Joseph Campbell, Simone Weil, and The Armenian Genocide.

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Joseph Campbell, Simone Weil, and The Armenian Genocide.

Post by Nick_A » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:27 am

"Never Again" is a term used to indicate a firm resolve against genocide and genocide denial. It is felt that until genocides are admitted for what they are, they will remain cyclical events. Holocaust Memorial Day is dedicated to this assertion. The trouble is in admitting it in the face of political pressure.

It has become clear that regardless of good intentions, "Never Again" actually refers only to politically correct genocides. The Armenian Genocide is politially incorrect so "Never Again" doesn't pertain to it. Unfortunately, establishment of politically correct and incorrect genocides only assures that "Never Again" becomes a meaningless platitude open to political manipulation. Perhaps Joseph Campbell and Simone Weil can help us to explain why this happens: ... de&f=false
Joseph Campbell writes:

For it is a basic idea of practically every war mythology that the enemy is a monster and that in killing him one is protecting the only true valuable order of human life on earth which is that, of course, of ones own people.
And now, as usual, Simone says it like it is:
"When once a certain class of people has been placed by the temporal and spiritual authorities outside the ranks of those whose life has value, then nothing comes more naturally to men than murder." Simone Weil
Now a person can understand congress in the light of politics and shudder: ... resolution
Clinton promised Davutoglu to block House debate on Armenian Genocide resolution?
December 18, 2010 - 13:10 AMT 09:10 GMTPanARMENIAN.Net - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss possible consideration of H.Res.252 by the House of Representatives.

According to Turkish media reports, Secretary Clinton promised to block voting.

Davutoglu once again threatened that relations between the United States and Turkey will worsen if the resolution is adopted.

On December 17, spokesperson for the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Elizabeth S. Chouldjian said that H. Res. 252, the Armenian Genocide resolution, can be considered in the U.S. House of Representatives within the next 48 hours.

The ANCA urges American Armenians to call their congressmen and demand from them that they vote for H. Res. 252 adoption, Chouldjian told a PanARMENIAN.Net reporter.

The ANCA, as well as famous representatives of show business of Armenian descent have initiated a campaign urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to schedule a vote on H.Res. 252 before the House adjourns.
Did Hillary indicate this? We don't know and it may depend upon what IS is. We do know that denial of recognition of the Armenian Genocide is American policy. The following site describes the pressure on congress. The point is that Never Again becomes meaningless because of What Joseph Campbell and Simone make clear. The value of human life is relative depending upon political and egotistical considerations. ... cide-bill/

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"Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." ~ Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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Post by Clemsy » Tue Dec 21, 2010 2:32 am

Nick, this thread doesn't fit in the Village Compound very well. I'm moving it to the 1K Faces Forum.

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Post by Nick_A » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:35 pm

I agree that recognition of the Armenian genocide is not easy for a lot of people since we have to face a contradiction in ourselves. We are attracted both to moral good and political good that often are in conflict.

First look at typical pictures of the Armenian Genocide: ... ide_Photos

Some refuse to recognize it for what it is for political considerations: ... nt-page-1/
The current co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Turkey have sent a Dear Colleague letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to express their “grave concerns” regarding the imminent consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.252) in the House of Representatives. In their letter, they resort to the standard arguments against this measure, such as the strategic and military importance of Turkey for the United States, the economic fallout from alienating Turkey, and the United States’ policy not to condemn modern-day nations for the sins of their fathers.
Can a united stand against genocide described through the term "Never Again" be meaningful if we deny admitting the human condition that allows us to deny genocide. I'm not referring to murder of a few people but the intended destruction of a race of people not considered worthy of life as described previously by Joseph Campbell and Simone Weil.

If we are cyclically capable of such a mindset while saying the opposite, how does it relate to mythology? Can we profit from myth without distorting it as normal for the human condition that allows for the cyclical occurrence of genocides?

I appreciate Joseph Campbell's romanticism but believe that he underestimates the human condition. Consider this excerpt:
Despite the purposes for human life, which are proclaimed by religion and, for the most part, nurtured as ideals in the breasts of men and women, the human condition is in reality characterized by suffering, war, oppression, poverty, vain striving, and disappointment. The starting point of Buddhism, the first of the Four Noble Truths, is that all life is ill--full of trouble and suffering. All religions recognize the correctness of this assertion in its broadest sense, that the human condition contradicts and defeats a person's true purpose as ordained by God or established by divine principles. The Christian understanding of man's inveterate tendency to do evil and turn away from God is found in the doctrine of Original Sin. The texts describing these and other comparable notions are brought together in the first section.

