254 Matching Annotations
  1. Last 7 days
    1. Godwin wasn’t convinced. Hiscounterargument, neatly summarised by Porter, was that “such a threat would be averted by the simultaneous withering away of sexual desires—a proposal which notoriously reduced Malthus to guffaws.”

      I'd have laughed too, but for the present moment this seems to in fact be the case.

    2. Today, Mr. Machine, as La Mettrie mechanically dubbed himself, finally has his audience.

      Or as he might be termed today, Mr. Robot.

  2. Jan 2021
    1. There is a dimension of personal preference to it. I don't like to expose more than strictly necessary to external consumers, because it makes it harder to track usages. If you find a bind:prop in a consumer, you know prop is used (which you already kind of knew since the prop is part of the "public" API of the component). Done. If you find a bind:this, you now need to track all usages of this this.
  3. Dec 2020
  4. app.getpocket.com app.getpocket.com
    1. ut that’s not how it feels. My brain sees me slightly underperforming and the immediate, visceral sense is: “You’re not good at this, you should stop right now and quit embarrassing yourself.”

      but on the other hand, how do you aware of your flaws without even just a polished, refined hate as a hint or sign for awakening you toward that flaws? maybe see your hate as a signal of something rather than a unrealistic shitty self

    2. Immediately, in the first classes, the overwhelming feeling was, “I hate this.”

      you mistakenly, and lazily, attribute something you don't know as you are shit and derive hate toward a imagined, self-created, inaccuratvily percevied shitty you, no wonder.

    3. Learning, and ultralearning, to me represent the cultivation of these amazing, life-affirming moments. When you get good at something that previously felt impossible for you, your world becomes just a little bit bigger. This expansion of possibility, more than just achieving a goal, is the stuff of happiness itself.

      suceessee is a by product of the cumulative potential possibilities to which you expand and strech yourself by expericening real learning, real happiness, from the moment derived from encountering, embracing and digesting the difficulty when you are learning

    1. It could be argued that the whole philosophy of archaeology is implied in the questions we ask and the form in which we frame them.

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    1. To take one example, I regularly practice philosophy in K-12 schools, working with teachers and students to implement philosophy discussions, activities, and lessons in classrooms

      Basically, the guy wants to teach kids but also be a professional academic researcher. While it's probably true that teaching kids philosophy is a good thing, I don't know why that has to be considered an academic practice. Maybe he should just start his own nonprofit for that stuff?

    2. For example, norms that overwhelmingly prioritize the publication and dissemination of philosophical research as articles in pay-to-read academic journals, although serving an evaluative purpose within the discipline, also reinforce a strong separation between professional philosophers and the public.

      True for advanced study of any kind. [[complexity]]

  5. Nov 2020
    1. first-personal thought and language is irreducible to non-first-personal thought and language, and is essential to the explanation of action

      Is the author implying that, on a 'Referent' and 'Thought and Language' Grid, 'Referent" ("I" as Subject) as a content of the 'Thought and Language' ("My pants are on fire") calls for action enablement. Whereas 'Referent' ("Smith" as Subject) as content of the 'Thought and Language' ("Smith's pants are on fire") is not self-locating, for being non-first personal thought?

      == Two Lines of Thinking == (1) Smith's pants are on fire. He should put it out. (2) Smith's pants are on fire. He should put it out. I am Smith. Therefore, my pants are on fire. Therefore, I should put it out.

      == unless, I come to believe 'I = Smith', only then it calls for action. Unless and until, 'Smith' becomes first-personal in the mind, it is unable to self-locate.

  6. Oct 2020
    1. The total complexity of a system is a constant. If you make a user’s interaction with a system simpler, the complexity behind the scenes increases.

      Why life can't be simpler? (HN)

    1. I see this all around me. People are fixated on careers, hobbies (FOMO), spread thin by family obligations and errands. The truth is, happiness does not derive from these things. This "busyness" is an invention. Life is simple, and happiness actually derives from having cats.

      Why life can't be simpler? :D

    1. It did not have to be this way. But as Trump aptly said of himself and his policy, “It is what it is.” He accepted more disease in hopes of stimulating a stronger economy and winning reelection. He’s waiting now for the return on that bet. As so often in his reckless career, his speculation seems to be that if the bet wins, he pockets the proceeds. And if the bet fails? The losses fall on others.

      A very apt description of Trump's life philosophy. Also a broad perspective at how many Republicans and Libertarians seem to view the world economically: privatizing profits and socializing losses.

