Friendship is long work.
Between communities, it involves, in part, choices in the tension that may exist between principled integrity. to which all nod with affirmation at first, and loyalty, which the powerful may abuse or abuse on the way to becoming powerful (as with mafia) and to which the less powerful but prudent, either as regards ambition or survival, pay heed.
When “Caliph Ibrahim” demands acknowledgment and fealty, he is doing what criminal “godfathers” have done long, long before him and what other dictators do beside him: he emasculates and subjugates any potential rivalry (and his self-aggrandizement has but one goal: continuous narcissistic supply, but that’s another topic). The main this is his WILL rather live with a loyal lie than venture with an uncomfortable truth.
Iran has remained deeply involved in arming Hezbollah, maintaining Bashar al-Assad, which has twisty politics but all would at this point acknowledged that he’s a proven a monstrous dictator as ever existed, and smuggling to Hamas (http://freebeacon.com/national-security/israeli-ambassador-hamas-using-iranian-rockets-to-attack-israel/). The ideals of Shiite Islam may differ but the realpolitik obsessed with the development and maintenance of absolute power and control would seem to make a lie of a friendly face, loyalty being ultimately the enforced principal of this kind of power.
Time buys all of us time to visit faith and reason together — because we are in it together — and through argument and conversation approach a stance through which we may diminish or even head off what looks like a coming train wreck. While we get to work on that, some things just get worse, and there’s little we can do to influence malevolent processes running beside our own reparative ones.
I have yet to retire from this mode, but know I need to do so.
In the meantime, I may stand by my observations, starting with the notion that languages are invented or incubated and sustained in some kind of bounded space. Some may remain near pure or aged in isolation; others become complex amalgams from many streams in speech, but they’re more than merely functional and far more than the same in all but sound. Along the way, perhaps, an unhampered “cultural technology” may be its own exclusive and heady world.
With English a somewhat globalized but far from universal medium for intellectual exchange, cultural differences in belief, cognition, and social behavior may become dramatically apparent but not easily accelerated toward compatibility or resolution, and we’re in that muddy region. Part of that involves the conceptual space between feudal comprehension and the related appreciation of power and associated criminality, such absolute power being likened to mafia rule, and modern reliance — perhaps too much so — on social idealism and principle. Nonetheless, for great cause, I’d much rather live in the modern world than crawl along in the feudal one or even have at command its levers that obligate pandering and patronage on one hand while encouraging immense brutality, ruthlessness, and sadism on the other.
To cross this bridge that crosses time demands a completely new and democratized bonding that itself becomes reflected in the next politics shaping the overall experience of the human journey.
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