Thursday, 27 May 2010

Enlightenment & Humanity

What follows is an excerpt from an article - see link below - which refers to the spiritual significance of Dostoevsky's writing:

'Scientific materialism or philosophical naturalism, Dostoevsky saw, leads directly to nihilism. Here was the great paradox of the European Enlightenment. The movement had begun with a noble vision of shared human dignity, peace, and progress drawn from the beliefs of Judaism and Christianity. But by seeking to ground these ideals in reason rather than in faith, Enlightenment humanism ended by undermining its own highest commitments. Science can provide only mechanistic, reductive, and objectified descriptions of human nature, so when scientific reasoning is held up as the only grounds for discovering truth we are left without any basis for statements of value or meaning. We come to see humanity in purely instrumental and deterministic ways. We lose all sense of good and evil.

Russia’s intellectual radicals in the middle of the 19th century--who Dostoevsky knew well from his days in the Petrashevsky Circle--were nevertheless determined to carry the logic of philosophical materialism/naturalism through to its final conclusions. These “New Men” rejected all religious and metaphysical values and embarked on an audacious project of social and political re-engineering unbounded by older notions of morality or the authority of revelation. Bourgeois moral sentiments and feelings of compassion—the residue of outmoded Christian beliefs—had to be ruthlessly overcome in order to elevate humanity to a new plain of evolutionary consciousness. Difficult thoughts—and deeds—had to be faced with unflinching “hardness” in order to transform the human animal into its own divinity.

All of Dostoevsky’s greatest novels are densely inhabited with characters who represent these claims of the New Men. Dostoevsky’s most compelling and sympathetic rebel against faith, however, is Ivan Karamazov in The Brothers Karamazov, who simultaneously embodies both the idealism of the Enlightenment humanists and the nihilistic logic of the new generation of hard-headed materialists. Ivan’s rebellion is captured in his “Legend of the Grand Inquisitor,” which he tells to his saintly brother Alyosha in an attempt to unsettle his faith.'

The Dark Knight


"There is only one means of salvation, then: take yourself and make yourself responsible for all men's sins, . . . for as soon as you sincerely make yourself responsible for everything and for all men, you will see at once that it really is so, and that you are to blame for everyone and for all things."


Monday, 24 May 2010

BA's Matchbox strike

Why is that some people are more inclined to strike rather then get a new job? I know that if I was not satisfied with pay & conditions at BA I would apply for a new job. These are not the days of the Bryant & May matchbox strike. The way Union leaders today go on about things you would think it was 1888. One thing, however, is certain - BA staff are not receiving 19th century pay & conditions. This is nothing other than the old Left flexing its muscle to destroy BA if it does not do what it demands. I have witnessed similar stories while working in London for the Civil Service in the 1980's. In the light of BA's £932 million loss over the past two years what the Unions demand is contrary to sound financial management in a recession hit world.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

On a wing & a prayer

So. Unite have finally gained their right to strike. The best paid cabin crew in the airline industry have won their fight for industrial action. Some say that Unite is using BA for its own Left Wing political aims which has more to do with confrontation than looking after the interests of BA union members.

This is an old story and one I witnessed... See More whilst in the CPSA in the early 1980's when communists gained control of my immediate local union. What they wanted was confrontation with the government of the day. I put this question to a Left Wing friend I have known for many years. He looked at me for a while and asked me a question.

"Do you know why the BA Cabin Crew want to strike?"

I said I had no idea since they are the best paid in the business. So he kindly explained that BA management want to drastically reduce pay & conditions.

Ah...I said. I didn't know that. End of story.

So now I support the strike by BA?


Why not?

Yesterday, it was revealed that BA have lost about five hundred million pounds sterling in the last financial year. And, a similar amount of money the year before. To stay competitive they must cut costs. This seems to me to be sound financial management. But I know that some are not interested in this discussion. What they want is industrial action for the sake of political confrontation.

Will the class war ever end?