Hegel on the role of academic philosophers – priests at ‘a continual divine service’

Cloister garden, Domkerk, Utrecht

Cloister garden, Domkerk, Utrecht

“This conceptual cognition of religion is by its nature not universal, but is rather only the cognition of a community. For that reason three stages take shape in regard to the kingdom of the Spirit: the first estate is that of immediate, naive religion and of faith; the second is that of the understanding, the estate of the so-called cultured, of reflection and the Enlightenment; and finally the third estate is ‘the community of philosophy.’”

In a note the Editor commented: “The ‘community’ (Gemeinde) – the community of faith, of the Spirit, the Christian community – seems now to have passed over into the philosophical community, and along with it its cognitive (i.e., its theological) activity.”

G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion vol. III, The Consummate Religion, ed. Peter C. Hodgson, trans., R.F.Brown, P.C.Hodgson, J.M.Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, 247



Five Russian souls 4

Filipp Maliavin, Peasant Women, 1904. Oil on canvas, The Russian Museum

Filipp Maliavin, Peasant Women, 1904. Oil on canvas. The Russian Museum

Konstantin Somov, Portrait of Anna Ostroumova, 1901. Oil on canvas. The Russian Museum

Konstantin Somov, Portrait of Anna Ostroumova, 1901. Oil on canvas. The Russian Museum

Konstantin Korovin, Portrait of Nikolai Chichagov, 1902. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery

Konstantin Korovin, Portrait of Nikolai Chichagov, 1902. Oil on canvas. The Tretyakov Gallery

Alexander Yakovlev, Portrait of Nikolai Radlov, 1912. Sanguine on paper. The V. Andreyev Collection

Alexander Yakovlev, Portrait of Nikolai Radlov, 1912. Sanguine on paper. The V. Andreyev Collection

Source: Russian Portrait of the late 19th-early 20th centuries, I. Pruzhan, V. Kniazeva, Izobrazitelnoye Iskusstvo Publishers, Moscow, 1980


Yet again, the contemptuous use the shame-based and servile

USS Nimitz, Pearl Harbour, Hawaii

USS Nimitz, Pearl Harbour, Hawaii

David Wroe ‘US admiral issues blunt warning over Chinese maritime expansion’ The Sydney Morning Herald, 06.10.15

The commander of the United States’ massive Pacific Fleet has warned that if bullying behaviour at sea of the kind shown by China is not confronted, it will spread to land and become a “friction point” there.

Admiral Scott Swift used a speech to a navy conference in Sydney to deliver a thinly veiled insistence that Beijing would not get away with its island-building and maritime coercion in Asia. …

Continuing a trend that has increasingly seen senior US figures use Australian soil to deliver blunt messages to Beijing…



The ascetics Proclus and Nietzsche on eternal recurrence

Proclus 412-485 C.E.

Proclus (412-485)

‘Prop. 199. Every intra-mundane soul has in its proper life periods and cyclic reinstatements.

For if it is measured by time and has a transitive activity (prop. 191), and movement is its distinctive character (prop. 20), and all that moves and participates time, if it be perpetual, moves in periods and periodically returns in a circle and is restored to its starting-point (prop. 198), then it is evident that in every intra-mundane soul, having movement and exercising a temporal activity, will have a periodic motion, and also cyclic reinstatements (since in the case of things perpetual every period ends in a reinstatement of the original condition).’

‘Prop. 206. Every particular soul can descend into temporal process and ascend from process to Being an infinite number of times.

For if at certain times it is in the company of gods and at others falls away from its upward tension towards the divine, and if it participates both intelligence and unintelligence (prop. 202), it is plain that by turns it comes-to-be in the world of process and has true Being among the gods. For it cannot (have been for an infinite time in material bodies and thereafter pass a second infinite time among the gods, neither can it) have spent an infinite time among the gods and again be embodied for the whole time thereafter, since that which has no temporal beginning will never have an end, and what has no end cannot have had a beginning. It remains, then, that each soul has a periodic alternation of ascents out of process and descents into process, and that this movement is unceasing by reason of the infinitude of time. Therefore each particular soul can descend and ascend an infinite number of times, and this shall never cease to befall every such soul.’

Proclus, The Elements of Theology, Trans., E.R. Dodds, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2004, 175, 181

‘At the twilight of antiquity there were still wholly unchristian figures, which were more beautiful, harmonious, and pure than those of any Christians: e.g., Proclus. His mysticism and syncretism were things that precisely Christianity cannot reproach him with. In any case, it would be my desire to live together with such people. In comparison with them Christianity looks like some crude brutalisation, organised for the benefit of the mob and the criminal classes.

