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Escritos Visita Papa Francisco a Colombia 2017
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Screen Shot 2017-09-25 at 6.23.02 PM
 
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Texto completo. Rueda de Prensa del Papa Francisco en vuelo a Roma
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Deja el Papa a la Bogotá que nos vio nacer, deja a una ciudadanía –la violenta sobretodo— que debe entender que su violencia no hace sino hacerle daño a todos y a todas. La macabra del Bronx, incluida. La pobreza no lo permite todo.

Pero difícil. Un ejemplo, de muchos.

Hacia el 2002 sufrimos nuestro segundo mal-llamado “paseo millonario” en Bogotá. Les ahorraré los detalles más horribles, tal vez los relate luego. Pero lo cierto es que una vez en el taxi y “encañonado” por ambos lados en el asiento trasero –mirando para abajo para no ver la cara de los conciudadanos tan, pero tan, enfermos en su alma— pasamos por el puente de la 68 con 30. Desde el puente se ve el cementerio de Chapinero. Por un momento miré de reojo a los asaltantes, no sé ni por qué, pero vi lo que no hubiera deseado ver jamás.

Todos, con armas en mano, se persignaron.

¿Me entiende?

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Ahora sí que el Papa Francisco parte, veremos para qué lado se reconcilia Colombia. (!)
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Tin tin tin, y arranca el Primer Round cortesía del objetivo Espectador.
 
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La honestidad del Papa Francisco acerca de su limitada comprensión del ámbito político:

“De verdad, no entiendo el mundo de la geopolítica. Es muy fuerte para mí. Creo que, con lo que veo, hay una lucha de intereses que, se me escapa, no lo puedo explicar, de verdad. Pero lo otro importante: no se toma conciencia. Pienso en Cartagena hoy: ¿Esto es justo? ¿Se puede tomar conciencia?”

Un ejemplo sería el siguiente: sus repetidas solicitudes a la ONU para que sea la ONU quien “solucione” ciertos problemas políticos actuales.

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Quien haya seguido la visita del Papa Francisco con cierto entusiasmo debiera preguntarse —–e intentar responder lo mejor posible para sí mismo/a—– cuál es la posible relación entre estas tres memorables frases del Papa:

1. “Basta con una persona buena para que haya esperanza”

2. “No nos quedemos en dar el primer paso, sino que sigamos caminando juntos para ir al encuentro del otro”

3. ““No se dejen robar la alegría, no se dejen robar la esperanza”

Tal vez intentemos nosotros dar cierta luz al respecto, posteriormente. Una vista, así sea mínima, debiera mostrar al lector/a qué tan complejo sería interrelacionar estas tres frases.


A manera de ejemplo, pregúntese:
¿Por qué quien es el “único” bueno, debe dar el primer paso hacia el otro, si esto tal vez llevaría a que le robaran su alegría? Y muchas otras preguntas más complejas que esa. Y si no me cree, piense en la historia de Lot.(Frases aparecen aquí:  link  )
 
 
 
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Como último comentario acerca de la visita del Papa Francisco a Colombia, debemos comentar que un aspecto en el que la visión del Papa difiere radicalmente de la tradición republicana clásica está en el rol de los que tienen medios/riqueza —muchas veces familias con cierta historia—- dentro de la política. No se cansa el Papa Francisco de indicar que quien tiene dinero, y sobretodo quien ama el dinero, es mejor que no participe en política. El mensaje del Papa es tal, que a veces ni se separan esas dos condiciones.

Está equivocado —no, equivocadísimo— el Papa; no nos da miedo indicarlo. ¿Qué nos da la seguridad de saber que la visión del Papa es injusta con el ámbito político? Las palabras de Aristóteles acerca del rol de la magnanimidad (“megalopsuchia”) dentro de la vida política en su obra ética. Y no se requiere sino mirar brevemente el listado de virtudes que da Aristóteles y contrastarlas con las virtudes de la tradición católica, para ver el por qué. Y de igual manera no sorprende cómo, cuando Santo Tomás Aquino interpreta a Aristóteles, reduce esas virtudes —y sobretodo la magnanimidad— a un segundo plano. Están en todo su derecho, pero es más difícil autoconsiderarse aristotélicos cuando realizan estas reinterpretaciones que terminan hablando otro lenguaje totalmente diferente.

Y lo crucial, es que esta interpretación del Papa puede generar aún más daño del que ha generado en sociedades como Colombia y Venezuela. Es hora ya de recuperar el valor de la magnanimidad en lo político tal y como lo defiende Aristóteles en el LIbro IV de la Ética Nicomáquea. Para no mencionar otros temas ligados al anterior como el valor de la propiedad privada para la estabiidad y libertad de todo ámbito político.

El camino de la verdad no lo abre sólo la fe. El camino de la verdad lo abre también el pensamiento y la reflexión política. La fe, también, puede ser una adicción. (Para no mencionar lo obvio acerca de las propiedades del la Iglesia misma.)

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ESCRITOS CORRUPCIÓN Y PAZ COLOMBIA 2017

(y su contexto)

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El año pasado, el 2016, escribimos críticamente sobre el proceso de paz en Colombia (link ), en particular antes y después del plebiscito que ganó el “NO” contra todo pronóstico. Dicho resultado fue negado de manera anti-democrática y anti-ética. Ese es el contexto específico de los escritos que siguen a continuación.

Ahora, en el 2017, escribimos sobre la corrupción en Colombia. No es necesario ser un genio para ver la conexión entre la primera problemática y la segunda. Sin embargo, como se verá en los siguiente escritos, hay muchos que defienden la paz a como de lugar, incluso a través de medios corruptos. Consideramos también que los que creen ser los menos corruptos, pueden llegar a ser los más corruptos. Ahí el peligro omnipresente de la corrupción tanto privada como pública.

Afortunadamente, a diferencia de tantos columnistas y periodistas y demás personajes “importantes” de Colombia,  nadie nos ha pagado un peso por estos escritos. Tampoco nos han dado cargos o diplomas a través de ellos. Simplemente los hemos compartido, como los anteriores, en Facebook. Creemos que escribiremos menos y menos al respecto, simplemente porque creemos que escribiríamos palabras demasiado similares! Además sabemos que usted lector sabe mucho mejor qué hacer.

Escribimos en medio de circunstancias que algunos cercanos conocen, escribimos por amor a  Colombia y a Canadá; y sobretodo por el respeto y admiración a las palabras de Aristóteles acerca de la importancia de crear una ciudadanía ética y políticamente educada. Aristóteles, el modelo.

(Nota 1: Para tweets/tuits y columnas encontrarán el link, casi siempre, luego de una reflexión –—a veces corta, a veces larga (!)— acerca del tema.)

(Nota 2, Octubre 1 de 2017:

Y así como lo hicimos en el 2016 —–cuando dejamos de escribir por muchos meses sobre Colombia, hasta ya entrado el 2017—– ahora también dejaremos de escribir sobre Colombia hasta el 2018. Si a una sola persona le sirvió lo que escribimos durante estos largos últimos meses nos damos por bien servidos. Para nosotros es siempre un placer escribir y reflexionar. Quedan recopilados en nuestro blog.
Pero no sobra decir que se ha vuelto costumbre escribir y comentar día a día, segundo a segundo. Pero la realidad es que hay unos principios éticos y políticos que van mucho más allá del día a día. Estos principios son los que guían ahora y siempre, no dependiendo de circustancias históricas particulares, el quehacer politico. Esos principios los da Aristóteles en sus textos ético-políticos, textos que siguen y complementan la tradición inaugurada por Sócrates. Porque Sócrates se INVENTÓ el análisis filosófico de lo político. Impresionante. Y no sobra tampoco recordar que Sócrates no escribió una sola palabra, creemos, no porque le faltara tiempo para hacerlo, sino para indicar de manera inequívoca que la vida de la reflexión —la vida filosófica– es una realidad vital, una realidad de carne y hueso que nada escrito puede captar o explicitar. La reflexión permanente es un modo de vida.
Hasta el 2018, año que definirá el futuro de Colombia para siempre.)

 

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Osuna.

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 7.57.56 PM

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Nada como escuchar a un corrupto, pero poderoso, hablando de que en absoluto es corrupto.

(Pero bueno, eso lo escuchamos muchas, pero muchas veces, en nuestras vidas, de poderosos y nada poderosos.)

 

 

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El corrupto fiscal anti-corrupción mostrando orgulloso su libro. Clave para entender la epidemia de corrupción en Colombia.

 

 

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Ahora todo es cizaña. Que si digo “a” cizaña; que si digo “b”,
cizaña. Cizaña … la suya.

¿Quiere salir de la cizaña?

Entonces cuando hable o escriba –y sobretodo, cuando piense– hágalo a través de argumentos. Fácil.

