A Short Point About the News on Casey Anthony

Apparently, Casey Anthony is pregnant with twins. I do not see how this is such big news, but I digress.

The point of this post, however, is the reaction that people seem to be having (not to speak of the connection between her and Zimmerman, which I also think is unwarranted, because there’s levels of scum).

Consider this tweet:

Ouch!

Ouch!

Of course, you may see the irony in what is meant to be a reaction to someone who walked away after “allegedly” committing murder (not any kind of murder at that, she killed her own child), but that is completely beyond the issue. What I want to focus on is the outrage that many people are feeling about Anthony being pregnant again.

What frustrates me is that, while it is understandable that this young woman is upset that Casey Anthony (at least in her mind) killed a child and is now about to have custody over another one, is that this kind of predisposition is not present more often. For example, when the trial of Kermit Gosnell was going on, I do not think @charlottetruth bothered much to speak on how hundreds of babies were killed. When Planned Parenthood announced that even if a baby could survive outside the womb and the procedure to terminate it (i.e. kill it) was botched, it would not try to save the baby, all was quiet on the Western front.

Despite the fact that sex-selective abortions is something that everyone is going against in China, the ACLU said it would file a suit against the law in AZ and there was no noise on that. Of course, that’s to not speak of the elephant in the room, Planned Parenthood itself, who kills a baby every 94 seconds (going by the 2011 stats) and yet many women see it as an institution that protects them (from what I don’t know).

I ask you, if abortion is not wrong, why is Anthony’s alleged infanticide wrong? Is there some magical meaning to passing through the birth canal that makes not-a-baby a baby? I quite agree that there’s something rotten about Casey Anthony having a baby (and even saying that she wanted to name one of them after her first daughter), since she seems completely unrepentant about what she did (regardless whether the law finds her guilty), but let’s be consistent with our principles, shall we?

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PULL THE FUNDING FROM THE SYRIAN REBELS NOW!

Hi guys, as you very much probably know, I am not one for breaking news, or to be involved in politics unless it comes to a head with ethics, but I must make an exception here.

As the title may suggest, I’m rather upset. In the past two years, we have seen a wave of insurgency across North Africa and now in the Middle East that was, at first, hailed with much joy here in the West, believing that the old autocratic regimes were falling, in the interest of new, democratic, free, [insert buzzword here] regimes. Well, we were wrong. Egypt has been taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to put it under Sharia law. Not an advantage toward a free and democratic society in my humble opinion, but I digress. Of course, Christians in Egypt cannot build or repair their Churches, so it just so happens that the attacks on Churches have increased of late. Anyway, the many woes of Egyptians are not my topic of conversation, not now.

I want to talk about Syria. Yes, one of the many conflicts that the US has gotten itself involved even though it does not involve the US. In an attempt for us to become the policeman of the world (a position which has gained the US nothing but hatred in foreign countries), we have decided to give aid and weapons to the Syrian rebels, in hope that they will like us when they come to power. Of course, we did this very same thing in Afghanistan, when the USSR attacked them and we got the Taliban as a direct consequence, but that’s not the point, we all know that if you fail the first time, try try again, right? This is the poisonous mentality that the US has maintained toward Syria, a mentality which has brought nothing but trouble in the past and which will bring nothing but trouble in the future.

But I don’t even want to talk about what will probably happen in the future. I want to see the immediate fruits of US taxpayers’ dollars at the hands of the Syrian labors. The first, doubtlessly, of many “thank you” notes that the US and the West at large is to receive for their support, in the name of human rights and freedom, from the temperate and just people  to whom we are giving money.

Video here.

I should warn you, it is quite graphic.

Why graphic you say? It is a “fan video” of three men are decapitated with a knife (to those of you who do not have good imaginative powers, using a knife means that the executioner has to make several cuts in order to sever the head from the body, which makes it infinitely more painful for the victim), one of whom is the abbot of a Catholic monastery in the area. They said that the charge was supporting the regime, but they were not chanting “free Syria” or some other variant as these men were being murdered, but “Allahu akbar!” so I am a little suspicious about their presumed charge.

That said, if the rebels were fighting for freedom of the people, you’d assume that these men had the right to a trial (nevermind a fair trial), where it’d be apparent to most that a Catholic friar (Father François was a Franciscan) was, at most, perhaps caring for some wounded people, but he surely was not aiding Assad, who wasn’t very nice to Christians to begin with, because he had nothing to offer him. Christian monks are unarmed and not particularly rich.

