Jose Saramago | From Justice to Democracy By Way of the Bells (Terra Incognita)
Baltasar Sete-Sóis ran up the gangway, his irons jangling inside his knapsack, trying to make fun of me, And I'm telling you it's the truth, How can I trust you, no relation to Sete-Sóis, but is known to his friends as Saramago and whose . While I was reading Jose Saramago's Baltasar and Blimunda, Rabbi relationships of trust strong enough to defeat destructive emotions. Baltasar and Blimunda. From the recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature, a “brilliant enchanting novel” (New York Quick View. Cain.
Consciously or unconsciously, the docile, bureaucratized trade unionism we are left with today is largely responsible for the social lethargy brought about by the ongoing process of economic globalization.
I am sorry to say it, but I cannot remain silent. Furthermore, if you will allow me to add my own twist to the fables of La Fontaine, I will say that unless we act swiftly, the mouse of human rights will implacably be eaten by the cat of economic globalization. And what of democracy, this age-old invention of a few ingenuous Athenians for whom, in the specific social and political circumstances of the time and according to the standard expression, meant government of the people, by the people and for the people?
The Bookshelf: Jose Saramago, Baltasar and Blimunda ()
I often hear it argued by sincere people of proven good faith, along with others with an interest in feigning an appearance of goodness, that although the state of catastrophe most of the planet is in constitutes irrefutable proof, it is precisely within the framework of an overall democratic system that we will be most likely to attain human rights fully or at least satisfactorily.
Nothing can be more certain, as long as the system for governing and managing society that we currently call democracy actually is democratic. Except that it is not. It is true that we can vote, and it is true that by delegating the grain of sovereignty that is afforded us as voting citizens, usually through the party system, we can choose our parliamentary representatives, and lastly, it is true that that a government will always emerge out of the numerical strength of such representatives and political arrangements that the need for a majority imposes.
All of this is true, but it is equally true that that is where the possibility of democratic action begins and ends.Memorial do Convento 2015 - Bloopers
Voters can remove a government from power if it displeases them and install another one in its place; however, their vote has never had, does not have, nor will ever have any visible effect on the single, real force that governs the world, and therefore their country and person: I am obviously referring to economic power, in particular that ceaselessly growing part managed by multinational corporations in line with strategies for domination that have nothing to do with the common good to which, by definition, democracy aspires.
We all know this is true, yet, owing to some sort of verbal and mental automatism that keeps us from seeing the raw, naked facts, we continue to speak of democracy as if it were something alive and dynamic, when little more remains to us of it than a set of ritualized forms, the harmless passes and gesturing of a kind of lay mass.
Everything in this world is discussed, from literature to ecology, from expanding galaxies to the greenhouse effect, from waste treatment to traffic congestion. Yet the democratic system goes undiscussed, as if it were a given, definitively acquired and untouchable by nature until the end of time. Well, unless I am mistaken, unless I am unable to add two plus two, then - before it becomes too late for us - among so many other necessary or indispensable discussions, there is an urgent need to foster worldwide debate on democracy and the causes of its decline, on the part citizens play in political and social life, on the relations between States and international economic and financial power, on what affirms and what negates democracy, on the right to happiness and a worthwhile existence, on the misery and the hopes of humanity or, to cut down the rhetoric, the hopes of the simple human beings that make up Mankind, one by one and all together.
There is no worse deception than self-deceit. And that is how we are living. I have nothing more to say. Well, yes, just one thing: Portuguese explorers pushed deep into the African continent in search of the mythical Christian king Prester John, and they ruthlessly besieged Indian port cities in their attempts to monopolize trade. The discovery of a route to India around the horn of Africa was not only a brilliant breakthrough in navigation but heralded a complete upset of the world order.
For the next century, no European empire was more ambitious, no rulers more rapacious than the kings of Portugal.
In the process they created the first long-range maritime empire and set in motion the forces of globalization that now shape our world. The story he has to tell may be a thrilling one but not every historian could tell it so thrillingly. A Modern History By: Barry Hatton Combining history and anecdote, Barry Hatton paints an intimate portrait of a fascinating country and its people Portugal is an established member of the European Union, one of the founders of the euro currency and a founding member of NATO.
Yet it is an inconspicuous and largely overlooked country on the continent's south-west rim. Barry Hatton shines a light on this enigmatic corner of Europe by blending historical analysis with entertaining personal anecdotes.
He describes the idiosyncrasies that make the Portuguese unique and surveys the eventful path that brought them to where they are today. My thought was to establish a discussion of ideas, scientific research, and even current events that just happened to follow from the sequence of books I am reading.
Another objective is to connect dots: Most of what comes off The Bookshelf is non-fiction and there tends to be a relationship between the subject I am reading now and what I just completed, but occasionally a work of fiction finds its way off The Bookshelf and perhaps something in the intellectual history of ideas to be shared in this space. The question provoked by the juxtaposition of Rabbi Sacks' commentary and the novel by Nobelist Saramagoa humanist-atheist, is whether we are a less violent implication: The numbers may be trending in the right direction, according to Pinker's data, but atrocities still remain.
In Britain, the results of the national census have just been published.
They show that a quarter of the population claims to have no religion, almost double the figure 10 years ago. And though the United States remains the most religious country in the West, 20 percent declare themselves without religious affiliation — double the number a generation ago.
Yet after a series of withering attacks, most recently by the new atheists, including Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, still in Britain three in four people, and in America four in five, declare allegiance to a religious faith.
That, in an age of science, is what is truly surprising.
We are what we are, they say, because it has allowed us to survive and pass on our genes to the next generation. Superpowers tend to last a century; the great faiths last millenniums. The question is why. He was puzzled by a phenomenon that seemed to contradict his most basic thesis, that natural selection should favor the ruthless.
Altruists, who risk their lives for others, should therefore usually die before passing on their genes to the next generation. Yet all societies value altruism, and something similar can be found among social animals, from chimpanzees to dolphins to leafcutter ants.
We have mirror neurons that lead us to feel pain when we see others suffering. We are hard-wired for empathy.
We are moral animals. To put it at its simplest, we hand on our genes as individuals but we survive as members of groups, and groups can exist only when individuals act not solely for their own advantage but for the sake of the group as a whole. Our unique advantage is that we form larger and more complex groups than any other life-form.