A man with a score to settle

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by Modus.Ponens » Tue Jul 12, 2016 10:06 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:
I'd rather say he was unforgiving toward evil people, like Henry Kissinger, and toward the many evil ideologies in this world. As Richard Dawkins put it, "He was our battering ram". The man was a brilliant deffender of democratic values and a fierce oponent to the enemies of democracy and human rights.

Aloka,

yes Christopher Hitchens, the writer, journalist and famous atheist who died of cancer around that time.
Or he was a nasty axe grinding old fart. This thread would have been better served without that opening bit of nastiness from the nasty axe grinding old fart, and had you simply posted the video link with a brief description.
Tilt,

The first post was ages ago. I watched this interview recently and thought I should post it where it belongs.

What you see as negative vitriol, I see as a propper condemnation of evil people and ideologies. If the style doesn't suit you that's fine. If the content doesn't suit you then that's one of the purposes: to make people analyse themselves and their beliefs and views to check wether they're actually wholesome or not. And that can be very unconfortable, but also very necessary. That's why I try not to debate this stuff any more. If people want to do their critical thinking with an open mind then the best way is to do it in private, while objectively evaluating the arguments presented in the video. And if anyone likes it I suggest reading Nick Cohen's book.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by pulga » Tue Jul 12, 2016 12:33 pm

“Only thing we have to fear Is fear itself” is FDR, not JFK. The interview is interesting, though I think Cohen's views on the ill effects of unbounded multiculturalism have been a focal point in conservative circles for years.

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by Modus.Ponens » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:06 pm

pulga wrote:“Only thing we have to fear Is fear itself” is FDR, not JFK. The interview is interesting, though I think Cohen's views on the ill effects of unbounded multiculturalism have been a focal point in conservative circles for years.
I see what you mean. And that's why I don't like the word "multiculturalism". It has two meanings attached to it: pluralism, which I think is good; and cultural relativism, which has the potential to create moral and legal double standards. I don't like the criticism of multiculturalism that aims its attacks at pluralism, but disguises itself as aiming against cultural relativism. So I understand the hesitation.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jul 12, 2016 4:48 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Modus.Ponens wrote:
I'd rather say he was unforgiving toward evil people, like Henry Kissinger, and toward the many evil ideologies in this world. As Richard Dawkins put it, "He was our battering ram". The man was a brilliant deffender of democratic values and a fierce oponent to the enemies of democracy and human rights.

Aloka,

yes Christopher Hitchens, the writer, journalist and famous atheist who died of cancer around that time.
Or he was a nasty axe grinding old fart. This thread would have been better served without that opening bit of nastiness from the nasty axe grinding old fart, and had you simply posted the video link with a brief description.
Tilt,

The first post was ages ago. I watched this interview recently and thought I should post it where it belongs.

What you see as negative vitriol, I see as a propper condemnation of evil people and ideologies. If the style doesn't suit you that's fine. If the content doesn't suit you then that's one of the purposes: to make people analyse themselves and their beliefs and views to check wether they're actually wholesome or not. And that can be very unconfortable, but also very necessary. That's why I try not to debate this stuff any more. If people want to do their critical thinking with an open mind then the best way is to do it in private, while objectively evaluating the arguments presented in the video. And if anyone likes it I suggest reading Nick Cohen's book.
So, you are posting this for our benefit, because we need to be exposed to the truly true truth about things, because you have it and we do not. Since this has nothing to do with the Dhamma, has it ever occurred to you that the people here, if they wanted to pursue this line of thinking that it would not be here; rather, it would be in any number of forums that are dedicated this this sort exploration of the truly true truth about the world? The problem with Hitchens and Cohen line of thinking, it is rather ugly stuff. As was said above: "The media is saturated with politics and political skulduggery on a daily basis at the moment, particularly here in the UK. It would be nice if there was somewhere which was a temporary haven from all of that, as well as the endless speculation about it all, which often achieves nothing but busier minds and more confusion."
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by Modus.Ponens » Tue Jul 12, 2016 9:09 pm

I'm starting to think that your multiple posts of meta discussion and hostile negativity have no other purpose than to try to make me lose my cool so you can close the topic. Perhaps even on grounds of meta discussion.

I get that you don't like the content. But I have given appropriate justification for the legitimacy and importance of this topic, namely that it is of paramount importance to the human race's survival that we get this question right. It is thus of paramount importance to the dhamma too.

Diversity of opinion is essential to democracy, as long as these opinions are not incitements to violence. And these are far from incitetments to violence. They are actualy the opposite of that. It's ok that you or Aloka don't want to hear them. I don't read many of the topics either. You can choose not to read this topic too. But some others have taken something of value from it.

