Ordinary World for 29 Oct 2018


“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.”
– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Ordinary World
Monday, 29 Oct 2018


Rodin’s “The Thinker” being shipped

Thought & Philosophy

[Tp1] Morals Are Objective: Fundamental moral truths are independent of the culture we are in by Maarten van Doorn “Morality is supposed to be inescapable in some special way, but, for all that has been said, this may turn out to be merely the reflection of feelings about morality. These are big concerns, and I don’t know how to solve them. But is seems to me to be a misleading sleight of hand to solve them by bestowing a magical power on social rules to provide moral reasons.”

[Tp2] Does Philosophy have a function in society? by Bert Olivier “It hardly requires a genius to realise that today humanity still faces a situation of ‘universal social misery’, despite proponents of the currently hegemonic economic system claiming otherwise — a brief reflection on the provenance of the saying, the 1% versus the 99%, should clarify what is at stake here. This obviously raises the question — at least to socially concerned world citizens – what ought to be, and can be, done to alleviate the present situation. More pertinently for someone like myself, a practitioner of philosophy, is there anything one might expect philosophy to be able to contribute to resolving the persisting conditions of suffering globally?”

[Tp3] Why we all need Stoicism in our lives by Shubham Vyas “Much of philosophy is, therefore, abstract and complicated. It is so divorced from daily life that only a handful of graduate students care about it anymore. It deals with solving pseudo-intellectual problems, but hey, isn’t that what most of academic life is like these days. Philosophy wasn’t always this way, it used to be about helping people live their daily lives and find the appropriate path to follow. That is where Stoicism comes in. Stoic Ethics can be thought of as a means of protecting ourselves from any external adversity that can possibly be thrown our way.”

[Tp4] Philosophy plays a pivotal role in the conversation of artificial intelligence by Mark Sharma “Philosophy is not only useful in our AI conversations due to the ethical dilemmas that surround AI, but also useful in logically proving which concepts can be translated into computer science and mathematical algorithms. The new ways that this technology is being implemented in society is a hot topic of conversation at ASU, where some professors claim that AI is reshaping the world. In addition, students are inadvertently having philosophical conversations alongside scientific ones by discussing how the ethical and legal infrastructures regarding AI are lagging behind.”

[Tp5] Nietzsche’s three steps to a meaningful life: The story of the camel, the lion, and the child by Steven Gambardella “It was in 1882, at that low point in his life?—?increasingly physically and mentally ill and living in virtual isolation in Rapallo, Italy, having been abandoned by Lou Salomé, the woman whom he loved so much, Nietzsche started to write one of the most extraordinary books of the philosophical canon: Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The book is a philosophical novel that chronicles the descent of a wise hermit?—?Zarathustra?—?from his habitation in a mountain to a fictitious land where he dispenses wisdom in a series of themed episodes.”

[Tp6] Modern Man And The Great Spiritual War: Carl Jung, the modern plague and the search for soul by Harry J. Stead “This is what Carl Jung, in the middle of the Twentieth century, called the “spiritual problem”. The problem of the spirit, Jung believed, coincided with the ruin of the individual. It is an issue that persists today, perhaps with more ferocity than in the past. Because with each new decade, the unresolved problems of the past only steepen. We have still to answer the question of how the needs of the individual fit with the needs of the modern industrial machine.”

[Tp7] The Two Types of Knowledge (or How to Be Smart) by Zat Rana “Whether you are learning to play a sport or simply trying to create a more accurate mental model of reality in your mind, you are working with a variety of experiences, and within those experiences, you have to choose and reinforce the ones that are the most useful to you. In this way, everything that you do is essentially an experiment that gets refined and corrected with experience and practice.”

[Tp8] Video: settling the debate over Greek vs German philosophers…

[Tp9] Philosophy of the World by The Shaggs

Oh, the rich people want what the poor people’s got
And the poor people want what the rich people’s got
And the skinny people want what the fat people’s got
And the fat people want what the skinny people’s got

You can never please anybody in this world

The short people want what the tall people’s got
And the tall people want what the short people’s got
The little kids want what the big kid’s got
And the big kids want what the little kid’s got

Oh, the girls with short hair want long hair
And the girls with long hair want short hair
Oh, the boys with cars want motorcycles
And the boys with motorcycles want cars

It doesn’t matter what you do
It doesn’t matter what you say
There will always be
One who wants things the opposite way
It doesn’t matter where you go
It doesn’t matter who you see
There will always be
Someone who disagrees
We do our best
We try to please
But we’re like the rest
We are never at ease

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Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire.

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7 thoughts on “Ordinary World for 29 Oct 2018

  1. The Atlantic’s Ian Bogost comes out against the “Look for the Helpers” meme that gets taken out during any tragedy.

    This paragraph stood out:

    Seen in this context, to extract and deploy “Look for the helpers” as sufficient relief for adults is perverse, if telling. Grown-ups sometimes feel as helpless as children, and on the internet, where this meme mostly proliferates, distressed social-media posts, futile emoji, and forlorn crowdfunding campaigns have taken the place of social and political action. Which isn’t to say that that sort of action is easy to carry out anymore. For a populace grappling with voter suppression, wealth inequality, and the threat of a police state, among other perils, it’s not always clear how citizens can effect change in their communities and their nation. Ironically, when adults cite “Look for the helpers,” they are saying something tragic, not hopeful: Grown-ups now feel so disenfranchised that they implicitly self-identify as young children.

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  2. [Tp5] Interesting that you bring-up Nietzsche here… approvingly? Nietzsche was the topic of conversation over *Hard* Root Beer (!) in front of the fire this past Saturday. We were discussing (possible) changes to some classes elevating Nietzsche to the realm of “religious” thinker given that despite having abandoned philosophy on philosophical grounds his philosophy is (inarguably, IMO) the dominant form of moral reasoning today. Of course, we were discussing it in the context of vaccinating young minds, and placing it in the context outlined in MacIntyre’s Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry. So, ymmv.

    The Hard Root Beer was surprisingly good, though the packaging suggested it might be closer to sassafras spiced mead?

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    • I’m going to need more information about the Hard Root Beer but I’m not sure that we can vaccinate young minds against it now that it is, as you say, the dominant form of moral reasoning today.

      His philosophy and religious thought is now something that needs to be surpassed.

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      • We had the “Big Brother” brand… it was very sweet with a slight malty bitter finish… but mostly sweet, like actual root beer – in fact ice cream would not have been out of the question. The thing it lacked was a really great mouthfeel from a stout… if it had the mouthfeel and the full frothy collar of a stout it would have been an improvement over actual root beer. As it was, it presented a little thin and slightly bitter… more like a flavored porter than lush new thing.

        Surpassing Nietzsche is an interesting way to put it; MacIntyre suggests perhaps subsuming Nietzsche in a greater narrative that exposes the problems of continuity from incontinuity and provides a synthesis of a better genealogy.

        But where MacIntyre was/is difficult for Christians (Thomists) to appreciate was precisely the need to surpass Nietzsche by subsuming him… understanding Narrative lest one becomes just another Narrative.

        But no need to take my inadequate summary, take a peek at Three Rival Versions and see how he puts it. (If you haven’t already).

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