Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Two Studies in Naiveté

One blog post. (Link a bit lower).

First about John Chau:

[A] man wearing a white crown possibly made of flowers [took] a “leadership stance” by standing atop the tallest coral rock on the beach. The man yelled, and Mr. Chau tried to respond, singing some worship songs and yelling back something in Xhosa, a language he apparently knew a few words of from when he coached soccer in South Africa a few years ago.

Comment by the Atheist blogger:

That’s an interesting linguistic advance. It makes no more sense to address the Sentinelese in English, of course, but Chau’s choice of Xhosa — a language spoken by black people five thousand miles away — seems to point to the neo-colonial notion that the vast cultural differences between darker-skinned people can be papered over with a little bit of “primitive” argot that the white (or Asian) visitor, in his magnanimity, has taken it upon himself to learn.

I tend to agree. This linguistic naiveté parallels the historical one when an Evangelical thinks an observation about 300 AD (there was a Church which as yet owed nothing to Constantine) or an observation about 1400 AD (lots of common people speaking neither Latin nor Greek, presence in some places of sects opposed to Catholicism, at least one attempt of translating Bible to modern vernacular language) is a valid comment on the situation in 400 AD and criteria by which to judge the Church that owed part of their position to Constantine and Theodosius (variously known as Catholic or Orthodox, depending on whether Catholic, Orthodox, Evangelical or Anglican is presenting it).

Now, next item of naiveté, this one is on the Atheist blogger himself, not on John Chau:

Above all, by attempting to foist himself upon the tribespeople, he risked wiping out every one of them, as the hyper-isolated islanders likely have no resistance to viral illnesses like the measles and influenza.

In all appearance he was a healthy man up to when a certain arrow or sth put an end to it. There is no indication he had measles and certainly no indication he had a flu.

But, suppose (which I don't, but I am not a med student, I am only the son of one), there really was such a risk, how naive is it to justify the killing by pointing this out? If the guy himself had no idea about it, how likely is it the Sentinelese tribe had so? And how naive is it to judge a man as jeopardising other peoples' lives if the "salient" fact is not so salient to anyone outside med school.

Yes, if you come to a tribe with a flu, a measle infection, a small pox infection - as happens when a lot of Europeans come to a country - you do jeopardise the health and even lives of people without that resistance. But John Chau is not a lot of people and was visibly not carrying any ongoing infection. And if invisibly carrying a virus you are immune to and are not sneezing out in flu is at all likely to affect anyone else, even if you don't go out of your way to positively infect them, that would be something we people outside med school are blissfully unaware of.

A University education is not the same thing as a med school education.

Dead Missionary John Chau’s Last Letter Home Reveals Outsized Zeal and Naiveté
By Terry Firma | November 24, 2018

I think that this site (Friendly Atheist) was started by Hemant Mehta who is med school - former such - but it seems that Terry Firma isn't even into med school. I think (up to upcoming evidence to the contrary, medical articles) that the danger here proposed is simply hearsay, projected from historic happenings which had a much more contagious background. I suspect Terry has some mysophobic or bacteriophobic traits ...

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Holy Martyrs of Antioch
Bishop Basil, Auxilius
and Saturninus

PS, I was trying to trace the issue, and it seems part of the thing really is about contact with slightly ill forreigners and also, this part is at most a part of why the Indians were restricting access to the Andanese tribe. Resham Sengar will write one article with a loose claim, Philip Whiteside and Alix Culbertson will cite and uncritically link to Stephen Corry, whose activism - for such it it - has very many other problems to face than idealistic, single handed missionaries risking their own lives. Guaraní in Brazil have more pains from present day governments, for instance, than from the 16th to 17th C. Jesuits. And yes, they are one of the people on Stephen Corry's list of actions. The fact is, Jesuits were the Stephen Corry's of their time and really did protect Guaranís from exploitation and from visitors bringing diseases. And the Reductions were worse attacked by Portuguese than by Spanish colonies, and unsurprisingly, the Guaraní he is advocating for are in Brazil, while in Paraguay Guaraní is everyone's second or first language. It is still not at all clear how John Chau, being in full health, could have posed a medical risk to the tribe. It looks more like a "Chinese whispers" or "telephone game" situation./HGL

PPS, here is what I found : Sentinelese on wiki links to Know how 60,000 year-old human tribe of secluded North Sentinel Island behaves with outsiders by Resham Segar and to Sky News which links to Stephen Corry's Survival International where I see this on Progress can kill involving a suicide statistic on the Guaraní of ... Brazil./HGL

A Writer's Plan

If you have ever thought, "oh, I got chapter 1 and 2 alright, and I know the end and two parts of the turning points, but how awful to come up with chapter 3!" - well, here is a plan:

Actually the video is about sth else, the trope Time Travel, but if this is true of stories about time travel, it is also true of other stories.

