Do some French people see what's going on? Yellow Vest Protests

luc

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It takes a lot of mental clarity and stoicism to resist the push towards polarization and misdirected anger, and see the bigger picture and the ultimate agenda of the elite: to divide the country, just like in the US. Everyone is required to pick a side, either SJW/extreme left/globalism/multiculturalism/embracing the 'Other' to the detriment of their own identity, or hardcore nationalism/total seclusion/fear & hatred of the "Other". Everyone who polarizes this way becomes a puppet unwillingly serving the elite's agenda of divide and conquer.
Very well put, Adaryn. Personally, I can feel this rage coming up too - sometimes I get so angry that I wish something would just smash this whole world to pieces... the feeling of powerlessness, and the sheer stupidity and insanity of the world's "driving forces" are sometimes too much and I must stop reading all this crap and thinking about all these things. But anger isn't helpful, except for overcoming fears I guess IF we can still keep a cool head.

I know many people here on the German countryside as well who suffer from this madness in one way or another - often it's health problems. It can be really heartbreaking to see such good people suffering silently, without complaining, still trying their best... Financially, many elder people are still relatively okay here, but it's the last generation I think. Things are getting worse. And while people here on the countryside seem to be very shielded from the insanity - many are still living traditional lives with traditional values and have no tolerance for any postmodernist nonsense - it's starting to creep in. There simply is no escaping it at this stage.

As for France, I must say I'm often shocked how different life in many rural places is there compared to Germany. It's just a couple of kilometers over the border and you find yourself in a different world - poverty, abandoned villages, crumbling infrastructure, closing hospitals, unemployment, insane bureaucracy etc. And to top it off, they are told to welcome migrants, embrace "multiculturalism" and that their roots and communities are worthless. All the while Macron and the corrupt Paris gang live the high life. French people, especially in rural areas, must be furious, and who can blame them? It's all so very tragic. :-(
 

Chu

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I know some rather iliterated people who also shows such an eagerness for serving others, being sometimes even more aware than the vast majority of the ever expanding distress and injustice that is now so obviously threatening with a full collapse our world. But they can´t explain the real causes of it, and less their/our own implication in this collective disaster as individuals. These kind of people shows me how meaning and doing well aren´t enough anymore, religion and tradition have played their role as a unifying factor between people of true or adopted faith through centuries, (with all the wars they implied, mind you), and now when I see all these benevolent people shaking their heads, not knowing where most of their life force has gone all of a sudden, it´s when I most accutely realise the enormous implication of the choices I make, sometimes with more awareness than other times.
Indeed! And in countries like France, where a high value is placed on education (and wiseacring), there seems to be a big contrast between what Gurdjieff would have described as people with more Being than Knowlege (this delivery man, the people you refer to, people living in more rural areas, etc.) and those who have more Knowledge than Being (the academic types, city types, etc.). None of them have the whole picture, and it brings home the importance of growing both in parallel as much as we can.

It reminds also a bit of my grandma who is also very straight forward and complains righteously about immigrants, says the right thing about Putin that he should be more respected and not bad mouthed by the media. And it must be said, she lived through the second world war and the aftermath and her father supported war prisoners in Germany as good as he could and hated Hitler, so she knows what she is talking about.
:love: That's part of why it's so sad to see the older generations witness all of this. They went through lots of suffering already, and now they see what "good times" do to people, and how they can create more suffering still in the long run.


Sad real story !
Now, saying is not really true AFAIK.
Most of them just receive 7 € a day. No car for sure.
This is what some crazy politicians want people to believe IMO.
And it works pretty well it seems...
Well, I've met several who do have free housing, a car from their Embassies, and way more money than that. They may be special cases, I don't know.
 

Chu

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I think there might be more to it than the immigration crisis being caused by wars. Statistics are murky (probably by design), we don't really know the proportion of migrants who really come from countries at war. Most are young single men. Where are the families, the women, the children? I agree that it all started to go downhill after Kadhafi (DCM rest his soul)'s murder by the West. International organizations funded by Soros are inciting people (mostly Africans) to abandon their homeland, to uproot themselves, and come to France and other European countries. They're being duped by lies, false promises of a better life, more money, better living conditions. Indeed, living conditions in Europe/France might be better in terms of money (for now), but at what cost to both the migrants and the indigenous populations?
Yes, and Marine LePen and others stated it clearly at the time: part of the agenda was also to generate more social chaos, confuse people as to which foreigners are foes or friends, and get cheap labor.

