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Islamic world at decisive point in history: Will it take the path of Emirates or Turkey? – Firstpost

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Islam was going through its golden era of philosophical exploration and scientific discoveries. In front of it were two roads. One of enlightenment, modernity, innovation and peaceful co-existence. The other of orthodoxy, insularity and violent impulses.

The year 1095 was perhaps the most important one in the life of Islam since 610, the year Prophet Muhammad is believed to have had his first revelation.

Islam was going through its golden era of philosophical exploration and scientific discoveries. In front of it were two roads. One of enlightenment, modernity, innovation and peaceful co-existence. The other of orthodoxy, insularity and violent impulses.

It chose the path of darkness and could never recover.

It was in 1095 that Abu Hamid Al Ghazali an otherwise outstanding thinker, jurist and mystic published his book Tahafut al-Falasifa and launched a visceral attack on philosophy and openness of learning. He played on the faiths worst instincts to discredit falsafa, attack the stellar work of scholars such as Al Farabi and Ibn Sina, and declare them kafir or infidel.

Even while the world rediscovered the wisdom of the Greeks, Romans and even ancient Indians through the work of the likes of Ibn Rushd, Ghazali had dimmed out that light from the Islamic world for centuries to come.

In 2020, the Islamic world has once again reached a forked road in history. The United Arab Emirates has taken a revolutionary step to embrace Israel, the only non-Muslim nation in the middle of the Arab world. Last week, the momentous first flight between the two countries landed in Abu Dhabi.

Saudi Arabia, which was cosying up to Israel in the last couple of years and even secretly allying on strategic and military issues, gave permission for the flight. Bahrain followed with an overflight clearance.

Israeli and Omani foreign ministers have already spoken on the phone, and Oman could be the next Arab nation to normalise relations with the Jewish state.

Sudan ended 30 years of Islamic law by separating the state from religion. Coincidentally or not, it is one of the countries actively considering normalising relations with Israel.

Years of siding with Palestine and holding Israel as the pariah is slowly, unexpectedly ending. Hostilities unleashed by the Muslim world again Israel to deny its right to exist has made the Middle East the most disturbed and violent place in the world, obviated the scope of solving things bilaterally, egged on the entire Ummah to wallow in victimhood over a local problem, and motivated scores of Islamist terrorist groups worldwide to butcher the innocent in the name of avenging Palestine.

The fact that tiny Israel has been the target of a cabal of over a dozen powerful nations and a victim of relentless waves of terror attacks has constantly been underplayed.

While the new geopolitical changes in the Middle East has wide-ranging positive implications in the Islamic world and the promise of openness last held out in the time of Ibn Rushd, Ibn Sina and Al Farabi, there is a troubled road lurking alongside in the form of Turkey.

Tayyip Erdogan could do what Al Ghazali did in 1095: lead Islam down the dark road. He has meticulously dismantled Mustafa Kemal Ataturks secular legacy and dreams of being the modern-day Caliph of the Muslim world. It is easier dreamt than done, with more than half the Arab world having a very different plan.

But Erdogan has managed to pull in a few wretches like Pakistan to do his bidding and try to form a block. The examples he sets to the Islamic world is grabbing the Hagia Sophia church and converting it into a mosque, running a hub at home to revive the failed Kashmir separatism and hosting troublesome elements, bombing Tazidis and Kurds already tormented by ISIS, and following a brutally regressive track on freedom of speech.

The Islamic world is at a very crucial juncture again. Whether it takes the road to Ankara or Dubai will decide whether it loses another shining opportunity to lift itself from the morass of bigotry and orthodoxy.

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Islamic world at decisive point in history: Will it take the path of Emirates or Turkey? - Firstpost

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September 7th, 2020 at 3:51 am

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Antiheroes and the ‘American’ Experience in Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man – Varsity Online

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The experiences of the protagonist, his move through purgatory, and his eventual death generate the ideal metaphor for the American experience, argues Ishani Sarkar.

Since the early 1980s, Jim Jarmusch has produced a handful of idiosyncratic films that have established him as one of the most imaginatively allusive directors in the history of American cinema. His Dead Man (1995) has been described as a psychedelic/neo/revisionist Western, and has, over the years, gained a cult following who have pondered on its meaning, giving it a rather enduring afterlife. Inspired by unconventional, often Brechtian, Western cinema, the film resists falling into a typical generic formula. In the film, there is no American West; there is only a landscape that America, the usurper, has cleansed of its natives, turning it into a capitalist ossuarium. The pre-credit sequence depicts a train journey, moving between passivity and hasty belligerence, that will continue throughout the film.

His passage is not one of enlightenment or clarity, but depletion, making it the ideal metaphor for the American experience.

