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The Gospel of Wealth by Jim Chaffee

In economics, education, government, North America, politics, society on March 21, 2013 at 12:49

From: The Gospel of Wealth: towards a new generation of American consumership by Jim Chaffee, nthposition online magazine, http://www.nthposition.com

Economics and Finance for the American Way of Life is a textbook for a mandatory full year Texas public school course at the end of middle school. It was deemed necessary at this level because this is the age when students take their place among the ranks of their adult peers as consumers, with credit cards and cell phones and online shopping and as soon to be de facto owners of automobiles. Furthermore, fully thirty percent of the students in Texas will not advance beyond this level of education.

As this implies, The Economy is the center of the text. Each nation, state, county, city and family has an Economy which must be appeased and cajoled. The duty of every citizen is to cultivate his or her Personal Economy from an early age as this will become the Family Economy, an amalgamation of husband’s and wife’s Economies upon marriage. They hint that there is not only a Global Economy, but in fact a Universal Economy which must be appeased by financial experts who are trained to intercede with the individual’s Personal Economy through the higher Economies. (Makes you wonder what would happen if another country got an ATM on the moon first.) Some university departments such as the Stanford department which consulted on this text specialize in training analysts adroit in intercession on behalf of institutions larger than the individual, such as banks and corporations, while such intercession at the national level is mostly left to economists. In general, the role of the financial engineer (or analyst), which includes MBAs, is to intercede with different Economies on behalf of the people, including through institutions, while the duty of the economist is to interpret the will of The Economy at varying levels.

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Reposted with permission from: nthposition

Glad I Didn’t Have Facebook In High School! from Cyborgology

In internet, media, privacy, psychology, sociology on March 21, 2013 at 12:36

From: Glad I Didn’t Have Facebook In High School! from Cyborgology, The Society Pages, http://thesocietypages.org

“Glad we didn’t have Facebook then!” isn’t always wrong, but the statement makes at least two very arguable suppositions and it also carries the implicit belief that identity-change is something that should be hidden, reinforcing the stigma that generates the phrase to begin with.

First, the statement assumes that the net effect of social media for teens now and in the future will be negative. Bullying, harassment, and embarrassment as a result of online activity are certainly real—and not evenly distributed, with vulnerable populations at increased risk. However, social media visibility isn’t only a source of harassment but also a source of support. Things like the It Gets Better Project, Harssmap, Hollaback, to say nothing of, for example, the many potentially supportive comments on a Facebook post where a teen comes out of the closet demonstrate visibility, harm, and support in a complicated relationship, something true long before Zuckerberg started coding. I’m not sure how we can make a definitive calculation here, but before being so thankful we didn’t have Facebook to embarrass us, we might also think of how it could have also been a foundation of encouragement, assistance, and validation that many of us might have benefited from.

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Reposted with permission from: The Society Pages

A Romp Through the Philosophy of Mind with Marianne Talbot

In audio, humanities, philosophy, theory on March 21, 2013 at 12:28

From: A Romp Through the Philosophy of Mind with Marianne Talbot, University of Oxford Podcasts, http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk

The mind is a fascinating entity. Where, after all, would we be without it? But what exactly is it? These days many people believe the mind simply is the brain. Descartes would have disagreed profoundly. He recommended a dualism of substance. Modern philosophers are again finding various forms of dualism attractive because the problems with physicalism are so intractable. One such problem is whether the mind, like the brain, is located in space (specifically inside the head). But does philosophy have anything sensible to say about the mind? Surely today it is scientists we should be listening to? Come and find out why this is – and always will be – false.

Marianne Talbot was thrown out of school at 15. She came back to education at 26 when she took an Open University Foundation course during which she discovered philosophy. Transferring to London University Marianne took First Class Honours then went to Oxford University to do graduate work. She taught for Pembroke College, Oxford from 1987 – 1990, for Brasenose College, Oxford from 1990-2000, and has, since 2001, been director of studies in philosophy at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education. Two of Marianne’s podcasts (A Romp Through the History of Philosophy, and The Nature of Arguments) have been global number one on iTunes U. Her podcasts have received over 3 million downloads.

Listen to the podcasts

Reposted with permission from: University of Oxford Podcasts

Back On-line!

