Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 September 29

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September 29[edit]

Logic will get you from A to B - Imagination will take you everywhere...[edit]

Is this quote really Einstein's? It just seems so unlikely for a scientist to put logic in opposition of imagination: logic and rigor require quite a bit of imagination and are quite poetic & inspiring. What is the context for this quote? Thanks.Knyazhna 00:47, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

He wasn't a run of the mill scientist, and that seems to be authentic, but slightly wrong... it's quoted in many respectable places as "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." I can't trace a source for it, but it may be from Autobiographical Notes in Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist (translated and ed. Paul Arthur Schilpp, 1949), or try Ideas and Opinions (1954) and On Science and Religion (in Nature, 1940). Xn4 02:32, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
The quote is not listed in the extensive list of Einstein quotes at Wikiquote, not even under the headings of Unsourced and Misattributed. Vaguely related Einstein quotes are:
  • (sourced) Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.
  • (unsourced) Innovation is not the product of logical thought, even though the final product is tied to a logical structure.
All other quotes involving the word "logic(al)" are purely positive.  --Lambiam 12:01, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Einstein was right - you are simply misunderstanding what he said. He isn't saying "Imagination is superior to Logic". Logic is great for proving that something is true or not true - but it's very poor indeed as a mechanism for coming up with new ideas in the first place - for that you need imagination. There is no logical construct that can produce the idea that you'd like to (say) travel to another star system and land on one of it's planets...that requires imagination. There is no logic that can lead you to the idea of wanting to design a space ship to go there. But you DO need logic (and math) to prove that in order to get there in your lifetime, you'd have to travel at a certain speed - and that you need such-and-such amount of fuel...whether it can actually be done or not. Logic is required to verify that what your imagination came up with is right or wrong - do-able or fantasy. Without logic, our imaginations tell us all sorts of ridiculous things - without imagination, logic cannot synthesise anything truly new. You need both faculties if you are to be productive in any of the fields at which Einstein excelled. SteveBaker 19:32, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

As Einstein wrote mostly in German, 'quotations' from him are generally translations. That can make it more difficult to pin things down. Xn4 00:11, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Indeed. One thing he did say was "Many things which go under my name are badly translated from the German or are invented by other people". This statement was made to George Seldes, compiler of The Great Quotations (1960), as cited in Kantha, An Einstein Dictionary, p. 175. My own (third-hand) source for this information is The New Quotable Einstein (2005), ed. Alice Calaprice, p. 19. It doesn't make it clear whether Einstein was speaking in English or his words were translated from German. If the latter, it's possible they were the victim of the very thing he was talking about, mistranslation. -- JackofOz 13:36, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Judaic theological support of the metaphoric meaning of Torah[edit]

This requires some knowledge of Judaic theological thinking. As far as I know, majority of Judaic religious strains do not consider Torah to be a 100% literal word of god. What is the argument used to support that view? What are the criteria used to judge what words are "really meant" and which words are just flourish? (e.g., if there are parts of Torah that are a metaphor then why is god himself not a metaphor?) and more importantly what is the theological support of that criteria? Mind you, I'm not looking for proof/disproof of god's existence, just what justification the Jewish religious leaders use to feel confident in viewing Torah as they do. Let me know if I'm unclear in my question. Thanks.Knyazhna 01:09, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Do you mean the Torah as the five books of Moses, or generally, to include the oral law with the written. The basis for Torah (the five books of Moses) as literal is to do with authority (written by Moses) and inspiration (God directly speaking with Moses). It's a final authority. The oral law includes authoritative Rabbinic commentary, argument and teachings. The basis for Torah as metaphor might be questioning things that seem apparently contradictory (such as something antinomious) or unlikely (such as Moses' death in Deuteronomy when he is still the "author"); and of application, which makes them seem progressive. The confidence of the written text remaining intact is likely from perfect scribal copying over a great period of time. Jewish religious leaders – do you mean of these, contemporary thinkers taking it metaphorically or the historical oral tradition? It seems your question is related to the amount of freedom allowed in interpretation and how come. Perhaps this freedom depends on which school of thought is operating. There is a hard to get book called (Five?) "Arguments from the Talmud" which might help in the area of Judaic theological thinking as process. Anything about logic of Talmud scholars would be helpful. I like your own question about the logic that when followed through results in god as metaphor. Cheers, Julia Rossi 03:35, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

