Letters to The Ethical Spectacle

Hypertext is a mirror of our disorderly minds; we think in random links. Here's an example: a stuffed toy, the Velveteen Rabbit, leads to thoughts of abstract things becoming real; temporality; an essay by Celan, "The Fall Into Time"; a quote from de Chardin:

And thus it is that this universe differentiates itself from purely abstract magnitudes and places itself among the realities which are born, which grow, and which die. From time it passes into duration; and finally escapes from geometry dramatically to become, in its totality as in its parts, an object of history.

And then, back almost in a circle, to The Little Prince and the fox's lesson, about how we make things unique--real--by loving them. And thus make ourselves real at once.

The Spectacle is the mirror of my disorderly mind. It, and your responses to it, make me actual. I can be reached, as always, at jw@bway.net.

Jonathan Wallace


Internet Freedom of Speech
Dear Mr. Wallace:

An excellent article. Two main thoughts spring to mind:

1) If the AFA is so very concerned that communities have "clean, decent, smut-free" libraries available, nothing is stopping the AFA from building private libraries. Let the market decide. I suspect the AFA shall never do so because they realize nobody is *that* concerned with the issue. And should the AFA build "family-friendly" libraries, I doubt they'll have truthful advertising like "from the group that banned Huckleberry Finn".

2) While I understand it's doubtful that a plaintiff would win this case, I wonder if there would be sufficient legal grounds to bring false advertising and/or implied warranty of merchantability claims against the censorware companies...

Philo philo@radix.net


Dear Jonathan,

I loved your article Backing Off the Bullies. Would you would allow us to reproduce it on our web site at http://www.netfreedom.org ?

Of course we'd credit you as the author and that the piece originally appeared at http://www.spectacle.org/

Hope you agree.

Best wishes,

Alan Docherty

Editor
Internet Freedom News
http://www.netfreedom.org


Dear Jonathan:

great stuff as usual.

Paul K. McMasters
Freedom Forum


Dear Mr. Wallace,

I read your Congress' Censorware Boondoggle, and wish to point out that CIPA is unconstitutional for a simpler reason than any you state. No computer, as a matter of principle, can determine whether a picture appeals to the prurient interest; is patently offensive; lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; or is of a person, or appears to be of a person, under 18. This has nothing to do with the current state of technology; it is that these are subjective determinations that only human beings can make. Of necessity, then, any computer program that tries to make these determinations will block images that do not fall within these criteria.

Henry Cohen


Dear Jonathan:

Thanks for that sobering and perceptive article on bullies in cyberspace. Lots of cases of that in the UK -- all revealing that the ISP is the critically weak link in the chain. In the UK case, it's not just corporate lawyers who are leaning on them; the UK government has passed legislation which empowers the Home Secretary to require ISPs to install a packet-sniffer which is hardwired to a special data centre in MI5 HQ. (See www.fipr.org for the grisly details of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (RIP) Act).

Wish there were more people like you out there.

Best

John Naughton naughton@pobox.com
John Naughton (naughton@pobox.com) is an academic and the (London) Observer's Internet columnist. 'A Brief History of the Future', his book on the evolution and significance of the Internet, is published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson. See www.briefhistory.com for details.


An Auschwitz Alphabet
DEAR MR. WALLACE:

YOUR WEB-SIDE IS VERY PRECIOUS FOR ME . I HAVE NOT READ ALL YET BUT IT`S VERY INTRESTING FOR ME . YOU`VE SHOWN ME OTHER ASPECTS OF HOLOCAUST WHICH I DIDN`T THINK ABOUT BEFORE . IT MADE ME TO THINK A LOT OF , IT BROUGHT A LOT OF REFLECTIONS...

I AM POLISH , I`M 17. I`M VERY INTRESTED IN HOLOCAUST. I JUST FEEL THAT I HAVE TO FIGHT FOR THIS TO BE NOT FORGOTTEN `CAUSE IT WAS NOT ONLY KILLING OF PEOPLE...

YOU HELPED ME TO UNDERSTAND SOME THINGS DEEPPER . AND I`M VERY GRATEFUL FOR THIS . WEB-SIDES LIKE YOUR ARE VERY IMPORTANT AND THERE SHOULD BE MORE AND MORE OF THEM... TODAY YOUNG PEOPLE READ LESS BOOKS AND OFTENER VISIT WEB-SIDES. AND IT`S THE MOST IMPORTANT FOR THEM TO KNOW , TO REMEMBER... BECAUSE THEY BUILT FUTURE AND IT DEPENDS ON THEM IF SUCH A TRAGEDY LIKE HOLOCAUST WAS, WILL EVER HAPPEN AGAIN...

