Category Archives: Language & Linguistics

The Schizophrenic Deep State Is A Symptom, Not The Disease

deep state

If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines.

If we consider the state of the nation from 40,000 feet, several key indicators of profound political disunity within the elites pop out:

  1. The overt politicization of the central state’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies: it is now commonplace to find former top officials of the CIA et al. accusing a sitting president of treason in the mainstream media. What was supposed to be above politics is now nothing but politics.
  2. The overt politicization of the centralized (corporate) media: evidence that would stand up in a court of law is essentially non-existent but the interpretations and exaggerations that fit the chosen narrative are ceaselessly promoted–the classic definition of desperate propaganda by those who have lost the consent of the governed.

The nation’s elites are not just divided–they’re exhibiting signs of schizophrenic breakdown: disassociation and a loss of the ability to discern the difference between reality and their internal fantasies.

I’ve been writing about the divided Deep State for a number of years, for example, The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare. The topic appears to be one of widespread interest, as this essay drew over 300,000 views.

It’s impossible to understand the divided Deep State unless we situate it in the larger context of profound political disunity, a concept I learned from historian Michael Grant, whose slim but insightful volume The Fall of the Roman Empire I have been recommending since 2009.

As I noted in my 2009 book Survival+, this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire’s core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.

A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by Imperial kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any moral or political center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available, i.e. complicity, corruption, monopoly and rentier rackets, and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and rackets are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming the disability system, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on.

But the scope of the rentier rackets is so large, the bottom 95% cannot possibly keep up with the expanding wealth and income of the top .1% and their army of technocrats and enablers, so a rising sense of injustice widens the already yawning fissures in the body politic.

Meanwhile, diverting the national income into a few power centers is also destabilizing, as Central Planning and Market Manipulation (a.k.a. the Federal Reserve) are intrinsically unstable as price can no longer be discovered by unfettered markets. As a result, imbalances grow until some seemingly tiny incident or disruption triggers a cascading collapse, a.k.a. a phase shift or system re-set.

As the Power Elites squabble over the dwindling crumbs left by the various rentier rackets, there’s no one left to fight for the national interest because the entire Status Quo of self-interested fiefdoms and cartels has been co-opted and is now wedded to the Imperial Oligarchy as their guarantor of financial security.

The divided Deep State is a symptom of this larger systemic political disunity. I have characterized the divide as between the Wall Street-Neocon-Globalist Neoliberal camp–currently the dominant public face of the Deep State, the one desperately attempting to exploit the “Russia hacked our elections and is trying to destroy us” narrative–and a much less public, less organized “rogue Progressive” camp, largely based in the military services and fringes of the Deep State, that sees the dangers of a runaway expansionist Empire and the resulting decay of the nation’s moral/political center.

What few observers seem to understand is that concentrating power in centralized nodes is intrinsically unstable. Contrast a system in which power, control and wealth is extremely concentrated in a few nodes (the current U.S. Imperial Project) and a decentralized network of numerous dynamic nodes.

The disruption of any of the few centralized nodes quickly destabilizes the entire system because each centralized node is highly dependent on the others. This is in effect what happened in the 2008-09 Financial Meltdown: the Wall Street node failed and that quickly imperiled the entire economy and thus the entire political order, up to and including the Global Imperial Project.

Historian Peter Turchin has proposed that the dynamics of profound political disunity (i.e. social, financial and political disintegration) can be quantified in a Political Stress Index, a concept he describes in his new book Ages of Discord.

If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines. There is no other possible output of a system of highly concentrated nodes of power, wealth and control and the competing rentier rackets of these dependent, increasingly fragile centralized nodes.

From Zerohedge: The Schizophrenic Deep State is a Symptom Not the Disease


The more people try to reject the ethical and moral teachings of the New Testament, the more they prove them.

It is like a bad joke at this point: the scratchy laugh track of the Dead.

What’s it like?

Decades ago, I knew a man who jeered the Ten Commandments, deriding them as old fables and totalitarian injunctions against having fun. Yes, he thought the Ten Commandments were buzz-kills.

We drifted apart and years later I learned he had tried to kill himself repeatedly, but all unsuccessfully. In an awkward and strained meeting with him and some of his so-called friends, he let it slip he still hated God, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, etc. — the usual suspects in his broken world.

Interestingly, he eventually admitted how much he hated his father. His father, too, was a joyless atheist who idolized evolution, exalted primates as the sole object of his unscientific adoration, cursed God’s name constantly, always spent his Sundays watching baseball games and getting drunk, hated his own father and mother (this person’s grandparent’s on his father’s side), ended up having several extramarital affairs, for which he embezzled money from his company to pay for two abortions and as hush money to keep his mistresses quiet, lied about the affairs to his family, his wife, his friends and even his son, all because he was envious of the “freedom” of single men.

Not feeling very sympathetic, I said, “So, let me get this straight: you despise God, hate the Bible, and detest the Ten Commandments. You have tried to kill yourself more than twice but failed, and after years of gut-wrenching psychoanalysis, have learned your hatred of your barren life is really your hatred of your father in disguise, a bitter projection. This is about your father, a man who broke every commandment almost in order:

  1. he worshiped evolution — that’s having another god instead of God Himself;
  2. he idolized monkeys — that’s your graven images;
  3. cursed God’s name — taking your Father’s name in vain;
  4. wasted his Sundays watching baseball games and getting drunk — not honoring the Sabbath;
  5. hated his own father and mother — not honoring his parents;
  6. had several affairs — adultery;
  7. embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars — stealing;
  8. to pay for abortions — multiple premeditated murders;
  9. lied about it for years — bearing false witness;
  10. all because he envied his single friends — and last but not least, coveting.

