| "A master of
English prose style, a beautifully modulated general essayist,
the first great theatre critic in English, the first great art
critic, a magnificent political journalist and polemicist ...
is both a philosopher and one of the supreme literary critics in
-- Paulin, "Spirit".
Yesterday there were four Nederlogs and today I feel a bit... exhausted,
is the proper word with ME, so today there will be less - and all of it
has to do with ME, even if Hazlitt
1. Hazlitt and 'life, liberty', 'health' 'and
the pursuit of happiness'
As I wrote on May 30, I was fit and wealthy enough to purchase
myself a - antiquarian, uncorrected proof - copy of "The Day-Star
of Liberty - William Hazlitt's Radical Style" by Tom Paulin, since
I like Hazlitt very much, since a long time also.
I like Paulin's book and hope to write more about it, though I
don't agree with all of it, and (because) Paulin is more of a
lit.crit. type than I am, and indeed professes it in Cambridge, which
I suppose may be pleaded in exoneration, as may be the facts that
indeed he treats of Hazlitt's style and that he does so quite well and
with a lot of understanding and relevant knowledge.
It is difficult to explain briefly why I like Hazlitt so much,
though I did briefly try on May 30, but here are some quotations that
may shed some light - and to help with that, the underlined nouns and
names that follow link to the English Wikipedia entries.
The first set of quotations to reproduce places him in a tradition,
namely that of the
Enlightenment - and remember that
lived from 1778-1830;
Coleridge was his contemporary as was
the links are to the Wikipedia-entries for background in case you did
not remember, while 'the dead' Hazlitt speaks of more widely may be
taken to refer such dead as one knows of and remembers oneself that
were cruelly victimized:
In his historical sketch 'The Good Old Times before the French
Revolution', Hazlitt describes how Francis I massacred 6,000
But their cries still sounds in the ears of humanity; they ride
upon the rack of history and roll down upon the tide of time;
they, the dead, speak to us, the living, with the voice of
warning, amidst the slavering cant of Coleridge and the pert
gossiping of Southey with shrill eunuch's voice.
Not the rustling of venal pens shall drown this noise, Hazlitt
says, because it is the voice of 'outraged humanity' which
philosophy, released from the 'bondage of priestcraft', has heard
and echoed back:
Rousseau heard it,
This is a desperate vindication orf the radical
Yes, I am quoting selectively, but I think fairly. The Hazlitt
quotes are from around 1815-16:
Desperate, wounded, furious, and inspired, his historical witness
hurls itself against the knowledge of defeat; amd though he writes
in these articles with an embittered urgency, it's entirely
characteristic of his dedication to the republican ideal of
beautiful and effective prose style that he should also include a
long note attacking the ways in which the writes of The Times
misuse the English language.
the abuse of
Dutch, and Orwell, about "the
English language" again. Maybe you now understand a little
better why I like and admire the man? Here is a more: He had
great courage, in a time one of his journalistic friends was put into
the pillory, while "nearly 7,000 men, women and children were executed
during his lifetime" (op. cit. p. 177):
Hazlitt is writing in December 1816 just after the violent
demonstrations and riots which followed the
meeting at the beginning of the month. A frightened government
intensified its measures against radicals and dissidents.
The suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act took place in March 1817,
and the government took control of all reading rooms in a move to
block the circulation of the
Register. The climate of repression was intense, with Southey
attacking the influential Unitarian MP William Smith, and calling
for the libel laws to be extended to cover Hazlitt's and
writings. In March, Cobbett fled to the United States, to avoid
Cobbett, incidentally and as Hazlitt no doubt would have agreed, is
another mostly forgotten truly great writer of English prose.
The second set of quotations consists of two, only broken by a
remark of mine, but continuous in Paulin's original text, that also
shed light on my own values - and see
here for Hazlitt quoted on living to one's-self (mostly English, a
What he terms 'the excellence of
style' is important for Hazlitt, for it helped him to shape his own
prose. Indeed, his remark in one of the philosophy lectures about
Hume being an 'easy, indolent, good-tempered man' is refracted in
his praise of his father's style and in his remark later in the same
essay: 'So have I loitered my life away, reading books, looking at
pictures, going to plays, hearing, thinking, writing on what pleased
me best.' This follows from the sentence in which he mentions
'sauntering' on the banks of the River Bridgewater, and it expresses
his idea that hanging around, indolently loitering, lazily doing
nothing, is an essential part of the creative process.
For which also see
Lin Yu-tang's "The
Importance of Living" (and other works) and
Chuang Tzu aka
Zhuangzi. Paulin continues - and here we touch also on
Rights and ME and the fundations of the American Constitution:
The meaning of indolence as a start of rest or ease, in which
neither pain nor pleasure is felt, is now obsolete, but Hazlitt
would have known its usage in William Popple's translation of
Letter concerning Toleration, in which civil interests are
defined as 'life, liberty, health and indolence of body', as well as
material possessions. This is close to the American Declaration of
Independence's 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' - words
Jefferson's original draft and which must derive from Locke.
And this be the end of this lecture...
and there is a lot to learn
by way of the links to the Wikipedia in this section. (Have fun! Most
18th Century English writers, up to and including Hazlitt and Cobbett,
make much more sense to me than any of my
contemporaries! And they wrote much better!)
