Mistranslation as False Witness

Western Civilization celebrates roots that extend to the Eastern Mediterranean, a body of water once surrounded by the Roman Empire. When that empire imploded, the power vacuum filled the remnant structure with fresh blood. One such pulsing corpus was Christianity — one authored by a former Roman citizen: Saul before his metamorphosis. There is no compelling historical evidence to suggest that Peter coauthored with Paul in Rome. I agree with Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby: The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity for the argument that Peter had traveled to the east as far as Baghdad, but he had never ventured west of Palestine. The Roman Catholic Church relies upon an apostolic rock, but she freely admits that its reality anchors on Tradition and the Magisterium — historical facts notwithstanding.

The Eastern Mediterranean coastline describes the shortest path between Africa and Eurasia. An incomparable piece of real estate, not what I would call a swamp, though some have: Unfortunately, It Was Paradise. Palestine is sacred soil for the three monotheistic faiths that declare solemn roots at that Eastern confluence, that Holy Land, that stomping grounds of patriarch Ibrahim. Although Ishmael was Ibrahim’s eldest son, he was also the “illegitimate” son of a slave girl known by Ishmael’s father. Isaac was the “legitimate” son of non-enslaved Sara. Islam recognizes Ishmael as the elder son of Ibrahim.

You can read about it in a Qur’an near you. In fact, you may find any number of interpretations freely available online. However, I recommend that you consider an interpretation carefully. My personal copy is a translation by Abdel Haleem: The Qur’an.

abdel.haleem

I attended an interfaith program that included a local well respected and knowledgeable Imam. A seething attendee slammed his personal copy of “The Holy Koran” onto the table. His question: “Do you know what this book says?” The Imam responded: “It depends upon the translation.” Would you accept a Bible translation that recounts the poisoning of the loaves, the tainting of the wine?

judaism.christianity.islam.venn

Radical Google® Searches
  1. “Radical Christian Terrorism” (About 9,310 results (0.66 seconds) )
  2. “Radical Islamic Terrorism” (About 231,000 results (0.43 seconds)
  3. “Radical Judaic Terrorism” (About 21 results (0.39 seconds)

 

Native Americans, African Americans, and Palestinians share something that Northern Europeans do not: a skin too red, too black or too olive (a characteristic of humans from the sun-rich climate.

That’s an unforgivable crime if racism is your touchstone. Why are Biblical personalities depicted with impossibly Northern European features, such as blue eyes, fair skin, an athletic countenance? Who were the original authors of the Torah, the Bible, the Qur’an? Is that a loaded question? They were Semitic peoples who spoke Semitic languages.

 

jesus.computer.generated
Computer-generated depiction by BBC of the historic Jesus. Click image for details. 

 

 

Why does Islam honor Ishmael? What did he do to deserve exile? The Judeo-Christian tradition honors Isaac. What’s up with that? I’ll check that out and get back to you, I have to get to the dirty dishes first, they’re over there in the sink.

Nota bene: The wilder the spurious translation of the Qur’an, the wider is it circulated, the ever endless is it immortalized by false witnesses.

Making stuff up to stoke an agenda is dishonest. It weakens your credibility. Just saying.

 

 Thanks for reading.

 

eye.2.eye vegan

What happens when sentient beings gaze at each other? They glimpse each other’s soul. You glimpse into a soul and a soul glimpses back. Earthlings with eyes have evolved them, developed them, and loved them since the Cambrian Period — half a billion years ago.

animal.eyes.morgans.lists

Do the eyes have it? Aye! What about eyeless sentients?  Certainly, there are blind and deaf sentient beings. There are strange and unusual sentient beings. Use your senses to understand, to witness and to share.

Vegans do not kill fellow sentients, in person or by proxy. Dealing death by proxy does not remove complicity.

Hey, I didn’t kill the cow, I’m just eating lunch.

Nor is it okay to eat mor chikin. Humans are already eating 67 billion chickens per year. Small and appetizing, grounds enough?

