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  • #61
    "The problem with religious concepts of "good and evil" is that they start with the concept that either people are god/evil, or acts are good/evil. Such is not the case. The very same person or act can be good or bad depending on the circumstances."
    See, this is part of the point I was trying to make.

    But always the human race has risen again, conquered the darkness, and come out stronger for it.
    So the Shadows' concept of evolution was right then?

    Something like 60% of Europeans feel negative about the future, compared to 20% of Americans.
    While I have to admit that a good part of the people around me rae indeed, do you have any source for those numbers?
    Last edited by I love Lyta; 05-21-2007, 12:41 AM.
    What's up Drakh?

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    • #62
      Nothing can be considered "unproblematic" with a consensus. But capitalism is way, way, way, way, WAY more preferable than any system, especially to that of the entitlement culture of modern Europe. Most European countries' less than forty-hour work weeks, extended vacations, guaranteed lifelong employment leave its citizens feeling empty.
      I don't know where you get your knowledge from, anyway... Austria (my home country) is part of Europe, and even part of the European Community (while our turnhead politicans still want to stay out of the whole military concept). We have not only Capitalism, but a "burning" Capitalism. Public owned companies and monopolies (as eg. Electricity, "Public" Transport, Mail System, Healthcare, etc.) are sold and privatized. I work 42 hours a week, and my last holiday was beginning of the year, the last two years before I had none. And the funny thing is, the more I loose my free time the more I feel "empty". Only a working part in a big machine, a "spring" or maybe a "screw"(ed).

      Something like 60% of Europeans feel negative about the future, compared to 20% of Americans.
      Please do not look onto Europe as a cultural unity, there is just no way to compare Austria even to Germany, though we have much in common with them. While true that in Austria many people are chained to the past (the big Habsburger Monarchy (c'mon guys, thats like.. middle ages... *g*), Nazi regime (honestly, they beliefe it to be better to "use the steel broom", stupidheads) or the times when Social Democrats reigned supreme (Kreisky, where is a Kreisky when you need him..). To think yesterday was better than today is for sure one of the reasons why so many are depressed in Austria nowadays. But we have our share of overly optimistic "YES"-sayers, too. From our very public ex-finance minister Grasser ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl-Heinz_Grasser ) through nearly the whole host of politicians of both wings, through the managers and public workers (those who are left) down to the supermarks sales person grinning manically and telling you how nice the day is.

      Ok, I think I might have been a little bit one sided with the above statement, I just get mad when somebody tells me that everything will be good when we just *do nothing*. That's the kind of attitude that got us the Nazis and the Monarchy and all other kind of bad regimes. Has nothing to do with the general idea of the future being better but is only an excuse to sit around and enjoy living, without thinking about consequences.

      edit add: I just googled some statistics and found this: ( http://www.unece.org/stats/trends/ch6/6.9.xls )

      Suicides 1990: Austrian Women: 11,6; American Women: 4,8; Austrian Men: 33,9; American Men: 20,7
      Suicides 2000: Austrian Women: 8,8; American Women: 4,0; Austrian Men: 27,7; American Men: 18,1
      (Per 100 000 standard population)

      So while the progress is "down" there seems to be a "core difference", I'd guess has to do with culture or "general outlook". Granted, the numbers are not up do date and also suicides do not show only the "negativity"...

      I think that the secular, post-Christian Europe hasn't been able to find a spiritual compass to guide them through "tough times."
      Let's see, the new Papacy... check. Rising fundamentalist churches and sects... check. Rising population of "spirit stones" and other spiritual trinkets selling shops... check. The *only* thing thats on the decline are the "official" church members. We have to pay taxes for being a member of an "official" church (complicated procedure, straight from Nazi-regime, where they tried to "dry out" churches) so many are official non-members. Heck, we even have our share of "Jedi", regarding the last counting.

      It's really sad, as Europe was once the hub of all things advanced in the world.
      "Was"? What the heck, you overblown Ex-European *gg*
      Again, as I stated earlier: When one is chained to how big the country/culture once was (e.g. *Great* Britain) one is forced to feel insignificant today, even while his country/culture is progressing. Don't compare, just *be*, would/should be the motto here.

      Almost anything and everything worthwhile was discovered or invented in Europe.
      I think that is a little bit unfair... just because Europe was the "winner" the last couple of hundred years doesn't make it "better". E.g. fireworks (and thus black powder) was used in China much earlier than in Europe, and that's only one example. One is lead to belief that Europe was culturally more "potent", but only check the muslim culture of 200+ years ago.

      Now the continent wallows in the muck of depression, anxious despite their big government support. It's this failed humanistic experiment that is at the very heart as to why they are so negative about their futures. Nothing seems real.
      I think you throw the East Germans and the Russians into the same bucket as rest of Europe. The Nordic States have less depression while they have *even more* government support (and thus taxes). It has nothing to do with "how much state", honestly... (I know I say the other most of the times... it's because I have an agenda, like most human beings *g*)

      After a century of warfare, they overcompensated when trying to prevent such a thing from happening again and are now paying for it. And I think the primary reason for the negativity is that everyone knows in their heart that the entitlements are indeed "too good to be true." In another generation or so, there will not be taxpayers in sufficient quantity to pay for it all.
      Ok, I can follow you that we tried to overcompensate the last two *WORLD* wars. But I can see no "negativity" in that. Are you trying to say "war is positive"? Are you trying to tell me that killing a lot of people is going to make the world "better"?

