aunt.

    Duckett had told me Thi had married again. I asked her about it, and she said she had already divorced him. I asked about China, if she had ever tried to escape before making contact with Duckett. “No,” she said, “because I never going outside, only close to the house. I never go far away. So it’s very difficult for me to go out. But right now he calling me every day.”

    Who, Duckett?

    “No. The husband in China. He calling me, try to make me going back.”

    I asked how she responded.

    “I speak with him say, ‘If he want to love me and marry me for sure he have to coming here.’ He have to coming here and we can make the paper for marry each other and then I can go back with him. If he not then I not going back.”

    But did she want to go?

    “If of course when he coming here he make the paper for marry in the policeman, and after that we can go and coming back, of course I going back with him. But if he just coming here and asking I go back with him, I never going back.”

    That was interesting, I said, because none of the other girls said they would ever go back.

    “If he want to love and marry me for sure, he just coming here. If he say I just coming back by myself, I say no.”

    I asked if she thought he would come and fetch her. She said she didn’t hope so.

    Would she really go back to China?

    “Maybe not.”

    Maybe not.

    “I’m not sure.”


    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #92 - July 05, 2017, 02:28 PM

    A very good post by CEMB's own sheik and mujaddid, Hassan Radwan.

    This is the text of the talk I gave yesterday at Conway Hall.

    Is Islamic reform possible?

    The question “Is Islamic reform possible?” pre-supposes that reform is necessary. For the purpose of this talk I will assume it is since that would be a whole other debate. However many Muslims would say it is not.

    Even many liberal and progressive Muslims insist Islam is perfect and it is only Muslims themselves that need to be reformed. It is Muslims who are misguided and hold erroneous interpretations - the Qur’an is the perfect word of God. It can never be wrong.

    They argue extremists like al-Qaeda and ISIS are not “true” Muslims and are only using Islam for their own power & political ends. They dismiss countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran or Afghanistan as not following Islam correctly & they go to great lengths to come up with all sorts of apologetics to distance Islam from real-life practices of Muslim countries and groups around the world.

    Yet it has to be asked if Islam is perfect and has absolutely nothing to do with the actions of extremists like ISIS or regimes like Saudi Arabia - then why is it that these Muslims have so grossly misunderstood their religion? When one points out actions such as execution of apostates and gays they tell us this is completely against Islam and Islam is very clear about it. Then why don’t these groups and regimes realise they are going completely against Islam. Don’t they realise the terrible mistake they are making when it is all so clear and obvious? The truth is that it is not as clear and obvious as they claim.

    If it is true that they have completely misunderstood Islam - what does that say about Islam & the Qur’an - the clear book kitabun mubeen - the final and complete revelation to man? If the message has been so badly misunderstood by so many Muslims what does that say about the message?

    My view is that the Qur’an is not perfect and I believe it’s time we Muslims admitted that the Quran and Sunna can indeed lend itself to very harsh and violent - yet perfectly valid interpretations. The solution is not to try and twist the texts to come up with a counter-interpretation but to simply accept the fact that the Quran is not perfect. It is not infallible. It can be wrong.

    Muslim reformers, such as there have been throughout Islamic History have never challenged this idea that the Qur’an is perfect. In fact the usual word for reformer in the context of Islam does not actually mean reform - the word used is mujaddid which means “renewer”. Reform in the Islamic context means calls to return to “true, pure and unadulterated” Islam of the Qur'an & Sunna. Their “reforms” have been about halting change rather than bringing about change. Many puritanical groups have arisen throughout Islamic History such as the al-Muwahideen, almurabiteen, and the Khawarij - all with the same aim of bringing Islam back to its pure unadulterated roots. As such the Wahhabis and Salafis of today can be seen in this tradition of tajdeed - renewing Islam and ridding it of corruptions and innovations. Most if not all Muslim reformers have been restricted within this paradigm.

    Even Liberal and Progressive Muslims of today who seek to bring about a more peaceful and inclusive form of Islam never claim they are reforming Islam. Instead they claim they are bringing Islam back to it’s true message. They accept the same starting point of a perfect divine Qur’an and so instead of simply rejecting problematic verses they are forced into absurd linguistic gymnastics in order to claim that God’s perfect word never actually said what it appears to have said - and what 1400 years of scholarship believed it said. Liberal & progressive arguments depend on tenuous nuanced readings of the Qur’an and forcing new meanings out of ancient words. They scrape the barrel of the ancient texts to find something that will support a more progressive view.

    But by playing this game within the rules of a perfect divine Qur’an they only hand victory to the traditionalists and fundamentalists because it is the traditionalists who have by far the greater evidence to support their views. Any theological workarounds a liberal can come up with can be easily countered by traditionalists with a vast array of Qur’an and hadith at their disposal.

    Now I’m not saying the traditionalist and fundamentalists represent the true Islam, because in my view there is no such thing as “True Islam”. Islam is not and never has been a single homogenous entity. Of course many Muslims argue that there is a True Islam, but that is because they believe the Qur’an is perfect and is the carefully planned work of an Omniscient and Omnipotent God. They are compelled to defend it's integrity and consistency against all reason.

    Ironically many far-right anti-Muslim bigots also insist there is only one “True Islam” and they say it is the Islam of ISIS and the extremists. They want to convince everyone - including Muslims themselves - that moderate forms of Islam are wrong and that real Islam is the terrorists' version. Muslims who deny this are practicing Taqiyya or are ignorant. They do this because they want to justify their hatred & violence towards Muslims.

    But those of us who take the view that the Qur’an is the rather less carefully planned work of a human mind, should not make the mistake of expecting a perfectly consistent and non-contradictory message over 23 years from a 7th century human being reacting to events as they happened. There are certainly interpretations that can be argued to be closer to what Muhammad brought in 7th century Arabia. But one cannot claim they all constitute a single consistent view. When liberal and progressive Muslims accuse the Salafis of being selective in how they interpret Islam, choosing to overlook the more peaceful and tolerant verses, they are right. But what they forget to mention is that they are just as selective when they choose to overlook the more harsh and rigid verses.

    What Muhammad did and said varied at different points over the 23 years of his prophethood. His message changed shape and direction as events did and with the need to please and attract differing tribes and individuals. From the early days in Mecca to the position of power he found himself in Madina. The Qur’an contains contradictions, ambiguity and vagueness leaving the door open to a multitude of interpretations.

    Some argue that the principle of abrogation means that the more peaceful and conciliatory verses are no-longer valid. This is a favourite argument of the far-right anti-Muslim bigots who again want to insist that more liberal versions of Islam are wrong and “true Islam” is the violent forms. However the doctrine of abrogation is largely a creation of later scholars who were compelled to reconcile the contradictions in the Qur'an - which of course cannot exist since it is the perfect word of God. They took their cue from 2 similar but rather ambiguous verses in the Qur’an. For example verse 106 of al-Baqara says:

    “Any revelation We cause to be abrogated or forgotten, We replace with something better or similar.”

    They used this to argue that any verses that contradicted each other could be explained by the later one abrogating the earlier one which usually meant Medinan verses abrogating Meccan ones. However they didn’t agree on which verses abrogate which since there is not always agreement on when verses were revealed or even the reasons they were revealed (asbabunuzul). Some scholars even went as far to argue that a verse that was revealed in Mecca was then revealed again in Medina in order to make it fit their view.

    Many modern Muslims reject the whole idea of abrogation which of course gives them a little more scope to argue that early peaceful and conciliatory verses are in fact more valid than later violent ones since the violent ones are tied to the specific context of Muhammad’s struggle with the Meccan while the earlier ones are of a universal and general in nature. This was the argument of the Sudanese scholar Mahmoud Taha and his student Abdullahi Al-Naeem.

    Mahmoud TaHa was executed for apostasy in Sudan which shows how dangerous and difficult it is for liberal & Progressive Muslims to challenge the status quo.

    Even when they are listened to they cannot decisively defeat the fundamentalists using scriptural arguments as long as they concede the Qur’an perfect. Because the harsh literalist interpretations of the fundamentalists will always have the greater weight of classical scholarship on their side. Their hands will never be free to simply pick and choose using reason, since God’s divine words trumps flawed human reason every time.

    The belief that the Qur’an is the perfect word of God shuts down all argument and sidelines human reason & conscience. There can be no stronger motivation than "God said it". One can’t argue with God. Few Muslims have the courage to challenge the idea that the Qur’an is God’s word. Those that do are immediately labelled apostates and they are either executed or forced to leave Islam thereby silencing all dissent from within Islam.

    However contrary to popular belief all the Arabs at the time of Muhammad did not swoon at the words of the Qur’an believing it to be of divine origin. The Qur’an itself testifies that many Arabs rejected the Qur’an’s claim to being the word of God. Muhammad was accused of being a soothsayer and a poet. He was accused of recounting nothing but myths and fairytales and it took a long and violent struggle to win over Arabia - not an intellectual one.

    Even after Islam there were Muslims who rejected the Qur’an’s claim to be inimitable. For example Al-Jaʿd ibn Dirham, tutor to the Umayyad Caliph Marwan, said "The Qur'an's eloquence is not a miracle and people can do the like of it and better." The Mu'tazilite scholar Abu Musa said "People are able to produce the like of the Qurʾān as regards eloquence, and composition and rhetorical beauty." The Sunni scholar Abu al-Qushairy said: "We do not claim that everything in the Qurʾān is in the highest rank of eloquence." Ibn al-Rawandi a Mu'tazilite scholar - who was accused of being a Zindiq (heretic) - said "Indeed the Qurʾān is not the speech of a wise god. In it are contradictions and mistakes and passages that are in the realms of the absurd."

    During the Islamic Golden Age this movement of dissent grew and was labelled al-Zanadiqa (The Heretics) by its opponents. But it nevertheless boasted some great scholars & poets in its ranks including the Muslim physician al-Razi, the poets Omar al-Khayyam & Abu Ala’ al Ma’arri (whose statue was destroyed by ISIS fighters when they took his home town of Ma’arrat al-Nu’maan near Aleppo in Syria). All these scholars and poets openly questioned the view that the Qur’an was of divine origin and it’s ironic that for a period at least during the Islamic Golden Age such bold expression was tolerated to a greater extent than it is today.

     Al-Razi was particularly scathing about the Qur’an saying:

    “You claim that the evidentiary miracle is present and available, namely, the Koran. You say: 'Whoever denies it, let him produce a similar one.' Indeed, we shall produce a thousand similar, from the works of rhetoricians, eloquent speakers and valiant poets, which are more appropriately phrased and state the issues more succinctly. They convey the meaning better and their rhymed prose is in better meter. … By God what you say astonishes us! You are talking about a work which recounts ancient myths, and which at the same time is full of contradictions and does not contain any useful information or explanation. Then you say: 'Produce something like it'‽”

    However with the rise of Europe during the Renaissance came the decline & stagnation in the Islamic world and what little free-thought had existed during the Islamic Golden Age came to an end. The doors of ijtihad were closed and scholars no longer braved new frontiers. Instead they concentrated on preserving and imitating the past.

    Today however there are signs that there is a new awakening of free-thought despite the rise & alarming spread of Islamic neoconservatism - in fact it may be in part a reaction to such regressive movements that are in such stark contrast to reason and reality in the 21st century and are a never ending source of cognitive dissonance for many rational and educated Muslims.

    For example the modern Iranian scholar Abdul Karim Soroush writes:

    “According to the traditional account, the Prophet was only an instrument; he merely conveyed a message passed to him by Jibril. In my view, however, the Prophet played a pivotal role in the production of the Koran… Like a poet, the Prophet feels that he is captured by an external force. But in fact the Prophet himself is the creator and the producer. The question whether the inspiration comes from outside or from inside is really not relevant, because at the level of revelation there is no difference between outside and inside. The inspiration comes from the Self of the Prophet.”

    In Iraq the scholar Ahmad Al-Qabbanji states quite openly in his lectures that the Qur’an is not perfect nor flawless and has compared it to human texts which he highlights passages that are superior to passages of the Qur’an. (For this who speak Arabic you can find plenty of his lectures on Youtube.)

    The Moroccan scholar Saeed Nasheed published a book in Arabic last year titled: Modernity & the Qur’an - in it he says:

    “The Qur’an is not the speech of God, just as the loaf of bread is not the work of the farmer. God produced the raw material, which was inspiration, just as the farmer produces the raw material, which is wheat. But it is the baker who turns the wheat or flour into bread according to his own unique way, artistic expertise and creative ability. Thus it is the Prophet who was responsible for interpreting the inspiration and turning it into actual phrases and words according to his own unique view.”

    My own view is perhaps even more radical. I am both Agnostic & Muslim. I don’t know if God exists or not - though I do believe in “something” - something I cannot define nor quantify but I call it God. I enjoy many aspects of the Islamic traditions that I have been brought up in and practiced for over 50 years of my life. However when I went through a period of doubts and became convinced that the Qur'an was not the perfect word of God but very much the product of a human being from the 7th century - I left Islam for a while. I thought I had no choice. I had always been led to believe that if you don’t believe in the divinity and perfection of the Qur’an you can’t be a Muslim. But I never felt entirely comfortable identifying as an Ex-Muslim and still found myself attending prayers and Islamic events with my family and friends.

    All the things that I had loved and drew comfort from during my 50 years as a practicing Muslm were still there. I still enjoyed prayer and connecting with that something beyond this material existence I call God and I was surprised to find that having doubts as to whether there was anyone actually listening didn’t take away the comfort, hope and relief I gained from sharing my thoughts and feelings. I still enjoyed the verses and hadith I had always loved and treasured. Seeing the Qur'an as fallible didn't change all that. So why should I be forced to leave Islam? Particularly when Islam so badly needs voices of dissent and change from within. And when Muslims - including loved ones - are being bullied and oppressed by religious authorities who rely on our silent compliance.

    So yes I am a Muslim who believes the Qur'an is not the word of God. Plain and simple. Like all human books it contains good and bad. It is inextricably tied to its context and environment. I openly and unashamedly pick and choose the good parts and reject the bad parts based on my conscience, human reason and our 21st century context.

    I see no reason to abide by the definition of the very fundamentalist authorities I oppose and who are the cause of our problems and I propose a new definition for a Muslim. One who is freely able to place reason above revelation. Who does not have to apologise for picking and choosing - for “cherry picking” as our detractors like to scoff at. Selecting the good and leaving the bad according to human reason is the eminently rational and reasonable thing to do. It is the “All or Nothing” approach that is irrational and leads to the suppression of one’s humanity.

    Why should being honest & admitting what is patently obvious mean you can’t be a Muslim? Why should we have to keep on defending (or dishonestly wriggle out of) passages that are simply wrong. Let’s reject them and move on. It really is as simple as that.

    Though of course the journey getting to that point is not simple. Embracing doubt while retaining faith is not an easy process but it is possible and enlightening. Doubt can accommodate faith, but crucially it eliminates extremism. Fanaticism cannot occupy the same space as doubt and reason. As Voltaire said: “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition, but certainty is a absurd one.”

    Perhaps the irony is that most Muslims already pick and choose - the only difference is that I’m simply proposing they do this openly and unashamedly without the ridiculously tenuous and disingenuous apologetics that are ultimately self-defeating.

    I will give you an example from verse 34 of Surat al Nisa which in microcosm reflects the dilemma Muslims face and how belief in a perfect Qur’an prevents us from reform. The verse says:

    “As for those women from whom you fear rebellion (first) admonish them (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) hit them.” (4:34)

    This has been the cause of endless problems & cognitive dissonance for rational and liberal Muslims in this day and age where humanity has evolved beyond such a barbaric mentality and where the relationships and roles of men and women have changed drastically from 7th century Arabia.

    However the insistence on a perfect divine Qur’an has meant that Muslims must earthier defend wife beating against their very conscience and rational mind - or they are forced to invent dishonest and ridiculous apologetics to try to make the verse mean something completely different. Apologetics which fool none but a tiny minority of Muslims who have retreated to an ivory tower of the absurd - a make-believe land where up means down and left means right and anything can be as you wish it to be.

    Muslims are as yet unable to simply say “The Qur’an wrong.” - They can’t say this because of the insistence that the Qur’an is perfect and infallible.

    Reform can only come once we get over this hurdle of an infallible Qur’an. It is not infallible. It is not perfect and it is not the word of God. That doesn’t mean it is all bad. There are many beautiful and mystical verses such as ayatuNur, Ayatul Kursi, verses about giving charity, helping others, seeking comfort and strength from prayer, helping the poor, good behaviour and character, honesty, personal responsibility, kindness, humbleness and so on…

    But there are also verses about eternal torture in Hell, chopping hands off thieves, flogging fornicators, and keeping slaves. As for Hadith I won’t even go there as they have already begun to be seriously doubted and jettisoned by many Muslims, due some of cruel, barbaric as well as absurd and comical nature of their content.

    It’s time we Muslims realise that recognising the human origins of the Qur’an does not mean we have to lose comfort and solace Islam gives us. It means we will have the dual benefit of eradicating extremism while preserving that which is worthwhile.

    To those who say that is impossible to combine faith with doubt & skepticism I would say firstly I myself have reached that point. Secondly why should such a pragmatic realism be harder than the massive efforts most believers put into struggling with cognitive dissonance?

    And as someone who was born & brought up in the UK I am surrounded by plenty of examples of secular Christians, Jews, Hindus and others who pray in church or temple, christen their children, have religious weddings, attend festivals & services. Who draw comfort and identity from their faith - yet can still embrace doubt and maintain a healthy skepticism. Muslims are not a different species. They are human beings like everyone else and have the same capacities and possibilities as everyone else and I consider it racist to think otherwise.

    As for those who say we are better off without religion - perhaps that right - but regardless of what one thinks about religion the fact is it has and continues to provide a great many people with meaning, comfort and motivation in a world that is often confusing, cruel and full of conflict. The fact that all these religions are man-made does not negate their effectiveness as a vehicle to ease the anxiety of life & to reach out to the unknown.

    Recognising the Qur'an's human nature does not have to mean the end of Islam, but it will mean the end of unreasonable defence of tenets that belong to an earlier stage of human evolution. It will mean freeing human reason and conscience and allow Islam to evolve as humans evolve. It will mean the end of religion poking its nose into every facet of our lives by self-appointed moral busybodies. It will free us to make our own decisions and life choices and leave judgment to God not man. Religion is between you and God. Believe as you wish but do not impose it on others.

    Muslims must take the bold & essential step of challenging the belief that Qur’an is infallible. It is an essential step, because once you stop protecting ideas on the basis that “God said it”, you create a level playing field where good ideas can battle it out with bad ideas on an equal footing - without some being protected on the false basis that “God said it.” It allows reason to be the deciding factor for whether something is accepted or rejected, rather than: “Because it’s written!” No more searching for tenuous interpretations or changing the meaning of words into something else, just so we can avoid the problematic and uncomfortable meanings.

    As long as we refuse to appreciate that the Qur’an is human-authored, we will be forced to continue playing the game within the traditional paradigm that the fundamentalists are best at. We will disarm ourselves of the only weapon that can defeat them – reason. Only when we recognise that the Qur’an and Sunna are fallible can we free Islam from the prison of dogma we placed it in.

    Islam is far more than the Qur’an and Sunna. Like any major religion, it is the amassed wisdom, practice, cultures and beliefs of millions of believers in different parts of the world over many centuries. Religion at its most fundamental a way of seeking comfort, solace, strength and meaning in a harsh world where man finds himself alone and vulnerable - an aid to help us get by - a way to reach out to the heavens. But it must never be allowed to replace reason and humanity.

    It is the fundamentalists who are destroying Islam by stripping it of the very things that has made religion relevant to human beings. They want to reduce Islam to a blind following of ancient texts and strip away any semblance of progress, human reason and humanity. They want to take us back 1,400 years to a harsh and barbaric context and place that has no place in the 21st century.

    Accepting that the Qur’an is fallible will not destroy Islam. It will destroy the fundamentalists. For the rest of us it will free us and free our reason so we can take what is useful and reject what is not.


    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #93 - July 05, 2017, 02:55 PM

    Ecclesiastes is one of 24 books of the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, where it is classified as one of the Ketuvim (or "Writings"). It is among the canonical Wisdom Books in the Old Testament of most denominations of Christianity. The title Ecclesiastes is a Latin transliteration of the Greek translation of the Hebrew Kohelet (meaning "Gatherer", but traditionally translated as "Teacher" or "Preacher", the pseudonym used by the author of the book.

    The book dates from c.450–180 BC and is from the Middle Eastern tradition of the mythical autobiography, in which a character, describing himself as a king, relates his experiences and draws lessons from them, often self-critical. The author, introducing himself as "son of David, king in Jerusalem" (i.e., Solomon) discusses the meaning of life and the best way to live. He proclaims all the actions of man to be inherently hevel, meaning "vain" or "futile", ("mere breath"), as both wise and foolish end in death. Kohelet clearly endorses wisdom as a means for a well-lived earthly life. In light of this senselessness, one should enjoy the simple pleasures of daily life, such as eating, drinking, and taking enjoyment in one's work, which are gifts from the hand of God. The book concludes with the injunction: "Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone" (12:13).

    Ecclesiastes has had a deep influence on Western literature. It contains several phrases that have resonated in British and American culture, such as "eat, drink and be merry," "nothing new under the sun," "a time to be born and a time to die," and "vanity of vanities; all is vanity." Abraham Lincoln quoted Ecclesiastes 1:4 in his address to the reconvening Congress on December 1, 1862, during the darkest hours of the American Civil War: "'One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.'...Our strife pertains to ourselves—to the passing generations of men; and it can without convulsion be hushed forever with the passing of one generation." American novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote: "Of all I have ever seen or learned, that book seems to me the noblest, the wisest, and the most powerful expression of man's life upon this earth—and also the highest flower of poetry, eloquence, and truth. I am not given to dogmatic judgements in the matter of literary creation, but if I had to make one I could say that Ecclesiastes is the greatest single piece of writing I have ever known, and the wisdom expressed in it the most lasting and profound."

