Where is our self-preservation?

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Where is our self-preservation?

Something I never understood, even back when I was a Christian, was where is our self preservation?

 

When say, the Catholics are burning the Cathars (sp) alive at Montsegur in 1244, why don't people renounce their faith, or at least lie for the sake of being able to live? More recently an Islamic government, of one of the Middle Eastern countries, I don't recall which one off hand, is slaughtering the Christians of the area. I saw an ad to send care packages to the refugees, though I digress. I still can't even fathom the reasons that a person would openly sign their death-warrant over something so trivial as a little lie to the people that are going door to door killing everyone that doesn't believe what they do. Perhaps the first few doors I could understand, but I'd figure that people would catch on eventually.

I feel like I'm rambling a bit, so I'll move on...

Can anyone provide some insight into this? This fervent belief that a small lie for life is less important and more blasphemous than staying 100% true to their faith ( more or less, the canon of Christianity doesn't even stay 100% true to its own word). Especially in the case of Christianity, when after escaping by  having lied about their faith to the genocidal maniacs they can simply 'repent' by saying they're sorry...

 

"Your sins are not redeemed, by swearing perjury." ~ Mathias Blad

"Change how you look at all things and what you see will change" ~ Per Nilsson/Henrik Ohlsson
"As the need for knowledge flows through the catharsis of thought, ask a question and the answer will be born."


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If you truly believe in a

If you truly believe in a god who watches over you, then the threats represented by man or nature are trivial in comparison to angering or being foresaken by that god, even as a lie. Perhaps especially as a lie.
It is why the phrase "only religion makes good people do bad things" has gained so much popularity.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Hello :)

Wladyslaw wrote:

Something I never understood, even back when I was a Christian, was where is our self preservation?

 

When say, the Catholics are burning the Cathars (sp) alive at Montsegur in 1244, why don't people renounce their faith, or at least lie for the sake of being able to live? More recently an Islamic government, of one of the Middle Eastern countries, I don't recall which one off hand, is slaughtering the Christians of the area. I saw an ad to send care packages to the refugees, though I digress. I still can't even fathom the reasons that a person would openly sign their death-warrant over something so trivial as a little lie to the people that are going door to door killing everyone that doesn't believe what they do. Perhaps the first few doors I could understand, but I'd figure that people would catch on eventually.

I feel like I'm rambling a bit, so I'll move on...

Can anyone provide some insight into this? This fervent belief that a small lie for life is less important and more blasphemous than staying 100% true to their faith ( more or less, the canon of Christianity doesn't even stay 100% true to its own word). Especially in the case of Christianity, when after escaping by  having lied about their faith to the genocidal maniacs they can simply 'repent' by saying they're sorry...

 

  I am not the best candidate to field this question, but I would not want it to die on the vine. I remember you from your introduction, and am so glad you are on the board. Please dont be discouraged in posting. Sometime topics dont reach critical mass.

   You indicted the history of hunting down  and systematically exterminating this quiet cult following. In a right world, the RCC  (of the time), should be looking at being on genocide charges. That reminds me of the passage in the Gospel of John. "And the time will come that they will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God"   Zeal and zealotry's mentality without 'love' is a whole other Topic.

   You may have framed this question  too much  around telling a lie. This has more to do with psychology than anything else. Count me one of those whose minds have been elsewhere not giving this half the attention it deserves. Although, I had to refresh my memory about the Cathars; I had some vague recollection of them being Gnostic but didnt really know much. Glad you mentioned them. They sound like an interesting bunch.

  In the New Testament book of James it says : "We all stumble in many ways.  For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way" I quote that to say to the religious psyche, there is often a sense of failure. Often religious people never achieve 1/50th as much as they had hoped for.  Unexpected option presents itself to achieve martyrdom,  and where  does it leave you?   Martyrdom may have an appeal to someone who wishes to make up for all the stumbling falling and failing. Throwing-off the mortal coil was considered a good thing, to the Cathars, to release the soul and divine spark. (They had some Buddhist' beliefs). Ironic "the martyrs" are said to cry out both day and night for god to 'judge the inhabitants of the earth' "and avenge our blood" denoting not the happy campers, this according to the text from the Isle of Patmos.  Martyrdom ?!? Does that seem rational ? NO! But, People arent always thinking clearly, especially when under (extreme) stress. There is the sociological cult mentality could play even a more sustained role in their group. There are many factors to factor in, really.  You might not remember Star-Trek DS-9 (old series) but shifty little bar-tender on the series, who was called,  'Quark' once said,  "Let me tell you something about Humans, Nephew, he says. They're a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people... will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon" You cannot predict how someone is going to behave under (extreme) duress. Btw, They may have thought it was their time to go, resigning one's self to their particular fate, that could be a real factor. Most comparative studies I ever did show a theme of destiny, cutting across diverse groups. So, It's not as straight-forward as it would appear on the surface. To my mind anyway. 