Of course, some of you may say that this is only an isolated incident, a singular lapse in judgement on the part of these, rather backwards, but otherwise well-meaning and good rebels. In that case, I’d ask you to explain to me why two Orthodox bishops were kidnapped some time ago and are still unaccounted for, which may simply mean that we have not found their body yet. In the meantime, the city of Aleppo’s main Christian neighborhood was shelled on April 24th (Source) and on June 27th a suicide bomber detonated himself near one of the Syrian capital’s Christian Churches (source).

Of course, you may argue that sometimes, in order to make an omelet, a few eggs must be broken. Of course, such utilitarian ideology is easily disproven otherwise, but I’ll ask you this question, are you consistent with that view? Do you believe that all the innocent people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, too, were justifiable because our interests were being protected? Probably not.

That aside, the question still remains about what actual good this is gaining for Syria. If today, when the (Muslim) rebels have yet to gain control over the whole country, they have already started oppressing other religions, what will they do when they do get the whole country? Will they oppress women? Very likely, probably even scourge them for driving, like they do in Saudi Arabia. Will they destroy historical monuments in the forms of Synagogues and Churches, the heritage of Damascus and the world and the proof that Christianity, Judaism, and Islam can coexist peacefully? Very likely. Again I ask, what has Syria gained from having such-minded people trying to “free” it and why is it that the US is giving money to these people?

Osho Part II: “Constantine Did It”

Hi everybody, this is in response to one of the comments in my post “Osho: Mystic or Moron.” Sorry for not uploading this earlier, but as I mentioned in one of my comments, I recently moved to Glasgow, Scotland (I am studying there for a semester) and I first did not have wifi and then needed a little bit of time to settle in. You can see the opposing argument if you go over to that post, but a basic sum-up of it is: Constantine added things to the Bible to make Christianity what it is, Osho has the ability to differentiate the original material from the one added on, therefore, the version of Jesus the West knows is wrong.

My response to this argument is going to be along the following lines. First, what Osho claims is not only unsupported by anything in the Bible, but medically wrong. Second, neutral historical accounts claim do not corroborate Osho’s claim. Third, it is very hard to explain the spread of Christianity in Europe if the story is not like the Bible says. Fourth, it is not true that Constantine edited the Bible, for the following four reasons: 1. The dating of the style of the Gospels rules out this possibility, 2. The Christians, having withstood persecution before, had no reason to bow down to Constantine if it meant compromising their faith, 3. Constantine had nothing to gain by espousing Christianity, 4. The argument for Jesus’ divinity in the Western sense predates Constantine. Fifth, I will present the aforementioned argument as it relates to Osho’s claim.

First, what Osho claims about the apparent death of Jesus are incorrect not only based on the Bible, but also based on medicine. Osho claims that Jesus did not, in fact, die on the cross, but only “fainted” and was later shipped to India, where he lived to be 112. If we ignore the accounts of the Gospels for a second and take up only neutral sources in history, we will see that it is rather preposterous to take this view. If non-sympathetic Romans nailed Jesus upon a cross, He would be in immediate excruciating pain. The process by which crucifixion kills is suffocation; basically, it is like being full Nelson until death (if you do not understand how that would work, stand up and push your arms back as far as you can for about 30 seconds, you’ll see). The other part is the fact that His wrists would have been nailed. Of course, best case scenario, it did not hit any arteries or veins, but still, those wrists would have had to carry the full weight of His body for a prolonged amount of time, needless to say, that part of His body would need some patching up (that’s not to mention the rather problematic point about the “holes,” they would need to be cauterized to stop the bleeding).

Of course, one would wonder if we are to include the account of the spear in Osho’s theory, but if we are, then, if the results are also reported correctly (according to Osho’s theory), the fact that blood and water came out means that, at the time of the incision, the heart had burst and the lungs were collapsed (that’s why they were filling up with water), which would make survival impossible (you can’t live without a heart or lungs). If the report of the results is held to be incorrect, then, on top of being on the cross for a while, the injury to the wrists (and feet, but that’s less problematic medically) and now the fact that a spear was thrust up His side (at the very least collapsing a lung) would make it impossible for a man to survive. Perhaps He could have been nursed back to life in a modern hospital, but not in 33 AD.

