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Old 26th September 2021, 06:07 PM   #31
ariel
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Alan,
I went to the Wiki to search ( not re-search :-), because I am not a physicist and understand nothing about mathematics and quantum theory) the particulars of Einstein- Bohr debate. It lasted for years and the pendulum of different chapters swung back and forth. At the end of the debate most of the contemporary theoretical physicists agreed that Bohr appeared to have an upper hand, but that we still did not know it with absolute certainty. But the important point is stressed by everybody: throughout the entire debate both remained close personal friends with no bitterness toward the opponent.

And that reminded me of the Talmudic analysis of two kinds of argumentation ( or dispute) : argument for the sake of God, and argument not for the sake of God. The former is for the sake of Truth, the latter for the sake of Power.

A Talmudic example of the former is a long argument about epistemology of Biblical laws: how do we know which of the potentially many interpretation is correct? There was a long and heated argument between two schools of thought: Shammai stressed uncompromising truths of Biblical laws while Hillel ruled by adapting them ( at least temporarily) to special circumstances and finding a common ground. In the majority of cases Hillel interpretations were accepted, but some views of Shammai ( the harsh one) became the law over Hillel’s and the rest of them will become laws in Heavens, where only the absolute Truth is going to rein.

The latter is the example of the rebellion by Korach and his adherents, who wanted to dislodge Moses as High Priest, as the leader of the entire community because they cleverly advertised that the entire community , down to the last individual, was holy already and did not require a Priest to transmit the word of God to them. But in reality they wanted this function to themselves. They wanted not Truth , they wanted victory, they wanted power, they wanted humiliation of their opponent .

And every time we want to argue, we should remember Bohr vs. Einstein, Shammai vs. Hillel, Korach vs. Moses: what is the purpose of our conflict, of our argument: Truth or Dominance?

It is a sheer pleasure arguing with you. Both of us are seeking truth, but are willing to adapt our criteria to circumstances and are never trying to dominate over each other. Thanks.
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Old 26th September 2021, 10:45 PM   #32
A. G. Maisey
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I do not know the examples you have quoted Ariel, but in our exchanges I do not think we were debating, I viewed the entire series of exchanges as an attempt on my part to gain a clear understanding of exactly what you meant in your opening post.

I have sometimes thought that the word "research" gets used a little too freely, and my initial understanding of your opening post was that you would have liked to see more or less serious research as a component part of the ideas and opinions that form a part of much of our discussion in this Forum.

As it turns out your position appears to be pretty much the same as mine, and you are prepared to differentiate between the relaxed discussion and the ideas and opinions that are sometimes founded upon research, serious or otherwise. I can still make silly remarks, provided I do not pretend that those silly ideas are the result of serious work.

I consider that our exchanges were more of the nature of discussion, rather than debate. Debate and discussion can overlap, and in Middle English the word "debate" had the meaning of "discussion", but in today's English I think there needs to be an element of contention or dispute for a discussion to become a debate.

I cannot find this element of contention in our exchanges, I was merely trying to understand your position more clearly.
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Old 26th September 2021, 11:29 PM   #33
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Well, now you know: soft and almost playful in discussions, getting stricter as the level of research publication progresses from mere abstract at a meeting, to a structured article in a journal, to a full book.

BTW, we have discussed books in the past.It is a very complex undertaking, but perhaps the most important and influential, since it is supposed to affect a new foundation of the field. Just like in literature in general there are so few good “weapon” books on the market and so much misleading drivel, that separating the wheat from the chaff becomes more and more important.

You obviously know well more than most about krises. Sharing your knowledge with others is an important part of establishing a standard of the field, addressing history, beliefs, practical points of construction with attention to details, decoration, minute ethnic ID points , localizing , dating etc. I have never been able to figure these things out and got terminally frustrated. Showing me and multiple others the systematic logic behind the appreciation of kris will be extremely useful. You are a master, then teach. That’s what masters do.
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Old 27th September 2021, 02:07 AM   #34
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About the keris Ariel.

I am not averse to teaching, and I have given face to face information & explanation to a few people, but there are problems.

Most of the people who have sought knowledge from me have been trying to come to terms with the Javanese (or Solonese) system of classification that is known as tangguh, but to even get get a very basic understanding of this, how to use it, and what it means, really takes years and probably access to thousands of keris in the company of people who know more than you know yourself. I'll hold back on calling all these people "teachers" or "masters", in my case a couple have been true masters, but most have just been people who knew more than I did about some things.

Before one even begins to think about understanding tangguh one needs to build a solid understanding of the Javanese world view and Javanese values.

A couple of weeks of face to face is not even scratching the surface, and I cannot see how it can be done from printed material.

