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style="color: rgba(255, 0, 0, 0.5);" Al Kalb al Rai 
Третий ходил по улице один. То встанет у лавки с засахаренными
фруктами и глотает слюни. То сядет на корточки у реки и рассматривает рыб
и раков. То прислонится к столбу и слушает, как гудит электричество. То
свернется калачиком и спит у чужих дверей. То забредет сам не знает куда и
потом спрашивает дорогу домой.
комментировать 1 комментарий | Прoкoммeнтировaть
понедельник, 21 мая 2018 г.
Как именно феминизм поддерживает западный милитаризм на Востоке Al Kalb al Rai 12:40:17
Когда западные феминистки говорят, что исламских женщин надо «спасать от ислама», они не только действуют с позиции «комплекса белого спасителя». Как ни парадоксально, таким образом они поддерживают идею, на которой строится вся женоненависническая­ и антифеминистская риторика экстремистской пропаганды: идею о том, что ислам и феминизм — несовместимы.

Когда общественность призывает западных феминисток не заниматься «ерундой» вроде репрезентации женщин в СМИ и стеклянного потолка у себя на родине, а спасать женщин из Ближнего Востока, она создает образ феминизма, выгодный исламским экстремистам и авторитарным консервативным правительствам ближневосточных государств.

В этом случае феминизм в самой своей риторике становится орудием империализма и колониализма, призывая к вмешательству во внутренние дела стран с преимущественно исламским населением.

Настаивать на необходимости спасать зашоренную мусульманку с промытыми мозгами — значит укреплять «комплекс белого спасителя» и оправдывать войны на Ближнем Востоке. Войны порождают возникновение террористических группировок и усиливают риторику о том, что гендерное равноправие несовместимо с исламом. Западные феминистки и правозащитники, сами того не желая, усиливают эту риторику. В свою очередь, эта риторика приводит к новому витку давления и насилия над женщинами, новости о чем снова укрепляют «комплекс белого спасителя» на Западе. И начинается новый цикл насилия, в котором гибнут как жители ближневосточных, так и жители западных стран.
комментировать 1 комментарий | Прoкoммeнтировaть
вторник, 27 февраля 2018 г.
cucumber: 0 Al Kalb al Rai 20:24:31
­­
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пятница, 23 февраля 2018 г.
#t-footer Al Kalb al Rai 18:37:19
Against the Mythical Lie: Rene Girard, Refugees and the Islamic State

Justin Lee teaches in the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine.


Rene Girard, the world's preeminent philosophical anthropologist, died in his Stanford home on 4 November 2015, after a long illness. He was 91.

He died nine days before the Islamic State (ISIS) massacred 130 of his countrymen in Paris on 13 November. He died before the question of whether and how to accept refugees from the war in Syria became a flashpoint of polarization in the United States.

I've been reading and rereading him these past several weeks, asking myself what wisdom he might have shared with us had he lived long enough.

While not a thorough-going Girardian, I am an ardent admirer of his work and the insight it provides into the structuring of human relationships. I believe this insight is much needed in our current moment. It offers a way of clarifying our relationship to violence and those outside our immediate - albeit imagined - national community. More importantly, it presents a necessary chastisement for certain American Christians who have succumb to politicized fear.

Were Girard to weigh in on the question of ISIS and those fleeing their bloodlust, he might have begun by thinking through the generative parallels that exist between the United States' resistance to accepting Syrian refugees and the scapegoating of the Jews by Nazi Germany. These parallels provide a useful entry-point for discussing the relationship between religion and nationalism in America, and the proper stance the Church should take on the structural violence of the State.

Подробнее…Dionysus against the Crucified

The Nazi's systematic "othering" and genocide of European Jews is the modern exemplar of Girard's "scapegoat mechanism." In Violence and the Sacred, Girard presents the process as occurring when a society seeks:

"to deflect upon a relatively indifferent victim, a 'sacrificeable' victim, the violence that would otherwise be vented on its own members, the people it most desires to protect ... The elements of dissension scattered throughout the community are drawn to the person of the sacrificial victim and eliminated, at least temporarily, by its sacrifice."
This surrogate victimization depends for its effectiveness upon the community's genuine belief in the guilt of the victim. In the case of Nazi Germany, we see this belief meticulously curated in the lies of National Socialist propaganda.

After the First World War, Germany found itself rushing headlong into what Girard calls "mimetic crisis." The 1920s saw unprecedented hyperinflation and decreased standards of living; by 1930, the start of the Great Depression, the already high unemployment rate became staggering. The urban working class were naturally sympathetic to Marxism, and Russia's 1917 Revolution loomed large in the public imagination. Parliament was characterized by factionalism and political parties had their own paramilitary groups - often composed of veterans of the First World War who were left jobless after the army's compelled de-mobilization - for self-defence, intimidating opponents, and even seizures of power. Many feared that if the Communists gained control of the Reichstag, Germany would become a puppet of Moscow. Most significantly, post-war Germany was crippled by national debt and suffered intense shame over their defeat and the Treaty of Versailles' imputation of sole guilt for the war.

Hitler's regime utilized this fear and turmoil, first to establish itself, and then to mobilize the nation - thus unifying it - against an outsider incapable of reprisal. Joseph Goebbels's Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda drove this unification of the Volk though a powerful campaign to reshape the German cultural imagination.

