When I diverted a defunct nonprofit to support producing a monthly tabloid on poverty issues, "propaganda" was an issue I needed to be entirely clear about. We didn't do it. We did advocacy; we published educational material. We made no claim to be "objective" in a field in which the pretense of Objectivity serves mainly to serve the propaganda purposes of people and institutions which can well afford to hire their own propagandists -- but instead practiced what Terry Messman of AFSC's 'Street Spirit' called 'justice journalism.'

Truth is a central virtue of the Quaker movement; if (as human beings) we can't possibly avoid being somebody's fool, we need to be God's fools -- whether or not we recognize that name to mean the spiritual Power our deepest self calls us to serve. We aren't given God's omniscience; but we can avoid fooling others or letting the Powers of this world imprison our vision... as in the vast majority of cases, they have done and will continue to attempt.

Resistance to those Powers... Everyone isn't called to active resistance; and certainly we are not called to try to use their methods: secrecy, deception and violence -- in our zeal to resist. The form of resistance which even the aged, tired, and retired can practice -- is to seek out the samizdat sources of scruffy truth, examine even these critically -- but turn our time & attention away from slick sources of public manipulation.

-------

Anne referred me to this video this morning. It can't do justice to theological truth; but as a State of the World it says things every Friend needs to know:

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/15/chris-hedges-and-cornel-west...

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This whole exchange has been so dispiriting. Forrest, is this what you meant by "playing for points"?

There are many of us who share your criticisms of current social arrangements. However we do not share your desire to replace them with other social arrangemnts you find more appealing. Our message is not to dismantle one outward social arrangement and replace it with another, but to withdraw from and turn from the very process of building up and faith in outward social arangements altogether. Ours is a message of being led out of the process itself and into a process that is not of the nature of human being that is arranged by outward social arrangements and into human being that is arranged completely and sufficiently by direct experience and guidance of the inshining Light of Christ itself in itself unaffected by outwardly fashioned social arangements ... period.

If you'd bothered to get an accurate translation of Voltaire's French

I actually did bother, linking straight to Tolstoy, one of Wittgenstein's favorites, with this link... oh never mind... Oh wait, I get more minutes...  https://goo.gl/u803rc  (not the first time I've shared it). Bored and lazy.

Adria, yes; this could well serve as an example of what I meant.

Kirby, you should be talking to Prince Andrei, the character quoting Voltaire in your _War&Peace exerpt. He was the one bored with Goethe (& poetry in general). I myself merely find some exchanges more rewarding than others.

"Power" ala "pouvoir (to be able)" is a useful attribute which too many people think of as implying "power over" -- ie making other people do what you want. The "Powerful" in that sense are not particularly interested in having anyone "speak truth to" them, except for the purpose of deciding whom to hang up and whom to just watch.  

A good example of the kind of 'fear' that does get the attention of the 'Powerful': the night a group of Friends from San Diego's two Meetings joined a sleep-in downstairs from City Hall, together with various homeless people (who'd shown up for a related event the evening before, and really had no place in the city the authorities would allow them to sleep.) Old friends in the police department were shaking their heads sadly and telling me things like "We're really going to hate having to take you in, but if you stay here we'll have to arrest you all." They came back and woke everybody several times that evening. A homeless lady we knew told Anne: "If they take us to San Colinas, I've got your back."

But anyway, when it finally was looking like showdown time, late in the night with two shifts of cops getting out their rubber gloves, one of us called in a media strike.

Meanwhile our homeless colleagues took off, having ample experience of this sort of arrest and not into suffering for anything but purely personal causes. The Friends decided to sit together and worship while we waited to be taken away; and Anne suddenly got the notion to start singing: 'Amazing Grace.' It turned out that everybody there at least knew the words.

Then the tv crew showed up and started filming.

"Fear"? I don't know. Nobody was arrested.

But there are many sorts of 'power', from the power to "make a desert and call it peace' to the power to make things grow. God's power tends more towards that sort, I would say.

---------------

Keith, would please stop telling other people what we think? If you want to really know, ask us instead -- and don't read spiritual heedlessness into everyone who prefers different choices of words for their relations with That Guy.

Forrest. Are you serious? Take a look at yourself.

