Saturday, March 28, 2009

I-Ching Hexagram 13

I-Ching Hexagram 13 - T'ung Jen - Fellowship with Men

the trigram above - CH'IEN - the Creative, Heaven

the trigram below - Li - the Clinging, Flame

from the Wilhelm-Baynes translation of “the I Ching or the Book of Changes”

The image of the upper trigram Ch'ien is heaven, and that of the lower, Li, is flame. It is the nature of fire to flame up to heaven. this gives the idea of fellowship. it is the second line that, by virtue of its central character, unites the five strong lines around it. this hexagram forms a complement to Shih, THE ARMY (7). In the latter, danger is within and obedience without - the character of a warlike army, which, in order to hold together, needs one strong man among the many who are weak. here, clarity is within and strength without - the character of a peaceful union of men, which, in order to hold together, needs one yielding nature among many firm persons.


It furthers one to cross the great water.
The perseverance of the superior man furthers.

True fellowship among men must be based upon a concern that is universal. It is not the private interests of the individual that create lasting fellowship among men, but rather the goals of humanity. That is why it is said that fellowship with men in the open succeeds. if unity of this kind prevails, even difficult and dangerous tasks, such as crossing the great water, can be accomplished. But in order to bring about this sort of fellowship, a persevering and enlightened leader is needed - a man with clear, convincing, and inspiring aims and the strength to carry them out. (The inner trigram means clarity; the outer strength).


heaven together with fire:
Thus the superior man organizes the clans
And makes distinctions between things.

Heaven has the same direction of movement as fire, yet it is different from fire. Just as the luminaries in the sky serve for the systematic division and arrangement of time, so human society and all things that really belong together must be organically arranged. Fellowship should not be a mere mingling of individuals or of things - that would be chaos, not fellowship. If fellowship is to lead to order, there must be organization within diversity.

~ more... ~

Tao Te Ching - chapter 13

From Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - A Comparative Study :

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 13

Accept disgrace willingly.
Accept misfortune as the human condition.

What do you mean by "Accept disgrace willingly"?
Accept being unimportant.
Do not be concerned with loss and gain.
This is called "accepting disgrace willingly."

What do you mean by "Accept misfortune as the human condition"?
Misfortune comes from having a body.
Without a body, how could there be misfortune?

Surrender yourself humbly; then you can be trusted to care for all things.
Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.

(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)

Thirteen kinds of women should be avoided [as lovers]

From Notes on the Kama Sutra :

Thirteen kinds of women should be avoided [as lovers]: Lepers, madwomen, women thrown out of their caste, those who are incapable of keeping a secret, unchaste women, those who are too old, those whose skin is too white or too black, and those who smell bad, as well as kinswomen, those with whom one has friendship, those who have taken monastic vows, as well as the women of one's family, the wives of one's friends, of Brahmans, and of persons belonging to the royal family. According to the Babhravyas, when it is certain that a woman has had relations with five men, there are no longer any prohibitions. (p. 82)

Later we are told:

A girl who sleeps too much, weeps a lot, or goes out walking alone should be rejected [as a wife]. If she has a bad reputation, is secretive, breaks her word, is bald, has marks on her skin like a cow, has breasts that are too big, or yellowish hair; if she is round-shouldered, very thin, hairy, disobedient, immoral, has uterine hemorrhages, is agitated; if she has childhood friends or a very young brother, and if her hands are always damp, she should be rejected. (p.220)

[ Also fun: Kama Sutra Positions For Internet Writers ]

No Earth Hour in China; it conflicts with Serf Liberation Day, AKA Invasion of Tibet Day

From Treehugger :

by Lloyd Alter, Toronto on 03.27.09

They are not celebrating Earth Hour in China; it conflicts with Serf Liberation Day, a holiday intended to "thoroughly reveal the vicious nature of the feudal serf system and the ulterior political purpose of the 1959 armed rebellion by the Dalai Lama group".

According to Jonathan Watts in the Guardian, "Chinese journalists and student groups have been told to scale back their participation because images of cities and campuses turning dark do not fit the upbeat propaganda message that the authorities wanted to convey.... on the anniversary of the entry into Tibet of the People's Liberation Army and the fleeing of the Dalai Lama into exile."

Some cities in China are participating; Shanghai is turning out the lights. And some are subverting the rules a bit:

At Beijing University, the authorities have forbidden students from overtly participating in Earth Hour. Instead they will organise a "star-gazing" evening that will require them to turn off the lights to see the heavens more clearly.

[ source: Psychedelic Tourist ]

'On April 1 (no joke), Milan Kundera turns 80'

From Eternal exile of Milan Kundera by Geordie Williamson :

For those of a certain generation, the sight of a Milan Kundera paperback can provoke a jolt of involuntary memory every bit as effective as Proust's madeleine.

