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"God is in the details" (--Mies van der Rohe[fn.46d[ Go to footnote! ]]
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Trojan horse: My suspicion of postmodernists is supported by Jacques Derrida's wolf-in-sheepskin performance before what I presume was a general audience, at the inauguration of a doctoral philosophy program at Villanova University (published in: Deconstruction in a Nutshell, Ed. John D. Caputo, Fordham Univ. Press, 1997): "It is an honor for me to be part of this exceptional moment in the history of your university, and I am very proud to be sharing this experience with you, especially because it is the inauguration of a philosophy program."(pp.4-5) "A moment ago, I met for an hour with many of your graduate students, the students who will work in this program."(p.5) "So, you see, I am a very conservative person. I love institutions and I spent a lot of time participating in new institutions, which sometimes do not work. At the same time, I try to dismantle, not institutions but some structures in given institutions which are too rigid or are dogmatic or which work as an obstacle to future research."(p.8) "If tomorrow you do not reinvent today's inauguration, you will be dead. So the inauguration has to be reinvented everyday."(p.28) ~ Who could say this is outside the mainstream? Who could protest that it was difficult to understand, much less wilfully and/or "nihilistically" so? Derrida seems to take for granted the social relations of the bourgeois university: esp., that there is a category of persons labelled: "Students", who will: "work" in the program, and a different category: "those who will run this program... the faculty"(p.6), who decide what the students will study ("includes such topics as Heidegger or deconstruction..."(p.6)).
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From: "The Three Ages of Jacques Derrida: An interview with the father of Deconstructionism", Kristine McKenna, LA Weekly, 08-14Nov02: Q: "What's the most widely held misconception about you and your work?" A: "That I'm a skeptical nihilist who doesn't believe in anything, who thinks nothing has meaning, and text has no meaning. That's stupid and utterly wrong, and only people who haven't read me say this. It's a misreading of my work that began 35 years ago, and it's difficult to destroy. I never said everything is linguistic and we're enclosed in language. In fact, I say the opposite, and the deconstruction of logocentrism was conceived to dismantle precisely this philosophy for which everything is language. Anyone who reads my work with attention understands that I insist on affirmation and faith, and that I'm full of respect for the texts I read."
95[ Return to footnote trigger! ] "But today's rescue services do acknowledge that they owe their understanding of the lethal effects of exposure to cold water and decompression to deadly experiments on prisoners in Dachau camp." (New Scientist, 13Nov04, p.57; Barry Fox, review of DVD: Science and the Swastika)
96[ Return to footnote trigger! ] A lovely example here is a cartoon I remember seeing pasted on an early Xerox machine, ca. 1970: It showed a monk wheeling a Xerox machine into a medieval scriptorium. How would our world be different if the Xerox machine had been invented ca. 1450 instead of the printing press?
97[ Return to footnote trigger! ] "'Behaviors are so often attempts to communicate,' said Jane Meyerding, an autistic woman who has a clerical job at the University of Washington and is a frequent contributor to the Autistic Advocacy e-mail discussion list. 'When you snuff out the behaviors you snuff out the attempts to communicate.'" (Amy Harmon, "How About Not 'Curing' Us, Some Autistics Are Pleading", NYT on the Web, 20Dec04)
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"Yes, I had read John Wild's essays back in the early 1960s, found them interesting, but also found them oversimplifying. Wild, however, had the great merit of encouraging and promoting interest in the phenomenological classics and in this way helped bring about the emergence of a whole new dimension for the Anglo-American philosophic world." (Prof. R.B., personal email, Dec04)
99[ Return to footnote trigger! ] On 02 January 2005, Regular was: $1.879, and Diesel said: $2.399 on the pump even though the sign said: $2.499. 08 January 2005: $1.869, 1.999, 2.099, 2.399. 27 February 2005, Regular was: $1.969.
100[ Return to footnote trigger! ] See, e.g., Ekaterine V. Haskins, Logos and Power in Isocrates and Aristotle, Univ. of South Carolina Press, 2004: Series Editor's Preface (no page #), also: p.4.
101[ Return to footnote trigger! ] I (BMcC) am often accused of being a "spoil sport" for denigrating "musical comedies", not wanting to participate in crowds (e.g., not wanting to be a member of the audience in a theater at a performance of a musical comedy), etc.
