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Bertrand and Baro


John Dear on DemocracyNow! seemed serene – sainthood material, great voice. He reminded me of that Kurt Vonnegut book of obituaries where he was correspondent in heaven and met John Brown (Of Magpie fame the Sword of the Spirit album was Moving!) with a noose around his neck. John Brown asks ‘Where’s yours?’ Which sounds like John Dear commenting on losing his parish "And I think that should be the future of every Christian minister, priest and bishop—getting kicked out for speaking out against war and nuclear weapons—so that all the churches become communities of nonviolence, which is what the gospel of Jesus was about." This guy interprets Jesus and Christianity like Barbara Ehrenriech. Socialism would be easier on the ethically challenged.

Amy Goodman asks John Dear about working with the murdered Jesuit priests in El Salvador. The same guys Noam Chomsky was so impressed with, and pissed that they’re not read or cited. "Yes. That was in 1985, and I write about it in my book. And it was really at the height of the civil war there and a terrible experience. And these guys, the six Jesuits who were killed twenty years ago this fall, were spectacular people and assassinated for poignantly demanding their government end war. And it was a powerful experience to have known and worked with these great martyrs of justice and peace. And I’m trying to apply what I learned from them here in the United States, and that means speaking out publicly, all of us, for an end to war and the end of war itself and poverty and nuclear weapons and the working of a new culture of nonviolence." Well I’d like to read John Dear’s book too but I have Ignacio Martin-Baro‘s book on already. Writings for a Liberation Psychology – you know the torture CERE APA guys in Spokane weren’t reading this ethical stuff. I’ve had an itch to read Martin-Baro’s stuff since he was mentioned with Ellacuria in Chomsky’s Deterring Democracy back in the 80′s or early 90′s. Baro gets you thinking about politics in a deeper way. "What then is political socialization? In keeping with what has been said so far, we can define it as the individual construction of a reality and a personal identity that are or are not consistent with a particular political system…. a process of personal formation." (p. 75)  How can you describe what reading Chomsky books and Znet offerings does in light of that quote?

What to think that the policies of ‘mediocrities like Reagan’ weren’t reversed in El Salvador until this year more that 20 years after the Jesuits’ death… (p 74)

The part of Liberation Psychology that motivated me to mention this half-read and partially digested book at all brought to mind another blog entry I’ve been wanting to do on a Bertrand Russel resource(Ja and English!).  Writing on "Latin American Character"(p 206) makes you think of Bertrand Russell encouraging people to doubt everything. "The Berkley Group named superstition as one of the traits of the Authoritarian Personality: "Superstition indicates a tendency to shift responsibility from within the individual onto outside forces beyond one’s control; it indicates that the ego might already have ‘given up,’ that is to say, renounced the idea that it might determine the individual’s fate by overcoming external forces"(Adorno et al., 1950, p236). This is a typically fatalistic trait, as indicated by the main item of the F Scale, which measures superstition: "Every person should have a deep faith in some supernatural force higher than himself to which he gives total allegiance and who’s decisions he does not question."

I’ll have to look around for the actual Russel quotes about never being completely certain about anything but in the meantime here’s a free and open resource in both Japanese and English that had me laughing and learning about boredom at the same time. Russel’s a riot but that will have to wait for another post. It’s hilarious to read picturing him as a stuffy old professor like the My Fair Lady guy. But it’s even funnier when you read his Wikipedia entry and think "let’s circle the ‘savage‘ in these situations."  "The causes of these various kinds of unhappiness lie partiy in the social system, partly in individual psychology — which, of course, is itself to a considerable extent a product of the social system. I have written before about the changes in the social system required to promote happiness. Concerning the abolition of war, of economic exploitation, of education in cruelty and fear, it is not my intention to speak in this volume." I have to find time to work through his writings on socialism too. His writing is serious but not heavy – pleasant is the word that comes to mind. I bet he was fun to have a conversation with.

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