“So your father also hated the Commandments, broke everyone of them repeatedly, and raised you in the twisted moral wreckage of his selfishness and hatred.”

“And your judgment of your father boils down to one singular hot emotion: hatred.

“This is just a guess, but I suspect if your father had obeyed all those Commandments he spent so much time spitting on, he would have had a far better life. He would have enjoyed the love of his wife, the respect of his friends, and a deep friendship with you, his son. So what’s it all mean?

You prove your own argument false. You think just like the man you detest: you are in your father’s image, an image of rebellion and malice.

“And like you, your father attempted to kill himself, but being better at it than you, he succeeded.

“You hold in contempt a man who broke God’s law to satisfy his emptiness, anger, and lust. That tells me you know, deep down, God’s laws are true.

“So here’s your real choice. Don’t act surprise or feign outrage when I tell you what you already know. Repent, right now. Lay down all this noise. Come to your Father — He’s waiting. Let your mortal father teach you in death what he could not teach you in life: turn to God, love, and break the cycle of death. Your real Father loves you and is waiting to meet you. He’s waiting for you to meet yourself — the Real You — in Him.”

“And if I refuse?” he said, his eyes black with sleeplessness.

“You can’t refuse. You only have one choice here. Come to your Father,” I invited.

Then I placed a single .45 bullet on the table in front of him. He recognized it immediately. It was one of his.

He stared down at the bullet.

“Or go to your father.”

And I left.

He chose Life.

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The Torque

There are people still trying to make dead ideas work: disproved political theory, bad military stances, unreliable social constructs, false unions, deceptive moral stratagems, etc.

They are spiritually dead.

No pulse. Not a blip.

How can you tell? Every solution they propose is an order of magnitude worse than the problem they are trying to solve.

They constantly make things worse.

They are creatures wholly enslaved to wild and unbalanced emotions. That is why their answers are excitable ones: screaming, accusations, retreating to “safe spaces” (whatever those are), hysteria, panic, slander, arson, vandalism, violence, theft, defiance, rebellion, distortion, deception, malice, murder and all the rest.

They lack reason, perspective, proportion, timing, decorum, analysis, scientific rigor, human intuition and sadly, honesty.

Of course they are going to chase after the flesh — they haven’t risen above it. They don’t know any better. They remain unregenerated. They are still enslaved by their impulses, their limited senses, faulty intuitions, savage lusts, wandering wills, or what their mother or grandmother did, or what their denomination approved, etc.

Everything they invent will be based on revenge, anarchy, selfishness, indulgence, falsehood, oppression, persecution or dominating other people.

See through your Father’s eyes and feel through His Son, and all the hysteria ends.

We are entering the choke. In fact, we are well into it.

All this has to happen.

For Death to die it first must be revealed in the sons and daughters of darkness. For the total sum of all Sin to be unsewn forever it must first be searched out in those who are its slaves. For Hell to be closed a census of its final entrants must first be taken.

We’re in the torque.

Hang on.

These are rough waters.

Now Trapped in the Material

We are now trapped in the material realm, thus for an age the test has shifted from obedience to deduction.

There is still enough divinity in us, though it be a muted fraction, to enable us to recognize its origin lies outside the material universe.

That part of you that doesn’t seem to belong in time, space, energy and matter — doesn’t.

That pebble in your shoe is your soul. You aren’t supposed to step on it, as if you could crush it. No, you are meant to stand on it to get a better view.

We all feel it. We all sense it, and have from our earliest moments on this Earth: we’re passing through.

Do you have the courage to peek through the window in your prison cell and see all that lies beyond the concrete and barbwire that surrounds you? It is amazing how many prisoners don’t even look outside any more: they have forgotten the glare of sunlight and the heat of the sun.

All the orphans who deny this do not pass the audition.

The children do.

Come to Light.

Benedict Spinoza (1632-1677)

I. General Notions

Of the two problems left unsolved by Descartes (the determination of the relationship God and the world and between the soul and the body), Spinoza answers the first by affirming the unity of substance and reducing the world to a modification of this single substance. Neo-Platonic thought and the definition of substance given by Descartes (that which so exists as to need no other for its existence) justify, as far as Spinoza is concerned, the abolition of all duality, and the affirmation of the oneness of substance. This accomplished, he logically and inexorably develops all the pantheistic consequences implicit in the oneness of substance.

The second problem left by Descartes (the relationship between the soul — “res cogitans” — and the body — “res extensa”) remains open and unsolved in Spinoza. He reduces these two Cartesian substances to two attributes; and to explain their mutual dependence he is obliged to affirm dogmatically the existence of the psycho-physical law, in virtue of which what happens in the “attribute” of the soul automatically finds its correlative in the “attribute” of the body.

II. Life and Works

Baruch (or, as it was often rendered in its Latin equivalent, Benedictus) Spinoza was born in Amsterdam in 1632 of Jewish parents who had emigrated to Holland from the Iberian Peninsula. He received his early education in the Jewish academy of Amsterdam, where he acquired a knowledge of Scripture and of medieval Hebrew philosophy. The rationalism of his thinking while he was a student for the rabbinate resulted in his being invited to retract certain heterodox views. But in 1656, when he refused to make the retraction, he was expelled and excommunicated from the Synagogue of Amsterdam, and exiled from the city by the Protestant authority.