 I myself merely find some exchanges more rewarding than others.

Yeah, thanks for reminding us all of that.  I'm up for getting back into Russian Novel world, always a good one.

When I was living in the Philippines, some televised version of War and Peace was going by, and I'd dive in now and then, like I did with Lost later.  

Yawn, almost bedtime in some timezone.  Rogue 4 Hop IPA (toast to Keith).  G'night.  I've got work in the morning.

Snipet of recent conversation over a go game elsewhere:

q: "What would you say makes publicly online talks get utterly disconnected from either original postings or subsequent comments?"

a: "Understanding requires a willingness to suspend judgment and hear someone fully. it is far easier to latch onto some fragment and then worry it, esp if it is something for which some preformed opinions exist."

Okay, Forrest. Fair enough. Let's just ignore my past record of asking you and others here on this forum whether I understand their words correctly by restating my understanding then often engaging in extended discussion with an eye toward being sure I understand another.

As I have done before with you let's dig deep into the your specific words which I specifically replied to. You wrote:

"I was hoping that hearing the truth of these people's words, despite their theological convictions/or-lack-of -- would serve to alert those Friends still watching this site to how sadly captive their minds have become to corporate (and governmental) manipulations & outright distortions of what's going on, how the system functions, why and how the best of us are striving desparately (seeing no hope of significant mitigation within that system) to replace its dysfunctions with social arrangements more sane and humane."

To begin our discussion, I ask you specifically; Are you or are you not advocating for the replacing of one outward social arrangement with another outward social arrangement that does not manifest the dysfunctions of the current?

I am open to misunderstanding you, however, based on our extensive discussions on this matter in the past I assumed I understood. I will gladly admit I am understanding you incorrectly it that is the case.

In anticipation of your direct answer to this direct question.

Keith Saylor



Keith Saylor said:
There are many of us who share your criticisms of current social arrangements. However we do not share your desire to replace them with other social arrangemnts you find more appealing. Our message is not to dismantle one outward social arrangement and replace it with another, but to withdraw from and turn from the very process of building up and faith in outward social arangements altogether. Ours is a message of being led out of the process itself and into a process that is not of the nature of human being that is arranged by outward social arrangements and into human being that is arranged completely and sufficiently by direct experience and guidance of the inshining Light of Christ itself in itself unaffected by outwardly fashioned social arangements ... period.

The part about "preformed opinions" is key.

No matter how diligently someone asks for clarification of a differing position -- His own preformed opinion of How Those People think constitutes a formidable obstruction.

---
Okay. Now you've shifted the focus away from your first accusation against me by establishing a new or different accusation that proves you're first accusation to be at best suspect. Let's follow your line of accusation and insinuation so far.

First, you accuse me of making the unfounded judgement that you advocate replacing one outward organizational arrangement with another by suggesting that I should ask you first whether that is what you advocate. I responded by suggesting there is an extensive , timely, and verifiable body of evidence embodied in our past discussions here on QQ that I have asked you many times whether I understanding you correctly on this specific matter. However, I willingly stipulated that I had never actually done so and asked you whether you advocate replacing one outward organizational arrangement with another.

In the face of this evidence you respond by distracting away from your original accusation and, in so doing, ostensively conceding your original accusation to be weak or missing the mark. The distraction you use is to jump to a different accusation that, even if I have asked you in the past and ask you now for clarification, I have a preformed opinion of how you think. So, now, the issue with me (as you perceive it) is not that I don't ask you to clarify (your original accusation) but that I have a preformed opinion. So what is the evidence of that? It is true that based on our previous conversations I have concluded you advocate for the replacement of one outward organizational arrangement with another outward organizational arrangement. My conclusion is based specifically and only upon our conversations and not on any preformed conclusion. My conclusion is formed within the context of our specific conversations. Please give evidence otherwise?

Forrest, you can easily expose me as having falsely pre-judged your words I quote here ...

"to replace its dysfunctions with social arrangements more sane and humane."

... by stating that in the face of this specific evidence I lay out before you and the readers, that you do not intend to suggest the establishment and replacement of one outward social arrangement with another. I am not invested in the conclusion I have formed based upon our previous extensive discussions. I will gladly adjust my conclusion based upon further clarification and discussion.