 

 p.s. --  And  Yes, you're thinking it.  I've got a million of them Eye-wink

 


harleysportster
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Wladyslaw wrote:Something I

Wladyslaw wrote:

Something I never understood, even back when I was a Christian, was where is our self preservation?

 

When say, the Catholics are burning the Cathars (sp) alive at Montsegur in 1244, why don't people renounce their faith, or at least lie for the sake of being able to live? More recently an Islamic government, of one of the Middle Eastern countries, I don't recall which one off hand, is slaughtering the Christians of the area. I saw an ad to send care packages to the refugees, though I digress. I still can't even fathom the reasons that a person would openly sign their death-warrant over something so trivial as a little lie to the people that are going door to door killing everyone that doesn't believe what they do. Perhaps the first few doors I could understand, but I'd figure that people would catch on eventually.

I feel like I'm rambling a bit, so I'll move on...

Can anyone provide some insight into this? This fervent belief that a small lie for life is less important and more blasphemous than staying 100% true to their faith ( more or less, the canon of Christianity doesn't even stay 100% true to its own word). Especially in the case of Christianity, when after escaping by  having lied about their faith to the genocidal maniacs they can simply 'repent' by saying they're sorry...

I have actually found myself wondering that same thing from time to time.

I remember reading books about medieval history and it saying that one could renounce their heresy to keep from being burned at the stake (there were exceptions of course, like I don't think someone found guilty of witchcraft could) but in the cases of religious heresy whether it is to tell a lie or be burnt alive. I would lie in a heartbeat. Besides, I would rationalize it this way, as long as I was alive, I could keep secretly spreading heresy among the ranks. Burned to death and I can't do anything else to advance the cause. Now granted, while I am talking in political terminology here, I would not see it as any different. Of course, I have read somewhere that the Cathars did not believe in reproducing either, so maybe each one of them thought that going to their death was the "right" thing to do. I get some of the medieval sects confused from time to time, because I know of one (think it might have been the Cathars) that regarded reproduction as bringing more sinful souls into the world and were therefore a chaste sect. Therefore, they might not have been interested in advancing the cause, even though you would think they would want their message spread far and wide.

However, people give their lives in service to a country/cause all of the time. This may not be any different.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Wladyslaw wrote:Something I

Wladyslaw wrote:

Something I never understood, even back when I was a Christian, was where is our self preservation?

 

When say, the Catholics are burning the Cathars (sp) alive at Montsegur in 1244, why don't people renounce their faith, or at least lie for the sake of being able to live? More recently an Islamic government, of one of the Middle Eastern countries, I don't recall which one off hand, is slaughtering the Christians of the area. I saw an ad to send care packages to the refugees, though I digress. I still can't even fathom the reasons that a person would openly sign their death-warrant over something so trivial as a little lie to the people that are going door to door killing everyone that doesn't believe what they do. Perhaps the first few doors I could understand, but I'd figure that people would catch on eventually.

I feel like I'm rambling a bit, so I'll move on...

Can anyone provide some insight into this? This fervent belief that a small lie for life is less important and more blasphemous than staying 100% true to their faith ( more or less, the canon of Christianity doesn't even stay 100% true to its own word). Especially in the case of Christianity, when after escaping by  having lied about their faith to the genocidal maniacs they can simply 'repent' by saying they're sorry...

 

Religion distorts reality. It is our evolutionary flaw of defaulting to what "feels good" before we actually take a step back and objectively look and test reality. All species of life do not always have time to assess a sudden situation, so in the fight or flight moment, we tend to jump to conclusions, rather than test, because in reality we don't always have time to test.