[ image: Milan Kundera by Eric Lobbecke ]

Faber &Faber's black-and-white editions of his novels and stories were once the obligatory intellectual furniture of a thousand student bookshelves.

Titles such as Life is Elsewhere, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting and The Unbearable Lightness of Being promised a kind of metaphysical bawdy, mixing high seriousness and low humour, and subverting traditional realism with elements of the surreal.

But these fictions were always more than Iron Curtain exotica. Kundera's talent, though unevenly applied throughout his career, has always been impressive in essence and deeply original. His method has been to graft abstract philosophical ideas with fictional invention to create narrative cyborgs: intellectually speculative, formally experimental, intermittently essayistic, yet warm-blooded, grounded in human experience. His characters are not mere automatons, programmed with pure theory and set to shuffling: they are sophisticated neural networks that grow through those dilemmas of love, history, nation and politics the author obliges them to confront.

Few, for example, have read and fewer understand German philosopher Martin Heidegger when he writes about truth and untruth, and their relation to human freedom (me included). But everyone can appreciate Sabina, the embodiment of his ideas in The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

Sabina is one of the four central characters of Kundera's best-known and most successfully realised fiction. She escapes from communist Czechoslovakia to the West, only to be ground down by what Janet Malcolm, in her review of the novel, called a perpetual struggle against theunbearable banality of her situation as an emigre artist:

Sabina had once had an exhibit that was organised by a political organisation in Germany. When she picked up the catalogue, the first thing she saw was a picture of herself with a drawing of barbed wire superimposed on it. Inside she found a biography that read like the life of a saint or a martyr: she had suffered, struggled against injustice, been forced toabandon her bleeding homeland, yet was carrying on the struggle. "Her paintings are a struggle for happiness" was the final sentence.

Sabina's anger at this falsification leads her to make her own. Kundera regards this decision, to alter aspects of her background, then hide her nationality altogether after moving to the US, as an "attempt to escape the kitsch that people wanted to make of her life". Indeed, all of the freedoms that Sabina wins are won through untruth, concealment, betrayal. She is an emigre who achieves absolute freedom -- from country, parents, friends and lovers -- only at the cost of displacement, solitariness and growing dread at the thought of death:

they would cover her up with a stone, and in the mind of a woman for whom no place is home the thought of an end to all flight is unbearable.

Of course, Sabina's response to the experience of exile shadows Kundera's own; she is his ideal and his cautionary tale. In the novel, Sabina flees to Geneva soon after the Russian invasion of 1968. Kundera was expelled from Czechoslovakia's Communist Party in 1970 for his involvement in the events of that same Prague Spring. He was made a non-person in his home country -- his poetry, essays, drama and fiction pulled from the shelves -- before deciding on French exile in 1975.

Kundera shares with Sabina the emigre's necessary betrayal and subsequent disappointment. He, too, escaped from totalitarian kitsch into a free world possessed of what John Updike calls our more subtle enslavements. It is the same world that inspired James Joyce to write the following:

No man can be a lover of the true or the good unless he abhors the multitude; and the artist, though he may employ the crowd, is very careful to isolate himself.

On April 1 (no joke), Milan Kundera turns 80. An international conference will be held in his birthplace of Brno. In New York, a series of concerts of the music of Leos Janacek are being held in his honour. Kundera will attend none of these events. And while newspapers, magazines and websites across the world weigh up the cost for the author of his adherence to Joyce's dictum, pondering how well has he balanced the demands of the crowd with his isolate stance, it's worth asking how much of Sabina's future has become Kundera's, too.

~ more... ~

Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse

From Wikipedia :

The Four Horsemen of the Infocalypse is a term for internet criminals, or the imagery of internet criminals.

A play on Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, it refers to types of criminals who use the internet to facilitate crime and consequently jeopardize the rights of honest internet users. There does not appear to be an exact definition for who the Horsemen are, but they are usually described as terrorists, drug dealers, pedophiles, and organized crime. Other sources use slightly different descriptions but generally refer to the same types of criminals. The term was coined by Timothy C. May in 1988, who referred to them as "child pornographers, terrorists, abortionists, abortion protestors, etc."[1] when discussing the reasons for limited civilian use of cryptography tools. Among the most famous of these is in the Cypherpunk FAQ,[2] which states:

   8.3.4. "How will privacy and anonymity be attacked?"
          - like so many other "computer hacker" items, as a tool for
             the "Four Horsemen": drug-dealers, money-launderers,
             terrorists, and pedophiles.

