On Wed, 12 Sep 2001 08:44:22 +0200, Antonio wrote
>I would like to express my solidarity towards you, american people.
>The inmediate consequence is panic and horror. The later will be politics,
>and probably, panic and horror for innocents in another country. It's
>terrible to think that, but in the mind of he or they, who planned that, may
>be *only* a symbolic act. This is the worst.
I would question the use of the word "only". The symbolic act surely
is the supreme act, at least for the profoundly religious
conciousness. If only we could understand the symbolism we could
The event has also been repeatedly called a tragedy, when it is really
an atrocity. It has also been called terror when it is really horror.
Tragedy and comedy, pity and terror are aesthetic terms; to apply them
to the atrocity in America is to be dangerously mistaken: the final
and deadly confusion of life and art, never to "resolve the partial
When we finally understand the symbolism of this atrocity, only then
shall we experience its full horror: we have had the experience but
missed the meaning.
What is the meaning of bin Laden's journey north to a hole in the
What was the meaning of the relic held by Mullah Omar in the only
piece of footage of him ever shot shown on BBC2 last night? Why were
people touching it?
What is the meaning of Kandahar? Is bin Laden taking revenge for the
conquests of Iskander al Kabeer?
I have been rereading Kimberly Cornish's "The Jew Of Linz" and David
Edmonds' and John Eidinhow's "Wittgenstein's Poker".
That Wittgenstein was at school with Hitler *and* attacked Karl Popper
(the author of the Open Society and its Enemies) with a poker ("only
symbolically" of course) is fascinating.
That Wittgenstein agreed with Avicenna that "the universality of the
intellectually grasped form (leads to the conclusion that) there is
one intellect in all men" is alarming in its consequences i.e that we
are all accidents of this one intellect and universal will, mere waves
on a great sea, the cold dark father on whose "therrble prongs" we are
now impaled .
Aquinas attacks this view in the Summa Contra Gentiles and in De Esse
et Essentia. It is the fundamental philosophical point on which
Aquinas and the Arab Commentators disagree. A small mistake perhaps,
but as Aquinas also said: a small mistake in the beginning leads to a
great one in the end.
One wonders whether bin Laden is a student of Averroes and Avicenna.
His library certainly seems quite full from the pictures of him.
The supreme terrorist is Sophocles. Mr bin Laden I suspect is merely
a temporal strategist using the innocent (but the concept has no
meaning for him) as pawns in a revival of "the Great Game". We should
remember that his first attack on the Trade Centre a decade ago was
with a cyanide bomb which didn't activate. Had it done so it was
designed to kill 100% of the occupants of the building. Given the
clear evidence of his intention then why was nothing done then?
The IRA are terrorists on any definition. Why hasn't the British
government leaned on them to decommision and end their atrocities?
Since it hasn't (at least overtly, as the US has leaned on the
Palestinians and Israel) it is harbouring terrorists and so should
receive the same treatment as any other country doing so under the
US's rules. Or have I missed something? Or are we using Humpty
Dumpty rules of meaning?
Why can't history leave us alone I ask myself? Just when we begin to
think that we might at last be waking from its nightmare, just as the
river reaches the beautiful city where the sky goes all the way home
("Soft Morning City!"), we see from O'Connell Bridge the swans
swimming out to sea beneath a darkening sky on the blood dimmed tide.
And then we understand, and turn aside and grieve.