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Book Burning


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In Sweden a rightist group is planning on burning a copy of the Qur'an. Generally I am against this sort of thing, including this particular instance. This particular behaviour is designed simply to incite a portion of the populace. I would feel similarly about burning copies of of Mein Kampf and Das Kapital. Having said books are burned every day in waste incineration projects, so what's the difference? 

Well I suppose intent is one thing and public display is another.

While I don't like the idea of burning/destroying books, realistically it is burning cellulose impregnated with complex patterns of carbon black. It's not as though the idea behind the book is going away.

So what's the issue?

 

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45 minutes ago, romansh said:

So what's the issue?

Of course on one hand, there should be no issue.  Books are just books, paper and print as you say, and in this day and age people just print more of them.  So burning is a waste of time and is unnecessary environmental harm.

But of course on the other hand is the intent, which clearly here will be to make a point about somebody's else's belief and to antagonize them.  I think burning books is a childish and petty action, as will be any response and outrage.  

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13 hours ago, PaulS said:

here will be to make a point about somebody's else's belief and to antagonize them.

So you would you object to someone publicly burning Mein Kampf to antagonize an Aryan Nations person?

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8 hours ago, romansh said:

So you would you object to someone publicly burning Mein Kampf to antagonize an Aryan Nations person?

I would object as much as I think it is a waste of time and is an unnecessary environmental hazard.  I have no regard for the people doing the burning, or those outraged by the burning.  

I see the book burning in Sweden go the result it most likely sought - https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61134734

 

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Yeah ... that's the same link as I posted in the OP  :) 

I agree with you Paul. The book burners got the the result they wanted, but note the BBC are careful not to say explicitly who the rioters are. We seem to be OK to call out the far right for their nonsense, but we are reticent to callout Muslim rioters.

The rioting is the far greater environmental hazard. While I see the far right as despicable (not that can they help themselves), I see religion, as practiced, especially Islam, far less tolerant. And the far right is exploiting this. Note Muslims (and the rest of us) cannot help themselves either. I can only hope for someone benevolent meme to win out.

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8 hours ago, romansh said:

I agree with you Paul. The book burners got the the result they wanted, but note the BBC are careful not to say explicitly who the rioters are. We seem to be OK to call out the far right for their nonsense, but we are reticent to callout Muslim rioters.

Agreed.  Both sides are pathetic and both should be called out for their poor behavior. 

8 hours ago, romansh said:

The rioting is the far greater environmental hazard. While I see the far right as despicable (not that can they help themselves), I see religion, as practiced, especially Islam, far less tolerant. And the far right is exploiting this. Note Muslims (and the rest of us) cannot help themselves either. I can only hope for someone benevolent meme to win out.

Muslim or not, rioting is ridiculous in these circumstances.  To be 'offended' on behalf of a God is nonsense, but to take violent action because of said offense is unacceptable.  Tolerance is not a word either side seems familiar with in these circumstances. Belief in God/Allah seems to be the reason to bring out the worst in some people.

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What about the Danish cartoons? The depictions of Mohamed were not meant to be disrespectful of Islam but were making political, social, and perhaps religious statements? To be fair the cartoonists were indifferent (to some degree) to the deeply held beliefs.

 

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8 hours ago, romansh said:

What about the Danish cartoons? The depictions of Mohamed were not meant to be disrespectful of Islam but were making political, social, and perhaps religious statements? To be fair the cartoonists were indifferent (to some degree) to the deeply held beliefs.

Even if they were meaning to be disrespectful, responding with violence and death was pathetic at best.  Why such people feel they need to physically intervene on behalf of their God is beyond me.  In my mind, it just confirms how imaginary such a God is because that God isn't doing anything about it, just man is.

