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  July 25, 2012                  
me+ME: Eye problems + Mencius + Aristotle

Nowhere in history is this assumption that human life has a value borne out by human events.
All our religions but the Judaic and the Greek think more of us dead than alive.
-- Joseph Heller, Picture this, p. 120

Democracy and free enterprise go hand in hand and are unfirendly to each other. They go hand in hand and are deadly enemies, for the only freedom business cares about is the freedom to do business. The desire for justice doesn't count.
-- Joseph Heller, Picture this, p. 161 (*)


       1. Eye problems
       2. Mencius
       3. Aristotle

1. Eye problems

I still have eye problems, that are probably due to my staring far too long at a faulty monitor (an Acer). I have two other monitors installed now, a 15" and a 17" one, both of which I have used without any problems for years, which should help some, or at least should not make the problem worse than it is.

It is not much better, but also not much worse, so here is a brief Nederlog, mostly because of the next item.

2. Mencius

One of the files that has been most downloaded over the last 10 years - indeed, maybe the most downloaded file - is this:

On a fundamental problem in ethics and morals

This contains some fine quotations from Wing-Tsit Chan, who explains Mencius theory e.g. thus:

If man's nature is originally good, why does he practise evil? Mencius answer to this question is both simple and direct. He said, 'If we follow our essential character, we will be able to do good. This is what I mean in saying that man's nature is good. If man does evil, it is not the fault of original endowment ... Therefore it is said: Seek and you will find them (love, righteousness, propriety and wisdom), neglect and you will loose them. Men differ from one another by twice as much, or five times, or an incalculable amount, because they have not fully developed their original endowment. As to why man does not fully develop their original endowment, Mencius again turned to man himself. The failure is due to one's 'losing the originally good mind', 'self-destruction and self abandoment', 'lack of nourishment', 'failure to develop the noble and great elements in oneself', 'failure to preserve one's mind', 'lack of effort', or simply lack of thought. It is clear that man is the cause of his own downfall. Not that Mencius ignored the influence of environment. In explaining why water could be forced uphill, he said that it is not the nature of water, but the force applied from outside that made it. And to explain the inequality of products, he recognized the difference of the soil and the unequal nourishment afforded by the rains and dews. Nevertheless, his emphasis on man's own responsibility is unmistakable. This, in brief outline, is the doctrine of the original goodness of human nature that eventually came to dominate Chinese thought and became accepted in Confucian orthodoxy."

Well... here is a pretty amazing brief video of a man - Steven Bernard - being truly humane in the way Mencius described it. It's from The Young Turks website

Hero Catches Girl Who Fell From 3rd Story Window

Mr. Bernard did just that. It's a brief video, and Mr Bernard can be seen doing it in 57 seconds. He are his sentiments, indeed as Mencius described them as natural to humani beings "If we follow our essential character":

          "Please let me catch her, please let me catch her, let me catch the littlle baby."

He did. If he had been an egoist, a  GOP spokesperson, or a bank manager, no one would ever have known he existed, and the little girl would probably have been dead or crippled for life.

3. Aristotle

The previous section is about ethics. As it happens, Aristotle's Ethics is on my site (unfortunately with my notes to chapter one partially disappeared: I do hope to restore this, but not now), and I was pleased to notice that

have been downloaded a lot lately.

I don't know why, but it pleases me, because it contains theories of cooperation, exchange, justice and labour value that are, at least in their formulations in these notes of mine, original and also a lot clearer than I have seen in the writings of others on these subjects.

In case it interests you: The chapter is about justice and equity, which is what human society are about, according to Aristotle; the original is also on my site under the last link; and my notes are independently readable, while I should warn you that one reason why they are good is that I use - in the notes to this chapter, at least - some simple formalities to clarify what is involved in the theories of
cooperation, exchange, justice and labour value.


(*) If you didn't read this, and liked Heller's Catch 22, you should: It is more like it than most of his other books. As to the quotations: The first seems quite fair to me, and it is a curious fact by human beings, who indeed have am enormous capacity for wishful thinking, while the second has been denied, by implication, at least, by such writers as Sen and Rummel, who contended that democracry, capitalism and - something like - the welfare state go together. Maybe Sen and Rummel are right, statistically speaking, but Heller is right there is no logical reasons why big business would be more inclined to treating employees humanely than increasing the profit rate: Historically, it wasn't, until forced to, by laws, by politics, or by trade unions.

P.S.     Corrections, if any are necessary, have to be made later.


As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1.  Anthony Komaroff Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)
3.  Hillary Johnson The Why
4.  Consensus of M.D.s Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5.  Eleanor Stein Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)
6.  William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7.  Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8.  Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
 Maarten Maartensz
ME in Amsterdam - surviving in Amsterdam with ME (Dutch)
 Maarten Maartensz Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

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.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
9. I tell my story of surviving (so far) in Amsterdam/ with ME.
10. The directory on my site about ME.

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources
The last has many files, all on my site to keep them accessible.

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