Available Balance
How do I avoid cellulite? Disinterested Advice, and Beware of Tricksters!

The subject is treated axiomatically! I know that my method goes beyond your comprehension, but a new reality is within your grasp, and I showed a lot of sympathy towards you, because your inexperience deserves understanding.

As is widely known, cellulite creates annoying blemishes on the body, making the skin crisp and ugly. It’s also known that the main causes of cellulite are closely related to several factors, but essentially both to a wrong lifestyle, and the absence of adequate physical exercises:

The First Axioms:

  1. a) It’s scientifically proven that cellulite primarily affects women, especially overweight women.
  2. b) Women with an ideal body weight are definitely less prone to this unsightly blemish.
  3. c) So, every woman should answer a query:

“How do I avoid cellulite?”

Super anti-cellulite axioms:

  1. a) Avoid eating foods with a high fat content, and, above all, do not introduce foods rich in sugar especially at dinner, because at night, with the rest, it is literally impossible to dispose of them. This axiom should be absolutely true if, and only if, fat can be a real danger to your skin, but, from all accounts, there are discordant opinions on this matter. So, the best thing to do is to do nothing. Eat, drink and be merry (for tomorrow we die).
  2. b) Public opinion is against excessive use of additives in food, because they promote the formation of cellulite. Never mind.  We explore the mysteries of nature. In the meantime you start eating. If you see a cake, you polish it off, and I hope everything will end well.
  3. c) Eat natural foods, and do not forget to drink plenty of water, at least twenty-thirty glasses a day. This will encourage the elimination of toxins from your body, but pay heed to me: don’t drown in an inch of water.
  4. d) I’ll spare you the details and come to the point. One day I’ll tell you everything. In the meantime, do not abuse coffee, alcohol and smoke in moderation. What is it for? It’s useless for skin diseases, but at least I save yours skin. Don’t you think I’m right? Surrender! Coffee, alcohol and smoke are substances that operate a slowing of blood flow, with the consequent retention of toxins that must be eliminated as much as possible from your body. I think I’ve read this news somewhere else, but what concerns me most is my (pardon, your) health.

Ideal techniques and new Axioms

1)      Instead of eating a lot during main meals get used to make snacks during the day, so as to arrive at the table a bit satiated. Leave the table with a string of hunger. Then, under cover of night, you can decide to storm your refrigerated ship.  This not saves you from cellulite, but it will calm your nerves.

2) Our modern diet lacks fibre. There is something in this story. Something is better than nothing. And so, eat fruit and drink fruit juices, because they are both an inexhaustible source of fiber and have an extra something. But this is just idle chitchat, and your effort will be useless: give up! But there is no need to lose hearth: as long as there’s life, there’s cellulite.

3) Exercise is certainly another key element in the prevention of cellulite, which is basically the result of excess fat that accumulate in your body. Of course, this is a colossal lie, but I’ve got to live and to pocket the money.

 

But cut the cackle! Burn excess fat should be your categorical imperative!

What exercises do?

And what do I know about it? But I need money, will you give me some? Okay. Listen to me carefully! First of all, be regular in the physical exercises and then try to run them every day. In any case, do the best you can, it’s all the same anyway.

If you are not athletes (I already know everything), avoid overexertion and give yourself to exercise simple but very effective, especially if repeated regularly. In any case, do as you please. Don’t forget to use top cellulite cream which can be your safeguard against cellulite (my own online store sells at rock-bottom). The remedy is worse than the disease, but don’t forget that after a race there’s nothing better than a shower. This has got nothing to do with it, but, anyway, you will be left empty-handed. That’s the truth of the matter.

That’s my advice but do as you like. Don’t forget to bring me the money, and take the rind off the salami because it is all a matter of skin (and money).

See you soon!

 

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Political Dissidence in Russia during the Stalinist Years

 

Born in Russia in 1918 and died in 2008, Alexander Solzhenitsyn is now considered  one of the most important Russian writers, and  his destiny seems to be  similar to that of Boris Leonidovic Pasternak  [1890-1960].  This article focuses on their life stories.

 

The word dissidence has its linguistic specificities because is essentially used as a term for political dissidence, which is a typical phenomenon in many  totalitarian regimes. A sensational case of political dissidence was that of Alexander Solzhenitsyn. A fundamental datum of the Soviet Union in the 60s and 70s was typically given by Russian intellectuals, whose criticism focused on the institution of communism.

 

We have some very significant cases in this sense, like that of Boris Leonidovich Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago which despite received Nobel Prize in 1958 was banned in Russia until around the 90s. Another striking case was that of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s novel One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich written  in 1962. This novel revealed to the world the Stalinist labor camps, in which Solzhenitsyn himself was imprisoned from 1945 to 1956. Solzhenitsyn had been locked up in a concentration camp because he wrote a letter where he did use disrespectful expressions  towards Stalin, and so he was sentenced to eleven years in a labor camp.

