virus: Prisoners my Derrida!

Reed Konsler (
Tue, 23 Mar 1999 09:40:41 -0500

>Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 16:14:57 +0100
>From: <>
>Subject: RE: virus: Prisoners my Derrida!
>I defy you to find any western religious leader who ever said something
>like "Our faith is an incomplete model which might lead you down the
>wrong path".

How about: "the Devil may quote scripture for his own purpose."?

>Their faith stops them from saying so.

Their vanity stops them. Were they reasonable and faithful, they could see clearly.

>Reason, however, in fact ENCOURAGES people to find flaws in
>theories, so that they can be reformulated or even refuted.

Unfortunately, it tends to be OTHER PEOPLE'S THEORIES that are the target of the most rigorous analysis, both by priests and by scientists.

>That's what science is about....ALL scientific theories
>are incomplete and subject to change, per definition!

Would that be before, or after, mutually assured destruction?

>>plus calling the whole thing a 'prisoner's dillema' might bias people
>>in a way that pure reason wouldn't..."
>Bertrand Russel? The RAND corporation (whatever that is)?

I would answer, but the passage of time has made me obsolete.

>The inquisition gained its power from the fear of (faith in) God.
>They said "we do the work of God", not "what we do is reasonable
>and logical". They could possibly have said "what we do is reasonable
>and logical, given that God exists and truly wants us to do these
>things (which we claim despite the complete absence of proof thereof,
>because we have faith in it)". Not that I think they bothered.

Just becuase they said it don't make it so. Declared Christians don't identify with the inquisition any more than Americans identify with the genocide of the natives or the enslavement of the africans, nor the Germans identify with the holocaust. These things are part of our shared history. Even so, our common faith in our higher ideals keeps Germany, America, and Christianity positive symbols of growth and progress, not annihilation.

>>Fear cloaks itself in reason, faith, in goodness and light. Fear cloaks
>>itself in whatever is valued becuase fear cannot stand the light of
>>pure attention.
>Would you PLEASE respond to what I said? I'll rephrase it once more,
>in the hope of attractiong your attention:

I am responding. I'm being as clear as I can.

>Whatever hides behind faith can't be revealed by the one holding
>that faith. Faith is not something that is reevaluated in the face
>of new evidence.

You don't give people enough credibility for flexible interpretation. I just read a short piece by Noam Chomsky in which he insists that what we have in America is not "democracy" (a good thing in his eyes) but "neoliberalism" (a bad thing). Democracy is just a word. Most of us value it, and we talk about what it means every day...and none of us ever quite know. Chomsky was playing with that by creating a new ideosyncratic definition of democracy. Now, I don't agree with a lot of what he had to say, but I found his chuzpah quite enlightening.

We need to teach people to look beyond the literal words and the simple rules.

Look beyond "reason good, faith bad".

Be innocent on purpose


  Reed Konsler