Proclus, who solemnly invokes the rising moon.’

Friedrich Nietzsche, ’We Philologists’, Trans., J.M.Kennedy, The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Delphi Classics, Hastings, East Sussex, 2015, 7535



“What if some day or night a demon were to steal into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it you will have to live once again and innumerable times again; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unspeakably small or great in your life must return to you, all in the same succession and sequence – even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned over again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!’ Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: ‘You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine.'”

Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Trans., Josefine Nauckhoff, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, 194-195


Images: top/below left/below right

Freedom’s war of terror


How tin gods (and a tin goddess) operate 2

Vascular surgeon Gabrielle McMullin

Vascular surgeon Gabrielle McMullin

Julia Medew, ’Royal Australasian College of Surgeons “ignored sexual harassment complaints”’

The Sydney Morning Herald, 02.10.15

Complaints that female trainees were being sexually harassed by senior surgeons corruptly wielding power over their careers have been ignored by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons for seven years, a doctor says.

Explosive leaked documents reveal Sydney surgeon Gabrielle McMullin told the college in 2008 that three female trainees had asked her advice on how to deal with senior surgeons asking for sexual favours. In two cases, corruption of training processes was alleged.

“In one case the surgeon has offered a place on a training scheme based on the granting of sexual services. In another case the surgeon has become very angry about the refusal of sexual services and consequently produced a report that questioned the ability of the trainee,” Dr McMullin wrote in a letter to then president Ian Gough.

Dr McMullin said she told the trainees that granting sexual services was “probably the safest way to play it in that there will be no ‘fuss'”. However, she said she warned the women that “men have very short memories following sex and are unlikely to follow through with promises of training positions”.

“Refusing sexual services is the most palatable option but it is likely to lead to some grief in terms of references and reports,” she wrote in the letter to Professor Gough.

“I have discussed, with my male colleagues, the possibility of making a complaint to the college and this suggestion has been greeted with horror and an assurance that such a complaint would mean the end of the surgical career of the trainee.”

In the letter, Dr McMullin said she found the situation abhorrent and wanted to protect the trainees. She asked for advice about how the problem should be tackled.

But Dr McMullin, who shot to prominence earlier this year when she commented on sexual harassment in surgery, said the college was not interested in investigating the allegations.

While her letter was acknowledged with a written response about the college’s policies and a phone call, she said nobody asked her who the alleged perpetrators were or for more information from the trainees.

“They did not want to know,” she said. “You might think someone would phone me and say, ‘Oh my goodness, this is a terrible situation. Would you like to come and talk to us about it in confidence?’ I was just a bad smell and they just wanted me to go away.”

In March, Dr McMullin warned that sexism was so rife among surgeons, and complaint mechanisms were so weak, that it was safer for women, in terms of their careers, to give in to sexual advances from superiors rather than to refuse them or complain.

The president of the college at the time, Professor Michael Grigg, slammed her comments as “appalling” and said victims should be reporting harassment. At the time, a college spokesman also said: “The college actively encourages trainees and fellows to come forward in confidence with any such allegations, which will be thoroughly investigated.”

Documents show that in 2008, the college’s chief executive, David Hillis, wrote to the executive committee describing Dr McMullin’s claims as “deeply disturbing”, and he said college fellows had been involved in “a number of events where professional (including educational) and personal activities have become significantly blurred”.

Dr Hillis sought legal advice from Michael Gorton, a lawyer who was also then chairman of the Victorian Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission.

In a letter to the committee, Mr Gorton said the claims “cannot be lightly ignored” and warned the college it could face legal action.

“The college is on notice of its potential risk in relation to discrimination, harassment and bullying issues,” he said.

“Whilst obviously primary responsibility for these issues remains at the employer level (hospitals and others), there remains exposure for the college. Supervisors of training could be seen as agents of the college, for which the college will have vicarious liability.”

Mr Gorton recommended better policies, education, promotion of messages against harassment, a survey to determine the extent of it, and a mentoring program to help victims.

However, it is unclear what, if anything, the college did in response to this advice at the time. When asked this week why it did not seek further information from Dr McMullin about the perpetrators or victims, the college’s current president, Professor David Watters, did not comment.

Instead, he issued a written statement saying the college could improve its management of complaints and would release an action plan in November for tackling bullying, harassment and discrimination. This follows a report commissioned by the college this year which found half of all surgeons had been victims of the cultural problems.

“We have already made significant changes to our complaints management process, especially around the establishment of a RACS Complaints Hotline and RACS Support Program,” Professor Watters said.

Both the hotline and support program were created this year — seven years after Mr Gorton’s recommendations.