Daily Archives: January 9, 2009

Behind the news: Rosemeadow NSW

Some stats, which merely indicate some dimensions of what’s going on and why…

rosemeadow6 image

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Friday intellectual spot 1

Here you will see some real thought because I have not written what I post in these spots. Sometimes I will harvest something from the Arts & Letters Daily, which is very good even if it favours the Right somewhat, but it does seek a degree of balance and almost always offers at least one post per day that is worth a look. 3 Quarks Daily is also an excellent source, but I have that in my Google Reader picks. The poems on 3 Quarks Daily are especially good. They always feature in my Google Reader.

Today it’s from New Yorker.

…This rejection of inwardness, so constant in Arendt’s work, from “Rahel Varnhagen” on, is the key to what is most valuable in her legacy, and also what is most questionable. No one has argued more forcefully than Arendt that to deprive human beings of their public, political identity is to deprive them of their humanity—and not just metaphorically. In “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” she points out that the first step in the Nazis’ destruction of the Jews was to make them stateless, in the knowledge that people with no stake in a political community have no claim on the protection of its laws.

This is the insight that makes Arendt a thinker for our time, when failed states have again and again become the settings for mass murder. She reveals with remorseless logic why emotional appeals to “human rights” or “the international community” so often prove impotent in the face of a humanitarian crisis. “The Rights of Man, after all, had been defined as ‘inalienable’ because they were supposed to be independent of all governments,” she writes in “Origins,” “but it turned out that the moment human beings lacked their own government and had to fall back upon their minimum rights, no authority was left to protect them and no institution was willing to guarantee them.” This is exactly what happened in Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and what is happening now in Darfur. Genocide is a political problem, Arendt insists, and it can be solved only politically.

Yet the supreme value that Arendt places on individual pride and aristocratic distance, on intellect and excellence, also sharply restricts the human understanding that must be the basis for any confrontation with political evil, especially the evil of the Holocaust. Too much of life and too many kinds of people are excluded from Arendt’s sympathy, which she could freely give only to those as strong as she was. If, as she wrote, “it is the desire to excel which makes men love the world,” then our love for the world actually makes it harder for us to love the people who inhabit it. This is the dilemma that runs through all Arendt’s writing, demonstrating that what she observed about Marx is true of her as well: “Such fundamental and flagrant contradictions rarely occur in second-rate writers; in the work of the great authors they lead into the very center of their work.”

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Posted by on January 9, 2009 in faith and philosophy, Holocaust, human rights, humanity, intellectual spot, magazines, politics, writers


You can tell Thomas is on holidays…

Otherwise how could he have found time to do this? He has done a thorough analysis of just how much he has written on his blogs since 2006! The results are quite staggering. “I feel confident that my blogging and writing abilities are on the improve, and that I’ll easily overtake The Lord of the Rings and War and Peace before the end of the financial year, and probably have a higher word count than the Bible by the close of the year.” I certainly agree with the first statement.

I wouldn’t dare do it on my blogs, indeed couldn’t over the full range since late 2000 as quite a bit has gone the way of all ephemera, even if I occasionally get a surprise about what still lurks on some server somewhere – here, for example.

What I can reveal is the following, courtesy of WordPress:

  • Floating Life 04/06 ~ 11/07 At a Glance:  1,101 Posts; 1,667 Comments; 12 Pages. Blog began in April 2006. No longer active.
  • English/ESL At a Glance: 207 Posts; 237 Comments; 32 Pages. Blog began in December 2006. Pages still active; very occasional posts.
  • Floating Life At a Glance: 1,508 Posts; 1,527 Comments; 20 Pages. All still active. Blog began December 2007. The actual post number in 2008 is hard to determine, as I imported posts from archives at Blogspot and from what became Ninglun’s Specials. There were, in round figures, about 1,000 actual Floating Life posts.
  • Ninglun’s Specials At a Glance: 282 Posts; 116 Comments; 36 Pages. Not active, but some pages subject to revision or additions. Blog began March 2008, but it’s complicated. It had an earlier life as a somewhat political blog, but the entries from that incarnation have migrated to Floating Life.
  • Neil’s Modest Photo Blog At a Glance: 321 Posts; 11 Comments; 4 Pages. Active. Very. Blog commenced late December 2008, subsequently taking over from the posts in Ninglun’s Specials. Very few words. Media library currently holds 436 images: 46.5 MB used, 3.0 GB (98.5%) upload space remaining.

That is all quite frightening, in its way!

So I’ll throw in a bonus picture to round off this post.

jan04 001

Not quite sure what he’s doing, or if that’s a bag over his head. Probably a blogger!

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Posted by on January 9, 2009 in amazing, blogging, other blogs, site news