Trope Talk: Time Travel
Overly Sarcastic Productions | 16.XI.2018

That is how I am going about Chronicle of Susan Pevensie - this conspectus of extant chapters is giving them in the right reading order, not the order I wrote them in./HGL

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Why Romanides was Wrong

Here is Romanides' idea, first resumed, then quoted:

"Romanides sees St Augustine as the great antagonist of Orthodox thought. Romanides claims that, although he was a saint, Augustine did not have theoria. Many of his theological conclusions, Romanides says, appear not to come from experiencing God and writing about his experiences of God; rather, they appear to be the result of philosophical or logical speculation and conjecture.[note 3] Hence, Augustine is still revered as a saint, but, according to Romanides, does not qualify as a theologian in the Eastern Orthodox church.[8]"

John Romanides : [discussion of saint] Augustine of Hippo

Looking up "note 3":

[7] A basic characteristic of the Frankish scholastic method, mislead by Augustinian Platonism and Thomistic Aristotelianism, had been its naive confidence in the objective existence of things rationally speculated about. By following Augustine, the Franks substituted the patristic concern for spiritual observation, (which they had found firmly established in Gaul when they first conquered the area) with a fascination for metaphysics. They did not suspect that such speculations had foundations neither in created nor in spiritual reality. No one would today accept as true what is not empirically observable, or at least verifiable by inference, from an attested effect. So it is with patristic theology. Dialectical speculation about God and the Incarnation as such are rejected. Only those things which can be tested by the experience of the grace of God in the heart are to be accepted. "Be not carried about by divers and strange teachings. For it is good that the heart be confirmed by grace," a passage from Hebrews 13.9, quoted by the Fathers to this effect.

Looking up "7":


Now, what is the central problem?

"No one would today accept as true what is not empirically observable, or at least verifiable by inference, from an attested effect."

And when exactly did St Augustine or St Thomas Aquinas differ from this method, either the object of knowledge is seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt, or it is inferred from sth other which is so and which is effect of it?

By the way, verifying that the directly verified "x" is indeed effect of the inferred "y" is a bit trickier than Romanides imagined.

What if it is instead the effect of "z" which has not yet been proposed as inference?

What if it is instead the effect of "w" which is also directly verified, but not linked to the directly verified "x" in the common paradigm?

Well, how exactly do we figure out which inferrences are valid and which aren't?

By being good scholastics, which is precisely what Romanides opted out from. What he rejected as a Frankish and ultimately Augustinian aberration.

So, scholastically speaking, is there something wrong with the sentence quoted already twice which I now quote a third time?

"No one would today accept as true what is not empirically observable, or at least verifiable by inference, from an attested effect."

Yes, there is. "No one would today accept as true" - not only is the "no one" part presented as a fact, when probably it is not, but also "today" is presented as a reliable criterium. What died Owen Barfield (an esotoric, but on at least one item less heterodox than Romanides) call this kind of attitude? "Chronological snobbery". Did this attitude of Barfield's bear fruit? Yes, C. S. Lewis' conversion to Christianity (incomplete since he didn't become a Catholic) would have been impeded indefinitely, if he had not learned from Owen Barfield that Chronological snobbery is wrong. And C. S. Lewis can in turn give us mor reliable information than Romanides about the Latin West, whether Frankish or Anglo-Saxon. Including on St. Thomas Aquinas. Or on Bishop Tempier.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St. Cecily, Virgin and Martyr

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Were the Inklings a Forbidden Society? No.

Here is Baltimore Catichism n° 3 on what societies we must keep out of:

  • Q. 1228. What societies in general are we forbidden to join?