In Announcements on March 20, 2013 at 11:18

I have been away for a couple of days and just found out that the blog had been fixed. I was contacted by a WordPress representative – she wrote that there was a temporary technical problem and it has been resolved. Thank you WordPress!

‘Thank you’ to all of you, who wrote to me hoping I get on-line soon. I get a lot of joy reading your helpful suggestions. But most important it was wonderful to hear that people appreciate what I do here.

HG

Hello! Important Information

In Announcements on March 18, 2013 at 09:40

PLEASE READ: I am having technical issues with anagnori blog. My login window indicates that my blog was suspended due to alleged violation of terms of service. All the posts you read are reposted with permission from the copyright holders, so I don’t believe there is a reason for suspension. If I am not able to recover the blog, I am the owner of http:// anagnori.com and I hope that you will follow me to the new page in the future. I am not sure how long it will take to get it up and running (I am quite new to website administration), but I appreciate everybody who stopped by and helped to make this blog a welcoming place to visit.

Thank you,

HG

PS. I had another “New Post” tab still open, so somehow I was able to post this message without having to log in.

Rediscovering Gandhi by Tridip Suhrud

In Asia, books, history, poetry, politics, religion, research, theory, writers on March 16, 2013 at 15:54

From: Rediscovering Gandhi: New insights from recent books on Gandhi by Tridip Suhrud, The Caravan, http://www.caravanmagazine.in

IN CONVERSATIONS, social theorist Ashis Nandy fondly recalls an exchange between philosopher Ramachandra Gandhi and poet Umashankar Joshi. The philosopher argued that MK Gandhi was inconceivable without his spiritual strivings, while the poet—and one suspects Ashis Nandy too—insisted that Gandhi’s significance lay in his willingness to engage and transform the “slum of politics”.

This divide between the religious, spiritual Gandhi and the political one or, more aptly, the divide between Gandhi the ashramite and Gandhi the satyagrahi has come to shape not only our academic engagement with the life and thought of Gandhi, but also our memory of the man whom we revere, revile or remain indifferent to. The dichotomy is a superficial one. Gandhi saw himself as a satyagrahi and an ashramite. His politics was imbued with spiritual strivings and his relationship with religion was a deeply political one.

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Reposted with permission from: The Caravan

Moral Enhancement by Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson

In anthropology, ecology, ethics, nature, philosophy, psychology, society, technology on March 16, 2013 at 15:44

From: Moral Enhancement by Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson, Philosophy Now, http://philosophynow.org

For the vast majority of our 150,000 years or so on the planet, we lived in small, close-knit groups, working hard with primitive tools to scratch sufficient food and shelter from the land. Sometimes we competed with other small groups for limited resources. Thanks to evolution, we are supremely well adapted to that world, not only physically, but psychologically, socially and through our moral dispositions.

But this is no longer the world in which we live. The rapid advances of science and technology have radically altered our circumstances over just a few centuries. The population has increased a thousand times since the agricultural revolution eight thousand years ago. Human societies consist of millions of people. Where our ancestors’ tools shaped the few acres on which they lived, the technologies we use today have effects across the world, and across time, with the hangovers of climate change and nuclear disaster stretching far into the future. The pace of scientific change is exponential. But has our moral psychology kept up?

With great power comes great responsibility. However, evolutionary pressures have not developed for us a psychology that enables us to cope with the moral problems our new power creates. Our political and economic systems only exacerbate this. Industrialisation and mechanisation have enabled us to exploit natural resources so efficiently that we have over-stressed two-thirds of the most important eco-systems.

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Reposted with permission from: Philosophy Now

The Art of Swimming by BibliOdyssey

In books, history, society, sport, visual arts on March 16, 2013 at 15:34

From: The Art of Swimming by BibliOdyssey, http://bibliodyssey.blogspot.ca

Of the manner of entring into the water

Wherein naked early modernists get wet in the name of science!

“While one reflects on those many and frequent Accidents, which thro’ want of Swimming daily happen amongst us: Every one is ready to complain of the unhappiness of Man in that respect, in comparison of other Animals, to whom Nature has indulg’d that faculty, which he ought to enjoy in a more excellent degree, since it is so necessary to his Preservation.

