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Czeslaw Milosz on “The Captive Mind”

 

Czeslaw Milosz (pronounced roughly as Cheswav Miwosh) wrote The Captive Mind in 1950, when Stalin still had three years to live. He was an escapee from Communist Poland, where he had served in the post war Polish communist government for a time as a diplomat.

In the era of Wokeness, it is important to recall that we have been through this before,  albeit on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

I am reading it with great enjoyment.

One chapter of the book concerns a practice call “ketman”, which is taken from Islamic Persia. It was described by the French diplomat Arthur de Gobineau in the 1850s. Ketman is a term for the practice of total deception as regards one’s adherence to Islam. Ketman had to be practiced in the era of total control of thought by the Islamic mullahs (in which we have seen no change in Iran since the 1850s).

Milosz quoting Gobineau (at page 57)

“The people of the Mussulman East believe that “He who is in possession of truth must not expose his person, his relatives or his reputation to the blindness, the folly, the perversity of those whom it has pleased God to place and maintain in error”. One must . therefore. keep silent about one’s true convictions if possible.”

The Ketman of the 20th century was of course the degree of necessary deception regarding one’s adherence to Communist doctrine. Milosz writes “nevertheless, Ketman in its narrowest and severest forms is widely practiced in the people’s democracies. As in Islam, the feeling of superiority over those who are unworthy of attaining truth constitutes one of the chef joys of people whose lives in general do not abound in pleasures.” (p. 60)

[Ideological] “deviations… are not an illusion. They are cases of accidental unmasking of Ketman; and those who are most helpful in detecting deviations are those who practice a similar form of Ketman. Recognizing in other acrobats the tricks they themselves employ, they take advantage of the first occasion to down an opponent or friend. Thus they protect themselves; and the measure of dexterity is to anticipate by at least one day the similar accusations which could be levelled against them by they man they denounce. Since the number of varieties of Ketman is practically unlimited, the naming of deviations cannot keep pace with the weeding of a garden so full of unexpected specimens of heresy.”

Now apply this to contemporary universities in the grip of Wokeness and watch for the practice of systemic Ketman , and for it to be exposed by other practitioners of the same devious arts.

Why you don’t get to vote on the woke revolution

From Zero Hedge:

In fairness, broad swaths of the culture always operate and evolve outside of politics. The world of ideas and entertainment – the books we read, movies we watch, groups we join – must never be subject to electoral will. But the woke revolution feels different. First, it is an explicitly political ideology that is, at bottom, about power. Second, it is remarkably ambitious: It seeks a wholesale transformation of America’s past, present and future. Third, while some of its ideas resonate with plenty of people, it is a top-down movement that seeks to impose aien ways of thinking and being on everyone – hence the rise of cancel culture and other illiberal mechanisms to silence and punish those who fail to conform.

One of the great paradoxes of the social justice movement is that even as it claims to fight inequality, it is itself a reflection of the growing inequality in America: both of wealth and culture. Like most revolutions, it is not led by the downtrodden but by the elites. It is not the person of color on the streets but the swells at the top (most of them white) who are imposing the new order.

Although it might seem that the woke revolution erupted in 2020 with George Floyd’s murder, or with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement following Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014, its intellectual framework – which includes critical race theory, postmodernism, anti-colonialism, black power and queer/gender studies – emerged at America’s universities in the 1960s and 1970s. Heavily influenced by Marxism, leftist scholars suffered a crisis of confidence after communism was discredited 30 years ago as the Soviet Union collapsed. In response, activist academics essentially repackaged their old ideas. They still saw politics as a zero-sum battle between oppressors and the oppressed, with themselves in the moral vanguard, but they replaced the concept of class with new identity markers: racial and sexual identity. The struggle was no longer between capitalists and the proletariat, but privileged “cisgendered heteronormative” whites versus the rest of humanity.

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Communism is alive and well, it has just dropped the nonsense of Marxism which was its only link to reality, however wrong it was. – Dalwhinnie

Rupert Sheldrake is brilliant

Rupert Sheldrake is the British biologist who has been taking a stick to the materialist assumptions of modern science. He does so because he thinks we have conflated materialism with science – the former being a doctrine about whatever could be real with a method of inquiry for determining fact.

His point is that science is blocked because it has been in the grip of materialist doctrines, of the kind that the High Priest of materialism, the Selfish Gene theorist, Richard Dawkins, relentlessly promotes. Sheldrake holds that the universe is not limited to material forces and that it is radically evolutionary.

I have corresponded with Sheldrake on occasion, read his books, and am convinced that he is correct. Regardless, Sheldrake has maintained his composure and conducted himself with civility while being constantly savaged by zealots of materialism. It is one of his amazing strengths.

Sheldrake will not persuade materialists that a) they have a doctrine and b) that it is limiting their science. They would assert that their doctrine is in fact reality and their science is impeccable, because materialist. Speaking of intellectual phase locking.

Sheldrake’s website is here.