    1. anomie

      I feel like this word captures very well the exact era of Trumpian Republicanism in which we find ourselves living.

    1. According to a recent Dutch study, that point of view still holds true today: Protestants and citizens of predominately Protestant countries tend to conflate labor with personal satisfaction more than those of other religious traditions.

      How does this juxtapose with the ideas of indigenous scocieties in James Suzman's article The 300,000-year case for the 15-hour week (Financial Times, 2020-08-27)

    2. Its roots, though, don’t just lie in explicitly Christian tradition. In fact, it’s possible to trace the origins of the American prosperity gospel to the tradition of New Thought, a nineteenth-century spiritual movement popular with decidedly unorthodox thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and William James. Practitioners of New Thought, not all of whom identified as Christian, generally held the divinity of the individual human being and the priority of mind over matter. In other words, if you could correctly channel your mental energy, you could harness its material results. New Thought, also known as the “mind cure,” took many forms: from interest in the occult to splinter-Christian denominations like Christian Science to the development of the “talking cure” at the root of psychotherapy. The upshot of New Thought, though, was the quintessentially American idea that the individual was responsible for his or her own happiness, health, and situation in life, and that applying mental energy in the appropriate direction was sufficient to cure any ills.
    1. Robin brings a helpful name to this problem, by way of the philosopher Timothy Morton: hyperobject. A hyperobject is an entity whose scale is too big, too sprawling for any single person to fully appreciate their scale. Climate change, financial markets, socioeconomic classes, design systems—they’re systems we move through, but their scale dwarfs our own.

      hyperobject

    1. Scholars like Annette Gordon-Reed and Woody Holton have given us a deeper understanding of the ways in which leaders like Thomas Jefferson committed to new ideas of freedom even as they continued to be deeply committed to slavery.

      I've not seen any research that relates the Renaissance ideas of the Great Chain of Being moving into this new era of supposed freedom. In some sense I'm seeing the richest elite whites trying to maintain their own place in a larger hierarchy rather than stronger beliefs in equality and hard work.

    1. This should be a space where you can create the identity that you want to have. You can write yourself into existence.

      I like this sentiment. Had René Descartes been born a bit later might he have said "Blogeō, ergo sum"?


      [also on boffosocko.com]

  7. Sep 2020
    1. Slide 13:

      “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”

      ― Heraclitus

      Of course it’s not the same river — the river, is, what? The water flowing past your feet? The sound that it makes? These things are different at every moment. Our idea of ‘the river’ doesn’t correspond to anything in the real world. Understanding this concept means getting closer to an understanding of reality itself — once you fully absorb the impact of this idea, it changes you, from a person who didn’t have that understanding into one who does.

      And as you bask in your newfound zen-like enlightenment, you discover an almost spiritually calming effect — the world as it is right now is the only thing that matters, not the state of the world as it was yesterday or as it will be tomorrow.


      Slide 39:

      “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”

      ― Heraclitus

      And I think Heraclitus probably understood it all along. There’s a paradox contained in this statement. If the concept of identity over time is meaningless, then what do we mean by ‘it’ and ‘he’?

    1. There are in history what you could call ‘plastic hours,’” the philosopher Gershom Scholem once said. “Namely, crucial moments when it is possible to act. If you move then, something happens.”
  8. Aug 2020
  9. unix.meta.stackexchange.com unix.meta.stackexchange.com
    1. Remember that Unix’s forte (or not, depending on your point of view) has always been that it’s a self-hosted operating system designed to make it easy to develop itself, and the result is (still) that advanced system administration often ends up being programming in one way or another. In such a context, exposure to better tools and techniques is good for everyone.
  10. Jul 2020
    1. Matz, alas, I cannot offer one. You see, Ruby--coding generally--is just a hobby for me. I spend a fair bit of time answering Ruby questions on SO and would have reached for this method on many occasions had it been available. Perhaps readers with development experience (everybody but me?) could reflect on whether this method would have been useful in projects they've worked on.
  11. Jun 2020
    1. l’idea della superiorità dei moderni rispetto agli antichi prevalsa in un’annosa querelle, l’ideale continuità con la rivoluzione scientifica e con la rinascenza, lasciando emergere la caratteristica immagine del trionfo della ragione contro le tenebre del fanatismo e della superstizione, che divenne corrente verso la metà del secolo.