The plot rests on recently-orphaned accountant William Blake (Johnny Depp). His namesake, a poet and revolutionary in the Age of Reason, believed that the energy of creation could only be propelled by conflict. Indeed, in the film, physical acts of violence are symbolic representations of the spiritual resistance to the deadening conformity that Western artists have been forced to blindly accept. However, characteristic of Jarmuschs white heroes, the character of Blake is completely unaware of the poet whose name he carries. He is travelling out West to the remote town of Machine, with the promise of a job at a steelworks run by Dickinson (Robert Mitchum in a cameo). The position has already been filled on arrival, and he eventually kills Dickinsons son in self-defence after having slept with the mans former lover, Thel Russell (played by Mili Avital). He has to flee into the wilderness from the lawless land of Machine, fatally wounded. He spends the remainder of the film dying in the company of a renegade, a Native American named Nobody (Gary Farmer), who understands his predicament. From this point onwards, Blake is in purgatory. He begins the experience physically alive, but dead in essence, transforming his journey into something akin to the Divine Comedy. He is forced to surrender to his own destiny: only after crossing over will true vision be possible.


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The films carefully researched, protean approach to various Native American cultures makes for a sobering contrast to the daunting portrait of white America, which is shown as a primitive, chaotic world of spiteful bounty hunters and blood-spattered grudge-matches. There is none of the romanticising of violence that has become de rigueur in commercial Hollywood ever since the heyday of Arthur Penn and, later, in Tarantino and others. The film rejects Western monotheism and presents a spiritual resistance to conditions that political solutions have not resolved. Blake struggles trying to become somebody in a white mans world. However, it is not too late for him to reject the values of his society just as his namesake had done. For Blake the poet, evil was inherently related to repression, rather than unrestrained passions. Nobody (the character) realizes that for Blake to stop being a spiritually dead man, he would have to face the imminent threat of death. Passivity is not the wisdom that Jarmusch offers.

As for Blake himself, he is neither a hero nor a villain, neither likeable nor unlikeable. There is emotion and feeling, but it is misdirected and poignantly unreachable. Blake is dying a little bit faster than he is living. Hes like a tabula rasa that everyone wants to write all over, and successfully so. Almost midway through the film, we experience a haunting moment that acts as more than merely a metaphor for Blakes quandary on the brink of death. He sees a dead doe lying on the ground, feels its blood between his fingers, and mingles it with his own. He lies down on the same forest floor, curling up around it. Depps tenderly distorted detachment extends this explicit metaphor into something more an unsightly gesture in the hunt for meaning.

Jarmusch chose William Blake over any other poet deliberately. He has laden the entire storyline with incredible dualities and the Hegelian concepts of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, which heavily influenced the Blakean dialectic. Nobody (the character) is portrayed as thesis, Cole (a bounty hunter) as antithesis, and their eventual deaths synthesise the two. Blakes soul is finally free, and his journey through purgatory is over. His passage is not one of enlightenment or clarity, but depletion, making it the ideal metaphor for the American experience.

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September 7th, 2020 at 3:51 am

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An Interview With Kosovo’s Prime Minister and Other Top Weekend Reads – Foreign Policy

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Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti speaks with an aide after signing an agreement on opening economic relations with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in the White House on Sept. 4. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

This week, Foreign Policy interviewed Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti about his hopes for talks with Serbia on the eve of the two-day meeting at the White House.

Meanwhile, Myanmars response to rising coronavirus cases in the conflict-racked state of Rakhine may fall short of what is necessary to avert a public health disaster.

And a fake video of a Chinese plane being shot down in Taiwan went viral in India on Friday, revealing how dangerous nationalist fantasies and misinformation have become in Asia.

Here are Foreign Policys top weekend reads.

On the eve of the White House peace talks between Serbia and Kosovo, Foreign Policy interviewed Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti. The only way forward, Hoti said, is for Serbia to finally recognize Kosovos independence, Foreign PolicysAmy Mackinnon writes.

Coronavirus cases are rising alongside civilian casualties and displacement in Myanmars state of Rakhine, where government troops have clashed with the rebel Arakan Army since late 2018. If the government doesnt act quickly, Rakhine could soon face a public health disaster, Kyaw Hsan Hlaing and Emily Fishbein write.

For France, Voltaire was a lodestar of the Enlightenment. But Voltaire was an unapologetic racist, and its time for the French to reject philosophers of his ilk, Nabila Ramdani writes.

A video purporting to show a Chinese plane being shot down in Taiwan went viral on Indian social media on Friday. The story is fake, but it shows how entangledand dangerousnationalist fantasies are becoming in Asia, Foreign PolicysJames Palmer writes.

5. Defying Peace Deal, Freed Taliban Return to Battlefield

A confidential report obtained by Foreign Policy reveals that most Taliban prisoners released under an agreement signed by the Islamist group and the United States have continued to fight to overthrow the U.S.-backed Afghan government, Lynne ODonnell writes.

