October 12, 2012

Politics and intelligent conversation

1. Politics and intelligent conversation

2. My eye problems


This is about politics, intelligence, conversation, democracy and Bill Maher with Larry King. Video links included, so you have no excuse to miss it.

1. Politics and intelligent conversation

There is, and always has been in my life, a dearth of intelligent conversation. For this there are several reasons:
  • "It's all relative, you know - 1":

    Most people just are not intellgent. That is not their doing, desire or end in life - that's how they were born. For those who can think, always a small minority in the best of times, it's a major problem. Schopenhauer is quite good on this, and on many other things, in "Parerga and Paralipomena" (where he is also quite awful on the subject of women, and some other things): If you want "intelligent conversation" - books being an exchange between the mind of the author and the reader - he is highly recommended, and often amusing also if you disagree.

  • "It's all relative, you know - 2":

    I am Dutch and the Dutch, historically and at present, are bad at it, as is their literature. There are several reasons for this:

    There never was a nobility, with lots of money, leisure and good minds, as there was in England and France, for example; the Dutch always distrusted and disliked intellectual excellence, for the sort of reasons De Tocqueville discerned in the US; there was never much of an intelligentsia; Holland is a very small country, with always just one dominant tradition; and that dominant tradition, for something like 4 centuries, was Protestant, that stresses work, humility, and silent acceptance.

    To balance things: The Dutch have been very good at painting and pictorial arts,  and have also been more tolerant than surrounding nations. I do not know the reason for the abundance of great painters, except that there have been relatively many rich Dutch entrepreneurs who bought art.

    Dutch tolerance was probably based on two things:

    First, there were from the beginning large groups of both Protestants and Catholics, and to avoid civil war it was necessary to tolerate different opinions.

    Second, it was good for business: The Dutch made a lot of money printing the things the French wits of the 18th Century could not get safely printed in France.

  • "It's all relative, you know - 3":

    I live in an age of democracy, in the sense that all adults have the right to vote and the media cater to the average, and that is not a climate in which intelligent conversation is popular. The majority just doesn't care for it, and indeed intelligent conversation is also something few can do well or are much amused by or interested in.
But there is some, and as it happens it gets mostly served and sold as comedy:

Monty Python is an English example, as are the late George Carlin, Jon Stewart and Bill Maher in the US. And I have arrived at my links to share and things to enjoy:
It's a five part series, and it's good intelligent conversation: Bill Maher is someone who can think on his feet, and who is witty in a natural way. Also, to me the conversation  seems to be sensible about US politics.

2. My eye problems

My eye problems are again a bit less, as I am very glad to be able to remark, even if my eyes still  are far from well - and I mention this because it is like having abrasions for eyes: "ogen als schaafwonden" in Dutch - and because that's why I use the present color scheme in my NOTEBOOK, and indeed started that item.


Maarten Maartensz

P.S. My eye problems

                  PS: Any necessary corrections have to be made later.