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Archive for the ‘analogy’ Category

Fire and Fury — a fair or unfair borrowing?

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — how can anyone accurately judge the rage of another — and what happens if we simply can’t, but need to take precautions against it? ]
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President Trump certainly spoke of visiting “fire and fury” on the DPNK as quoted by the Economist in its DeafCon page (upper panel):

The question is whether the use of the phrase to headline a piece on the Alt-Right torchlight protest at UVa (lower panel) is appropriate or not?

  • Does it trivialize the serious matter of potential nuclear war by applying Trump’s phrase to a mere few hundred protesters,
  • or does it rightly intuit that the fury and fire of the Trump-Bannon platform — as applied to the DPNK nuclear program — is of the same cloth as the fury and fire of the protesters, and thus entirely applicable and appropriate?
  • **

    For the second time today:

    Metaphors, analogies, parallelisms, paradoxes — my stock in trade — are delicate matters, and should be treated with care.

    Clinton-Trump parallelisms via Daniel Nexon — whassay?

    Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — more on the digging dirt / foreign sources story ]
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    It’s all too easy to lose sight of the intriguing parallelism here — but symmetries are worth watching, often revelatory. Good catch by Daniel Nexon:

    **

    From January: Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire:

    Donald Trump wasn’t the only presidential candidate whose campaign was boosted by officials of a former Soviet bloc country.

    Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

    A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

    The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. But they were far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.

    Russia’s effort was personally directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, involved the country’s military and foreign intelligence services, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

    [ .. more .. ]

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    Your thoughts? — valuable since they’ll no doubt differ from mine..

    Devotion, modeled in magnet and iron filings

    Friday, June 16th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — science and Islam, but not the creationist, the analogivcal approach — sufism and the nature of pilgrimage ]
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    I am apparenrly not alone in finding that iron filing surrounding a magnet resemble pilgrims cirucumambulating the Kaaba:

    The upper photograph depicts the work of the artist Ahmed Mater. A note elsewhere on his work notes:

    Ahmed Mater is a Saudi artist and qualified GP. Working in photography, calligraphy, painting, installation and video, Mater reflects his experiences as a doctor and the ways this has challenged his traditional background and beliefs, and explores wider issues about Islamic culture in an era of globalisation. In the series Magnetism, what at first appear to be pilgrims circling the Ka’ba, the sacred building at the heart of the sanctuary at Mecca, are in fact iron filings spiralling around a cube-shaped magnet. Mater refers to the spiritual force that Muslim believers feel during Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.

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    The lower photograph, portraying actual pilgrims circumambulating the Kaaba, is accompanied by the following tale of Junayd:

    A man came to visit Junaid Baghdadi, whose life reflected no change, even after having performed Hajj.

    Junaid asked him: “Where are you coming from?”

    “Sir, I have returned after performing Hajj of the House of Allah”, was the reply.

    “So, have you actually performed Hajj?”

    “Yes, Sir, I have performed Hajj “, said the man.

    “Did you pledge that you would give up sins when you left your home for Hajj?” asked Junaid.

    “No, Sir, I never thought of that”, said the man.

    “Then, in fact, you did not even step out for Hajj. While you were on the sacred journey and making halts at places during the nights, did you ever think of attaining nearness to Allah?”

    “Sir, I had no such idea.”

    “Then you did not at all travel to the Ka’bah, nor did ever visit it. When you put on the Ihram garments, and discarded your ordinary dress, did you make up your mind to abandon your evil ways and attitudes in life as well ?”

    “No, Sir, I had no idea of that.”

    “Then, you did not even don the Ihram garments!” said Junaid ruefully. Then he asked; “When you stood in the Plain of Arafat and were imploring Allah Almighty, did you have the feeling that you were standing in Divine Presence and having a vision of Him?”

    “No, Sir, I had no such experience.

    Junaid then became a liltle upset and asked: “Well, when you came to Muzdalifah, did you promise that you would give up vain desires of the flesh?”

    “Sir, I paid no heed to this.”

