The Latest Study on Trigger Warnings Finally Convinced Me They’re Not Worth It (July, 2019) https://slate.com/technology/2019/07/trigger-warnings-research-shows-they-dont-work-might-hurt.html
- trigger warnings “countertherapeutically reinforce survivors’ view of their trauma as central to their identity.”
- “Cognitive avoidance is really counterproductive,” …Having an anxious reaction, and living to tell the tale, is actually an important part of learning to live with one’s brain.
On Self-Validation [F.I] Ishu Ishiyama (1993)
- Self-validation, the term I wish to use here, is the process of recognizing and transcending the sense of self by various means to appreciate the unconditional value and meaning of our personal existence. In other words, self-validation is the process of restoring and reinforcing the sense of self-worth, meaning of life, and personal identity and competence through a variety of activities and interactions with the natural and social environments, and transcending these qualities to a spiritual level.
- Somehow we know deep down that we should not allow self-validating conditions to continue to eat away our inner peace and self-esteem.
- We experience a number of tough moments and situations that temporarily or semi-temporarily shake the basis of our self-worth and identity or diminish the meaning of our personal existence.
- In my view, there are basically three inter-related areas or activities (social, personal, and physical) of self-validation
On the Internet, We’re Always Famous
- …that the sophistication of our thinking is determined to a large degree by the sophistication of the language we hear used to describe our world.
- It’s possible to get inside the head of just about anyone who has a presence on the social Web, because chances are they are broadcasting their emotional states in real time to the entire world.
- Never before in history have so many people been under the gaze of so many strangers.
- For the vast majority of our species’ history, those were the two principal categories of human relations: kin and gods. Those we know who know us, grounded in mutual social interaction, and those we know who don’t know us, grounded in our imaginative powers. But now consider a third category: people we don’t know and who somehow know us.
- All that has changed in the past decade. In the same way that electricity went from a luxury enjoyed by the American élite to something just about everyone had, so, too, has fame, or at least being known by strangers, gone from a novelty to a core human experience.
- The Western intellectual tradition spent millennia maintaining a conceptual boundary between public and private—embedding it in law and politics, norms and etiquette, theorizing and reinscribing it. With the help of a few tech firms, we basically tore it down in about a decade.
- [Re the desire for recognition] “Man can appear on earth only within a herd,” Kojve writes. “That is why the human reality can only be social.”
- And so the Star seeks recognition and gets, instead, attention.
- KF: attention is as good as it gets, I’m afraid
“Legally white but socially brown, and on the receiving end of racialized enmity and discrimination, Iranian Americans and other Middle Eastern groups have lacked the strongest possible legal recourse because the law cannot make sense of white-on-white discrimination.”Neda Maghbouleh, The Limits of Whiteness: Iranian Americans and the Everyday Politics of Race
Forgiveness is the key to action and freedom. – Hannah Arendt
It is the act of forgiveness that opens up the only possible way to think creatively about the future at all. – Father Desmond Wilson
“Nothing’s too good for the working class.” -Big Bill Haywood of the IWW [link, re classical music]
Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher: The four lenses of critical reflection—students’ eyes, colleagues’ perceptions, theory, and personal experience
You must see now that your incapacity of being alone: your nature so exigent in its persistent claim on the attention and time of others: your lack of any power of sustained intellectual concentration: the unfortunate accident—for I like to think it was no more—that you had not been able to acquire the “Oxford temper” in intellectual matters, never, I mean, been one who could play gracefully with ideas, but had arrived at violence of opinion merely—that all these things, combined with the fact that your desires and your interests were in Life, not in Art, were as destructive to your own progress in culture as they were to my work as an artist.― Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
“The English can love people without their being seven foot tall or a hundred years dead.” – Brendan Behan
“Those people who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.”— Isaac Asimov (c.1960) 
And so we have a generation of young people on social media so terrified of having the wrong opinions that they have robbed themselves of the opportunity to think and to learn and to grow.Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
‘It is obscene’: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie pens blistering essay against social media sanctimony https://www.theguardian.com/books/2021/jun/16/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie-social-media-sanctimony
Charter: The Canadian Charter’s notwithstanding clause is increasingly indefensible https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-the-canadian-charters-notwithstanding-clause-is-increasingly/
- ….the Charter of Rights is being eviscerated. It is already more or less a dead letter in Quebec, where the override has been invoked over the years by governments of every party.
