Russell's mother Katharine Louisa (1844–1874) was the daughter of Edward Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley, and was the sister of Rosalind Howard, Countess of Carlisle. Kate and Rosalind's mother was one of the founders of Girton College, Cambridge. Russell's parents were radical for their times. Russell's father, Viscount Amberley, was an atheist and consented to his wife's affair with their children's tutor, the biologist Douglas Spalding. Both were early advocates of birth control at a time when this was considered scandalous. John Russell's atheism was evident when he asked the philosopher John Stuart Mill to act as Russell's secular godfather. Mill died the year after Russell's birth, but his writings had a great effect on Russell's life.
Sources of Intolerance
The intolerance that spread over the world with the advent of Christianity is one of the most curious features, due, I think, to the Jewish belief in righteousness and in the exclusive reality of the Jewish God. Why the Jews should have had these peculiarities I do not know. They seem to have developed during the captivity as a reaction against the attempt to absorb the Jews into alien populations. However that may be, the Jews, and more especially the prophets, invented emphasis upon personal righteousness and the idea that it is wicked to tolerate any religion except one. These two ideas have had an extraordinarily disastrous effect upon Occidental history. The church made much of the persecution of Christians by the Roman State before the time of Constantine. This persecution, however, was slight and intermittent and wholly political. At all times, from the age of Constantine to the end of the seventeenth century, Christians were far more fiercely persecuted by other Christians than they ever were by the Roman emperors. Before the rise of Christianity this persecuting attitude was unknown to the ancient world except among the Jews. If you read, for example, Herodotus, you find a bland and tolerant account of the habits of the foreign nations he visited. Sometimes, it is true, a peculiarly barbarous custom may shock him, but in general he is hospitable to foreign gods and foreign customs. He is not anxious to prove that people who call Zeus by some other name will suffer eternal punishment and ought to be put to death in order that their punishment may begin as soon as possible. This attitude has been reserved for Christians. It is true that the modern Christian is less robust, but that is not thanks to Christianity; it is thanks to the generations of freethinkers, who from the Renaissance to the present day, have made Christians ashamed of many of their traditional beliefs. It is amusing to hear the modern Christian telling you how mild and rationalistic Christianity really is and ignoring the fact that all its mildness and rationalism is due to the teaching of men who in their own day were persecuted by all orthodox Christians. Nobody nowadays believes that the world was created in 4004 b.c.; but not so very long ago skepticism on this point was thought an abominable crime. My great-great-grandfather, after observing the depth of the lava on the slopes of Etna, came to the conclusion that the world must be older than the orthodox supposed and published this opinion in a book. For this offense he was cut by the county and ostracized from society. Had he been a man in humbler circumstances, his punishment would doubtless have been more severe. It is no credit to the orthodox that they do not now believe all the absurdities that were believed 150 years ago. The gradual emasculation of the Christian doctrine has been effected in spite of the most vigorous resistance, and solely as the result of the onslaughts of freethinkers.
The Doctrine of Free Will
The attitude of the Christians on the subject of natural law has been curiously vacillating and uncertain. There was, on the one hand, the doctrine of free will, in which the great majority of Christians believed; and this doctrine required that the acts of human beings at least should not be subject to natural law. There was, on the other hand, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a belief in God as the Lawgiver and in natural law as one of the main evidences of the existence of a Creator. In recent times the objection to the reign of law in the interests of free will has begun to be felt more strongly than the belief in natural law as affording evidence for a Lawgiver. Materialists used the laws of physics to show, or attempt to show, that the movements of human bodies are mechanically determined, and that consequently everything that we say and every change of position that we effect fall outside the sphere of any possible free will. If this be so, whatever may be left for our unfettered volitions is of little value. If, when a man writes a poem or commits a murder, the bodily movements involved in his act result solely from physical causes, it would seem absurd to put up a statue to him in the one case and to hang him in the other. There might in certain metaphysical systems remain a region of pure thought in which the will would be free; but, since that can be communicated to others only by means of bodily movement, the realm of freedom would be one that could never be the subject of communication and could never have any social importance.
Then, again, evolution has had a considerable influence upon those Christians who have accepted it. They have seen that it will not do to make claims on behalf of man which are totally different from those which are made on behalf of other forms of life. Therefore, in order to safeguard free will in man, they have objected to every attempt at explaining the behaviour of living matter in terms of physical and chemical laws. The position of Descartes, to the effect that all lower animals are automata, no longer finds favor with liberal theologians. The doctrine of continuity makes them inclined to go a step further still and maintain that even what is called dead matter is not rigidly governed in its behaviour by unalterable laws. They seem to have overlooked the fact that, if you abolish the reign of law, you also abolish the possibility of miracles, since miracles are acts of God which contravene the laws governing ordinary phenomena. I can, however, imagine the modern liberal theologian maintaining with an air of profundity that all creation is miraculous, so that he no longer needs to fasten upon certain occurrences as special evidence of Divine intervention.
Under the influence of this reaction against natural law, some Christian apologists have seized upon the latest doctrines of the atom, which tend to show that the physical laws in which we have hitherto believed have only an approximate and average truth as applied to large numbers of atoms, while the individual electron behaves pretty much as it likes. My own belief is that this is a temporary phase, and that the physicists will in time discover laws governing minute phenomena, although these laws may differ considerably from those of traditional physics. However that may be, it is worth while to observe that the modern doctrines as to minute phenomena have no bearing upon anything that is of practical importance. Visible motions, and indeed all motions that make any difference to anybody, involve such large numbers of atoms that they come well within the scope of the old laws. To write a poem or commit a murder (reverting to our previous illustration), it is necessary to move an appreciable mass of ink or lead. The electrons composing the ink may be dancing freely around their little ballroom, but the ballroom as a whole is moving according to the old laws of physics, and this alone is what concerns the poet and his publisher. The modern doctrines, therefore, have no appreciable bearing upon any of those problems of human interest with which the theologian is concerned.