It was self-defense, your honor.

stand.up.for.what.you.believe.in

Slaughterhouse managers find it difficult to fill kill-stations. Only 2% of slaughterhouse employees actually pull a trigger or knife the victim. I say “victim” because a meat-processing plant is a death camp. Once the “farm animal” is dead you don’t have to kill it a second time.

Dairy factories and egg factories are torture chambers. Only after they have produced the requisite quantity are they escorted to a slaughterhouse kill station.

Vegans confront the four stages of cruelty — directly and with kindness. It’s a lifestyle that embraces coexistence and a genuinely peaceful planet.

Slaughterhouses are unhealthy for children and other living things.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

Surprised by Sudden Sounds

Hello, what?

A firsthand account of a hearing challenge, one told in the first person. That’s what. Hello in there, hello.

Simone: I know you’re right, Pee-wee, but…

Pee-wee: But what? Everyone I know has a big “But…? C’mon, Simone, let’s talk about *your* big “But”.

Before opting for a $400 pair of hearing aids, I asked some friends and relatives if they were happy with a pair of ear inserts, ones that had cost twice as much as the shiny new automobile I purchased in 1973 (an AMC Gremlin if you must know). Each wearer had a big but that for one reason or ‘tother, so I just kept on mishearing words — mis-heards that made me the butt of many an “Are you deaf?” joke. My sister-in-law works with the elderly, she recognized the dynamic, remarking that many who mishear are falsely diagnosed as suffering from “dementia”.fork.and.knife

Oliver Sacks, the sorely missed independent thinker,  wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times that captures his personal experience with hearing loss: “Mishearings.” A timely take on the mind’s capacity for assigning meaning to spoken language.

And yet there is often a sort of style or wit — a “dash ”— in these instantaneous inventions; they reflect, to some extent, one’s own interests and experiences, and I rather enjoy them. Only in the realm of mishearing — at least, my mishearings — can a biography of cancer become a biography of Cantor (one of my favorite mathematicians), tarot cards turn into pteropods, a grocery bag into a poetry bag, all-or-noneness into oral numbness, a porch into a Porsche, and a mere mention of Christmas Eve a command to “Kiss my feet!”

 

Hearing loss had removed many unfortunate sounds: the song of birds, the snores of Loki the Cat, the sussurance of the familiar, the soothing and the calming. However, at this very moment I am listening to the sharp, measured and deliberate crunches Loki is making — less than a meter away.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Bird Sounds on DirtNKids 🙂

 

I am able to attend Arabic language classes at the local masjid once again, to actually understand the critical meanings lost to mishearings. It’s wonderful to join in with a measure of confidence that was quite impossible before 🙂

Now here is an unexpected but welcome circumstance: turning the devices off stills the din, the conical insert even acts as an earplug of sorts.

Now I jump into a wild cacophony of sound with a grateful soul. According to the instruction manual, it’s a gradual process that takes a bit of patience. I’ve only worn them for a week now, so my mind is still refreshing the inventory of sounds unheard for many years: floorboards squeak, a wall clock clicks with each passing second (I’ve timed it!) and my feet make a sweeping sound on a carpet.

Thanks for reading.

 

Surprised by Arabic

At its largest extent, the Roman Empire surrounded Middle Earth, literally “The Mediterranean.”

inscription_cartilia2

 

In the parlance of social media, the Romans SHOUTED all their written words — minuscules would not arrive to soften the literal commotion until the 7th Century. Latin seems suited for chiseling into stone, mostly with straight lines that run from left to right. It’s not easy to curve while chiseling your way along a flat rock-face. A glance at the English alphabet reveals that individual letters also run from left to right, letters such as B D E F K L P R

The letter “J” is quite the exception. It’s one reason that some school children do this:

printable-letter-backwards-j

That letter never appears in Roman imperial inscriptions, nor did U, nor did W.

K, Y and Z were adopted to accommodate Greek vocabulary. They are not the Etruscan uttering way. Nay, they ain’t.

Let’s look at a language that appeals to my left-handedness. It’s quite a relief to see my writing as I write. Arabic was not designed with a chisel in mind. The language begins with cursive in mind, not a bland sequence of letters imprisoned within imaginary boxes, then proclaimed “words.”

