Tuesday, May 29, 2007

So, what do we mean by civilization?

I was floored when someone who lives in England wrote on a message board recently that British imperialism and colonialism were media for the spread of civilization and that Britain was, and still is, a "beacon of civilization" to the world. I simply could not believe that anyone still held the view that imperialism and colonialism was a favor that the White man did for the "colored savages".

It is all the more surprising when one considers that this person is highly critical of Israel's relationship to the Palestinians. Less surprisingly, this person refuses to accept the fact that it was the British who flooded the area that was to become the state of Israel with Arabs from the surrounding countries, going so far as to apply pressure on France to allow this, and created the Israeli-Palestinian problem in so doing. But that is the subject of other treatises.

The following passage is a first-hand account of a man who lived under colonialism. While he is from Peru, the imperialism and colonialism of Britain was no less barbaric than that of Spain, it's competitor in the attempt to conquer as much of the world as possible.

In the passage quoted below Prada also mentions that the "gentlemen" who owned the haciendas were often educated in England. His description of the effects of that education should be noted.

Robert Graham's Introduction: "Manuel Gonzáles Prada (1848 – 1919) was a Peruvian poet, writer and intellectual who moved toward an anarchist position around 1920. He was familiar with the major anarchist writers, and shared with Kropotkin an admiration for the French moral philosopher, Jean Marie Gayau (1854 – 1888)*, and opposition to Social Darwinism. He was one of the first Latin American writers to discuss the issue of indigenous peoples. The following excerpts are taken from his 1904 essay "Our Indians" translated here by Paul Sharkey."

"A hacienda comes about through the amassing of tiny plots wrested from their lawful owners and the lord wields the authority of a Norman baron over his peons. Not only has he a say in the appointment of governors, mayors and justices of the peace, but he conducts weddings, appoints heirs, disposes of inheritances and has the sons submit to a slavery that normally lasts their lifetime just to clear the debts of the father. He enforces fearful punishments like the foot-stocks, flogging, the pillory and death; or as droll as head-shaving or cold water enemas. It would be a miracle if someone with no regard for life or property were to have any regard for female honor; every Indian woman, single or married, may find herself the target of the master's brutish lusts. Abduction, violation and rape do not mean much when the belief is that Indian women are there to be taken by force. And for all that the Indian never addresses his master without kneeling and kissing his hand. Let it not be said that the lords of the land act that way out of ignorance or for want of education; the children of some hacienda owners are shipped to Europe in their childhood, educated in France or England and return to Peru with all of the appearances of civilized folk; but once they are back on their haciendas, the European veneer comes off and they act even more inhumanely and violently than their fathers; haciendas are tantamount to kingships in the heart of the Republic and the hacienda owners act like autocrats in the bosom of democracy…

So, what do we mean by civilization? …The greatest accomplishment of morality, for individuals and societies alike, consist of its having turned man's strife with his neighbor into a mutual agreement to live. Where there is no justice, mercy or goodwill, civilization is nowhere to be found: where the "struggle for existence" is enunciated as the rule of society, barbarism rules. What is the point of amassing the learning of an Aristotle when one is a tiger at heart? What matter the artistic gifts of a Michelangelo when one has the heart of a swine? Rather than going around the world spreading the light of art or science, better to go around dispensing the mild of human kindness. Societies where doing good has graduated from being an obligation to being a habit where the act of kindness has turned into an instinctive impulse deserve the description highly civilized. Have Peru's rulers attained that degree of morality? Are they entitled to look upon the Indian as a creature incapable of civilization?"


* I heartily recommend the writing of Jean Marie Guyau as well. Excerpts from his work can be found in Kropotkin's ETHICS: ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT", Chapter XII, Development of Moral Teachings--XIX Century, (Concluded). See: http://tinyurl.com/2pnqk2

Source: ANARCHISM – A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume One: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300C3 to 1939), Robert Graham Editor,
Copyright @2005 BLACK ROSE BOOKS, pp. 322 - 323


Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
DoreenDotan@gmail.com

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Oral Law is Now Mandated in Laputa Manqué


Henceforward, and from now on too, Oral has been instituted as the Law in all the Realm of Laputa Manqué.

In consideration of the manqué of the subjects of Laputa, We have found it proper and fitting to mandate Oral and not require masturbation of Our subjects. The Queen of the Laputans Manqué is an enlightened and compassionate Monarch and does not wish the good subjects to bring harm upon themselves.

Anyone found guilty of not performing cunnilingus (preferably double clitics) or fellatio, or both, in the course of any sexual encounter will be subject to public humiliation and catcalling from brawny, sweaty construction workers perched precariously on scaffoldings and rails on the buildings surrounding the commons.

Is that new Page, Horatio, around? Have him toss a couple of fish to the Official Seal and then attach it hereto. Then have him washed and brought to Our tent.