This Art, which may be numbered among the Mechanick ones, since it is performed by Motion, and the Agitation of the Hands and Feet, has been hitherto exercised rather by a rude Imitation, than the Observation of any Rules or Precepts, by reason no on has taken the pains to reduce it to any; although it has always sufficiently deserved it, by the great advantages it brings to those who possess it, and in general to all Civil Societies, the consideration whereof ought to have made Men study to render it more easy to be learned, and more familiar to all men, since they may have so great occasion for it. [..]

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Reposted with permission from: BibliOdyssey

Artificial wombs by Dick Pelletier

In civilisation, medicine, nature, research, science on March 12, 2013 at 15:38

From: Artificial wombs: is a sexless reproduction society in our future? by  Dick Pelletier, IEET, http://ieet.org

Although naysayers believe that this bold science makes us less human, most experts predict that artificial wombs will one day be accepted by mainstream society as more people recognize its many benefits. Babies would no longer be exposed to alcohol or illegal drugs by careless mothers, and the correct body temperature would always be maintained, with 100% of necessary nutrients provided.

Concerns over losing emotional bond between mother and newborn are unwarranted, say scientists. Artificial intelligence advances expected over the next two decades will enable doctors to reproduce exact parent emotions and personalities via vocal recordings, movement, and other sensations. The developing infant would be maintained in a safe secure environment, connected electronically to the mother 24/7.

In the near term though, experts predict most women will probably gestate their children the old-fashioned way; but career-minded females might welcome a concept that allows them to bear children and raise a family without becoming pregnant, a physical condition that often weakens their job status.

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Reposted with permission from: IEET

Books of Ice: Sculptures by Basia Irland

In art, books, ecology, nature, video, visual arts on March 12, 2013 at 15:32

From: Books of Ice: Sculptures by Basia Irland & Text by Kathleen Dean Moore, Orion Magazine, http://www.orionmagazine.org

Watch the video & Read the article

Balls of ice sowed seeds of life on Earth. That’s what comets are, just clumps of ice holding interstellar rocks and dust. But in that dust are amino acids and nucleotides that build living things. Many scientists think that this might be one way life began on Earth, 4 billion years ago, when the spinning arms of the galaxy cast comets over the planet, comets and comets and comets, protolife smacking onto the broken lava plains, until basins gathered the meltwater into oceans, and the oceans nurtured onrushing life.

Ice sows ice, too. The first grains gleamed in white sunshine, throwing back the sun’s heat and cooling their own small shadows. More ice formed in the cool places, and the shine of it cooled a larger shadow, until the reflectivity of the growing ice sheets cooled the whole planet, finally draped in dazzling layers of ice. Now the glaciers that remain in mountain valleys give life to rivers—the Ganges, the Fraser, the Colorado—as meltwater slides down blue rills and finally cuts a channel through gravel and till.

Reposted with permission from: Orion Magazine

Featured Essay: Happiness by John Zerzan

In anthropology, civilisation, Featured, nature, philosophy, society, theory on March 12, 2013 at 15:24

Featured Essay: Happiness by John Zerzan, http://www.johnzerzan.net

Reposted in full with permission from: John Zerzan

Is happiness really possible in a time of ruin? Can we somehow flourish, have complete lives? Is joy any longer compatible with the life of today?

A deep sense of well-being has become an endangered species. How often does one hear “It is good to be here”? (Matthew 17:4, Luke 9:5, Luke 9:33) or Wordsworth’s reference to “the pleasure which there is in life itself”[1] ? Much of the prevailing condition and the dilemma it poses is expressed by Adorno’s observation: “A wrong life cannot be lived rightly.”[2]

In this age happiness, if not obsolete, is a test, an opportunity. “To be happy is to be able to become aware of oneself without being frightened.”[3] We seem to be desperate for happiness, as bookshelves, counseling rooms, and talk shows promote endless recipes for contentment. But the well-worn, feel-good bromides from the likes of Oprah, Eckhart Tolle, and the Dalai Lama seem to work about as well as a Happy Meal, happy hour, or Coke’s invitation to “Pour Happiness!”

