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Meditations on Skripal

place vendome in paris, starting point for the blog "Meditations on Skripal"Parisians, and those who roam the streets of Paris to take upon themselves the Frenchness of things, will no doubt know or remember the elegant, historic and fashionable Place Vendome.

There is a history in all men’s lives(1) and in what they built. In the instance, however, I only refer to the Duke of Vendome, (1654-1712), in whose honor the square is named.

He was a Marshal of France and a successful general, notably in the Nine Years’ war (1688-1697) – a global war of sorts, featuring France against a proto-coalition of the willing that included Austria, the Holy Roman Empire, the Dutch Republic, Spain, England and Savoy. Continue reading

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Dostoyevsky and the Chosen People

Image of Dostoyevsky to accompany article 'Dostoyevsky and the Chosen PeopleDostoyevsky is known as an eminent tower of world literature and an implacable depth-sounder of the remotest recesses of the human soul – an analytical mind, fascinated by the invisible chemistry of people’s consciousness and emotions. And if Pushkin can be called the Raphael of Russian literature, Dostoyevsky is undoubtedly its Michelangelo.

Very, or at least relatively few, associate Dostoyevsky with journalism, to which he dedicated a major part of his life – notably during the years when he, single-handed, wrote and published “The Diary of a Writer.” In fact, in later years, the Diary that made him popular, also contributed to his extraordinary fame. Continue reading

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The Power of Aesthetics in Learning

an image from the book of hours to illustrate article/post "power of beauty in learning"This article was written for the Rocketship Education Home School.

John Locke, famous British empiricist, philosopher and father of Liberalism, asserted that, “The chief art of learning is to attempt but a little at a time.”

The aphorism seems obvious. But we may or should remember that the excellence of aphorisms consists not so much in the expression of some complicated concept, as in the comprehension of some obvious and useful truths in a few words. The idea is to contract important rules of life into short sentences that may be easily impressed on the memory, and taught by frequent recollection to recur habitually to the mind.

In the same spirit here is an aphorism even more obvious than Locke’s, “An unavoidable rule of learning is to start from the beginning.” He who reads this will no doubt recall one or more Continue reading

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The Founding Fathers and Other Tales

Painting and picture of the Founding Fathers, for the article "The Founding Fathers and Other Tales"The skeptics among my twenty-five readers may suspect from the title, that I am jumping on the bandwagon of our discontent(1), to direct cheap shots at a stale target.

Perish the thought. Irreverence towards the actors excludes irreverence towards the myth, even if the actors were its fathers – for myths are the ground of civilizations and mythology is the song of the imagination.

Most of us are proud of being Europeans or descendants thereof. Yet the mythical Europa eloped with Jupiter, who, for the purpose, assumed the shape of a white bull, for whom she had developed a penchant. A type of relationship most of us would not entertain, unless they are postmodernist cultural Marxists and followers of the Frankfurt school. Continue reading

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Brief History of Revisionism

Ironic depiction of a thought criminal, a convict with his brain linked to his leg by a chainOn hearing the word ‘revisionism,’ suspicion lurks in the mind of some, and alarms sound in the mind of others. Suspicion is the elder sister of twins, credulity and incredulity. And of all kinds of credulity, the most obstinate and wonderful is that of zealots; of men who resign the use of their eyes and ears, and resolve to believe nothing that does not favor those whom they profess to follow.

Hence the law of truth, which most would accept in principle, is broken without penalty, without censure, and in compliance with inveterate prejudice and prevailing passions. Men are willing to credit what they wish, and encourage rather those who gratify them with pleasure, than those who provide them with fidelity, (or at least try to.) Continue reading

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Time, Postmodernism, Science and Capitalism

An hour glass as graphic icon for the article Time, Postmodernism, Science and CapitalismWhile still in the shadow of the old year and the glow of the new, here are some thoughts about a commodity of infinite availability, but that we so often are short of. Time that is, that ceaseless lackey of eternity1, whose inaudible and noiseless foot2 is our unavoidable companion and silent witness of joy and sorrow.

With no attempt at precision I offer here a brief review, in (hopefully) coherent language, of the key scientific and historical steps leading to our current understanding of time considered as a physical entity. Followed by brief considerations on the influence of capitalism on the measurement of time. Continue reading

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The Fraud of Freud

Image iof Sigmund Freud, accompanying blog titled "The Fraud of Freud"I first read Freud’s writings when, probably unconsciously, I believed that if everybody says the same thing, it must be true.

