WHERE IS MY WAY
TABLE OF CONTAINS
I am not Harper Lee or Charles Dickens
In the Beginning was the Word
From Christianity toward Communism and backwards
The poor philosophy…
Between the extreme egoism and extreme altruism, the real man finds himself his own way, depending on his personality, environment, education and many others. From those two, the egoism is natural. The Bergson’s “Free Will”, the “Inner Will” as source of life at Schopenhauer and many other similar ideas reflect what nature makes in every moment, starting with the smallest cell and finishing with the biggest and complex biologic systems: want to develop himself to the detriment of environment. The altruism, instead, even if it exists naturally, it does not reach high values. Life teaches man to keep account of the others, becoming in this way altruist in a bigger or smaller measure. “The enemy helps you, because he limits you, gives you form and founds you” (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Citadel).
The struggle for existence is the main condition for any being, human or animal equally. From the smallest cell to the most complex organism, life is an endless endeavour for an individual's betterment based on his environment. It stops only when he exhausts his resources, or meets with a similar individual with whom he has to share the same resources ("My freedom stops where others' freedom begins"). An individual's ideal is a selfish one. It is so obvious that the previous phrase seems a truism. Nature is interested in our existence, not in our happiness. Even Jesus said “Love your neighbour as yourself!” He confesses here that egocentrism is foremost. Accepting the other is subsequently; it comes from the contact with the environment and man learns it, while egocentrism is genetic. There is no use for us to pretend that it does not exist. We can put it under the control of the reason, which is something much different.
Realizing the limits of his aspirations, limits that bring his unhappiness, man has built an ideal opposed to the egoism, one that is altruistic until the abandonment of oneself. In this way, religion appears. It wants to make us better, impeccable people, but just here the fault lies, because such a thing is impossible. Why does it still do it? Because it wants to counterbalance our malefic tendencies. However, being an ideal, this is not really followed by anyone, and, remaining a theoretical idea, the religion that preaches it becomes obsolete in time. The real man adopts an intermediate attitude, between the unscrupulous selfishness and the absolute altruism (if it really exists), in accordance with his personality. Contrary to expectations, the wit of choice does not belong to the theory - in this case to religion - but to the common person. The question we ask almost naturally is “why does not the theory achieve it by itself, suggesting a clever way, between the two absolute ideals?”
“Beings without reason live in harmony… What about the good understanding existing just between the wildest animals? The cruelty of lions does not manifest among lions… The snake does not swoop upon other snake, and good understanding between wolves has become even proverbial. Only on men the education does not join.” I quoted a whole paragraph from Erasmus, in order to show that this dilemma existed in all epochs.
The same attitude is to be found in politics as well, especially when we talk about democracy. An audacious propaganda makes us to believe that the political system in which we live is the closest to perfection, or at least approaches it. Democracy is an ideal, and the pretension of achieving it is similar to ignorance. Why cannot we find a political system in which the leading principle is a rational way, and not an ideal one? I said a rational way, but mean reasonable, not the Rationalism, because it last appeared as a philosophical current in opposition to theology, destined to take Europe out of the darkness of the Middle Age, dominated by religion, but the consequences of which led to exaggerations too, among which is communism. (I will develop this idea later.)
Logically, through education, we should learn the correct, reasonable way, avoiding the errors due to the exaggerations of one or the other extremes. Unfortunately, in most cases, we are misdirected toward that extreme opposite of the natural one, hoping that we will find the correct way. Christianity speaks about the good man, the one who offers the other cheek when someone slaps him. In politics, even if ownership is the source of progress, we pretend to have a democratic society, where people are equal to each other. A greater hypocrisy does not exist, I think. Naturally, any young man will conclude that this sort of education is of no use for his life, especially because this conclusion comes after he has just learned that it is not the stork that brings the children in the world, Santa Claus does not come with reindeers from far away and so on. Consequently, he shall find his way by himself, which he will do, but no-one says with what results, because, meanwhile, he has lost his trust in educators.
I retook here some ideas dispersed in other books, articles, Internet, etc., for upholding the main idea of this essay.
I am not Harper Lee or Charles Dickens
The only aim of the happenings related here is to retrace the condition in which some questions appeared to me and, consequently, how I tried to formulate some answers, even provisional, partial or wrong. They do not have autobiographical intentions.
Here is one: Toward the end of the Second World
War, my family was obliged to move temporarily to a small village, far away
from the town where I used to spend my childhood. The cause was the profession
of my father. He was an officer and, for their peace of mind, the authorities
put officers’ families safe from the front fury. It happened in
Farm” by George Orwell is a pertinent description of what occurred in the
Immediately following that period, I remember the
slogan “The Americans come!”
Certainly, it might be a hope for some people, but a new query for me. Why
would they do it, if they did not do it until now? Is a new war ready to start,
this time between the
Some years later, I knew a very interesting
gentleman, who was important to me. He taught me English language in a time
when this idea was at least odd, as eccentric as dangerous. Before the war, he
had been cultural attaché of Romanian Embassy in
A particular happening remained in my mind for
its evocative power. I was about eight or nine years old, when, one evening, I
was to go toward one of my aunt’s home, only a few blocks away. Another aunt of
mine was visiting us. Before leaving, she asked me, “You are not afraid of
walking alone in the dark?” I had never thought of it before. It was not just
dark, but some trees with large crowns made the street even darker. In the
quiet of the evening, I could hear faint noises caused by birds, falling leafs,
twigs etc. That was when I realized that fear is an induced sentiment. Of
course, my aunt’s question to a child was stupid. Yes, fear is a sentiment
subjective and inoculated. Even as reflex, it is acquired and not innate. A
child first burns his fingers, and then learns to keep himself away. Why do we
need to be afraid? Who invented fear, and why? Religion uses it at the highest
level. The politics do it too, obviously for manipulating people! Fear of evil
divinities, fear of the Inquisition, fear of political police during the
communist regime in
From my childhood too, I remember a scene in the middle of the street: a gipsy woman showed her back to a gentlemen who had criticized her for I-do-not-know what. I remarked then the helplessness of a civilized person face to an uncivilized one. So then, what is the use of the education?
These were some questions from a child’s mind. Are they important? The questions no, but the answers yes, because they will form him as citizen.
In the Beginning was the Word
It is the Bible from where we learn that, “In the beginning was the word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God”. There was not a language, yet, because it would be absurd to think that God first invented a language and, only afterward, he created light, earth and water, plants, animals, all the others and finally Adam and nobody to talk with. Here, the meaning of “word” is “project”. We may suppose that God had in mind a project. It is interesting that, in other languages, instead of word, they use something similar with the English for “verb”. They suggest the idea of action. However, before any action, it must be an intention, which I named here “project”. Any project, we know, needs some amendments, as it could not be perfect, not even God conceived it. The proof is to be found in the Bible as well, where one describes more situations when God himself observed that, either his project might be improved, or something is not all right with it and he must operate some modifications. Thus, even since the beginning, we learn that “God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness”. There are many phrases like this. Even after he created Adam, thinking, “it is not good that the man should be alone”, God gave him a woman, albeit he must break his best work for extracting a rib from it. The Deluge, sending his son on the earth, are “manoeuvre for rectifying the trajectory”, as well. After the Deluge, he rebuilt the whole humanity in a new tree. Therefore, he went forward step by step with his project, not having a complete imagine of the finished product for the beginning.
A first conclusion ensuing here is the lack of any finality. The initial project is to be improved ceaseless, probably still today.
A second conclusion is that such revisions will occur in the future and they will be even more radical.
This is why, the church is wrong every time it clings to some anachronistic ideas or situations.
I started from the idea that, at the beginning, it was the Word. Is it important? It is! Not the Word as it is and not because it was at the beginning, but because the Bible says it is so. The Bible is our fundamental book, which has led us during the last years (several thousands), no matter if we are or not believers. We cannot neglect this book, because it means we would neglect ourselves. We are the product of our history and our history was dependent on religion, no matter whether we like it or not. Could it be different? Certainly, not! With another fundamental book, we should become somebody different. Why? Let us see!
People act, in a great measure, based on habitudes acquired early their childhood and it depends on their education. By education, I do not mean the knowledge about Shakespeare or the structure of the atoms, but those activities with which they are accustom to, because they were taught in this way, especially by parents. A man does not think every time what would be the sagest proceeding. He acts as he has gotten use to it, and it come from the tradition. Therefore, he is a product of tradition. In the past, religion was that what had the most important role in setting up the tradition. The great majority of people keep up the rules of cohabitation, because religion taught them so, because any believer proceeds in this way. Dead persons are entombed, because it is Christianly to do that way, a Christian will say, even if they are buried throughout the world, no matter of religion, from sanitarian reasons.
We must not expect that priests think in all religious dogmas, but we expect that they be good educators in the idea of keeping common persons with the most useful traditions, according to that epoch. We could say they are even good pedagogues, particularly if we have in view that first schools came into existence beside the churches and monasteries.
I mentioned the Deluge. It exists in all religions, no matter if they recognize God or not. It is true, between them, there are small differences of interpretation. Well, just these “small” differences make the distinction between different life philosophies staying at the base of every social construction. And not only between religions, but also inside of the same religion. The difference may go from the assertion of one idea to the assertion of the opposite one, which unfortunately is valuable even inside Christianity. Which were initial principles of Christianity and which were those practised by Catholic Church during Middle Ages and even after it? For analysing them, we should set up what we understand Christianity is, obviously beyond the level of stories. This is not my objective at this moment and, supposing the reader understands to what I refer, I will point out several main ideas, for getting beyond this phase. The Deluge was an example.
The question is “how was it possible to have so many differences?” A little history, even just a little, would be necessary for understanding the evolution, but not here. For the moment, we shall observe that, in order to attain its aims, the church used a huge propagandistic machinery. During the Middle Age, one almost confuses it with what we name today as culture. Painting, philosophy, architecture, everything has religious subjects and aim the parishioners’ indoctrination toward obedient, sheepish high prelates’ servant.
Not keeping account by the evolution of the society, by the development of knowledge, in time, any sheep realizes more and more that aims are false. Strong people took their fortune in their own mains. The Faustic European culture arose in this way. Weak-willed ones still need religion. For both of them, a turning point is around the corner. Let us hope that it will not be as radical as a deluge. Anyway, the amplitude of change is in our hands, because a small correction made in time is more efficient than a great forced one, after a catastrophe.
In fact, at the beginning, the Chaos was, namely something without form, therefore without limits, something in which everything was possible and in which – just because it – nothing important occurs. But, God came! He first divided the light from the darkness. Therefore, he traced a limit between them. Up till here, he did not create, but delimitate. And so, he did with earth, waters and so on. They do not say in the Bible or anywhere else that someone would create the Chaos. (It seems that we are going to create it.) In all religions, Chaos existed before anything. The All-creator is improperly named so, as he did not create, but separated. Maybe more correct would be to say he organized, if this word would not be almost compromised by too many human activities wrongly organized. Tracing a line of demarcation between earth and heaven, the divinity created two restrictions: the earth could not be heaven and heaven could not be earth, any longer. And he did not stop here. Going on, he imposed limits after limits, restrictions after restrictions, organized materiel in entities odder and odder, making small monsters, among which we are, human beings, obliged to fight with everything around us, even between us, because the limits imposed by the creator became more and more stifling.
At this point, an interesting virus appeared; we do not want to dissolve our limits. On the contrary, as the limits give our identity, we love them and want to push them as far as we can, over the neighbour’s ones, and in his detriment. As this idea belongs to him too, our facing is ready.
In primitive societies, the link man–divinity was one of a mercantile sort, something like if you give to me, I will give to you. “Make to rain and I make an oblation”. Morality did not have a religious character. It belongs to people, as a summation of behaviour rules, imposed by cohabitation between people first and less by their rapport with the divinity. The shamans appeared just for acting as go-between between people and divinities. They did not belong to divinities, but pretended to be able to communicate with them.
In Christian religion, divinity has the initiative and send messages to people, messages from which they learn how to comport in order to please the divinity. The relationship between man-divinity is no longer one of small-agreement, you give to me – I give to you, but an authoritarian one. The moral rule comes from God, who pretend and does not haggle in bargain. The mediator is no longer a shaman, but the priest.
In oriental religions, the individual comes from an unchangeable Universe and, after a smaller or greater number of reincarnations comes back to the Universe. Humanity is only a summation of solitary individuals, incidentally living together. In Judaism and Christianity, humanity has a history, beginning with the conversation between Eve and devil and finishing with the Last Judgement. Here, the individual does not matter, but the humanity, in finality will happen simultaneously for all the people, because we inherited Eve’s sin.
As regards Christianity, we observed that it
did not appear as suddenly and unexpectedly as bigots like to think. Most
philosophers, even some theologians, beginning with
Greek mythology, full of contradictory ideas,
proving Geeks’ pleasure of philosophizing, contains many Christian ideas,
including that of democracy. Yes, democracy is a Christian idea as well: if all
people are God’s children, they are equal in his face, then they are equal with
each other. Whether the equality cannot be implemented immediately on the
earth, then we must be content with the idea that, at least in
Anyway, the idea of democracy certainly belonged to Greeks, first. They did not create a history, yet, in the sense of something with beginning and necessary end. To them, the Eternal Returning Myth was in the centre of their philosophy. For them, the substance is finite, while time is infinite. Consequently, the same forms will be reproduced after a time, no matter how long it takes. Natural cycles as if day-night, winter-summer etc. emphasized this philosophy. Nietzsche realized this idea too. Amusing enough is that he thought this discovery belonged to him.
