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Giro Stage 9: Milano

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Bala Verde said:
That is exactly what I was negating, historical continuum. History is not a natural series of events that neatly line up, but is a series of events constructed (spun like a story, a book of fiction) in a particular order and guided by a particular interpretation, done by historians, and especially historicists. Moreover, they emphasised the dialectic method to resolve 'historical' occurences, explain the continuation as well as breaks/revolutions of certain 'identifiable' periods in time. In their hubris, they feel they are capable of determining a so called evolutionary pathway of, for example, a nation, based on reductionist accounts of occurences that took place in the past, stressing events/artifices/thoughts that support their continuum, and downplaying the contradictions that seemingly distort such stable interpretations.

To illustrate, in the Netherlands, but I suppose in many other European countries, politicians have gone at greath lenghts to stress the greatness of 'THE Enlightenment' mostly in response to a perceived danger from 'backward' arabs. 'We' have Enlightenment, and observe how wonderful it was (often used keywords: democracy, bill of rights, splendor, economic growth, capitalism, wealth, inventions and great ideas), while dismissing the contradictory and simultaneous forces amongst others slavery, colonialism, political violence, exploitation (of white sailors, indentured servants) the emergence of racism as we know it. When we take a closer look at those great minds and their ideas, such as Voltaire, Rousseau, J.S. Mill, Herder, Hegel, Kant, there certainly is darker side. In reality, there was no unison of mind about what 'THE' Enlightenment was, as a matter of fact, many intellectuals were fiercely debating its meaning, and/or how they should go forward into the future (E. Burke comes to mind). To talk about THE Enlightenment, and identifying it as stable, fixed, and obviously positive entity, we are deluding ourselves, and jeopardizing an open argument about who and what we are now.



Not only nationalist ideology, but since we were having a conversation about contemporary Italy, as well as Roman Culture, which were linked together based on a supposed historical continuum, I merely used nationalism to account for this particular association. In this regard, I also fail to identify any 'dialectic' relation. Most post-modern intellectuals (for whatever that might mean) explicitly reject dialectics, since it presupposes the existence of two singularly



I agree and on a lighter note here.: Man's concern for safety is especially prevalent in the US, with their knack for litigation and law suits, and more then hefty damages. Robert Gesink put it nicely after his visit to CA, for the ToC. When they rented a car, he had to 'sign his life away' filling out a stack of paperwork, rental companies disclaimers for damages and liability. He also noticed that even the side mirror had little stickers 'objects may be closer then the actually appear' to anticipate law suits in case of 'misjudgements' while operating the vehicle. On the other hand, the dutch, research suggests, have the most (diverse set of) insurances per capita. They/we are overinsured...

In response to your second comment, that man's not free anymore, I have to disappoint you. IMO, man has never been free at all, and due to the limited space available here, I think it's best to refer to Heidegger who gives away some cues. Some key ideas would be being shackled by 'technologies' as well as 'history' and 'language'. We fool ourselves into believing that we are free, or have liberated ourselves, and again, we base that on historical interpretation that we once belonged to a 'natural state of being', in which we acted like animals, or savages, or were ruled by monarchs and aristocrats. The present is always better then the past, but the future really holds Utopia.



You are more then welcome!:D

Bala Verde you are out of your mind!! But I truly like you...:)

Va bene...I think your's is an exercise in Post-Modern mental gymnastics and intellectual hubris, which, in order to be sensational and "ground breaking" finds it necessary to dismiss everything, literally everything that was ever put forth to explain anything, and, consquently, extol the virtues of the contemporary cultural model which tends to negate the very existence of History and therefore time itself. Because to reject that contemporary Italian culture has not been shaped in some significant ways by ancient Roman civilization is either the result of complete idiocy (obviously not in your case) or intellectual hubris (and having too much free time to think up such nonsence).

So instead of referencing your summa philosophes, come down and live in the Boot for a while and just see how pagan the Italians still are to this day. You see sometimes simplicity is a virtue. By contrast, the complexity of your cultural analysis, which is furthermore at total exaggeration, leads to a comprehension of nothing. And this has been the tendency of Post-Modernism to negate everything, literally everything, which hasn't been a product of it's own mental arrogance, and to promote the idea that there has never existed a basis (in the past) for any contemporary state. Whereas society, like the universe, has no reason and is rooted in randomness and caos. But this very concept has been the product of intellectuals living in a post-Enlightenment, post-Nuclear, post Faith, post-Quantum Physics, post-Globalization and post-Everything age, with nothing better to do then to envision cultural models which are completely estranged from the past and which negate that it has ever shaped anything.