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An Interview With Kosovo's Prime Minister and Other Top Weekend Reads - Foreign Policy

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The role of desire in the religious life – Monroe Evening News

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Desire plays an important role in life. If it were not for desire, the human race would not propagate. God made humans in such a way that they need, and are capable of experiencing, desire.

Desire is also important in the religious life, though its role is seen in vastly different ways, depending on the religion espoused. In Buddhism, if I understand it correctly, desire (or longing) is regarded as the principal cause of suffering. Desire is the fetter that binds people and keeps them from reaching enlightenment.

The Christian view on desire is nuanced. The King James word for it is "lust," which frequently refers to inappropriate and destructive desires (like the desire to have another persons spouse), but occasionally refers to appropriate and healthy desires. Jesus, for example, "eagerly desired" the word regularly translated as "lusted" "to eat the Passover" meal with his disciples.

Buddhism approaches desire or longing as something to renounce and eventually eliminate by following the eight-fold path. There are many points of contact for Christians and Buddhists along the eight-fold path, though their underlying assumptions will be at odds and will inevitably lead them in different directions.

Christians are never asked to make a universal renunciation of desire. Such a renunciation would be counterproductive. Instead, they are told to "put to death evil desires" while cultivating healthy ones. While they know that desire can fetter a person to a life of lovelessness and suffering, they also believe that desire can be a springboard into a life full of love and contentment. They dont want to get rid of their desires, they want to transform them.

If it were possible to take an X-ray of all our desires to see them the way a radiologist sees fractures and growths we could pretty accurately diagnose our spiritual health and prognosticate our spiritual futures, apart from intervention. Fortunately, intervention by the one Christians call the Great Physician is always possible.

This intervention occurs at a level we cannot reach, rather as gene therapy operates on a level we cannot reach. Christians believe that God is able and willing to work at the origination point of desire, actually giving and shaping the desires of their hearts. The Christian then cooperates with these deep-level operations in practices that cultivate and bring to fruition these new desires.

These practices are sometimes referred to as spiritual disciplines. They fall into two principal categories: those that put to death "evil desires" and those that cultivate God-given desires. It is common to talk about these as the disciplines of "abstinence" and of "engagement." Both are important.

Among the disciplines of abstinence, which help people "put to death evil desires," are solitude, silence, secrecy (that is, not broadcasting our good or religious deeds in order to win admiration), and fasting. These practices enable a person to discern unhealthy desires. On a more fundamental level, they enable people to understand that they are more than their desires, something that is urgently needed in contemporary culture.

The disciplines of engagement, which aid in the cultivation of God-given desires, include worship, Bible reading, prayer, acts of humble service, and fellowship (or "soul friendship," as it has been called). The value of these disciplines resides, in part, in the way they increase the intensity and staying power of God-given desires.

But none of these spiritual practices, however performed, can create a desire. That is outside their scope and beyond our ability. For that to happen, people are dependent on outside intervention. They are dependent upon God.

When we understand the importance of desire and the role Gods intervention plays in it, we are ready to appreciate the insight of the psalmist who wrote, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

The psalmist is not thinking of God giving us the new car weve been dreaming about. He is thinking of God giving us new desires, the kind that can be fulfilled without doing harm, the kind that can lead a person to deeper love and richer contentment. The role desires play in the spiritual life, and our part in curtailing or cultivating them, is absolutely critical.

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September 7th, 2020 at 3:51 am

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Guardians of the Galaxy #6 Review (2020) – Cosmic Book News

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A Review Of Guardians of the Galaxy #6

Writer: Ewing

Artist: Takara

Colorist: Blee

Cover Artist: Albuquerque

Editors Note: The opinions expressed herein are purely the opinions of the author of this article and do not necessarily reflect the official opinions of CosmicBookNews. Timelord regularly reviewed the 2007 Nova and 2008 Guardians of the Galaxy series with his reviews directly sent to the books editors and creators. Timelords reviews have been quoted by Marvel in cover blurbs, press reviews, and solicits.

Warning: Contains some spoilers.

I bought Issue #1 of The Man Called Nova in a small family-owned drug store in my little home town way back in 1976. I found it on the old wire spinner rack where they displayed comic books for sale and was immediately drawn to the iconic cover art. Marv Wolfmans writing and vision for the Richard Rider Nova character and the incredible artistic talent of John and Sal Buscema kept me anticipating each new issue of the all too short first Volume of stories. Forty-four years later, Im still an ardent Nova fan and expect to be for the remainder of my life.