    The opening of William Shakespeare's Sonnet 59 references Ecclesiastes 1:9–10.

    Leo Tolstoy's Confession describes how the reading of Ecclesiastes affected his life.

    Robert Burns' "Address to the Unco Guid" begins with a verse appeal to Ecclesiastes 7:16.

    The title of Ernest Hemingway's first novel The Sun Also Rises was taken from Ecclesiastes.

    A little bit of holy nihilism:

    Quote
    The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.

    “Vanity of vanities,” saith the Preacher. “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

    What profit hath a man from all his labor which he doeth under the sun?

    One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh; but the earth abideth for ever.

    The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteneth to his place where he arose.

    The wind goeth toward the south and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.

    All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

    All things are full of labor; man cannot utter it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
    The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done, is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.

    Is there any thing whereof it may be said, “See, this is new”? It hath been already in olden times which were before us.
    There is no remembrance of former things, neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those that shall come after.

    I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem.

    And I gave my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven. This sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.

    I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

    That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered.

    I communed with mine own heart, saying, “Lo, I have come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem; yea, my heart had great experience in wisdom and knowledge.”

    And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly. But I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.

    For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.


    Everything Is Meaningless

    Quote
    The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:

    2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”
        says the Teacher.
    “Utterly meaningless!
        Everything is meaningless.”
    3 What do people gain from all their labors
        at which they toil under the sun?
    4 Generations come and generations go,
        but the earth remains forever.
    5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
        and hurries back to where it rises.
    6 The wind blows to the south
        and turns to the north;
    round and round it goes,
        ever returning on its course.
    7 All streams flow into the sea,
        yet the sea is never full.
    To the place the streams come from,
        there they return again.
    8 All things are wearisome,
        more than one can say.
    The eye never has enough of seeing,
        nor the ear its fill of hearing.
    9 What has been will be again,
        what has been done will be done again;
        there is nothing new under the sun.
    10 Is there anything of which one can say,
        “Look! This is something new”?
    It was here already, long ago;
        it was here before our time.
    11 No one remembers the former generations,
        and even those yet to come
    will not be remembered
        by those who follow them.


    Wisdom Is Meaningless

    Quote
    12 I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. 13 I applied my mind to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under the heavens. What a heavy burden God has laid on mankind! 14 I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

    15 What is crooked cannot be straightened;
        what is lacking cannot be counted.
    16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

    18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
        the more knowledge, the more grief.


    Pleasures Are Meaningless

    Quote
    I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. 2 “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?” 3 I tried cheering myself with wine, and embracing folly—my mind still guiding me with wisdom. I wanted to see what was good for people to do under the heavens during the few days of their lives.

    4 I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. 5 I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. 6 I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. 7 I bought male and female slaves and had other slaves who were born in my house. I also owned more herds and flocks than anyone in Jerusalem before me. 8 I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired male and female singers, and a harem[a] as well—the delights of a man’s heart. 9 I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me.

    10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
        I refused my heart no pleasure.
    My heart took delight in all my labor,
        and this was the reward for all my toil.
    11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
        and what I had toiled to achieve,
    everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
        nothing was gained under the sun.


    Wisdom and Folly Are Meaningless

    Quote
    12 Then I turned my thoughts to consider wisdom,
        and also madness and folly.
    What more can the king’s successor do
        than what has already been done?
    13 I saw that wisdom is better than folly,
        just as light is better than darkness.
    14 The wise have eyes in their heads,
        while the fool walks in the darkness;
    but I came to realize
        that the same fate overtakes them both.
    15 Then I said to myself,

    “The fate of the fool will overtake me also.
        What then do I gain by being wise?”
    I said to myself,
        “This too is meaningless.”
    16 For the wise, like the fool, will not be long remembered;
        the days have already come when both have been forgotten.
    Like the fool, the wise too must die!


    Toil Is Meaningless

    Quote
    17 So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. 22 What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? 23 All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.

    24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, 25 for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? 26 To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.


    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #94 - September 15, 2017, 07:36 AM

    A few pages from a recently published book entitled THE LONDON CAGE: THE SECRET HISTORY OF BRITAIN'S WORLD WAR II INTERROGATION CENTRE by Helen Fry. This new book reveals how a UK Colonel drew a confession from a Nazi soldier in a basement of Palace Gardens in Kensington, which was a secret interrogation centre where spies and suspected war criminals were taken to be questioned during WWII. It asks an interesting question on the use of torture.

    Quote
    The former member of the Gestapo was arrogant and defiant as he faced his interrogators. No, he snarled, he would not discuss his part in the murder of two of the British airmen who had tunnelled their way out of Stalag Luft III in the Great Escape in 1944.

    Fifty of the captured escapers had been summarily shot on the orders of Hitler, and, with the war over, British investigators were rounding up those suspected of the killings.

    One of them, Erich Zacharias, was brought to the so-called London Cage, a clandestine interrogation centre run by the Secret Service behind closed doors in an exclusive, tree-lined private road in Kensington, London. Elegant rooms had been turned into cells and dormitories. The basement billiards room housed interview rooms.

    There, the man in charge, the redoubtable and fearsome Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Scotland, staged a special scenario to loosen his captive’s tongue.

    ‘The blinds were drawn, the lights were on. Zacharias was brought in with handcuffs and made to kneel in front of a table. Four of us faced him.’



    Pic of Erich Zacharias

    Quote
    This was a deliberate re-enactment of the scene when Zacharias tortured the two escaped flyers in his charge before killing them — as Scotland knew from other witnesses.

    ‘A statement was read out giving the facts about his part in the murder. I put my hand on his shoulder and said: “What is the truth?” ’ Shocked, unnerved and intimidated, Zacharias broke down immediately and blurted out his admission of guilt to the shooting.

    For Scotland it was job done — in just five minutes. He recorded: ‘It is true we tried a little showmanship with Zacharias but this was a matter of psychology, not force.’

    Certainly no direct physical violence was used to extract the confession, but did his actions still amount to putting undue pressure on the suspect? Did Scotland contravene the standards of behaviour towards prisoners laid down by the Geneva Convention?

    These sorts of moral questions have always hung over what went on in the mysterious London Cage, and they are raised again by historian Helen Fry in this impressively forensic study, which not only throws light on an intriguing (and murky) backwater of World War II but also on an unresolved ethical dilemma still with us today.



    Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Scotland

    Quote
    The Cage — housed behind the ornate facades of numbers 6,7 and 8 Kensington Palace Gardens and backing on to the Palace grounds — was not a cosy place to find yourself in, and was never meant to be.

    It was intended for the extraction of vital intelligence, initially information from German PoWs and then, after the war, evidence to convict those suspected of war crimes.

    Scotland, as tough and motivated as any Nazi but outstandingly clever and psychologically perceptive, ran it with a rod of iron. He claimed an intimate knowledge of the mindset of Germans, and that they responded only to a figure of authority.

    So he barked and bawled, demanding submission and cooperation from the thousands of inmates who passed through it. His penetrating gaze alone could make strong men quail. Those who chose to take him on were humiliated.

    In his memoirs — which went unpublished because MI5 banned them under the Official Secrets Act — he maintained that ‘it was necessary to discipline tough, arrogant and impudent prisoners and we had our methods for these types’. But he insisted that ‘no physical force was used, no cold water treatment, no third degrees’.

    Fry comes to a different conclusion. ‘Few can deny he went too far,’ she concludes as she examines evidence of prisoners being deprived of sleep, doused with cold water and made to carry out humiliating chores, such as scraping a toilet with a razor or a toothbrush. Some were exercised to exhaustion on the parade ground, others kept in solitary for extended periods.

    The most uncooperative found themselves in Room 22 in the basement, which was dark, damp and kitted out like a dungeon. Prisoners were forced to stand naked for hours, sometimes chained, or kept for prolonged periods in a cold bath.

    There was talk of electric shock treatment and the use of tongue-loosening ‘truth’ drugs. Four Cage prisoners committed suicide.

    Scotland, however, always maintained that he only ever used ‘moderate’ physical force — such as boxing an inmate’s ears — as a disciplinary measure, not as a way of squeezing out information. Allegations of serious misconduct generally came from those whose necks were literally on the line, such as Zacharias.

    When he went to trial in 1947, his German defence lawyer accused the British of obtaining his confession by force, and Scotland spent three days in the witness box denying that he had struck Zacharias or used electrical devices on him.

     The court believed him, accepted Zacharias’s confession as genuine and sentenced him to hang.

    In explanation of his actions, Scotland wrote: ‘You don’t allow tough Gestapo criminals to imagine they have arrived at a kindergarten or for a rest cure. But there were ways of putting a cocky prisoner in his place without beating him up.’

    Another who alleged misconduct was SS officer Fritz Knochlein, responsible for the massacre of nearly 100 British soldiers who had surrendered en route to Dunkirk in 1940.

    Scotland admitted he was tempted, describing him as ‘the worst German we ever had in the Cage. I could hardly look at him without wanting to hit him.

    ‘He aroused the worst side of my nature. His evilness, lying and brutal nature and the thought of the brave men he had caused to be slaughtered, made me long to give him a taste of the SS medicine.’ But he was adamant that he had not done so.

    In court, Knochlein alleged that he’d been whipped, kicked, beaten and tortured, but the judges who heard his war crimes trial decided that, even if true, the allegations were irrelevant to the charges against him. He, too, hanged.

    For Scotland, the verdict did not amount to a vindication. Rumours and innuendo clouded his reputation, and still do.

    Seventy years on, it’s easy to be shocked by the excesses that undoubtedly went on at the Cage. The liberal conscience is offended, as if Scotland were equivalent in evil to the atrocities of the Nazis.

    Fry is aware of this, urging us to keep the backdrop of the Cage in proper focus. They had to deal with some of the toughest prisoners ever held by the British, perpetrators of the vilest acts of inhumanity, genocide and cruelty on an unprecedented scale.

    But how rough is rough? There’s the rub. The line crossed at the Cage was a thin and uncertain one, with which we still struggle.

    We were at war then, and are in a war now, against terror. To what lengths should those charged with our protection be allowed to go, compiling information to secure our safety?

    That was Colonel Scotland’s dilemma, and it’s the same not only for the security forces of the 21st century but for every citizen, too. I only wish there were an easy answer.


    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0300221932

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #95 - April 20, 2018, 03:13 AM

    What It's Like to Deliver Death Sentences

    Quote
    What It's Like to Deliver Death Sentences

    I ran for office and took the oath knowing that the death penalty would be part of my job, whether I liked it or not.




    Quote
    The execution was set for 6 PM. I knew because I set the date and time myself.

    With a little more than an hour to go, I sat alone by the phone in my office. More than three decades had passed since the defendant was first convicted of murdering a police officer. I had been the judge at his final trial, and now there was a chance I’d be called on to spare his life.

    Higher courts and the Texas governor had already denied the man’s last-ditch appeals. His lawyers had tried to broker a deal with prosecutors to keep him alive, but that had failed, too. Now he was down to his last shot: The defense could present some new argument or evidence to convince me to intervene and stop the execution. If they did, I would have to make a life-or-death decision with essentially no time for research or discussion.

    I waited. As the minutes passed, I felt a familiar sense of unease. In the years since I’d presided over his trial, the defendant had become a gray-haired, middle-aged man. He had put together a nearly flawless record helping other inmates. It was hard to see how he still constituted a violent threat to society, a requirement for death penalty cases in Texas. Now, barring a final legal maneuver, he would be erased from the Earth by a system in which I was a key participant.

    I stared out the window, feeling jealous of folks headed home or to a happy hour. Eventually, the clock ticked to 6 pm. My phone never rang. I turned on the TV, and learned from the evening news that the execution had proceeded as planned.

    As I left the office, I fell into a dark funk. Usually, I was proud and confident about my work as a judge, but a terrible feeling settled over me—the same feeling I had each time I was involved in a death penalty case. Sometimes I was able to rationalize that my role in the outcome of these cases was minimal. After all, jurors were the ones who weighed evidence and reached a lawful verdict. But other times I wondered whether the system I have been a part of for so long was, simply, barbaric.

    I ran for office and took the oath knowing that the death penalty would be part of my job, whether I liked it or not. Each time I encountered a capital case—eight came before me during my two decades on the bench—there would be at least one moment that brought my internal conflict starkly into focus. These moments are painfully fresh in my mind.

    In my first death penalty trial, in 1998, the defendant had sexually assaulted and brutally slashed and stabbed a woman who had befriended him. The jury found him guilty of capital murder, but it was my duty to formally pronounce his sentence in open court. He displayed no emotion—during the trial, he’d only seemed interested in the crime scene and autopsy photos—and there was evidence he was a psychopath, that he felt no remorse. Still, after announcing his sentence, I felt an urgent need to drink and gulped two huge glasses of water.

    I wondered: Is my throat dry, or am I trying to wash the words out of my mouth?

    Years later, I had to sign the order setting a time for this man’s death—“by intravenous injection of a substance or substances in a lethal quantity sufficient to cause death and until such convict is dead”—and I remember staring at the paper, feeling strange and unnerved. Later, in my journal, I wrote about how I felt I was “invading God’s province.” I heard about another judge who placed a smiley face next to his signature on a death warrant. I couldn’t comprehend that attitude.

    Writing in my journal helped me stay balanced and objective. Once, I wrote about a defendant who was facing the death penalty, “He was almost always seated with his head tilted slightly downward and his eyes staring downward into space.” During the trial, he had showed little emotion. But when it was time for me to say the required words pronouncing his death sentence, I looked him in the eye. As I wrote later, “I was struck by a sight I will never forget. He looked so small, helpless, pathetic. His eyes looked like those of the proverbial deer in the headlights. He had been convicted of being a brutal, sadistic killer, and it was hard to argue that he was not getting what he deserved—but at that moment, for an instant, I saw the other side of the man, the side his family loved.”

    I continued: “If only we could execute the bad side and keep the good side alive.”

    On another occasion, as an execution was approaching, I was visited by the defendant’s lawyers. The appeals had been exhausted; there was nothing they could do. They suggested we get together on the night of the execution. At first, I thought the idea was sick, demented, heartless—a social hour during an execution! But I knew these lawyers; they were compassionate, serious. We kept talking about the idea, and I realized they were dreading the execution as much as I was. They thought sharing the moment would make things a little less difficult. I joined them, and it was a therapeutic, somber evening. Far better than sitting alone in my office.

    For some time, I had been thinking about retiring, but it was a moment of pronouncing a death sentence—and thinking “no more of these”—that finally made me decide to leave the bench, six years ago. Since then, I have felt a deep satisfaction and pride about my career, despite those terrible, uncomfortable moments.

    I suppose they were the price I had to pay.


    https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/8xkkbg/what-is-it-like-to-kill-someone-legally]What It's Like to Deliver Death Sentences]

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #96 - April 22, 2018, 01:33 PM

    What It's Like to Deliver Death Sentences
     
    https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/8xkkbg/what-is-it-like-to-kill-someone-legally]What It's Like to Deliver Death Sentences]    

    Quote
    I waited. As the minutes passed, I felt a familiar sense of unease.
    Quote
    In the years since I’d presided over his trial, the defendant had become a gray-haired, middle-aged man. He had put together a nearly flawless record helping other inmates. It was hard to see how he still constituted a violent threat to society, a requirement for death penalty cases in Texas.

    Now, barring a final legal maneuver, he would be erased from the Earth by a system in which I was a key participant.


          
    Law is  often blind  and  Justice is also blind.,,,  And  ...and unquestionable laws will without doubt  lead to  defending   criminals and criminal activities of brutal rogues that live/living at high ends   of  the society dear QSE  .....  where did extract that from? I mean which book??   ....  
    Quote
    ...........In most states in the US, it is legal to kill someone if they are posing an imminent threat of severe bodily harm or death to you or someone else. Seeing someone being assaulted or raped might fit this definition -- and it might not, depending on the specific facts of the situation. ...........

      
     
    Yap.....heroes/zeros  in high places

    Do not let silence become your legacy  
    I renounced my faith to become a kafir, 
    the beloved betrayed me and turned in to  a Muslim
     
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #97 - April 22, 2018, 03:37 PM

    where did extract that from? I mean which book??   ....    
     
    Yap.....heroes/zeros  in high places

    I always give a reference to the works I cite.



    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #98 - May 27, 2018, 01:53 AM



    Martin Niemöller was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian born in Lippstadt, Germany, in 1892. Niemöller was an anti-Communist and supported Adolf Hitler's rise to power at first. But when Hitler insisted on the supremacy of the state over religion, Niemöller became disillusioned. He became the leader of a group of German clergymen opposed to Hitler. In 1937 he was arrested and eventually confined in Sachsenhausen and Dachau. He was released in 1945 by the Allies. He continued his career in Germany as a clergyman and as a leading voice of penance and reconciliation for the German people after World War II. His statement, sometimes presented as a poem, is well-known, frequently quoted, and is a popular model for describing the dangers of political apathy.

    "First they came ..." is a poem about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis' rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt and responsibility.

    Niemöller created multiple versions of the text during his career, but evidence allegedly identified by professor Harold Marcuse at the University of California Santa Barbara indicates that the Holocaust Memorial Museum version is inaccurate because Niemöller frequently used the word "communists" and not "socialists." The substitution of "socialists" for "communists" is an effect of anti-communism, and most ubiquitous in the version that has proliferated in the USA. According to Marcuse, "Niemöller's original argument was premised on naming groups he and his audience would instinctively not care about... The omission of Communists in Washington, and of Jews in Germany, distorts that meaning and should be corrected."

    Niemöller's earliest speeches, written in 1946, list the Communists, incurable patients, Jews or Jehovah's Witnesses, and civilians in countries occupied by Nazi Germany. In all versions, the impact is carefully built up, by going from the "smallest, most distant" group to the largest, Jewish, group, and then finally to himself as a by then outspoken critic of Nazism. Niemöller made the cardinal "who cares about them" clear in his speech for the Confessing Church in Frankfurt on 6 January 1946, of which this is a partial translation:

    When Pastor Niemöller was put in a concentration camp we wrote the year 1937; when the concentration camp was opened we wrote the year 1933, and the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? We knew it, it was printed in the newspapers.

    Who raised their voice, maybe the Confessing Church? We thought: Communists, those opponents of religion, those enemies of Christians - "should I be my brother's keeper?"

    Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. - I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: Perhaps it's right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others. Isn't it best for all concerned if they are taken out of the middle [of society]? -- Only then did the church as such take note. Then we started talking, until our voices were again silenced in public. Can we say, we aren't guilty/responsible? The persecution of the Jews, the way we treated the occupied countries, or the things in Greece, in Poland, in Czechoslovakia or in Holland, that were written in the newspapers.

    I believe, we Confessing-Church-Christians have every reason to say: mea culpa, mea culpa! We can talk ourselves out of it with the excuse that it would have cost me my head if I had spoken out.

    This speech was translated and published in English in 1947, but was later retracted when it was alleged that Niemöller was an early supporter of the Nazis. The "sick, the so-called incurables" were killed in the euthanasia programme "Aktion T4". A 1955 version of the speech, mentioned in an interview of a German professor quoting Niemöller, lists Communists, socialists, schools, Jews, the press, and the Church. An American version delivered by a congressman in 1968 includes industrialists, who were not persecuted by the Nazis, and omits Communists.

    In 1976, Niemöller gave the following answer in response to an interview question asking about the origins of the poem. The Martin-Niemöller-Stiftung ("Martin Niemöller Foundation") considers this the "classical" version of the speech:

    There were no minutes or copy of what I said, and it may be that I formulated it differently. But the idea was anyhow: The Communists, we still let that happen calmly; and the trade unions, we also let that happen; and we even let the Social Democrats happen. All of that was not our affair. The Church did not concern itself with politics at all at that time, and it shouldn't have anything do with them either. In the Confessing Church we didn't want to represent any political resistance per se, but we wanted to determine for the Church that that was not right, and that it should not become right in the Church, that's why already in '33, when we created the pastors' emergency federation (Pfarrernotbund), we put as the 4th point in the founding charter: If an offensive is made against ministers and they are simply ousted as ministers, because they are of Jewish lineage (Judenstämmlinge) or something like that, then we can only say as a Church: No. And that was then the 4th point in the obligation, and that was probably the first contra-anti-Semitic pronouncement coming from the Protestant Church.

    Quote
    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.


    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #99 - June 09, 2018, 10:35 PM

    The Republic (Greek: Πολιτεία, Politeia; Latin: Res Publica[1]) is a Socratic dialogue, written by Plato around 380 BC, concerning justice (δικαιοσύνη), the order and character of the just, city-state, and the just man.[2] It is Plato's best-known work, and has proven to be one of the world's most influential works of philosophy and political theory, both intellectually and historically.

    In the book's dialogue, Socrates discusses the meaning of justice and whether or not the just man is happier than the unjust man with various Athenians and foreigners. They consider the natures of existing regimes and then propose a series of different, hypothetical cities in comparison. This culminates in the discussion of Kallipolis, a hypothetical city-state ruled by a philosopher king. They also discuss the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the role of the philosopher and that of poetry in society. The dialogues may have taken place during the Peloponnesian War.