I will agree wit you on one thing, though, that man has never been free. I would further add that we only delude ourselves into thinking that our democracies and the Market have made us so. Big Brother is increasingly present and the Middle Ages are just around the corner...
 
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rhubroma said:
Bala Verde you are out of your mind!! But I truly like you...:)

Very much appreciated. Let me say that I like conversations, dialogues, and polemic provocations all the same (not malignantly). I think I've always hoped to live by the Socratic 'I know that I know nothing' rule, in the sense that we cannot know anything with absolute certainty. It allows for the possibiliy to question, wonder, interrogate, explore and think things through, and therefore makes living a life much more exciting. (Not that I pretend to be right about anything obviously. It's just for the love of the argument). Especially in a time dominated by soundbites, mindless repetitions of taken for granted arguments, and thoughtless, careless, or sloppy thinking, I love to swim against the current. :)

Va bene...I think your's is an exercise in Post-Modern mental gymnastics and intellectual hubris, which, in order to be sensational and "ground breaking" finds it necessary to dismiss everything, literally everything that was ever put forth to explain anything, and, consquently, extol the virtues of the contemporary cultural model which tends to negate the very existence of History and therefore time itself. Because to reject that contemporary Italian culture has not been shaped in some significant ways by ancient Roman civilization is either the result of complete idiocy (obviously not in your case) or intellectual hubris (and having too much free time to think up such nonsence).

Now that's unfair :p I'd rather see myself as an eternal sceptic (no not septic tank/yank). On top of that, I must admit I have way too much time, and when you are on a bike a couple of hours per day, I just can't stop thinking... I have also been told that mental excercise is a good way to keep Alzheimer at bay, so better safe then sorry... Next couple of books on the list in honour of Italian profoundness, the soon to be really great thinker, Giorgio Agamben. Really, give it a try ;)

So instead of referencing your summa philosophes, come down and live in the Boot for a while and just see how pagan the Italians still are to this day. You see sometimes simplicity is a virtue. By contrast, the complexity of your cultural analysis, which is furthermore at total exaggeration, leads to a comprehension of nothing. And this has been the tendency of Post-Modernism to negate everything, literally everything, which hasn't been a product of it's own mental arrogance, and to promote the idea that there has never existed a basis (in the past) for any contemporary state. Whereas society, like the universe, has no reason and is rooted in randomness and caos. But this very concept has been the product of intellectuals living in a post-Enlightenment, post-Nuclear, post Faith, post-Quantum Physics, post-Globalization and post-Everything age, with nothing better to do then to envision cultural models which are completely estranged from the past and which negate that it has ever shaped anything.

Ah the good old nihilism argument against 'post-modernism'. I must admit, I was expecting the 'relativist' argument to come first. Anyway, with respect to your quote, I'd alway seen it the other way around. When one cleverly breaks something down piece by piece, step by step, it opens up new ways, because it renders one capable of seeing things differently, and hence imagine new ways, envision different futures. I once lived in the Mediterreanean (Lebanon and Spain), had a great time, and I have always said that I wouldn't mind returning to Spain. Since half my family is Italian, I have been contemplating a pagan life in the boot as well. Wherabouts are you?

I will agree wit you on one thing, though, that man has never been free. I would further add that we only delude ourselves into thinking that our democracies and the Market have made us so. Big Brother is increasingly present and the Middle Ages are just around the corner...

Now that's the word of a true sceptic!
 
Bala Verde said:
Very much appreciated. Let me say that I like conversations, dialogues, and polemic provocations all the same (not malignantly). I think I've always hoped to live by the Socratic 'I know that I know nothing' rule, in the sense that we cannot know anything with absolute certainty. It allows for the possibiliy to question, wonder, interrogate, explore and think things through, and therefore makes living a life much more exciting. (Not that I pretend to be right about anything obviously. It's just for the love of the argument). Especially in a time dominated by soundbites, mindless repetitions of taken for granted arguments, and thoughtless, careless, or sloppy thinking, I love to swim against the current. :)



