In his novel entitled Deception Point (2001) Dan Brown links scientific publications based on results from NASA, etc to offer fictional scenarios using consultants with various forms of expertise to enhance believability and to pull readers into his imaginary worlds of knowledge and power, corruption and politics and leading edge technological and scientific research.

Using My Google Maps app I am mapping the adventures of Rachel Sexton, daughter of US Presidential candidate, Senator Sedgewick Sexton. Rachel Sexton works for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), Fairfax, Virginia, as a gister, “gisting or data reduction required analyzing complex reports and distilling their essence or gist into concise, single page briefs (Brown 2001-21).”

Selected Timeline

1951-06-19 The parties to the North Atlantic Treaty signed in Washington on 4 April, 1949, agreed to the NATO Status of Forces Agreement in 1951 allowing members to have forces of one Party may be sent, by arrangement, to serve in the territory of another Party; Bearing in mind that the decision to send them and the conditions under which they will be sent, in so far as such conditions are not laid down by the present Agreement, will continue to be the subject of separate arrangements between the Parties concerned. Under that agreement the RAF Menwith Hill is made available to the US Department of Defense (DoD). RAF Menwith Hill is situated off the A59 Skipton Road, approximately nine miles west of Harrogate in North Yorkshire and occupies about one square mile of moorland. Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) is entitled to possession of the site and retains control over its use and its facilities, though the administration of the base is the responsibility of the US authorities. The base comprises family housing, community facilities and high-technology installations and structures set on the southern edge of the Yorkshire Dales, just outside the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. RAF Menwith Hill works closely with local and national authorities on all matters relating to planning, conservation and the environment. wiki+

1950s Echelon, a global surveillance network, “was set up in Cold War days to provide the US goverment with intelligence data about Russia. One of the main contractors is Raytheon. Lockheed Martin has been involved in writing software for it. Since then it has expanded into a general listening facility, an electronic vacuum cleaner, sucking up the world’s telephone conversations. Information about it’s existence has been reluctantly revealed, prompted by scandals such as the recordings of Princess Diana’s telephone calls by the NSA (Mellor 2004-10-15).” In 1966 the National Security Agency took on responsibility for the U.S. operation of the site, expanding the capabilities to monitor international leased line communications transiting through Britain. The site was then one of the earliest to receive sophisticated early IBM computers, with which NSA automated the labour-intensive watch-list scrutiny of intercepted but unenciphered telex messages. The site is alleged to be part of the ECHELON system, monitoring civilian communications satellites. During the early 1970s Menwith Hill appears to have been made capable of intercepting the downlink of civilian communication satellites, landed over northern Europe, when the first of more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed.” Brown refers to the NRO/NSA listening post in Menwith Hill as part of the technology that saves the lives of his heroine Rachel and the scientists adrift on ice that has just calved off the Milne Ice Shelf. Rachel thuds out a low tech Morse code using her ice pick hoping the NRO’s Classic Wizard Global Surveillance System and the Cray computers would decipher her pounding and locate them.

mid-1970s SNC meteorites consisting of 12 meteorites led to speculation that the SNC meteorites may have originated from a planet-sized “parent body” in the inner solar system. Since it was first suggested in the mid-1970’s that this parent body may have been the planet Mars, intensive study has not only upheld this radical theory, but also provided a convincing foundation of evidence to support it. Careful study of the nakhlite group of meteorites conducted in the early- and mid-1970s by such workers as Papanastassiou and Wasserburg (1974) demonstrated that the nakhlite meteorites exhibited an anomalously young isochron crystallization age of 1.37 billion years, as determined by the rubidium-strontium [Rb-Sr] dating methodWeisstein 1996-2007.”

