First of all,

let me also express my deepest solidarity to the people in New York, so 
terribly affected by this recent war tragedy. I am Italian, and also in 
Italy we had a period of intense terrorist activity from 1970 to 1988. Very 
often it was not possible to identify who was responsible for the bombs or 
attacks, and indeed this was the hardest of all things: to witness horrible 
violence and deaths without being able to attach a name to it, again a 
confirmation that identifying the source of evil can considerably help in 
the research of an overall  meaning for apparently meaningless deaths.

Partly because of this recent history, but also because history is crowded 
with people wrongly accused of having committed horrible things, I really 
dislike the idea of chasing Osama bin Laden, and all the present furore 
around him, with the attached media frenzy and politician's rethoric. For 
American people, still shell-shocked after an attack that has left 6000 
dead, to hurry out and declare war against Afghanistan looks similar to the 
run of a bull towards a red drape...

Could be consedered a useful form of social therapy, perhaps, to divert the 
collective anger to the outside, where it will be diluted in a distant, 
telegenic bloodshed. For sure, it is a good way to avoid the questioning 
about the background that led to the attack, the US internal weakness in 
anti-terrorism preventive security, the apparent difficulty of US in 
entertaining fruitful and peaceful relationships with those countries that 
do not adhere to the western model of capitalistic democracy. Let us hope 
that no more civilians (afghani or others) are added to the list of deaths.

Apart from all this, please find here my opinion about Avicenna:

The latin translation of the arabic sentence should be: <intellectus in 
formis agit universalitatem>, which I would translate as <the mind infuses 
(agit) universalism in our ideas (forms)>. The mind is any individual 
person's brain, which is partially associated with the universal mind. In 
other words: all of us, all men/women share the mechanism of thinking, we 
all share the power to give shape to ideas, which is a trait of the 
universal mind.

I like this concept very much. To me it is the same argument by which 
Levy-Strauss rules out any possibility for a scientific fundament to 
racism: the structure and mechanisms of myths can be equally identified 
everywhere in the world, and this is a clear indication that the mind of 
all humans works just the same in any possible culture. Nobody is inferior 
or superior to anybody else, we all share this power to infuse universal 
character to our ideas. Even for Mujadeen or Taleban, the structure of the 
mind and the mechanism of thoughts is the same as in you and me. All this 
written by a devout muslim in the tenth century, looks like good and 
powerful stuff, to me...



Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2001 17:48:26 +0100
Reply-To: [log in to unmask]
Sender: [log in to unmask]
From: Jonathan Crowther <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: OT--horror and phones

>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.