Humanity “does not exist”? The lessons from 7/7

May 7, 2011 at 8:09 pm (fascism, good people, Guardian, hell, intellectuals, Jim D)

Compare and contrast:

1/ ” The idea that humankind has a special place in the scheme of things persists among secular thinkers. They tell us that human beings emerged by chance and insist that ‘humanity’ can inject purpose into the world. But, in a strictly naturalistic philosophy, the human species has no purpose. There are only human beings, with their conflicting impulses and goals. Using science, human beings are transforming the planet. But ‘humanity’ cannot use its growing knowledge to improve the world, for humanity does not exist.” - John Gray‘Humanity doesn’t exist’, New Statesman (10/02/11)

2/ ” Adrian Heili, whose intervention almost certainly helped to save the life of Danny Biddle, who lost both legs, an eye and his spleen in the Edgware Road blast, had served with the Austrian army in Kosovo. Group Captain Craig Staniforth, an RAF wing commander, smashed a window in his undamaged train, which had pulled up alongside the bombed Edgware Road carriage, and swung from the handrails to climb into the wreckage to help desperately injured survivors. He talked to John Tulloch, who had serious head injuries, telling him about his daughter’s university applications in a desperate bid to stop him going to sleep.

“Others, however, were not professionals. Events organiser Steven Desborough was being evacuated from the Aldgate train, when he turned – ‘I don’t know why’ – and climbed into the wrecked carriage. He cradled 24-year-old Carrie Taylor in the moments before she died” – Esther Addley, ‘Seven Lessons From 7/7′ - The Guardian (06/05/11)

Survivors of the 7 July bombings.

24 Comments

  1. Hume said,

    Were the human beings who blew themselves up on 7/7 part of humanity? Was the RAF wing commander still part of humanity when on previous occassions he was massacring other human beings from the sky?

  2. charliethechulo said,

    Yes and yes.

  3. Hume said,

    In that case what is the contradistinction between John Gray’s text and the Guardian report above?

  4. maxdunbar said,

    The point of Charlie’s post was to illustrate the huge disconnect between the bland, overmannered and pretentious article by a pseudo-philosopher, trying to get attention by saying ‘Humanity does not exist! Ahahaha!” and the heroism and sacrifice of which every human being is capable.

    The point is that humanity is more than semantics and language games and scrambling for an original thought.

  5. SteveH said,

    Cannot stand Gray.

    But why use the tag fascism in relation to this article? If fascism means blowing people up then Shiraz should stand up as Fascist apologists and the USA and Britain should be upheld as the most Fascistic regimes on the planet.

  6. jim denham said,

    ” If fascism means blowing people up…”

    Ehhh…who says it does?

    PS are you a paciifist, Steve? (No: thought not).

  7. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘Was the RAF wing commander still part of humanity when on previous occassions he was massacring other human beings from the sky?’

    Fuck you.

    ‘If fascism means blowing people up then Shiraz should stand up as Fascist apologists and the USA and Britain should be upheld as the most Fascistic regimes on the planet’.

    And fuck you too.

    You are both symbols of all that is contemptible in this country’s politics, in that you can’t pass even this opportunity to insult the dead by your fatuous and insulting remarks.

  8. SteveH said,

    SackCloth and ….oh I cant be fucked to write his full title because I am so lazy and anyway I just don’t have the time said,

    “in that you can’t pass even this opportunity to insult the dead”

    Coming from an apologist for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands your words ring hollow (to put it mildy).

    • charliethechulo said,

      Coming for an apologist of clerical (Islamic) fascism, Steve, your words really count for nothing…except as the words of a filthy collaborator with, and apologist for, fascism.

  9. sackcloth and ashes said,

    ‘Coming from an apologist for the slaughter of hundreds of thousands your words ring hollow’

    Oh really? Perhaps you can quote my apologias for the regime responsible for the slaughter of untold numbers in Darfur? Or maybe you can quote me on my justifications for Saddam’s barbarity in Iraq? Or perhaps you might want to quote my endorsement of Rwanda genocide denial, or even my attempts to escuse the crimes against humanity committed by the Burmese junta, the DPRK regime, and the Iranian theocrats.

    Maybe you might want to point to the excuses I offered for the carnage caused in former Yugoslavia by Slobodan Milosevic, and his courtship of Greater Serb nationalism. Maybe you’d point out the justifications I made for Chechnya. Or perhaps event the serial crimes committed from 1917 to 1991, whenever totalitarian leftist cunts like yourself have seized power and inflicted state terror on millions.

    Or maybe you should actually take my advice, and go and fuck yourself.

  10. Mr Jelly Jah wobble said,

    wot a laff.

  11. lyapunov said,

    john gray is waxing ironical at this point you muppet. everything in the quotes you provide about 7/7 can easily be taken as confirmation of his point – that secularism is in practice no guide to morality or behaviour and humans can behave with decency regardless.

