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How did it come to be that we live in a democratic rule of law – and the majority of the world population doesn’t? How did this happen? What does that say about our culture? And can we perhaps derive what a culture needs for democracy? What are the cultural conditions for a democracy to come into being and to function?
“The truth is that the masses grew out of the fragments of a highly atomized society whose competitive structure and concomitant loneliness of the individual had been held in check only through membership in a class. The chief characteristic of the mass man is not brutality and backwardness, but his isolation and lack of normal social relationships.”
“Ethnic jokes serve one purpose; to defuse ethnic tensions by normalising the differences between ethnicities. If we are not free to offend one another, then we are not free to make the kind of ethnic jokes that strengthen the social fabric of this country. Without the freedom to offend, we create a series of armed camps, each watching the others for any signs of transgression, both obsessed with defending the honour of their respective tribe. This can only divide a country by setting us apart from one another and making us strangers to our neighbours.”
Cicero, his Roman contemporary Cato the Younger, and his Roman philosophical successors, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, went some way to developing Latin Stoicism, which stood some distance from its Greek predecessor, tempered as it was with Roman values and martial culture, which in an imperial, militaristic power such as Rome, was quite different to that of the intellectual, comfortable lives of many Athenian Greek philosophers.
In my honest opinion, Hungary is not ready for capitalism and civil society. Every attempt beforehand to establish these was more or less amateurish and resulting in more of a feudal outcome where we copied a Western nation without harmonizing any differences between the two states. Those who voted for Orbán did not vote because of hate and fear, although the campaign to demonize immigrants worked like a charm, they voted for FIDESZ because they wanted to receive a familiar sense of safety that they did not get from Gyurcsány or the previous cabinets since 1989.
We are faced with a large minority from an Islamic background, a significant amount of whom cherish beliefs and conduct themselves in ways that threaten the foundations of European civilisation. Not simply because they oppose our values, but that the simplest, most radical solution that comes to mind, is even more of a threat to us and our values. We appear stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. If Europe fights, it loses as a culture, it will die; if we try to swim away, we drown. But perhaps there is a third option.
“It does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them and directs them; it rarely forces action, but it constantly opposes your acting; it does not destroy, it prevents birth; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, it represses, it enervates, it extinguishes, it stupifies, and finally it reduces each nation to being nothing more than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”
“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest – whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories, comes afterwards.”
Influenced by both jazz and European gipsy and folk music, they gave birth to a new genre: Gipsy Jazz. With their music, Django and his gang established that true, romantic and classic “Paris jazz” kind of feel, that upon hearing will make one long for drinking wine in small, smokey French cafés, and a nightly stroll along the Seine.
In the text below, we’ll summarise the first hour of the lecture “Introduction to the idea of God”, in which Peterson aims to formulate a psychological framework for the emergence and interpretation of the concept of god. Why? Well, because sometimes a fifteen-minute read to absorb and recap beats sitting through a two-hour lecture.
In this lecture, Peterson talks about the concept of ‘authenticity’, which is an important aspect of the existentialist philosophy. The problem, he states, is that most modern people, especially intelligent people, identify themselves with the contents of their intellect. If you can learn concepts on an abstract level, you are able to absorb them in an abstract way and identify yourself with those metaphysical concepts. On the other hand, those ideas are likely to have nothing to do with you as a person.