The free-will question consequently remains just where it was. Whatever may be thought about it as a matter of ultimate metaphysics, it is quite clear that nobody believes it in practice. Everyone has always believed that it is possible to train character; everyone has always known that alcohol or opium will have a certain effect on behaviour. The apostle of free will maintains that a man can by will power avoid getting drunk, but he does not maintain that when drunk a man can say "British Constitution" as clearly as if he were sober. And everybody who has ever had to do with children knows that a suitable diet does more to make them virtuous than the most eloquent preaching in the world. The one effect that the free-will doctrine has in practice is to prevent people from following out such common-sense knowledge to its rational conclusion. When a man acts in ways that annoy us we wish to think him wicked, and we refuse to face the fact that his annoying behaviour is a result of antecedent causes which, if you follow them long enough, will take you beyond the moment of his birth and therefore to events for which he cannot be held responsible by any stretch of imagination.
No man treats a motorcar as foolishly as he treats another human being. When the car will not go, he does not attribute its annoying behaviour to sin; he does not say, "You are a wicked motorcar, and I shall not give you any more petrol until you go." He attempts to find out what is wrong and to set it right. An analogous way of treating human beings is, however, considered to be contrary to the truths of our holy religion. And this applies even in the treatment of little children. Many children have bad habits which are perpetuated by punishment but will probably pass away of themselves if left unnoticed. Nevertheless, nurses, with very few exceptions, consider it right to inflict punishment, although by so doing they run the risk of causing insanity. When insanity has been caused it is cited in courts of law as a proof of the harmfulness of the habit, not of the punishment. (I am alluding to a recent prosecution for obscenity in the State of New York.)
Reforms in education have come very largely through the study of the insane and feeble-minded, because they have not been held morally responsible for their failures and have therefore been treated more scientifically than normal children. Until very recently it was held that, if a boy could not learn his lesson, the proper cure was caning or flogging. This view is nearly extinct in the treatment of children, but it survives in the criminal law. It is evident that a man with a propensity to crime must be stopped, but so must a man who has hydrophobia and wants to bite people, although nobody considers him morally responsible. A man who is suffering from plague has to be imprisoned until he is cured, although nobody thinks him wicked. The same thing should be done with a man who suffers from a propensity to commit forgery; but there should be no more idea of guilt in the one case than in the other. And this is only common sense, though it is a form of common sense to which Christian ethics and metaphysics are opposed.
To judge of the moral influence of any institution upon a community, we have to consider the kind of impulse which is embodied in the institution and the degree to which the institution increases the efficacy of the impulse in that community. Sometimes the impulse concerned is quite obvious, sometimes it is more hidden. An Alpine club, for example, obviously embodies the impulse to adventure, and a learned society embodies the impulse toward knowledge. The family as an institution embodies jealousy and parental feeling; a football club or a political party embodies the impulse toward competitive play; but the two greatest social institutions -- namely, the church and the state -- are more complex in their psychological motivation. The primary purpose of the state is clearly security against both internal criminals and external enemies. It is rooted in the tendency of children to huddle together when they are frightened and to look for a grown-up person who will give them a sense of security. The church has more complex origins. Undoubtedly the most important source of religion is fear; this can be seen in the present day, since anything that causes alarm is apt to turn people's thoughts to God. Battle, pestilence, and shipwreck all tend to make people religious. Religion has, however, other appeals besides that of terror; it appeals specifically to our human self-esteem. If Christianity is true, mankind are not such pitiful worms as they seem to be; they are of interest to the Creator of the universe, who takes the trouble to be pleased with them when they behave well and displeased when they behave badly. This is a great compliment. We should not think of studying an ants' nest to find out which of the ants performed their formicular duty, and we should certainly not think of picking out those individual ants who were remiss and putting them into a bonfire. If God does this for us, it is a compliment to our importance; and it is even a pleasanter compliment if he awards to the good among us everlasting happiness in heaven. Then there is the comparitively modern idea that cosmic evolution is all designed to bring about the sort of results which we call good -- that is to say, the sort of results that give us pleasure. Here again it is flattering to suppose that the universe is controlled by a Being who shares our tastes and prejudices.
Daca un mare scriitor rus spunea candva „omul, ce mandru suna acest cuvant”, sa ne aducem aminte ca latinii aveau o vorba la fel de adevarata: homo homini lupus. Si din pacate, mult prea adesea, in decursul secolelor, omul a fost lup pentru semenii sai, comportandu-se fata de acestia cu o cruzime demna mai curand de fiarele salbatice. Mai grav e faptul ca, pe langa violenta dovedita in razboaie, cand oamenii s-au ucis unii pe altii luptand de la egal la egal, agresivitatea umana s-a manifestat si fata de persoane lipsite de aparare. Despre cateva dintre cele mai faimoase masacre ale istoriei va invitam sa cititi in randurile ce urmeaza.
Masacrul de la Thessaloniki
Una dintre actiunile represive intreprinse de imparatul roman Teodosie I, la 390, i-a vizat pe locuitorii orasului grecesc Thessaloniki, rasculati impotriva sa. Motivul revoltei? Porunca imparatului ca un popular conducator de care, la spectacolele de circ, sa fie arestat, fiindca avusese o idila cu o slujnica de la Palat. Vizitiul a fost arestat dar „fanii” sai s-au razvratit, cerand eliberarea lui. Multi dintre rasculati au fost prinsi si adusi in hipodromul orasului unde trupele gotice din serviciul lui Teodosie i-au masacrat – numarul victimelor fiind estimat la 7000 de oameni.