- That word “unduly” is key. Charter rights are already self-limited under Section 1, the “reasonable limits” clause. Courts do not rule, ever, on the purpose of a piece of legislation. They only inquire whether its purpose might be achieved in less draconian ways. They do not generally pronounce on the whole of a bill in this light, but rather particular parts
- If Section 1 is the “reasonable limits” clause, notwithstanding might be defined as the “unreasonable limits” clause. No such careful weighing of costs and benefits is required: rather, governments may invoke it for any reason. Defenders of the clause claim it is needed to prevent the courts from having the “last word” on legislation: appointed judges, they remind us, should not be set above elected legislatures.
- the reality is that being responsive to changes in norms, the implications of scientific and technological advancements, and other shifts in society can only make human rights and its institutions and movements more effective and accepted.
- We’re already seeing some key social shifts that might trigger new human rights. For example, there is at the moment no “right to transition” from one gender identity to another or, to none at all.
- Consider the right to privacy. This is a well-established right, but it is now under siege by sophisticated new technologies and the pervasive commodification of our data by companies. We should expect civil society efforts to protect the right to privacy to generate discussion of new rights and concepts, such as the right to algorithmic justice or the “right to be forgotten” that could be used by individuals to delete information from their pasts on online platforms.
- @r2bforgot @clevelanddotcom @MLive @CJR @onthemedia
The Leadership Journey from Color-Blind to Color-Brave
Rosa Isiah; Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Nov 2020)
- If you say you don’t see color, then you don’t see me or my experiences, and you don’t see the need to create change in the system.
- The term “color-brave” comes from a TED Talk by Mellody Hobson.
- A color-brave mindset encourages us to embrace the notion that race impacts experiences, and it pushes us to investigate our own biases and assumptions about race.
- If we don’t investigate our own lens and make an effort to get to know our students and their families, then we walk into our schools with biases that are going to show up in our work and hinder our ability to truly connect with students.
Interview with Prof Luciano Floridi on the Right to Know in the digital age [YouTube: 15 mins]
- cf. Asimov’s A Cult of Ignorance
- Representative democracy: the need to keep separation form those who have the power (the people) and those who exercise the power (the politicians). If this power is unified, it becomes a kind of dictatorship (‘dictatorship of the majority’).
- KF: People need to STFU. You’ve already had your say; when you voted in those people who represent you, you had your say. Now you “trust but verify” that they are representing you as you wish so that, if they do not, you can vote for a different representative next time. The press is there to keep you informed. The “media” is there to distract you and suck you into conversations about which you have already had your say. Let the politicians do their job and keep your opinions to yourself unless you have particularly valuable insight.
- It is not helpful to use digital technologies to “raise your hand at the end of the political process, when all the games are over, all the options have been selected and carefully crafted by someone else and all that is left to you is ‘either this or that’, but you have no other choices. That is not how we would like to use digital technology at it’s best. Digital technology at its best is ‘cooking together’”.
- Participation doesn’t happen at the end of the political process, it happens at the beginning.
- Digital technology can make power transparent and, therefore, accountable
- Digital technology: slack v taught rope analogy – a sort of precarious equilibrium: “as soon as one party let’s go, the rope will jump to the other side”
- Goal: a legally fair, socially good, environmentally sustainable use of digital technologies and not just leave it to the market forces to counterbalance polarization
- “more knowledge means better democracy, better politics so privacy and public interest have to be extreme cases in which the right to know is not exercised”
- ~ 0530: “translational” research – digging down to foundations to help explain the future?
- Floridi: ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI)
- 15:20 The need for the decentralization of humanity:
- anthropocentric design of AI: we should not putting humanity at the center – we should put this planet at the center
- Ontocentric: Floridi’s ontocentric ethics is compared with Spinoza’s ethical and metaphysical system as found in the Ethics
- Takes a crack at Elon Musk
“The Crisis in Education” by Hannh Arendt (1954)
- A crisis becomes a disaster only when we respond to it with preformed judgments, that is, with prejudices. Such an attitude not only sharpens the crisis but makes us forfeit the experience of reality and the opportunity for reflection it provides.
- Since for most of these children English is not their mother tongue but has to be learned in school, schools must obviously assume functions which in a nation-state would be performed as a matter of course in the home.
- an educational ideal… in which education became an instrument of politics, and political activity itself was conceived of as a form of education.
- Education can play no part in politics, because in politics we always have to deal with those who are already educated. Whoever wants to educate adults really wants to act as their guardian and prevent them from political activity. Since one cannot educate adults, the word “education” has an evil sound in politics; there is a pretense of education, when the real purpose is coercion without the use of force.
