Past Postings

Previous William Thomas Sherman Info Page postings, quotes, observations, etc.


At last (for me anyway) -- something like the REAL story of how the United States became so heavily involved in Vietnam (an absolute must for JFK assn. researchers; who if they are not already familiar with what is covered here, risk making serious fools of themselves.) Though two hours long, this C-SPAN broadcast is worth watching to the very end.

[“November 8, 2013: Vietnam 1963 Four Vietnam War historians talked about the events of 1963, a year many consider pivotal to the conflict. They discussed the political atmosphere in South Vietnam, the country’s changing relationship with the United States, and the uncertain future of the conflict during that year, which culminated in a military coup and the assassination of President Diem in November 1963. The panel “Vietnam 1963: Revision and Reassessment” was hosted by the New York Military Affairs Symposium.”]

See also:

["Madame Nhu - Trần Lệ Xuân Trả Lời Phỏng Vấn 1982" - – 1982 WGBH interview with former South Vietnam First Lady]


[ch. 5]
...And is there not some light thrown here on the expression “in the likeness and image,” in the fact that some live according to the likeness of Christ, while those who stand on the left hand live according to their image? There are then two things proceeding from the truth, one root lying beneath both—the choice being, however, not equal, or rather the difference that is in the choice not being equal. To choose by way of imitation differs, as appears to me, from the choice of him who chooses according to knowledge, as that which is set on fire differs from that which is illuminated. Israel, then, is the light of the likeness which is according to the Scripture. But the image is another thing...

[ch. 6]
...And, “Blessed are you when men shall hate you, when they shall separate you, when they shall cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake;” [Luke 6:22] if we do not detest our persecutors, and undergo punishments at their hands, not hating them under the idea that we have been put to trial more tardily than we looked for; but knowing this also, that every instance of trial is an occasion for testifying.
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 4.


As I have stated here before, for the past few years I have for the most part (aside from weekly quote extracts from the Church Fathers) stopped posting at this website and in light of getting virtually no response regarding anything I write. On the other hand, when I feel a compelling point or an especially important thought or piece of information I think ought to be imparted, I sometimes make an exception.

Yesterday I was reminded of the film "Salem's Lot" (1979) that I saw many years ago, and when it comes to scary films it is pretty effective; though when it comes to horror films, I usually prefer the old Universal, Hammer, and Roger Corman Gothic melodramas as more enjoyable entertainment. The following is a clip from "Salem's Lot" that one could actually write a good deal of commentary on, whether from a cinematic, sociological-historical, or criminal spirit people perspective.

["Face The Master - SALEM'S LOT (1979)" - vampire with James Mason attack family and priest in kitchen scene]

Though owing to the aforesaid reason I myself don't feel the desire to say all that much, a few things are worth mentioning.

1. Note the dream like quality of the scene, and yes certain adept criminal spirit people could recreate something essentially similar for purposes of a "dream production."

2. We know some people will be frightened just watching a film. And yet imagine how paralyzed some people would be encountering such an experience in real life or a dream; not least of which and even many supposedly macho types who are brash with their bravado (say, for example in a military context.) Granting the premise, how many people do you think could put up a fight against terrorism like this? And yet if it is some deranged Arab or domestic malcontent (say), then they stand tall in the front rank of our nation's heroes. Note also how in many fiction stories and films of the 19th and 20th century the reality of criminal spirit people or a malevolent supernatural is routinely dismissed by supposedly enlightened and scientific people as necessarily "hogwash" or "rubbish" -- a movie formula not so unlike how whenever a gun (in such stories) is pointed you must necessarily and mechanically throw up your hands and surrender, as if there is no other possible alternative.

3. Observe how the superstitious priest is utterly helpless against real violence. What sort of effect will this approach have on irrational, completely childish, and feeble minded people, and who in a given instance may have material control and influence over the minds and everyday fate of millions?

4. Monster men like the SL vampire and James Mason's character, remember, don't go on scaring expeditions like this ordinarily. If something like this were to happen it would be because the time or season was right [Luke 22:53], and that it would serve a certain tactical or strategic advantage. Otherwise and again ordinarily they would prefer -- monsters want to be loved too -- to win you over with a carrot rather than a stick. And really they can't keep this terrorizing mentality up continually and forever. But, of course, if you insist on refusing the carrot....

5. Note the year of the film, 1979, and where the country and society had arrived at morally and psychologically at that time.


In other matters very briefly...

For those interested in examining further the JFK Assassination, I just discovered the book Reclaiming Parkland: Tom Hanks, Vincent Bugliosi, and the JFK Assassination in the New Hollywood (2016 version!) by James Di Eugenio, and do most highly recommend.

Also I was puzzling over the question of how was it that actress Virginia Vestoff died so young, reportedly, of cancer in 1982; with no advance notice; with no trace or report of what happened to her remains. Very strange, and makes me wonder if it wasn't a suicide? But if suicide, for what reason?


[ch. 12]
And not only the Platonists, but the Stoics, say that assent is in our own power. All opinion then, and judgment, and supposition, and knowledge, by which we live and have perpetual intercourse with the human race, is an assent; which is nothing else than faith. And unbelief being defection from faith, shows both assent and faith to be possessed of power; for non-existence cannot be called privation. And if you consider the truth, you will find man naturally misled so as to give assent to what is false, though possessing the resources necessary for belief in the truth. “The virtue, then, that encloses the Church in its grasp,” as the Shepherd [of Hermas] says, “is Faith, by which the elect of God are saved; and that which acts the man is Self-restraint. And these are followed by Simplicity, Knowledge, Innocence, Decorum, Love,” and all these are the daughters of Faith. And again, “Faith leads the way, fear upbuilds, and love perfects.” Accordingly he says, the Lord is to be feared in order to edification, but not the devil to destruction. And again, the works of the Lord— that is, His commandments— are to be loved and done; but the works of the devil are to be dreaded and not done. For the fear of God trains and restores to love; but the fear of the works of the devil has hatred dwelling along with it. The same also says “that repentance is high intelligence. For he that repents of what he did, no longer does or says as he did. But by torturing himself for his sins, he benefits his soul. Forgiveness of sins is therefore different from repentance; but both show what is in our power.”
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 2.