= KAMILA FLIEGER

PS:I HOPE YOU`LL ANSWER...


Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am a special education teacher and am lobbying to get ethical, racial, and social differences introduced in schools to make children and teenagers aware of the past and determine them not to repeat it. Your works are exactly what they need to hear. Thank you for putting this information out there for us to learn from. The importance on differences is places in a negative manner in our education systems. I have been studying the holocaust for two years now and am convinced that young America needs to know what happened and that it can happen here. Please continue your work as I do mine. Thank you.


Dear Mr. Wallace:

I stumbled upon this looking for a reference to something else and I'm really impressed.

a. your introduction: it's a very human response to something atrocious and I applaud your efforts to erect something valuable from such a terrible event

b. the selections themselves are often beautiful

c. the organisation through alphabets seems simple but is very powerful

well done, good idea

Just wanted to add a little more relating to What I Learned From Auschwitz:

I believe a third answer to whether God exists or not besides one -- he allowed or aided

two -- he didn't care

is three -- there is some purpose we'll never figure out. I'm agnostic at this point but I'll grant a God the power to exceed our understanding. And I know the Holocaust was one of the most horrific events ever -- conceeded -- but I also don't think we're in a position here because of our currency (our situation within time) to determine final causes of anything. I can even understand the struggle to need to but I can't accept the argument philosophically.

Marcia Mack mmack@CAIFA.com


Dear Jonathan,

I came across your web site whilst searching for material on the holocaust. I have not read it all yet but what I have seen is very good. I will certainly return again. I am a History teacher in Sussex, England and have visited Auschwitz with some of my students. I have also met a few survivors. All of these experiences have made a lasting impression on me and the way I view history and prejudice.

You may be interested in viewing my web site which I produced as a result of my own visit to Auschwitz.

You can find it at http://members.aol.com/Brd1962

Good luck with your web site.

Best wishes

Brian Dickinson


Dear Jonathan Wallace:

your introduction, the way you tell about life nowdays in a new york city and your comments, seems to me as if I would write....

I guess we feel the same. But, I would like indeed to thank you for writing yesterday and today.

As for myself, I not only have the lost of family and remembering the history, I very young lost more important, the childish way to think or to live. The lost, for any one, any person, is with the knowing, that any behavour against human beeing might happen! Therefore, it is very important to talk about so many occasions, where people, also nowdays act and behave the same way.

It might be even harder to face the facts because of a deep whish to believe, that people who suffered so much for generations, will never be able to act the same. This is surely a way one is looking for comfort or hope / but it does not work...yesterdays and todays do not let the hope to existe. Because of trying to explain at least myself and asking for many years, why, it might be a possible explanation, anyway for me, that people will always search the differences instead of facing the common they have. But then comes the sedond w h y ....

What do you think? how do you se it? Anyway, I do thank you for gathering facts, publishing the Site and links,and for your own remarks. Let me finish my letter with s h a l o m, and the hope, that shalom has a future, between people and nations anywhere

my best regards

Doris


Dear Johnathan,

My name is Kristal. I have just read your stories and they have provided me with lots of information on Auschwitz. See I am doing a report on Auschwitz and it was a pretty harsh place. It hurts me today to know that these human beings were treated like this. I was in another website and seen pictures. The feeling that ran over me was hard to explain, it almost felt like I was there. Feelins the same feelings. But I am glad you have been brave enough to discover things like these. Most people these days like to forget that this stuff has never happened, but it has. I thank you greatly.

Yours Truly,

Kristal
state- Georgia


Dear Mr. Wallace:

I am a middle school English teacher. I found your site as I researched for answers to some of my students' questions. You see, next Monday, out district has the honor of hosting and listening to Hannah Pick-Gosler. Eighth graders from two middle schools will be transported to our third MS just to meet her and listen to her, thus our English and social studies departments have collaberated to provide our students with a mini-course on the Holocaust.

I am truly impressed by the presentation style of your web site, and, of course, your knowledge. I also like the way you bring together quotes from a variety of writers even as you inject your own editorial thoughts.

My one week presentation consisted of readings from I Have Lived a Thousand Years, pp 70-89, Auschwitz Ch. 19, Survival in Auschwitz, pp.12-19. I ended with Mrs. Bitton-Jackson's Foreward, for it explains why such studies as ours must happen. I felt "guided" throughout the week. The selections I read were accidents. In fact Levi's book was brought in by a student on Wednesday. Many books were brought in. I asked if any of them knew or were related to survivors, and I have the promise of a copy of a [survivor]grandfather's diary. Two of the books brought in were an apparent gift to the student from a now deceased neighbor who was a survivor.