Of course, anger and discontent among the masses is precisely what the elites are aiming for. They're sowing the seeds which might lead to a civil war. On the other hand, they under-report or suppress stories of assaults and rapes committed by migrants, which makes people even more angry. Those who oppose or even question mass migration are immediately condemned as far-right supremacists. A minority of them may be, but the majority are just desperate and are clinging to the last thing that feels real and right in the midst of all this chaos - their identity, their roots.
:-( I think England is a good example of how bad it can get, way worse than here. What you wrote reminded me of this excellent documentary, and in particularly the part about the Pakistani mafia:

It takes a lot of mental clarity and stoicism to resist the push towards polarization and misdirected anger, and see the bigger picture and the ultimate agenda of the elite: to divide the country, just like in the US. Everyone is required to pick a side, either SJW/extreme left/globalism/multiculturalism/embracing the 'Other' to the detriment of their own identity, or hardcore nationalism/total seclusion/fear & hatred of the "Other". Everyone who polarizes this way becomes a puppet unwillingly serving the elite's agenda of divide and conquer.
Thanks for putting it like that. And all that obscures the real choice that is accepting our double nature (creative and destructive), our limitations, and choosing to Be, aligning ourselves with a real path, instead of those nefarious labels and ideologies. As Laura recently wrote:

But what is true freedom? Not being controlled by any of this, to live each day fully aware of what is inside you and outside you (as much as possible) and thereby having the ability to choose wisely that which is good for your spiritual nature, your soul. And those choices come every day, every hour, every minute. True freedom is to CHOOSE to follow the path of soul enrichment and growth.
@Starshine: Thanks! And yes, he said he was trying to get some RSA as well, but one thing is your "rights", and another one reality. :-(
 

Esote

Jedi Council Member
...

Well, I've met several who do have free housing, a car from their Embassies, and way more money than that. They may be special cases, I don't know.
Very special cases you mentioned, Chu.
I'm talking about most of the migrants, who reach France after a more or less long and difficult way through the Middle east and North Africa mostly.
If accepted, they receive 7 € a day before they wether leave the country or are regularized, that's it.
 

Andrian

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Thank you Chu for sharing the story. To be honest i was just reading a couple of articles on the italian web sphere about the NGO ship Aquarius that was blocked from entering Italy by the decisions of the new government and the TOTAL hypocrisy, attacks, slander and judging from the Bruxelles, France, Spain, the italian elite, the ignorant and dumb italian and UE SJW idiots who can't see beyond their vain noses and even from the part of Varoufakis who called indirectly the Interior Minister Salvini a fascist basically, calling the UE to resist the fascist decisions of Orban, Salvini and other UE "fascists" who are so cruel and unjust against the poor immigrants, these were approximately his words, i'm sorry for venting off here. The thing is that after reading about all this hypocrisy from the left, from the UE elite it got me MAD as hell not because of the poor immigrants obviously but because of the perfidious, malicious, hypocritical, psychopathic thinking and Doing of TPTB in using the poor immigrants, whose countries were destroyed and depleted by TPTB, to bring chaos in Europe thus dividing the population, thus distracting it from the psychopath's wrongdoing. And then when a disaster happens or when chaos is unleashed the psychopaths know how to get an advantage from it right? These are tough times indeed and i try honestly to not give up, to do something as little as i can, if it weren't for this wonderful community i think i'd have been lost a long time ago. Sorry for venting and thank you for being guys.

Edit: grammar.
 

Alana

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What you wrote reminded me of this excellent documentary, and in particularly the part about the Pakistani mafia:
Thank you for the story of your delivery man Chu, and for this documentary. I finished watching it, and am going to share it, it is a must watch.

Andrian, I also feel the same way, for the reasons you shared. Sometimes it feels like most people in the world see in black and white and when you try to say "but what about all the other colors?" they try to label you as seeing black (if they are the people seeing white) and vice versa. :headbash:
 

Starshine

Jedi Master
Thanks! And yes, he said he was trying to get some RSA as well, but one thing is your "rights", and another one reality. :-(
This is true, there are so many unfair and/or desperate situations, it can really be a tough battle to go through the French administration battlefield. One needs to be prepared, supported and informed when it's most of the times situations where you don't feel like you have the energy to deal with it, nor the time.

Thank you for the documentary, it was really interesting. We moved to a more rural area and I didn't consciously think about the fact that it's a pattern reflecting a sense of feeling at odds from an ethnic point of view. I mostly felt at odds because the climate is so tensed.

The cumulation of being in a small village surrounded by nature, renovating, building and being part of the majority makes me feel more serene and grounded. Also, that is true, the people here can be described as having more Being than Knowledge, and I learn a great deal about how simple the interactions can be.

People are way less stressed and suspicious, they have a richer environment, it's full of different associations and they basically value being involved in their communities. There is a feeling of belonging and people are more prone to help each other. There are lunatics, but they are also more obvious to notice. Maybe it also has to do with Being vs Knowledge.

In the suburbs of Paris, it was all too much, there's a weird unsafe climate that makes you almost paranoid for your own safety. The whackos are deceitful. There's not much belonging to where you live, more for where your parents are from. The environment is not propitious to Being, much more to appearing without getting hurt, conform to all the goods you need to be 'happy, sexy, cool' as the media, lobbies and "start-ups" market it.

It is clear that it leads to creating a false personality to adapt. What is also clear is that you need to explore and develop a broader set of moral foundations to have a sense of how different life can be.

The problematics are different here, but the resources outpass the constant brainwashing that you're subjected to in big cities. And we are way less affected by all the social upheaval that can and will happen certainly. At least this is how I view and benefit from it. Moving out to a rural area was the best choice we did for our mental, physical and spiritual health along with improving safety and possibilities of developing autonomy and a local network over time.
 

Chu

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I am currently reading and old copy of The Art of Thinking, by Ernest Dimnet, and I'm finding it super interesting!

