Friday, October 25, 2013
Philistines are everywhere, not just in the UFO arena
Plutarch writing about the legendary Roman Leader Gaius Marcius (Caius Martius) Coriolanus a Roman general who is said to have lived in the 5th century BC, says this (according to David Bromwich in The New York Review of Books, July 11th, 2013, Page 55):
Coriolanus misfortune was “the authority of his nature, and his haughty, obstinate mind … the which of itself being hateful to the world, when it is joined to ambition, it groweth then much more churlish, fierce, and intolerable.” [From Mr. Bromwich’s review of the book, Ambition, a History: From Vice to Virtue by William Casey King,Yale University Press]
This tells us that Plutarch and King see ambition as a vice more than a virtue.
And in Ufology, ambition is a vice, as it corrupts the intended science that ufology parodies and pretends to practice.
The haughty, obstinate mind that Plutarch attributes to Coriolanus is a personal trait of some of the skeptics I’ve noted here, and it’s not an admirable trait, certainly, just a means to a self-defeating end.
Skeptics I know are churlish and intolerable, mean-spirited too, and often ill-educated.
But this resultant comes from ambition, a desire to succeed or look as if one is succeeding.
But ambitious behavior shows up in the arts and sciences more often than in the UFO community, maybe because the UFO community is flush with dolts who have no idea what the right ambitious path might be.
For instance, a clip I saw on the Arts channel, of Zino Francescatti, the great violonist [1902-1991] had him playing his instument at a violent clip, the music being “La Ronde des Lutins” a showpiece for violinists who want to display their prowess, rather than present the beauty from the strings of their instrument; that is, they make perverse the instrument in order to show off, La Ronde allowing them to be intolerable musically.
There’s a piece also, on Arts, by Misha Dichter, the noted pianist, whacking away at his instrument to produce the Precipitato movement of Prokofiev’s Sixth Piano Sonata.
(Don’t let the tuxedo fool you)
Mr. Dichter isn’t playing to please listeners and Prokofiev didn’t write the movement to please pianists or listeners either. Both were showing off.
Rap or hip-hop music isn’t intended to please the ear of listeners. The non-musical outpourings are vehicles for ambitious, success seeking performers, not artistic attempts to create harmonies to sooth the savage breast, rather to enrage the savage breast.
Contemporary painters/artists don’t paint to please the eyes of art aficionados. They paint to capture attention, by producing outrageously anti-beautiful pieces on canvas. Aesthetics be damned.
And in the UFO field, the ufological field (if I can use that term without cracking a smile), one finds similar barbaric thrusts, mostly from skeptics but also from avid believers in the extraterrestrial explanation for the UFO phenomenon.
The difference between UFO ETHers and skeptics is that skeptics are often (usually) churlish and fierce, whereas the “believers” are docile and sly, hoping to convince by stealth and subtle propagandistic technique.
One is Philistinistic and the other is Machiavellian, but with a subdued manner.
Ufologists aim to convince. Skeptics aim to deny. Both are ambitious and ineffective…because ambition is their misfortune, as Plutarch instructs his (future) readers.
Is it a wonder that UFOs are a laughingstock for rational beings?
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Confederacy of Dunces is a picaresque novel by American novelist John Kennedy Toole which appeared in 1980, eleven years after Toole's suicide. Published through the efforts of writer Walker Percy (who also contributed a foreword) and Toole's mother, the book became first a cult classic, then a mainstream success; it earned Toole a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981, and is now considered a canonical work of modern literature of the Southern United States.
The book's title refers to an epigraph from Jonathan Swift's essay, Thoughts on Various Subjects, Moral and Diverting: "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him" [From Wikipedia]
Now, I’m no genius, obviously, but I am rather well-read and have an IQ of 149.
When I post something to this blog, it is sometimes a throwaway, but even then the posting is supported by a life-time of serious reading and a considerable library of books, which I use for reference, rather than the internet, notwithstanding the Wikipedia insert above.
And I am writing this because I’m distressed by the lack of understanding and literate abilities of some readers here.
They don’t get allegorical references nor the underpinnings of material from those books and readings that I employ.
Their lack of academic acumen forces me to continually and redundantly state premises or conclusions in comments.
But it’s not just here where a confederacy of dunces is blatant. Almost every UFO venue is replete with dunces.
Yet, I expect commenters here to understand the basics of literature and culture. Some do:
Bruce Duensing, PurrlGurrl, Brownie, Lance, Paul Kimball, Nick Redfern, among them.
Then there are the dunces, persons who try to take my topics to a hinterland of unknowing, which they inhabit because they do not read the post accurately or misunderstand what it’s intellectually based upon.
Dialoguing with dunces is aggravating and a waste of time, but I try to stick with some of the visiting dunces here as they have become regulars and their ignorance is temperate compared to others elsewhere.
That said, let me implore readers here to look up references before they comment about a topic or note, from me and other smarties.
The flock of insulting and stupid takes on Paul Kimball’s outing of duplicitous stances by some UFO biggies, online recently, would have been tamped down if the persons attacking Mr. Kimball were versed in moral and ethical dogma, such as is enunciated in Adrian M.S. Piper’s two volumes of Hume and Kant’s clarification of what it is ethical to do, rationally, when confronted by errant behavior or moral misbehavior. [Rationality and the Structure of the Self. Volumes 1 and 2: The Humean Conception and The Kantian Conception]
And not to know what personal betrayal is when I quote Eric Blair (Orwell) in 1984 is truly upsetting, as the message is so very clear to those with a sensibility about mendacious acts by those who pretend to be our friends.
And to say that one understands Quantum Mechanics, when there is no evidence that they do, is intellectual dishonesty.
I’ve winnowed out, by not accepting comments or deleting same that come from truly nescient individuals, but will accept and allow (and have) louche commentary, just to make the commentary section here somewhat vibrant.
Other than that, stand down if you don’t get my meaning here or that of others who have a brain and their wits about them.
I hate casting pearls before swine.