TaN: When Albert Einstein (supposedly) declared that there is no such thing as a straight line, what he actually meant was that it cannot be applied to anything object or thing in the physical reality. In truth, there is such a thing as a straight line.
To elaborate… First, a line is a concept. A line is not something physically or tangibly real. It exists only in our minds. But even though its existence is only virtual, it is nevertheless as real as anything. Remember that reality does not consist of only those that we can perceive with our senses (i.e., material) but it encompasses even those that we can conceive with our thoughts.
A line is a description of a path or connection between two objects or points. It does not have to be straight, of which “straight” is likewise virtual but just as real and define as the shortest distance between two points.
It must be realized and understood that what is real is not confined to the material or physical world but extends to and includes the esoteric or abstract world. Our emotions are immaterial but are just as real as anything we sense or feel.
But returning to the topic at hand, Sir Albert is merely revealing or arguing that no distance between two points can really be traversed directly. This is due in part to the fact that nothing is stationary; everything is in constant motion as well as change or flux. Even as we stand pat on where we are right now, the spot where we are is spinning as the planet rotates. And while the planet rotates, it likewise revolves around our sun which, in turn, is going around in our (Milky Way) galaxy riding in one of the spiral arms. Meanwhile, our galaxy is hurtling through space along with other neighboring galaxies in a galactic cluster which is also rushing away from other galactic clusters and cosmic bodies.
So, when we travel in what we think is a straight path, we are actually zigging and zagging through space in every which way.
When Sir Albert Einstein refers to a straight line, he was referring to the universal setting, whereas Sir Isaac Newton was referring to planetary physics where there are (illusions of a) straight line.
TaN: For all practical intents and purposes, democracy is but a “tyranny” of the majority. Democracy is no better — neither is it worse — than totalitarianism or authoritarianism. In fact, if one is honest to oneself, one might say that Heaven is governed by a dictatorship.
In Heaven, there is neither voting nor concessions. God’s word is law and what He says goes. But one must remember that the “dictatorship” in Heaven is one of a benevolent dictatorship.
In this temporal world, since man is not perfect ergo, whatever he ideates or conjures up will likewise be expected to be imperfect or with some flaws and democracy is no exception. First, democracy can be seen as a form of tyranny…a tyranny of the majority where the decision of the majority is implemented. Of course, in a civilized society, the implementation of the will of the majority is done so with due consideration for the decision’s impact on those not in the majority. This is but only the right thing to do, otherwise it would truly be a tyranny (of the majority).
Second, a democracy — as compared to republicanism — due to its definition of the direct participation of the governed, necessitates that the governed must not exceed a maximum population size. This is because having to many people involved directly in the governing process would be impractical; it would take to long to determine the consensus of the majority (because the votes would have to be counted). Moreover, an extensive population size would likewise mean that the process of getting the majority decision would take a long time returning to the grassroots. It is for this reason that the United States of America has a federalistic democracy instead of pure (participative) democracy.
In addition, if we stick to the fidelity of the definition of democracy, no nation or political unit in the world (today) actually practices democracy. Instead, they have republics — where republicanism is the governance through representatives and the existence of a fundamental charter (the Constitution) where rights and powers and other vital matters are enshrined to protect the governed against possible abuses of the (elected) representatives of the people.
In a democracy, where a fundamental (protective) charter is not necessary, there is the danger of actual tyranny of the majority. In a republic, there is (ideally and theoretically) some sort of guarantee or assurance that those not in the majority will not have their interests at the mercy of the majority. However, certain insidious and unscrupulous (power elite) people today have found “creative and diabolical” ways of circumventing or manipulating that protection and have their ways with the governed.
TaN: Although one way of defining or understanding ethics is the idea of putting others before us or ourselves in the position/circumstances/predicament of others, it is frequently complicated by dilemmas. Ethics would not really be complicated if it were not for the dilemmas, but dilemmas are at the very core of ethics. Without dilemmas, ethics would just be common sense and good manners (and proper breeding or upbringing). Without dilemmas there may just well be no (need for) ethics.
It is the dilemmas that provide us with the choices to be made, otherwise it would simply be straightforward decision-making. It would merely be mechanical. It is the dilemmas that give “spice” or challenge to situations involving ethical issues, although there are moments when dilemmas “go overboard” and make things too challenging to the point of making it life-changing.
Still, all in all, ethics is the way to go. It is just that one must be honest with oneself in dealing with dilemmas and not try to “redefine or philosophize” terms and situations to worm ourselves out of doing the right thing, no matter how difficult it may prove to be.
TaN: My take on Mr Duterte’s argument and beef with other world leaders on the issue of human rights is that — unfortunately, he has several serious flaws that he either refuses or is incapable of comprehending — the past human rights abuses and violations as well as those done by others cannot be used to justify present actions. Specifically those he accuses the Mr Obama — among others, the massacre of the Moros long ago — and those he calls the USA senators of being hypocrites — among others, those currently happening in the USA — and his comments regarding Hitler and the Holocaust.
First, the massacre cannot be in Mindanao Mr Duterte keeps referring to is a thing of the past where the current USA president is in no way responsible for. First, it must be remembered that “the sins of the father cannot be the sins of the son”. Second, if anyone is to be held accountable, it should be the president at that time (who is now dust) and not the incumbent. This is unfair to the current president.
Second, the USA senators were reacting as they should. They are merely doing what is expected of them, which is to ensure that any financial, military or any other assistance to another country should not go against their own system of values and beliefs — which is not to participate, encourage, or in any way contribute to the injustice being perpetrated by the intended beneficiary country, especially with respect to human rights abuses and violations. Just like the incumbent president, they cannot be held accountable for atrocities performed in the past, not only because they were not in authority at the time the injustice was being carried out but mostly because they were not even alive at that time. Again, one cannot be held accountable for the sins of one’s father as one’s father cannot be held accountable for the sins of the son.
Third, Hitler and the Holocaust were not really appropriate in this particular instance. The comparison to Hitler of Mr Duterte by comparing the number of victims cannot or is not appropriate because it would be comparing two different things (with nothing in common, like apples and oranges). The mass genocide of the Holocaust is (supposedly, according to available or official historical accounts) due to Hitler’s bias against Jews and not due to any criminal or illegal act and Hitler (apparently) does not recognize due process, whereas the (current and future intended) target victims of Mr Duterte, being and proudly announcing to the world is a seasoned lawyer-prosecutor, has sufficient knowledge of the law and due process and is legally bound to adhere to principles of fair play.
Under present conditions — i.e., it is neither war time nor any period of abnormality — there is no valid reason for an authority not to observe and abide by the rule of law, which includes giving the accused due process as well as adhering to the principle of “Innocent until proven guilty” — “proven”, in this case, refers to a known and generally accepted competent court or judirical authority. The way the killings, sometimes even among legitimate police operations, are being carried out is unequivocally and unmistakably far from due process.
I think it is high time that all police operations, especially when it involves the possible use of deadly force, be recorded — i.e., either accompanied by media or the operatives have several video recording devices, like GoPro cameras (please pardon this commercialization).
In any case, human rights is no trivial matter and if God does not pass judgment on us until our death, who are we do pass judgment on others while they are still alive? Mr Duterte, I am sorry but you are way out of line in this matter.