Even though the book is not about France, at some point the author compares the differences between American and French mentality and education, and to me, this seems like a VERY good description, and explains at least part of the problem we are discussing here. Even though it was written in the 1920s, I believe, it also makes you think about current problems in both societies, and in others. Definitely worth reading, IMO. Here are some excerpts:

Young children apprehend men and things without any intermediary, and their first impression of them is so strong that they need not go back to the original source of impression. Hence the mistake many parents make in refusing to admit that childhood is observant. Towards the tenth year things become different: children grow cognizant of their elders and copy them. In a few months, sometimes in a few weeks, you can notice the change: a little man, a little woman, grown-up gestures, mannerisms in pronunciation or phrasing, a faked interest in certain things or a studied indifference to others appear; the expression of the face may not be affected, but it ceases to be spontaneous. […] The ideas expressed, the attitude before life, sometimes even before grief, are uninteresting or unpleasant. Soul resilience is inferior to what it used to be. You will see boys of twelve or thirteen take stolidly their first experience of the ocean, of the Canadian forests or of Rome or Egypt. Altogether these young beings who, up to a quite recent day, had been like just-born clouds in the summer sky, feeling every breeze and catching every reflection, now are all passivity. As the years glide on, if no noble passion helps them to climb up to the hill brow again, they will look more and more like the multitude, lazily borrowing their thoughts, attitudes or language from the millions.

What is to be done? It is the whole problem, for what can save a child from conformity would also empower any one of us to produce thoughts of his own. Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. In America it is in vain that parents are naturally inclined, and schools are more and more advised to allow children all the mental freedom they can use; conformity is too strongly established and it takes genius to escape from it. In France, and practically in all the old countries, imitation and a certain amount of insincerity are recommended. “Look at your father—do like father—think of others and not of yourself—let them talk; they will love you if you do—do not always say all you think; you will give offence and people will not like you.” There is no doubt that the model proposed for imitation is not Alceste but Philinte. And certainly Philinte is no fool; there is, well hidden in him, a strain of irony which belongs only to a correct appreciation of mankind, but who can deny that Alceste sees realities of a higher kind?

It is needless to say that, given what the world is, most children are more unfortunate than lucky in their surroundings. When they are poor, and feel badly dressed, badly brought up, and generally inferior, no matter how distinguished their intellects may be, they will be apt to be browbeaten into conformity. When they have stupid parents their questions, if they reveal any originality, will be misunderstood and laughed at. It is not unheard-of either that religion, the mainspring of man’s rising above himself, is used by children’s elders as a method for crushing them into conformity. Should they glimpse the fact that Christ and the saints did not conform, they will pretty soon be made to realize that Christ and the saints are in a world apart, and good little children ought to be satisfied with doing what they are told to do. So the combination of the natural instincts of man for imitation with the antipathy of the multitude against distinction, almost inevitably grinds thought out to leave only the human gramophone.

Gregariousness is an instinct nearly akin to imitativeness and tending to develop it. Nowhere is it so apparent as in the United States. It may be that the early pioneers brought with them the aptitude for cooperation natural to the Anglo-Saxon race, but could not, for a long time, use it because of the comparative solitude in which they had to live; the consequence was that they were predisposed to give it full play as soon as they had a chance. At all events, their descendants are the most social people on the planet. French people in towns as well as in villages, meet on Sundays, à la sortie de la grand’messe,—a distinctly social expression—but after devoting ten minutes to questions complementary of the all-round scrutiny during the sermon, they retire to their quant à soi. Americans never have enough of one another. The Club is insufficient and has to be supplemented by midday luncheons, meetings or gatherings of all kinds, changes of officers or initiations, a reception to this or a memorial ceremony to that, stag or hen parties, to say nothing of concerts or the theatre which are only pretences; and, when nothing better offers, your social American will make the most of a hotel lobby or of the “smoker” which I should be ungrateful to mock, for I owe partly to it my knowledge of the American man’s few faults and numerous qualities. The word “joiner,” which in England only designates a carpenter, means in America something purely American, as the sound of it,—as affectionate as sarcastic,—intimates.

It is well known that democracies produce uniformity. So do social miniature democracies. Too much individuality there would amount to not playing the game. When people form an association to protect common interests or foster common tastes, they must be expected to develop and encourage similarities. Attitudes are created, standpoints are emphasized, slogans are circulated which place a uniform imprint on people otherwise different. Dissenting where there is so much that can be promoted only by union, would be worse than heretical and is practically impossible. Mental resistance is hardly less so. The waves which sweep over communities in times of great excitement or great calamities blind and bewilder all except the most powerful. But the unseen continuous influence of the collective consciousness produces the same results. I have been amused several times in the United States to find transplanted countrymen of mine showing the same prejudice against negroes which prevails around them, but of which they had no idea before emigrating. Here is no attitudinizing; gregariousness in all its degrees makes individual thinking, viz., the only real thinking, an insuperable difficulty.

