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Our false oracles have failed. We need a new vision to live by
The Times of London ^ | October 20, 2008 | Ben Okri

Posted on 08/20/2011 6:10:50 PM PDT by AfricanChristian

(Published three years ago. Still important today).

The crisis affecting the economy is a crisis of our civilisation. The values that we hold dear are the very same that got us to this point. The meltdown in the economy is a harsh metaphor of the meltdown of some of our value systems. A house is on fire; we see flames coming through the windows on the second floor and we think that that is where the fire is raging. In fact it is raging elsewhere.

For decades poets and artists have been crying in the wilderness about the wasteland, the debacle, the apocalypse. But apparent economic triumph has deafened us to these warnings. Now it is necessary to look at this crisis as a symptom of things gone wrong in our culture.

Individualism has been raised almost to a religion, appearance made more important than substance. Success justifies greed, and greed justifies indifference to fellow human beings. We thought that our actions affected only our own sphere but the way that appalling decisions made in America have set off a domino effect makes it necessary to bring new ideas to the forefront of our civilisation. The most important is that we are more connected than we suspected. A visible and invisible mesh links economies and cultures around the globe to the great military and economic centres.

The only hope lies in a fundamental re-examination of the values that we have lived by in the past 30 years. It wouldn't do just to improve the banking system - we need to redesign the whole edifice.

(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...


TOPICS: Philosophy
KEYWORDS: financialcrisis; moralcrisis; us

1 posted on 08/20/2011 6:10:58 PM PDT by AfricanChristian
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To: AfricanChristian

I know ... Marxism!


2 posted on 08/20/2011 6:11:56 PM PDT by Mr Ramsbotham (Laws against sodomy are honored in the breech.)
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To: Mr Ramsbotham

I doubt you read the article.


3 posted on 08/20/2011 6:13:10 PM PDT by AfricanChristian
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To: AfricanChristian

I’d take the 80s again in a heartbeat - the author can have the 70s.


4 posted on 08/20/2011 6:17:28 PM PDT by Chi-townChief
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To: AfricanChristian

What a freaking meaningless and insipid rant!


5 posted on 08/20/2011 6:21:13 PM PDT by freedumb2003 (Herman Cain 2012)
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To: AfricanChristian

Liberals gave been teaching children two contradictory creeds-—ie....”survival of the fittest” near nihilistic individualism.....contrasted with we’re all “One” and should love and take care of each other.

Martin Luther King was persuasive because he spoke to our constitutional heritage, PLUS he appealed to Jews and Christians by drawing an analogy to the Exodus from slavery of the Hebrews from the Pharoahs of Egypt (and our national seal on our dollar bill has the pyramid with all-seeing eye of God-—regarding Providence and deliverance of American independence from slavery to the British throne)-—whereas...

today’s Black Studies courses teach an implicit anti-semitism and anti-Americanism by telling young blacks that they are descendents of the Pharoahs who built the pyramids INSTEAD

...of what Martin Luther King taught: we as Americans are all descendents of SLAVES......in BOTH a secular and religious sense...


6 posted on 08/20/2011 6:21:58 PM PDT by Beowulf9
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To: Mr Ramsbotham
I know ... Marxism!

From the article:

Our planet is under threat. We need a new one-planet thinking.

We need a new social consciousness. The poor and the hungry need to be the focus of our economic and social responsibility.

Education ought to be more global

We need to be more a people of the world.

7 posted on 08/20/2011 6:27:03 PM PDT by Graybeard58 (The only problem some people have with tyranny is that they’re not the tyrant.)
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To: AfricanChristian

8 posted on 08/20/2011 6:28:00 PM PDT by I see my hands (Keep your sunny side up!)
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To: AfricanChristian

He sees the problem, but he refuses to acknowledge that God, religion and morality — meaning RULES that must be obeyed — have any place in governing a society.

His plea for a focus on feeding the hungry is a futile attempt to throw out a sea anchor in a storm.