A representative item is The German National Catechism of 1934, a small book widely used in German schools, in which the Jews are carefully assigned blame for each of the major problems of post-war Germany. Jews "destroy works of culture," disenfranchise the common man through usury, defile the German spirit and blood, and are even responsible for Germany's shameful defeat in the Great War, having "incited people at home and seduced them into treason." Most interesting is the work's title and structure, which rely explicitly on religious metaphor to imbue it with sacred gravity.

Girard sees in such national myth-making the same structure of sacralized violence at work in all archaic religion and myth. For Girard, all human behaviour is explicable in terms of how we imitate one another. This is especially true with respect to human desire: we want what others want, not principally for qualities inherent to the object of desire itself, but by virtue of its being desired. This inevitably leads to conflict, or "mimetic rivalry," and often violence. This rivalry itself is emulated by others, and this structure of conflict becomes generalized to the level of an entire society, resulting in "mimetic crisis." The scapegoat mechanism, by which the crisis is resolved, is repeated as ritual, with accompanying myths that render the innocent victim guilty, justifying the violence.

This is the secret heart of archaic religious practice. As Girard writes:

"If the violence of myths is purely mimetic, all these justifications are false. And yet, since they systematically reverse the true distribution of innocence and guilt, such myths cannot be purely fictional. They are lies, certainly, but the specific kind of lie called for by mimetic contagion - the false accusation that spreads mimetically throughout a disturbed human community at the climax when scandals polarize against the single scapegoat whose death reunites the community. The myth-making machine is the mimetic contagion that disappears behind the myth it generates."
Applied to the anti-Semitism of 1930s Germany, Girard's thought exposes how deeply, structurally anti-Christian the German Church had become. For Girard, the Christian Evangel is the great anti-myth, the story that reveals the violent, specious logic of every story that came before:

"Instead of blaming victimization on the victims, the Gospels blame it on the victimizers. What the myths systematically hide, the Bible reveals. This difference is not merely 'moralistic' (as Nietzsche believed) or a matter of subjective choice; it is a question of truth. When the Bible and the Gospels say that the victims should have been spared, they do not merely 'take pity' on them. They puncture the illusion of the unanimous victimization that foundational myths use as a crisis-solving and reordering device of human communities."
Girard explores the Nietzschean origin of the scapegoat mechanism in Nazi ideology in his penultimate book, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning. Much has been made in contemporary theology of Nietzsche's insight into the role of Christianity in the "revaluation of all values." In Girardian terms, this "slave revolt" in morality is nothing other than the unveiling and unequivocal rejection of the single-victim mechanism, the revelation that God is on the side of the victim. Girard emphasizes Nietzsche's perspective in his unfinished The Will to Power:

"Dionysus versus the 'Crucified': there you have the antithesis. It is not a difference in regard to their martyrdom - it is a difference in the meaning of it. Life itself, its eternal fruitfulness and recurrence, creates torment, destruction, the will to annihilation. In the other case, suffering - the 'Crucified as the innocent one' - counts as an objection to this life, as a formula to its condemnation."
Nietzsche's grand vision, of course, is of the Ubermensch who effects the revaluation of all Christian values, the annihilation of the epicene legacy of the Christian revolution, a return of sorts to the aristocratic paganism Nietzsche so valorized.

We see this same, largely aesthetic, desire at work in the Nazi obsession with Teutonic soil and blood, in the neo-paganism of a Heidegger or Himmler. "The spiritual goal of Hitler's ideology," writes Girard, "was to root out of Germany, then all of Europe, that calling that the Christian tradition places upon all of us: the concern for victims." Dietrich Bonhoeffer shared this view, even at the time of the crisis. Writing a few short years before his martyrdom, he observed in his unfinished Ethics that "[d]riving out the Jews from the West must result in driving out Christ with them, for Jesus Christ was a Jew."

Nostalgia for a bygone paganism - especially one as romanticized and ahistorical as Nietzsche's - is intellectually embarrassing. Reframing the discussion in terms of "mimetic rivalry" and "violent contagion," Girard exposes the laughable irony in Nietzsche's analysis of "slave morality." "He opposes, so he believes, the crowd mentality, but he does not recognize his Dionysian stance as the supreme expression of the mob in its most brutal and its most stupid tendencies." In stark contrast, however, "the Gospels embody the discernment of a small minority that dares to oppose the monstrous mimetic contagion of a Dionysian lynching."

The lie of victimage

The culture wars of the last thirty-odd years have obscured the centrality of the concern for victims in Christian thought and practice. A relentless program of progressivist rhetoric has thoroughly rewired the American cultural imagination. Christians are cast as arch-victimizers. Concern for victims now seems the exclusive domain of progressive politics. All too often, so-called "Christian" political leaders are all too willing to indulge this fantasy. The diabolical wedding of Evangelicalism and the GOP has only fuelled the fire of historical forgetting. And yet ...

The entire arc of Christian scripture demands of the believer a counter-cultural, self-sacrificial concern for the stranger, the outsider, the alien, the other. Consider Yahweh's admonition to Israel in Leviticus: "You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt" (19:34). In the context of Leviticus, this indispensable command is a means by which Israel bodies forth the holiness of God, a means by which they are a "light to the nations" (Isaiah 49:6). This command is by no means abrogated by Christ's opening of "Israel" to include believing Gentiles; rather, the command is expanded, intensified.