    Introduction by Benjamin Jowett:

    The Republic of Plato is the longest of his works with the exception of the Laws, and is certainly the greatest of them. There are nearer approaches to modern metaphysics in the Philebus and in the Sophist; the Politicus or Statesman is more ideal; the form and institutions of the State are more clearly drawn out in the Laws; as works of art, the Symposium and the Protagoras are of higher excellence. But no other Dialogue of Plato has the same largeness of view and the same perfection of style; no other shows an equal knowledge of the world, or contains more of those thoughts which are new as well as old, and not of one age only but of all. Nowhere in Plato is there a deeper irony or a greater wealth of humor or imagery, or more dramatic power. Nor in any other of his writings is the attempt made to interweave life and speculation, or to connect politics with philosophy. The Republic is the centre around which the other Dialogues may be grouped; here philosophy reaches the highest point to which ancient thinkers ever attained. Plato among the Greeks, like Bacon among the moderns, was the first who conceived a method of knowledge, although neither of them always distinguished the bare outline or form from the substance of truth; and both of them had to be content with an abstraction of science which was not yet realized. He was the greatest metaphysical genius whom the world has seen; and in him, more than in any other ancient thinker, the germs of future knowledge are contained. The sciences of logic and psychology, which have supplied so many instruments of thought to after-ages, are based upon the analyses of Socrates and Plato. The principles of definition, the law of contradiction, the fallacy of arguing in a circle, the distinction between the essence and accidents of a thing or notion, between means and ends, between causes and conditions; also the division of the mind into the rational, concupiscent, and irascible elements, or of pleasures and desires into necessary and unnecessary --these and other great forms of thought are all of them to be found in the Republic, and were probably first invented by Plato. The greatest of all logical truths, and the one of which writers on philosophy are most apt to lose sight, the difference between words and things, has been most strenuously insisted on by him, although he has not always avoided the confusion of them in his own writings. But he does not bind up truth in logical formulae, --logic is still veiled in metaphysics; and the science which he imagines to "contemplate all truth and all existence" is very unlike the doctrine of the syllogism which Aristotle claims to have discovered.

    Neither must we forget that the Republic is but the third part of a still larger design which was to have included an ideal history of Athens, as well as a political and physical philosophy. The fragment of the Critias has given birth to a world-famous fiction, second only in importance to the tale of Troy and the legend of Arthur; and is said as a fact to have inspired some of the early navigators of the sixteenth century. This mythical tale, of which the subject was a history of the wars of the Athenians against the Island of Atlantis, is supposed to be founded upon an unfinished poem of Solon, to which it would have stood in the same relation as the writings of the logographers to the poems of Homer. It would have told of a struggle for Liberty, intended to represent the conflict of Persia and Hellas. We may judge from the noble commencement of the Timaeus, from the fragment of the Critias itself, and from the third book of the Laws, in what manner Plato would have treated this high argument. We can only guess why the great design was abandoned; perhaps because Plato became sensible of some incongruity in a fictitious history, or because he had lost his interest in it, or because advancing years forbade the completion of it; and we may please ourselves with the fancy that had this imaginary narrative ever been finished, we should have found Plato himself sympathizing with the struggle for Hellenic independence, singing a hymn of triumph over Marathon and Salamis, perhaps making the reflection of Herodotus where he contemplates the growth of the Athenian empire--"How brave a thing is freedom of speech, which has made the Athenians so far exceed every other state of Hellas in greatness!" or, more probably, attributing the victory to the ancient good order of Athens and to the favor of Apollo and Athene.

    Again, Plato may be regarded as the "captain" ('arhchegoz') or leader of a goodly band of followers; for in the Republic is to be found the original of Cicero's De Republica, of St. Augustine's City of God, of the Utopia of Sir Thomas More, and of the numerous other imaginary States which are framed upon the same model. The extent to which Aristotle or the Aristotelian school were indebted to him in the Politics has been little recognized, and the recognition is the more necessary because it is not made by Aristotle himself. The two philosophers had more in common than they were conscious of; and probably some elements of Plato remain still undetected in Aristotle. In English philosophy too, many affinities may be traced, not only in the works of the Cambridge Platonists, but in great original writers like Berkeley or Coleridge, to Plato and his ideas. That there is a truth higher than experience, of which the mind bears witness to herself, is a conviction which in our own generation has been enthusiastically asserted, and is perhaps gaining ground. Of the Greek authors who at the Renaissance brought a new life into the world Plato has had the greatest influence. The Republic of Plato is also the first treatise upon education, of which the writings of Milton and Locke, Rousseau, Jean Paul, and Goethe are the legitimate descendants. Like Dante or Bunyan, he has a revelation of another life; like Bacon, he is profoundly impressed with the un unity of knowledge; in the early Church he exercised a real influence on theology, and at the Revival of Literature on politics. Even the fragments of his words when "repeated at second-hand" have in all ages ravished the hearts of men, who have seen reflected in them their own higher nature. He is the father of idealism in philosophy, in politics, in literature. And many of the latest conceptions of modern thinkers and statesmen, such as the unity of knowledge, the reign of law, and the equality of the sexes, have been anticipated in a dream by him.

    Argument

    The argument of the Republic is the search after Justice, the nature of which is first hinted at by Cephalus, the just and blameless old man --then discussed on the basis of proverbial morality by Socrates and Polemarchus --then caricatured by Thrasymachus and partially explained by Socrates --reduced to an abstraction by Glaucon and Adeimantus, and having become invisible in the individual reappears at length in the ideal State which is constructed by Socrates. The first care of the rulers is to be education, of which an outline is drawn after the old Hellenic model, providing only for an improved religion and morality, and more simplicity in music and gymnastic, a manlier strain of poetry, and greater harmony of the individual and the State. We are thus led on to the conception of a higher State, in which "no man calls anything his own," and in which there is neither "marrying nor giving in marriage," and "kings are philosophers" and "philosophers are kings;" and there is another and higher education, intellectual as well as moral and religious, of science as well as of art, and not of youth only but of the whole of life. Such a State is hardly to be realized in this world and would quickly degenerate. To the perfect ideal succeeds the government of the soldier and the lover of honor, this again declining into democracy, and democracy into tyranny, in an imaginary but regular order having not much resemblance to the actual facts. When "the wheel has come full circle" we do not begin again with a new period of human life; but we have passed from the best to the worst, and there we end. The subject is then changed and the old quarrel of poetry and philosophy which had been more lightly treated in the earlier books of the Republic is now resumed and fought out to a conclusion. Poetry is discovered to be an imitation thrice removed from the truth, and Homer, as well as the dramatic poets, having been condemned as an imitator, is sent into banishment along with them. And the idea of the State is supplemented by the revelation of a future life.

    The division into books, like all similar divisions, is probably later than the age of Plato. The natural divisions are five in number; --(1) Book I and the first half of Book II down to the paragraph beginning, "I had always admired the genius of Glaucon and Adeimantus," which is introductory; the first book containing a refutation of the popular and sophistical notions of justice, and concluding, like some of the earlier Dialogues, without arriving at any definite result. To this is appended a restatement of the nature of justice according to common opinion, and an answer is demanded to the question --What is justice, stripped of appearances? The second division (2) includes the remainder of the second and the whole of the third and fourth books, which are mainly occupied with the construction of the first State and the first education. The third division (3) consists of the fifth, sixth, and seventh books, in which philosophy rather than justice is the subject of inquiry, and the second State is constructed on principles of communism and ruled by philosophers, and the contemplation of the idea of good takes the place of the social and political virtues. In the eighth and ninth books (4) the perversions of States and of the individuals who correspond to them are reviewed in succession; and the nature of pleasure and the principle of tyranny are further analyzed in the individual man. The tenth book (5) is the conclusion of the whole, in which the relations of philosophy to poetry are finally determined, and the happiness of the citizens in this life, which has now been assured, is crowned by the vision of another.

    Or a more general division into two parts may be adopted; the first (Books I - IV) containing the description of a State framed generally in accordance with Hellenic notions of religion and morality, while in the second (Books V - X) the Hellenic State is transformed into an ideal kingdom of philosophy, of which all other governments are the perversions. These two points of view are really opposed, and the opposition is only veiled by the genius of Plato. The Republic, like the Phaedrus, is an imperfect whole; the higher light of philosophy breaks through the regularity of the Hellenic temple, which at last fades away into the heavens. Whether this imperfection of structure arises from an enlargement of the plan; or from the imperfect reconcilement in the writer's own mind of the struggling elements of thought which are now first brought together by him; or, perhaps, from the composition of the work at different times --are questions, like the similar question about the Iliad and the Odyssey, which are worth asking, but which cannot have a distinct answer. In the age of Plato there was no regular mode of publication, and an author would have the less scruple in altering or adding to a work which was known only to a few of his friends. There is no absurdity in supposing that he may have laid his labors aside for a time, or turned from one work to another; and such interruptions would be more likely to occur in the case of a long than of a short writing. In all attempts to determine the chronological he order of the Platonic writings on internal evidence, this uncertainty about any single Dialogue being composed at one time is a disturbing element, which must be admitted to affect longer works, such as the Republic and the Laws, more than shorter ones. But, on the other hand, the seeming discrepancies of the Republic may only arise out of the discordant elements which the philosopher has attempted to unite in a single whole, perhaps without being himself able to recognize the inconsistency which is obvious to us. For there is a judgment of after ages which few great writers have ever been able to anticipate for themselves. They do not perceive the want of connection in their own writings, or the gaps in their systems which are visible enough to those who come after them. In the beginnings of literature and philosophy, amid the first efforts of thought and language, more inconsistencies occur than now, when the paths of speculation are well worn and the meaning of words precisely defined. For consistency, too, is the growth of time; and some of the greatest creations of the human mind have been wanting in unity. Tried by this test, several of the Platonic Dialogues, according to our modern ideas, appear to be defective, but the deficiency is no proof that they were composed at different times or by different hands. And the supposition that the Republic was written uninterruptedly and by a continuous effort is in some degree confirmed by the numerous references from one part of the work to another.

    The second title, "Concerning Justice," is not the one by which the Republic is quoted, either by Aristotle or generally in antiquity, and, like the other second titles of the Platonic Dialogues, may therefore be assumed to be of later date. Morgenstern and others have asked whether the definition of justice, which is the professed aim, or the construction of the State is the principal argument of the work. The answer is, that the two blend in one, and are two faces of the same truth; for justice is the order of the State, and the State is the visible embodiment of justice under the conditions of human society. The one is the soul and the other is the body, and the Greek ideal of the State, as of the individual, is a fair mind in a fair body. In Hegelian phraseology the State is the reality of which justice is the ideal. Or, described in Christian language, the kingdom of God is within, and yet develops into a Church or external kingdom; "the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," is reduced to the proportions of an earthly building. Or, to use a Platonic image, justice and the State are the warp and the woof which run through the whole texture. And when the constitution of the State is completed, the conception of justice is not dismissed, but reappears under the same or different names throughout the work, both as the inner law of the individual soul, and finally as the principle of rewards and punishments in another life. The virtues are based on justice, of which common honesty in buying and selling is the shadow, and justice is based on the idea of good, which is the harmony of the world, and is reflected both in the institutions of States and in motions of the heavenly bodies. The Timaeus, which takes up the political rather than the ethical side of the Republic, and is chiefly occupied with hypotheses concerning the outward world, yet contains many indications that the same law is supposed to reign over the State, over nature, and over man.

    Too much, however, has been made of this question both in ancient and in modern times. There is a stage of criticism in which all works, whether of nature or of art, are referred to design. Now in ancient writings, and indeed in literature generally, there remains often a large element which was not comprehended in the original design. For the plan grows under the author's hand; new thoughts occur to him in the act of writing; he has not worked out the argument to the end before he begins. The reader who seeks to find some one idea under which the whole may be conceived, must necessarily seize on the vaguest and most general. Thus Stallbaum, who is dissatisfied with the ordinary explanations of the argument of the Republic, imagines himself to have found the true argument "in the representation of human life in a State perfected by justice and governed according to the idea of good." There may be some use in such general descriptions, but they can hardly be said to express the design of the writer. The truth is, that we may as well speak of many designs as of one; nor need anything be excluded from the plan of a great work to which the mind is naturally led by the association of ideas, and which does not interfere with the general purpose. What kind or degree of unity is to be sought after in a building, in the plastic arts, in poetry, in prose, is a problem which has to be determined relatively to the subject-matter. To Plato himself, the inquiry "what was the intention of the writer," or "what was the principal argument of the Republic" would have been hardly intelligible, and therefore had better be at once dismissed.

    Is not the Republic the vehicle of three or four great truths which, to Plato's own mind, are most naturally represented in the form of the State? Just as in the Jewish prophets the reign of Messiah, or "the day of the Lord," or the suffering Servant or people of God, or the "Sun of righteousness with healing in his wings" only convey, to us at least, their great spiritual ideals, so through the Greek State Plato reveals to us his own thoughts about divine perfection, which is the idea of good --like the sun in the visible world; --about human perfection, which is justice --about education beginning in youth and continuing in later years --about poets and sophists and tyrants who are the false teachers and evil rulers of mankind --about "the world" which is the embodiment of them --about a kingdom which exists nowhere upon earth but is laid up in heaven to be the pattern and rule of human life. No such inspired creation is at unity with itself, any more than the clouds of heaven when the sun pierces through them. Every shade of light and dark, of truth, and of fiction which is the veil of truth, is allowable in a work of philosophical imagination. It is not all on the same plane; it easily passes from ideas to myths and fancies, from facts to figures of speech. It is not prose but poetry, at least a great part of it, and ought not to be judged by the rules of logic or the probabilities of history. The writer is not fashioning his ideas into an artistic whole; they take possession of him and are too much for him. We have no need therefore to discuss whether a State such as Plato has conceived is practicable or not, or whether the outward form or the inward life came first into the mind of the writer. For the practicability of his ideas has nothing to do with their truth; and the highest thoughts to which he attains may be truly said to bear the greatest "marks of design" --justice more than the external frame-work of the State, the idea of good more than justice. The great science of dialectic or the organization of ideas has no real content; but is only a type of the method or spirit in which the higher knowledge is to be pursued by the spectator of all time and all existence. It is in the fifth, sixth, and seventh books that Plato reaches the "summit of speculation," and these, although they fail to satisfy the requirements of a modern thinker, may therefore be regarded as the most important, as they are also the most original, portions of the work.

    It is not necessary to discuss at length a minor question which has been raised by Boeckh, respecting the imaginary date at which the conversation was held (the year 411 B. C. which is proposed by him will do as well as any other); for a writer of fiction, and especially a writer who, like Plato, is notoriously careless of chronology, only aims at general probability. Whether all the persons mentioned in the Republic could ever have met at any one time is not a difficulty which would have occurred to an Athenian reading the work forty years later, or to Plato himself at the time of writing (any more than to Shakespeare respecting one of his own dramas); and need not greatly trouble us now. Yet this may be a question having no answer "which is still worth asking," because the investigation shows that we can not argue historically from the dates in Plato; it would be useless therefore to waste time in inventing far-fetched reconcilements of them in order avoid chronological difficulties, such, for example, as the conjecture of C. F. Hermann, that Glaucon and Adeimantus are not the brothers but the uncles of Plato, or the fancy of Stallbaum that Plato intentionally left anachronisms indicating the dates at which some of his Dialogues were written.

    Characters

    The principal characters in the Republic are Cephalus, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus, Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus. Cephalus appears in the introduction only, Polemarchus drops at the end of the first argument, and Thrasymachus is reduced to silence at the close of the first book. The main discussion is carried on by Socrates, Glaucon, and Adeimantus. Among the company are Lysias (the orator) and Euthydemus, the sons of Cephalus and brothers of Polemarchus, an unknown Charmantides --these are mute auditors; also there is Cleitophon, who once interrupts, where, as in the Dialogue which bears his name, he appears as the friend and ally of Thrasymachus.

    Cephalus, the patriarch of house, has been appropriately engaged in offering a sacrifice. He is the pattern of an old man who has almost done with life, and is at peace with himself and with all mankind. He feels that he is drawing nearer to the world below, and seems to linger around the memory of the past. He is eager that Socrates should come to visit him, fond of the poetry of the last generation, happy in the consciousness of a well-spent life, glad at having escaped from the tyranny of youthful lusts. His love of conversation, his affection, his indifference to riches, even his garrulity, are interesting traits of character. He is not one of those who have nothing to say, because their whole mind has been absorbed in making money. Yet he acknowledges that riches have the advantage of placing men above the temptation to dishonesty or falsehood. The respectful attention shown to him by Socrates, whose love of conversation, no less than the mission imposed upon him by the Oracle, leads him to ask questions of all men, young and old alike, should also be noted. Who better suited to raise the question of justice than Cephalus, whose life might seem to be the expression of it? The moderation with which old age is pictured by Cephalus as a very tolerable portion of existence is characteristic, not only of him, but of Greek feeling generally, and contrasts with the exaggeration of Cicero in the De Senectute. The evening of life is described by Plato in the most expressive manner, yet with the fewest possible touches. As Cicero remarks (Ep. ad Attic. iv. 16), the aged Cephalus would have been out of place in the discussion which follows, and which he could neither have understood nor taken part in without a violation of dramatic propriety.

    His "son and heir" Polemarchus has the frankness and impetuousness of youth; he is for detaining Socrates by force in the opening scene, and will not "let him off" on the subject of women and children. Like Cephalus, he is limited in his point of view, and represents the proverbial stage of morality which has rules of life rather than principles; and he quotes Simonides as his father had quoted Pindar. But after this he has no more to say; the answers which he makes are only elicited from him by the dialectic of Socrates. He has not yet experienced the influence of the Sophists like Glaucon and Adeimantus, nor is he sensible of the necessity of refuting them; he belongs to the pre-Socratic or pre-dialectical age. He is incapable of arguing, and is bewildered by Socrates to such a degree that he does not know what he is saying. He is made to admit that justice is a thief, and that the virtues follow the analogy of the arts. From his brother Lysias we learn that he fell a victim to the Thirty Tyrants, but no allusion is here made to his fate, nor to the circumstance that Cephalus and his family were of Syracusan origin, and had migrated from Thurii to Athens.

    The "Chalcedonian giant," Thrasymachus, of whom we have already heard in the Phaedrus, is the personification of the Sophists, according to Plato's conception of them, in some of their worst characteristics. He is vain and blustering, refusing to discourse unless he is paid, fond of making an oration, and hoping thereby to escape the inevitable Socrates; but a mere child in argument, and unable to foresee that the next "move" (to use a Platonic expression) will "shut him up." He has reached the stage of framing general notions, and in this respect is in advance of Cephalus and Polemarchus. But he is incapable of defending them in a discussion, and vainly tries to cover his confusion in banter and insolence. Whether such doctrines as are attributed to him by Plato were really held either by him or by any other Sophist is uncertain; in the infancy of philosophy serious errors about morality might easily grow up --they are certainly put into the mouths of speakers in Thucydides; but we are concerned at present with Plato's description of him, and not with the historical reality. The inequality of the contest adds greatly to the humor of the scene. The pompous and empty Sophist is utterly helpless in the hands of the great master of dialectic, who knows how to touch all the springs of vanity and weakness in him. He is greatly irritated by the irony of Socrates, but his noisy and imbecile rage only lays him more and more open to the thrusts of his assailant. His determination to cram down their throats, or put "bodily into their souls" his own words, elicits a cry of horror from Socrates. The state of his temper is quite as worthy of remark as the process of the argument. Nothing is more amusing than his complete submission when he has been once thoroughly beaten. At first he seems to continue the discussion with reluctance, but soon with apparent good-will, and he even testifies his interest at a later stage by one or two occasional remarks. When attacked by Glaucon he is humorously protected by Socrates "as one who has never been his enemy and is now his friend." From Cicero and Quintilian and from Aristotle's Rhetoric we learn that the Sophist whom Plato has made so ridiculous was a man of note whose writings were preserved in later ages. The play on his name which was made by his contemporary Herodicus, "thou wast ever bold in battle," seems to show that the description of him is not devoid of verisimilitude.

    When Thrasymachus has been silenced, the two principal respondents, Glaucon and Adeimantus, appear on the scene: here, as in Greek tragedy, three actors are introduced. At first sight the two sons of Ariston may seem to wear a family likeness, like the two friends Simmias and Cebes in the Phaedo. But on a nearer examination of them the similarity vanishes, and they are seen to be distinct characters. Glaucon is the impetuous youth who can "just never have enough of fechting" (cf. the character of him in Xen. Mem. iii. 6); the man of pleasure who is acquainted with the mysteries of love; the "juvenis qui gaudet canibus," and who improves the breed of animals; the lover of art and music who has all the experiences of youthful life. He is full of quickness and penetration, piercing easily below the clumsy platitudes of Thrasymachus to the real difficulty; he turns out to the light the seamy side of human life, and yet does not lose faith in the just and true. It is Glaucon who seizes what may be termed the ludicrous relation of the philosopher to the world, to whom a state of simplicity is "a city of pigs," who is always prepared with a jest when the argument offers him an opportunity, and who is ever ready to second the humor of Socrates and to appreciate the ridiculous, whether in the connoisseurs of music, or in the lovers of theatricals, or in the fantastic behavior of the citizens of democracy. His weaknesses are several times alluded to by Socrates, who, however, will not allow him to be attacked by his brother Adeimantus. He is a soldier, and, like Adeimantus, has been distinguished at the battle of Megara.

    The character of Adeimantus is deeper and graver, and the profounder objections are commonly put into his mouth. Glaucon is more demonstrative, and generally opens the game. Adeimantus pursues the argument further. Glaucon has more of the liveliness and quick sympathy of youth; Adeimantus has the maturer judgment of a grown-up man of the world. In the second book, when Glaucon insists that justice and injustice shall be considered without regard to their consequences, Adeimantus remarks that they are regarded by mankind in general only for the sake of their consequences; and in a similar vein of reflection he urges at the beginning of the fourth book that Socrates falls in making his citizens happy, and is answered that happiness is not the first but the second thing, not the direct aim but the indirect consequence of the good government of a State. In the discussion about religion and mythology, Adeimantus is the respondent, but Glaucon breaks in with a slight jest, and carries on the conversation in a lighter tone about music and gymnastic to the end of the book. It is Adeimantus again who volunteers the criticism of common sense on the Socratic method of argument, and who refuses to let Socrates pass lightly over the question of women and children. It is Adeimantus who is the respondent in the more argumentative, as Glaucon in the lighter and more imaginative portions of the Dialogue. For example, throughout the greater part of the sixth book, the causes of the corruption of philosophy and the conception of the idea of good are discussed with Adeimantus. Then Glaucon resumes his place of principal respondent; but he has a difficulty in apprehending the higher education of Socrates, and makes some false hits in the course of the discussion. Once more Adeimantus returns with the allusion to his brother Glaucon whom he compares to the contentious State; in the next book he is again superseded, and Glaucon continues to the end.