My last post looked at a procrustean camel, an animal led to the eye of a needle by dint of faulty translation. Why are mistranslations carved into stone? Do not allow your metaphors to become stilted, clunky, confusing and hackneyed. That’s what I say.

Well, Arabic comes equipped with a J-sound. In fact, it’s standard equipment. However, the language does not permit a “P” letter, so please apply a “B” for words like Paris: call it Baris and learn to live with it. Palestine never needed a “P” because that name is an imposition anyway: they are the Philistines. Arabic comes equipped with an “F” sound.

 

 

arabic.jim
25+ Arabic Alphabet Letters

 

Instead of imaginary boxes, Arabic allows for up to four ways to write each letter of the alphabet. Learners of this language and readers of the Qur’an receive the gift of ten diacritical marks to aid the learning process in a clean and coherent manner. Should you ever decide to tackle Arabic, this is handy indeed. Those marks reveal the sound one millimeter at a time; however, once you become comfortable and confident with the words you can dispense with diacriticals altogether — you’ll recognize the pattern and you won’t need the training wheels.

Returning to the Romans for a moment: would you ever wish to return to Roman numerals once you’ve learned the efficacy of Arabic numerals? The word “cipher” in English is from the Arabic word for “zero”:صفر

Here is a tip for my readers who consider learning German or Arabic: if you can pronounce Cincinnati you can pronounce  صفر (sifr). Just pedanting.

Learning languages removes artificial separations between cultures and lifestyles. Those separations take the form of borders, walls and prejudice. In their stead you acquire perspectives that remove each border, wall and prejudice. They serve the minions of geopolitical advantage and the clarion to endless war, endless confusion and endless imprisonment. Producing propaganda is criminal activity. Always. Whatever your intention.

And go vegan while you’re at it. No sentient being benefits by closing the book on the Anthropocene 🙂

Thanks for reading.

Threading a Hawser Through the Eye of a Needle

“Those who know Arabic are jinn among humans, they can see what nobody else can.
Imam Shafii

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

— Matthew 19:24 (NIV)

You know this Bible quote. I am certain you’ve seen it countless times. It might be your favorite chapter and verse. But why a camel? Well, ‘camel’ is a misnomer — a mistranslation immortal. The intended object was ‘rope’, specifically a thick twisted rope: a hawser.

camel

Which is the more eloquent simile:
  1. it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle…
  2. it is easier to thread a hawser through the eye of a needle…
Why is this obviousity never mentioned?
The Bible Hub, an online resource for Bible scholars, provides English language variants for every chapter and verse, among them Matthew 19:24. Click that link to compare 28 translations regarding a rich guy’s odds of entering the Kingdom of God.
Mistranslations are the coin of many a realm, perhaps this one most appropriately so. I am hardly the first to learn, two millennia after the coin was struck, that the writer intended something comparable to a thread.
What is the camel doing in the sewing kit with the needles and threads anyway? The original metaphor roots in Aramaic language, one of the Semitic languages that use consonantal roots to convey meaning:

 

Gamla-Peshitta bible
Source

https://billziegler1947.com/2017/02/04/arabic-what-gives/#lemon

I also discuss the root system in A Safari into the Sahara

An alternative scripture, The Qur’an, provides just such a footnote. Here is one from the well-respected translator  M.A.S. Abdel Haleem:

The gates of Heaven will not be open to those who rejected Our revelations and arrogantly spurned them; even if a thick rope a were to pass through the eye of a needle they would not enter the Garden.

— Quran “The Garden” 7:40 M.A.S. Abdel Haleem translation 2004

Haleem inserts this footnote for 7:40:

Not ‘camel’. The roots of the words for ‘camel’ and ‘thick twisted rope’ are the same in Arabic and ‘rope’ makes more sense here (Razi).

 

Thanks for reading.

Dominion and Domestication News

Breaking news from our time-traveling reporters, recently returned from a special assignment for The Genesis Tattler and World Report:

The 26th verse of the 1st chapter of Genesis (NIV) declares animal rights alienable, subservient to the inalienable rights of mankind (the ones created in His image and likeness). In a single sentence, a sentencing I say, the English translation describes

  1. the creation of mankind,
  2. the wild creatures in the sea,
  3. in the sky,
  4. on the land,
  5. and the livestock.