The Church, the Body of Christ, is not "Israel" in the sense of a people or nation constituted within the temporal (this-worldly) order of things. Consider St. Paul's words to the Ephesians: "you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility ... So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God ..." (2:13-22)

The Kingdom of God - or, as Augustine called it, the City of God - is the Church's true home, and Christ her true king. The Church's allegiance is to the City of God, even (perhaps especially) when this requires disregard for, or treason against, whatever City of Man she may find herself in.

For Girard, victimage is the "founding mechanism of the City of Man." This is the Heraclitean Logos, the grammar of reality, the violent organizing principle of all human culture. The culture proper to the City of God, however, categorically rejects such a grammar, embracing instead the Johannine Logos - divine love as organizing principle - which is "foreign to any kind of violence." The true Logos confronts the Heraclitean, the "Logos of expulsion," by having itself expelled. Christ, the true Logos, exposes the lie of victimage by himself becoming a victim.

The tendency of Christians has been to bury this truth even as they proclaim it. "People believe they are making a place, an honored place, for the Christian Logos in the Christian city," writes Girard. "They think that they are finally giving it the earthly home it has never had. But in fact they are retrenching the Logos of myth." This retrenchment is very much a part of the heritage of American Christianity.

Nationalism and American Christianity

The idea that America possesses a divine destiny unique from all other countries has been around since the earliest days of colonization. The Puritan layman John Winthrop first described America as "a city upon a hill," and subsequently this keyword of American exceptionalism has been employed throughout our history, most recently by figures as diverse as John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. The impulse to read the United States in for Israel as God's "chosen people" has haunted secular political self-inflection as much as it has the religious. And it is, in no uncertain terms, heresy.

Christ speaks of his disciples as "the light of the world" precisely because, insofar as they are his disciples, they are citizens of an otherworldly kingdom (Matthew 5). As Girard emphasizes in I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, John's Gospel dramatizes the otherness of the Kingdom of God in Christ's confrontation with Pontius Pilate. "If my kingdom were of this world my servants would have been fighting," says Jesus. And, "You [Pilate] say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world - to bear witness to the truth" (John 18:36-37). This "truth," according to Girard, is the revelation that violence is not divine, that God is so thoroughly on the side of the victim that he emptied himself to become one.

The radical nature of the Evangel leaves no room for divided allegiance. Put in Girardian terms, the true Church - that is, the community of faith that actually lives the gospel - must renounce complicity in the structural violence of the State. As explained in Violence and the Sacred, this structural violence is the "good" violence employed by the state to suppress the "bad" violence that results from mimetic rivalry. The State has assumed the function of religion, sacralizing certain forms of violence in order to neutralize others. The deep insight of the Evangel, according to Girard, is that all violence - even the "good," regulatory violence of the State - is merely human, and has no place in the Kingdom of God.

William Cavanaugh describes the emergence of the State in early modern Europe in terms of the "monopolization of the means of violence within a defined territory." This consolidation of power required a radical reconceptualization of the Church's role in public life.

"The concept of religion being born here is one of domesticated belief systems which are, insofar as it is possible, to be manipulated by the sovereign for the benefit of the State. Religion is no longer a matter of certain bodily practices within the Body of Christ, but is limited to the realm of the 'soul,' and the body is handed over to the State."
As Americans downstream of the Enlightenment, this reinvention of religion as private sentiment and voluntary association is an inescapable part of our patrimony. We can only practice "religion" insofar as it is defined by the State. The difficulty this poses for the Christian Church should be obvious.

In another essay, Cavanaugh lays bare the superficiality of American pluralism - our so-called "openness" - the way it operates to disguise the religious nature of American imperialism. "A basic principle of American openness," he writes, "is that you may confess on your lips any god you like, provided you are willing to kill for American freedom."

Cavanaugh draws on the work of Carolyn Marvin and David Ingle, who ground their analysis of nationalism-as-religion in Girard. "To concede that nationalism is a religion," they argue:

"is to expose it to challenge, to make it just the same as sectarian religion. By explicitly denying that our national symbols and duties are sacred, we shield them from competition with sectarian symbols. In so doing, we embrace the ancient command not to speak the sacred, ineffable name of god. That god is inexpressible ... beyond language. But that god may not be refused when it calls for sacrifice."
Girard and Cavanaugh are in significant agreement about the nature and function of the State and its uneasy relationship with the Church. For both, it is a matter of resistance to violence as an ordering principal. "The State is involved in the production, not merely the restraint, of violence," writes Cavanaugh:

"Indeed the modern State depends on violence, war and preparations for war, to maintain the illusion of social integration and the overcoming of contradictions in civil society. If the Church accedes to the role of a voluntary association of private citizens, it will lack the disciplinary resources to resist the State's religare, its practices of binding."
This is why it so important that the Church reject utterly any conflation of itself with a temporal regime. All States are built and sustained by violence. All States are sacrificial regimes. They are by their very nature religious. Too close an identification between the Church and any given nation must mean the Church's participation in idolatry, which necessarily means the obscuring, if not the destruction, of its proper character.