Because we entered a little mythology, I allow a small comparison between those two variants of the Deluge: mythological one and biblical one. In mythological variant, the survivors of the Deluge were Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha. After water's withdrawal, the goddess Themis advised him that, while they will go down from the mountain, to throw back in their trace all the stones they found in the way, as stones symbolize the bones of their great grandmother, Gaea, who is the earth itself. From every stone, immediately, a man or a woman rose. Consequently, there are two categories of people: the natural heirs of Deucalion and those born from the stones. It was natural to think so in a slave society, where democracy is only for the first category. Deucalion’s first son was Hellen and he is considered Greeks’ ancestor (Hellenes)
In the biblical version, the Deluge has not such interpretations; instead, Noah’s descendants, organized in familial clans, want to overrule the world. The idea of ownership is fundamental, and hereditary monarchy became the characteristic type of social organization for European Middle Eve. Of course, not the Deluge induced the theory, but inversely, the theory invoked the Deluge as doctrinal justification. (By the way, as anywhere a deluge appears as a solution for purification of the society, what would today’s society look like after a new deluge?)
Prometheus, the one who is so much eulogised today, did not have the same resonance in the old Greek world, and was not seen merely as a positive hero, but only as a subject for discussions, his indiscipline face to Zeus being his characteristic feature. Here is what Zeus says to Prometheus: “You gave to the people only the ecstasy of victory. Do they know what to do with fire until you teach them? Some will, but those are few. And they will become despots for those who do not know and will become unaware slaves. You have given the fire to several for enlightening the others. I would want to give it to all the people. Of course, you wanted it too, but your impetuous and unabated temper did not let you to do the work with moderation and embroiled me.” Zeus is a deity of progress, not one of the revolutions. “People did not receive progress from you, but protest instead. They have not the disquietude of tomorrow. Their mind was filled only with hatred for the boss”. (How well would have been if the hanger-on of communism had read a little mythology!) Along with Prometheus a kernel of revolt appears against too stern rules and despotic lord. The wish for change is obvious, and the merciful and righteous God is the expected solution. And he has come! We realize now that the later apocalyptic God was the reaction of some priests for which the old doctrine of a punitive divinity, maybe just idols, was better. They wanted only the power. What would be the use of a wise one?
Christianity began as a religion of poor people. It is clear that it was embezzled later by politicians associated with priests. Now, people want the religion returned, but it must be cleaned up of the impurities. I do not plead for returning to biblical precepts and not at least for a certain religion, but for a reasonable one; and I do not pled, but only think that it will come naturally.
Christianity brings an innovation. Unlike
oriental faiths, where the Universe is stable and life is conceived in an
endless cycle, in Christianity, mankind has a beginning and, of course, an end.
The idea of singleness has great moral implications. All people will go in
front of the God in the Day of Judgement. In this way, people’s lives have a
sense of togetherness. They are no longer expected to have a miserable life
forever. From some passive, apathetic persons, they have become active people.
It could explain the progress of
In oriental faith, the salvation is individual. Consequently, a good believer insulates himself from the society; he lives in seclusion. The religion tells him not to make bad acts, but not to make good ones. Christianity did it. From this reason, Christian believers live together, as one could not be good to himself. He needs a receiver for his kindness.
Judaism and Christianity introduced the history: there was a beginning, and will be an end. Everything we do happens within this period, and we do it together. We are not some individuals living temporary in an infinite Universe, like in Hinduism. We live together in a limited period. Maybe we should think more about it. Man becomes man but by the community's virtues (Socrates).
Pray or meditation? The word 'meditation' does not have sense in Christian doctrine. It is peculiar for oriental faiths where people meditate to purifying himself for a future life. A Christian does not meditate but prays. During his prayer, he implores God to help him. People without much will, lazybones, or dishearten implore more often God's help. Trustworthy people, instead, usually forget God, thinking that they succeed by themselves. They remember him only before an important but uncertain trial. Then, they ask God’s help to overcome the moment, or to conquer an enemy, even if this battle is contrary to the Christian doctrine. It makes me to think that our emotional mood needs the faith. But is it just what God asks us to do? Of course, not! This is only priests’ desire.
A large part of the Old Testament is history:
the history of Jewish people. The modern historians and archaeological diggings
have come to light that many facts reported in the book were true. As a matter
of fact, most part of the Old Testament, particularly its beginning, was
written during the exile of Jewish in
The Bible itself is not homogenous. Some ideas are in contradiction with other ideas, if you read different chapters. We may have understanding for its authors. They had to change some old ideas with other new ones. As it usually happens, they could not do it quickly and with accuracy. Even we can not do it. Some reminiscences from older mentality remain. Besides, the Bible was written by more than one author, in different periods. We can recognize the way in which some ideas progressed in the authors' conception.
This idea is true even if you want to believe that the Bible was written under the divine inspiration. You may accept that God changed his ideas, or he has a plan and, from time to time, gives us lessons accordingly to our evolution or, even better, both of them.
As all religions have a cosmogony, the priests tried to persuade us that Bible has one as well. I suppose that it was not conceived as a cosmogony, but a metaphor full of teachings, of moral consequences, in this way being a useful educational guide. Metaphor of what? Of an early period from their history! From it, the priests made a cosmogony, which - due to its naivety - has compromised the Christian religion entirely. Of course, God could not be like us. He should help us more if he is almighty. Then who was he for the Jewish people? Let us read the Bible!
In Genesis 2.7, it is said that "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of
the ground...". Not from mud, clay, or simple earth? It is not
mentioned that he would use water. I think it had to be difficult to mould in
dust. Is this a mistake, or an accidental expression? Not at all! From the next
paragraph we learn that "And the
Lord God planted a garden eastward in
The idea of an ancestral sin is an ancestral one itself. Most old religions contain it. The abandonment of this idea is just one of the most important idea that Christianity brought. Jesus died for it, consequently the problem is solved, and the topic is closed. To insist on this point means not to understand what Christianity really is. We are not forced to make sacrifice for imaginary reasons. Instead, we are responsible for our mistakes. Peter says: "... your sins may be forgiven" (Acts ). Yours and not some ancestral ones! Following Christ's way, we tell ourselves not to make other mistakes. Jesus Christ gave us the dignity to stand right, be responsible.
Yes, God is forgiving; he always gives us a second chance, but, for it, we must repent and promise (to ourselves firstly) not to fall again in the mistakes, but to follow God's way. How well we did it is another question.
One day, an American friend asked me whether I believe that Jesus is alive. I avoided the answer then, because the question must be analysed before answering. We first need to know if he imagines a Jesus like a man who lives somewhere and looks at us, or Jesus as a symbol for the entire Christian theology. In the first hypothesis, I am not the man to chat over this subject, but, in the second one, the subject is quite inciting. For those who look at religion as a myth - true or false - the question is an essential one, maybe the most. It is not my case. I remember some years ago, it was in fashion to question whether Shakespeare was a man, or an enterprise, dealing with books, a publishing house in our terms. As I am not a historian, the question is not interesting from my point of view. I am interested in Shakespeare's works and not in his life. It was Schumann who wrote that only stupid musical critics speak about the composer, instead of his works. Another example, maybe just clearer, is Marxism. It is not important at all if Marx was a great scholar, a tiny one. Just that he existed at all. Instead, Marxism marked the social and political life almost the entire XX century. It is the same with writers and, generally, with the creators from any other field, including Christianity. Yes, I am interested in Christianity, but not whether Jesus is alive or not.
Maybe he is alive, or maybe not. Anyway, what is important is what he said to us. His message matters! Speaking about his life, it counts as a message too, because he used it as an example, as a way to convey his message to us.
Consequently, the question of the most importance is: what is Christianity? Or, more exactly, what is the Christian theology? It is difficult to answer at this question seriously, and probably people will never write enough books on this topic. Instead, they wrote lots of books with propagandistic purposes, to provide the common people a convenient behaviour, accordingly to priests' interests. The Bible was used intensely and misinterpreted, which makes things more complicated, because any different idea is immediately rejected, just because it is different. Any religion is conservative.
Many times, maybe most times, the priests themselves did not understand the Christian message, or more probably did not want to understand. Why? Because their interest was not to guide people, to teach them, but to keep them at their disposal! That's why their recommendations sometimes were just in opposition to those of the Christian teaching. Often they embraced the older ideas, the pre-Christian ones, because such ideas are more useful and according to priest's interests. Fear and humility are among their spurs. They changed the word 'idols' with 'God' but kept the same attitude.
Christianity gave us the humanism and the dignity, not the lack of them. As for the Apocalypse, this is a monument of non-Christianity.
Also, you must view that people from throughout the world are God's children, and - if they are of different religions - this is so because God wants it so. Consequently, there are not bad or right religions, but different God's projects.
If we are as we are, there are two variants:
Anyway, if God has put a curtain between he and us, we should respect his will, and not try to imagine all kind of things occurring beyond the curtain. God shows himself to every one of us according to our imagination and understanding.
Coming back to the Bible, for me, it is an important book, maybe the most important, but I always read it wondering myself what was the genuine message of the authors, either under the divine inspiration or not.
But, what is Christianity? To understand it, we have to look around, especially in the past. Thinking to the past, we must begin with the Old Testament, whence we learn about God in opposition with idols. It was a good step, but it was not the first at all. Before it, Jewish people conceived a God only for their nation, and made from Judaism a national religion. This was good for them, but not for the others. Why they did this way it is accountable. We can talk about it, but this is their problem, and maybe their mistake. Christianity extended the concept of a God for all the nations and turned their beliefs to divinity from fear to love. The idols used to be pitiless and pretending immolation in order to gain their goodwill, while God is benevolent, a benefactor and does not want immolation. He wants for us only to have decent behaviour, because we are his children, and he is the Father.
But changing the God of Israel people into a universal divinity, the Christians turned the God into a new idol. The only difference is that God is not materialised into an object or a being. As for God's kindliness, even if it is frequently asserted, the Bible contains many more paragraphs destined to terrify man, to implant in his soul the fear of a merciless final judgement of God. The priests are guilty for all these. It is understandable too, because they preferred the old and verified method of fear in order to keep the people under their control. That's why we must discern between the genuine good intentions and the result, marked by some people's subsequent interest.
But the priests are not guilty only for these. Their mistakes provoked all kind of schisms, ending with all the sects that appeared in our time like the mushrooms after the rain. Almost all the people I talked with - belonging to no matter which sect - used to be ignorant enough not only concerning the religion, but also in history and all-round education, generally.
Is Jesus alive or not? The question comes again
in my mind, even if I said that it is not so important. Some people ask if
Jesus really existed as a human being. Roman documents do not mention him at
all, or we know that in
The idea of a good divinity was not just new.
The Greeks advanced it a long time ago, and it would have been impossible for the
Jewish to not knowing about it. The Apostle Paul himself was a Jew from
Jesus was a prophet because he conveyed ideas from the philosophers to the common people. For this purpose he gave his life. This is generally a prophet: someone able to understand philosophy, and able as well to communicate with people, which common philosophers cannot. Socrates had already made the supreme sacrifice for his ideas. He was aware that only through his death, his ideas would survive; and he accepted to drink the cup with hemlock.
It is true, Jesus Christ was a Jew from
Maybe a part of the Bible was written under the divine inspirations, but surely not entirely. It is full of priests' wishes and ideas - some of them belonging to the Jews'. There were also many other writings. What was accepted to be "The Bible" is a selection of what some priests considered being opportune. As any human deed, it could be non-perfect. This is one more reason to read the Bible in an intelligent way.
Children know a lot about the Bible. But, in time, as they grow up, their faith diminishes. First, a child learns that Father Christmas, he who - after a thrilling waiting - gives him presents, and fills his soul with joy, he, Father Christmas himself was not a fabulous personage, but a well-known individual, and everything was only a little theatre, specially staged for children. After such a deception, it is almost a logical consequence to come to the conclusion that the whole religion is a story for children, in which he stops to believe when he no longer consider to be a child. Later on, when he learns at school that, in the name of Christianity, people made the greatest atrocities (Inquisition, crusades, etc.), and when he find by himself that some priests are not the most educated persons to be his masters, his faith is completely wiped out. The endeavour to preach the Bible to a grown-up, only with some biblical stories and some threats, has no more chances.
For all that, religion is still necessary. Where is the mistake? I think it is in the weak quality of the priests. They do only their duty of keeping the religious service. They ceased to be people's confessors, and most times have not the necessary intellectual level. They are not able to respond to the matters of the real life. The parishioners frequently are more educated.
Coming back to the children, the priests do not know how to preserve the contact with children when they learn that Father Christmas is not real, and explain that any story has morale, and the morale is that which matters. "God has established a moral code, which he wishes his children to adopt." It is Aeschylus who wrote this, five centuries before Jesus.