I consider the entire run of The Man Called Nova to be Rich Riders origin story. Its really where we see Rich acquire his powers and grow into a superhero, culminating in his first journey into space where he formally joins Xandars Special Forces military unit, the Nova Corps, and fights in the Second Xandar-Skrull War. We know little about these years except for a few references Rich has made to fighting in the war and to a reference to a battle on Epyrus 7 which culminated in Rich having to euthanize some soldiers causing him to develop PTSD which the Xandarians apparently treated by inducing amnesia for the incident. After Volume I concluded, Marvel didnt seem to know what to do with the character, so they de-powered him and he disappeared until The New Warriors debuted many years later. Nova was the stand-out character in The New Warriors series and a great deal of character development and Nova mythos was created during that time including the second resurrection of Xandar in The Starlost Saga. Two more rather short-lived Nova solo series were spun off during The New Warriors run that further developed the character and mythos. Then, once again, Marvel seemed to lose interest in the character and he virtually disappeared until the debut of Giffens legendary Annihilation mini-series, an extraordinary military science-fantasy epic which ushered in what most Nova fans consider the Golden Age of the Nova character and mythos. Annihilation was followed by Abnett and Lannings critically acclaimed Nova series, thought by most ardent Nova fans to be the best Nova series to date. Marvel unwisely canceled this series for all the wrong reasons (apparently a cynical attempt to cash in on the Guardians of the Galaxy movies popularity) and what followed were hack-jobs perpetrated against the Nova character and mythos by Loeb, Bendis, Duggan, and Loveness & Perez which accomplished what Annihilus himself was unable to do as they utterly annihilated all the best concepts from the Giffen/DnA era. Most egregious of all was Loebs PC replacement character for Rich Rider, Sam Alexander an embarrassing disgrace to the Nova mythos that just needs to go away forever. Then, a couple of years ago, we began to see a glimmer of hope for a Cosmic renaissance with Cates work with Nova and Guardians of the Galaxy where it was openly acknowledged that the goal was to re-capture the spirit of Giffen/DnAs Golden Age of Cosmic. Some good work was produced that went a long way toward mending the fences with Cosmic fans most especially including virtually ignoring the deplorable Sam Alexander character. This brings us to the present and Ewings tenure.

I was anxiously awaiting this issue to see what Ewing would do with Rich Rider. Would he treat the character with respect and try to un-do the damage done to the character since the end of the DnA years? The tentative answer is yes. Not all I was hoping for, but a respectable start.

As Ive said many times, writers subsequent to DnA have made many poor choices, portraying Rich as too traumatized and broken by events he has faced during his many years as a professional soldier. Cates began the rehabilitation process, but still wrote Rich as too broken. Ewing decided to begin the rehabilitation process by portraying Rich within a psychotherapy session and through flashback sequences we are reminded that he has many times been the one man that has made the difference between life and death for multitudes of the local group of galaxys residents. His internal motivations are explored via flashbacks to childhood memories. Finally, his guilt over the death of Peter Quill is explored. We end up being reminded of Richs great accomplishments and why he should be respected. As a side-story, this process begins Gamoras rehabilitation as she, too, has been portrayed as too broken.

Did it work? Yes, I think so more so for Rich than for Gamora. I did think that Richs father was portrayed as too harsh and punishing since in the past he has always been portrayed as kind and loving. Also, as referenced above, the Annihilation War was hardly Richs first exposure to brutal combat so his conversation with Gamora is not totally true to continuity. I know a comic book has limited page time to tell a story and Ewing needed to make his points efficiently, so I can overlook these inconsistencies. Im just hoping that broken Rich is behind us now and we get back to professional soldier Rich with some haste.

Im hoping that we also get back to sociopathic Gamora in short order. She is also being portrayed as too broken like shes never before lost anyone she loved. Shes been involved with half of Marvels phone book over the years including Hercules if I remember right. And how many times has she lost Adam Warlock? This angry-depressed Gamora just seems out of character to me. Heroes are able to rise above their personal problems and act for the greater good. Thats why we admire them. Its one of the important parts of being a hero. Chronically morose heroes are just not fun. Rich and Gamora kicking bad guy ass now thats fun to watch.

There was some minor character development for some of the other characters with the Phyla-Moondragon developments referenced for future issues and a rather ridiculous PC moment for Hercules and Marvel Boy. Now before the Facebook and Twitter PC enforcer trolls collectively lose what passes for their minds, let me clarify. I realize the ancient Greeks and Romans had in many ways much more enlightened views on the expression of sexuality than most of modern Western Civilization, and I realize that Western Civilization is moving toward more enlightenment in terms of sexuality and its myriad methods of expression. Though Hercules has never been portrayed as bi-sexual in the past, Im open to the possibility that he has always been bi-sexual but that no story has ever explored that part of his sexuality. I have positively portrayed characters of all sexual orientations in all of my writings, so I have no problem with this development per se. I have a problem with the way it was portrayed. While I am not a combat veteran myself, I work with combat veterans every day and not one of them in the midst of combat would stop to make out with anyone. Sex is not on your mind during combat. Youre too busy trying to stay alive. The reveal of Herc and Marvel Boy as an item while bullets were still flying around them is just dumb and is easy fodder for criticism of shoehorning a PC moment into the story where it doesnt belong. That reveal should have taken place during a celebration after combat. It would have been more realistic and made criticism more difficult for even the harshest critics. In other words, my problem is with the method of the reveal, not the reveal itself.