    Thus in a succession of characters Plato represents the successive stages of morality, beginning with the Athenian gentleman of the olden time, who is followed by the practical man of that day regulating his life by proverbs and saws; to him succeeds the wild generalization of the Sophists, and lastly come the young disciples of the great teacher, who know the sophistical arguments but will not be convinced by them, and desire to go deeper into the nature of things. These too, like Cephalus, Polemarchus, Thrasymachus, are clearly distinguished from one another. Neither in the Republic, nor in any other Dialogue of Plato, is a single character repeated.

    The delineation of Socrates in the Republic is not wholly consistent. In the first book we have more of the real Socrates, such as he is depicted in the Memorabilia of Xenophon, in the earliest Dialogues of Plato, and in the Apology. He is ironical, provoking, questioning, the old enemy of the Sophists, ready to put on the mask of Silenus as well as to argue seriously. But in the sixth book his enmity towards the Sophists abates; he acknowledges that they are the representatives rather than the corrupters of the world. He also becomes more dogmatic and constructive, passing beyond the range either of the political or the speculative ideas of the real Socrates. In one passage Plato himself seems to intimate that the time had now come for Socrates, who had passed his whole life in philosophy, to give his own opinion and not to be always repeating the notions of other men. There is no evidence that either the idea of good or the conception of a perfect State were comprehended in the Socratic teaching, though he certainly dwelt on the nature of the universal and of final causes (cp. Xen. Mem. i. 4; Phaedo 97); and a deep thinker like him in his thirty or forty years of public teaching, could hardly have falled to touch on the nature of family relations, for which there is also some positive evidence in the Memorabilia (Mem. i. 2, 51 foll.) The Socratic method is nominally retained; and every inference is either put into the mouth of the respondent or represented as the common discovery of him and Socrates. But any one can see that this is a mere form, of which the affectation grows wearisome as the work advances. The method of inquiry has passed into a method of teaching in which by the help of interlocutors the same thesis is looked at from various points of view.

    The nature of the process is truly characterized by Glaucon, when he describes himself as a companion who is not good for much in an investigation, but can see what he is shown, and may, perhaps, give the answer to a question more fluently than another.

    Neither can we be absolutely certain that, Socrates himself taught the immortality of the soul, which is unknown to his disciple Glaucon in the Republic; nor is there any reason to suppose that he used myths or revelations of another world as a vehicle of instruction, or that he would have banished poetry or have denounced the Greek mythology. His favorite oath is retained, and a slight mention is made of the daemonium, or internal sign, which is alluded to by Socrates as a phenomenon peculiar to himself. A real element of Socratic teaching, which is more prominent in the Republic than in any of the other Dialogues of Plato, is the use of example and illustration ('taphorhtika auto prhospherhontez'): "Let us apply the test of common instances." "You," says Adeimantus, ironically, in the sixth book, "are so unaccustomed to speak in images." And this use of examples or images, though truly Socratic in origin, is enlarged by the genius of Plato into the form of an allegory or parable, which embodies in the concrete what has been already described, or is about to be described, in the abstract. Thus the figure of the cave in Book VII is a recapitulation of the divisions of knowledge in Book VI. The composite animal in Book IX is an allegory of the parts of the soul. The noble captain and the ship and the true pilot in Book VI are a figure of the relation of the people to the philosophers in the State which has been described. Other figures, such as the dog in the second, third, and fourth books, or the marriage of the portionless maiden in the sixth book, or the drones and wasps in the eighth and ninth books, also form links of connection in long passages, or are used to recall previous discussions.

    Plato is most true to the character of his master when he describes him as "not of this world." And with this representation of him the ideal State and the other paradoxes of the Republic are quite in accordance, though they can not be shown to have been speculations of Socrates. To him, as to other great teachers both philosophical and religious, when they looked upward, the world seemed to be the embodiment of error and evil. The common sense of mankind has revolted against this view, or has only partially admitted it. And even in Socrates himself the sterner judgment of the multitude at times passes into a sort of ironical pity or love. Men in general are incapable of philosophy, and are therefore at enmity with the philosopher; but their misunderstanding of him is unavoidable: for they have never seen him as he truly is in his own image; they are only acquainted with artificial systems possessing no native force of truth --words which admit of many applications. Their leaders have nothing to measure with, and are therefore ignorant of their own stature. But they are to be pitied or laughed at, not to be quarrelled with; they mean well with their nostrums, if they could only learn that they are cutting off a Hydra's head. This moderation towards those who are in error is one of the most characteristic features of Socrates in the Republic. In all the different representations of Socrates, whether of Xenophon or Plato, and the differences of the earlier or later Dialogues, he always retains the character of the unwearied and disinterested seeker after truth, without which he would have ceased to be Socrates.

    Leaving the characters we may now analyze the contents of the Republic, and then proceed to consider (1) The general aspects of this Hellenic ideal of the State, (2) The modern lights in which the thoughts of Plato may be read.

    The first part is too large to show in this post. I will paste the first book in another post, and I encourae everyone one to read this work in it's entirety.

    http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/republic.html

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #100 - June 09, 2018, 10:42 PM

    The Republic

    By Plato

    Written 360 B.C

    Book I

    Quote
    Socrates - GLAUCON

    I went down yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon the son of Ariston, that I might offer up my prayers to the goddess; and also because I wanted to see in what manner they would celebrate the festival, which was a new thing. I was delighted with the procession of the inhabitants; but that of the Thracians was equally, if not more, beautiful. When we had finished our prayers and viewed the spectacle, we turned in the direction of the city; and at that instant Polemarchus the son of Cephalus chanced to catch sight of us from a distance as we were starting on our way home, and told his servant to run and bid us wait for him. The servant took hold of me by the cloak behind, and said: Polemarchus desires you to wait.

    I turned round, and asked him where his master was.
    There he is, said the youth, coming after you, if you will only wait.

    Certainly we will, said Glaucon; and in a few minutes Polemarchus appeared, and with him Adeimantus, Glaucon's brother, Niceratus the son of Nicias, and several others who had been at the procession.

    Socrates - POLEMARCHUS - GLAUCON - ADEIMANTUS

    Polemarchus said to me: I perceive, Socrates, that you and our companion are already on your way to the city.

    You are not far wrong, I said.
    But do you see, he rejoined, how many we are?
    Of course.
    And are you stronger than all these? for if not, you will have to remain where you are.

    May there not be the alternative, I said, that we may persuade you to let us go?

    But can you persuade us, if we refuse to listen to you? he said.
    Certainly not, replied Glaucon.
    Then we are not going to listen; of that you may be assured.
    Adeimantus added: Has no one told you of the torch-race on horseback in honour of the goddess which will take place in the evening?

    With horses! I replied: That is a novelty. Will horsemen carry torches and pass them one to another during the race?

    Yes, said Polemarchus, and not only so, but a festival will he celebrated at night, which you certainly ought to see. Let us rise soon after supper and see this festival; there will be a gathering of young men, and we will have a good talk. Stay then, and do not be perverse.

    Glaucon said: I suppose, since you insist, that we must.
    Very good, I replied.

    Glaucon - CEPHALUS - SOCRATES

    Accordingly we went with Polemarchus to his house; and there we found his brothers Lysias and Euthydemus, and with them Thrasymachus the Chalcedonian, Charmantides the Paeanian, and Cleitophon the son of Aristonymus. There too was Cephalus the father of Polemarchus, whom I had not seen for a long time, and I thought him very much aged. He was seated on a cushioned chair, and had a garland on his head, for he had been sacrificing in the court; and there were some other chairs in the room arranged in a semicircle, upon which we sat down by him. He saluted me eagerly, and then he said: --

    You don't come to see me, Socrates, as often as you ought: If I were still able to go and see you I would not ask you to come to me. But at my age I can hardly get to the city, and therefore you should come oftener to the Piraeus. For let me tell you, that the more the pleasures of the body fade away, the greater to me is the pleasure and charm of conversation. Do not then deny my request, but make our house your resort and keep company with these young men; we are old friends, and you will be quite at home with us.

    I replied: There is nothing which for my part I like better, Cephalus, than conversing with aged men; for I regard them as travellers who have gone a journey which I too may have to go, and of whom I ought to enquire, whether the way is smooth and easy, or rugged and difficult. And this is a question which I should like to ask of you who have arrived at that time which the poets call the 'threshold of old age' --Is life harder towards the end, or what report do you give of it?

    I will tell you, Socrates, he said, what my own feeling is. Men of my age flock together; we are birds of a feather, as the old proverb says; and at our meetings the tale of my acquaintance commonly is --I cannot eat, I cannot drink; the pleasures of youth and love are fled away: there was a good time once, but now that is gone, and life is no longer life. Some complain of the slights which are put upon them by relations, and they will tell you sadly of how many evils their old age is the cause. But to me, Socrates, these complainers seem to blame that which is not really in fault. For if old age were the cause, I too being old, and every other old man, would have felt as they do. But this is not my own experience, nor that of others whom I have known. How well I remember the aged poet Sophocles, when in answer to the question, How does love suit with age, Sophocles, --are you still the man you were? Peace, he replied; most gladly have I escaped the thing of which you speak; I feel as if I had escaped from a mad and furious master. His words have often occurred to my mind since, and they seem as good to me now as at the time when he uttered them. For certainly old age has a great sense of calm and freedom; when the passions relax their hold, then, as Sophocles says, we are freed from the grasp not of one mad master only, but of many. The truth is, Socrates, that these regrets, and also the complaints about relations, are to be attributed to the same cause, which is not old age, but men's characters and tempers; for he who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age, but to him who is of an opposite disposition youth and age are equally a burden.

    I listened in admiration, and wanting to draw him out, that he might go on --Yes, Cephalus, I said: but I rather suspect that people in general are not convinced by you when you speak thus; they think that old age sits lightly upon you, not because of your happy disposition, but because you are rich, and wealth is well known to be a great comforter.

    You are right, he replied; they are not convinced: and there is something in what they say; not, however, so much as they imagine. I might answer them as Themistocles answered the Seriphian who was abusing him and saying that he was famous, not for his own merits but because he was an Athenian: 'If you had been a native of my country or I of yours, neither of us would have been famous.' And to those who are not rich and are impatient of old age, the same reply may be made; for to the good poor man old age cannot be a light burden, nor can a bad rich man ever have peace with himself.

    May I ask, Cephalus, whether your fortune was for the most part inherited or acquired by you?

    Acquired! Socrates; do you want to know how much I acquired? In the art of making money I have been midway between my father and grandfather: for my grandfather, whose name I bear, doubled and trebled the value of his patrimony, that which he inherited being much what I possess now; but my father Lysanias reduced the property below what it is at present: and I shall be satisfied if I leave to these my sons not less but a little more than I received.

    That was why I asked you the question, I replied, because I see that you are indifferent about money, which is a characteristic rather of those who have inherited their fortunes than of those who have acquired them; the makers of fortunes have a second love of money as a creation of their own, resembling the affection of authors for their own poems, or of parents for their children, besides that natural love of it for the sake of use and profit which is common to them and all men. And hence they are very bad company, for they can talk about nothing but the praises of wealth. That is true, he said.

    Yes, that is very true, but may I ask another question? What do you consider to be the greatest blessing which you have reaped from your wealth?

    One, he said, of which I could not expect easily to convince others. For let me tell you, Socrates, that when a man thinks himself to be near death, fears and cares enter into his mind which he never had before; the tales of a world below and the punishment which is exacted there of deeds done here were once a laughing matter to him, but now he is tormented with the thought that they may be true: either from the weakness of age, or because he is now drawing nearer to that other place, he has a clearer view of these things; suspicions and alarms crowd thickly upon him, and he begins to reflect and consider what wrongs he has done to others. And when he finds that the sum of his transgressions is great he will many a time like a child start up in his sleep for fear, and he is filled with dark forebodings. But to him who is conscious of no sin, sweet hope, as Pindar charmingly says, is the kind nurse of his age:

    Hope, he says, cherishes the soul of him who lives in justice and holiness and is the nurse of his age and the companion of his journey; --hope which is mightiest to sway the restless soul of man.

    How admirable are his words! And the great blessing of riches, I do not say to every man, but to a good man, is, that he has had no occasion to deceive or to defraud others, either intentionally or unintentionally; and when he departs to the world below he is not in any apprehension about offerings due to the gods or debts which he owes to men. Now to this peace of mind the possession of wealth greatly contributes; and therefore I say, that, setting one thing against another, of the many advantages which wealth has to give, to a man of sense this is in my opinion the greatest.

    Well said, Cephalus, I replied; but as concerning justice, what is it? --to speak the truth and to pay your debts --no more than this? And even to this are there not exceptions? Suppose that a friend when in his right mind has deposited arms with me and he asks for them when he is not in his right mind, ought I to give them back to him? No one would say that I ought or that I should be right in doing so, any more than they would say that I ought always to speak the truth to one who is in his condition.

    You are quite right, he replied.
    But then, I said, speaking the truth and paying your debts is not a correct definition of justice.

    Cephalus - SOCRATES - POLEMARCHUS

    Quite correct, Socrates, if Simonides is to be believed, said Polemarchus interposing.

    I fear, said Cephalus, that I must go now, for I have to look after the sacrifices, and I hand over the argument to Polemarchus and the company.

    Is not Polemarchus your heir? I said.
    To be sure, he answered, and went away laughing to the sacrifices.

    Socrates - POLEMARCHUS

    Tell me then, O thou heir of the argument, what did Simonides say, and according to you truly say, about justice?

    He said that the repayment of a debt is just, and in saying so he appears to me to be right.

    I should be sorry to doubt the word of such a wise and inspired man, but his meaning, though probably clear to you, is the reverse of clear to me. For he certainly does not mean, as we were now saying that I ought to return a return a deposit of arms or of anything else to one who asks for it when he is not in his right senses; and yet a deposit cannot be denied to be a debt.

    True.
    Then when the person who asks me is not in his right mind I am by no means to make the return?

    Certainly not.
    When Simonides said that the repayment of a debt was justice, he did not mean to include that case?

    Certainly not; for he thinks that a friend ought always to do good to a friend and never evil.

    You mean that the return of a deposit of gold which is to the injury of the receiver, if the two parties are friends, is not the repayment of a debt, --that is what you would imagine him to say?

    Yes.
    And are enemies also to receive what we owe to them?
    To be sure, he said, they are to receive what we owe them, and an enemy, as I take it, owes to an enemy that which is due or proper to him --that is to say, evil.

    Simonides, then, after the manner of poets, would seem to have spoken darkly of the nature of justice; for he really meant to say that justice is the giving to each man what is proper to him, and this he termed a debt.

    That must have been his meaning, he said.
    By heaven! I replied; and if we asked him what due or proper thing is given by medicine, and to whom, what answer do you think that he would make to us?

    He would surely reply that medicine gives drugs and meat and drink to human bodies.

    And what due or proper thing is given by cookery, and to what?
    Seasoning to food.
    And what is that which justice gives, and to whom?
    If, Socrates, we are to be guided at all by the analogy of the preceding instances, then justice is the art which gives good to friends and evil to enemies.

    That is his meaning then?
    I think so.
    And who is best able to do good to his friends and evil to his enemies in time of sickness?

    The physician.
    Or when they are on a voyage, amid the perils of the sea?
    The pilot.
    And in what sort of actions or with a view to what result is the just man most able to do harm to his enemy and good to his friends?

    In going to war against the one and in making alliances with the other.

    But when a man is well, my dear Polemarchus, there is no need of a physician?

    No.
    And he who is not on a voyage has no need of a pilot?
    No.
    Then in time of peace justice will be of no use?
    I am very far from thinking so.
    You think that justice may be of use in peace as well as in war?
    Yes.
    Like husbandry for the acquisition of corn?
    Yes.
    Or like shoemaking for the acquisition of shoes, --that is what you mean?

    Yes.
    And what similar use or power of acquisition has justice in time of peace?

    In contracts, Socrates, justice is of use.
    And by contracts you mean partnerships?
    Exactly.
    But is the just man or the skilful player a more useful and better partner at a game of draughts?

    The skilful player.
    And in the laying of bricks and stones is the just man a more useful or better partner than the builder?

    Quite the reverse.
    Then in what sort of partnership is the just man a better partner than the harp-player, as in playing the harp the harp-player is certainly a better partner than the just man?

    In a money partnership.
    Yes, Polemarchus, but surely not in the use of money; for you do not want a just man to be your counsellor the purchase or sale of a horse; a man who is knowing about horses would be better for that, would he not?

    Certainly.
    And when you want to buy a ship, the shipwright or the pilot would be better?

    True.
    Then what is that joint use of silver or gold in which the just man is to be preferred?

    When you want a deposit to be kept safely.
    You mean when money is not wanted, but allowed to lie?
    Precisely.
    That is to say, justice is useful when money is useless?
    That is the inference.
    And when you want to keep a pruning-hook safe, then justice is useful to the individual and to the state; but when you want to use it, then the art of the vine-dresser?

    Clearly.
    And when you want to keep a shield or a lyre, and not to use them, you would say that justice is useful; but when you want to use them, then the art of the soldier or of the musician?

    Certainly.
    And so of all the other things; --justice is useful when they are useless, and useless when they are useful?

    That is the inference.
    Then justice is not good for much. But let us consider this further point: Is not he who can best strike a blow in a boxing match or in any kind of fighting best able to ward off a blow?

    Certainly.
    And he who is most skilful in preventing or escaping from a disease is best able to create one?

    True.
    And he is the best guard of a camp who is best able to steal a march upon the enemy?

    Certainly.
    Then he who is a good keeper of anything is also a good thief?
    That, I suppose, is to be inferred.
    Then if the just man is good at keeping money, he is good at stealing it.

    That is implied in the argument.
    Then after all the just man has turned out to be a thief. And this is a lesson which I suspect you must have learnt out of Homer; for he, speaking of Autolycus, the maternal grandfather of Odysseus, who is a favourite of his, affirms that

    He was excellent above all men in theft and perjury. And so, you and Homer and Simonides are agreed that justice is an art of theft; to be practised however 'for the good of friends and for the harm of enemies,' --that was what you were saying?

    No, certainly not that, though I do not now know what I did say; but I still stand by the latter words.

    Well, there is another question: By friends and enemies do we mean those who are so really, or only in seeming?

    Surely, he said, a man may be expected to love those whom he thinks good, and to hate those whom he thinks evil.

    Yes, but do not persons often err about good and evil: many who are not good seem to be so, and conversely?

    That is true.
    Then to them the good will be enemies and the evil will be their friends? True.

    And in that case they will be right in doing good to the evil and evil to the good?

    Clearly.
    But the good are just and would not do an injustice?
    True.
    Then according to your argument it is just to injure those who do no wrong?

    Nay, Socrates; the doctrine is immoral.
    Then I suppose that we ought to do good to the just and harm to the unjust?

    I like that better.
    But see the consequence: --Many a man who is ignorant of human nature has friends who are bad friends, and in that case he ought to do harm to them; and he has good enemies whom he ought to benefit; but, if so, we shall be saying the very opposite of that which we affirmed to be the meaning of Simonides.

    Very true, he said: and I think that we had better correct an error into which we seem to have fallen in the use of the words 'friend' and 'enemy.'

    What was the error, Polemarchus? I asked.
    We assumed that he is a friend who seems to be or who is thought good.

    And how is the error to be corrected?
    We should rather say that he is a friend who is, as well as seems, good; and that he who seems only, and is not good, only seems to be and is not a friend; and of an enemy the same may be said.

    You would argue that the good are our friends and the bad our enemies?

    Yes.
    And instead of saying simply as we did at first, that it is just to do good to our friends and harm to our enemies, we should further say: It is just to do good to our friends when they are good and harm to our enemies when they are evil?

    Yes, that appears to me to be the truth.
    But ought the just to injure any one at all?
    Undoubtedly he ought to injure those who are both wicked and his enemies.

    When horses are injured, are they improved or deteriorated?
    The latter.
    Deteriorated, that is to say, in the good qualities of horses, not of dogs?

    Yes, of horses.
    And dogs are deteriorated in the good qualities of dogs, and not of horses?

    Of course.
    And will not men who are injured be deteriorated in that which is the proper virtue of man?

    Certainly.
    And that human virtue is justice?
    To be sure.
    Then men who are injured are of necessity made unjust?
    That is the result.
    But can the musician by his art make men unmusical?
    Certainly not.
    Or the horseman by his art make them bad horsemen?
    Impossible.
    And can the just by justice make men unjust, or speaking general can the good by virtue make them bad?

    Assuredly not.
    Any more than heat can produce cold?
    It cannot.
    Or drought moisture?
    Clearly not.
    Nor can the good harm any one?
    Impossible.
    And the just is the good?
    Certainly.
    Then to injure a friend or any one else is not the act of a just man, but of the opposite, who is the unjust?

    I think that what you say is quite true, Socrates.
    Then if a man says that justice consists in the repayment of debts, and that good is the debt which a man owes to his friends, and evil the debt which he owes to his enemies, --to say this is not wise; for it is not true, if, as has been clearly shown, the injuring of another can be in no case just.

    I agree with you, said Polemarchus.
    Then you and I are prepared to take up arms against any one who attributes such a saying to Simonides or Bias or Pittacus, or any other wise man or seer?

    I am quite ready to do battle at your side, he said.
    Shall I tell you whose I believe the saying to be?
    Whose?
    I believe that Periander or Perdiccas or Xerxes or Ismenias the Theban, or some other rich and mighty man, who had a great opinion of his own power, was the first to say that justice is 'doing good to your friends and harm to your enemies.'

    Most true, he said.
    Yes, I said; but if this definition of justice also breaks down, what other can be offered?