Lo díficil. Que aprender a argumentar toma toda una vida que entre otras cosas requiere:

1) aprender a gustarle los argumentos,

2) aprender a gustarle evaluar buenos y malos argumentos a través de la razón,

SOBRETODO,

3) aprender a leer y leer y leer a quienes –especialmente si va a hablar de lo político—- han dado los más sofisticados y relevantes argumentos para comprender las posibilidades del ámbito político (Locke, Rousseau, Montesquieu, DeTocqueville, Marx, Hobbes, Aristóteles, Platón, Maquiavelo, Biblia, Santo Tomás Moro, Aquino, Lincoln …)

4) comenzar a entender la relación entre a) argumentación, b) carácter y c) retórica. (Acerca del triángulo Aristotélico puede aprender acá:https://prezi.com/7snss9sqhkoi/aristotles-rhetorical-triangle/ )

5) preferiblemente venir de una cultura que valore los argumentos (e.g., el valor de “public speaking” en los Estados Unidos —–de tanta importancia—- que los debates presidenciales cobran un valor sui generis)

y finalmente,

6) tener el ingenio, humor y amor-propio suficiente como para atacar la cizaña que desconoce de argumentos; no tratando de convercerla, sino silenciándola. ¡Porque a veces hay que ser al menos el doble de cizañero que el cizañero! (Y en casos extremos, evitándola, o usando los recursos legales disponibles)

Nota 1: ¿Quiere aprender sobre argumentación? Aquí puede hacer un curso completo gratis. ¿Único detalle? En inglés.

link

Nota 2: Otro sitio excelente,

link

Nota 3: Sin lugar a duda, el mejor texto introductorio sobre los más importantes argumentos políticos de la historia, es del Profesor Pangle y tiene versión electrónica para el app Kindle:

link

y gratis, acá:

link

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A manera de resumen, la división en Colombia se puede entender así:

Grupo A: Para algunos la paz con las farc es SEPARADA de la corrupción. Es más, para esos mismos, la paz es —en su imaginario– la que algún día futuro acabará usando su intensa luz la oscura corrupción, sobretodo la corrupción institucional. A estos se les puede llamar “los iluminados”. La paz es el INSECTICIDA de la corrupción.

Grupo B: Para otros la paz con las farc es el RESULTADO de la corrupción. Es más, para esos mismos, la paz –en su imaginario— es el camino disfrazado (como el cuento de las ovejas) hacia la máxima corrupción posible, la corrupción del alma de un pueblo y la entrega de la ibertad y la vida a unos pocos. A estos se les puede llamar “los realistas” . La paz es el ABONO de la corrupción.

La mayoría de colombianos pertenecen al Grupo B, como lo indican las encuestas. La ONU pertenece al Grupo A. La arrogancia de los iluminados —ahora miembros de la JEP— y sus deseos nunca cuestionados (como ocurrió en el plebiscito del 2016) son el impulso para ese rechazo de la población colombiana.

Sin duda alguna nosotros pertenecemos al Grupo B, y lo hacemos con orgullo. Colombia debe en su mayoría redefinir el proceso de paz hacia este Grupo B. Así la paz no destruirá la libertad sino que la hará más real.

 

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http://www.semana.com/opinion/articulo/perla-presidencial/533318

Cuando lo que suena bonito es lo más peligroso. En la paz como en el amor.

Que en 2018 Colombia recupere su libertad real frente al modelo internacionalista/cosmopolita que nos cogió —–gracias a Santos y su grandísimo ego—- de “conejillos de indias”.

Santos, como hemos indicado desde 2016, es el presidente del “mundo”, no el Presidente de los colombianos/as.

Santos es el presidente de la “historia”, no el de la historia diaria de los colombianos/as.

Santos cree que lo eligió la ONU, no los colombianos/as.

Santos es el Presidente de la forma, no del contenido.

Por todo eso es tan poco querido. Pero, peor, por todo lo anterior, esa falta de amor que le tienen sus ciudadanos/as —–antes que ser motivo de preocupación y tristeza para él—- es motivo de orgullo. Un líder que se enorgullece de no ser querido (sobrado dice: “estoy dispuesto a entregar toda mi popularidad”). Eso, sólo un líder vacuo.

Es esa actitud lo que CONFIRMA todo lo anterior, y mucho más.

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Aniversario del Plebiscito 2016 ganado por el NO:

Hoy hace un año la posible paz estable y duradera dejó de ser posible porque sus defensores, los del “sí”, prefirieron sus sueños tramposos a la realidad de saber —-en sus mentes y sus corazones— que habían perdido un plebiscito frente a sus compatriotas.

El deseo ilimitado de paz no solo mató la paz —por más decretos y decretos que se pasen— sino que hizo aceptable la idea de que por un fin todo medio vale; es decir, se blindó la corrupción en las tres ramas gubernamentales. No nos sorprende que el 2017 sea el año de mayor corrupción en la corrupta historia colombiana. Por la paz todo vale.

Ser mal perdedor es el comienzo del ser corrupto. Blindar la paz de maneras ilegales e inmorales, la más cruda corrupción. Ahora hasta homenajean a criminales de lesa humanidad, sin siquiera haber pasado por justicia alguna. Celebrar sin merecerlo, eso cualquier niño/a lo sabe, es el origen del alma corrupta. Celebrar la masacre inhumana, la muerte del espíritu.

En resumen: al negar la victoria del “no” en el amañado plebiscito por la paz del 2016, la historia de Colombia se distanció irremediablemente de la verdad. La historia de la paz recibió una herida mortal.

En ese sentido, ya un año después, es que la JEP resulta, en gran medida, una mentira compartida. Allí, quienes ganaron el plebiscito “fair and square” como dicen en inglés, revivirán esa herida que los silenció “permanentemente”.

 

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Aniversario del Plebiscito 2016 ganado por el NO:
Referente al amañado plebiscito por la paz del 2016.
“NO es NO”, es una frase central de la defensa contra la violación sexual.
En Colombia por la paz, “NO ES SI”.
¿Me entiende?
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Aniversario del Plebiscito 2016 ganado por el NO:

El “NO” tenía razón (aniversario del plebiscito)

https://www.elespectador.com/opinion/el-no-tenia-razon-aniversario-del-plebiscito-columna-715754

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Aniversario del Plebiscito 2016 ganado por el NO:
El “sí¨frente a su propio espejo solitario.

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Los del “sí”, un año después y siguen con lo mismo:

Si el Plebiscito lo gana el NO, se acaba la Paz.

Si ganan los que no quieren la JEP, se acaba la Paz.

Si no dejan x, se acaba la Paz

Si no dejan y, se acaba la Paz.

Todo lo que no sea lo que nosotros pensamos, acaba la Paz.

Déjennos hacer la paz en paz. No molesten.

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Aniversario del Plebiscito 2016 ganado por el NO:
Vía Hassan.
Qué lindos que son los conejos, ¿no?
Sííííí.

 

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Aniversario del Plebiscito 2016 ganado por el NO:

Como mañana es el aniversario del plebiscito del 2016 en Colombia, plebiscito que contra todo pronóstico ganó el “no”, ya hay tuits que leen de la siguiente manera:

“Estoy orgullosa/o de haber votado ´sí´.”

Lo aterrador es que hablan como si hubieran ganado el plebiscito.

Ser mal perdedor es el camino directo hacia la corrupción. No en vano hay una conexión directa entre el 2016 y el 2017, entre la paz mal forjada y la corrupción imperante.

 

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 Palabras de los del “sí” en la “paz” de Colombia:

Antes del Plebiscito:

A A A A A A A A A A

Pierden el Plebiscito:

A A A A A A A A A A A x3

Encuestas revelan que los/as colombianos/as no apoyan el tratado de paz con farc:

A A A A A A A A A A A A x 7

La corrupción inunda todas las ramas políticas, especialmente las judiciales:

A A A A A A A A A A A A x 9

Aniversario de Pérdida del Plebiscito:

A A A A A A A A A A A A x 11

Pierden elecciones en el 2018:

A = 0

Muy hábiles los del sí, o bueno, los que les quedan. No enseñan, no educan …… son expertos en dirigir, obligar y callar.

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Aniversario del Plebiscito 2016 ganado por el NO:

Hace un año escribimos esto.

Nunca imaginamos la capacidad delirante de algunos de los del “sí”. Ya escribimos un aparte sobre esto hoy. Por sus acciones, la paz dejó de ser la paz real de todos, para convertirse en la paz ilusoria de unos pocos.

 

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El caos de la paz. No sobra indicar que bajo ciertas concepciones políticas de la izquierda este caos es PRECISAMENTE EL CAMINO para obtener el poder.

Querido colombiano/a del común: usted es simplemente una fichita para su juego. Luego, si no les gusta esa fichita que es usted, pues la esconderán. En otras palabras, lo esconderán a usted.

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Las primeras palabras, las palabras ideales de la JEP —y sus privilegiados miembros— para con sus ciudadanos deberían ser:

“Queridos/as ciudadanos/as, sabemos del nivel degradante de corrupción a la que ha caído toda la esfera a la que pertenecemos y por medio de la cual ahora nos entregan poderes incluso más altos que la misma constitución que ustedes defienden y dan vida real día a día. Poderes entregados en medio de una crisis total de confianza y después de que todos las encuestas indican que una gran mayoría de ustedes no está de acuerdo con este tratado y, por ende, no están de acuerdo con nuestra existencia y los poderes exagerados que ahora poseemos. Humildemente nos preparamos para lo que viene, a sabiendas de que es posible que nuestra misma elección pueda no ser totalmente defensible. Antes que pretender ser sabios, sabemos lo ignorantes que hemos sido a cada paso de nuestro desarrollo personal y laboral.”

Las palabras reales serán:

“Estamos aquí para salvarlos queridos ciudadanos. No se preocupen. Hagan caso.”

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La arrogancia de la paz que desconoce cualquier límite. El mismo que dijo que si ganaba el NO, todo se acababa. Metiendo miedo y ni así ganaron el plebiscito.

 

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Palabras como estas son las que harán que la paz que negó un plebiscito, y se fundó en la corrupción, sea tranformada seriamente en el 2018. El desagradable.

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A Santos nada le da vergüenza.

http://www.wradio.com.co/escucha/archivo_de_audio/esta-paz-es-con-puestos-para-los-que-voten-la-jep-y-sin-puestos-para-los-que-no-la-voten/20171003/oir/3597611.aspx

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La JEP. COLUMNA CRUCIAL.