- “Vocational Education and Training Centers“
- What is aimed at in England is “meritocracy,” which is clearly once more the establishment of an oligarchy, this time not of wealth or of birth but of talent.
- …takes the view that the most gifted are also the best, which is by no means a certainty….Meritocracy contradicts the principle of equality, of an equalitarian democracy, no less than any other oligarchy.
- [B]y being emancipated from the authority of adults the child has not been freed but has been subjected to a much more terrifying and truly tyrannical authority, the tyranny of the majority. In any case the result is that the children have been so to speak banished from the world of grown-ups. They are either thrown back upon themselves or handed over to the tyranny of their own group, against which, because of its numerical superiority, they cannot rebel, with which, because they are children, they cannot reason, and out of which they cannot flee to any other world because the world of adults is barred to them.
- KF: To teachers, where does your authority come from?
- education as a reaction to (pace of) change
- The very thing that should prepare the child for the world of adults, the gradually acquired habit of work and of not-playing, is done away with in favor of the autonomy of the world of childhood.
- under the pretext of respecting the child’s independence, he is debarred from the world of grown-ups and artificially kept in his own;
- The responsibility for the development of the child turns in a certain sense against the world: the child requires special protection and care so that nothing destructive may happen to him from the world. But the world, too, needs protection to keep it from being overrun and destroyed by the onslaught of the new that bursts upon it with each new generation.
- KF: NB RTBF – the merciless glare of the public realm, which floods everything in the private lives of those concerned; what more than anything else characterized the adult world, its public aspect; the simple fact of life and growth outweighs the factor of personality; [children] require the security of concealment in order to mature undisturbed;
- AUTHORITY: The teacher’s qualification consists in knowing the world and being able to instruct others about it, but his authority rests on his assumption of responsibility for that world. Vis-a-vis the child it is as though he were a representative of all adult inhabitants, pointing out the details and saying to the child: This is our world.
- It is as though parents daily said: “In this world even we are not very securely at home; how to move about in it, what to know, what skills to master, are mysteries to us too. You must try to make out as best you can; in any case you are not entitled to call us to account. We are innocent, we wash our hands of you.”
- modern estrangement from the world
- while it makes sense to talk about lifelong learning, it makes no sense to talk about lifelong education.
- [The teacher’s] task to mediate between the old and the new
- We must decisively divorce the realm of education from the others, most of all from the realm of public, political life, in order to apply to it alone a concept of authority and an attitude toward the past which are appropriate to it but have no general validity and must not claim a general validity in the world of grown-ups. [MORE]
- One cannot educate without at the same time teaching; an education without learning is empty and therefore degenerates with great ease into moral emotional rhetoric. But one can quite easily teach without educating, and one can go on learning to the end of one’s days without for that reason becoming educated.
- Education is the point at which we decide whether we love the world enough to assume responsibility for it
The Zoom Gaze https://reallifemag.com/the-zoom-gaze/
- One theory is that the hiccups in synchronicity due to bad connections can cause false starts and interruptions, which create communicative friction and frustration that make it hard to maintain conversational etiquette. L.M. Sacasas speculates that the fatigue stems from dealing with reflections and projections of ourselves, making up for the work that bodies in space do. Zoom makes us work harder to convey and receive subtle signals from one another over video. Geert Lovink lays out a meta-analysis of proposed reasons, including what he terms “video vertigo,” a downward spiral that comes from compounding work and leisure in the same space: You need that planned happy hour video call with friends to re-up your energy from so many work calls, but you are too exhausted from work calls to get on another call for happy hour.
Mind the Ethics Gap
- Whilst we have a strong culture of ethics review in our research activities, that stands in stark comparison to our operational activities, where we have failed to account for the ethical dimensions of the expansion of educational technology.
- “The rise of edtech is underpinned by ideology: Edtech is financially driven, adheres to privatisation of longstanding public structures, desires automated or prepackaged contents and processes, and envisions technology as a solution in and of itself” (Veletsianios & Moe, 2017).
- It is therefore paradoxical that we have often given more ethical consideration to how we procure teabags than we have technology in institutions. In much the same way as we have considered issues like Fairtrade, living wage and modern slavery when selecting other goods and services within institutions, we need to look at aligning the procurement of educational technologies with ethical practices and principles.