  17.5.7. "What limits on the Net are being proposed?"
          + Newspapers are complaining about the Four Horsemen of the
            - terrorists, pedophiles, drug dealers, and money

The term seems to be used less often in discussions about online criminal activity, but more often in discussions about the negative, or chilling effects such activity has had on regular users' daily experiences online. It also used frequently to describe the political tactic Think of the children. A message from the same mailing list states:[3]

 How to get what you want in 4 easy stages:
 1. Have a target "thing" you wish to stop, yet lack any moral, or
 practical reasons for doing so?
 2. Pick a fear common to lots of people, something that will evoke a
 gut reaction: terrorists, pedophiles, serial killers.
 3. Scream loudly to the media that "thing" is being used by
 perpetrators.  (Don't worry if this is true, or common to all other
 things, or less common with "thing" than with other long established
 systems - payphones, paper mail, private hotel rooms, lack of bugs in
 all houses etc)
 4. Say that the only way to stop perpetrators is to close down
 "thing", or to regulate it to death, or to have laws forcing en-mass
 tapability of all private communications on "thing".  Don't worry if
 communicating on "thing" is a constitutionally protected right, if you
 have done a good job in choosing and publicising the horsemen in 2, no
 one will notice, they will be too busy clamouring for you to save them
 from the supposed evils.

The four supposed threats may be used all at once or individually, depending on the circumstances:[4]

Pedophiles fill in the gaps when the terrorists aren't doing anything. I mean, how many more buildings have fallen here in the U.S. since 9/11? Not many. So, given the absence of an active external threat, an internal one must be manufactured.

Greek police consider hiring immigrants

From GR Reporter :

27 Mar 2009

Elef[ther]os Tipos newspaper claims that the Greek police are seriously considering the possibility to start hiring immigrants. By doing this they are hoping to lower the crimes, committed by foreigners or targeted against foreigners. The goal is to create a special team, which will be part of different criminal circles, in order to try and gather information, which for now is unreachable for the Greek policemen. Similar practice exists in the UK, USA, and Austria and it provides excellent results. This advice was given by an expert from Scotland Yard, who is advising the Greek police in their anti terrorism fight. The Diplomatic advisor of the Greek Prime Minister Kostas Bitzios, supported and commented on the idea.

Hiring foreigners to work for the Greek police was a taboo for many years. Ever since 2005, the subject started making its way into discussions here and there. But the data given by the former London police director and now current advisor for the Greek police Sir Ian Blare is eloquent: “During 2001-2002, immigrant policemen in London were a little bit over 5%. During 2007-2008, this percentage increased to 21%. Meanwhile racist crimes in London decreased to 14%. Right now 1200 immigrants work in Scotland Yard. The goal is their number to increase 5 times until 2010.”

“At least one foreign policeman in every police station” is the slogan raised by the Vienna police. The US has the longest history on this topic – 46 000 policemen and women are born outside of the US. This is 6% out of the whole American police. 1/3rd of the policemen in New York are foreigners. Though, this probably will not happen soon in the Greek police. Experts are certain that hiring Afghans and Pakistani would solve many problems. They can be hired only if they have Greek citizenship, because otherwise this would go against the constitution of the country. For now, there are not Afghans and Pakistani with Greek citizenship.

Meanwhile, criminality in the Greek capital is increasing as a geometrical progression. Only in March, 8 murders have happened in Athens. For comparison – for the same period, 10 murders have happened in London, when you keep in mind that the city has 7.7 million citizens—in other words, it is two times bigger than Athens. For the first 2 months of 2009, 28 murders or murder attempts have happened in Athens – the number of those was 17 in 2008.

IQ - 'The Darkest Hour'

Neocons Launch New Foreign Policy Group

From :

 A newly-formed and still obscure neoconservative foreign policy organization is giving some observers flashbacks to the 1990s, when its predecessor staked out the aggressively unilateralist foreign policy that came to fruition under the George W. Bush administration.

The blandly-named Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) – the brainchild of Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, neoconservative foreign policy guru Robert Kagan, and former Bush administration official Dan Senor – has thus far kept a low profile; its only activity to this point has been to sponsor a conference pushing for a U.S. "surge" in Afghanistan.

But some see FPI as a likely successor to Kristol's and Kagan's previous organization, the now-defunct Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which they launched in 1997 and which became best known for leading the public campaign to oust former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein both before and after the Sep. 11 attacks.

PNAC's charter members included many figures who later held top positions under Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and his top deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

FPI was founded earlier this year, but few details are available about the group, which has so far attracted no media attention. The organization's website lists Kagan, Kristol, and Senor, who came to prominence as a spokesman for the occupation authorities in Iraq, as the three members of its board of directors.