“Pero el problema no es ese. Consiste en que el tribunal de la JEP no refleja las distintas visiones de los colombianos frente al acuerdo suscrito entre el Gobierno y las Farc. En eso presenta un complicado déficit democrático. Y por ello amenaza con trasladar, con cero reconciliación, la confrontación de la lucha armada al escenario judicial.”

link

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La JEP y la memoria del criminal de lesa humanidad JOJOY.

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Como a nosotros nos importa muy poco lo importante que una persona sea —pregúntele a cualquiera que nos conoce—- no sabemos quién es Uprimmy. Pero luego de leerlo muchas veces, ya sabemos mejor. Es el escudero de la JEP, el Sancho Panza de la JEP y la paz de Santos.

Al igual que Sancho Panza, quien protegía a Don Quijote —-obra monumental que hemos leído dos veces de comienzo a fin por lo absolultamente cómica y hermosa que resulta—– Uprimmy es un protector. Es EL protector.

Sancho Panza era el protector de los sueños descabellados de su Superior, el noble y desquiciado Don Quijote. Sancho ayudaba a proteger a quien imaginaba gigantezcos monstruos en molinos. Don Quijote nos llena de alegrías y dolores compartidos; pero sobretodo de risas. Incluso al morir, Don Quijote prohibe a todos llorar. Imagínese el por qué. Loco, loco hasta el final. No es difícil amar a Don Quijote y a Sancho.

Uprimmy protege los molinos de su Don Quijote, Doña Paz. Su JEP nació de un hurto: pero el molino de la imaginación hace imposible ver hasta lo obvio y fundamental. Pero encubrir el hurto de luz ética si que es ir más lejos que Don Quijote mismo. Para Uprimmy, la JEP ES la salvación. Pero, a diferencia, cuando Sancho Panza intenta robar —porque uno no vive de molinos ilusorios (!)—- Don Quijote lo castiga ejemplarmente.

¿Pero en qué se diferencia Uprimmy y su JEP a Sancho Panza de manera fundamental? En lo siguiente. En sus aventuras Don Quijote y Sancho tienen muchas conversaciones. Y resultan muy cómicas por la diferencia en lenguaje que usan. Sancho usa millares de dichos populares para expresarse; Don Quijote el lenguaje del letrado, del caballero, de la élite.

Uprimmy y los suyos —incluyendo los letrados de la JEP—- son del segundo tipo. Es por ESO que ni la JEP ni la PAZ son populares entre los colombianos/as del común. Pero ya sabemos qué responderán. Que ahora sí serán populares. No hay fin para el dedicado a la protección, para el guardaespalda. El molino impulsado por los vientos de la paz es un gigante indestructible como Don Quijote nos ha enseñado.

Y para terminar. Nada mejor que ver a alguien que cree en la JEP comenzar su columna con Churchill y su famosa crítica a la democracia. Es un claro ejemplo de un chiste que sólo es para académicos y letrados. Nosotros preferimos el humor y la humanidad de Cervantes.

https://www.elespectador.com/opinion/la-jep-columna-715769

Ver también:

https://www.elespectador.com/…/los-prejuicios-contra-el-tri…

 

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La JEP.

“La JEP es considerada la joya de la corona, la almendra, el núcleo, en fin, lo más pétreo de los acuerdos de La Habana. Es la gran conquista de una guerrilla ya derrotada en el plano militar. Es vista así por las izquierdas y los amigos de una paz a cualquier precio, incluso, al de arrasar la Constitución y las instituciones. Pero, para las mayorías del país, las que ganaron con el NO el plebiscito de hace un año, es la corona de espinas con la que se inicia en forma el nuevo orden sonado por las guerrillas que no es otro que el de imponer en Colombia su modelo comunista, marxista leninista, su política de venganza contra el uribismo y todo aquello que huela a paramilitarismo y su verdad histórica que los dejará en el sitial de víctimas del sistema, perseguidos y excluidos que se vieron obligados a tomar las armas.”

https://www.elespectador.com/opinion/jep-golpe-de-gracia-la-democracia-colombiana-columna-715965

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Hay los “Invictus Games” y hay la JEP. Escoja Colombia.

(La suerte de haberlos vivido acá en Toronto: link  )

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La JEP es tan diversa y representativa que no representa al 75% de colombianos/as que no le creen. (!)

Paz de élites para élites: élites de la guerra como las farc, élites económicas como Santos, élites periodísticas y élites académicas como muchas.

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Como van con todo por la JEP, sin remordimiento alguno, pues tocará ir con todo contra la JEP. Y como tocar enfrentar una JEP obtenida a través de medios oscuros y en un medio oscuro, nos llamarán toda clase de cosas. Preferimos eso a la trampa.

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La JEP:

“Tenemos que reinventar nuestra historia de violencia. Tenemos que reinventar nuestra historia de 1819 al 2017. Pero olvidemos el 2016 y su incómodo plebiscito. Así tendremos una historia patria completa y verdadera y justa. Olvidemos por nuestro bien. Recordemos por nuestro bien. ” (!)

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Súper título: “Tenemos JEP, camarada”

link

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Osuna. La JEP.

22008301_10155846420383413_3014489420964679323_n

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Nueva columna acerca de la ética y la corrupción en Colombia. Al menos ahora el escritor hace alusión a la ética de la Grecia Clásica; la de Sócrates, Platón, Aristóteles y Tucídides. Dice el columnista en dos pasajes:

1. “Desde la mirada Griega, la ética es el arte político de saber elegir, saber referirse al otro, reconocerlo en su integralidad, y saber coexistir. ”

y

2. “Para los filósofos Platón y Aristóteles la ética es hacer justicia, decir la verdad y actuar bien, principios olvidados por líderes políticos y ciudadanía en general.”

Desafortunadamente, el escritor hace una lectura muy supérflua de la pregunta por la justicia en la obra de los clásicos griegos. No son completamente verdaderas sus palabras.

La filosofía politica clásica, antes que simplemente decir que “la ética es hacer justicia”, se PREGUNTA: ¿Qué es la justicia? No dan ellos un manual que uno sigue para ser ético y punto. Si fuese así, pues entonces a repartir copias de sus obras y a poner a los ciudadanos a memorizarlas! Como cuando quieren regalar constituciones en ciertos países!

Es cierto que las obras clásicas están llenas de CIERTAS virtudes que consideran sin lugar a duda como centrales para el desarollo de una ciudadanía responsable. Entre ellas el coraje. Pero no mencionan otras que el columnista sí hace, por ejemplo ” la inclusión”. Y jamás, pero jamás, estarían de acuerdo con estas palabras del columnista:

“Las altas presiones sociales o económicas que la gente vive sin solución alguna provocan actuaciones equivocadas que terminan lamentablemente en hurtos, muertes o prisión.”

Sea como fuere, incluso cuando mencionan las virtudes, los pensadores clásicos no lo hacen como un listado simplista para repetir y ejecutar en la realidad política. Para ni siquiera mencionar que las virtudes que ellos mencionan son radicalmente antimodernas, es decir, poco democráticas, en su naturaleza (piénsese en el valor de la magnanimidad —-“megalopsuchia”—- atribuida por Platón y Aristóteles al gran líder político).

Al contrario, como su punto de partida es PREGUNTAR, “qúe es la justicia” —– y no simplemente dar una receta vacía de lo que es “ser bueno”—— los pensadores políticos griegos, entonces comienzan una árdua labor para dilucidar elementos importantes, y a la vez problemáticos, en lo que se refiere a la naturaleza de la justicia y su realización política en particular, bajo contextos específicos.

Una de las consecuencias de dicho proceder es comenzar a considerar la relación que hay entre justicia y el regimen político al cual uno pertenece. Si la justicia es buscar el “bien común”, entonces, ese bien depende de a qué tipo de régimen uno pertenece. Ser justo en una monarquía como la de Arabia Saudita, no es lo mismo que ser justo en un democracia como la canadiense o la colombiana. Sólo mire los intentos por instaurar democracias occidentales en Medio Oriente, para que vea. Es más, ni siquiera pareciera ser lo mismo ser justo en la democracia estadounidense que en la canadiense, aunque ambas son democracias representativas! Portar armas es parte de la justicia y libertad en los Estados Unidos; portar armas en Canadá es bien difícil de hacer. Incluso a la tiranía de Venezuela, el régimen la llama es “democracia directa”, y por ende, desde su perspectiva miope, “justa”.

Como el poder político es quien DETERMINA el régimen de una sociedad, entonces determina lo que ha de considerarse como “justo” o como “no justo”. En la monarquía es injusto creer que todos somos iguales; en la democracia es injusto creer que no todos somos iguales. Precisamente POR ESO es la pelea para obtener el poder político. ¡Para determinar lo que es la justicia!

Pero, entonces cómo saber cuál noción de justicia es la más apegada a la verdad, si unos defienden la monarquía, otros la democracia, incluso otros la tiranía como la de Maduro. ¿Cómo podemos siquiera decir que Maduro es un tirano, con certeza?

