13 thoughts on “Merry Christmas …

  1. Thank you. Merry Christmass to everyone!

    There, solved the problem. I estimate this to have been about 68 kilograms.

  2. Yes, Merry Christmas, John Quiggin. You have been a beacon in dark times as have most others here.
    I almost shy away from the hope of a better year upcoming.

  3. N
    Merry Christmas to John and to fellow commenters. Love? That too, and we need it much more. Ama et faq quod via, as St. Augustine said. But if I may borrow the blog’s Eeyore hat for a moment, love is a big part of the problem in a pandemic. It’s much more likely to kill us than hate. It’s a strong human impulse to go to the side of those we care for when they are facing danger alone. It happens to be the wrong thing. Scrooge is safe because he cares for nobody else, and we don’t want to emulate him.

  4. The Canadian economic and social philosopher. John Ralston Saul, makes a plea for disinterest, as an antonym to self-interest. It amounts to a plea for concern about public interest as opposed to self interest. He suggests love is too high a standard to hold fallible humans to as a universal standard. He points out that it is hard enough for most of us to always properly love those close to us, let alone others. I agree and I think properly enlightened self-interest should lead to a concern about public interest and then to the public insuring and ensuring of common welfare, due to an understanding of chance and the vicissitudes of fortune.

    I think Christmas, the way we celebrate it, is unfortunate in a number of respects. It’s too much about materialism, commercialism and self-indulgence.(There are the exceptions of genuine charity of course.) This has all been said before so nothing new there. Given my ecological concerns I find the general excess consumption, the cross-giving of unwanted or unneeded presents and the new manias for massive Xmas displays, public and private, to be lamentable in the face of the approach of the limits to growth, climate change etc.

    As an aside, the Greeks noted as forms of love:

    1. Eros: romantic, passionate love
    2. Philia: intimate, authentic friendship
    3. Ludus: playful, flirtatious love
    4. Storge: unconditional, familial love
    5. Philautia: self-love
    6. Pragma: committed, companionate love
    7. Agápe: empathetic, universal love

    This suggests several poor puns to me. Ludus could tend to the lewd (in some eyes). Storge could be stodgy. Pragma could be a bit too pragmatic. And Agápe could leave us agape with surprise as humans perhaps too seldom demonstrate it. I don’t know why people say I am a cynic. I’ve even been called a scrooge and a grinch. I just think I have a perceptive eye for hypocrisy… except my own of course 😉

  5. Iko: thanks for the list of Greek distinctions. I knew some but not all. IMHO it was too clever by half and obscures the underlying psychological unity. Hebrew and English, along with many other Indo-European languages, get by with one main word for love, though the distinctions are available if you try.

    A nice puzzle for the season. Why did the King James revisers use the tepid “charity” in St. Paul’s great hymn to love in 1 Corinthians 13? Tyndale used “love” and is followed by most modern translators. I’m a bit out my depth here, but I think the story goes like this. Paul uses “agape”, which became “caritas” is the Vulgate, hence “charity”. I had thought that this was one of King James’ conservative instructions to the revisers, but not so: he did order that “ekklesia” be “church” and not “congregation” as the Calvinists preferred (accurately), but nothing about charity. https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/2019/05/20/did-king-james-issue-instructions-to-the-bible-translators-to-change-the-text-to-hide-his-own-sins/

    It was a conservative choice, but a defensible one – if you assume that Paul had the battery of Greek distinctions in mind. But the assumption is dubious. Paul and Jesus were Jews and their world-view came from the Hebrew Tanakh, not high Greek culture. Love is a unitary concept in Hebrew. Greek was a utility international language to Paul, as English is to a Swedish engineer today. and Jesus did not speak Greek as far as the record goes. Jesus’ summary of the Law in Mark 12 and Matthew 22 is reported in Greek using “agape”, butt these are direct quotations from Deuteronomy and Leviticus, via the Septuagint. Jesus’ actual everyday preaching language was the extinct Semitic lingua franca Aramaic, which i assume without evidence to have followed the Hebrew frame.

    A clear win for the great Tyndale.

    Advert for old blog post on scacred and profane love, hung round a marvellous sculpture by Bernini – great artist, prize failure as a human being. https://www.samefacts.com/god-sex-and-violence-bernini-special/

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