Monday, January 23, 2006

The Game’s Afoot

What I’d like to begin to do is to think about some of the debates that are taking shape over the conflict with Iran. And I’d like your help in doing it. I’ll try to link to some of the more interesting pieces and your reasoned participation is hereby encouraged and welcomed.

Show me your minds at work engaging seriously the issues at stake. Give me a sense for your fears, your visions for the future and your misgivings and hopes.

I think our social collectivities are almost as fragile as the mortals who constitute them. That’s what I tried to get at in the last post. We all carry a bit of both universes with us no matter where we live. The more “successful” societies manage to shield us effectively from our own follies. Societies that position their weaknesses in such ways that would enhance their overall collective strengths tend to become more tolerable.

But nothing can be taken for granted. And what we are witnessing today appears to me also an intense internal struggle between the two outlooks I tried to amplify in my last post. And that’s with or without the challenges of the property-rights laws.

That’s why wars can be such determinants.

Although, I think the Farsi speakers have an advantage in this escalating conflict. I don’t know how effective it’ll prove long term.

The modern term for man, of course, MaRd, rooted in death stinks of mortality even more pronouncedly than the equivalents in some of the languages I know of put together.

And the term for enemy, Doshman, too, is an explicit reminder of the enemy within; literally, bad(evil)think(er)(ing).

Anyhow, there are two short texts I try to go back to for a quick sanity check in anticipation of each new war. Let’s not meddle with a winning formula this time around either.

So for today…

Thucydides, the Melian Dialogue

Chuang-Tzu, This Human World

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