Pues bien, el proyecto clásico, al preguntarse por la justicia, revela las fortalezas y debilidades de los diversos regímenes —la democracia, la oligarquía, la monarquía, la tiranía—- para así poder dar luz, en la compleja realidad, acerca de cómo tratar de sanar los regímenes existentes hacia una posición que en la medida de lo posible sea más y más beneficiosa para los ciudadanos/as del régimen mismo. Es decir, todo régimen puede mejorarse con vista en ciertos presupuestos que la filosofia clásica desarrolla. Dos de estos presupuestos son: a) cualquier análisis político debe comenzar desde el lenguaje político mismo de los ciudadanos (no desde un lenguaje utópico o académico irreal), y b) se debe mirar con detenimiento la diferenciación y la tensión entre lo que es el “ser humano justo” y el “ser humano bueno”. Sólo si se da esta diferencia entonces podemos encontrar elementos que permitan juzgar si un régimen es o no tiránico; es, o no, la mejor democracia posible; es, o no, la mejor monarquía posible. Sólo de esta manera se puede encaminar TODO régimen, ya sea democrático, oligárquico, monárquico, e incluso tiránico, hacia al mejor régimen posible.

Lecturas serias y detenidas de La República y Las Leyes de Platón, y de La Política y La Ética Nicomáquea de Aristóteles, son el camino para mejor comprender los dilemas de la justicia, y por ende la corrupción que se da incluso en nombre de la justicia misma. La columna desafortunadamente no nos ayuda en esa lectura seria y detenida.

link

 

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Of Bill Clinton it is said that he said: “It is the economy, stupid.” He thus became President.

Applied to Maduro, and other tyrants like him, it would read: “It is the Army, stupid.”

NEVER, NEVER, lose control of your Army. This is ESSENTIAL for the future of Colombia.

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DIPLOMA COURSERA

Reflections: Political Thoughts on Sustainable Development (A Commentary on Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs’s Coursera course: “The Age of Sustainable Development”)

Having had the opportunity to start to undertake Professor Sachs´s quite informative and extremely educational course on Sustainable Development (SD) –now going into its 6th week— I would like to briefly express some of my concerns and questions regarding SD. Of course, as I read the Discussion Forums, many point to issues regarding the many factors involved in the implementation of the policies which SD allows us to better see and hopefully, to implement, specially in those cases of “poverty trap” in which the conditions are more troubling and recurring. No one wishes to live in inhuman hardship all his/her life; extreme poverty must be eradicated via a concerted effort, and by all ethical means available. In this regard, many of the now famous “TED talks” allow us to try to imagine the hardships and thus feel the importance of connecting lovingly for serious practical improvement: for example, TED talks by: 1) Bono, 2) Jacqueline Novogratz (specially the one regarding prostitution), and my two favorite, 3) Jessica Jackley, founder of KIVA  here , and 4) Bunker Roy founder of the Barefoot Movement here . Also, non-academic books such as The International Bank of Bob by Bob Harris, which tells the story of microfinancing success KIVA whose motto is tellingly “loans that change lives”, humble us and transform us in ways we could not even foresee. In brief, many are concerned, and rightly so, with practical issues. Many forum posts in this course come to mind in this regard. Let us just recall a simple one:

“Hello all peers,  My name is Abdikadir Daud from Ethiopian Somali region, I’m forwarding my thanks to the course   facilitator because I got extended knowledge from this course and I will transfer this skill to my communities .
Thanks
Abdikadir” ( here )

Abdikadir from Ethiopia, like many of us from around the world, wants to make a difference.

However, my questions proceed from a very different area. They pertain to philosophical questions, that is to say, they deal with the core concepts, formulations and assumptions which must be put forward in the case of any given approach to the complex political and economic reality in which we live. P. Sachs himself does not tire of saying that SD is not merely a PRACTICAL path to CHANGE the world, but also –and more importantly— a THEORETICAL path to UNDERSTAND the world (Lecture 1, Week 1; and beginning of 1st Google Hangout, here ). He even goes so far as to say that it is a NORMATIVE framework which means it involves certain moral presuppositions. These convey the limits, for instance, for all business practices; not everything that is legal should be done. (see, for instance, 2nd Google Hangout: Question No. 4, “On the role of regulation of business.”) Consequently, my main concern regarding the EXCELLENT lectures we have been fortunate to partake in, is to signal –however embryonically– to some of the more puzzling philosophical underpinnings underlying the Sustainable Development Movement. This means that, according to such a critique, it becomes extremely important to undergo a rational critique of the core concepts which guide the interpretative self-understanding of SD. I believe that training in the humanities (specially, political philosophy) alone provides the impulse to see the real importance of such a critique, a political/philosophical critique. I also believe that, given this theoretical inclination, few of our fellow Coursera virtual classmates will proceed to consider the rest of this –much longer than normal– post!

Obviously –though I have lived half of my life in Colombia (which exemplifies many of the problems P. Sachs speaks of, and MORE!) and the other half in Canada (which exemplifies many of the benefits of which P. Sachs speaks of, and MORE!)— we must immediately confess that we do not possess the intellectual capacity nor the global comprehension that somebody like P. Sachs allows us to perceive in each of his engaging video-lectures for the Coursera course. We are but learners, poor in understanding. Be this as it may, nonetheless we will venture to point to what I consider to be some extremely troubling silences and/or omissions which may make us –should make us– question SD forcefully.

Now, although I have already tweeted  to #susdev some general short questions, for instance: 1) “ #susdev Suppose we ALL were middle-income citizens of the world. Is that enough? Would our spirit not lose sight of what is MOST important?”, or 2) “ #susdev Isn´t there a rhetorical identification between “extreme poverty” and “poverty” which does not allow for a real critique of SD goals?”, still –as mentioned above– our concern in this post is somewhat more detailed or profound.

We could say that SD, in general —and Clinical Economics, in particular— could be giving us a “differential diagnosis” that may SEEM to point to the root cause of things, variable as they may be, but which may end up REALLY missing the CORE causes of the general “disease” with which some thinkers believe we are currently afflicted as moderns and post-moderns. And by missing some of the CORE causes, it might not be providing the best “medicine(s)” available/desirable. In the philosophical arena, the most radical critics in this regard would be those who follow Heidegger´s powerful critique of technology. Though extremely important, we shall not go into that camp here in detail.

Rather, using P. Sachs own clinical analogy, we can say that it is common nowadays to see traditional Western medicine incapable of treating complex diseases which do not have to deal with physical trauma or life-death situations. Chronic illness, such as different forms of arthritis/fibromyalgia, are a case in point. Of course, P. Sachs´s views seem to us to be much more akin to alternative medicine, in this respect. For one of the basic tenets of alternative medicine is that each patient is UNIQUE. So, each country, according to “Differential Clinical Economics” is likewise, quite UNIQUE. P. Sachs does not tire of saying that a holistic approach to the healing of poverty cannot be founded on a single linear conception of cause. Failing to understand this uniqueness may in fact worsen the situation beyond recovery. In medicine, one need only bring to mind the controversy over the drug Celebrex which not only did not actually cure your arthritis (it simply alleviated the pain), but actually –with certainty– damaged your heart! The history of many other drugs follows this pattern, unfortunately. In political life, the current political turmoil of countries such as our feverish neighbor Venezuela, may be thought to be something akin. As you will see, given the spirit of this post, one truly wonders what P. Sachs´s thoughts are on the current crisis in Venezuela, precisely because its regime claims to hold power for the poor. However that may be, P. Sachs —who also helped Bolivia during its feverish times— summarizes this view well:

“The modern doctor is expected to diagnose the specific causes of a specific patient’s illness and to offer a specific prescription that is accurately honed to that patient’s conditions and needs. The modern economist should do the same in diagnosing the persistence of poverty.” (our emphasis; Chapter 4: “Why Some Countries Developed While Others Stayed Poor, I. The Idea of Clinical Economics”)

 

Thus, one imagines that if P. Sachs himself were to fall ill, he would most likely search for an alternative medicine center rather than a traditional monolithic hospital built on unquestioned homogeneous forms of understanding, (or better yet, both if possible, for not all traditional doctors are self-enclosed and not all alternative doctors are truly open). The drama of the latest candidate for the Oscar Awards which deals with HIV/Aids –the compelling movie, Dallas Buyers Club—exemplifies all these tensions perfectly. For we, who have been sick, know well that the sick are among the poorest, mind you.

But, as you will see below, our critique could be said to involve a much more intense and alternative diagnosis than the one which P. Sachs offers. It would be an alternative to the alternative; but much more troubling. It would be an alternative that would show –if someday made fully explicit– that the alternative provided by SD is, in the end, really, really, not so much of an alternative except in the imagination, albeit with some crucial exceptions, among them, that of the eradication of extreme poverty itself. The idealistic overtones of SD would be seen thus to be constantly destabilized by the realistic peculiarities of localities, by a kind of non-Machiavellian political realism (i.e., much closer to Thucydides´s) and by certain “intractables” of human nature. Or to be less severe and less cranky (!) —for we know, as its students, that SD has partially succeeded IN REALITY through exciting models such as those of the Millennium Villages– one could say that the goals of SD, for instance, the Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDG´S), must be corrected with recourse to another tradition which not only sets the hierarchy of these goals aright, but also may add some which may have been altogether forgotten in SD differential diagnosis, however complete it claims to be. ( here )

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  COMMENTARY ON ARISTOTLE’S NICOMACHEAN ETHICS: BOOK I, 10

(For the nature of the sections see the “General Introduction”, here.)

Abbreviations: Ar. = Aristotle, AQ= Aquinas, NE = Nicomachean Ethics, EE= Eudemian Ethics

NICOMACHEAN ETHICS

BOOK I

CHAPTER TEN

“Should one, then, not deem happy any human being for so long as he is alive; but must one look instead, as Solon has it, to his end? But if it indeed it is necessary to posit such a thesis, then is in fact a person happy when he is dead? Or is this, at least, altogether strange, specially for us who say that happiness is a certain activity? But if we do not say that the dead person is happy —and this is not what Solon means either —- but say rather than someone might safely deem a human being blessed only once he is already removed from bad things and misfortunes, this too admits of some dispute. For it is held that both something bad and something good can befall the dead person, if in fact they can befall the living person who does not perceive it —-for example, honors and dishonors, and the faring well or the misfortunes of his offspring and descendants generally.