- UBC NAMED CANADA’S FIRST FAIR TRADE CAMPUS (May 2011) https://www.sustain.ubc.ca/news/ubc-named-canadas-first-fair-trade-campus
- UBC ” will get its very own blend of ethically sourced coffee”
The Rise and Rise OF THE Big Tech Empire Matthew Gwyther 30 December 2020
- The US tech sector, incidentally, is today worth more than all of the stock markets of the 27 EU member countries combined.
- Technology is not a sector any more. It has gone way beyond the traditional distinctions of software and hardware and become an omnipresent layer; a foundation that impacts on all other sectors – ranging from media to agriculture and food, transport to financial services.
- “We cannot accept that it’s a matter of ‘online versus offline’ harms. That is so 1990s. It’s not bullying in the school classroom as opposed to bullying on Facebook. There is no longer any divide.”
The Party That Failed An Insider Breaks With Beijing By Cai Xia https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/china/2020-12-04/chinese-communist-party-failed
- Cai Xia was a Professor at the Central Party School of the Chinese Communist Party from 1998 to 2012.
Today, in any mature information society (Floridi 2016), we no longer live online or offline but onlife, that is, we increasingly live in that special space, or infosphere, that is seamlessly analogue and digital, offline and online. If this seems confusing, perhaps an analogy may help to convey the point. Imagine someone asks whether the water is sweet or salty in the estuary where the river meets the sea. Clearly, that someone has not understood the special nature of the place. Our mature information societies are growing in such a new, liminal place, like mangroves flourishing in brackish water. And in these ‘mangrove societies’, machine-readable data, new forms of smart agency and onlife interactions are constantly evolving, because our technologies are perfectly fit to take advantage of such a new environment, often as the only real natives– Floridi (2018) Soft Ethics and the Governance of the Digital
“by the time a technology is sufficiently well developed and diffused for its unwanted social consequences to become apparent, it is no longer easily controlled. Control may still be possible, but it has become very difficult, expensive and slow”– Collingridge, 1980, pp. 17–18)
The suppression of privacy lies at the heart of the business models of most digital and social media platforms – which rely directly on the appropriation of data for profit (Zuboff 2015; Srnicek 2016). The challenge for educators, and particularly for open educators, is clear. Many of the tools and platforms we use to engage in social connection and open educational practices have bias and inequality built into them – they are designed to allow and encourage forms of participation, and prevent others (Marwick, 2013; Gilliard and Culik 2016).– Catherine Cronin, Open Education: Design and Policy Considerations
Capital in the Twenty-First Century (2019) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5723056
Floridi (2010) Information: A Very Short Introduction
- The father of information theory, Claude Shannon (1916-2001)
- Of course, a conceptual analysis must start somewhere. This often means adopting some working definition of the object under scrutiny
- Only very recently has human progress and welfare begun to depend mostly on the successful and efficient management of the life cycle of information.
- The life cycle of information typically includes the following phases:
- occurrence (discovering, designing, authoring, etc.),
- transmission (networking, distributing, accessing, retrieving, transmitting, etc.),
- processing and management (collecting, validating, modifying, organizing, indexing, classifying, filtering, updating, sorting, storing, etc.),
- usage (monitoring, modelling, analysing, explaining, planning, forecasting, decision-making, instructing, educating, learning, etc.).
- During this span of time, ICTs evolved from being mainly recording systems – writing and manuscript production – to being also communication systems, especially after Gutenberg and the invention of printing – to being also processing and producing systems, especially after Turing and the diffusion of computers.
- All members of the G7 group qualify as information societies because, in each country, at least 70% of the GDP depends on intangible goods, which are information-related~~~ ‘data shadow’
- There is no term for this radical form of re-engineering, so we may use re-ontologizing as a neologism to refer to a very radical form of re-engineering, one that not only designs, constructs, or structures a system (e.g. a company, a machine, or some artefact) anew, but that fundamentally transforms its intrinsic nature, that is, its ontology. In this sense, ICTs are not merely re-engineering but actually re-ontologizing our world.
- What we are currently experiencing is therefore a fourth revolution, in the process of dislocation and reassessment of our fundamental nature and role in the universe. We are modifying our everyday perspective on the ultimate nature of reality, that is, our metaphysics, from a materialist one, in which physical objects and processes play a key role, to an informational one.
- Digital goods – 2010 EULA of MMORPG) do not
allow the sale of virtual assets. This would be like the EULA of MS-Word
withholding from users the ownership of the digital documents created by means
of the software.