1975-1982 “NASA’s Viking Mission to Mars was composed of two spacecraft, Viking 1 and Viking 2, each consisting of an orbiter and a lander. The primary mission objectives were to obtain high resolution images of the Martian surface, characterize the structure and composition of the atmosphere and surface, and search for evidence of life. Viking 1 was launched on August 20, 1975 and arrived at Mars on June 19, 1976. The first month of orbit was devoted to imaging the surface to find appropriate landing sites for the Viking Landers. On July 20, 1976 the Viking 1 Lander separated from the Orbiter and touched down at Chryse Planitia (22.48° N, 49.97° W planetographic, 1.5 km below the datum (6.1 mbar) elevation). Viking 2 was launched September 9, 1975 and entered Mars orbit on August 7, 1976. The Viking 2 Lander touched down at Utopia Planitia (47.97° N, 225.74° W, 3 km below the datum elevation) on September 3, 1976. The Orbiters imaged the entire surface of Mars at a resolution of 150 to 300 meters, and selected areas at 8 meters. The lowest periapsis altitude for both Orbiters was 300 km. The Viking 2 Orbiter was powered down on July 25, 1978 after 706 orbits, and the Viking 1 Orbiter on August 17, 1980, after over 1400 orbits. The Orbiter images are available from NSSDC on CD-ROM and as photographic products. These images have been converted to digital image mosaics and maps , and these are also available from NSSDC on CD-ROM. An index giving the latitude and longitude of each Viking Orbiter image is available at the Viking FTP site. The Viking Landers transmitted images of the surface, took surface samples and analyzed them for composition and signs of life, studied atmospheric composition and meteorology, and deployed seismometers. The Viking 2 Lander ended communications on April 11, 1980, and the Viking 1 Lander on November 13, 1982, after transmitting over 1400 images of the two sites. Many of these images are also available from NSSDC online and as photographic products. Further information on the spacecraft, experiments, and data returned from the Viking missions can be found in the September 30, 1977 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research, “Scientific Results of the Viking Project”, vol. 82, no. 28 (Williams 2005).”

1986 “Hydrothermal plumes are created and sustained by the heat of volcanic processes along the Mid-Ocean Ridge system that circles the globe. Hydrothermal systems consists of circulation zones where seawater interacts with rock, thereby changing chemical and physical characteristics of both the seawater and the rock. The altered seawater, called hydrothermal fluid, is injected back into the ocean at hydrothermal vent fields and forms hydrothermal plumes. These plumes are often black or white with the color coming from mineral particles that precipitate rapidly as hot hydrothermal fluids (with temperatures as high as 340oC) mix with cold seawater (usually about 1-2oC) at or just below the vent orifice. “http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/vents/PlumeStudies/plumes-whatis.html NOAA PMEL Vents Program. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, United States Department of Commerce. “What is a hydrothermal plume?

1989 Squidgygate refers to the pre-1990 telephone conversations between Diana, Princess of Wales and a close friend, James Gilbey, and to the controversy surrounding how those conversations were recorded. A tape recording of a conversation purporting to have taken place between the Princess of Wales and James Gilbey on New Year’s Eve 1989 was submitted by a UK newspaper for technical analysis. Mr Gilbey was supposed to have been using a cellular telephone, and the Princess of Wales to have been on a normal telephone line at Sandringham.

1992 The Sun newspaper publicly revealed the tapes’ existence in an article entitled “Squidgygate”, which is a cultural reference to the American Watergate scandal of the early 1970s.

1984-12-27 ALH 84001, the first meteorite found by a research team of US meteorite hunters from the ANSMET project in the research season of 1984-12-27 in the Allan Hills (-76° 55′ 13.00″, +156° 46′ 25.00″) an especially meteorite-rich area in the Trans-Antarctic Mountains lm of US meteorite hunters from the ANSMET project. In 1996-08 when NASA scientists announced that ALH 84001 might contain evidence for microscopic fossils of Martian bacteria it became a mass media sensation. See also wiki.The meteorite, ALH84001, was discovered in 1984 in the Allan Hills region of Antarctica  http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/marslife.html Its research name indicates that it was the first meteorite found during the 1984 research season in the Allan Hills ALH.