Should they have published the cartoons?  To me it's kind of like saying something rude to somebody.  Sometimes maybe it is necessary to make a point and at other times maybe it's just rudeness that is better left out of it.  I'm no expert of Denmark politics but it does seem like there has been significant disquiet in that country concerning Islam and like you say, maybe they were making political or other statements.  But at the end of the day, like any 5 year old will tell you - sticks and stones may break my bones but words (or cartoons) will never hurt me.

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12 hours ago, PaulS said:

responding with violence and death was pathetic at best

While I have some understanding of your point of view and even some sympathy for it I more see the violent response as a product of society that people find themselves in and the product of their genetics. I am reminded of the UK football gangs of the seventies and eighties. A human being's desire (chemistry) to conform is strong.

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14 hours ago, romansh said:

While I have some understanding of your point of view and even some sympathy for it I more see the violent response as a product of society that people find themselves in and the product of their genetics. I am reminded of the UK football gangs of the seventies and eighties. A human being's desire (chemistry) to conform is strong.

I would agree, but I don't quite understand the point you are trying to make.  Are you saying they're not really responsible for their actions because of societal training & genetics, so therefore it's not pathetic?  

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15 hours ago, PaulS said:

Are you saying they're not really responsible for their actions because of societal training & genetics, so therefore it's not pathetic? 

Again responsible is used in two senses - proximate cause, definitely responsible in this sense and morally, this one is a little more circumspect. Is an aggressive dog pathetic? We recognize that there are a myriad of antecedent causes here. What is different about a human being?

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7 hours ago, romansh said:

Again responsible is used in two senses - proximate cause, definitely responsible in this sense and morally, this one is a little more circumspect. Is an aggressive dog pathetic? We recognize that there are a myriad of antecedent causes here. What is different about a human being?

I think our intelligence is different perhaps.  We know that violence leads to more violence.  We know the violence causes harm to community life.  We can recognize that words or pictures cannot physically harm us.  I don't think it's a 'morality' issue, just a common sense one.

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14 hours ago, PaulS said:

I think our intelligence is different perhaps.

Certainly more complicated, I think.

14 hours ago, PaulS said:

We know that violence leads to more violence.

Not always? 'Should' the west have  stood up against Germany and the holocaust? I don't think these simple statements stand up to the complexity of reality.

14 hours ago, PaulS said:

We can recognize that words or pictures cannot physically harm us.

Here we reducing reality to just our skins. Is your statement true for people with 'mental' issues. Or if a gay person is told homosexuality is a sin, no harm done? 

14 hours ago, PaulS said:

I don't think it's a 'morality' issue, just a common sense one.

Morality is ultimately about aligned world views. So who holds the 'correct' morality: a person who is aligned with their community, or someone who makes their own way, or their world view morality agrees with yours? The whole point of Gen3:22 is not to think in terms of morality: the sin of good and evil.

It is tough to let go.

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9 hours ago, romansh said:

Not always? 'Should' the west have  stood up against Germany and the holocaust? I don't think these simple statements stand up to the complexity of reality.

Yes, we could debate all day on any definition of 'justified' violence.  But I think there is a difference in violence to bring an end to violence (e.g war to end a holocaust) versus violence used because one is offended by a cartoon.  I agree with you concerning the complexity of reality.

9 hours ago, romansh said:

Here we reducing reality to just our skins. Is your statement true for people with 'mental' issues. Or if a gay person is told homosexuality is a sin, no harm done? 

I was being specific about recognizing that words or pictures cannot physically harm us, not that there is no harm whatsoever when using words or pictures.  Of course mental harm can be caused.

9 hours ago, romansh said:

Morality is ultimately about aligned world views. So who holds the 'correct' morality: a person who is aligned with their community, or someone who makes their own way, or their world view morality agrees with yours? The whole point of Gen3:22 is not to think in terms of morality: the sin of good and evil.

Morality is clearly subjective.  And we are wise to live and let live wherever we can.  But at some point the community does need to defend itself or risk non-existence.  I'm not saying one is good and one is evil, but reality is that we all choose and usually that choice is ultimately linked back to survival.