After a brief period of wandering, he settled down at The Hague, where he lived quietly, absorbed in the formulation of his system of thought. He provided for his limited material needs by preparing optical lenses. A small group of friends also gave him aid. During this time he refused a professorship at Heidelberg rather than compromise his freedom of thought. Wasted away by tuberculosis, he died at The Hague on February 21, 1677. His worldly possessions were barely sufficient to pay the debts contracted during his illness.

His principal works are: Tractatus brevis de Deo, De homine et ejus Felicitate (Short Treatise Concerning God, Man and His Happiness); Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (Theological-Political Treatise), which is unfinished; and Ethica More Geometrico Demonstrata (Ethics Demonstrated Through the Method of Geometry), his greatest work, which was published posthumously.

III. Metaphysics

Spinoza begins with the Cartesian concept of substance: that which exists by itself and which is conceived by itself — which means, that thing whose concept has no need of the concept of any other thing in order to be formed. Spinoza logically and rationally develops the latent pantheism of this Cartesian teaching to its extreme consequences.

For Spinoza, substance is the unconditioned, the absolute, God. It is unique and embraces all reality (this is pure pantheism); it is eternal, outside the limits of time, infinite, endowed with infinite attributes or perfections.

Of this infinity of attributes we know only two, thought and extension. Thus Spinoza abolished the Cartesian duality of substance (“res extensa” and “res cogitans”), reducing them to two perfections or attributes of the single substance.

Substance and its attributes constitute the “Natura naturans,” God. From God conceived of as “Natura naturans” necessarily proceed, as the unfolding of God’s very nature, man and the world of things, which Spinoza calls modes or modifications of the substance of God (Natura naturata”). The modes are determinations, temporal and finite aspects, of the divine attributes, thought and extension. They can be likened to the whitecaps on the ocean; they appear for a moment, only to be reabsorbed by the same waters that have produced them. We are thus in the realm of pure monistic-immanentist pantheism, whose terms are represented by substance, attributes and modes.

The supreme law which governs Spinoza’s reality is necessity: ironbound laws bind God to His attributes, and also determine these attributes in their modes of realization. God is free in the sense that nothing can impede the necessary and spontaneous unfolding of His nature, and not in the sense that He can choose different means of self-determination. Causality in God is a natural and necessary process which excludes all purpose or finalism.

Another fundamental law of Spinoza’s metaphysics is that of psycho-physical parallelism, which regulates the world of attributes, both in the divine substance and in its derived modes. The attributes of thought and extension are irreducible, according to the Cartesian concept, and any transition from one to the other is impossible.

Still, the series of phenomena manifesting themselves in thought coincides perfectly with the series of phenomena of extension. In other words, the order of ideas coincides with the order of bodies. This coincidence is guaranteed by the unity of substance of which such phenomena are the appearances or manifestations. Granted the irreducibility of thought to extension, no interaction between soul and body is possible; but granted psycho-physical coincidence or agreement, every manner of being and of operation of thought finds its equivalent in the being and operation of extension. Thus on the one hand there is the idea of a circle and on the other hand, corresponding to it, the actual existing circle.

In virtue of this psycho-parallelism and of the irreducibility of thought to extension, truth for Spinoza does not consist in the agreement of the mind with the thing, but in the correspondence of the mind of the knowing subject with the mind of the known subject.

IV. Man and Ethics

In a pantheistic metaphysics such as that of Spinoza, in which there is a single substance and all things are but finite and temporal modifications of this substance, there is no place for the traditional concept of man as a separate substance existing in himself and composed of a rational soul and a material body. Man, for Spinoza, is a derived mode of the attributes of God; the spirit is a mode of the attribute of thought, and the body a mode of the attribute of extension. Granted the principle of the mutual independence of thought and extension, it would be impossible to have any action of the spirit on the body.

Nor is there place in the metaphysics of Spinoza for an ethics in which the end of man is attained through human actions proceeding from free will. Free will is denied by Spinoza as impossible. Acts of the will can be reduced to cognitive acts, because by virtue of the psycho-physical law every act of knowledge has its corresponding act in the practical sphere.

Even though Spinoza denies the existence of the soul and the freedom of man, he recognizes various psychical activities in both the rational and the physical order. He envisions three stages of knowledge: As a further application of his psycho-physical law, he believes that there is complete parallelism between these three stages of knowledge, their three practical consequences, and the three degrees of morality corresponding to them. He explains this as follows:

  1. Sensible cognition is a subjective, inadequate and imperfect method of knowledge. It apprehends the world in the multiplicity of individual beings and not in relation to the eternal, to God. In this stage, man considers all beings as absolutes, contending with each other and opposing him. The practical aspect of this grade of knowledge is passion, for man is here in a state of passivity in his relation to things. Errors appear when man believes that he can make things different from what they actually are, that he can act upon them. The moral condition corresponding to this stage is slavery, for man lives in actual dependence as regards the external world.
  2. General rational knowledge embraces things in their indissoluble bond which, at the summit of the chain of causality, connects them with God. Things are known “sub specie aeternitatis.” This is the stage of science. In its practical aspect, such knowledge frees us from passion. Man is in a state of contemplation of the impassible and imperturbable order of the universe. The moral attitude here is Stoicism.
  3. Intuition is the knowledge of the finite essences in their origin through the consideration of the necessary and immutable order of the infinite essence of God. On this level, the diversity of beings is known in the unity of the divine substance, and man, while he is still limited by time, quantity and number, is freed from the consequences of the mutations and imperfections of nature. This mode of knowledge corresponds in the practical order to intellectual love of God, which is joy and enthusiasm deriving from the knowledge of a particular thing, together with the knowledge of its cause, God. For Spinoza, this love of man for God is returned by God, not as love between persons (for personality is excluded from his metaphysics), but inasmuch as man is identical, in a pantheistic sense, with God. This is a moral state of perfection in which the love of man for God is identical with the love of God for man, as it is merely love of God for Himself.

