Aussie pride in servility – we need to be servile for our self-esteem

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David Wroe, ‘PM set to follow Trump on Israel’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 16.10.18

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is considering recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in a historic change of policy that would align Australia with US President Donald Trump’s controversial shift but jar with much of the Western world and risk angering Arab and Muslim nations.

Mr Morrison will announce today that he will also initiate a review of Australia’s support for the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal and have Australia vote against Palestine’s leadership of a large United Nations voting bloc of developing nations – also both key Trump policies and top priorities of Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Jerusalem announcement is likely to reverberate around the world as Australia would become only the second country after the US to shift its position on the contentious issue that goes to the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestine conflict that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. …

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It’s safe to come back Jørn, we’ve changed!

Gladys_Berejiklian

N.S.W. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has instructed the Sydney Opera House to allow its sails to be lit up with colours, numbers and a trophy to promote next Saturday’s Everest horse race.

“This is one of the biggest events of the year. Why not put it on the biggest billboard Sydney has?” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“I come from a tourism background, these events generate massive opportunities for the state, for the city.”

From this

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‘Amazing clouds, brilliant moonlight, and the fabulous Sydney Opera House make a spectacular trifecta (sic).’ Photo: Australian Broadcasting Corporation website

to this

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‘The Racing NSW advertisement will be beamed onto the Opera House from Tuesday.’

Come back Jørn! Now we understand what ‘big picture’ means and how important vision is to culture! Honest!

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Best we forget: the war for white Australia, 1914-1918

Prime-Minister-Billy-Hughes

(Prime Minister) Billy Hughes addresses the troops. (Caption) ‘The Hon William Hughes stayed true to his belief in the White Australia Policy.’

‘Did the fear of Japan send us to war in 1914?’, ABC, Late Night Live, 02.08.18

‘Tensions were high between Australia and Britain after they signed a military alliance with Japan.

Australia was not happy because Britain was selling naval warships to the country they perceived as their biggest threat.

Britain was not happy with the young Australian nation insisting on legislation to guarantee a white Australia which was offensive to Japan.

Australia was adamant about keeping Australia white, and were (sic) willing to do whatever it took to keep it that way.’

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World War One enlistment poster

‘In the half-century preceding the Great War there was a dramatic shift in the mindset of Australia’s political leaders, from a profound sense of safety in the Empire’s embrace to a deep anxiety about abandonment by Britain.

Collective memory now recalls a rallying to the cause in 1914, a total identification with British interests and the need to defeat Germany. But there is an underside to this story: the belief that the newly federated nation’s security, and its race purity, must be bought with blood.

Before the war Commonwealth governments were concerned not with enemies in Europe but with perils in the Pacific. Fearful of an “awakening Asia” and worried by opposition to the White Australia policy, they prepared for defence against Japan—only to find themselves fighting for the Empire on the other side of the world. Prime Minister Billy Hughes spoke of this paradox in 1916, urging his countrymen: “I bid you go and fight for white Australia in France.”

In this vital and illuminating book, Peter Cochrane examines how the racial preoccupations that shaped Australia’s preparation for and commitment to the war have been lost to popular memory.’

(from the Text Publishing page)

Peter Cochrane, Best We Forget: The War for White Australia, 1914-1918, Text Publishing

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Big land, big heart, big spirit

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Patrick Hatch, ‘Supermarket backs down on plastic bags’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 02.08.18

Coles has hoisted a white flag in the face of angry shoppers aggrieved by having to pay 15c for a “reusable” bag and has promised to give them away for free until customers get used to bringing their own.

The supermarket chain’s decision has raised the ire of environmental campaigners who say it is a return to the “bad old days” where plastic bags were used once and then discarded.

Coles and Woolworths removed thin “single-use” plastic bags from their checkouts nationwide in July and late June, respectively, as a growing number of state governments ban the environmentally damaging items.

But offering only thicker, “reusable” plastic bags for 15c each has elicited howls of outrage and led to a series of backflips – including giving the reusable bags away for free for a short period of time while customers adapted to the changes – to quell the outcry.