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A person I respect wrote to me (personal communication, name withheld, 14Mar05): "As I recall, you were a philosophy major. From my small foray into philosophy during college: don't most philosophers deduce the existence of 'God'? [/] I have always believed in God. There has to be 'something' running the show. BUT, my belief in God is along the lines of the actual Voodoo religion. Yeah, there's a God - he is just stone cold EVIL. Actually, reading the 'traditional' King James version of the bible leaves little doubt that the God of those times was one mean MF-er. [/] As for talking to the almighty: I talk and he spits back. Of course, my 'talking' would not pass muster in any church I know of. I am nothing but a mouse for God to torture. Yes, he has other 'mice' that he tortures worse than me, but I bitterly resent being in the 'mouse' group at all. God has had a lot of fun over the decades at my expense. Hopefully, I'll get a better shake on the other side or next time around. I've told [my wife] to put a silver dollar on each of my eyes before they roll me into the furnace - so I can pay the boatman to row me to the other side of the river Styx."
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It is always possible a drudge task postponed just might go away before one has to do it. Of course there are exceptions, where "a stitch in time really does save nine". If one doesn't shovel the snow off the sidewalk, it might melt by itself (good outcome -- drudge work goes away by itself), or it might turn to a sheet of ice (bad outcome -- a relatively small drudge task turns into a much worse one). --Thus we see that intelligent analysis is required even (especially?) to deal with stupid stuff[fn.104[ Go to footnote! ]]. (In the case of the snow, "the trick" is to shovel exactly the part that won't go away by itself but would turn to ice if left unshovelled.)
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Furthermore: Sometimes one mess can disappear in whole or part by getting subsumed in another mess. Cleaning up a mess a toddler has just now made may only accomplish that, when the toddler makes another mess 8 hours from now, one has to clean up the same things again in this second mess. Thus one will have cleaned up the same things twice instead of once, as would have been the case had one not cleaned up the first mess.
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Furthermore: Drudge tasks are generally endless (aka infinite). Clean up mess n the toddler makes, and the toddler goes on to make mess n+1.... But time is finite. If one postpones doing a drudge task for m hours, and one has p hours to live, then, at worst, one will spend p - m hours doing drudge work, instead of p hours, which is a gain of m hours. ~ I am arguing, inter alia, that often it's less drudge work to clean up messes on a per-item basis than on a per-incident basis [cleanup_items(mess(a,b,c), mess(a,b,d)) = cleanup(mess(a)) + cleanup(mess(b)) + cleanup(mess(c)) + cleanup(mess(d)) < cleanup_incidents(mess(a,b,c), mess(a,b,d)) = cleanup(mess(a)) + cleanup(mess(b)) + cleanup(mess(c)) + cleanup(mess(a)) + cleanup(mess(b)) + cleanup(mess(d))].
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It is to be noted that persons in positions of petty authority sometimes exhibit strong aversion to dependent persons using negative words to refer even to things and persons other than themselves. My parents became highly upset when I started calling things "lousy" at age ca. 8 years. For another child, the parent-upsetting word was: "stupid". Perhaps the person in the position of petty authority secretly suspects that the object of the dependent person's use of the negative word may be "displaced", like the cliche of the chicken pecking at the ground because it cannot peck at its real tormentor?
105[ Return to footnote trigger! ] Persons in positions of petty authority claim the right to "spy" with impunity on the persons over whom they have authority (this is not a symmetrical relation: the persons over whom they have authority are severely punished if caught spying on them! --Possible example: Freud's "primal scene" trauma hypothesis?). They -- esp. parents -- also sometimes try to make the persons over whom they have power believe they can read their minds. Here's an Xmas song that was played in my childhood "home": "You better not pout, you better not cry!.... I'm telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town.... He's making a list, and checking it twice -- gonna find out who's naughty and nice.... He sees you when you're sleeping; He knows when you're awake; He knows if you've been bad or good: So be good for goodness sake!...."
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On NPR Morning Edition, 04Apr05, they said they were starting a new feature in which ordinary citizens would have 5 minutes air-time to state the beliefs that guide their lives. They said this was modelled after a series Edward R. Murrow ran, from 1951 thru 1955, called: "This I Believe". Over a thousand persons from Eleanor Roosevelt, Martha Graham and Albert Einstein, to social workers and high school students, had their 5 minutes on the air. An anthology of the contributions became a best-seller. I created this web page, with its title: "This I Believe", long before I heard of Murrow's radio program (although it is possible I heard it as a child and "forgot" it, but that, when I created this web page, the title came out of my "subconscious"?).
