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August 25 2010 at 7:46 AM
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ara baliozian  (Login baliozianara)
Armenian Cafe

Sunday, August 22, 2010
We all have illusions.
Mine is the belief that man is open to reason.
God did not create belief systems, men of vision did.
Men of vision see things that the rest of us cannot see.
They also hear words that the rest of us cannot hear.
It follows, when we speak of belief systems,
whatever we say will be based on hearsay,
and therefore inadmissible evidence.
“Where there is no vision the people perish,” we are told.
But where visions clash, the result will be the same.
Remember Voltaire's dictum:
“Since it was a religious war,
there were no survivors.”
One nation's vision may be another's nightmare.
Two recent books published in England:
When, O when will our writers write less about massacres
and more about the b.s. of our buggers?
Monday, August 23, 2010
How much of what you think is based on hearsay?
Next question: Can you tell the difference between the inadmissible and the unreasonable?
When hungry you don't think of the contents of a sausage.
Keep that in mind next time you fall in love.
Men fall in love with their convictions as surely as with a pair of shapely legs in nylons.
He who lies to himself cannot speak the truth to others.
To express their contempt for English cuisine, the French like to say that Joan of Arc “is the only thing the English have ever cooked properly.”
George Orwell (1903-1950), British author: "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible."
We are all assassins in the sense that if we are not legally guilty of murder, we are morally guilty of wishing someone dead.
Some of the most dangerous lies come to us as religious dogmas and ideological truths, sometimes even as undeniable facts.
All speechifiers and sermonizers speak with a forked tongue.
A writer cannot make readers think, he can only hope to underline their secret thoughts, thus letting them know there are others who think as they do.
If we had the power, would our enemies escape total extinction?
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Some of my most ferocious critics are individuals who have not yet mastered the art of reading and understanding simple sentences in the English language. But I shouldn't complain. I also have readers who are not just with me but ahead of me. A case in point follows.
When I first stumbled on your 'reflections',
'notebooks' and 'diaries', I just couldn't help
wondering -- why is this fella trying, with such an
admirable persistence, to do what is so strongly
discouraged in Matthew 7:6 ?
[something to do with pearls and swine, i suspect].
What's the good of
devoting one's precious kilobytes to fighting the
revered ancient wisdom, just to get another
confirmation that the stuff between an Armenian's
squarehead's ears is immune to the 'virus' of the voice of
reason, and his hostility more toxic than the
most deadly roach poison advertised on TV ?
On second thought, however, I realized that was
indeed arrogant and unfair of me to think that
way, for which I apologize. In fact I've been
intending to email you with a little word of
encouragement for a while now, but, firstly, I wasn't sure
you really needed one, or expected any feedback.
In fact, what you say has never sounded to me "so
eccentric and odd that you might as well be an
enemy of the people". Rather, most of the points
you make would seem rather natural if prejudice and
irrationality were put aside, traditional
'taboos' broken, and viewing the situation from an
unbiased perspective, legitimized. But after you
wrote that you felt like a Muslim among Christians,
and like a giaour among jihadists, I
figured a little note that there is someone there
feeling the same way won't do you much harm, after all.
Secondly -- and that was the main reason for not
writing before -- I realized I hardly belonged to
your target audience, as I wasn't among those you
seemed to be trying to reach: reading your posts,
I just felt that agreeable and somewhat
mischievous pleasure of seeing the tenets of my heresy
professed by someone better suited for the
'mission'. It's not that I considered it as a real
heresy; but the truth is, and you know that better than
anyone, that the traditional thinking is so
deeply ingrained in Armenian communities that it is like
a computer virus: reality becomes twisted and
distorted in a way that reason and common sense are
seen as a heresy while religious obscurantism and
genocide fetishism are regarded as the norm. Only
running an antivirus program won't do in this
case: the only way of eradicating it is teaching
people to think for themselves, rather than just
blindly follow what has been drilled into them by the
propaganda, and that's exactly what you've been
trying to do.
Oxford professor Richard Dawkins once wrote that
"It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet
somebody who claims not to believe in evolution,
that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or
wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)." Later he
added that there is perhaps a fifth category,
which may belong under "insane" but which can be more
sympathetically characterized by a word like
tormented, bullied, or brainwashed. Sincere people
who are not ignorant, not stupid, and not wicked
can be cruelly torn, almost in two, between the
massive evidence of science on the one hand, and
their understanding of what their holy book tells
them on the other. It seems that this, mutatis
mutandis, obtains in Armenians: a great many people
who are not ignorant, not stupid, and not wicked
may not dare think for themselves under the
suffocating peer pressure from those who actually are
ignorant, stupid, and, more often than not,
wicked. Like those people who don't believe in
evolution because nobody has ever told them what
evolution is, many sincere an Armenian might not realize
that what they believe in is a prejudice and a
fallacy because no one dared to expose it as a
prejudice and a fallacy.
So it is indeed comforting that some have the
courage of challenging the traditional view.
However, it seems strange that most of your readers won't
engage in any meaningful discussion on this
subject. So keep on
posting your 'reflections', no matter what the
reaction of 'the ignorant, the stupid, and the
wicked' -- that's the only way of engaging a sheep's
brain into the long process of transformation into
that of a human being.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The function of politicians is to convince the people that they are the most qualified members of the community to count chickens before they are hatched, even when – especially when – they are the least qualified. Recent history, including our own, provides many examples of this abortive claim.
Politicians can't learn because their central concern is asserting if not infallibility than the kind of superior wisdom that authorizes them to speak in terms of certainties. But the only thing that is certain in them is their lust for power.
When power enters the equation, catastrophe is sure to follow. That's because power acts on the brain like an intoxicant. Power is the opium of politicians.
A headline in this morning's Op-Ed page reads: “American leaders often make important decisions based on conjecture, questionable advice and blind faith.”
If this is true of democratically elected leaders, it must be doubly true of our own.
A typical passage of this commentary reads:
“How could such a careful and seasoned statesman [Eisenhower] have concocted such a crackpot scheme [the Bay of Pigs fiasco]?
World history, including our own, may be said to be a long catalog of crackpot schemes concocted by screwballs parading as our “betters.”
The universe was created not by a tender-loving God but a very tough hombre who can watch crackpots concocting catastrophes without lifting a finger.

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