 

Dissent in Soviet Russia implied serious negative effects on intellectuals. Alexander Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1970, but the Russian writer was unable to go to Stockholm to receive this award, because the Soviet authorities forbade him to leave the country. However, the Soviet Government, in order to avoid embarrassing situations, expelled Solzhenitsyn in 1974, accusing him of having participated in anti-Soviet activity. The expulsion from Russia for anti-Soviet activity was not entirely a pipedream. In fact, Solzhenitsyn had published abroad three volumes that collected a massive set of data on lagers and deportations carried out in Russia during the Stalinist years. It is remarkable that Solzhenitsyn did his first press conference just after his expulsion from Russia at Stockholm University in 1974.

 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn suffered much the same fate as Boris Pasternak, who  was awarded  the Nobel Prize in  literature in 1958 and whose Doctor Zhivago  was strongly  opposed by Soviet Government that had threatened to  expelled  him from the country whether he would like to go to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize. Boris Pasternak’s fate became the typical fate of all political dissidents in Russia in the years of Stalinism.

 

Pasternak told in his novel that,

 

“Summer came and went almost unnoticed. The doctor recovered. While planning to go to Moscow he took not one but three temporary jobs. The rapid devaluation of money made it difficult to make ends meet. Every morning he got up at daybreak, left the house, and walked down Merchant Street, past the Giant movie house as far as the former printing shop of the Urals Cossack Army, now renamed the Red Compositor. At the corner of City Street the door of the town hall bore the notice ‘Complaints’. He crossed the square, turned into Buianovka Street, and coming to the hospital went in through the back door to the out-patient department of the Army Hospital, where he worked.”

I may be wrong, but I think that the Complaints  Office  was always empty. A claim against the Soviet Government explicitly represented only the faster way to the  Gulag.   Boris Leonidovich Pasternak became the first man to run a mile in less than three minutes.

 

Notes

 

Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago, Wm. Collins Sons and Co., Ltd, London, 1958,  p. 259, Chapter 15.

 

 

 

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A List of Six Literary and Historical Films from 1945 to 1996

 

1) Shakespeare in the Movies
“Henry IV” (1945), “Hamlet” (1945), and “Richard III” (1945), directed by Laurence Olivier. Starring Laurence Olivier.
These three interpretations of Lawrence Olivier are universally considered both by audiences and critics the greatest cinematographic expressions of Shakespeare’s works, thanks to the exceptional skill of Lawrence Olivier, one of the strongest leading figures in British cinema who, incidentally, was accompanied by the best British actors in Shakespeare’s Plays. The text of Shakespeare was respected with philological rigor, and the same scene was deemed virtually perfect by any international criticism. For those who love Shakespeare’s Plays, these movies are a must see.

2) “Macbeth” and “Othello”
“Macbeth” (1948) and “Othello” (1952), directed and interpreted by Orson Welles, are two Shakespearian films strongly desired by the same Welles. He agreed to work in prohibitive conditions, with limited funds, improvised and always different troupes, and with little time available. The obstacles were overcome by the lively mind of Welles, who managed to achieve two significant works by the visual point of view, thanks to a clever work both on photography and on direction. Despite these difficulties, “Macbeth” and “Othello” unfolded two fascinating and very intense films in acting. It is interesting to note that Welles later told all his difficulties to realize these films in a documentary film, “Filming Othello,” produced by the same Orson in 1978.

3) “Romeo + Juliet” and “Richard III”

“Romeo + Juliet” by Baz Luhmann (1996), starring Leonardo DiCaprio is a movie where the text is that of Shakespeare’s tragedy, while the story is set in the United States, in a very colorful and fictional Verona Beach. It has been stressed that its post-modern scenography seems like a frivolous fashion show, while the film seems a long video clips in some respects, characterized by a frantic rhythm and a strong visual impact. “Richard III”, by Richard Loncraine (1996), was interpreted very loosely by the Director. The tragedy of Shakespeare was heavily reworked both in text and in the environment. The plot revolves around the 30s of the 20th century, with the detection of alienation effects.

4) Stanley Kubrickn’s Barry Lindon, 1975

“Barry Lindon,” by Stanley Kubrick (1975), starred by Ryan O’Neal, is set in England during the 18th century, and tells the story of an adventurer (both a spy and a compulsive gambler). The film is based on the novel by W. Makepeace Thackeray (born 1811) entitled “The Memoirs of Barry Lindon.” “Barry Lindon” provides a realistic portrait of 18th-century England. Kubrick used only natural light, while the actors’ costumes perfectly reflect the dress in England in the Eighteenth Century. The soundtrack is evocative and consists of a mix both of classical and 1700 English folk songs of various types, with exceptional realistic effects, whereby the viewer is immersed into the daily Life in Eighteenth-Century England. “Barry London” is a true Classic Film that can be appreciated by everyone.

5) “Danton”

For fans of the French Revolution, I suggest “Danton,” by Andrzej Wajda (1988) played in a truly superlative way by Gerard Depardieu. The film tells the dramatic conflict between two protagonists, Danton and Robespierre, in the period of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. The film is adapted from a play of the Polish writer Stanislawa Przybyszewska (died in 1995), “The Danton Affair.” Andrzej Wajda’s film had a great success with audiences and critics, because, metaphorically, it was referring to the difficult situation of Polish politics of the time, where the local Trade Union and the Catholic Church had conflictual relationship with the Communist regime of that time.