Weimar Germany and post-9/11 America

The parallels between Germany prior to the rise of the Third Reich and the current landscape of post-9/11 America are striking. While it would be naive to hunt for one-to-one correspondences, the general trend is clear. The United States has seen high inflation for decades (prior to 2008, when rates levelled off), and deep economic instability since the Great Recession of 2008. Increased income inequality and the relegating of working-class Americans to near subsistence-level income has led to social unrest, race-riots, and the mass gun violence that attends disenfranchisement.

Extravagant promises from demagogues on both the right and the left pour in daily, as do the cries of conservative Christians that "America is a Christian nation," cries which have become increasingly despairing since recent defeats in the interminable culture wars. We blanch at the perceived threat of socialism within and the palpable threat of radical Islam without. We carry shame over our impotence in Iraq and Afghanistan and guilt - public and repressed - over our imperial injustices. (It is important to note here that none of our recent wars have been "unanimous" in the way necessary to produce social "binding.") We watch with growing fear as Europe struggles to assimilate its Muslim immigrant population.

Our nation's bedrock values are under assault from both sides of the aisle: conservatives are prone to authorize invasions of privacy, deny due-process and so on, in the name of national security, while the New Left is eager to dismantle the First Amendment in the name of promoting "diversity" and creating "safe spaces."

Another factor makes the parallel with Nazi Germany particularly generative. As Marvin and Ingle observe:

"what constitutes the nation in any moment is the memory of the last successful blood sacrifice that counts for living group members. In the United States this is World War II, fast receding in its effect as a national unifier as those who carry its body memory become a smaller and smaller proportion of the population. Lacking that memory, we must search for new sacrifices, while agonizing over our internal disunity."
The most charitable observation I can make is that we are in a state of mimetic crisis. It would not be bombast, however, to caution that our country's soil is ripe for fascism.

Our current mimetic crisis - or perhaps I should say crises, as the picture is almost comically complicated - is desperate for offloading. The best candidate for the single-victim mechanism is, of course, the Islamic "Other" - within and without. The current situation is unique in that this is one scapegoat that, to a great extent, can be killed without our physically bloodying our hands. We have but to lock our doors and "look to our own" to effect a mass sacrificial slaughter.

One might ask whether a mimetic crises can actually be offloaded passively, whether those who die as a result of our indifference can be said truly to have died by our hand. I do not know whether Girard has written about passive violence, but I have an idea how he might have responded to this particular objection. The question of whether we are properly responsible for the creation of ISIS is beside the point; enough of us believe that story to make it "true" for the purposes of causally linking our hands to the deaths of Syrian refugees.

Fear - the enemy of faith and reason

"Those who forget God, the single assurance of our safety however that word may be defined, can be recognized in the fact that they make irrational responses to irrational fears." So writes Marilynne Robinson, with her usual perspicacity, in a recent essay occasioned by the political conflagration over gun-control. For Robinson, and the overwhelming balance of the Christian tradition, faith and reason comprise a unity - neither exists without the other. Fear, which is "not a Christian habit of mind," imperils both.

Granted that Robinson's subject is the role of fear in contemporary America, she might have added that our country has a long history of indulging in irrational rhetoric. Fear has always been one of the defining habits of the American political mind. Richard Hofstadter's famous essay "The Paranoid Style in American Politics" is more relevant now than ever. The "paranoid style" is a matter of form and not necessarily content, a tenor of "heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy." Writing in 1964, Hofstadter locates it across the political spectrum:

"the nativist and anti-Catholic movement, in certain spokesmen of abolitionism who regarded the United States as being in the grip of a slaveholders' conspiracy ... in some Greenback and Populist writers who constructed a great conspiracy of international bankers, in the exposure of a munitions makers' conspiracy of World War I, in the popular left-wing press, in the contemporary American right wing, and on both sides of the race controversy today, among White Citizens' Councils and Black Muslims."
Today one finds an embarrassment of examples, from right-wing theories about Barack Obama's secret Muslim faith to the poisonous excrescences of liberal identity politics. A feature common to all is the tendency of groups to polarize against outsiders. For Girard, such bombast is proof positive of mimetic rivalry and the single-victim mechanism.

The most obvious and, to my mind, the most significant, current employment of the paranoid style is in the reaction to our offering asylum to Syrian refugees. While the resistance has been bipartisan, the most vociferous rhetoric has consistently come from conservative Republicans, many of whom are outspoken "Christians."

Their concerns generally fall into two categories: Syrian refugees present an immediate national security threat in the form of disguised ISIS terrorists, and the long-term problem posed by the difficulty of assimilating Muslims to American values. As is often the case with the paranoid style, there is real truth hidden beneath the frantic tone. It would be exceedingly difficult for an avowed member of ISIS to enter the United States disguised as a Syrian refugee; but ISIS will try, and try again, as they have and are in Europe; their geo-political goals guarantee this.

The thornier issue is the problem of assimilation. Many on the left assume that orthodox forms of Islam are compatible with the values of Western liberalism. This naivete is the product of a general ignorance of Islam, and the very western tendency to assume that all "religions" are more or less convertible with Christianity. This is exacerbated by an unwillingness among liberals to acknowledge their own cultural imperialism: By all means bring your fezzes, prayer mats, beards, and hijabs, your traditional architecture, cuisine, and even your specific linguistic inflections of piety, but be silent about your fundamental anthropology, your ontology, your missional impulses, and your views on homosexuality and the role of women in home and society. We love diversity - as long as it is merely cosmetic.

