June 25, 2018

Differentiating the Powers

The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus, Book XI, Chapter 3, Sections 1-6

2. Now, in the first year of the king’s reign, Darius feasted those that were about him, and those born in his house, with the rulers of the Medes, and princes of the Persians, and the toparchs of India and Ethiopia, and the generals of the armies of his hundred and twenty-seven provinces. But when they had eaten and drunk to satiety, and abundantly, they every one departed to go to bed at their own houses, and Darius the king went to bed; but after he had rested a little part of the night, he awaked, and not being able to sleep any more, he fell into conversation with the three guards of his body, and promised, that to him who should make an oration about points that he should inquire of, such as should be most agreeable to truth, and to the dictates of wisdom, he would grant it as a reward of his victory, to put on a purple garment, and to drink in cups of gold, and to sleep upon gold, and to have a chariot with bridles of gold, and a head tire of fine linen, and a chain of gold about his neck, and to sit next to himself, on account of his wisdom; “and,” says he, “he shall be called my cousin.” Now when he had promised to give them these gifts, he asked the first of them, “Whether wine was not the strongest?”–the second, “Whether kings were not such?” — and the third, “Whether women were not such? or whether truth was not the strongest of all?” When he had proposed that they should make their inquiries about these problems, he went to rest; but in the morning he sent for his great men, his princes, and toparchs of Persia and Media, and set himself down in the place where he used to give audience, and bid each of the guards of his body to declare what they thought proper concerning the proposed questions, in the hearing of them all.

3. Accordingly, the first of them began to speak of the strength of wine, and demonstrated it thus: “When,” said he,” I am to give my opinion of wine, O you men, I find that it exceeds every thing, by the following indications: It deceives the mind of those that drink it, and reduces that of the king to the same state with that of the orphan, and he who stands in need of a tutor; and erects that of the slave to the boldness of him that is free; and that of the needy becomes like that of the rich man, for it changes and renews the souls of men when it gets into them; and it quenches the sorrow of those that are under calamities, and makes men forget the debts they owe to others, and makes them think themselves to be of all men the richest; it makes them talk of no small things, but of talents, and such other names as become wealthy men only; nay more, it makes them insensible of their commanders, and of their kings, and takes away the remembrance of their friends and companions, for it arms men even against those that are dearest to them, and makes them appear the greatest strangers to them; and when they are become sober, and they have slept out their wine in the night, they arise without knowing any thing they have done in their cups. I take these for signs of power, and by them discover that wine is the strongest and most insuperable of all things.”

4. As soon as the first had given the forementioned demonstrations of the strength of wine, he left off; and the next to him began to speak about the strength of a king, and demonstrated that it was the strongest of all, and more powerful than any thing else that appears to have any force or wisdom. He began his demonstration after the following manner; and said,” They are men who govern all things; they force the earth and the sea to become profitable to them in what they desire, and over these men do kings rule, and over them they have authority. Now those who rule over that animal which is of all the strongest and most powerful, must needs deserve to be esteemed insuperable in power and force. For example, when these kings command their subjects to make wars, and undergo dangers, they are hearkened to; and when they send them against their enemies, their power is so great that they are obeyed. They command men to level mountains, and to pull down walls and towers; nay, when they are commanded to be killed and to kill, they submit to it, that they may not appear to transgress the king’s commands; and when they have conquered, they bring what they have gained in the war to the king. Those also who are not soldiers, but cultivate the ground, and plough it, and when, after they have endured the labor and all the inconveniences of such works of husbandry, they have reaped and gathered in their fruits, they bring tributes to the king; and whatsoever it is which the king says or commands, it is done of necessity, and that without any delay, while he in the mean time is satiated with all sorts of food and pleasures, and sleeps in quiet. He is guarded by such as watch, and such as are, as it were, fixed down to the place through fear; for no one dares leave him, even when he is asleep, nor does any one go away and take care of his own affairs; but he esteems this one thing the only work of necessity, to guard the king, and accordingly to this he wholly addicts himself. How then can it be otherwise, but that it must appear that the king exceeds all in strength, while so great a multitude obeys his injunctions?”