But these things too are perplexing; for someone who has lived blessedly until old age and come to this end accordingly, it is possible that many reversals may occur involving his descendants just as some of these descendants may be good and attain the life that accords with their merit, but others the contrary. Yet it is clear that it is possible for these descendants to be of varying degrees of remove from their ancestors. Indeed,  it would be strange if even the dead person should share in the reversals and become now happy, now wretched again. But it would be strange too if nothing of the affairs of the descendants should reach the ancestors, not even for a certain time.

But one must return to the perplexity previously mentioned, for perhaps what is now being sought might also be contemplated on the basis of it. If indeed one does have to see a person´s end and at that time deem each person blessed, not as being blessed [now] but as having been such previously —how is this not strange if, when he is happy, what belongs to him will not be truly attributed to him? [This strange consequence] arises on account of our wish not to call the living happy, given the reversals that may happen, and of our supposition that happiness is something lasting and by no means easily subject to reversals, while fortunes often revolve for the same people. For it is clear that if we should follow someone’s fortunes, we will often say that the same person is happy and then again wretched, declaring that the happy person is a sort of chameleon and on unsound footing.

Or is it not at all correct to follow someone’s fortunes? For it is not in these that doing well or badly consists. Rather, human life requires these fortunes in addition, just as we said; yet it is these activities in accord with virtue that have authoritative control over happiness, and the contrary activities on the contrary.

The perplexity just now raised also bears witness to the argument, since in none of the human works is anything so secure as what pertains to the activities that accord with virtue. For such activities seem to be more lasting than even the sciences; and the most honored of them seem to be more lasting, because those who are blessed live out their lives engaged, to the greatest degree and most continuously, in these activities. This seems to be the cause of our not forgetting such activities. Indeed, what is being sought will be available to the happy person, and he will be such throughout life. For he will always, or most of all act on and contemplate what accords with virtue, and he —- and least he who is truly good and “four-square, without blame” — he will bear fortunes altogether nobly and suitably in every way.

Now, many things occur by chance, and they differ in how great or small they are.  The small instances of good fortune, and similarly of its opposite, clearly do not tip the balance of one´s life, whereas the great and numerous ones that occur will, make life more blessed (since these naturally help adorn life, and dealing with them is noble and serious). But those fortunes that turn out in the contrary way restrict and even ruin one´s blessedness, for they both inflict pain and impede many activities. Nevertheless, even in the midst of these, nobility shines through, whenever someone bears up calmly under many misfortunes, not because of any insensitivity to pain but because he is well-born and great souled.

And if the activities have authoritative control over life, just as we said, then no one who is blessed would become wretched, since he will never do things that are hateful and base. For we suppose that someone who is truly good and sensible bears up under all fortunes in a becoming way and always does what is noblest given the circumstances, just as a good general makes use, with the greatest military skill, of the army he has and a shoemaker makes the most beautiful shoe out of leather given him. It holds in same manner with all the other experts as well. And if this is so, then the happy person would never become wretched —nor indeed would he be blessed, it is true, if he encounters the fortunes of Priam. He would not be unstable and subject to reversals either, for he will not be easily moved from happiness, and then not by any random misfortunes but only great and numerous ones. And as a result of such things he would not become happy again in a short time; but, if in fact he does, he will do so in the completion of some lengthy time during which he comes to attain great and noble things.

What, then, prevents one from calling happy someone who is active in accord with complete virtue and who is adequately equipped with external goods, not for any chance time but in a complete life? Or must one posit in addition that he will both live in this way and meet his end accordingly —- since the future is in immanifest to us, and we posit happiness, wholly and in every way, as an end and as complete? And if this is so, we will say that those among the living who have and will have available to them the things stated are blessed —-but blessed human beings.

Let what pertains to these things too be defined up to this point.”

(NE, 1100a10-1101a22; Aristotle´s Nicomachean Ethics, Bartlett, Robert, and Collins, Susan; University of Chicago, Chicago, 2011)

I. PRIVATE PUZZLES
1) What are we to make of this striking subsection? What is its argumentative “spirit”? Isn’t it in its ENTIRETY extremely odd and perplexing? For instance, isn’t it surprising to find Ar. begin AND end a subsection by asking so many questions himself? Is he pushing us in this direction, after having set the “rules of the game” by means of his three crucial previous digressions? Could he be starting to TEACH us to puzzle? For isn’t a QUESTION, rather more active than a STATEMENT? And isn’t Aristotelian happiness a kind of ACTIVITY? Doesn’t a QUESTION allow us the freedom to, in the end, think for ourselves? In similar fashion, didn’t Socrates question so that he did NOT have to write? Isn’t the QUESTION, the foundation of classical philosophical dialectics (and thus conceived in a crucially different sense than that found in the ontological structure of Heidegger’s Dasein and its capacity to question; Introduction to Being and Time)? But WHAT are we puzzling about here that makes this subsection so STRANGE? Isn’t it about the most difficult of topics, namely our temporal finitude and ultimate DEATH? Indeed, how CAN we be happy as humans if we are mortal and MUST die? In this respect, won’t this subsection turn out to be KEY for Aristotelians intent on challenging the APOLITICAL Heideggerian conception of finitude? And in this regard, why are we here SO concerned with the temporality (QUANTITY) of our lives (somehow reaching old age unscathed), rather than with the QUALITY of our lives? For, isn’t the WHOLE ethical point “HOW we live our lives”, rather then “HOW LONG we live our lives”? And, don’t TYRANTS live really really long (see below)? Is this part of the troubling political fact surrounding the question of temporality and finitude (pace Heidegger´s own dramatically apolitical notion of time in Being and Time)? Just recently, didn’t Mubarak outlast many? And, ethically speaking, surely HITLER outlived many much more righteous men, didn’t he? So, under this perplexing view, are we to count a life as worthwhile ONLY until we reach 40 or 50 or 60 or 90 (like Abraham who only until THAT advanced age was given forth his promise)? Or put yet another way, were previous cultures less happy because their average life expectancy was much less then ours? Are WE moderns happier because “we” —–well, really only those in developed countries—- DO in fact last much longer (even if connected to all sorts of medical machines)? Haven’t we, ironically, simply given greater chance to chance to act upon us as Ar. had pointed out in our previous commentary?

But returning to the tone/spirit of the subsection, isn’t it ALL kind of spooky? I mean, aren’t we sort of dealing with communications with, or at the very least, referring to the dead (albeit, close kin in particular) and similar issues? And that it IS so, is shown in the even STRANGER subsection XI (“Do the fortunes of the living affect the dead”) which follows immediately? Doesn’t Ostwald allow us to see how far he misses precisely the tone of the whole passage in his footnote 44 and his reference to Burnet´s interpretation of Aristotle? But, how are WE, specially we moderns born out of the secular transfiguration, to take this in (see quote Professor Taylor below)? For surely there seems to be not a single expression of irony or laughter in Ar.’s presentation, is there? Could we not say, that indeed it is HERE, more than anywhere else in the NE, that we actually find one of the most valuable and explicit examples of Ar.’s philosophical generosity towards the life of the noblest of citizens (as is clear by the example given here of Solon)? For isn’t Ar. truly going out of his way in his attentive respect for the beliefs held by traditional leading citizens and THEIR concerns about temporality and happiness? How so? Because isn’t the concern for temporality of great IMPORT to the serious citizens of a political community? Isn’t it the case that for THEM the family, specially, is the locus of an endurance and immortality beyond the ephemeral appearance of any of its individual members (contrast, Diotima´s “The Ladder of Love” speech in Plato’s Symposium)? For wouldn’t a Solon ask: what of a long life WITHOUT a family? What could that be FOR? Mustn’t the individual see beyond him/herself in order to truly achieve happiness?  And moreover, aren’t great leaders, the greatest of leaders, truly thus remembered by all for the SACRIFICES they make in dedicating themselves whole-heartedly to the PUBLIC good? Isn’t this PRECISELY why Solon, the lawgiver, is remembered till this day even beyond the boundaries of his native Athens?  And aren’t those who give up their lives for US in battle, in the crucial defense of our divergent REGIMES, thus remembered as well for exemplifying the virtue of courage by giving themselves for a greater cause than mere life? Isn’t this, in part, why Ar., as we shall see, also refers to Simonides the poet in this very subsection by referencing his appearance in Plato´s dialogue Protagoras (which deals precisely with the question of courage and sophistry; 339b)? For isn’t Simonides famous for his elegies to the fallen dead in the greatest of Greek battles, the most famous being that written as remembrance of the Battle at Thermopylae, and which reads:

 

Ὦ ξεῖν’, ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε

κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.

“Stranger, announce to the Spartans that here

We lie, having fulfilled their orders.”

(see below)? And we know quite well that elegies and eulogies are far from being the same, don’t we? Actually, in terms of eudaimonia, don’t they stand at extremes?

