Babies, bathwater, and back to the sacred

The Western Enlightenment, in all its euphoria at Reason’s liberation from old-crock orthodoxies, has thrown some babies out with the bathwater — e.g. perspectives and values that might better serve modern people. Such as? Such as common goals and values that promote individual development and satisfaction within shared senses of community. Such as universal principles by which to judge different cultural, religious and ideological institutions and actions. Rationalistic secular reductionism has been left with merely scientistic measures that seem, at … Read more

Authoritarian, fascistic personalities in need of strict-father figure?  

“The quality of a modern movie is inversely related to the quantity of money available to make it.” (Arguably The Revenant is an exception to this rule.)

demagogueWhatever. Ellie, Leary‘s second wife, soon extended her original natural law to describe political behaviour. She says that in so-called democracies — roughly speaking, systems of government incorporating elected representatives of the population — certain invariant laws and corollaries apply:

* The effectiveness of a political message is inversely related to the … Read more

Hot times: A weather forecast

Forecast: Cloudy times, with a good chance of precipitate moral outrage.

demagogue

chimp angryHere in Bangkok, and just about wherever else in this world you look, the moral warriors are out and about on all sides making angry chimp faces at each other. So what’s new, eh?

In the course of a recent archaeological investigation of my hard drive, I came across the following screed, composed sometime in the mid-1990s, judging by associated potshards of popular culture and carbon 14 dating of … Read more

Traitor, hero or some of each?

Government surveillance is a public service; E. Snowden is a self-serving traitor.

vs.

Government surveillance is evil; E. Snowden is a heroic champion of our individual freedoms and dignity.

xkcd atheists & fundmenalistsMaybe we should adopt a perspective superior to either of those.

The truth may well lie somewhere between two poles. At least if you acknowledge that we conduct healthy societies and polities in the tension between ideals of perfect security and perfect freedom, perfect harmony and a Hobbesian state of … Read more

Pussy hounds, rejoice?

 

Pussy hounds, rejoice! Your behavior may be built into existence almost from the outset. Here is an intriguing New Scientist video clip from a couple of years ago (“‘Intelligent’ oil droplet navigates chemical maze”). Could it be that this pass at sentience even in drops of oil may help to legitimize dick-directed behavior in higher organisms?

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s ‘Crystals, Information and the Origin of Life,’ a recent article from Technology Review that Read more

Inverse relations and natural law (The Gospel According to Ellie)


Bangkok cinemas, some of them, have taken to offering movies in “4D.” Now the moving images are complemented with smells—certain colorful old cinemas, sadly gone now, were way ahead of them on that front. And you might get rumblings in your seat, though these are often now more in sync with events on the screen that the tremblors from street traffic outside used to be. Other effects include fog and drizzle and stuff they originally built cinemas to shield you … Read more

Creative word use, politicians, natural laws

 

In a recent post, “Get your new words while they’re hot,” we looked at neologisms that have appeared in these pages. Read on for more along those lines.

Back in March of this year Bill the Mathematician sent me to the “Church For Christ” site, which quoted Sarah Palin’s now-famous remark:

“We need to take this opportunity to talk about Jesus and rebute these lies and show people they cannot simply seek the truth, but

Read more

Second & third thoughts re. scuba wisdom

This week I’ve been reading On Dialogue, by the late, great physicist-philosopher-neuropsychologist David Bohm. In this book, he presents, among other things, a useful notion he describes as the “proprioception of thought.” I now see that, once again, I’ve reinvented the wheel, though my scuba-wisdom version is pretty primitive compared to Bohm’s.

Never mind that Bill the Mathematician had already asked me how my stop-breathe-think fix differed from counting to ten, an idea that has been around awhile. So here … Read more

Exploding apathetics and the mob rools, OK!

I wouldn’t normally bother commenting on this sort of thing, besides which I gather lots of other people have already expressed horror for a variety of reasons. (Though plenty of others applauded it, and that’s what alarms me.)

I believe exploding people can be funny; and, given the popular taste for gory entertainment, it’s hard to take offense merely on that score. What I do find disquieting is the blithe assumption, at least implicitly, that we’re all on the … Read more

‘Mobs’: Cacophony in C major and A minor

S. Tsow, whom we all recognize as a canny businessman, says the vuvuzela craze will end with this year’s World Cup series.

Ms. Mu (“Pig”), on the other hand, who knows more about “biznet” than Rockefeller and Trump combined, says that is not so. Mainstream support for her claim is to be found in news reports (e.g. this one, and this one) regarding Chinese vuvuzela manufacturers, who are moving millions of these

items, and who plan, before they Read more