Books of Interest

Film script: The Silk Road and the unknown East -- 6 part documentary

Eric Walberg

Introduction and Part I

We will take a journey along the most ancient and thrilling road in Man's history, through a mysterious and little known part of the world, but one which has experienced all there is - the great religions have all thrived here at one time or another - Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam; at certain periods great centres of learning and the arts sprang up and declined, as did great warrior-princes. It is a region of violent contrasts - desert, mountains, lush valleys and oases. It is a mix of many races. Until a century ago, it was all but lost to the march of civilisation. Until the fall of Communism, it maintained its shroud of secrecy. With modern means of communications, it is now as accessible as any other destination. I am speaking of course of where East truly meets West - Central Asia.

A secondary city

-sunrise, sunset - vacant metaphors, eroded figures of speech, ghosts in the attic? God embedded in the childhood of rational speech (Nietzsche)
-speech communicating meaning and feeling => God's presence, esp. aesthetic meaning
-when we encounter text/ art/ music (tam), i.e., the other in its condition of freedom, we find transcendence
-enigma of creation is made sensible in text, art music (tam)
-interpreter - decipherer and communicator of meanings, translator between languages/ cultures/ conventions, and executant, giving intelligible life to tam
-private reader/ listener can become executant of felt meaning when learns by heart, affording the music indwelling clarity and life-force, ingests (not consumes)

Roots of one's pleasures and emotions:
Chinese eye - sees nature as having its own life, untamed
Persian heart - romantic love
African ear - music
Mongol nomadic sense of freedom
-must search further than ancestors for roots of freedom and to understand emotions and ambitions

Man is faced with basic loneliness
-immunity from loneliness using loneliness as vaccine via:
1/ hermit - professional alien to seek internal peace
2/ turn inwards
3/ awareness of the absurd - be an eccentric
4/ sense that individual contains echoes of the incomprehensible coherence/ order of the world, has divine spark, recognise a link of generosity between themselves and others, rational and emotional connections which mean that they are part of a wider whole, which leads to altruism
-diminish FEAR of being alone: only then can one relate to others on terms of mutual respect

All grief, once made known to the mind, can be cured by the mind. Writers must always 'make an assault on perfection', or they succomb to self flattery. A great writer either accepts life completely (Shakespeare) or refuses to lose sight of its horror (Pascal, Proust).

-goodness of a natural trait is province of ethical reasoning
-Darwin  1/ species related by sharing descent from common ancestors (unity of life), 2/ species change thru natural selection, 3/ male/female (m/f) obey universal templates -- males 'ardent' and f 'coy' (choose mate for superior genes, ie, best male vs best match).
-social selection - animals exchange help in return for access to reproductive opportunity, mutual assistance with reproductive opportunity as currency. social-inclusionary traits among f, or among m and shown by secondary sex characteristics (evolutionary approach to social behaviour)
-human development characterised by cooperation

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here