Second, neutral historical accounts do not corroborate Osho’s claim. There are three main sources that mention the fate of Christ that are not Christian and all three do not seem to support an escape to India. First off, Cn. Tacitus, who talks about the death sentence given to Christ in Book XV, Chapter 44 of the Annals (written ca. 116 AD), when talking about Nero blaming the burning of Rome in 64 AD on the Christians (please remember this fact, too, it will be relevant for the next point). Scholars generally agree that his description proves Jesus’ execution under Pilate[1]. Of course, one could claim that Constantine, in his way to revising all history for the past three centuries, changed this detail as well, but the fact that there is more than two hundred years during which the Annals are in circulation and, more importantly, being quoted by other authors, it would be ridiculous to think that Constantine would even have the time to make sure that every single copy of the original Annals would be destroyed (that still would not explain how we have copies of this passage of the Annals which predates Constantine). We can see that, in ancient times, destroying every copy of any document was nearly impossible. As evidence for this stand the non-Canonical Gospels, also known as the Gnostic Gospels, which the Church did try to destroy, but which still ended up in our hands. However, Constantine (in addition to all the Christian documents that he would have to alter and destroy) would also have to destroy the account of Flavius Josephus, who also mentions the account of Christ’s crucifixion and subsequent death (in fact, he also seems to assert His Resurrection)[2]. Based on these two accounts, which, as I mentioned above, are not Christian, it would seem that there is no historical record of Jesus traveling to India.

Third, and in line with the aforementioned evidence, it seems that Christians, i.e. followers of Christ, spread in Europe during the first century AD. If it is true that Jesus went to India after His “botched” crucifixion, then who and why spread Christianity to Europe. The Church holds that it was His faithful Apostles, but, if Osho’s view is correct, either they were misguided in that they did not know that Jesus was to leave for India, or they knew and they chose to disregard that fact, not follow Him, and instead preach the Gospel in Europe. One thing is for sure, in the first century AD, there was a Christian community in the Roman Empire. We know this because Nero persecuted them in 64 AD because of the burning of Rome (the Tacitus source point to this). In addition, the letters of Pliny the Younger point to a Christian community in Asia Minor[3]. It would seem that, if it was not the continuation in earnest of Christ’s work that the Apostles were doing, they were insane, because for their devotion to the Gospel, they got nothing but abuse. This is because the Romans considered Christianity superstitio, which, different from its modern cognate “superstition” meant excessive or mistaken worship under Roman pagan rules. On top of that, Christians refused to worship the Emperor (the Romans could care less if they wanted to worship Jesus, all they wanted was for them to offer sacrifices to the Emperor and Jupiter and the Christians would not). This is the reason why Pliny persecutes them.

Now, this fact is important, because it shows that, even in the first century, the Christians accepted Jesus as God, but no one else. He was not one among many; He was the only One. This goes radically against the claims of Osho and it predates Constantine, so it seems that there is a tradition within Christianity that regards Osho’s view as erroneous. If the Christ, in going to India, ditched the Apostles, then why would they spread the message that He was the Son of God (and that there was only one God) when they were persecuted for it? On the other hand, if they did know Jesus went to India and that He was not God in the way that they preached, why would they, first, not go to India with him and, second, why would they preach an intentionally erroneous message when, if they said that Jesus was merely a sage and that it would be fine to sacrifice to the Emperor, they could have kept their heads? It seems the only answer that would fit in all the facts would have to be that Osho’s view is incorrect.

Fourth, four reasons for why Constantine, whatever else, could not have edited the Bible. The first is that, empirically, the (Canonical) Gospels are dated to the first century AD. This is done, among other ways, through dating the approximate style of writing of a text to the larger style of a period. The way syntax is used is very important and words shift meaning as time goes by, so you can probably tell in which century a writer is writing by how they write (among other things). Even the most liberal Biblical scholars will put the date for the Gospel of Mark to the 70’s AD, but no further. This means that Constantine, empirically, could not have incised and replaced large sections of the Gospel of Mark, otherwise the radical difference in style would have been apparent (leading to a later dating).