Turning to art, I liked Albuquerques cover in concept and execution. I have a problem with only one detail in that the uniforms of the Corpsmen, including what is supposed to be a down and out Rich, more closely resemble the costume of Nova in Name Only Sam Alexander and the so-called Black Nova gang of criminals, than the uniforms of true Nova Corpsmen. Takaras interior art was quite well done and Blees colors were perfect as usual.

Sorry to the action junkies, but this was more a rehabilitation story than an action story, so it was heavy on drama and light on adventure. This arc transition issue hopefully puts the rehabilitation of Nova and Gamora behind them and lets them get back to the business of being effective leaders in the ongoing mission of saving the local group of galaxies from all sorts of doom. Looks like next issue will focus on how the Guardians of the Galaxy respond to the events of Empyre. Ill definitely be buying this book to see what happens. I urge you to buy this book, too.

Article author: Timelord

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September 7th, 2020 at 3:51 am

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Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum Explores Footwear in the Age of Enlightenment in New 18th Century Exhibition – PRNewswire

Posted: August 16, 2020 at 9:54 am

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The Age of Enlightenment was a period in European history from the end of the 17th to the end of the 18th century when Western philosophers and scientists wrestled with concepts of 'human nature' and 'natural rights'. Some argued that all people had inherent social and political rights but many more advocated for the reordering of social hierarchies using 'scientific' proof to divide people through the identification of 'natural' differences such as gender and race. Much of the oppression and imperialism that marked the period was supported by these ideas.

"Throughout the 18th century, Western fashion, including footwear, was central to the 'naturalization' of difference in Europe," says Elizabeth Semmelhack, Creative Director and Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum. "Distinctions between men and women, children and adults, Europeans and 'Others' became increasingly codified through clothing. Yet, European fashion was also used to blur the lines between classes as social mobility and access to consumable goods grew as a result of imperialism."

The exhibition was thoughtfully designed by the award-winning designers Arc + Co who focused on creating a space that engages with the powerful themes and issues of the 18th century explored in this gallery. With loans from the Gardiner Museum, the design also includes a look at contemporary footwear, asking visitors to reflect on shoes and society today. Highlights include:

The BSM thanks partners Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund and the Toronto Star. More information about The Great Divide can be found here, along with a teaser video here.

Celebrating 25 years of the World at Your Feet with a growing international collection of over 14,000 shoes and related artefacts, the Bata Shoe Museum showcases 4,500 years of footwear history., Twitter, Instagram, Facebook YouTube channel

SOURCE Bata Shoe Museum

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August 16th, 2020 at 9:54 am

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Enlightenment and its discontents – Frontline

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Justin E. H. Smiths most recent book, Irrationality: A History of the Dark Side of Reason, addresses beliefs about politics, gender, nature and reason by opposing the discourse of fundamental irrationality with accepted forms of rationality. Smith believes that the dialectical tension between the two is paramount owing to the inevitable rise of irrationality, which has proliferated in the face of our desire to purge it. As Yascha Mounk, the American-German political thinker, writes, the book is an urgent warning that no grand design of perfect rationality can provide the solution to the depravity of this political moment.

The order of human history, from the beginning up to the present perversion of rational thinking by all manners Trump, has a catastrophic impact on the well- being of humanity. The loss of faith in the structures of democracy points to an apocalyptic end. The effort to model society on rational principles has not fructified, going by the long and cyclic dark history of civilisation, of wars and violence, of religious fanaticism and irrationality. Our inherently dialectical history confirms the simultaneous birth of opposing forces at the outset of the assertion of any truth: The thing desired contains its opposite. Thus the trajectory of liberal democracy evolving into totalitarianism was present in the brute forces of Italian fascism or German Nazism. The dearth of ideology is reflected in the irrational outburst of our times, particularly with the birth of vulgar nationalist fervour and muscular racial superiority.

Smith offers the example of how mathematics was demonised in the 5th century BC for its dependence on numbers and decimal series that were endless and irrational. Anyone who believed in mathematics was drowned at sea in the Gulf of Taranto. The drowning of Hipposus, a Pythogorean philosopher, about a century before Socrates explains the upsurge of irrationality in the face of the pursuit of a science that, in later centuries, would usher in the Age of Enlightenment.

Citing the example of the discovery of a human bone at the beginning of Stanley Kubricks 1969 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, Smith calls attention to the realisation by a protohuman creature of the value of a bone as a lethal weapon but also as a tool for survival. Similarly, technological breakthroughs bring along a world of comfort or misery, peace or violence, rationality or irrationality.

