Feb 15, 2012
Philosophy: Sin as Stupidity, Ignorance, Negligence
I was born in 1950, and can recall much of my life, also in filmic scenic detail. This includes the Sixties, in which I witnessed, among many other things, the student revolts in Paris 1968, in May and June of that year.
I wrote several times about the latter in Nederlog, most extensively in May 2008, when it had happened 40 years ago. This is in Dutch, and starts here
There is rather a lot more, and it gets summarized - it's about "Le trahison des clercs": The betrayal of science and civilization by the intellectuals (*) - with links here:
This is all in Dutch, but I also wrote about it in English, e.g. last year, starting here:
But this is not what I wanted to write about today, or only indirectly.
The subject of today - a summary of what sin is, in my terms: see the title - I retrieved because I searched for a book I'd read and annotated long ago, that is about the students' revolts of 1968, and is the best treatment of it in one book that I read. I suppose it is out of print, but it may still be available second hand. Here are the details:
Spender was an English leftist radical, writer and poet, born in 1909, who had taken the trouble and had the courage to go fight in Spain against Franco, and to visit the places where students revolted in the Sixties, notably in the US, France and Czechoslovakia.
Having found the book, that I bought second hand myself in the late seventies or early eighties in Amsterdam, I found I had underlined and annotated rather a lot, and it may be that in one of these annotations I arrived first at my definition of "sin" - and this last link is to my Philosophical Dictionary, that summarizes (mostly) the conventional theological definition of that term.
Here are two composite quotations from Spender's book, with my own annotations of decades ago - and I provide links to the Wikipedia, so that my readers can dive deeper, if they want:
Quotation 1, p. 152:
Actually, I have not met any student who read as much as a noticeable fraction of what Aron lists, and hardly anyone who had any real interest in doing so: Almost all the students I have met since the Sixties were not really interested in investigating theories, and indeed I met few - among many who claimed to be marxists of some kind - with any good knowledge of Marx's writings, or of what had been written about them by serious intellectuals, such as Aron or Piero Sraffa: Nearly all radicals I have met in my life - not just Marxists: all kinds of radicals - were not interested in science or philosophy, and that was mostly precisely because they believed they knew that their own kind of radicalism would and should change the world - indeed just as Marx himself said and believed, believing his own Marxism:
Here is my own note of decades ago to the text I quoted, mostly to Spender's text:
Quotation 2, p. 152-3:
Anyway... it still seems to me a more useful definition of sin than the conventional ones, and it maybe needs remarking that while stupidity may be native, a considerable part tends to be intentionally acquired, namely by refusing to think about alternatives to what one believes and refusing to read writers that do not belong to one's own group's beliefs, all because one has acquired the - often sincere and strongly felt - prejudice that the prejudices of one's group are moral and true.
As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
Short descriptions of the above:
1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understa, but nds ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
7. A space-
and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.
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