107[ Return to footnote trigger! ] Alternate caption used for picture at left: "At a NATO meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, her counterparts and other delegation leaders posed for a group photograph." (Steven R. Weisman, "NATO and Rice Use Carrot and Stick With Former Soviet States", NYT on the Web, 21Apr05)
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Architecture and morality. (1) I bought OMD's record "Architecture and Morality" ca. 1980, probably after having heard about it on NPR [Lyrics of songs on the album: here]. (2) I attended the Harvard Career Discovery Program in architecture the summer of 1981, where ethics and architecture was a big concern for me [but not a big concern for the program itself]. (3) In a course at Teachers College, ca. 1984, I wrote an essay on "Morality in modern architecture". I'm not sure whether I linked these three items at the time (aka "internally), but, obviously, I have linked them now (i.e., here, May 2005).
109[ Return to footnote trigger! ] When I was about 40 years old, I had a psychotherapist who had been born into an upper-middle class secularized jewish family. She told me that, when she was growing up, it was just obvious that one chose to do things that both benefitted others and also gave oneself gratification. As I have noted elsewhere in this website, I was childreared in a social surround in which I was either selfish (did something that pleased me but displeased my parents and other tor-mentors) or altruistic (did something which pleased "them" but at best gave me no pleasure other than getting "them" off my back for a few minutes). My therapist's "win-win" form of life was not even an idea in the social surround in which I was childreared, much less, a fortiori, something realized in even the most minute measure therein.
110[ Return to footnote trigger! ] [ Elephant: symbol of the Republican Party USA ]Another example of obfuscation of "I want to impose on you" under the guise of "the facts are" is the Bush administration's assertion (Spring 2005) that its judicial nominees deserve an "Up or down" vote in the U.S. Senate. They frame the issue in terms of: "Doesn't every issue deserve to be decided on its merits?", and argue that the Democrats should not be able to use the option to engage in unlimited debate (aka "the filibuster") to unfairly(sic) prevent a vote from ever being taken. What the Bush administration omits to advertise [the elephant in the middle of the room which nobody sees...] is that, since Republicans hold a majority of seats, they will win every "Up or down" vote, i.e., they can grant a highly controvertial life-time judicial appointment to anyone, no matter how offensive to "the minority", if they can just bring the nomination to a seemingly noncontrovertial "Up or down" vote.
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The reasons we see those in positions of power deploying such semantic "niceties" include that they want be seen by others and to see themselves as disinterested stewards of the public good, not as self-aggrandizing tyrants, to whom, among other things, Sic semper tyrannis might be applied.
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[ Where do you throw your used paper towels in the restroom? ](1) I took the men's restroom photographs ca. 06:30AM, Sunday morning (22May05), a day when few if any persons would be in the office and I don't think the cleaning personnel come. The next day, Monday (a regular work day), by 4PM, the number of discarded paper towels in the vestibule was up to about 8, although some were so wet and/or wadded up that I could not make an exact count without getting down on the floor and picking through them or picking them up (which I did not do).
(2) Someone has suggested I am misinterpreting this: They proposed that the paper towels are being used by persons who have just washed their hands, to avoid getting germs by touching the door handles. This is a possibility, but, in that case, I think the paper towels on the floor would be fresh and dry, having been used only as "shields" to grasp the door handles. But the paper towels that appear on the vestibule floor are never fresh, so I do not think this is what is going on, at least in most instances. This same person also suggested I put a trash can in the vestibule. I had thought of this often, but feared I would lose my job if anyone found out it was me that did it. -- However: I just now (26May05) got up my gumption and talked to the company's Facilities Manager and got authorization to put a trash can there, which I have done.