The Good, The Evil, The Neutral, and The Neutral Evil, and The Neutral Good...[edit]

In An ironic sense, this question seems to answer itself and yet is so rhetorical that it may not even have an answer. Why do people associate "Neutral" from either side of a conflict to be a liability or as traitorious? Why do people use the term "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" when in actuality this doesn't work? I can think of examples where this applies and does not apply, but do people think "If he's not helping me, then he's aiding my enemy and therefore he is my enemy" and justify grouping them together? For example:

  • Person A dislikes Person B.
  • Person B dislikes Person A.
  • Person A has Persons C, D, and E to support disliking Person B.
  • Person B has Persons F, G, and H to support disliking Person A.
  • Persons I, J, K and L do not pick a side.
  • Person A and Person B therefore see on opposite POVs' that Persons I, J , K and L are not helping as they "aiding the enemy because they will not fight for my cause".

As it logically follows, Persons I, J, K and L are both seen as traitors from both sides.

Can someone Please help me out here?

Thank you!

ECH3LON 02:32, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

You say "As it logically follows, Persons I, J, K and L are both seen as traitors from both sides", but that doesn't follow. Nothing you give us shows that I, J, K and L owe any loyalty to A, B, or anyone else, they may be total strangers. The essence of treachery is some active disloyalty to a person, group of people, or nation to which loyalty is owed. Passive treachery is rare, but possible, but some bond is still needed. Xn4 02:43, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
"The enemy of my enemy is my friend" isn't quite the same as "if you're not with us, then you're against us". An example of the first case is where the US was allied with Russia to defeat Hitler. In that case, Hitler was judged to be the greater (or at least most immediate) threat, so the former enemies cooperated, just for the duration of WW2, to defeat him.
An example of the latter case is where the US attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan despite it's claimed "neutrality" on the issue of Al-Queda. Of course, they were hosting Al Queda terrorist camps, and refused to do anything against them, saying they had an obligation to be "hospitable", despite the 911 attacks.
The phrase "if you're not with us, then you're against us" seems to be quite an overstatement, in general, however, as the US isn't about to attack Peru, or most other countries, if they remain neutral, so long as they don't actively host or fund terrorists. The real meaning, therefore, is "if you covertly support terrorism against us, you're our enemy". This seems blindingly obvious, but such covert support of terrorism against the US was actually tolerated by the US until then. StuRat 14:19, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
"With us or against us" can also be a veiled threat of extortion: we'll destroy you unless you help us, because we have no reason not to. —Tamfang 20:45, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Is Game theory of any help to you? Julia Rossi 09:50, 8 October 2007 (UTC)

directed change (2)[edit]

Were there any direct change between Indians and British settlers during the colonization of North America? like did they introduced a religion or weapons or anything? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:43, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Could you please explain what you mean by "direct(ed) change"? The usual meaning of "directed change" is a process of acculturation in which the culture of a conquering and dominant force is adopted by the conquered peoples. But during the colonization period of North America the American Indian nations were not conquered. They did adopt the use of horses and guns from the colonists. For the rest, I recommend reading up on Indigenous peoples of the Americas#European colonization and relevant links from there.  --Lambiam 12:43, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
"Not conquered?"[1] Destruction of living environments (forests, buffalo, etc.); confiscation of land; forced relocation to reservations; even allegations of genocide[2]. In what way does the history of North America imply the native peoples were "not conquered"? Lazyquasar 19:08, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
We're talking here about the period of the British colonies, that is, before 1776 say. Although there were some wars with the Indian nations, the effect, during that period, was conquest of the land and dispersion of the Indian nations, but not conquest of the Indian nations as such: they did not become subjects ruled over by the colonies.  --Lambiam 04:35, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
The adoption by the settlers of tobacco, maize, squash and all the familiar produce of the New World was mediated through direct contacts. "Explorers" had Indian guides and followed timeworn native trails: see Old Connecticut Path. The English put a stop to "irresponsible" controlled burns, with the result that within a generation, the dense but open woodlands had become impassable. Native Americans received ironware and firearms (through which the balance of inter-tribal affairs devolved into chaos) and woven woollen cloth. --Wetman 21:57, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Death in the Middle Ages[edit]