  • A. In general we are forbidden to join:
    • 1. All societies condemned by the Church;
    • 2. All societies of which the object is unlawful and the means used sinful;
    • 3. Societies in which the rights and freedom of our conscience are violated by rash or dangerous oaths;
    • 4. Societies in which any false religious ceremony or form of worship is used.

Were the Inklings condemned by the Church? No.

Was their object unlawful? Was the means used sinful?

The object was Christian men of diverse confessions discussing "letters" and sometimes also producing such.

The means involved meeting in a bar and reading ongoing literary projects to each other. The quantities of beer consumed are presumed to have been below each person's level of tolerance.

I also presume Tolkien and the Catholic Physician known as "useless quack" were not supposed to pray together with non-Catholics, they held no prayer meetings.

Was their right and freedom of conscience violated by a rash or dangerous oath? No. There was no oath and no formal procedure for adding a new member.

Was any false religious ceremony or form of worship used? If so, that would have excluded Tolkien and at first his son Christopher Tolkien immediately, as they were Catholics in good standing. Up to 1962, this would have meant membership in the real Catholic Church and C. S. Lewis (never an actual Catholic by formal reception in the Church and never expressing a final desire to join it, alas) died in 1963.

His final unitary work, posthumously published (but several essay collections and torsos were published after that) was Letters to Malcolm, chiefly on prayer. In it, he refuses to speak up much on liturgic prayer (since not the right person to say anything), except for one thing, liturgy ought to change only in response to pastors of the Church discovering a doctrinal error in the porevious one, and he said he disliked liturgic changes within Anglicanism, and mentioned Catholics had been complaining about that too.

That sentence was very probably referring to John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. He is known to have detested the liturgic changes brought on in the end by a combination of a Vatican II document (Sacrosanctum Concilium was published after CSL had died, but preceded by some sporadic more cautious experimentation) and its application or misapplication by Antiopope Montini (whom JRRT was accepting as Pope until he died in 1973).

So, Inklings cannot have had common religious ceremonies, perhaps except for meal prayers, if Catholics had a dispensation to say grace with non-Catholics, but arguably they each said grace over a preceding meal before going to the pub or said grace silently each according to his own liturgic tradition. Probably, unlike Chesterton, they did not say grace over the beer.

In other words, joining the Inklings was no sin.

Against this has been alleged that they included Owen Barfield known to be Steinerian, esoteric, but this is because C. S. Lewis and Owen Barfield were friends even before C. S. Lewis converted to Christianity. It was Owen Barfield's description of Chronological Snobbery which cured C. S. Lewis of the illusion that Christianity must be wrong because a thing in those days more and more (in England's bourgeoisie) of the past.

It has also been alleged that C. S. Lewis had a duty to avoid Barfield's company and failing that became himself a company to avoid.

I do not think that the duty to avoid freemasons adds up to avoiding people who were one's friends before one converted, and even if it did, I do not think the failure to live up to that supposed duty would constitute a masonic initiation and make C. S. Lewis himself a bad company. Not to mention that if Steinerians were condemned ... yes, they were, by the way, and this may explain quite a lot on why C. S. Lewis did not convert to Catholicism. They were condemned in 1919 as a society or as a doctrine, and that was the year in which C. S. Lewis became Owen Barfield's friend.

Anthroposophy was condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in 1919.

From : Anthroposophy
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J. (New Catholic Encylopedia, Vol. 1, 1967, pp. 615-616

This would also explain why Tolkien displayed what C. S. Lewis considered as "jealousy" of Owen Barfield - Tolkien was trying to get his Jack away from Steiner at times. Not that he was really into it. Anyway, when C. S. Lewis became Barfield's friend, he was not yet Christian and could not be expected to obey a condemnation by the Catholic Church. Either way, an Inkling meeting was not a Theosophic ritual or Anthroposophic ritual. Being part of the Inklings was not obviously violating the rules as outlined above by the Catechism.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St. Gregory of Tours

"Story of the City" and Pewter Society (links)

Both links deal with History of Urban settlements.

Here are the links:

International Study Centre for the History of Cities

Alessandro Camiz, Ph.D. candidate in History of Cities, University of Rome “La Sapienza”

Also in English (same as previous otherwise)

The Pewter Society

Friday, November 16, 2018

This Guy is Supposed to Have Known Medieval Education System Better than I ...