Something clicks in the mind of a person and then nothing is the same, especially when you attain new power and knowledge that can be used for new occasions for violence. All knowledge, therefore, has brought out the best and the worst in us, a balance of problem solving and problem creating in the service of the most exalted faculties of the human mind that become occasions for the flexing of muscle and, when this is not enough, the raining down of blows. This is the age-old record of human rationality, and therefore also of its irrationality, the exaltation of reason, and a desire to eradicate its opposite.

Take the example of the cultural frenzy of the cyber world that intensified into an unforeseeable landscape of customs and mores, underlain by new political norms and new institutional structures visible in the ideology of the white supremacists, Brexit fanatics or the ultra-nationalists gripped by the narrow boundaries of identity politics.

A world overwhelmed by the use of the Internet allows anyone to get on it, make a noise and change the world for the worse. Instead of the improved access to what we had valued, the Internet has succeeded through its accelerationism in destroying the world of journalism, academia, commerce and publishing industries, thereby disrupting and forever altering the nature of what we have always valued.

In his diatribe against the misuse of the Internet, Smith opines that although initially it was hoped that the Internet would provide some form of collective will and deliberation, it has drowned humanity in the quagmire of an unpredictable response to level-headed statements with the rise of sheer abuse and often concerted and massive campaigns of abuse...from some sock puppet labouring away at a Russian troll farm, working to insinuate some new falsehood into public consciousness. Reasoned arguments are few and far between, and the epidemic of images, allusions and jokes form the basis of a narrative deeply aimed towards the distortion of reality.

Smith considers the Internet today a far darker place where the normal and predictable response to reasonable statements is, if it is coming from strangers, sheer abuse, and often concerted and massive campaigns of abuse; if it is coming from friends, then it is generally vacuous supportiveness, sheer boosterism with no critical engagement or respectful dissent.

Can we finally come to the conclusion that what makes human beings unique is our irrationality? Apart from the damage caused by outrageous reasoning, Smith underlines the human aspect of our self-interest and existential choices based on expected outcomes.Why then does a father offer to vacate his space for his child on a lifeboat? This expression of irrationality, argues Smith, surpasses the realm of good and evil:Life would be unlivable if they were suppressed entirely. Smoking a cigarette or climbing a cliff without a rope seems ludicrous. Irrationality, Smith asserts, is in itself neither left nor right, nor good nor bad. It is a twin of reason and therefore equally vital to human development.

The rational thought propagated during the Enlightenment fails to hold up in an era of senseless pursuits coupled with our unrelenting predisposition to irrationality. The history of human civilisation is witness to the struggle between the forces of rational and irrational thought and the author has made a compelling case for the inevitability and value of the existence of both in our lives. His warning in the end is what humanity must heed: We are, then, not so far from where Hippasus found himself millennia ago. The Greeks discovered the irrationality at the heart of geometry; we have most recently discovered the irrationality at the heart of the algorithm, or at least the impossibility of applying algorithms to human life while avoiding their weaponisation by the forces of irrationality. If we were not possessed of such a strong will to believe that our technological discoveries and our conceptual progress might have the power to chase irrationality, uncertainty, and disorder from our livesif, that is, we could learn to be more philosophical about our human situationthen we would likely be far better positioned to avoid the violent recoil that always seems to follow upon our greatest innovations, upon bagging the great hunting trophies of our reason.

The book is a fascinating narrative, ranging across philosophy, politics and current events.This intertexuality defies the received assumptions of philosophy, science and Enlightenment with the central focus on the transitory nature of the triumph of reason. Understandably, the Enlightenment had built into its very essence the curse of racism and the white supremacist mindset that resulted in the imperialist scheme of dominance through the manifesto of the civilising mission. No wonder that such a political and cultural world-view set humanity towards the irrational path of genocide, war and totalitarianism. The paradox therefore lies in the fact that along with these dark forces that the Enlightenment unleashed, there was also the birth of the liberal ideas of anti-slavery as well as the malaise of materialism overtaking the world. Humanity, indeed, has failed to draw the rational or right inferences from the perceived facts and has carved out for itself a dialectical history of tensions and ambiguities, of madness and sanity, of liberal thinking and totalitarianism.

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Enlightenment and its discontents - Frontline

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August 16th, 2020 at 9:54 am

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The Bata Shoe Museums Latest Exhibit Focuses on 18th Century Footwears Influence in the Age of Enlightenment – Footwear News

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The Bata Shoe Museum, which officially reopened last month in Toronto, is kicking off its first show of the season with The Great Divide: Footwear in the Age of Enlightenment.

The Canadian museum will explore how fashion and footwear, played a central role in defining the 18th century. The exhibition features shoes from around the world that are over 300 years old. The Great Divide is the first of three shows the museum plans to open as part of its 25th-anniversary schedule.