Now that's unfair :p I'd rather see myself as an eternal sceptic (no not septic tank/yank). On top of that, I must admit I have way too much time, and when you are on a bike a couple of hours per day, I just can't stop thinking... I have also been told that mental excercise is a good way to keep Alzheimer at bay, so better safe then sorry... Next couple of books on the list in honour of Italian profoundness, the soon to be really great thinker, Giorgio Agamben. Really, give it a try ;)



Ah the good old nihilism argument against 'post-modernism'. I must admit, I was expecting the 'relativist' argument to come first. Anyway, with respect to your quote, I'd alway seen it the other way around. When one cleverly breaks something down piece by piece, step by step, it opens up new ways, because it renders one capable of seeing things differently, and hence imagine new ways, envision different futures. I once lived in the Mediterreanean (Lebanon and Spain), had a great time, and I have always said that I wouldn't mind returning to Spain. Since half my family is Italian, I have been contemplating a pagan life in the boot as well. Wherabouts are you?



Now that's the word of a true sceptic!

You ar the best! Thanks and peace...
 
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Bala Verde said:
I merely highlighted that what you are calling 'cultural heritage' is a constructed/authored and authorized account of the past and, to put it bluntly and very unthoughtfully, contains as much or as little truth as a comic of Donald Duck, the bible or a book written by Plato.
No, that is not what I am calling cultural heritage. But I might be wrong and should use some other term instead.

However, I am dismissing the notion of a particular interpretation of the past as the only, singular and true account of that past.
This comes without saying.

The definition of 'our' society springs from an account of the past that consolidates and reinforces the defining parametes of the society 'we' currently (want to) belong to. To illustrate quickly, and way to simplified. Most notably, 'our' society is intricately wound up with the notion of spatial belonging and fixity. This geographical fixation of a society is obviously strenghtened by making/maintaining Rome as the center point of Italy, or Amsterdam of the Netherlands. It makes us believe that 'we' have a right to be '(t)here' because 'we' seemingly always have been '(t)here'. Cultural heritage forms the evidence of 'our' belonging to a community, spatially as well as psychologically, and therefore establishes 'us' as a community.
I - no, I am a bad example - but a normal person was born into a family and a society, and is shaped by them, acquiring the behaviour and culture of that society. People often dismiss "national characteristics" as superficial mockery, but in reality you are the product of your society, at a regional and country level. And where does this society come from? Here historians more often than not disagree, but you can trace many aspects of behaviour, morality, society to specific happenings or situations in history. You can't deny the effect of Reformation and Counter-Reformation in shaping the European countries differently, or the effects of Spanish rule in molding Southern Italy. And likewise, we can trace back to Roman times for many aspects of our life and behaviour. This is what I was calling "cultural heritage" - not what we go around priding ourselves for.

However, what is 'chosen' as cultural heritage, depends on the community one envisions to belong to. (Classical) Latin, and Italian are very similar you say, and different from vulgar latin in the Middle Ages. Linguistic communities and geographical fixation often go hand in hand, and are reinforcing the bonds of the community as well. 'We' are 'Italians', 'here' because this is where 'Latin' was originally spoken and that closely resembles 'Italian'. Why, one can ask, wasn't a larger 'European' community envisioned, since vulgar Latin, or even Classical Latin, was spoken across many parts of Europe. How come the current community is reduced/limited to the boot that constitues Italy.
The history of Italy as a nation - and of Italian as a language - is very fascinating and insightful.

How come contemporary lower class Italians willingly identify with ancient Rome and are perhaps proud of the Classic Latin language, with its ancient associations, while Classical Latin was a written language, reserved for use of the elite.
Are they?

For arguments sake, suppose 'our' society was defined by the inclusion only of long haired people and the exclusion of the bald. I'd reckon 'our' cultural heritage defining 'our' contemporary society, would have traced back to Samson in the philistines, and perhaps, since the growing of long hair is not limited to a space, 'our' community could have extend over the world. We would call a native Indian with long hair as much a 'brother' or 'compatriot' as well as someone who we currently identify as dutchman, or Italian, as long as they have long hair, while we would refuse to allow a neighbour to our community and accept him as a 'compatriot' because he is bald...
So you are arguing that society is just a concept in space? That someone feels Dutch only because they live in the Netherlands and speak Dutch? No, society is what moulds you. Italy is a good example for this, as Italians are very close-minded from a certain point of view. There is a set of unwritten rules of behaviour, culture, taste (even literally, regarding food), that you will find in 95 % of Italians as an "innate" characteristics, but won't find in foreigners.

