Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Words and their Meaning: Wiki

Wikiwiki means quick in Hawaiian. Why wikiwiki instead of just wiki is an etymological mystery, but it reveals telling sociological insights. One of the charms of Hawaiian culture (and island culture in general) is a slower and more reflective pace of life. Perhaps this is manifest in a language where even the word for 'quick' is twice as long as necessary and contains four syllables while our hurried, impetuous culture squeezes it into just one. However, in true imperialist fashion, the word has been abducted, stripped of it's native soul, and pressed into service as a quaint linguistic trinket in our frenzied, techno-centric culture.

Part of speech: noun.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Apology of Aristides, Section 5

[I've heard it said that the atheist believes in just one less god than the Christian and that the Christian is an atheist towards the many other gods that have been espoused throughout the ages and in other cultures. This statement assumes that the difference between polytheism, monotheism, and atheism is merely quantitative, and that deciding between those options is on the order of guessing how many beers remain in the refrigerator. Aristides points out how absurd was the polytheism of the ancient Greeks and in doing so points out the absurdity of that popular but fatuous quip.]

Let us turn further to the Greeks also, that we may know what opinion they hold as to the true God.

The Greeks, then, because they are more subtle than the Barbarians, have gone further astray than the Barbarians; inasmuch as they have introduced many fictitious gods, and have set up some of them as males and some as females; and in that some of their gods were found who were adulterers, and did murder, and were deluded, and envious, and wrathful and passionate, and parricides, and thieves, and robbers. And some of them, they say, were crippled and limped, and some were sorcerers, and some actually went mad, and some played on lyres, and some were given to roaming on the hills, and some even died, and some were struck dead by lightning, and some were made servants even to men, and some escaped by flight, and some were kidnapped by men, and some, indeed, were lamented and deplored by men. And some, they say, went down to Sheol, and some were grievously wounded, and some transformed themselves into the likeness of animals to seduce the race of mortal women, and some polluted themselves by lying with males. And some, they say, were wedded to their mothers and their sisters and their daughters. And they say of their gods that they committed adultery with the daughters of men; and of these there was born a certain race which also was mortal. And they say that some of the females disputed about beauty, and appeared before men for judgment.

Thus, O King, have the Greeks put forward foulness, and absurdity, and folly about their gods and about themselves, in that they have called those that are of such a nature gods, who are no gods. And hence mankind have received incitements to commit adultery and fornication, and to steal and to practise all that is offensive and hated and abhorred. For if they who are called their gods practised all these things which are written above, how much more should men practise them—men, who believe that their gods themselves practised them. And owing to the foulness of this error there have happened to mankind harassing wars, and great famines, and bitter captivity, and complete desolation. And lo! it was by reason of this alone that they suffered and that all these things came upon them; and while they endured those things they did not perceive in their mind that for their error those things came upon them.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Listen #1: Williamson

I was amused that this fine instrumental album was labeled "Explicit" on Rhapsody.com. I suppose last track's title, "A Pleasant Goodbye From Whore" (mispelled at Magnatune) is the reason for this. If so then the King James version of the Bible needs a warning label. At iTunes they actually censured the title by spelling Whore W***e. "We're All Boned" slipped past. Go figure.

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Apology of Aristides, Section 4

[LB Note: Materialists, who presume to deny the existence of a supernatural god might, these days, be too sophisticated to make shrine to a thing—yet they still have their gods. See, for example, The Selfish Gene.]

IV. Let us turn now, O King, to the elements in themselves, that we may make clear in regard to them, that they are not gods, but a created thing, liable to ruin and change, which is of the same nature as man; whereas God is imperishable and unvarying, and invisible, while yet He sees, and overrules, and transforms all things.

Those then who believe concerning the earth that it is a god have hitherto deceived themselves, since it is furrowed and set with plants and trenched; and it takes in the filthy refuse of men and beasts and cattle. And at times it becomes unfruitful, for if it be burnt to ashes it becomes devoid of life, for nothing germinates from an earthen jar. And besides if water be collected upon it, it is dissolved together with its products. And lo! it is trodden under foot of men and beast, and receives the blood of the slain; and it is dug open, and filled with the dead, and becomes a tomb for corpses. But it is impossible that a nature, which is holy and worthy and blessed and immortal, should allow of any one of these things. And hence it appears to us that the earth is not a god but a creation of God.