My kids spontaneously related our readings to other genocides, even the American slave era. One student, self proclaimed atheist/anarchist privately told his social worker. "I'm still an anarchist, but I've got a problem with this Hitler guy. He was really bad. How could he do that to people?" I fielded their questions from my soul, using Bitten-Jackson's Foreward as my inspiration. I left them knowing that none of the things we talked of were their fault or mine, but that how the conduct their own lives and how they raise their own children can be the little piece of the world that they may help save. I told them prayer can also help. Prayer for world healing and prayer for personal guidance and courage to do the right thing.

Friday ended, but as I sat alone reflecting on what I'd done. Then I began to second guess myself... did I say too much, or too little; did I lead their focus in the wrong direction? It was then that I went to the net and found your site. Arriving home, I read it through last night, and this morning, I read it through again to be certain. I was so heartened to find that I had said the same things about genocides that you had said. I had even used some of the same models and some you hadn't, but we were on the same page about so many things that it was almost weird.

I want to send my kids to your web site for further research in the Spring when we read the play based upon The Diary of Ann Frank, but I'm a little afraid to do so. I'm afraid to send them to you because you state very clearly that you have lost your belief in God and give arguments and reasons for your position. As great as your site would be for them [truthful,accurate, tasteful [no sensationalism], how can I their trusted teacher send them to you where they will read your words about God?

You have not asked my advice/counsel. Forgive my presumption as I offer you a few thoughts on the subject of God. I'm no Bible thumper; I haven't even read the whole thing. I was born a Roman Catholic; I rarely go to church, now, but I know that God is there. I also know that, as you say, we are largely on our own down here, for He gave all of us free will, but He also gave us the Laws to follow if we are ever to actually see Him... see the face of God. Life down here is a test, each time we come; if we knew the answers before we came, there would be no test.

Hitler knew the Law, Eichmann, Goering, the Jewish doctors, Mengele, they all knew the Law. They chose not to follow it.

I must digress. I am psychically developed. As I deveoped, I learned many things: we incarnate many times, each time with specific lessons to learn. If we fail to learn the lessons we chose, we must incarnate again into another similar life over and over until we learn those lessons. We continue incarnate until we've learned all of the lessons we can through planetary life. The lessons continue on the next plane where we continue to evolve [heaven is not a place it's a state of mind]. The planes we can attain are myriad, and we still have free choice... to continue to learn/evolve, or not.

It is not God's job to fix what is wrong down here. It is ours. We have the tools. The Law, our collective consciousness, our courage. If he rescues us, fixes these things for us, we cannot grow as a race of beings. Imagine the adults we would become if our parents never stopped solving our problems for us.

"In Germany...they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak because I wasn't a Jew... then they came for the Catholics, and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up."

Rev. Reinhold Niebohr

That was the test. Not enough people found the courage to speak up in time. Too many went about their busy little lives and allowed Hitler to take the "throne" of Germany. Too many people harbored hatred [the Catholic Church has done much, for as an institution, It learned little from the Inquisition.

That was part of the test.

The U.S. did little to help until it felt threatened on a personal basis. The U.S. should have acted sooner. She shouldn't have feared anti-Semetic issues here at home, rather she should have leaped to the rescue. The nation might have surprised the government and rallied to the cause.

That was part of the test.

We are given the Law, and parents and clergy to teach it to us, and a guardian spirit(s) to help guide us. These are all God's representatives, God's messengers.

We are not listening, or are we?

From time to time, great masses of souls collectively decide to incarnate more or less together and endure a great atrocity together. To help the planet learn a great lesson. The suffers learn a lesson about what it feels like to be oppressed. [They may have been oppressors in a previous incarnation] Their oppressors are given free choice to say no, they won't do this horrible thing. Some will pass this test. The general population will be given the chance to say no you can't to the oppressors. Some will pass this test.

"All the world's a stage, and the people are but players on it"

Shakespeare [He knew what I know]

In short, there will be a war, a genocide, an earth quake, a wealth of natural disasters available at all times until all souls have experienced all sides of all things and learned to behave courageously, humanely in all situations.

You see, there is a God. He's not the God we meet in the Torah, for He is a Living Being, thus He must evolve also, to be God, and there are ever higher planes for us to evolve to, even as He evolves ahead of us. The promise of "World without end." is true, but this is not let's make a deal. We can't as so many people think, negotiate. We can't get new skates oreven our lives spared by praying to Him. Rather, we must struggle ever upward. Prayer must become more along the line of "Give me/us the strength to do what is right" Prayers from us collectively can help heal the planet. In our psychic healing circle we learn the importance of prayer. We learn that individually, we can send healing to the entire planet and it helps.