- “There is a shift in the gaming industry towards free-to-play games,” Skins; digital “property”
- Property insurance on Second Life: WOW is currently the world’s largest MMORPG and would rank 71st in the list of 221 countries and dependent territories ordered according to population.
- Instead of individuals as unique and irreplaceable entities, we become mass-produced, anonymous entities among other anonymous entities, exposed to billions of other similar informational organisms INFORGS online. We self-brand and re-appropriate ourselves in the infosphere by using blogs and Facebook entries, homepages, YouTube videos, and flickr albums.
- We use and expose information about ourselves to become less informationally anonymous.
- The infosphere is progressively absorbing any other space. ITentities
- We should probably be working on an ecology of the infosphere, if we wish to avoid foreseeable problems: the infosphere is a common space, which needs to be preserved to the advantage of all.
- We are preparing the ground for tomorrows digital slums.
A good way to uncover the most fundamental nature of data is by trying to understand what it means to erase, damage, or lose them.
- bits (binary digits): A series of 8 bits forms a byte (by eight),
- the smallest unit of information, nothing more than the presence or absence of a signal, a 0 or a 1
- Information can consist of different types of data. Five classifications are quite common,
- Clearly, silence may be very informative. This is a peculiarity of information: its absence may also be informative (car won’t start)
- mathematical theory of communication (MTC): Claude Shannon
- Poe wrote a short story in which a raven can answer only `nevermore’ to any question – unary device
- Information can be quantified in terms of decrease in data deficit (Shannon’s `uncertainty’).
- Since MTC is a theory of information without meaning (not in the sense of meaningless, but in the sense of not yet meaningful), and since [information – meaning = data], `mathematical theory of data communication’ is a far more appropriate description of this branch of probability theory than `information theory’.
- Entropy is a measure of the amount of `mixedupness’ in processes and systems bearing energy or information.
- Tautologies are well known for being non-informative. John would be receiving data but no semantic information if he were told that `a new battery will or will not become available in the future’.
- Maxwell’s demon: there is one computational operation which is necessarily irreversible, namely memory erasure (see Chapter 2). So the demon will need energy to erase its memory and this energy is what pays the entropy bill of the system under the counter, so to speak.
- quantum states of atomic particles have a peculiar nature. They can be used to store data in a definable but still undetermined quantum superposition of two states at the same time. [Escher] The result of such a superposition of states is known as a qubit (quantum bit). A qubit is actually in both the 0-state and the 1-state simultaneously, although possibly to different extents. It is a vacillating unit of information, and it is only once its state is observed or measured that it invariably collapses to either 0 or 1.
- Quantum computers V our present computers based on simple Newtonian physics.
- Laplace’s demon: computational determinism – Science has moved from being based on necessity and laws to being based on probability and constraints
- three main ways of talking about information:
(a) Information as reality, e.g. patterns, fingerprints, tree
rings; (b) Information for reality, e.g. commands, algorithms,
recipes; (c) Information about reality, i.e. with an epistemic
value, e.g. train tables, maps, entries in an encyclopedia.
- physical, (b) instructional, or (c) semantic.
- `the most valuable commodity I know of is information’.
- When it is treated as a commodity, information has three main properties non-rivalrous information tends to be non-excludable: exclusion is not a natural property of information, which tends to be easily disclosed and shareable zero marginal cost
- For all these reasons, information may be sometimes seen as a public good, a view which in turn justifies the creation of public libraries or projects such as Wikipedia, which are freely accessible to anyone.
- Nash equilibrium
- A human being is part of the whole, called by us `universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is capable of achieving this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. – Einstein
- Imagine an environmentalist unable to accept any technology responsible for some level of carbon dioxide emission, no matter how it may counterbalance it. The more realistic and challenging view is that moral evil is unavoidable, so that the real effort lies in limiting it and counterbalancing it with more moral goodness
5: fusion of horizon
7: power of language
8: hermeneutics circle; context dependent
9: relativism – no!; critical realism
10: antidote to fundamentalism
- What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who would want to read one. Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business
- I was born in Ireland in 1979 for something I didn’t do; I was innocent, but they gave me life
- Don’t just do something, sit there – Sylvia Boorstein
- The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. ~ Bertrand Russell
- The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing ~ Socrates
- Thomas Jefferson: “He who knows best knows how little he knows.
