Archive for January 4th, 2012

Jan Christian Smuts(1870-1950) had the distinction of being only man to sign the peace treaties at the end of both wars. Smuts was also a leading figure in the drafting of the United Nations Covenant. Born in Malmesbury, Cape Colony and educated at Christ’s College he went back to South Africa to join Paul Kruger’s government. In 1899 Smuts presented a pamphlet that explained the Boer case against Britain. Next three years he proved himself an exceptional guerrilla leader through the Boer War, and he avoided being cast as die-hard nationalist. He had the prescience to understand the ground realities with a world war in the horizon that in co-operation with Britain lay the future of his country.

Smuts held a succession of cabinet posts, including defense minister, under President Louis Botha and on the outbreak of WWI he rejoined the army and led South Africa’s successful campaign in German East-Africa. This led an invitation by Lloyd George to join the Imperial War Cabinet in 1917. At the Paris Peace Conference he worked closely with Woodrow Wilson in advocating a League of Nations. Smuts returned to South Africa after the signing of the Versailles Treaty in 1919.
Soon after he became the Prime Minister and lost power in 1924 but later returned to office as deputy prime minister. In 1939 he became the prime minister (1939-48). As with Lloyd George before he worked closely with Winston Churchill during the WWII. Jan Christian Smuts died in 1950.
Smuts was a man of many parts and his concept of holism, (defined as “the tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution”) was laid out in his 1926 book, Holism and Evolution. Smuts’ formulation of holism has been linked with his political-military activity and his belief in white supremacy.

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At the Altamira Caves©

A group of prehistoric men camped in the Upper Paleolithic caves Spain thought they were guided by some unseen hand. From where they stood they could see in the valley below such abundant wild-life, which they could hunt. There was plenty of meat to go round. Because it was a coastal area they also fished and it gave some variety to their diet. When they painted the caves they were in a manner of speaking thanking whatever made them seek that part of rocky outcrop.
‘Imagination no doubt.’ One wizened man exclaimed.
‘But from where it came to us?’ The young braves queried.
The old man replied, ‘ By the same source that made us leave our history along the walls.’
They didn’t get it so they pressed him to explain. ‘Would we have left these paintings behind if we did not think we would be found?’
Later when roof of a cave collapsed they decided it was time to move on.
As they filed their way to safer regions the old man asked the group of hunter-gatherers who were responsible for painting the walls,’ Don’t you want to leave your signature?’
‘Whatever for?’ perplexed they were at the question, ‘ we were merely the hand that obeyed Imagination whatever it is.’ In our exercising the imagination we prove we are part of a dream at the centre of which holds an Absolute quality.
Let me quote Carlyle”For indeed it is well said,’in every object there is inexhaustible meaning: the eye sees in it what the eye brings means of seeing.’ To Newton and Newton’s dog Diamond, what a different pair of universe; while the painting on the optical retina of both was, most likely the same!’( French Revolution./Book I.1.2)
When you look at the immensities do you trace the lineaments of God or Allah and think It gave you the right to demolish those who didn’t see it the way you did?
Wherever one is, that the Centre of Immensities,-for believer, theist, agnostic atheist alike. Centre of Immensities is an expression of Carlyle and I find in him some similarities.

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