I here stipulate to your accusation that I have never asked you to clarify your words. I also stipulate your accusation that, even though I may have asked you to clarify your words, my preformed conclusions have blocked my understanding of your words.

In the face of these stipulations and in the face of the evidence of these words you have written ...

"to replace its dysfunctions with social arrangements more sane and humane."

... I ask you again. Is my conclusion that you are advocating for the replacement of one outward social arrangement with another false or incorrect?

I leave you which my original response to your words quoted above.

"There are many of us who share your criticisms of current social arrangements. However we do not share your desire to replace them with other social arrangemnts you find more appealing. Our message is not to dismantle one outward social arrangement and replace it with another, but to withdraw from and turn from the very process of building up and faith in outward social arangements altogether. Ours is a message of being led out of the process itself and into a process that is not of the nature of human being that is arranged by outward social arrangements and into human being that is arranged completely and sufficiently by direct experience and guidance of the inshining Light of Christ itself in itself unaffected by outwardly fashioned social arangements ... period."

You have many times made flat statements about what I do or do not believe. Whether those would count as "accusations" would depend on whether believing or not believing the ideas you attributed to me would be blameworthy (though I did get the impression you thought so.)

Despite your formal 'questions' you do not seem to understand nuance in my responses. I'm often tempted (and sometimes secumb) to joking about the almost-fundamentalist literalism of your conclusions, in which anything less than complete agreement with the particular words you use is evidently received as meaning 'does not share my views.' (I don't, by the way, share your view that the article you posted, about the Donald and Hillary Show, by someone who'd bought into all the talkshow assumptions about them Liberals, even imagining that Clinton has a "left wing" idea someplace in her mind, was "thoughtful". I do happen to partially-agree with you much of the time; but that doesn't count.)

I don't think it would be a 'crime' (in any sense) for West or Hedges to have ideas about what arrangements might work better than the current system.

But the essence of what I was hearing from them was their finding a great many people inescapably led to reject the current social system -- forced by conscientious revulsion at the widespread suffering that system imposes, down where its boots impact the poorest of us.

'wanting relief from oppression' does not equal 'wanting to impose some other system.'

I said you weren't truly _asking_ via your formal practice of questioning -- because you then would respond in ways that suggested intractable preformed conceptions of my ideas -- which were overriding any clear reception of anything I meant that didn't fit...

Long games of Isaid/yousaid are a guaranteed discussion-killer. This is a far as I'm willing to play.

---
"You have many times made flat statements about what I do or do not believe. "

Yes. I readily admit that to be the case. You have done the same. I do not shy away from sharing my conclusions about what you write based on our discussions. I do not pretend that I have not drawn conclusions about what you write. For example, just in my last response to you I shared my flat conclusion that you advocate for the replacement of one outward social arrangement for another.

"Despite your formal 'questions' you do not seem to understand nuance in my responses"

That certainly may be the case I do not "seem" to understand the nuance in my responses.

"I don't think it would be a 'crime' (in any sense) for West or Hedges to have ideas about what arrangements might work better than the current system."

Neither do I think it is a crime to advocate for the replacement of one social arrangement for another even if done with the best of intentions. However, I do recommend against it by recommending essentially different way of being. No need to restate the way.

"wanting relief from oppression' does not equal 'wanting to impose some other system.'

True. Many people have no essential issue with current outward social arrangement. They are just try to make it better.

"I said you weren't truly _asking_ via your formal practice of questioning -- because you then would respond in ways that suggested intractable preformed conceptions of my ideas -- which were overriding any clear reception of anything I meant that didn't fit..."

Are you able to give me an example? I do recall a few times when you said I had not understood your meaning correctly and after you further clarified I thanked you for correcting my misunderstanding. It would be helpful if you where able to give me examples because I am sure there have been times I have done as you suggest. I would be grateful.

You have begun to address my question to you in a sideways manner. I will ask again.

Is my conclusion that you are advocating for the replacement of one outward social arrangement with another false or incorrect? Or maybe you are advocating for the current social arrangement but making it better? I am open to nuance. I am even open to your suggestion that I have not pick-up on your past nuanced statements. So, is my conclusion false or incorrect?

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