I don't think so, presenting Valentin PIVK:

Slovene "English" courtesy of Google translate
Rodil se je na kmetiji Pri petelinu, kjer je bilo šest otrok. He was born on the farm Pri petelinu, where there were six children.
Jeseni leta 1940 je pričel obiskovati prvi razred »hribovske šole« v Žireh, In the autumn of 1940 he began to attend the first class of the "mountain school" in Žiri,
vendar razreda ni dokončal, but did not finish the class,
ker se je pričela druga svetovna vojna. because the Second World War began.
V hribovske šole so hodili otroci iz hribovitih delov samo trikrat na teden in to popoldan in so prišli samo do četrtega razreda, Only three times a week, children from the hilly mountains went to the hill schools this afternoon, and they came only to the fourth grade,
potem so jih posadili spet v predhodne razrede. then they were planted again in the previous classes.
Zaradi odhoda brata v partizane namesto v nemško vojsko, Due to the departure of the brother into partisans instead of the German army,
je bila vsa družina internirana v Nemčijo. the entire family was interned in Germany.
Brat je kot partizan padel. Brother as a partisan fell.
Po vojni je v šolskem letu 1945/46 končal četrti razred osnovne šole v Žireh, After the war, in the school year 1945/46 he finished the fourth grade of elementary school in Žiri,
leta 1949 nižjo gimnazijo v Žireh in leta 1953 je maturiral na gimnaziji v Kranju. in 1949 lower gymnasium in Žiri, and in 1953 graduated from gymnasium in Kranj.
Leta 1959 je diplomiral iz fizike na Prirodoslovno-matematični fakulteti v Ljubljani. In 1959 he graduated from physics at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in Ljubljana.
Leta 1978 pa opravil še magisterij na Ekonomski fakulteti v Ljubljani. In 1978, he completed his master's degree at the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana.
Po odsluženju vojaškega roka v JLA je med letoma 1960 in 1970 poučeval fiziko in matematiko na gimnaziji v Škofji Loki, After serving military service in the JLA, he taught physics and mathematics at the gymnasium in Škofja Loka between 1960 and 1970,
kjer je med drugim, where it is, inter alia,
na komaj ustanovljeni gimnaziji, to a barely established gymnasium,
pričel postavljati kabinet za fiziko in usmerjati dijake na tekmovanja Gibanje znanost mladini. began to set up a cabinet for physics and direct students to competitions Youth Science.
Leta 1970 je prišel na Gimnazijo Kranju, In 1970 he came to the Gymnasium Kranj,
kjer je prva štiri leta poučeval matematiko in fiziko, where he taught mathematics and physics for the first four years,
naslednjih 22 let pa je bil ravnatelj. and the next 22 years he was the director.
V času njegovega ravnateljevanja kranjska gimnazija ni samo ohranila, During his tenure, the Carniolan Gymnasium not only maintained,
ampak je povečala ugled kvalitetne šole. but it has increased the quality of a quality school.
Z dograditvijo in obnovo ter prenovo so več kot podvojili šolske uporabne površine in kot ravnatelj je bil v začetku med redkimi pobudniki in zagovorniki vrnitve gimnazije in sedanje mature v slovenski srednješolski prostor. With the upgrading, renovation and renovation, more than doubled the school use areas, and as headmaster was initially among the early initiators and advocates of the return of the gymnasium and the current maturity in the Slovenian upper secondary school.
V osemdesetih in začetku devetdesetih let prejšnjega stoletja je bil tudi višji predavatelj kvantitativnih ekonomskih analiz na Visoki ekonomsko-komercialni šoli, In the 1980s and early 1990s he was also a senior lecturer of quantitative economic analyzes at the High Economic and Commercial School,
pozneje Ekonomsko-poslovni fakulteti v Mariboru. later the Faculty of Economics and Business in Maribor.
Bil je zelo aktiven mladinski, He was a very active youth,
študentski in pozneje v službi tudi sindikalni funkcionar. student and later in the service also a union official.
Za svoje delo je leta 1976 prejel odlikovanje predsednika SFRJ, For his work, in 1976 he received the decoration of the President of the SFRY,
tj. red republike z bronastim vencem, ie. the order of the republic with a bronze wreath,
leta 1985 priznanje izobraževalne skupnosti Kranj, in 1985 the recognition of the educational community Kranj,
leta 1997 nagrado Republike Slovenije na področju šolstva in leta 2000 nagrado Mestne občine Kranj. in 1997 the prize of the Republic of Slovenia in the field of education and in 2000 the prize of the Municipality of Kranj.
Stanuje v Kranju in občasno na vikendu v rojstnem Žirovskem vrhu. He resides in Kranj and occasionally on the weekend in his birthplace Žirovski vrh.
Ima dva sinova in štiri vnuke. He has two sons and four grandchildren.
Kot upokojenec se je doslej precej ukvarjal z raziskovanjem in pisanjem o zgodovini kranjske gimnazije. As a retired, he has so far been very concerned with researching and writing about the history of Kranjska gimnazija.
Veliko hodi v naravo, Many walk in nature,
poskuša odkriti še kaj zanj neodkritega doma in tudi v tujini. trying to discover something else for him at home and abroad.
Malo vrtnari in vedno več bere. A little gardeners and more and more read.
Vsa leta svojega dela v šolstvu se je aktivno ukvarjal z vprašanji organizacije šolstva, Throughout his years of schooling, he has been actively involved with the issues of organizing school,
vsebine šolskih programov in financiranja šolstva. content of school programs and financing of education.
S teh področij je napisal okoli 90 člankov in razprav, From these areas, he wrote about 90 articles and debates,
ki so bili objavljeni v Prosvetnem delavcu/Šolskih razgledih, which were published in the Educational Worker / School Views,
reviji Vzgoja in izobraževanje, Journal of Education and Training,
Naših razgledih, Our views,
Delu, Delu,
Gorenjskem glasu in periodičnih zbornikih Gimnazije Kranj. The Gorenjska voice and periodicals of the Gymnasium Kranj.

