Read Between the Lines

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"Never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." - John Donne

Photo 2013 Ruth Hochman pictured with Valerie Hemingway, Author of Running with the Bulls.

"We're all bitched from the start. When you get the damn pain use it. Be as faithful to it as a scientist." - Ernest Hemingway


In 1995, the year I started writing seriously, I came across some of the ideas and quotes of Ernest Hemingway. His 1940 novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls was titled after a famous line from a poem by John Donne: never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. Then, eighteen years later, I had occasion to meet his former daughter-in-law pictured in the photo. We just never know the way life will go or who will we meet and when. Different people inspire us for different reasons at different times. Life is an interesting thing. Live your best life.

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[Download photo okay with attribution: Ruth Hochman,]

Oh so quotable: "I am looking for the one I can't fool." - Kamand Kojouri

Living our best life is a fulltime job and does require our best effort every single day.

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In the 21st century, robots will take the place slave labor occupied in ancient times. - N. Tesla

Photographer: Ruth Hochman © 2005, All rights reserved. Download okay w/ attribution.

Inset photo is of HaCardo, located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem, Israel. Ancient Roman Ruins.

Notes on Huntington

Nation-states are physical entities that are part of a larger reality called civilization. Huntington believes the culture clash of civilizations will dominate the future of the world going forward [ref]. We see that transpiring in full force now in the battle of the East versus West. This battle is best represented via proxies of Islam on the side of the East and the Judeo-Christian entity on the part of the West. Many nation-states are part of these larger civilizations, and exhibit a wide range of cultural expressions. Culture is identity and the unique framework with which people view the world. When their viewpoint is threatened, their identity is threatened. Lack of knowledge about other cultures tends to make people zealots for their own belief set. This results in a reality where people think the world revolves around them, as they have no knowledge or concept of life, existence, people, beliefs and cultures outside of their limited worldview. This is a problem because it creates the conditions for extremism and fundamentalism and ultimately violence. One cure to this great malady is education. The purpose of education is to create an open mind. Multicultural education is a portal that will overcome indoctrination. Rather than teach history through one’s ethnocentric worldview, it would behoove the educational system to teach about world history objectively, from as early as pre-kindergarten.

Civilization is a broad context that encapsulates nation-states. At face value, it appears as an organizing principle that serves as a framework by which to perceive the world. The people who create a particular framework do so to promote and preserve private interest, or shared destiny. Thus, the civilization in question is organized in such a way that will serve the optimal advantage of the ruling class. Civilization is euro-centric, in that the peoples of Europe sought to civilize those peoples in the world whom they regarded as inferior and barbaric. By colonial rule and subjugating peoples across the world, Europeans asserted Western dominance globally. However difficult this must truly be, today, the non-western world is now exercising tremendous agency. The smaller actors on the world stage are no longer victims of colonialism in 21st century life. This dynamic change is causing a major global fissure.

One of the major problems of the Eastern Bloc [see note] of civilization is their markedly antiquated views on basic human rights. Two present examples are found in both the Arab League and China. Islamic women are abused and oppressed because the worldview of its civilization maintains this is correct. In China, the Uyghurs, a Turkic minority, are in internment camps. However, the Western Bloc is not off the hook here either, for here we have classism and racism and misogyny, too, and these antiquated patriarchal views have no relevance in the world, except to create great suffering. While peoples and their distinct cultures should be esteemed throughout the world, when these cultures perpetuate classism, or sexism, and other forms of grotesque abuses, then our challenge is how to embrace our cultural history, while at the same time inspiring our civilizations toward adopting human rights. Hence, the issue is not that the Eastern Bloc is the core problem. The Western Bloc must also make sweeping changes if we truly hope to become a civilized order. The primary problem with this culture clash is religion. Born of myth and superstition, people's beliefs have been concretized in such a way that denying these religious creeds will fundamentally cause a crisis of identity.


Huntington, Samuel P. "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (1993): 22-49. Accessed July 22, 2021. doi:10.2307/20045621.

Note: In lieu of Eastern worldview Eastern Bloc here to include the Orient and Middle East.

#civilizedorder #culture #civilization

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