Friday, April 06, 2007

Non Sequitur. Non Serviam. And The Value of De-Escalation.

Yes, it has been a very long time since I’ve felt I had anything to say. I gave up on my movie reviews, more or less. It’s not that I’ve stopped watching my movies, but I found it increasingly difficult to keep up with the challenge of having anything interesting to say about them.

I have to say that the installation of my DVR has changed the way I watch TV. I set my favorite shows to record, and watch when I want to and can. I can also look out two weeks into the future to find the movies I want to see. I do wish that the IMDB “On TV” feature was easier to use.

In the meantime, I’ve been struggling with some profound issues of personal responsibility and behavior. Well, maybe it’s not all that profound, but it is what I think of when I’m not thinking of anything else.

At what point does an individual have the moral responsibility to reject the environment in which he finds himself? And once that rejection is considered, in what form should that rejection manifest itself?

While writing this, and I will get back to my main point(s), I am watching the news conference with the Brits released from their unfortunate captivity. One point that becomes amazingly obvious to one such as me is the value of de-escalation. Yes, the crew could have opened fire on a vastly superior force that had comes upon them with intent, but they didn’t. And now, despite the propaganda that is seen (by most) clearly as lies, they are all alive, cheated death, and cheated the original intent.

With apologies to Robert Asprin, as noted in Another Fine Myth, “In times of crisis, it is of utmost importance that one not lose one’s head. – Marie Antoinette.”

I don’t condone cowardice, as such, but I do appreciate the need, sometimes, to execute some geo-political jujitsu.

Now, where was I?

I’m going to start by putting this out here for reference. I have a lot to say about this, but I need to start with a baseline.

Non sequitur: It Does Not Follow. See various definitions and discussions at Wikipedia, The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, and especially The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. (courtesy Bartelby).

I especially like the definition from AHDEL: “An inference or conclusion that does not follow from the premises or evidence.”

Non Serviam: I Will Not Serve. Wikipedia’s current (ha!) entry has the following references as a starting definition: “Spoken by the protagonist, Stephen Dadelus in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, after his decision to follow the life of an artist, rather than that prescribed to him by the Roman Catholic Church, it is an allusion to Lucifer's assertion to Yahweh in Milton's Paradise Lost, first chapter. Lucifer states that it is better to reign in hell than submit in heaven.”

If the premise for a decision, or choice of action, is faulty, at what point does an individual have the responsibility to reject the decision, the action, decider, and the actor?

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