On Obedience And Disobedience

We spend most of lives in obedience to one form of authority or another.  Rarely, if ever, is it counted as a virtue worthy of discussion by us moderns.  On the contrary:  we are expected to applaud disobedience, disorder, and challenges to authority, as if such disobedience were automatically exempt from scrutiny.

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The Positivism Of Benjamin Constant

I made an effort today to visit the house and museum of Benjamin Constant in the Santa Teresa neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro.  I had visited it some years ago and thought it would be a good idea to see it again to gain some perspective.  The site was closed for renovations, unfortunately, so I had to content myself with a few photographs of the surrounding area.  These can be found below.

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Selection And Supervision Are Critical In Any Great Enterprise

I have lately been rereading Candace Millard’s excellent River of Doubt, a narrative of Theodore Roosevelt’s ill-fated sojourn through the Amazon in 1914.  As is well known, the expedition was plagued by a lack of adequate food supplies and equipment.   This fact nearly caused the entire project to unravel once it was deep in the Amazon.

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Three Embalming Techniques Used In Ancient Egypt

Herodotus spends more time discussing Egypt than any other nation in his Histories.  One gets the feeling that he very much enjoyed himself there.  The amiable and curious Greek had a talent for getting along with nearly everyone; he seems to have fallen into conversation with priests and merchants in every country he visited.

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Angelo Poliziano’s 1484 Description Of A Planetary Clock

In studying the writings of scholars of ages past, one often begins to suspect that they were aware of more things than we generally give them credit for.  We begin to understand that the progress of knowledge is not always “upwards” in a steadily sloping straight line; there are periods of setbacks, stagnation, and decay.  And very often we perceive that men of great ability can be trapped in environments that are hostile to the development of their talents.

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The Chain Of Fortune Links The Fates Of Men

The British invasion of the Dardanelles in 1915 is a text-book example of how wishful thinking and imagination can override sound judgment and careful planning.  The idea of knocking Turkey out of the war with an amphibious landing at Gallipoli, followed by a march on Istanbul, was in principle strategically sound; but as a practical matter, the British simply lacked the tools and leadership for the job.

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Al-Minara: The Pharos Lighthouse Of Alexandria

One of the more fascinating of the seven wonders of the ancient world was the Pharos Lighthouse in Alexandria, Egypt.  I have lately been reading the history of the Arab conquest of Egypt in the seventh century, and have become more acquainted with some of the monument’s unique characteristics, and the legends that have surrounded it.

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