2. ME and the state of law
This extends yesterday's
Studies in MEdical sadism - 10: Some strong and
graphic evidence with
these two points
- What makes MEdical sadism possible is that in fact, at least in
England, the US and Holland, and for the vast majority of poor
patients with ME, the state of law has ceased to obtain for people
with their disease:
With ME, one must accept illegal measures by the state bureaucracy
or psychiatrists or nurses they protect that go against one's basic
human rights, while it is impossible to get good legal assistance or
the protection of independent or state institutions
- This is in line with a far wider process of bureaucratizing
health care in the Western world; dividing this up in what are
effectively poor health care for the majority of the poor and good
health care only for those rich enough to pay a lot for it; and with
extending the concept of 'psychogenic disease' to many somatic
diseases, which effectively makes it possible to entangle anyone
genuinely ill but with little funds into mock psychotherapies, in
the end because real medical therapies for their ailments are far
These are points to return to, also of much wider social importance
than just for patients with ME or indeed just for people who happen to
be ill a fairly long time.
In the same context, a point I made before, but which bears some
repetition i.a. because of all the respect hypocrites tend to demand
for all manner of people, as if respect is not earned but imposed:
3. ME and the state of ordinary men
This also extends yesterday's
Studies in MEdical sadism - 10: Some strong and
graphic evidence with two
points, unwelcome as these may be for
- The main reason that so many persons
with ME have such grave problems in life is mainly that so many
persons without ME are so stupid, immoral, indifferent etc.:
The Wesselites and Reevians can succeed only because the average
level of humans and doctors allows it, and would not succeed
if ordinary people had rational common sense about science and
morals (amounting to "you don't need to discuss illness to help
people" and "you don't do that sort of things to the ill - or indeed
to the insane, if that's what you think").
As Rochefoucauld said wisely but bitterly: "We all have sufficient
force to bear the ills of others".
- This extends also to journalists, intellectuals, medical doctors
and what not: The vast majority of these two are not original minds,
not individuals leading themselves, but are also
conformists, and indeed mostly not from ill will, but from
insufficient force of character and mind:
As Horace outlined the common way of the human heart: "I see the
thing the better, and agree that it is good; I proceed to do the
worse" - because
it is safer, more popular, easier, better paid or
personally more rewarding.
4. ME and the state of the forums
As I wrote yesterday, there is now next to the Phoenix Forums
another forum, but that is effectively by invitation only at the
moment, so my providing links will be of little help, since you can't
access it if you are not a member.
For a forum, this is a bit odd, I grant, but then this new forum
has just started, and there are quite a few members there who have had
some unpleasant altercation with some of the
moderators of the Phoenix Rising Forums (PR-Fs) it meanwhile has
turned out, and to a much larger extent than I assumed (!).
Meanwhile, the PR-Fs look rather different from before, with the
most frequent and best former contributors contributing little or
nothing, and with yet more rather crazy changes in the moderating
These are also matters I have to return to later on this place, and
I have for the moment two points:
- As I have outlined (at some place), and as far
as I can see, everybody who posted on the PR-Fs at least up to June
1 is the owner of his or her own posts and can fairly
and legally request his or her posts to be taken down, since it is
his or her property in law:
Here is the relevant
exchange between myself and The Owner Of The Forum on April 24,
on my site, having removed it from PR:
And I would please have your answer on this soon:
Are Koan and Dreambirdie and Dr. Yes and _Kim_ and I
making over our personal rights in our personal prose
to you by the act of publising it on Phoenix Rising?!
This is a SERIOUS worry to me, and I don't want it,
and also never bargained for it (and you can expect
some sharp bargaining if the last puzzled part is
Not speaking for myself, but speaking since I raised
the point yesterday on the forum for - someone like -
Koan (who doesn't know I am raising this now):
Koan is one of the persons on the forum who is very
good with words and who may make money with that
talent. I think SHE is entitled to make money by HER
writings, also if they are on the Phoenix Rising
Forums - and I don't think she'll abuse anyone on the
forums or the forums themselves if she succeeds in
doing so (though I agree that - where the possibility
of publising (part of) some of one's own posts for
money oneself is concerned - prior mailing before
proceeding to talk of Phoenix Rising in one's own
publications, with "The Owner Of" i.e. Cort Johnson
is the correct thing to do).
Originally Posted by Cort
Great! That's the spirit! Thank you very much
- It might be helpful if those who
did have altercations in Private Mails on the PR-Fs with moderators
or trolls store this carefully for eventual later use:
I did too, for I am a bad,
bad man, much concerned with legal and human rights and freedom of
speech , and have my own
website to publish what I please.
Meanwhile, if you are on the PR-Fs and
want your own posts removed, you have some quotable argument, that
certainly should suffice under Dutch laws to have your posts removed
from PR if you insist on it, while you can keep copy of eventual
refusals or reactions for later eventual use.
And by the way: if you do want to
remove your posts, it makes a lot of sense to copy them first
(probably just by saving the files that contain your posts: that
certainly is fastest and easiest), not only to have them for yourself
but also to be sure what your text in fact is (or was, in case of
P.S. And there it stands at June 3
As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):
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
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter
of one's beliefs:
is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.
me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!"
- (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound")
"It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the
Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
ME -Documentation and
ME - Resources
ME - Resources
needs is a Work In Progress that hasn't progressed today.
(*) Thus, the time a member of the PR-Fs may
edit his or her own post varied within 48 hours between 12 hours, 2
hours, 3000 hours and presently - I believe - 5 days. For a forum
that in fact is made from member's prose, all contributed gratis,
this is a rather odd way of proceeding, and very presumptive of The
Owner Of The Forums, also in view of the above.