So farmed animals get exiled from wild animals in one fell swath.

genesis.1.26

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

How about this logical leap: encaging every living being from tapeworm to giraffe between two commas — declaring the deed done in fewer than seven words. …Let us make mankind in our image

,in our likeness,

so that they may rule over…

I’m assigning another time-traveling team to the gates of Eden to report on the couple caught trafficking forbidden fruit: advice of a snake-oil-sales demon guised as a serpent, possibly a slitherer subservient (subserpient?) to the inalienably privileged pair. The devil is in the details.

Bill, if you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all. 

It’s not really what I say that counts, it’s what I do. I DO VEGAN.

Speaking of saying something good, is it even possible to be a good person, to eat peas, live long and prosper? Not only to prosper, but to thrive without executing the calf and hardening the arteries, those tubes hat flow lifeblood into and out of your heart, possibly to head off an extinction event named after its instigator. While researching this article I happened upon a quite fascinating site that speaks to a potential extinction event : Misanthropocene

misanthropocene

A few thoughts for future posts:

The hegemony of man as misogynist.

Where do humans fit on the scale running from sadism to masochism?

Are humans a selfish specie?

One self-adoring philosopher, Ayn Rand,  is my choice for single most influential human responsible for stoking the boilers of the Anthropocene Express. Git ‘er done, Ayn. Here is a Rand quote from 1974:

They (Native Americans) didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using. What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their ‘right’ to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.

— Q and A session following her address to the graduating class of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974 – found in Endgame: Resistance, by Derrick Jensen, Seven Stories Press, 2006, pg 220

I sign off with the words of Anthony Douglas Williams:

When I look into the eyes of an animal, I do not see an animal, I see a living being, I see a friend, I feel a Soul.

The eyes have it.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

Dem German Endings

You may get PTSD, but learning German is a good way to learn the grammar you forgot — or the grammar you never learned. German is as fulsome as it is fulsome in that respect, something like a built-in sentence diagram.

german.cases.cartoon

There are 16 ways to say “the” in German. Just as there are 16 ways to say “the” in English?

No. Each of the 16 ways in German tell you the gender, number and case of the following noun. So just IN CASE…

Having taught the language for decades I’ve found some tricks for avoiding German’s paradigms from hell, that’s what they are — and no mistake. Something they don’t tell you about until it’s too late to drop the class, I am hoping that this post serves as warning. It may be too late for me, but not for thee.

german-article-adjective-and-pronoun-chart-updated
I found this “visual aid” at the following site. It’s a genuine P-O-S in my humblest opinion — ein Stück Scheisse.

Take a look at the über busy “visual aid” to the right. It’s a genuine P-O-S in my humblest opinion — ein Stück Scheisse, ohne Zweifel.

Mark Twain learned German (Fraktur even!) and lived to warn his readers: The Awful German Language. Fraktur inventors even thought of making the letter ‘f’ nearly indistinguishable from the letter ‘s’. So that you have to recognize the damned words containing ‘f’ and ‘s’ before you can understand what you are reading? Yes.

Consider the first line that the crow below is about to peck. “This is the Leipzig Fraktur font”:

fraktur-font-copy

I didn’t begin learning German until becoming an adult, when I needed it to study in West Germany in 1971. Sheer good fortune found me rooming with the only German student in the building who did not speak English…

Okay, enough of that, enough of that. What’s this lesson plan you wish to share?

Before the Vikings invaded Britain, English was still inflected the Saxon (Sachsen) way. The German “chs” became the simplified “x”. They had a land to plunder, so they took the gordian option — replace all the sixteen shades of inflection for the so-called “strong endings”” from der, die, das, den, dem and des to “the” and replace all the twelve shades of inflection for the so-called weak endings” to “the” as well. Knot cut.

der.die.das.the

 

German inflections do not flourish in non-German soil well. Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands — all of them pretty much did away with the meaning-by-inflection technique and applied the Viking way. Similarly, the Romance languages discarded the five declensions of Latin.