Valid as these fears may be, they have no place in the heart of the true Christian. One need only place the parable of the Good Samaritan in its proper context to see that a genuinely Christian concern for victims makes no exceptions in the face of intense, even violent, cultural animosity. And yet, it seems that so many American "Christians" have been consumed by what Girard might call "contagious paranoia."

An especially opprobrious specimen of the paranoid style comes from presidential candidate and former pastor Mike Huckabee. In an interview the day after the Paris attacks, Huckabee compared Syrian refugees to peanuts: "If you bought a five-pound bag of peanuts and there were about ten peanuts that were deadly poisonous, would you feed them to your kids?" he said. "The answer is no." One wonders whether Huckabee's position might change were he to learn that each individual peanut had been created in the image of God.

To the convinced Girardian, the relationship between fear and the surrogate-victim mechanism is obvious. Bearing all the guilt and violent dissension of the community, the scapegoat becomes a polluted being - a poisoned peanut - the supreme object of fear. Conversely, any outsider or marginalized member of the community who more readily inspires fear or disgust (read: is less culturally compatible), is more likely to be made a surrogate-victim in the event of mimetic crisis. For Girard, such fear may be irrational, but it is also historically grounded: certain persons or groups are understandably feared because of their resemblance to past sources (real or imagined) of mimetic crisis.

While fear - as a driving element of the scapegoat mechanism - may have once served a purpose in preserving communities, it does no longer. As Girard writes:

"If unanimous victimization reconciles and reorders societies in direct proportion to its concealment, then it must lose its effectiveness in direct proportion to its revelation. When the mythical lie is publicly denounced, the polarization of scandals is no longer unanimous and the social catharsis weakens and disappears. Instead of reconciling the community, the victimization must intensify divisions and dissensions."
The Evangel, and those shaped by its legacy (regardless of religious or political affiliation), is the great denouncer of the mythical lie. For Girard, the more genuinely Christian a society becomes, the less effective the surrogate-victim mechanism becomes. As a consequence of our Christian heritage, American violence, active or passive, cannot succeed in binding the nation to itself. Indeed, scapegoating of any sort cannot fail to further atomize us.

It should now be clear why fear is an anti-Christian habit of mind. One might even say that fear, and its concomitant irrationalism, must recede in proportion to the advance of the Evangel, the concern for victims.

While this is true at first blush, it begs qualification. Recognizing the special power of the paranoid style to corrupt even righteous content, Girard writes:

"The current process of spiritual demagoguery and rhetorical overkill has transformed the concern for victims into a totalitarian command and a permanent inquisition. The media themselves notice this and make fun of 'victimology', which doesn't keep them from exploiting it. The fact that our world has become solidly anti-Christian, at least among its elites, does not prevent the concern for victims from flourishing - just the opposite. The majestic inauguration of the 'post-Christian era' is a joke. We are living through a caricatural 'ultra-Christianity' that tries to escape from the Judeo-Christian orbit by 'radicalizing' the concern for victims in an anti-Christian manner."
This brings to mind the biblical warning that Satan masquerades as "an angel of light," and the traditional doctrine of privatio boni, that evil is non-being infecting the Good, possessing no creative properties of its own. In an earlier chapter, Girard observes that the concern for victims has devolved into a competition of mimetic rivalries: "The victims most interesting to us are always those who allow us to condemn our neighbours." This occurs when Christ ceases to be the model of desire, when the concern for victims is desacralized and made a purely human concern. This would be a Girardian reading of the assertion in the First Epistle of John that the "spirit of antichrist" is known by its rejection of the divinity of Christ. I would add that it is impossible to "confess" Christ without also loving him, and that it is impossible to love him without loving our brother (1 John 4:20).

Girard elaborates the consequences of the diabolization of the concern for victims:

"The Antichrist boasts of bringing to human beings the peace and tolerance that Christianity promised but has failed to deliver. Actually, what the radicalization of contemporary victimology produces is a return to all sorts of pagan practices: abortion, euthanasia, sexual undifferentiation, Roman circus games galore but without real victims, etc."
The fruits of this radicalization are compounded by the nihilism of the market:

"Neo-paganism locates happiness in the unlimited satisfaction of desires, which means the suppression of all prohibitions. This idea acquires a semblance of credibility in the limited domain of consumer goods, whose prodigious multiplication, thanks to technological progress, weakens certain mimetic rivalries. The weakening of mimetic rivalries confers an appearance of plausibility, but only that, on the stance that turns the moral law into an instrument of repression and persecution."
This is only confirmed by our economic elites' increasing embrace of identity politics.

Agape versus ISIS

The West, having both co-opted the Church's concern for victims and abandoned her metaphysics, finds itself in a state of crisis. Our concern for victims denies us the community-binding power of the surrogate-victim mechanism utilized by earlier civilizations, while the degeneration of our cultural values has made it increasingly difficult to promote civic virtues, particularly those necessary for national defence - courage, honour, loyalty.