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[ ] [ >> ]"Germs Never Sleep", Allen Salkin, NYT on the Web, 05Nov06: "Georgia-Pacific, the paper goods company, began receiving field reports about mysterious collections of used paper towels near bathroom exits. Further investigation found bathroom users were carrying towels to the door to cover the knob and then discarding them on the floor (because the trash cans were far away). In the summer the company introduced Safe-T-Gard, a combination dispenser of doorknob-size tissues and a trash receptacle to be mounted on the wall next to doors. Consumer fear of unclean environments has developed significantly over the last five years, said Bill Sleeper, the general manager of Georgia-Pacific's commercial tissue and towel category. 'All of the issues of nosocomial infections in hospitals, the risk of bird flu, the cruise ship outbreaks, there's just more and more awareness of health issues,' he said."[ Return to footnote trigger! ] [ ]
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Once upon a time, in a company far from here, a young woman hired on as a senior software engineer in a department that had a huge and ever growing backlog of unresolved problems. The company mounted a "bug-Buster" offensive, enlisting all and sundry to reduce the backlog. Each week, the woman won effusive praise from managment for solving many and very difficult bugs. She was a Super-bug-Buster. After a few weeks of such acclaim, however, she left -- so quietly that some did not immediately notice. But, for several weeks after, notices of new bugs would bounce off her no longer active but not yet purged email address, broadcasting to those who remained behind that one had chosen to walk away from the opportunity to be a hero again each new week. [ In hoc signo vinces! ]
[ Wouldn't it be nice to be able to just walk away? ]
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"When we say that pit bulls are dangerous, we are making a generalization, just as insurance companies... when they charge young men more for car insurance... (even though many young men are perfectly good drivers), and doctors... when they tell overweight middle-aged men to get their cholesterol checked (even though many overweight middle-aged men won't experience heart trouble). Because we don't know which dog will bite someone or who will have a heart attack or which drivers will get in an accident, we can make predictions only by generalizing. As the legal scholar Frederick Schauer has observed, 'painting with a broad brush' is 'an often inevitable and frequently desirable dimension of our decision-making lives.'... Smugglers may once have tended to buy one-way tickets in cash and carry two bulky suitcases. But they don't have to. They can easily switch to round-trip tickets bought with a credit card, or a single carry-on bag.... Maybe the reason some of them switched from one-way tickets and two bulky suitcases was that law enforcement got wise to those habits, so the smugglers did the equivalent of what the jihadis seemed to have done in London, when they switched to East Africans because the scrutiny of young Arab and Pakistani men grew too intense. It doesn't work to generalize about a relationship between a category and a trait when that relationship isn't stable -- or when the act of generalizing may itself change the basis of the generalization." (Malcolm Gladwell, "Annals of Public Policy: Troublemakers. What pit bulls can teach us about profiling", The New Yorker, 06Feb06; emphasis added)
114[ Return to footnote trigger! ] In The Human Condition (ref. lost), Hannah Arendt wrote that, for the classical Greeks, the distinction between human and less than fully human did not run along a species boundary, but ran through the "human" [biological] species. Only those persons who were citizens of the polis, i.e., co-subjects in the discourse which determined the shape of their shared social world, were fully human. All others -- craftsman ("banausoi"), slaves, etc. -- were considered to be less than fully human. According to this criterion, most so-called citizens of today's representative democracies are not fully human, because they (me; you?) do not have a meaningful voice in shaping public life -- both political in the narrow sense, and "economic" as concerns large corporations, etc. --, but only get to choose between alternatives which those in power present to them (aka voting), and even that only in the "political", not in the often more consequential for the shape of social life, "economic" realm. [Note that, for the classical Greeks, "economic" meant the private realm of household work, not social spaces such as large, and, a fortiori, transnational, corporations, which, as their name suggests, are even more public than so-called "political" entities, not, like the household, less so.]
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The US Air Force has begun moving... Four... heavily armed AC-130 aircraft - the lethal "flying gunships" of the Vietnam War - to a base in Iraq as commanders search for new tools to counter the Iraqi resistance, The Associated Press has learned.... The four-engine gunships, whose home base is Hurlburt Field in Florida, have operated over Iraq before, flying from airfields elsewhere in the region. In November 2004, air-to-ground fire from AC-130s supported the US attack on Falluja. The gunships were designed primarily for battlefield use to place saturated fire on massed troops. In Vietnam, for example, they were deployed against North Vietnamese supply convoys along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, where the Air Force claimed to have destroyed 10,000 trucks over several years. ("AP: US 'flying gunships' moving to Iraq", News Arab World, Aljazeera.net, 04 March 2006, 3:34 GMT; Original source: 2006 Mar 3, 1:21 PM EST, AP: AC-130 Gunships Returning to Iraq, By CHARLES J. HANLEY, AP Special Correspondent)    [ C-130 gunship to be used against Iraqi 'resistance', March 2005 ]
U.S. and Iraqi forces on Thursday [March 16, 2006] launched the largest air assault operation since the invasion of Iraq nearly three years ago, the U.S. military said. More than 50 aircraft are involved in Operation Swarmer, supporting more than 1,500 Iraqi and U.S. troops near Samarra, about 75 miles (121 kilometers) north of Baghdad. The aircraft also delivered troops from the Iraq and U.S. Army to "multiple objectives." ("Military launches largest Iraqi air assault since invasion", CNN.com, Posted: 16Mar06, 15:57 GMT)
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