Monthly Archives: July 2012

What do Osama bin Laden, Timothy McVeigh, Ted Kaczynski, and David Koresh all have in common?*

*That is, what do they share besides the obvious: antisocial personalities, hunger to commit murder and mayhem, extremist ideologies, etc,?

Answer to the Riddle: All of these terrorists share the same enemy, the process of modernization with its technological progress.  Regardless of which tradition they represent, they would all like to return to some mythical good old days before modernization took hold.  Modernization represents the ultimate enemy to any traditional society or any fundamentalist.The technological seductions of modernization–television, the Internet, the DVD–threaten to lure members away from any traditional society. The glitter of the gadgets attracts them like moths to a flame.  Built as it is on hypertext, the Internet is highly subversive. Type in a word from a holy book and you get 20 hyperlinks to different versions or translations of that particular word. There is no “truth” in such a universe. Relativism abounds; orthodoxy and creed unravel towards chaos and oblivion. No Islamic fundamentalist like Osama bin Laden can tolerate such a world. Neither can a Christian fundamentalist like Koresh. Theodore Kaczynski was an anti-technology Luddite, a Wendell Barry with intent to kill. He sent letter bombs to computer company executives to try to stop the march of progress. The shift from the Industrial Age to the Age of Information left Timothy McVeigh with no job, nothing to do, no place to go. What can an uneducated farmer do in our brave new Information Age? Answer, in frustration and rage he can blow up a building with people in it.  McVeigh and Kaczynski, for different reasons, saw progressive, modernizing change as highly threatening to their lives and/or life philosophies.


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Quotes From Chairman Pau

Your Second Amendment “right to bear arms” ends where my First Amendment “right to peaceably assemble” begins.–Paul Ewing


“Be all you can be. Study ontology.”–Paul Ewing

“I never met a trilobite I didn’t like.”–Paul Ewing

At dawn the Zen Master walks away from the mountain. How does he know the moment when the sun crests the summit?
Answer: When the Zen Master sees the shadow of his own bald head on the path ahead, he knows the sun has crested the summit.

“The philosophical eclectic surveys the most insanely intense of all possible worlds! Such a wretch would constantly fight an internal mental insurgency. When it came time to make choices among items at the grocery store, the internal dialectic would consume hours. In fact, a trip to Safeway could cause so much cognitive dissonance as to prove fatal. Death via the Safeway! How ironic is that?”–Paul Ewing

“Beware of geeks bearing .gifs.”–Paul Ewing

“The thing I value most about America is my right to criticize it.” –Paul Ewing

“Confusion is the first stage of understanding.” –Paul Ewing

“A foolproof human system is a contradiction of terms.”–Paul Ewing

“Books and movies don’t kill people; people kill people.” –Ewing after the NRA

“The concept of ‘perversion’ originates in the human reluctance to admit of our animal natures and origins.”–Paul Ewing,

“With its resurgence of fundamentalism, racism, spiritualism and anti-intellectualism, America has become the most backward modern country in the world.” –Paul Ewing

“Critical thinking is the type of thinking authority figures don’t want you to do.” –Paul Ewing

“God is the ground of all beatings.” –Paul Ewing after Paul Tillich (Protestant theologian and philosopher)

“Show me an unbiased author and I’ll show you an author whose biases are identical to your own.” —-Paul Ewing

“I’d rather be dead than ‘born-again.'” –Ewing,

“‘Simple’ truths about history are lies about complex subjects.”–Paul Ewing

“I don’t mind if you practice your religion but I do mind if you practice it on me.”–Paul Ewing

“One person’s utopia is another person’s hell.”–Paul Ewing

“God and the devil are the alter egos of man.” Paul Ewing

“Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, the headless talking head of dead heads in the desert.”–Paul Ewing

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Introducing James Tillich

James Tillich was born in a college philosophy class in December of 2006. A student suggested the name “James Tillich” as an incorrect option on part of a hypothetical test question. Upon hearing the name “James Tillich” the instructor burst out laughing and said, “There never has been a James Tillich.” He immediately went over to the computer and Googled an exact word search for “James Tillich.” Both instructor and class were amazed when “No results found” popped up. Later that night one student searched both English and German databases for the exact words, “James Tillich.” Results? Zip. Nada. Nechevo. Nothing. There was no trace of such a person ever having existed. The instructor decided, “Well if he never existed, then I must create him.” At the now defunct picture sharing site, Webshots, the teacher created the James Tillich picture album and Tillich began to pop into existence in future Google searches. The best way to find James Tillich online is to do an exact word search for “James Tillich.” The project has grown as other individuals besides the college teacher have joined in the creation of this virtual personality. Just a few days ago, a student from another class (“Technology and Human Values”) created a Myspace* page for James Tillich. My students, ya gotta love ’em!

*The Myspace page no longer exists nor does the article written by the student. Perhaps Myspace has disappeared into Tillich’s homeland, Tillichlandia, the land of the nonexistent…?


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