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Archive for the ‘Enlightenment’ Category

Off the Grid: Maladaptive coping and quarantine pie – The Spokesman-Review

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Fri., Nov. 27, 2020

For those of you who dont know, in real life, Im a nutritionist. Which means I spend most of my days justifying the consumption of spinach with campaigns not dissimilar to Popeyes.

Patients often have this charming assumption that I do not suffer the same afflictions of donut lust or question the sanity of putting kale in a smoothie. More than once, I have been asked if I make my own mayonnaise, as if I moonlight as some backwoods version of Julia Child with pet chickens.

And probably, they say, I dont eat sugar or consume alcohol or have any of those sorts of vices because I know better. We all know better. Which is what makes times like these so hard.

On the eve of Thanksgiving I have come to realize that my response to not spending it with family is to make just as much food and eat it myself. In fact, I have been systematically preparing for this by stress-eating my way to the combined weight of myself, a toddler nephew, and one frail but voracious great-aunt.

Oddly, I have been intentionally washing these meals down with red wine, which has caused a kind of teetotalers short circuit in my brain because I dont drink. Or at least I didnt, but then a pandemic and an election and Zoom meetings broke me.

My sustained optimism and commitment to cultivating happiness in my life has been replaced with pie and Buddhist literature on the weakness of attachment. Buddhism is particularly supportive of my inclination to indulge, as enlightenment should happen when I stop feeling so attached to my pant size. At this rate, Ill stop being attached to pants at all because only a toga made from a king-size sheet is going to fit me.

The downward spiral is not unfamiliar to me. I just wish we didnt have to hit rock bottom as a nation before climbing back out. I dont know how you are all faring, but if you are elbows deep in pastries and bad habits, I want you to know you are not alone.

As I bear witness to the painful unraveling of my expectations for this year, I cling to the few healthy survival tools I have left: self-compassion and hope. The former I have learned through years of self-abuse. The latter I read about in Mans Search for Meaning, a title that simultaneously destroys and restores my faith in humanity.

It is OK for us to feel loss and sadness, overwhelm and even despair. For the introverts out there, or those whose therapists recommend they avoid dysfunctional family gatherings anyway, your sense of quiet relief at having a pandemic to blame is also OK.

Some days, we might find we are kinder to ourselves about those less than healthy coping strategies. The pie and eggnog may be serving a unique purpose this year, a kind of emotional triage. And something tells me your New Years resolution will have much momentum behind it come January. I have been drafting mine for weeks.

Some glimmers of hope for the future are already visible. While that could be sequins from the latest home crafting project (not surprisingly, all my new hobbies involve a lot of glue), if Viktor Frankl was even an iota of right in his observations: Any distant sparkle, however faint, is enough to keep our hearts beating.

Of all that I will find to be thankful for today, it is the hope that most fills me with gratitude. It is for the people who give me this hope, the communities, the teachers, the readers, the doctors and nurses, the journalists. It is for the families with fresh babies and the grandparents who remind me.

I might not be able to have you around my dinner table tonight, but I can feel you out there, a collective spirit of hope for brighter days. They will come.

In the meantime, eat all the pie. Next year, youll have to share it again.

Ammi Midstokke can be contacted at

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Off the Grid: Maladaptive coping and quarantine pie - The Spokesman-Review

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November 27th, 2020 at 9:46 am

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Critical Care Products Market Enlightenment on Future Scenario by 2027 – The Market Feed

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Global Critical Care Products Market Research report 2020 provides information regarding market size, share, trends, growth, competition landscape, challenges and opportunity, revenue, and forecast to 2027. A comprehensive overview of the Critical Care Products Market is recently added by Stratagem Market Insights to its humongous database. The Critical Care Products Market report has been aggregated by collecting informative data of various dynamics such as market drivers, restraints, and opportunities.

This innovative report makes use of SWOT, PESTLE, and Porters Five Forces analyses to get a closer outlook on the Critical Care Products Market.