Have you seen the interview?
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Jul 12, 2016 11:41 pm

Modus.Ponens wrote:I'm starting to think that your multiple posts of meta discussion and hostile negativity have no other purpose than to try to make me lose my cool so you can close the topic. Perhaps even on grounds of meta discussion.

I get that you don't like the content. But I have given appropriate justification for the legitimacy and importance of this topic, namely that it is of paramount importance to the human race's survival that we get this question right. It is thus of paramount importance to the dhamma too.

Diversity of opinion is essential to democracy, as long as these opinions are not incitements to violence. And these are far from incitetments to violence. They are actualy the opposite of that. It's ok that you or Aloka don't want to hear them. I don't read many of the topics either. You can choose not to read this topic too. But some others have taken something of value from it.

Have you seen the interview?
Yes, and Cohen is not someone whose opinion I would be interested in sharing, which seems to be an opinion shared by a fair number of respondents to that video. As for "Diversity of opinion is essential to democracy," I do not see a necessity for the "Lounge" on this forum as being a platform for the sort negative politics and the subsequent negative discussions that are encased and engendered in and by Cohen's and Hitchens' mind sets. This stuff is freely out there and discussed in any number of venues, and if you and others who want to "settle scores" along with Cohen, go for it, but why bring that battle here?
"namely that it is of paramount importance to the human race's survival that we get this question right. It is thus of paramount importance to the dhamma"
Your previous political, anti-Islamic, and anti-feminist discussions have not shown any objective "paramount importance to the dhamma."

As stated: "It would be nice if there was somewhere which was a temporary haven from all of that, as well as the endless speculation about it all, which often achieves nothing but busier minds and more confusion."

Also, one more thing in reference to a bit in an above msg by you: "I'd rather say he was unforgiving toward evil people, like Henry Kissinger." If Henry Kissinger is unforgiving of evil, I wonder what Henry Kissinger sees when he looks in the mirror.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by Ben » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:20 am

Hi MP,
Modus.Ponens wrote:I'm starting to think that your multiple posts of meta discussion and hostile negativity have no other purpose than to try to make me lose my cool so you can close the topic. Perhaps even on grounds of meta discussion.
As a moderator, Tilt is within his rights to seek clarification from you. In the past, some of the socio-political threads have not been positive.
Modus.Ponens wrote:I get that you don't like the content. But I have given appropriate justification for the legitimacy and importance of this topic, namely that it is of paramount importance to the human race's survival that we get this question right. It is thus of paramount importance to the dhamma too.
I don't think it will be a surprise to you that some people will disagree with you on this point, myself included.
Modus.Ponens wrote:Diversity of opinion is essential to democracy, as long as these opinions are not incitements to violence. And these are far from incitetments to violence. They are actualy the opposite of that. It's ok that you or Aloka don't want to hear them. I don't read many of the topics either. You can choose not to read this topic too. But some others have taken something of value from it.
Incitement to violence shouldn't be the minimum standard on DW. Instead, it should be mutual respect.
When we formed DW, the last thing we wanted was an enclave of theravadins taking pot shots at E-sangha, Mahayanists or some hostile 'other'. Anyone (regardless of background or spiritual affiliation) could join DW so long as they had a genuine interest in the Theravāda and would abide by the twin principles of friendliness and mutual respect, and adhere to the community guidelines as expressed in the TOS.
Our concerns when it comes to socio-political threads whether it be decrying 'safe spaces', gender issues or Islam is the impact it has on disenfranchising existing members and making DW a less than welcoming environment from members within the broader community. And that is why I personally have concerns with these threads. I know that they directly impact on the diversity of our membership and reduce the number of alternative voices when women, people of colour, those with connections with Islam no longer find this place a welcoming environment.

In the past socio-political threads have not been venues for calm and respectful debate and it's been disappointing that there was a lack of acknowledgement of differing points of view and appreciation of nuance was also sadly lacking.
Modus.Ponens wrote:Have you seen the interview?
I watched about 20m of the video last night after a long trip home and didn't get to finish it. Cohen seems to point the finger at 'the left' and Islam. I didn't think it was instructive or revolutionary and I didn't find it interesting. It seems typical of the spate of commentators and writers such as Harris, Hitchens, Denning, et al, who are informed by neoliberalism.
Kind regards,
Ben
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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by Modus.Ponens » Wed Jul 13, 2016 8:52 am

Tilt,

Hitchens wrote a book on the war crimes, and crimes against humanity done by Henry Kissinger. Hitchens was unforgiving toward Kissinger's evil. You confusing two totally opposite positions is indicative of your confusion on the wider discussion. And also indicates that you didn't read the first post carefully, and you don't know Hitchens' work well.

Besides most of the attention given to this thread was given by you and your objections to its existence. Just let it go.
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by Modus.Ponens » Wed Jul 13, 2016 12:38 pm

Ben,

Yes. In the political discussions I tend to be hot headed and I end ruining my arguments with the way I express them. I take responsability for that and I apologise for the many times I've caused this kind of trouble. But the content of my arguments are not quite what you seem to be saying they are.