Queen Doreen of Laputa Manqué, Rhomboid and Pneumatic

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
DoreenDotan@gmail.com


Friday, May 25, 2007

Dr. Otto Gross – The One Truly Committed Psychoanalyst

A bit about Otto Gross:

OTTO GROSS : Nietzschean Psychoanalyst, Love Guru, Pagan Anarchist


http://tinyurl.com/2lozna

Wikipedia article

http://tinyurl.com/2pnslv

Who was Otto Gross?

http://tinyurl.com/38sc78

What made Dr. Otto Gross so dangerous a threat to the establishment?

The BBC documentary series "The Century of the Self", to be found on You Tube, proposes convincingly that Sigmund Freud, and more so his daughter Anna, intended psychoanalysis to be a most power and indispensable tool of population control and manipulation.

Society was held up as the unquestionable standard of normalcy and any aberrant, rebellious or non-normative behavior demonstrated by any individual was considered pathological on the part of the individual. That pathology was to be corrected with psychoanalysis.

In contradistinction, Otto Gross wrote the following, which is excerpted from the small amount of his work that has been translated. Evidently, the psychiatric community would rather keep him in obscurity. You will see why presently.

"…I must assume that knowledge of the Freudian method and its important results is already widespread. Since Freud we understand all that is inappropriate and inadequate in our mental life to be the results of inner experiences whose emotional content excited intense conflict in us. At the time of those experiences – especially in early childhood – the conflict seemed insoluble, and they were excluded from the continuity of the inner life as it is known to the conscious ego. Since then they have continued to motivate us from the unconscious in an uncontrollably destructive and oppositional way. I believe that what is really decisive for the occurrence of repression is to be found in the inner conflict…rather than in relation to the sexual impulse. Sexuality is the universal motive for the infinite number if internal conflicts, though not in itself but as the object of a sexual morality which stands in insoluble conflict with everything that is of value and belongs to willing and reality.

It appears that at the deepest level the real nature of these conflicts may always be traced back to one comprehensive principle, to the conflict between that which belongs to oneself and that which belongs to the other, between that which is innately individual and that which has been suggested to us, i.e., that which is educated or otherwise forced into us.

This conflict of individuality with an authority that has penetrated into our own innermost self belongs more to the period of childhood than to any other time.

The tragedy is correspondingly greater as a person's individuality is more richly endowed, is stronger in its own particular nature. The earlier and the more intensely that the capacity to withstand suggestion and interference begins its protective function, the earlier and the more intensely will the self-divisive conflict be deepened and exacerbated. The only natures to be spared are those in whom the predisposition towards individuality is so weakly developed and is so little capable of resistance that under the pressure of suggestion from social surroundings, and the influence of education, it succumbs, in a manner of speaking, to atrophy and disappears altogether - natures whose guiding motives are at last composed entirely of alien, handed-down standards of evaluation and habits of reaction,. In such second-rate characters a certain apparent health can sustain itself, i.e., a peaceful and harmonious functioning of the whole of the soul or, more accurately, of what remains of the soul. On the other hand, each individual who stands in any way higher than this normal contemporary state of things is not, in existing, conditions, in a position to escape pathogenic conflict and to attain his individual health i.e., the full harmonious development of the highest possibilities of his innate individual character.

It is understood from all this that such characters hitherto, no matter in what outward form they manifest themselves – whether they are opposed to laws and morality, or lead us positively beyond the average, or collapse internally and become ill – have been perceived with either disgust, veneration or pity as disturbing exceptions whom people try to eliminate. It will come to be understood that, already today, there exists the demand to approve these people as the healthy, the warriors, the progressives, and to learn from and through them.

Not one of the revolutions in recorded history has succeeded in establishing freedom for individuality…Only now can it be recognized that the root of all authority lies in the family, that the combination of sexuality and authority, as it shows itself in the patriarchal family still prevailing today, claps every individuality in chains…" – "
Overcoming Cultural Crisis", originally published in Die Aktion in April 1913, translated by Dr. John Turner of the University of Wales, Swansea, courtesy of Gottfried Heueer and the International Otto Gross Society, reprinted in ANARCHISM – A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas, Volume One: From Anarchy to Anarchism (300CE to 1939), pp. 282-3, Robert Graham, editor, copyright 2005 Black Rose Books.

