Masters Of War

Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build all the bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks. You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly. Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain. You fasten all the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion' As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud. You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins. How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you That even Jesus would never Forgive what you do. Let me ask you one question Is your money that good Will it buy you forgiveness Do you think that it could I think you will find When your death takes its toll All the money you made Will never buy back your soul. And I hope that you die And your death'll come soon I will follow your casket In the pale afternoon And I'll watch while you're lowered Down to your deathbed And I'll stand over your grave 'Til I'm sure that you're dead.------- Bob Dylan 1963

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Father Johann Adam Schall: China's Jesuit Astronomer

Father Johann Adam Schall gained access to the upper reaches of the Qing court through his impact on the dynasty's calendar
By Sheila Melvin
Of the 920 Jesuits who served in the China mission between 1552 and 1800, only the Italian Matteo Ricci (Li Madou) remains well known. This is understandable – it was Ricci who first gained permission for the Jesuits to live in Beijing and who established the example of respect for Chinese traditions and adaptation to Chinese customs that came to characterize their mission. (The Kangxi Emperor called this "Ricci's tradition," and obliged all missionaries to follow it.) Ricci introduced Western music, math, and science to China and Chinese philosophy, history, and culture to Europe. He spoke and wrote fluent Chinese and seems to have been beloved by all who knew him. Nowadays, he is effectively the secular saint of sinology – and, indeed, is under consideration for actual sainthood by the Vatican.
But while Ricci is the role model to whom our better selves might all aspire, Father Johann Adam Schall von Bell (Tang Ruowang) is perhaps the Jesuit it would have been most fun to be. Schall lived a life so epic - spanning the Ming and the Qing, encompassing war, charges of sexual impropriety, a death sentence – that it cries out for a Hollywood or Beijing film studio biopic.

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