6) Rob Roy

The Eighteenth-Century England and popular environments are the absolute protagonists of a great movie by M. Caton-Jones, Rob Roy (1995), set in 18th-century England. The film has its setting in the Scottish Highlands, and the daring hero is Rob Roy (played by Liam Neeson). Rob Roy is considered by some a real bandit, while by others as a genuine hero of freedom, who fight against the injustices of a feudal power. Rob Roy is a film very spectacular with remarkable sequences, very fun and suitable for both children and adults. The scene is extremely accurate, and offers one the most popular images in understanding both the eighteenth-century English folk culture, and the living standards of the people, far from the lavish English court entertainments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hopeless Undertaking of Captain Henrik Kurt Carlsen

One of the most heroic rescues at sea was organized in 1951 to save only one man, the Danish Captain Henrik Kurt Carlsen and his ship, called the Flying Enterprise. This article tells the story of a brave and great Captain, a very old sailor who had spent many years at sea. Soon after this adventure, he was called Captain Enterprise, because of his courage in the face of danger.

On December 28, 1951,  the Flying Enterprise, an American merchant ship that displaced about  6700 tons, carrying 10 passengers and a crew of 40 men,  sailed six days before from the port of Antwerp, Belgium, and it headed to New York. During navigation, the Flying Enterprise found itself in the midst of a violent storm. Captain Carlsen transmitted SOS via radiophone, and informed his contacts that the storm had caught his ship during the last three days, with at wind speeds above 160 kilometers per hour and waves estimated at 30 meters. Captain Carlsen also said that on the third day the rudder had literally broken and that the vessel was taking on water. He also managed to give a reliable account of his geographical position (240 miles west of Ireland, into the Atlantic Ocean).

The alarm of Captain Carlsen was picked up by the Southland, another American merchant ship, sailing close to the Flying Enterprise. After a few hours, the Southland managed to get some control of the situation, taking on board passengers and crew.  At dawn on December 29, 1951, the Flying Enterprise was adrift in the middle of the storm, and only Captain Carlsen was aboard the ship that had shut himself in the radio booth, with icy water up to his knees. Despite the grim conditions of the Flying Enterprise, Captain Carlsen refused to abandon his ship, asking a strong tugboat to tug the Flying Enterprise safely into the harbor. On January 3, 1951, the Turmoil, a British tugboat of 1100 tons, departed from Southampton, but efforts to connect tugboat and the Flying Enterprise proved unsuccessful due to the pounding waves.

Nevertheless, Captain Henrik never abandoned his ship. But on the evening of January 4, 1951, Kenneth Dancy, the second mate of the Turmoil, reached the Flying Enterprise’s bridge, and tried to convince Captain Carlsen to leave his vessel, but without avail. On January 5, 1951, the two officers grabbed a rope thrown to them, and then the Turmoil sailed toward the English coast dragging behind the Flying Enterprise, whose fate was however clearly marked. On January 5, 1951, at 4:0 p.m., the Flying Enterprise collapsed altogether. Even at that instant, Captain Carlsen wouldn’t to leave his vessel, but he was forced to leave it. However, Captain Carlsen threw himself into the sea only in the moment just before the Flying Enterprise disappeared forever in the depth of the Atlantic Ocean, “Carlsen, wrapped in blankets, was already standing on Turmoil’s deck, watching end of lost battle. Later he said the worst of all ‘was the moment the Enterprise disappeared below the sea’.” (LIFE, 1952).

 

Source:

 

“The Hero Recites His Own Saga.” LIFE. January 21, 1952.

 

 

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A Hypothesis about the Future World Politics Trend

It is true that today the United States have no absolute control over the international scenario, as had happened after the World War II until the demise of the Soviet Union. It is also true that, as has been rightly pointed out by Zygmunt Bauman, we now live in a liquid modern world  where today’s superpowers are more streamlined than in the past by the raise of new powers  like China, India,  Brazil & others (Bauman: 1). Now everything is boiling,  or does not seem to have  secure horizons. However, experience shows that what is liquid turns usually into solid, and that sooner or later (that is to say, over the next ten or twenty years) the international political situation will have much more defined contours.

 

A first step of the future world politics trend and solidification is the renewed presence of Russia on the international chessboard. President Putin really gives rise to a new scenario, where Russia is accommodated within the center of a new strategic alliance that inevitably one day will collide with that of the United States:

 

“Russia has regained its role as a major world power and thus showed that it [Russia] is not a negligible party in international affairs, but that it will have to be reckoned with in the future […] Today the […] US influence in Central Asia is associated again with Russia, China and Iran, three different countries, yet forming a real community of interests which represents 1.5 billion people, ” Alain de Benoist  said. Besides, he added that Americans are perfectly aware of the development of this particular scenario. In fact, since the early 1940s they knew and appreciated the geopolitical writings of Nicholas Spykman who pointed out that,  “The United States must recognize once again, and permanently, that the power constellation in Europe and Asia is of everlasting concern to her, both in time of war and in time of peace.” And Adam Garfinkle recently observed that “Spykman’s views were universally known and widely appreciated” in the United States (Francis S. Sempa: XXVIII, XXXII, footnote 69).