[…]

Theoretically, education is a mental training aiming at greater intellectual elasticity, but the question is whether education does not often strain, instead of train, a mind. Are people generally satisfied with the education they have themselves received or see dispensed to their children? Are they not complaining about it all the time? It is remarkable that Rabelais, Montaigne, Locke, Fénelon, Rousseau, as well as most of the numerous educators who appeared during the nineteenth century, are against teachers. It may be because most of these theorists never had any experience of that wild unbroken thing, a class, and imagine that what they now are they already were at twelve or fourteen. But it is chiefly because their superiority of intellect traces the shortcomings they are conscious of to bad methods of which they were the victims in childhood. Teachers who—quite rightly—pooh-pooh reformers possessed of the foolish notion that a class is something else than an undisciplined young colt, agree, nevertheless, that current methods of teaching are not good. Their controversies, the tests and statistics they use to prove their points fill libraries. This being the fact, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that education is not the Art of Thinking it ought to be.

However, our point is that it can be worse than this. At an age when impressions are as deep as they are insidious, uneducating education can produce mental parasites which, in time, are apt to result in inferiority complexes, or—a worse evil—can distort our whole outlook on life. In every country education has its faults which it would take libraries to discuss. We must limit ourselves. But it will not take long to show that education in the United States is too resolutely practical and leaves in the pupil’s mind the phantasm that culture is the privilege or the amusement of a few; whereas education in France is precisely the reverse and places culture at such a height above action that the mere pleasures of the intellect seem immeasurably more important than the practical duties of life. In both cases the capacity for right thinking is impaired and a lifetime may be necessary to correct the initial mistake.

Education in America is still largely an education for pioneers or the sons of pioneers. This affirmation may surprise people living in the giant American cities, yet, even there, traces can still be found of pioneers’ ways or pioneers’ ideas. The haphazard method of indicating the names of the streets or the numbers of the houses, sometimes on a bit of plank rescued from some wreckage, is an obvious survival. So are the solitary letter-boxes on the ends of sticks in the most civilized parts of ultra-civilized Long Island. And I have no doubt that the notion so prevalent in the United States, and so fruitful of consequences, that women are scarce, is a relic of the days when women were really scarce and the emigrant who secured a wife crowed like a Roman youth bringing home a Sabine girl.

The American schools are mostly in the country, because primitive American life was a country life and the Pilgrims had seen the schools at home located in small towns or in open suburban quarters like Westminster. And they are schools preeminently intended to develop physical strength and its spiritual counterpart, will-power. Where the ancestors used to fell trees in the vicinity of dangerous Indians, and with an eye on the ever-ready fowling-piece, the boys of Groton, St. Mark’s or St. Paul now develop superb bodies, a capacity for fending for themselves, a passion for camp-life and an independent spirit to which the instinct for cooperation adds rather than detracts. Sports are still, and often avowedly so, the essential part of the school life. I have not forgotten that, on my first introduction to one of the above establishments, I was taken almost at once to the cupboard in which glorious baseballs rest on silver rings, and respectfully made my ignorant salaam to these fetishes. School news in America is sport news. Notre-Dame is a Catholic college, certainly, but it is that much less than it is a stronghold of football.

To be sure, athleticism is partly an art. Women frequently enhance it by elegance and, when they do so, should they be as ignorant as Saxon princesses of the seventh century, they achieve an artistic result. But athleticism is not culture, and the complaints continually heard in America about education arise from the impossibility of reconciling too much athleticism with culture. People often ask me: “Why do your young men seem to know so much more than ours, and use it so much more effectively in their conversation?” I am always surprised to see them stare when I reply: “Because school life in France means getting up at five o’clock and studying till eight at night with only two hours recreation in between; because travailler in French means to study, where as ‘to work’ in English applies to ‘work’ on the football field or on the river. Our boys have mature brows but narrow chests; yours have broad shoulders but childish expressions.”—“Is there no golden mean?”—“Yes, you will find it, and plenty of it, at Smith, Vassar, or Bryn Mawr, or in that perfect Thélème, the Princeton graduate school.” “Ah! you do me good. Your boys are narrow-chested, eh?”—“Yes, till they have served a year or two in a regiment; we love to see them there, not merely because they are keeping up the national militarism and bloodthirstiness, but because the army gives them a chance of broadening their shoulders.”

The predominance of sports in schools, in the national life, in the press, not only crowds out what is or should be more important, but it creates an atmosphere in which these important things are made to appear superfluous, or are even described in extremely disrespectful slang. What does seem important is a bustling, hustling life, with the excitement of getting in or out of a scrimmage, beating somebody or something, getting there. All of which is, within its limits, an excellent way of looking at life, but is not culture. Angellier once asked a student which tragedies he preferred, Racine’s or Victor Hugo’s. “Hugo’s,” was the reply, “there is more life in them.”—“More tussle,” Angellier mused, half to himself. Thoughtfulness, which is the highest form of life, is reconcilable with tussle only in a deep biological sense which is too subtle for this practical book to enter into. The plain fact is that the boy who shows the greatest activity or initiative on the game field is not by any means always the one who asks the most intelligent questions. Frequently he asks no questions at all, and his attitude is the “Tell us” which Madame de Maintenon used to hold up to contempt to the Saint-Cyr girls and which some American college professors have told me is likely to be retranslated in American college English into the blunt: “It’s your job to tell us.” A school is a place through which you have to pass before entering life, but where the teaching proper does not prepare you for life. What is called culture is in danger of being regarded, in such an environment, as a specialty and not as an indispensable requisite. Scholarship might be calculus. This accounts for the fact that the American public at large, which cannot bear the idea of foreign superiority in anything else, does not care a fig if it is beaten in the field of thought or of the arts. Who worries if one’s neighbor is better than one’s self at weighing the planets? To what extent this indifference is carried can be measured from the fact that an American newspaper never tells its readers whether the speech it reports was a good speech or not. Oratory is a specialty; only facts interest the millions. Yet, Americans love eloquence.

