Archive for summary

Art Critic Review Theory

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Film Reviews with tags , , , , , on February 22, 2013 by Drogo

An Ironic Theory of Hypocritical Critics

 

i prefer neutral artistic summary descriptions, as opposed to egotistical and emotionally biased critique reviews that prey upon either positive propaganda or negative flaws; both of which tend to be opinion based and place too much emphasis on hype or complaints. If I am asked my personal opinion, I prefer to be positive.

 

As an artist, i prefer to be compassionate towards other ethical artists. I want to encourage creativity with my words, rather than insult. Art is not simply an industrial product; which is designed by people but for a utilitarian function. Art is personal. Art is also more than entertainment, however that is an opinion based criteria as well.

 

Critics often justify their negativity by saying they are objectively judging a product; however that is hypocrisy even if they could do better themselves (which often they cannot). Perhaps it is we that could do better, that should be considerate to others who at least try to make art. If someone does not like something for some reason that someone else created, they should contemplate their own feelings about it, because that is the real purpose of art, ultimately no matter how much critics bitch.

 

I realize that by stating this theory, I am being hypocritical in this case, in that I am judging harshly the “work” (if we can call it that, its really opinion) of other people; however I believe that they deserve it, especially if they make money putting other people’s work down, or influencing the masses to regard one work above another.

 

I say this as i listen to movie reviews on the radio, thinking, wow these people are talking shit. Heh. Instead of turning the haters off, i think critics like that should get a taste of their own medicine. So ironically i have just written a review of critics. Ok, now I do not want to waste anymore time worrying or whining about whiners that are being uncaring jerks. For all those that control themselves for the most part in order to be neutral or positive, great job and keep up the good work!

 

– Drogo Empedocles

 

ps- artwork meant to offend or depress people deserves its own theory, but regardless we should talk about art as though we are speaking to the artist; and if we are brave enough to challenge them on an emotional level, then we should also be willing to be attacked with emotional bias ourselves; even if we feel that art has already done this to us.

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Sins of Scripture Summary

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Spiritual with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2013 by Drogo

Notes on Sins of Scripture by Bishop John Shelby Spong

 

civil rights, equal rights, religious freedom, peace, evolution of thought

 

Preface

“Christian voices in our world continue to employ words that reveal nothing less than arrogance toward other religions, whose adherents they regard as fit subjects not for dialogue but for conversion. This attitude is regularly enforced with biblical claims that a particular religious tradition the certainty of the ultimate truth of God that is seen first as religious bigotry and later as religious persecution.”

 

Word of God

 

“The Bible is a subject of interpretation: there is no doctrine, no prophet, no priest, no power, which has not claimed biblical sanctions for itself.” – Paul Tillich

 

“In the history of the Western world, however, this Bible has also left a trail of pain, horror, blood, and death that is undeniable. Yet this fact is not often allowed to rise to consciousness. Biblical words have been used not only to kill, but even to justify that killing. … It might be difficult for some Christians to understand, but it is not difficult to document the terror enacted by believers in the name of the Bible.”

 

“I had to document the evil that Christians have so frequently rendered to others in the name of our religion, including the way we have justified violence with biblical quotations. … There is plenty of guilt to go around. It appears to be in the nature of religion itself to be prejudiced against those who are different in looks, language, habit, and religion. Violence is almost always the result of such prejudice.”

 

“I believe the Bible must be preserved, but not the Bible that people have used to enhance the pain and evil present in human history.”

 

 

A Claim That Cannot Endure

 

“Perhaps the strangest claim ever made for any written document in history is that its words are or somehow contain the “Word of God”.”

 

“By Sins of Scripture I mean those terrible texts that have been quoted throughout Christian history to justify behavior that is today universally recognized as evil.”

 

Beyond the biblical lists of immoral mandates… “It is quite easy to demonstrate that the Bible is simply wrong in some of its assumptions. It is hard to maintain the claim of inerrancy in the face of biblical statements that are obviously incorrect. The “Word of God” is not infrequently simply wrong.”

 

Moses did not write the Old Testament (Torah). He was dead for at least 300 years.

David did not write Psalms, again several years after the death of King David.

Jesus’s followers did not write the Gospels

Paul was fucked up

“Paul was many things, but divine was not one of them.”