V. Politics

Spinoza treated the political problem and the religious problem in his Tractatus theologico-politicus.

The methods of government of state and Church, for Spinoza, are not conducive to the elaboration of a rational philosophy. Actions performed in view of the temporal and eternal punishments threatened by the state or by the Church depend on fear and hope, which for Spinoza are irrational passions. For Spinoza, too, the ultimate end of man is, as we realize, for him to know God through reason and to act in conformity with this knowledge. The state must aid man in this rational knowledge of God.

Spinoza holds that the state arose from a pact entered into by men, who at first lived in a condition of irrational nature and in perpetual war. Through this pact the members now composing the state renounced the use of force and violence in favor of authority or a sovereign who is the center of the state. The sovereign may use violence and force against the irrational instincts of his subjects. But this use of force is limited by rationality. Thus, if it should happen that the subjects are more rational than the sovereign, then by psycho-physical parallelism the state would fall, to give place to the rise of another state more rational than the first. Thus, according to Spinoza, has come about the passage from the natural state to the rational state, with a tendency to perfect rationality.

VI. Conclusion

Spinoza developed Cartesian Rationalism to its extreme consequences. He begins with the concept of substance, which, because it does not require another concept in order to be understood and to exist, is a clear concept and must be one. But he concludes with the most absolute pantheism.

Spinoza’s system did not meet with good reception at first, perhaps because it was not understood. Idealism took it over because it found in it the principal lineaments for a metaphysics in the idealist sense.

Continued…

Original article: Benedict Spinoza

Sumerian Language

Sumerian Tablet

Context

Sumerian is a long-extinct language documented throughout the ancient Middle East, in particular in the south of modern Iraq. It is arguably the first language for which we have written evidence, the rival candidate being ancient Egyptian. This evidence is spread over more than 3,000 years, the first sources dating to the late fourth millennium BCE and the last to the first century AD. When Sumerian ceased to be spoken is difficult to determine; according to some estimates this took place during the early second millennium BCE. Afterwards it was an élite language, used only in royal, ritual and scholarly contexts, the first two of which often overlapped.

Sumerian is a language isolate, that is no languages related to it have so far been convincingly identified, although many of its grammatical features are attested in other living languages outside of the Indo-European family to which English belongs.

The other language for which we have extensive written evidence in the ancient Middle East is Akkadian. Being a Semitic language with modern counterparts, Akkadian is much better understood than Sumerian. Part of the evidence for both languages consists of lexical lists, some indicating how cuneiform signs were pronounced and others giving Akkadian equivalents to Sumerian words. Consequently, our reconstruction of the sounds and meanings of different cuneiform signs has been much influenced by our understanding of Akkadian. The word Sumerian is itself an anglicisation of an Akkadian term, Šumeru, the language’s users referring to it instead as Emegir, possibly meaning ‘native tongue’.

Inevitably uncertainties remain in our reconstruction of Sumerian. A further problem in describing the language is that it varied across both space and time. The following account aims to be no more than an introduction to some of Sumerian’s basic grammatical features, following the conventional hierarchy of its phonemes (smallest sound units), morphemes (smallest grammatical units), words, phrases (groups of related words without a finite verb) and clauses (groups of related words with a finite verb).

Phonemes

 Sumerian is thought to have had eight vowel sounds: short and long aei, and u . Vowel length is, however, not indicated in transliteration, that is the sign-by-sign representation of the cuneiform. (Throughout this introduction, italics are used to refer to Sumerian sounds, and bold to refer to signs.)

Fifteen consonants are usually recognised in transliterating the language: bdgĝ (as in sing),  (as in loch), klmnprsš (as in ship), t and z.

Two adjacent vowels typically contract. For various reasons, including instances in which such contraction does not occur, Sumerian has been argued to have further, weak, consonants, in particular hy and  (a glottal stop). These are again not specified in transliteration.

In addition, an early stage of the language is thought to have had a further consonant whose identity remains uncertain. In the period of the corpus this consonant appears to have merged in some contexts with d and in others with r, or sometimes simply to have been dropped.

The other consonants found in the corpus (and in the sign list) occur in non-Sumerian names. All of these alphabetic representations need to be regarded as approximations.

Morphemes

 The term morpheme is used to refer to the smallest grammatical units in a language. Most linguists distinguish between bases and affixes, an English example being runs in which run is a base and s is an affix. As this example indicates a base morpheme can correspond to the higher grammatical category of the word.

Many linguists also recognise a class of morphemes, referred to as clitics, which are indeterminate on a continuum between affixes and words, English examples being ‘m in I’m and ‘s in the man’s dog. The term bound morpheme is then used to include both affixes and clitics. One criterion for identifying a clitic is that it is indifferent to the class of the word to which it attaches, as in, for example, the man’s dog , the man who was running’s dog and the man who was shouting loudly’s dog. A further characteristic of ‘s is that it is always phrase-final, that is it always occurs at the end of a noun phrase.

Unsurprisingly the grammatical function of an affix in one language can be performed by a clitic or word in another, some of the functions of the English preposition to, for example, being performed by a dative affix in Latin. In Sumerian the functional equivalents to prepositions (and postpositions in some other languages) are referred to as case markers. Like English ‘s they are always phrase-final and are indifferent to the class of the word to which they are attached. They are thus also classifiable as clitics, or more precisely as enclitics, indicating that they lean backwards onto their host, the word to which they are phonologically bound.

