French Connection

January 7, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, POLITICS, RELIGION |

Pope Innocent X (who held the Keys to the Kingdom from 15 September 1644 to 1 January 1655) and whose name, in the world, was Giambattista Pamfili, died today (7 January) in 1655. A wily operator in the Age of Absolutism, Innocent flailed vainly against the rise of nations and decline of Catholic hegemony – his papal bull directing ripping-up of the Treaties of Westphalia was simply ignored. P is not so keen on Innocent as he was rather anti-Bernini (L would be favourably disposed to His Holiness for the same reason). On the other hand, the Holy See had…

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When Empirical Observation is Dangerous

December 28, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, Plays, POLITICS, RELIGION |
only said I th

"Gee whiz, I only said I THOUGHT I saw Neptune..." (painting by Rubens)

28 December 1612: heretical heliocentrist Galileo Galiliei (1564 – 1642) observes the heavenly body later identified as the planet Neptune.  Twenty one years later he would be punished with permanent home detention because he would not adhere to the received wisdom that all moved around the static earth.  “And yet it moves…” Galilei, in the play by Bertolt Brecht*, says: I offer my observations, and they smile.  I place my telescope at their disposal so they can convince themselves, and they quote Aristotle. But the man had no telescope!…Truth is the child of time, not of authority. Our ignorance is…

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Suddenly it’s Christmas

October 28, 2016 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | LIFE, Modern Music, MUSIC, RELIGION |

(photo by Prathyush Thomas)

Tidings of Comfort and Joy! Yes, Christmas is almost here!  If you haven’t ordered the turkey, or booked the restaurant, you’ve missed out….  

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20 September, 622

September 20, 2016 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | LIFE, METAPHYSICS, RELIGION |

(photo by Noumenon)

On this day, the Prophet slipped out of Mecca and decamped to Medina. It was a bad day for a great religion; the day the Sword cut the cords of Compassion and Mercy. One day, Allah shall re-tie those knots, and there shall be The Peace! “Every hardship is followed by ease.”

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The Tyranny of Guilt

"Cain after Having Killed His Brother Abel" by Henri Vidal (photo of statue in the Tuileries Gardens by Oswaldo Bautista)

(Tyrannie de la pénitence) (Written by Pascal Bruckner) (Translated to English by Steven Rendall) This mordant, elegant addendum to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is as unscientific and intuitive as that fraudulent work of pseudo-science.  But Bruckner’s book is far more valuable, in that it spurns false jargon and history-moralizing, concentrating on simple empiricism, clothed in prose poetry.  Why are the fashionable elites of European progression so full of hate and contempt, so bent-out-of-shape by confected targets whilst missing real threats waving weapons in their faces?  They emblematize the classic joke-image of the liberal seeing the other guy’s point of view…

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