      Regarding the tax payer: There are some stupid things in progress atm. Like we cut pays down and let government pay the difference, which is in turn generated by the taxes... they are trying to make a perpetuum mobile atm, and that just will not work (IMHO). But I'd guess the discussion about taxes would be another thread, as taxes are neighter "good" nor "bad" and for sure nothing in touch with Babylon 5 9-)

      As for the issue of good vs. evil, the answer to that one is simple...right and wrong is always written by the victors. Unfortunately, Europe's future looks to be written by victors whose version of "good" is along the lines of the history of lands stretching from Libya to Pakistan.
      No. Amerika won in Irak and Afghanistan. But they are not "the good guys", at least in Europe. So why not? Don't hurt yourself while thinking 9-)

      PeAcE
      Last edited by Harrdy; 05-21-2007, 01:34 AM.
      greetings from austria, best known for its history and fine wine... feels like a wine cellar on a graveyard 8-)

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      • #63
        Digging out this thread again ... I have to say that the lack of secondary literature on the philosophical (in the broadest sense) themes and motives used in B5, other than episode guides, technical manuals and the like, is something that sort of bugs me. I'm talking about secondary literature like Kevin Decker's "Star Wars and Philosophy". There are a number of essays on the John-and-Delenn site, and a couple of others scattered all over the nets. The only volume in print devoted to B5 explicitely I'm aware of is the out of print and difficult to get conference volume "Parliament of Dreams".

        Given the depth of the series in such themes, and JMS' educational background, I think the show deserves better. I for one see a lot of material worthy of that sort of investigation in it.

        I have a suggestion, or actually two: One, would it be worthwhile to collect links to internet addressing such themes, and put together a thematically structured list? and Two: what about the idea of writing short essays on such themes of our own and making them available online? I've seen such endeavours succeed in other fandoms. I think the show provides more than enough material, and it would be a great tribute to the show.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by mandragora View Post
          Digging out this thread again ... I have to say that the lack of secondary literature on the philosophical (in the broadest sense) themes and motives used in B5, other than episode guides, technical manuals and the like, is something that sort of bugs me. I'm talking about secondary literature like Kevin Decker's "Star Wars and Philosophy".
          I guees my response to this would be that JMS did not say, and did not attempt to say, anything "new" about these concepts. He was simply reflecting them in a new light, that of a serial SF TV show.

          There are a number of essays on the John-and-Delenn site, and a couple of others scattered all over the nets. The only volume in print devoted to B5 explicitely I'm aware of is the out of print and difficult to get conference volume "Parliament of Dreams".

          Given the depth of the series in such themes, and JMS' educational background, I think the show deserves better. I for one see a lot of material worthy of that sort of investigation in it.

          I have a suggestion, or actually two: One, would it be worthwhile to collect links to internet addressing such themes, and put together a thematically structured list? and Two: what about the idea of writing short essays on such themes of our own and making them available online? I've seen such endeavours succeed in other fandoms. I think the show provides more than enough material, and it would be a great tribute to the show.
          Given that there are "about 6,780,000" Google references to "Babylon 5" this might be a tall order, but I will support any effort you make, and would be glad to contribute.
          I believe that when we leave a place, part of it goes with us and part of us remains. Go anywhere in the station, when it is quiet, and just listen. After a while, you will hear the echoes of all our conversations, every thought and word we've exchanged. Long after we are gone .. our voices will linger in these walls for as long as this place remains. But I will admit .. that the part of me that is going .. will very much miss the part of you that is staying.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by grumbler View Post
            I guees my response to this would be that JMS did not say, and did not attempt to say, anything "new" about these concepts. He was simply reflecting them in a new light, that of a serial SF TV show.
            I agree. I still think it would be worthwhile to put a bit more thought into these things - compared to other series, like Star Wars, Harry Potter, even Star Trek, IMO there is a noticable lack of serious secondary literature. And it's not like those added anything "new" about these concepts. There are a number of articles scattered all over the www on B5, but the only volume actually collecting articles of this kind I'm aware of is the conference volume "Parliament of Dreams".

            Given that there are "about 6,780,000" Google references to "Babylon 5" this might be a tall order, but I will support any effort you make, and would be glad to contribute.
            With respect to the links issue, I've already collected quite a number. With respect to articles, I was thinking more about putting together one's own thoughts based on literature than researching countless websites - for instance, as you might know, I'm very interested in Jung's psychology, and I find a lot of ideas, not just the Shadow theme, reflected in B5. For an example, the four elements theory, the "chemical wedding", the entire hero's journey concept (the John and Delenn site did some good work in this area), the relationship to the Arthur saga ... there are some articles on these ideas, but nothing like e.g. www.sagajournal.com, a site that collects articles like that on Star Wars and archives it, or like numerous sites for Harry Potter. Not to mention secondary literature in print (if I've just missed them, please refer me to them). I've just recently re-read an old article by JMS where he expressed his disappointment that people focus on SFX rather than the mythological and literary themes. I too find that regrettable, as I think there's more than enough food for thought in the series for it.
            Last edited by ; 05-05-2008, 04:10 PM.

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