The uses of plastic bags

In the latest backflip, a Coles spokeswoman confirmed yesterday that the supermarket would give the 15c bags away for free, until shoppers had “become accustomed to bringing their own bags”.

“When Coles phased out single-use plastic bags on 1 July…some customers told us they needed more time to make the transition to reusable bags,” she said.

“Many customers bringing bags from home are still finding themselves short a bag or two, so we are offering complimentary reusable Better Bags to help them complete their shopping.”

Coles said the free bags were an “interim measure to help customers transition to reusable bags”. …

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The deputy sheriff – pride in servility, racist and myopic

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The Mongolian Octopus: his grip on Australia 1886

Bob Carr, ‘Loose lips on China have cost Australia dearly’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 24.05.18

‘…Australia’s flamboyant rhetorical shift against China predated Malcolm Turnbull’s introduction of anti-foreign influence legislation last December. Earlier in 2017, Julie Bishop, in a speech in Singapore, disputed China’s right to leadership because it was not a democracy. Tom Switzer noted in The Sydney Morning Herald this was the first time since Billy McMahon that we were elevating differences over China’s system of government as an issue in the bilateral relationship. Up till then under Coalition and Labor governments we’d set them to one side.

In June last year, the Prime Minister was calling for a bigger US military commitment in our region. It was Australia saying it wants a military build-up in Asia; effectively, to contain China. Hugh White identified this as going further than that of any other US ally, including Japan. And the US ignored it anyway.

Defending Chinese students in Australia from the baseless claims that they were promoting Communist Party policy on our campuses would have been an ideal opportunity for one of our leaders to have toned down the anti-China panic that took off in mid-2017 and introduce some nuance.

When the Prime Minister introduced his foreign interference legislation on December 7, he could have stuck to the departmental script and said it was aimed at no country in particular but simply protected Australian sovereignty. Instead, he parodied a line of Chairman Mao’s delivered in 1949 and rendered it as, “the Australian people stand up”.

What should have been a cool-headed speech became an entirely unnecessary taunting of a country which we have a valuable relationship.

No other US ally – not Japan or any of the Europeans – has thought it necessary to abandon diplomatic practice in the conduct of its China relationship. Nor have US partners like India or Singapore.

Early this year, the Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister seemed to be trying to rein things in. Then there was a new stridency let loose by colleagues. Then deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said of China, “any state that has the capacity to overrun you is always a greater threat”. A junior minister, Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, took aim at China’s aid program in the Pacific. Differences on aid could easily have been listed as a matter for dialogue not a public skirmish.

You can’t say to the Chinese “Oh, that’s only Barnaby” or “Fierravanti-Wells is only a junior minister”. It’s easy to imagine the nationalist outrage if senior Chinese leaders had directed such rhetoric at Australia. We wouldn’t accept comparable insults from any international partner. In foreign relations words are bullets. …

Bob Carr is director of the Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney, a former NSW premier and former foreign affairs minister. His memoir, Run for Your Life, will be published next month.’

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The difference between what is best in U.S. culture and the culture of the U.S.’s fearful, servile client state

As with their post (twice) on Hypatia the mystic and Neoplatonist, it is again to NASA’s credit that they put the above video on their website (also for a second time). I recommend the text below the video on that page, particularly the link ‘no one can know the future’ which leads to the abstract for the article ‘Searching the Internet for evidence of time travellers’.

No science website of the Australian government would dare to display, discuss and encourage such expressions of eagerness for intellectual creativity and the future. In Australia we march forward facing backwards, gagging on our ‘laid-back’, authoritarian, consumerist ‘decency’.

I post this on the day there has been yet another round of navel-gazing and spin in the media about why education in Australia continues to fall behind that in other developed nations.

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Cry me a river

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‘Cry me a river: tears of the clowns grate like sandpaper’, Patrick Smith, The Weekend Australian, March 31-April 1, 2018

‘Watch the so-called leaders of this nation and you will see only this: a group of gluttonous men and women who flip and flop, not on principles but the search for power. Vanity and self-importance. Two days in the news.