Following key players have been profiled with the help of proven research methodologies:

Novartis, GE Healthcare, Abbott, Plunketts Health Care, Sproxil, Safaricom, Dexcom, Piramal, Mylan, Convatec.

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected every aspect of life worldwide. The study provides full coverage of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Critical Care Products market and its key segments. Furthermore, it covers the present and future impact of the pandemic and offers a post-COVID-19 scenario to provide a deeper understanding of the dynamic changes in trends and market scenarios.

Competitive Landscape:

Competitor analysis is one of the best sections of the report that compares the progress of leading players based on crucial parameters, including market share, new developments, global reach, local competition, price, and production. From the nature of competition to future changes in the vendor landscape, the report provides an in-depth analysis of the competition in the global Critical Care Products market.

Research Methodology:

Stratagem Market Insights follow a comprehensive research methodology focused on providing the most precise market analysis. The company leverages a data triangulation model which helps the company to gauge the market dynamics and provide accurate estimates. Key components of the research methodologies followed for all our market reports include:

In addition to this, Stratagem Market Insights has access to a wide range of regional and global reputed paid databases, which helps the company to figure out the regional and global market trends and dynamics. The company analyses the industry from the 360 Degree Perspective i.e. from the Supply Side and Demand Side which enables us to provide granular details of the entire ecosystem for each study. Finally, a Top-Down approach and Bottom-Up approach is followed to arrive at ultimate research findings.

It includes analysis on the following

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Critical Care Products Market Enlightenment on Future Scenario by 2027 - The Market Feed

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November 27th, 2020 at 9:46 am

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MY FAVOURITE THINGS: Amazed at the amount of home-grown talent in Sheffield – Sheffield Telegraph

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Her debut novel, Stones in my Bra the search for love, enlightenment and the perfect flapjack, is out now.

Set in Sheffield, it features many of the things she loves about her hometown.

Sheffields writing scene

Writing was something I took up as my children got older and I had more free time.

I wrote to amuse myself and my friends and didnt really understand there were skills to be learnt in terms of narrative arcs and plot development.

Then, thanks to an article in the Telegraph, I discovered Joanne Burn, a great writing coach based in Grindleford, and later I found the Sheffield writing scene and joined The Virtual Writers Caff run by local actor and creative, Letty Butler.

Im amazed at how much home-grown talent Sheffield has!

In the current climate, local press has taken a hit in readership. This is such a shame as its vital to have professionally trained journalists to report on issues that affect us.

I always pick up the Sheffield Telegraph on a Thursday to find out whats happening and appreciate that, even in lock-down, theres been a balance between publishing the facts and keeping a positive outlook.

Local radio also keeps us up-to-date and entertained. I love the phone-ins and interactions with the listeners so wanted to incorporate an element of that into my story line.

Sheffields alternative therapies

Im used to being considered alternative by my family!

Whats nice is that in recent years, many of the practices, such as yoga, mindfulness and reflexology that were once considered strange, have now become mainstream.

My novel introduces the reader to several therapies in a light-hearted way and, should they be inspired to try out a gong bath, clear their clutter, or cherish their chakras, then groups such as the Reiki Shining Light Circle here in Sheffield can offer them all.

Sheffields running community

I got into running a few years ago and pre-Covid was a regular at the Endcliffe park run. Im a member of the Millhouses Beginners Group which meets every Thursday at 9.30 am and runs through Ecclesall Woods.

Ive learnt such a lot I never knew there were so many techniques to improve your form.

The sessions are free, fun and open to all ages.

In fact, Im so inspired by them that I had my narrator join a similar club in her quest for self-improvement.

Lockdown has been made bearable by still being able to get a curry from the Bilash on Sharrowvale Road, a pie from the Broadfield on Abbeydale Road and a drink and a meal in our excellent neighbourhood pubs. Theres also no shortage of superb cafes in Nether Edge. But nothing can beat my narrators award-winning flapjack.