A second way to understand the human condition is to recognize human nature as the arena where the desires to do good and evil are in protracted conflict. This may be understood as reflecting a fundamental dualism within nature itself, or more commonly as a defect within the human heart. Due to this war within, it is hardly possible to fulfill the highest aspirations to goodness and holiness.
Joseph Campbell suggests that Man goes wrong as a result of religious influences that pervert Man's natural good. ... nation.htm
Joseph Campbell described the myths of the monotheistic religions as alienating man from his authentic spirituality, from himself and from his nature. The idea that dominates Judeo-Christian and Islamic beliefs is that a single, rather hostile God exists outside the world and prefers only one human group, provided that the group is sufficiently subservient and obeys rules. The Jews originated monotheism to support the narcissistic exclusivity of a small and eclectic tribe. Not only were Jews the chosen people, but God promised to send his son, the messiah, to confirm their special status and assure their longevity.

This notion of the privileged group was repeated by Christian Jews who claimed that Jesus was in fact the messiah. The Christian Bible emerged over many centuries, written to support the authority of the Roman Church who claimed that their gospel superseded existing Jewish teachings and Jewish law. The power, prestige and authority of God’s covenant with the Jews became a Christian property. Christianity was later carried to the rest of the world by the Roman Church with this message of excusive privilege.
I believe that the religion he is describing refers to idolatry which is normal for the imbalanced human condition and lack of consciousness that defines the human condition.

Man, especially modern man, left to his own devices will adopt some form of idolatry including the idolatry of the Great Beast and secularism. The problem isn't religion but rather idolatry. No lasting good can come from it because being a reflection of the human condition, it must turn into its opposite as part of normal cycles.

A Christian church for example initially was an esoteric school and consisted of levels of conscious awareness. Its purpose was to aid in the esoteric inner growth of its members where people on one level with the help of the Holy spirit could receive from above and give to below. Now Christian churches if they do exist are underground or in the background. Christianity devolved into secular expressions of Christendom described as sects and begin automatically flowing in accordance to natural cycles.

The same thing happens with all the great traditions initiating with a conscious source. they become secularized and lose their potency to affect the development of human "being."

Man is alienated. Could genocides be possible if that were not the case.

In such a state of unconscious alienation, how much can we profit from myths if we do not first begin the hard inner work of beginning to "know thyself?"

Is Joseph Campbell right to assert that man's alienation can be dealt with by becoming more natural or are we incapable of being natural because of the human condition? What would it take for collective man to inwardly as well as externally see a genocide for what it is? Is thinking heroic thoughts enough or is it better to also begin to experience and admit the human condition within ourselves?

Perhaps Simone is right:
"The combination of these two facts – the longing in the depth of the heart for absolute good, and the power, though only latent, of directing attention and love to a reality beyond the world and of receiving good from it – constitutes a link which attaches every man without exception to that other reality. Whoever recognizes that reality recognizes that link. Because of it, he holds every human being without any exception as something sacred to which he is bound to show respect. This is the only possible motive for universal respect towards all human beings." Simone Weil “Draft for A Statement of Human Obligations” SIMONE WEIL, AN ANTHOLOGY ed. Sian Miles
Perhaps it isn't the denial of the essence of religion that can lead to humanity becoming more human but rather the appreciating idolatry as a false god?

How many wouldn't be offended by what Simone writes. Yet if the human condition that allows it to become content as part of the Great Beast is true, as politically incorrect as it is, a person has to consider how to alienate them from it for the sake of becoming more human at the expense of the Beast.

The question of the Armenian genocide reveals the contradiction between the moral good and perceived political good. The hero wants to free themselves from this political psychological condition. Can it do so without first being wiling to witness themselves as they are rather than in their fantasies?
Our patriotism comes straight from the Romans. ... It is a pagan virtue, if these two words are compatible. The word pagan, when applied to Rome, early possesses the significance charged with horror which the early Christian controversialists gave it. The Romans really were an atheistic and idolatrous people; not idolatrous with regard to images made of stone or bronze, but idolatrous with regard to themselves. It is this idolatry of self which they have bequeathed to us in the form of patriotism.
- Simone Weil, Prelude to Politics, completed shortly before her death in 1943
the Simone Weil Reader, edited by George A. Panichas (David McKay Co. NY 1977) p 220