The plural of certain nouns in Sumerian is indicated by a morpheme, called a plural marker, which also behaves in a similar way. The principal other enclitics in the language are the determiners, morphemes which modify a noun and typically also have a corresponding pronominal form (an English example being that which is a determiner in that book but a pronoun in give me that ). In addition, as in English the verb me ‘to be’ occurs both as a word and in enclitic forms.

In the transliteration conventions followed by the corpus most enclitics are preceded by a hyphen linking them to their host. The exceptions are the demonstrative and indefinite determiners, although bi, which functions both as a demonstrative (‘this’) and as a possessive (‘its, their’), is preceded by a hyphen in both functions.

Because so many bound morphemes are enclitics, rather than affixes as in a language like Latin, morphological change in most Sumerian word classes is limited. Many word classes are morphologically invariant, and for nouns and adjectives variation is restricted to base-reduplication. Verbs are the striking exception: these can occur in highly complex affixed forms which also feature base-reduplication.

Word Classes

 The minor word classes in Sumerian are numbers, conjunctions, interjections, adverbs, adjectives and circumpositions (functional equivalents to such complex English prepositions as behind and in front of ), as well as related sets of pronouns (personal, demonstrative, indefinite, interrogative and reflexive) and determiners (possessive, demonstrative and an indefinite). Unlike English, Sumerian has no definite or indefinite article. The primary word classes are nouns and verbs.

Nouns

Sumerian nouns can be subcategorized into two classes on the basis of gender, the distinction being between human nouns (referring to people and deities) and non-human nouns (referring to animals and inanimates). This is a semantically based distinction to which there are some socially conditioned exceptions, saĝ ‘slave’, for example, sometimes being construed as a non-human noun. In addition, animals and inanimates can be personified in literary compositions and thus construed as human nouns.

This gender distinction is only morphologically apparent in most parts of the language’s third person pronominal system (first and second person reference necessarily being solely human). It is also syntactically apparent in restrictions on how the case markers and the plural marker are used.

Only a noun phrase whose head (grammatically dominant word) is a human noun can contain a plural marker, non-human nouns consequently being indeterminate in terms of number. However, this plural marker appears to have an individualising force and if reference is to a group of people or deities it is omitted, that is the noun is construed as if it were non-human. This is particularly the case for nouns with a group meaning, such as erin2 ‘troop’. Similarly non-human pronominal morphemes can be used to refer to groups of people or deities. (As far as we can judge some Sumerian signs were pronounced in the same way. The subscript numeral in the earlier example is a modern convention to associate a sound sequence with a particular sign. So, for example, du, a form of the verb ‘to go’, was written with the sign referred to as DU, while du3 ‘to erect’ was written with the sign referred to as KAK.)

While the plural marker is restricted to human nouns, base-reduplication occurs in both classes of noun, appearing to express a form of totality (all).

Along with verbs, nouns are the principal open word class, that is the class of word most likely to form new members. New nouns are primarily formed by compounding, such as dub-sar ‘scribe’ (literally ‘(someone) tablet writing’).

Verbs

 A particular characteristic of verbs is their ability to distinguish tense and/or aspect, that is to locate an action in time or to express its quality in some way. They can be subcategorised in terms of their semantics, syntactic requirements and regularity. In addition, they have different finite and non-finite forms.

Reconstructing the tense and/or aspect system of Sumerian verbs is difficult. Most scholars agree that the primary distinction is between a completed and an uncompleted action, but differ as to whether this reflects a distinction of tense (past versus non-past) or of aspect (completive versus incompletive). Many scholars have therefore adopted instead two terms used by Akkadian grammarians, ḫamṭu (‘quick’) and marû (‘fat’) respectively. For the sake of convenience, in this introduction the primary distinction is assumed to be aspectual.

In intransitive finite verbal forms, that is those without a direct object, completive aspect is unmarked while incompletive aspect is indicated by the suffix ed immediately after the base. In languages like Latin, a person-number-gender (PNG) suffix is used to express in pronominal form the subject of the verb (as in am+o ‘I love’, am+as ‘you love’ etc.). The same applies to Sumerian intransitive verbs, the PNG suffix following ed in the case of incompletive forms.

Sumerian extends this principle to also marking the direct object in transitive verbal forms. In such verbs it is the distribution and form of these subject and direct object morphemes (consisting of prefixes to the base, suffixes after the base and some circumfixes on either side of the base) that serve to express the aspectual distinction.

The difference between finite and non-finite verbal forms is partly morphological, the latter having far fewer morphemes than the former. Among the morphemes excluded from Sumerian non-finite forms are PNG affixes, the aspectual distinction being expressed instead with an aspect suffix. Non-finite forms are more nuanced and have stronger temporal connotations than finite forms, distinguishing between completive (marked with a and having past reference), habitual (zero-marked (Ø) and having present reference), and incompletive (marked with ed(a) and having non-past reference). The only other affix non-finite forms can have is a prefix nu expressing negation. The non-finite forms function as verbal adjectives (participles) and nouns (gerunds), and in non-finite relative and adverbial clauses (for example, of purpose and time).