The only country that retained German (Nordic Branch) was Iceland. It has maintained all four cases and three genders for a millenium. Icelandic speakers can, with a bit of effort, read the Eddas. By the way, the Icelandic word for Iceland is Island — Iceland is land, is it not?

edda

Now then, how do those inflections work in German language? I’m calling the following lesson plan The Case of the “The” by Erle Stanley Gaertner:

  1. Über den Fluss und durch den Wald,
  2. Zu Großvaters Haus gehen wir;
  3. Die Pferde kennen den Weg, den Schlitten zu tragen
  4. trotz des dreckigen und tiefen Schnees.
  5. gegen den Regen und durch den Wald,
  6. zur Grossmutter und zum Grossvater gehen wir!

 

  1. Over [object of a preposition of relative position, accusative, masculine] river and through [preposition exclusively accusative, masculine, plural] wood,
  2. To Grandfather’s house we go;
  3. [subject, nominative, masculine, plural] horses know the way [direct object, accusative, masculine, plural] to carry [direct object, accusative, masculine, singular] sleigh
  4. Despite [object of a preposition governed by genitive, masculine, singular]white and drifted snow.
  5. Against [object of a preposition of relative position, accusative, masculine, singular] rain and through[object of a preposition governed by accusative, masculine, singular] wood,
  6. to [preposition and object of a preposition governed by dative, feminine, singular] grandmother and to [preposition and object of a preposition governed by dative, masculine, singular] grandfather we go!

Thanks for reading.

Two Words for Two Worlds

There is a thick line between veganism and the celebration of violence. The chasm between the desperately impoverished and the decadently entitled widens by the hour.  We witness the disparity at broadband speed and with the suddenness of a tsunami.

Africa is an enormous continent that gets depicted as approximately the size of Greenland on the very faulty default Mercator projection, used to depict everything from an extraordinarily specious perspective — one where the North Pole and the South Pole are infinitely large. This is to say that a single point with no dimension gets presented as limited only by infinity. Altogether all you need to know about the specie that finds Mercator’s single-purpose map indispensable to everything.

WorldMapper, it is scaled according to meat consumption.

meat.production.world

“Meat, as shown here, refers to all animal products that are consumed by people. Meat consumption per person is highest in Western European territories. Nine of the top ten meat consuming populations live in Western Europe. The anomaly in this ranking is New Zealand, a territory that is famous for its high ratio of sheep to people and the production of lamb. The most meat is consumed in China, a quarter of the world total. A fifth of the world population lives in China, eating on average 510 calories of meat per person, which is above the world average of 432 calories of meat per person.”

— WorldMapper

pangea_supercontinent_map

Two very different journalists on Korea.

First the vegan, Charles Newkey-Burden, author and journalist. He also writes for Shortlist, the Daily Telegraph and Four Four Two.

Offended by Koreans eating dog? I trust you’ve never had a bacon butty

“Yes, dogs are smart and friendly – but so are pigs. Researchers from Cambridge University found pigs are as smart as three-year-old humans. They can play computer games and recognise people they met several years ago. They develop trust and empathy like we, and dogs, do. Few people relish the thought of any animals being slaughtered so it’s normal for those who eat meat to try to justify it. Just as westerners get angry about people in Asia eating dogs and cats, many Indians get outraged by westerners eating cows. People shake their heads in disbelief at guinea pigs and alpacas being served up in South America.” — Source

How much is your approach to meat a reflection of inculturation? Whom does the culture incarcerate and whom does it traffic?

The next article is by the non-vegan Andrew Keh, an international correspondent, covering sports from Berlin. He has previously covered Major League Baseball and the N.B.A. and has reported from the World Cup and the Olympics.