If Judaism is a national religion, it was the apostle Paul, who removed this limit and who found a universal religion. This is why he may be considered the ideologist of Christianity. A belief in a good-hearted, people-loving God has appeared, a belief of poor people for which life after death is the single solace. It took about 400 years for the politicians to realize that the tolerance preached by Christian doctrine could be used for manipulating people. It was not hard at all, as the Bible is full of contradictions, which is understandable keeping in mind that it was written in different periods by many authors. Beside a forgiving God, we find reminiscences of a vindictive one, and the Apocalypse destroys everything that they had built till then. It is clear that such capitols are no longer of a divine inspiration, but of one very secular, not religious, namely priestly. It is no wonder that, 1000 years later, Inquisition, Crusades, etc. appeared in Occidental Europe. They inverted the sense of the Christian doctrine. God has become a tyrant, and the king is his representative on the earth, to whom people had to raise hymns and prayers.
Nowadays European civilisation is considered to
be a result of the Christian doctrine. Is this assertion just so true? Yes, and
no! In the
After the collapse of the
The feudal lords did not feel the need of
wearing the title of king. It was Pepin the Short, who had the idea of crowning
himself as King of the Franks. Why? Because the first real danger appeared, in
the form of Arabian expansion. Hhis father, Charles Martel, succeeded in
persuading his neighbouring lords to fight together against a common threat, which
brought about the battles of
Shaking hands with the bishop of
Where the mistake lies? From the beginning, we must discern between the two ways of the propagation of Christianity:
It is easy to imagine how convincing the
missionaries could be with the sword in their right hand. The effects of such endeavours
can be seen today in
Still, the clergy had some moments of
hesitation. Unfortunately, they did not try to re-appraise the doctrine, but
only to better justify the existing one. The Occident particularly, wanting to
detach himself from the
If the diversity of
From the moral point of view, the idea of predestination is disastrous, because man is deprived of any hope, his efforts are vain, as God – like the idols – is capricious and malevolent with the majority of people. (What seems to me an anachronism is that the idea of predestination was assimilated by J. Calvin and restarted in the circuit of European religious ideas by neo-protestant churches.)
What Catholic Church fructified – maybe
speculated is better said – from Saint Augustine’s work was his dispute with
Pelagius. It comes from the wish of the church of reconciling belief with reasoning,
just after it abandoned the reasoning. But, only after he kneeled his
Another principle for which Christian churches contradict each other is that of Holy Spirit: Does it come only from the Father or from the Son as well? Much time I did not understand why priests warm up around this topic. I figured out only when I realized the political implications of this principle. In Orthodox religion, under the influence of Greek philosophy, there is the conception that the Holy Spirit can come down on community of persons, not only on a single individual. At the beginning, the Christian Church did not have a rigorous hierarchy, as the Catholic Church becomes later, with a single leader on top, the Pope. Since the year 800, after the handshake between Charlemagne and Pope, there was a single earthborn able to communicate directly with God: the Pope. The threat from God as far as the smallest being must be as precise as possible, in order for the church to keep autocratically his hand on the whole society. God sends the Holy Spirit only toward the Pope, and the Pope sends his will when and to whom he wants, exactly like God. The King is the Pope’s favourite, the monarchy supports the church and church supports the monarchy. The smallest failure would weaken the whole setup. That’s why the rigidity of the hierarchy of the church became not only organizational, but doctrinal too. The explanation is not religious, but political and economical.
The next on the list of Catholic doctrinarians
is Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274). Unlike
A later and desperate attempt to answer at more
and more pronounced development of Rationalism was Pascal’s cooptation. Still,
Pascal, mathematician and physicist, realized that one could not use reason for
fighting against reason. What would be his fundamental book, Apologie de la religion Chrétienne
(Apology of the Christian Religion), he never wrote. “Pensées” was published posthumously and it is gathering selected
and truncated by those from
Even Luther did not stay away from the
distorted interpretations of the Catholic Church, as its priests, headed by the
Pope, he become a sort of more advanced shamans, and forgot Jesus’ message
entirely. Luther’s question shook the Christian world: “Could you think he is kind-hearted the one who save so few souls and
who condemn so many? Could you think he is righteous the one that through his
will make us necessary condemnably, as he seems to enjoy by wretch’s
anguishes….. He sooner is worthy by hatred then love. Oh, if I could understand
how could be kind-hearted and righteous this God proving so much rage and
injustice!” Theoretically, Pelagius had been annihilated more than a
thousand years ago, while
There is still a lack of respect for historical
truth according to occidentals today. Now, they begin to recognize a more
evident: the role of Greeks in the nascence of Renaissance, role amplified by
their massive emigration from
That reason finally proves the fall into disgrace of the Catholic Church together with the monarchy. Today only some politicians speak about religion, demagogically of course, and writing “In God we trust” on every banknote is a trivial blasphemy.
Maybe I sometime am a little hard, but about such believers, Sartre was even worse: “They kill in working days and confess with modesty in Sundays”.
Every society has its scholars, and if they are not just clever, at least they philosophise (philo + sophos), namely they appreciate wisdom. Maybe all people philosophise (I have some doubts about the politicians), with the exception of the bigots. Some of them do it better, other less well, some accidental, other more perseverant, but they do it. A philosophic current grows up in this way usually in the opposition with the official one. Yes, authentic philosophers appear all the time. Some of them have great knowledge understand, power and a large scholarly knowledge,. They build a new paradigm. Unfortunately, such persons don’t have abilities in communication. For ignorant people, they seem to be odd people. Then, the prophets appear. They are persons that, on the contrary, are particularly gifted regarding communication and, at the same time, are clever enough to understand what philosophers say. In my opinion, the majority of the creators of great religions were from this category. Interesting to observe is that, in their life, almost always there was a period of meditation, in which it is to suppose that the prophet established the strategy by which he hoped to persuade the populace with the philosophic ideas that he has just assimilated. One must speak to the people according to their understanding. They need miracle, parables and especially stories.
In this way, a new religion appears, in order to implement among the population philosophical paradigm. Through some metaphors, counsels etc., the traditions are set down. The simple man keeps the tradition. He does not act from rational reasons, but because he was taught in this way. Even the sagest ones do not think every step, but go habitually, from routine. Only the important steps we should think, if possible.
So far, everything is perfect. Both philosophers and prophets have the best intentions. But, along with religion, the priest appears. They are common people, who see a job in the church. Not without reason, someone observed, “The Jesuits made from the belief a business”. They dilute the original idea, pollute it with personal interests, and finally they arrive at the opposed idea. That is so, because „Les aveugles nous apprennent à voir” as Jules Renard said.
Not long after, the politicians found ways through which they could use the new religion in their interest. It becomes the base for political propaganda. From this moment on, there is nothing to do, but to invent a new religion. This does not mean the new one will be better that the previous one. History proves it has not occurred. On the contrary, the most generous idea, through deformation, gives birth to disastrous politics.
Let us follow the evolution of main religion:
The Christians eliminated the obsession of
“chosen nation”, but maintained those of nation and war, as a means for
imposing political will of a nation against the others. The idea with cheek
offered for another slap, instead, was obsolete, anyway. The good-hearted God
goes in crusades, which were as a matter of fact robbery expeditions, and so
on. In the XVI-th century, Erasmus Desiderius (from
I took the Greeks out of the equation; they were too clever, even for us, without talking about the epoch in which they produced basic values still actual. Through their myth of Endless Re-entry, we see the link with oriental religion. (“Man is nothing more than the shadow of a smoke” – Aeschylus in “Man is only a happening”, “World never die, as the beginning joins with the end, like a snake biting its tail”, “Man is a God lapsed, who bethinking by the heaven” etc. But “Man is a joy made by gods” bring us in full biblical genesis. Through Plato, we catch a glimpse of Christianity. As for Democritus and Leucippus, we find them to be some creators of atomist theory of Universe. Almost for every discovery, even the most modern, we learn that at least an embryo existed in Greek thought. The Greek enthusiasm was for the joy of living and not for vanquishing an imaginary enemy (enthusiasm = en-theon-siasmos = the state in which God dwells inside you). But with measure! Even the Stoicism has its roots in Greek moral too, which is, pointedly, an ascetic and pacificator moral, which does not create the well in us, but cleans the well that, naturally, there is in us (so they thought) by the evil laid over him from outside. (We can see that even the Greeks were wrong sometimes.) And, Greeks’ gods were used to lose the divine sense when their eyes fell on a pretty woman, because the Greeks are so: love life, and the religions are written by people according with their aspirations.
The absence of a sacerdotal hierarchical class salved both the Orientals and the Greeks and made them wiser. We must conclude that, meanwhile, the world became less and less rational, in spite of the Rationalism by which we make such a great fuss about, today.
Religion takes part from the history of civilizations, with its good and evil. Religion is what sets up traditions and rituals. The whole philosophy of an epoch is to be found concretized in people’s behaviour and this is materialized in people’s tradition and – important – in legends and story-tales for children. It is normal, because people want to educate their children as they think to be the best, to convey to them what they feel is wise. For this reason, an intelligent analysis of story tales could be richer in senses than it seems. Philosophers’ writings from one epoch will enter people’s conscience slowly, over a period of time, while the mentality of a epoch is given by previous philosophic thought, which need time to form mentalities at people’s level.
Speaking about story tales, according to the oriental ones, a young man becomes a hero as a result of a brave act. After a short pastime in the imperial court, he finds a wife and retires in an isolate site, where he lives quietly for the rest of his life. The essential idea of the isolation is to be away from the high society with its fights and intrigues. This sort of behaviour is according with oriental conception; congenial with man is a part of a unique Universe, in which he will come back sometime. He is only an individual. Mankind is only an incidental crowd of individuals and is not interested in its whole. Instead, according to French legends, we find the hero giving his life for his country, like Roland, because the Frenchmen was just preparing to become a nationalist nation. Arthurian Legends, on the other hand, form a knight’s character to fight his whole his life for an ideal. As for Greek mythology, it maybe is the amplest reflection of a people. Gods used to be like men, with qualities and especially flaws, because, if something is allowed by gods, why would it not be allowed to people as well? And, of course, the powerful ones afford more than the poor ones.
But, all of these depend on the quality of those who convey the mentalities from one generation to the next. And if we refer to the past, they depended mostly on the priests, as they had the greatest influence, with its goods and evils. Let us not forget that even schools existed thanks to the church. It is difficult for us to learn how faithful a priest is. Most of them chose priesthood as a job as anything else from practical reasons and not from a special grace or gift. At the best, the priest is a pedagogue, a confessor offering to people moral support and necessary teachings for a decent life. In most cases, he is only a functionary who performs rituals.
Anyway, we should see religion in a larger context and judge it through its historical prospective, like human civilisation, with which it is tightly connected.
Almost all pre-Christianity religions and the present oriental ones, have in view a static, unchanging Universe. According with such doctrines, individuals are some accidental configurations from the same eternal matrix, into which they are to return after a while. The fate plays the essential role in their life. People have nothing to do except their own individual preparation for returning as soon as possible into that universal matrix. There is nothing between individuals and the Universe. Instead, in the Christian doctrine, there is a beginning - God has created the world - and an end is to come, because any beginning must have an end. The destiny of every person is in his own hands. He is no longer dependent on fate. The world, at least our world, is changeable. Besides, we are not alone. All people are God's creatures. He equally loves them, and asks us to love each other as well. People are no longer indifferent to others. Fate plays a smaller role. That's why Christianity moulded another sort of people. Atheists or Christians, we all are the result of this doctrine as part of our culture and civilization, both concerning our good deeds and our evil ones as well. Christianity has made us active and enterprising people, sometimes too enterprising.
And still, the word 'meditation' does not have sense in Christian doctrine. It is peculiar only for oriental faiths where people meditate to purify themselves for a future life. A Christian does not meditate but prays. During his prayer, he implores God to help him. People without much will, lazybones or the dishearten ones implore more often God's help. Trustworthy people instead usually forget the God, thinking that they succeed by themselves. They remember him only before an important but uncertain trial. Then, they ask for God's help to overcome the moment or to conquer an enemy, even if this battle is contrary to the Christian doctrine. It makes me to think that our emotional mood needs the faith.
From Christianity toward Communism and backwards
A traveller in the
It seems that, in philosophy, as in religion (which is nothing else but an applied philosophy under metaphor form), all ways are “round-trip”, as the same ideas re-appear periodically under different forms. As for the price, no one estimates it before; we will see how much its cost was post factum.
The Bible teaches us that all people are equal
in God’s eye. Well, this means they are equal with each other. From here until
the idea of democracy is no more than a step, just a very small one. Greeks’
democracy, forgotten in the meantime, comes again, timid at the beginning, but
stronger and stronger as time passes. It was natural for the leaders not to
receive it with pleasure; but - aware that they could not hinder it – they
concluded it would be wiser to use it, with some adjustments, instead of
interfering with it. The solution was so good that it allowed the coalition
church-politics to dominate for more than a thousand years. As any exaggeration
leads to self-destruction, what inevitably occurred and culminated with the
social explosion, best symbolized by French Revolution in 1789. From then on,
democracy had a free way. But, such a transformation like this could not be
accomplished quickly. As for the perfection, this remains an ideal. Occidental
We recognize democracy in the third type. Any type has its deviant forms:
All types have their qualities and flaws, so,
inevitably, it turns into other types when the discontentment of people exceeds
an acceptable threshold. Aristotle had in view all kind of countries, including
those very small ones, sometimes limited at a single citadel, and the
slave-owning system, where only the ‘citizens’ might go to the polls. In the
first chapter of the same book, Aristotle specifies who has the right to be a
citizen. In such small towns-state, like
Democracy needed a period of oppression for this nowadays-triumphant explosion to occur. This period was Middle Age, which put an end to antique democracies and started the blackest epoch, comparable with that of soviet communism, in which Christianity was replaced with the Marxism. It seems that the church was afraid of Christian-leveling principles and then took possession of its name, but only after turning its principles into some false ones, according with the interests of the monarchy.