1996 “A group of scientists led by David McKay of NASA’s Johnson Space Center published an article in the 16 August 1996 issue of Science magazine announcing the discovery of evidence for primitive bacterial life on Mars. An examination of a meteorite found in Antarctica and believed to be from Mars shows: 1) hydrocarbons which are the same as breakdown products of dead micro-organisms on Earth, 2) mineral phases consistent with by-products of bacterial activity, and 3) tiny carbonate globules which may be microfossils of the primitive bacteria, all within a few hundred-thousandths of an inch of each other. Based on age dating of the meteorite, the following scenario has been proposed: The original igneous rock solidified within Mars about 4.5 billion years ago, about 100 million years after the formation of the planet. (Based on isotope ages of the igneous component of the meteorite); Between 3.6 and 4 billion years ago the rock was fractured, presumably by meteorite impacts. Water then permeated the cracks, depositing carbonate minerals and allowing primitive bacteria to live in the fractures; About 3.6 billion years ago, the bacteria and their by-products became fossilized in the fractures. (Based on isotope ages of the minerals in the fractures); 16 million years ago, a large meteorite struck Mars, dislodging a large chunk of this rock and ejecting it into space. (Based on the cosmic ray exposure age of the meteorite); 13,000 years ago, the meteorite landed in Antarctica (Williams 2005).” See also “Using scanning electron microscopy and laser mass spectroscopy, a team led by David S. McKay identified polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the meteorite, as well as globules of carbonate and the minerals magnetite and iron sulfide. The carbonate globules are small elongated features resembling similar ones found on Earth which are believed to have formed in association with bacteria. McKay et al. (1996) determined their age to be approximately 3.6 billion years. All the unusual compounds found in the meteorite are associated with bacterial activity on Earth, PAHs with decay products of microorganisms and magnetite and iron sulfide with anaerobic bacteria. However, the presence of these compounds is not necessarily diagnostic for the presence of bacteria. McKay and his coworkers appear to have excluded the possibility that any of their discoveries represent terrestrial contamination, so the constituents they describe presumably must have formed while the meteorite was still on the surface (or shallow subsurface) of Mars. While the reported discoveries are intriguing and consistent with formation through biological activity (especially when taken together), this conclusion requires additional confirmation. It should be recalled that initial experiments on soil samples from one of the Viking landers were heralded as clear evidence of organic material, whereas subsequent laboratory work showed that the observed results could be reproduced with entirely inorganic soil constituents. While the presence of past life on Mars would be a scientific discovery of epic proportions and warrants the closest possible scrutiny, it is premature at this juncture to state that the existence of life on Mars, past or present, has been conclusively demonstrated Weisstein 1996-2007.”

1996 President Clinton and his science and technology adviser, Dr. Jack Gibbons, commented on the announcement by NASA. “This is the product of years of exploration and months of intensive study by some of the world’s most distinguished scientists. Like all discoveries, this one will and should continue to be reviewed, examined and scrutinized. It must be confirmed by other scientists. But clearly, the fact that something of this magnitude is being explored is another vindication of America’s space program and our continuing support for it, even in these tough financial times. I am determined that the American space program will put it’s full intellectual power and technological prowess behind the search for further evidence of life on Mars. First, I have asked Administrator Goldin to ensure that this finding is subject to a methodical process of further peer review and validation. Second, I have asked the Vice President to convene at the White House before the end of the year a bipartisan space summit on the future of America’s space program. A significant purpose of this summit will be to discuss how America should pursue answers to the scientific questions raised by this finding. Third, we are committed to the aggressive plan we have put in place for robotic exploration of Mars. America’s next unmanned mission to Mars is scheduled to lift off from the Kennedy Space Center in November. It will be followed by a second mission in December. I should tell you that the first mission is scheduled to land on Mars on July the 4th, 1997 — Independence Day. It is well worth contemplating how we reached this moment of discovery. More than 4 billion years ago this piece of rock was formed as a part of the original crust of Mars. After billions of years it broke from the surface and began a 16 million year journey through space that would end here on Earth. It arrived in a meteor shower 13,000 years ago. And in 1984 an American scientist on an annual U.S. government mission to search for meteors on Antarctica picked it up and took it to be studied. Appropriately, it was the first rock to be picked up that year — rock number 84001. Today, rock 84001 speaks to us across all those billions of years and millions of miles. It speaks of the possibility of life. If this discovery is confirmed, it will surely be one of the most stunning insights into our universe that science has ever uncovered. Its implications are as far-reaching and awe-inspiring as can be imagined. Even as it promises answers to some of our oldest questions, it poses still others even more fundamental. We will continue to listen closely to what it has to say as we continue the search for answers and for knowledge that is as old as humanity itself but essential to our people’s future (Clinton 1996).”

2000-07-05 The European Parliament created a Temporary Committee on the ECHELON Interception System and laid down its mandate as outlined in Chapter 1, 1.3. With a view to fulfilling that mandate, at its constituent meeting of 9 July 2000 the Temporary Committee appointed Gerhard Schmid rapporteur. They acknowledged that the “existence of a global system for intercepting communications, operating by means of cooperation proportionate to their capabilities among the USA, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand under the UKUSA Agreement, [was] no longer in doubt; whereas it seems likely, in view of the evidence and the consistent pattern of statements from a very wide range of individuals and organisations, including American sources, that its name is in fact ECHELON, [and that] the purpose of the system is to intercept, at the very least, private and commercial communications, and not military communications, although the analysis carried out in the report has revealed that the technical capabilities of the system are probably not nearly as extensive as some sections of the media had assumed. [They also were both surprised and worried] that many senior Community figures, including European Commissioners, who gave evidence to the Temporary Committee claimed to be unaware of this phenomenon (EU).”