All this is creating a very ordinary nation. Timid, without vision but prepared to get what they want with no consideration of the ramifications. That is the Australian cricket team; perfectly shaded representatives of modern Australia.’

***

A.A. Phillips, The Cultural Cringe, Melbourne University Press, 2006

2 ‘a disease of the Australian mind…the Cringe Direct or the Cringe Inverted.’

61 ‘The swing between submission and assertiveness has lost its extremism, but the final conquest of the colonial problem has not yet been achieved…We are still not quite sure whether to be proud or ashamed of ourselves.’

62 ‘The Australian temperament is essentially pragmatic – a quality which is sometimes mistaken for materialism. In truth the Australian does not ignore spiritual values provided they are plain, direct and assessable. His limitation lies in an obstinate bondage to the positive, a preference for the sum with an answer verifiable in the back pages of the book. He turns aside, scornfully and yet timidly, from the glories and terrors of the incertitudes, from the exaltations of the mysteries. Such a conception as Andre Gide’s Return of the Prodigal is scarcely imaginable as the product of an Australian mind. Consequently we escape that cooling and thinning of humanity which afflicts the Gide type, but we cannot achieve Gide’s kind of depth and reverberation. Yet the incertitudes and the mysteries, the excitement of the sum which never comes out, are the food and wine of the artist, whatever his country…Only when the contour-smoothing erosions of time have reconciled us to the acceptance of mystery will the colonial dilemma be finally solved.’

From the Notes

1 ‘It is perhaps relevant to quote here the opinion of Professor A.G. Mitchell of the Sydney University that Australians are the only Anglo-Saxon community which is ashamed of having its own way of pronouncing the English language.’

***

Donald Horne, The Lucky Country – Australia in the Sixties, Angus and Robertson, 1965 (first published in 1964)

56 Horne paraphrased the diary entry of Mrs. Marcel Dekyvere, chairman of the Black and White Ball Committee (in 1964) in response to a sermon titled “I Have a Dream” ’ – ‘We must all keep our dreams, even if sometimes they don’t come true. Don’t you agree?’

Martin Luther King gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on 28.08.1963.

83 Australians are suspicious of all idealism: ‘ “What’s in it for him?” ’

88 ‘In the past Australia has also displayed the other side of provincialism: the boastfulness and arrogance of the liberated province, parading its very provincialism as if it were homegrown.

136 ‘the things modern Australians are really interested in – getting homes, raising their children, going on holidays.’

Horne went on to add: ‘What one does witness in Australia is…”the institutionalisation of mediocrity”…established rhetoricians and ideology makers’

146 In certain senses, Australia is a province of two external powers (the UK and the US).

177 ‘if intellectuals wish to walk down the corridors of power in Australia they must leave their intellectuality at home. As in business, to pretend to some stupidity is safest.’

190 Against the justification that ‘we are only a small nation’:

Horne, quoting Irving Kristol’s review of the first edition of The Lucky Country, emphasised the importance of leadership that could enable a people to create ‘better than they know’ and of appreciating their creation, without which that people would not only be far poorer in their self-definition but would be blissfully unaware of their poverty. Leadership enables the discernment of a promise and a potentiality that becomes integral to their way of life.

I_love_Australia

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The Ozzie character: big land, big spirit

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‘Dark day for Australian cricket as Steve Smith admits plan to cheat’, Chris Barrett, The Sydney Morning Herald, 25.03.18

Cape Town: A deeply ashamed (?!) Australian captain Steve Smith has admitted his team deliberately conspired to cheat on the third day of the third Test by having Cameron Bancroft use tape to illegally tamper with the ball.

While Bancroft has been charged by match referee Andy Pycroft and faces a one-Test suspension, the reputation of Smith and the Australian team is in tatters.

Smith said he would not be resigning from the captaincy but owned up to devising the plan to try and alter the condition of the ball with other senior members of the team at lunch on Saturday.

“The leadership group knew about it. We spoke about it at lunch,” Smith said. “I’m not proud of what’s happened. It’s not within the spirit of the game. My integrity, the team’s integrity, the leadership group’s integrity has come into question and rightfully so. 

