Douglas Hofstadter – Le ton beau de Marot (1997)

We had seen posters all over the city advertising an exhibit of strumenti di tortura (“instruments of torture”), and after weighing our heavily mixed feelings, finally decided to go see it. As we expected, it was very, very grim. There were spiked iron balls on chains, used to bash people to a pulp; there were large wheels upon which victims were fastened and stretched till their bones cracked apart; there were cages in which people were suspended in the air without water or food for days or weeks, until they died; there were tightenable metallic bodysuits that had huge spikes facing inwards; there were instruments for removing fingernails, for peeling off a live human’s layers of skin, for pulling organs out of abdomens; and on and on and on, ad nauseam. What struck Carol and me most of all, though, was that without any exception, all these demoniacal devices had been concocted in the name of God by the Catholic church, and they were used systematically by the clergy in order to keep people in line.

2 thoughts on “Douglas Hofstadter – Le ton beau de Marot (1997)

  1. After weighing heavily mixed feelings, on whose scale? With my reluctant comment since it will not change a thing, have you ever noticed how the new generation has learned through a present day culture of diversity to blame
    institutions and not individuals? The institutions formed so a real Culture could be passed along to the future? You really believe weapons were
    concocted in the name of God by the Catholic Church? So you believe the Catholic Church has the patent on torture?

    You think the Native-born American was innocent? You think that evil in the world –rape, torture, mass murder so often declare in the 20th Century Secular World War — is restricted just to religion? Do your only visit museums, or do you ever read about the past, like even before the common era? Yeah, are you on the metric system like the rest of the world, so thinking like yours could be weighed, comparatively speaking?

      1. This is a quote blog. I post quotes from things other people wrote – in this case, as indicated, Douglas Hofstadter in his book “Le ton beau de Marot.” Sharing is not the same as endorsing. Here is his faculty page at IU, in case you would like to try to contact him to ask him about his views.

      2. He does not claim that “weapons” or “torture” were invented by the Church. Just the specific ones on display.

      3. “But other people do it” seems an extremely poor excuse for an institution that has always proclaimed faith in scripture that says things like John 13:34-35 or Matthew 5:43-38 or Luke 6:27-42.

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