Month: August 2007

A Theory of Evil

It is a serious error, if I am not mistaken, to treat time as a mode of apprehension. For one is then forced to consider it also as the order according to which the subject apprehends himself, and he can only do this by breaking away from himself, as it were, and mentally severing the fundamental engagement which makes him what he is. (I take the word ‘engagement’ here to represent both ‘involvement’ and ‘committal’.)

This is the point of what I was trying to say yesterday afternoon,when I reflected that time is the very form of experimental activity. And from this point of view, to take up once more the metaphor of the absolute improvisation (a metaphor which seems to me inexhaustible) one finds oneself thinking like this. To transcend time is not to raise ourselves, as we can do at any moment, to the actually empty idea of a totum simul empty because it remains outside us and thereby becomes in some way devitalised. By no means. It is rather to participate more and more actively in the creative intention that quickens the whole: in other words, to raise ourselves to levels from which the succession seems less and less given, levels from which a ‘cinematographic’ representation of events looks more and more inadequate, and ceases in the long run to be even possible.

I think this is of the utmost importance. There, and perhaps only there, is the way open from creative evolution to a religious philosophy,but this way can only be taken through a concrete dialectic of participation.

I believe also, though I cannot yet establish it, that we have here the basis for a Theory of Evil, which would maintain its reality without denying its contingency.

Gabriel Marcel, A Metaphysical Diary (1928-1933), tr. Katharine Farrer (1949)


Klaus on environmentalism

RFE/RL has an interview with Czech President Vaclav Klaus (a physicist, whose latest book is A Blue, Not A Green Planet), in which among other things he talks “not about global warming but about the opinions that are being imported, thanks to the false threat of global warming, by people like Al Gore and many others” [excerpt]:

RFE/RL: You write in your book that socialist ideology has been replaced by the threat of “ambitious environmentalism.” Could you define what you mean exactly?

Klaus: Let’s keep repeating until we’re weary that one thing is ecology, scientific ecology, a descriptive, positive science that describes real things and phenomena in the world and tries to find connections between them and laws and so on. That’s not the discipline we’re discussing. A completely different thing is this “world view” wrapped up around it that exploits some theories from this or that discipline in order to carry out yet another in a never-ending line of attacks against human freedom and the market economy.

The main attack on the market in the last 150 years has been the softer or stronger versions of what — now that communism has gone — is known as the “social market economy,” basically the official ideology of Germany and Austria and now the EU. In other words, the main attack on the market and on human freedom has been to add the “social” adjective [to the word “market”].

People know how I began my political career and if there’s one expression of mine that’s been quoted most, it’s the early one from the beginning of the 1990s when I said, “a market without adjectives.” In other words let’s not spoil things with any adjectives. So the first attack is social, [either] in the softer version of today’s European system, [or] in the harder version of communism. Now, more and more, [the words] “social and ecologically oriented” or something similar are added. So it’s another attack, [meant to] destroy the market and human freedom and using a slogan — social in the past and now ecological — to do something completely different. And for me this is a fundamental attack on human freedom.

As someone who went through communism, I know what this is about and I think it’s necessary to sound the alarm. I’m not comparing, like some caricatures have me, the threat of communism versus the threat of environmentalism. Communism was probably worse, though I think that with some of those extreme environmentalists we would live to see something similar. They would be cutting off heads, too, but I’m not comparing them.

The Producers

From the Edinburgh Festival, a production of Jihad, The Musical. The Mail writes:

The controversial satire about Islamic terrorism includes such classic tunes as “Building a bomb today, what does the manual say” and “I wanna be like Osama”.

Perhaps its creators were inspired by the success of The Producers – a runaway broadway hit which attracted criticism for its camp rendition of Nazi Germany.

Bending to the wind

In EDM, Vladimir Socor writes about how PACE chairman Rene van der Linden is bending to the Kremlin wind against Estonia. He also voices concern about PACE’s future:

Van der Linden’s statements have demonstrated strong bias, ahead of his visit next month to Estonia on Russian minority-related issues. Van der Linden completes his chairmanship at PACE next January. A Russian politician with close Kremlin ties, Mikhail Margelov, seems strongly positioned to take over PACE’s chairmanship through a backroom deal. A vote by PACE for Margelov would be a vote against PACE’s own credibility.

Chechen dictionaries

A list of Chechen-Russian dictionaries (via this resource [pdf]):

Starchevsky, A.V. Kavkazskii perevodchik, zaklyuchasyushchii v sebe 30 yazykov. St Petersburg, 1893.
Slovar’ arabsko-kumyksko-avarsko-russko-chechenskii. Petrovsk, 1914 (Arabic script).
Matsiyev, A.G., Chechensko-russkii slovar’. Grozny, 1927.
Sheripov, Z.D. Kratkii russko-chechenskii slovar’. Grozny, 1928.
Matsiyev, A.G., Islamov, M.D. Terminologicheskii slovar’ chechenskogo yazyka. Grozny, 1930.
Orfograficheskii slovar’ chechenskogo yazyka. Dlya nachal’nykh i starshikh klassov 8-letnei shkoly. Grozny, 1960.
Matsiyev, A.G. Chechensko-ruskii slovar’, Moscow, 1961.
Matsiyev, A.G., Dzhamalkhanov, Z.D. Orfograficheskii slovar’. Grozny, 1961
Chokayev, K. Kratkii russko-chechensko-ingushskii slovar’-spravochnik obshchestvenno-politicheskikh terminov. Grozny, 1961.
Ozdoyev, I.A., Matsiyev, A.G., Dzhamalkhanov, Z.D. Chechensko-ingushsko-russkii slovar. Grozny, 1962.
Karasayev, A.T., Matsiyev, A.G. Russko-chechenskii slovar’. Moscow, 1978.
Aliroyev, I.Yu., Chechensko-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 2005.
Aliroyev, I. Yu. Russko-chechenskii slovar’. Moscow, 2005.