Admitting his team had conspired to cheat on the third day of the third Test, an apologetic Steve Smith said he would not be resigning from the captaincy.

“I’m not naming names but the leadership group talked about it and ‘Bangers’ was around at the time. We spoke about it and thought it was a possible way to get an advantage. Obviously it didn’t work. The umpires didn’t see it change how the ball was behaving, or how it looked or anything like that. (It was) a poor choice and we’re deeply regretful for our actions.”

On a day in which South Africa strengthened their hold on the third Test – they lead by 294 runs with two days to play – controversy erupted when Bancroft was shown on television pull a small yellow item from his pocket and use it to work on the ball.

Soon after, when umpires Nigel Llong and Richard Illingworth were made aware of his actions he was seen to hide the object down the front of his underpants before walking over to them.

Asked by the officials what he had in his pocket, he then produced what appeared to be a black sunglasses cloth.

Bancroft said it was yellow tape and not sandpaper that he had taken onto the field.

“I saw an opportunity to use some tape, get some granules from rough patches on the wicket to change the ball condition. It didn’t work. The umpires didn’t change the ball,” he said.

“Once being sighted on the screen I panicked quite a lot and that resulted in me shoving it down my trousers.

“We have this yellow tape in our kit and it is connected to some padding but the sticky stuff is very sticky and I felt like it could be used to collect some stuff from the side of the pitch.”

The opener, a recent addition to the side, said he was not ordered by Smith and other players to use the tape improperly.

“I don’t think in this particular case it was that way,” Bancroft said. “I was in the vicinity of the area when the leadership group were discussing it. I’ll be honest with you, I was obviously nervous about it because with hundreds of cameras around that’s always the risk, isn’t it? I sit before you today and I’m not proud of what’s happened today.”

As umpires were alerted on Saturday, Australian coach Darren Lehmann had been shown on the broadcast on the team balcony talking into a walkie-talkie. Substitute Peter Handscomb, also with a radio in hand in the players’ dugout, then raced onto the field to talk to Bancroft, who quickly trousered the tape.

Smith, however, said that Lehmann and the Australian coaches had not been involved in cooking up the plan.

He said he would not be standing aside but with Cricket Australia chairman David Peever in Cape Town and other heavyweights at CA unlikely to be pleased, there is expected to be more fallout from the disgraceful episode.

“It’s the middle of the night back in Australia, so we’ve just been made aware by the match referee and all that. I’m sure that will come,” Smith said.

“I won’t be considering stepping down. I still think I’m the right the person for the job.

“Obviously, today was a big mistake on my behalf and on the leadership group’s behalf as well. But I take responsibility as the captain. I need to take control of the ship but this is certainly something I’m not proud of and something that I can hope learn from and come back strong from. I am embarrassed to be sitting here talking about this.

Smith was adamant that it was the first time Australia had used such tactics to cheat.

“You can ask questions as much as you like but I can promise you this is the first time it’s happened and I think I’ve made it clear, we’re regrettable and we’ll move on from this,” he said.

“Hopefully we’ll learn something from it. I’m embarrassed, I know the boys in the shed are embarrassed as well, and I feel for Cam as well. It’s not what we want to see in the game, it’s not what the Australian cricket team’s about, and being the leader of the team I’m incredibly sorry for trying to bring the game into disrepute the way we did today.”

Bancfroft was also very apologetic about what transpired on Saturday. Ball tampering results in a level two charge under ICC rules and the penalty can be as high as four demerit points, which would automatically lead to him being suspended from the fourth Test in Johannesburg next week.

“Like the captain said, I’m not proud of what’s happened and I have to live with the consequences and the damage to my own reputation that comes with. I’ll do my best to move forward and play cricket,” Bancroft said.

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Check the slo-mo, close-up video of ‘Bangers’ with his hands moving adroitly in his pants! This should be included in the how-to manual for every magician and pick-pocket. Check the look on his face! A thousand words couldn’t compare! All I saw on Smith’s face (‘Smithy’ to ‘is mates) – under the worn ‘baggy green’ – when he was interviewed was anger at having been caught out, not a shred of justified shame.