Terry Eagleton, in his recent book Culture and the Death of God, describes our predicament well:

"Ideologically speaking, the West has unilaterally disarmed at just the point where it has proved most perilous for it to do so. Furnished with a mixture of pragmatism, culturalism, hedonism, relativism and anti-foundationalism, it now confronts a full-blooded metaphysical antagonist, one brought to birth in part by its own policies, for which absolute truths, coherent identities and solid foundations pose not the faintest problem."
This bodes ill for the modern West. Scott Atran, director of research in anthropology at CNRS, has been studying radical Islam for years. Most recently, he has been analysing the ISIS-phenomenon, its appeal and vitality. His findings highlight the inadequacy of a purely technocratic, militaristic approach to stopping the enemy.

More than anything, Atran wants to counter the narratives that see ISIS as little different from Al-Qa'eda, or reduce them to a band of blood-thirsty barbarians. Instead, argues Atran, ISIS is the spearhead of a Sunni-revivalist movement of "world-historic proportions" with "a profoundly alluring mission to change and save the world." The Islamic State's narrative is one of glory, universal justice and peace, provision for all, and brotherhood in transcendence - a recipe for fierce loyalty and valour among its adherents. ISIS is a revolution, in the classic mould of modern revolutions beginning with French Republicanism. Indeed, there is a certain poetic symmetry between the grisly beheadings of ISIS propaganda campaigns and the Jacobin Reign of Terror. Thus writes Atran:

"History shows that most societies have sacred values for which their people would passionately fight, risking serious loss and even death rather than compromise. Our research suggests this is so for many who join ISIS, and for many Kurds who oppose them on the frontlines. But, so far, we find no comparable willingness among the majority of youth that we sample in Western democracies. With the defeat of fascism and communism, have their lives defaulted to the quest for comfort and safety? Is this enough to ensure the survival, much less triumph, of values we have come to take for granted, on which we believe our world is based?"
The West's long "hemorrhage of meaning," as Eagleton puts it, has left us incapable of inviting would-be citizens of the caliphate into a grander cultural narrative. We have no such narrative to offer. Moreover, our violent reciprocation is useless for shoring up our national identity. ISIS, however, existing to great extent as a kind of pre-Christian social order, has not yet experienced the ritual-shattering effect of the Evangel. Their violence does indeed still bind them together in deeper community.

Now, I do not wish to argue here that Islam in general does not contain resources for responding ethically to violence and injustice. Rather, the particular expression of Islam that is Salafism, from which ISIS sprang, emphasizes those elements most proper to archaic religion as understood by Girard.

In a 2008 interview published in SubStance, Girard reflects upon his theories, particularly their apocalyptic implications, in light of the 9/11 attacks.

"As the world looks more threatening, religion is sure to return. And in a way, 9/11 is the beginning of this, for in this attack technology was used not for humanistic ends but for radical, metaphysico-religious ends, which are not Christian. That is why it is such an amazing thing for me, because I'm used to considering religious forces and humanistic forces together, not as if one were true and the other false; and then suddenly archaic religion is coming back in an incredibly forceful way with Islam. Islam has many aspects of the Biblical religions minus the revelation of violence as bad, as not divine but human; it makes violence totally divine. This is why the opposition is more significant than with communism, which is a humanism. It is a bogus humanism, the last and most incredibly foolish form, which results in terror. But it is still humanism. And suddenly we're back in religion, in archaic religion - but with modern weapons."
Of course, Girard does not mean that Islam (Wahhabi or otherwise) divinizes all violence. He is speaking specifically of the "good" violence that structures communities and draws their members into deeper intimacy and mutual obligation. This is the surrogate-victimage one sees in the beheadings of propaganda videos or in the slaughter of Christian and Yazidi minorities.

This "divine violence" is accompanied by an exaltation, a species of transcendence. As Girard puts it:

"the divinity of Jesus obliges us to distinguish two types of transcendence externally similar but radically opposed. The one type is false, deceptive ... and it is the unconscious fulfillment of the victim mechanism. The other transcendence is truthful, luminous, and it destroys mythical illusions by revealing how violent contagion poisons communities. It reveals how poison is used to counteract poison, a 'remedy' to evil whose source is evil itself. This second transcendence is the true one that begins in the Old Testament and comes to full bloom in the New Testament."
We have already observed that for Girard, the Christian must renounce complicity in the structural violence of temporal regimes. How then should the Christian participate in the public sphere? To answer this, I'll again have recourse to Cavanaugh's perspective. "Christian 'politics' cannot be the pursuit of influence over the powers, but rather a question of what kind of community disciplines we need to produce people of peace capable of speaking truth to power." The strength of the Evangel is not in its imposition over others, but in its witness to divine truth, which is never clearer or more persuasive than when lived in self-sacrificial communities.

The Syrian refugee crisis is a rare instance of when the cross of Christ is not merely "folly to the Gentiles," as St. Paul puts it; rather, the Evangel offers real, actionable geo-political wisdom. ISIS's recruitment strategy requires shrinking what they call the "grayzone" - that is, the space occupied by those persons of Muslim heritage around the world who have thrown their lot in with neither fundamentalism nor the "Crusaders" (a catch-all term for the West, including Christians and secularists alike). The chaos of ISIS's terror campaigns serves to alienate "moderate" Muslims in the West from their neighbours. ISIS means to force the West to make a surrogate-victim of grayzone Muslims, which will inevitably lead to the swelling of ISIS's ranks.