We can see from the passage above, in which he eerily presaged his own "elimination", why Dr. Otto Gross was considered so very dangerous by the psychoanalytic establishment.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel
DoreenDotan@gmail.com

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Zeno, Zeno and Big Bill


It comes as no surprise that the Paradox of Motion, known as Achilles and the Tortoise posited by Zeno of Elea (ca. 490 BC – ca. 430 BC: [ See:
http://tinyurl.com/yp2g5r http://tinyurl.com/8xtcy and http://tinyurl.com/2ztsuy ]) should have entertained the mind of Bertrand Russell (May 18, 1872– February 2, 1970), as it did so many intellects of eminence since the time of its pronunciation. Russell wrote: "Having invented four arguments all immeasurably subtle and profound, the grossness of subsequent philosophers pronounced him to be a mere ingenious juggler, and his arguments to be one and all sophisms. After two thousand years of continual refutation, these sophisms were reinstated, and made the foundation of a mathematical renaissance…" PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA I, 1903

The date of the publication of the PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA is significant. Einstein was working on his theory of Special Relativity and it was a mere three years after Max Planck had discovered that E=hf. The world was ready for another way of thinking. The work of Zeno of Elea, which had come to be considered mere philosophical amusement, was rehabilitated and given serious consideration once again, this time in light of new thinking about the nature of space, time and movement.

The following is a physicist's attempt to tackle the problems that Zeno of Elea raised:
http://tinyurl.com/ky5p5 . The author ends his considerations thus: "Have we now finally resolved Zeno's "youthful effort"? Given the history of "final resolutions", from Aristotle onwards, it's probably foolhardy to think we've reached the end. It may be that Zeno's arguments on motion, because of their simplicity and universality, will always serve as a kind of "Rorschach image" onto which people can project their most fundamental phenomenological concerns (if they have any)."

We should, then, have expected that the Paradox of Motion articulated by Zeno of Elea in the 5th C. BCE would be solved, if at all, by a physicist or an analytic philosopher. Indeed, they tried. While their efforts were admirable, they did not produce a satisfying outcome as they readily admit.

It may be a surprise to some that the Paradox of Motion was most unambiguously articulated, elucidated and finally resolved in December of 1911 by William Dudley (Big Bill) Haywood (
http://tinyurl.com/2og22u , http://tinyurl.com/2jpfkr ) who, despite having been referred to as "the Lincoln of Labor" by Eugene V. Debs (see: http://tinyurl.com/bq2h2 ) for his passionate and compassionate desire to emancipate laborers, from whose class he hailed, was also the subject of a biography entitled ROUGHNECK1.

It is highly unlikely that Haywood thought of himself as a philosopher, although his grasp of the conditions that create an underclass of workers was singularly insightful, analytical and sensitive. It is very unlikely that Haywood had considered the Paradox of Motion of Zeno of Elea from a purely philosophical view, if he ever did at all. Haywood was a man of action, not sophistry. He most certainly was not versed in higher mathematics. His education was cut short in early childhood. At the age of nine he began to work in a coal mine. Having been born into the working class in the United States in 1869 there was precious little time for him to learn philosophy or mathematics. It was as an honest man of action that he would solve the Paradox of Motion.

Had Haywood learned philosophy at all, we should have expected him to be more interested in the Anarchistic statement of Zeno of Citium than the paradoxes of Zeno of Elea. He likely would have been in agreement with the stance of Aristippus vis-à-vis society, if not with the spirit of his philosophy.

Zeno of Citium (ca. 336-ca. 224 BC) was so named after the Greek colony in Cypress that he lived in. Zeno of Citium was a student of Crates of Thebes, the Cynic (see:
http://tinyurl.com/3aubby ). He was a merchant, the son of a merchant. Interestingly, like the vast majority of Anarchists of over two millennia later; he was not a common laborer, but was deeply concerned about a system of social organization that the common people would most benefit from if it were implemented. He worked at his profession until he reached the age of forty-two, when he founded the philosophical school that we know as Stoicism. The school of philosophy he founded was named for his teaching platform, the stoa, (Greek for 'platform' or 'porch'). None of Zeno of Citium's works are extant, to the best of our knowledge, but one of the quotes of Zeno of Citium that we are in possession of is this: "Men are rational, they do not need control; rational beings have no need of a state, or of money, or of law-courts, or of any organised, institutional life. In the perfect society men and women shall wear identical clothes and feed in a common pasture."

Aristippus (either the elder or the younger, see:
http://tinyurl.com/2a9omp) was the founder of the Cyrenaic school of philosophy, the salient tenets of which were extreme, even crude, hedonism and egoism. Though so very different in his views from the Stoics; Aristippus articulated a similar sentiment concerning government as that of Zeno of Citium. He wrote: "The wise should not give up their liberty to the state".

Mayhap, had Big Bill had the leisure, he would have concerned himself with the Anarchistic ruminations of Zeno of Citium and Aristippus. It is highly unlikely that he did, or would, concern himself with the Paradoxes of Zeno of Elea. So, it is all the more remarkable that he is the final elucidator and resolver of the Paradox of Motion.

In December of 1911, Haywood, who had once been a member of the Executive Committee of the Socialist Party of America but was leaning more toward Anarchism by that time, told a Lower East Side audience at New York's Cooper Union that parliamentary Socialists were "step-at-a-time people whose every step is just a little shorter than the preceding step."

