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Archive for October 24th, 2008

“…for all wives and children were to be in common, to the intent that no one should ever know his own child, but they were to imagine that they were all one family; those who were within a suitable limit of age were to be brothers and sisters, those who were of an elder generation parents and grandparents, and those of a younger children and grandchildren…”(Plato-Timaeus)
The quote is from Timaeus in which Plato using Socrates as his mouthpiece advocates his views on the upbringing of children.  In order to bring up a perfect state he would strike at  the very idea of a family. Instead he argues for a  communal living which is not alien to us. In the turbulent 70s it was in vogue.  Looking at  the history of Sparta we know that such  a state came to ruin in a matter of 3 centuries.. There were many reasons but it suffices to say that bringing up a child under every citizen’s charge was not to have any, as illustrated in the story of Working Within Limits. (note: In Sparta a boy on reaching the age of seven was sent for military training which was run by the state. Women had far greater freedom than of Athens and could bear children from other men within marriage.) With so many fathers doing the office, which one has failed in the upbringing in any particular case? No one father in particular. But the fact remains the child failed in achieving the goal since Sparta was anything but perfect. It fact it was a failed state.
Who is to blame? None. So there is a fuzzy area by which anyone can escape blame.
Now let us look into recent crisis in consumer confidence. Who is to blame for the economic meltdown? Pundits may cite so many reasons but aren’t we all part of the cause since we played the game while stocks went higher and higher?
In our lives we interact with others where uncertainty is part of the deal and in falling with the general trends we give that uncertainty more mileage.
The only way we can be certain is in the way we conduct ourselves. Our actions should dispel whatever uncertainty others may have about us.
benny

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7.
Disraeli’s difficulties lay in the fact both Whigs and Tories distrusted him. He was too individualistic to subscribe to any political program. He disliked the Whigs who had substituted a selfish oligarchy for government while the Tories were on a nosedive loosened from traditions, as leaders of the people and supporter of the monarch. To regain this historical position would sum up his own work for the next half a century.
No one in 1830’s could have guessed that it was feasible, still less that the flashy young Jew would be the motive force behind the Tories. In 1834 Lord Melbourne then Home Secretary met Disraeli in one of the parties. Attracted by his conversation he asked what was his aim. “I want to be the Prime Minister,”replied Disraeli gravely. Melbourne with a weary sigh explained the utter impossibility of such an achievement. He ended with,”You must put all these foolish notions out of your head. This won’t do at all.”
Melbourne when towards the close of ’48 just before his death, heard that Disraeli was to be the leader in the Commons he exclaimed,”By God the fellow will do it, yet.”
8.

Viscount Palmerston, war secretary under many prime ministers was a man of great personal charm and exceptional abilities, perhaps the only member of the House whose brain, Disraeli respected. He was a Lothario and his many amatory adventures were no secret. He stood for many years in the way of Disraeli’s ambitions from achieving their fruition. One of Dizzy’s supporters before an election had collected evidence of a furtive love affair publication of which he was certain would discredit his adversary. Disraeli refused.”Palmerston is now seventy. If he could provide evidence of his potency in his electoral address he would sweep the country,” was his reason.
9.
Like many people who were not native but made England home he was fond of England and the English way of life. However his acute intelligence and robust imagination elicited responses which were so different from that of an Englishman. He loved meeting people from various walks of life especially during political meetings and exchange pleasantries. His opponents seldom missed an opportunity of heckling him.
In delivering a speech he would invariably began slowly and quietly.”Speak up! I can’t hear you!”shouted someone at a Newpost Pagnell meeting in Dec,49. Back came the answer,’Truth travels slowly, but it will reach you in time.’
To one heckler, with whom he was on familiar terms,  who called out,’Speak quick!’ he replied,”It is very easy for you to speak quick when you only utter stupid monosyllables.” He added,”But when I speak I must measure my words; I have to open your great thick head. What I say is to enlighten you. If I bawled like you, you would leave this place as great a fool as you entered it.”
10.
Sometimes political hostility took on more personal forms. One jibed at him that his wife had picked him out of the gutter. His reply was a model of incisive wit delivered in his customary cool and unflappable composure. Dizzy replied,”My dear fellow, if you were in the gutter nobody would pick you out”.
11.
His power of ridicule when given a cause was superb and he could floor anyone whether in the House or outside with a verbal thrust. By nature he was genial and never went out to aggravate the feeling of those whom he disliked. Once in the House he chose to ignore a vicious attack of one whom despised with an excuse, ”I have given him the mercy of my silence.”
compiler:benny

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Working With Limits©
The first farmer who settled from a nomadic existence after a couple of  bad starts, reproached the wind thus, ‘Didn’t you tell me to go ahead and plant wheat?”
“Yes?”
“Because you gave your word that you are everywhere, I took you on your word and the result,- entire field ruined by water! “ “Oh, it was the clouds which brought on early showers” said the wind.
” Next season it was a drought that did me in” wailed the farmer. “Blame it on the sun,” said the wind. “Aw shucks, What benefit is to me that you are everywhere?”
‘ To be everywhere is not to be anywhere in particular’.
2.
However close and hard we may look at Absolute principle or Absolutism at work we come up against uncertainties that no rational explanation can dispel. It is not in the principle but our blind spot that is at fault. Sheer numbers by which Oneness of things play off march of events, causes and their effects one another no human brain can follow through.  So the best a philosopher could do is to throw up his hands and say,’ God is dead.’ Simple uh?
benny

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