    Several times in the course of the discussion Thrasymachus had made an attempt to get the argument into his own hands, and had been put down by the rest of the company, who wanted to hear the end. But when Polemarchus and I had done speaking and there was a pause, he could no longer hold his peace; and, gathering himself up, he came at us like a wild beast, seeking to devour us. We were quite panic-stricken at the sight of him.

    Socrates - POLEMARCHUS - THRASYMACHUS

    He roared out to the whole company: What folly. Socrates, has taken possession of you all? And why, sillybillies, do you knock under to one another? I say that if you want really to know what justice is, you should not only ask but answer, and you should not seek honour to yourself from the refutation of an opponent, but have your own answer; for there is many a one who can ask and cannot answer. And now I will not have you say that justice is duty or advantage or profit or gain or interest, for this sort of nonsense will not do for me; I must have clearness and accuracy.

    I was panic-stricken at his words, and could not look at him without trembling. Indeed I believe that if I had not fixed my eye upon him, I should have been struck dumb: but when I saw his fury rising, I looked at him first, and was therefore able to reply to him.

    Thrasymachus, I said, with a quiver, don't be hard upon us. Polemarchus and I may have been guilty of a little mistake in the argument, but I can assure you that the error was not intentional. If we were seeking for a piece of gold, you would not imagine that we were 'knocking under to one another,' and so losing our chance of finding it. And why, when we are seeking for justice, a thing more precious than many pieces of gold, do you say that we are weakly yielding to one another and not doing our utmost to get at the truth? Nay, my good friend, we are most willing and anxious to do so, but the fact is that we cannot. And if so, you people who know all things should pity us and not be angry with us.

    How characteristic of Socrates! he replied, with a bitter laugh; --that's your ironical style! Did I not foresee --have I not already told you, that whatever he was asked he would refuse to answer, and try irony or any other shuffle, in order that he might avoid answering?

    You are a philosopher, Thrasymachus, I replied, and well know that if you ask a person what numbers make up twelve, taking care to prohibit him whom you ask from answering twice six, or three times four, or six times two, or four times three, 'for this sort of nonsense will not do for me,' --then obviously, that is your way of putting the question, no one can answer you. But suppose that he were to retort, 'Thrasymachus, what do you mean? If one of these numbers which you interdict be the true answer to the question, am I falsely to say some other number which is not the right one? --is that your meaning?' -How would you answer him?

    Just as if the two cases were at all alike! he said.
    Why should they not be? I replied; and even if they are not, but only appear to be so to the person who is asked, ought he not to say what he thinks, whether you and I forbid him or not?

    I presume then that you are going to make one of the interdicted answers?

    I dare say that I may, notwithstanding the danger, if upon reflection I approve of any of them.

    But what if I give you an answer about justice other and better, he said, than any of these? What do you deserve to have done to you?

    Done to me! --as becomes the ignorant, I must learn from the wise --that is what I deserve to have done to me.

    What, and no payment! a pleasant notion!
    I will pay when I have the money, I replied.

    Socrates - THRASYMACHUS - GLAUCON

    But you have, Socrates, said Glaucon: and you, Thrasymachus, need be under no anxiety about money, for we will all make a contribution for Socrates.

    Yes, he replied, and then Socrates will do as he always does --refuse to answer himself, but take and pull to pieces the answer of some one else.

    Why, my good friend, I said, how can any one answer who knows, and says that he knows, just nothing; and who, even if he has some faint notions of his own, is told by a man of authority not to utter them? The natural thing is, that the speaker should be some one like yourself who professes to know and can tell what he knows. Will you then kindly answer, for the edification of the company and of myself ?

    Glaucon and the rest of the company joined in my request and Thrasymachus, as any one might see, was in reality eager to speak; for he thought that he had an excellent answer, and would distinguish himself. But at first he to insist on my answering; at length he consented to begin. Behold, he said, the wisdom of Socrates; he refuses to teach himself, and goes about learning of others, to whom he never even says thank you.

    That I learn of others, I replied, is quite true; but that I am ungrateful I wholly deny. Money I have none, and therefore I pay in praise, which is all I have: and how ready I am to praise any one who appears to me to speak well you will very soon find out when you answer; for I expect that you will answer well.

    Listen, then, he said; I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger. And now why do you not me? But of course you won't.

    Let me first understand you, I replied. justice, as you say, is the interest of the stronger. What, Thrasymachus, is the meaning of this? You cannot mean to say that because Polydamas, the pancratiast, is stronger than we are, and finds the eating of beef conducive to his bodily strength, that to eat beef is therefore equally for our good who are weaker than he is, and right and just for us?

    That's abominable of you, Socrates; you take the words in the sense which is most damaging to the argument.

    Not at all, my good sir, I said; I am trying to understand them; and I wish that you would be a little clearer.

    Well, he said, have you never heard that forms of government differ; there are tyrannies, and there are democracies, and there are aristocracies?

    Yes, I know.
    And the government is the ruling power in each state?
    Certainly.
    And the different forms of government make laws democratical, aristocratical, tyrannical, with a view to their several interests; and these laws, which are made by them for their own interests, are the justice which they deliver to their subjects, and him who transgresses them they punish as a breaker of the law, and unjust. And that is what I mean when I say that in all states there is the same principle of justice, which is the interest of the government; and as the government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable conclusion is, that everywhere there is one principle of justice, which is the interest of the stronger.

    Now I understand you, I said; and whether you are right or not I will try to discover. But let me remark, that in defining justice you have yourself used the word 'interest' which you forbade me to use. It is true, however, that in your definition the words 'of the stronger' are added.

    A small addition, you must allow, he said.
    Great or small, never mind about that: we must first enquire whether what you are saying is the truth. Now we are both agreed that justice is interest of some sort, but you go on to say 'of the stronger'; about this addition I am not so sure, and must therefore consider further.

    Proceed.
    I will; and first tell me, Do you admit that it is just or subjects to obey their rulers?

    I do.
    But are the rulers of states absolutely infallible, or are they sometimes liable to err?

    To be sure, he replied, they are liable to err.
    Then in making their laws they may sometimes make them rightly, and sometimes not?

    True.
    When they make them rightly, they make them agreeably to their interest; when they are mistaken, contrary to their interest; you admit that?

    Yes.
    And the laws which they make must be obeyed by their subjects, --and that is what you call justice?

    Doubtless.
    Then justice, according to your argument, is not only obedience to the interest of the stronger but the reverse?

    What is that you are saying? he asked.
    I am only repeating what you are saying, I believe. But let us consider: Have we not admitted that the rulers may be mistaken about their own interest in what they command, and also that to obey them is justice? Has not that been admitted?

    Yes.
    Then you must also have acknowledged justice not to be for the interest of the stronger, when the rulers unintentionally command things to be done which are to their own injury. For if, as you say, justice is the obedience which the subject renders to their commands, in that case, O wisest of men, is there any escape from the conclusion that the weaker are commanded to do, not what is for the interest, but what is for the injury of the stronger?

    Nothing can be clearer, Socrates, said Polemarchus.

    Socrates - CLEITOPHON - POLEMARCHUS - THRASYMACHUS

    Yes, said Cleitophon, interposing, if you are allowed to be his witness.

    But there is no need of any witness, said Polemarchus, for Thrasymachus himself acknowledges that rulers may sometimes command what is not for their own interest, and that for subjects to obey them is justice.

    Yes, Polemarchus, --Thrasymachus said that for subjects to do what was commanded by their rulers is just.

    Yes, Cleitophon, but he also said that justice is the interest of the stronger, and, while admitting both these propositions, he further acknowledged that the stronger may command the weaker who are his subjects to do what is not for his own interest; whence follows that justice is the injury quite as much as the interest of the stronger.

    But, said Cleitophon, he meant by the interest of the stronger what the stronger thought to be his interest, --this was what the weaker had to do; and this was affirmed by him to be justice.

    Those were not his words, rejoined Polemarchus.

    Socrates - THRASYMACHUS

    Never mind, I replied, if he now says that they are, let us accept his statement. Tell me, Thrasymachus, I said, did you mean by justice what the stronger thought to be his interest, whether really so or not?

    Certainly not, he said. Do you suppose that I call him who is mistaken the stronger at the time when he is mistaken?

    Yes, I said, my impression was that you did so, when you admitted that the ruler was not infallible but might be sometimes mistaken.

    You argue like an informer, Socrates. Do you mean, for example, that he who is mistaken about the sick is a physician in that he is mistaken? or that he who errs in arithmetic or grammar is an arithmetician or grammarian at the me when he is making the mistake, in respect of the mistake? True, we say that the physician or arithmetician or grammarian has made a mistake, but this is only a way of speaking; for the fact is that neither the grammarian nor any other person of skill ever makes a mistake in so far as he is what his name implies; they none of them err unless their skill fails them, and then they cease to be skilled artists. No artist or sage or ruler errs at the time when he is what his name implies; though he is commonly said to err, and I adopted the common mode of speaking. But to be perfectly accurate, since you are such a lover of accuracy, we should say that the ruler, in so far as he is the ruler, is unerring, and, being unerring, always commands that which is for his own interest; and the subject is required to execute his commands; and therefore, as I said at first and now repeat, justice is the interest of the stronger.

    Indeed, Thrasymachus, and do I really appear to you to argue like an informer?

    Certainly, he replied.
    And you suppose that I ask these questions with any design of injuring you in the argument?

    Nay, he replied, 'suppose' is not the word --I know it; but you will be found out, and by sheer force of argument you will never prevail.

    I shall not make the attempt, my dear man; but to avoid any misunderstanding occurring between us in future, let me ask, in what sense do you speak of a ruler or stronger whose interest, as you were saying, he being the superior, it is just that the inferior should execute --is he a ruler in the popular or in the strict sense of the term?

    In the strictest of all senses, he said. And now cheat and play the informer if you can; I ask no quarter at your hands. But you never will be able, never.

    And do you imagine, I said, that I am such a madman as to try and cheat, Thrasymachus? I might as well shave a lion.

    Why, he said, you made the attempt a minute ago, and you failed.
    Enough, I said, of these civilities. It will be better that I should ask you a question: Is the physician, taken in that strict sense of which you are speaking, a healer of the sick or a maker of money? And remember that I am now speaking of the true physician.

    A healer of the sick, he replied.
    And the pilot --that is to say, the true pilot --is he a captain of sailors or a mere sailor?

    A captain of sailors.
    The circumstance that he sails in the ship is not to be taken into account; neither is he to be called a sailor; the name pilot by which he is distinguished has nothing to do with sailing, but is significant of his skill and of his authority over the sailors.

    Very true, he said.
    Now, I said, every art has an interest?
    Certainly.
    For which the art has to consider and provide?
    Yes, that is the aim of art.
    And the interest of any art is the perfection of it --this and nothing else?

    What do you mean?
    I mean what I may illustrate negatively by the example of the body. Suppose you were to ask me whether the body is self-sufficing or has wants, I should reply: Certainly the body has wants; for the body may be ill and require to be cured, and has therefore interests to which the art of medicine ministers; and this is the origin and intention of medicine, as you will acknowledge. Am I not right?

    Quite right, he replied.
    But is the art of medicine or any other art faulty or deficient in any quality in the same way that the eye may be deficient in sight or the ear fail of hearing, and therefore requires another art to provide for the interests of seeing and hearing --has art in itself, I say, any similar liability to fault or defect, and does every art require another supplementary art to provide for its interests, and that another and another without end? Or have the arts to look only after their own interests? Or have they no need either of themselves or of another? --having no faults or defects, they have no need to correct them, either by the exercise of their own art or of any other; they have only to consider the interest of their subject-matter. For every art remains pure and faultless while remaining true --that is to say, while perfect and unimpaired. Take the words in your precise sense, and tell me whether I am not right."

    Yes, clearly.
    Then medicine does not consider the interest of medicine, but the interest of the body?

    True, he said.
    Nor does the art of horsemanship consider the interests of the art of horsemanship, but the interests of the horse; neither do any other arts care for themselves, for they have no needs; they care only for that which is the subject of their art?

    True, he said.
    But surely, Thrasymachus, the arts are the superiors and rulers of their own subjects?

    To this he assented with a good deal of reluctance.
    Then, I said, no science or art considers or enjoins the interest of the stronger or superior, but only the interest of the subject and weaker?

    He made an attempt to contest this proposition also, but finally acquiesced.

    Then, I continued, no physician, in so far as he is a physician, considers his own good in what he prescribes, but the good of his patient; for the true physician is also a ruler having the human body as a subject, and is not a mere money-maker; that has been admitted?

    Yes.
    And the pilot likewise, in the strict sense of the term, is a ruler of sailors and not a mere sailor?

    That has been admitted.
    And such a pilot and ruler will provide and prescribe for the interest of the sailor who is under him, and not for his own or the ruler's interest?

    He gave a reluctant 'Yes.'
    Then, I said, Thrasymachus, there is no one in any rule who, in so far as he is a ruler, considers or enjoins what is for his own interest, but always what is for the interest of his subject or suitable to his art; to that he looks, and that alone he considers in everything which he says and does.

    When we had got to this point in the argument, and every one saw that the definition of justice had been completely upset, Thrasymachus, instead of replying to me, said: Tell me, Socrates, have you got a nurse?

    Why do you ask such a question, I said, when you ought rather to be answering?

    Because she leaves you to snivel, and never wipes your nose: she has not even taught you to know the shepherd from the sheep.

    What makes you say that? I replied.
    Because you fancy that the shepherd or neatherd fattens of tends the sheep or oxen with a view to their own good and not to the good of himself or his master; and you further imagine that the rulers of states, if they are true rulers, never think of their subjects as sheep, and that they are not studying their own advantage day and night. Oh, no; and so entirely astray are you in your ideas about the just and unjust as not even to know that justice and the just are in reality another's good; that is to say, the interest of the ruler and stronger, and the loss of the subject and servant; and injustice the opposite; for the unjust is lord over the truly simple and just: he is the stronger, and his subjects do what is for his interest, and minister to his happiness, which is very far from being their own. Consider further, most foolish Socrates, that the just is always a loser in comparison with the unjust. First of all, in private contracts: wherever the unjust is the partner of the just you will find that, when the partnership is dissolved, the unjust man has always more and the just less. Secondly, in their dealings with the State: when there is an income tax, the just man will pay more and the unjust less on the same amount of income; and when there is anything to be received the one gains nothing and the other much. Observe also what happens when they take an office; there is the just man neglecting his affairs and perhaps suffering other losses, and getting nothing out of the public, because he is just; moreover he is hated by his friends and acquaintance for refusing to serve them in unlawful ways. But all this is reversed in the case of the unjust man. I am speaking, as before, of injustice on a large scale in which the advantage of the unjust is more apparent; and my meaning will be most clearly seen if we turn to that highest form of injustice in which the criminal is the happiest of men, and the sufferers or those who refuse to do injustice are the most miserable --that is to say tyranny, which by fraud and force takes away the property of others, not little by little but wholesale; comprehending in one, things sacred as well as profane, private and public; for which acts of wrong, if he were detected perpetrating any one of them singly, he would be punished and incur great disgrace --they who do such wrong in particular cases are called robbers of temples, and man-stealers and burglars and swindlers and thieves. But when a man besides taking away the money of the citizens has made slaves of them, then, instead of these names of reproach, he is termed happy and blessed, not only by the citizens but by all who hear of his having achieved the consummation of injustice. For mankind censure injustice, fearing that they may be the victims of it and not because they shrink from committing it. And thus, as I have shown, Socrates, injustice, when on a sufficient scale, has more strength and freedom and mastery than justice; and, as I said at first, justice is the interest of the stronger, whereas injustice is a man's own profit and interest.

    Thrasymachus, when he had thus spoken, having, like a bathman, deluged our ears with his words, had a mind to go away. But the company would not let him; they insisted that he should remain and defend his position; and I myself added my own humble request that he would not leave us. Thrasymachus, I said to him, excellent man, how suggestive are your remarks! And are you going to run away before you have fairly taught or learned whether they are true or not? Is the attempt to determine the way of man's life so small a matter in your eyes --to determine how life may be passed by each one of us to the greatest advantage?

    And do I differ from you, he said, as to the importance of the enquiry?

    You appear rather, I replied, to have no care or thought about us, Thrasymachus --whether we live better or worse from not knowing what you say you know, is to you a matter of indifference. Prithee, friend, do not keep your knowledge to yourself; we are a large party; and any benefit which you confer upon us will be amply rewarded. For my own part I openly declare that I am not convinced, and that I do not believe injustice to be more gainful than justice, even if uncontrolled and allowed to have free play. For, granting that there may be an unjust man who is able to commit injustice either by fraud or force, still this does not convince me of the superior advantage of injustice, and there may be others who are in the same predicament with myself. Perhaps we may be wrong; if so, you in your wisdom should convince us that we are mistaken in preferring justice to injustice.

    And how am I to convince you, he said, if you are not already convinced by what I have just said; what more can I do for you? Would you have me put the proof bodily into your souls?

    Heaven forbid! I said; I would only ask you to be consistent; or, if you change, change openly and let there be no deception. For I must remark, Thrasymachus, if you will recall what was previously said, that although you began by defining the true physician in an exact sense, you did not observe a like exactness when speaking of the shepherd; you thought that the shepherd as a shepherd tends the sheep not with a view to their own good, but like a mere diner or banqueter with a view to the pleasures of the table; or, again, as a trader for sale in the market, and not as a shepherd. Yet surely the art of the shepherd is concerned only with the good of his subjects; he has only to provide the best for them, since the perfection of the art is already ensured whenever all the requirements of it are satisfied. And that was what I was saying just now about the ruler. I conceived that the art of the ruler, considered as ruler, whether in a state or in private life, could only regard the good of his flock or subjects; whereas you seem to think that the rulers in states, that is to say, the true rulers, like being in authority.

    Think! Nay, I am sure of it.
    Then why in the case of lesser offices do men never take them willingly without payment, unless under the idea that they govern for the advantage not of themselves but of others? Let me ask you a question: Are not the several arts different, by reason of their each having a separate function? And, my dear illustrious friend, do say what you think, that we may make a little progress.

    Yes, that is the difference, he replied.
    And each art gives us a particular good and not merely a general one --medicine, for example, gives us health; navigation, safety at sea, and so on?

    Yes, he said.
    And the art of payment has the special function of giving pay: but we do not confuse this with other arts, any more than the art of the pilot is to be confused with the art of medicine, because the health of the pilot may be improved by a sea voyage. You would not be inclined to say, would you, that navigation is the art of medicine, at least if we are to adopt your exact use of language?

    Certainly not.
    Or because a man is in good health when he receives pay you would not say that the art of payment is medicine?

    I should say not.
    Nor would you say that medicine is the art of receiving pay because a man takes fees when he is engaged in healing?

    Certainly not.
    And we have admitted, I said, that the good of each art is specially confined to the art?

    Yes.
    Then, if there be any good which all artists have in common, that is to be attributed to something of which they all have the common use?

    True, he replied.
    And when the artist is benefited by receiving pay the advantage is gained by an additional use of the art of pay, which is not the art professed by him?

    He gave a reluctant assent to this.
    Then the pay is not derived by the several artists from their respective arts. But the truth is, that while the art of medicine gives health, and the art of the builder builds a house, another art attends them which is the art of pay. The various arts may be doing their own business and benefiting that over which they preside, but would the artist receive any benefit from his art unless he were paid as well?

    I suppose not.
    But does he therefore confer no benefit when he works for nothing?
    Certainly, he confers a benefit.
    Then now, Thrasymachus, there is no longer any doubt that neither arts nor governments provide for their own interests; but, as we were before saying, they rule and provide for the interests of their subjects who are the weaker and not the stronger --to their good they attend and not to the good of the superior.

    And this is the reason, my dear Thrasymachus, why, as I was just now saying, no one is willing to govern; because no one likes to take in hand the reformation of evils which are not his concern without remuneration. For, in the execution of his work, and in giving his orders to another, the true artist does not regard his own interest, but always that of his subjects; and therefore in order that rulers may be willing to rule, they must be paid in one of three modes of payment: money, or honour, or a penalty for refusing.

    Socrates - GLAUCON

    What do you mean, Socrates? said Glaucon. The first two modes of payment are intelligible enough, but what the penalty is I do not understand, or how a penalty can be a payment.

    You mean that you do not understand the nature of this payment which to the best men is the great inducement to rule? Of course you know that ambition and avarice are held to be, as indeed they are, a disgrace?

    Very true.
    And for this reason, I said, money and honour have no attraction for them; good men do not wish to be openly demanding payment for governing and so to get the name of hirelings, nor by secretly helping themselves out of the public revenues to get the name of thieves. And not being ambitious they do not care about honour. Wherefore necessity must be laid upon them, and they must be induced to serve from the fear of punishment. And this, as I imagine, is the reason why the forwardness to take office, instead of waiting to be compelled, has been deemed dishonourable. Now the worst part of the punishment is that he who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by one who is worse than himself. And the fear of this, as I conceive, induces the good to take office, not because they would, but because they cannot help --not under the idea that they are going to have any benefit or enjoyment themselves, but as a necessity, and because they are not able to commit the task of ruling to any one who is better than themselves, or indeed as good. For there is reason to think that if a city were composed entirely of good men, then to avoid office would be as much an object of contention as to obtain office is at present; then we should have plain proof that the true ruler is not meant by nature to regard his own interest, but that of his subjects; and every one who knew this would choose rather to receive a benefit from another than to have the trouble of conferring one. So far am I from agreeing with Thrasymachus that justice is the interest of the stronger. This latter question need not be further discussed at present; but when Thrasymachus says that the life of the unjust is more advantageous than that of the just, his new statement appears to me to be of a far more serious character. Which of us has spoken truly? And which sort of life, Glaucon, do you prefer?

    I for my part deem the life of the just to be the more advantageous, he answered.

    Did you hear all the advantages of the unjust which Thrasymachus was rehearsing?