Masacrul de la Granada
Pe 30 decembrie 1066, o multime furioasa de musulmani a luat cu asalt palatul regal din Granada, aflata atunci sub stapanire maura, si l-au asasinat pe vizirul evreu Iosef ibn Naghrela, declansand apoi un pogrom crancen impotriva populatiei iudaice din oras. Potrivit cronicarului arab Abu Ishaq, peste 4000 de evrei au fost ucisi intr-o singura zi.
Masacrul din ziua Sf. Bartolomeu
Apogeul conflictelor religioase dintre catolicii si protestantii (hughenoti) din Franta secolului XVI, masacrul din ziua Sf. Bartolomeu a fost, se pare, instigat de catre Caterina de Medici, mama tanarului rege Carol IX, la sase zile de la nunta sorei acestuia cu protestantul Henric de Navarra. Cu acest prilej, cei mai renumiti lideri catolici au venit la Paris, capitala catolicismului si vicleana regina-mama a vazut in acest fapt un excelent prilej pentru a lichida partida adversarilor religiosi. Dupa o tentativa de asasinare a liderului militar protestant Gaspard de Coligny, pe 24 august 1572 s-a dat semnalul inceperii masacrului. In Paris au fost ucisi peste 2000 de hughenoti, mai ales capeteniile partidei, alti 3000 de protestanti fiind omorati, in zilele ce au urmat, in intreaga Franta.
Masacrul armatei lui Elphinstone
Akbar Khan a fost unul dintre cei mai temerari luptatori afgani de gherila, in razboiul contra britanicilor, desfasurat la mjlocul secolului XIX. Dupa ce trupele britanice si indiene au cucerit capitala Afganistanului, in ianuarie 1842, o revolta a patriotilor autohtoni a alungat garnizoana lasata de englezi, constand in 4500 soldati britanici si 12.000 auxiliari indieni. Acestia au incercat sa ajunga la garnizoana britanica din Jalalabad, situata la circa 160 km distanta, dar partizanii afgani i-au hartuit neincetat, ultimele ramasite ale armatei conduse de generalul Elphinstone fiind anihilate langa Gandamak. Un singur om, chirurgul William Brydon, a reusit sa scape cu viata si sa ajunga la Jalalabad.
Masacrul de la Batak
Lupta poporului bulgar pentru eliberarea de sub jugul otoman, la sfarsitul secolului XIX, a fost eroica dar si sangeroasa. Unul dintre cele mai intunecate episoade ale sale l-a constituit masacrul de la Batak. Pe 30 aprilie 1876, 8000 de soldati turci, sub conducerea lui Ahmet Aga Barun, au inconjurat orasul, ocupat de insurgentii bulgari. Dupa primul asalt, net inferior numeric si logistic, acestia au cerut sa negocieze capitularea. Ahmet Aga a fost de acord si a jurat sa isi retraga trupele daca rasculatii vor renunta la arme. Dupa ce rebelii au fost dezarmati, perfidul comandant turc a dat ordin detasamentelor de basbuzuci sa ia cu asalt orasul. Aproape 5000 de locuitori au fost ucisi, majoritatea fiind decapitati.
Masacrul de la Katyn
La 5 martie 1940, intr-o padure situata in apropierea localitatii Katyn a fost comis un teribil genocid, circa 22.000 de oamenii fiind ucisi si aruncati in gropi comune de catre soldatii Armatei Rosii. 8000 dintre victime au fost ofiteri ai armatei poloneze luati prizonieri in timpul invadarii Poloniei de catre rusi iar restul au fost arestati sub acuzatia ca ar fi fost „membri ai agenturilor de spionaj straine, jandarmi, spioni, sabotori, mosieri, patroni, avocati sau preoti” si ca ar fi propaganda contra sovieticilor.
Masacrul de la Bai Yar
Bai Yar este o rapa situata nu departe de Kiev, capitala Ucrainei. Aici, in decurs de doar doua zile, pe 29 si 30 septembrie 1941, echipe ale SS, alaturi de colaborationisti locali si politisti ucrainieni au executat sumar 33.771 de evrei civili. Acesta este considerat unul dintre cele mai mari masacre din istoria Holocaustului.
Masacrurile comise de NKVD
In cursul retragerii rapide a Armatei Rosii din fata trupelor naziste, in vara anului 1941, membri NKVD au comis o serie intreaga de executii in masa asupra prizonierilor in Polonia, Tarile Baltice si acele regiuni din URSS pe care sovieticii le lasau in mana invadatorilor. Cifra totala a mortilor este estimata de istoricii rusi post-sovietici, potrivit datelor din arhive, la peste 100.000, dintre care 10.000 numai in partea vestica a Ucrainei.
Masacrul de la Nanjing
Cunoscut si sub denumirea de „ororile de la Nanjing”, episodul se refera la groaznicele crime de razboi comise de invadatorii japonezi dupa cucerirea orasului Nanjing, pe atunci capitala a Chinei, la 13 decembrie 1937. Intr-un interval de sase saptamani, armata imperiala nipona s-a dedat la fapte terifiante, la crime, violuri, incendieri, jafuri, asupra prizonierilor de razboi si civililor. Desi executile au debutat sub pretextul eliminarii soldatilor chinezi deghizati in civili, un mare numar de persoane nevinovate au fost intentionat ucise, multe dintre ele fiind mai intai torturate sau violate. Potrivit informatiilor adunate de Tribunalul Militar International pentru Orientul Extrem, intrunit dupa razboi, aproape 200.000 chinezi ar fi fost ucisi, fiind identificate, in gropi comune, ramasitele pamantesti a mai bine de trei sferturi dintre ei.