Throughout the 18th century, Western fashion, including footwear, was central to the naturalization of difference in Europe, said Elizabeth Semmelhack, the creative director and senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum.

The Great Divide explores issues of gender and race through the lens of imperialism and colonization. The exhibit features 18th-century artifacts that highlight the complicated histories of privilege, danger and resistance that continue to be timely, 300 years later.

An 18th century Indian English womens sandal from the Bata Shoe Museums The Great Divide: Footwear in the Age of Enlightenment exhibit.

Some highlights of the show include the evolution of the Indian jutti sandal and how it influenced English footwear during Great Britains colonial period. Another memorable pair from the exhibit are moccasins that were said to have belonged to a Myammi leader Little Turtle who occupied the Northwest territory of the United States during the 18th century. He led one of the worst defeats against the U.S. when defending Myammi territory at the Battle of Wabash in 1791.

This moccasin is said to have belonged to Myaamia leader Mishikinawa, also known as Little Turtle, and is currently on display at the Bata Shoe Museum.

The show also includes loans from the Gardiner Museum as well as contemporary footwear that reflect how shoes continue to symbolize shifts in society today. The exhibition was designed by award-winning designers Arc + Co and curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, the senior curator and creative director of the Bata Shoe Museum.

The Great Divide: Footwear in the Age of Enlightenment is open until Feb. 2021. For more information about the exhibition and how to purchase tickets, head to

Cant make it to the museum? Weve rounded up some of the best shoes featured in the exhibit for you. Luckily, the Bata Shoe Museum also has a few virtual exhibits online. Shows include Standing Tall: The Curious History of Men in Heels in partnership with Google Arts and Culture, On Canadian Ground: Stories of Footwear in Early Canada and its semi-permanent on-display collection All About Shoes.

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The Bata Shoe Museums Latest Exhibit Focuses on 18th Century Footwears Influence in the Age of Enlightenment - Footwear News

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August 16th, 2020 at 9:54 am

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How This Technology Sales Leader Is Guiding Teachers Toward Instructional Enlightenment – Forbes

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How can we make the best of a bad situation in school?

When Bob Riefstahl founded2Win! Globalalmost 20 years ago, he was ahead of his time. His company provides winning pre-sales, client-success skills, and culture guidance for technology companies. Today, his clients include IBM, Adobe, CISCO, Siemens, and Microsoft.

However, in the beginning, things were quite different.

Riefstahl says, "When we started, software sales were stuck in the past. Big tech companies like IBM had a particular way of doing things, and most of the smaller companies emulated the big boys. Had that not changed, companies like Big Blue (IBM) may have fallen by the wayside. Technology is a two-step process that includes both development and sales.

He also states, The greatest technology in the world is meaningless if nobody buys it."

At the time, Riefstahl and crew began peddling what they knew. Technology companies listened, and the result has been a seismic shift in the economy of the world.

Riefstahl saw a need for technology companies to come out of the shadows and deliver what Riefstahl believed was a beneficial evolution in the way people were able to use and prosper from technology. Many believe that his company and way of doing business were an essential part of the technology revolution.

But now, Riefstahl sees a different need.

"Education has needed a technological wake-up call for some time. With the Coronavirus pandemic forcing learning online, that call is happening too quickly delivering punishing blows to our teachers because they don't have the correct knowledge and training to teach online successfully. Like anything else, teaching and delivering presentations online is a learned behavior," states Riefstahl.

Just like in 2001, when Riefstahl was motivated to help technology companies succeed, he now wants to help children learn in a new virtual world.

He states, "Plain and simple, children are the world's future, and I have two sons who were both products of the public school system, and both excelled in their careers. If we can help teachers that work with kids in very diverse school systems, we can create a better world."

Riefstahl believes his company's expertise and experience in the business sector can translate well in the education sector.

They train the largest and most successful technology companies in the world to use soft-skills to help them connect with prospective buyers of their products in a virtual environment.

Their most deep-rooted focus is on the product presentation and demonstration, and they base it on neuro-linguistic programming.

Riefstahl realized the same techniques that his company uses to teach to some of the most talented and highly paid workers in the world could be effective with the teacher and student experience.

They teach people how to be effective communicators during in-personandvirtual engagementsand have been doing so using virtual classrooms for over ten years.

Riefstahl's virtual training started in 2008, and he saw the immediate benefit and impact by leveraging a flip-the-classroom approach.

When the pandemic broke, rather than experiencing a loss in business, Riefstahl's business began to accelerate.

He says, "I have many friends who are teachers or know teachers, and many are struggling with virtual classrooms. At that point, I realized our methods, with some modifications, could be a lifeline to teachers and students."

Rather than testing the water, Riefstahl and 2Win! Global have jumped in the deep end, and he has big expectations in his company's ability to help educators.

