Technorati Tags: ,

Monday, December 28, 2009

Keith Psychoanalyzes Adolf Hitler!

Keith continues the discussion of Naziism, and how it was that so many Germans were taken in by Hitler (see the full thread here).

No discussion of opposition to Hitler would be complete without a mention of Bonhoeffer and his story. His family were highly placed in the government so he knew about the concentration camps from about 1932 and acted accordingly. His courage was amazing.

I still recall how intimidated I was when the anti-terrorism laws were passed in Australia (We now live in a police state. You can be held without charge for several days and it is, of course, a very short step from using them to suppress real enemies and using them to suppress political opponents) To stand up to Hitler took enormous courage. I am very grateful that I have never had to make those sorts of decisions.

Re Hitler's mental state, I saw a tv doco on a contemporay psychiatrist's report on Hitler, I think commissioned by the US government. His assessment was spot on. Hitler had this enormous need for approval and adulation and so as things went from bad to worse he hid and was never seen. Churchill, by contrast, was quite sane and the worse things got the more he went about in public looking cheerful.

It is interesting to speculate about modern events and the psychology involved. Here in Australia we have a large group of right wing politicians in total denial about the existence of climate change and humanity's contribution to its causes. I'd love to hear a good psychological assessment on why they are in denial and also a report from an evolutionist on what evolutionary advantage they gain by that denial. Tim Flannery's book The future eaters says that we always destroy that which we most need to survive. Without a concept of sin, how do you explain that?

On a more picky note, the sociologist Richard Stark defines a CULT as something that is new. As such, a CULT is usually frequented by those in the upper half of the IQ scale (and often the social scale) as they have to understand the new ideas. Nazism seems to fit his definition of a sect. A sect is an exaggeration of an already existing belief and so can be understood by a much wider range of people as not as much new knowledge is needed. Nazism seems to have attracted a wide range of people and to be an exageration of nationalism so would more likely fit Stark's definition of a sect.
Technorati Tags: ,

Alfamax shows that boxing is NOT a dying sport

Alfamax responds to the idea that boxing is a dying sport (read full thread here).

Yup, I've heard that one bandied about more times than I'd like to remember. I agree its certainly not dying, more like evolving. The reason I say that is because of the impingement of strength training methods that make use of the phosphagen energy systems of the body as opposed to the ritualistic slow road work sessions of yesteryear.

Having said that boxing is very unique in that it places demands on all three systems.

The cold wars impact on the evolution of training theory in boxing shines a light on the advancements in this area.

The other argument I seen against the extinction theory and I can’t remember who said it, but it had to do with MMA going through a period of domination which in my opinion partly comes from the early days of the Internet when there was lots of information and hype about street fighting and the benefits of ground fighting techniques and what not.

If you sail on over to Google Trends these are the results. So at least from Google’s basic perspective it isn’t dying!

Bottom line in my opinion is that boxing will continue to go through a renaissance and we’ll see more footage like that above [ie. mentioned in the previous postsin the thread].
Technorati Tags: ,

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Jarey writes on Unemployment in the USA

Some aspects of the world economy are apparently doing better, for the moment. But the unemployment rate in the U.S. is 10.2%, or 15.7 million, with no help in sight until 2012 most likely. But those numbers don't include part-time workers wanting full-time work and 'discouraged workers' who have given up hope of finding a job and tend to make the unemployment rate lower than it would otherwise be.

Working the other way, to increase the unemployment rate above what it would otherwise be, are government payments made to people only if they fit into the 'unemployed' category. Unemployment compensation stops if a person announces that he no longer wants to find a job. Thus, even if a person does not want to find another job, he still may make the trip to the unemployment office because in effect the government pays him several hundred dollars to make that trip.

'They' say this is a 'jobless recovery'! Should we wonder what has happened to the tax-base under that circumstance? Maybe it doesn't really matter any more as long as the U.S. government can just print more valueless paper money. And there will not be too many jobs in any event as we have shipped most of our manufacturing base out of the country to enhance the fortunes of the greedy international corporations. Profit is more important than the well-being of the people after all.

In the movie 'Wall Street', the character Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas, said, 'Greed is good!' His philosophy is debatable, but has worked especially well for CEO's and their ilk.

The economy of China, and some other countries, is dependent on the American consumer buying their cheap products, but America is almost saturated with junk and, no longer having good incomes or fearful they won't, people are saving their money rather than spending for the first time in many years.

Read the entirety of this thread here.
Technorati Tags: ,

Keith writes about Contemplation vs Action and the Role of Women in the Church

This dialogue originally started with a reflection by Rob on the Mary and Martha story of Luke 10: 38-42, where Jesus gets involved in a dispute between the two women over whether Mary should be sitting at Jesus' feet or helping with the domestic chores.

Rob reflected:

"What is going on here in this story? Certain commentators have said there are three spiritual paths. The first is the way of Mary: adoration. The second is the way of Martha (and of the apostles): action. The third is the way of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane: contemplation. Is any one of these better than the other? Jesus said adoration was the preferred way, yet he was a man of action and of contemplation. So what are we to make of that?"

Keith responds:

I think that it was William Barclay who first popularised the contemplation/action interpretation, but I think he's wrong.

This passage is actually about empowering women. Mary is not only in the "male only" section of the house, she is being taught by Jesus. She is not "adoring" him, she is having her mind renewed.

The passage is quite clear: She "sat at his feet" - the same term that Paul uses when he said he "sat at the feet" of his teacher, Gamaliel. This is at a time when it was forbidden to teach a woman the law. Contemporary rabbis said "it is better to burn the law than to teach it to a woman" and "if you teach a woman the law you may as well teach her harlotry". (cf Jeremias Jerusalem in the time of Jesus) It is arguably the most socially radical thing that Jesus ever did. Martha's reaction is a cover story to get Mary out of the room and back where she "belongs".

On the contemplation/action debate, I think Dave has it right. I've done 15 years of voluntary work in gaols, mostly with women. It has very strongly shaped my views on prisons, prisoners and the gospel. It was a continual journey of my experience and my theology interacting with each other. I work regularly in a public school which has many socially disadvantaged kids. I choose to be there and enjoy being there. It has changed my views on education, the politics of education and my views on the sexual revolution.

There is always an interaction between contemplation and action. Read some stuff on the social construction of knowledge.

Read through the rest of this forum thread here.