Masacrul de la Srebenica
Unul dintre cele mai socante episoade ale istoriei contemporane s-a produs in iulie 1995, in localitatea bosniaca Srebenica. Circa 8000 de barbati si copii musulmani au fost impuscati de catre unitati ale Armatei Republicii Srpska (VRS), sub comanda generalului Ratko Mladici, la masacru participand si membri ai unitatilor paramilitare din Serbia, cunoscute sub denumirea de „Scorpionii”. Pana acum, circa 5600 de victime ale genocidului au fost identificate, gratie analizei ADN. Inainte de declansarea acestui genocid, Natiunile Unite declarasera Srebenica „zona sigura”, protejata de ONU, dar nu a facut nimic pentru a impiedica masacrul, desi circa 400 de militari olandezi din trupele de mentinere a pacii se aflau in regiune.
Si parlano l’uno su un cellulare panamense, l’altro con una scheda wind intestata a tale Ceron Caceres, cittadino peruviano. L’uno e l’altro sonoValter Lavitola e Silvio Berlusconi. Entrambe le schede sono un’idea del direttoredell’Avanti, che poche settimane prima ha consegnato a Palazzo Grazioli le sim card e i telefoni che poi il premier userà con lui. “Tra qualche mese me ne vado …vado via da questo paese di merda…di cui…sono nauseato…punto e basta…”. Comincia così lo sfogo del presidente del Consiglio,Silvio Berlusconi, in una conversazione intercettata la sera del13 luglioscorso.
Secondo il gip di Napoli – che ha dispostol’arresto dello stesso Lavitola, diGiampaolo Tarantini e della moglie per estorsione a Berlusconi– la conversazione in questione è “rilevante” in quanto attesta la “speciale vicinanza” tra il premier e Lavitola e la “natura dei rapporti” tra i due, “rivelandosi Lavitola impegnato sostanzialmente quale attivo e riservato ‘informatore’ su vicende giudiziarie che, benché riguardanti terzi, appaiono di specifico e rilevante interesse dello stesso Berlusconi”.
Viene quindi riportato il contenuto della conversazione nella quale, scrive il gip, “al di là del merito delle considerazioni che provengono dal Lavitola, è soprattutto di procedimenti giudiziari che egli discorre, riferendosi in particolare a quello condotto qui a Napoli sulla cosiddetta ‘P4′ nonché ad altri potenziali procedimenti riguardanti fatti accaduti a Bari e di cui il Lavitola sembra avere notizie”.
E’ Berlusconi a contattare Lavitola sull’utenza panamense di quest’ultimo alle ore23 e 14 del 13 lugliofacendosi introdurre da un taleAlfredo. La telefonata dura più di13 minuti, durante i quali si parla di vari argomenti, in particolare di vicende giudiziarie..
”Anche di questo – sostiene un Berlusconi che sembra essere molto consapevole che la telefonata sia intercettata – non me ne può importare di meno… perché io …sono così trasparente..così pulito nelle mie cose..che non c’è nulla che mi possa dare fastidio..capito?..io sono uno..che non fa niente che possa essere assunto come notizia di reato…quindi..io sono assolutamente tranquillo…a me possono dire che scopo..è l’unica cosa che possono dire di me…è chiaro?..quindi io..mi mettono le spie dove vogliono..mi controllano le telefonate..non me ne fotte niente…io..tra qualche mese me ne vado per i cazzi miei…da un’altra parte e quindi…vado via da questo paese di merda…di cui…sono nauseato…punto e basta…”.
Bertrand Russell was born on 18 May 1872 at Ravenscroft, Trellech, Monmouthshire, Wales, into an influential and liberal family of the British aristocracy. His paternal grandfather, John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, was the third son of John Russell, 6th Duke of Bedford, and had twice been asked by Queen Victoria to form a government, serving her as Prime Minister in the 1840s and 1860s. The Russells had been prominent in England for several centuries before this, coming to power and the peerage with the rise of the Tudor dynasty. They established themselves as one of Britain's leading Whig families, and participated in every great political event from the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536–40 to the Glorious Revolution in 1688–89 to the Great Reform Act in 1832.
The Soul and Immortality
The Christian emphasis on the individual soul has had a profound influence upon the ethics of Christian communities. It is a doctrine fundamentally akin to that of the Stoics, arising as theirs did in communities that could no longer cherish political hopes. The natural impulse of the vigorous person of decent character is to attempt to do good, but if he is deprived of all political power and of all opportunity to influence events, he will be deflected from his natural course and will decide that the important thing is to be good. This is what happened to the early Christians; it led to a conception of personal holiness as something quite independent of beneficient action, since holiness had to be something that could be achieved by people who were impotent in action. Social virtue came therefore to be excluded from Christian ethics. To this day conventional Christians think an adulterer more wicked than a politician who takes bribes, although the latter probably does a thousand times as much harm. The medieval conception of virtue, as one sees in their pictures, was of something wishy-washy, feeble, and sentimental. The most virtuous man was the man who retired from the world; the only men of action who were regarded as saints were those who wasted the lives and substance of their subjects in fighting the Turks, like St. Louis. The church would never regard a man as a saint because he reformed the finances, or the criminal law, or the judiciary. Such mere contributions to human welfare would be regarded as of no importance. I do not believe there is a single saint in the whole calendar whose saintship is due to work of public utility. With this separation between the social and the moral person there went an increasing separation between soul and body, which has survived in Christian metaphysics and in the systems derived from Descartes. One may say, broadly speaking, that the body represents the social and public part of a man, whereas the soul represents the private part. In emphasizing the soul, Christian ethics has made itself completely individualistic. I think it is clear that the net result of all the centuries of Christianity has been to make men more egotistic, more shut up in themselves, than nature made them; for the impulses that naturally take a man outside the walls of his ego are those of sex, parenthood, and patriotism or herd instinct. Sex the church did everything it could to decry and degrade; family affection was decried by Christ himself and the bulk of his followers; and patriotism could find no place among the subject populations of the Roman Empire. The polemic against the family in the Gospels is a matter that has not received the attention it deserves. The church treats the Mother of Christ with reverence, but He Himself showed little of this attitude. "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" (John ii, 4) is His way of speaking to her. He says also that He has come to set a man at variance against his father, the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, and that he that loveth father and mother more than Him is not worthy of Him (Matt. x, 35-37). All this means the breakup of the biological family tie for the sake of creed -- an attitude which had a great deal to do with the intolerance that came into the world with the spread of Christianity.