So teach? Sure, but teach what? Basic technical aspects have already been addressed, classification of patterns, forms, names have been addressed exhaustively. We do not need another book of pretty pictures & misguided ideas.

I have touched on some of the more arcane elements of keris belief in some of the things I've written, but nothing I've presented along these lines has drawn any sort of comment at all. Nobody seems to want to know --- or maybe they think that Maisey has spun out & is off in La-La Land.

Most of keris knowledge is keris belief, so keris knowledge comes down to knowledge of belief systems, but that knowledge does not necessarily translate to understanding, and understanding can only come from understanding of cultural & societal mores. This begins with the language of those societies.

Is the usual collector of keris, or of anything for that matter, prepared to go and learn a couple of languages and then put in a few years gaining knowledge of a culture & society, before beginning to focus on the things he is interested in collecting or studying? I do not believe so.

Teach? Teach what to whom?

Probably the best I can offer is to answer questions, but most people don't even know the right questions to ask.
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Old 27th September 2021, 04:29 PM   #35
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Sad state of affairs...
Sorry to hear that.
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Old 28th September 2021, 09:16 AM   #36
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Quote:
...Is the usual collector of keris, or of anything for that matter, prepared to go and learn a couple of languages and then put in a few years gaining knowledge of a culture & society, before beginning to focus on the things he is interested in collecting or studying?...
Alan,

I think this is what dedicated anthropologists and archeologists do. The noted anthropologist, Philip Cole, took himself and his wife to the northern Philippines to live among the Tiguan for many months to study their culture (alas, not so much about their weapons), having first learned their language and customs during earlier visits. Margaret Mead is well known for her ethnological studies in Samoa and other Pacific islands, where she too immersed herself for several years in local societies. There are probably many other examples of like-minded professionals who dedicated themselves to studying societies elsewhere, and took the time to learn languages, embed themselves in the culture, and produce excellent accounts of their findings. Unfortunately for us, there are few such studies of weapons upon which we can draw.

Ian.
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Old 28th September 2021, 01:46 PM   #37
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Yes Ian, I know this.

I understood that this was really the only way to go after my first visit to Jawa, 50 or so years ago, but before that I had already been studying the cultures and societies of SE Asia from the age of 14.

My core interest is not weaponry, either the keris as a weapon, or any other Javanese or SE Asian weapons. My overwhelming focus is the place of the keris within Javanese & Balinese society & culture.

The things that are of primary interest to the vast bulk of collectors are now only fringe interests to me. Going back 50 & more years these "collector's interests" did occupy most of my attention to the keris, but I left that aspect behind many years ago.

Of course it is possible to be a pure collector, but I feel now that collection, in the absence of deep understanding, is just an empty shell, and any understanding at all is just not possible unless the foundations of cultural, societal and language have already been put in place.
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Old 28th September 2021, 03:42 PM   #38
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Many of us switch areas of interest.
Most of the “more or less serious ones” dig deeper into cultural and societal issues, but the majority cannot go and live among the natives. Most in general spend time studying history: without it putting things in context is impossible. Poor historiography betrays itself right away and is a death gasp of any reputation.
Language wise, we rely upon professionals: I used to consult with my colleagues and friends, native speakers. Regretfully, many times they could not decipher old grammar and/or writing style.
Kwiatek was a Godsend.
In my guess, retooling one’s skills from one area of interest to another takes somewhere between a year or two.

But then, who said that the purpose of collection should be a particular ethnicity? Why not mutants of different styles? Repurposed weapons? Symbolics? Religious undertones? Decoration techniques? Metallurgy?
There are as many collections as collectors.
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Old 29th September 2021, 02:01 AM   #39
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All this is true Ariel, but for my area of interest history is only one aspect, and it is not particularly reliable for the areas I have an interest in. Much of the so-called "history" for Jawa, Bali, & Indonesia in general is not a true reflection of reality.

I do believe that it is necessary to get a really good understanding of society, and this should ideally include grass roots & a couple of levels above that, so rural village, urban poor, educated middle class, elites. I have been very fortunate in that I have been able to associate closely with people from all these levels of society over a forty year period.

With language I am also fortunate, because every day I use Javanese (ngoko), Bahasa Indonesia, and a couple of Javanese dialects. This use is not artificial, without it I would go hungry.

Living in Jawa/Bali society has been something I have been able to do for around 3 months every year since 1982.

Collection as such can encompass many variations, it is only when pure collection moves past the physical object that the deeper understandings become necessary.
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Old 29th September 2021, 07:01 AM   #40
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Re. Your last sentence: good collectors are all doing the same. Only some of them use historical aspects whereas you look at the transcendental.
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