Freud’s extraordinary theories and mystifying lingo had many admirers and promoters. Just as one example, Eugene Goodheart, professor at Brandeis University, says, “Freud’s sheer power of narration provides a kind of emotional truth that we could ill afford to forego.” And, “Freud’s achievement occurs in the company of the great masters of modern literature,” etc.

At the time, I thought I would build a personal library of classical literature and other classics. Freud was one of the authors suggested by experts.

Without Internet, as yet, it was common to follow, somewhat uncritically, fashionable ideas, especially if spoken-of glowingly by the mass media and other “prestigious” venues that impose the dominion of a name. Besides, Freudian psychoanalysis was promoted and paraded to the uninformed as a revolutionary method to correct what is wrong in men, and therefore in society. Continue reading

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Revisiting Revolutions, a Comparison

Image of mouse being broght to the guillotine - illustration fore the article "Revisiting Revolutions"
After a fitful fever (1) of debates and round-tables, often packed with common sense and sometimes with uncommon nonsense, the dust of antique time (2) may gradually settle on the memory of the 1917 Russian Revolution.

In 2117, assuming but not given that schools may still teach history, a question in a standardized test may read, “Which of the following countries is associated with the 1917 Revolution? (mark one) – Bangladesh, Denmark, Russia, Vanuatu, Uganda.”

But this year the controversy was still agitated with great vehemence, and some disputants seemed to be walking upon ashes under which the fire is not yet extinguished – especially those addicted to the radicalization of inequality. Anti-egalitarians, corrupted by ill-gotten wealth, and fearful of even a remote threat to their privileges, employed all the force of ingrained malevolence and sarcastic contempt to berate the event and its memory. Continue reading

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Is Communism Really Dead? – an Answer

Note to my 25 Readers. This article was published by thesakeris website (http://thesaker.is/is-communism-really-dead-an-answer/).The ‘answer’ refers to a previous article on the same question. For the aficionados who look at the “Your Daily Shakespeare” site as a  source of Shakespearean lines, the article contains only one reference, at the very end. … But the “Shakespeare Quotes Page” – http://wp.me/P2e0kb-23k – is kept up to date based on your keyword searches.
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“Is Communism Really dead?” – an Answer

Chinese Communist Children salutingAfter reading the Saker’s article, I had to walk back and forth for some time, partly to digest its content, and partly to determine why I found it so persuasive. My conclusion, however humble, is that the article is accurate because it tells us very clearly all we need to know on the subject, while leaving the reader to draw his/her conclusion. And I maintain that accurate inconclusiveness is vastly preferable to ideological certainty, especially when certainty is based on prejudice or, worse, speculation.

Of course the Saker brings to the subject his knowledge of the Russian language, which enabled him to see and measure better than others the fears, the motivations, the hopes or the disillusions of those who moved from the East to the West.

I contend that in these matters, the personal, experience-based perspective outweighs in interest, value and insight any theoretical, economic or academic treatment of the same issue. Especially considering the wildly conflicting assertions we hear today, in the US and Europe, about political systems, sociology and general philosophy of life. Assertions influenced and arising from the evolution, the convulsion, and almost the inversion of traditional meanings of what was once the socialist “Left” (theoretically friendly to socialism and communism) and what was once the conservative “Right.” Continue reading

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Democracy, Tortured Meaning of the Wrong Word

Raised hands in name of democracyPoliticians, much like advertisers, are ever ready to surprise the unawareness of the thoughtless. They must use language, the quintessential political tool, with a tone of deep-felt conviction and an air of solemn sincerity. And no politician, in his electoral language and speeches, could omit a panegyric of democracy and a declaration of his total commitment to it.

Some readers may have since long concluded that “democracy” is an oxymoron. In its practical use, the term refers to the metamorphosis of the general interest, replaced by interests particular and proprietary. But the metamorphosis is craftily disguised, to prevent or discourage the gradual and laborious investigation of reason.

Some visitors reach the YDS site searching for Shakespearean quotes. You may wish to link to the quotes-page. It is updated regularly, based on keyword searches by readers.

Continue reading

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