An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Be not misled by shallow show

Despite the appearance here in recent days of both of the brothers Bovary be not misled into believing that we true twins have been idle. Be not misled by shallow show or in our case by a lack of show. Shaun and I have been burning intellectual oils well into the small hours with our own particular socratic dialogues despite you not having been made privvy to them (a tree or two fell in the forest when there was none there to hear them). In point of actual fact since we were introduced to 3quarks daily (there is a link in the sidebar) we have been daily provided with enough grist, mental, political, linguistic and cultural to keep many many mills on a 24 hour day. And we have never shirked our duty.

Several topics spring to mind to share with you but the one that repeatedly bubbles to the top of the brew. Time and again we think back to a bizzare radio piece we heard recently where the estimable Christopher Hitchens, whose latest work "God is not Good" has recently been released, was confronted live on air by his ignoramus, fascistic, less reasonable brother Peter. The topic, was ostensibly to be a discussion as to whether CH, as he opines in his new book, is correct in his assertion that religion and religious thinking has regularly done the world and culture serious harm as opposed to the good that its adherents and priesthood regularly and vociferously claim. PH, you see is a card carrying, right wing, coercive supernatural religious "beleiver". What might have been an interesting discussion came to nothing for no better reason than the massive mismatch in intellectual wherewithal between the siblings. Where CH was reasonable and rational PH was bullying and loud. Where CH made his case with evidence and reason PH made assertion after unsubstantiated assertion growing only louder and more hectoring as he repeated himself over and over whilst frequently claiming "higher authority".

The fascinating part of the discussion, for us as brothers at least, was how two brother could have grown up in such similar circumstances within a few years of each other could have come to such very different personal states of being. Shaun argued that PH's unpleasantly coercive manner was typical of religious thought through time and that it was his coming to God that had influenced him whereas my own view was that an immanent coercive streak in his makeup had in contrast brought him to religion. But perhaps it was neither. Or perhaps both are true. It is not possible to safely attach an arrow of causality to this development and perhaps it is not necessary but it is an interesting theme to pursue. We continue to explore the possibilities of finding some core data that might support either direction of causality.

In a nice synchronicity another piece on 3quarks later that day which reported a tussle in the field of linguistics reported on an isolated tribe whose language shows no sign of recursion, no names for colours, and no number, have as one of their basic precepts, their guiding principle if you like, "no coercion". No missionary group has ever been able to interest them in any flavour of Xtianity because of this. And many have tried over many years. Indeed the linguist who is studying their language originally went there as a missionary (of some fundamentalist stripe or another) and he himself lost his religious faith when it was put under the scrutiny of their supposedly primitive gaze.

That's one of the things we all love about 3quarks. That and the fact that it mirrors one of our online sigs and honours the illustious JAJ.

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