Archive for February, 2003

n: mauritania

For those interested; my Peace Corps invitation came in and my assignment would be in Mauritania, Africa. It came to Bristol, so I don’t have it to look at, but a little bit of info is at:

http://peacecorps.gov/countries/mauritania/index.cfm

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for: virginia creeper trail

The rails to trails conservancy (http://www.railtrails.org/) is an organization that takes abandoned railroad tracks and converts then into hiking trails. The nice thing about them is trains can’t climb steep grades, so a definitive characteristic is their gentle slope.

The Virginia Creeper Trail (http://www.vacreepertrail.org/) goes from the top of White Top mountain to Abingdon, Va. A grand total of 33 miles. I live about 20 minutes away from Abingdon and the Creeper trail was a favorite for church outings in my youth.

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re: J: Dualism?

a) War is horrifying and should be stopped at all costs.

vs

b) War is useful and necessary.

Interestingly this is just the example I thought of when I was trying to figure out what you might say. It is something that I have been contemplating quite a bit (and is why I asked Don the just war question.) My problems come down to something like “war is horrible because it causes so much suffering, but what if war reduces the amount of suffering?” (stopping something like the holocaust)

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re: J: Dualism?

Paradox is often resolved through purple — by giving up assumptions, and foundations for beliefs that are unnecessary. For example, I recently reconciled a sort of paradox in my beliefs and a friends

[… snip …]

implied assumptions and context, the wrong question is being asked (even if the right question consists of the exact same phrasing)

just to point it out – those aren’t paradoxes (by definition).

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re: j: what will they not understand?

I have argued in the past with E and came out pretty good public opinion wise because I stayed rational. I could defend my position with logic and it other people could see it and identify with it. I fear that with this I will be seen as immature. That people will think that I haven’t really examined my position and that I’m talking emptily.

say more here? (not because you mentioned me – hehe 🙂 – but because the defense of rationality-as-better-than-being-seen-as-immature is one you seem to use frequently…)

I can feel it going on right now. I have a variety of emotional and psychological responses to your statement and I simply try to write from the most stable position that I can find.

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re: J: Dualism?

I can know the answers, but I can’t understand them. I’m trying to reconcile paradoxes. I can’t take two contradictory but true ideas and put them together.

I assume you are familiar with the answer of mu? Meaning that the question has no answer because of the implicit assumptions. It is often that answer to paradoxical questions because you can ask a question that either assumes something to be true that isn’t or that uses a concept in more than one context where the meanings are different.

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j: harrison’s flowers

On the subject of war, S got a movie the other night called Harrison’s Flowers. It tells the story of a reporter and his wife during the beginings of the war in Yugoslavia.

The movie leads off with a mock interview in which one of the characters says, “There are two types of people in this world: Those who’ve been to war, and those who haven’t. They aren’t the same animal.”

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j: what will they not understand?

I started writing this about three months ago. I got busy and put it aside, but in the light of recent discussion it seems apropos. Each *-* is a break in writing for a time. To start at the beginning:


S has a class on the history of masculinity where they watched part of Roots recently. Her teacher’s question was something along the lines of: “We look back at how the slaves were treated and it is largely incomprehensible to us. What, if anything, will future generations be unable to grasp about our society?”

I’m hoping that it’s war. It, like slavery and a host of other things, has an economic, political and social backing to make it advantageous at certain points in history. It is, however, fucking crazy.

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