I don't see how someone's position, whether a domestique, a miner or senator, should affect our judgement about their attempts to improve their or change their working conditions. Are you saying that a miner is more allowed to protest than a senator, or perhaps a doctor?
"senator" meaning "the senators in the peloton", that is influential cyclists of today or recent past - in answer to your point about miners 50 years ago. What I meant was: we are not talking about Coppi's domestiques, but about cyclists today (or recent ex-cyclists like Cipollini, who is still considered "one of us" by the peloton) disagreeing with the protest.

About Cipo, yes, I flagrantly misrepresented his image, when I said that he was a well groomed, wealthy, much admired ex-cyclist, who rode a stage in teh ToC for which he collected a high fee, and who commented from the sideline. The only thing I am actually uncertain of is the brand of car he owns/drives. Obviously I applied this tactic for 'poisoning the well' reasons.
I only found it striking that your words give an image of him which is the complete opposite of what he actually meant in the peloton. You see his flamboyance, but he was one of those who cared of riders' safety and was very outspoken about that. You'd be hard pressed to find another rider with his moral integrity and work ethics, in defending the riders - and scolding them when they don't behave like they should.

Since I was under that impression (Cipo intentionally misrepresenting and ridiculing the image of protesting cyclists as prima donnas), I don't see why one is not allowed to counter any such argument, by ironically misrepresenting the image of Cipo, in order to riducule his statement or expression of dissatisfaction.
He used a figure of speech, but his words had substance.
 
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Leopejo said:
I - no, I am a bad example - but a normal person was born into a family and a society, and is shaped by them, acquiring the behaviour and culture of that society. People often dismiss "national characteristics" as superficial mockery, but in reality you are the product of your society, at a regional and country level. And where does this society come from? Here historians more often than not disagree, but you can trace many aspects of behaviour, morality, society to specific happenings or situations in history. You can't deny the effect of Reformation and Counter-Reformation in shaping the European countries differently, or the effects of Spanish rule in molding Southern Italy. And likewise, we can trace back to Roman times for many aspects of our life and behaviour. This is what I was calling "cultural heritage" - not what we go around priding ourselves for.

A trace is only a trace in the light of the object of ones desire.

If you want to track down a goat, you will look for goat droppings, rather then the imprints of the bear in the soil. However, the possibility of tracking down a goat by following his droppings, and knowing how to distinguish them from the 'incorrect' imprints of the bear, so as to find the goat instead of the bear, is based on a priorly established and now taken for granted association between the 'goat droppings' and the 'goat'. A trace does not exist independently of the tracker, something that is just out there, to be discovered by the tracker, in order to lead him where he wants to go. No, a trace is only identifiable by a tracker if he has made up what he wants to find, and in the act of identifying the object of desire, simultaneously identifies that what would lead him to get there. That's how he can ignore random 'signs'/'imprints'/'symbols' and focus on those 'signs'/'imprints'/'symbols' constitute the trace and the object of his desire.

In terms of history, a historian will find/use traces that explain or understand the current state of being. As I tried to explain before, it requires him to correctly identify 'signs'/'imprints'/'symbols as traces, and separate them out from 'signs'/'imprints'/'symbols' that act as white noise and obfuscate his research/tracking. The 'correct' interpretation and recognition of traces however presupposes that what he identifies as traces stand in direct relation to what he is trying to explain/understand.

If one says that 'Roman Law' affects/influences/shaped (whatever those vague words mean) 'Italy's contemporary legal system', one finds those aspects in a pre-identified/defined and 'roman law', that (seem) to resemble the aspects in contemporary law. This not only ignores the complexities, the anomalies, the opposing forces, the different struggles in interpretations that were applied then, it also priviliges a certain (positive/present v. absent) interpretation of that 'Roman Law' in order to maintain, reinforce and support a contemporary interpretation of 'Italian Law'.

To (over)simplify: it's like saying, Italian(s) are x, y, z now (I observe it now) and then I retrace that in the past, and I can confidently say we have always been x, y, z, because in 1300, 850 and 1998 there are incidents that show x, y, z. Popper always said that you need to look for the black swan, or the exception, to prove swans are white, instead of positively trying to identify and count all instances of white swans.