Ive had a long career in teaching English as a foreign language and my students always say how theyve been made to feel at home here.

I love the fact Sheffield embraces different cultures and has such a vibrant international community at both universities. Id also like to mention the Migration Matters festival and the charity ASSIST which do so much to raise our awareness of asylum seekers and refugees. And lets not forget neighbourhood groups, like NENG, who organize events such as our quarterly market. In my novel the narrator worries her father is suffering from dementia.

So, reading of the Sheffield care workers who locked down with their vulnerable residents made me feel really proud. Its why I chose to give my Bridget Jones meets Eat, Pray, Love story its unique Sheffield flavour and also why profits from my sales will be going to Alzheimers UK.

Stones in my Bra is rated 4.9 and can be purchased on or at Wickwire, in Nether Edge.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS: Amazed at the amount of home-grown talent in Sheffield - Sheffield Telegraph

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November 27th, 2020 at 9:46 am

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New book about change and transformation follows woman’s journey to find herself – GlobeNewswire

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November 27, 2020 00:00 ET | Source: Archway Publishing


NEW YORK, Nov. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Follow one womans mystical journey into the unknown as she pursues personal growth through fear, faith, and courage in Juana Vasquezs new novel, Naked: A Journey to the Unknown (published by Archway Publishing).

Gigi is a woman seeking enlightenment. She realizes that her current state of mind may be her greatest obstacle. She wants to break through old patterns that are holding her back. To understand how she came to be ruled by her routines, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Her quest is to find peace. She believes that a small town called Callicoon, has the quietness that she is looking forward. To get there she must overcome her fears and insecurities as they are connected to her limited way of thinking, there she believes she will meet her true self.

I want readers to understand that changing the way we perceive life can be challenging, but, with determination, is possible, Vasquez states. Many of us are afraid of changes. Gigi, the main character, is no different. She is afraid, however, she embarks on a journey into the unknown, overcomes herself, and lands in a safe place.

Naked is also available for purchase on Amazon at:


By Juana Vasquez

Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.5 in | 116 pages | ISBN 9781480886919

Softcover | 5.5 x 8.5 in | 116 pages | ISBN 9781480886926

E-Book | 116 pages | ISBN 9781480886933

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author

Juana Vasquez was born in the Dominican Republic in 1971 and immigrated to the United States in 1990. In 1993 she was introduced to metaphysics by an acquaintance she met at a local library in Paterson, New Jersey. Her interest in human behavior and in challenging herself led her to study the science of religion and metaphysics over the course of 20 years. She currently lives in New York City. Her book is also available in Spanish, titled Al Desnudo.

Simon & Schuster, a company with nearly ninety years of publishing experience, has teamed up with Author Solutions, LLC, the worldwide leader in self-publishing, to create Archway Publishing. With unique resources to support books of all kind, Archway Publishing offers a specialized approach to help every author reach his or her desired audience. For more information, visit or call 844-669-3957.

Bloomington, Indiana, UNITED STATES

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New book about change and transformation follows woman's journey to find herself - GlobeNewswire

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November 27th, 2020 at 9:46 am

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The Old Guy: Remembering a beloved Staten Island restaurant that did not survive 2020 –

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Donovan, the singer/songwriter once called the next Dylan, who Bob Dylan ridiculed on one of his European tours, has a song that goes:

First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.

Its a reference to a Buddhist text and refers to enlightenment. Something you believe in is present, then its not, then it is. Everything changes. Some changes are unavoidable and some are unpleasant.

Changes in my neighborhood directly effect the way I live my life.

And its really hard for me to accept change. But this time, I had no choice. The proof was right in front of my eyes, even though I wanted to ignore it.

A for sale sign hanging in the right hand window. Vida was gone.

