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Heretics Unite !

IMG Auteur
Publié le 15 octobre 2012
883 mots - Temps de lecture : 2 - 3 minutes
( 30 votes, 3,3/5 ) , 9 commentaires
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SUIVRE : Europe France
Rubrique : Editoriaux





History is in a bad mood, as reflected in its acting troupe, the human race. What goes for the micro of an individual human personality also seems true for group. We have our bright moments, or years, and our darker ones and cycles within cycles of these and even sometimes bright and dark at the same moment.

I am reflecting this week on Stephen Greenblatt's book, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, which concerns itself with the mood of Europe in the early 1400s, but in particular the career of one Poggio Bracciolini, a poor boy whose beautiful handwriting took him to the center of power as secretary-scribe to the first Pope John XXIII (deposed and de-Poped), and later as key agent to unlocking the lost secrets of classical antiquity. (Apologies if I have already lost you in this week's departure from my usual japery).

The depravity of the late medieval church hierarchy, and its sick grasp on the totality of everyday life a thousand years after the fall of Rome, is the outstanding feature of the period. What started out in Judea as a humble cult in thrall to the new idea of God-given grace, degenerated into a vile whoredom of concentrated wealth devoted to the routine infliction of cruelties. Poggio was especially struck by the fate of one radical reformer, Jerome of Prague, persecuted as a heretic. Jerome had made a career of inciting subversion in his wide travels around the universities of Europe, and was constantly in trouble with the church establishment.

Around 1415 Jerome ventured to the Council of Constance in Germany where cardinals, archbishops, and other church poobahs had gathered to resolve a vexing administrative problem: the schism that had one Pope in Avignon, France, and another in Rome, each answering to different kingdoms of Europe. In the course of things, Jerome the reformer made a pest of himself and was branded a heretic, thus nominating himself as a candidate for gruesome execution. Poggio witnessed Jerome's defense of his actions and beliefs before the council higher-ups, which were delivered in Latin with an eloquence not displayed since the days of Cicero. Jerome was eventually burned at the stake anyway, but the heroic power of his rhetoric made an impression on Poggio.

In the course of things at Constance, Poggio's patron, so-called "anti-Pope" John XXIII, a.k.a. Baldassarre Cossa, got kicked out of the club and Poggio was released from his duties to pursue his true life ambition, which was the rescue of forsaken manuscripts from the high culture of the Roman empire which lay moldering in the vaults and attics of monasteries all over the continent. He traveled far and wide in all weathers and seasons in a time when even the best roads were little more than mule tracks. The indifferent monks let him poke around their storerooms and in cases where he could not purchase a dusty scroll outright, he either pilfered them, or copied them out laboriously in his beautifully clear Carolingian handwriting.

In rescuing the works such as the complete orations of Cicero, the Epicurian discourse of Lucretius (De Rerum Natura - On the Nature of Things), as well as the practical dissertations of Vitruvius on architecture and Frontinus on the Roman aqueducts, he opened the door to the revival of human spirit that we call the Renaissance. If you look closely at the artifacts of the centuries pre-dating the Renaissance, you detect a long-running mood of severe psychological depression when the human race dwelt in abject hopelessness and poverty, with only the hocus-pocus of the church promising better times beyond the mystery of death as the Zoloft of the day. Poggio was not alone in his enthusiasm for the lost world of the ancients, and eventually the rediscovery of a realm of ideas beyond the drear preoccupations of a corrupt church turned on a light for humanity that has burned for five hundred years.

I mention these old and arcane matters because the mood of humanity lately seems to be darkening again, and to some large degree for understandable reasons. Between the melting of the polar icecaps, the destruction of all edible life in the oceans, and the vulgar spectacle of the paved-over American landscape with its clown monuments mocking all civilized endeavor, and a long list of other insults to healthy life on earth, there's a lot to be depressed about. We stand to lose a proportional amount of human capital accumulated over the past five hundred years as the benighted people of post-Roman Europe lost, and it may take us a thousand years or more to recover - if we recover at all.

