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Readings November 02, 2012

Mary, a tongue in cheek answer.... the Mayans did not "predict" anything - they just stopped counting. Probably got tired of the game, or faced a shortage of stone (it happens). It is typical of our Western fascination for prediction that we inject millennarian meaning into what ,may have been contingence. Also our attitude has to do with our (deep-dip?) belief the in the gnostic nonsense that someone, somewhere KNOWS (we dolts don't). You raise two issues The first one is about one's responsibility for one's own past. Experience is inherently transformative, hence the title of a book by Max Frisch - "Ich bin nicht Stiller" "I'm not Stiller" - which deals with the quandary of a returnee who has evolved while the community still sees him as of old. I'm not who was a minute, let alone a decade ago. Again it is our delusion that there are intentionalities that are coherent over time and/or that we can or ought control. It's all a game of self-affirmation - we'll sell our grandmother for it. And to buttress the myth we use affirmation bias grandly. A few remained coherent, won, and got accolades. Many remained coherent, failed, and have been forgotten. Forget it. We are lazy and expect people to act as automatons without reference to context. Checking principles against context gives us a headake. Take an aspirin :=)))) The more interesting question is whether one can hold contradictory personas at the same time. We all do. We mostly get away with it, if we are clever (politicians are very adept at this:their charisma covers up for their lies, which the other side will expose). Contradiction lies in the complexity of reality, also in our being highly situational. Those who get caught are dumb. Before it is a crime - said Talleyrand - it is a mistake. I'd haul the guy home for having violated the first rule of diplomacy: you shall not embarass your superiors. But that's my jaundiced and contrarian view... Aldo
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M (not verified) November 03, 2012

Actually, the Ministry's statement simply refers to the fact that Mr Jeszenszky wrote that text in a period when he was not yet Ambassador, and wasn't working for the Ministry either. At that time he was simply a professor at university. The second part of the same statement (see quoted article) goes on saying that he is considered by the Ministry (and by many other peolple) because of the work of an entire life, which is about nothing else than advocating the rights of all kind of minorities - and this doesn't change because of a single sentence formulated in an unfortunate manner.
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Mary November 05, 2012

Thanks Aldo... for the reading suggestion and for the jaundiced and contrarian view. Mind you, am sure when he wrote the text, he wasn't reporting to the FM ... and that's why I am more addled than usual.
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Mary November 05, 2012

I still fail to see how where he works should be an excuse of any sort...is his position relevant to what he thinks? And doesn't this now undermine his work as a diplomat, regardless of where he was and what he was doing when he wrote it? [Note: I'm not commenting on the substance of what he said - or his life work - but rather how his position - then and now - has come into play.]

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