So far, ISIS's plan is coming off without a hitch: international support for ISIS is increasing with the West's growing xenophobia. The more the West pursues military solutions to ISIS, the more their ranks will swell, and the more interminable the war will become. The only way forward is the abandonment of reciprocal violence and the performance of a grander narrative, that of Christ-inspired love and mercy.

This begins with loving and serving those in the grayzone, most especially those refugees fleeing the purveyors of sacred violence. The only genuinely Christian response to this crisis - that is, the only response that participates in the character of Christ, the true Logos - is the embrace of and care for the stranger, even when doing so threatens our comfort and security. As Atran has recently written:

"A welcome to Syrian refugees would clearly represent a winning response to this [ISIS's] strategy, whereas wholesale rejection of refugees just as clearly represents a losing response to ISIS. We might wish to celebrate diversity and tolerance in the grayzone, but the general trend in Europe and the majority of the US political establishment and population is to collude in erasing it."
One of the biggest challenges to embracing a "Christian" approach to the ISIS problem is that doing so entails an implicit acknowledgment that the reigning cultural narrative in America is a lie. It means shining a spotlight on our nihilism, on the failure of our consumerist "freedoms" - economic and sexual - to produce real transcendence. Most problematic of all, it means exposing the lie of "religion," which is the foundational lie of all western nation-states, even our own.

This demythologization will not be achieved without great cost, which should be no surprise. It means participating as a community in the most costly sacrifice of all, that of the Eternal Logos.

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вторник, 20 февраля 2018 г.
t(365)-1hrW Al Kalb al Rai 09:21:14
Abstract

The definition and scope of intellectual property and associated laws are under intense debate in the emerging discourse surrounding intellectual property and human rights. These debates primarily arise within the context of indigenous peoples' rights to protection and ownership of culturally specific properties. It is true that intellectual property laws are based on Western, developed markets, Western concepts of creation and invention, and Western concepts of ownership. But whatever their origins, those laws have been, and currently are, the primary vehicle for the protection of artistic, literary, and scientific works worldwide. To segregate indigenous interests from this international legal regime, particularly in light of the increasing globalization of markets, is to deny indigenous peoples both a powerful legal shield and a powerful legal sword. This Article argues that copyright laws can, and must, be expanded so as to maintain the vitality of, and protect, the creative artistic and literary works of indigenous cultures. The Article proposes three major changes to international copyright law: the incorporation of collective and communal notions of authorship, the expansion of the originality requirement to reflect these forms of authorship, and the application of limits on the duration of copyright protection in a broader community context. The Article further proposes that a variety of intellectual property mechanisms be drawn upon to provide special protection for "sacred" cultural works.


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понедельник, 19 февраля 2018 г.
{} surgery is y1_2:day Al Kalb al Rai 21:46:41
Фундаментальная проблема заключалась и продолжает заключаться в том, что в мире нет никаких аутентичных или естественных границ, просто ожидающих, чтобы их идентифицировали и нанесли на карту. "Настоящие" границы Европы обязаны своей нынешней легитимностью, какой она есть, континентальному изнеможению после нескольких столетий войны. Уинстон Черчилль, возможно и провел карандашом границу между Ираком и Иорданией, но он был столь же прямым в определении границы между Францией и Германией, когда он привел союзников к победе во Второй мировой войне. Определение того, были ли Эльзас и Лотарингия французскими или же немецкими, никогда не было столь простым вопросом, чтобы просто отправить комиссию, которая бы выяснила, где заканчивается французский народ, и где начинается немецкий народ - скорее, территория присуждалась в качестве приза после каждого из кровавых конфликтов в Европе. Точно так же, никакая комиссия не способна найти магическую линию, по одну сторону которой будут все сунниты, по другую сторону - все шииты, а нефть прямо посередине.

Прямые линии на картах всегда кажутся подозрительно искусственными, но на Ближнем Востоке они в основном отражают наличие больших полос плоской, слабо населенной земли (см. также: Канзас, Небраска и др.). Интересно отметить, что одна из самых полных попыток создать научно обоснованные границы в головокружительно многоэтническом регионе была выполнена советскими антропологами в 1920-х годах. Результатом стали сегодняшние среднеазиатские государства, границы которых неоднократно осуждались как абсурдные, неработоспособные, запутанные. Советы чувствовали, что могут позволить себе сделать границы настолько чрезмерно точными, потому что, на примере истинного, идеологически обусловленного цинизма, они прежде всего никогда не ожидали, что страны станут независимыми. Местные дороги, которые теперь требуют пересечь три пограничных перехода, чтобы переехать из одного города в другой, не были проблемой, когда весь регион был политически частью Советского Союза.

Однако наша коллективная фиксация на границах Ближнего Востока отвлекает внимание от действительно пагубной политики "разделяй и властвуй", которую французы и англичане использовали для поддержания своей власти. В Сирии французы культивировали ранее бесправное алавитское меньшинство в качестве союзника против суннитского большинства. Это включало в себя привлечение и продвижение солдат алавитов в колониальной армии, тем самым способствуя их самосознанию в качестве алавитов, и приводя их в конфликт с местными жителями других национальностей. Французы проводили ту же политику с маронитскими христианами в Ливане, как это делали бельгийцы с тутси в Руанде, а англичане поступали с мусульманами в Индии, турками на Кипре и бесчисленными другими группами в иных местах.

