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I took up the Mantic/Sophic dichotomy Nibley presents. I remembered in college really liking it. Turning back to it I have to admit I found it pretty problematic on all sorts of levels.

" I remembered in college really liking it. Turning back to it I have to admit I found it pretty problematic on all sorts of levels."

A good description of much of what I read in college -- including Nibley!

How true. Nibley's phrase about enthusiasm without intellect (the exact phrase escapes me at the moment) is rather appropriate. Although I wonder if Nibley would appreciate it.

I also tend to think that Nibley's far too hard on managers. Looking at government today one can't help but realize the value of a good manager.

Clark, I think the phrase you're searching for is "zeal without knowledge."

I was reading the intro to a literary commentary on Afghan heroic tales.

One of the pervasive themes was the idea that, when all is done, the hero must died (either literally or metaphorically). Heros are useful in times of strife, chaos, and trouble. They act decisively, with clear moral purpose, and save the day.

But when law and order has been restored, the very qualities that made them great as defenders of the right, now make them dangerous citizens. Civil society is largely about compromise. Heros are about moral clarity. The two are incompatible in many ways. If not driven out or executed, the hero will quickly see the same evils that he sought to destroy in the society he once protected.

I remember the movie Lawrence of Arabia, in that scene where Lawrence with his Arab guerrillas, has beaten the British army to Damascus, putting the Arab sheik Feisal in a bargaining position of power.

In one of those memorable line moments, Feisal (Alec Guiness) essentially tells Lawrence to go away and leave the Arabs whom he has devoted his life to saving.

"You are a young man Lawrence, and the ideals of war are the ideals of young men. But then it is time for the old men to make the peace."

To everyone's relief, Lawrence agrees to go quietly back to England. As he exits the room, King Feisal says quietly "What I owe to you, is beyond estimation." (I'm sure I've butchered the quotes)

This is the same reason the Lone Ranger always rides off into the sunset. He cannot live in decent society. He is not meant for it.

Sometimes I wonder if Osama bin Laden isn't an example of another hero who failed to ride into the sunset, and whom society, most imprudently, failed to kill once his service had been performed.

Useful as they are, we can't live with these hotheads.

Of course the funny thing about Lawrence of Arabia is that the middle east was hardly the established and stable society of laws after Lawrence left...

"Looking at government today one can't help but realize the value of a good manager."

Clark: One could make the same observation about today's church. Nibley's piece, written on the cusp of the church gone international, looks back nostalgically on more intimate days.

Yeah, well ...

Alec Guiness wasn't no Arab either.

And T.E. Lawrence wasn't an American. That's the REAL problem see ... You want something done right, you can't give it to these British actor daisies.

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