I am going to be 80, in two months. The death is not too far away and I am preoccupied with leaving an imprint. I want to convince people that endless “we are better than you” confrontations, between theists and atheists, are poisons.
I agree with you Ludwik, but I don’t see how we will end our in-group/out-group behaviors anytime soon. Evolution will apparently have to play this out.
Each of us contributes to evolution, one way or another, even those who do nothing.
P.S. The above was written at the 27th floor of a tall building. It was shaking at 13:53. I was thinking that my end is coming. But here I am back, after spending nearly an hour outside, walking away from the two tall buildings.
I don’t know how bad Communism was in Poland or in Albania, but it the Czech R. it was far from full of horrors. I had only experienced it for the first decade of my life, but my parents spent most of their lives there, and AFAIK it was rather boring and tiring. But horrors? Maybe in Russia during Stalin, but that’s Russia. Things were certainly worse in Russia before 1917 and are probably only a little better now.
I was implying the horrors of the Eastern Front during WWII. The “horrors” of Communism were relative and depended upon the ideology of the given leader. I know Yugoslavia was not quite bad under Tito but Eastern Europe under Stalin and Albania under Enver Hoxha was a total nightmare.
I think the fact is that todays West has pretty much lost its faith. Robert Fisk has commented on it a lot. His book “The Great War for Civilization” (which is amazing, btw!), talks about how, during the Iran-Iraq war, many Iranians would wilfully march into the minefields to die. Many of these willing “martyrs” were teenagers or young adults, happily awaiting their deaths. They would treat the artillery barrages with laughter. Fisk reported one teenager as crying because he could not be martyred on that particular day. Even their parents had this same view. That is a society that knows, rather than believes, in God. There is no question in their mind, no form of doubt whatsoever. God is imbued into their existence. Even the radically religious in America do not seem to have much faith anymore. They look almost reactionary.
Painting with broad stokes there! I think you’re probably right, but a country like Iran has a modest secular movement, and a country like the U.S. has a modest martyr movement. It raises the question of whether or not religious and secular societies can actually get along with each other; I feel happy that the West is not that religious. IMO secularism is worth fighting for.
Although it is diverting from the original theme, to us Europeans it seems like the US is going towards a regime steadily more like the totalitarian ones, spurred on by the godbotherers, and a sadly weak president who promised so much.
Just hope the death of the US as a powerful nation is quick and painless, because that would mean a lot less wars and conflicts, a lot less interference and protection of US economic interests to the detriment of the local populations elsewhere.
And no, I don’t wish anything bad for most Americans, but as a nation you are a menace to the rest of us.
Also, I am very pleased with the fact that I shall die, because that means I have had the privilege to have been alive. And I am also very pleased that death is final, because that puts things in a perspective: we are all equally insignificant at the end.
Has anyone noticed that in countries with the most fundamental, be it religious or some other authoritarian, social systems have the greatest disparities in income, social services, health care services, social security.
In Russia it was Communism, in the East it is Islam (sharia), in the underdeveloped countries it is Dictatorship, and in the US it is Capitalism.
While on the whole life in the US is pretty good compared to the rest of the world, most of the good came during major natural or economic disasters while we had a progressive leadership.
IMO, poverty and fundamentalism go hand in hand; if one has nothing all his life (and knows it), there is only hope for a place in afterlife which makes everything worthwhile.
Moreover, rather than a fear of dying, the population in the poorest countries will gladly “give” their life for Jihad, as that assures them a place in heaven.
We are beginning to see the results of this type mindset here in the US. Fundamentalism is rearing it’s ugly head, both in religion and in the social structure.
A healthy country has a balance between economic and social freedoms and responsibilities. Sweden, Holland, Switzerland, Belgium, France, England, Canada, Germany, all have a robust social security system where everyone contributes and benefits from shared social concerns.
The best we can seem to do is offer an elderly person a 15,000 voucher and send them on their way to find health insurance. When they run out, go away, you’re on your own. Brilliant!!!!!!!!!!!!