A valued asset of the Stapleton community since 2003, Vida served up fine food in a wonderfully cozy atmosphere, while Cesare Evora played on the sound system. Local art decorated the walls and many a joyful night was spent there with family and friends. Our friend Silva owned and operated the restaurant. Joan and I celebrated our 10th anniversary within its walls.

Vida opened around the same time as The Muddy Cup, signaling a revival to the area that eventually led to three years of Van Duzer Days. The Cups owners, Jim and Rob, were directly responsible for my family moving into the neighborhood. Jim knew our landlord, Joe, and arranged for us to see the apartment that has now been our home for the past 17 years.

Close proximity to both the Cup and Vida helped in our decision.

One night, Jim, Rob, Joan, Silva and I stood in the vacant restaurant, way past closing time. Silva brought out a bottle of wine and proposed a toast to us all. As we drank, a light patina of snow fell. We gazed upon it wistfully. Aint nobody going to work tomorrow, Rob declared. In fact, nobody did.

Through the years, Vida had its ups and down. Severely limited parking outside the restaurant didnt help. Though the area buzzed with activity from the restaurant, the Cup and Martini Reds (which is now the Hop Shoppe), people didnt come much to the neighborhood. To each their own. And, their loss.

Silva sometimes complained that she wanted to leave, that it was too much running the restaurant, cooking and handling its financial affairs. Then, she would change her mind and tough it out for another year. We thought she always would.

This year, we were wrong. This was the year Silva made good on her promise and disappeared, leaving the shell of a storefront behind her.

Then again, this year, nobodys been right about anything. All bets are off. The only sure thing is uncertainty, and that can destroy a local business faster than you can say pita bread.

Times have been tough for Stapleton. The former Cup is now a tattoo parlor. The former Duzer Local looks to be re-opening under the name Amiras Cafe. So many new enterprises were set to begin before the virus came to town. Now, its mostly wait and see.

But, my mind is on Vida, its promise and what it meant to this neighborhood. It absolutely increases the quality of life in a community if you can walk down the block to a decent restaurant. Staten Island has no shortage of great places to eat, but when its your neighborhood, your community, when you see your friends gathering at a local spot to eat or hear music or just hang out, it means a lot more.

That sense of community gets you through pandemics and catastrophes, good times and bad, hustle and hollowness. Each venue is a brick upon which other venues are built. And, when one brick disappears, the rest topple and sometimes fall away.

What will happen now is anybodys guess. The Coop, which is a bar next door, might expand. The storefront might stay vacant for awhile, as did the Cup. Whatever happens, the memories of good times within Vidas walls will not fade. They, too, are bricks in a chain of memories.

I have faith in Stapleton, otherwise I wouldnt live here. On first glance, it might seem unimpressive and maybe even, to some folks, threatening. Stapleton does have a reputation, and a lot of it for unsavory things. But the people are what make a community, and the people that have made their home here like Donna, Frankie and Dave, who have set up businesses like Joe and Ira and the hundreds of musicians who have come to play at the Cup, Martinis, the Hop Shoppe and Duzer Local have made this a place of warmth and solace. Mountains may come and go, but memories are forever.

Hold those grey heads high!

Comments about this and ally columns may be addressed to Talk To The Old Guy on Facebook. My deep appreciation to all who have left lovely thank you notes. You are sincerely welcome!

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The Old Guy: Remembering a beloved Staten Island restaurant that did not survive 2020 -

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November 27th, 2020 at 9:46 am

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The Crown’s learning disability storyline highlights painful lack of progress – The Guardian

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There are 1.5 million learning disabled people in the UK, but they are rarely seen or heard from. Little is spoken of this demographic of people, who in many cases completely rely on others in order to live.

Unless youre a family carer or professionally involved, you may not know or have regular contact with any learning disabled people.

However, in episode 7 of the latest season of The Crown, viewers learn more about the royal family and learning disabled people. Peter Morgan, creator of the series, writes about two learning disabled women, Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon.

