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On humility: Clinton, Bush — and Trump

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — another “life imitates art” and a Trumpian ouroboros ]

In my view, humility shaves ckoser than Occam’s Razor — Occam tends not to shave our assumptions, while humility invites us to consider even our thoughts, even our certainties, as uncertain, as open to question.

Did I mention I’m the proud owner of the domain name, Church of the Open Question?


Life imitates art:

Upper panel: George W Bush and Bill Clinton on humility:

Lower panel: from Madam Secretary, season 3..

Trumpian Ouroboros:

That’s actually brilliant, IMO. And Trump relishes and repeats it:

Hey, Pope Francis is a close second..

And then there’s this — delicious — from a WaPo piece titled Donald Trump’s Secret Service code name is less humble, more mogul:

During a lightning round of a debate, Republican frontrunner Donald Trump picked a potential Secret Service code name that was truly coded: HUMBLE. When the braggadocious billionaire starts to receive actual Secret Service protection Wednesday morning, agents plan to call him something a bit more fitting: MOGUL.

Okay. Mebbe that’s a bit more modest.

Hm. MOGUL as in magnate, tycoon? Or MOGUL as in speed-bump on the ski slopes?

Footnoted readings 02 – Acts of corporal mercy

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — a note at the intersection of material with spiritual ]

left to right: Emmanuel Levinas, Gershom Gorenberg, Elliott Horowitz


Gershom Gorenberg in March 28th’s Washington Post tells three stories from his own life of what I believe Catholicism would call “acts of corporal mercy” — feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners, visiting the sick, harboring strangers, and burying the dead (Matthew 25. 34-40). He concludes, honoring his mentor, Israeli historian Elliott Horowitz:

He said, without pride or embarrassment, that he acted out of religious conviction. In Israel, the political stereotype of Orthodox Jews is of people concerned exclusively with settling the occupied territories. In the world, commitment to the most traditional forms of faith — Jewish, Christian, Muslim or other — is often confused with building walls between people.

Elliott believed that faith demanded breaking down barriers between human beings created in God’s image. I believed that, too, but he pushed me to act.


It’s a story by and about a friend, and about human goodness. Apart from those two sterling but not uncommon facts, why should I care?

I care because the story illustrates the Jewish proverb of which Emmanuel Levinas reminds us:

the other’s material needs are my spiritual needs

It’s not easy to bridge the gap between subjective experience and objective, physical reality, which is why the hard problem in consciousness is called the hard problem in consciousness — but this quote bridges the gap effortlessly, and in a manner that instructs us.

Win some, lose some

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — tensions between Iran and the Saudis extend to the morality police level ]

Tablet DQ 600 morality police


There’s a certain irony in the concept of “undercover” cops in a context where, as RFE/RL reports:

Tehran’s police chief Hossein Sajedinia said that the male and female agents — numbering around 7,000 — will focus on issues such as “improper veiling and removal of veils inside cars,” as well as noise pollution and reckless driving.

The tssue of “covering” has also been one of the problems with the Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice:

In 2002, 15 girls died in Mecca after the police prevented them from fleeing a burning building because they were not deemed to be appropriately covered.


  • NY Times, Saudi Arabia Moves to Curb Its Feared Religious Police
  • Radio Free Europe, Iran Launches Undercover Morality Unit
  • Vice, virtue & versa

    Sunday, March 27th, 2016

    [ by Charles Cameron — a pmarca tweet, a ducal quote DoubleQuoted ]

    tablet dq andreessen rochefoucauld

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