This individualism culminated in the doctrine of the immortality of the individual soul, which was to enjoy hereafter endless bliss or endless woe according to circumstances. The circumstances upon which this momentous difference depended were somewhat curious. For example, if you died immediately after a priest had sprinkled water upon you while pronouncing certain words, you inherited eternal bliss; whereas, if after a long and virtuous life you happened to be struck by lightning at a moment when you were using bad language because you had broken a bootlace, you would inherit eternal torment. I do not say that the modern Protestant Christian believes this, nor even perhaps the modern Catholic Christian who has not been adequately instructed in theology; but I do say that this is the orthodox doctrine and was firmly believed until recent times. The Spaniards in Mexico and Peru used to baptize Indian infants and then immediately dash their brains out: by this means they secured that these infants went to Heaven. No orthodox Christian can find any logical reason for condemning their action, although all nowadays do so. In countless ways the doctrine of personal immortality in its Christian form has had disastrous effects upon morals, and the metaphysical separation of soul and body has had disastrous effects upon philosophy.
Russell was a prominent anti-war activist; he championed free trade and anti-imperialism. Russell went to prison for his pacifism during World War I. Later, he campaigned against Adolf Hitler, then criticised Stalinist totalitarianism, attacked the United States of America's involvement in the Vietnam War, and was an outspoken proponent of nuclear disarmament. One of his last acts was to issue a statement which condemned Israeli aggression in the Middle East. In 1950, Russell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, "in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought."
The Objections to Religion
The objections to religion are of two sorts -- intellectual and moral. The intellectual objection is that there is no reason to suppose any religion true; the moral objection is that religious precepts date from a time when men were more cruel than they are and therefore tend to perpetuate inhumanities which the moral conscience of the age would otherwise outgrow.
To take the intellectual objection first: there is a certain tendency in our practical age to consider that it does not much matter whether religious teaching is true or not, since the important question is whether it is useful. One question cannot, however, well be decided without the other. If we believe the Christian religion, our notions of what is good will be different from what they will be if we do not believe it. Therefore, to Christians, the effects of Christianity may seem good, while to unbelievers they may seem bad. Moreover, the attitude that one ought to believe such and such a proposition, independently of the question whether there is evidence in its favor, is an attitude which produces hostility to evidence and causes us to close our minds to every fact that does not suit our prejudices.
A certain kind of scientific candor is a very important quality, and it is one which can hardly exist in a man who imagines that there are things which it is his duty to believe. We cannot, therefore, really decide whether religion does good without investigating the question whether religion is true. To Christians, Mohammedans, and Jews the most fundamental question involved in the truth of religion is the existence of God. In the days when religion was still triumphant the word "God" had a perfectly definite meaning; but as a result of the onslaughts of the Rationalists the word has become paler and paler, until it is difficult to see what people mean when they assert that they believe in God. Let us take, for purposes of argument, Matthew Arnold's definition: "A power not ourselves that makes for righteousness." Perhaps we might make this even more vague and ask ourselves whether we have any evidence of purpose in this universe apart from the purposes of living beings on the surface of this planet.
The usual argument of religious people on this subject is roughly as follows: "I and my friends are persons of amazing intelligence and virtue. It is hardly conceivable that so much intelligence and virtue could have come about by chance. There must, therefore, be someone at least as intelligent and virtuous as we are who set the cosmic machinery in motion with a view to producing Us." I am sorry to say that I do not find this argument so impressive as it is found by those who use it. The universe is large; yet, if we are to believe Eddington, there are probably nowhere else in the universe beings as intelligent as men. If you consider the total amount of matter in the world and compare it with the amount forming the bodies of intelligent beings, you will see that the latter bears an almost infinitesimal proportion to the former. Consequently, even if it is enormously improbable that the laws of chance will produce an organism capable of intelligence out of a casual selection of atoms, it is nevertheless probable that there will be in the universe that very small number of such organisms that we do in fact find.
Then again, considered as the climax to such a vast process, we do not really seem to me sufficiently marvelous. Of course, I am aware that many divines are far more marvelous than I am, and that I cannot wholly appreciate merits so far transcending my own. Nevertheless, even after making allowances under this head, I cannot but think that Omnipotence operating through all eternity might have produced something better. And then we have to reflect that even this result is only a flash in the pan. The earth will not always remain habitable; the human race will die out, and if the cosmic process is to justify itself hereafter it will have to do so elsewhere than on the surface of our planet.. And even if this should occur, it must stop sooner or later. The second law of thermodynamics makes it scarcely possible to doubt that the universe is running down, and that ultimately nothing of the slightest interest will be possible anywhere. Of course, it is open to us to say that when that time comes God will wind up the machinery again; but if we do not say this, we can base our assertion only upon faith, not upon one shred of scientific evidence. So far as scientific evidence goes, the universe has crawled by slow stages to a somewhat pitiful result on this earth and is going to crawl by still more pitiful stages to a condition of universal death. If this is to be taken as evidence of a purpose, I can only say that the purpose is one that does not appeal to me. I see no reason, therefore, to believe in any sort of God, however vague and however attenuated. I leave on one side the old metaphysical arguments, since religious apologists themselves have thrown them over.