I have often amused myself by imagining Cicero suddenly appearing in America and being interviewed at the Hotel Brevoort by two newspaper men, one French or British, full of school reminiscences and beyond himself with excitement at the thought of seeing the ORATOR; the other, an American, rehearsing questions concerning prohibition or spiritualism, and really wondering if the Acheron is now crossed by motor-boat, or whether the Elysian Fields are properly gridironed.

To sum up: the notion of culture is too often dimmed in the American mind by the phantasm, uselessness; and thought, with such an impediment, is difficult indeed.

Has it always been so? Is this a part of the American idiosyncrasy which cannot be modified? Anybody who has disturbed the files of early American newspapers or reviews does not hesitate to give this question a negative answer. America is constantly spoken of as a young nation or a nation of young people. I used to be on my guard against this formula which I thought might be only an extensibl e lid covering all boxes. Gradually I have come to the conclusion that it is largely true. But it is true only of modern America. Early America was not young; it was quite mature. Not one of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence would have struck a member of the contemporary English Parliament as unduly young. The contrary would probably have been the fact. But not one of those men could appear on the campus of one of the modern successors of their Pennsylvania, Virginia or Maryland schools without shrugging his shoulders at the seriousness with which mere play is now taken. America has grown young during the latter part of her career, but this youthful America is something different from the historic United States. The American élite knows and deplores this. The extraordinary effort towards the diffusion of education seen everywhere in America is the vital reaction of a society feeling itself threatened in its essentials. But the resistance of the unwieldy mass, so far, is too great. The requirements of this mass still fashion the educational methods instead of the mass being fashioned by them, and no amount of testing, trying, or theorizing has, as yet, been able to change this preposterous situation. The mass wants easy methods, and so the methods are easy. It wants immediate practical results, and practicality is considered first.

Easy methods seem to be a dogma with Americanizers. Easy is the word one hears all the time in connection with the art of teaching. I wrote, a few years ago, a school-book which was published in New York under the title French Grammar Made Clear. The book has been misquoted, scores of times, as French Grammar Made Easy.

French grammar cannot be made easy. Nor can Latin grammar. It can be made, and ought to be made, clear and interesting. But no attempt at brightening it with Alma-Tadema pictures can conjure away the declensions, conjugations and modes. The best psychology is to persuade the pupil that hundreds and thousands of not very intelligent people before him have conquered those dry beginnings by mere perseverance. In fact, little peasants trained for the priesthood by plain country curés who never dream of calling themselves scholars constantly master Latin morphology in three or four months. More than once I have seen the neighboring clergyman drop in during the lesson and play with the petit latiniste as the Tuileries enchanteur plays with the sparrows. Seldom does the red-faced little fellow miss a crumb of the cases or tenses slyly flung at him. No inferiority complex with regard to mere words has been planted in him. He does not think of his declensions as something difficult or something easy, but as something which everybody has to learn and does learn.

On the other hand, read the directions issued by the New York Board of Education concerning the teaching of elementary Latin. The person who drew them up was evidently full of the notion that everybody must think Latin morphology as uninviting as the cuneiforms, and all that can be done is to take it in easy, i. e., minute instalments. Several months are supposed to be necessary to master the first three declensions; then a long rest is given to the student as if to prepare him for a final and much worse spurt; then the last two declensions are tackled or, I should say, played with.

What psychological background is likely to be created by this nerveless method? Evidently a notion that the Latin declensions are a nightmare, but dies and cornu are more formidable than the other three. My own old teacher, who had no idea of any directions but who possessed a tradition, said to us in perfect good faith: “Dies and cornu being simplicity itself, you shall learn these two declensions, instead of one, for next time.” The result was that even dunces were not afraid of the Latin declensions. Ask most American boys and girls who have gone through a classical course, and you will find that Latin morphology is as vague in their minds as badly taught Greek is in Europe. People in America remember being put through a book or two of Cæsar, a book or two of Virgil, an oration or two of Cicero, but their idea of Latin as a language is that it is a University specialty, as Sanskrit appears to most people, i. e., something you are not expected to know. My surprise was great when I saw an American poet who shows no small pretensions to scholarship entitling one of his poems Pueribus! Such are the results produced by making Latin easy.

The real result is that four, five or six years of so-called study only leave the impression that “nobody knows Latin; nobody can know it.” A deeper and more dangerous one is that giving time to such a hopeless task is an absurdity. The suspicion that to compel young American citizens to go through an entirely useless routine is absurd and even immoral is not far. Try to play the Tuileries enchanteur’s game with one of these school boys. You will read a great deal in the bored or incredulous expression; either an inferiority complex is there, working its usual damage, or it has already been kicked out, along with ancient wisdom, by a young barbarian who refuses to be made a fool of.