And so that we may be believed, isn’t the example of Solon here central in THIS regard? Don’t we find precisely THIS concern in Herodotus´s account of Solon —made reference to by Ar. himself? Doesn’t Herodotus allow us to share in the context of Solon’s words? For, we come to know how Solon, in one of his “voyages” outside Athens, came to be questioned/confronted by a tyrant named Croesus? And, doesn’t Croesus indeed know that Solon´s international fame was such as to be considered one of the Seven Sages of Antiquity? But, what does the Tyrant ask in relation to the topic of the NE? Isn’t the question precisely that of the NE as a whole? Doesn’t the TYRANT ask WHO is the happiest human known to be so by Solon himself? And, before dwelling more intimately in the dialogue that ensues between law-giver and TYRANT, mustn’t we mention also that we see in Plutarch’s “Life of Solon” the radically opposite un-Aristotelian tone and sense of fundamental respect by a philosopher towards traditional concerns and beliefs? Don’t we have to contrast here Ar.´s way of proceeding prudently, with Thales outright (effective, yes), but shocking (mocking?) “unveiling” of Solon’s beliefs as regards the possibility of a serious interconnection between one´s  having a family and reaching the highest human happiness available to us?  Isn’t Thales’s’ trick truly outrageous from a much more moderate Aristotelian perspective, namely telling Solon that one of his children has DIED, when in fact it is simply a TEST:

“Thus every answer heightened Solon’s fears, and at last, in great distress of soul, he told his name to the stranger and asked him if it was Solon’s son that was dead. The man said it was; whereupon Solon began to beat his head and to do and say everything else that betokens a transport of grief. But Thales took him by the hand and said, with a smile, “This it is, O Solon, which keeps me from marriage and the getting of children; it overwhelms even thee, who art the most stout-hearted of men. But be not dismayed at this story, for it is not true.”

(my emphasis; p. 419; http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Solon*.html; not to mention Thales’s own inconsistencies on the topic.)

Isn’t this example, in part, what makes us clear as to why Thales is considered a Pre-Socratic? For didn’t’ the Socratic revolution, as told to us by Cicero, BRING philosophy back to “earth” via its political concerns? And in parallel fashion, don’t we see Ar. living up to the presuppositions of the founder of Political Philosophy, Socrates, who already knew of his Second Voyage as the KEY to a certain departure from philosophers such as Thales and Anaxagoras? Moreover, leaving aside the fact that a similar “outrageous” test appears as well in the Bible (young Isaacs divinely commanded sacrifice by Abraham at the age of 90+!), don’t we sense as we read this subsection that is it specially the spoudaios who would find Thales’s un-Aristotelian attitude quite “distasteful”, to put it mildly? Or put yet another way, in striking relation to the beginning of Plato’s Republic, don’t we find here Ar.’s bowing to elder citizens such as Cephalus —whose name actually means “head”, as in the expression, “head of the family”—– rather than seeking their direct questioning? And in this regard, don’t we need also recall that THIS more prudential tone is precisely the tone set by the elder Plato in his much more mature, and politically realistic, dialogue, The Laws? For isn’t THAT political dialogue undertaken by a stranger (obviously Socrates, though it is striking that Plato feels the need to cover up such obviousness), and two elder citizens who are quite advanced in their lives and thus closer to death? And isn’t this TONE, that which characterizes the forgotten yet masterful work of Xenophon? Are we surprised then NOT to find Xenophon being read in current Academia?

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COMMENTARY ON ARISTOTLE’S NICOMACHEAN ETHICS: BOOK I, 7

(For the nature of the sections see the “General Introduction”, here.)

Abbreviations: Ar. = Aristotle, AQ= Aquinas, NE = Nicomachean Ethics, EE= Eudemian Ethics

NICOMACHEAN ETHICS

BOOK I

CHAPTER SEVEN

Let us go back again to the good being sought, whatever it might be. For it appears to be one thing in one action or art, another in another: it is different in medicine and in generalship, and so on with the rest. What, then, is the good in each of these? Or is it for the sake of which everything is done? In medicine, this is health; in generalship, victory; in house building, a house; and in another, it would be something else. But in every action and choice, it is the end involved, since it is for the sake of this that all people do everything else. As a result, if there is some end of all actions, this would be the good related to action; and if there are several, then it would be these. So as the argument proceeds, it arrives at the same point. But one ought to make this clearer still.

Since the end appears to be several, and some of these we choose on account of something else –for example, wealth, an autos, and the instrumental things generally– it is clear that not all ends are complete, but what is the best appears to be something complete. As a result, if there is some one thing that is complete in itself, this would be what is being sought, and if there are several, then the most complete of these. We say that what is sought for itself is more complete than what is sought out on account of something else, and that what is never chosen on account of something else is more complete than those things chosen both for themselves and on account of this [further end]. The simply complete thing, then, is that which is always chosen for itself and never on account of something else.

Happiness above all seems to be of this character,  for we always choose it on account of itself and never on account of something else. Yet honor, pleasure, intellect and every virtue we choose on their own account —for even if nothing resulted from them, we would choose each of them —- but we choose them also for the sake of happiness, because we suppose that, through them, we will be happy. But nobody chooses happiness for the sake of these things or, more generally, on account of anything else.

The same thing appears to result also on the basis of self-sufficiency, for the complete good is held to be self-sufficient. We do not mean by self-sufficient what suffices for someone by himself, living a solitary life, but what is sufficient also with respect to parents, offspring, a wife, and, in general, one´s friends and fellow citizens, since by nature a human being is political. But it is necessary to grasp a certain limit to these; for if one extends these to include the parents [of parents], and descendants, and the friends of friends, it will go in infinitely. But this must be examined further later on. As for the self-sufficient, we posit it as that which by itself makes life choiceworthy and in need of nothing, and such is what we suppose happiness to be.

Further, happiness is the most choiceworthy of all things because it is not just one among them —and it is clear that, were it included as one among many things, it would be more choiceworthy with the least addition of the good things; for the good that is added to it results in a superabundance of goods, and the greater number of goods is always more choiceworthy. So happiness appears to be something complete and self-sufficient, it being an end of our actions.

But perhaps saying that “happiness is best” is something manifestly agreed on, whereas what it is still needs to be said more distinctly. Now, perhaps this would come to pass if the work of the human being should be grasped. For just as in the case of the aulos player, sculptor and every expert, and in general with those who have a certain work and action, the relevant good and the doings of something well seem to reside in the work, so too the same might be held to be the case with a human being, if in fact there is a certain work that is a human being’s. Are there, then, certain works and actions of a carpenter but none of a human being: would he, by contrast, be naturally “without a work”? Or just as there appears to be a certain work of the eye, hand and foot, and in fact of each of these parts in general, so also might one posit a certain work of a human being apart from all of these?

So whatever, then, would this work be? For living appears to be something common even to plants, but what is peculiar to human beings is being sought. One must set aside, then, the life characterized by nutrition as well as growth. A certain life characterized by sense perception would be next, but it too appears to be common to a horse and cow and in fact to every animal. So there remains a certain active life of that which possesses reason, and what possess reason includes what is obedience to reason, on the one hand, and what possess it and thinks, on the other. But since this [life of reason in the second sense] also is spoken of in a twofold way, one must posit the life [of that which possess reason] in accord with an activity, for this seems to be its more authoritative meaning. And if the work of a human being is an activity of the soul in accord with reason, or not without reason, and we assert that the work of a given person is the same kind as that of a serious person, just as it would be in the case of a cithara player and a serious cithara player, and this would be so in a all cases simply when the superiority in accord with virtue is added to the work; for it belongs to a cithara player to play the cithara, but to a serious one to do so well. But if this is so —and we posit the work of a human being as a certain life, and this is an activity of the soul and actions accompanied by reason, the work of a serious man being to do these things well and nobly, and each thing is brought to completion well in accord with he virtue proper to it —if this is so, then the human good becomes an activity of the soul in accord with virtue, and if there are several virtues, then in accord with the best and most complete.

But, in addition, in a complete life. For one swallow does not make a spring, nor does on day. And in this way, one day or a short time does not make someone blessed and happy either.

Let the good have been sketched in this way, then, for perhaps one ought to outline it first and then fill it in later. It might seem to belong to everyone to advance and fully articulate things whose sketch is in a noble condition, and time is a good discoverer of or contributor to such things: from these have arisen the advances in the arts too, for it belongs to everyone to add what is lacking.

But we must remember the points mentioned previously as well, to the effect that one must not seek out precision in all matters alike but rather in each thing in turn as accords with the subject matter in question and insofar as is appropriate to the inquiry. For both carpenter and geometer seek out the right angle but in different ways; the former seeks it insofar as it is useful to his work; the latter seeks out what it is or what sort of a thing it is, for he is one who contemplates the truth. One ought to act in the same manner also in other cases to have nobly pointed out the “that” —such is the case in what concerns the principles— and the “that” is the first thing and a principle. Some principles are observed by means of induction, some by perception, some by a certain habituation, and other in other ways. One ought not to go in search of each in turn in the manner natural to them and to be serious about their being nobly defined. For they are of great weight in what follows from them: the beginning seem to be more than half the whole, and many of the points being sought seem to become manifest on account of it. ” (NE, 1097a15-1098b8; Aristotle´s Nicomachean Ethics, Bartlett, Robert, and Collins, Susan; University of Chicago, Chicago, 2011)