In making that statement, Big Bill Haywood, the child of working-class parents whose formal education ended when he went to work as a nine-year-old boy, made manifest the solution to the Paradox of Motion that Zeno of Elea had posed in the 5th C. BCE, the self-same Paradox that had proven to be so inscrutable a conundrum that the greatest minds who attempted to tackle it since its pronunciation could not solve it definitively.

Haywood, the man of action, dedicated to the cause of Human advancement, understood the nature of action as no analytic philosopher, mathematician or physicist had. Zeno of Elea's Paradox of Motion is not a phenomenological problem at all and any attempt to resolve it as such leads nowhere. No advancement in solving the problem such can be made. Zeno of Elea's Paradox of Motion is a moral question. Haywood understood that those who take action on the pretense of advancing others, while interested only in their own advancement would make no progress either for themselves or for others. To such people attempts at advancement are ever less efficacious. Such people would, ineluctably, become jaded and come to the conclusion that progress for Humankind is impossible.

We see, then, that attempting to solve Zeno of Elea's Paradox of Motion either as a purely phenomenological problem while in a purely intellectual state of mind, and thus not passionately concerned for Human welfare, or attempting to understand it while under the influence of desire for personal advancement will lead one nowhere. That is the moral lesson of the Paradox and, this author believes, is the salient lesson that Zeno of Elea intended when he posited the paradox.

Haywood knew that being untrue to oneself and sacrificing one's values on the alter of realpolitik caused myriad phantasmagoria to arise in the mind because those conclusions are based on convoluted thinking. The convolutions in thinking that people resort to in order to make dishonest decisions is that which causes every path to become crooked and advancement impossible. The illusion that one is advancing is one of the phantasmagoria of the disingenuous, while it is very real in the worlds of those who set themselves to action for Humanity's sake.

Simply stated, opportunistic phonies go nowhere fast.

ROUGHNECK, The Life and Times of Big Bill Haywood, Peter Carlson, 1983, page 199.


Article on CRIMSON BIRD: http://www.crimsonbird.com/history/zeno.htm

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan of Tzfat (Safed), Israel

DoreenDotan@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pity the Poor Stem Cell

Surely you have seen the highly-magnified photos in magazines of bedraggled, malnourished stems cells peeping out piteously from squalid hovels.

Don't turn away. Don't pretend you don't know. Don't pretend that you don't see.

Think of their totipotential! Imagine what they can grow up to be with your help!

Show them you care.

Adopt a stem cell. Do it now. Tomorrow may be too late for these, our smallest and most vulnerable, victims.

Just a $1 a day can make so much difference in their little lives.

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan of Tzfat (Safed), Israel, GRANDMOTHER
a.k.a. D2 and Doreen, Queen of Éire East and West,
The Laputans Manqué and Jewish Israeli Princess (JIP); also
Founder, Adept Extraordinaire and Sole Devotee of
Anarcho-Anachro-Nacro-Necro-Narcissism
DoreenDotan@gmail.com


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Becoming Ever More Israeli

In July I will be here 25 years.


I married here and became a parent here. So, most of my life as a responsible adult and the whole setting up of home and family experience happened to me here. My husband is a Sabra and an expert in the Hebrew language. So, my interactions with my family are mostly in Hebrew. In fact, my daughter's English is very poor. I have no choice but to speak in Hebrew with her. My son's English is considerably better.

I can pronounce the gutteral reish and ayin, even the kuf, which is so deep a gutteral that it issues from somewhere around one's knees.

Still, the process of becoming more Israeli goes ever on.

I remember being aghast that people would pick nuts or other finger foods out of the large, open sacks and boxes in the shuq. It looked so unsanitary to me. Just the thought of any number of people whose hands had been I know not where touching food and eating it one after the other me made me sick.

One day; I pinched a cookie in the shuq, tossing regard for sanitation to the wind. I enjoyed the septic morsel thoroughly and was delighted with my progress toward real Israeliship (Israeliness?).

When I got home I said to my son: "Today I became a real Israeli! I ate a cookie from an open box in the shuq!"

He looked at me levelly and said: "If you were a real Israeli you would do it without thinking about it and would never mention it."

I advanced nicely and today I even make my tuna and egg salad with humous instead of mayo.

Today, I took yet another giant step toward become a real local. Though I have a plastic squeeze bottle of real Heinz ketchup in the fridge; I put techina (tahini) on my hamburger today, like a lot of Israelis do. The first time I heard of putting techina on hamburger I thought I'd barf.

My next project: Learning how to smooth humous and labane on my plate with the back of a spoon and fashion a perfect indented pool in the middle for olive oil and za'atar.

When a Jew becomes more Israeli is that acculturation or enculturation?

Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat (Safed), Israel
DoreenDotan@gmail.com

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