marți, 30 iunie 2015

The decline and fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon (V)

"In every age, the absence of genuine inspiration is supplied by the strong illusions of enthusiasm, and the mimic arts of imposture. If, in the time of Julian, these arts had been practised only by the pagan priests, for the support of an expiring cause, some indulgence might perhaps be allowed to the interest and habits of the sacerdotal character. But it may appear a subject of surprise and scandal, that the philosophers themselves should have contributed to abuse the superstitious credulity of mankind, and that the Grecian mysteries should have been supported by the magic or theurgy of the modern Platonists. They arrogantly pretended to control the order of nature, to explore the secrets of futurity, to command the service of the inferior daemons, to enjoy the view and conversation of the superior gods, and by disengaging the soul from her material bands, to reunite that immortal particle with the Infinite and Divine Spirit."

"The neighbourhood of the capital of Persia was adorned with three stately palaces, laboriously enriched with every production that could gratify the luxury and pride of an Eastern monarch. The pleasant situation of the gardens along the banks of the Tigris was improved, according to the Persian taste, by the symmetry of flowers, fountains, and shady walks: and spacious parks were enclosed for the reception of the bears, lions, and wild boars, which were maintained at a considerable expense for the pleasure of the royal chase. The park-walls were broke down, the savage game was abandoned to the darts of the soldiers, and the palaces of Sapor were reduced to ashes, by the command of the Roman emperor. Julian, on this occasion, showed himself ignorant, or careless, of the laws of civility, which the prudence and refinement of polished ages have established between hostile princes. Yet these wanton ravages need not excite in our breasts any vehement emotions of pity or resentment. A simple, naked statue, finished by the hand of a Grecian artist, is of more genuine value, than all these rude and costly monuments of Barbaric labour: and if we are more deeply affected by the ruin of a palace than by the conflagration of a cottage, our humanity must have formed a very erroneous estimate of the miseries of human life."

"While Julian struggled with the almost insuperable difficulties of his situation, the silent hours of the night were still devoted to study and contemplation. Whenever he closed his eyes in short and interrupted slumbers, his mind was agitated with painful anxiety; nor can it be thought surprising, that the Genius of the empire should once more appear before him, covering with a funeral veil his head, and his horn of abundance, and slowly retiring from the Imperial tent. The monarch started from his couch, and stepping forth to refresh his wearied spirits with the coolness of the midnight air, he beheld a fiery meteor, which shot athwart the sky, and suddenly vanished. Julian was convinced that he had seen the menacing countenance of the god of war; the council which he summoned, of Tuscan Haruspices, unanimously pronounced that he should abstain from action; but on this occasion, necessity and reason were more prevalent than superstition; and the trumpets sounded at the break of day."

"Friends and fellow-soldiers, the seasonable period of my departure is now arrived, and I discharge, with the cheerfulness of a ready debtor, the demands of nature. I have learned from philosophy, how much the soul is more excellent than the body; and that the separation of the nobler substance should be the subject of joy, rather than of affliction. I have learned from religion, that an early death has often been the reward of piety;  and I accept, as a favor of the gods, the mortal stroke that secures me from the danger of disgracing a character, which has hitherto been supported by virtue and fortitude. I die without remorse, as I have lived without guilt. I am pleased to reflect on the innocence of my private life; and I can affirm with confidence, that the supreme authority, that emanation of the Divine Power, has been preserved in my hands pure and immaculate. Detesting the corrupt and destructive maxims of despotism, I have considered the happiness of the people as the end of government. Submitting my actions to the laws of prudence, of justice, and of moderation, I have trusted the event to the care of Providence. Peace was the object of my counsels, as long as peace was consistent with the public welfare; but when the imperious voice of my country summoned me to arms, I exposed my person to the dangers of war, with the clear foreknowledge (which I had acquired from the art of divination) that I was destined to fall by the sword. I now offer my tribute of gratitude to the Eternal Being, who has not suffered me to perish by the cruelty of a tyrant, by the secret dagger of conspiracy, or by the slow tortures of lingering disease. He has given me, in the midst of an honorable career, a splendid and glorious departure from this world; and I hold it equally absurd, equally base, to solicit, or to decline, the stroke of fate."

"It was an ancient custom in the funerals, as well as in the triumphs, of the Romans, that the voice of praise should be corrected by that of satire and ridicule; and that, in the midst of the splendid pageants, which displayed the glory of the living or of the dead, their imperfections should not be concealed from the eyes of the world."

Fever to the form, Nick Mulvey

luni, 15 iunie 2015

Starea națiunii

19 Iunie O consecință pozitivă a valului de arestări este că acum România este obligată de CEDO să îmbunătățească condițiile din penintenciare. Pe același principiu ar trebui ca măcar o parte din clasă politică să treacă din nou prin școala primară, să trăiască din ajutorul de șomaj sau din pensia minima, să locuiască la sat, să fie medici stagiari sau învățători și să fie internați într-un spital. Sigur ar reclama condiții inumane și degradante.

15 Iunie Biblioteca Batthyáneum și Ioan Rus sunt cele două subiecte folosite ca materiale de diversiune pentru zidul făcut de parlament in jurul lui VVP.

25 Aprilie  Năstase mărturisește că Uniunea Europeană nu mai e tot ceea ce a crezut că o să fie când ne-a negociat aderarea. Întâmplător tot el are și răspunsul, o apropiere de BRIC, presupunem că mai ales de R și C din motive pur istorice. Chiar și acronimul ar fi foarte atractiv, BRRIC.

25 Martie Șova are nouă vieți și nu din cauza mersului la grupul de rugăciune. Asta e pentru a servi prostimii explicații alternative pentru acest miracol.

21 Februarie Chevron renunță la exploatările de gaz de șist din România.

20 Februarie Între timp, dincolo de Dunăre lucrurile par trase la indigo.

19 Februarie Vizualizare a bugetului de stat pe 2013.  

Bugetul anual al SRI este 224 milioane euro, în creștere din 2012. În comparație, bugetul anual al DGSI din Franța este de 41 de milioane euro. De cinci ori mai mare pentru o populație de trei ori mai mică. 

10 Februarie Campanii politice mult prea scumpe, servicii secrete supradimensionate, presă și televiziune națională falimentare, procurori timorați, oameni de afaceri cu etică de bișnițar, polițiști atât de bine inflitrați între infractori încât nu mai știu nici ei diferența. Strâns legați între ei prin relații de rudenie și prin gustul pentru bani, cât mai mulți și cât mai nemeritați.

sâmbătă, 13 iunie 2015

Casă de piatră, Jodi & Kiel

Card after Millie Marrota's Animal Kingdom.

marți, 9 iunie 2015

Ida, Pawel Pawlikowski

This movie made a long flight a little more enjoyable.

joi, 4 iunie 2015

Taxonomy of the European Male, Kent Monkman

On display at the Denver Art Museum, more here and on the artist's homepage.