      Il valore della ragione nella filosofia illuminista

  12. May 2020
    1. Pipes are great for taking output of one command and transforming it using other commands like jq. They’re a key part of the Unix philosophy of “small sharp tools”: since commands can be chained together with pipes, each command only needs to do one thing and then hand it off to another command.
    1. pensare non significa necessariamente avere delle idee chiare e oggettive

      finalmente qualcuno che mi capisce

  13. Apr 2020
    1. Competition exists when there is comparison, and comparison does not bring about excellence.

      Disagree. It does once you master the "Inner Game" the way John Galway explains it. Competition then is your ally to find the best version of yourself. To do things you did not think you could because your opponent helped you bring this out of you. And so it is in Aikido and value of a good opponent.

    1. Although widely held, the belief that merit rather than luck determines success or failure in the world is demonstrably false. This is not least because merit itself is, in large part, the result of luck. Talent and the capacity for determined effort, sometimes called ‘grit’, depend a great deal on one’s genetic endowments and upbringing.

      In competitive contexts, many have merit, but few succeed. What separates the two is luck.

      In addition to being false, a growing body of research in psychology and neuroscience suggests that believing in meritocracy makes people more selfish, less self-critical and even more prone to acting in discriminatory ways. Meritocracy is not only wrong; it’s bad.

      Perhaps more disturbing, simply holding meritocracy as a value seems to promote discriminatory behaviour. [Researchers] found that, in companies that explicitly held meritocracy as a core value, managers assigned greater rewards to male employees over female employees with identical performance evaluations. This preference disappeared where meritocracy was not explicitly adopted as a value.

      However, in addition to legitimation, meritocracy also offers flattery. Where success is determined by merit, each win can be viewed as a reflection of one’s own virtue and worth. Meritocracy is the most self-congratulatory of distribution principles.

      Despite the moral assurance and personal flattery that meritocracy offers to the successful, it ought to be abandoned both as a belief about how the world works and as a general social ideal. It’s false, and believing in it encourages selfishness, discrimination and indifference to the plight of the unfortunate.

    1. Why the Golden Rule isn't enough

      Mengzian extension models general moral concern on the natural concern we already have for people close to us, while the Golden Rule models general moral concern on concern for oneself.

      Ilike Mengzian extension better for three reasons. First, Mengzian extension is more psychologically plausible as a model of moral development. People do, naturally, have concern and compassion for others around them. Explicit exhortations aren’t needed to produce this natural concern and compassion, and these natural reactions are likely to be the main seed from which mature moral cognition grows. Our moral reactions to vivid, nearby cases become the bases for more general principles and policies. If you need to reason or analogise your way into concern even for close family members, you’re already in deep moral trouble.

      Second, Mengzian extension is less ambitious – in a good way. The Golden Rule imagines a leap from self-interest to generalised good treatment of others. This might be excellent and helpful advice, perhaps especially for people who are already concerned about others and thinking about how to implement that concern. But Mengzian extension has the advantage of starting the cognitive project much nearer the target, requiring less of a leap. Self-to-other is a huge moral and ontological divide. Family-to-neighbour, neighbour-to-fellow citizen – that’s much less of a divide.

      Third, you can turn Mengzian extension back on yourself, if you are one of those people who has trouble standing up for your own interests – if you’re the type of person who is excessively hard on yourself or who tends to defer a bit too much to others. You would want to stand up for your loved ones and help them flourish. Apply Mengzian extension, and offer the same kindness to yourself. If you’d want your father to be able to take a vacation, realise that you probably deserve a vacation too. If you wouldn’t want your sister to be insulted by her spouse in public, realise that you too shouldn’t have to suffer that indignity.

    1. Over the years, many people have said "well, the data is public anyway by virtue of it having been breached, what's the problem if you now store the password in your system?" Here's the philosophical problem I have with that:
  14. Mar 2020
    1. Historically, the communitarian bases of the American legal system supported the subordination of individual rights when necessary for the preservation of common good. Quarantine measures were subjected to a deferential review supporting the states' right to substantially limit individual rights for the community's benefit.
    2. The legal principles employed to sustain state public health police power were sic utere tuo ut alterum non laedas (use that which is yours so as not to injure others) and salus publica suprema lex est (public well-being is the supreme law).12 The principle of sic utere describes the power of the state to prevent or prohibit “the use of private property or the commission of private acts in a manner harmful to others.”15 The principle of salus publica, on the other hand, recognizes police power as a means to “prevent or avoid public harm even if the action has not harmed others.
    3. communitarian philosophy underlying this approach was carried into later judicial holdings, further consolidating states' exercise of public health police power.