5. Now when this man had held his peace, the third of them, who was Zorobabel, began to instruct them about women, and about truth, who said thus: “Wine is strong, as is the king also, whom all men obey, but women are superior to them in power; for it was a woman that brought the king into the world; and for those that plant the vines and make the wine, they are women who bear them, and bring them up: nor indeed is there any thing which we do not receive from them; for these women weave garments for us, and our household affairs are by their means taken care of, and preserved in safety; nor can we live separate from women. And when we have gotten a great deal of gold and silver, and any other thing that is of great value, and deserving regard, and see a beautiful woman, we leave all these things, and with open mouth fix our eyes upon her countenance, and are willing to forsake what we have, that we may enjoy her beauty, and procure it to ourselves. We also leave father, and mother, and the earth that nourishes us, and frequently forget our dearest friends, for the sake of women; nay, we are so hardy as to lay down our lives for them. But what will chiefly make you take notice of the strength of women is this that follows: Do not we take pains, and endure a great deal of trouble, and that both by land and sea, and when we have procured somewhat as the fruit of our labors, do not we bring them to the women, as to our mistresses, and bestow them upon them? Nay, I once saw the king, who is lord of so many people, smitten on the face by Apame, the daughter of Rabsases Themasius, his concubine, and his diadem taken away from him, and put upon her own head, while he bore it patiently; and when she smiled he smiled, and when she was angry he was sad; and according to the change of her passions, he flattered his wife, and drew her to reconciliation by the great humiliation of himself to her, if at my time he saw her displeased at him.”

6. And when the princes and rulers looked one upon another, he began to speak about truth; and he said, “I have already demonstrated how powerful women are; but both these women themselves, and the king himself, are weaker than truth; for although the earth be large, and the heaven high, and the course of the sun swift, yet are all these moved according to the will of God, who is true and righteous, for which cause we also ought to esteem truth to be the strongest of all things, and that what is unrighteous is of no force against it. Moreover, all things else that have any strength are mortal and short-lived, but truth is a thing that is immortal and eternal. It affords us not indeed such a beauty as will wither away by time, nor such riches as may be taken away by fortune, but righteous rules and laws. It distinguishes them from injustice, and puts what is unrighteous to rebuke.”

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“The Truth is More Important Than Civility”

I was reading a Kurt Schlichter article sent to me from Townhall. It’s about civility and truth and the battle that rages between the liberals and conservatives (wink-wink). From my perspective, a perspective that is far from the “normal,” the author appears to use different terms to mean the same thing. For example, is there a difference between Left, liberal, and democrat? Definitely!

But I’m not interested so much to debate the ups and downs of this article, but only to address two statements made. To keep my discussion also in context with the article, let me say that the author, as I interpret things, is confusing a bit to me.  While preaching “civility” he also says that giving in to the demands of the Left should never happen and in the end says that if civility means surrendering, forget it. There seems to me anyway that there is great conflict between truth, civility, violence and the need to never back down from such things as defending one’s inalienable rights. More on this in a bit.

The first statement made is the following: “And truth is more important than civility.” 

As is usually the case, it’s important to examine the definitions of two keywords here – truth and civility.

An examination of “truth” from Webster’s shows us there is already confusion that comes from the meaning and use of the word. We find the number one definition as “the body of real things, events, and facts.” But we also find “…a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true.” Uh oh! And, …“fidelity to an original or to a standard.” Uh oh again! Then, let’s throw this in just to put the finishing touches to it – sincerity in action, character, and utterance.” (emboldening added)

Before we get into a further discussion about “truth,” let’s look at “civility” as also found from Webster. As the word applies to civilized conduct, Webster says the word means, “courtesy and politeness.” That’s pretty straightforward I would say.

It may not come as a surprise to anyone to discover there are real issues in the use of the term truth. Once again from my perspective, there is only one source of Truth (note the capital “T”) and that is what is found the Scriptures of our Creator, YHWH. Man’s “truth” as you can see, is confusing with indistinct, muddied and not well-defined meaning, as though it was crafted by lawyers. And that is much the root cause of many problems that exist in our society.