In Morgans fictional depiction, Princess Margaret and the Queen discover that Katherine and Nerissa, their cousins on their mothers side, are still alive, despite being listed as dead in Burkes Peerage, and have spent their adult lives in an institution for mental defectives.

Despite being born into wealth and privilege, Nerissa and Katherine found that their background didnt protect them from a harsh truth that still perpetuates today: learning disabled people are, in the main, forgotten.

I would like to be comforting, to ameliorate and to say the Bowes-Lyon sisters were born in another time; an age that lacked enlightenment, far removed from our own. But these institutions are still with us, now called assessment and treatment units, and a recent report showed that within NHS hospitals like these and some specialist schools, learning disabled/autistic people are subjected to prone restraint every 15 minutes.

The world knows how dangerous prone restraint is, because we watched in horror as a version of the technique was used on George Floyd this summer.

Covid-19 deaths must prompt better healthcare for people with learning disabilities

Id like to be able to look back to another time and place when I reflect on the fate of the Queens cousins. I want to say that things have moved on significantly in all areas of life for disabled people. But this month, the BBC is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act and seemingly only physically disabled people are being featured in the broadcasters celebrations.

Learning disabled people are still denied work opportunities; in England, only six in 100 people with a learning disability are in employment, compared with 52.5% of the wider disabled community in Great Britain.

And in the context of the pandemic, learning disabled people in the UK are six times more likely to die of Covid-19 and learning disabled people in the UK aged between 18 and 34 are 30 times more likely to die from Covid-19. Learning disabled people have not as yet been included on the extremely vulnerable shielding list, even though respiratory conditions were the leading cause of death of learning disabled people in 2018 and 2019.

In the episode The Hereditary Principle, Morgan chooses not to forget. He wanted to tell the world that these two women the Queens cousins existed. I loved the episode, and loved too that the production team chose learning disabled performers to tell Nerissa and Katherines story.

Its key that the representation of learning disabled people onscreen is authentically rendered, which is definitely the case with the writing and direction. There is no sentimentality, no inspiration porn on view.

In 2009, I launched a campaign called Dont Play Me, Pay Me after our then 14-year-old child was the first autistic person in the UK to play an autistic character, in the BBCs Dustbin Baby. At the time, it was a radical notion.

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The campaign drew attention to the lack of disabled people in creative industries to highlight that disabled peoples ambitions arent diminished by a lack of talent, only by a lack of opportunity. I met broadcasters including the BBC and the campaign prompted widespread news coverage. I was diagnosed as autistic in 2014 and went back into the acting career Id trained for, but if TV and film representation of disabled people is rare for young disabled actors, its even rarer for those, like me, in middle age.

In The Crown, Morgan puts the reason for the forgotten story of Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyons secret lives and unmarked deaths as being down to the Queen Mothers desire to protect the monarchy from her own personal, perceived family shame.

My question is that in keeping contemporary learning disabled peoples lives away from the public gaze, isnt 21st century society guilty of denying and betraying our shared humanity in a world that would much rather forget that learning disabled people exist?

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The Crown's learning disability storyline highlights painful lack of progress - The Guardian

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November 27th, 2020 at 9:46 am

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Trump’s war with America itself | Opinion | – Washington Times Herald

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INDIANAPOLIS Theres an old standby rejoinder that debaters use to rebuff outlandish claims:

Youre entitled to your own opinion, but youre not entitled to your own facts.


Maybe not.

Anyone tracking social media realizes that Americans dont even agree on facts these days. President Donald Trumps campaign to overturn the 2020 presidential election results is a case in point.

To most Americans, the presidents court battles to decertify ballots and disenfranchise voters are exercises in a dangerous kind of absurdity. They see that, in state after state and court after court, Trumps claims of voter fraud and other forms of election malfeasance either have been tossed out or flat dismissed, often in withering, even contemptuous terms.

