Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Philosophical Musings of a Human..being.

It has been a while since I endeavoured into the uncharted world of human behaviour, mostly due to a state called "The Idleness of the Soul"; the unaware slipping into the common state of indifference, launching the autopilot embedded within us all and functioning in a robotic fashion going about our daily errands.

I have no clue why I keep quoting authors and literature, but it probably has something to do with the intricate detail with which they reflect human conciousness and self awareness. In his radio play "Under Milk Wood", Welsh playwright Dylan Thomas captures the essence of solitude, physical and/or intellectual, where one's own mental conversation echoes within, reminding one of their existence, in the purely Descartes-esque fashion of "I think, therefore I am". Doubt in existence needs an assirtion, and that assirtion is thought.

Knowing that doubt exists, we can generalize and assert that conscious acts exist, since doubts are a kind of conscious acts. And so, if we are to reach Descartes’ conclusion, we must somehow show that the self exists, and not just the conscious acts.

The really interesting question, then, is whether or not we can show that the existence of a conscious act guarantees the existence of a first person perspective aka "I", and if some constituted self must exist as a result of this. The structure of consciousness, the fact that we talk of the conscious act as a presentation, certainly implies that the act is structured around a first person perspective. In other words, without a first person perspective nothing can be conscious; and thus, to doubt that the first person perspective exists would itself be a conscious act structured around a first person perspective, confirming its existence.

Why is it structured around a first person perspective? Simply because someone might insist that there is no real first person perspective, only an appearance of one. So all we can really say is that the conscious act, the experience, seems as though it has a first person perspective, the existence of a first person viewpoint is itself a kind of minimal constituted self, since the first person perspective implies that there is someone who is having the current experience, even if it doesn’t necessarily give that self any other attributes, other than being there physically and/or mentally, at that specific time, completing the elements of existance.

Now, back to Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood":

"And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now, Hush..the babies are sleeping, the farmers, the fishers, the tradesmen and pensioners, cobbler, schoolteacher, postman and publican, the undertaker and the fancy woman, drunkard, dressmaker, preacher, policeman, the webfoot cockle-women and the tidy wives.

Young girls lie bedded soft or glide in their dreams, with rings and trousseaux, bridesmaided by glow-worms down the aisles of the organ-playing wood, you can hear the dew falling, and the hushed town breathing.

Only your eyes are unclosed to see the black and folded town fast and slow..asleep."

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


"He had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth." Márquez; "One Hundred Years of Solitude".

It is odd, that despite the 100 years of rhetoric about the value of freedom and human rights, the right for self determination is a valid argument for all the peoples of the world, from East Timor to Southern Sudan, which took 72 hours to become a full UN member, not to mention the mushrooming self determination calls across the world as we speak, but in the case of Palestine, it becomes a matter of long negotiations about disputed lands rather than occupied lands.

One has to admit that the struggle for Palestinian self determination was never handled rationally, not that rationale was an option to people uprooted from their ancestral lands in a few months to make way for people who claim it to be theirs first; an argument that can easily be made by native Americans in the case of North America, aborigines in the case of Australia, and the list goes on, but having reached the point we're in today, one has to be pragmatic with the hopes and realistic with the expectations.

194 would be the number Palestine would hold in the list of nations at the UN, an interesting coincidence with the UNGA resolution 194 of 1948, which calls for the return of the displaced Palestinian refugees of the 1948 war, but being a General Assembly resolution, it has no legally binding power as those of the UN Security Council resolutions, it remains, though; an ethical bedrock of the United Nations' moral duty of justice and equality, not to mention its idealistic role as the peacekeeper of the world, at least on paper.

The fact of the matter is that the US position towards Israel transcends elections, the Jewish vote and democracy, it goes deep into religious belief; Israel is seen as the prologue to the return of Jesus Christ, and the protection of Israel in every way possible serves that purpose, whereas the Palestinians are Philistines, a pagan barbarian enemy of the chosen people eventually defeated by David, Goliath is their most famous historical character, the David vs Goliath story has become the embodiment of Good vs Evil in the collective psyche of the Judeo-Christian narrative. Evangelism in the US is fascinated by Israel, a tiny peaceful promise by God to the Jewish people to herald the return of Jesus Christ to establish the Kingdom of Heaven, threatened by the descendants of Goliath, the choice as to who to side with is as clear as daylight.

The World is a messed up place, truth and lies are meshed up with interest and gain, hypocracy is a human trait reincarnated through the United Nations, George Orwell's Animal Farm -written one year prior to the establishment of the UN- is probably the best representation of its inner workings: "All Pigs are Equal, but some Pigs are more Equal than Others". And yet, Benjamin Netanyahu comes to the UN in 2011 and says: "In 1984 when I was appointed Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, I visited the great rabbi of Lubavich. He said to me - and ladies and gentlemen, I don't want any of you to be offended because from personal experience of serving here, I know there are many honorable men and women, many capable and decent people, serving their nations here - But here's what the rabbi said to me. He said to me, you'll be serving in a house of many lies." [source]. I'm not entirely sure whether the rabbi was insulting the UN or praising it with that statement.

Alright, so where do we go from here? A US veto is on the menu, Palestine won't become a full UN member, despite the prospected use of the same course that was taken by Israel in 1948, it is -none the less- the beginning of a great annual nuisance to Israel and a cause for a great annual embarrassment to the supposed fair broker to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Tonight, a vote at the UN Security Council is expected to be made to propose sanctions on Syria, it's expected that Russia -which announced its backing of the Palestinian statehood bid- would use the veto to abort it, so in a way, a tit for tat ping pong game between the US and Russia, a US veto for Palestine, a Russian veto for Syria, and they're even. The quartet's envoy, the Right Honorable Tony Blair -on his part- turned out to be having an affair with an Israeli business woman, so that's also in the bag, we're set, we're back to the global city of mirrors -or mirages- Márquez was talking about, it's our 100 Years of Solitude this time around, though.

"Look at situations as contingent, not as inevitable, look at them as the result of a series of historical choices made by men and women, as facts of society made by human beings, and not as natural or god-given, therefore unchangeable, permanent, irreversible." Edward Said.