      "Communitarian"

  15. Jan 2020
  16. Dec 2019
    1. should reject the influence of both liberal capitalism and communism, ideas that inspired the revolutionary slogan "Neither East, nor West – Islamic Republic!"

      In a post cold-war world, viewed in increasing binaries of left and right winds be it social liberal - conservative or socialist-capitalist tendancies, it seems incomprehensible as to how one can reject both USA's and Soviet's socio-economic models. I'm curious to know how they organize their economy in this case.

      One part why the western world hates the Islamic revolution might be their lack of understanding about this exact phrase, other than the fact that Iran became a theocracy.

    1. “Electricity;”

      Like the air-pump, recent experiments with electricity also fascinate Victor even while he reaches for a non-modern "system" that would be antithetical to empirical scientific reason. See Iwan Morus, Frankenstein's Children: Electricity, Exhibition, and Experiment in Early Nineteenth Century London (Princeton UP, 1998).

    2. I had heard of some discoveries having been made by an English philosopher

      It is unclear who this English philosopher might have been, though it might be a reference to Erasmus Darwin, who Percy Shelley cites in the novel's introduction.

    3. WILLIAM GODWIN,

      William Godwin was Mary Godwin's father, the leading radical political philosopher of the Romantic period. A prolific writer, Godwin was known primarily for his political works, most notably Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness (1793), but also for the novel Things as They Are; or, The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) and the biography of his late wife Mary Wollstonecraft, Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1798), an early example of biography.

    4. Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate

      Not called "science" until the mid-nineteenth century, "natural philosophy" was science in the tradition of England's Royal Society (begun 1660), with its emphasis on Baconian induction, careful experiment, and refusal of any older science that could not be proven and demonstrated in a laboratory.

    5. Albertus Magnus

      Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) was also the teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas. He is often praised for his rejection of dogmatic philosophy and his stress on experimentation. Many books, including the Little Book on Alchemy, were falsely attributed to Magnus but likely written by Paracelsus.

    6. I am by birth a Genevese

      Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Victor is a potential hero insofar as he embodies the "republican" virtues of Europe's only country, much admired by the Shelleys, which did not have a hereditary monarchy. By making Geneva so central to the novel's cultural geography, Mary Shelley also designates the relation between Victor's ambition and Jean Jacques Rousseau's world-making ambition in Discourse on Inequality (1754) among other works.

    7. Seneca

      identify

    8. would owe their being to me

      Victor appears so engrossed in his creation that he forgets his discoveries are predicated on the previous research of scientists and natural philosophers. He fails to acknowledge that he "stands on the shoulders of giants," to use the phrase from Sir Issac Newton (1642-1726), including his teachers, a shortcoming indicative of pride of ownership.

    9. air-pump

      An essential instrument for scientific experiments on gases, the first entirely successful air-pump was created for Robert Boyle's experiments at the Royal Society in 1661. Victor's enthusiasm for a modern scientific instrument counterbalances his attraction to magic and pre-modern philosophy. For the broader significance of this invention, see Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air Pump (Princeton University Press,1985).

    10. a course of lectures upon natural philosophy

      Far more than printed books, attendance at lectures on natural philosophy instructed thousands of eighteenth-century students of the sciences. Mary Shelley indirectly refers the reader to the vastly popular London lectures on the sciences to which audiences had been flocking since Humphry Davy's inaugural lecture in 1802. Anne Mellor has persuasively argued that Davy was a partial model for the character of Victor in this novel. [Anne Mellor, Mary Shelley: Her Life, Her Fiction, Her Monsters (Routledge, 1989) pp. 91-103)]

    1. Dr. Darwin

      Shelley refers to Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), the polymath poet, inventor, and scientist who controversially speculated on the materialist idea of life's origins in matter.

    1. 'The object of the Society shall be to end the exploitation of animals by man"; and 'The word veganism shall mean the doctrine that man should live without exploiting animals."

      First philosophical definition of veganism.

    1. Step 1. Get comfortable. Get a pen.

      Step 2. Four questions before you read and during. Goal to find answer.

      2:26 Q1. What's the point? (Vad diskuteras?)

      i.e.: What is the issue or question that drives this book? What area is it in? Why is being written?

      2:30 Q2 Why did they bother? (Varför diskuteras det?)

      i.e. Motivation. What do they want to you think or believe?

      2:49 Q3 What are they trying to prove? (Vad försöker de övertyga dig om?)

      i.e. Thesis. What they are trying to convince you to believe, what they are trying to get you to share.

      2:55 Q4 How are they trying to prove it? (Hur försöker de övertyga dig om det?)

      i.e. Evidence, arguments in favor

      Step 3. Interrogate the text.

