58 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2020
    1. The plague arrived in Naples in the spring of 1656 — along with a transport of soldiers from Sardinia.

      Interesting how those regions the harbours were like the airports of today. See below for how it got to Rome via ships also.

  2. Aug 2020
    1. They are generative processes which are defined by sets of instructions that produce or generate designs.

      fractals

    2. "structure-preserving transformations,"

      i.e., refactorings

  3. Apr 2020
    1. Some insightful thoughts, but also a good bit of empty rethoric and totalist/black-and-white thinking. If he'd reign that in, much less of his larger sweeping claims would find footing. War-against-war, control is bad acceptance good, etc.

      No dicussion of the parallel and quite striking phenomenon of infodemics. I find his "generous" tolerance of conspiracy theories dangerous and intellectually dishonest.

    2. “Novel coronavirus pandemic” means “a new coronation for all.”

      Umm, ok. Slightly cheesy, but ok :)

    3. Fear

      fear is also normal and healthy to some degree

    4. There is an alternative to the germ theory of disease that holds germs to be part of a larger process

      careful here... there's an alternative to the theory of evolution too...

      as if modern science doesn't recognize predispositions. as if there's only one cause. as if this is about "blame".

    5. the danger is that we lose ourselves in an endless succession of short terms, fighting one infectious disease after another

      not really?!?

    6. war inevitably breeds more war

      This is basically "war on war". Absolutist black-or-white thinking ultimately undermines itself...

    7. War-on-germs thinking brings results akin to those of the War on Terror, War on Crime, War on Weeds, and the endless wars we fight politically and interpersonally.

      True. To some degree.

    8. air pollution increases risk of dying by 6%

      Yeah and thanks to the self-isolation measures, we have less of that - haleluyah!

    9. After thousands of years, millions of years, of touch, contact, and togetherness, is the pinnacle of human progress to be that we cease such activities because they are too risky?

      Yeah, nope.

    10. Partially relaxed, but at the ready

      Which is a good thing. Partly because they've gone through recent epidemics, societies like South Korea could weather this event with much less disruption in the long run.

    11. Similar to 9/11, Covid-19 trumps all objections.

      Does it though?

    12. No more dance classes, no more karate classes, no more conferences, no more churches

      I find this kind of rethoric empty.

    13. shall we choose to live in a society without hugs, handshakes, and high-fives, forever more

      I don't think anyone is suggesting this. We've been through pandemics before and we've always returned to normal. Why would this time be different?

    14. just as the state of emergency declared after 9/11 is still in effect today

      But is it really? In any substantial way? Or is it just remnants of those measures? But yes, how much protective measures should we keep around is a question we'll have to answer, once more information will be available.

    15. It is not hard to imagine that new viruses will emerge during that time

      What? It's hard for me to imagine that. Two viruses in quick succession? And catching on at a time we're actually with our defences up? That really would make me suspicious.

    16. Remember, death is no ending. Death is going home.

      Some would say there's a good amount of death denial in this view also.

    17. is not much in today’s medical vocabulary

      But it is growing in awareness. Death counseling and the like.

    18. (if they could) intubate someone to prolong their life. “Of course not,” she said.

      Umm, surely this needs some nuancing?!

    19. Or I might ask, Would I decree the end of human hugging and handshakes, if it would save my own life

      What? Of course not. How is this relevant? We already correctly established before that the line cuts differently for different people, what more does this line of argument add to that?

    20. Different people will have different opinions on that, according to their underlying values.

      True. That's why we should make these decisions collectively. And the best way we have to do that, as imperfect as they are, is via democratically elected goverments, and maybe referendums.

    21. the inhuman utilitarian thinking that turns people into statistics and sacrifices some of them for something else

      Huh?

    22. I say that both to those who embrace the dominant narrative, as well as to those who hew to dissenting ones. What information might we be blocking out, in order to maintain the integrity of our viewpoints? Let’s be humble in our beliefs: it is a matter of life and death.