Rome is the Great Beast of atheism and materialism, adoring nothing but itself. Israel is the Great Beast of religion. Neither one nor the other is likable. The Great Beast is always repulsive.
- Simone Weil, Prelude to Politics, completed shortly before her death in 1943
the Simone Weil Reader, edited by George A. Panichas (David McKay Co. NY 1977) p 393
Nothing can be perverted unless there is quality and potential to begin with. Simone is referring to a perversion of quality expressing itself through idolatry. It isn't pleasant to consider but for those with a sincere need to follow the heroes path, they must seriously consider the human condition and how it relates to them. "Know Thyself."
"Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." ~ Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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Post by Nick_A » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:49 pm

" A stick has two ends."

This old expression means that everything has another side to it. As horrible as genocide and genocide denial is, the other side is that since we live in imagination, it can give us a glimpse of what we are that allows us to acept it and "look the other way."

Politics wins again as it must. But if what Joseph Campbell suggest can have any practical value, it would have to lessen the the dominance of politcs, over objective morality. ... 2010-12-23
Reactions from Turkey, Armenia

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu on Thursday expressed pleasure that a resolution on recognizing Armenian claims of genocide had not been included in the official daily agenda of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“We are pleased that a development that would strike a blow to balances in the Caucasus and Turkish-American and Turkish-Armenian relations did not happen in the U.S. Congress. Common sense prevailed yesterday,” Davutoğlu told reporters. “We thank the U.S. administration for their efforts. This incident once again proved that assessment of historical incidents by political authorities is principally wrong.”

The Armenians were furious by the House’s failure to vote, but pledged to fight back in the new Congress. “Armenian-Americans are angered and disappointed by the failure of Speaker Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership to honor their commitment to allow a bipartisan majority to vote for passage of the Armenian genocide resolution,” said ANCA chairman Ken Hachikian. “Speaker Pelosi clearly had the majority, the authority and the opportunity to pass the Armenian genocide resolution, yet refused to allow a vote on this human-rights measure.”

“I am happy that reason and common sense have prevailed,” said Namik Tan, Turkey’s ambassador to Washington.

“We now know that a majority of Congress agrees with President Obama about the importance of the U.S.-Turkey relationship, and expect this wisdom to carry over into the next Congress so that we can avoid yet another needless round of bashing our ally Turkey,” said Lincoln McCurdy, president of the Turkish Coalition of America, a U.S. Turkish group.
This is not a political thread concerned with a believed "right" thing to do but rather an illustration of the human condition blind to objective morality that can even justify intentionally denying objective morality.

The question is if anything can be built upon this foundation as is often suggested by the feel good "world peace" sentiments, or does it require personally and experiantially admitting the human condition for what it is and beginning to deal with it.

Joseph Campbell was a scholar and spent a lifetime studying myth and introducing some very uselful and necessary ideas into society. However, a scholar is separate from their ideas. It can have its limitations. If we don't experience them, can they really lead us to reflect objective human meaning and purpose or will we just imagine it until provoked into blind acceptance of the lowest form of human depravity.

A man can spend years debating sexual attraction and sex in general including what an orgasm is and write many stimulating papers on the subject. But until he gets her clothes off and she joins him in bed, does he really understand sex or what an orgasm is?

This is the trouble. We can write many articles on what genocide is and analyse this and that but does it mean anything until we personally experience why we so easily deny it in favor of political considerations?

Collectively we refuse to do so and accept the dominance of politics which demonstrates the mentality that assures the next genocide and the impotence of "Never Again."
"Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed, to feel with them, one cannot understand." Simone Weil

After the stories a person seeking truth has to experience the unpleasant. But how many are willing to do it?

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.-- Thich Nhat Hanh

This is basically it. Justified living in imagination is a form of suffering that we become used to. It is not easy to sacrifice so as to experience the objective suffering of being trapped in the human condition that accepts even the most horrid occurrences including genocides. Yet impartial willing experience is the way out. But how many can be capable? Ssstories are on thing. Their practical application is another.
"Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." ~ Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
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Post by Nermin » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:23 pm

Clemsy wrote:Nick, this thread doesn't fit in the Village Compound very well. I'm moving it to the 1K Faces Forum.

İ want to read the rest but cannot find :-(
Can-you help?
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Post by Cindy B. » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:20 pm

Hey, Nermin.

This is the entire thread. Clemsy simply moved it from one place on the board to another.

If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung