Tuesday, January 31, 2017

AFSC on the War in Syria

I was checking the AFSC website recently to see what the "Quaker KGB" was saying about the war in Syria.  The advice is typically Quaker: agree to stop pouring in weapons, look for other ways to resolve differences.  Weapons are profitable of course, but those taking advantage of tensions and helping them escalate may not look heroic or noble in the rear view mirror and some people still care about reputation (legacy).

People wishing to be respected as hard-nosed realists, with a strong grip on reality, will often resort to talking weapons, their procurement, shipment and operation. It's part of the currency of sovereignty, a way to signify independence as in "no one gets to push me around".  Governments will amass weapons as a way of saying "you can't make me".

However, the "laws of physics" or "generalized principles" we might call them, don't coerce in the way people coerce each other. When people are trying to assure themselves they're not under attack by some enemy, either without, or within, they may question what's willful and what's fate.

In writing history, we're free to project almost superpowers on various players in our narratives, attributing to them powers of foresight and acumen they probably did not have. Quakers have the advantage of believing in "higher intelligence" meaning they're not always as paranoid about what may appear an organized set of developments. Patterns happen. No need to blame the ETs.

Everyone wants the war in Syria to end except maybe those who hate God and hate Islam. Some psychopaths have a strong urge to feed fires, exacerbate conflicts, see violence expressed, if not by themselves, then by proxies.

I'm a Quaker, but also one to delve into psychology as a STEM discipline.  I've been studying up on the Borromean Rings in Lacan (French philosopher) for example, linking those rings to the three mutually intersecting Phi rectangles of the MAA icosahedron (to take one special case).  Spatial geometry is what links me to so-called Western Civilization, and is likewise a road to Islamic architecture and designs (likewise Western by educated accounts).

I'm not with AFSC these days.  In chapters passed, I attended Corporation meetings in Philadelphia as a representative of my Yearly Meeting (North Pacific).  I also worked locally on the Latin American Asian Pacific program (LAAP), which was mostly about improving cultural relations among diverse ethnicities.  I came to LAAP from having helped with Asian-Pacific Issues News, an obscure AFSC journal.  Lets call it Asia Desk work, or more accurately Pacific Rim.