1. “The SNC meteorites, so named for the shergottite, nakhlite, and chassigny classes which comprise this group of petrologically similar specimens, consist of 12 meteorites that share a set of similar properties that are highly anomalous compared to other meteoritic samples. The investigation of these characteristic properties has led to speculation that the SNC meteorites may have originated from a planet-sized “parent body” in the inner solar system. Since it was first suggested in the mid-1970’s that this parent body may have been the planet Mars, intensive study has not only upheld this radical theory, but also provided a convincing foundation of evidence to support it. Careful study of the nakhlite group of meteorites conducted in the early- and mid-1970s by such workers as Papanastassiou and Wasserburg (1974) demonstrated that the nakhlite meteorites exhibited an anomalously young isochron crystallization age of 1.37 billion years, as determined by the rubidium-strontium [Rb-Sr] dating method. (At least one SNC meteorite, ALH84001, is much older, with an age of 4.5 billion years.) Weisstein 1996-2007.”

Viking Landers Gas bubbles trapped in one meteorite, EETA79001, have a composition which matches the current martian atmosphere as measured by the Viking Landers, compelling evidence that this meteorite and by association the others, including ALH84001, came from Mars.  

ALH84001 discovered in 1984 in the Allan Hills region of Antarctica, is the oldest Martian meteorite. “The original igneous rock solidified within Mars about 4.5 billion years ago, about 100 million years after the formation of the planet. (Based on isotope ages of the igneous component of the meteorite) (MaKay et al 1996). The ALH84001 is distinct from the SNC classification. Various articles in Science magazine reported signs of organic wormy-looking relics, Magnetotactic bacteria were present in Martian meteorite  ALH84001. The Martian meteorite stayed for 2 years stay in the Caltech …

Selected Bibliography and Webliography

Clinton, Bill. 1996-08-07. “President Clinton Statement Regarding Mars Meteorite Discovery“. NASA. Retrieved 2006-08-07.

Crenson, Matt. 2006-08-06. “After 10 years, few believe life on Mars.” AP.

http://diversitas.org http://www.uia.be/sites/uia.be/db/db/x.php

Handwerk, Brian. 2005-12-12. “Hydrothermal “Megaplume” Found in Indian Ocean.” National Geographic News.

McKay, David S. Gibson Jr, Everett. K.  Thomas-Keprta. 1996-08-16. “Search for past life on Mars: possible relic biogenic activity in Martian meteorite ALH84001“. Science. sciencemag.org

Mellor, Chris. 2004-10-15. “Want to know the hardware behind Echelon? Uncle Sam using Texas’ SAM.” Techworld.

Weisstein, Eric W. 1996-2007. “SNC Meteors.” Wolfram Science World.

Williams, David R. 2005. “Evidence of Ancient Martian Life in Meteorite ALH84001?” National Space Science Data Center (NSSDC).

Wharton’s Icefields

August 27, 2008

Wharton's Icefields

Wharton’s Icefields,
originally uploaded by ocean.flynn.

In a seamless blend of mountaineering, history, botany and fiction, Edmonton author Thomas Wharton revisits the shifting social and cultural events that took place on the edge of the Columbia icefields in the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1898 while on an expedition in the Columbia (Arcturus) glacier, doctor and amateur botanist Edward Bryne fell through a crevasse where he was held upside down in the icy grip of the narrowing walls of the chasm suspended in a liminal state between reality and dreams.

Using Adobe Photoshop I created this digitage inspired by descriptions and interpretations of the angel in Dr. Bryne’s icy vision. I layered images of ice taken at the Glenmore reservoir in Calgary, a Calypso orchid taken on Heart Mountain in June 2008 and my mother’s portrait from the early 1900s.

