Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ

Through Thick and Thin

with 4 comments

Well, I thought I was leaving for the desert today, so I didn’t get a chance to write a post this weekend. So, gentle readers, a second “Through Thick and Thin” post in a row. Plus it’s an excuse to post another funny picture from Facebook. Sometimes this one comes with the caption: ” School textbooks have changed a lot since fundamentalists took over the school board.” I like it better without the caption though, it has multiple layers of implied humour. I particularly like the expression on the mammal’s face. I would also like to give notice of a change in the comment policy. In the future I will simply delete comments that contain personal attacks. If a person can’t make a point without making personal attacks, they generally don’t have much to say. Since I get polite comments from all over the political and religious spectrum, and don’t get the sorts of idiotic troll comments that plague so many other venues, I am pretty sure I’m doing something right. Sadly the anonymity of the Internet has certainly encouraged the worst in some people. I’m appalled for example how many people in the news get death threats for expressing themselves. Dear God, getting along with each other is hard enough as it is, how do death threats help?

Well, the Olympics are over. All said and done, I like the institution less every year. I applaud the athletes though. The same way I am anti-war, but still support the troops. Granted my idea of supporting the troops means bringing them home and giving them decent lifetime medical care. I also think cops and firemen should get the same. If that makes me some sort of radical socialist, so be it. I also support the idea of national service, though not for the usual reasons. How did I get from the Olympics to the draft? Anyhu, the commercialization of the Olympics bothers me. And the fact that many of the nations involved aren’t “real” nations, they are colonial era constructs maintained in power by the west. The Olympics, like the UN, has become an organ for reinforcing the colonial status quo. And it gets grander every year, which historians have pointed out is a bad sign. Bread and Circus, keep the masses diverted as the Empire rots from the top.

Speaking of the Olympics, I remember watching them as a kid. Coverage was much better then, they just covered events, it wasn’t the personality cult, soap opera, game contest coverage it is today. I in particular remember the infamous 1974 US vs Russia hockey game. The clock ran out, the horn sounded, the US team started to celebrate their victory. Then the officials added three seconds to the clock, gave the ball to the Russians, who then won the game. Shock and horror in the USA, crooked Russian officials had blatantly rigged the game to hand the US its first Olympic hockey defeat ever. The USA team was so slighted they refused to go to the podium and collect their silver medals. It was a truly shocking thing to see. And that’s how I thought it stood these past four decades. Then I recently looked it up. Another childhood misconception. Yes, I had seen what I saw. The truth of what happened however is much muddier. There really had been a problem with the clock. In fact there had been all sorts of problems in the last minute of the game. The final result was a comedy of errors as officials frantically tried to fix the mess they had made of it. Yes, there’s certainly reason to believe that some of the participants in the fiasco weren’t exactly pure of heart in their motives, but the end result was far more a result of a badly officialled game than any Russian connivance. IE the people running the game didn’t just blatantly cheat and add time to the game after it was over. Sadly, more and more as I look back to my younger years, I find out things that I knew were much more nuanced than I remember.

I see a man in Bahrain has been sentenced to two years in jail for defaming one of Muhammad’s wives. Sad on so many levels. I don’t think civil courts should be involved in religious matters period. Are there passages in the Koran where Muhammad claims people who diss his wife should be punished? If so, I take exception to them, no disrespect intended. If not, how the hell does this sort of stuff happen? Oh, wait, it involves humans. The new Testament I am more familiar with. Jesus said all sorts of cool stuff. He also said narcissistic sociopathic cult nonsense about worshipping him or else he will kill your children and torture you with fire. And there’s plenty of people in the USA trying to bring back the good old days where the Bible was the law of the land. Well, the law of the land in certain parts of the country. Mostly red states I understand.

Jeez, did it again, from nonsense in Bahrain to red state nonsense. I brought up Bahrain to point out again the evidence of blatant hypocrisy in US foreign policy. In Bahrain we are propping up with weapons and foreign troops a despotic theocracy that is suppressing a popular movement for freedom and democracy. Hardly a word of it in the mainstream media. In Syria we are arming people who want to install a theocracy. Lot’s of that in the news, though they neglect to mention the theocracy part and the atrocities the insurgents are committing in what has now become an ugly civil war. The point of course is that apparently though, millions of Americans still think that our foreign policy is about freedom … and is opposed to religious extremism.  Oh well, millions of Americans think Obama is a secret Muslim or that the Moon landings didn’t happen, so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s all over the Internet, so I’m hoping it’s in the public domain. If anyone knows who to credit it to, I will. Gold Kudos to this guy though, the original “Save Yourself Mammal” guy. It’s one of those cartoons that I think will make me laugh forever. Another mental defect I suppose.)