 

Bible and Environment

 

“…let them have dominion over … (animals), and all the earth…” – Genesis 1:26

“Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.” – Genesis 1:28

 

over-breeding is a real problem

environmental ignorance is a real problem

 

Climate Change Summary

As global warming occurs at the poles, ice melts. The Ocean water temperature rises, and coastal flooding is happening around the World. This causes more frequent and larger hurricanes and tidal waves that kill and displace thousands. Combined with droughts on the mainland, these disasters create more violent civil conflicts. – Drogo

 

Biblical Anti-Environmental Attitude Summary

The quest to dominate the Earth comes from pre-biblical, Old Testament times. Hebrews coming from Egypt, had a sky god named “YHVH” (I am that I am). They wanted their ancestral homeland back from the Canaanites, who worshiped an earth goddess Astarte, and her lord Baal (Master). Hebrews were shepherds who believed in animal sacrifices to their sky god, and Canaanites were agrarian farmers who preferred grain sacrifices to their gods. The Hebrews invaded and made holy war against the Canaanites. – Drogo

 

“Mother Earth is fighting back. Mother Earth is rebelling against the way she has been treated by a single species which acts as if the whole world exists to provide comfort and wealth for that species.”

 

“Bad theology creates bad ecology.”

 

Chapter 31

 

“To our knowledge Jesus left no written records. … Whatever else the gospels are, they are certainly not the writings of Jesus. It is equally clear that the gospels are not the result of Jesus’ dictation found in the written notes from his disciples.”

 

Literacy was very rare in the days of Jesus, and they wrote in Greek

Jesus died around 35 AD

Paul’s 50-65 AD (was not an actual apostle)

Mark’s 70 AD (earliest) (not an apostle, but disciple of Peter)

Matthew 85 AD

Luke’s 90 AD (not an apostle, but a friend of Paul)

John’s 100 AD (last) claims to be son of Zebedee but he would have been about 100

Revelation

 

What was it about Jesus the human, that caused people to say his miracles were true and that he was the Messiah?

“No, I do not believe that Jesus stilled the storm, walked on water, … But I do want to understand what the experience was with Jesus, that caused people to apply Hebrew scripture God language to him.”

Utopias

Posted in Book Reports, Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2013 by Drogo

Utopias are communities or places possessing highly desirable or perfect qualities. The word was coined in Greek by Sir Thomas More for his book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and fictional paradises. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia. There are different types of utopias: ecological, political, economic, etc… and combinations of those.

The first recorded utopian proposal is Plato’s Republic. Plato’s Utopia is part conversation, part fictional depiction, and part policy proposal, it proposes a categorization of citizens into a rigid class structure of “golden,” “silver,” “bronze” and “iron” socioeconomic classes. The golden citizens are trained in a rigorous 50-year long educational program to be benign oligarchs, the “philosopher-kings.” The wisdom of these rulers will supposedly eliminate poverty and deprivation through fairly distributed resources, though the details on how to do this are unclear. The educational program for the rulers is the central notion of the proposal. There is a general pacifism or pacifist attitude. However, the people of the Republic are all ready to defend themselves or to compete militarily for resources (such as land) if necessary. Plato’s Utopia has few laws, no lawyers and rarely sends its citizens to war, but hires mercenaries from among its war-prone neighbors (these mercenaries were deliberately sent into dangerous situations in the hope that the more warlike populations of all surrounding countries will be weeded out, leaving peaceful peoples).

– from Wikipedia

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Utopia

by Sir Thomas More written between 1515-1516

the definition of the word implies that the perfectly “good place” is really “no place.”

the island is located off the coast of Brazil, founded by King Utopos

Raphael Hythloday spends five years observing the customs of the natives.

Characters:

More = the author (beheaded 1535)

Giles = Humanist thinker Peter Giles

Morton = former Chancellor of England Cardinal John Morton

Jerome de Busleydan = Counselor of Charles V

Raphael Hythloday = a sailor and voyager

More travels to Antwerp as an ambassador for England and King Henry VIII.

Hythloday has been on many voyages with the noted explorer Amerigo Vespucci, traveling to the New World, south of the Equator, through Asia, and eventually landing on the island of Utopia.