They hear the president claim that he has been wronged but see him produce nothing that resembles evidence facts indicating that fraud occurred and they conclude that he is lying.

They are the majority.

But there is a substantial minority of Americans who dont see things that way. They argue, in their own network and now on their own social media platform, that hundreds of thousands of votes either have been manufactured (if they were for Democrat Joe Biden) or thrown away (if they were for Trump.)

These are supposed to be facts things that should be verifiable.

But the verification in the hothouse world that Donald Trumps supporters inhabit is the repeated assertion of the claim. A fact becomes a fact simply because it is said again and again and again.

And not because its truth or accuracy can be established by any sort of objective means.

This might be amusing if the stakes werent so high.

Im not talking about whether the Biden presidency is delegitimized, undercut or opposed. Presidencies come and go. Some succeed. Others fail.

That is the nature of things.

Nor am I speaking now about President Trumps attacks on American institutions the sovereignty of the courts, the oversight responsibilities of the legislative branch, etc. (All of these, by the way, the president took an oath to defend.)

Those are serious matters. The presidents assaults on the bulwarks of a government established by a free people intent on ruling themselves will have lasting consequences and recovery efforts will require years possibly even decades before the damage is undone.

But recovery is possible.

That may not be the case with the war Donald Trump now wages.

In that conflict, the premise animating the American revolution is the enemy, the thing the president seeks to destroy.

The revolution that made us a country was a product of the Enlightenment. The American Enlightenment thinkers many of whom declared independence from Britain and drafted the Constitution under which we still govern ourselves placed their faith in reason. They believed that people who had access to facts would arrive at positions that made sense.

That were fair.

That were just.

The author of the Declaration of Independence, not surprisingly, gave voice most memorably to this creed.

[T]his institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. for here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it, Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter to English historian William Roscoe.

But Jeffersons faith in freedom and American deals was based on a conviction that facts matter.

That truth is something that can be tested and verified.

That is the faith that Donald Trump and his followers now challenge.

For them, the truth is a malleable commodity, easily shaped and molded to meet the needs of the moment.

And facts?

Well, they are not much different than fiction.

If Trump is right about this, then Jefferson and the other founders of this nation were wrong. Reason is powerless and cannot prevail when facts do not matter.

These days, Donald Trump spends much of his time focusing on filing lawsuits and going to court.

Among the many things hes putting on trial is the idea of America itself.

John Krull is director of Franklin Colleges Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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Trump's war with America itself | Opinion | - Washington Times Herald

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November 27th, 2020 at 9:46 am

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Many exalted western values rooted in Christian tradition – The Irish Times

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Many social ideas strongly rooted in the heritage of Christianity go beyond mere justice to include care for the poor, the homeless and the migrant.

A recent letter to this newspaper contended that the logical outcome of all Catholic politicians following Catholic teaching in their political lives was a theocracy. The writer invoked memories of an old Ireland when some Catholics in politics declared themselves bound to obey the rulings of their church in their decision-making.

Then, presuming causation and ignoring the possibility of similar miseries elsewhere, he linked poverty, emigration, censorship, cruelty to women and children etc with this theocratic Ireland.

Theocracy is a system of government where priests (not politicians) rule in the name of God or a god. Where laws command support from a religious majority but are oppressive to a religious or non-religious minority, you have crude majoritarianism, not theocracy.

But linking religiously influenced ideas with theocracy has propaganda value. If you dont like what religious values inspire some people to think, you can suggest that they are not thinking for themselves at all.

Many of the values we most cherish in the western world, from racial equality to concern for the poor, do not stem from the Enlightenment or the French Revolution. They have deeper roots in the Christian revolution.

Long before the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789), the Spanish Dominican friar Bartolom de las Casas (1484-1566) saw the evils committed by European conquerors in the Americas and understood that St Pauls words that there is neither slave nor free meant that human beings had rights that must be respected by everybody.