How was death and burial delt with in medieval English towns? Admiratio 05:46, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Well they had graveyards just like today - usually near churches. Searching for 'medieval english burial or graveyard' might answer half your question. 05:57, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
While the Anglo-Saxons and Norsemen of England were still pagan, there were some cremations as well as burials. As time went by, cremations were mostly in the Danelaw among those of Viking origins, and there were still pagans in England into the 11th century, due to Viking settlement. For Christians, the burial of the dead under the supervision of a priest in consecrated ground was universal, except for those who for some reason were refused burial by the church. In the Christian kingdoms, cremation was generally unlawful, and criminals might be buried in unhallowed ground, but cremation was sometimes used by the church as a severe punishment for heretics, for instance in the form of burning at the stake. For those buried as Christians, the upper classes fairly early on formed a liking for being entombed within a church, in a crypt or under the floor, with something to commemorate them, while the rest of the population was buried in the earth in the graveyard outside. See also Anointing of the Sick (Catholic Church), Burial and Chantry. Xn4 06:44, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Barbara Harvey, Living and Dying in England 1100-1540: the Monastic Experience (OUP, 1993) has a chapter "Mortality", based on practices in monastic establishments like Westminster. There are chapters on mortality in both volumes of A History of Private Life covering the Middle Ages. They are available in paperback and give you the broader context in which perceptions of mortality and cult practice are embedded. --Wetman 20:50, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

A very interesting question, Admiratio, which raises a number of important matters. Did you know, for instance, that there was even a clerical 'tug-of-war' over exactly who had the right to carry out burials and claim the fees entailed, a major source of church income? In the thirteenth century the new Franciscan and Dominican orders began to establish their own burial grounds in competition with the local parish churches. The matter became so heated that the dispute was carried all the way to Rome, where it was decreed that while people were at liberty to choose burial at a friary, part of the fees due had to go to their local church.

So, the financial incentives attached to claims on the dead meant that the clergy would 'pack them in' regardless of the public health issues that arose from overcrowded bone yards. Given the limited space available it was a common sight to see remains come to the surface, the smell of decay adding to the malodorous atmosphere of growing Medieval towns. Digging new graves only exposed old ones, as Shakespeare reminds us in Hamlet, where 'a fellow of infinite jest' makes his way back into the world! Indeed, this problem was still evident as late as the nineteenth century: think of Nemo's destination in Bleak House. For people in the Middle Ages 'free bones' were a matter of deep concern, because of prevailing beliefs about the resurrection. All those that were uncovered by fresh burials were carefully gathered and relocated in charnel houses.

Medieval cemeteries, unlike their modern equivalent, were anything but places of 'quite repose.' Public space was at a premium, and the ground attached to churches or cathedrals was often the only public space available within the town walls. They could be used for grazing animals, for markets, for sports and even as builder's yards. There was even a well in the grounds of Exeter Cathedral, a less healthy place to draw water one cannot imagine!

Unequal in life, people were also unequal in death. The rich and powerful, as Xn4 has said, could expect a place within the church, usually with some form of permanent memorial. The poor, and the less well-placed, were the tenants of the graveyard itself, often buried simply in their shrouds. If they had any memorial at all it was usually in the form of a temporary wooden cross. Tombstones were a rarity.

As for the fate of the immortal soul the church's teaching was clear: those who died contrite and having banked a sufficent number of good deeds went to heaven; the sinful went straight to hell. Prayers were unecessary for the one and useless for the other. But as most people were neither pure saints nor irredeemable sinners, and as the church was always seeking opportunities to increase its income, relatives were consoled by the new doctrine of purgatory, an acceptable half-way-house between Heaven and Hell. Clio the Muse 01:48, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

And if one reads the section Purgatory#History, one sees that it didn't really happen like that; it was not a new doctrine, but a naming and specifying of existing belief. 23:27, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

can bye-law of the society force us to remove my pet dog from my own flat[edit]

i have a pet dog breed pumelin we hav given him all the vacines and applied for dog licence (still pending with the co orporation as it was missplaced by them )in our society they have passed a bye-law that pets are not allowed so i wanted to know accourding to human rights and for the welfare of animal act can the society forcefully remove my pet from my own house and threat that according to the bye-law they can forcefully remove us from our own flat

khaanchandani_enterprises Khaanchandani enterprises 06:04, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