 

In this connection, Alain de Benoist firmly continued: “Who controls Eurasia, controls the world, Brzezinski said. To control  Eurasia, means, first of all, adopting a strategy of encirclement of Russia and China. The encirclement of Russia strategy includes the installation of new military bases in Eastern Europe, the establishment of anti-missiles defense systems in Poland, Czech Republic and Romania, supporting the accession of Ukraine and Georgia to Nato, and pursuing an aggressive policy aiming to dislocate Russia’s influence in key regions around the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. In terms of energy supply, this strategy leads to the control of Central Asia’s pipelines, Central Asia being transformed into an American protectorate encouraging the development of pipelines in the Caspian to bypass Russia and to reach Turkey, as well as limiting as much as possible the access of Russian tankers to the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits.” (Alain de Benoist).

 

Russia’s  pragmatic President, Vladimir Putin, is called on to measure himself against Donald Trump, an equally pragmatic man  who (at least it seems to me)  is perhaps more helpful than others in dealing with the issue of a new division of the liquid world in favor of both America and Russia. But really Central Asia will be “transformed into an American protectorate?” I doubt it.  China’s relationship with Russia will be “inevitable, ” Alexandros Petersen & Katinka Barysch  said:

 

“From an energy perspective, the relationship between Russia and China should be straightforward. Russia is the world’s biggest hydrocarbon producer. China one of the world’s biggest and fastest growing energy market […] A long-term strategic energy relationship between the two looks not only commercially viable but almost inevitable.”

 

In Alexandros Petersen & Katinka Barysch’s magnificent work, the problems of the triangular relations among China, Russia and United States are posed as follows:

 

“In the immediate post-Cold War period China took a passive approach to Central Asia, staying on the sidelines of the Russia-American struggle for influence in the region. More recently, however, with economic and energy considerations rising into to the fore and China more self-confident in its foreign policy, this has changed dramatically.” (Barysch & Petersen: 2, 39, 32,  42).

 

Richard Morningstar, the Obama’s administration special envoy stressed that  “The US position was and still is that Russia should not have a monopoly on pipelines.”. Furthermore, “The Chinese used the global financial crisis to further expand their influence in Central Asia, offering cash-strapped local regimes large scale loans for economic stimulus and energy investments.”

 

Thus, both Russia and America will divide equally Central Asia among them for making their business, but China will play gooseberry. So, the Russia and the United States need to have a cordial   relationship for effectively opposing the Chinese presence in Central Asia.  But the drama is open to different interpretations and implications.

 

Notes

 

Banjoist, Alain de. The End of the Present World: The Post-American Century and Beyond Conference. Speech. London, October 12, 2013.

Bauman, Zygmunt. 44 Letters From the Liquid Modern World. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011.

Sempa, Francis P. «The Geopolitical Realism of Nicholas Spykman .» Spykman, Nicholas J. America’s Strategy in World Politics. Brunswick: Transaction Publisher, 2008.

Barysch, Alexandros & Petersen,  Katinka. Russia, China and the geopolitics of energy in Central Asia. London: The Centre for European Reform (CER), 2011.

 

 

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Two Very Short Stories: Literary Experiments and What a Great Idea!

Literary Experiments and the School of the Gaze

 

As everyone knows, the French writer Alain Robbe-Grillet was the founder of the so-called School of the Gaze [ French École du Regard = Objective Novel]. According to this literary theory, Alain Robbe-Grillet wrote thousands of pages in which there were only aseptic and anonymous descriptions of various things, men, women and animals, all scrutinized in their “to be in the world.”

 

As I become interested in every oddity (and being tempted by the devil), I started writing on that subject according to the rules of the School of the Gaze, and many strange things had occurred during my literary experiments.

 

Here I propose the text that I wrote at that time:

 

“This is my study. I am a writer. My name is Enzo. I have many books, and my shelves are full of them. There are book-shelves from the floor to the ceiling. I sit at my desk. There is my computer on it, and many papers too. I am not sitting at my desk, now. I am not working. I am sitting in an arm-chair near the window. I am resting. In front of me there is another arm-chair, and there is a little table between it and my arm-chair.”

 

After writing these brief sentences, I was sweating from emotion. But I continued to write yet, according to the rules of the School of  the Gaze.

 

“My wife is in the kitchen. Her name is Sandra. She has a tray in her hands. On the tray there is a pot of tea, a jug of milk, and two tea-cups. She is carrying the tray from the kitchen into my study. She is going to put the tray on this little table and to sit in the arm-chair in front of me. We are going to drink a cup of tea together.”

 

But the boiling tea scalded my foot. I was throwing away the cup of tea with a scream. The cup of tea came down to my poor pet which jumped up and down. My wife looked at me angrily, and running behind the dog, she shouted:

 

“Look what you’ve done!”

 

Look at me, looking at you, I lastly looked at my poor foot still very sore, and I thought that the School of the Gaze was not for me.

 

And I resigned immediately from it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a Great Idea!

 

Going for a walk along the main street, I met my old friend Carlo Marchi looking at the sign that he had just put over his new shop. He had at first chosen a sign like this:

 

CARLO MARCHI

 

HATTER

 

Makes and Sells Hats for Ready Money.