An Olympic Challenge: Eat All the Korean Food That Visitors Won’t

At a restaurant near Gangneung Olympic Park, a colleague and I slipped on plastic gloves and each grabbed scissors. (When I’m president, scissors will replace knives on everybody’s dinner tables.) We pulled crab parts from a bubbling pot as deep and wide as a witch’s caldron. We broke our busy silence only to marvel at the ribbons of red and white meat dangling between our fingertips: They were feathery soft and, yes, so sweet. When all the legs were gone, we asked for a couple packs of instant noodles to repurpose the cloudy russet broth. The place also serves sannakji, raw octopus so fresh that the slices quiver on the plate. For non-Korean visitors, the dish exists almost exclusively as a dare. — Sourcehttps://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=unknown

If you have the stomach click on I have the stomach to eat menudo.
Is it ethical to eat an animal that is still alive when it arrives at your plate. Could you eat live octupus? Andrew Keh celebrates it. It’s not something that I can un-see, but as a vegan I must bear witness to the banal.

 

Thanks for reading.

To Serve Man

The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a laudable mission statement signed in 1948. It’s a worthy list of inalienable rights. Unfortunately they are self-ordained by a single self-admiring specie for a self-admiring specie.  There were two billion humans alive in 1948, there were 7.6 billion by 2018. At least 70 billion animals who do not qualify for human rights will become “what’s for dinner” and other consumer products by this time next year.

http-::www.cartoonistgroup.com:properties:bizarro:art_images:cg50a3d418f0ac2

Universal rights? No. Membership is limited to just one specie.

Inalienable rights? No. I can violate them each and every day, with or without impunity. At a supermarket for example.

Can you name any species as selfish, self-serving, arrogant and violent? Humans excel at both inter- and intra- species exploitation. They are toolmakers who waste no time weaponizing every clever invention they devise into a long list of engineering marvels — to serve man. Damon Knight’s story is also set at the UN and is also a curious take on human rights.

Galaxy_195011

Humans domesticate every creature on this planet: inter- and intra- as well. They are toolmakers who can transmit their will at the speed of light, who recreate by watching blood sports and who domesticate their domestic realms with domestic violence. Do I hint at patriarchy here? Yes, it’s by design and by inheritance. How many matriarchal societies can you inscribe on the head of a pin?

 

 

Look at the Elephant in the Room as it looks back at you. The eyes have it.

theres.an.elephant.in.the.room

Built-in optical systems for locating sustenance and for detecting danger are not trivial physical characteristics. Eyes are something that homo sapiens have in common with other sentient beings who developed them during the Cambrian — about half a billion years ago.

we.dont.serve.your.kind.here

Creatures with eyes possess an astonishingly complex central nervous system that channels cognition to intention. Sentient creatures share a long list of extraordinarily similar organs, systems that pump lifeblood from the heart to each organ and back again — sentient beings possess extraordinarily similar oxygen-breathing mechanisms and waste elimination processes. Glance at the corresponding organs found in pig and in man.

If this all sounds a bit like a rant, initiating a discomfiting mood, I provide the following bit of reading material that contains much more “conventional wisdom” on the state of bacon in contemporary American thought on comfort food:

Where bacon comes from on a pig

for.sheer.horror.thanksgiving

Here is where I found the Dan Piraro (fellow vegan) cartoons. You may also wish to visit Dan’s website, Bizarro dot com

Thanks for reading.

 

 

It’s All About Meme

a wise meme once said

About 10,900,000 results (0.40 seconds) 

Did you mean: “a wise man once said”?

No, but thank you for the algorithm, G. Oogle. I didn’t mean that.

Did you meme: “a wise woman once said“?

Thank you Mr. Oogle, but those results are more helpful. Your bots do fine fast work.

Disinformation_vs_Misinformation
Memetics is a term invented by Richard Dawkins (1976: The Selfish Gene) to describe how information propagates in a network. The internet permits you to inform and misinform as rapidly as web-crawling bots can jump from here to anywhere.
A borg in Macedonia, a bot in Minnesota or a Shakespeare-typing monkey may be squinting at a computer screen as you read this.
Misinformation
Mr. G.O. Ogle, what’s a “meme generator”?
About 1,270,000 results (0.53 seconds) 
Why an all-caps serif-free dishwater-grey font? Personally, I would prefer Henry Ford black.meme.font
Why would Gandhi quote Martin Luther King on Einstein’s memories of Logan Paul?
Thanks for reading.