Second, there seems to be no reason why the Christians, having withstood persecution before, would decide at this point to bow down to Constantine’s views. In fact, shortly after the First Ecumenical Council (the Council of Nicaea in 325), there was some scattered persecution of what is now considered “Orthodox Christianity” (back then it was the only, and right, option). For example, St. Athanasius, the “hero” in many ways of the first Ecumenical Council was exiled three times during his lifetime, shortly after the death of Constantine by the Arian Emperors for his views on Christ. He is one example among a multitude, because the persecutions continued well into the tenth century, where iconoclasm was the issue at hand. Another example, St. John of Damascus had one of his hands cut off to stop him from writing against the iconoclasts. It seems, therefore, that the Christian community withstood changes (it is worthy of note here to mention that these changes were in tradition and, though crucial, were not as basic as whether Christ died and resurrected or whether he went on vacation to India) to its doctrines well before and well after Constantine. To claim that there was just this one exception when they, three centuries into being persecuted for what they believed, decided to cave in, makes no sense. Of course, if they did, you would have to say that Constantine did not do it alone. At least, he would have needed help from Athanasius and Nicholas, both of whom played a large part in the First Ecumenical Council and in the writing of the Nicene Creed, coming to us later as the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed. The point about there being four Councils (Nicaea in 325, Constantinople in 381, Ephesus in 431, and Chalcedon in 451) until the consolidation of the Creed used today (the Creed, which was in present form in 381 clearly states, “He suffered and was buried and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures…”), the last beginning 94 years after the death of Constantine, show that Constantine could not have been the person influencing a change if there were a change and that there could not have been a change because no one brought up an argument against it.

Third, one has to consider what Constantine would gain (since it goes without saying that he, according to your theory, was not enacting this change out of piety) by espousing and altering Christianity. By the time of the issuance of the Edict of Milan (313) about a tenth of the population of the Roman Empire was Christian. That’s right, one in ten people. Now, let’s suppose that half of that percentage (5%) would have accepted the rather substantial change that Constantine would have had to have brought to Christianity. He would now be fiercely supported by 5% of the Empire. I must say, I do not know your system of Math, but in my system that is a very bad move. This would make even less sense considering the fact that the pagan population of the Empire was left stupefied by the fact that their Emperor had converted to Christianity and tried to work it into the pagan cosmology[4]. In the aforementioned Panegyric, the author tries to look at Constantine’s conversion as some kind of philosophical connection to the gods that would only be available to the Emperor. In addition, even after his conversion, the pagan population was willing to dedicate temples in honor of him. We have record of one that he allowed to be built in Hispellum, with the condition that there would be no cult images in the temple and that there be no sacrifices going on in it[5]. So, clearly, it was not popular support that Constantine was looking for. Well, what then? The question remains open because it would be irrational for Constantine to be involved with Christianity for any other reason than earnest belief.

Fourth, the argument of Jesus’ divinity in the Western sense was in use long before Constantine was conceived. My source for this is Between Heaven and Hell by Peter Kreeft. I would provide a page, but I don’t have the book with me (I recently moved to Glasgow for a semester). It dates back to Justin Martyr (100-165 AD). The basic point of this argument is that either Christ was truly what He claimed to be (i.e. the Son of God), or a bad teacher (because He did not get His message that he was really a Hindu Guru across correctly), or a madman (modern psychology has found that there is a divinity complex) if He really thought He was the Son of God but wasn’t, or otherwise the most evil man to have ever lived (because He succeeded in fooling people into believing that He was the Son of God when He indeed was not). All these possibilities presuppose a Christian basis and a refusal of the Hindu metaphysic (i.e. the world is Lila, there is no real good and evil, because Brahman is the only one who reincarnates). It would seem, therefore, that Constantine would have needed to make up this piece of evidence, too, and then fooled modern science into dating it earlier than when it was written. In other words, if Constantine was able to do all this, we might as well worship him, because he would be the most brilliant man in the world.

Lastly, let us take up the aut Deus aut homo malus argument mentioned before and look at how it relates to the topic at hand. The relevant difference that we have to account for here is the fact that Jesus was a Jew, speaking to a Jewish audience. If he was speaking in India, it would have been perfectly fine for Him to have had a claim to divinity, after all TAT TVAM ASI (“That I am that.” i.e. Brahman) is the Holiest sentence in Hinduism, which marks one’s awakening. However, Jesus was put to death specifically for saying He was the Son of God, so it is clear that when the Jews said, “God” they meant something different than when the Hindus said, “God.” Now, if Christ was not able to get His point across about the fact that when He said “God,” He meant what the Hindus meant, then he must have been a very bad teacher. That is the best-case scenario, which leaves out the possibility that He was consciously deceiving the people, or that He was simply crazy. However, in all three of those possibilities, it would make little sense how He got so much else that was contradictory to Jewish custom across and seemingly failed on this single respect. In addition, how much of His teaching was concerned with morals and the idea that there is an eternal Hell would also be a problem, since Hindus believe that there is no eternal Hell (everyone eventually realizes they are Brahman) and since they do not believe in a true distinction between good and evil (because everyone and everything is Brahman).