It is a simple task to call upon “truth” as something you have that nobody else does. But when you examine what man’s ideas of truth are you see that essentially it means whatever a person chooses to accept as their foundation of beliefs. Therefore truth and not Truth is a worthless instrument.

Some might ask why I didn’t choose to use the definition of truth as, “the body of real things, events, and facts.” We live in a post-normal world where there is no such thing that exists anymore that resembles real things, real events, or real facts. To deny it means you’re in serious trouble. I suggest help.

When we look at the original statement of “The truth is more important than civility,” what only exists in today’s world as a definition of “truth” tells us that it is pretty much impossible that any discussions or debates about anything can any longer be civil. When both sides, or multiple sides, claim to hold the truth, civility soon departs. Any form of civility is an exercise in compromising one’s well-crafted “truth.” Only politicians do that.

The second statement the author makes is this: “Civility is not a sign of weakness when a system of reasoned debate is in effect. But it is a sign of weakness, and will be taken as such by our enemies, when we cling to civility because we are too weak and afraid to admit the awful truth, that we are no longer a society ruled by reason but by power.

“You want a civil society again? Good – so do I. But the way to get it is not to surrender. It is to defeat those who want to crush you with lawless rulings by leftist judges, with economic warfare launched by woke corporations, and by the steady erosion of the rights your Creator granted you.

“If civility means submission, the hell with it.”

Putting this in the context of injecting man’s truth into a discussion of civility, shows how conflicting the statement becomes. Where both sides hold the “truth,” reasoned debate and thus civility, have taken a permanent vacation. The focus then becomes who will become the weaker of the two sides.

(Note: Were we ever ruled by anything other than power?)

In war, those more determined to win and never surrender are not operating within a theater of civility. No war is civil, whether physical, emotional or political.

The author calls upon the Right to rise up against the Left and not be weak by never surrendering, or allowing you to be “crushed” with “lawless rulings by leftist judges.” Is it that we should expect the Left to surrender or are we to beat them in a war? Remember, in the Left’s minds, just as the Right’s, they have dibs on the truth.

There is some truth in the statement that by the nature of conservatives, to live and let live, the Right has silently acquiesced to a more Leftist world/society. With constant cries to “go along to get along” and what appears to the Right as the only side that ever compromises (surrenders), perhaps the time has finally arrived (arriving with the onset of Artificial Intelligence which will become the new holder of man’s truth) that some on the Right see the end to their peaceful existence and are now just learning how to fight back.

It’s obvious as well that they are struggling with the concept.

So, what is the answer? The only answer is to seek the Creator’s Truth and to hell with man’s truth. It’s up to you. Government and party politics (Artificial Intelligence) are your enemies. It’s time to recognize and accept that.

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The Foundation of Truth

What is your foundation for truth? Do you even have one? Or, do you care? Shouldn’t we all have one? I mean, how do you measure anything if you have no yard stick or barometer in which to compare it too?

Personally, I choose to make my foundation of truth God and his Word in the Bible. Regardless of what we choose are we so progressive in our nature that we, not only allow for the changing of our foundation of truth, but work very hard at making it a change that too often is rooted in the desires to better fit a narrative or a preferred lifestyle.

Historically, this action has always been. I suppose it has become man’s nature, due to the loss or focus on one foundation of truth. The Bible teaches that if we take our eyes off God and look to our guidance and salvation through man, we will become lost. God understood that man on earth would be required to find the right balance between seeking a righteous life through God, while obeying to laws of man, providing, of course, that they do not conflict. Not an easy task but one that becomes easier if we keep our eyes on a foundation of truth that doesn’t move and never changes.

In the Bible, in John 1:1 it says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” This mostly tells us that God’s Word, my foundation for truth, has always been and will always be. With that kind of consistency, it should indicate a great place to focus one’s work to compare the works of man to that of Truth.

If we study history, however, what we find is a constant changing or interpretation of this Truth into which it becomes man’s truth. Governments, churches, groups and individuals have created their own understanding of even what the Bible says in order to position themselves in power over people, control people in every facet of their lives, change government, alter the foundation of church, change laws, promote different, most always more decadent, lifestyles, justify sin/wrongs and an entire host of other aspects of life.

