International relations specialist Dr Roger Townshend, poet and theologian Alex Brocklehurst, and philosopher Dr Ray Scott Percival take a deep dive into the Afghanistan crisis and place it in a broad historical and logistical perspective.
What does this event look like when viewed through the spectacles of the enlightenment?
1. The USA was isolationist from its independence up until World War I.
2. National sovereignty may be built upon a universal value of freedom from interference.
3. The reciprocal influence between outside interlopers in foreign cultures and the interloping culture. The case of Matteo Ricci, the first European to enter the Forbidden City of Beijing in 1601 when invited by the Wanli Emperor, who sought his services in matters such as court astronomy and calendrical science.
4. Finding reciprocal benefits and values between cultures.
5. Perhaps Autonomy, one of the principles of the Enlightenment, is a universal value that could act as a bridge between very different cultures.
6. Charles Murray's distinction between ordinary inventions —such as the water-wheel, the lever, and the screw-driver— and meta-inventions, such as the printing press, the computer, and the scientific method. Perhaps the enlightenment is a set of meta-inventions (individualism, autonomy, etc.) which, once adopted, deeply affects a culture. (On the concept of metainvention see Murray's book Human Accomplishment.)
7. Perhaps we can lead by promoting, as a meta-invention, the global use of the scientific method.
8. While humanity moves up the chain of being with an iPhone, some people, like Roger, get left behind fumbling with a fax machine. (Joke.)
9. Contrast between the restless expansionist and individualist western world and the wisdom of Buddhism and a contentment ethic of the East.
10. Conclusion. The relevance of Karl Popper’s replacement of the old political question of who should rule? with the question how can we design our institutions in such a way as to maximise their ability to detect and eliminate erroneous decisions, including policies and leaders?
Are we in danger of sacrificing our liberty, bit by bit, for increments of illusionary security?
Our answer is that the least secure existence is one in which we have sacrificed our personal autonomy. We recall Immanuel Kant's conception of Enlightenment, which flows from the individual, not the state or any other external guide.
"Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one’s own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another.
The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! [Dare to be wise!] Have courage to use your own understanding!
Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large proportion of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from alien guidance (naturaliter maiorennes [Those who have come of age by virtue of nature]), nevertheless ...
Alex and Ray at Bold Venture Park, Darwen, United Kingdom. Darwen was one of the centres of the industrial revolution, a fundamental catalyst of the Enlightenment. Samuel Crompton, the inventor of the spinning mule, lived here for part of his life. It was a thriving town of cotton goods production, coal mining and quarrying, connected by canal and rail to nearby hubs of invention and production- Bolton and Manchester.
In this video, we see a wonderful carving in the local strata outcrop in one of the large parks that adorn Darwen. Transporting us back in time to the people who worked in the burgeoning revolution that gave us so many life-transforming benefits, the sculpture depicts a quarryman lying on the boat that will carry him across the Styx. By the side of the sculpture is the inscription: Who Pays the Quarryman? Many quarrymen lost their lives in this work and a play of words alludes to the myth of the journey across the Styx and the Ferryman who guides the boat across.
Accepting the state's incremental totalitarianism through its allurements to "safety" is to embrace a child-like dependency and shun the risky but beneficial adventure of the growth of knowledge.
Embracing risk is part of the price of one’s emergence from the delightful delusion of absolute safety - the repeated allurement of state intervention. But shunning absolute security is rewarded by the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of nebulae and reach out and stretch the boundaries of the known - and, paradoxically, enhance our safety by degree. The more knowledge we have the more control we have, the more control, the more secure we are against future threats. No knowledge growth without risk.
A discussion of the "Joint Statement of the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China on the International Relations Entering a New Era and the Global Sustainable Development".
Alex Brocklehurst raises the question is human expansion, economically, psychologically, spiritually, technologically etc, in principle better than contraction?
Alex, Roger and Ray discuss. Alex and Ray push the progressive, enlightenment view, while Roger takes the dual role of a stick-in-the-mud, devil's advocate. Roger hates mud! : - )
Alex Brocklehurst has just had a chapter published in the book Jordan Peterson: Critical Responses.
Roger outlines the Ukrainian crisis, placing this delicate strategic confrontation in its historical and demographic context. Ukraine is a vital strategic interest to the Russian state, but not to the United States of America. Roger argues that states typically regard security as paramount, trumping economic interests and will accept a great deal of damage maintaining their vital strategic interests, and so the West’s threat of economic sanctions are impotent. Is the West playing a losing hand, given that Ukraine is perceived by Russia as a vital buffer zone right on its doorstep, but is 5000 miles from the US? Roger asks us to imagine a mirror of the situation for the US: Russia stations forces in Mexico and Canada, or simply establishes alliances with those countries. Such a move would be intolerable for the US state under the well-established Monroe doctrine.
(Some sources —for example, the omniscient POLITIFACT, argue that NATO has reneged on an agreement suggested by ...
Defending the Enlightenment through animated philsophy.
"Animated" = Full of life or excitement; lively, vigorous.
"Philosophy" = Love of truth.
An autonomous life is one in which we can make a difference according to our own aims and plans. This is the personal aspect of the enlightenment. However, this is under threat from a perverted alliance of governments and the tech giants.
Enlightenment Defended will repel the dark nihilism of “post-truth”, woke culture, identity politics, and PC-Speak, which are feeding this rotten symbiosis of state and tech giants. To counter this backward step in our society, Enlightenment Defended will catalyse the bright flame of the enlightenment —liberty, reason and progress.
Enlightenment Defended will create a realm that frames our deepest thoughts about life through articles, documentary, animation, poetry, humour, music and myth and philosophical debate. People are many-sided in both apprehension and enjoyment.
Enlightenment Defended will ...