In conclusion, for more than one reason it seems that it would be impossible that the story of Jesus Christ was so radically edited and, if anything, even if it were, there is no chance that Constantine could have done it. It seems, therefore, that the argument mentioned at the beginning of this paper would make any sense.


[1] Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies by Craig A. Evans 2001 (pg. 42); Mercer dictionary of the Bible by Watson E. Mills, Roger Aubrey Bullard 2001, (pg. 343); Pontius Pilate in History and Interpretation by Helen K. Bond 2004, (pg. xi); Eddy, Paul; Boyd, Gregory (2007). The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition Baker Academic, (pg. 127)

[2] Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Bk XVIII, Chptr. 63

[3] Pliny the Yonger, Epistulae, X, 96

[4] Panegyric 12, delivered at Trier, 313 CE

[5] Rescript of Constantine I on Hispellum, AD 326-327

Definiton of Virtue in Macchiavelli

Hey everybody. I realize that I have been missing for a while, so I have decided to post here a paper that I had to write not too long ago for one of my classes. I would appreciate it if you do not plagiarize (cheating is bad for your soul). This is a little different from all of the other posts that I have on this blog, because it does not include an analysis of whether Machiavelli’s point is correct or not, I am simply pulling out of the text what Machiavelli argues.

Machiavelli uses the word “virtue” in two distinct ways. For the purposes of this paper, it will be marked when the word is used in the ancient sense and when Machiavelli uses it in the sense that he wants it to be used, at least on the part of the Prince. Machiavelli’s argument is that, distinctly from what ancient philosophers and the Bible believes about human nature, it is fallen, rotten, and bad and, therefore, that a new moral code and a new corresponding set of virtues is necessary to prosper in this fallen, rotten world (at least from his point of view). For this reason he creates a new definition of virtue which is pertinent to the Prince, i.e. whoever will take it upon himself to rule over the masses. In Machiavelli’s eyes, virtue is the tools by which a Prince gains power (i.e. imperium) and maintains his power over his people.

Before examining the nature of Machiavelli’s new sense of virtue, it is appropriate to see why he believes this new set of virtues is necessary, considering the nature of men. He starts from the premise that it is rather futile to have as the end goal “republics and principalities that have never been seen or known to exist…” (NM, pg. 61) referring to Plato’s Republic and the Christians’ understanding of the Kingdom of God. It is quite clear that he is not an optimist about what humans are, hence he says, “one can say this generally of men: that they are ungrateful, fickle, pretenders and dissemblers, evaders of danger, eager for gain.” (NM, pg. 66) Because of these qualities of men, and because, “it is a very natural and ordinary thing to desire to acquire, and always, when men do it who can, they will be praised and not blamed…” (NM, pg. 14) he is a realist in the sense that he would rather have one conform to reality and work from there rather than have them try to change the world around them.

Machiavelli puts forth the view that a person who sets himself to rule over other men, i.e. a Prince, should not appeal to traditional moral codes, but should rather seek a new, more macabre means of ruling. Understanding the instinctual repulsion that most people would have to his new teaching, he adds, “… if all men were good, this teaching would not be good; but because they are wicked and do not observe faith with you, you also do not have to observe it with them.” (NM, pg. 69) Having these as his guiding principles, Machiavelli sets up a new system of thought, where many of the principles of ancient philosophy are simply reversed.

Machiavelli’s set of new virtues—his moral code if such a word can be associated to him— concentrate not on a conversion or shaping of the soul (which was their older sense), but in the conversion and shaping of the people around the Prince, so as to facilitate the Prince’s rule over them. His top eleven virtues, though he does say that there are others like them are: meanness as opposed to liberality, rapaciousness as opposed to a nature of giving, cruelty as opposed to mercy, faithlessness as opposed to faithfulness, fierceness and spiritedness as opposed to being effeminate and pusillanimous, pride as opposed to humanity, lasciviousness as opposed to chastity, astuteness as opposed to honesty, hardness as opposed to being agreeable, gravity as opposed to lightheartedness, and unbelief as opposed to religion. (NM, pp. 61-2) The language of necessity is very prominent in The Prince, as was mentioned above, Machiavelli says that this new teaching would not be good in the theoretical world, but such behavior is necessary in the day-to-day world of humans.

