Monday, October 19, 2009

The Goldstone Report, appeal to force, and The Golden Compass


Jewish date:  1 Marḥeshwan 5770 (Parashath Noaḥ).

Today’s holidays:  Ro’sh Ḥodhesh (Judaism), Bhai Duj (Diwali, Day 5; Hinduism).

Worthy cause of the day:  “Enforce Lower CO2 Emissions to Stop Ocean Acidification”.

Topic 1:  “Exposed: Goldstone & the UN Farce”.  This article on the continuing scandal of the Goldstone Report.  Even Goldstone himself admits that the quality of information in the report leaves much to be desired, e.g., uncritical acceptance of the claims of terrorists, and this information would not be accepted in court.  As such acting upon the Goldstone Report is not justified.

Topic 2:  “Forced Islamization of Christian Conscripts in the Egyptian Army”.  Major rule:  One cannot force people to believe anything, no matter how much one threatens them (appeal to force).  Beating up and killing those who refuse to believe does nothing to prove one’s beliefs are correct.  Lying about what happened afterwards does not help either.

Topic 3:  I have completed chapter 11 of The Golden Compass (Book 1 of His Dark Materials).  Seriously emphasized is this trilogy’s depiction of souls.  I have mentioned before that every human in this world is accompanied by a “dæmon” in animal form, which is some sort of manifestation of the human’s soul.  The form of the dæmon reflects the nature of the human.  Children’s dæmons regularly change shape at will.  Adults, who are more set in their ways, have dæmons limited to a single form.  Usually dæmons are of the sex opposite that of their humans.  (Intuition suggests this may be a veiled reference to sexual preference.)  Dæmons can never get more than a few yards away from their humans, though there is an exception to this rule:  the dæmons of witches can get arbitrarily far away from them.  This may reflect the mystical/occult notion of astral projection, in which the soul is said to separate from the body.  Another species is also depicted as having souls:  polar bears.  For these the soul manifests as thick metallic armor.  Why Philp Pullman chose to have humans and polar bears have physically manifested souls, I have no idea; I am not aware of any religion which holds by such dramatic conceptions of the soul.  Increasingly this book seems less and less to be discussing any real religion and more and more diving into fantastic conceptions.

Peace, and have a happy new month.