 

“That’s a good idea,” I said, with an ill-advised remark. In fact, Dario had merely interfered as a common friend to both.

“No Carlo, I should cross out the word Hatter, it is no needed,” Dario said.

Okay. A third friend said that no buyer today to get hats on credit; so he would cross out For ready money.

A fourth friend remarked:

“When a man buys a hat he does not ask who made it. Wouldn’t it be better to leave out Makes and?”

In the meantime,  another friend arrived, and while he was reading Carlo Marchi sells hats, he said:

“ I should like it to have the picture of a hat. Then everybody would see that you sell hats. It wouldn’t be necessary to write that you sell them; nobody would ever expect you to give them away for nothing.”

 

My poor friend Carlo first cringed, and he looked around helplessly. Then Carlo hung the picture of a hat under his name.

 

“And who would ever think that it is not clear enough?”, he observed,  approaching us menacingly.

 

I gave a sign of approval before skipping.  And, “You’ve   taken the words out of my mouth,” I said showing the white feather. And all at once my other friends did everything possible to defend his “brilliant idea.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Horapollo and the symbolical Interpretation of Egyptian Hieroglyphics

 

When around 390 AD the Christians destroyed the Serapeum, the last pagan temple survived at that time, for Egypt was the end of hieroglyphic writing, of which the Egyptian priests were always jealous custodians. The Greeks and the Romans admired the Egyptian civilization, but they had never taken care of her writing. They knew only that there were three different kinds of Egyptian writing, namely, hieroglyphics [from the Greek sacred inscriptions], the hieratic writing , considered wrongly as sacred writings, and the demotic, or popular writing , used for the needs of daily life.

 

The knowledge of the Greeks and the Romans on Egyptian writing ended up there, also because the writing was essentially considered both a trade by them, and  unworthy of a free man. The only work devoted to Egyptian writing was that of Horapollo, who lived around the 5th century AD.

 

“At the beginning of the fifth century Horapollo, a scribe of the Egyptian race, and a native of Phaenebithis, attempted to collect and perpetuate in the volume before us,  the then remaining, but fast fading knowledge of the symbols inscribed upon the monuments, which attested the ancient grandeur of his country. This compilation was originally made in the Egyptian language; but a translation of it into Greek by Philip has alone come down to us, and in a condition very far from satisfactory.” (1).

 

Horapollo was only interested in hieroglyphics that he did not believe a phonetic system of writing, but figurative signs. This mistaken belief remained largely unquestioned until the 19th century. But Horapollo handed down to us his symbolical interpretation of Egyptian hieroglyphics. These are some examples of his studies of this subject:

 

“To denote Eternity they depict the Sun and Moon because their elements are eternal. But when they would represent Eternity differently, they delineate a Serpent with its tail covered by the rest of its body:  the Egyptians call this Ouraius, which in the Greek language signifies Basilisk (‡). And they place golden figures of it round the Gods. The Egyptians say that Eternity is represented by this animal; because of the three existing species of serpents, the others are mortal, but this alone is immortal; and (¶) because it destroys any other animal by merely breathing upon it even without biting. And hence, inasmuch as it thus appears to have power over life and death, they place it upon the head of the Gods.” (2).

 

“When they would represent the universe,  they delineate a serpent be speckled with variegated scales devouring its own tail;  by the scales intimating the stars in the universe. The animal is also extremely heavy, as is the earth, and extremely slippery, like the water: moreover, it every year puts off its old age with its skin, as in the universe the annual period effects a corresponding change and renovated. And the making use of its own body for implies, that all things whatsoever that are generated by divine providence in the world undergo a corruption into it again.” (3).

 

“When they would denote intrepidity, they depict a lion, for he has a great head fiery eyeballs, and a round face, and about it hairs in resemblance of the Sun; and hence it is, that they place lions under the throne of Horus, intimating the connection of the animal with the god.  And the Sun is called Horus from presiding over the Hours.” (4).

It is true, as  some scholars were saying,  that Horapollo noticed “only a few of the symbolical hieroglyphics, and these not always correct,” (5) but we should consider that Horapollo’s symbolical interpretation of  Egyptian Hieroglyphics  had been the only one in our possession before the discovery of the Rosetta Stone by Champollion, when the symbolical interpretations (typical of the Greeks and the Christians) were abandoned and the real meaning of the Egyptian hieroglyphics was discovered.

 

Notes

 

1)      The Hieroglyphics of Herapollo Nilous, by Alexander Turner Cory, London, William Pickering, MDCCCXL (1840),   pp. VIII-IX.

2)      Ivi, pp. 5-6.

3)      Ivi, pp. 7-8.

4)      Ivi, pp. 38-39.

5)      The Elements of Hieroglyphics and Egyptian Antiquities, by Marquis Spineto, London, Rivington, 1845,  p. 54.

 

 

 

 

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Albert Einstein, the Facts and Physical Reality

Many people just blindly believe in science, and above all, they believe in the facts, while Einstein’s skepticism about it has remained a cornerstone of his theory. Most people believe that science is a genuine reflection of reality (the facts), while, according to Albert Einstein [1879-1955], the concepts that underlie it are the creation of man.