It was ‘Bangers’ face that spelt ‘guilt’ and showed the awareness that he had destroyed his career in allowing himself to be used by Smith. Real mateship.

Smith’s response was every bit as bad as what he “ ’n the boys” cooked up – ‘Today was a big mistake’ (Isn’t that a bit harsh?), ‘I’m not naming names’ (Wow! Smith’s lips are sealed while he lets Bancroft take the fall for his idea! Now there’s a true leader! A dinky-di, ridgy-didge cobber! I want him on my team!), ‘our integrity has come into question’ (are you sure of this? By whom? Convince me. Psychiatry has a term for this distancing.), ‘I’m not resigning, I’m the right person for the job’, (then we can finally forget about Australian cricket?).

Add this to the behaviour over decades (decades in which they have always had the support and belief of the dominant white majority) of this symbol of Ozzie ‘fairness’, this national ‘icon’, as Turnbull said today – this pack of highly-paid bullies and clowns, relentless masters of that vicious and cowardly Ozzie disease ‘the sledge’ – squealing when it is done back to them, and who have always been loudest in pointing the finger and claiming the high moral ground.

What does this say about what it is to be Australian?

26.03.18

The ideologues are busy at work papering over this display of Ozzie nastiness on the global stage: Tracey Holmes, ABC journalist, processed in her ‘News Analysis’ today ‘I do feel for you Steve…’ There’ll be a lot more of this to come.

The country impatient for its future and the fearful lucky country

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Ross Gittins, ‘China thinks big, while Australia waits for luck to strike’The Sydney Morning Herald, 03.08.16

Sorry if I sound wide-eyed, but I was mightily impressed when I visited China as a guest of the Australia-China Relations Institute. Obviously, we were directed to the best rather than the worst but, even allowing for that, it was still impressive. Those guys are going places.

In a hurry. I was struck by how fast-moving the place is – in several senses. We argue interminably about getting a high-speed rail link, while the Chinese just get on with it.

We took the bullet train from Beijing to its nearest port, Tianjin, 140 kilometres away. So smooth you didn’t really notice how fast it was going.

The government-run China Daily announced while we were there the plan to have 30,000 kilometres of high-speed track built by 2020. You could be sceptical – except they already have 19,000 kilometres installed. …

Of course, we tell ourselves, any technology they use has come from foreigners, sometimes without proper recompense.

Don’t be so sure. We visited Shenzhen which, until 36 years ago, was a fishing village just across the water from Hong Kong, before someone made it a special economic zone. …

Today it’s a city of 10 million, with income per person of about $29,000 a year. It has maintained 45 per cent of its area as parks and forest by the simple expedient of having housing go up rather than out. …

China is big; we think of ourselves as small. China is confident, impatiently pushing towards a better future; we are fearful, waiting for more luck to turn up.

***

Donald Horne, The Lucky Country – Australia in the  Sixties, Angus and Robertson, 1965 (first published in 1964)

14 ‘Australians love a “battler”, an underdog who is fighting the top dog, although their veneration for him is likely to pass if he comes out from under. At work – among the unambitious – the feeling for underdogs runs very strong.’

18 ‘Australians like people to be ordinary…To be different is considered an affectation.’

18-19 Horne believes that Australians embody ‘a complex of resentments against difference…It is only when a difference stares them in the face that ordinary Australians become truculent; and then only in a personal way.’

26-27 ‘This cynicism beneath purpose feeds our notorious philistinism…This deeply inlaid scepticism is a genuine philosophy of life, a national style determining individual and group actions. Its influence can be detected throughout Australian society. It may be the most pervasive single influence operating on Australians.’

27 ‘What (Australians) find it difficult to do is to imagine the new for themselves.’

32 ‘The passion for egalitarianism may combine with the passion for scepticism to hide and often frustrate talent.’

32 ‘Much energy is wasted in pretending to be stupid. To appear ordinary, just like everybody else, is sometimes a necessary condition for success in Australia.’