Of the eleven virtues, Machiavelli decides to drive the first virtue the most, i.e. the importance of being rapacious rather than liberal or generous. He points out that a Prince who is generous with his resources—though, in truth, they are not his resources, rather the resources that he has gathered from the people—can only upkeep his generosity by eventually increasing taxes, which will cause him to be hated, a most undesirable feeling. Therefore, Machiavelli puts forth the idea that a Prince should always be tight-fisted or even stingy with his money, so as to make sure that, though he may get a reputation for stinginess, he does not cause a revolt among his people because he has to keep giving back and in greater amount each time.

Just below this quality, Machiavelli puts forth the importance of the virtue of cruelty. Even before he has formally introduced the new virtues, he spends a lot of time speaking about examples of cruelty and of cruel men throughout history and pointing out that when cruelty is used effectively and for a necessary cause, it helps and does not harm Princes. Machiavelli stresses that there are two kinds of cruelty, cruelty that is necessary and used properly and cruelty for the sake of cruelty, which brings only hate. (NM, pp. 37-8) He argues that no action is evil in itself, but rather that there are always extenuating circumstances which make actions that the ancients would call “evil” be proper, hence his annoyance with the writers that, on the one hand, praised Hannibal for his military success, but, on the other hand, blamed and looked down upon its principal cause, i.e. his “inhuman cruelty.” (NM, pg. 67) Machiavelli also points out Cesare Borgia, whose cruelty in dealing away with Remirro de Orco gained him at the same time, both the satisfaction of the people and stupor at his ferocity. (NM, pp. 29-30) Cruelty well used, he would suggest, makes a new Prince even more cemented into his throne than inheriting the position.

The case of Agathocles seems, at this point, pertinent for examination. He was an ancient tyrant of Syracuse, who gained his way into the throne with much violence, crime, and cruelty. Since his case comes before the introduction of  the new virtues, Machiavelli says, “… whoever might consider the actions and virtue of this man will see nothing or little that can be attributed to fortune… Yet one cannot call virtue [in the ancient sense] to kill one’s citizens, betray one’s friends, to be without faith, without mercy, without religion,” (NM, pg. 35) though, of course, all those virtues are mentioned in his list. However, Agathocles is banned from the highest tier of rulers because all his less-than-pleasant actions can be traced back to him. In this instance, Cesare Borgia may be of further help, in that he appointed De Orco, “a cruel and ready man,” (NM, pg. 29) to clean out Romagna in his name, which he did, but with much—albeit necessary—spilling of blood. Yet, Borgia set up a trial for him with an excellent (in the old sense) judge and executed him for his cruelty, so as to disconnect himself from the dirty work.

Machiavelli says that the most excellent tier of Princes are able to commit unspeakable cruelty and yet, by one means or another, move it away from their own person. Whether they use the excuse of being inspired by God to do so (as in the case of Moses in Chapter VII) or otherwise by simply choosing an arbiter and then executing him (as in the case of Borgia above), they are able to, “… appear all mercy, all faith, all honesty, all humanity, all religion.” (NM, pg. 70) For Machiavelli, it is very important to, while following his new moral code, to appear to follow the old moral code to a fault, thereby making the vast majority of his subjects believe that he is most excellent (in the old sense) while being able to keep his dominion.

For this reason Machiavelli introduces an animalistic example for all Princes to follow. Having implicitly argued throughout the Prince that a divine being does not exist, Machiavelli would have his students understand that the old metaphor of Chiron, the half-man half-beast is too optimistic and that, rather, they should understand that they are completely beastly and should take as their examples the lion and the fox. Whereas the lion is useful in “driving away the wolves” and the fox to “recognize snares” (NM, pg. 69), Machiavelli does concede that either or the animals could work, as in the case of Agathocles above (i.e. the lion) and in the case of Pope Alexander VI (NM, pp. 46-7), the fox. However, the most excellent men are those that can master both and switch from one to the other when it is necessary.

In the end, virtue (in the new sense) serves a second purpose, that of thwarting fortune or luck. Even in the case of Borgia, whom Machiavelli praises much over the course of the book, he made one false choice in the end i.e. he allowed the election of Pope Julius II, who was not friendly to him), which made him lose everything. However, if one could reach an inch further than Cesare, one could be successful in protecting himself from fortune, as enough dams and dikes could protect one’s property from any swelling river. (NM, pg. 89) Of course, Machiavelli recognizes that is impossible to control fortune completely, but that aiming to do so would allow one to do so much more than most people think they could do.