      Detective looking for clues, find answer to the four questions

      • Read blurb
      • Read inside jacket copy or back cover
      • First and last paragraph of the book
      • First and last paragraph of each chapter
      • First and last paragraph of the section working on for current day/week
      • Review what you have found: What should you expect to find when you study this further?

      Step 4. Fast read.

      Overall movement and architecture of work.

      Mark with pen. Draw horizontal line at break in text, e.g. when author says that "Now we are finished with this question."

      5:15 Step 5. Slow, careful read.

      Go through text paragraph by paragraph, annotate with pen, trying to find answers to the four questions.

      Annotate:

      • Structural clues: introduction, thesis, outline of the argument
      • Write numbers in the margins.
      • Mark key passages. Write a descriptive word or two next to each paragraph for future reference. If unable write a question mark and go on.
      • Question marks in margin when confused and point out what confuses you (e.g. by circling och underlining words).

      7:14 Step 6. Write a short summary.

      10 minutes after finished reading. Do not postpone.

      In book or on sticky note.

    1. People cannot see exhaustive documentation and code examples on their own file system. They would have to visit the repository (which also requires an internet connection).
    2. Some people exist in the school-of-thought where if you cannot express at least minimum viable functionality in your Readme, your module is too big.
  17. Nov 2019
    1. Reactabular has been designed to be extensible. Rather than implementing a lot of functionality in its core, it provides extension points. You can, for instance, customize rendering on cell level. It is possible to implement functionality, such as search, pagination, sorting, and inline editing, through composition.
    1. It seems to me that this failure of the economists to guide policy more successfully is closely connected with their propensity to imitate as closely as possible the procedures of the brilliantly successful physical sciences – an attempt which in our field may lead to outright error. It is an approach which has come to be described as the “scientistic” attitude – an attitude which, as I defined it some thirty years ago, “is decidedly unscientific in the true sense of the word, since it involves a mechanical and uncritical application of habits of thought to fields different from those in which they have been formed.”1
    1. An understanding of adult learning theories (ie, andragogy) in healthcare professional education programs is important for several reasons.

      The author of this article articulates the instrumental learning theories in the healthcare industry. The information provided is more like a speedy way for students and healthcare providers to understand the learning theories. Rating: 4/5

  18. Oct 2019
    1. Styling a Reach component feels similar to styling any native element. There are no themes and you don't have to prescribe to any specific approach to styling. There are some basic styles to make the components usable off-the-shelf, but you can override and add to them with stylesheets, styled components, emotion, glamor, whatever you want.
    1. “A man alone in the world would be paralyzed by … the vanity of all of his goals. But man is not alone in the world” (Pyrrhus and Cinéas, 42).
  19. Sep 2019
  20. Aug 2019
    1. “I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. so I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.” — Warren Buffett
    2. Just be mindful about improving yourself. Here are some simple ways to do it: Mind: read a book (even if it’s just one page a day), journal, come up with ideas. Body: exercise (even if it’s just for 7 minutes), eat good food, drink plenty of water, get a good night’s sleep. Spirit: pray (it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not) or just says ‘thanks’, be kind to people, write a gratitude list.
    1. See the 1955 publication Speak Truth to Power: A Quaker Search for an Alternative to Violence, published by the American Friends Service Committee, http://quaker.org/legacy/sttp.html.

      Quaker principle "speak truth to power."

  21. Jul 2019
    1. Jane Bennett’s assemblages

      It means a collection of things (human or not) that relate to each other and do things. For example, guns don't kill people, nor does people kill people. (Gun + people) kill people.

  22. Jun 2019
    1. So many people today – and even professional scientists – seem to me like somebody who has seen thousands of trees but has never seen a forest. A knowledge of the historic and philosophical background gives that kind of independence from prejudices of his generation from which most scientists are suffering.

      a nice way to put it

    1. total jerks. As the leader of a popular OSS project, in one way or the other you’ll have to confront with these people, and that’s maybe one of the most stressful things I ever did in the course of the Redis development.

      what's the way to shield yourself from that? This is stresfull mostly because this is not who he (or I) is... i.e. person equipped to deal with this kind of relations