    “You did not then come to Muzdalifah at all.” Then he asked: 0?Tell me, did you happen to catch glimpses of Divine Beauty when youmoved round the House of Allah?”

    “No, Sir, I caught no such glimpses.”

    “Then, you did not move around the Ka’bah at all.” Then he said: “When you made Sa’i (running) between the Safa and the Marwa, did you realize the wisdom, significance and objective of your effort?”

    “Sir, I was not at all conscious of this.”

    “Then you did not make any Sa’i!” Then he asked: “When you slaughtered an animal at the place of sacrifice, did you sacrifice your selfish desires as well in the way of Allah?”

    “Sir, I failed to give any attention to that!”

    “Then, in fact you offered no sacrifice whatever.”

    “Then when you cast stones at the Jamarahs, did you make a resolve to get rid of your evil companions and friends and desires?”

    “No, Sir, I didn’t do that.”

    “Then, you did not cast stones at all”, remarked Junaid regretfully, and said:

    “Go back and perform Hajj once again, giving due thought and attention to all the requirements, so that your Hajj may bear some resemblance with Prophet Ibrahim’s Hajj, whose faith and sincerity has been confirmed by the Qur’an:

    Ibrahim who carried out most faithfully the Commands (of his Lord).” (53:37)

    **

    A similar point is made by an anonymous Celtic source, who admonished pilgrims in his own time and circumstance:

    Coming to Rome, much labor and little profit! The King whom you seek here, unless you bring Him with you will not find Him.

    Footnoted readings 01 – Whose beholding eye is this beauty in?

    Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — hoping to unload a series of quick posts sparked by my recent readings — 01, jihadi culture ]
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    I was reading Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, The “futurist” aesthetics of ISIS — who could resist such a title? — in the Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, desultorily, and my eye was naturally caught by the phrase “religious apoalyptic symbolism”, because symbolism is my terrain and apocalypse (IMO) the specific area where the human imagination runs wildest and freëst..

    … and since analogy is my preferred mode of insight, I was then delighted to find the comment about “stronly reminiscent” but subdued jihadi purple:

    In the case of ISIS the overcoming of symbolist rhetoric signifies a clear shift towards Futurism. In Symbolism, poetical speech attempts to present a refined and infinite mental world. Such symbolist ambitions do exist in ISIS propaganda but they remain restricted to religious apocalyptic symbolism. ISIS replaces sunsets and hazes with whirring engines and explosions; further, the aim of ISIS propaganda is not merely to evoke a metaphysical world for its own sake but rather to establish the forces of a new futurist ideology in everyday life as a utilitarian force. Also this overlaps perfectly with futurist strategies of overcoming symbolism.

    While ISIS aesthetics makes a decisive step in this modernist direction, Al-Qaeda religious propaganda remains kitsch and is strongly reminiscent of visual material delivered by Jehovah’s Witnesses or New Age sects. With the latter it shares the preference of purple as the dominant color, though the jihadi purple is more subdued than the New Age one.

    The whole idea of jihadi aesthetics, of course, will seem wildly inappropriate to those whose view is constrained to the physical personnel, materiel and processes of war — but to those hoping for insight into the jihadist mindset, it is not so easily dismissed — see Thoman Hegghammer‘s Paul Wilkinson Memorial Lecture, The Bored Jihadi blog and forthcoming book, Jihadi Culture: The Art and Social Practices of Militant Islamists.

    Hegghammer’s book will be a
    must read, I suspect. I hope to review it here on ZP>

    ISIS goes Matryoshka

    Friday, March 10th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — humans bearing doll attributes and vice versa ]
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    ISIS brings those Matryoshka dolls to life..

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    SITE Intel‘s video on ISIS indoctrination of children — one of their people actually terms it “brainwashing” as though it’s a blessing, not a perversion — is pretty graphic, but important.

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    For our younger readers, then:

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    Sources:

  • SITE Intel video report, Raising Terror: How the Islamic State Indoctrinates its Youth
  • The Peoples Cube, Islamic Matryoshka

  • Teletubbies, Developmental Benefits

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