The Calypso orchid was elegantly selected as a character in the novel, as the origin of its name signifies concealment. It is a fragile plant with a wide, circumpolar distribution, that requires a highly specific ecosystem. Once it was an edible and medicinal plant for the First Nations who gathered plants in the Rockies but with increased traffic on what were once remote montaine trails, it is now an endangered species. At a certain height on Heart Mountain Trail when the scree became too difficult for me to manage, I was looking for an easier route a bit farther back from the steep edge of the trail when I came across a couple of these tiny purple orchids in a delicate floral embrace.

stoney, concealment, edible, circumpolar, ethnobotany, fairy slipper, Venus’s slipper, tagging, taxonomy, walkingtrails, wildflowersnorthamerica, wfgna, rockymountains, rockies, geotagging, geotagged, geotag, creativecommons, calgarydaytrips, alberta, CalypsoFairySlipper, Calypso.Bulbosa,


“bare, windswept slope of ice … projecting spine of ice … stepped backward into the abyss . . . (Wharton 1995 [2007:2]) . . . deep blue gloom p.3 . . . ”
“I prefer words on a page. They don’t gesticulate.”

“restless crowd with its panoply of cameras (Wharton 1995 [2007:274]).”

Wharton, Thomas. 1995 [2007]. Icefields. Nunatak Fiction. NeWest Press. Edmonton, AB.


1. The calypso orchid The Calypso bulbosa, Calypso orchid, Fairy’s slipper, Venus’s slipper or Plantae < Magnoliophyta < Liliopsida < Asparagales < Orchidaceae < Epidendroideae < Calypsoeae < Calypso < Salisb. < Calypso bulbosa

Nunatak is a word in Inuktitut meaning “lonely peak,” a rock or mountain rising above ice. During Quaternary glaciation in North America, peaks stood above the ice sheet and so became refuge for plant and animal life. Magnificent nunataks, their bases scoured by glaciers, can be seen along the Highwood Pass in the Alberta Rocky Mountains and on Ellesmere Island. The Nunatak fiction series are especially selected works of fiction by new western authors. Editors for Nunataks for NeWest Press are Aritha van Herk and Ruby Wiebe.

Sexsmith’s expedition is based on the 1859-1860 expedition undertaken by James Carnegie, Earl of Southesk.

Bibliography of research resources acknowledged by auhtor Thomas Wharton

Adassiz, Louis. 1967. Studies on Glaciers. Trans. Albert Carozzi. New York: Hafner.
Carnegie, James. 1875. Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains.
Gadd, Benn. 1987. Handbook of the Canadian Rockies, Jasper, Alberta: Corax.
Kagami, Yoshiro. 1951. “Edward Bryne: a Life on Ice.” Journal of Alpine Exploration. ii:6.
Stuffield, Hugh; Collie, J. Norman. 1903. Climbs and Explorations in the Canadian Rockies. London: Longmans, Green and Company.

Uploaded by ocean.flynn on 26 Aug 08, 3.16PM MDT.


December 11, 2006

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home| about | key concepts | theorists | timelines | Opinion pieces | Web 2.0

Somewhere on the Pacific a small lifeboat shared by two unwilling and unlikely passengers rolled with the waves. Pi knew he could do more than just survive once he realized that Richard was dependent on him. Pi could fish. A Bengal Tiger, king of his own ecosystem, would die at sea without the help of the seventeen-year-old. The book really ended there; it didn’t matter after that what was truth or fiction. Pi’s understanding of power in everyday life was his new reality.

Speechless refers to both the writer and reader. At one level it’s about a writers’ block being blogged. At another level is refers to deafening silence that occurs when one speaks with too much feeling or mentions an uncomfortable idea in a nice place, a unpleasant reminder in polite company, a divergent idea in a space of group think, another perspective than the Renaissance perspective. But it also refers to robust conversations among political philosophers who understand the power of language and everyday life. Socrates, Plato, Derrida called for renewals in philosophy. They examined what we do with words, the role of memory. Speechless alludes to Derrida’s urgent appeal for a renewed democracy, for a revitalized philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view.

The human eye can distinguish 16 values of grey but that’s not including the subtle differences in the colours of grey. We just don’t have the time to see the variations.

I began speechless on October 16, 2006. Two months later I have learned what a permalink is and how to make one. It’s the equivalent to the old web page’s index.html. Now I have to learn where to use it.