Utilitarianism in education is as disastrous to culture as so-called easy methods are to scholarship. The preference for scientific branches which can be turned to immediate account is of course a manifestation of the utilitarian spirit. So is the purely practical teaching of modern languages prevalent in most schools. So is the absence of all philosophical teaching in the High Schools.

But more striking is the way in which apparently disinterested literary efforts are turned to mere utility. I was quite impressed the first few times I was shown a school paper, and realized that a staff of boys under a boy editor was responsible for what is comparatively excellent stuff. It was only by degrees that—in spite of the poems which Anglo-Saxon boys or girls produce with more facility than French students—I realised that here was, not a literary, but a newspaper training. The school newspaper is a good newspaper but that is damning praise, for a good newspaper is not literary and a school newspaper ought to be preeminently that. The editor ought to have in mind Addison, Cobbett or Bernard Shaw when he writes an essay; as a matter of fact he does not even think of Mr. Mencken’s imitators: the little home paper is his standard of excellence. If Addison were imitated the results would be poor but literary; as it is, the results are not literature, even if they seem fair.

The same can be said of the short stories, one-act plays or scenarios produced in the Fiction or Drama schools of many an American college. The teaching is first-rate, the methods are far more thorough than those used in the classical courses, the wish to succeed and the effort towards success cannot be questioned. What are the results? Undoubtedly superior in craftsmanship to, say Wuthering Heights. The terseness, the rapidity, the turn of the wrist, the balance, impress and almost intimidate you. In time you discover that these qualities are the accompaniment, or even the creation, of an ardent desire to produce a “marketable” article. Then you understand why the more you read of those excellently manufactured stories the less claim they seem to have to be called literature. Literature is not so clever. It wrestles with life and often gets beaten, but the struggle compels our homage. Anybody who has received a literary education feels this; but if education goes over to the enemy and begins to teach commercial methods, the minds, even of the élite, will be invaded by the parasite of utility at all costs, and the power of thinking in terms of beauty will lose in consequence.

The American boy leaves school with a more or less definite idea that what is called culture is a luxury, that is to say a superfluity. He has not been taught to view Latin as an artistic mosaic, or English composition as an effort to rise above himself. His imagination has been discouraged rather than cultivated. He is far inferior, in cultural respect, to the Americans of eighty years ago.

In absolute opposition, French schools turn out young people convinced that nothing, except the attainments of intellect, has much right to respect. Educated French men and women, with whom deep spiritual realities do not act as a counterweight, find it difficult to take a practical view of life because of a phantasm created during their formative years: the self-sufficiency of the brain.

Nine out of ten French schools are located in towns. The most famous ones are in Paris. Many of them still use ancient monastic buildings as different as can be from the château-like schools of America, and these medieval monuments are, in many cases, the successors of Gallo-Roman schools. A tradition of culture handed down through many centuries clings to these grey walls, but the very sight of the cramped court-yards shut in between tall houses betrays a disregard, nay a complete ignorance, of bodily requirements.

Many Frenchmen still alive knew no other exercise in their school days than the dismal circuitous walk allowed to prisoners in penitentiaries, and twice a week the melancholy walk through the suburbs and back. The early recollections of such writers as Taine, Daudet or Bourget are full of self-pity. But they admit that, while their bodies were inactive, their minds were busy: these poor boys’ vitality was kept up by the excitement of discovery in thought or expression and the clash of ideas, which make French conversation something like an adventure.

To-day the lycéen goes regularly to the “gym,” and on Sundays or Thursdays he actually has a chance of playing football or tennis. But his daily routine still shows two hours given to play as against eleven given to study, and the French champion on the game field, if he happens to be dull elsewhere, will be an object of amused wonderment rather than of admiration.

School in France does not mean boys, it means teachers and books. For centuries the books were the Latin and Greek classics taught in order to be spoken, or at all events written, as naturally as the student’s mother tongue. Little else was drawn attention to, but the characters of ancient history became familiar, and the main lines of the science of politics were inferred, even when they were not taught.

Today literature has routed all its rivals, even science, no matter how idolized, and it is so in schools as it is in life. Greek, Latin and French classics stand on the school-boy’s desk beside scientific books and manuals of history. But the one book to which he will naturally revert, the one which his hand instinctively seeks at vacant moments, is his Lanson or his Desgranges, the manual of literary history. He may have a turn for mathematics and know he must face years of severe effort before he can get admission to the Ecole Polytechnique, but literary history will be no less attractive to him.

What does he get out of this panorama of intellectual development elsewhere almost exclusively reserved for grown-up specialists? A mixture of good and bad. He certainly acquires a philosophical bent by noticing the concatenation of ideas, systems or sentimental reactions which make up the history of literature: his mind becomes used to the logic of facts, and, year after year, grows more enamoured of the lucidity resulting from the vision of causes and effects. But, long before he h as had time to do more than take a cursory view of the great monuments of literature, he has been given general ideas about them. He has acquired the terrible French craving for summing up complex realities in one formula, and too often he has grown accustomed to the semi-philosophical jargon of the literary historian. If he is mentally strong, his vocabulary will be helpful; if he is not, the learned words and apparently illuminating fore-shortenings will only give him a cheap superiority over people who have not had his training. They will give him something even worse: insincerity. For, in his heart, he knows that he says a great deal for which he would be unable to give chapter and verse.