In marea tara a rasaritului care este China, tara a Marelui Zid si a unei impresionante armate de statui de lut, a pagodelor indraznete si a barajelor impunatoare, exista inca un loc magic in care totul pare mai presus de puterea imaginatiei noastre. Acesta este „Orasul sau Palatul Interzis”, fosta resedinta imperiala a dinastiilor Ming si Qing. Transformat in muzeu, este cel mai bine prezervat complex de palate din zilele noastre.
Numele sau intreg este „Orasul purpuriu interzis” si se trage pe de-o parte de la credinta straveche ca aici locuiau doar zeii, si, bineinteles, imparatul, ca fiu de zei, si pe de alta de la faptul ca, in afara imparatului, a familiei si favoritelor sale si a celor care slujeau aici, nimeni nu avea voie sa patrunda pe acest teritoriu sacru. Constructia a durat 14 ani. A inceput in 1406, in al patrulea an de domnie al imparatului Young-te si s-a terminat in 1420 in al 18-lea an de domnie a aceluiasi imparat.
Un an mai tarziu, el a schimbat capitala tarii de la Nanjing la Beijing si, din acel moment, 24 de imparati au locuit in Orasul Interzis, 14 din dinastia Ming si 10 din dinastia Qing. Ocupand o suprafata de 720.000 metri patrati, complexul are patru porti marete, este inconjurat de un zid inalt de 12,5 metri si de un sant cu o latime de 5,2 metri si este presarat cu mici torente si o multime de arbori si flori.
Exista peste 8700 camere in constructiile de lemn, toate acoperite cu tigle emailate galbene, culoare pe care numai imparatii aveau voie sa o foloseasca la acoperisuri. Aceste incaperi splendid ornamentate sunt impartite simetric intre partea de nord si cea de sud, palatele fiind plasate pe ambele parti ale unei axe centrale. Totul indica atat maiestria constructorului, cat si incredibilila creativitate a arhitecturii chineze in general. Bijuterie a culturii tarii, Palatul isi pastreaza fata sa originala capatata in timpul dinastiei Ming. Multe dintre cladiri au cazut prada unor incendii dar au fost refacute identic. De aceea cele mai multe dintre pavilioane dateaza din primii ani ai dinastiei Qing.
Complexul adaposteste, pe langa palate si pavilioane, sali de receptie, curti interioare si temple, cele mai multe camere apartinand, evident, imparatului. Conform traditiei, acest „fiu al cerului” putea avea trei neveste principale, sase favorite si 72 de concubine de rang mai marunt. Au existat insa imparati care au ajuns la 2000 de concubine care purtau un fel de ecusoane aurite, cu data nasterii, care le dadea statutul de musafiri de onoare,
Cea mai importanta sala din complex este cea a „Supremei Armonii”. Dateaza din secolul al XVII-lea, are 35 metri inaltime si acoperisul este sustinut de 24 de stalpi. Pe un podium de lemn de jacarta este tronul principal si, din tavan, atarna un dragon de aur, simbol al puterii imperiale. Revolutia din 1911 a alungat dinastia Qing, exilandu-l pe imparatul Pu Yi la marginea Orasului interzis, in 1924 fiind alungat cu totul. In 1914 a fost deschisa aici prima expozitie de antichitati si, in 1925 s-a hotarat ca Palatul sa devina muzeu. In 1961, Consiliul de Stat a hotarat sa acorde o atentie speciala complexului care, din 1987, a intrat sub protectie UNESCO.
Valter Lavitola, direttore ed editore dell’Avanti, imprenditore ittico, vasti interessi in Sudamerica, massone, grande amico di Fabrizio Cicchitto e di Sergio De Gregorio, animatore delle feste del premier a Tor Crescenza durante l’estate del 2010, nonché dossieratore di Fini nel caso Montecarlo.
Giusto per ricordare chi è l’uomo a cui Berlusconi versava 20 mila euro al mese (da passare a Tarantini) e a cui il 13 luglio scorso Berlusconi confidava di voler "lasciare questo Paese di merda".
"L’Italia è il Paese che amo" (Berlusconi, 1994)
"Paese di merda" (Berlusconi 2011).
Sarà mica che nel frattempo ha governato quasi sempre lui?
Russell led the British "revolt against idealism" in the early 1900s. He is considered one of the founders of analytic philosophy along with his predecessor Gottlob Frege and his protégé Ludwig Wittgenstein, and is widely held to be one of the 20th century's premier logicians. He co-authored, with A. N. Whitehead, Principia Mathematica, an attempt to ground mathematics on logic. His philosophical essay "On Denoting" has been considered a "paradigm of philosophy." His work has had a considerable influence on logic, mathematics, set theory, linguistics, computer science (see type theory and type system), and philosophy, especially philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics.
Christianity and Sex
The worst feature of the Christian religion, however, is its attitude toward sex -- an attitude so morbid and so unnatural that it can be understood only when taken in relation to the sickness of the civilized world at the time the Roman Empire was decaying. We sometimes hear talk to the effect that Christianity improved the status of women. This is one of the grossest perversions of history that it is possible to make. Women cannot enjoy a tolerable position in society where it is considered of the utmost importance that they should not infringe a very rigid moral code. Monks have always regarded Woman primarily as the temptress; they have thought of her mainly as the inspirer of impure lusts. The teaching of the church has been, and still is, that virginity is best, but that for those who find this impossible marriage is permissible. "It is better to marry than to burn," as St. Paul puts it. By making marriage indissoluble, and by stamping out all knowledge of the ars amandi, the church did what it could to secure that the only form of sex which it permitted should involve very little pleasure and a great deal of pain. The opposition to birth control has, in fact, the same motive: if a woman has a child a year until she dies worn out, it is not to be supposed that she will derive much pleasure from her married life; therefore birth control must be discouraged.