It's especially disturbing to see the infiltration of the latest version of Jesus mumbo-jumbo - Southern Republican Nascar Evangelical orthodoxy - take over the collective mind of the USA. The poverty of ideas this represents can't be overstated and the timidity of any opposition to it is a disgrace to our heritage. Maybe that's an argument for electing a Mormon president, since that peculiar branch of the church is so self-evidently childish and ridiculous that it will probably do more to defeat religious fanaticism than all the humanist dissertations ever written - or a thousand clones of Madonna Ciccone dancing in stadiums under laser beams in titanium brassieres.



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This site keeps Kunstler because we love to hate what he writes- well most of us, anyway.

First of all he 's got his history wrong. Pope John XXIII was one of the most beloved, Christ-like Popes ever-- and a 20th Century Pope, by the way., not 15th as our learned scribe scribes.

Many of James' core beliefs are based on bad science and bad philosophy/theology. Global warming, peak oil, Malthusian hand-wringing, secular humanism and Marxism are just a few of his misprogramming problems. That would leave anyone disoriented and depressed. As he gets closer and closer to meeting the Grim Reaper, he becomes increasingly more anxious. Not so for those who have prepared, who go with equanimity.

It is true that the Church went down the wrong path, as almost any human institution can do. It seems to have made a good comeback, even considering the "NASCAR Evangelical" set which James soooo deplores. I'll settle for them over James' brand any day of the week-- and twice on the Sabbath.

Even if we have another dark age, it won't be as dark or long this time, because knowledge has become more widely dispersed, so it will be far harder to extinguish the lights this time. Of course the exception could be a life-threatening major nuclear war or unstoppable pandemic.
Evaluer :   6  3Note :   3
Kustler nailed it and the collective hive will reject it as ravings. The system is a corrupted cesspool of divided groups of chattel. The comparison made about the church(503c) and show business(idol worship and church rolled into one) will always fool, prey and count on ignorance to blindly follow their edicts and musing into sin.
Evaluer :   5  7Note :   -2
Everybody has faith in something even Professor Kuntsler. Even though a person has been educated in the “best schools” does not mean they know anything of value. In my little bit of experience knowledge comes from listening a lot and talking only to ask questions. Then with that knowledge should follow wisdom as to how to apply the knew found knowledge. I have meet people who already knew everything, as they supposed, and didn't have a desire to learn anything new. If you want to learn something new you have to set side preconceived notions and prejudges. In other words if you think you know the answer to all question before you start asking any questions and do your best to see the your original idea is expressed in your findings then what is the sense in asking. Knowledge comes from having a willingness to accept the truth of any question no matter what the answer might be.
We have problems in our world now, as people have had in the past; notwithstanding we have more opportunities to turn things around then any age has ever had before us. The internet alone, which ranks right up there with the Gutenberg press in importance, will make a big difference in outcomes. Young people have never had a stronger desire for freedom and liberty than the current generation. Many things of the past, as the good professor has pointed out, can help us return to a better time.
We can choose to believe and have faith that the whole world has gone mad except us or we can have faith that people will choose to right the boat and charge ahead solving any and all problems as best they can. Where ever you put your faith won't really have a great effect in the final outcome because we aren't in charge. If you think your in charge then go right ahead an stop all the earth quakes and hurricanes.
However the purpose of life is to be happy and come hell or high water we are in charge of our own happiness and how we view our future.
Evaluer :   5  3Note :   2
"there's a lot to be depressed about"...if that is what you are constantly looking for.

I just went all around NYC and Boston for a month,saw many beautiful buildings, central Park,museums,transport systems,bridges,art, ate great food,listened to fantastic music,saw first rate dance,a world premier movie at the 50th NY film festival, 3 broadway shows, yankee stadium and mingled with the multitudes on streets and subways.
Not once did I have any problems, felt out of place or threatened.
I did see some down and outers but they were few and far between.