No doubt, in his way a worthy gentleman.

Also, the kind of worthy gentleman, I fear, whom I had to do with when my life was ruined for decades and my ma's life not helped up in Sysslebäck - a very beautiful village with beautiful nature, but too dominated by the networking of worthy gentlemen like that.

But that an ardent Antifascist, decorated Titoist Communist, specialised in Physics, Mathematics and Economics, teacher, school director and hobby debater published in not very academic (and especially nothing in history field) journals should teach ME what happened in the Renaissance and Reformation era to education system? No, not unless you limit it to the area he specialised in : the Krajnska Gimnazijum (which may even have been founded as late as 1810, or refounded during Napoleonic Wars, according to one title, and therefore would have very little bearing on the question), and unfortunately, one man was citing him as an overall expert on the era.

He is possibly biassed in extremes, like most who were Communists. And as a director of a gymnasium, especially for school access to all and against all who are even by some people reputed to have been obscurantist - a reputation Commies were heavily loading off onto Roman Catholic Church.

He is certainly the wrong academic field to tell me the wider picture on education before and after 1500. He could no doubt tell me some facts about things specific to Slovenia, but he would hardly be the best authority on the wider question.

As a bonus, any English speaker can tell Slovenes that some of the sentences google translate put into "English" is not really English. It is Slovene with an English disguise, and that is not always comprehensible to someone speaking English but not Slovene. And it would have been worse if I had not hacked up the Slovene text at every comma and full stop - such being the short phrase conditions best adapted to google translate.

Now, hope he does not take this as an attack on his person, but, he was cited, I have been forced to reply about him, which I did.

Imaš zelo dober dan, Gospod Pivk! Upam, da ne bo trda čustva?

That was also google translate, but if it's correct, it's probably because I hacked my message up into three pieces, before translating.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Gertrude's Day

Monday, November 12, 2018

Do Macron and Merkel Know the History of World War I?

War of 14 a Rehearsal for Harmageddon? · Do Macron and Merkel Know the History of World War I?

I just saw an article promoting some excerpts from their speeches yesterday. I will now link to it and then comment on excerpt after excerpt.

mail . com : Excerpts of French, German speeches commemorating WWI's end

First, let me note, as having grown up partly in Germany and as residing in France, I am NOT against their immediate purported goal, fraternity between German and French.

I have some issues with their historiography though.


"Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. In saying 'our interests first, whatever happens to the others,' you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it lives, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: Its moral values."