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16 hours ago, PaulS said:

But I think there is a difference in violence to bring an end to violence (e.g war to end a holocaust) versus violence used because one is offended by a cartoon. 

Here I agree with you. But I continue to be reminded of Alan Watts' fable of the Chinese farmer.

17 hours ago, PaulS said:

I was being specific about recognizing that words or pictures cannot physically harm us, not that there is no harm whatsoever when using words or pictures

While I think the distinction between physical and mental can be useful, ultimately it is a false distinction. We might perceive our mental states as non physical, they can be altered/treated by physical drugs, the environment an by instructions to see world differently. 

17 hours ago, PaulS said:

Morality is clearly subjective

I repeat my question does it exist or is it like our sense of colour?  In Victorian days it was immoral for a woman to show her ankles.  Now of course our sense of morality is subjective, where does the information come from that informs us as to what to be moral about?

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6 hours ago, romansh said:

Here I agree with you. But I continue to be reminded of Alan Watts' fable of the Chinese farmer.

And I love that fable, which I think is a very good one to keep in mind, but totally impractical to apply as a rule set I think.

6 hours ago, romansh said:

While I think the distinction between physical and mental can be useful, ultimately it is a false distinction. We might perceive our mental states as non physical, they can be altered/treated by physical drugs, the environment an by instructions to see world differently. 

There definitely is a distinction, so it can't be entirely false, but I take your point and think it is a 'shade of grey' type issue - i.e. there is some crossover of physical to mental when we are talking about physical harm.

6 hours ago, romansh said:

I repeat my question does it exist or is it like our sense of colour?  In Victorian days it was immoral for a woman to show her ankles.  Now of course our sense of morality is subjective, where does the information come from that informs us as to what to be moral about?

Does it exist how?  I don't believe there is one singular morality, but morality in the sense that we practice it concerning how we think our communities should exist.  Obviously what is right for one community may be wrong for another (just using duality to make the point), but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.  Clearly our understanding of morality is informed by our societal/cultural/ religious beliefs and life experiences, so morality can be both right and wrong at the same time I expect.

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15 hours ago, PaulS said:

but totally impractical to apply as a rule set I think

To do it perfectly, I agree. But who says it has to be perfect? Just because it is difficult does it mean we abandon the concept of not parsing the world into "good and bad"? Just catching ourselves doing it is a start. 

15 hours ago, PaulS said:

but I take your point and think it is a 'shade of grey' type issue

I don't think it is a shade of grey. More of a literal illusion, a very powerful illusion. 

15 hours ago, PaulS said:

morality in the sense that we practice it concerning how we think our communities should exist.

Again, I think you are pointing to the concept of morality rather than morality itself. The concept certainly exists, making it subjective concept (even in a collective subjective) does not reify it. For me, it is like our sense of colour. The large majority of us have it, but that does not make my kitchen chair red.

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8 hours ago, romansh said:

To do it perfectly, I agree. But who says it has to be perfect? Just because it is difficult does it mean we abandon the concept of not parsing the world into "good and bad"? Just catching ourselves doing it is a start. 

I definitely agree it doesn't have to be perfect, but that's my point about me thinking there is a difference in violence to bring an end to violence (e.g. war to end a holocaust) versus violence used because one is offended by a cartoon. It's not perfect, but by and large, it seems a reasonable understanding to most people.

8 hours ago, romansh said:

I don't think it is a shade of grey. More of a literal illusion, a very powerful illusion. 

Again, I think you are pointing to the concept of morality rather than morality itself. The concept certainly exists, making it subjective concept (even in a collective subjective) does not reify it. For me, it is like our sense of colour. The large majority of us have it, but that does not make my kitchen chair red.

No, I'm saying 'morality' exists, but not in the sense that there is a singular, final morality, but rather that it is a subjective morality based on communal understandings.  What one community finds moral doesn't necessarily means another community will agree. So this is the subjectiveness of morality, but not its non-existence.

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