 

In Einstein’s thought, science does not provide a picture of reality, but only builds a model of the same reality. However, Einstein’s skepticism about science is only apparent. Actually, he believes that scientific theories remain only an attempt to explain reality, and they are valid only insofar as they tend to improve the explanation of the facts.

 

In a famous passage of his Autobiographical Notes, first published in 1949, Einstein developed some considerations on the changes produced by the new developments in physics and the way by which he meant the same science.

 

Indeed, “The system of concepts is a creation of man together with the rules of syntax, which constitute the structure of conceptual systems. All concepts, even those closest to experience, are from the point of view of logic freely chosen posits, just as is the concept of causality,” Einstein said (1)

 

About the facts, Einstein was very explicit on that point:

 

“Even scholars of audacious spirit and fine instinct can be obstructed in the interpretation of facts by philosophical prejudices. The prejudice — which has by no means died out in the meantime — consists in the faith that facts by themselves can and should yield scientific knowledge without free conceptual construction. Such a misconception is possible only because one does not easily become aware of the free choice of such concepts, which, through verification and long usage, appear to be immediately connected with the empirical material.”

 

And yet, he remarked that,

 

“Reflections of this type made it clear to me as long ago as shortly after 1900, i.e., shortly after Planck’s trail-blazing work, that neither mechanics nor thermodynamics could (except in limiting cases) claim exact validity. By and by I despaired of the possibility of discovering the true laws by means of constructive efforts based on known facts. The longer and the more despairingly I tried, the more I came to the conviction that only the discovery of a universal formal principle could lead us to assured results.”

 

What about the physics? And so Einstein concluded:

 

“I shall briefly indicate my own thoughts on this point. Physics is an attempt conceptually to grasp reality as it is thought independently of its being observed. In this sense one speaks of physical reality. In pre-quantum physics there was no doubt as to how this was to be understood. In Newton’s theory reality was determined by a material point in space and time; in Maxwell’s theory, by the field in space and time. In quantum mechanics it is not so easily seen. This exposition has fulfilled its purpose if it shows the reader how the efforts of a life hang together and why they have led to expectations of a definite form.” (2).

 

 

Notes

 

1)      Albert Einstein, “Autobiographical Notes,” Transl. and Ed. P. A. Schilpp, La Salle, Illinois, Open Court Publishing Company, 1992, p. 11.

2)      A. Einstein, “Notes for an Autobiography”, in The Saturday Review of Literature, November 26, 1949, p. 13, 12.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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From the Mycenaeans to Our Modern Times: Slavery. Forevermore

 

 

On March 4, 1858, United States Senator of South Carolina J. H. Hammond delivered a speech focused on the defense of slavery. For the purpose of defending it, he painted white workers of New York as white slaves, who were worse off than negro slaves ever were. Hon. J. H. Hammond found one of the most devastating weapons that could be used against the terrible damage caused on the poor white Northern workers during the industrial revolution in the United States.

White owners treat white factory workers worse than black slaves, he said. So the unemployed workers wander through the streets of New York like ghosts in the frantic search for work. They make life absolutely miserable, and are effectively abandoned. He continued his speech pointing out the terrible dangers that white slaves were preparing to conquer their rights. When white workers will understand the terrible and secret power of the “ballot box,” they will be crowned the overlords of their white masters who now enslave them. Now white slaves gather outside the Senate to demonstrate in support of their job demands, with guns blazing. But one day their white owners will be crushed under the weight of their votes.

Then he also said:

“The Senator from New York said yesterday that the whole world had abolished slavery. Ay, the name but not the thing; all the powers of the earth cannot abolish it. God only can do it […] The difference between us is, he continued, that our slaves are hired for life and well compensated; there is no starvation, no begging, no want of employment among our people, and not too much employment either. Yours are hired by the day, not cared for, and scantily compensated which may be proved in the most painful manner, at any hour, in any street, in any of your large towns. Why, you meet more beggars in one day in any single street of the city of New York, than you would meet in a lifetime in the whole South … Our slaves are black, of another and inferior race. The status in which we have placed them is an elevation. They are elevated from the condition in which God first created them […] they are happy, content, unaspiring, and utterly incapable, from intellectual weakness, ever to give us any trouble by their aspirations […] yours are white, of your own race, you are brothers of one blood. They are your equals in natural endowment of intellect, and they feel galled by their degradation. Our slaves do not vote. We give them no political power. Yours do vote and being the majority, they are the depositaries of all your political power. If they knew the tremendous secret, that the ballot box is stronger than an army with banners, and could combine, where would you be?” (1).

Is everything he said a lie? There is a certain degree of truth in his speech, in connection with both the slavery of working hours, and the birth of social trouble-makers, but I don’t think that Southern slaves were “ of inferior race […] happy, content, unaspiring, and utterly incapable, from intellectual weakness.” Hammond’s speech would seem (to many blacks, at least) both an intricate discussion and a web of deceit, simply because, since time immemorial, no one will want to remain under captivity.