Two of FPI's three staffers, policy director Jamie Fly and Christian Whiton, have come directly from foreign policy posts in the Bush administration, while the third, Rachel Hoff, last worked for the National Republican Congressional Committee. Contacted by IPS at the group's office, Fly referred all questions to Senor, who did not return the call.

The organization's mission statement argues that the "United States remains the world's indispensable nation," and warns that "strategic overreach is not the problem and retrenchment is not the solution" to Washington's current financial and strategic woes. It calls for "continued engagement – diplomatic, economic, and military – in the world and rejection of policies that would lead us down the path to isolationism."

The mission statement opens by listing a familiar litany of threats to the U.S., including "rogue states," "failed states," "autocracies" and "terrorism," but gives pride of place to the "challenges" posed by "rising and resurgent powers," of which only China and Russia are named.

Their prominence may reflect the influence of Kagan, who has argued in recent years that the 21st century will be dominated by a struggle between the forces of democracy (led by the U.S.) and autocracy (led by China and Russia). He has called for a League of Democracies as a mechanism for combating Chinese and Russian power, and the FPI statement stresses the need for "robust support for America's democratic allies."

This emphasis may also indicate that FPI intends to make confrontation with China and Russia the centerpiece of its foreign policy stance. If this is the case, it would mark a return to the early days of the Bush administration, before 9/11, when Kristol's Weekly Standard took the lead in attacking Washington for its alleged "appeasement" of Beijing.

For its formal coming out, however, FPI has chosen to push for escalating the U.S. military effort in Afghanistan. The organization's first event, to be held here Mar. 31, will be a conference entitled "Afghanistan: Planning for Success."

~ more... ~

[ source: Atheo News - Dauntless Dissent ]

Greek Jews 'shocked' after Holocaust denier is acquitted by Athens Appeals court

About time Greece's deep-rooted antisemitism was addressed. -- PD

From the European Jewish Press

27 Mar 2009

ATHENS (EJP)---The Greek Jewish community said Friday it was “shocked” after neo-Nazi militant Kostas Plevris, who wrote a book denying the Holocaust and containing offensive references to Jews,  was acquitted by an Appeals court in Athens.
Plevris was found not guilty of “incitement to racial hatred and violence against the Jews” by the 5-member court.
In a reaction, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) expressed its “disappointment and amazement at the decision of the Athens court.
"This decision saddens and causes concern among citizens of a modern democratic society as a self-confessed advocate of Nazism and racism remains unpunished though he not only distorts proven historical evidence, but even worse, uses his pen to incite hatred and provoke discrimination and violence against citizens of Greece and Europe," the Central Board said.  
“The Greek Jewry believes that the fundamental constitutional right of freedom of speech has nothing to do with the direct threats, insults and incitement to racial hatred and violence against the Jews that Plevris includes in his book" titled  “Jews-The whole truth” .
Plevris had been convicted in first instance in December 2007 and condemned to 14 months of imprisonment on probation for three years for “racial insult”, “incitement to hatred and racial violence” on the basis of the 1979 anti-racist law.
At the time, the Jewish community saw the trial as a key test of the Greek authorities' determination to deal with anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in a country where anti-Semitic literature such as the infamous “Protocols of the elders of Zion” is on sale in bookshops.

The charges against Plevris were also brought by the Helsinki Monitor and the “Anti-Nazi Initiative” organization, two human right Greek NGO's.
He immediately appealed the sentence.
According to Moses Constantinis, the Appeals court prosecutor characterized Plevris's defamatory book – which denies the Holocaust, calls the Jews “sub-human” and threatens them with the “re-opening of the crematoria in Auschwitz- a “scientific work”. [emphasis added]
To express the resentment of the Greek Jews, the Jewish umbrella body has decided not to be represented at the European symposium “Building together the Future of Europe” which will be held next Monday in Brussels, “given that theoretical analysis and statements made by Greek MEPs on the denunciation and condemnation of anti-Semitism are meaningless”.
Around 6,000 Jews live in Greece.

Bomb rocks port city of Piraeus, Greece

From Southeast European Times :

ATHENS, Greece -- A bomb exploded early on Friday (March 27th) in front of a building with offices of marine companies in Piraeus. The explosion damaged nearby buildings and parked cars but caused no injuries. Anti-terror police are investigating.

In other news, police in Athens used tear gas Thursday to disperse a group of around 100 firemen who protested in the city centre, demanding permanent job contracts. A far larger group, more than 1,000 firemen, staged a peaceful rally outside the Labour Ministry on Wednesday. Around 5,500 Greek firemen work under non-permanent contracts. Their trade union says the government failed to provide them with permanent contracts as promised. (AFP, City - 27/03/09; BTA - 26/03/09)


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