Hythloday describes a dinner he once shared in England with Cardinal Morton and a number of others. During this dinner, Hythloday proposed alternatives to the many evil civil practices of England, such as the policy of capital punishment for the crime of theft. His proposals meet with derision, until they are given legitimate thought by the Cardinal, at which point they meet with great general approval. Hythloday uses this story to show how pointless it is to counsel a king when the king can always expect his other counselors to agree with his own beliefs or policies. Hythloday then goes on to make his point through a number of other examples, finally noting that no matter how good a proposed policy is, it will always look insane to a person used to a different way of seeing the world. Hythloday points out that the policies of the Utopians are clearly superior to those of Europeans, yet adds that Europeans would see as ludicrous the all-important Utopian policy of common property.

General Utopus, conquered the isthmus on which Utopia now stands and through a great public works effort cut away the land to make an island. Next, Hythloday moves to a discussion of Utopian society, portraying a nation based on rational thought, with communal property, great productivity, no rapacious love of gold, no real class distinctions, no poverty, little crime or immoral behavior, religious tolerance, and little inclination to war.

The island of Utopia is 200 hundred miles across in the middle part, where it is widest, and nowhere much narrower than this except towards the two ends, where it gradually tapers. These ends, curved round as if completing a circle five hundred miles in circumference, make the island crescent-shaped, like a new moon.

The island was originally a peninsula but a 15-mile wide channel was dug by the community’s founder King Utopos to separate it from the mainland.

The island contains 54 cities.

Each city is divided into four equal parts.

Each city has 6000 households, consisting of between 10 to 16 adults.

The capital city, Amaurot, is located directly in the middle of the crescent island.

Thirty households are grouped together and elect an archon.

200 archons of a city elect a Prince in a secret ballot.

The Prince stays for life unless he is deposed or removed for suspicion of tyranny.

People are re-distributed around the households and towns to keep numbers even. If the island suffers from overpopulation, colonies are set up on the mainland. Alternatively, the natives of the mainland are invited to be part of these Utopian colonies, but if they dislike it and no longer wish to stay they may return. In the case of under-population the colonists are re-called.

Utopia is a common-wealth collective, where almost everything is open to the public. There is no private ownership on Utopia. Public Goods in storage are accessed by people as needed. No locks on house doors. All are taught agriculture. In addition to farming, all must pick a second vocation: weaving, masonry, carpentry, or metal-smithing. All that are able work 6 hours daily on average. Those who love to learn become scholars, and scholars can be ruling officials and priests. No sexism, men and women are equal, although there are gender stereotypes. Clothing is simple. Utopia is also a welfare state. Free hospitals allow euthanasia.

There is a class system. Archons and old get best food. Middle Class rotates turns of households feeding the community in dining halls. Slave class made of immigrants and criminals. Slave chains and chamber-pots are made of gold, which attaches shameful psychological associations to gold; producing a dislike of gold. Gold and Jewels have no economic value within Utopia.

Several Religions: Moon, Sun, Planet, Ancestor, and Monotheists. All are tolerant of eachother, only Atheists are distrusted because they may lack morality.

Priests marry and divorce. Premarital sex is punished by celibacy. Adultery punished by enslavement.

Travel on the island is restricted by internal passport, with penalty of enslavement.

No lawyers because the laws are simple.

Utopians do not like to engage in war because war is uncivilized. If they feel countries friendly to them have been wronged, they will send military aid. However they try to capture, rather than kill, enemies. They are upset if they achieve victory through bloodshed.

Privacy is not regarded as freedom in Utopia. Even private gatherings and pubs are not allowed to keep all people together in full view, when not sleeping at home, for good behavior. Much like later visions of socialist communism.

Isola_di_Utopia_Moro

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Other Utopian Concepts in Literature:

The City of the Sun by Tommaso Campanella, Description of the Republic of Christianopolis by Johannes Valentinus Andreae, New Atlantis by Francis Bacon and Candide by Voltaire.

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‘Common Sense’ was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution. Common Sense was signed “Written by an Englishman”, and it became an immediate success. It contrasted a dystopian vision of England, with a future Utopian vision of America, as propaganda for the purpose of rebellion.

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Tolkien’s Middle Earth Utopias & Dystopias – Lothlorien, West, Shire, Rivendell, Bombadil’s House, Ranger Collective / Mordor, Misty Mountain Goblin Caves

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HG WELLS, HUXLEY, & ORWELL

One similarity between ‘Brave New World’ and ‘1984‘ is that both futures believe that ‘History is bunk’, and the controllers constantly erase even yesterday’s news while using confusing hypocritical propaganda. Trump seems to have a regime that believes in this idea of Double-speak, according to the changes going on in all departments.