An antelope on the African planes does not have time to asses if the grass moving is merely the wind or a lion stalking them. Safety in numbers does work, but the downside is that our species can create those numbers and be quite successful centered around that false belief. The ancient Egyptians were successful for 3,000 years centered around the false belief that the sun was a god.

 

 

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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danatemporary wrote:   I

danatemporary wrote:

 

  I am not the best candidate to field this question, but I would not want it to die on the vine. I remember you from your introduction, and am so glad you are on the board. Please dont be discouraged in posting. Sometime topics dont reach critical mass.

 

Ha, thanks, I felt bad about letting that topic die. School and life caught up with, just finished a big exam so a lot of time just opened up. (Not easy cramming four years of high-school into one. )

danatemporary wrote:

   You indicted the history of hunting down  and systematically exterminating this quiet cult following. In a right world, the RCC  (of the time), should be looking at being on genocide charges. ...

Learned a lot of that from music, Montsegur was something I learned of from an Iron Maiden of the same name.

danatemporary wrote:

You may have framed this question  too much  around telling a lie. This has more to do with psychology than anything else. Count me one of those whose minds have been elsewhere not giving this half the attention it deserves.

I don't feel like I did too much, I was getting at more of the, in the case of Christian refugees, fibbing for life and then repenting like every other "sin" can be repented. I would think that a person with any sense of self-preservation would understand this.

danatemporary wrote:

  In the New Testament book of James it says : "We all stumble in many ways.  For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way" I quote that to say to the religious psyche, there is often a sense of failure. Often religious people never achieve 1/50th as much as they had hoped for.  Unexpected option presents itself to achieve martyrdom,  and where  does it leave you?   Martyrdom may have an appeal to someone who wishes to make up for all the stumbling falling and failing. Throwing-off the mortal coil was considered a good thing, to the Cathars, to release the soul and divine spark. (They had some Buddhist' beliefs). Ironic "the martyrs" are said to cry out both day and night for god to 'judge the inhabitants of the earth' "and avenge our blood" denoting not the happy campers, this according to the text from the Isle of Patmos.  Martyrdom ?!? Does that seem rational ? NO! But, People arent always thinking clearly, especially when under (extreme) stress. There is the sociological cult mentality could play even a more sustained role in their group. There are many factors to factor in, really.  You might not remember Star-Trek DS-9 (old series) but shifty little bar-tender on the series, who was called,  'Quark' once said,  "Let me tell you something about Humans, Nephew, he says. They're a wonderful, friendly people, as long as their bellies are full and their holosuites are working. But take away their creature comforts, deprive them of food, sleep, sonic showers, put their lives in jeopardy over an extended period of time and those same friendly, intelligent, wonderful people... will become as nasty and as violent as the most bloodthirsty Klingon" You cannot predict how someone is going to behave under (extreme) duress. Btw, They may have thought it was their time to go, resigning one's self to their particular fate, that could be a real factor. Most comparative studies I ever did show a theme of destiny, cutting across diverse groups. So, It's not as straight-forward as it would appear on the surface. To my mind anyway.    

 Yes, I understand the martyr concept quite well, but I personally don't consider a violent senseless death to be a martyr, lest you're taking out some of your oppressors with you, or are trying to rally people behind your cause. (Akin to the way Wladyslaw Raginis, the man whose name I used, threw himself on a live grenade at the Battle of Wizna after having pledged his life to the battle ground for morale. He was already mortally wounded and they were being over-run when he killed himself to save his last few men.) 

 

harleysportster wrote:

I have actually found myself wondering that same thing from time to time.

I remember reading books about medieval history and it saying that one could renounce their heresy to keep from being burned at the stake (there were exceptions of course, like I don't think someone found guilty of witchcraft could) but in the cases of religious heresy whether it is to tell a lie or be burnt alive. I would lie in a heartbeat.

However, people give their lives in service to a country/cause all of the time. This may not be any different.

 

A perfect example of a woman who could have been saved by a small lie, and was temporarily saved by a lie, was Jeanne d'Arc (more well known as Joan of Arc) just prior to her death at the stake, she was given the option to "renounce" her heresy and did so, then the next day she revoked her renunciation and was burned alive. As the saints were disappointed with her and told her she had nothing to worry about. I suppose this could be considered a rational reason to die, provided a person believed in this in the first place. Though I don't think in the cases of genocide that everyone in that particular group that is being slaughtered would have a similar experience.