  23. May 2019
    1. Our focus is on distinctive taste and aroma using local ingredients as much as possible. Our commitment is to make beer that is consistently high quality and appealing to the senses.
    1. "bring people as close to the brewing process as possible"

      transparency

    2. Yellow Dog Brewing is a family-run brewery focused on producing high quality locally crafted beer for everyone to enjoy.
    1. New Level Brewing bends the rules of the style guidelines to create bold beers that are just a bit different from what you may have had before. They may not obey the Rhineheitsgebot, but they refuse to compromise the quality of their beer or to release anything that they don’t love.
  24. Apr 2019
    1. From an economic point of view, this must be one of the oddest projects in the world.. No net gain in floor space for a billion dollar plus privately funded project. This projects exists in one of the most individual economic circumstances in the world. That the CIty of Sydney was unwilling to bend their ridiculous morning Solar Access Plane into Macquarie Park and allow a new tower on Loftus St, leading to this ridiculous FSR swap and wasteful construction... Madness. City of Sydney is the *definition* of champagne socialists. They are too rich, and have too much control over *our* CBD, for a Sydney of 5 million people, not their 250,000 inner city residents.

      Naughty naughty.

    1. I mean look down at Sydney. They’ve shut down chunks of that city like a frozen laptop.”

      Yes! Best description ever.