Still, I give him some credit for at least acknowledging the problem that exists rather than trying to paper it over.


9 posted on 08/20/2011 6:43:24 PM PDT by Ronin (Obamanation has replaced Bizarroworld as the most twisted place in the universe.)
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To: AfricanChristian

The author is a Marxist moron.

I want the central planners out of my life. The central planners fail on a grand scale every time it is tried.


10 posted on 08/20/2011 6:43:35 PM PDT by DB
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To: AfricanChristian

The question: “Why should I not do as I please within the law, so long as I harm no-one else?” would, at all earlier times, have drawn one or both of the answers:

“Because it offends God” or
“Because you will become a social outcast”.

The first of these has no force for our new elites, who do not believe in God; the second is not only without force for them, it is without meaning. To exclude a person from one’s drawing-room because their personal pleasures are aberrant would be “discrimination”.
- John Derbyshire


11 posted on 08/20/2011 6:44:37 PM PDT by donna (This is what happens when America is no longer a Christian nation.)
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To: Graybeard58

Sounds Marxist to me. They need a rebirth of Common Law attitudes—the Magna Charta—the ideas of Wilberforce, Milton, Shakespeare, Dickens, Lord Nelson, John Stuart Mill, Churchill, etc. etc.

They need to reinforce those ideas that made them the most powerful force on earth for years and then improve the areas where they were deficient. No culture can be perfect, but they can strive to be better and England was great and produced some of the greatest artists and thinkers in the history of the earth.

Marxism NEVER works—ever. Only the ideology of Christianity—with charity and subsidiarity works for the dignity and success of the poor and disenfranchised. With no God-—there can be no meaning to anyone’s life—particularly a societies. There is no reason for concern of the future or concern for the dignity of the individual if there is no God, etc.


12 posted on 08/20/2011 6:59:23 PM PDT by savagesusie
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To: AfricanChristian

Total epic nonsense. We have sacrificed everything to the “collective good” since WW2. MORE “centralization” for the “good of society” is doing more of the same that has caused this utter failure.


13 posted on 08/20/2011 7:13:28 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (Giving more money to DC to fix the Debt is like giving free drugs to addicts think it will cure them)
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To: AfricanChristian
“Individualism . . . religion. Appearance . . . more important than substance. Success justifies greed. Greed justifies indifference. Appalling decisions made in America. New ideas to the forefront of our civilisation.”

What “new ideas”? I smell a Marxist rant coming on. “Surrender your lives and fortunes to me and I will make it all better.”

This is a “new idea”?

14 posted on 08/20/2011 7:19:01 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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To: AfricanChristian

Good post! Every bit as necessary and relevant today, if not more so. The author was cautious to not appear to be considered a religious nut, but if you read this article, you have to agree when he says that we have become morally bankrupt that he means spiritually. He may not even be a Christian by faith, but sees the problem correctly. I have read several non-believers who have also come to this realization. I did not feel that the person was advocating for socialism, as at one time in the not too distant past, the Church took care of the needy in their communities and families who could, helped out. Today, it is assumed that you will go for food stamps and welfare and not bother your families or church. But the thing that made community was our taking care of one another. It brought the good out in the giver and the receiver.

When you do good things today for others, you are looked on as foolish by some, with resentment , or suspicion by still others. I don’t think the author is saying that we need a ‘new world order’ as the globalists are demanding, but a renewed sense of responsibility for our neighbor in the way that God designed for us to live.


15 posted on 08/20/2011 7:21:18 PM PDT by Shery (in APO Land)
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To: AfricanChristian

I like the way this Ben Okri writes, thanks for posting. Will look for more from him.


16 posted on 08/20/2011 7:35:08 PM PDT by bigbob
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To: AfricanChristian
For decades poets and artists have been crying in the wilderness about the wasteland, the debacle, the apocalypse.