Also I do consider it to be different than giving ones life in service of their country, unless they're a conscript (of any kind) as they would be a volunteer and would fall more under the case of martyr, as dana said.

 

Brian37 wrote:

Religion distorts reality. It is our evolutionary flaw of defaulting to what "feels good" before we actually take a step back and objectively look and test reality. All species of life do not always have time to assess a sudden situation, so in the fight or flight moment, we tend to jump to conclusions, rather than test, because in reality we don't always have time to test.

An antelope on the African planes does not have time to asses if the grass moving is merely the wind or a lion stalking them. Safety in numbers does work, but the downside is that our species can create those numbers and be quite successful centered around that false belief. The ancient Egyptians were successful for 3,000 years centered around the false belief that the sun was a god.

 

 

You make mention of antelope on an African plane, well, I feel like you're not conveying what you're trying to say, or I'm understanding it differently, to my knowledge when an antelope sees the grass moving or any other kind of disturbance in their surroundings they flee, and in context this would be akin to pseudo renunciation of faith. I will add, however, that this may be out of ignorance, as I'm not too familiar with the behavior of animals in this situation. Never cared too much for it.

 

 

 

 

"Your sins are not redeemed, by swearing perjury." ~ Mathias Blad

"Change how you look at all things and what you see will change" ~ Per Nilsson/Henrik Ohlsson
"As the need for knowledge flows through the catharsis of thought, ask a question and the answer will be born."


iwbiek
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i've often wondered the same

i've often wondered the same thing about any situation.  i once read a quote to the effect of how insane it is when a person elevates an idea above a human life.

i'm not giving my life for anything that isn't concrete, like a loved one.  put me in iran with a sabre over my neck and someone demanding "say the shahada or die!" and, well...there is no god but allah and muhammad is his messenger.  fuck dawkins and hitchens and all the rest of those guys i haven't read anyhow (have read the quran though).

 

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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iwbiek wrote:i've often

iwbiek wrote:

i've often wondered the same thing about any situation.  i once read a quote to the effect of how insane it is when a person elevates an idea above a human life.

i'm not giving my life for anything that isn't concrete, like a loved one.  put me in iran with a sabre over my neck and someone demanding "say the shahada or die!" and, well...there is no god but allah and muhammad is his messenger.  fuck dawkins and hitchens and all the rest of those guys i haven't read anyhow (have read the quran though).

 

My feelings exactly.

It's not like they can peer into my skull and see what I really think.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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 You guys are pretty much

 You guys are pretty much saying what I've been wondering. There is no real reason to not lie. .-. I do suppose it does thin out the herd a bit, though.

"Your sins are not redeemed, by swearing perjury." ~ Mathias Blad

"Change how you look at all things and what you see will change" ~ Per Nilsson/Henrik Ohlsson
"As the need for knowledge flows through the catharsis of thought, ask a question and the answer will be born."


iwbiek
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i don't feel right about

i don't feel right about lying when another person can genuinely be hurt by it, but honestly, i think there is nothing heroic at all about ideological "martyrs."

for example, this comes from fiction, but stuff like this has happened in history.  i recently watched the film everything is illuminated, where a young american jew, played by elijah wood, goes to the ukraine in search of his grandfather's birthplace.  when he finally finds it, the one old jewish lady still left there tells him how his grandfather's pregnant first wife was killed--shot through the stomach by an SS man--because her (his wife's) father had been the one man in the village who refused to spit on the torah scroll, knowing full well what the consequences would be.  now, i will admit, the film doesn't necessarily try to make him out to be a hero, but i can see where some sick fucks might respect him for that.  all i could think, however, was "what a fucking piece of shit!  sacrificing his daughter and his unborn grandchild for a fucking piece of paper!"

when i imagine (as in this situation i dared to) someone pointing a gun at my little son's head and making damn near any demand...it's a no-brainer!  i will fuck up any book you want, i will blaspheme or worship any god you want, and even when i was a christian i would not have hesitated to do the same thing.

fuck it, point a gun at the head of a total stranger and i will do the same.  no idea is worth even one life.  stay faaar away from anyone who suggests otherwise.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


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iwbiek wrote:i don't feel

iwbiek wrote:

i don't feel right about lying when another person can genuinely be hurt by it, but honestly, i think there is nothing heroic at all about ideological "martyrs."