I have witnessed it in my public school classroom. I am a tough man, a tough teacher, yet a gentle soul. Since I've been in my present room [three years] Muslims have come to know somehow that it is a safe refuge during Ramadan when they must fast during the day. The cafeteria is torture for them when they must fast. So they gather in my room at lunch time.

Eventually a prayer rug and prayer shawls are brought. We have established the direction by using the sun. Some of the faithful continue to come each day on to the end of the school year. I have finally noticed a wonderous phenomenon over the three years. My classroom mellows all day every day once the prayers begin. Students are calmer at least in the room. If several days pass without prayer, the rough edges begin to come back. It's not because it's Muslim prayer; it's because it's prayer, devote prayer. I regularly add my own.

Official daily prayer in secular schools is banned... thank you Madelyn Murray O'Hair and the ACLU. Look at the killing fields our schools have become. Well, she's officially dead now, isn't modern science great! As Texas corpse was identified as hersPerhaps it's time to find a way to reinstate prayers in school.

Consider too, the seeming miracle that gave you life. You state it yourself. Your grandparents left Europe before the cataclism, now look at the great work you have created on the net.

Consider too, the survivors who found the courage to write about what they saw, what they survived. It took great courage for them to relive their nightmare lives.

Well, I've said more than enough, and I hope I haven't offended you.

I do also want to suggest some books you might consider reading:

Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Biplane
Illusions
The Bridge Across Forever
One
These are the work of Richard Bach

Seth Speaks
The Seth Materials
These are the work of Seth channelled to Jane Roberts

I have learned much from these sources. They have helped me to know that God is alive. And they have helped me to cope with genocide, school killings, even my father's death.

I pray that you have found your God again.

Have a safe journey, John


Mr. Wallace,

Thank you for Auschwitz Alphabet. I must say, it blew my entire morning's agenda to smithereens. I started reading and became completely immersed, unable to stop.

I have studied the Holocaust, with some focus on Anne Frank's Diary. I have had the good fortune to hear and meet Miep Gies, Cornelius Sujik, Hannah Goslar, and Drs. Laureen and Rudi Nussbaum.

My daughter is 11 and will be entering 6th grade next fall. She has chosen the topic of Anne Frank for her 5th grade "graduation" project.

I have tried to instill in her the importance of tolerance and kindness. She learned about the Holocaust at a relatively early age... and continues to seek more information and to learn the truth. She realizes that it is the small things we do every day that count -- standing up for someone on the playground who is being picked on, taking the initiative for what is right, no matter what.

Your Auschwitz Alphabet is staggering in its depth and revelations. I shared parts of it with my daughter this morning before she left for school.

In closing, I must say that your thoughts on God echo mine. Seeing the same idealogy in print made me think, "Aha! There's someone who agrees with this concept!"

With appreciation, Barbara Schoppe


Miscellaneous
Jonathan:

I am still fascinated that you condemn Bill Clinton for all the appropriate things. And, you even include some reference to the pardons...which didn't surprise me at all...but you STILL apparently believe him superior to Richard Nixon. That is indeed amazing!

Regarding your story about the libel suit...I agree. You have to watch out for those shyster lawyers.

Bob Wilson


Dear Jonathan,

Your website is stimulating and thought provoking. I read your Bio after reading some of your articles.

My personal philosophy includes the idea that 'extremism rules the world'. Part of it is apathy of the masses and part of it is the desire for one part of humanity to manipulate the other. And yet I am an optomist as I look at goodness within the hearts of so many.

I liked your candid observations on law school. It doesn't seem like there is a lot of CANDOR flowing from the lips of most lawyers. I have known a few men who were very bright, humble and curious about the thoughts and feeling of those around them. They are a delight! True genius embraces humility...even the most brillant among us know only a small fraction of the body of knowledge in the world. And few know the answers to the BIG questions of life: Did I exist before I was born? Do I have a specific mission in this life? Is there life after physical death? Is there a GOD, and if so, how involved is He is our life?

Do you ponder these questions? What are your conclusions, if any?

Have you ever wondered if there could be a group of enlightened people who really have definitive answers to life's big questions?

You do concern yourself with some of the issues that have a powerful impact on the world. Do you believe that the Internet will be self-correcting when it goes too far in exploiting people for the sake of money? Who, if anyone, should regulate the content of the Internet?

Do you believe that the ACLU is really very effective in representing liberty? Is there primary role to defend minorities and the unpopular? In the west, they seem to be doing a good imitation of Don Quijote much of the time, don't prepare their cases very well, have an attitude of contention rather than intelligently explaining why a particular group or idea can threaten civil liberty, etc.

Thank you for you contributions, and I would love to hear from you.

Jason Roundy NJRgolfut@att.net