The conception of Sin which is bound up with Christian ethics is one that does an extraordinary amount of harm, since it affords people an outlet for their sadism which they believe to be legitimate, and even noble. Take, for example, the question of the prevention of syphilis. It is known that, by precautions taken in advance, the danger of contracting this disease can be made negligible. Christians, however, object to the dissemination of knowledge of this fact, since they hold it good that sinners should be punished. They hold this so good that they are even willing that punishment should extend to the wives and children of sinners. There are in the world at the present moment many thousands of children suffering from congenital syphilis who would never have been born but for the desire of Christians to see sinners punished. I cannot understand how doctrines leading us to this fiendish cruelty can be considered to have any good effects upon morals.
It is not only in regard to sexual behaviour but also in regard to knowledge on sex subjects that the attitude of Christians is dangerous to human welfare. Every person who has taken the trouble to study the question in an unbiased spirit knows that the artificial ignorance on sex subjects which orthodox Christians attempt to enforce upon the young is extremely dangerous to mental and physical health, and causes in those who pick up their knowledge by the way of "improper" talk, as most children do, an attitude that sex is in itself indecent and ridiculous. I do not think there can be any defense for the view that knowledge is ever undesirable. I should not put barriers in the way of the acquisition of knowledge by anybody at any age. But in the particular case of sex knowledge there are much weightier arguments in its favor than in the case of most other knowledge. A person is much less likely to act wisely when he is ignorant than when he is instructed, and it is ridiculous to give young people a sense of sin because they have a natural curiosity about an important matter.
Every boy is interested in trains. Suppose we told him that an interest in trains is wicked; suppose we kept his eyes bandaged whenever he was in a train or on a railway station; suppose we never allowed the word "train" to be mentioned in his presence and preserved an impenetrable mystery as to the means by which he is transported from one place to another. The result would not be that he would cease to be interested in trains; on the contrary, he would become more interested than ever but would have a morbid sense of sin, because this interest had been represented to him as improper. Every boy of active intelligence could by this means be rendered in a greater or less degree neurasthenic. This is precisely what is done in the matter of sex; but, as sex is more interesting than trains, the results are worse. Almost every adult in a Christian community is more or less diseased nervously as a result of the taboo on sex knowledge when he or she was young. And the sense of sin which is thus artificially implanted is one of the causes of cruelty, timidity, and stupidity in later life. There is no rational ground of any sort or kind in keeping a child ignorant of anything that he may wish to know, whether on sex or on any other matter. And we shall never get a sane population until this fact is recognized in early education, which is impossible so long as the churches are able to control educational politics.
Leaving these comparatively detailed objections on one side, it is clear that the fundamental doctrines of Christianity demand a great deal of ethical perversion before they can be accepted. The world, we are told, was created by a God who is both good and omnipotent. Before He created the world He foresaw all the pain and misery that it would contain; He is therefore responsible for all of it. It is useless to argue that the pain in the world is due to sin. In the first place, this is not true; it is not sin that causes rivers to overflow their banks or volcanoes to erupt. But even if it were true, it would make no difference. If I were going to beget a child knowing that the child was going to be a homicidal maniac, I should be responsible for his crimes. If God knew in advance the sins of which man would be guilty, He was clearly responsible for all the consequences of those sins when He decided to create man. The usual Christian argument is that the suffering in the world is a purification for sin and is therefore a good thing. This argument is, of course, only a rationalization of sadism; but in any case it is a very poor argument. I would invite any Christian to accompany me to the children's ward of a hospital, to watch the suffering that is there being endured, and then to persist in the assertion that those children are so morally abandoned as to deserve what they are suffering. In order to bring himself to say this, a man must destroy in himself all feelings of mercy and compassion. He must, in short, make himself as cruel as the God in whom he believes. No man who believes that all is for the best in this suffering world can keep his ethical values unimpaired, since he is always having to find excuses for pain and misery.
La vicenda ha avuto inizio lo scorso lunedì, quando in chiusura del telegiornale di Dì Lucca, un'emittente locale visibile su Internet e sul digitale terrestre, il direttore Daniele Vanni si è rifiutato di trasmettere le immagini dell'elezione di Miss Trans Italia. Il tutto con un lungo monologo che ha toccato anche molti altri punti con una serie di giudizi personali considerati da molti come omofobi.
Dopo aver parlato di Miss Italia, ha affermato: "E poi devo chiudere con due concorsi di bellezza ma di altro tipo, dei quali mi rifiuto di passare le immagini anche se ne siamo in possesso. Infatti se era ingiusto schernire una volta o tenere addirittura chiusi in casa i diversi -anche gli omosessuali- a me sembra eccessivo il gay pride oppure farci sopra dei concorsi di bellezza. Così non abbiamo passato le immagini quando c'è stato il Mr Gay qualche giorno fa: ne abbiamo dato solo notizia. Fra l'altro Daniel Argentino, l'eletto, ha dedicato la sua vittoria a babbo e mamma che senz'altro ne saranno contenti. Così diamo atto del fatto che sabato sera si è votato per la più bella Miss Trans italiana e anche per la più bella Miss Sudamericana, sempre a Torre del Lago che sta diventando, da questo punto di vista, un problema di ordine pubblico, ma forse non ce ne accorgiamo".
A denunciare l'accaduto è stato il portale Gay.it che, su segnalazione di un lettore, ha pubblicato ieri il video di quello spezzone di telegiornale. L'indignazione generata è stata tale che ben presto un alto numero di blog e di siti di informazioni hanno rilanciato la notizia, sollevando un vero e proprio polverone mediatico.