I. PRIVATE PUZZLES

1) Why does one have the feeling in this subsection that Ar. can FINALLY get into the real argument itself? Aren’t the digressions sort of the “hard work” prior to actually engaging in the much more rewarding, even joyful process itself? However, generally speaking, what is the point of an argument that is so strikingly formal in nature? For, aren’t we continuously speaking of happiness WITHOUT actually knowing what Ar. understands by it concretely? How are we to “fill in” this initial formalism; as Ar. himself acknowledges: “But perhaps saying that “happiness is best” is something manifestly agreed on, whereas what it is still needs to be said more distinctly”? Presumably when we finish READING the whole of the NE we will be much better prepared to fill it out? As a matter of fact, Ar. points out that ANYONE can fill it out? Isn’t this another example of clear Aristotelian humor? But then, wouldn’t this filling out suffer immensely if one simply SKIPPED parts of the text, as is generally the case with Books III (end) and IV on the moral virtues (seen as a simple apologetics of Greek virtues by a “duped” Aristotle)? And, generally, as well, why does Ar. once again REMIND us of methodological issues at the end of this subsection, and more perplexing still, now NOT calling them a digression? But most importantly, didn’t we already say that the end which hierarchically orders all others, IS that of THE political art? But then why does Ar. have us repeat: “But in every action and choice, it is the end involved, since it is for the sake of this that all people do everything else.”? Didn’t we already agree that it was the political art in subsection 3? But if so, why proceed in ways which, at the very least, seriously modify this initial political assumption? Isn’t this why Ar. says that this is a KIND of political inquiry? And further, how exactly are we going to square the public political art and the issue of individual human happiness? Will this question simply be relegated, rather, to the very end of BOOK VIII of the Politics, which ironically deals with a complex discussion of the ideal regime (almost in Platonic terms!)? Nonetheless, doesn’t Ar. want to KEEP quite distinct the investigation into the political and the investigation into the ethical? Isn’t his why he wrote SEPARATE books on these issues?  But, if the general movement is towards a demonstration of the limits of the political life, then: why does Ar. repeat once again here, that in terms of self-sufficiency we must not forget that we are NOT speaking of a solitary human, but rather —and the list is impressive— “what is sufficient also with respect to parents, offspring, a wife, and, in general, one´s friends and fellow citizens, since by nature a human being is political” (repeating for us here the famous preliminary claim found in the Politics? However, how does one KNOW that this is so BY NATURE? Didn’t Ar., just a few subsections before, say that the legal appears to be by nomos, rather than by physis? Does he think he need not back up argumentatively this assertion? But isn´t this what philosophy is all about? And further, don’t modern early political theorists REALLY think Ar.  does in fact  need some such backing up? Isn’t this why they BEGIN their political analysis from a radically different starting point, namely, that of the Social Contract? Isn’t THIS the debate which characterizes the American Founding, or more generally the confrontation between Ancient and Modern liberalism/republicanism? Moreover, wouldn’t this be THE key to our misunderstanding Aristotle as moderns? But be this as it may, if Ar. is in fact putting forth a realm beyond the political, how will it come to appear as we proceed along in the argument? And if so, how can one reveal the limits of the political, while simultaneously not destabilizing it? For, isn’t the destabilization of the political THE core point of the previous Aristotelian procedural digressions? And yet, isn’t Ar. pointing towards the possibility that there may appear a tension between the life of personal fulfillment, and the life of the political, of recognition, and of the adamant concern for justice and the power of law? Isn’t this why, in the discussion of friendship in BOOKS VIII and IX, Ar. will point out that the best of true friends do not require justice? Won’t this show up clearly also in the tension between the two peaks of the NE, namely that of the Magnanimous human (megalophuchos) and that of all the virtues covered under justice as akin to the North Star? And besides, surely we know too that Plato never married, and we need only read Xenophon´s humorous Symposium  to hear about Socrates´s ideas regarding “a wife and offspring”, don´t we? (not to mention the discussion of Ischomachus´s wife in the Economics!) Put another way, what finally is the human work (“ergon”) principally about: i) the fulfillment of individual happiness, the city being but a stage for THAT personal fulfillment, or ii) rather, understanding oneself fundamentally as part of a larger whole to which one owes a duty of self-sacrifice (be it the city, or perhaps even beyond, as part of the whole cosmic/divine order)? As assassinated (which is revealing in itself) President Kennedy famously put it; “Ask not, what your country can do for you. Ask what, you can do for your country.”?But, if ——as Ar. has argued—— law seems to be by nomos and not by physis, then how is one to critically see oneself as part of a regime that may turn out badly? How exactly will we differentiate between the good citizen and the good human? And to conclude, why does Ar. waiver back and forth, as we have seen, between these two possibilities? Is he allowing us to think for ourselves the implications either way?

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COMMENTARY ON ARISTOTLE’S NICOMACHEAN ETHICS: BOOK I, 3

(For the nature of the sections see the “General Introduction”, here.)

Abbreviations: Ar. = Aristotle, AQ= Aquinas, NE = Nicomachean Ethics, EE= Eudemian Ethics

NICOMACHEAN ETHICS

BOOK I

CHAPTER THREE

The inquiry would be adequately made if it should attain the clarity that accords with the subject matter. For one should not seek out precision in all arguments alike, just as one should not do so in the products of craftsmanship either. The noble things and the just things, which the political art examines, admit of much dispute and variability, such that they are held to exist by law alone and not by nature. And even the good things admit of some such variability on account of the harm that befalls many people as a result of them: it has happened that some have been destroyed on account of their wealth, others on account of their courage.

It would certainly be desirable enough, then, if one who speaks about and on the basis of such things demonstrates the truth roughly and in outline, and if, in speaking about and on the basis of the things that are for the most part so, one draws conclusions of that sort as well. Indeed, in the same manner one must also accept each of the points being made. For it belongs to an educated person to seek out precision in each genus to the extent that the nature of the matter allows: to accept persuasive speech from a skilled mathematician appears comparable to demanding demonstrations from a skilled rhetorician. Each person judges nobly the things he knows, and of these he is the judge. He is a good judge of a particular thing, therefore if he has been educated with a view to it, but is a good judge simply if he has been educated about everything. Hence of the political art, a young person is not an appropriate student, for he is inexperienced in the actions pertaining to life, and the arguments are based on these actions and concern them.

Further, because he is disposed to follow the passions, he will listen pointlessly and unprofitably, since the involved end is not knowledge, but action. And it makes no difference at all whether he is young in age or immature in character: the deficiency is not related to time but instead arises on account of living in accord with passion and pursing each passion in turn. For to people of that sort, just as to those lacking self-restraint, knowledge is without benefit. But to those who fashion their longings in accord with reason and act accordingly, knowing about these things would be of great profit.

About the student, and how one ought to accept [what is being said], and what it is that we propose, let these things stand as a prelude.” (NE, 1094b12-1095a13; Aristotle´s Nicomachean Ethics, Bartlett, Robert, and Collins, Susan; University of Chicago, Chicago, 2011)

I. PRIVATE PUZZLES

1) Why does Ar. consider it necessary to proceed with his argument by digressing from the main idea of the architectonic good? He surely does not think this is necessary in the EE, does he? Is it because the EE requires a correction born out of Aristotle’s own maturation? Did Ar. apply the very words of this Subsection 3 of the NE to HIMSELF at some point in his life? And why is it that, in comparison, other ethical writers (specially, Kant), as well as other “ethical” books (specially, The Bible) do not see the need to proceed this way? Why does Aristotelianism REQUIRE this beginning? Is it because of ITS particular audience so that getting the audience RIGHT is half the task? Is it because of the central role of rhetoric we spoke of in our earlier commentaries?

2) Moreover, what to make of the craftsmanship example as an analogy for the kind of inquiry Ar. prepares us for? For instance, what does it mean that two craftsmen, 2 shoemakers for instance, make different shoes in terms of their “precision”? In other words, if one of the craftsmen´s product is “more precise” (presumably better), then why should we accept the lesser one’s products? Indeed, why should we accept an ethics on a “lesser” quality, so to speak, IF the craftsmanship analogy holds? In other words, how imprecise is imprecise? Why wouldn’t we seek the BEST inquirer as well? And isn´t that precisely the challenge Ar. gives himself, namely to provide THE model for ethical inquiry to be followed for all times while remaining as close as possible to the nature of its subject matter? Or put in another, much more problematic, way: if the analogy is to hold, who is the “craftsman”/”craftswoman” of souls? And who, FIRST crafted his/her soul to be such?

3) And isn´t this of crucial relevance with regards to what Ar. goes on to argue? Isn’t he saying that the lack of precision is DUE TO a certain relativism as regards the just and the noble, AND a certain relativism with regard to the goods themselves? But then how are we not to despair in terms of reaching the target Ar. has told us at the beginning will lead us beyond a pointless longing? How are we then not to fall into an eternal emptiness of dissatisfaction? Isn´t this the very critique by the early moderns (Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, The Federalists) to all classical republicanism and its defenders? Wouldn’t these early modern critiques argue: better not have some, even many, satisfaction(s) than aim too high and lose all human attempts at satisfaction? Will we get some of the answers, or perhaps THE answer as we read along the NE?

4) But much more importantly, what to do about the sudden and surprising reference to the crucial relation mentioned between nomos (law, custom) and physis (what is by nature) as regards the noble and the just things? If nomos is HELD TO BE variable —– for the just and the noble appear to change from one political society to another (so that Quebec’s law 101 would be considered unjust in other provinces in Canada, and Colombia’s obligatory military service would be seen as a encroachment upon individual rights in other countries)—– then how are we to guide our ethical and political lives beyond this relativity? Will it turn out that the NE will provide us with clear guidelines that refer to universal transhistorical physis? And if indeed the NE, in its discussion of natural justice in BOOK V can in fact come up with such practical/theoretical guidelines, how are we moderns —born out of a minimization of the good and of a historical relativization of the good— to actually see or make such guidelines part of OUR very own variable notions of nomos? Or put another way, does natural justice actually exist? And we moderns, born out of the discovery of history, can WE ever hear it? But if not, then are all political societies relative and consequently a hierarchical ordering between them an impossibility? Wouldn´t this run counter to Ar.´s belief that there does exist AN overarching good which allows for a careful yet clear judging amongst societal models? Or rather, should we try to grab hold on to the modern independence of states and the non-interference premise found in international affairs? But then, how does one explain THE FACT that we DO interfere? Is it because the “interveners” have read the NE?And very importantly, if the noble and the just are of the essence, why is it that Ar. will FIRST look at the moral virtues and take up the question of justice solely until BOOK V? Could it be that he is trying to see the moral virtues on their own terms, seeing whether the moral virtues sought for their own sake actually fit the bill of the argument he puts forth in outline from the start?