Gone is the shallow optimism of yesteryear, such as it was. The mandatory gospel of happiness is in tatters. As Hélène Cixous put it, we are “born to the difficulty in taking pleasure from absence.”[4] We sense only “a little light/in great darkness,” to quote Pound, who borrowed from Dante.[5]

How do we explore this? What is expected re: happiness? In light of all that stands in its way or erodes it, is happiness mainly a fortuitous accident?[6]

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Afraid of the Dark in Afghanistan by Anand Gopal

In Asia, government, human rights, law, North America, politics, war on March 5, 2013 at 23:11

From: Afraid of the Dark in Afghanistan by Anand Gopal, http://anandgopal.com

One quiet, wintry night last year in the eastern Afghan town of Khost, a young government employee named Ismatullah simply vanished. He had last been seen in the town’s bazaar with a group of friends. Family members scoured Khost’s dusty streets for days. Village elders contacted Taliban commanders in the area who were wont to kidnap government workers, but they had never heard of the young man. Even the governor got involved, ordering his police to round up nettlesome criminal gangs that sometimes preyed on young bazaargoers for ransom.

But the hunt turned up nothing. Spring and summer came and went with no sign of Ismatullah. Then one day, long after the police and village elders had abandoned their search, a courier delivered a neat handwritten note on Red Cross stationery to the family. In it, Ismatullah informed them that he was in Bagram, an American prison more than 200 miles away. US forces had picked him up while he was on his way home from the bazaar, the terse letter stated, and he didn’t know when he would be freed.

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Reposted with permission from: Anand Gopal

Becoming invisible by Adam Yosef

In community, culture, ethics, human rights, politics on March 5, 2013 at 22:55

From: Becoming invisible by Adam Yosef, Part 1 and 2, the Pavement magazine, http://www.thepavement.org.uk

There are thousands of people out there in the world who are doing this all the time. The majority don’t even realise they are ignoring another person, the reason for which is simple: they no longer recognise the ones they’re ignoring as ‘people’.

When I was younger, the sight of homeless people very much intrigued me. Encountering individuals sleeping rough in shop doorways after closing time, on park benches covered in newspaper or on pavements reaching out to passers-by for some “spare change” would no doubt stir curiosity in any untapped innocent mind.

Indeed, the dehumanisation of the homeless is what makes it harder for many of them to find their way towards meeting their personal needs. As a society we need to accept that those who live on the streets are there for a number of reasons and their circumstances, appearance or dwelling do not determine their role in society or their standing in the social spectrum. Whether it’s health or financial situations that have led someone onto the streets; whether it’s escape from a harsher environment or whether they’re there for a standing of political principle, public opinion has to be rewired to realise and reassess prejudices against those who have become invisible to the masses. The idea that individuals sleeping on streets are different to the individuals that sleep in beds, simply for that reason, has to be eliminated.

Part 1 at http://www.thepavement.org.uk/story.php?story=1438

Part 2 at http://www.thepavement.org.uk/story.php?story=1467

Reposted with permission from: the Pavement magazine

The Last Days of Immanuel Kant by Thomas De Quincey

In biography, history, humanities, philosophy on March 5, 2013 at 22:46

From: The Last Days of Immanuel Kant by Thomas De Quincey, Berfrois, http://www.berfrois.com

… At six o’clock he sat down to his library table, which was a plain ordinary piece of furniture, and read till dusk. During this period of dubious light, so friendly to thought, he rested in tranquil meditation on what he had been reading, provided the book were worth it; if not, he sketched his lecture for the next day, or some part of any book he might then be composing. During this state of repose he took his station winter and summer by the stove, looking through the window at the old tower of Lobenicht; not that he could be said properly to see it, but the tower rested upon his eye,—obscurely, or but half revealed to his consciousness. No words seemed forcible enough to express his sense of the gratification which he derived from this old tower, when seen under these circumstances of twilight and quiet reverie. The sequel, indeed, showed how important it was to his comfort; for at length some poplars in a neighboring garden shot up to such a height as to obscure the tower, upon which Kant became very uneasy and restless, and at length found himself positively unable to pursue his evening meditations. Fortunately, the proprietor of the garden was a very considerate and obliging person, who had, besides, a high regard for Kant; and, accordingly, upon a representation of the case being made to him, he gave orders that the poplars should be cropped. This was done, the old tower of Lobenicht was again unveiled, and Kant recovered his equanimity, and pursued his twilight meditations as before.

Read the essay at Berfrois

Reposted with permission from: Berfrois

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