After Renaissance, monarchy and church tottered
together, due to the exaggerations they had done together. (The monarchy
formally survived in several countries like
As the monarchy needed to be replaced with something, they wanted it to be democracy. But, as I have already shown, a real democracy, namely a governing by the majority, would not be possible in modern states, too large and with problems much too complex for being understandable by all the people. They maintain democracy only at the propagandistic level. We have democracy through our representatives (stupid mob elect its clever men). And, because a religion is necessary (religion, not church), democracy played this role of social ideal, particularly because the rabble liked it, and the main political chances in Europe were revolutionary, therefore the participation of the mob. That’s why, no matter what form of government, any country can call itself a democrat one. “Give to people bread and circus”, the Romans used to say. The circus is to be found today in electioneering.
In reality, the majority of modern states are elitist, aristocratic or oligarchic, according to the way in which the elite are recruited and their education.
How the enlistment is made, we may emit all kind of theories, but it is clear that any parent will try to promote his child and any politician will try to surround himself with men loyal to himself. This is just the main mistake made by the communist leaders, a mistake that led to the collapse of the system. For doing the recruitment by promoting the real values, some other criterions must exist, other interests. Property is one of them. In this regard, the capitalist system proved to be better, because – in spite of some monstrous mistakes – it recovered itself every time. The communist one, instead, failed after its first generation. The explanation is that, while the capitalist system is a natural one, in which the feedback works – even if with some delay – the communist system was artificial and collapsed when the combustible (enthusiasm) was exhausted, the energy of the initiators finished.
Also, there are no real royalties in our days, so that we may speak only about aristocracies or oligarchies. All modern countries are governed by a group of people, sometimes better, sometimes worse. Demagoguery is their adjective and the first deceit.
As liberation of intellect under
monarchic-religious doctrinal stress of the Middle Ages unbridled to democracy,
it seems unusual the first book about communism as social ideal, “Utopia”, was written by Thomas More in
the other part of Europe, in England. The mother of Renaissance was
Utopian literature appeared from a compensator necessity, followed after the disparagement of the religion. The hope in life after life must be replaced with something. And so, the Utopia appeared as another hope, this time as a social solution. At a more attentive look, Christianity itself is a social utopia as well, because it appeared as a religion for poor and or fallen people.
As for Marx, he was a shifter Jew wishing to be a prophet. Living during the period of industrial boom (and of democracy too), he thought that proletariat will be the most numerous and will form the most powerful political party. He prophesied what seems to be inevitable. Lenin, more impulsive and ambitious, wanted to be the one that realizes what anyway had to occur. Both of them were wrong, as the proletariat is not so numerous even today. On the contrary, the number of manual workers is smaller and smaller. Besides, they did not understand the essence of the democracy, its limits and possibilities. What they had in mind was a dictatorial society too: “dictatorship of the proletariat”.
I found some time ago a talking-group the topic
of which was “Why Marxism did not die?”. As it was expected, a few messages
were interesting, some amusing and some annoying. Of course, the hardest
“arguments” come from those who do not know much what they are talking about. I
will not say that I should know, but I can add one more opinion, namely the
opinion of someone that knew the effects of one of the Marxism’s
implementation. We, the Romanians, experienced a sort of Marxism imposed by
Soviet Army, so that – except few traitors and stupid people – Marxism,
communism, socialism, etc., are something coming from the East, with a smack of
Urals-Altaic invasion. Things were different in the former
Now, if you want to talk seriously about Marxism as a theoretical idea, you have to adopt a scientific method. First, one must define what Marxism is. In this order, we should read Marx’s writings, to learn what he said in addition to his predecessors. One of his predecessors was Hegel, as Marx himself referred to him. Consequently, we should read Hegel too, and so on. I do not want to dishearten you, but Aristotle did an analysis of political systems and how they turn from one form into another in a perpetual circular motion, A few modern writers added something really important. Marx was not among them.
I cannot consider Marx as a philosopher and a
theologian he was not at all. He did not complicate his existence but entered
directly into propaganda, giving it a philosophic make-up for naïve people.
From three gases, nitrogen, hydrogen and chlorine, therefore apparently from
nothing, one makes ammonia, which can be liquid, solid or gas, but particular malodorous.
Lenin did something similar: from people’s dissatisfactions in face of
injustice, his personal hatred of Christianity and the wish of Ural-Altaic
people to kneel down
Those who know even a little abut Marxism realize that it is a theory of violence. From the beginning, it instigated one part of the society against the other. Violence, crime, terror are not accidental in the history of former or actual communist countries. They are part of its arsenal. “Class struggle” means for communist leaders extermination. And it was not only Marx. He provided only the ideologue base for political propagandists. To Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire wrote: “I received, sir, your new book directed against the human race….. Reading your work, I feel like walking on all fours”. A Romanian thinker, Petre Tutea, said: “The one who until 28-30 years old is not of the left (in politics) has not heart. But if over 30 years old, after reaching the maturity, remain with the same conceptions, it means that he is cretin”. And he again: “Democracy is like distemper of dogs; gets out of it only the strong ones”. He was right; the strong ones know how to manipulate the weak ones, because democracy only bamboozles them. As a matter of fact, Aristotle said: “A state in which everything is in common cannot prosper”.
Here is a simple scheme: parents say to the children all kinds of tale stories in order to teach them useful things. If the method proved to be efficient in children, why not try it with some credulous grown up? They tried and it works. And so, the religion appeared and together with it the politics, because the ones that succeeded became leaders. Religion and politics appeared together and develop themselves together. They are inseparable and immanent of the society. Who says he is not interested in politics or religion is either ignorant or demagogue. Max Weber says approximately the same, but with incomparable more words in “Sociology of Religion”. For the same reason, the religions cannot be analyzed only through their doctrine, but together with people that adopted them and historic context in which they developed. It would be equally wrong to speak about religion in absolute terms, as something isolated, independent, as it would be to ignore religion in historical researches, because every religion is born in order to answer at some necessities. Of course, later, it will influence people’s mentality and the course of events, and so on.
Mircea Eliade, in “The Myth of the Eternal Return”, relates the finding of a researcher while he was recording a popular ballad. The text was a very nice fairytale with goddesses and love. Soon, he learned the story was real and relative recent (40 years ago), found the heroine, she confirmed the facts, but the peasants refused to accept them, preferring the ballad. The myth had become more true than reality.
Nothing is more adequate to lead the mob than superstition. Without superstitions, it is violent, cruel, changeable. Once seduced by the vanities of a religion, the mob listens better to the wizard as the leaders. Man must keep the tradition, namely the religion.
From history textbooks we learn about the most important personalities and events, and particularly when they occurred. Two thoughts are to be observed here:
The relativism of our appreciations might be illustrated with numerous names and events.
The emperor Constantine the Great, for example,
is named also Saint Constantine, because through the Edict of Milan (313) he mandated toleration of Christians in the
Another example is King Henry VIII of
One may continue with Charlemagne’s example. Together with Pope Leo III, he assembled the base for the most monstrous coalition, which lasted over centuries, the effects of which were the moral degradation both of the church and of monarchy.
In religion, the relativism is at its home. Here, it is not the divinity what matters, but the rapport between man and divinity. Divinity itself is conceived on the base of this rapport.
No matter how faithful or unfaithful we would be, no matter our religion, the divinity remain un-cognoscible. It is not conceived according with our philosophy of life, and reciprocally.
Why did the founders of communism want to wipe
out religion? Time proved that it was one of the greatest errors. Not only they
did not succeed, but they estranged people instead of attracting them. It would
be understandable to eliminate the priests, as they pushed away the
intellectuals, because they showed the propagandists’ lies and the errors of
the communist doctrine. But why the religion? The explanation consists in the
fact that they wanted to replace religion with Marxist doctrine. They saw in
Marxism a new religion. Maybe Lenin even thought it. But why mix a
social-politic doctrine with religion? It is true, there were some antecedents
and they did some associations of ideas, some correct, but others erroneous. Religion,
hand in hand with politics, used both to manipulate people easier. The most
eloquent period was that of the Middle Ages, during which the Catholic Church
was something like the unique political party in totalitarian systems and
religion like the political doctrine. The Inquisition is the best proof. The
communists wished to replace Christianity with Marxism. The idea was tempting.
Unfortunately, in the meantime, the Occident abandoned the church as far back
as the French Revolution, in 1789, so that the model became obsolete. Maybe
this is why they thought not to set up the communism in occident, but in
Firstly, the attempt of removing the religion! I think that only hate for Christianity dazzled Lenin, making him to think that a thing like this is possible. A faith is necessary. Some people need it. Besides, through religion they set up habits, traditions, creating a unwritten but respected ethic. As a social being, any person keeps local customs, and any European is, by definition, Christian, even when he declares himself to be atheist. (Sometime, it is amusing to observe these people as they invoke God when they are in a deadlock.) Besides, the religion was so deeply implicated in history, in our becoming, that ignoring it is inconceivable. To do it would mean to deny ourselves. Of course, we could modify it, but not remove it. As for the Bible, it is the first reference book. We could not understand the evolution of European civilisation without it.
A cardinal mistake of the founders of the
communism regarding Christianity was that they did not keep account of the
difference between Catholic and Orthodox churches. If, at its beginning,
Christianity gradually developed, step by step, as a poor people’s faith, later
on, the situation changed itself. The turning point was the fall of the
The similarity between Inquisition, Russian NKVD and Romanian Secret Policy is almost perfect. It gives us an idea why Lenin wanted to remove religion: to replace it with Marxism. He wanted a society like that of Occidental Middle Age with Marx’s “Capital” instead of the Bible.
And something more: the communists addressed the masses. But masses are composed of individuals. For attracting them, one must keep account by the particularities of their personality. Not every person thinks about religion in the same way. On the contrary, it is the field in which our opinions are, maybe, the most different, even when we utter the same words.
Communist propagandists made a mistake even in
their methodology of teaching Marxist doctrine: there were no references to the
past. Any philosopher builds his discourse starting from a predecessor, face to
whom he adds something, or corrects him. Evidently, in this approach, one
supposes the reader knows the predecessor’s theses, who has, at his turn,
another predecessor and so on. Consequently, philosophy must begin with the
beginning. There is a history of philosophy more than a science of philosophy
like chemistry, physics, etc. From modern philosophers, only Kant, “with his talent to deceive himself”, as
Schopenhauer characterized him, had the naivety of thinking that he could build
a complete philosophic system starting from zero. Against the eulogies that
made from Kant a
The poor philosophy…
It seems that philosophy remains the only way to solve our dilemmas. Unfortunately, it went down a long time ago. After Voltaire, some philosophers that “invent systems about the esoteric embodiment of Universe” are “like those travellers that go in Constantinople and speak about seraglio; they seen it only from outside and say that know what sultan does with his favourites”.
From modern philosophers, it is almost
unanimously recognised that the top was Kant, thanks to the monumentality of
As someone observed, “for Kant, the obsession of the hierarchization makes him to put the music on last place, below the gardening, giving as reason the fact that music disturbs the neighbours”. What interests me is not to establish a hierarchy, a prizing dais, but the influence of philosophy in real life. Kant did not enter the life of anyone, and, on the threat of the evolution of German philosophy, it went hand in hand with German mentality. I find Nietzsche being on the top, not because he discovered something, but because he indicated a way on which German nation followed, being on its taste. German philosophy, Germans’ mentality and German politics went together toward German apogee, marked by Hitler – the superman invocated with so much pathos by Nietzsche. About Nietzsche, Giovanni Papini says that he was “the most Anglo-Frenchman German philosopher. Even if he had learnt from Frenchmen how to love fine and subtle things and from Englishmen the practical and clear ones, he did not succeeded to make free his mind by the Teutonic nebulosity”. Giovanni Papini bantered almost all philosophers and “Teutonic nebulosity” is an expression created in his enthusiasm as pamphleteer. We must recognize Nietzsche was only a doctrinal support for Nazism, as Marx was for communism. “Hitler has the endorsement, even the active support of Martin Heidegger, Richard Strauss, Gottfried Benn, Carl Schmitt, Konrad Lorenz, Heisenberg and other German Nobel prizemen. … A cultivate barbarity that knew to recuperate German cultural tradition in own aims. The deification of German culture makes the “intelligentia” to underestimate Hitler’s importance. One cannot conceive that a man who did not finished primary school to close by Stein, Bismarck…. Nothing but the vainglory of their culture made them not to see in Hitler a threatening” – Pascal Bruckner, “The Melancholy of Democracy”.