In terms of semantics Sumerian verbs can be divided into two classes, stative verbs that refer to persisting states or situations, such as pel ‘to be defiled’, and dynamic verbs which refer to an action or process, such as ra ‘to beat’. In the same way as English stative verbs are excluded from progressive aspect (I am knowing Sumerian, for example, being an unacceptable clause), Sumerian stative verbs are excluded from incompletive aspect. Consequently only context indicates whether they have past or non-past reference. In non-finite verbal forms the distribution of stative verbs appears to be syntactic, intransitive verbs occurring in completive aspect and transitive ones in habitual aspect. All verbs can have reduplicated bases: in stative instances this expresses intensity, and in dynamic instances iterativity.

However, this semantic distinction is less of one of classes and more one of usages, some verbs occurring in both classes. For example, pel can also be used dynamically to mean ‘to make something be defiled’, that is ‘to defile’ something, in which meaning it can occur in incompletive aspect.

In terms of syntactic requirements Sumerian verbs can be divided into four principal classes: intransitive verbs which require no object, such as 2 ‘to die’; extended intransitive verbs which require a non-direct object, such as kur9 ‘to enter’ into a place; transitive verbs which require only a direct object, such as du3 ‘to erect’ something; and, finally, extended transitive verbs which require both a direct and a non-direct object, such as ĝar ‘to place’ something on something.

Again, however, this is more a distinction in usages rather than classes, some verbs occurring both intransitively and transitively. For example, 2 can be used transitively with the meaning ‘to kill’ (‘to make someone die’).

This ability of a verb to determine its syntactic environment is sometimes referred to as its valency, and the non-direct object as a complement, as distinct from an adjunct, a phrase that can be easily deleted from a clause (in London being a complement in he lives in London but an adjunct in he bought a house in London).

A further syntactic class has only one member, me ‘to be’. While the English verb to be has both a copular (linking) and a locational function, me has only a copular function, location being expressed instead by the verb ĝal2. Sumerian me conjugates like an intransitive stative verb and consequently is never found in incompletive forms. It differs, however, in that it always requires what is referred to as a predicative complement, such as a noun or an adjective, which refers back to the subject of the verb (as in he is the king and he is handsome). The copular verb occurs both as a word and as an enclitic attached to its predicative complement. It also has various abbreviated forms, such as the third-person negative nu, which are arguably also enclitics.

In terms of regularity Sumerian verbs can be divided into four classes: regular verbs (the majority) which have the same base regardless of aspect and/or number (such as ra ‘to beat’); suppletive verbs which have a different base depending on aspect and/or number (such as singular tuš ‘to sit’ but plural durun); reduplicating verbs which have a (partly) reduplicated base in incompletive aspect (such as completive and habitual ĝar ‘to place’ but incompletive ĝa2-ĝa2); and a small class of extending verbs which have a base extended with a consonant in incompletive aspect (such as completive and habitual te ‘to approach’ but incompletive teĝ3).

Expansion of the class of verbs is primarily by multiword constructions in which a nominal element and a verb combine in a semantic unit. The nominal element is typically a noun, in particular a body-part, functioning as the verb’s direct object. These multiword constructions can be divided into two types. In one the verb is dug4 ‘to say’ or ak ‘to do’ and the semantic load is carried by the nominal element, an example being šu dug4 ‘to tend’ (literally ‘to express the hand’, although the Sumerian word order is the reverse of the English). A wider range of verbs occurs in the other subclass and the semantic load is more evenly spread, an example being ĝiš tag ‘to sacrifice’ something (literally ‘to touch wood’ to something, again in the reverse order). The high incidence of multiword constructions in Sumerian means that it has many more non-direct objects than a language such as English.

Noun Phrases

 At the level of the noun phrase Sumerian is left-headed, that is the noun which is the head of the phrase occurs at its beginning. In outline the sequence is noun, modifier(s), determiner, plural marker and then case marker. However, a few adjectives, kug ‘shining’ and gal ‘big’, sometimes precede the noun. The plural marker only occurs in a phrase with a human noun as its head. And the indefinite and most demonstrative determiners do not occur with modifiers.

Like English ‘s the case markers are always phrase-final. And in the same way that ‘s is sometimes called a genitive, they are referred to with the same types of label as are used for case affixes in other languages. The case markers can be divided into three groups. All except one typically indicate the syntactic role which a phrase plays in relation to a verb in a clause, consequently being described as adverbal. Those adverbal case-markers that are functionally equivalent to English prepositions can be termed non-core and those that mark the subject and any direct object of the verb as core. The final case marker, the genitive, is adnominal only, that is it functions only to indicate a relationship between noun phrases.

Non-Core Adverbal Case Markers

 The non-core adverbal case markers include the ablative (ta ‘from’), allative (še ‘to(wards)’), comitative (da ‘with’), dative (ra, ‘to/for’; restricted to phrases with a human noun as the head), directive (e ‘in(to) contact with’; restricted to phrases with a non-human noun as the head), and locative (a ‘in(to)’; again restricted to phrases with a non-human noun as the head). These case markers occur at the end of phrases that can be complements or adjuncts, depending on the valency of the verb in the clause. A similar but more nuanced set of morphemes is incorporated in finite verbal forms.

Two further non-core adverbal case markers are only used to express adjuncts and have no equivalent morpheme in finite verbs, the adverbiative (‘in the manner of’) and the similative (gin ‘like’).

Core Adverbal Case Markers

 The two final adverbal case markers have a more grammatical, core function. Most languages have a strategy for distinguishing the subject of a transitive verb from its direct object. In English this is done mainly by word order, although a case system still operates in pronouns (he hates him). This distinction made, different languages mark the subject of an intransitive verb in different ways. In English both subjects are marked in the same way (he runs). This is referred to as nominative-accusative alignment. However, in Sumerian noun phrases the subject of an intransitive verb is marked in the same way as the direct object of a transitive verb. This is referred to as ergative-absolutive alignment, the subject of a Sumerian transitive verb being marked by an ergative case marker e (morphologically the same as the directive from which it possibly derives), and the intransitive subject and transitive direct object being zero-marked with what is termed the absolutive case marker.

