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Walter Benjamin
On the Concept of History


(often referred to as…)
Theses on the Philosophy of History

I
The story is told of an automaton constructed in such a way that it could play a winning game of chess, answering each move of an opponent with a countermove. A puppet in Turkish attire and with a hookah in its mouth sat before a chessboard placed on a large table. A system of mirrors created the illusion that this table was transparent from all sides. Actually, a little hunchback who was an expert chess player sat inside and guided the puppet’s hand by means of strings. One can imagine a philosophical counterpart to this device. The puppet called ‘historical materialism’ is to win all the time. It can easily be a match for anyone if it enlists the services of theology, which today, as we know, is wizened and has to keep out of sight.

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http://www.tasc.ac.uk/depart/media/staff/ls/WBenjamin/CONCEPT2.html
mercifulserpent: (Default)
"I have a philosophical secret!"

Crowd: Jer-ry! Jer-ry! Jer-ry!

Jerry: Today's guests are here because they can't agree on fundamental
philosophical principles. I'd like to welcome Todd to the show.

Todd enters from backstage.

Jerry: Hello, Todd.

Todd: Hi, Jerry.

Jerry (reading from card): So, Todd, you're here to tell your girlfriend
something. What is it?

Todd: Well, Jerry, my girlfriend Ursula and I have been going out for three
years now. We did everything together. We were really inseparable. But then
she discovered post-Marxist political and literary theory, and it's been
nothing but fighting ever since.
Read more... )
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During a British conference on comparative religions, experts from around the world debated what, if any, belief was unique to the Christian faith. They began eliminating possibilities. Incarnation? Other religions had different versions of gods appearing in human form...The debate went on for some time until C. S. Lewis wandered into the room. "What's the rumpus about?" he asked, and heard in reply that his colleagues were discussing Christianity's unique contribution among world religions. Lewis responded, "Oh, that's easy. It's grace."

After some discussion, the conferees had to agree. The notion of God's love coming to us free of charge, no strings attached, seems to go against every instinct of humanity. The Buddhist eight-fold path, the Hindu doctrine of karma, the Jewish covenant, and Muslim code of law--each of these offers a way to earn approval. Only Christianity dares to make God's love unconditional.

~Philip Yancey, Do You Know What's So Amazing About Grace?

nietzsche

Nov. 6th, 2002 09:49 am
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Friedrich Nietzsche - Eternal Recurrence
From The Gay Science
341. The greatest stress

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!"

Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: "You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine." If this thought gained possession of you, it would change you as you are or perhaps crush you. The question in each and every thing, "Do you desire this once more, and innumerable times more?" would lie upon your actions as the greatest weight. Or how well disposed would you have to become to yourself and to life to crave nothing more fervently than this ultimate eternal confirmation and seal?

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