for example, this comes from fiction, but stuff like this has happened in history.  i recently watched the film everything is illuminated, where a young american jew, played by elijah wood, goes to the ukraine in search of his grandfather's birthplace.  when he finally finds it, the one old jewish lady still left there tells him how his grandfather's pregnant first wife was killed--shot through the stomach by an SS man--because her (his wife's) father had been the one man in the village who refused to spit on the torah scroll, knowing full well what the consequences would be.  now, i will admit, the film doesn't necessarily try to make him out to be a hero, but i can see where some sick fucks might respect him for that.  all i could think, however, was "what a fucking piece of shit!  sacrificing his daughter and his unborn grandchild for a fucking piece of paper!"

when i imagine (as in this situation i dared to) someone pointing a gun at my little son's head and making damn near any demand...it's a no-brainer!  i will fuck up any book you want, i will blaspheme or worship any god you want, and even when i was a christian i would not have hesitated to do the same thing.

fuck it, point a gun at the head of a total stranger and i will do the same.  no idea is worth even one life.  stay faaar away from anyone who suggests otherwise.

Oh I am total agreement with that one.

Any man that would allow his wife and child to die over an ideal, a piece of paper, a party or anything else, when a simple lie would save them. Is a worthless scumbag that deserves to be the one dying for the ideal .

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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iwbiek wrote:i don't feel

iwbiek wrote:

i don't feel right about lying when another person can genuinely be hurt by it, but honestly, i think there is nothing heroic at all about ideological "martyrs."

for example, this comes from fiction, but stuff like this has happened in history.  i recently watched the film everything is illuminated, where a young american jew, played by elijah wood, goes to the ukraine in search of his grandfather's birthplace.  when he finally finds it, the one old jewish lady still left there tells him how his grandfather's pregnant first wife was killed--shot through the stomach by an SS man--because her (his wife's) father had been the one man in the village who refused to spit on the torah scroll, knowing full well what the consequences would be.  now, i will admit, the film doesn't necessarily try to make him out to be a hero, but i can see where some sick fucks might respect him for that.  all i could think, however, was "what a fucking piece of shit!  sacrificing his daughter and his unborn grandchild for a fucking piece of paper!"

when i imagine (as in this situation i dared to) someone pointing a gun at my little son's head and making damn near any demand...it's a no-brainer!  i will fuck up any book you want, i will blaspheme or worship any god you want, and even when i was a christian i would not have hesitated to do the same thing.

fuck it, point a gun at the head of a total stranger and i will do the same.  no idea is worth even one life.  stay faaar away from anyone who suggests otherwise.

 

I *almost* completely agree with you. That one sentence " no idea is worth even one life." Well, I think that if you're inciting a rebellion against a government, or anything else for that matter, just or not. IS an idea worth lives, at least to the followers of that cause. If the American revolution had not been worth a single life Britain would be one of the largest countries in the world right now (Top twenty at least). The world wars would have worked out a bit different too. Not to mention the lack of the Monroe doctrine ( another idea that is worth lives, apparently.) Or, if we wish to go back further, Most of Europe would be under the oppression of the Scandinavians, and Russia would be Mongolian. .-.

Now, before I look like I'm totally contradicting myself, and saying that you're wrong. If the idea can be revoked with a simple word no big deal I would do damn near anything for my life, and the lives of most others. Provided I'm not being coerced into something that is wrong morally. (Killing two strangers for the life of a mayor or something.) In that situation I'm not entirely sure what I'd do.

"Your sins are not redeemed, by swearing perjury." ~ Mathias Blad

"Change how you look at all things and what you see will change" ~ Per Nilsson/Henrik Ohlsson
"As the need for knowledge flows through the catharsis of thought, ask a question and the answer will be born."


iwbiek
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Wladyslaw wrote:  I

Wladyslaw wrote:

 

 

I *almost* completely agree with you. That one sentence " no idea is worth even one life." Well, I think that if you're inciting a rebellion against a government, or anything else for that matter, just or not. IS an idea worth lives, at least to the followers of that cause. If the American revolution had not been worth a single life Britain would be one of the largest countries in the world right now (Top twenty at least). The world wars would have worked out a bit different too. Not to mention the lack of the Monroe doctrine ( another idea that is worth lives, apparently.) Or, if we wish to go back further, Most of Europe would be under the oppression of the Scandinavians, and Russia would be Mongolian. .-.