The cloud of tags below has grown organically since I first began using WordPress as my main blog host on October 16, 2006. I am building my customized clouds of folksonomies by working on and learning from a number of Web 2.0 feeds. This includes a Flickr account for photo blogging which attracts alot of viewers. I have only a couple of dozen images but one image alone uploaded on October 22, 2006 was viewed 1,179 times over a period of 64 days! I reworked this image again and posted it on speechless under “Wave Algorithms.”

Featured folksonomy:

Benign colonialism is a term that refers to an alleged form of colonialism in which benefits outweighed risks for indigenous population whose lands, resources, rights and freedoms were preempted by a colonizing nation-state. The historical source for the concept of benign colonialism resides with John Stuart Mills who was chief examiner of the British East India Company dealing with British interests in India in the 1820s and 1830s. Mills most well-known essays (1844) on benign colonialism are found in Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy. Mills’ view contrasted with Burkean orientalists. Mills promoted the training of a corps of bureaucrats indigenous to India who could adopt the modern liberal perspective and values of 19th century Britain. Mills predicted this group’s eventual governance of India would be based on British values and perspectives. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for indigenous peoples as settlers, merchants and administrators also brought new industries, liberal markets, developed natural resources and introduced improved governance. The first wave of benign colonialism lasted from c. 1790s-1960s. The second wave included new colonial policies such as exemplified in Hong Kong (Liu 2003)), where unfettered expansion of the market created a new form of benign colonialism. Political interference and military interference (Doyle 2006) in independent nation-states, such as Iraq (Campo 2004 ), is also discussed under the rubric of benign colonialism in which a foreign power preempts national governance to protect a higher concept of freedom. The term is also used in the 21st century to refer to American, French and Chinese market activities in countries on the African continent with massive quantities of underdeveloped nonrenewable envied resources. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized.

For more see Flynn-Burhoe (2007).

There is a widespread Canadian mythology that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are among those who benefited from settler colonies prempting, improving, managing and governing aboriginal lands, resources and educating, training, developing, serving, monitoring and governing its peoples. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for the indigenous peoples since the arrival of settlers. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) addressed these claims but the term benign colonialism is still a convenient truth for many. Celebratory and one-sided social histories of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the RCMP, and various government leaders such as John A. MacDonald or civil servants such as Indian Agents, northern adventurers, when viewed through the lens of settlers while ignoring the perspective of First Nations, Inuit and Métis contribute to on-going dissemination of distorted histories. Museums, maps and census contribute to these distorted histories by grave omissions.

Related citations:

“Today, Mill’s most controversial case would be benign colonialism. His principles of nonintervention only hold among “civilized” nations. “Uncivilized” peoples, among whom Mill dumps most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are not fit for the principle of nonintervention. Like Oude (in India), they suffer four debilitating infirmities – despotism, anarchy, amoral presentism and familism — that make them incapable of self-determination. The people are imposed upon by a “despot… so oppressive and extortionate as to devastate the country.” Despotism long endured has produced “such a state of nerveless imbecility that everyone subject to their will, who had not the means of defending himself by his own armed followers, was the prey of anybody who had a band of ruffians in his pay.” The people as a result deteriorate into amoral relations in which the present overwhelms the future and no contracts can be relied upon. Moral duties extend no further than the family; national or civic identity is altogether absent. In these circumstances, Mill claims, benign colonialism is best for the population . Normal relations cannot be maintained in such an anarchic and lawless environment. It is important to note that Mill advocates neither exploitation nor racialist domination. He applies the same reasoning to once primitive northern Europeans who benefited from the imperial rule imposed by civilized Romans. The duties of paternal care, moreover, are real, precluding oppression and exploitation and requiring care and education designed to one day fit the colonized people for independent national existence. Nonetheless, the argument also rests on (wildly distorted) readings of the history and culture of Africa and Asia and Latin America. Anarchy and despotic oppression did afflict many of the peoples in these regions, but ancient cultures embodying deep senses of social obligation made nonsense of presentism and familism. Shorn of its cultural “Orientalism,” Mill’s argument for trusteeship addresses one serious gap in our strategies of humanitarian assistance: the devastations that cannot be readily redressed by a quick intervention designed to liberate an oppressed people from the clutches of foreign oppression or a domestic despot. But how does one prevent benign trusteeship from becoming malign imperialism, particularly when one recalls the flowery words and humanitarian intentions that accompanied the conquerors of Africa? How far is it from the Anti-Slavery Campaign and the Aborigine Rights Protection Society to King Leopold’s Congo and Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?