5) Besides, how are we to understand the example of certain goods as being harmful? Why didn’t Ar. mention this back in subsection 1, making US think of these problems in our very own puzzles; for instance, that war can be quite problematic? Is it because of the rhetorical premisses of the argument? But if so, can rhetoric then not be truly optimistic, but and in the political arena specially, truly endangering? Isn´t this why the good of peace Chamberlain sought, was merely an apparent good, though rhetorically it had a powerful appeal? For, who does not wish for peace? Wouldn’t “Machiavelli” argue something like this? But really how could a good harm one if it is good? Is it because the GOOD is not good always, or rather is it because the good in question IS good but WE are ignorant of its use? Or put another way, how could riches harm one? Is it, as Aquinas tells us, because the rich person can be robbed? But, why doesn’t Ar. say this? Why doesn’t he spell it out in the terms AQ. uses? Or is Ar. getting at something altogether different? Can riches damage YOU independently of being robbed? Can riches damage you because you are unprepared for riches? Isn’t this why Montesquieu defends Sumptuary Laws? For truly our Colombian drug-dealers are rich, aren’t they? And it would be odd to think that they, surrounded by protection, would be actually robbed? Isn´t there a greater chance of MY getting robbed? And if this is problematic, what to say about our commercially oriented modern societies which arise precisely as a CHALLENGE to Aristotelianism (see particularly Montesquieu and Locke)? And, furthermore, what to make of the example of courage? Why does Ar. here CHOOSE this example of a moral virtue and no other? First off, isn’t it the case that all societies ask of the individual not a variable/changeable thing but on the contrary the very SAME thing, namely , to be prepared to DIE for his/her society (be it democratic, theocratic, aristocratic …) if it is actually threatened by a foreign invader (one can recall the images of Stalingrad or read The Red Badge of Courage)? And what exactly is the good of courage? Is courage in fact a VIRTUE, can it be a virtue seen on its own? That is to say, how are we to understand courage independently of its being conceived as a CIVIC virtue, that is to say as focused on the common good? Isn’t Ar. preparing us for the dilemmas involving courage as the first moral virtue to be considered in BOOK III?

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COMMENTARY ON ARISTOTLE’S NICOMACHEAN ETHICS: BOOK I, 2

(For the nature of the sections see the “General Introduction”, here.)

Abbreviations: Ar. = Aristotle, AQ= Aquinas, NE = Nicomachean Ethics, EE= Eudemian Ethics

NICOMACHEAN ETHICS

BOOK I

CHAPTER TWO

If, therefore, there is some end of our actions that we wish for on account of itself, the rest being things we wish for on account of this end, and if we do not choose all things on account of something else —for in this way the process will go on infinitely such that the longing involved is empty and pointless — clearly this would be the good, that is, the best. And with a view to our life, then, is not the knowledge of this good of great weight, and would we not, like archers in possession of a target, better hit on what is needed? If this is so, then one must try to grasp, in outline at least, whatever it is and to which of the sciences or capacities it belongs.

But it might be held to belong to the most authoritative and most architectonic one, and such appears to be the political art. For it ordains what sciences there must be in cites and what kinds each person in turn must learn and to what point. We also see that even the most honoured capacities —-for example, generalship, household management, rhetoric—- fall under the political art. Because it makes us of the remaining sciences and, further, because it legislates what one ought to do and what to abstain from, its end would encompass those of the others, with the result that this would be the human good. For even if this is the same thing for an individual and a city, to secure and preserve the good of the city appears to be something greater and more complete: the good of the individual by himself is certainly desirable enough, but that of the nation and of cities is nobler and more divine.

The inquiry, then, aims at these things, since it is a sort of political inquiry. ” (NE, 1094a18-1094b11; Aristotle´s Nicomachean Ethics, Bartlett, Robert, and Collins, Susan; University of Chicago, Chicago, 2011)

I. PRIVATE PUZZLES

1) Why does Ar. begin once again with a conditional if-sentence? Is HE unsure of himself? Or rather, does he wish to make US open to the possibilities? Does he wish to allow us to think for ourselves? And, why exactly does he offer two —and only two— choices? Why does he present us with an either/or predicament? Why is it EITHER a Summum bonum OR a pointless longing for the unattainable? For it is clear, isn´t it, that modern thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke and Montesquieu actually come up with a RADICALLY different strategy? Isn’t their/our modern strategy one which ALLLEGEDLY, does away with the either/or predicament? For instance, isn´t it clear that Hobbes , rather than positing a SUMMUM bonum puts forth as the basis of all political philosophy what could be called a MINIMUM bonum, namely, self-preservation/security? But if we are the heirs of such an INNOVATIVE and challenging reduction by the early moderns, HOW to even SEE the radically different and challenging nature of Ar.’s stark choice? Or put another way, has modernity really done anyway with the ALL/NOTHING dilemma posited by Aristotle? Are OUR longings, leading us ANYWHERE; are OUR ends worthy of us? For we must recall what has been said of modernity’s solution as a “joyless quest for joy”, mustn’t we? At the cost of being imprudent, wouldn’t we wish either tragedy OR happiness, rather than an obfuscating “appearance” of impoverished and spiritually barren secure living? Isn’t this exactly why Ar. promptly qualifies himself by saying that we are speaking not simple of the good, but THE BEST simply?

2) But much more radically speaking, what exactly is the longing nature of human beings ALL ABOUT? How is this longing going to play out as we move along the paths of the NE? What exactly is this Summum bonum for which we all search and which, allegedly, may bring an “end” to such needful longings? And what to do with Locke’s description of our motivation as simply being one in which NO Summum bonums appear, but rather sets of pleasures and pains we seek or avoid? But, what if this longing were to turn out to involve our longing for a certain kind of immortality, of eternity? What is the nature of such eternity, of such desire for immortality? And in this regard, isn’t it the case that, as modern, Machiavelli ALSO did NOT see the need for positing any superior or more architectonic end than that of FAME? And don’t the Federalists in the Constitutional debates to a large extent AGREE with him? (See SECTION IV below) But as we said in our previous commentaries, wouldn’t it be odd to long to be famous for the WRONG reasons?

3) And doesn’t Ar. early on tell us very clearly that this is ALL a question of the kind of life we ACTUALLY lead? But then again, how exactly are we to connect KNOWING about this good (if there is such a overarching good, and if it DOES have such weight) with actually DOING/ACTING/MAKING in our everyday lives? For couldn’t it happen that perhaps the greatest good might turn out to be of such a radically different nature that all acting, doing and making in our everyday moral concerns, might come to be cast as secondary? Or put another way, what if SOME of us, as archers, were pointing to a target we cannot even see at the start? Will engaging the NE make it visible for some of us? To whom? To which of Ar.’s DUAL audience? And, what if precisely such longing is part of the reason we fail to see? How would our longing be thus transformed? Would it even remain? Further, what is it about the example of archery that makes it attractive to Ar.’s audience? I mean, couldn’t we just substitute it for a revolver, or even a machine gun? But, isn’t archery a very demanding SKILL (so much so that it is still part of the Olympics)? Isn’t it true that just about ANYONE can fire a gun at ANY target? What is it about the TECHNOLOGICAL achievement of gunnery that DOES AWAY with the nobility of ARCHERY? And, what is it about archery that is SO different from hand-to-hand fighting skills? Are we seeking a certain distance from the actual fight?

4) And crucially connected to our previous commentary on Ethics I,1: why does Ar. ONCE AGAIN waver between saying what exactly it is that hits upon this target? Why does he say it is a science OR a capacity? Isn’t he once again making us see the highly complex relation between KNOWING and having a CAPACITY that can be activated? Is it actually a science that can activate the capacity (dunamis) and release its energy? But isn’t the ethical inquiry to proceed in OUTLINE? Which exactly is the SCIENCE of outlines? And wouldn’t it be EXTREMELY odd to think that the PRACTICAL SCIENCES are, in the end, under the MASTERY of the speculative/theoretical ones? Wouldn’t it be odd to think that one becomes good/noble/moral at the Lyceum? Or, going back to our previous commentaries, wouldn’t a certain part of Ar.’s audience —that of the serious citizens—- see this submission with radical suspicion? Isn’t this why General Laches protests so much against General Nicias in the Platonic dialogue which bears HIS name? And, isn’t Nicias’s fate –—and the defeat of Athens— in Sicily quite relevant in this regard? And to find a certain parallel in areas beyond the humanities, isn’t it clear that famous business professors such as Mintzberg actually see clearly these dilemmas when they argue that it is EXTREMELY difficult to categorize what MANAGING actually is all about? Isn’t this why they argue that MANAGING is a science and an art and a capacity and an activity and a kind of knowing? And isn’t managing a KIND of leading? Or put another way, aren’t business schools quite unaware of these Aristotelian puzzles, and likewise of the very history of the economic goods which they claim hold Ar.’s privileged position as being THE BEST?

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