Written by unitedcats

August 13, 2012 at 9:38 am

The Ten Most Influential People in History?

with 6 comments

I saw this question on Yahoo Answers and it got me thinking. So my post about UFOs, Chilean Miners, the American Elections, Robert Gates and gays, and the nightmare in Mexico is going to have to wait. Who are the most influential people in history is a very debatable question, and honestly my knowledge of history simply isn’t what it should be to answer it properly.  Still, I know enough to take a stab at it, so here goes.

First of all, by influential person in history, I mean people whom if they hadn’t lived, history would almost certainly be vastly different than the one we know.  For example, this means Gutenberg isn’t on my list, yes, the printing press changed history. However, if Gutenberg hadn’t invented it, someone else would have. Same goes for the Wright brothers and numerous other inventors. The second codicil is that I’m pretty much disqualifying anyone in the last few centuries simply because it’s too soon to really tell for sure. And lastly I’m leaving off ancient personages about whom our knowledge is to sketchy to be sure. Moses or Abraham for example, since they may not have actually existed and we really know very little about their eras, are not in consideration.

Number one of course is that Jesus fellow. While his contemporary influence was minor, a good case can be made that he set in motion forces that changed history in innumerable ways, and are still unfolding to this day. Mohammad, Martin Luther, and Buddha fall into the same category. Buddha may be debatable, but without him I think Christianity/Islam would have made vastly greater inroads into Asia. So that’s numbers one to four. See, this is easy!

Then there’s the classical giants so to speak. I’m going with Julius Caesar, Alexander of Macedon, and Aristotle. Caesar ended the Roman republic and ushered in an era of Roman history that lasted for a thousand years, without him Rome might very well have been a footnote in history. And the whole history of Europe and the near east would be wildly different. Alexander of Macedon (I can’t in good conscience call one of the bloodiest butchers in history “great”) was possibly the only person in history to personally start a dark age. His destruction of the Phoenician city states alone ended a thousand year period of pirate free trading in the Eastern Mediterranean, and that was just one of many civilizations Alexander destroyed. And Aristotle guided western thought (or wildly constrained it more accurately) until the Renaissance. A case can also be made for Qin Shi Huang, the man who unified China in 221 BC. There might not be a China without him.

So that’s five through eight, only two to go. So many candidates, so hard to chose. Naw, not true. Columbus is a shoe-in for number nine. While the New World would have been discovered sooner or later, the timing of his voyages changed almost everything that followed. If the New World had been discovered a hundred (arguably even a  decade) earlier or later, it’s almost a certainty we would live in a  completely different world.

That leaves the last spot, who is the tenth most influential person in history? George Washington, without whom there would likely be no USA? Ben Franklin, whose invention of the lightning rod dealt a blow to Christianity that rivals Martin Luther’s? Matt Groening, the creator of the Simpsons, without whom the pinnacle of human adult animation would be The Flintstones? Nope. I’m going with Galileo. More than any other person, I think he is responsible for the end of Aristotelian “science” and ushering in the modern scientific era. And there’s no doubt that the modern scientific era has sent history down strange new paths.

To recap, Doug’s Darkworld’s Ten Most Influential People in history, in order of appearance:

  1. Buddha
  2. Alexander of Macedon
  3. Aristotle
  4. Qin Shi Huang
  5. Julius Caesar
  6. Jesus Christ
  7. Muhammad
  8. Christopher Columbus
  9. Martin Luther
  10. Galileo Galilei

And that’s that. What does it mean? Nothing really, since it’s all pretty subjective and depends on exactly how one is measuring “influence” on history. The fact that there are no women on the list is probably the most salient characteristic of the list. I don’t think it’s a reflection on women, it’s more a reflection on human culture in general. And not a nice reflection. The list is almost certainly weighted towards westerners, that’s where my limited knowledge of history comes into play.

Sometime this weekend I’ll post a general post on the past week’s news and events, this little side trip just struck my fancy so here it is. Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the list. I was unable to even locate the copyright holder so sadly I cannot give credit where credit is due. It’s an image of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. He’s the guy with the terracotta army. I selected him simply because he’s likely the least familiar face to my typical reader. How accurate is the likeness? Beats me, while the Chinese in so many cases invented things a thousand or more years before they were reinvented in the west, photography was not one of them.)