Huxley wrote critical satire of HG Wells’ utopian books

HG Wells wrote a few Utopian ‘science fantasy’ novels – based in ‘Parallel Worlds’ using concepts of democratic socialism (Fabian Society): Anticipations (1901 non-fiction); Mankind in the Making (1903 New Republic non-fiction); ‘A Modern Utopia’ (1905 fiction), ‘Men Like Gods’ (1923 fiction)

‘A Modern Utopia’ (1905) – Parallel World named Utopia. – a voluntary order of nobility known as the Samurai could effectively rule a “kinetic and not static” world state so as to solve “the problem of combining progress with political stability.” , vegetarian ascetic Rule ; mandatory annual one-week solitary ramble in the wilderness ; social theory of Utopia, four “main classes of mind”: The Poietic, the Kinetic, the Dull, and the Base ; Economics – The world shares the same language, coinage, customs, and laws, and freedom of movement is general. Some personal property is allowed, but “all natural sources of force, and indeed all strictly natural products” are “inalienably vested in the local authorities” occupying “areas as large sometimes as half England.” The World State is “the sole landowner of the earth.” Units of currency are based on units of energy, so that “employment would constantly shift into the areas where energy was cheap.” Humanity has been almost entirely liberated from the need for physical labor: “There appears to be no limit to the invasion of life by the machine.”

‘Men Like Gods’ (1923) – Parallel World named Utopia. “Our education is our government,” a Utopian named Lion says (men like gods 1923), set apx. 3,000 years in our technological future on a parallel world ; Several characters in the novel are directly taken from the politics of the 1920s. Rupert Catskill probably represents Winston Churchill, as he was seen at that time: a reckless adventurer. Catskill is depicted as a reactionary ideologue, criticises Utopia for its apparent decadence, and leads the attempted conquest of Utopia. ; Earthlings are quarantined on a rocky crag after infections they have brought cause a brief epidemic in Utopia. There they begin to plot the conquest of Utopia, despite Mr. Barnstaple’s protests. He betrays them when his fellows try to take two Utopians hostage, forcing Mr. Barnstaple to escape execution for treason by fleeing perilously. ; Life in Utopia is governed by “the Five Principles of Liberty,” which are privacy, free movement, unlimited knowledge, truthfulness and free discussion (allowing criticism).

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Island  –  Novel by Aldous Huxley

Island is the final book in a series of utopian science-fiction commentaries by polymath Aldous Huxley, published in 1962. It advocates peaceful harmonious living with Nature in a blending satire of Eastern and Western ideologies and traditional ways of life. The plot is an exploration of the Island of Pala by an outsider named Will Farnaby, a cynical journalist who is shipwrecked on the utopian island of Pala. The main conflict is internal corruption by foreign greed, as Pala is confronted by modern commercial Capitalism.

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Heart of Darkness

Posted in Book Reports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2009 by Drogo

Joseph Conrad’s the Heart of Darkness, takes place in a world within a world. It is a microcosm that contains dark places of the human soul (a region that Conrad vividly explores). At the ‘heart’ of this ‘planet of darkness’ is a rebel who has thrown away society as he knew it. This metaphoric ‘heart’ applies gravity to the plot. The ‘heart’ is epitomized in the character Kurtz.

 

Kurtz, the European ivory trader, has cast off his ties with the outside world, and has taken it upon himself to control and master his surroundings (including the natives). Kurtz represents man’s tendency to revert to animal instincts, and to exploit the weaker, (or ignorant) of the species. He becomes God to the natives, undoubtedly expanding his already crazed ego to the point of explosion. For most of the story, Kurtz is the unseen legend or myth.

 

I recommend this book to anyone interested in separate worlds apart from our own. It supplies (however limited) an in-depth look at an intricate sub-world of our planet. Conrad may not exhibit the intricateness of such authors as C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien, but he definitely delves deep into the realm of creativity and human sub consciousness. Untold darkness lies within the mind of man.

 

Foot note:  The plot for the famous film set in Vietnam (“Apocalypse Now”) is based on Heart of Darkness.