Let me try to clarify my positions without being hot headed, and please analyse their content as it is. I am not against legal and social equality of women. I am an egalitarian. In that sense I am a supporter of 1st and 2nd wave feminism. We have plenty of reasons to be proud of these movements. But precisely because I am an egalitarian I have to oppose movements promoting inequality. Especially those movements promoting inequality while claiming they are for equality. That is the case of 3rd wave feminism, which is the radical intersectional form of feminism. Also, because I am an egalitarian, I have to be against any form of theocracy. That includes islamic theocracy. Muslims are not a homogenous group. There are minorities within the muslim minority, such as gay and lesbian muslims, muslim reformers, muslim liberals and muslim women. Islamic theocracy has been opressing these minorities through the hands of the ultraconservative members of the muslim comunity. If islamic theocracy is not scrutinised, these minorities will be the first victims. The hostility of the ultraconservative section of the muslim comunity toward non muslims, especially jews, but also buddhists, has been a problem. And it will continue to be a problem if islamic theocracy is not scrutinised. The lack of scrutiny is how the ultraconservatives end up speaking in the name of an entire comunity, thus perpetuating their oppression and perpetuating unnecessary hostility.

However badly I've expressed these ideas in the past, this is what I believe.

And let me finish with a concrete example that ilustrates my concerns: Ayyan Hirsi Ali. Ayyan is a black woman born in Somalia. As a young girl she had her genitals mutilated, which is objectively a brutal form of opressing women. Later she was about to be forced to marry as an underage teenager. Forced marriage is objectively a violation of a woman's right to choose. And if the teenager is very young, the consumation of marriage constitutes rape. She escaped Somalia to escape forced marriage. She is a liberal who has since been campaigning against this opression and the radical forms of the ideology that brought her and many other women unmeasurable suffering. She was a member of Dutch parliament and knows 6 languages. She made a film directed by a Dutch man, criticising the radical forms of the ideology that oppressed her and millions of other women. The director was assassinated. A dagger was left on his chest with a note saying Ayyan would be next. To this day she lives under 24/7 police protection and continues to campaign against this opression and in favor of democracy.
By all human rights and progressive standards this woman is a heroine. A heroine worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. Why do I mention Ayyan Hirsi Ali? Because she was "excomunicated" from the "left". She is treated with open contempt and hate by people who believe themselves to be on the left on this issue. But the fact is that this heroine is treated as a neocon (she's not), as a sell out (she could earn more money with her talent doing other things), as an islamophobe (she is an atheist but supports the reform of islam in the direction of Mecca Islam, which was the peaceful period of islam), and so on. This is the clearest example I know of a heroine who is being maligned by people who should support her if they were consistent with their values. This is a symptom of a serious moral problem within the left where many leftists see this as a stark injustice, while others double down and continue to malign a black woman fighting for equality and against oppression.

This is my position: let's be consistent with our values and support those who fight for true equality. This is what Nick Cohen is trying to say too.

Anjali

EDITED for clarity
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by retrofuturist » Wed Jul 13, 2016 10:25 pm

Greetings MP,

Thank you for sharing that well explained perspective and example. Your point that the Muslim community is not one homogenous blob is well made. Also, it is refreshing to hear such nuance expressed without anyone else screaming "Islamophobe!" in a knee jerk attempt to shut down conversation for fear that intelligent and well articulated statements may hurt someone's feelings.

On another platform Cooran recently shared some very peaceful and loving (dare I say enlightened?) extracts from the Qur'an which show there is potential for more tolerant and liberal forms of Islam to grow, flourish and leave the more illiberal streams in the past as historical relics. I believe this reformation "can" be done, but I feel that despite their good intentions, the so-called "regressive left" (as referenced in the video) actively inhibit such growth. How? By unconditionally tolerating (and forcing "tolerance" by means of language policing) the intolerable treatment of, and intolerable attitudes towards, homosexuals, women and "infidels"... all in the name of tolerance. Yet, knowingly or unknowingly sacrificing egalitarianism and liberty in the process.

As a positive precedent, I feel that over the past century or two, Christianity (in the broadest terms) has come under greater scrutiny for some of its less tolerant aspects (of both practice and scripture), and that this scrutiny has helped it build a more positive religion based on more positive and wholesome roots. This precedent shows that what is intolerable should not be tolerated simply under the guise of unconditional love and tolerance and that the implied assumption of the liberal media that unconditional lifestyle acceptance is an unquestionable virtue requires closer investigation. I doubt this Christian reformist movement would have happened on its own volition had those who compelled Christianity to take a look in the mirror been afraid to do so, or rounded up and labelled "Christianophobes". Sunshine is the best disinfectant.... as much as Cardinal Pell and co. may not appreciate it.