    1. Hedgehog & Fox You have emphasized ethical action, but a worry I always have about traditions which emphasize renunciation and detachment is what that means for politics and political engagement and the ability to effect any change. Now, both traditions would say the world is so far from perfect and everything is so impermanent that we’re never going to achieve a perfect political state of being. But is there a danger that if we’re attending too much to this kind of advice that we may just think all sorts of wrongs will go unrighted. Can you say something about how you see going beyond the ethical into a more political arena? Antonia Macaro Again, it’s a difficult one. Definitely there’s a tension in both traditions between detachment and action. The Stoics did have an ‘action streak’, as it were, which was about fulfilling your duties and doing what you could, given the circumstances you were in. But yes, it is definitely a tension and maybe this is the sense in which maybe I’m a bit more of an Aristotelian. I think in the end it’s the Serenity Prayer, which is about having the courage to change things that you can change and the serenity to accept the ones that you can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference, which is actually very hard to do. But I think it’s certainly worth trying to change things in the world that you think is possible to change, maybe sometimes even if you don’t think it’s possible to change. Some things may be worth fighting for anyway. It’s a question of finding a balance between that and not getting too attached to things. I suspect that that balance may be a personal, individual choice.
    2. Hedgehog & Fox One point you make a number of times in the book is that our understanding of the mind and the brain, our processes, what’s actually going on beneath the surface, our understanding of that has changed radically. Not just from two-and-a-half thousand years ago but in the last ten years, five years. How recuperable do you think therefore the kind of wisdom traditions are within a framework where we have a very different understanding from they did of how the human mind works? Antonia Macaro Yes, that’s quite a difficult one because especially the Stoics put a lot of emphasis on only thing we can control being our moral choice. Hedgehog & Fox And rationality is well to the fore, isn’t it? Antonia Macaro Yes, yes, exactly. So I certainly think they were wrong in that, in the sense that we are told that a lot of our functioning is unconscious and that we don’t even know our motivation very well; sometimes we act thinking that we are acting for one reason and in fact we’re acting for a completely different reason. There are a lot of studies in social psychology that show that. So I certainly think we shouldn’t overemphasize those abilities because we need to be aware of the fact that we don’t really understand ourselves. But on the other hand, they are good aims to have, to be rational. That is a very good aim to have. It’s true that we have probably more choice on our reactions to things and the way we act than on actual things that happen in the world. So in that sense I think they were correct. So it’s good to remind ourselves of that, because we do get very worked up about how things go for us in the world and a lot of the time it’s good to remind ourselves that we don’t have any control on on that, so focusing more on our reaction. I think it’s good as an inspiration and as a kind of ideal, but not in that extreme way that they were they were saying.
    3. Hedgehog & Fox In your final chapter you distil some of the wisdom which you think is applicable in a secular context. How did you go about doing that? Were the things you ended up with things which you have personally found useful in those traditions? Antonia Macaro Yes, I think I just approached it in that way, just looking at things that I found useful. We haven’t talked yet about the ideal of equanimity, which was quite important for both of them, although it was tempered by compassion, there is a bit of a tension between equanimity and compassion in both traditions. But equanimity is an important ideal and I personally don’t think that pure equanimity is a realistic goal. I’m not entirely sure it would be a really good goal, because it would mean in a way that we’re too detached from certain things that give life meaning, like personal relationships and other things. But I think we can certainly do with a bit more equanimity, so some of the things that I have there are things that maybe aim to put things in perspective. That’s an important thing to do, although I am a bit suspicious of chasing states of mind because they come and go. And I don’t think that they’re the things that really matter. But yes, we could be a little bit more detached and a little bit more tranquil and that would be a good thing. So some of the things I have in there probably have that aim. And there are some thoughts about how to deal with with people, which again is an interesting one because for the Stoics, for example, you had to be realistic about what you were going to encounter in your daily life and people can be very annoying. So there are quite a lot of really nice quotations about that. But at the same time there is the thing of being compassionate and understanding that everybody has flaws and trying to understand that people act badly because they don’t understand things and that’s the same for us and it’s the same for everybody else. So there’s a lot about trying to be compassionate.
    4. Hedgehog & Fox Because certain of the ancient writers you quote, if you were to apply them strictly, the level of radical detachment would be quite hard core. You quote Bernard Williams calling Stoicism ‘lethal high-mindedness’. It would be quite a strong prescription, wouldn’t it, hardcore Stoicism? Antonia Macaro I think a lot of people who consider themselves Stoics probably aren’t quite. Obviously people do adapt it in modern life, but I’m not sure that they’d even be considered Stoics. I can’t remember the exact quotation but Epictetus does say that a lot of his students, a lot of the people studying Stoicism, if they really examined themselves would find that they are maybe Aristotelians or Epicureans, but not really Stoics, because Stoicism is very, very extreme and I don’t think that many people really live like that. I personally don’t think that it would be necessarily a good thing to be that extreme, so it’s always a modified Stoicism that I advocate. Hedgehog & Fox And maybe even the Stoics were modified Stoics. I did smile when Epictetus was suggesting you shouldn’t have more than you need to eat, and you shouldn’t have a bigger house than you need, and you shouldn’t have more slaves than you need! And then you’ve got Seneca, a very wealthy man wrestling and not quite resolving his problems [with wealth], and I thought maybe there’s a little difficulty there even with the early practitioners of Stoicism applying it rigidly. Antonia Macaro Yes, I definitely think that’s true; maybe some more than others. I don’t really know what Epictetus was like in his daily life. He’s certainly quite extreme in what he says. In fact, if you read Seneca’s letters, there are some things that are more Epicurean than than Stoic. So he was a much more rounded individual and had, as you say, his fair share of dilemmas about how attached he should be to wealth and material comforts.
    5. Hedgehog & Fox Tell me about your title, More than Happiness, because the casual observer might think you are aiming at some greater state of bliss. But tell me what in fact you’re pointing to there. Antonia Macaro It’s about what I just said really, that when we look at the wisdom of these traditions, we shouldn’t really aim just at happiness, we shouldn’t focus on happiness all the time anyway. Hedgehog & Fox Because we miss it because it’s a byproduct rather than a target. Antonia Macaro Yes, for a start it’s counterproductive; it raises our expectations about what things should be like in the world and they’re not going to be like that. So the higher our expectations, in a way, the less happy we’ll be, so it’s not a good thing to aim for. And also it’s quite self-centred, just thinking about being happier; we should think more about how we are in the world and how we act towards other people and so on.
    6. Both traditions say that the real joy that we can get isn’t from things going well in the world, because that’s quite unreliable; it’s from things like thinking clearly about things, accepting things the way they really are, and acting ethically. Doing the right things. That is the way to be happier, not relying on the world giving us what we want, because a lot of the time it doesn’t.
    1. Meaning of life?Love and meaningful work.What makes work meaningful?When you apply your unique abilities to something you regard as worthwhile – especially if you know that no one else would have done it in quite the same way.Wait. Can I have 40 more years to work on my answer?
    2. What do you do in your spare time?Hang out with family, walk and hike, play piano, read speculative fiction and popular non-fiction (esp. history, psychology, technology, and cosmology).
    1. Have to agree had a walk around here recently and I'm not impressed by any of the buildings going up around the square. The FJMT tower and low rise buildings are a jumbled mess, pretty ugly actually. The Mirvac buildings are not much better. The library just looks like an entrance to a train station and makes no sense being underground with it's commercially clad fly tower or whatever it is? It's entrance is cramped with a cafe blocking access to the steps. Why build a grand space only for it to be cluttered? I just felt the place felt like no lesson's have been learnt. Hopefully some better designs will be constructed in Green squares evolution but it's certainly not an exercise in good city planning and the architecture is certainly not groundbreaking harmonious or pleasing on the eye.

      Largely agree. It's all very controlled, with a bit of decent archi. But it certainly doesn't feel 'real', tactile.. like there is any ownership. It belongs to ritzy people, ritzy gov, and ritzy gov-corporate relationships. Yerp.