Critics of the Catholic Church often struggle to grasp that its faithful may draw on this heritage when formulating ideas about the common good; that in thinking for themselves they might be intellectually persuaded by what their church proposes.

Consider laws on marriage, or right-to-life issues as they affect the welfare of third parties. Here, the churchs perspective on the common good is easily shared by non-believers. The famous rationalist, John Stuart Mill, posited that the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.

This idea sits harmoniously with Christian notions of protecting the vulnerable, and of the legitimacy of restraining your freedom and mine in order to do so.

Other social ideas strongly rooted in the heritage of Christianity go beyond mere justice to include care for the poor, the homeless and the migrant. These values are so widely held that we dont even bother to inquire into their origin among us.

They have prevailed to varying extents outside of Christian civilisation. But if you have any doubt about how they came to influence our culture, read a history of the Roman Empire.

There are, of course, aspects of Catholic or Christian social teaching where reason alone does not seem to bring the point home without the guiding light of faith.

Christians need prudence here. People have the right to present their ideas on whatever basis they like. Because God and the church says so! could be reason enough for one, just as Because there is no God and anything goes! may be sufficient argument for another. But these are unhelpful, unconvincing, extremes.

If you are promoting the common good, it is futile to advocate public policy on grounds that cannot be supported by people of goodwill of different faiths and none.

There are challenges for everybody here. Believers must accept that not everybody shares their idea of a god who demands justice, charity and ultimate accountability. Atheist champions of reason alone may struggle to locate a higher value by which to justify their admirable condemnation of survival of the fittest and neglect of the poor.

Our starting premises are not easily provable, but they set the compass for our thoughts. If you think we are just chemicals, you may reason one way. If you believe that we are beloved children of God, you may argue differently. If you believe in a god that is not loving, then God help us all.

Most of us are ready to agree that human life and human dignity are sacred. We may continue to wonder if this is a religious or a rational worldview, or both. And then we have to debate the application of that vision to our policies and laws.

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Many exalted western values rooted in Christian tradition - The Irish Times

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November 27th, 2020 at 9:46 am

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Explore the Enlightenment with Ayn Rand Scholars – New Ideal

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Where can we find the wisdom needed to deal with growing cultural strife and political conflict? An upcoming conference of Ayn Rand scholars looks to the Age of Enlightenment for inspiration and solutions. The event, Ayn Rand Conference USALive, will be hosted online November 6 and 7, 2020.

The conference aims to be especially relevant to students, young people and relative newcomers to Objectivism. The online format will make it easy to communicate directly with speakers, via Zooms chat and Q&A modules. And in a nod to the Enlightenment eras drawing rooms full of interesting thinkers, the conference will feature virtual salons hosted by speakers and ARI staff breakout rooms where participants can interact with a speaker of their choice.

Whats more, the first talk will be open to the public, broadcast live on ARIs YouTube and social media channels. The remaining talks, Q&A and social events will be open only to registered conference attendees.

Those familiar with some of the ideas and ideals of the Enlightenment will hear fascinating insights into the strengths and weaknesses of those ideas that Rand identified and addressed in her own writings. Scheduled presentations include talks by experts in Objectivism who regularly speak and write about Rands philosophy and its application to todays big questions:

As a preview of the whole conference, heres a short video by ARIs chief philosophy officer, Onkar Ghate, on the historical importance of Enlightenment ideas:

Register today at this link. Students can inquire about significantly reduced pricing here.

If you value the ideas presented here, please become an ARI Member today.

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Explore the Enlightenment with Ayn Rand Scholars - New Ideal

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October 30th, 2020 at 10:55 pm

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Time’s Monster by Priya Satia review living in the past – The Guardian

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In his celebrated Letter from Birmingham jail, written in 1963 while in prison for having taken part in a banned march against segregation, Martin Luther King Jr describes receiving a letter from a white brother in Texas who had told him that all Christians know that the coloured people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. Such an attitude, King wrote, stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills.