You don't say where you are, but in most countries there are laws for dealing with animals which are considered to be dangerous, and there may also be areas where no animals are allowed at all. The relevant human rights include other people's, as well as yours. If you believe your pet dog is threatened by a legal process, then you need to get specialist legal advice, and the best way to find the right person to give that advice is probably through an organization of dog owners. However, if you live somewhere where by law no pet dogs are allowed, and you want to keep your dog, then you may need to move. Xn4 06:58, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
You also don't say what kind of society you are referring to. Is it the society of owners of flats in the building you live in? Was the article banning pets in the bye-law passed after you already had the pet? Such and many other issues may be relevant in determining your rights and possibilities. In any case, we cannot give legal advice here. If the issue is serious enough that forceful expulsion might be a possible threat, you should definitely consult a lawyer.  --Lambiam 11:44, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
I have the impression that in India (that does look like an Indian name) a "society" is what Americans call a "condo". —Tamfang 20:47, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
We have in fact a (stubby) article on that: Housing society.  --Lambiam 04:55, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

i am from india maharashtra pune 411048 in an co operative housing society ltd

-- 21:09, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

You should really seek professional legal advice. Wikipedia cannot help you here.  --Lambiam 04:55, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Horst Wessel[edit]

I think what you say in your stuff on Horst Wessel is wrong. I think the KPD was involved and i think the full facts are known. I was not just Ali Höhler on his own. It looks as if you are trying to hide all the facts saying that the KPD did not approve of assisination when it did and that the matter was never resolved when it was. I cannot remember all the details myself. Does someone here know what really happened, what all of the facts are, and are they prepared to tell me and not hide them? Alte Fritz 07:46, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

Our article states: "The matter was never resolved". Assuming good faith, I believe that the editor writing this did not have specific conclusive evidence that the KPD was involved, and I see no reason for accusing him/her or anyone else of "trying to hide all the facts". If you believe that such evidence exists, please uncover it and modify the article accordingly, taking account of our policies of verifiability and no original research.  --Lambiam 11:28, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
It is possible but not proven. The KPD denied its involvement.-- 13:46, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
The KPD may have denied its involvement, but the full facts came out during the trial of Albrecht Höhler. The questioner is right, moreover, to raise doubts about the contention that the German Communist Party, any Communist Party, did not approve of assassination. It was a tactic they indulged in quite freely.
Anyway, Alte Fritz (Der Alte Fritz?) these are the facts as I understand them. Wessel's landlady, Elisabeth Salm, was anxious to get rid of him and his girlfriend, Erna Jänicke. Salm's former husband had been a member of the Rotfrontkämpferbund, the Communist equivalent of the Sturmabteilung, and it was to them that she went to for assistance on the evening of January 14, 1930. Her appeal was well-received, because Wessel, the leader of Sturm 5 in one of the roughest neighbourhoods of eastern Berlin, had been a source of considerable annoyance. The party had even published 'wanted' posters, though no action was taken because they did not know his exact address. With Salm's appearance they now did. The group that went to Grosse Frankfurter Strasse that same night, where Wessel had his lodgings, consisted of Erwin Rückert, the leader of the second Bereitschaft of the RFKB, his deputy, Albrecht or Ali Höhler, a career criminal with some sixteen convictions, including one for pimping; Sally Epstein; Max Jambrowski, who told Salm that they were going to give Wessel a 'good proletarian hiding'; Joseph Kandulski, Max Zieger and half a dozen others. When they arrived at the apartment Epstein and Zieger were posted outside as sentries, while Ruckert, Höhler and the others climbed the stairs. When Wessel answered the door he was shot in the face by Höhler.
Soon after the incident the local headquarters of the KPD started to spread the story that it had simply been a quarrel between 'pimps' over the affections of Jänicke. Heinz Neumann, the propaganda chief, warned Rückert and his troop that if any of them revealed the truth they would be treated in the same fashion as Wessel. Ali Höhler, the weak link, and now a major source of embarrassment to the Party, was given financial assistance from Roter Hilfe to escape to Prague; but once there he was simply dropped. Unable to support himself he returned to Berlin in early February, where he was soon arrested. During his trial, angered by his treatment, he denied the official KPD line. His accomplices were all arrested and also sentenced to prison terms.
After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 Höhler was murdered by the SA (not the Gestapo). Zieger and Epstein were re-tried and sentenced to death and all of the others sent to concentration camps, including Elizabeth Salm, who died at Belsen in 1945. Clio the Muse 00:21, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, Fraulein, very good, very good. Thanks for telling the whole truth. You admire Lettow-Vorbeck I see. Strange for a woman and strange for an English woman. Please, why? Alte Fritz 05:58, 30 September 2007 (UTC)