But now we live in different times... And hopefully the parallel matter of Islamism ends well too, although world events and the current level of discourse on most sides doesn't give rise to optimism.

Metta,
Paul. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by tiltbillings » Thu Jul 14, 2016 1:56 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:Tilt,

Hitchens wrote a book on the war crimes, and crimes against humanity done by Henry Kissinger. Hitchens was unforgiving toward Kissinger's evil. You confusing two totally opposite positions is indicative of your confusion on the wider discussion. And also indicates that you didn't read the first post carefully, and you don't know Hitchens' work well.
Unquestionably, I do not know the line and verse of the Gospels of Hitchens, but I do now understand what it is that you wrote: "I'd rather say he was unforgiving toward evil people, like Henry Kissinger, and toward the many evil ideologies in this world." Taking this in the context of Hitchens supporting horrific, unnecessary Iraq war, the misreading the ambiguous statement was inevitable. So, do tell us what Hitchens had to say about the evil George W. Bush and even worse Dick Cheney?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by Sylvester » Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:59 am

Paul Davy wrote: On another platform Cooran recently shared some very peaceful and loving (dare I say enlightened?) extracts from the Qur'an which show there is potential for more tolerant and liberal forms of Islam to grow, flourish and leave the more illiberal streams in the past as historical relics.
Hi Paul

I too would like to believe that some of the warm, fuzzy bits from the Quran should be the way ahead.

BUT, is that how informed Islam understands the Quran? I am quite willing to bet that the warm fuzzy bits are from what scholars would term the Meccan Quran, dictated by the circumstances of the founder's political weakness in the early days of the religion. Once Mohd's power was consolidated, you have the nasty bits rearing its head in the Medina-phase of the Quran. How does one deal with the inconsistencies?

Islamalogy turns to the doctrine of Abrogation. Older verses are abrogated by newer and contradictory verses.
How does the theological debate over abrogation impact contemporary policy formulation? While not all terrorism is rooted in Islam, the religion is an enabler for many. It is wrong to assume that more extreme interpretations of religion are illegitimate. Statements that there is no compulsion in religion and that jihad is primarily about internal struggle and not about holy war may receive applause in university lecture halls and diplomatic board rooms, but they misunderstand the importance of abrogation in Islamic theology. It is important to acknowledge that what university scholars believe, and what most Muslims—or more extreme Muslims—believe are two different things. For many Islamists and radical Muslims, abrogation is real and what the West calls terror is, indeed, just.

http://www.meforum.org/1754/peace-or-ji ... n-in-islam
The doctrine of Abrogation is not amenable to a short one paragraph analysis as above, but we cannot escape from the reality that it does play a major role in some of the forms of Islam we brand as extremist. How will Islam wage war within itself, and when will a truly peaceful Islam emerge from the abrogation of Abrogation?

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Jul 14, 2016 3:27 am

Greetings Sylvester,

They're good questions of relevance to the Muslim community, but they're not questions that I personally claim to have the answers to. That said, I do know that solutions will not be found if the moral fortitude and courage to take up such challenges is missing. Here in Australia, the newly elected Dr Anne Aly seems to have it in spades... I look forward with great interest to see how she can positively influence the discussion.

As for what we can do as non-Muslims, my position is that we should avoid being unwittingly complicit in anything that abrogates the need for such reformation. As Maajid Nawaz wrote in "Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism"...
Maajid Nawaz wrote:"Is not winning the war more important than truth? This maxim, I knew, was also subscribed to by some on the left, the regressive left. For them, winning against capitalism was far more important than it was to their allies. I watched as our ideology gained acceptance and we were granted airtime as Muslim political commentators. I watched as we were ignorantly pandered to by well-meaning liberals and ideologically driven leftists. How we Islamists laughed at their naïveté
Metta,
Paul. :)
Last edited by retrofuturist on Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by Aloka » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:17 am

.

Though I doubt my thoughts will be popular, I sometimes wonder why some of us are so keen to define and discuss how others should be living their lives and practising their religions or other 'spiritualities'.

Its quite likely that we haven't even reached the earliest stages of basic understanding and wisdom ourselves, while claiming to be practising our own beliefs and trumpeting about them regularly on a screen in front of us.

.

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Re: A man with a score to settle

Post by The Thinker » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:27 pm

We must always remember that people whose livelihood is formed from the pen ,generally create drama and do not offer much in the way of a solution.
Their real opinions are often hidden.

In the modern era, journalists turn to sensationalism to make print and TV appearances, this is how they make their name.
"Watch your heart, observe. Be the observer, be the knower, not the condition" Ajahn Sumedho volume5 - The Wheel Of Truth

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