Even more frequent is the French boy’s delight in reading about a writer’s personal development. The Romanticists, especially, from Rousseau to Loti, ravish his soul. The possibility of living a life rich in emotion and made sublime by inspiration seems to him the one desirable goal. Read Fromentin’s novel, Dominique, if you wish to realise the havoc wrought by such a huge obstacle placed at the outset on the path to right and sensible thinking.

Is this exaggeration never corrected by French teachers? you ask. A French teacher, in Paris especially, is unlikely to dispel this fallacy, for he himself is a prey to it. Count the masters in English and especially in American schools, who publish books. How can they, since when they are not with the boys, teaching, they are with them playing? A French teacher is a man who has written, is writing, or wants to write a book, quite possibly a novel or a play, and t o whom literary renown is the one glory worth working for. His example, as well as the point of view he cannot help expressing, contributes to plant ever deeper in his boys’ imaginations the phantasm that literary men and women are the real heroes. The word genius is repeated in French schools till the pupils cannot escape from the double conviction that it is the one thing worth having and that they will never possess it.

Living incarnations of genius the French boy eagerly seeks. Sooner or later he will Boswellize one of his own discovering. In the meantime he delivers himself up to the influence of his teacher, sometimes of the top boy, a French institution of which no Steerforth can give an idea. I do not think that the scornful French vocabulary cruelly distinguishing between the tête of a class and its queue exists in any other language. It predisposes the wretched queue to humble subservience to what is wrongly supposed to be superior and diminishes its self-respect. In other countries sporting achievements, daring, or some promise of business sense or executive ability will give those so-called inferior boys a feeling of strength which saves them; but in French schools intellectual superiority is unchallenged, and the corresponding inferiority complex is at liberty to fill the soul it has once invaded.

Practical consequences in the life of the nation itself are only too visible. The passion of the French for ideas makes them imagine that when an idea has been expressed, its own virtue will be sufficient to get it realised. Properly analysed this fallacy can be reduced to the notion that some practical person will do what we are too superior to undertake. Hence the everlasting vision and brilliant exposé of reforms accompanied by a caustic denunciation of abuses so striking in French conversation. I once took a foreign visitor to the house of a friend of mine where social improvement was the business of thesalon. This extremely earnest young man was impressed to the highest degree. “A lifetime,” he said, “would not be enough to carry out all the plans this two hours’ talk has disclosed to me as possible.” The Sunday after I gave him the same treat. Not one of the possibilities which had seemed so urgent a week before was as much as alluded to. A brand new set was produced and passionately discussed. The young man was astonished and I was a little anxious about his next reaction, for earnestness does not flourish in the vicinity of brilliance.

Foreigners who make in France a stay of sufficient duration to be personally affected by the numerous shortcomings in the official life of the nation are invariably puzzled. How can such intelligent people put up with such absurdities? they ask. In time they give themselves some sort of an answer. I have not forgotten the verdict which, when I first visited the United States, in 1908, a famous American politician passed in my presence. “The French are bright,” he said, “but they are not intelligent.” It was a comfort to reflect that the word “bright” in American-English is marvellously extensible, but I felt the sting of truth. Abuses are tolerated by the French provided they can laugh, or make cynical remarks about them. The press campaigns, the enlightenment drives which are perseveringly carried on in the United States are impossible in France.

The toleration by the French of their politicians is of the same order and arises from the same feeling of superiority of ideas to mere contingencies. Politicians are despised as roguish valets are by indolent masters. The Scandinavian idea of compelling them to be trustees for the community, or of expecting tangible results from their presence on the boards of the national administration, never occurs to the average Frenchman. Life, he thinks, is not very hard, after all, even if governments do not try to make it perfect. Good-humoured contempt is reform enough.

Preference for ideas, especially general ideas allowing simplified visions, is a French trait, even when terrible consequences may be the result. An Englishman, practically all the time, an American, in most cases, will know when positive danger to their country, and consequently to themselves, is imminent, and promptly cease discussing ideas to see to practical measures. To dance on a volcano is a decidedly French phrase describing a French attitude. Ideas count more in France than facts, and as long as education is at one with the national bias to prefer the art of living to the struggle for life, this one-sided view will go on.



Let us now remember our little boy of nine or ten, so receptive that great poets envy him, and so full of searching curiosity that philosophy cannot keep up with his questions. What becomes of him when he leaves school? In America a husky young chap, all muscles, heart and wishes; in France a slender young man, all brain, totally unprepared for life, apt to mistake ideas for realities and words for ideas. Both have received their education, both have had their chance. The American will always remain ill-equipped, full of intellectual gaps, uncertain between confidence and timidity and showing it; the Frenchman, if he is not saved by his religion, by patriotism or by some other uplift, will be largely artificial. Both men will think the thoughts of their environment, not their own, and education, which is nothing if it is not an applied Art of Thinking for one's self, will be to blame for this result.
 

Adaryn

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Some news from Gaul about the Yellow Vest movement, which goes far beyond the mere protest about the rising of tax on fuel.