I admire those who fight, however that term is defined, in the most disadvantageous circumstances, using their imagination and all of the resources at their disposal, no matter how limited, in the most effective manner possible. Taken against this general background Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck was a commander of enormous talent. A true genius in his particular field. Clio the Muse 23:21, 30 September 2007 (UTC)


The above Illinois law mirrors the federal law "Law Enforcement Officers Procedural Bill of Rights". The federal law covers all police offices nationwide. It covers patrolman/investigators, supervisors and command officers. In Illinois act excludes Investigator Sergeants and lieutenants with the Illinois Secretary of State Police, but covers all sergeants and lieutenants from all other agencies. Can that be considered a violation of the constitution?

Nelson Velazquez. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nelsonv5 (talkcontribs) 13:43, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

On what grounds ? "Unequal treatment under the law" ? StuRat 13:57, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

American presidents going to church in popular culture[edit]

I've heard that to get elected president in America, you have to go to church. Yet I've never seen a film where the president went to church. Are there any films or books etc. where this happens (from the last, say, 40 years or so)? 15:49, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

From my experience, the candidate doesn't necessarily have to be seen going to church via news clips and such. They generally make references to their god in their speeches and such though, such as "May God watch over our soldiers in the field" etc. Dismas|(talk) 17:07, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

By "film" I was meaning fictional films, which may have been unclear (or perhaps I've misunderstood your reply, but you seem to be taking "film" as "newsclip"). I put this in the humanities section rather than entertainment because I mentioned books as well, but really because you get better off-topic comments here than anywhere else. 17:45, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

On The West Wing, President Bartlet was depicted going to church, and his religious beliefs were a significant part of his character. - Eron Talk 20:00, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. The West Wing in seasons 6/7 (I forget which, though I'm inclined to say 6. Possibly both) made a big deal of the Republican Candidate Arnold Vinnick's faith and church attendance. Ah-ha! I've found the epidoe in question: In God We Trust (The West Wing). (Season 6). --YbborTalk 20:53, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
This is a long shot. The movie A Man Called Peter (1955) was about the Scots-born preacher Peter Marshall, who became pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington DC, the "church of the presidents" from 1937 till his death in 1949. It's possible that FDR or Truman were shown visiting the church in the movie. It's been a long time since I saw it, but I don't remember either of their names being mentioned. The IMDB page ([3]) doesn't say anything relevant. -- JackofOz 13:25, 30 September 2007 (UTC)
Fred Thompson has admitted that he doesn't go to church. Corvus cornix 16:05, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Fox on Barbados in 1671[edit]

please, why did George Fox go to Barbados and what impact did his visit have? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

His autobiography [4] might be useful (can't promise anything, as I haven't read it). Algebraist 19:13, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
I've found an article which seems to be what you want - A heavenly visitation by Larry Gragg, in which he "recounts the reasons for the visit of the Quaker George Fox to Barbados in 1671, and the significance of his presence there". See History Today, February, 2002. You can get the article online here, with a free trial of Xn4 21:42, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

In the haitian history of Saint Dominigue, Where did they get the tuaregs from?[edit]

the previous words: "followed by bantus from congo and angola, but the least common and most prized were the senegalese and TAUREG", i thought the majorty came rom the slave coast and the gold coast. anyway where did they get them from?--arab 19:44, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

From Tuaregistan. Do you know what majority means, and what it does not mean? Are you aware that the Africans who sold slaves didn't get them all from within their own tribe? —Tamfang 20:52, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
This specific piece of text was added to the article Saint Domingue by copying it over from the article History of Haiti, where it was originally added by an anonymous editor – unfortunately without any indication of the source. Somehow, in a sequence of deletions, re-additions and edits, where the original text had "Least common and most prized", this has turned in the present text into "most common and least prized"! The information presented is unverifiable.  --Lambiam 22:13, 29 September 2007 (UTC)