Where do you seek truth?

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Where Once A Man’s Word Had Honor, Now Lies Have Become Truth

The dictionary defines a progressive as being someone who “favors progress or reform, especially in political matters”. Progress and reform are both gray issues; meaning there is no specific description of what each means. That in and of itself presents an array of troublesome quandaries that have led this fine nation into a spiraling abyss of immorality, or at least can be perceived by anyone maintaining some semblance of an honest and ethical lifestyle. One such example of “favors progress or reform”, in order to achieve a desired result, is lying. Where once a man’s word retained a wealth of value and was as good as good can get, now lying is not only prevalent but eagerly accepted among the masses of progressive, secular Americans. But why?

One of the things I managed to accomplish this summer while at my camp in the woods of Maine was to read. One particular book I read – one that I bought for .50 cents at the library book sale – was another in a growing collection of books I have about Abraham Lincoln, but in particular the conspiracy to assassinate him. The book is: “The True History of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln and of the Conspiracy of 1865”. The content of the book is essentially the account as told by Louis J. Weichmann.

Weichmann was a friend of John H. Surratt and the Surratt family, including Mary Surratt. He also met and had relationships of varying degrees with many of the so-called conspirators, including John Wilkes Booth, in the killing of Abraham Lincoln and the attempted assassination of others. Because of this association, Weichmann was initially held by authorities as a possible conspirator but eventually much of his testimony was used to convict members of this group.

The book details the testimony and trial of the conspirators (all were charged and tried together). A few years after the initial trial, John H. Surratt was captured and tried and Weichmann details this as well.

Aside from the complicated mess of evidence, real and fabricated, it doesn’t take long to realize that the words and written testimony of those involved in the trial, are held in high esteem by both the author and the courts. Seldom was a person’s word brought into question unless it could be accurately proven to be a falsehood. Time was not wasted attempting to blur the evidence or present a person’s testimony as something it wasn’t in order to have influence over the jury. Words were either fact or fiction and if fiction you better have real proof. If it was proven a man lied, nothing that specific individual had to say or offer in the case had any value and was completely disregarded. Otherwise, a man’s word was seldom questioned as society still viewed a person’s word as something to honor and respect.

Can the same be said for today? We witness courtroom testimony and the words of witnesses, judges, lawyers, etc. and much of what they say, if not an outright lie, is misleading and meant to be so. Each side strives for a desired outcome and subjective morals and subjective truths are used in order to get there.

This is not relegated to just the courtrooms however. Take our media for example. Where once it was mostly taken as a “journalist’s” moral responsibility and obligation to tell only the facts as can be substantiated, now it’s more about ratings and who can be the first to tell a story about an event regardless of the accuracy of the content.

We Americans find ourselves once again mired in another presidential campaign, along with elections of certain member seats in the House and Senate. Honest and unbiased reasoning shows us there is little justification to trust a politician’s word about anything and yet as sure as flies are attracted to garbage, voters are drawn to the words, not perhaps because of the truths they may hold but for the want of what those recitations promise. We care not if anything uttered is truth, just that what they say images our desired subjective truths and morals. We are so fickle!

It is readily discussed these days, and surely who can argue, that what once was news is now entertainment. One coined word for this is “infotainment”. While it may be entertainment, and some members of this “news” entertainment might willingly agree to its description, it certainly is not presented to the masses of people as entertainment. Shouldn’t it be? Or has everything that involves truth and morality become subjective? Of course it has. American people take comedy and entertainment shows like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart or Colbert Nation with Stephen Colbert as legitimate news shows. We are so volatile!

At essentially every level of American society, progressiveness, i.e. the “development of an individual or society in a direction considered more beneficial than and superior to the previous level”, exists to some degree. We are all guilty. But what happens when one’s desires and idealism become the driving force in their life? To what lengths will they go and what conservative values are they willing to abandon in order to achieve that thought of as a, “superior level”?

None of this is new. This idea that morals and truth is subjective, meaning that one’s mind and thoughts can rightly justify the devaluing of objective truth, has been around in the minds of men for many centuries. Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher who died at age 42 and lived from 1813 – 1855, said: “…the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die.” He also was quoted as saying: “When he is nearest to being in two places at the same time he is in passion; but passion is momentary, and passion is also the highest expression of subjectivity.”