Now, before I look like I'm totally contradicting myself, and saying that you're wrong. If the idea can be revoked with a simple word no big deal I would do damn near anything for my life, and the lives of most others. Provided I'm not being coerced into something that is wrong morally. (Killing two strangers for the life of a mayor or something.) In that situation I'm not entirely sure what I'd do.

a couple things, one on topic and another one not so much, but i couldn't resist.

first, i don't really consider those examples dying for ideas, because those ideas had very direct, immediately observable, concrete consequences.  i mean, if you want to be technical, me spitting on a book in order to save my child is me upholding the "idea" that family is worth more than religion.

two, as an american, i don't really think the american revolution was worth fighting in any ideological, moral, or ethical sense.  if you look at how britain's other former, heavily settled colonies (e.g., canada or australia as opposed to uganda or india) are faring, i hardly think we as americans would be suffering horrible injustices (and, honestly, we weren't even in the 18th century).  most likely, we would now be an independent nation, a member of the commonwealth, with the queen as our head of state.  i'm really not horrified by that idea.

as for your other examples, tentative empires like those of the mongols or norsemen, as opposed to what i like to call "professional empires" like britain or rome, were not really built to last anyway because no administrative infrastructure was put in place.  they usually collapsed of their own accord after the death of a charismatic leader or as soon as the conquering armies moved on.  i don't think one could make an argument that the viking or the mongol conquests were lost because of rebellion, but rather they just sort of naturally decayed.  in fact, when the mongols ruled china as the manchus, rebellions by the han chinese did break out fairly frequently, and none of them were successful.  the manchus lost their power through a more or less peaceful political process because the emperor just couldn't hold on to the coercive organs of the state any longer.

if you look at history, statistically, very few rebellions have actually been successful.  hannah arendt, in her book on revolution (i confess i haven't read it yet, except in extract; it's waiting for me on my bookshelf), argues that the american revolution was the only truly successful one, because it was the only one that built a new society from the ground up and did not result in tyranny.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson


Wladyslaw
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iwbiek wrote:a couple

iwbiek wrote:

a couple things, one on topic and another one not so much, but i couldn't resist.

first, i don't really consider those examples dying for ideas, because those ideas had very direct, immediately observable, concrete consequences.  i mean, if you want to be technical, me spitting on a book in order to save my child is me upholding the "idea" that family is worth more than religion.

two, as an american, i don't really think the american revolution was worth fighting in any ideological, moral, or ethical sense.  if you look at how britain's other former, heavily settled colonies (e.g., canada or australia as opposed to uganda or india) are faring, i hardly think we as americans would be suffering horrible injustices (and, honestly, we weren't even in the 18th century).  most likely, we would now be an independent nation, a member of the commonwealth, with the queen as our head of state.  i'm really not horrified by that idea.

as for your other examples, tentative empires like those of the mongols or norsemen, as opposed to what i like to call "professional empires" like britain or rome, were not really built to last anyway because no administrative infrastructure was put in place.  they usually collapsed of their own accord after the death of a charismatic leader or as soon as the conquering armies moved on.  i don't think one could make an argument that the viking or the mongol conquests were lost because of rebellion, but rather they just sort of naturally decayed.  in fact, when the mongols ruled china as the manchus, rebellions by the han chinese did break out fairly frequently, and none of them were successful.  the manchus lost their power through a more or less peaceful political process because the emperor just couldn't hold on to the coercive organs of the state any longer.

if you look at history, statistically, very few rebellions have actually been successful.  hannah arendt, in her book on revolution (i confess i haven't read it yet, except in extract; it's waiting for me on my bookshelf), argues that the american revolution was the only truly successful one, because it was the only one that built a new society from the ground up and did not result in tyranny.

The Mongolian empire was really more of what I'd like to look at as an extortion "empire" they'd invade kill a bunch of people tell them to pay regular tribute and provide safe trade routes, leaving the previous government ultimately intact.

Back to the American Revolt, in a sense, our government was already in place when we officially declared a revolt, being ready at arms. Where a lot of more modern coup's don't really have a structure in place BEFORE they go around killing their current rulers.