  12. jim denham said,

    “john gray is waxing ironical at this point you muppet”…eh: don’t think so, lyap. The Thatcherite isolationist Gray’s not exactly renowned for his irony.

  13. Mr Jelly Jah wobble said,

    i see Hitchens C has a new piece up at Slate where he takes the piss out of Chomsky. You should look it up Jimbo.

  14. maxdunbar said,

    Irony’s a lovely thing, but doesn’t beat actual wit.

  15. baldric said,

    Did you see the palace kiss,did you see the fly over of our past and present humanity.One of the new ones cost 90 thousand per hour to keep in the air,how many giro!s was that .Humanity eh!,all depends how you value it it seems for,some.

  16. jim denham said,

    Thanks Mr Jelly: the Hitch article is, indeed, very good:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2293541/

  17. SteveH said,

    Sackcloth,

    Your bile means only one thing, that for some you welcome their mass slaughter (Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan for eg) and for others you shed tears (as above). So my point stands, you are an apologist for mass slaughter, so cut the guilt trip.

    ChuChuTrain,

    So your enemy’s words count for nothing, ah, welcome to enlightenment values!

  18. charliethechulo said,

    “Your bile means only one thing, that for some you welcome their mass slaughter (Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan for eg) and for others you shed tears (as above). So my point stands, you are an apologist for mass slaughter, so cut the guilt trip.”

    “Welcome mass slaughter”? You are a fucking liar. Justify that statement or withdraw it NOW , you fucking lying piece of shit.

  19. Love and Hate: A Post About 9/11 « Max Dunbar said,

    [...] is summed up with more impact and economy than I can manage by my Shiraz colleague Charlie who juxtaposed an essay excerpt from the overrated celebrity philosopher John Gray telling us that [...]

  20. Charles Dexter Ward said,

    Of course “humanity” has no special place in the scheme of things. As an atheist, I get sick of humanists purporting to represent me with their pompous, pseudo-religious outpourings. What 7/7 has to do with this, I can’t imagine.

  21. charliethechulo said,

    “Humanity” has a special place in the life of humans: and that’s all that matters. The alternatives are religious fairy tales or nihilism.

  22. bler4egHH omceonmretatry said,

    The materiality of the capitalist mode of production renders humanity a worthless appendage to the nihilistic logic of capital accumulation. Until the bourgeois is destroyed and the means of production are under the democratic control of the working classes, all talk of the existence of humanity is just meaningless liberal fantasy.

  23. Monsuer Jelly More Bounce to the Ounce (Much More Bounce) said,

    C.L.R. James on Descartes & the Division of Labor

    To a society advancing in science and industry, Descartes gave a philosophy that expressed and released the readiness to adventure in every realm, including the realm of ideas. His philosophy was imbued with the conviction that every discovery contributed to the liberation of humanity. It inculcated freedom from national prejudice for all thinking men. This philosophy bore its name on its face—rationalism. ‘I think, therefore I am,’ said Descartes, and the world rejoiced at the perspective of the expansion of individual personality and human powers through the liberation of the intellect. This resting of self-certainty on man’s own thought, and man’s thought alone, was a revolutionary defiance of the medieval dogma which had derived certainty of self from God or the Church. Rationalism encouraged and developed an elite, the organizers of ideas, the organizers of industry, the discoverers in science. At that stage of human development they were needed. They cultivated the individual personality. It followed that they looked upon the masses of men as passive unthinking servants of the active organizing elite. Rationalism saw each human being as an individual, the natural leaders being the most able, the most energetic, the most far-seeing individuals. Its political form, as developed by Locke, if only as an ideal, was democracy, the transference of free individual competition into politics. It was invaluable in the conquest of nature, and under its banner reaction was driven steadily back and the modern world was created.

    Today the tasks envisaged by Descartes, the great man of the Sixteenth Century and their followers in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth, are accomplished. The pressing need of society is no longer to conquer nature. The great and pressing need is to control, order, and reduce to human usefulness the mass of wealth and knowledge which has accumulated over the last four centuries. In human, in social terms, the problem of mankind has gone beyond the association of men in a natural environment to achieve control over nature. Today mankind is sharply divided into two camps within the social environment of production, the elite and the mass. But the trained, educated elite no longer represents the liberation of mankind. Its primary function is to suppress the social community which has developed inside the process of production. The elite must suppress the new social community because this community is today ready to control, order, and reduce to human usefulness the mass of accumulated wealth and knowledge. This antagonistic relation between an administrative elite and calculating and administering the needs of others, and people in a social community determining their own needs, this new world, our world, is a world which Descartes never knew or guessed at. As an actual liberating philosophy of life, rationalism is dead. It is rationalism which no longer commands the allegiance of men.

    Facing Reality, by C.L.R. James, Grace C. Lee, Pierre Chaulieu [pseudonym of Cornelius Castoriadis] (Detroit: Bewick/Ed, 1974, orig. 1958), pp. 67-68.

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