Because someone is passionate about what they might believe, say and do, this can justify subjective truth and the lack of adherence to a moral compass? Wasn’t it James Madison who said that the only way our founding Constitution and Bill of Rights would ever survive was if the nation maintained a moral backbone. It has not. As a matter of fact, the so-called progressives have managed to convince our American youth that the worship of God Almighty played no role in the construction of our constitution and thus the end result is a promotion of subjective morals and truth, leaving a nation lacking in leadership to seek Kierkegaard’s truth – that which is true to me.

When considering this kind of thought and the results of those thoughts, also acknowledge how this enters into the many debates that exist in this country that are “passionate” and often, if not always, embroiled in one’s subjective truth. In the work that I do, this is prevalent in the debates about wildlife management and the environment. Just pick a subject.

The Bible says in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father except through Me.” For those who still adhere to objective truth and morals, God told us in his Word, that He alone was the Truth. Man’s words therefore can only be held to account of the Word of God in seeking truth. When’s the last time that happened in this country?

For the secular minded, be it told that Nazi Germany based its “truth” to justify the murdering of innocent humans on Darwin’s principle of “survival of the fittest”, therefore discovering their Kierkegaard kind of truth in killing those they believed to be inferior human beings. They also relied on Friedrich Nietzsche’s belief that: “Since there is no God to will what is good, we must will our own good. And since there is no eternal value, we must will the eternal recurrence of the same state of affairs.”

Not that the United States has now become Nazi Germany but provided that this nation, including each of us as accountable individuals, as well as our governments, powerful media sources, non governmental agencies, etc., continues down this road of dissing the Truth of God’s word and seeking their own truth to fit their agendas and ideals, we can only expect to witness a more blatant and intended bunch of lies in order to accomplish our goals.

God’s word is Truth. Every moral compass of the world should point to the Truth. When it does not, the lies become commonplace and those creating and perpetuating those lies will have succeeded in convincing themselves that “their truth” is what works for them and therefore all others become the lies.

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Facebook: Where Minds Shrivel and Wretchedly Expire For Lack Of What is Found

This is not a session for bashing Facebook for all the terrible things that it is. For those with brains enough to care, they understand the issues of privacy, manipulation, censorship, invasion of privacy, intrusion by government and non governmental agencies of recording every entry all of us have made on the giant scroll. As to the words of the Egyptian Pharaoh, “So shall it be written, so shall it be done.”

Facebook has a purpose, however, for myself coming from an older generation, I fail to see any useful design in Facebook other than it swindles the mind, preys on our addictive dispositions and can control nearly every aspect of our lives, when we allow it. Nothing that does that to a human being can be good.

And yet with all the enslaving power of Facebook, for the lack of what is found, it is a malnourishment that degrades creative and independent thought while humans are unknowingly cheated from the pleasure and excitement of learning truth.

Facebook is fun. It has some aspects that can actually, in a positive way, contribute to a productive society. I’ll not stretch the limits of my own honesty to enable what I perceive as a wretched curse.

One dynamic of Facebook is that it tends to “group” together people of similar interests, i.e. political, social, intellectual ideals, etc.. This, in and of itself, may not necessarily be a bad thing, it becomes so when people become like leeches sucking off the blood of each other, eventually resulting in malnourishment and death by starvation.

Beyond responsible use of Facebook for entertainment purposes, it becomes a harbinger of intellectual laziness. Members who have had the lifeblood extracted from their minds report faithfully to their “groups” to receive marching orders. Unwilling or unable to disseminate truth from fiction, verbose rhetoric is ingested by the parasitic minions believing they are finding sustenance when in reality they are devouring the defecation of the deceitful.

Group think and support is not a bad thing. Being obsessed by it is. My challenge to readers is to get off Facebook. If you can’t use it responsibly as a “social networking” tool, you have no life. You’re among the walking dead. Stop regurgitating someone else’s ideas. Get truth for yourself. It’s worth the effort and it’s much more rewarding than Facebook.

Tom Remington

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