October 15, 2007

FIGHTING MONSTERS AND GAZING INTO ABYSSES


Caption: Don't look into this one very long.

El Cabrero has been hanging out with Nietzsche again. This time, it's his 1886 work, Beyond Good and Evil.

It's been a while since I've cracked that one open and this time around it kinda seems all over the place. If I was forced to say what it was about at gunpoint, I'd have to say it had something to do with morality, knowledge and psychology.

The great thing about reading Nietzsche, however disturbed and disturbing he was, is that he has some awesome one liners. I'll be serving up a few on this week's Goat Rope.

One of my all time favorites from that book has been widely quoted but should be known more widely still. Here goes:

He who fights monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into the abyss the abyss also gazes into you.


That one (especially the first part) should be posted pretty much everywhere to remind us of the danger of becoming like what we hate. It happens over and over in so many different ways.

In the post 9/11 U.S., some defenders of "freedom" led the country into a prolonged flirtation with authoritarianism. Many an anti-war activist develops a stridency and militarism of spirit. Many social movements that began with a desire for justice have committed horrible injustices. Opponents of bigotry can become intolerant, just as opponents of despotism can become despotic.

I'm not sure what the antidote is other than awareness of that danger.

CRACKPOT ECONOMICS. Here's a good review of Jonathan Chait's The Big Con by Tom White that appeared in the Sunday Gazette-Mail

JOBS AND DEPRESSION. Some jobs carry greater risks of depression for workers than others, according to this AP article.

Here's some excerpts:

People who tend to the elderly, change diapers and serve up food and drinks have the highest rates of depression among U.S. workers.

Overall, 7 percent of full-time workers battled depression in the past year, according to a government report available Saturday.

Women were more likely than men to have had a major bout of depression, and younger workers had higher rates of depression than their older colleagues.


Specifically around 11 percent of personal care workers "which includes child care and helping the elderly and severely disabled with their daily needs" had bouts of depression lasting two weeks or longer. Next came at 10.3 percent came people who prepare and serve food. Social workers and health care workers tied for third at 9.6 percent.

Interestingly, engineers, architects and surveyors had the least depression, with a rate of 4.3 percent. Have you taken your trigonometry pill today?

I notice they didn't bother to survey goatherds...

NEW WV PEACE RESOURCE. The West Virginia Peace News Net just launched on the web and is worth checking out with lots of news, information and links. On the masthead is a quote by Gandhi:

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?


ABORTION is a controversial issue which has often been cynically exploited for political gain. According to the AP, a new international study found that

Women are just as likely to get an abortion in countries where it is outlawed as they are in countries where it is legal, according to research published Friday.


It's another reminder that there's a big difference between making something illegal and making it go away.

IRAQ. Here's an interesting article from the NY Times about current debates and soul searching on the Iraq war among U.S. officers. And I couldn't pass up this article on the effect of the war on the native cat population--a group occupying the land where cats first domesticated people.

Y'all be careful out there today.

GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED

2 comments:

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Awareness is the only answer and self awareness isn’t as easy to achieve as it may sound. Perhaps we need to be associated with a community that assists us in achieving that awareness as Bonhoeffer discussed in “Life Together.”

El Cabrero said...

Hey Nick--good point. We need to get called on things every so often. I was thinking too that a little cynicism and humor might help too. It could at least keep us from taking ourselves and others too seriously.