    Yes, I heard him, he replied, but he has not convinced me.
    Then shall we try to find some way of convincing him, if we can, that he is saying what is not true?

    Most certainly, he replied.
    If, I said, he makes a set speech and we make another recounting all the advantages of being just, and he answers and we rejoin, there must be a numbering and measuring of the goods which are claimed on either side, and in the end we shall want judges to decide; but if we proceed in our enquiry as we lately did, by making admissions to one another, we shall unite the offices of judge and advocate in our own persons.

    Very good, he said.
    And which method do I understand you to prefer? I said.
    That which you propose.
    Well, then, Thrasymachus, I said, suppose you begin at the beginning and answer me. You say that perfect injustice is more gainful than perfect justice?

    Socrates - GLAUCON - THRASYMACHUS

    Yes, that is what I say, and I have given you my reasons.
    And what is your view about them? Would you call one of them virtue and the other vice?

    Certainly.
    I suppose that you would call justice virtue and injustice vice?
    What a charming notion! So likely too, seeing that I affirm injustice to be profitable and justice not.

    What else then would you say?
    The opposite, he replied.
    And would you call justice vice?
    No, I would rather say sublime simplicity.
    Then would you call injustice malignity?
    No; I would rather say discretion.
    And do the unjust appear to you to be wise and good?
    Yes, he said; at any rate those of them who are able to be perfectly unjust, and who have the power of subduing states and nations; but perhaps you imagine me to be talking of cutpurses.

    Even this profession if undetected has advantages, though they are not to be compared with those of which I was just now speaking.

    I do not think that I misapprehend your meaning, Thrasymachus, I replied; but still I cannot hear without amazement that you class injustice with wisdom and virtue, and justice with the opposite.

    Certainly I do so class them.
    Now, I said, you are on more substantial and almost unanswerable ground; for if the injustice which you were maintaining to be profitable had been admitted by you as by others to be vice and deformity, an answer might have been given to you on received principles; but now I perceive that you will call injustice honourable and strong, and to the unjust you will attribute all the qualities which were attributed by us before to the just, seeing that you do not hesitate to rank injustice with wisdom and virtue.

    You have guessed most infallibly, he replied.
    Then I certainly ought not to shrink from going through with the argument so long as I have reason to think that you, Thrasymachus, are speaking your real mind; for I do believe that you are now in earnest and are not amusing yourself at our expense.

    I may be in earnest or not, but what is that to you? --to refute the argument is your business.

    Very true, I said; that is what I have to do: But will you be so good as answer yet one more question? Does the just man try to gain any advantage over the just?

    Far otherwise; if he did would not be the simple, amusing creature which he is.

    And would he try to go beyond just action?
    He would not.
    And how would he regard the attempt to gain an advantage over the unjust; would that be considered by him as just or unjust?

    He would think it just, and would try to gain the advantage; but he would not be able.

    Whether he would or would not be able, I said, is not to the point. My question is only whether the just man, while refusing to have more than another just man, would wish and claim to have more than the unjust?

    Yes, he would.
    And what of the unjust --does he claim to have more than the just man and to do more than is just

    Of course, he said, for he claims to have more than all men.
    And the unjust man will strive and struggle to obtain more than the unjust man or action, in order that he may have more than all?

    True.
    We may put the matter thus, I said --the just does not desire more than his like but more than his unlike, whereas the unjust desires more than both his like and his unlike?

    Nothing, he said, can be better than that statement.
    And the unjust is good and wise, and the just is neither?
    Good again, he said.
    And is not the unjust like the wise and good and the just unlike them?

    Of course, he said, he who is of a certain nature, is like those who are of a certain nature; he who is not, not.

    Each of them, I said, is such as his like is?
    Certainly, he replied.
    Very good, Thrasymachus, I said; and now to take the case of the arts: you would admit that one man is a musician and another not a musician?

    Yes.
    And which is wise and which is foolish?
    Clearly the musician is wise, and he who is not a musician is foolish.

    And he is good in as far as he is wise, and bad in as far as he is foolish?

    Yes.
    And you would say the same sort of thing of the physician?
    Yes.
    And do you think, my excellent friend, that a musician when he adjusts the lyre would desire or claim to exceed or go beyond a musician in the tightening and loosening the strings?

    I do not think that he would.
    But he would claim to exceed the non-musician?
    Of course.
    And what would you say of the physician? In prescribing meats and drinks would he wish to go beyond another physician or beyond the practice of medicine?

    He would not.
    But he would wish to go beyond the non-physician?
    Yes.
    And about knowledge and ignorance in general; see whether you think that any man who has knowledge ever would wish to have the choice of saying or doing more than another man who has knowledge. Would he not rather say or do the same as his like in the same case?

    That, I suppose, can hardly be denied.
    And what of the ignorant? would he not desire to have more than either the knowing or the ignorant?

    I dare say.
    And the knowing is wise?
    Yes.
    And the wise is good?
    True.
    Then the wise and good will not desire to gain more than his like, but more than his unlike and opposite?

    I suppose so.
    Whereas the bad and ignorant will desire to gain more than both?
    Yes.
    But did we not say, Thrasymachus, that the unjust goes beyond both his like and unlike? Were not these your words? They were.

    They were.
    And you also said that the lust will not go beyond his like but his unlike?

    Yes.
    Then the just is like the wise and good, and the unjust like the evil and ignorant?

    That is the inference.
    And each of them is such as his like is?
    That was admitted.
    Then the just has turned out to be wise and good and the unjust evil and ignorant.

    Thrasymachus made all these admissions, not fluently, as I repeat them, but with extreme reluctance; it was a hot summer's day, and the perspiration poured from him in torrents; and then I saw what I had never seen before, Thrasymachus blushing. As we were now agreed that justice was virtue and wisdom, and injustice vice and ignorance, I proceeded to another point:

    Well, I said, Thrasymachus, that matter is now settled; but were we not also saying that injustice had strength; do you remember?

    Yes, I remember, he said, but do not suppose that I approve of what you are saying or have no answer; if however I were to answer, you would be quite certain to accuse me of haranguing; therefore either permit me to have my say out, or if you would rather ask, do so, and I will answer 'Very good,' as they say to story-telling old women, and will nod 'Yes' and 'No.'

    Certainly not, I said, if contrary to your real opinion.
    Yes, he said, I will, to please you, since you will not let me speak. What else would you have?

    Nothing in the world, I said; and if you are so disposed I will ask and you shall answer.

    Proceed.
    Then I will repeat the question which I asked before, in order that our examination of the relative nature of justice and injustice may be carried on regularly. A statement was made that injustice is stronger and more powerful than justice, but now justice, having been identified with wisdom and virtue, is easily shown to be stronger than injustice, if injustice is ignorance; this can no longer be questioned by any one. But I want to view the matter, Thrasymachus, in a different way: You would not deny that a state may be unjust and may be unjustly attempting to enslave other states, or may have already enslaved them, and may be holding many of them in subjection?

    True, he replied; and I will add the best and perfectly unjust state will be most likely to do so.

    I know, I said, that such was your position; but what I would further consider is, whether this power which is possessed by the superior state can exist or be exercised without justice.

    If you are right in you view, and justice is wisdom, then only with justice; but if I am right, then without justice.

    I am delighted, Thrasymachus, to see you not only nodding assent and dissent, but making answers which are quite excellent.

    That is out of civility to you, he replied.
    You are very kind, I said; and would you have the goodness also to inform me, whether you think that a state, or an army, or a band of robbers and thieves, or any other gang of evil-doers could act at all if they injured one another?

    No indeed, he said, they could not.
    But if they abstained from injuring one another, then they might act together better?

    Yes.
    And this is because injustice creates divisions and hatreds and fighting, and justice imparts harmony and friendship; is not that true, Thrasymachus?

    I agree, he said, because I do not wish to quarrel with you.
    How good of you, I said; but I should like to know also whether injustice, having this tendency to arouse hatred, wherever existing, among slaves or among freemen, will not make them hate one another and set them at variance and render them incapable of common action?

    Certainly.
    And even if injustice be found in two only, will they not quarrel and fight, and become enemies to one another and to the just

    They will.
    And suppose injustice abiding in a single person, would your wisdom say that she loses or that she retains her natural power?

    Let us assume that she retains her power.
    Yet is not the power which injustice exercises of such a nature that wherever she takes up her abode, whether in a city, in an army, in a family, or in any other body, that body is, to begin with, rendered incapable of united action by reason of sedition and distraction; and does it not become its own enemy and at variance with all that opposes it, and with the just? Is not this the case?

    Yes, certainly.
    And is not injustice equally fatal when existing in a single person; in the first place rendering him incapable of action because he is not at unity with himself, and in the second place making him an enemy to himself and the just? Is not that true, Thrasymachus?

    Yes.
    And O my friend, I said, surely the gods are just?
    Granted that they are.
    But if so, the unjust will be the enemy of the gods, and the just will be their friend?

    Feast away in triumph, and take your fill of the argument; I will not oppose you, lest I should displease the company.

    Well then, proceed with your answers, and let me have the remainder of my repast. For we have already shown that the just are clearly wiser and better and abler than the unjust, and that the unjust are incapable of common action; nay ing at more, that to speak as we did of men who are evil acting at any time vigorously together, is not strictly true, for if they had been perfectly evil, they would have laid hands upon one another; but it is evident that there must have been some remnant of justice in them, which enabled them to combine; if there had not been they would have injured one another as well as their victims; they were but half --villains in their enterprises; for had they been whole villains, and utterly unjust, they would have been utterly incapable of action. That, as I believe, is the truth of the matter, and not what you said at first. But whether the just have a better and happier life than the unjust is a further question which we also proposed to consider. I think that they have, and for the reasons which to have given; but still I should like to examine further, for no light matter is at stake, nothing less than the rule of human life.


    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #101 - June 09, 2018, 10:45 PM

    Continued:

    Quote
    Proceed.
    I will proceed by asking a question: Would you not say that a horse has some end?

    I should.
    And the end or use of a horse or of anything would be that which could not be accomplished, or not so well accomplished, by any other thing?

    I do not understand, he said.
    Let me explain: Can you see, except with the eye?
    Certainly not.
    Or hear, except with the ear?
    No.
    These then may be truly said to be the ends of these organs?
    They may.
    But you can cut off a vine-branch with a dagger or with a chisel, and in many other ways?

    Of course.
    And yet not so well as with a pruning-hook made for the purpose?
    True.
    May we not say that this is the end of a pruning-hook?
    We may.
    Then now I think you will have no difficulty in understanding my meaning when I asked the question whether the end of anything would be that which could not be accomplished, or not so well accomplished, by any other thing?

    I understand your meaning, he said, and assent.
    And that to which an end is appointed has also an excellence? Need I ask again whether the eye has an end?

    It has.
    And has not the eye an excellence?
    Yes.
    And the ear has an end and an excellence also?
    True.
    And the same is true of all other things; they have each of them an end and a special excellence?

    That is so.
    Well, and can the eyes fulfil their end if they are wanting in their own proper excellence and have a defect instead?

    How can they, he said, if they are blind and cannot see?
    You mean to say, if they have lost their proper excellence, which is sight; but I have not arrived at that point yet. I would rather ask the question more generally, and only enquire whether the things which fulfil their ends fulfil them by their own proper excellence, and fall of fulfilling them by their own defect?

    Certainly, he replied.
    I might say the same of the ears; when deprived of their own proper excellence they cannot fulfil their end?

    True.
    And the same observation will apply to all other things?
    I agree.
    Well; and has not the soul an end which nothing else can fulfil? for example, to superintend and command and deliberate and the like. Are not these functions proper to the soul, and can they rightly be assigned to any other?

    To no other.
    And is not life to be reckoned among the ends of the soul?
    Assuredly, he said.
    And has not the soul an excellence also?
    Yes.
    And can she or can she not fulfil her own ends when deprived of that excellence?

    She cannot.
    Then an evil soul must necessarily be an evil ruler and superintendent, and the good soul a good ruler?

    Yes, necessarily.
    And we have admitted that justice is the excellence of the soul, and injustice the defect of the soul?

    That has been admitted.
    Then the just soul and the just man will live well, and the unjust man will live ill?

    That is what your argument proves.
    And he who lives well is blessed and happy, and he who lives ill the reverse of happy?

    Certainly.
    Then the just is happy, and the unjust miserable?
    So be it.
    But happiness and not misery is profitable.
    Of course.
    Then, my blessed Thrasymachus, injustice can never be more profitable than justice.

    Let this, Socrates, he said, be your entertainment at the Bendidea.
    For which I am indebted to you, I said, now that you have grown gentle towards me and have left off scolding. Nevertheless, I have not been well entertained; but that was my own fault and not yours. As an epicure snatches a taste of every dish which is successively brought to table, he not having allowed himself time to enjoy the one before, so have I gone from one subject to another without having discovered what I sought at first, the nature of justice. I left that enquiry and turned away to consider whether justice is virtue and wisdom or evil and folly; and when there arose a further question about the comparative advantages of justice and injustice, I could not refrain from passing on to that. And the result of the whole discussion has been that I know nothing at all. For I know not what justice is, and therefore I am not likely to know whether it is or is not a virtue, nor can I say whether the just man is happy or unhappy.


    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #102 - August 08, 2018, 11:49 AM

    The SCUM Manifesto is a radical feminist manifesto by Valerie Solanas. Published in 1967, it argues that men have ruined the world, and that it is up to women to fix it. To achieve this goal, it suggests the formation of SCUM, an organization dedicated to overthrowing society and eliminating men (also see political lesbian). The Manifesto is regarded by some as satirical, but based on legitimate philosophical and social concerns. It's been reprinted at least 10 times in English, translated into 13 languages, and excerpted several times.

    The term "SCUM" appeared on the cover of the first edition from Olympia Press as "S.C.U.M." and was said to stand for "Society for Cutting Up Men". Solanas objected, and insisted that it was not an acronym, although the expanded term appeared in a Village Voice ad she had written in 1967. Solanas held a series of recruitment meetings for SCUM at the Chelsea Hotel, where she lived, but a decade later, insisted that the organization was "just a literary device", and never really existed.

    The Manifesto was little-known until Solanas attempted to kill Andy Warhol in 1968. This event brought significant public attention to the Manifesto and Solanas herself. While some feminists, such as Florynce Kennedy and Ti-Grace Atkinson, defended Solanas and considered the Manifesto a valid criticism of patriarchy, others, such as Betty Friedan, considered Solanas's views to be too radical and polarizing.

    Some may recognize if from part of the plot of last year's American Horror Story series seven, American Horror Story: Cult.

    Quote
    Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and destroy the male sex.

    It is now technically feasible to reproduce without the aid of males (or, for that matter, females) and to produce only females. We must begin immediately to do so. Retaining the male has not even the dubious purpose of reproduction. The male is a biological accident: the Y (male) gene is an incomplete X (female) gene, that is, it has an incomplete set of chromosomes. In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion, aborted at the gene stage. To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples.

    The male is completely egocentric, trapped inside himself, incapable of empathizing or identifying with others, or love, friendship, affection of tenderness. He is a completely isolated unit, incapable of rapport with anyone. His responses are entirely visceral, not cerebral; his intelligence is a mere tool in the services of his drives and needs; he is incapable of mental passion, mental interaction; he can't relate to anything other than his own physical sensations. He is a half-dead, unresponsive lump, incapable of giving or receiving pleasure or happiness; consequently, he is at best an utter bore, an inoffensive blob, since only those capable of absorption in others can be charming. He is trapped in a twilight zone halfway between humans and apes, and is far worse off than the apes because, unlike the apes, he is capable of a large array of negative feelings -- hate, jealousy, contempt, disgust, guilt, shame, doubt -- and moreover, he is aware of what he is and what he isn't.

    Although completely physical, the male is unfit even for stud service. Even assuming mechanical proficiency, which few men have, he is, first of all, incapable of zestfully, lustfully, tearing off a piece, but instead is eaten up with guilt, shame, fear and insecurity, feelings rooted in male nature, which the most enlightened training can only minimize; second, the physical feeling he attains is next to nothing; and third, he is not empathizing with his partner, but is obsessed with how he's doing, turning in an A performance, doing a good plumbing job. To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he's a machine, a walking dildo. It's often said that men use women. Use them for what? Surely not pleasure.

    Eaten up with guilt, shame, fears and insecurities and obtaining, if he's lucky, a barely perceptible physical feeling, the male is, nonetheless, obsessed with screwing; he'll swim through a river of snot, wade nostril-deep through a mile of vomit, if he thinks there'll be a friendly pussy awaiting him. He'll screw a woman he despises, any snaggle-toothed hag, and furthermore, pay for the opportunity. Why? Relieving physical tension isn't the answer, as masturbation suffices for that. It's not ego satisfaction; that doesn't explain screwing corpses and babies.

    Completely egocentric, unable to relate, empathize or identify, and filled with a vast, pervasive, diffuse sexuality, the male is pyschically passive. He hates his passivity, so he projects it onto women, defines the make as active, then sets out to prove that he is (`prove that he is a Man'). His main means of attempting to prove it is screwing (Big Man with a Big Dick tearing off a Big Piece). Since he's attempting to prove an error, he must `prove' it again and again. Screwing, then, is a desperate compulsive, attempt to prove he's not passive, not a woman; but he is passive and does want to be a woman.

    Being an incomplete female, the male spends his life attempting to complete himself, to become female. He attempts to do this by constantly seeking out, fraternizing with and trying to live through an fuse with the female, and by claiming as his own all female characteristics -- emotional strength and independence, forcefulness, dynamism, decisiveness, coolness, objectivity, assertiveness, courage, integrity, vitality, intensity, depth of character, grooviness, etc -- and projecting onto women all male traits -- vanity, frivolity, triviality, weakness, etc. It should be said, though, that the male has one glaring area of superiority over the female -- public relations. (He has done a brilliant job of convincing millions of women that men are women and women are men). The male claim that females find fulfillment through motherhood and sexuality reflects what males think they'd find fulfilling if they were female.

    Women, in other words, don't have penis envy; men have pussy envy. When the male accepts his passivity, defines himself as a woman (males as well as females think men are women and women are men), and becomes a transvestite he loses his desire to screw (or to do anything else, for that matter; he fulfills himself as a drag queen) and gets his dick chopped off. He then achieves a continuous diffuse sexual feeling from `being a woman'. Screwing is, for a man, a defense against his desire to be female. He is responsible for:

    War: The male's normal compensation for not being female, namely, getting his Big Gun off, is grossly inadequate, as he can get it off only a very limited number of times; so he gets it off on a really massive scale, and proves to the entire world that he's a `Man'. Since he has no compassion or ability to empathize or identify, proving his manhood is worth an endless amount of mutilation and suffering and an endless number of lives, including his own -- his own life being worthless, he would rather go out in a blaze of glory than to plod grimly on for fifty more years.

    Niceness, Politeness, and `Dignity': Every man, deep down, knows he's a worthless piece of shit. Overwhelmed by a sense of animalism and deeply ashamed of it; wanting, not to express himself, but to hide from others his total physicality, total egocentricity, the hate and contempt he feels for other men, and to hide from himself the hate and contempt he suspects other men feel for him; having a crudely constructed nervous system that is easily upset by the least display of emotion or feeling, the male tries to enforce a `social' code that ensures perfect blandness, unsullied by the slightest trace or feeling or upsetting opinion. He uses terms like `copulate', `sexual congress', `have relations with' (to men sexual relations is a redundancy), overlaid with stilted manners; the suit on the chimp.

    Money, Marriage and Prostitution, Work and Prevention of an Automated Society: There is no human reason for money or for anyone to work more than two or three hours a week at the very most. All non-creative jobs (practically all jobs now being done) could have been automated long ago, and in a moneyless society everyone can have as much of the best of everything as she wants. But there are non-human, male reasons for wanting to maintain the money system:

    1. Pussy. Despising his highly inadequate self, overcome with intense anxiety and a deep, profound loneliness when by his empty self, desperate to attach himself to any female in dim hopes of completing himself, in the mystical belief that by touching gold he'll turn to gold, the male craves the continuous companionship of women. The company of the lowest female is preferable to his own or that of other men, who serve only to remind him of his repulsiveness. But females, unless very young or very sick, must be coerced or bribed into male company.

    2. Supply the non-relating male with the delusion of usefulness, and enable him to try to justify his existence by digging holes and then filling them up. Leisure time horrifies the male, who will have nothing to do but contemplate his grotesque self. Unable to relate or to love, the male must work. Females crave absorbing, emotionally satisfying, meaningful activity, but lacking the opportunity or ability for this, they prefer to idle and waste away their time in ways of their own choosing -- sleeping, shopping, bowling, shooting pool, playing cards and other games, breeding, reading, walking around, daydreaming, eating, playing with themselves, popping pills, going to the movies, getting analyzed, traveling, raising dogs and cats, lolling about on the beach, swimming, watching TV, listening to music, decorating their houses, gardening, sewing, nightclubbing, dancing, visiting, `improving their minds' (taking courses), and absorbing `culture' (lectures, plays, concerts, `arty' movies). Therefore, many females would, even assuming complete economic equality between the sexes, prefer living with males or peddling their asses on the street, thus having most of their time for themselves, to spending many hours of their days doing boring, stultifying, non-creative work for someone else, functioning as less than animals, as machines, or, at best -- if able to get a `good' job -- co-managing the shitpile. What will liberate women, therefore, from male control is the total elimination of the money-work system, not the attainment of economic equality with men within it.

    3. Power and control. Unmasterful in his personal relations with women, the male attains to masterfulness by the manipulation of money and everything controlled by money, in other words, of everything and everybody.

    4. Love substitute. Unable to give love or affection, the male gives money. It makes him feel motherly. The mother gives milk; he gives bread. He is the Breadwinner.

    5. Provide the male with a goal. Incapable of enjoying the moment, the male needs something to look forward to, and money provides him with an eternal, never-ending goal: Just think of what you could do with 80 trillion dollars -- invest it! And in three years time you'd have 300 trillion dollars!!!