But the debate on slavery is world-old. When Hammond stated that “all the powers of the earth cannot abolish it. God only can do it,” he offered us nothing more than the ancient Greeks had repeated. According to them, “slaves can find safety only in Divine Grace” (2). The ancient Greeks paid attention to slavery, and the Mycenaeans handed down to us the oldest names of the slaves, “do-e-ro” and “do-e-ra.” (3). According to the ancient Greeks, slavery could only be abolished when “automatos bios” (robots) will be invented; so they will release human race from hard work.

But slavery can have different shapes. So “slave,” in a broad sense, can be a man engaged in heavy manual work that the others refuse to do. Therefore, modern-day slaves can be free only when the humans will be “free” from any “physical strain works.” This utopian world has not yet been built. What have we got indeed from “automatos bios?”.

So far we have only had to deal with “technological unemployment,” and other “unliquidated” damages.

As R. A. Wilson said, “Working for wages, the modern equivalent of slavery very accurately called wage slavery by social critics—is in the process of being abolished by just such self-programming machines. In fact, Norbert Wiener, one of the creators of cybernetics, foresaw this as early as 1947 and warned that we would have massive unemployment once the computer revolution really got moving.” (4).

Well, with regard to this point, we can say that there is no human freedom outside the utopia. And that’s flat. As for “historical slavery,” whatever Hammond said, one can conclude that slavery is “morally repugnant,” by contrasting the most elementary forms both of social life and of modern societies.

Fine sounding words.

But today’s reality shows that slavery is rampant in the world. L. Bickerstaff remembered how young women, children sold by their families, people enslaved for debt face today serious forms of slavery (5). In short, our modern times take a step forward, two steps back.

We go back to past situations prevailed around the fourth and fifth centuries in Roman Africa, and illustrated by St. Augustine in his letters. At that time and place the “vicinus pauper” [poor neighborhood], owner of a small farm, could put in big trouble by a large landowner thanks to his connivance with Roman public officials, who unleashed against him an unbearable tax burden, forcing him to borrow more and more . St Augustine remembered the cases of “coloni” [settlers] too poor to provide subsistence for the family, so parents were forced to sell their children. We could almost say, given the world situation, that traditional Roman forms persist, with their vices and aberrations “above all.” (6).

I would like to conclude by saying that slavery represents not so much a subject for schoolchildren, but a “huge problem” for all contemporary states.

Notes

1) From the “Speech of Hon. J. H. Hammond, of South Carolina, in the Senate,” March. 4, 1858 (“revised by himself”) in “Appendix” to the Congressional Globe. Containing Speeches, Important State Papers, Laws, of the First Session , edited by John C. Rives, City of Washington. Printed at the Office of John C. Rives, 1858. 35th Cong. 1st Sess. Kansas-Lecompton Constitution – Mr. Hammond, Senate, p. 70.
2) L. Bertelli, “Schiavi in utopia”, in “Studi Storici,” ottobre-novembre 1985, n. 4, p. 891.
3) D. Musti, “Introduzione” a “La schiavitù nella Grecia antica”, in “Studi Storici,” cit., p. 841.
4) R. A. Wilson, “The Illuminati Papers,” Oakland, Ronin Publishing. Inc., 1997, p. 146.
5) L. Bickerstaff, “Modern-Day Slavery,” New York, The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2010, pp. 4-10.
6) D. Vera, “Terra e lavoro nell’Africa romana”, in “Studi Storici,” ottobre-dicembre 1988, p. 991.

 

 

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A Case Study of Wilderness and Wild Indians in Pennsylvania

 

 

The conquest of the Western Frontier was one of the most important moments in American history, but the situation of white penetration into Pennsylvania was more problematic than any other state in America. Pennsylvania reflects, so it seems to me, the paradigm of difficult relations between Indians and settlers in Western Frontier.

The settlers both of all Western countries and Pennsylvania soon had to deal with the natives, who were accustomed to the life of roving hunters, and were free to move into large parts of the territory. White settlers were almost all farm workers, and, therefore, they needed to work on a well-defined land that must be protected from natural events, human intruders and wild animals.

Extreme efforts were required to women and men settled in Western colonies, who both must work very hard, and defend themselves against the “wilderness,” a word whose meaning indicated not only a very large forest areas around the farms, but also the “wild Indians.” The forts, which were widely spread in the territory of Pennsylvania by the French during the wars against the British, were one of the means used by the first settlers to defend themselves and their families from Indian raids. But it’s not so much about the settlement’s defense systems where to focus our attention as on the relationship of farm families with the Indian tribes.

A mixture of reality and legend characterized these relationships.

“Do, therefore, lose no time to get us assistance. The Assembly may learn from this work, what kind, and fine friends the Indians are!, ” Peter Spycke, exclaimed in 1844. According to the testimonies of the time, it’s pretty hard to deny that the Indians were not a serious problem for Frontier settlers. I could fill a dozen books with examples of Indian attacks that resulted in the death for settlers, women, men and children. Between the various testimonies, Peter Spycke appeared to me that he was the most worthy of credit.

“John Anspack and Frederick Reed came to me and told me the miserable circumstances of the people murdered this side the mountain. Yesterday the Indians attacked the Watch, killed and wounded him, at Derrick Sixth, (Dietrich Six) and in that neighborhood, a great many in that night. This morning the people went out to see, and about 10 o’clock came to Thomas Bower’s house, finding a man dead, killed with a gun shot. They soon heard a noise of firing guns; running to that place, saw four Indians setting on children scalping the three of the children are dead; two are still living, though scalped.” (1).

