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Archive for November, 2015

IMG_2630This scene refers to the traditional visit of St.Nicholas from Spain accompanied by the Moors Who bear presents for good children. These Moors earlier were shown as carrying broom to punish naughty children. Because corporal punishment is no longer accepted it has been taken out of this tradition. Lately there have been protests from many quarters on the racial bias (mostly imagined than real) and it centered on the black faces of the cohorts of St. Nicholas. It is now socially incorrect to depict Piet with black painted faces  so I am describing a night scene to stop all the criticism. St. Nicholas is on horse back.benny

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The Cloths of heaven

 

Had I the gumption I would pass for real

Scholar in mortar-board, you may well

Believe yonder yokel is Jackass

Of first rate mind, but given up, yes

His higher calling for hard labour :

But I being born with circumstance

I have no choice but walk the line, sir:

My learning is’nt what I intend practise.

benny

 

 

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half-light;

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

WB Yeats

 

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In the previous post we discussed about no-man’s land where old rivalries and unfinished business of history are filed away. For anyone who studies history it shall become apparent no war has ever finished with a clean cut. A battle would require some ten thousand little skirmishes which may not catch the headlines. In the ignominious defeat of France in June.1940 lay the devil-seeds of the unsettled business of 1793-94 coming to fruition. The nation that set out to bury the Bourbon dynasty will grovel themselves before imperialist ambitions of Napoleons. Having lost the moral compass what do such genuflections mean? Some glory! some shameless antics!

Napoleon had lost the battle of Waterloo even before it was waged. Napoleon Bonaparte who assumed the title of the emperor of France showed by a series of victories he was worthy to be included among the immortals such as Alexander and Julius Caesar. His brilliant victories created such a condition he could not have sat idle with such a powerful army battle hardened and disciplined under his command. Thus he was caught in the crest of a wave that took him to his Russian campaign. Disaster was the result. What went wrong? Napoleon was weighed in the balance of humanity and was found wanting. Like the king in the book of Daniel.

Morality of man is not without reason compared to a compass. It covers the entire spectrum of man’s conduct through time and place. When Napoleon’s humanity,- and it can only be judged in his interaction with others, there was a serious problem. His ambition did not see people as people but as means to aggrandize himself. (Same mentality can be seen in the manner the French Army threw Captain Dreyfus to ignominy in order to protect its avaunted ‘gloire.’) This moral fault is worse than blindness. Your soul is affected. Physical blindness robs you of vision but leaves the harmony of celestial spheres in tact. It paints in fact colors that the world with its lurid colors can never match. Moral blindness is terrible. It makes you miss your place in the moral compass. You look at it and whatever you see there is anything other than your own humanity. It is almost a hell you have created even before you gave up your ghost, to use the expression in the Bible.

Each of us is like man with one foot in the sticky mess of morass of our own making. On a moral plane our culpability is that of being part of humanity. ‘No man is an island’ as Donne said it famously. This is collateral damages we need accept on a moral plane. In terms of Christian theology we need see it also refers to our fallen state.

benny

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As discussed in the previous post each of us is a cause or effect. Law of reciprocity places each as one or other at any particular place and time. If we were to take recent events in Syria the sectarian  divide between Shi’ia and Sunni faction created a dilemma. Assad is a Shi’ite and he has been trying to put down the rebels. Assad is a cause while the ensuing bombardment has its effect in creating some 11 million refugees. Is there a simple relationship between cause and effect? Russia has joined in the fray while the Saudi Arabia and other Sunni factions are whipping up equally an opposition. In each cause and effect relationship consequences as a result of so many other events are in flux which run into an area of ‘no man’s land.’ . (The cold war which the US and USSR waged in post WWII was at first about Germany; how did it spread around Vietnam Afghanistan and Cuba? it shall connect with the Middle East and now in Syria as well. There is no more Soviet empire but Putin’s gambit is to put his own stamp over the International politics.) Thus this no-man’s land is a swamp where all the unfinished business of old and new colonial rivalries shall run into. This is one area where man’s individual certainties tend to blur.

Even if Assad’s regime can survive the conflict for how long?  This long drawn out conflict has drained the population as well as weakened the administrative machinery. Cause and Effect in short is not as simple as Indian arm-wrestling. I started with the crash of MH-17 and that of the Sinai air-crash. Is falling of the Russian aircraft as  a result of the other no one can say. Natural law of nature has a tendency to bring what is up down since gravity is part of the equation. On a moral plane we need see such disasters as the means to contain man’s freedom to get away without being responsible to others. Man breaks moral laws in his individual choices but always such actions come at a price.

Let us consider a possible scenario: Suppose a multinational company in collusion with South American power-brokers set up a company to log timber. The company can destroy the rainforest and beggar the future of so many indigenous tribes with impunity. The company generate so much profit for the company and line the deep pockets of a few corrupt politicians. Where does moral imperative step in? If a flash flood should overrun later on what would that mean? Does it not mean a kind of retribution?

benny

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