By the way, the version of the Prince used is:

Machiavelli, Niccolò. The Prince. Trans. Harvey Claflin Mansfield. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 1998. Print.

Excuses, Part II

Hey guys,

I have not posted in a while and that’s because I was diagnosed with pneumonia. Yes, pneumonia! How in hell I got the bug I have no clue, but I was on antibiotics which made me sleepy (well, staying up all night coughing helped, too), so I was not able to do much thinking. At any rate, I’m all good now. For the last week, I have been attending training for my summer job, but I’ll take the next week to make up for lost time, so get excited, because more posts are coming!

And Now for Something Completely Different

Hey guys, I think we can all agree I’ve been doing a lot of philosophy lately, so I thought I’d change it up with this post. Well, a lot of you don’t know this, but a long time ago I won a State Championship in Classical Jewelry for High School, with a box weave/Byzantine weave hybrid chain-mail and black Swarovski pendant necklace and bracelet  set. Since then, I have never touched another jump ring in my life (I remember why now, after this last work, I have blisters in all of my fingers).

I decided this summer to get back into the fray, not for profit, but I would have to lose the skill set. This is what came out:

The bracelet itself, modeled on me own hand

It’s a full on Byzantine weave with bronze and anodized aluminum (the red links). I just wanted something plain, simple, but with a slight bit of flair, which is why I stuck those red links in there. The process is not hard, but it’s tremendously repetitive. In that sense, it’s great because it teaches you extreme passion, or, in the very likely case that you make a mistake, the fact that anger does not solve anything. As I said, though, it does make your fingers blister. Working with goldfill back in the day was a little easier, but the 16 ga bronze kicked my butt to be sure. On top of it, I lost one of my pliers (my parents decided to help themselves to it, I’m sure), so I had to use this old non-jewelers pliers, so I had to be extra-careful about not scratching the links, especially the aluminum, because that takes the coloring right off.

As you’ll notice in this next picture, I had to pull a fast one when I finished the whole thing, because the clasp I bought for it was too small for the rings (if you know how the toggle clasp works, you the ring of the clasp to be larger than the rings you’re weaving, well, I didn’t do the math right…), so I had to warp one of the end rings. I might warp the one at the other and too, for the sake of symmetry.

The whole nine yards (not literally)

So, Socrates wrote poetry before his death, I made a bracelet. Hopefully this does not mean I will die soon, but my father does have plans to redecorate some of the house today, which might be the death of me. Hopefully not. In any case, I thought I’d drop this post before I die.

I will bring this blog into its purpose tomorrow with any luck, I have a half-finished post that I’m trying to finish up, titled “We’ve Lost the Ent-wives” or something like that, but I’m not telling what it’s about. Other than that, Happy Weekend people. Blisters in hands suck, but all you weight-lifters out there already know that (if you’re surprised that weight-lifters read my blog, I’ll have you know that the World Weight-Lifting Federation is my official sponsor and that the vast majority of my daily views come from weight-lifters, true story). I should have probably slept a lot more last night. Oh well. Alright, bye now.

Excuses, Excuses

Hey everybody!

So, I know that I have not written anything in a really long time, so I want to give you some reasons behind that. First and foremost, it was finals time, where I got an average of about 2 hours of sleep a night, so I could not fit writing a post edge-wise and even if I could it would have all been gibberish. That is done now.

As of today, I spent two and a half hours at my lawyer’s office, trying to solve health insurance problems so that my settlement can go through (I got hit by a car while crossing the street about a year ago, don’t worry, I’m fine, I escaped with only a broken arm). I am supposed to show up there tomorrow morning so that we can try again.

When these things are done, I just need to fill out some forms and I will basically only have this blog as my sole concern in the world.

What to look for:

  • My long-time draft being finished (it’s on images)
  • A 22 pg paper comparing Plato with Nietzsche (it starts with “Plato on Inspiration,” but it gets to new juicy stuff after that)
  • Probably another taken on the Timaeus and some humor about people trying to find Atlantis.

Once again, sorry for not posting for so long, but real life caught up to me, which is always fun.

 

P.S. I randomly decided to change the theme, what do people think (who have seen the old one), which is better?