Criticizing Nietzsche, now I feel needing to rehabilitate him at least a little. Au fond, he was well intentioned. Even his superman was only an attempt to encourage people to get beyond the actual stage and rise a step more. People generally, not a certain person! He underwent like Jesus, who tried to amend the behaviour of Jewish people and not to provoke the birth of a new religion, but, because German people are contented with themselves, entrusted Hitler with the mission to be their superman. The essence of Nietzsche’s philosophy could be found in this paragraph from “Thus Spoke Zarathustra”: “God is a representation (fiction); I want your vision not to go farther than your creative will. … you would shape the Superman”. Which were the consequences of his philosophy? A first effect was the immediate and known one, even if Nietzsche himself adverts to the danger in following paragraph: “This one maybe will not among you, my brothers! But you could be some Superman’s ancestors. Let it to be the best faith of yours”. As it was expect the Germans thought they could bring the future to the present, becoming in this way their own ancestors. What should be a faith became the will of immediately carrying it out. Nietzsche himself suggested this idea by that “maybe”, inadmissible for a philosopher but which denote an inner hidden aspiration. We find out here the same wrong idea: man wants to become his own God. It is a dement answer to another misplaced question: “Who made the world?” with all its derivates: “Who made man?”, “How did man came on the Earth?” and many other similar ones. Could we really live without such stupid questions? Stupid, because we will never learn the answers to them and, inventing answers each and all more fantasist, one created equally much life philosophies, along with their religions, as far as that of the Superman in Hitler’s version, communist ones and … I would go on, but it is not the case.
And, because I mentioned Kant, here is a quote rehabilitating him in a certain measure for his sincerity: “Its partisans (of philosophy) lessen, since those gifted enough to make themselves respected in other sciences do not seem to agree to compromise their reputation in a discipline in which anyone, even if he is unknowing in all the other fields, ventures to utter a definitive judgement”. Yes, here he is right! In old times, philosophy was all-embracing; now we might ask ourselves: what remained of it? As for people “unknowing in the other fields”, let us remind Schopenhauer saying, “A philosopher should study a serious science firstly”, of course for proving his intellectual abilities, or Plato, who put on the frontispiece of his Academy the slogan “Who is not a geometrician does not enter here”.
I remember myself that, when I started to read more seriously philosophy (I avoid the word “study”, as it seems to me to be rather “precious”) for my simple curiosity of seeing what the “scholars” deal with, I approached it as any science: I procured myself some basic books and sat down with a pencil in hand. With the pencil, I did not want to do so much. Instead, piles of dictionaries and encyclopaedias agglomerated my desk soon, because I was reading like from a foreign language. I said to myself that, maybe my intellect is not so good. This thought ambitioned me more and I insisted. In time, I did get even a little fervour. Fortunately, my fancy was gone and I realized that the most part of such text are only a parade of words produced by people who have nothing to say. Still, there was a captivating phase as well, when, almost systematically, after the ravishment achieves by an author’s genial glitter, the following one brings off a disillusion, showing the flaws from the predecessor’s theory, followed by a new theory, more attractive, but which will be proved latter to have its weaknesses too, and so on, maybe for adverting us that in the world there is dialectics, not only binary logic, there is penumbra, not only light and dark. Close to our years, things seem to rush themselves like a race in a bobsled, where, because of the speed, the bobsled goes from a wall to the other faster and faster. Then, all small problems disappear and only two chief questions remain: “could we keep the bobsled on the toboggan?” and “how long until we reach the end is?”. These questions are in sport. In life we should know the axis face to which we need to keep the equilibrium. As for the end, it is without sense here. Still, there is only a moral: let us not haste toward a catastrophic one and, if possible, to make life as agreeable we can in existing conditions.
The purpose of any philosophy is to find out the means through which man can get the happiness or at least a modus vivendi in which he feels well. For this, a first task is to know the world inside of which he lives and to identify the sources of unhappiness, in order to eliminate them. Along the centuries, he did it in many different ways.
As an integral knowledge of the universe is impossible, man imagined every time a cosmogony according with the ethic of the society of that time, cosmogony that served as base for respective religion, through which people apply in their life the principle of that ethic. From this reason, it is without sense to search for logical explanations beyond the level for which a certain cosmogony was created. So, in Christianity, everything begins with the idea that god created the world, our universe. Nobody asks what occurs at the God’s level. Has he brothers, sisters, parents? Such questions would be considered real blasphemies by every Christian believer. In Christianity, our world, the single interesting us, had a beginning and, consequently, will have an end, which will be a collective one. Thereafter, the individual’s happiness cannot be found but in the middle of the collectivity inside of which he lives. Extreme-Oriental religions start from a more general concept: Universe is immutable and infinite in time and space. Every individual has fallen off from there by an accident and he will come back after several reincarnations. His unhappiness and the getting of his happiness are personal affairs without any link with the others. Both for oriental and occidental believers, absolute happiness is intangible in real life, but it is promise in after-life. Till then, man must keep the moral principles of the society where he lives, principles established by the religion for which that cosmogony was imagined. Only keeping the general-accepted ethic, the extreme-oriental man might come back in the original universe and the Christian one to reach in Heaven and not in Hell.
The Greeks imagined a mythology specific for a society composed of slaves and free men, where the position of everyone is predetermined, anterior established, but the interval between deities and men is populated with semi-deities, heroes, etc, so that there is a chance for anyone to build his own future.
From these three categories above-mentioned, result three very different types of human behaviours.
Today, most people admit neither a cosmogony or religion and want to feel free of any constraint, ready to do everything cross their mind. From homosexuality to toxico-mania, everything – if is not admissible yet – it must become free as soon as possible. Although there is not yet an adequate cosmogony, the absence of any ethic criterions tends to become a new religion. If it will be so, surely it will be the last one.
Fortunately, nothing from these will happen and the humanity will go on in his oscillations between the two extremes – dictatorship and democracy – as he always did when he did not succeeded in keeping a rational equilibrium between them. It is expected that nowadays-oratorical excesses for democracy, destined to disguise the trend toward the dictatorship, to disappear in one way or another. „History repeats itself in the large scheme of things because human nature changes with geological leisureliness” say us an English maxim.
But, the Catholics did not give up to coquette with philosophy and probably still strive for inscribing famous names on their frontispiece. One of the latest found was Henry Bergson. He is an appreciated philosopher, and the Catholics’ joy was wondrous when converted him from Judaism to Christianity. Unfortunately for them, Bergson, along with his convert, entered politics and produced nothing new on philosophic or religious field, and what he had written before is not useful for Catholic doctrine. “The Two Sources of Morality and Religion” (1932) really is a quintessence of his thought, but it synthesizes his older ideas, even if it was written later. He insists a lot on the élan vital, or vital force, but the idea is neither very new (Schopenhauer did it much better) nor convincing. What he strives to explain very well is the complementarity of religion and reason, looked as natural, human, tendencies. He does not speak explicitly about a certain religion, but about religion generally, the role of which is to establish some traditions with final effect in ethics. Bergson is not at all a theologian. Excepting some declarations of complaisance, he remains a philosopher, a very good analyst, which gives me the possibility to agree with him, at least partially. I like especially his comparison with the pendulum, which, after every deviation, comes back to the normal position, even if only for an instant, in his way toward the opposite position. It happens the same in nature, for the closed societies, as he named them. Still, humanity is an open society, because it evolves thanks to men’s innovative character. Unfortunately, so far, his evolution was unidirectional, with a catastrophic end, because the pendulum does not give signs to come back.
relates with stupor about two “foreign
nobles, came from far, but dressed like us (French), walking among us, amiable
and affable, but which, after a little time, turned in their country and
affiliated at two different parties, one of them sent the other to the hanging,
only for getting rid of an uncomfortable adversary”. Bergson did not have
time to know Pol Pot and his team massacring the Cambodians. I do not know how
accidentally they had been “educated” in
I am not a philosopher but in etymological sense of the word: love (philo) for wisdom (sophia), especially when wisdom belongs to others. This position offers to me the advantage that I may express my opinions more freely than a professional one. Even Ortega y Gasset encourages me, saying that "philosophy keeps its virginity in spite of its repeated violations". So, if it resisted to Nietzsche or Kant, how much of what someone like me says could count. Surely, philosophy so philosophy is not in danger.
It is clear: we need salvation. If it comes only from God, the question is “which God? The benevolent or the punishing one?” I would dare a puerile answer: if God is our father, then maybe he treats us like a parent. As a sage one, who prepares his children for life, or as a stupid one, who only coddle them?
As a parent, God teaches us lessons according to our age. If sometimes his indications seem to be contradictory, it does not mean that he is inconsequent, but that we are in another stage of our evolution. Consequently, the Bible could not be a unique document. In the meantime, we grew up a little, don’t we? Maybe we overpass the age of abecedary. A thing is sure: God did not give the Bible to Adam when he banished him from the Garden of Eden to have it as an orientation guide. He gave it later to humanity. And, even later, he sent Jesus for conveying a message to us, completing the Bible in this way with several chapters. Do we have reasons to think that he did not go on sending to us other messages? If he went on giving us messages - and it would be normal to do so - then our problem is to pick up these messages, to interpret and apply them. As long as we confine ourselves to interpret – mostly wrong – the same book, written several thousands of years ago surely we are no longer under God’s leading.
In the other part of the world, independent of
the Christianity, there live people of an older faith, whom we prefer to
ignore. Still, political games of the 20th century were made by Mao. If for
each Chinese, one would require 100 grams more of rice – like the German model
– then world’s economy would be messed up. Mao was the one who governed them. As
a communist country, if he would cooperate with the
And Mao had another quality as well: he did not prohibit any religion. As a matter of fact, he would not have the possibility to do it, as oriental religion are not hierarchic organized, like the European ones, so he did not have what to dissolve. In the Orient, religion and wisdom, sometime, are confounded each other and I do not see how could someone to forbid the wisdom. With all his mistakes, and there were a lot, we must recognize that few occidental political leaders were at his level. From classic German philosophy to Hitler, from French revolution, with it equalizer excitations, to the Soviet communism, the road of our stupidity always was paved with good intentions, but with what effects? One thing is certain: we must rethink our philosophy or, more exactly, to think it, as what we love to call rational, logical, proved to be only the product of our desires. Logics can bring forth paradoxes.
We may speak about two currents in philosophy: one that regards it as any science that has its field and the other, which consider that only a history of philosophy is interesting, that a philosophy as it does not exist, but only people philosophising. Kant is a supporter of the first current. He thinks that philosophy must be approached frontal, as any science, and not through the prism of the evolution of our knowledge about it, as the real world does not change it laws according with our knowledge. He is obstinate in thinking that a field of philosophy even exists and build something that seemed to be the most solid system philosophic. It was not long and his “formidable” system, in spite of its rigour – which really is remarkable – proved to have even more flaws than other older systems. It seems that the sore point of Philosophy is just the inconsistence of its field. If in the past philosophy included all thinking fields, in time, every science delimited and extract its particular field. Finally, we ask ourselves: what remains for philosophy? It remains just the history of them, but not exposed pedant, with affectation, for showing author’s glitter, but a part of the history of civilisation, because, it shows us – together with the other sciences – the way in which our civilisation developed itself. In fact, history itself would be a history of human thought and not of some events or personalities. Louis XIV, for example, known as the Son King, is shown as the most representative exponent of the monarchy, was in reality the one who – by his exaggerations and the futility of his intellect – contributed to the destruction of the monarchy.
Sometimes, we speak about happiness, even if we
could not imagine it. Dante reaches only as far as the doorway of
There are persons thinking that happiness consists in doing nothing. It is obvious that it is not true, as persons that succeed in doing nothing are not happy. Theoretically, there are more three possibilities besides the one that I have just discussed:
The first one seems to be absurd: how not to want, and still to do and be happy for it. The second is a sure way toward the discontent because you did not attain to do what you have proposed, so the opposite of the happiness. The third one, even if it seems odd, is identical with the initial hypothesis. To do nothing, to do almost nothing, to do something, to do very much etc., are stairs both for wish and for act. What counts for happiness is not the level on which they are, but the rapport between their postures. In other words, our mood depends on their posture on two different stairs.
It remains the second variant, initial considered absurd and over which it seems we pass too fast. Is it possible this one to be the true one? To do something that I had not proposed really seems absurd. It is true that I can enjoy for a thing already done and for it I must no longer take great pains, not even to think about it. But how to do something without thinking to do it?
An example is crossing my mind. Many men think the shaving as plague and – if they allow – do it as rare as they can. I thought so until I learnt that it is easier to do it daily than aleatory. Since then I shave myself in every morning, immediately after getting up from the bed and before waking completely. I do not have think about it, because it already is a reflex action. The fact that during the day I always am fresh gives me a sentiment – if not of happiness – at least of normality. Otherwise, I should feel more then unhappy. (I do not insist!)
My example is a very small one. The question is if this logic works in other serious cases too. If yes, then how could we do unconsciously something that could bring us some satisfactions?
Here is another example. While I was reading a book, an idea crossed my mind. It came alone. I did not know that it would come, so I could not want it. Of course, I enjoyed. Still, the idea did not come just by itself. The lecture of the book suggested it to me. So, I was doing something, but not a hard work. I was revelling in it. Here, maybe I am a little wrong. Someone, sometime, made me not only to read, but to learn the alphabet as well. Later, like the shave, it became a reflex action and now I can enjoy of its advantage, because I forgot its disadvantages, although a child learns many things by playing and does them with pleasure. More unpleasant was when, during the play, I was hurting at my knees. I remember it because they were aching.
But, what I was speaking about? Ah, yes, about happiness. No, it does not come from the knees. The tradition might have a role.