So there was fierce rivalry between people of very different identities. A lot of testimonies denounced the difficult conditions of the settlers and the continuing loss of life due to the incursions of the Indians. Some settlers were then captured, but also here too, as seems to me, there are conflicting testimonies. The basic problem is to determine how white captives were treated by the Indians. The problem is not simple. On the one hand, several survivors and witnesses at the time had suffered traumatic experiences during their periods of captivity, and there is no doubt that their testimony was true and worthy of to be received.

On the other hand, however, we have information suggesting that the Indians were not always willing to exterminate their enemies, but sometimes they attempted the “integration” of the withe captives into the Indian society especially towards women and children. Their effort was sometimes successful, so much so that several captives, even after their release from detention, voluntarily agreed to stay with the Indians who sometimes “adopted” their prisoners of war, several of them also married squaws (2).

Underlying difficulties arose mainly from both the different conception of society and property of land (3). The situation of white penetration into Pennsylvania was more critical than other States. While in other Frontier regions the native Indians sold their lands rapidly to the settlers, the Indian tribes of Pennsylvania were completely different with regard to the definition of property. They were very far from the concept of “absolute ownership” that, on the contrary, was the central concept of the white men (4).

This event is a relevant fact about the cultural differences between settlers and Indians. So many differences and often bitter conflicts were a constant in the relations between the colonists and the Indians. But often the fights between the settlers and the Indians came from linguistic misunderstandings. Settlers soon realized the importance of interpreters in their relationship with the Indians. Bad interpreters had often caused serious damage in relation to Indians, who in turn were equally aware of the importance to not only understand the language of the settlers, but also the absolute need to be understood by them.

However, the primary concern for the Indians was the continuation of their traditional way of life, to be able to hunt, fish and roam their territories as they always had done. For the settlers the primary concern was the extinguishment of any underlying Indian rights to land and the opening up of the area to settler populations and industrial exploitation. Treaties were agreed and signed despite these contradictory objectives, and so negotiations between settlers and native Indians weren’t worthy of trust, because the Indians never broke their habits and means of subsistence relative to hunting and fishing rights (5).

So an astonishing event had occurred. American Indians today are claiming property of the whole territory of the United States. Wilcomb E. Washburn (Director, Office of American Studies, Smithsonian Institution) explained the enigma of the unusual request:

“Few people realize that American Indians comprise the only minority group which possesses a special legal status within the United States. Although they are citizens like everybody else, they are also, by virtue of their tribal affiliations, possessed of special rights. This special status has puzzled and sometimes irritated white Americans. Indeed, so august a body as the Supreme Court of the State of Washington, in ‘Makah Indian Tribe v. Clalla County’ observed:
‘Although the natural dignity of the American Indian as a person and a citizen, his valor as a warrior, and his contributions to this country, military and civil, cannot and ought not be denied, one wonders, as he reads the case law on Indian matters, whether the law has not conferred upon tribal Indians and their descendants what amounts to titles of nobility, with all that entails, in contravention of Article 1, § 9, of the United States Constitution prohibiting such titles. But this is a question beyond our jurisdiction.’
While strong support for this special legal status of the American Indian is not immutable, Indian tribes presently enjoy what can be described as ‘internal sovereignty’ or ‘local autonomy’ in their respective jurisdictions. This paper will attempt to show how this status derives directly from the peculiar historical experiences of Indians and whites in the New World […] The legal relations of the United States with the American Indians reinforces Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s dictum that ‘[t]he life of law has not been logic: it has been experience.’” (6).

References

 

1) “History of the Counties of Berks and Lebanon: containing a brief account of the Indians who inhabited this region of country, and the numerous murders by them; notices of the first Swedish, Welsh, French, German, Irish, and English settlers, giving the names of nearly five, thousands of them,” Lancaster, 1844.
2) S. J. Buck & E. Buck, “The Planting of Civilization in Western Pennsylvania”, Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Press, First edition 1939. Third Paperback Printing 1995, p. 36. See also J. H. Bausman, “History of Beaver County, Pennsylvania and its centennial celebration,” New York, The Knickerbocher Press, 1904. Vol. I, p. 117; and J.H. Beers, “Historical and biographical annals of Columbia and Montour counties,” Chicago, J.H. Beers & CO., 1915, p. 9.
3) R. Laubin & G. Laubin, “Indian Dances of North America: Their Importance to Indian Life,” Norman and London, University of Oklaoma Press. First Edition 1977. First Paperback Printing 1989, p. XV.
4) D. W. Miller, “The Forced Removal of American Indians from the Northeast: A History of Territorial Cessions and Relocations, 1620-1854,” Jefferson, North Carolina, and London, McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2011, p. 46.
5) R. Price, “The Spirit of the Alberta Indian Treaties,” The University of Alberta Press, 1999, p. 76.
6) Wilcomb E. Washburn, “The Historical Context of American Indian Legal Problems.” Link: s://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3470&context=lcp.

 

 

 

 

 

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