      This all seems very peaceable and humble. I wonder if this would have been the advice also bunch of centuries ago when the Black Death was making the rounds and the rumours likewise, in Strassbourg and other cities inciting hate against the bankers and Jews, held responsible for that inexplicable plague. "Let's be humble: we don't know whether it was the Jews or not, let's keep an open mind, etc."...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_persecutions_during_the_Black_Death

    23. as opposed to small-scale traditional cultures

      Is that really true? Or is it only that modern societies have much more power of control compared to earlier ones. In other words, isn't it really a logical outcome of a trend that was already there? That initially was useful but lately has become too powerful and destabilizing?

    24. Unlike so many of our other fears, Covid-19 offers a plan.

      We could come up with plans for these problems too, if we'd perceive them as equally (or more) threatening - which, indeed, longer term they very well we might be. This line of reasoning is undermining the argument given in the beginning, that now we've discovered our capacity to act, we might want to rally it towards other problems, like the ones listed in this paragraph.

    25. The answer is revealing. Simply, in the face of world hunger, addiction, autoimmunity, suicide, or ecological collapse, we as a society do not know what to do.

      What? The question has already been answered above: societies have acted because of the very real threat of their medical systems being overwhelmed. None of the other problems present such an urgent threat so they aren't given the same precedence.

  4. Mar 2020
    1. The difference for me is that there is this deep, underlying sense of well-being and freedom, a lack of self-consciousness.

      And yet, the article remarked how he was fidgety and a bit uncomfortable in the beginning of the interview.

    2. In fact, I couldn’t care less about how I feel.

      Really?...

    3. That’s part of being enlightened, I think: you’re open to the suffering around you.

      oh, common...

  5. Feb 2020
    1. The farther you get from that iPhone glow, the clearer it becomes: Our civilization has entered into decadence.

      This assumes no big positives coming from this new relation of man with technology. Big assumption.

    2. What if the meltdown at the Iowa caucuses, an antique system undone by pseudo-innovation and incompetence, was much more emblematic of our age than any great catastrophe or breakthrough?

      For fellow programmers and the technically inclined, here's an article on how software technology has been regressing, in some very real and disappointing ways - over the last decade(s): https://tonsky.me/blog/disenchantment/

    1. Psychopaths respond normally to direct threats, such as an image of the gaping jaw of a shark or a striking snake, but not to social threats, such as people in pain or distress.

      This seems to slightly contradict the above statement that psychopaths feel less fear overall, and "this insensitivity extends to social threats, such as angry faces."

    1. not the children we are

      Here again, that insincere "we"...

    2. You can't commit terrible atrocities, especially against Native Americans, and expect them to go away. The earth remembers.

      What, like Mongolia didn't experience it's fair share of human-caused horror?! How is it even possible to miss this, when genocide is one of the main things the historic Mongolians are associated with in the mind of the Westerner at least? The mind boggles.

    3. This is quite a tragedy because there are still many teenagers who go to college to find wisdom and in exchange for their sincerity are given nothing but complications and evasions and all kinds of pretentious ignorance.

      The arrogance!

    4. Scholars and others might like to object, but there's no point in arguing.

      Yes, sir.

    5. I was sitting one afternoon on the lawn of my college, alongside King's College Chapel. There were other people around and suddenly she was just there: an incredibly glorious divine, feminine being. Nobody else could see her but she introduced herself to me, told me who she was. And what moved me more than anything was when she showed me that all the extraordinary human intelligence emanating from Cambridge University over the centuries was simply a blossoming, an expression, of her own divine intelligence.

      Nobody else could see her - so it was a dream, or something similar: a psychedelic trip, a psychotic episode... no??

    6. And the older we become, the harder it gets to look back and accept that perhaps we tricked ourselves for most of our life into avoiding what's most real.

      I wonder if this applies to the speaker too? Nah... probably not.

    7. So many spiritual seekers end up spending their whole lives carefully skirting around the depths of themselves.

      Unlike PK here, evidently.

    8. The purifiers will come.

      Ok, again. Cower before the great purifiers!

    9. It's murder.

      Nah, I doubt it. There are plenty of people who are a-ok with not having "a purpose" and there's nothing wrong with them.

    10. strange-sounding possibility not just that a part of us is in contact with life, but that there's a part of us that is life.