I read now, after I wrote so much about religion, what I should have read first: Kant’s “Religion Within the Boundaries of Reason Alone“.It begins well! I remark that his starting position confirms my intuition. Kant first asks himself if man is naturally good or evil. He ascertains that man is evil, but has a tendency to become good. In other words, he would want to do well, but did not succeed. Hereinafter, I observe that Kant’s approach is based on a relative reference point: morale. Besides, for Kant, the morale means the law. But law is a consequence, a synthesis of a way of life, of a society, of our society, of our philosophy. To search the fundamental truth starting from its last consequences in a society that evaluated itself at random, means to put the cart before the horses, with the observation that a team like this could go, even more difficult, unlike Kant’s logic, which does not work at all. A great scholar said: “Give me a fulcrum and I overturn the earth”. He refers the principle of levers. Well, just the fulcrum is not stable at Kant’s theory, as a mater of fact, it does not exist, because the moral law is a consequence and not a cause. And then, the whole philosophic building is aerial, artificial. After some divagations, Kant finally affirms firmly: “Man is evil naturally” (chapter II). Besides, he tries to identify “the origin of Evil in human nature” (chapter IV). Then, like in any well-written novel, the hope appears: there is in man “a genuine predisposition toward the Well”. Namely, man is naturally evil, but inclined toward the Well. Reading these pages, I imagined man on a pedestal of Evil, looking down, where the Well used to be and toward which he was inclined, and I was afraid for him not to become dizzy, knowing about a sure predisposition of him, the vertigo, which is natural. Less fearful, Kant still identified a danger of man’s inclination toward the Well: if we leave it at the will of hazard and develops itself irresponsible. Of course, Kant does not note it without purpose. Immediately he offers us his solution: the religion. Finally, he adverts us to the “bad ministration” of religion by the priests, so that after we whirled like a cat around his tail, we ask ourselves: what is the use of this talk about Well and Evil? Now, Kant seems to be a sincere believer, which explains in a certain measure his logic (or its lack). I recognize that, after this remark, the man Kant seems to me almost tolerable, more human, if I may express this way. But, he become again a philosopher, needs to get us out from the circle within we endlessly circumrotate and gives us the final solution: Pure Reason. Theoretically, it is perfect, at least in his imagination, but practically he offers nothing. Kant stops here, and I think the he does very well. His whole building seems a simple philosophic exercise, unfortunately with the same obsession: Pure Reason. The idea of a pure reason could be agreeable, but – as religion was “badly ministered” by the priests (when their reason disappeared), the reason as well could lead toward negative consequences. We already knew some. In conclusion, any exaggeration is looser.
Now, the true philosophers make more and more literature. In other words, they express the ideas in a way accessible for all educated readers. Sometimes it is difficult what to call them: philosophers or writers? On the other hand, scholars from other fields need at old age to convey their personal meditations. In this way, the philosophy comes again in the area of love (philo) of wise (sophia), not through the contribution of its „professionals” but through that of the real thinkers, if this term is not rather pretentious.
The man’s efficiency in the face of nature, his detachment face to the other animals, lies in organization. As individual, man is weak; organized is the most powerful
Human society, like those of bees, ants, monkeys etc. has a natural structure of organization, with leaders and subordinates, handlers and handled mass. The complexity of the hierarchy of human societies must not make us to lose sight of the fact its natural character. There are natural laws that we ought to know and keep. Consequently, any attempt to modify its natural structure is doomed to failure or a source of errors.
It results that one of first problems is that of the selection of the leaders. I do not know how is in bees or ants. In primates, and generally in big animals, the dominant male imposes himself by force. In men, the leaders need arguments to persuade their fellows to follow then and not the others.
From the political point of view, we catalogue the societies just based on the way in which the leaders are selected: how they reach at power and how they keep the power. The classics of the antiquity identified three basic types of organisations, through which the societies cross cyclically, because no one of them is perfect, and people’s dissatisfactions make them think that the other one would be better. They are monarchy, democracy and oligarchy. Aristotle named them royalty, a republic and aristocracy, with their derived forms: tyranny, oligarchy and demagogy (“Politika”, book III, chapter V). In my opinion, oligarchy is the fitted word for the natural organization, toward which one comes back repeatedly, and monarchy and democracy are the two opposite each other, toward any society oscillates like a pendulum. At any passing from a form to the other, only a change of personages occurs, with some smaller or greater disorders, after which the society comes back to its natural organization, unfortunately only transiently toward the opposite position. Why they behave this way is people’s bustle and the wish of some to leaders instead of the others. (If bustle is a word less imposing, replace it with Bergson’s “élan vital”, Schopenhauer’s “will” or other consecrated terms. I would introduce the term “vital instinct” or better “expansionist instinct”, something like a personal “Big Bang”.
Every change must be prepared, justified, make arguable. Ample scenarios are built in this order, in which besides social-political arguments, engrafted on permanent people’s dissatisfactions, religious arguments appear, sometime even a new religion, necessary for giving people a hope. In the last analyze, monarchy, democracy and anything else, are only scenarios, or – to be more modern - screen plays.
But the organization supposes communication and here there is the key of humanity’s success: man invented the language especially for communicating. Organization and language developed themselves together in order to coordinate people’s actions, beginning with the hunting of primitive man until the most complex activities of our days.
Along with the society, language developed itself as well. So it always happened and so it does now. If someone deludes himself with the fancy that the evolution of language is due to somebody saying monologues in face of an admiring audience, it means that he suffered a professional disease, out of touch with the reality. In the communication process, if the source did not receive a proper answer from the receiver, it means either this one did not understand the message or there was a dysfunction on the channels of communication, so that the communication did not occur. Some “precious” artists ought to think such questions, arts being a process of communication as well, of course with specific means. The means could not modify the essence of the process, which suppose a purpose, as without purpose we drift away from the reality.
I made a small parenthesize, hoping not without profit. I am coming back to organisation. Its highest form in modern epoch is the state. Due to its complexity, the society structures itself from the reasons of functionality. In this way, leaders and subordinates appear and – along with them – politics and political fights. Those who want to be leaders have to identify, point out and infer an aim, a purpose toward which the society should direct its steps and to persuade their fellow that they are the fitted men to be their guides. And so, the propaganda comes into being. The identification of the aim is a psychological art. The leaders must speculate the deepest people’s sentiments and wishes, which is not just easy, because these change themselves in the course of time. Today the democracy is in fashion, generated by people’s wish to be equal each other. It is the self-pride at the highest level. Man wants to be his own God. In the past, instead of this insatiate self-pride, its opposite was: the fear. The fear of thunderbolts, of more powerful animals, of drought or flooding, the fear of anything, but also and the hope that nothing bad would occur to him, or, maybe, on the contrary, they will be lucky, deities will be benevolent and – why not? – they will reach in Heaven. And so, the religion was born. Is there any difference between political propaganda recognised as it and the religion used in the same purpose? Evidently, not! Both speculate people’s sentiments. I said that it is not just easy, because between the two ones, and especially inside of them – there is an infinity of nuances and the politician just identify and fructify in his interest. Even if it is an art, we do not deal with it now.
The most advanced form of languages is in literature, namely in books. Along with the generalization of literacy, more and more people want to turn their statute of readers in that of the writer, if he appreciates that he has something to say toward the world. On the other hand, in a less or greater measure, any person is tented to philosophise or at least to meditate. We have all reasons to suppose that man always did it. And if he philosophise, he want to communicate his thoughts to his fellows. The expression „his fellow” must be interpreted ad literam, as people can communicate only inside of the same culture and at their level of understanding.
The dream of communication has become possible in a greater and greater measure thanks to the evolution of technology. This is why, from the past, there was kept only savant thought recorded in all kind of writings on stone, skin, papyrus, paper etc., today more and more people want to see their thinking recorded and distributed on areas as large as possible, which is very good even if it raises new questions, creates new institutions and mentalities. About books under the form of leafs bound on a size (codex) we may speak only since the Romans had this idea and offered us the possibility of skipping over uninteresting pages. Till then, the ceramic platens, papyrus scroll and the others were unhandy enough. Today, the Internet is the champion of communication. This is why the idiosyncrasy of some people to the Internet is similar with an affirmation like: <I like literature less the letters between ‘f’ and ‘m’>. And still, the book continue to remain the mark of perennial writings, reason for which very many people want to publish books, and some of them make it even with their money. It seems that the wish and proud to leave a trace of his thoughts toward his followers is a fruit of democracy. No one signs the Bible. Socrates did not endeavour to write anything. Information used to be conveyed by word of mouth, not only horizontally, but vertically as well from a generation to the other. Today, there are millions of authors with too few messages. Here is a difference!
As I said, the development of technology allowed the access to books of a greater and greater number of readers and potential writers. Literature exceeded the borders of savant though, diversified and adapted itself to requirements and tastes all social categories, which does not mean that anyone may address to everyone. In a certain measure, this idea seems possible in leisure literature, though even here people’s different level of culture impose different levels of literature.
Barnaby Rich wrote in 1613: “One the maladies of this century is the quantity of books; people are as much overload with them they are not able to digest the abundance of useless stuff daily produced and word-wide-spread”. What else happened since then? As it was expected, more and more books appeared. The “malady” has become pandemic dimensions. As a matter of fact, the author himself wrote other books, to show us that not their number disturbed him but the concurrency of the others authors. Today, after the appearance of the Internet, like then, after the appearance of the printing press, some authors have the same fear: “what the humanity will do with such an abundance of information?”. The answer is simple” what they did so far. The real question is another. Not because we would need a new one, but because the old one was wrong. How to get through the multitude of all kinds of information – written or non-written – how to filter the useful and protect ourselves from the useless one, were our problem forever.
For the beginning, as printing presses were only a few, they needed a filter of works admitted for publishing, a skilful staff. They were intellectuals of authentic value. In the meantime, it has become a profession as whichever else, opened to anybody and the criterions of selection changed according with the desires of the “sleeping partner”, let he be a politician, great priest, etc.
From the reader’s point of view, there are some different criterions of selection, according with his requirements. In order to help him, a new profession, that of literary criticism, appeared. Even if, theoretically, its role is to orientate the readers, the relativism of the evaluations allows the critics to serve some particular interests. Today, literary criticism has become futile. As this assertion seems too severe, I am giving an example from a different domain: sports. Here, there are three different categories of professionals: sportsmen, journalists and admirers. Those three categories do not interfere with each other but accidentally and in a little measure. The most important is the journalists are not sportsmen. In literature, instead, the journalists and literary critics want to be writers as well, and sometimes they even are. Of course, they cannot be non-partisan, their objectivity is low. In spite of their ambitions, the reader feel their intentions pro domo and renounce to read such publications.
Besides, literary critics do not delimitate their domain. It is not possible today for anyone to cover all fields, even more in culture. Such pretensions denote only ignorance and not an authentic culture.
A proof of critics’ inefficiency is the fact that most bought books are those with great publicity and not those recommended by the literary critics. In marketing, the most convincing publicity is that based on the recommendation of some professionals in that field. They will better sell a pair of skis, for example, if a famous skier recommends that brand. It is not the same in literature. The buyers ignore critics’ opinions. Why? Why people reckon skier’s authority and do not that of the literary critics? Simple! Because the skier proved his competence!
Besides critics, some specialists appeared too, “connoisseurs” of the recipes of how to write. They teach us how to make literature, as if would be a kind of food. They judge others’ works according to their recipe book, not thinking if they understood author’s message, the authors usually being with many intellectual levels above the judgers.
Although some dictionaries consider literature as the totality of writings, there is also the acceptation of artistic creation. Where it begins and where it finishes is difficult to specify. In the past, even scientific works were written in verses. Today, our pragmatism would make ridicule such pretensions. The style of a business letter is much different from that of an artistic creation, even if nobody forbids us from composing nice letters.
The arts destined to satisfy our aesthetic pleasures have as objective not only the audio-video or gastronomic pleasures, but mostly the intellectual ones, particularly those that reach our conscience. Some distinctions are necessary and I will do it through some examples:
Common for all levels is the necessity of the content, a chiefly idea. As for the clarity of the narration, it is not only a condition, but also an ideal of every authentic intellectual. As much the idea is more complex, profound or abstract, the more the clarity of exposition is necessary. A confuse narration denotes either the confusion in author’s mind or an attempt of masking the lack of any idea. Do not be let deceive yourself by difficult texts. Probably they belong to some deceivers. If the narration has artistic valences, touches our conscience, only then we pertain to a literary creation. The measure of artistic fulfilment consists in the persistence of the idea induced in reader’s mind, the way in which it stimulates the meditation of the topic. An unclear exposition does not make the message more artistic.
As the social pyramid has its base at bottom and the top up, it is natural that most writers operate at inferior levels, those of simple ideas. This situation should not bother us. It is the reality and we must accept it if we accept the democracy. Hiding it would be useless. The readers will choose books according to their level and he could not be deceived. Writing some confusing phrases, they do not become more academic, do not change the level and make the author more scholar, on the contrary. Any reader will reject an abstruse text and every clever man will identify in the writer an impostor.
I said that the society looks like a pyramid. This is not quite exact. In statistics, its shape looks more like a pear. As we do not pay much attention to its lower part, the pyramid may remain as a symbol of the idea that most people are at the bottom and only a few at the top.