Below, an automatic translation (slighly improved) of an article recently published on French newsite JDD:
------
The representatives of the Yellow Vests listed all their demands in a document that was sent Tuesday evening to the Minister of Ecological and Solidarity Transition, François de Rugy. In this text, there are proposals that go well beyond the question of purchasing power. As explained by the Yellow Vests, these proposals are based on an online survey of different support groups within the movement. You can find it here. 30,000 people reportedly took part in the survey. Here's the exhaustive list of demands, as presented by the YV representatives. They were published on Facebook on the 23rd of November by YV Maxime Nicolle, aka "Fly Rider".

Two main proposals:

Reduce all taxes
Creation of a citizens' assembly

Other proposals, on transport and ecology:

– Reduction of TICPE (energy tax) and carbon tax
– Abolition of the bill to ban non-road diesel fuel, "red fuel oil" (for farmers)
Ban Glyphosate
– Cancellation of the draft law on palm oil biofuel (shale gas, GMOs)
– Cancellation of the project to renew the French car fleet with electric vehicles and launch of biofuels on the market

On institutional reform:

More frequent consultation of the people, through national but also local referendums
– Abolition of the Senate
– Acknowledge and take blank votes into account in various electoral ballots

– Enactment of laws by citizens themselves

On employment and companies:

– Reduction in employer contributions:
– Increase in public financial aid for permanent contracts, fixed-term contracts and apprenticeship contracts:
-> with a particular emphasis on the hiring of people with reduced mobility
-> Encouraging non-precarious employment
-> Increase of the minimum wage
-> Support for returning to work or professional reconversion through effective and rewarding training
-> Respect men/women equality: alignment of qualifications and positions at equal pay (comment: of course, they had to add that one to please the feminists :rolleyes:)

The fight against precarity:

– Increase in pensions
– End of special retirement plans
– Reassessment of the housing allowance (APL)
– Increased financial assistance for students for settlement, mobility and culture
– Retirement pension with the same calculation for all

In favour of reducing the public accounts budget:

– Significant reduction in the salaries of government members
– Abolition of privileges (post-mandate salaries, fictional work, allowances)
(now, where did I hear that one? )
– Control of elected officials' expense accounts
– Mandatory physical presence of elected representatives in Assembly

For education, culture and health:

– Creating a real post-bac (higher education)
– Inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of society
– Access to culture for all
– Decrease in (undue) state handouts
– Deletion of article 80 (for ambulance drivers)
– Total proportional revision of the inheritance tax scale
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Let's conclude with a statement from a Yellow Vest following the declaration of leftist politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon that he would participate in next Saturday's protest in Paris:
"Together, we don't need you anymore. The Yellow Vest movement is 'engraved', we are the ones who are gonna build the new world. We don't need these politicians, we will prevail."

Shades of 1789? Interesting times…
 
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Mariama

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I think there might be more to it than the immigration crisis being caused by wars. Statistics are murky (probably by design), we don't really know the proportion of migrants who really come from countries at war. Most are young single men. Where are the families, the women, the children? I agree that it all started to go downhill after Kadhafi (DCM rest his soul)'s murder by the West. International organizations funded by Soros are inciting people (mostly Africans) to abandon their homeland, to uproot themselves, and come to France and other European countries. They're being duped by lies, false promises of a better life, more money, better living conditions. Indeed, living conditions in Europe/France might be better in terms of money (for now), but at what cost to both the migrants and the indigenous populations?
I teach at an asylum seeker centre and I can confirm what you wrote, Adaryn (AFAIK). Many asylum seekers are from Iran (according to the MSM last September the largest group of people applying for asylum came from Iran). According to their numbers many people come from Morocco, Turkey, Algeria, Moldavia and so on. We have people from Russia and Uganda because the Dutch government is allowing LGBT people to apply for citizenship: (in Dutch): Zijn AZC's politiek instrument? Grootste groep asielzoekers in september komt uit Iran -- Sott.net

At the same time (violent) burglaries and robberies are on the increase with the local police stating that a violent burglary of an elderly couple's home was the "umpteenth incident".
 

luc

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Shades of 1789? Interesting times…
Thanks for sharing that! Yes, the revolutionary spirit seems strong here (as it always is with Frenchies I guess), with all that this entails. What I found interesting about this list of demands is that it kind of goes across the ideological spectrum, i.e. you have some free market/libertarian things in there as well as very leftist ideas. What worries me though is that it seems too radical...

Also interesting that what sparked the whole thing is the discussion about Diesel taxes. This is the typical nonsense of using stupid, pseudo-environmental arguments to tax people even more. It's just so insane. Seems like people start realizing that this whole "green" nonsense is a a total scam and cottage industry to shovel tax payer's money to a bunch of shady rich folks - and not only when it comes to climate change.
 

Hi_Henry

Jedi Council Member
Because when you listen some historians, it really was not what we have been taught in school, nor what our national republican myth like to repeat to us. See for example : 1789 : une révolution confisquée
Oh how true that is !!!!!!! The Con is nearly Perfect and best exemplified by the celebration of Bastille Day in France and the US. But in the US they are willing to celebrate anything without much thought. Perfect example Thanksgiving or Georges Washington's birthday.
 
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