      What's strange-sounding about that?? We are part of the biosphere - being born, living and dying like all other living things. This really is a platitude, but that doesn't mean that it cannot be a legitimate source of wonder. But that's true of most platitudes. It's just that he's only gesturing towards that deeper meaning, not actually bringing it to light. It's a bit like a stoner going: "duuudee... i just realized: 'life is live'!... that's profound.... duuuudee..."

    11. The reality is that aside from the rhetoric we are probably even more confused now

      Yes indeed. We don't really know. The Reality is that Probably.

    12. It's simply fiddling with the mystery of life without any understanding or real awareness of what's involved. To suppose we now know what life is: this is like an art thief fantasizing about being on the level of the greatest painters.

      Agreed. But it's also true we are expanding our understanding of life in the process. Still, I tend to believe the phenomenon of life is infinite in it's expression and complexity, and since the models and descriptions we build are finite, the latter are always going to be insignificant in rapport with what's left out, but if that's so, it's also always going to be the case.

    13. people with spiritual tendencies will be tempted by all sorts of self-important stories

      Look who's talking!

    14. Mongols were intimately involved and implicated in Western civilization from the beginning.

      And what, the Dacians weren't? - Ask any dacoman from Romania and you'll get an earful. Similar to other cultures - whether Albanian ancestors, Slavs, Celts... Isn't it, and hasn't it always been one global cultural economy in the end?

    15. I'm talking about the same sort of intelligence that will have birds migrating amazing distances, for tens of thousands of miles. This is natural intelligence. This is the intelligence of life on earth. And this is also the intelligence of life on earth that will bring a civilization like our own into existence.

      I particularly like and resonate with this part. Human civilization is part of the larger cycles of nature. Of course, it appears that it's lost it's way in our day, and this is also PK's view, but I'm not entirely convinced of even that. That's why I don't like his labeling our culture as "corrupt" for example. Maybe it is, but I feel it's a bit arrogant to make that evaluation.

    16. How did you discover that?

      What? Surely this is an old and in our day and age, somewhat obvious idea. Noica was talking about Goethe as the intitiator of organicism.

    17. this ties in to the reduced view we have in the West of what's true and real.

      Yeah, ever since that Freud guy started to question all of our motives. And that Einstein dude pulled the rug from under our s(t)olid Newtonian time-space. And it didn't stop there, this assault on our good old-fashioned values. No, siree!...

    18. I went through many experiences, taking tremendous risks to touch the unknown because I wanted at all costs to come directly into contact with life. On the other hand it became painfully obvious to me just how far out of their way all the people I knew or met would go, regardless of age, just for the sake of avoiding what's real in life. 

      Doesn't this sound a tad conceited??

    19. My parents would give me some answer, but it never made sense.

      What, stuff like "the earth only seems to be still & solid, but in fact it races around the sun and is continuously morphing"?

    20. I know in my deepest gut, as well as having found the external evidence for it.

      I personally don't know this in my deepest gut. I would like to see some of that evidence.

    21. if there's no reality underlying all our apparently different realities, how can there be any communication? How can there be anything at all?

      Good questions. What I don't like is that he seems to imply nobody has really considered them before.

    22. This is the modern idea.

      I would say it's a postmodern idea. And just because one is aware of this idea floating around in the noosphere, doesn't mean one has processed it's implications. How familiar is PK with postmodern philosophy. Did he ever take it seriously enough to try to understand it? I suspect not.

    23. we think we're smart if we make a mockery of them

      This I perceive as simply disingenuous. He says "we", but he doesn't mean himself truly, does he? I, for one, object to being included in the subject of this sentence.

    24. It's very easy just to play around with facts on the day-to-day level and imagine they represent some real knowledge without pausing to pay attention to the broader context of our experience. What happens to us when we go to sleep? Where do we go? What is our consciousness? And if we're going to reduce consciousness to brain phenomena, what are we doing? Is making consciousness into just another fact, one more object for us to study and track down with our consciousness, really getting us anywhere?

      True, but it's also true that those who put all their conceptual eggs in the scientific worldview basket have some well-defended answers to these questions. See the philosopher Daniel Dennett, for example. Not that I agree with him, but these are difficult philosophical questions, not easily settled. There's a whole field of consciousness studies that probably has interesting things to say about these questions.