  25. Mar 2019
    1. 1 Maman died today. Or yesterday maybe, I don't know. I got a telegram from the home: "Mother deceased. Funeral tomorrow. Faithfully yours." That doesn't mean anything. Maybe it was yesterday

      Spoken by Mersault’, the novels narrator. He shows no remorse that his mother died. By him saying "that does not mean anything" in the reading introduces the idea of meaninglessness of human existence. Albert Camus moral philosophy.

    1. Thanks, SM. I, too, want to emphasise that there are excellent philosophers who are outside the academic system. Publishing in journals, working in a university, etc., is only one way to philosophise; it has many advantages, most obviously that of providing a social and material infrastructure for enquiry. But there are other ways to philosophise, too!
    2. Saying what makes a good philosopher is complex and always arouses disagreement, not least since the characteristics of a good philosopher depend a lot on what one considers to be the aims of philosophising, and those are highly plural. The ancient Indian philosophies regarded metaphysical theorising as crucial to the ‘liberation’ of humans from the ‘wheel of suffering’, a conviction largely rejected by classical Chinese philosophers, for whom abstract theory was a distraction from the spontaneity characteristic of a properly ‘harmonious’ life, something apt to be threatened by self-indulgent ‘cleverness’. Within modern academic philosophy, one finds many different conceptions of the aims of philosophy, ranging from the modest to the momentous. Common candidates may include advancing social justice, enhancing scientific enquiry, informing public policy, or the solution of local intellectual problems or, at the other end, the development of ‘big picture’ accounts of life, the universe, and everything.
    3. Second, success in being good at philosophy often requires a very different set of epistemic, practical, and interpersonal competences, many of which are often classified as vices. ‘Playing the game’, in terms of institutional and disciplinary politics, typically rewards traits such as aggressive ambition, insincerity, and self-interestedness. Not always, for sure, but to play that game is to step into an arena with ever-finer lines between legitimate self-interest, pragmatic acquiescence, and more Machiavellian traits.
    4. A person can be good at this thing called philosophy without also being good at this thing called academic philosophy, which is one historically recent, institutionalised form taken by philosophy. Think of how differently philosophy is conceived and practiced in a medieval Christian monastery, a Zen Buddhist temple, or a 21st century British university.
    1. the most important secret in magic is that most people believe there’s a safe somewhere that contains all the magic secrets that’s heavily guarded and carefully locked. The biggest secret magicians have to keep is that that safe is empty.
    2. In Tim’s Vermeer, our friend Tim Jenison believes that he has discovered the method by which Vermeer got such photo-realistic effects. Knowing that does not in any way diminish my astonishment at looking at a Vermeer painting. Alexander Pope wrote, “A little learning is a dangerous thing/ drink deep, or not taste the Pierian spring.” He’s talking about exactly that. A little learning can spoil magic. A lot of learning enhances it.
    3. Magicians get into magic because they’re seduced by the feeling of amazement. The ironic thing is, the deeper they dive into magic, the less often they get fooled. That seems immeasurably cruel.The deeper you get into magic, the more profound your amazement becomes. There’s an intermediary stage where you go, “Oh, is that all there is? It was just a thread?” And then when you work with a thread for four years, and you work out what must exactly be done to make that thread into something that is profound and difficult to imagine could be the cause of whatever it is you’re doing to it, you veer right into a different kind of amazement. It’s the amazement of the knowledgeable person. It’s the amazement of the astronomer who has studied everything about the stars that is available, and who sees and understands the mechanisms that we know about, but is able to appreciate how mysterious it all is in the larger picture.
  26. Feb 2019
    1. Our culture has evolved means for us to organize the little things we can do with our basic capabilities so that we can derive comprehension from truly complex situations, and accomplish the processes of deriving and implementing problem solutions.

      Small steps are how we make progress through complexity: these small steps are converted into processes and our tools enhance the processes.

    1. Especially helpful to Astell were the arguments of Descartes that extensive classical learning, from which women had been largely excluded. was not necessary to a vibrant intellectual life: All people were innately capable of reason. the key men· tal activity

      Aaaaaand here is where de Pizan would probably give her a high-five.

      More seriously, Christine de Pizan did something very similar to what I think Astell has done. They both seem to take the philosophical arguments made by famous male philosophers that were used against them/their sex/gender and instead make those philosophical arguments work with and for them/their sex/gender. Astell also seems to do this with religion.