He says, "Now and in the future, we want teachers to feel empowered, inspired, and enthused about teaching in the unfamiliar medium of virtual. We have found that our same classes taught virtually produce as good of a result as in-person classes. We want students to have that same experience."

Riefstahl hired Joan Jahelka, a lifelong educator and fellow Colorado resident, to lead the company's first offering, theClassroom 2.0series, set to debut in mid-August.

They will deliver the series into three parts:

Module One: To help teachers understand how to set up their home and teaching virtually.

Module Two: To help teachers understand the soft-skills necessary to transform their virtual instruction. This module will help to ensure the student learning experience and retention are the best.

Module Three: To help teachers and administrators understand the nuances of child privacy in virtual instruction. All the modules will be delivered in a crisp, micro-learning style using two to five-minute video segments.

Riefstahl's team at 2Win! Global believes that the education division could eventually become profitable, but that is not their primary concern.

"This goal is much more of a charitable offering on our part, and much less about profit. Our price points on this course are such that we believe it would take years to cover our costs. That's okay, because our motivation is about making a difference to kids and teachers," said Riefstahl.

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How This Technology Sales Leader Is Guiding Teachers Toward Instructional Enlightenment - Forbes

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August 16th, 2020 at 9:54 am

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The ‘woke’ will lead us to enlightenment and more letters to the editors – Chattanooga Times Free Press

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The 'woke' will lead us to enlightenment

Won't it be swell when Sleepy Joe takes over. The rioters will lay down their weapons. The media will be giddy with hope and change. The Black Lives Matter movement will be ecstatic that an old, doddering, white man has weakly grasped the helm while cruising full speed toward the shoals.

The woke will choose the appropriate statuary and sports team names. All will cheerfully sing the proper gender pronouns. Marriage and gender will be transformed. All unrest will cease; the masked sociopaths will halt their destruction.

The systemic racism of the privileged white class will gloriously evaporate like a cloud of steam. All will hold woke opinions as all other opinions are blatantly false. White people will genuflect to all other races, cause, well, we got it coming. Everyone will achieve equally as the field is now level for all. Forget about ability and striving for achievement. That sounds awake, certainly not woke.

The sanctimonious, imperious, authoritarian, censorious woke will lead us to enlightenment. It appears the only police the left desires is the thought police.

Jim Howard

We must reaffirm American principles

We are being assaulted by the cancel culture movement and by the protests of Black Lives Matter. Opposing voices on college campuses have been shouted down; editors or reporters who question the movement are silenced; even corporate executives are bowing before the mandates to repudiate the America of the past 250 years.

Most Americans are shaking their heads at this effort to destroy our history and values. Yet we remain separated and silent. I am sure there are millions of Americans, liberal and conservative, who still believe the nation was founded on principles of individual liberty and the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

These Americans believe the family unit is fundamental. They have served together on boards and commissions and debated their differences while acknowledging their agreements. They are in business, think tanks, politics, church and our universities. We need them to step forward and find common ground. We need to reaffirm our fundamental American principles.

There are millions who have been called "the silent majority," but we need to remain silent no more. Future generations depend on us. Now is the time to act as proud Americans.

George Davenport, Signal Mountain

What did we learn from Dr. M.L. King?

We have witnessed burning, looting and destroying statues representing our history and culture. Our Constitution allows peaceful demonstrations, but it has turned out to be lawlessness beyond what any civilization should allow. So far, I've not been able to figure out what is wrong with these people and their cause.

Most religions theoretically prescribe noble teachings. But in reality these lofty standards are often far removed from those religions' actual thought and practice. Do Christians, for example, really live up to the teachings of Jesus?

Position in our society is believed to be fixed on the merits one has earned in a past life. Our society needs to be re-educated to a point of responsibility our forefathers have handed down to us. Martin Luther King, Jr. had to visit India to learn about a nonviolent society. Has his teaching made any difference in our society?

Amos Taj, Ooltewah

Forget Trump, Biden; vote Jo Jorgensen

Nothing has changed. We still have a horrible president and a horrible Democrat running against him. If you want to change people, you have to vote differently.

Jo Jorgensen is the Libertarian Party's candidate for president. Look her up. Not only intelligent, but very well spoken and honest. Jo Jorgensen is everything Trump and Biden are not.

Once again, to effect change, vote differently.

Mark Tyson

Bennett cartoon was 'gallows humor'

I cannot believe the TFP allowed Clay Bennett to publish a "gallows humor" cartoon at the expense of our children last week.

It was an image of a funeral home with a sign that said, "Back to school sale." Isn't this supposed to be a family newspaper?

Bennett's cartoons are never encouraging, never positive and especially never funny.

Rev. Betty Latham

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The 'woke' will lead us to enlightenment and more letters to the editors - Chattanooga Times Free Press

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August 16th, 2020 at 9:54 am

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