Totally depends on what kind of nationalism we are dealing with, not all are bad and obviously not all are good.

Also, as I suppose this is with reference to preludes of WW-I, German régime, while manipulating a popular nationalism (with even some Anti-French bias, both born in 1813 in the Völkerschlacht bei Leipzig which beat Napoleon's troops), was not itself a nationalist régime, rather it was an élitist and bureaucratic régime, trying to "manage" nationalism in a good way, but not really nationalist itself.

The one extreme nationalist involved was Gavril Princip - he was ready to kill in open street to get his nation rid of an imperialist oppressor.

"I know, the old demons are resurging, ready to finish off their work of chaos and death. New ideologies manipulate religions, push a contagious obscurantism. Sometimes, history threatens to retake its tragic course and threaten our heritage of peace that we believed we had definitively settled with our ancestors' blood."

Obscurantism is definitely NOT one of the old demons from just before WW-I.

If Austro-Hungary protected Bosniaks, it was not because they were Muslims. Austro-Hungary was a Catholic power with ample religious tolerance.

If Serbs had a somewhat more religiously communitarian take, it was because of bitter memories of Turks. The Serbian side definitely showed some talent of building a multi-religious (but not multi-ethnic as to include Germans in charge in administration) state between the two World Wars. It was known as Kraljevina Srbov, Hrvatov in Slovencev or as Kraljevina Jugoslavija. Muslims were disfavoured, but definitely not persecuted. A truly "obscurantist" régime would not have been able to do this.

So, where in all the build-up to this war does Macron find the "obscurantism" which he considers as an "old demon" resurging?

And as for "definitely settling a heritage of peace"? Come on! Will not happen until Harmageddon. Chamberlain thought he had settled "peace in our time", and while he was wrong, he was at least realistic, he did not say "for all times to come".

"For four years, Europe almost committed suicide. Humanity had sunk into a hideous labyrinth of merciless battles, in a hell that engulfed all fighters, whichever side they were on, whatever nationality they had ... 10 million dead, 6 million injured and mutilated, 3 million widows, 6 million orphans, millions of civilian victims."


But let's put it down to where the blame belongs. Imperial bureaucracies, disregarding Christian morality, a Kantian (I suppose without being expert on that "philosopher") sense of "obedience" as solution to problem how to tell right from wrong in society ... obeying even evils when there is reason of state ... and not "nationalism" or "obscurantism."

Unless, of course, you want to blame posthumously both Serbia and US for the war, rather than Austria and Germany.

I would say Austria was fairly innocent except the part of the ultimatum. They were of course nothing like nationalist in it, they were simply asking a police case be solved by competent police, like Bush not trusting Taliban to track Ben Laden down for him. But they were disregarding the possibility of a nationalist revulsion against this.

And even then, you only have nationalism, not "obscurantism."


"This war, with its senseless bloodshed, showed where national arrogance and military hubris can lead. And it made clear what disastrous consequences a lack of compromise in politics and diplomacy can have."

Did Germany have some national arrogance? Arguably, yes.

But it was not nationalist arrogance, rather it was arrogance of the most progressive state, as Prussian-Germany thought itself to be. Much like later Sovietic arrogance, from régime quarters, was not Russian or Pan-Slavic nationalist arrogance, but arrogance of being most progressive state (on a somewhat but not totally different model of how progress should go on).

Military hubris is of course correct - especially about violating Belgian neutrality.

"It's anything but self-evident" that Germany and France should have such friendship now, "especially after the suffering that Germans caused to their neighbor, to Europe and the world in two world wars."

Hope it lasts, anyway.

Not sure Merkel is not overdoing the German part in causing suffering, but humility is at least a decent attitude.

"The First World War showed us what kind of ruin isolationism can lead us into. And if seclusion wasn't a solution 100 years ago, how could it be so today?"

What exact state was isolationist?


Germany previous to WW-I was anything but. They had tried to isolate France on the pretext it was nationalistic and expansive, but there was no attempt to isolate Germany itself. On the contrary, it was part of the one complex of competing alliances.

There was an attempt of US to isolate itself - and US entry into the war ended US isolationism.

It was this end of US isolationism which brought on Woodrow Wilson's very generous attitude to all nationalisms, except the German one (to some extent even including it). It was Woodrow Wilson's solution which brought the Sudetenland into two competing nationalisms, that of Benesh and that of Hitler.