I was reminded of that line as I read Priya Satias Times Monster. For its the same irrational notion about the flow of time against which Satia, professor of international history at Stanford University, argues.

Times Monster is a book about history and empire. Not a straightforward history, but an account of how the discipline of history has itself enabled the process of colonisation, making it ethically thinkable.

Satias story begins with the Enlightenment, when the traditional idea of time as cyclical unwound into a linear vision of history, which came to be seen as something that moves irresistibly forward. History became something that humans made but also that made humans. Humans and history were both seen as possessing agency. This allowed history to exercise the power of moral judgment. Morality was defined in terms of the progress brought about by the unfolding of history. History revealed the institutions and the peoples that had become obsolete. Obsolescence, novelist Amitav Ghosh has observed, is modernitys equivalent of perdition and hellfire. The most potent words of damnation in the modern world, Ghosh has noted, is the malediction of being on the wrong side of history.

The Enlightenments obsession with progress, combined with an unshakable attachment to moral universalism, Satia suggests, helped normalise the violence of imperial conquest. Colonialism came to be seen as morally just, a means of bringing progress to non-European peoples, freeing them from their own barbarism.

Liberal imperialism was inherently contradictory, both demanding and denying freedoms and liberties. So John Stuart Mill, in his classic book On Liberty, could argue that despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement. Those who had not sufficiently progressed along the path of history should not be treated like fully civilised peoples. The historians craft, Satia suggests, proved essential to smoothing over such contradictions, allowing the sheer brutality of the British empire to be glossed over as the collateral damage of necessary progress.

Times Monster is a coruscating and important reworking of the relationship between history, historians and empire. It is also a frustrating account. The thread running through Times Monster is the need to understand the catastrophic consequences of rooting ethical claims in particular historical narratives. Satia castigates historians Thomas Macaulay, James Mill and John Robert Seeley, among others for having acted as handmaidens to imperial power. In the final chapter, though, she worries that historians have in recent decades become sidelined by political leaders and that new kinds of experts economists and political scientists have taken their place, experts who seem even more willing to be bag carriers for the powerful.

Historians who are critical of imperialism must, Satia insists, assert their expertise on policy matters against the monopolistic claims of social scientists, to help shape contemporary foreign policy. Many historians were, she observes, opposed to the Iraq war, but were too far removed from the sources of power to have any influence. She even calls on historians to reprise the Enlightenment project of arriving at (new) judgments of value through history. Todays historians, in other words, should continue the practice of using history as a means of deriving moral norms, but with different norms, a morality that supports the powerless rather than the powerful. Its a demand that might seem obvious, but its also one that cuts against the grain of much of the argument in previous chapters which has condemned the very act of using the lessons of history to craft moral norms.

Satia wants also to ditch a linear view of history and to reconsider history as cyclical, if not aimless. The fatal flaw with Enlightenment-derived notions of history, she argues, is that they place humans rather than biology, geology and astronomy at its centre. In fact, the idea of humans making history, rather than simply being made by history, was one of the great leaps in Enlightenment thinking. The problem was that history also came to be seen as something that automatically progresses, that there was, in Kings words of criticism, something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. This was a vision of history that allowed certain peoples and nations to be damned as backward or obsolete and provided moral justification for colonialism. Yet replacing it with a conception of history as circular, which by definition abjures the possibilities of permanent change, a notion of history that is defined more by biology, geology and astronomy than by human activity, would not, it seems to me, be much of a gain.

Times Monster helps lay bare the discipline of historys collusion in empire. It also reveals, however, perhaps unwittingly, what remains valuable in Enlightenment ideas of history and of humanity.

Times Monster: History, Conscience and Britains Empire by Priya Satia is published by Allen Lane (25). To order a copy go to Delivery charges may apply

See the article here:
Time's Monster by Priya Satia review living in the past - The Guardian

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October 30th, 2020 at 10:55 pm

Posted in Enlightenment

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