Here Doyle is referring to John S. Mill cited in “A Few Words on Nonintervention.” . 1973. In Essays on Politics and Culture, edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb, 368-84. Gloucester, Peter Smith.

See also WordPress featured blogs Benign colonialism.

Related tags: Tom Kent Royal Commission on Newspapers, Hackett and Zhao, economic efficiency, Power and everyday life, ethical topography of self and the Other, teaching learning and research, wealth disparities will intensify, C.D. Howe, Cannibals with Forks.Selected annotated webliography

Campo, Juan E.  2004. “Benign Colonialism? The Iraq War: Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue.” Interventionism. 26:1. Spring.

Doyle, Michael W.  2006. “Sovereignty and Humanitarian Military Intervention.” Hoover Institute.

Falk, Richard. Human Rights Horizons: the Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World. New York & London: Routledge.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Benign colonialism. >> Speechless. Uploaded January 14th, 2007

Liu, Henry C. K. “China: a Case of Self-Delusion: Part 1: From colonialism to confusionLiu 2003.” Asia Times. May 14, 2003.

Kurtz,Stanley. 2003.”Lessons from the British in India.” Democratic Imperialism: A Blueprint. Policy Review.Mill, John Stuart. 1844. Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy.
Of these Essays, which were written in 1829 and 1830,

Current debates on colonization and human rights (Falk 2000) raise questions about the notion of benign colonialism. The dominant language, culture and values of colonizers imposed on colonised peoples is often narrated as salutary. Dominant social and cultural institutions contributed to faciliating the entry of indigenous peoples trapped in unsustainable subsistence economies. Previously colonised peoples claim that the colonization process resulted in a parallel process of the colonization of the minds of indigenous peoples. The process of decolonization of memory (Ricoeur 1980), history and the spirit is crucial for the social inclusion (OECD) of indigenous peoples and nations within nations, such as Canada.


Angels and Demons

November 27, 2006

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hermaphrodite, Serres, Sarrassine

The Athenian Caratyds, a Roman copy of 4th century BC Greek sculptor Praxitele’s Hermes and Dionysos (300 BC), Bernini’s (whose patrons included Pope Urban VIII) The Ecstasy of Saint Therese (1647-52), Hermaphrodite Sarrasine’s relief (18th century), Anne-Louis Girodet de Roussy-Trioson (1767-1824) Endymion(1791) and his Pygmalion et Galatée(1819), Honoré de Balzac’s (1830) Sarrassine, Michel Serre’s (1987) Hermaphrodite: Sarrasine Sculpteur Précédé de Balzac Sarrasine and Serres (1982) Hermes: Literature, Science, Philosophy.

I layered these images after reading Michel Serres (1987).
There is something about the inspired playfulness of Dan Brown’s characters in Angels and Demons and setting that reminded me of this image. I hope to use free internet tools to connect the dots between layers. Dan Brown’s protagonist, the art historian, Renaissance expert and James Bond of the art world, irreverently described the ecstasy of Saint Theresa as sexual and secular not sacred.

Links: Hermes, hermeneutics, East and East, Persian and Greek Empires, Greek and Roman sculpture, Greek and Roman culture and art, Greek and Christian art, Greek, Roman and Renaissance sculpture, originality, copies, derivatives, Western art, western metaphysics, interpretation, contributions of East and West.

These are the free technical tools helping me to map my mind:

wordpress | del.icio.us | gather | swicki | flickr | thinkfree | digg | picasaweb | Carleton |

blogspot | frimr | photoblog

This is a from an interview with Dan Brown posted on his web page. I have been trying to read Angels and Demons as a way of relaxing before my grandchildren arrive in a few hours. But the book Angels and Demons is exciting not soothing:

In many ways I see science and religion as the same thing. Both are manifestations of man’s quest to understand the divine. Religion savors the questions while science savors the quest for answers. Science and religion seem to be two different languages attempting to tell the same story, and yet the battle between them has been raging for centuries and continues today. The war in our schools over whether to teach Creationism or Darwinism is a perfect example. We live in an exciting era, though, because for the first time in human history, the line between science and religion is starting to blur. Particle physicists exploring the subatomic level are suddenly witnessing an interconnectivity of all things and having religious experiences…Buddhist monks are reading physics books and learning about experiments that confirm what they have believed in their hearts for centuries and have been unable to quantify. (I will connect his url. Meanwhile it is on my del.icio.us).