Coming back to books, I know a person absolute remarkable by her ignorance. Because of the lack of elementary information and the ridicule of the association of ideas crossing her mind, any talk with her is impossible, especially if you have not enough sense of humour or you are in a mood less ludic. And still, this person has read almost as many books as any authentic scholar, maybe even more. Unfortunately for her, only romance. Evidently, not a learned person could want to consider her his fellowship. A question is inevitable: where begins and where finishes the lectures of a learned person? Judging about some “men of letters” – the lectures of which stop where their understanding is more difficult – it results that the slice is very thin, mostly limited at “what I know is culture; what I do not know are farthings.
Do not be afraid, I have not the intention to relate or to imagine what will happen after us. I want to speak just about our epoch, the one in which we live. I nicknamed it “Post-Christian” from two reasons.
First, besides the Christians, on Terra there are people belonging to other religions, as well many unfaithful ones. This is so, without speaking about the fact that Christian churches, particularly the Catholic one, formally enlist the ones forced Christianized in different historical moments, like the Native Americans, but which still keep their faiths up to now. At a census of those who really are Christians, we would number much less, so that, from this point of view, the actual period may be called Buddhist, Islamist or even atheist, although I think the fittest name should be one of religious disputes.
Secondly, we call ourselves Christians,
although we forgot long time ago the values of the Christianity, as they were
thought initially. Today, the Christians are faithful people in the same
measure as communist were the communists from the former
In fact, the main condition of any religious doctrine is to be unverifiable. In other words, only the unverifiable ideas could be religious paradigms.
We could call this epoch “democratic”, but it is as democratic as Christian was the previous one. Maybe it will be called post-democratic when the humanity will abandon democracy as propagandistic slogan and will invent anything else. We are not able to understand how that forthcoming “anything else” will be, but this does not mean that it will not come. It will come undoubtedly. For the moment, let us stop a little on the present and analyse is “pathophysiology”.
Every society is developing ceaselessly; the traditions as well, adapt themselves to the technology of time. The church, although it should adapt its message, did not. Today, the priests’ message is no longer credible and religion felt in desuetude. People’s cultural level has grown up, so that many priests are less informed than most of their parishioners. The paradigms of democracy exacerbate the libertinism in the detriment of good traditions. In the absence of a general recognized institution, able to discern between good and evil, actively participating to the building of those traditions that are useful for the society, common people choose what seems for them to be favourable for the moment, establishing in this way fallacious traditions, because what is facile and/or pleasant usually is not equally wise. If in the past the church assumed this role, today the democracy put nothing instead, there is not a similar institution. People’s elected are, if not ignorant, interested only in businesses, political struggles or anything else except education. If common people cease to act according with tradition and base only on his own judgement, then we ought to see which are his criterions of judgement. At least these could be influenced, if not through religion, maybe through literature or arts, even if their power is smaller. Inward, people want someone to guide them, so there is a hope that they will stimulate the development of the education. Of course, then we will deal with a different kind of literature from the present day one.
In the Second World War Stalin and Hitler confronted each other. Today, for us the both are negative personages; still, for their time, each of them used to have, besides adversaries, lots of loyal follower. The question which of them was worse or better is useless. For whichever from nowadays politicians the same question will be useless after one generation? Are we now able to discern their real characteristics in a useful time? Niggardly interests make us, common people and politicians as well, to choose the compromise that seems favourable for the moment, without care for the future. Let us not forget that Hitler reached power by free elections.
I do not to enter politics now, but following
that of the
I used rather many words for a politic topic only for showing that man behaves according with some schemas acquired by tradition. Maybe it was not necessary, as Bergson already made the demonstration much better than I could do. He wrote an entire book about this topic so I might be forgiven for a poor paragraph. “The intelligence will advise first the egoism. Endowed with intelligence, wakened up to reflection, man will come back to himself and no longer think but to make his days pleasant. Primitive religion was a precaution against the danger skulking us from the moment in which man begins to think: the danger of thinking only to himself, for himself. It is a defensive reaction of the nature against the intelligence.” It could be true for very small societies of the primitive man. The nowadays-great societies got out man from his natural condition. He operates at a level of which effects he can neither control nor understand, sometime. Also, we have to note that our society is conducted by politicians, the single profession for which does not exist a previous school house. Consequently, as big is a society, as much his leaders wander from the true social liabilities.
The cause of many mistakes is the lack of some correct guiding marks. From a utopia to another, we only drift. The preoccupation of our so-called social leaders is their profit and not the management of the society. They are like a farmer who only wants to milk the cow without herding it to graze or feed it. We speak a lot about the progress of our civilisation, but it is not sure at all that it was in a positive direction. Many arguments prove the contrary.
If by civilisation we understand the technique, including the technique of fight, then we must recognize that we civilized too much. Odd enough is that even some encyclopaedic dictionaries associate civilisation with technologic level. I prefer to see in civilisation people’s behaviour inside of their community, their intercourse etc. This is why there are more adjectives for civilisation, like Egyptian, rural, mountain, Malagasy, European and so on, and there is no one for civilisation pure and simple. As for the adjective “civilized”, it may be assigned to anyone that keeps the rules existing in his community. The Greek equivalent (politicos) is more correct. The one who disturbs the quiet of his neighbours with his music exaggerate amplified is not more civilised because he use a more advanced technology; on the contrary. When a country uses more sophisticated weapons against an under-developed country, it is not more civilized, but only more developed from military point of view. Again politics! It seems that we cannot get rid of it. But it is natural to not escape of politics, as man is a social animal, and the society, as any organism is structured, has leaders, so politicians. They seem to be an unavoidable evil.
Democracy? Let’s be serious! The politicians are not angels. On the contrary, they are the worst among the awful. Their single goal is the personal interest. As teamwork is more efficient than a single individual, political party appears, which are nothing else but a clique of people supporting each other. The prosperity of society does not base on politicians’ honesty, but in open dispute between the parties. This is the key of the democracy: the public and open dispute between political parties and politicians.
Does it happen now? Partially, yes, but …. Here
is a contrary example: George W. Bush represented a party of right orientation,
while Tony Blair one of the left. And still, they allied on a common interest,
even if their parties have different doctrines. Instead, in the conflict
Speaking about “right” and “left” as political doctrine, we observe that they are relative. In the politics of any country there are right and left. Still, the countries are different. What is right for a country may be left for another. Let us imagine a scale on which the values are five for one and eight for another. For the first, six means right, while for the second it means a strong left. That’s why in conversations, we must keep account of such relative values.
As for the conflict
In 2005’s spring,
I showed in the previous chapter the importance of the language and literature of any people. Of course, there are many clever authors and good books. Unfortunately, there are also many more bad ones. In addition, from the educative point of view, television has even a more important role than books. If in the past, scholars do not write books for money, printing houses and television have turned their creation into a business. Of course, a pseudo-creations! The danger consists in the losing of the direction. People are no longer able to discern between good and bad. There are books for all tastes, which is very well, because only in this way people might be attracted to the literature. Besides, anyone can write books now. The evil comes from the publicity, which is not oriented on the quality. In this way, the demo-cracy, namely the leadership by the people risks to become true. It is not clear who wants the people to conduct and a pyramid will never stay with its top at bottom. The ones that should guide the readers are the literary critics. This is the second critic point. I already spoke about it.
And there is not only democracy. Yes, it is only a politic slogan. Unfortunately, there are many others: religion, moral, education, and what not.
It seems that our fate is to be permanently in turmoil, seeking answers between two extreme ideals, trying every time the limits of each one of them, without being able to find the reasonable way. Why? Because, the more the seas are 'troubled', the more fish can be caught. And these lucky fishermen are the ones who lead the world. But can we find a different way forward? Maybe yes, maybe not! I do not know, and do not expect me to give an answer, but this is what I like to discuss about.
For the moment, let me notice a short remark: we often observe that many old people are dissatisfied with a lot of things. The cause is evidently: they did not reach their long-term ideals. It is not difficult to find out why: the ideals were not appropriate for their possibilities. If these discontent persons had been only a few, we could have said that it was their fault. But too many old persons are in this position. It means a general cause must be the reason. Certainly it is nothing else but our education. Our wrong education! Not only that from schools. The education of all our days: from cradle, from the street, from everywhere. Besides, it continuously changes itself, imperceptibly. It means that we should analyze its way and see if it is what we want or not. If men have to search for an equilibrium between two intangible ideals, they will find a realist way, according with their desires, desires that are a result of their education. Not only that from schools! The education of all days: from cradle, streets, everywhere. And it is changing already. Imperceptibly, slowly, without informing the “scholarly men”. And, if they must find a balanced position between two intangible ideals, people search for a more realistic aim. So, speaking about democracy, an idea that the Greeks invented and they repudiate as well, then the demos will find the solution too. Not as a form of government, which proved to be a vision, an illusion, but as a new philosophic concept, with a new ethic.
It result – I hope – from all I said so far that the arguments in favour of a type of society or another are deceitful and this seems to me to be our fundamental error: THE LIE. Instead to focus our attention on searching for some natural solutions, we build faithless scenarios. I wrote at the beginning that we oscillate between opposite ideals. I would have nothing against the oscillations, as they give life to the system and assured its progress, but the amplitudes of the last oscillations have become so great, that the whole mechanism is in danger to destroy itself. The leaders have become more and more sly and their capacity to manipulate scenarios greater and greater, so that the only real progress was the growing of the organizational capacity. I first wrote “to imagine scenarios” instead of “to manipulate scenarios”. Meanwhile I realized that not their imagination is so productive but their capacity of manipulation. Look at Christianity, for example: from a religion of poor people, it became during the Inquisition an instrument of tyranny, namely the opposite of the original idea. In the same way it happens with every political paradigm. The modern paradigm, appeared as an alternative of monarchy, the most perfidious propaganda was developed, in order to persuade people that their country is not simple democratic, but just a symbol of it, or at least a model for the others. And if it is still not a perfect one, people must be quiet, because, anyway, a better one does not exist, betting in this way their indulgence.
Surely is that, if we emit less fantasist theories and philosophical systems (sometime not understandable for their author himself), and if we renounce to think that man is the final aim, but watch more attentively the nature, then we will find more useful principles of life and will help people to make less mistakes. The fact that man is today the most powerful of all beings is not a greater advantage than that of the dinosaurs of old times. It is not at all useful if our theory is an anthropomorphist one, in style of vital energies or of the souls haunting the space in searching of an unhappy body
I will not approach essential topics like the universal suffrage – by which the stupid people elect his “scholars” – as I do not want to provoke polemics. I will exemplify the idea only by several reasons in order to underline the weakness of some current customs, on the one hand, and the possibility of their correction, on the other hand, under the condition we want. Many times, small problems helps us to understand clearer the great ones. As for me, I sometimes use an indirect way: for avoiding the subjectivism and preconceived ideas, change the domain with a different one in which I am not skilled at all or at the very least. I try to identify there some principles, after which come back in the first domain and verify their veracity. In most cases I noticed that, mutatis mudandis, they are valid. It is not a piece of news the fact that, sometimes, some experts in a field „do not see the wood for the trees” and, either do not catch sight of new solutions or their solutions act against their own system. The classical example is that of the militaries, who should be the latst called when two countries want to maintain peaceful relations. I mention these because the following examples are picked up from relative tiny problems. Their role here is only to bring into relief the wrong way in which we resolve them, with the mention that great problems are exactly in the same situation.
Here is a very concrete example: the tax for the profit. The one who works pays; the one who avoids work and shirks responsibilities receives. This principle is not only revolting, but it denotes a society inversely settled. The cause is to be found in the past. There was a time when it had a logic, but it occurred long time ago, into a society radically different from that of nowadays. I am remembering a book – Citadel, I think - by an English woman, the name of which I forgot. Her surname as „romantic” that period. At that time, those entering politics did not do it in order to enrich themselves, as they already were so, and neither to thieve from the propriety of state, as the state was just their group, usually fighting against a common enemy. They were entering the parliament or something similar in order to defend their common interests and were doing it with responsibilities. It was natural they would see about state’s affaires and not the mob; and it was naturally as well they had to subsidize general outgoings of the state. They were to ones who product, collect and expend. The idea that rich men pay the taxes has its origin from those times. But it happened then. It is not only an anachronistic one, but it is in contradiction with the principles of democracy. People are equal to each other in rights, they are equal in obligations as well. As for the politicians, do you see today any of them responsible for anything?
Now, I think of William the Conqueror. Not
being a native-born chief, immediately after the conquest of the island, he
organized a census, in order to know what he could obtain in case of war or
peace, calamities etc. He imposed in this way a taxing according with
everyone’s estate. He was not the single one doing it. In the
Coming back to the idea of taxes on profit, even if it is anachronistic, we still use it today, in spite of its prejudices, among of which the moral ones being not at all for neglecting. It gives a reason for avoidance from payment, lie, appropriation etc.
One says that theft is as old as the world exists. Which world? The world of religious man, namely after the appearing of the lie? Here is a proof proving that the spirit of equitableness was not only older, but natural. There is a species of very communicative monkeys, greatly fond of cucumbers and, especially bananas. A group of such monkeys was obliged to do some works, after which they received as recompense either cucumbers or bananas, all equally. At a given moment, for the same work, some of monkeys received cucumbers and the others bananas. The first ones refused to eat, even if cucumbers were good enough for them in normal conditions. Not only their spirit of equitation is obvious, but their power of sacrifice, for demonstrating their desire for keeping up a principle. Here that equitation is not our product. On the contrary, civilization brought in the inequity.