Would a German victory have been preferrable? With my take on Schleswig Holstein and on Königgrätz, as well as how I see Bismarck's Kulturkampf (a war on what he termed "obscurantism") - I don't quite think so, no.

The Austrian peace, as negotiated by Pope Benedict XV and willed by Charles the Last would have been preferrable, though.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St. Josaphat of Polotsk

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Is this valid in your English? It is in mine.

In the following snip of dialogue, correlate in one man's sentence is followed by its relative pronoun in another man's sentence. I have underlined correlate and the relative.

Henrikas Klovas
Follow the link, “Starting in the late 3rd century BCE, politicians began distributing grain to the lower classes, mostly to men who could vote, in an effort to gain popularity and get elected…”

Hans-Georg Lundahl
Which takes care of a certain claim that "the present concern" St Paul was talking of to Corinthians was not a question on relative values overall of marriage and virginity, but a famine.

It needed no famine to have grain distributions in Roman Empire.

I can restate my sentence this way:

The fact, that “[s]tarting in the late 3rd century BCE, politicians began distributing grain to the lower classes, mostly to men who could vote, in an effort to gain popularity and get elected…”, takes care of a certain claim that "the present concern" St Paul was talking of to Corinthians was not a question on relative values overall of marriage and virginity, but a famine.

Or, if even this is too big a mouthful for you, like this:

The fact, that “[s]tarting in the late 3rd century BCE, politicians began distributing grain to the lower classes, mostly to men who could vote, in an effort to gain popularity and get elected…”, is a fact that takes care of a certain claim that "the present concern" St Paul was talking of to Corinthians was not a question on relative values overall of marriage and virginity, but a famine.

It seems, today all Bibles I can access have replaced "the present concern" with "the thing you were writing about", but that is another matter.

My point is, as given in next sentence of mine : It needed no famine to have grain distributions in Roman Empire.

In other words, "it is better for a man not to marry" was written as an answer about God's normal everyday preferences for Christian lives and not as an answer about what urgency measure to take in a famine.

Perhaps some people don't think it is good grammar to use the other guy's last sentence as correlate for a relative pronoun starting your first one, but I do.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Andrew Avellini

PS, Since someone wondered about the use of neuter pronoun:

Hans-Georg Lundahl
neuter pronouns also refer to verbs and sentences

that is for instance their only function in Spanish, where lo can never refer to a neuter noun, since Spanish has only masculine and feminine ones

it is also one of the neuter pronouns' functions in Latin and Greek

Thursday, November 8, 2018

When it Comes to Inquisitions and Witches

there are people willing to quote one Kurt Baschwitz.

For those reading German:

Siegfried Kurt Baschwitz (* 2. Februar 1886 in Offenburg; † 6. Januar 1968 in Amsterdam) war ein deutsch-holländischer Journalist, Sozialpsychologe und Publizistikwissenschaftler. Baschwitz, der seine journalistische Tätigkeit 1908 begann, ist vor allem für seine Bücher über die Masse und Massenwahn bekannt. Von 1909 bis 1924 war Baschwitz Redakteur beim Hamburger Fremdenblatt, u. a. als Korrespondent in den Niederlanden. Danach arbeitete er bis 1928 für die Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (DAZ). Ab Juli 1929 amtierte Baschwitz als Chefredakteur des Verlegerorgans Zeitungsverlag (ZV) in Berlin, aus dem er im April 1933 entlassen wurde. Als Sohn jüdischer Eltern musste er anschließend fliehen und ging in die Niederlande.

Kurt Baschwitz

For establishing facts about the topic, he is:

  • wrong discipline
  • wrong regional background in Germany and also otherwised biassed
  • and wrong time, since better historiography was made available after he died.

What he had to say about mass hysteria may be very correct, but it was not so correct of him to project it on the Inquisitions hunting witches (Salem seems a bit more like what he was talking of, but even there some have dug up some credible arguments there could have been real witchcraft around).