Nero is a powerful, yet also brutal, emperor who aspires to be crowned most gifted of all the poets; even though his poetry, all in all, is not very good.

Marcus, Tibullus, and Rutillius are also poets, and indeed, they are very good ones. Yet if their work is allowed at the poetry competition, then Nero's poetry will all the more fall flat on the ears of both the judges and the audience at the competition.

What then might we expect will become of the poetry careers of Marcus, Tibullus, and Rutillius? And of poetry in general?


[ch. 4]
Should one say that Knowledge is founded on demonstration by a process of reasoning, let him hear that first principles are incapable of demonstration; for they are known neither by art nor sagacity...

But the first cause of the universe was not previously known to the Greeks; neither, accordingly, to Thales, who came to the conclusion that water was the first cause; nor to the other natural philosophers who succeeded him, since it was Anaxagoras who was the first who assigned to Mind the supremacy over material things. But not even he preserved the dignity suited to the efficient cause, describing as he did certain silly vortices, together with the inertia and even foolishness of Mind. Wherefore also the Word says, “Call no man master on earth.” [Matthew 23:9] For knowledge is a state of mind that results from demonstration; but faith is a grace which from what is indemonstrable conducts to what is universal and simple, what is neither with matter, nor matter, nor under matter...
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 2.


[ch. 2]
...For it is not many who understand such things as they fall in with; or know them even after learning them, though they think they do, according to the worthy Heraclitus. Does not even he seem to you to censure those who believe not? “Now my just one shall live by faith,” [Habakkuk 2:4] the prophet said. And another prophet also says, “Unless you believe, neither shall you understand.” [Isaiah 7:9] For how ever could the soul admit the transcendental contemplation of such themes, while unbelief respecting what was to be learned struggled within? But faith, which the Greeks disparage, deeming it futile and barbarous, is a voluntary preconception, the assent of piety— “the subject of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” according to the divine apostle. “For hereby,” pre-eminently, “the elders obtained a good report. But without faith it is impossible to please God.” Others have defined faith to be a uniting assent to an unseen object, as certainly the proof of an unknown thing is an evident assent. If then it be choice, being desirous of something, the desire is in this instance intellectual. And since choice is the beginning of action, faith is discovered to be the beginning of action, being the foundation of rational choice in the case of any one who exhibits to himself the previous demonstration through faith. Voluntarily to follow what is useful, is the first principle of understanding. Unswerving choice, then, gives considerable momentum in the direction of knowledge. The exercise of faith directly becomes knowledge, reposing on a sure foundation. Knowledge, accordingly, is defined by the sons of the philosophers as a habit, which cannot be overthrown by reason. Is there any other true condition such as this, except piety, of which alone the Word is teacher? I think not. Theophrastus says that sensation is the root of faith. For from it the rudimentary principles extend to the reason that is in us, and the understanding. He who believes then the divine Scriptures with sure judgment, receives in the voice of God, who bestowed the Scripture, a demonstration that cannot be impugned. Faith, then, is not established by demonstration. “Blessed therefore those who, not having seen, yet have believed.”
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 2.


[ch. 1]
...And, in my opinion, he who is solicitous about truth ought not to frame his language with artfulness and care, but only to try to express his meaning as he best can. For those who are particular about words, and devote their time to them, miss the things. It is a feat fit for the gardener to pluck without injury the rose that is growing among the thorns; and for the craftsman to find out the pearl buried in the oyster's flesh. And they say that fowls have flesh of the most agreeable quality, when, through not being supplied with abundance of food, they pick their sustenance with difficulty, scraping with their feet. If any one, then, speculating on what is similar, wants to arrive at the truth [that is] in the numerous Greek plausibilities, like the real face beneath masks, he will hunt it out with much pains. For the power that appeared in the vision to Hermas said, “Whatever may be revealed to you, shall be revealed.”...
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 2.


[ch. 17]
...For to take fever is involuntary; but when one takes fever through his own fault, from excess, we blame him. Inasmuch, then, as evil is involuntary—for no one prefers evil as evil; but induced by the pleasure that is in it, and imagining it good, considers it desirable—such being the case, to free ourselves from ignorance, and from evil and voluptuous choice, and above all, to withhold our assent from those delusive phantasies, depends on ourselves. The devil is called “thief and robber;” having mixed false prophets with the prophets, as tares with the wheat. “All, then, that came before the Lord, were thieves and robbers;” not absolutely all men, but all the false prophets, and all who were not properly sent by Him. For the false prophets possessed the prophetic name dishonestly, being prophets, but prophets of the liar. For the Lord says, “You are of your father the devil; and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.” [John 8:44]...
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 1.


[ch. 16]
...But if the Hellenic philosophy comprehends not the whole extent of the truth, and besides is destitute of strength to perform the commandments of the Lord, yet it prepares the way for the truly royal teaching; training in some way or other, and moulding the character, and fitting him who believes in Providence for the reception of the truth.
~ Clement of Alexandria (c.150–c.215), The Stromata, Book 1.

[Note. Chapter 14 of Book 1 contains an interesting survey of the history of philosophy.]