As for the taxes that every person ought to pay toward the state, we certainly are able to find solutions that are more reasonable. This is one, for the first example:
In this way, every person should pay according with what the society consumes for him, and people should not lie any longer. The tax on the land surface, and not on the building, obliges the owner to render it profitable, according with its position. It will be in his interest to build high and/or pretentious buildings on the grounds with high taxes. As for the payment, the state need not an army of bureaucrats, but should offer jobs to those unable to find one by themselves. Therefore, it will be in people’s interest to work in order to produce profit and not to enter that category of people working at the state for a minimal income. Unfortunately, it is evident that our society is not able to do this simple thing now, so we may ask: what it will first happen? The society will be able to change the taxing system or the wrong taxing system will be one of the arguments motivating the change of the society?
I write about the tax for profit not because it could solve all the problems of the society, but only as an example. The our whole way of thinking social-political problems is troubled by ideas more or less fixed and worn-out. We are in the situation of the producers of manual adding machines, striving for improving their products, while the computers appeared.
In politics – where we are all experts, aren’t it? – they adopt as principle that a country could not be governed but a parliamentarian majority formed by a party or an alliance of parties. I think the contrary: a party that obtains more than 50% would be automatically dissolved, because it is no longer a part and could assume the whole and is able to impose its will. This is totalitarianism. A law, if it is really good, will be approved by all parties, because the one, which does not do it, will lose its credibility. Instead, a bad law should not pass through parliament only because it put in advantage the members of the party at power. In this way, the parliament would be truly democratic, a forum of debates, and the laws really useful.
In moral, they exaggerate with the example of good man, hoping in this way to counterbalance the acts of evil, unpolished man. However, the real man apprehends the exaggerations and abandons the moral entirely. Besides, in the struggle for life, the polished man is offhanded and loses in every case. One arrives at the paradoxical conclusion that education would be detrimental. Of course, education is good, but a realistic one.
All people speak about ecology and the dangers
in case we do not keep account of it. But the
It is clear that, among the fundamental errors of the society, one of the most important is education. I think it is the most important. The educators, whosoever they would be, think they inoculate morality inside of children, but when later the experience gives to children a lesson completely different, these find out the teachers deceived them. Such a discovery could bring more prejudices.
The desire to be an important person is inborn in everybody. And if he has not even one aptitude, what he does? And if at school he realizes there is not a single chance for him that teachers will praise him, what does he? Among the first alternatives at hand, he may chose to become a brawler, thief something similar. But even for that some qualities are necessary: a brawler must be strong; a thief must be bold and so on. And if he has none of them, what does he do? Probably he becomes a politician.
The whippersnappers have a quality, yet: they know to join in doing evil. And thus appears clans, cliques, coteries, groups of interests, political parties appears.
We have just found out a first consequence of the wrong way in which the education is organized. It would be of no use to identify all of them, as they are too many.
The school, long time ago, was an attribute of the church. If the church proposed to itself to be the representative of good extreme - even if there is not an official institution representing the bad extreme, maybe except the political ones, but they do not recognize to play this role - then, laic education would be preoccupied in seeking for the reasoning way.
Here is a solution, even if it seems to be a utopia, which show us that we could think the system much better. It starts from the assertion that grandparents are excellent pedagogues for children. Some of them! As for adults, at the courses for specialization, refresher courses etc. the lecturers are some elder work fellows with more experience and/or more qualified, because at the adult age the professional training is what counts and not the pedagogic talent. Only the schoolchildren are left to the hand of some supposed professional in pedagogy. Error! Pedagogy is a talent that you have or not. One could not learn it. Some ability might be acquired in time, but only if the person loves children. This is why some grandparents succeed in it. We may develop this idea and look the right of grandparents in the education of their grandchildren as a prize, recompense, as they really won it on merit. Those close to the retiring age could be reward with the right of teaching children. The elder ones could deal with small pupils and relative younger ones – but not under 50 years - with the elder schoolchildren. Of course, not everyone might become a teacher, but only those that prove that they have the necessary pedagogic calm and culture according. Only in this way, the education would fall into the good hands and would have a positive role. Otherwise, with small retributions, education will be populated with teachers who have chosen this profession not being able to do something more profitable.
In many respects, the human society, at least the European or American one, is laid inversely. This is probably why every innovative idea seems to be better than the existed ones. Unfortunately, as we cannot modify the position of a working machine modifying, by turns, all pieces one by one, we cannot modify a social system with small changes. The only effect would be to affect the functionality of the system. Unlike the social system, a machine could be stopped. This is why the revolutions seem to solve the problem, but the history proved this is the worst solution. All revolutions brought much more disasters than improvements. And still, something must be done. What? We have to change the important principles, by putting them in according with what we really want, honestly and not demagogically. Universal suffrage, for example, does not belong to a democratic society, but to an oligarchic one, which use it for manipulating the mob. A truly democratic society would find some more intelligent modalities to elect its leaders.
That religion is necessary I already showed. I am rewording. The religion is indispensable. The priests cannot say to their parishioners to be faithful only half-dose. They claim the whole, hoping that people will keep at least a half. Wrong! When people realised the error, they abandon it entirely. The target of the religion is to give to people a hope. For this, the religion must show a way, not a lie. All of them invented some cosmogonies. Do we really need them? If yes, I imagined not even one, but at least a starting point.
When thinking of micro-cosmos, we have in view tiny lifeless particles having certain characteristic physical features. In macro-cosmos, the only difference is that the tiny particles become very large cosmic bodies. We wonder ourselves if life exists on other planets but any planet strictly speaking is conceived as something without life. Into this inanimate and simple medium, between micro and macro cosmos, life does exist at least on our planet on which we live with all of our faiths and fights. Odd, isn't it? The culprit is our imagination, or more specifically, our lack of imagination. We understand what occurs around us but our knowledge decreases substantially as our thinking moves farther away. In both micro-cosmos as well as macro-cosmos, our mind imagines simple particles whirling unceasingly around each other. Really? Is the world senseless? Unlikely! What would be the sense of a world without sense? We will never be able to provide answers to these questions but this does not prevent us from imagining other cosmogonies. But why? The reason for any cosmogony ever conceived was to make sense of our life and to serve as support of morality. Any religion does offer some moral norms based upon a particular cosmogony. The science, on the other hand, destroys any cosmogony, and implicitly the moral norms that had used that cosmogony as support, offering nothing as a replacement. If you are not a religious person at all, consider the following proposition. As science accepts the infinite as mathematical notion, then we may accept that Earth is a particle in the micro-cosmos of another superior system which, in turn, is a particle in other systems and so on. Perhaps we are somewhere in an infinite flight of stairs. Can Earth be a particle of the liver of an upper being? It seems we must accept that life could exist both in small and large infinite. There is a god for us and we are gods for our some smaller ones. But, how could I tell to those smaller beings (part of my body) what I want them to do? How could I address to them? They do not know Romanian language, not even English. It must be another way, not to make them to understand me, but to oblige them to work properly. Unless, the inflicting punishment will be drastic and then... what, for example, a section of the liver becomes out of the body? A decaying material! Of course, it would be naive to think that God looks like us and he watches our individual existence. Is there a moral? From an individual point of view the answer is NO, but - from a collective one - it is YES. For example to keep Earth alive; otherwise the vital functions of the upper being will surely remove us as a decayed corpuscle! In which way? This would be the topic of the religion. This is not just a cosmogony but it deserves to think on it.
As God could not address us in a direct way, it is supposed that he do it indirectly. Consequently, we only have to be receptive for his signs and interpret them correctly.
Those several ideas that I yarned up to here, some of them maybe eccentric, will not change the system. Probably not even other ones like them would. Still, that does not mean that it is nothing to do. On the contrary, the system changes itself permanently and it will be better or worst, depending on us, if we succeed in seeing where we are wrong and have the courage to put the finger on the sore place – even a sterilized dressing. Before any solution, we need to know ourselves better.
I do not know what the future society will be like. What I know is it will be different from the current one, because nothing stands unstirred. We could imagine something, because social changes depend on people’s wish of banishing what they found to be evil. We only have to identify the existing evils. At first sight, we may say that the lie is that. But lie will exist for ever, because the society must directed, the leaders need arguments, the truth is often disliked and a lie nicely spoken is preferable. So, what will be? A new lie!
Still, let us see what people identify as wrong in the society and should be removed. The first is the lie about democracy, but the politicians know best about this and try to cover it up, saying that, anyway, a better one does not exist. Here, they are right. The mistake consists in placing the discussion at a rather general level. There need some more concrete arguments.
“Man begun as a worm”, Geoffroy said, in an optimist-evolutionist vision. The reciprocally would be to arrive there, having in view that we started from Creator’s hands. Personally, prefer a static variant: to remain if possible men!
Oswald Spengler - after he demonstrates nice
and convincing where we start from and where we arrived - feels the need of a
final for the humanity. I thought this was his aim. Unfortunately, the future
in his opinion is as romantic as demoralizing. It is true the artistry is
present. Instead of characterizing his conception, it is easier for me to cite
the last paragraph from “Man and Life
Philosophy”: “We are born in this
time and have to cross courageously the road destined to us up till its end.
There is not the other one. Let us resist on the lost redoubt without hope,
without rescue, here is our duty. Let us resist like that Roman soldier the
bones of which were found in face of a gate from
All right, it is grandiose, nothing to say, but it is non-lucrative and in contradiction with his demonstration so far that – I repeat – is very reasoning. Maybe just this uninspired final attracted the critics of his adversaries. It is of no use for us to do the same. Spengler is a philosopher. From his wish to finish nicely the book, he did not realize that he went down at the level of common literature, and lost. His analysis is perfect. The prolongation of the trend has not justification. Any mathematic simulation based only on the broadening of the trend is negative. In life, instead, new elements always appear, elements we cannot prefigure. This is why, a correct simulation must have in view the apparition of some surprises, even if we cannot determine them a priori. Besides, as life has priority, we may suppose the apparition of news where, in their lake, an irremediable catastrophe should occur, which Spengler did not do. It is true, he was only an analyst, even if a very good one. His main idea starts from the assertion that man tries not only to defeat the nature, but want to make it to work in man’s service. “Civilization itself became a machine”. Now, “its creation rises up against the creator”, “the team (of animals and the vehicle harnessed to them) out of control drags the fell conqueror.
There were catastrophes in the past and some will be in the future as well. Surely, one will come: the nuclear one. But men are not dinosaurs. They will not disappear in the same way, as humanity built a culture, and this one does not perish so easily.
If we look in the past, we may notice that, in the history of humanity, cultural catastrophes had negative effects just more powerful than some nuclear bombs would produce. If we think of the morality of some antique civilisations, we may come to the conclusion that our so called modern civilisation represented a greater catastrophe due to downfall of morality. (It seems I begin to step in Spengler’s traces!) Surely, new solution will appear. A first proof is the fact that more and more people search for naïve solution in all kind of fields, including some occult ones, only, and only, for getting away from the actual “philosophy”, which reflect the conviction that it is wrong. Do you want to be assured of it? Enter a good bookstore, where the owner knows to sell his goods, and you will find how large the stands with occult books are. Besides, there are even specialized bookstores. What exactly the readers searching for I do not know, probably neither they, but surely they will find something, even if not there. For the moment, I only noticed that an intense preoccupation already exists, sign that people want a change.
An eventual nuclear catastrophe will not be as big to make Terra blow to pieces. A smaller one will be sufficient to wake the people. What we know is that the whole propagandistic arsenal used today, starting with Christianity and ending with democracy, will fall lamentably, but not before putting something else instead.
I discuss a little about goodness. Some people are good-hearted, others are not, according with their nature. Still, all of them change their point of view toward the end of life. Here is an argument. Apparently, most young people want to have money. Either they do not have any, or have not enough, spend almost whole their life trying to earn money. More and more money! In order to earn/gain money people often fight against each other with all the means more or less admissible. The goodness is forgotten. Becoming old-aged persons, they come to the conclusion that money is not so important. Why? At the beginning of this paragraph, I said that people 'apparently' want money. Actually, they have in view other objectives and need money in order to buy them (objects, services, etc). The objectives are not the same; as a young man he maybe wants a motorbike, later on a car, another car, a house, a larger house, and so on. As an old man, he has other criterions for evaluation and other things are in his area of interest. He wonders: what was the use of his efforts to obtain all those objects or services? They are useless now! In that moment he comes to the conclusion that the goodness deserves a greater appreciation. Sometimes it is too late. The education helps us to understand this truth sooner.
We saw how educated people made wrong decisions or were incapable of reacting correctly in face of less educated ones. It is clear that education did not help them. On the contrary, it hampered them, because of an inefficient scheme. One could give an examples in almost every field, not only some small ones from the personal life. It is clear that we have to change some principles and not some cosmetic measures.
I discussed mainly two fields, apparently opposite: religion and politics. I would choose some others as well, but these seemed to me to be the most actual. Solutions? It is exactly what I do not do. I am anything else except a utopian. Maybe people are full up of the utopias. A profound analysis of what we really are, where we arrived, in what way we arrived here, etc. is all we have to do. With one condition: SINCERITY. Let us no longer cheat our time with illusions!