Fortunately, there are people of Jewish background these days who seem more truthful and less biassed, more fair and less interested in calling opponents jerks who have researched Inquisition. One of their defenders is one Kamen, and I did not know, but he is a Polish Jew. Or, perhaps that was a fake info I saw, here is an article not saying such a thing:


Anyway, his researfch on Inquisition is more recent than Baschwitz:

The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision. London and New Haven: Yale University Press (1997)

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Octave of All Souls

Friday, November 2, 2018

Disinformation on Columbus' Time

Here is a sentence:

For in those days, most people thought that if you sailed far enough out into the ocean you would come to the end of the world. They still thought that the earth was flat as a platter. They laughed at the learned men who said that the world was not small and flat but a huge ball that spun around in space.

P. 7 of Columbus, by Edgar Parin D'Aulaire, Ingri D'Aulaire

Now, I cannot say that it can be disproven, all of it, with breezy ease.

If you speak of "most people" you are for back then speaking of unknown, undocumented people. We only know of very few people back then, not of "most".

However, unless there is a direct indication, like in Columbus diary, on how he and his men were talking on ship, I'd not consider it likely that most people thought the earth was flat.

They would have known learned men in general thought it round and they might have typically respected that.

However, one thing is impossible, namely that learned men in general thought it "spun around in space" - this theory was very uncommon among learned men in 1492 - or earlier, since we talk of Columbus' childhood or youth on this page.

When did Copernicus live, the man who invented its spinning around in space for Earth?

Nicolaus Copernicus (Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik;[5] German: Nikolaus Kopernikus; Niklas Koppernigk; 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance-era mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe, likely independently of Aristarchus of Samos, who had formulated such a model some eighteen centuries earlier.

At what date did he formulate his theory and when was it published?

Copernicus cited Aristarchus of Samos in an early (unpublished) manuscript of De Revolutionibus (which still survives), though he removed the reference from his final published manuscript.

The article doesn't state when it is from.

In Copernicus' dedication of On the Revolutions to Pope Paul III—which Copernicus hoped would dampen criticism of his heliocentric theory by "babblers... completely ignorant of [astronomy]"—the book's author wrote that, in rereading all of philosophy, in the pages of Cicero and Plutarch he had found references to those few thinkers who dared to move the Earth "against the traditional opinion of astronomers and almost against common sense."

So, let's get to the publication date on that article, instead:

De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) is the seminal work on the heliocentric theory of the Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543). The book, first printed in 1543 in Nuremberg, Holy Roman Empire, offered an alternative model of the universe to Ptolemy's geocentric system, which had been widely accepted since ancient times.

1543 - and Columbus had already died in 1506.

Copernicus initially outlined his system in a short, untitled, anonymous manuscript that he distributed to several friends, referred to as the Commentariolus. A physician's library list dating to 1514 includes a manuscript whose description matches the Commentariolus, so Copernicus must have begun work on his new system by that time.[1] Most historians believe that he wrote the Commentariolus after his return from Italy, possibly only after 1510.

And 1510 was 4, 1514 was 8 years after Columbus died.

What predecessors did Copernicus? His article cites mostly Islamic ones.

Hard to say how well known they were in Europe, but Copernicus was able to use some of them.

Anyway, the major astronomic system in Europe was still the Ptolemaic one, and some of the Islamic ones agreed with the later Tychonic one. Back when Columbus was sth like 14 in 1455. This is what most people would have known about insofar as they knew anything of learned men, and this involved really and truly no spinning of earth at all.

To return to the devious part : it is equally devious to dismiss what we know with very exact precision about diverse known men, like them dying around 60 - 65 if they survived childhood and early youth and suppose a spooky "most men" dying at 35. We would not normally judge the unknown as opposite of the known, we would normally judge the unknown from the known. Therefore, if known men are shown to believe Earth was round and still, and no indication is given for unlearned men (South of Iceland and Scotland) thinking it was flat, and nearly certainly no learned people calling Earth spinning around were available, we would conclude the unleared men, that is most, tended to agree Earth was round and still. As in Ptolemy, and, a man who died about a century after Columbus, Tycho.

So, while D'Aulaire are popular and probably enjoyable to read (unless you have a horrible cold and an axe to grind in the issue, as I here), they are not perhaps always accurate. They may have contributed in the meantime (it's from 1996) to the subconscious belief that round Earth and spinning Earth go together.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
All Souls' Day

PS, wait, the book is even older, first edition is not from 1996, but 1955 (and Edgar died in 1986, his wife had already died in 1980)./HGL