Again I have found americans to be friendly, hospitable,efficient,entrepreneurial,pleasant and good natured with a great sense of humour.
I suspect for the most part that is pretty much the same all over the USA.

PS if you can go and see the Book of Mormon..hilarious and the best show I have ever seen.
Evaluer :   3  1Note :   2
Just last week the warming data shows no warming since 1997 despite the models predicted significant warming. Kuntler is a left wing nut have read him for a while . Predicted y2k disaster and of course global warming . Backs nothing up with data we happen to be running a 1 trillion plus deficit so social programs will get cut one way or the other as will defense . This guy hates Christians thinks everyone who is south of Mason Dixon line is and Idiot or as he calls them corn pon Nazis . Hates people who wants the right to own guns and anything with the tea party although they want fiscal balance and the government to be smaller . That was what the original contitution was set up to do keep government in its place why this web site carries his stuff is surprising he has been wrong about everything. If you don't live in the Liberal Northeast he thinks you are ignorant of any progressive thoughts except he probably loves California . As for peak oil that probably is a reality but the market is adjusting but the government is trying to intervene by shutting coal down subsidies to ethanol ect and making matters worst . Railroad stocks have gone way up over last 10 years as they take the freight from trucks back the switch yards are being built ect and as fuel gets more expensive they will sieze the bussiness . He despises any republican but yet here we are at 16 trillion and counting of liberal policies that have yet to be paid for but you will not ever here a liberal question those policies. California , Greece , Spain Illinois all these are socialism in practice that are failing miserably yet no responsibilities taken if only we could raise more taxes on the rich and or everybody everything will be OK. Or better yet lets implement a carbon tax on everyone for climate change so we can pay $500 dollars a month for electricity that really helps the middle class and poor
Evaluer :   6  4Note :   2
America is a mess, a tasteless blob of abject despair and frustration ,which Kunstlers eloquent narrative prose exposes in an such artfull and humorous way.Keep it up James, at least it makes for good entertainment!
Evaluer :   6  3Note :   3
As always Mr Kunstlers way with words is most eloquent however he needs to lighten up a little, if he thinks the crap people who have caused the mess we are in will remain at the helm in our various institutions he should think again!

Has he not heard of the theory of chaos and order? It is said that for every problem there is an equal size solution, well we are in one gigantic problem at present but the equally gigantic solution is now only days away! Just wait and see.

Evaluer :   3  3Note :   0
So, Kunstler looking into the tea leaves of history -- seeing poverty and depression in the 14th centruy -- finds a parallel for our own times. The polar caps are melting and all edible life in the oceans is being destroyed.

A little fact checking here: although the north pole may be melting the ice on the south pole is expanding. Would he prefer the ice on both poles to expand back over the continents? Geological history shows the earth has repeatedly undergone climatic changes -- all without human intervention.

Then Kunstler laments that America is being paved over.

This is called civilization -- using the earth to survive, to progress in wealth and health. Included in what is 'paved' are markets, hospitals, busineses, homes and roads connecting such. What would Kunstler prefer? Mud huts? Thatched hospitals? Recent studies of pre 1492 North and South America showed that the natives extensively modified the wilderness.

It appears the only human society Kunstler would approve of would be one based on that of the Lowland Gorilla.

Can someone please recommend an anti-depressant for Kunstler.
Evaluer :   14  0Note :   14
Excellent response Jim. You nailed it, and managed to keep it short. I sometimes write whole essays in response to JK, but then delete them for being long winded.
Evaluer :   2  3Note :   -1
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Everybody has faith in something even Professor Kuntsler. Even though a person has been educated in the “best schools” does not mean they know anything of value. In my little bit of experience knowledge comes from listening a lot and talking only to as  Lire la suite
billgreenjeans - 15/10/2012 à 20:56 GMT
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