Leonard Cohen -The Future

17 posted on 08/20/2011 8:22:12 PM PDT by GOPJ (126 people were indicted for being terrorists in the last two years. Every one of them was Muslim.)
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To: GOPJ

That song gives me the creeps. I prefer, “I’m Your Man”.


18 posted on 08/20/2011 8:26:51 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: Shery

I agree with you.

Sometimes I get the feeling that caring for others has become a dirty concept among some self-styled “conservatives” and that one cannot discuss greed without being shouted down as a “Marxist distributionist / Liberal”.

We must be very careful not to close our minds.


19 posted on 08/20/2011 9:15:16 PM PDT by AfricanChristian
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To: Graybeard58

One world government coming, one world currency coming, one abomination of a world religion coming.

Amazing, I could swear I’ve read of such things somewhere in the Good Book.


20 posted on 08/20/2011 10:06:09 PM PDT by ThurstonHowell3
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To: AfricanChristian
These oracles he speaks of, are the gods of Marxism and this man 'still' believes. He imagines an enlightenment, whiles suffering classic Marxist myopia - and the shallowness of thinking, that goes with it.

An altogether, empty sharing here.

21 posted on 08/21/2011 12:38:29 AM PDT by cricket (Osama - NOT made in the USA. . . .and Obama, not madhttp://atlasshrugs2000e in the USA either.. .)
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To: cricket

I disagree.

Can’t you see the references to Christianity?


22 posted on 08/21/2011 4:36:21 AM PDT by AfricanChristian
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To: AfricanChristian

Will reread and check back. Interpreting a matter of one’s ‘lights’ and so there is much in Bible that ‘speaks’ to Marxism, if one is so inclined, and thus the Bible is ‘used and abused’ -and misconstrued - by those needing to do just that. Whether Marixst or not, for that matter.


23 posted on 08/21/2011 6:51:22 AM PDT by cricket (Osama - NOT made in the USA. . . .and Obama, not madhttp://atlasshrugs2000e in the USA either.. .)
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To: Deb

LOL - well, the subject matter at hand seems to call for ‘the Future’ - but “I’m Your Man” is great too - or better yet, Hallelujah...


24 posted on 08/21/2011 8:44:27 AM PDT by GOPJ (126 people were indicted for being terrorists in the last two years. Every one of them was Muslim.)
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To: Deb

LOL - well, the subject matter at hand seems to call for ‘the Future’ - but I like “I’m Your Man” too - or better yet, “Hallelujah”.


25 posted on 08/21/2011 8:44:54 AM PDT by GOPJ (126 people were indicted for being terrorists in the last two years. Every one of them was Muslim.)
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To: GOPJ

“Hallelujah” is wonderful, but “If It Be Thy Will”, written during Cohen’s days in the monastery, has me in tears every time I hear it. “The Future” scares me.


26 posted on 08/22/2011 11:24:49 AM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: Deb
If it be your will? Here's some commentary from his newest book (Leonard Cohen - Poems and Songs ) - by Robert Faggen:

In the prayer "if It Be Your Will" it is hard not to be stunned by a stanza that builds from a parallel but disturbing conditional line to three joyous exhortations and then falls to an enjambed line with a terrifying vision of suffering:

If it be your will

if there is a choice,

let the rivers fill,

let the hills rejoice.

Let your mercy spill

on all these burning hearts in hell,

if it be your will

to make us well.

No less remarkable are the lines in the next stanza, "in our rags of light,/all dressed to kill,". These lines like so many in Cohen , are searingly bright with the clarity of madness. They heal and tear asunder and heal again. And they keep us listening.

27 posted on 08/22/2011 12:16:53 PM PDT by GOPJ (126 people were indicted for being terrorists in the last two years. Every one of them was Muslim.)
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To: GOPJ
"...the clarity of madness". Wow. That exactly defines Cohen's work.

I caught his live show recently and I have no idea how a man his age has the stamina to perform for so many hours and then do endless encores. It was fantastic. Of course, he did collapse in Europe, but then continued on. Amazing.

28 posted on 08/22/2011 12:24:24 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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