Are the Pirahã enlightened beings?

In The Kingdom of Speech Tom Wolfe describes a small population deep in the Amazon whose language has no future tense.

The Pirahã lived entirely in the present, spoke only in the present tense, did not analyze their past or agonize over their future—which in no small part accounted for their generally amiable, relaxed, laugh-light demeanor. For the same reason, they spent virtually no time making artifacts, not even the simplest. Artifacts are an elementary part of thinking about the future

In a way, these people remind me of Buddhist monks. They seek that place beyond language. They seek to be here now.

The Pirahã sound like some of the descriptions I have read of the enlightened ones.



Ugly American Redux

From a well-traveled missionary, posting at Ricochet:

In many traditionally dominant cultures America is a grave challenge. Persians and others like them know a few things. They know they are healthier, smarter, braver, stronger, and possess a deeper and superior culture to the Americans. I mean have you met the typical American that travels around the world? They are over weight, know little history, loud, rude, arrogant and often have a do-gooder attitude like they can fix things that are broken just because they are Americans. Even in the way that American walk you tell how arrogant and ignorant they are. What have Americans suffered? What have they had to endure? Did they have to survive the Mongols? Where were they when the plagues came and devastated the region? How many times did they have to rebuild their culture after conquest? And yet… and yet Americans are successful and we are not. It is question that eats at the soul of many people.


From Tacitus

et vulgus eadem pravitate insectabatur interfectum qua foverat viventem.

And the people attacked his body after he was dead with the same base spirit with which they had fawned on him while he lived.

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nemo scire et omnes adfirmare.

No one knew and everyone affirmed.

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nec proinde dicudicare potest quid optimum factu fuerit quam pessimum fuisse quod factum est.

It is not so easy to decide what they should have done as it is to be sure that the action they took was the worst possible.



"I Love This Broad"--Eddie Miami

A woman professor who chose not to give her name writes a comment  to a NY Times article about an alumni backlash to the shenanigans at colleges recently:

 “I am an Asian lesbian professor of the humanities, and am increasingly weary of my profession because of the ludicrous touchiness and ignorance of many students and faculty. A colleague teaching an LGBT film class was hauled up because two students complained he had failed to issue a “trigger warning” before showing Boys Don’t Cry. I have taught Coetzee’s Disgrace (which I consider a masterpiece) for several years but am now thinking of dropping it because I perceive several students gearing up to declare that they feel offended. More important, because of the lack of an adequate core curriculum, English majors and even MAs graduate without ever having read a Victorian novel or a Romantic poem. One has to begin every class, whatever its theme, with a potted history lesson, because one cannot take for granted that students know when the World Wars or the American civil war occurred, or when Socrates lived or Shakespeare wrote. But all of them know the laundry list of ideas that should offend them. And all they can really write about is their own limited lives. As one colleague of mine says, the educational system is highly successful – it set out to inculcate self-esteem and it has done so.”



Plato on Ruling

"For there is reason to think that if a city were composed entirely of good men, then to avoid office would be as much an object of contention as to obtain office is at present; then we should have plain proof that the true ruler is not meant by nature to regard his own interest, but that of his subjects; and every one who knew this would choose rather to receive a benefit from another than to have the trouble of conferring one."

  The Republic, Book I.