56 Horne paraphrased the diary entry of Mrs. Marcel Dekyvere, chairperson of the Black and White Ball Committee (in 1964) in response to a sermon titled “I Have a Dream” ’ – ‘We must all keep our dreams, even if sometimes they don’t come true. Don’t you agree?’ (Martin Luther King gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on 28.08.1963)

76 ‘On 27 December 1941, John Curtin made the single most significant statement ever made by an Australian Prime Minister: “Without any inhibitions of any kind, I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America”.’

83 Australians are suspicious of all idealism: ‘ “What’s in it for him?” ’

88 ‘In the past Australia has also displayed the other side of provincialism: the boastfulness and arrogance of the liberated province, parading its very provincialism as if it were homegrown.’

101 ‘Despite its internal democracy, Australia plays an aristocratic role in the society of Asia – rich, self-centred, frivolous, blind’

107 The words ‘White Australia Policy’ were removed from the Labor Party platform in 1965.

112 ‘if Australia is to play a more forceful role in Asia the change must be dramatic enough to impress Asians that it is a change. It would seem a comparatively simple method to enter into migration agreements with Asian countries that might meet any of their own fears and that would set up clear public standards of assimilability – of language, education and working capacity…My own view is that the future holds dramatic possibilities for Australia which may necessarily include racial change, that this is Australia’s ‘destiny’. It is going to happen one way or the other. It is a task that will be undertaken either by Australians, or by someone else.’

121 ‘Not that Australia has ever spent much on research and development anyway…This indifference to research and development goes beyond the question of foreign ownership.’

The Big Merino, Goulburn

The Big Merino, Goulburn

130 ‘Several generations of Australians were taught to venerate not lions or eagles or other aggressive symbols of nationalism; they were taught to venerate sheep.’

136 ‘the things modern Australians are really interested in – getting homes, raising their children, going on holidays.’

190 Against the justification that ‘we are only a small nation’:

Horne, quoting Irving Kristol’s review of the first edition of The Lucky Country, emphasised the importance of leadership that could enable a people to create ‘better than they know’ and of appreciating their creation, without which that people would not only be far poorer in their self-definition but would be blissfully unaware of their poverty. Leadership enables the discernment of a promise and a potentiality that becomes integral to their way of life.

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Second email to the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Sydney

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Bust of Socrates. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek original from the 4th century BC. From the Quintili Villa on the Via Appia.

05.12.17

Hello Professor Smith,

On 21.04.15 I sent an email to Professor Benitez who was then the Chair of Philosophy to explain why I failed to submit my Honours thesis. I also made the strongest criticism of the Department and of academic philosophers with regard to your failure over a very long period to teach mysticism and its profound impact on Western culture – even as it is now, with the decline of postmodernism, finally and increasingly taught in other sections of your University and at other universities in Australia.

I processed of my experience of Kerry Sanders who teaches at the University’s Centre for Continuing Education, who now not only teaches mysticism, and in a range of areas, having described in class a person who questioned Derrida about the possibility of Neoplatonism’s influence on him as a ‘complete fuckwit’, but also friendship and truth. I copied that email to others in your Department and in the University, including the Vice-Chancellor, and received no reply from any, other than an acknowledgement of receipt on behalf of the latter.

As the current Chair of Philosophy, I want you to know that I have not only kept my word – to complete my thesis (in which I argue that Hegel was the consummate Neoplatonist) and make it available on the web (I have attached copies of it, with two versions of the title page, below) – but I have far exceeded that promise, having processed one of not 12,000 words but 125,000.

I completed my thesis both because my criticisms, while they would have been in no way invalidated, would have rung exceedingly hypocritical if I had not done so and because of what I believe so well exemplifies a key aspect of the significance of Neoplatonism – the contrast between the reason of Plotinus and the claims for it used to justify Western patriarchy and supremacism, both regarding and in the philosophy of the ‘master of conceptual reason’, Hegel.

Sincerely,

Philip Stanfield

‘Hegel the consummate Neoplatonist’ A

‘Hegel the consummate Neoplatonist’ B

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