Also back to the Scandinavians. I used the word Scandinavians for a reason rather than viking. The Norman empire was quite large with territory in England, Northern France, all of Sicily, roughly all of south Italy, parts of northern Africa, and even rule in a bit of the Middle East. This sort of expansion isn't really the result of random raiding. (1130) In this they fought off and held the land of more "professional" empires. The Swedish Empire, from 1560 to 1658 comprised of almost all of Scandinavia ( with a bit of Norway remaining) bits of the Holy Roman Empire, in modern France and Belgium, most of the sizeable islands in the Baltic Sea and a good chunk of Russia/Lithuania. My point in all of this was that While the Mongolian empire was more or less what you said, Scandinavians =/= Vikings and they had quite large empires that lasted a good long time. (200+ years)

Back on topic. I think you were trying to say that if coerced into doing menial actions (spitting on a book, or bowing to the East three times a day) for the well being of anyone, you would do it in a heartbeat, as anyone of rational thought would (or at least should).

The thing I cannot, simply cannot, understand though is why anyone would choose death over menial actions! Back to the case of Jeanne d'Arc in her death she rallied the French army to push back the English bringing the Hundred Years War to an end. However this was not her intent, she did that because she thought that she heard voices from above telling her to die that day, even turning down a rescue attempt. Had she been alive the same result would have likely been attained as she was quite good at leading an army, even siege warfare.

"Your sins are not redeemed, by swearing perjury." ~ Mathias Blad

"Change how you look at all things and what you see will change" ~ Per Nilsson/Henrik Ohlsson
"As the need for knowledge flows through the catharsis of thought, ask a question and the answer will be born."


iwbiek
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Wladyslaw wrote: The

Wladyslaw wrote:

 

The Mongolian empire was really more of what I'd like to look at as an extortion "empire" they'd invade kill a bunch of people tell them to pay regular tribute and provide safe trade routes, leaving the previous government ultimately intact.

in a way they were very similar to the soviets and their "empire" (the warsaw pact countries) in this regard.  if you read the travels of the medieval muslim ibn battuta, he goes all across the lands controlled by the great khan, including mamluk egypt, and they are developed, civilized places.  when he actually gets to central asia however, from where the mongol conquerors rule their empire and draw their tribute, he finds a backward, primitive society of caravans constantly moving across the barren steppe.  just like the soviets and central europe, the urbanized, sophisticated societies of north africa had a far higher standard of living, but were kept in check by their primitive overlords because of the sheer mass of their military machine. 

Wladyslaw wrote:

Back to the American Revolt, in a sense, our government was already in place when we officially declared a revolt, being ready at arms. Where a lot of more modern coup's don't really have a structure in place BEFORE they go around killing their current rulers.

very true, and i believe arendt mentions this as well.

Wladyslaw wrote:

Also back to the Scandinavians. I used the word Scandinavians for a reason rather than viking. The Norman empire was quite large with territory in England, Northern France, all of Sicily, roughly all of south Italy, parts of northern Africa, and even rule in a bit of the Middle East. This sort of expansion isn't really the result of random raiding. (1130) In this they fought off and held the land of more "professional" empires. The Swedish Empire, from 1560 to 1658 comprised of almost all of Scandinavia ( with a bit of Norway remaining) bits of the Holy Roman Empire, in modern France and Belgium, most of the sizeable islands in the Baltic Sea and a good chunk of Russia/Lithuania. My point in all of this was that While the Mongolian empire was more or less what you said, Scandinavians =/= Vikings and they had quite large empires that lasted a good long time. (200+ years)

well, by the time the normans had their empire, i don't think i would have called them scandinavian anymore.  they were completely french.  in fact, i always say that the reason the british were such great empire-builders was because they learned from the example of their norman conquerors: use force only as a last resort, respect the customs already in place, and try to integrate as much as you can without losing your authority.  william, for example, promptly respected the old english idea of monarchy (the king is under the law and rules by right of acclamation), and when the normans conquered ireland they were indistinguishable from the native irish within a couple generations.

i cannot speak to the medieval swedish empire because i know nothing about it.  still, the point i was making was there aren't too many examples of conquerors or native despots being overthrown by rebellions.

"I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright. . . . Or maybe 'stupid' is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I. . . . And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots."
--Hunter S. Thompson