However, ergative-absolutive alignment applies only in noun phrases which have a noun as their head. Noun phrases with a personal pronoun as their head can be regarded as nominative-accusative in alignment because they have the same zero case marking regardless of the transitivity of the verb whose subject they are. Sumerian is thus one of many languages which have a syntactic split determined by the class of the word functioning as the head of the noun phrase.

Adnominal Case Marker

 The genitive case marker, ak ‘of’, is adnominal only and consequently also has no equivalent morpheme in finite verbal forms. Typically a genitive noun phrase occurs embedded within another noun phrase ending with an adverbal case marker:

itid šu-numun-a-ka
itid šu-numun=ak=a
month Šu-numun=GEN=LOC
‘in the month of Šu-numun’
 

As this example indicates there is not always a one-one correspondence in the writing system between bound morpheme and sign, the genitive ak here being written across two signs, and the locative a as part of one sign. (The abbreviations used in the morphemic analysis of the Sumerian are explained at the end of this introduction.)

However, in the same way as an English direct object can be shifted to the beginning of a clause and its original position marked by a pronoun (snakes, I hate them), so too can a Sumerian genitive noun phrase be front-shifted, a possessive determiner then marking its original position

e2-a ni2 gal-bi
e=ak ni gal=bi=Ø
temple=GEN awesomeness great=3NHUM.POSS=ABS
‘the great awesomeness of the temple’
(literally ‘of the temple its great awesomeness’)

In this example a is the reduced form of the genitive that occurs when it is not followed by a vowel. Because the genitive is the only solely adnominal case marker its semantic field covers much more than possession, also being used, for example, to express a location:

bad3 iri kug-ga-ka-ni
bad iri kug=ak=ani=Ø
wall city holy=GEN=3HUM.SG.POSS=ABS
‘her wall in the Holy City’

This example indicates another characteristic of the writing system, the g which precedes the genitive arguably having no phonological significance but simply being a graphic resumption of the preceding consonant.

Clauses

 At the level of the clause Sumerian is right-headed, that is the verb which is the head of the clause occurs at its end, the typical sequence being subject, object and then verb. However, because a finite verbal form includes PNG affixes expressing in pronominal form the core functions of the subject and any direct object of a verb, a Sumerian clause can consist of only a finite verb.

Clause Structure

 In addition to the core PNG affixes, a finite verbal form can include further prefixes expressing a complement or an adjunct of a verb in pronominal form. These morphemes consist of a set of non-core PNG prefixes and a set of ‘case’ prefixes that are related to the non-core case markers. Just as a case marker follows a noun in a noun phrase, so the ‘case’ prefixes are postpositional to the PNG prefix. More than one ‘case’ prefix can occur in a finite verbal form, but only the first can be preceded by a PNG prefix. There are, however, some restrictions on the occurrence of the non-core PNG prefix:

ba-ra-an-e3-en
ba-ra-n-e-en
MID-ABL-3HUM.SG.S-go out-1HUM.SG.DO
he drove me out of it

In this example a further prefix, ba (whose functions are described in more detail below), excludes the presence of a non-human PNG prefix before the ablative ra (its form after a vowel, being ta after a consonant).

A clause of this type can be expanded to include noun phrases:

agrig-ge e2-ta ba-ra-an-e3-en
agrig=e e=ta ba-ra-n-e-en
steward=ERG house=ABL MID-ABL-3HUM.SG.S-go out-1HUM.SG.DO
‘the steward drove me out of the house’

In an expanded clause the core PNG affixes are always retained in the verb. The non-core PNG prefix and ‘case’ prefixes are, however, sometimes omitted.

The further prefixes possible in a finite verbal form include middle ba, ventive m(u) and a vowel-initial prefix. In outline a finite verb can consequently have the following structure: vowel, ventive, middle, non-core PNG, ‘case(s)’, core PNG, (reduplicated) base, aspect, core PNG.

The middle prefix ba is a single morpheme which is ambiguous with a sequence of two morphemes from which it arguably derives, that is the non-core non-human PNG prefix b (‘it, them’) and the dative prefix a(‘to’). If the argument is correct, it helps to explain the absence of the non-core non-human PNG prefix in the previous examples, the etymology of the middle prefix excluding repetition of one of the prefixes from which it derives. Middle ba can, however, be followed by a non-core human PNG prefix.

The middle prefix is restricted to completive aspect. Its range of functions, some of which remain unclear, is broader than the conventional term middle suggests.

With stative verbs it has an inchoative function, that is it expresses the coming into existence of a state: ba-an-tuku ‘he married her’ (literally ‘he came to have her’). In this and the following examples both the third person transitive direct object and the third person intransitive subject are zero-marked in the verb, a further example of ergative-absolutive alignment in Sumerian.

With dynamic verbs ba is used in particular when the subject of the verb is affected by the action of the verb. Consequently it functions as an invariant reflexive indicating that the endpoint of the verb’s action is the same entity as the subject of the verb: ba-an-zuḫ ‘he stole it (for himself)’. By extension it was also used to form the equivalent to the English middle voice in which the subject of the verb no longer has an agentive role but continues to be affected by the action of the verb: ud ba-bur2 ‘the weather improved’. Expressing such agent-less or spontaneous events is often referred to as an anticausative function (although in the external world this type of event obviously does have a cause). The functional range of ba was extended still further to include forming the equivalent to the English passive, that is to non-spontaneous events which consequently do have an implied agent: ba-ḫul ‘it was destroyed’.