    6. Provide the basis for the male's major opportunity to control and manipulate -- fatherhood.

    Fatherhood and Mental Illness (fear, cowardice, timidity, humility, insecurity, passivity): Mother wants what's best for her kids; Daddy only wants what's best for Daddy, that is peace and quiet, pandering to his delusion of dignity (`respect'), a good reflection on himself (status) and the opportunity to control and manipulate, or, if he's an `enlightened' father, to `give guidance'. His daughter, in addition, he wants sexually -- he givers her hand in marriage; the other part is for him. Daddy, unlike Mother, can never give in to his kids, as he must, at all costs, preserve his delusion of decisiveness, forcefulness, always-rightness and strength. Never getting one's way leads to lack of self-confidence in one's ability to cope with the world and to a passive acceptance of the status quo. Mother loves her kids, although she sometimes gets angry, but anger blows over quickly and even while it exists, doesn't preclude love and basic acceptance. Emotionally diseased Daddy doesn't love his kids; he approves of them -- if they're `good', that is, if they're nice, `respectful', obedient, subservient to his will, quiet and not given to unseemly displays of temper that would be most upsetting to Daddy's easily disturbed male nervous system -- in other words, if they're passive vegetables. If they're not `good', he doesn't get angry -- not if he's a modern, `civilized' father (the old-fashioned ranting, raving brute is preferable, as he is so ridiculous he can be easily despised) -- but rather express disapproval, a state that, unlike anger, endures and precludes a basic acceptance, leaving the kid with the feeling of worthlessness and a lifelong obsession wit being approved of; the result is fear of independent thought, as this leads to unconventional, disapproved of opinions and way of life.

    For the kid to want Daddy's approval it must respect Daddy, and being garbage, Daddy can make sure that he is respected only by remaining aloof, by distantness, by acting on the precept of `familiarity breeds contempt', which is, of course, true, if one is contemptible. By being distant and aloof, he is able to remain unknown, mysterious, and thereby, to inspire fear (`respect').

    Disapproval of emotional `scenes' leads to fear of strong emotion, fear of one's own anger and hatred. Fear of anger and hatred combined with a lack of self-confidence in one's ability to cope with and change the world, or even to affect in the slightest way one's own destiny, leads to a mindless belief that the world and most people in it are nice and the most banal, trivial amusements are great fun and deeply pleasurable.

    The affect of fatherhood on males, specifically, is to make them `Men', that is, highly defensive of all impulses to passivity, faggotry, and of desires to be female. Every boy wants to imitate his mother, be her, fuse with her, but Daddy forbids this; he is the mother; he gets to fuse with her. So he tells the boy, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, to not be a sissy, to act like a `Man'. The boy, scared shitless of and `respecting' his father, complies, and becomes just like Daddy, that model of `Man'-hood, the all-American ideal -- the well-behaved heterosexual dullard.

    The effect of fatherhood on females is to make them male -- dependent, passive, domestic, animalistic, insecure, approval and security seekers, cowardly, humble, `respectful' of authorities and men, closed, not fully responsive, half-dead, trivial, dull, conventional, flattened-out and thoroughly contemptible. Daddy's Girl, always tense and fearful, uncool, unanalytical, lacking objectivity, appraises Daddy, and thereafter, other men, against a background of fear (`respect') and is not only unable to see the empty shell behind the facade, but accepts the male definition of himself as superior, as a female, and of herself, as inferior, as a male, which, thanks to Daddy, she really is.

    It is the increase of fatherhood, resulting from the increased and more widespread affluence that fatherhood needs in order to thrive, that has caused the general increase of mindlessness and the decline of women in the United States since the 1920s. The close association of affluence with fatherhood has led, for the most part, to only the wrong girls, namely, the `privileged' middle class girls, getting `educated'.

    The effect of fathers, in sum, has been to corrode the world with maleness. The male has a negative Midas Touch -- everything he touches turns to shit.

    Suppression of Individuality, Animalism (domesticity and motherhood), and Functionalism: The male is just a bunch of conditioned reflexes, incapable of a mentally free response; he is tied to he earliest conditioning, determined completely by his past experiences. His earliest experiences are with his mother, and he is throughout his life tied to her. It never becomes completely clear to the make that he is not part of his mother, that he is he and she is she.

    His greatest need is to be guided, sheltered, protected and admired by Mama (men expect women to adore what men shrink from in horror -- themselves) and, being completely physical, he yearns to spend his time (that's not spent `out in the world' grimly defending against his passivity) wallowing in basic animal activities -- eating, sleeping, shitting, relaxing and being soothed by Mama. Passive, rattle-headed Daddy's Girl, ever eager for approval, for a pat on the head, for the `respect' if any passing piece of garbage, is easily reduced to Mama, mindless ministrator to physical needs, soother of the weary, apey brow, booster of the tiny ego, appreciator of the contemptible, a hot water bottle with tits.

    The reduction to animals of the women of the most backward segment of society -- the `privileged, educated' middle-class, the backwash of humanity -- where Daddy reigns supreme, has been so thorough that they try to groove on labour pains and lie around in the most advanced nation in the world in the middle of the twentieth century with babies chomping away on their tits. It's not for the kids sake, though, that the `experts' tell women that Mama should stay home and grovel in animalism, but for Daddy's; the tits for Daddy to hang onto; the labor pains for Daddy to vicariously groove on (half dead, he needs awfully strong stimuli to make him respond).

    Reducing the female to an animal, to Mama, to a male, is necessary for psychological as well as practical reasons: the male is a mere member of the species, interchangeable with every other male. He has no deep-seated individuality, which stems from what intrigues you, what outside yourself absorbs you, what you're in relation to. Completely self-absorbed, capable of being in relation only to their bodies and physical sensations, males differ from each other only to the degree and in the ways they attempt to defend against their passivity and against their desire to be female.

    The female's individuality, which he is acutely aware of, but which he doesn't comprehend and isn't capable of relating to or grasping emotionally, frightens and upsets him and fills him with envy. So he denies it in her and proceeds to define everyone in terms of his or her function or use, assigning to himself, of course, the most important functions -- doctor, president, scientist -- therefore providing himself with an identity, if not individuality, and tries to convince himself and women (he's succeeded best at convincing women) that the female function is to bear and raise children and to relax, comfort and boost the ego if the male; that her function is such as to make her interchangeable with every other female. In actual fact, the female function is to relate, groove, love and be herself, irreplaceable by anyone else; the male function is to produce sperm. We now have sperm banks.

    In actual fact, the female function is to explore, discover, invent, solve problems crack jokes, make music -- all with love. In other words, create a magic world.

    Prevention of Privacy: Although the male, being ashamed of what he is and almost of everything he does, insists on privacy and secrecy in all aspects of his life, he has no real regard for privacy. Being empty, not being a complete, separate being, having no self to groove on and needing to be constantly in female company, he sees nothing at all wrong in intruding himself on any woman's thoughts, even a total stranger's, anywhere at any time, but rather feels indignant and insulted when put down for doing so, as well as confused -- he can't, for the life of him, understand why anyone would prefer so much as one minute of solitude to the company of any creep around. Wanting to become a woman, he strives to be constantly around females, which is the closest he can get to becoming one, so he created a `society' based upon the family -- a male-female could and their kids (the excuse for the family's existence), who live virtually on top of one another, unscrupuluously violating the females' rights, privacy and sanity.

    Isolation, Suburbs, and Prevention of Community: Our society is not a community, but merely a collection of isolated family units. Desperately insecure, fearing his woman will leave him if she is exposed to other men or to anything remotely resembling life, the male seeks to isolate her from other men and from what little civilization there is, so he moves her out to the suburbs, a collection of self-absorbed couples and their kids. Isolation enables him to try to maintain his pretense of being an individual nu becoming a `rugged individualist', a loner, equating non-cooperation and solitariness with individuality.

    There is yet another reason for the male to isolate himself: every man is an island. Trapped inside himself, emotionally isolated, unable to relate, the male has a horror of civilization, people, cities, situations requiring an ability to understand and relate to people. So like a scared rabbit, he scurries off, dragging Daddy's little asshole with him to the wilderness, suburbs, or, in the case of the hippy -- he's way out, Man! -- all the way out to the cow pasture where he can fuck and breed undisturbed and mess around with his beads and flute.

    The `hippy', whose desire to be a `Man', a `rugged individualist', isn't quite as strong as the average man's, and who, in addition, is excited by the thought having lots of women accessible to him, rebels against the harshness of a Breadwinner's life and the monotony of one woman. In the name of sharing and cooperation, he forms a commune or tribe, which, for all its togetherness and partly because of it, (the commune, being an extended family, is an extended violation of the female's rights, privacy and sanity) is no more a community than normal `society'.

    A true community consists of individuals -- not mere species members, not couples -- respecting each others individuality and privacy, at the same time interacting with each other mentally and emotionally -- free spirits in free relation to each other -- and co-operating with each other to achieve common ends. Traditionalists say the basic unit of `society' is the family; `hippies' say the tribe; no one says the individual.

    The `hippy' babbles on about individuality, but has no more conception of it than any other man. He desires to get back to Nature, back to the wilderness, back to the home of furry animals that he's one of, away from the city, where there is at least a trace, a bare beginning of civilization, to live at the species level, his time taken up with simple, non-intellectual activities -- farming, fucking, bead stringing. The most important activity of the commune, the one upon which it is based, is gang-banging. The `hippy' is enticed to the commune mainly by the prospect for free pussy -- the main commodity to be shared, to be had just for the asking, but, blinded by greed, he fails to anticipate all the other men he has to share with, or the jealousies and possessiveness for the pussies themselves.

    Men cannot co-operate to achieve a common end, because each man's end is all the pussy for himself. The commune, therefore, is doomed to failure; each `hippy' will, in panic, grad the first simpleton who digs him and whisks her off to the suburbs as fast as he can. The male cannot progress socially, but merely swings back and forth from isolation to gang-banging.

    Conformity: Although he wants to be an individual, the male is scared of anything in himself that is the slightest bit different from other men, it causes him to suspect that he's not really a `Man', that he's passive and totally sexual, a highly upsetting suspicion. If other men are "A" and he's not, he must not be a man; he must be a fag. So he tries to affirm his `Manhood' by being like all the other men. Differentness in other men, as well as himself, threatens him; it means they're fags whom he must at all costs avoid, so he tries to make sure that all other men conform.

    The male dares to be different to the degree that he accepts his passivity and his desire to be female, his fagginess. The farthest out male is the drag queen, but he, although different from most men, is exactly like all the other drag queens like the functionalist, he has an identity -- he is female. He tries to define all his troubles away -- but still no individuality. Not completely convinced that he's a woman, highly insecure about being sufficiently female, he conforms compulsively to the man-made stereotype, ending up as nothing but a bundle of stilted mannerisms.

    To be sure he's a `Man', the male must see to it that the female be clearly a `Woman', the opposite of a `Man', that is, the female must act like a faggot. And Daddy's Girl, all of whose female instincts were wrenched out of her when little, easily and obligingly adapts herself to the role.

    Authority and Government: Having no sense of right and wrong, no conscience, which can only stem from having an ability to empathize with others... having no faith in his non-existent self, being unnecessarily competitive, and by nature, unable to co-operate, the male feels a need for external guidance and control. So he created authorities -- priests, experts, bosses, leaders, etc -- and government. Wanting the female (Mama) to guide him, but unable to accept this fact (he is, after all, a MAN), wanting to play Woman, to usurp her function as Guider and Protector, he sees to it that all authorities are male.

    There's no reason why a society consisting of rational beings capable of empathizing with each other, complete and having no natural reason to compete, should have a government, laws or leaders.

    Philosophy, Religion, and Morality Based on Sex: The male's inability to relate to anybody or anything makes his life pointless and meaningless (the ultimate male insight is that life is absurd), so he invented philosophy and religion. Being empty, he looks outward, not only for guidance and control, but for salvation and for the meaning of life. Happiness being for him impossible on this earth, he invented Heaven.

    For a man, having no ability to empathize with others and being totally sexual, `wrong' is sexual `license' and engaging in `deviant' (`unmanly') sexual practices, that is, not defending against his passivity and total sexuality which, if indulged, would destroy `civilization', since `civilization' is based entirely upon the male need to defend himself against these characteristics. For a woman (according to men), `wrong' is any behavior that would entice men into sexual `license' -- that is, not placing male needs above her own and not being a faggot.

    Religion not only provides the male with a goal (Heaven) and helps keep women tied to men, but offers rituals through which he can try to expiate the guilt and shame he feels at not defending himself enough against his sexual impulses; in essence, that guilt and shame he feels at being male.

    Most men men, utterly cowardly, project their inherent weaknesses onto women, label them female weaknesses and believe themselves to have female strengths; most philosophers, not quite so cowardly, face the fact that make lacks exist in men, but still can't face the fact that they exist in men only. So they label the male condition the Human Condition, post their nothingness problem, which horrifies them, as a philosophical dilemma, thereby giving stature to their animalism, grandiloquently label their nothingness their `Identity Problem', and proceed to prattle on pompously about the `Crisis of the Individual', the `Essence of Being', `Existence preceding Essence', `Existential Modes of Being', etc. etc.

    A woman not only takes her identity and individuality for granted, but knows instinctively that the only wrong is to hurt others, and that the meaning of life is love.

    Prejudice (racial, ethnic, religious, etc): The male needs scapegoats onto whom he can project his failings and inadequacies and upon whom he can vent his frustration at not being female. And the vicarious discriminations have the practical advantage of substantially increasing the pussy pool available to the men on top.

    Competition, Prestige, Status, Formal Education, Ignorance and Social and Economic Classes: Having an obsessive desire to be admired by women, but no intrinsic worth, the make constructs a highly artificial society enabling him to appropriate the appearance of worth through money, prestige, `high' social class, degrees, professional position and knowledge and, by pushing as many other men as possible down professionally, socially, economically, and educationally.

    The purpose of `higher' education is not to educate but to exclude as many as possible from the various professions.

    The male, totally physical, incapable of mental rapport, although able to understand and use knowledge and ideas, is unable to relate to them, to grasp them emotionally: he does not value knowledge and ideas for their own sake (they're just means to ends) and, consequently, feels no need for mental companions, no need to cultivate the intellectual potentialities of others. On the contrary, the male has a vested interest in ignorance; it gives the few knowledgeable men a decided edge on the unknowledgeable ones, and besides, the male knows that an enlightened, aware female population will mean the end of him. The healthy, conceited female wants the company of equals whom she can respect and groove on; the male and the sick, insecure, unself-confident male female crave the company of worms.

    No genuine social revolution can be accomplished by the male, as the male on top wants the status quo, and all the male on the bottom wants is to be the male on top. The male `rebel' is a farce; this is the male's `society', made by him to satisfy his needs. He's never satisfied, because he's not capable of being satisfied. Ultimately, what the male `rebel' is rebelling against is being male. The male changes only when forced to do so by technology, when he has no choice, when `society' reaches the stage where he must change or die. We're at that stage now; if women don't get their asses in gear fast, we may very well all die.

    Prevention of Conversation: Being completely self-centered and unable to relate to anything outside himself, the male's `conversation', when not about himself, is an impersonal droning on, removed from anything of human value. Male `intellectual conversation' is a strained compulsive attempt to impress the female.

    Daddy's Girl, passive, adaptable, respectful of and in awe of the male, allows him to impose his hideously dull chatter on her. This is not too difficult for her, as the tension and anxiety, the lack of cool, the insecurity and self-doubt, the unsureness of her own feelings and sensations that Daddy instilled in her make her perceptions superficial and render her unable to see that the male's babble is babble; like the aesthete `appreciating' the blob that's labeled `Great Art', she believes she's grooving on what bores the shit out of her. Not only does she permit his babble to dominate, she adapts her own `conversation' accordingly.

    Trained from an early childhood in niceness, politeness and `dignity', in pandering to the male need to disguise his animalism, she obligingly reduces her own `conversation' to small talk, a bland, insipid avoidance of any topic beyond the utterly trivial -- or is `educated', to `intellectual' discussion, that is, impersonal discoursing on irrelevant distractions -- the Gross National Product, the Common Market, the influence of Rimbaud on symbolist painting. So adept is she at pandering that it eventually becomes second nature and she continues to pander to men even when in the company of other females only.

    Apart from pandering, her `conversation' is further limited by her insecurity about expressing deviant, original opinions and the self-absorption based on insecurity and that prevents her conversation from being charming. Niceness, politeness, `dignity', insecurity and self-absorption are hardly conducive to intensity and wit, qualities a conversation must have to be worthy of the name. Such conversation is hardly rampant, as only completely self-confident, arrogant, outgoing, proud, tough-minded females are capable of intense, bitchy, witty conversation.

    Prevention of Friendship (Love): Men have contempt for themselves, for all other men whom they contemplate more than casually and whom they do not think are females, (for example `sympathetic' analysts and `Great Artists') or agents of God and for all women who respect and pander to them: the insecure, approval-seeking, pandering male-females have contempt for themselves and for all women like them: the self-confident, swinging, thrill-seeking female females have contempt for me and for the pandering male females. In short, contempt is the order of the day.

    Love is not dependency or sex, but friendship, and therefore, love can't exist between two males, between a male and a female, or between two females, one or both of whom is a mindless, insecure, pandering male; like conversation, live can exist only between two secure, free-wheeling, independent groovy female females, since friendship is based upon respect, not contempt.

    Even amongst groovy females deep friendships seldom occur in adulthood, as almost all of them are either tied up with men in order to survive economically, or bogged down in hacking their way through the jungle and in trying to keep their heads about the amorphous mass. Love can't flourish in a society based upon money and meaningless work: it requires complete economic as well as personal freedom, leisure time and the opportunity to engage in intensely absorbing, emotionally satisfying activities which, when shared with those you respect, lead to deep friendship. Our `society' provides practically no opportunity to engage in such activities.

    Having stripped the world of conversation, friendship and love, the male offers us these paltry substitutes:

    `Great Art' and `Culture': The male `artist' attempts to solve his dilemma of not being able to live, of not being female, by constructing a highly artificial world in which the male is heroized, that is, displays female traits, and the female is reduced to highly limited, insipid subordinate roles, that is, to being male.

    The male `artistic' aim being, not to communicate (having nothing inside him he has nothing to say), but to disguise his animalism, he resorts to symbolism and obscurity (`deep' stuff). The vast majority of people, particularly the `educated' ones, lacking faith in their own judgment, humble, respectful of authority (`Daddy knows best'), are easily conned into believing that obscurity, evasiveness, incomprehensibility, indirectness, ambiguity and boredom are marks of depth and brilliance.

    `Great Art' proves that men are superior to women, that men are women, being labeled `Great Art', almost all of which, as the anti-feminists are fond of reminding us, was created by men. We know that `Great Art' is great because male authorities have told us so, and we can't claim otherwise, as only those with exquisite sensitivities far superior to ours can perceive and appreciated the slop they appreciated.

    Appreciating is the sole diversion of the `cultivated'; passive and incompetent, lacking imagination and wit, they must try to make do with that; unable to create their own diversions, to create a little world of their own, to affect in the smallest way their environments, they must accept what's given; unable to create or relate, they spectate. Absorbing `culture' is a desperate, frantic attempt to groove in an ungroovy world, to escape the horror of a sterile, mindless, existence. `Culture' provides a sop to the egos of the incompetent, a means of rationalizing passive spectating; they can pride themselves on their ability to appreciate the `finer' things, to see a jewel where this is only a turd (they want to be admired for admiring). Lacking faith in their ability to change anything, resigned to the status quo, they have to see beauty in turds because, so far as they can see, turds are all they'll ever have.

    The veneration of `Art' and `Culture' -- besides leading many women into boring, passive activity that distracts from more important and rewarding activities, from cultivating active abilities, and leads to the constant intrusion on our sensibilities of pompous dissertations on the deep beauty of this and that turn. This allows the `artist' to be setup as one possessing superior feelings, perceptions, insights and judgments, thereby undermining the faith of insecure women in the value and validity of their own feelings, perceptions, insights and judgments.

    The male, having a very limited range of feelings, and consequently, very limited perceptions, insights and judgments, needs the `artist' to guide him, to tell him what life is all about. But the male `artist' being totally sexual, unable to relate to anything beyond his own physical sensations, having nothing to express beyond the insight that for the male life is meaningless and absurd, cannot be an artist. How can he who is not capable of life tell us what life is all about? A `male artist' is a contradiction in terms. A degenerate can only produce degenerate `art'. The true artist is every self-confident, healthy female, and in a female society the only Art, the only Culture, will be conceited, kooky, funky, females grooving on each other and on everything else in the universe.

    Sexuality: Sex is not part of a relationship: on the contrary, it is a solitary experience, non-creative, a gross waste of time. The female can easily -- far more easily than she may think -- condition away her sex drive, leaving her completely cool and cerebral and free to pursue truly worthy relationships and activities; but the male, who seems to dig women sexually and who seeks out constantly to arouse them, stimulates the highly sexed female to frenzies of lust, throwing her into a sex bag from which few women ever escape. The lecherous male excited the lustful female; he has to -- when the female transcends her body, rises above animalism, the male, whose ego consists of his cock, will disappear.

    Sex is the refuge of the mindless. And the more mindless the woman, the more deeply embedded in the male `culture', in short, the nicer she is, the more sexual she is. The nicest women in our `society' are raving sex maniacs. But, being just awfully, awfully nice, they don't, of course descend to fucking -- that's uncouth -- rather they make love, commune by means of their bodies and establish sensual rapport; the literary ones are attuned to the throb of Eros and attain a clutch upon the Universe; the religious have spiritual communion with the Divine Sensualism; the mystics merge with the Erotic Principle and blend with the Cosmos, and the acid heads contact their erotic cells.