L'emittente toscana è così corsa ai ripari e ha affidato al conduttore del telegiornale mattutino di ieri, all'indomani delle polemiche e a quasi una settimana di distanza dal fatto, le sue dovute ma un po' tardive scuse. Il tutto con tanto di dissociazione da parte dell'intera redazione e la richiesta di dimissioni del direttore: "La posizione espressa dal signor Daniele Vanni nel Tg di lunedì sera 29 agosto 2011 in merito alle manifestazioni Miss Italia Trans e Miss Gay Italia, è totalmente estranea alla linea editoriale di questa emittente, che sino ad oggi ha sempre rispettato qualunque posizione di natura politica, religiosa e sessuale. La proprietà di questa emittente, all'unanimità, ha deciso di chiedere al signor Vanni, per le sue dichiarazioni, le scuse pubbliche e contemporaneamente le immediate e irrevocabili dimissioni dal Suo incarico, ritenendo intollerabile nella forma e nel contenuto i giudizi espressi nei confronti delle manifestazioni sopracitate. La redazione e tutti i dipendenti di questa emittente si dissociano da tali posizioni e si scusano se tutti i giudizi espressi, dei quali erano totalmente all'oscuro, possano aver creato un danno ad una comunità che tanto si è impegnata per combattere ogni pregiudizio e discriminazione di orientamento sessuale".
Anche la replica di Vanni non si è fatta attendere. In un'intervista ha respinto le accuse di omofobia, sostenendo che il suo monologo non fosse altro che "una battuta infelice" per nascondere il fatto che in realtà non era in possesso delle immagini.
Pictorul englez John Maler Collier (1850-1934) a fost unul dintre cei mai interesanti artisti supranumiti „pre-rafaelisti” – adorau arta lui Rafael si sustineau ca tot ceea ce s-a petrecut dupa el reprezinta doar „coruperi ale compozitiilor elegante”. Venit pe lume într-o distinsa familie de personalitati cu înalte pozitii în societate (membrii de frunte ai Parlamentului de la Londra si cu functii importante în justitie), John Collier s-a asociat pe viata cu familia celebrului biolog Thomas Henry Huxley, mare sustinator al teoriei evolutiei speciilor a lui Darwin, poreclit si „Buldogul lui Darwin”.
Astfel, Collier nu numai ca a fost casatorit cu ambele fiice ale lui Huxley (împotriva unei legi victoriene care interzicea ca fiica mai mica sa se marite cu vaduvul surorii mai mari), dar a fost profund influentat de teoriile îmbratisate de socrul sau – concepte care l-au îndepartat pe artist de preceptele religioase clasice. Astfel, pictorul afirma ca este un adept convins al „utilitarismului” si al „secularizarii moralitatii”. Obtinerea placerii si a fericirii era scopul suprem al vietii si al eticii acesteia. În general, utilitarienii îsi trageau radacinile din filosofia lui Epicur, adaptata secolului XIX de unii ganditori englezi.
Cunoscand aceste conceptii promovate de pictorul englez, devenit „Onorabil” prin obtinerea distinctiei de Ofiter al Imperiului Britanic, putem întelege cateva din cele mai importante lucrari ale sale – care îl reprezinta si care-l caracterizeaza ca pe un mare iubitor de legende si nu un intelectual atasat vreunei religii (vorbea în termeni duri despre catolicism). Una din legendele preferate a fost cea a lui Tannhäuser, poet si trubadur german traitor în secolul XIII.
Acest erou (cunoscut doar din poemele sale) ar fi avut privilegiul (sau ghinionul) sa descopere asezarea subterana unde locuia Venus (Venusberg). Un an de zile a petrecut în placerile acelui taram al femeilor superbe, apoi a iesit la suprafata, cuprins de remuscari. S-a dus la papa sa-l absolve de pacate, dar acesta a refuzat. Tannhäuser a plecat întristat si a disparut în Venusberg, iar dupa trei zile din bastonul papal au rasarit flori, ceea ce nu se întamplase niciodata (povestea a fost reluata de Wagner).
Lady Godiva, o Godgifu (990 -- 10 settembre 1067), era una nobildonna anglosassone d'Inghilterra, moglie del conte Leofrico di Coventry (Inghilterra).
Secondo la leggenda, cavalcò nuda per le vie di Coventry per ottenere la soppressione di un ulteriore tributo imposto da suo marito ai propri sudditi. Per tradizione popolare l'appellativo inglese "Peeping Tom", equivalente italiano di "guardone", deriva dal fatto che il giovane Tom la guardò e rimase talmente impressionato da divenire cieco.
Un alt cap de afis al operelor lui John Collier este mitul lui Lilith, despre care se spune ca ar fi fost prima nevasta a lui Adam si care a avut un „destin satanic”. Nonconformistul ganditor si pictor ne-o prezinta pe Lilith ca pe o splendida femeie care îmblanzeste un piton. Partea ciudata a povestii sale o reprezinta motivul pentru care nu s-ar fi înteles deloc cu Adam: cine sa stea deasupra în timpul actului sexual! Pare o banalitate, însa daca subliniem ca Lilith a fost creata tot din huma, ca si Adam, vedem aici o problema de ierarhie: ea si primul barbat erau egali, spre deosebire de Eva, care era inferioara, caci fusese facuta dintr-o coasta a barbatului. Lilith nu a suportat pretentiile lui Adam si a disparut, devenind un demon al noptii, o amenintare la adresa noilor nascuti...
Legenda are mai multe variante, iar personajul cu pricina este prezent si-n Vechiul Testament sub forma unei „bufnite urlatoare”. Interesant este ca John Collier o prezinta pe acea femeie cu „prea multa personalitate” singura, ca si cum artistul nu-l baga în seama pe Adam (asa cum face Dürer), pledand, în consecinta, cauza ei. Oricum, Lilith ramane un mister si, dupa cum vedem cu certitudine, femeia nu are prea multe sanse biblice de a fi egala barbatului. E ca la aritmetica: nu se compara mere cu pere...