The ventive (or cislocative) prefix m(u) has a more restricted range of functions. It can be regarded as orienting a verb towards the speaker or narrator and can occur in both completive and incompletive aspects.

The vowel-initial prefixes are i and a(l). The former has no semantic function but is used with dynamic verbs before two consonants, and before an otherwise unprefixed verbal base or core PNG prefix; a(l)performs a similar function with stative verbs.

However, a(l) is also used with dynamic verbs, in which occurrences it has a semantic function. In completive aspect this includes expressing a statal passive: al-du3 ‘it is built’. In incompletive aspect its functions possibly include expressing a habitual action:

šag4-ga-ni ab-ḫul2-le-en6
šag=ani=Ø a-b-ḫul-en
heart=3HUM.SG.POSS=ABS STAT-3NHUM.DO-be happy-1HUM.SG.S
‘I will (habitually) make his heart happy’

However, this still leaves many incompletive instances of a(l) unaccounted for.

Clause Type

 Clauses can be analysed in terms of their status, the basic distinction being between main clauses which can stand on their own and subordinate clauses which can’t, and also in terms of their contribution to what is termed discourse function. That is, whether they make a statement or express a question.

Most Sumerian clauses simply make a statement and, like the English indicative, are zero-marked. However, the same applies to closed questions, that is ones requiring only a yes or no answer, the implication being that they were signalled with a change in intonation (compare you’re going out?). Open questions are signalled by an interrogative pronoun (such as a-na ‘what?’) or adverb (such as me-še3 ‘where?’).

More complex types of discourse function, such as commands, prohibitions and wishes, are expressed primarily by morphological changes to the finite verb. In most cases a verb-initial prefix is added. However, for second-person positive commands the imperative is used in which what are prefixes in other verbal forms are instead suffixes (compare dites-le-moi ‘tell it to me’). This is regarded as untypical behaviour for affixes and raises some doubt about where on the continuum between clitics and affixes these bound morphemes lie. Another characteristic of the imperative is that it deletes both the singular intransitive and transitive subject. It can therefore be regarded as a further example of nominative-accusative alignment in Sumerian.

These verb-initial prefixes themselves lie on a different type of continuum, one between signalling a change in verbal mood and connecting clauses. In some contexts, the prefix ḫu, for example, has a clear modal function:

ḫu-mu-na-ab-šum2-mu
ḫu-mu-n-a-b-šum-u
MOD-VENT-3HUM.SG-DAT-3NHUM.DO-give-3HUM.SG.S
‘he should give it to him’

In other contexts, it combines modality with clause-connection, forming a type of conditional, and subordinate, clause (compare the English conditional subjunctive should he give it to him, he will suffer). Other verb-initial prefixes have a more straightforward connective function, u, for example, indicating that the action expressed by its verb precedes the action expressed by the verb that follows, and thus being translatable with the English subordinating conjunction after.

Sumerian also has the three more conventional types of subordinate clause: relative clauses which modify a noun and thus occur within the noun phrase; nominal clauses which can function as, for example, the subject of a verb; and adjunct (or adverbial) clauses which are subordinate to a main clause and have, for example, a causal or a temporal function.

In English the first two of these types can be signaled by a subordinator, that , and the third by a subordinating conjunction, such as before. The functional equivalent in Sumerian to the subordinator is a verb-final suffix a. Analysis of adjunct clauses is, however, less straightforward. Sumerian has very few simple subordinating conjunctions. More often a complex construction is used which begins with a noun and ends with a case marker, the suffix a again being bound to the verb. For example, eĝer …-ta, literally ‘from the back that something had happened’, can be translated as after. A less literal analysis is that in such constructions the noun has been bleached of its lexical content and combines with the case marker to form a complex subordinating conjunction.

Abbreviations

1 first person
3 third person
ABL ablative
ABS absolutive
DO direct object
ERG ergative
GEN genitive
HUM human in gender
LOC locative
MID middle
MOD modal
NHUM non-human in gender
POSS possessive
S subject
SG singular
STAT stative

 

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.


Preamble

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11

  1. Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
  2. No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
  2. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14

  1. Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  2. This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15

  1. Everyone has the right to a nationality.
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16

  1. Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  2. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
  3. The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State

Article 17

  1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
  2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
  2. No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21

  1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
  2. Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
  3. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23

  1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  3. Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  4. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25

  1. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
  2. Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26

  1. Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
  2. Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
  3. Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27

  1. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
  2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29

  1. Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
  2. In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
  3. These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.


It is always fascinating to me how you can tell somebody something and they will deny it for no other reason than it is you who told them. It’s the whole “a prophet has no honor in his own country” thing Jesus warned us about.

But then, that same person or group of persons, will go out and travel to a foreign country, go to college, visit a guru, find an expert, seek out a specialist and receive that same knowledge or revelation from that person.

Not you. No, never you. Can’t have that.

Only someone who is ever not you.

This is further exacerbated by the fact the more you try to tell them, the madder and more obstinate they become in resisting it.

I say this because, in other news, it took the United Nation’s coveted Universal Declaration of Human Rights to remind us of what Jesus already told us twenty centuries ago.

Yeah, let that sink in: it only took 2,000 years for us to believe what we learned back in the 1st century.

That’s us: slow learners.

And we’re even verbose about it.

New Testament (32 A.D.) — 2 words.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948 A.D.) — 4 words.

Twice as many words for a fraction of the facts.