Милитаризация этих этнических и религиозных идентичностей, а вовсе не отказ от совершенных установленных государственных границ для облегчения напряженности между ними, объясняет большую часть насилия на Ближнем Востоке сегодня. Обвинять империализм - это, как правило, здравая политика и хорошая комедия. Но в этом случае сосредоточение внимания на плохих границах сопряжено с риском принять постоянное насилие на основе идентичности как данность, что приводит в результате к политике, которая в конечном счете лишь усугубляет конфликты, которые она намеревалась разрешить.

Ник Дэнфорт

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polozhi menya kak pechat' na serdce tvoe Al Kalb al Rai 18:06:09
Untitled by Doris Salcedo. 8th International Istanbul Biennial, 2003

The massive installation, which Doris Salcedo created on the occasion of the eighth Istanbul Biennial, consisted of more than fifteen hundred wooden chairs stacked between two buildings. Speaking of the genesis of the piece, Salcedo recalls, “I was visiting the city, and . . . there were so many ruins in the central area that I started wondering, ‘It doesn’t make sense, that busy area has so many abandoned buildings.’ They were legacies of the violent past, where Jews and Greeks were forced out of their buildings.”

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Untitled was not a response to one specific event, as some of her other works are. Rather, it addressed “the process of displacement” that, she says, “had been taking place for over fifty years.” The haphazardly stacked chairs evoked the overwhelming numbers of those displaced over time and the chaos of being uprooted. At the same time, there was a stillness to the work. The chairs appeared to be tumbled together, and yet were also arranged so that they presented an even surface to passersby: a facade to match those on either side. Salcedo says that she wanted the piece to be woven into the fabric of the city. “It just sits there, quietly,” she says.

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Salcedo’s practice is largely dedicated to the creation of works such as Untitled that engage directly with the historical and political realities of a given place—particularly Colombia, where she was born. “Being in a violent country, you cannot act as though violence is not happening,” she explains in the documentary. “That’s why I think art has to somehow create a balance. It is a space . . . that is outside all this brutal loss. Then you can create art that might create some meaning. And that meaning might help us ask difficult questions, maybe try to find answers to those questions.”
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a few more [exchange] Al Kalb al Rai 12:32:21
­­Australophyllia is the new home of the Wilsoni Brain Coral, an evolutionarily distinct lineage which is found only around the subtropical reefs of Western and Southern Australia. This colorful coral, whose price tag is often bigger than its shelf life in captivity, was found to have some interesting peculiarities to its morphology, including the presence of Hydnophora-like bumps between the polyps (termed monticules) that had not previously been noted. Along with Micromussa and Homophyllia, these corals together form one of the major lobophylliid clades.
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U-011010001 Al Kalb al Rai 11:55:58
Rita Lucarelli creates 3D images of ancient Egyptian coffins. Using Agisoft Photoscan, the Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies and her team transform 2D photographs into 3D models before annotating the virtual figures with transliterations, translations, and other relevant data. Since Egyptian hieroglyphics adorning funerary materials were copied and read from different directions, 3D interaction with digitized images provides better access to the texts of such objects than traditional 2D representations. Such work advances research into the role of ancient Egyptian funerary equipment in the transmission of ideas of death, magic protection, and the afterlife.

For Images of Eternity’s graduate research assistant, Kea Johnston, this coffin analysis compresses the manual aspect of archival research while expanding its comparative potential: “On my computer I have hundreds of pictures of coffins from multiple different angles and distances, which I usually use for these comparisons. However, having a high-resolution 3D model allows me to view the coffin from every angle, and to examine the pictures and texts on every surface, even those that might be hard to view when the coffin is on display or in storage in a museum. I no longer need to search through hundreds of individual photographs in search of one that captures the exact detail I want to compare.”

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Johnston, a Near Eastern Studies PhD candidate, has already seen the new methodology bear fruit: “Because it's now so easy to refer to the coffins from all angles, we've actually been able to find another coffin in the Hearst Museum which may have originally been buried with one of the coffins in our survey. The colors used are similar, and the hieroglyphs are drawn in a very particular way on both of them. Each one has a picture of the owner (in a different place on each coffin) wearing a very unusual costume. The owner of both coffins even has the same name.”

Several UC organizations support Images of Eternity. To accelerate image rendering, the Berkeley Research Computing program offers Lucarelli’s team GPU nodes on Berkeley's Savio cluster. The Hearst Museum of Anthropology provides coffins for analysis. The Berkeley Archaeological Research Facility and the “Immersive Humanities” working group of the Center for Digital Humanities at UCLA have developed a digital viewer for the uploading and analysis of the annotated 3D models. Finally, a Digital Humanities at Berkeley Collaborative Research Grant has allowed Lucarelli to hire University of St. Andrews computational linguistics scholar Mark-Jan Nederhof to help with the Unicode text encoding of the coffin hieroglyphics.

The sophisticated technology of Images of Eternity is yielding powerful, if at times unexpected, results, according to Johnston: “More research is, of course, needed, but our project already underlines how technology is aiding our work, often in ways we didn't originally anticipate. It's helping us to learn more about the individuals who owned our objects, and the time in which they lived.”
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