    On the other hand, those females least embedded in the male `Culture', the least nice, those crass and simple souls who reduce fucking to fucking, who are too childish for the grown-up world of suburbs, mortgages, mops and baby shit, too selfish to raise kids and husbands, too uncivilized to give a shit for anyones opinion of them, too arrogant to respect Daddy, the `Greats' or the deep wisdom of the Ancients, who trust only their own animal, gutter instincts, who equate Culture with chicks, whose sole diversion is prowling for emotional thrills and excitement, who are given to disgusting, nasty upsetting `scenes', hateful, violent bitches given to slamming those who unduly irritate them in the teeth, who'd sink a shiv into a man's chest or ram an icepick up his asshole as soon as look at him, if they knew they could get away with it, in short, those who, by the standards of our `culture' are SCUM... these females are cool and relatively cerebral and skirting asexuality.

    Unhampered by propriety, niceness, discretion, public opinion, `morals', the respect of assholes, always funky, dirty, low-down SCUM gets around... and around and around... they've seen the whole show -- every bit of it -- the fucking scene, the dyke scene -- they've covered the whole waterfront, been under every dock and pier -- the peter pier, the pussy pier... you've got to go through a lot of sex to get to anti-sex, and SCUM's been through it all, and they're now ready for a new show; they want to crawl out from other the dock, move, take off, sink out. But SCUM doesn't yet prevail; SCUM's still in the gutter of our `society', which, if it's not deflected from its present course and if the Bomb doesn't drop on it, will hump itself to death.

    Boredom: Life in a society made by and for creatures who, when they are not grim and depressing are utter bores, van only be, when not grim and depressing, an utter bore.

    Secrecy, Censorship, Suppression of Knowledge and Ideas, and Exposes: Every male's deep-seated, secret, most hideous fear is of being discovered to be not a female, but a male, a subhuman animal. Although niceness, politeness and `dignity' suffice to prevent his exposure on a personal level, in order to prevent the general exposure of the male sex as a whole and to maintain his unnatural dominant position position in `society', the male must resort to:

    1. Censorship. Responding reflexively to isolated works and phrases rather than cereberally to overall meanings, the male attempts to prevent the arousal and discovery of his animalism by censoring not only `pornography', but any work containing `dirty' words, no matter in what context they are used.

    2. Suppression of all ideas and knowledge that might expose him or threaten his dominant position in `society'. Much biological and psychological data is suppressed, because it is proof of the male's gross inferiority to the female. Also, the problem of mental illness will never be solved while the male maintains control, because first, men have a vested interest in it -- only females who have very few of their marbles will allow males the slightest bit of control over anything, and second, the male cannot admit to the role that fatherhood plays in causing mental illness.

    3. Exposes. The male's chief delight in life -- insofar as the tense, grim male can ever be said to delight in anything -- is in exposing others. It doesn't' much matter what they're exposed as, so long as they're exposed; it distracts attention from himself. Exposing others as enemy agents (Communists and Socialists) is one of his favorite pastimes, as it removes the source of the threat to him not only from himself, but from the country and the Western world. The bugs up his ass aren't in him, they're in Russia.

    Distrust: Unable to empathize or feel affection or loyalty, being exclusively out for himself, the male has no sense of fair play; cowardly, needing constantly to pander to the female to win her approval, that he is helpless without, always on the edge lest his animalism, his maleness be discovered, always needing to cover up, he must lie constantly; being empty he has not honor or integrity -- he doesn't know what those words mean. The male, in short, is treacherous, and the only appropriate attitude in a male `society' is cynicism and distrust.

    Ugliness: Being totally sexual, incapable of cerebral or aesthetic responses, totally materialistic and greedy, the male, besides inflicting on the world `Great Art', has decorated his unlandscaped cities with ugly buildings (both inside and out), ugly decors, billboards, highways, cars, garbage trucks, and, most notably, his own putrid self.

    Hatred and Violence: The male is eaten up with tension, with frustration at not being female, at not being capable of ever achieving satisfaction or pleasure of any kind; eaten up with hate -- not rational hate that is directed at those who abuse or insult you -- but irrational, indiscriminate hate... hatred, at bottom, of his own worthless self.

    Gratuitous violence, besides `proving' he's a `Man', serves as an outlet for his hate and, in addition -- the male being capable only of sexual responses and needing very strong stimuli to stimulate his half-dead self -- provides him with a little sexual thrill..

    Disease and Death: All diseases are curable, and the aging process and death are due to disease; it is possible, therefore, never to age and to live forever. In fact the problems of aging and death could be solved within a few years, if an all-out, massive scientific assault were made upon the problem. This, however, will not occur with the male establishment because:

    1. The many male scientists who shy away from biological research, terrified of the discovery that males are females, and show marked preference for virile, `manly' war and death programs.

    2. The discouragement of many potential scientists from scientific careers by the rigidity, boringness, expensiveness, time-consumingness, and unfair exclusivity of our `higher' educational system.

    3. Propaganda disseminated by insecure male professionals, who jealously guard their positions, so that only a highly select few can comprehend abstract scientific concepts.

    4. Widespread lack of self-confidence brought about by the father system that discourages many talented girls from becoming scientists.

    5. Lack of automation. There now exists a wealth of data which, if sorted out and correlated, would reveal the cure for cancer and several other diseases and possibly the key to life itself. But the data is so massive it requires high speed computers to correlate it all. The institution of computers will be delayed interminably under the male control system, since the male has a horror of being replaced by machines.

    6. The money systems' insatiable need for new products. Most of the few scientists around who aren't working on death programs are tied up doing research for corporations.

    7. The males like death -- it excites him sexually and, already dead inside, he wants to die.

    8. The bias of the money system for the least creative scientists. Most scientists come from at least relatively affluent families where Daddy reigns supreme.

    Incapable of a positive state of happiness, which is the only thing that can justify one's existence, the male is, at best, relaxed, comfortable, neutral, and this condition is extremely short-lived, as boredom, a negative state, soon sets in; he is, therefore, doomed to an existence of suffering relieved only by occasional, fleeting stretches of restfulness, which state he can only achieve at the expense of some female. The male is, by his very nature, a leech, an emotional parasite and, therefore, not ethically entitled to live, as no one as the right to life at someone else's expense.

    Just as humans have a prior right to existence over dogs by virtue of being more highly evolved and having a superior consciousness, so women have a prior right to existence over men. The elimination of any male is, therefore, a righteous and good act, an act highly beneficial to women as well as an act of mercy.

    However, this moral issue will eventually be rendered academic by the fact that the male is gradually eliminating himself. In addition to engaging in the time-honored and classical wars and race riots, men are more and more either becoming fags or are obliterating themselves through drugs. The female, whether she likes it or not, will eventually take complete charge, if for no other reason than that she will have to -- the male, for practical purposes, won't exist.

    Accelerating this trend is the fact that more and more males are acquiring enlightened self-interest; they're realizing more and more that the female interest is in their interest, that they can live only through the female and that the more the female is encouraged to live, to fulfill herself, to be a female and not a male, the more nearly he lives; he's coming to see that it's easier and more satisfactory to live through her than to try to become her and usurp her qualities, claim them as his own, push the female down and claim that she's a male. The fag, who accepts his maleness, that is, his passivity and total sexuality, his femininity, is also best served by women being truly female, as it would then be easier for him to be male, feminine. If men were wise they would seek to become really female, would do intensive biological research that would lead to me, by means of operations on the brain and nervous system, being able t to be transformed in psyche, as well as body, into women.

    Whether to continue to use females for reproduction or to reproduce in the laboratory will also become academic: what will happen when every female, twelve and over, is routinely taking the Pill and there are no longer any accidents? How many women will deliberately get or (if an accident) remain pregnant? No, Virginia, women don't just adore being brood mares, despite what the mass of robot, brainwashed women will say. When society consists of only the fully conscious the answer will be none. Should a certain percentage of men be set aside by force to serve as brood mares for the species? Obviously this will not do. The answer is laboratory reproduction of babies.

    As for the issue of whether or not to continue to reproduce males, it doesn't follow that because the male, like disease, has always existed among us that he should continue to exist. When genetic control is possible -- and soon it will be -- it goes without saying that we should produce only whole, complete beings, not physical defects of deficiencies, including emotional deficiencies, such as maleness. Just as the deliberate production of blind people would be highly immoral, so would be the deliberate production of emotional cripples.

    Why produce even females? Why should there be future generations? What is their purpose? When aging and death are eliminated, why continue to reproduce? Why should we care what happens when we're dead? Why should we care that there is no younger generation to succeed us.

    Eventually the natural course of events, of social evolution, will lead to total female control of the world and, subsequently, to the cessation of the production of males and, ultimately, to the cessation of the production of females.

    But SCUM is impatient; SCUM is not consoled by the thought that future generations will thrive; SCUM wants to grab some thrilling living for itself. And, if a large majority of women were SCUM, they could acquire complete control of this country within a few weeks simply by withdrawing from the labor force, thereby paralyzing the entire nation. Additional measures, any one of which would be sufficient to completely disrupt the economy and everything else, would be for women to declare themselves off the money system, stop buying, just loot and simply refuse to obey all laws they don't care to obey. The police force, National Guard, Army, Navy and Marines combined couldn't squelch a rebellion of over half the population, particularly when it's made up of people they are utterly helpless without.

    If all women simply left men, refused to have anything to do with any of them -- ever, all men, the government, and the national economy would collapse completely. Even without leaving men, women who are aware of the extent of their superiority to and power over men, could acquire complete control over everything within a few weeks, could effect a total submission of males to females. In a sane society the male would trot along obediently after the female. The male is docile and easily led, easily subjected to the domination of any female who cares to dominate him. The male, in fact, wants desperately to be led by females, wants Mama in charge, wants to abandon himself to her care. But this is not a sane society, and most women are not even dimly aware of where they're at in relation to men.

    The conflict, therefore, is not between females and males, but between SCUM -- dominant, secure, self-confident, nasty, violent, selfish, independent, proud, thrill-seeking, free-wheeling, arrogant females, who consider themselves fit to rule the universe, who have free-wheeled to the limits of this `society' and are ready to wheel on to something far beyond what it has to offer -- and nice, passive, accepting `cultivated', polite, dignified, subdued, dependent, scared, mindless, insecure, approval-seeking Daddy's Girls, who can't cope with the unknown, who want to hang back with the apes, who feel secure only with Big Daddy standing by, with a big strong man to lean on and with a fat, hairy face in the White House, who are too cowardly to face up to the hideous reality of what a man is, what Daddy is, who have cast their lot with the swine, who have adapted themselves to animalism, feel superficially comfortable with it and know no other way of `life', who have reduced their minds, thoughts and sights to the male level, who, lacking sense, imagination and wit can have value only in a male `society', who can have a place in the sun, or, rather, in the slime, only as soothers, ego boosters, relaxers and breeders, who are dismissed as inconsequents by other females, who project their deficiencies, their maleness, onto all females and see the female as worm.

    But SCUM is too impatient to wait for the de-brainwashing of millions of assholes. Why should the swinging females continue to plod dismally along with the dull male ones? Why should the fates of the groovy and the creepy be intertwined? Why should the active and imaginative consult the passive and dull on social policy? Why should the independent be confined to the sewer along with the dependent who need Daddy to cling to? A small handful of SCUM can take over the country within a year by systematically fucking up the system, selectively destroying property, and murder:

    SCUM will become members of the unwork force, the fuck-up force; they will get jobs of various kinds an unwork. For example, SCUM salesgirls will not charge for merchandise; SCUM telephone operators will not charge for calls; SCUM office and factory workers, in addition to fucking up their work, will secretly destroy equipment. SCUM will unwork at a job until fired, then get a new job to unwork at.

    SCUM will forcibly relieve bus drivers, cab drivers and subway token sellers of their jobs and run buses and cabs and dispense free tokens to the public.

    SCUM will destroy all useless and harmful objects -- cars, store windows, `Great Art', etc.

    Eventually SCUM will take over the airwaves -- radio and TV networks -- by forcibly relieving of their jobs all radio and TV employees who would impede SCUM's entry into the broadcasting studios.

    SCUM will couple-bust -- barge into mixed (male-female) couples, wherever they are, and bust them up.

    SCUM will kill all men who are not in the Men's Auxiliary of SCUM. Men in the Men's Auxiliary are those men who are working diligently to eliminate themselves, men who, regardless of their motives, do good, men who are playing pall with SCUM. A few examples of the men in the Men's Auxiliary are: men who kill men; biological scientists who are working on constructive programs, as opposed to biological warfare; journalists, writers, editors, publishers and producers who disseminate and promote ideas that will lead to the achievement of SCUM's goals; faggots who, by their shimmering, flaming example, encourage other men to de-man themselves and thereby make themselves relatively inoffensive; men who consistently give things away -- money, things, services; men who tell it like it is (so far not one ever has), who put women straight, who reveal the truth about themselves, who give the mindless male females correct sentences to parrot, who tell them a woman's primary goal in life should be to squash the male sex (to aid men in this endeavor SCUM will conduct Turd Sessions, at which every male present will give a speech beginning with the sentence: `I am a turd, a lowly abject turd', then proceed to list all the ways in which he is. His reward for doing so will be the opportunity to fraternize after the session for a whole, solid hour with the SCUM who will be present. Nice, clean-living male women will be invited to the sessions to help clarify any doubts and misunderstandings they may have about the male sex; makers and promoters of sex books and movies, etc., who are hastening the day when all that will be shown on the screen will be Suck and Fuck (males, like the rats following the Pied Piper, will be lured by Pussy to their doom, will be overcome and submerged by and will eventually drown in the passive flesh that they are); drug pushers and advocates, who are hastening the dropping out of men.

    Being in the Men's Auxiliary is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for making SCUM's escape list; it's not enough to do good; to save their worthless asses men must also avoid evil. A few examples of the most obnoxious or harmful types are: rapists, politicians and all who are in their service (campaigners, members of political parties, etc); lousy singers and musicians; Chairmen of Boards; Breadwinners; landlords; owners of greasy spoons and restaraunts that play Muzak; `Great Artists'; cheap pikers and welchers; cops; tycoons; scientists working on death and destruction programs or for private industry (practically all scientists); liars and phonies; disc jockies; men who intrude themselves in the slightest way on any strange female; real estate men; stock brokers; men who speak when they have nothing to say; men who sit idly on the street and mar the landscape with their presence; double dealers; flim-flam artists; litterbugs; plagiarisers; men who in the slightest way harm any female; all men in the advertising industry; psychiatrists and clinical psychologists; dishonest writers, journalists, editors, publishers, etc.; censors on both the public and private levels; all members of the armed forces, including draftees (LBJ and McNamara give orders, but servicemen carry them out) and particularly pilots (if the bomb drops, LBJ won't drop it; a pilot will). In the case of a man whose behavior falls into both the good and bad categories, an overall subjective evaluation of him will be made to determine if his behavior is, in the balance, good or bad.

    It is most tempting to pick off the female `Great Artists', liars and phonies etc along with the men, but that would be inexpedient, as it would not be clear to most of the public that the female killed was a male. All women have a fink streak in them, to a greater or lesser degree, but it stems from a lifetime of living among men. Eliminate men and women will shape up. Women are improvable; men are no, although their behavior is. When SCUM gets hot on their asses it'll shape up fast.

    Simultaneously with the fucking-up, looting, couple-busting, destroying and killing, SCUM will recruit. SCUM, then, will consist of recruiters; the elite corps -- the hard core activists (the fuck-ups, looters and destroyers) and the elite of the elite -- the killers.

    Dropping out is not the answer; fucking-up is. Most women are already dropped out; they were never in. Dropping out gives control to those few who don't drop out; dropping out is exactly what the establishment leaders want; it plays into the hands of the enemy; it strengthens the system instead of undermining it, since it is based entirely on the non-participating, passivity, apathy and non-involvement of the mass of women. Dropping out, however, is an excellent policy for men, and SCUM will enthusiastically encourage it.

    Looking inside yourself for salvation, contemplating your navel, is not, as the Drop Out people would have you believe, the answer. Happiness likes outside yourself, is achieved through interacting with others. Self-forgetfulness should be one's goal, not self-absorption. The male, capable of only the latter, makes a virtue of irremediable fault and sets up self-absorption, not only as a good but as a Philosophical Good, and thus gets credit for being deep.

    SCUM will not picket, demonstrate, march or strike to attempt to achieve its ends. Such tactics are for nice, genteel ladies who scrupulously take only such action as is guaranteed to be ineffective. In addition, only decent, clean-living male women, highly trained in submerging themselves in the species, act on a mob basis. SCUM consists of individuals; SCUM is not a mob, a blob. Only as many SCUM will do a job as are needed for the job. Also SCUM, being cool and selfish, will not subject to getting itself rapped on the head with billy clubs; that's for the nice, `privileged, educated', middle-class ladies with a high regard for the touching faith in the essential goodness of Daddy and policemen. If SCUM ever marches, it will be over the President's stupid, sickening face; if SCUM ever strikes, it will be in the dark with a six-inch blade.

    SCUM will always operate on a criminal as opposed to a civil disobedience basis, that is, as opposed to openly violating the law and going to jail in order to draw attention to an injustice. Such tactics acknowledge the rightness overall system and are used only to modify it slightly, change specific laws. SCUM is against the entire system, the very idea of law and government. SCUM is out to destroy the system, not attain certain rights within it. Also, SCUM -- always selfish, always cool -- will always aim to avoid detection and punishment. SCUM will always be furtive, sneaky, underhanded (although SCUM murders will always be known to be such).

    Both destruction and killing will be selective and discriminate. SCUM is against half-crazed, indiscriminate riots, with no clear objective in mind, and in which many of your own kind are picked off. SCUM will never instigate, encourage or participate in riots of any kind or other form of indiscriminate destruction. SCUM will coolly, furtively, stalk its prey and quietly move in for the kill. Destruction will never me such as to block off routes needed for the transportation of food or other essential supplies, contaminate or cut off the water supply, block streets and traffic to the extent that ambulances can't get through or impede the functioning of hospitals.


    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Thought provoking works of life and morality.
     Reply #103 - August 08, 2018, 11:53 AM

    continuted -

    Quote
    SCUM will keep on destroying, looting, fucking-up and killing until the money-work system no longer exists and automation is completely instituted or until enough women co-operate with SCUM to make violence unnecessary to achieve these goals, that is, until enough women either unwork or quit work, start looting, leave men and refuse to obey all laws inappropriate to a truly civilized society. Many women will fall into line, but many others, who surrendered long ago to the enemy, who are so adapted to animalism, to maleness, that they like restrictions and restraints, don't know what to do with freedom, will continue to be toadies and doormats, just as peasants in rice paddies remain peasants in rice paddies as one regime topples another. A few of the more volatile will whimper and sulk and throw their toys and dishrags on the floor, but SCUM will continue to steamroller over them.

    A completely automated society can be accomplished very simply and quickly once there is a public demand for it. The blueprints for it are already in existence, and it's construction will take only a few weeks with millions of people working on it. Even though off the money system, everyone will be most happy to pitch in and get the automated society built; it will mark the beginning of a fantastic new era, and there will be a celebration atmosphere accompanying the construction.

    The elimination of money and the complete institution of automation are basic to all other SCUM reforms; without these two the others can't take place; with them the others will take place very rapidly. The government will automatically collapse. With complete automation it will be possible for every woman to vote directly on every issue by means of an electronic voting machine in her house. Since the government is occupied almost entirely with regulating economic affairs and legislating against purely private matters, the elimination of money wand with it the elimination of males who wish to legislate `morality' will mean there will be practically no issues to vote on.

    After the elimination of money there will be no further need to kill men; they will be stripped of the only power they have over psychologically independent females. They will be able to impose themselves only on the doormats, who like to be imposed on. The rest of the women will be busy solving the few remaining unsolved problems before planning their agenda for eternity and Utopia -- completely revamping educational programs so that millions of women can be trained within a few months for high level intellectual work that now requires years of training (this can be done very easily once out educational goal is to educate and not perpetuate an academic and intellectual elite); solving the problems of disease and old age and death and completely redesigning our cities and living quarters. Many women will for a while continue to think they dig men, but as they become accustomed to female society and as they become absorbed in their projects, they will eventually come to see the utter uselessnes and banality of the male.

    The few remaining men can exist out their puny days dropped out on drugs or strutting around in drag or passively watching the high-powered female in action, fulfilling themselves as spectators, vicarious livers*[FOOTNOTE: It will be electronically possible for him to tune into any specific female he wants to and follow in detail her every movement. The females will kindly, obligingly consent to this, as it won't hurt them in the slightest and it is a marvelously kind and humane way to treat their unfortunate, handicapped fellow beings.] or breeding in the cow pasture with the toadies, or they can go off to the nearest friendly suicide center where they will be quietly, quickly, and painlessly gassed to death.

    Prior to the institution of automation, to the replacement of males by machines, the male should be of use to the female, wait on her, cater to her slightest whim, obey her every command, be totally subservient to her, exist in perfect obedience to her will, as opposed to the completely warped, degenerate situation we have now of men, not only not only not existing at all, cluttering up the world with their ignominious presence, but being pandered to and groveled before by the mass of females, millions of women piously worshiping the Golden Calf, the dog leading the master on a leash, when in fact the male, short of being a drag queen, is least miserable when his dogginess is recognized -- no unrealistic emotional demands are made of him and the completely together female is calling the shots. Rational men want to be squashed, stepped on, crushed and crunched, treated as the curs, the filth that they are, have their repulsiveness confirmed.

    The sick, irrational men, those who attempt to defend themselves against their disgustingness, when they see SCUM barrelling down on them, will cling in terror to Big Mama with her Big Bouncy Boobies, but Boobies won't protect them against SCUM; Big Mama will be clinging to Big Daddy, who will be in the corner shitting in his forceful, dynamic pants. Men who are rational, however, won't kick or struggle or raise a distressing fuss, but will just sit back, relax, enjoy the show and ride the waves to their demise.

    - end -


    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
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