Monday, 24 October 2016

Mutual Interests

Nicholas van Rijn says:

"'The most thickly sworn enemies always got some mutual interests.'" (David Falkayn: Star Trader, p. 431)

True or false? It is van Rijn's working hypothesis because he always wants to prevent destructive conflicts and to encourage peaceful trade. He is not among those unscrupulous League traders who sell atomic weapons and spaceships to barbarians. In fact, he is a saint of peace and universal benevolence...who needs just a little profit to save him from beggary in his old age.

I believe in mutual interests. We must speak the same language so that we can understand each other even when we are in total disagreement. We must drive on the same side of the road - it doesn't matter which -; otherwise no one is able to travel anywhere. It is in some governments' perceived interests to possess nuclear weapons but it is in everyone's interests to prevent their use. It is also in everyone's interests to prevent pollution.

Who do we not have any mutual interests with? First, Nazis who want to complete the genocide project. A Nazi and I do have shared interests as human beings but he denies that by his ideas and actions. I cannot accept continued existence on his terms. The ultimate example of no shared interests is a madman who wants to commit suicide and to take others with him.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I had to laugh at this line about Old NIck: "...he is a saint of peace and universal benevolence...who needs just a little profit to save him from beggary in his old age."

You are correct to say it is in some governments perceive interests to acquire nuclear weapons. But I do not agree that EVERYONE will agree on the desirability of always preventing them being used. Else why would the ayatollahs in Tehran be so heck bent on getting them? I think they believe it might be in their interest to use such weapons.

Philosophically, I think the ultimate degree in not having any shared interests would be with those who are pure nihilists. I mean those who deny even the possibility of thought, reason, logic, etc. I know you have some reservations about him, but John C. Wright's ten part "The Suicide of Thought" goes into this question of nihilism in massive detail.


David Birr said...

Paul and Sean:
Knowing Old Nick, are we sure he didn't actually say "...just a little profit to save him from *buggery* [emphasis mine] in his old age"? It's his sort of malapropism -- and I recall another line, though I don't remember from which story, about "being left prostitute" in his declining years....

Paul Shackley said...

He deffo said "beggary" at one point but any malaprop is poss!

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID!

Ha, ha, ha!!! Very amusing! And back around 1969 or so when I first read SATAN'S WORLD, I wouldn't even know what "buggery" meant. As Paul said, with Old Nick any kind of malapropism is possible!