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Posts Tagged ‘Constantine I

“In the sphere of thought, absurdity and perversity remain the masters of this world, and their dominion is suspended only for brief periods”*…

From a (somewhat sarcastic) 1896 essay (“The Art of Controversy”) by that gloomiest of philosophers, Arthur Schopenhauer, advice that (sadly) feels as appropriate today as it surely was then…

1. Carry your opponent’s proposition beyond its natural limits; exaggerate it. The more general your opponent’s statement becomes, the more objections you can find against it. The more restricted and narrow his or her propositions remain, the easier they are to defend by him or her.

2. Use different meanings of your opponent’s words to refute his or her argument.

3. Ignore your opponent’s proposition, which was intended to refer to a particular thing. Rather, understand it in some quite different sense, and then refute it. Attack something different than that which was asserted.

The first three of “Schopenhauer’s 38 Stratagems, or 38 Ways to Win an Argument.” Via @TheBrowser.

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* Arthur Schopenhauer, “The Art of Controversy

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As we celebrate sophistry, we might recall that it was on this date (or near; scholars disagree) in 325 that Roman Emperor Constantine I convened a gathering in which all of Scopenhauer’s tricks were surely employed: the First Council of Nicaea. An ecumenical council, it was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all Christendom. Its main accomplishments were settlement of the Christological issue of the divine nature of God the Son and his relationship to God the Father, the construction of the first part of the Nicene Creed, mandating uniform observance of the date of Easter, and the promulgation of early canon law.

Icon depicting the Emperor Constantine and the bishops of the First Council of Nicaea holding the Nicene Creed

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No Hat, No Cattle…

Dallas, January 1978 (a club once owned by Jack Ruby)

From The Selvedge Yard, a blog that your correspondent regularly enjoys, “Vicious White Kids– the Sex Pistols Take on Rock ‘N Roll & the South.”

Read the entire instructive tale, see other photos, and check out the live Dallas performance footage here.

As tap our toes to “Anarchy in the U.K.,” we might recall that it was on this date in 321 that Roman Emperor Constantine I decreed:

On the venerable day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed. In the country however persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their pursuits because it often happens that another day is not suitable for grain-sowing or vine planting; lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations the bounty of heaven should be lost.

… and dies Solis— day of the sun, “Sunday”– became the day of rest throughout the Roman Empire… and ultimately, the West.

Constantine (Capitoline Museums)

Just kidding…

Every National Lampoon cover. (Thanks, Boing Boing)

As we ponder parody, we might recall (in keeping with the theme of the issue illustrated above) that today is the Feast Day of  St. Artemius Megalomartyr (AKA, Artemios of Antioch, Artemois the Greatmartyr, and Shallita).  Artemius was one of  Emperor Constantine the Great’s generals. During the reign of Julian the Apostate he became a fanatical Arian heretic, hunting and persecuting monks, nuns and bishops, including St. Athanasius…  But Artmius had a revelatory experience, converted to orthodox Christianity– and turned on the pagans who’d previously been his allies.  Captured and accused by “heathens” of destroying idols, he met a tortured end– which may well have involved boiling oil– in 363.

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