- Charles Darwin The Descent of Man, “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
- By constructing knowledge, we are also constructing or growing ourselves, a process called individuation (Jung; becoming more ourselves)
- Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom. – Theodore Isaac Rubin
- “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence” – David Hume
- ‘The public must be put in its place…so that each of us may live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd.’ – Walter Lippmann
- “Policy is a way to stop thinking about something” – JoTo
- Pass down wisdom not wounds
- Survival of the fittest is a famous phrase of Herbert Spencer // Darwin = ‘natural selection’
- Self-discipline is self-caring. – M. Scott Peck
- Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk. – Doug Larson
- A disease of prediction and regret
- anxiety and other mental discomfort arise not from physiological imbalance but from disharmony of the soul
- Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
- The terms tactic and strategy are often confused: tactics are the actual means used to gain an objective, while strategy is the overall campaign plan, which may involve complex operational patterns, activity, and decision-making that govern tactical execution.
- “education is the canvas on which our understanding may be drawn” Source
- “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.” ― Mark Twain
- You are precisely as big as what you love and precisely as small as what you allow to annoy you. – Robert Anton Wilson
- Meaning in Context: Is There Any Other Kind? – Elliot Mishler
- in the political space, especially in the age of social media, we’re all engaged in constant grandstanding and the nastiness and division is ratcheted up all the time. Political division has gotten so dysfunctional and so ugly that it’s crippling to democracy.
- An Archimedean [+ vantage] point (or “Punctum Archimedis”) is a hypothetical vantage point from which an observer can objectively perceive the subject of inquiry, with a view of totality.
- Future surfing – anxiety (recreational anxiety?!)
- All digital data eventually connects: Siemens
- Sisyphus: the truth is, our grumblings cover up our fear. For having no rock at all is truly terrifying at times.
- Sisyphus doesn’t know what happens he gets the rock to the top [for good]
- While standing at the top of the hill he experiences happiness, momentary happiness. He looks forward to this happiness.
- His effort is only to be considered futile if the goal is permanence
- Letter on Purpose and Meaning Hunter S. Thompson
- In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important.
- ‘decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life’.
- The most important thing is that we choose because if we don’t our choices will ultimately be made by circumstance.
- Atwood’s duck. A countermeasure is the “duck” technique
- Economist: Identity: with systems that endlessly check precisely who is doing what, rather than simply that whoever is doing something has the right to be doing it, privacy as it has been understood is over.
- Raphael Hythlodaeus asserts that a man who refuses to believe in a god or an afterlife could never be trusted, because he would not acknowledge any authority or principle outside himself.
- Audre Lorde’s well-known (1979) declaration that “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” (re racist patriarchy)
- “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
- We live in a time when many people experience their lives as empty and lacking in fulfilment. The decline of religion and the collapse of communism have left but the ideology of the free market whose only message is: consume, and work hard so you can earn money to consume more. Yet even those who do reasonably well in this race for material goods do not find that they are satisfied with their way of life. We now have good scientific evidence for what philosophers have said throughout the ages: once we have enough to satisfy our basic needs, gaining more wealth does not bring us more happiness.
- Today the assertion that life is meaningless no longer comes from existentialist philosophers who treat it as a shocking discovery: it comes from bored adolescents for whom it is a truism.
- Perhaps it is the central place of self-interest, and the way in which we conceive of our own interest, that is to blame here.
- an ethically reflective life is also a good life for the person leading it
- It was the twentieth-century Italian social theorist Antonio Gramsci who gave us the concept of a hegemonic ideology—an ideology that has so successfully beaten out its competitors that it no longer appears to be an ideology at all; instead, it assumes the character of common sense, departure from which indicates ignorance, error, eccentricity, or even madness. The hegemonic ideology of our time is neoliberalism.
- This near-ubiquitous economic restructuring is a necessary, albeit insufficient, condition for the achievement of hegemony. In economics, neoliberalism promotes—with rigorous and disciplined internal coherence—the radical programs of deregulation, privatization, marketization, and globalization. But these policies are means, not ends. The ends are revealed in Margaret Thatcher’s Sunday Times interview in May 1981, in which she declared that “economics are the method; the object is to change the heart and soul.”
- Freud ridiculed the obsession people have about such matters as ‘the narcissism of small differences’.
- Threatened, not by the “other”, but by the “nearly we”
- “uncomfortable truth of resemblance.”
- By focusing on what you don’t like and who you don’t want to be, you turn people who you think exhibit those traits into a foil for yourself, a kind of adversary to push against on the road to selfhood.
- But What If We’re Wrong? (Chuck Klosterman)
- We live in an age where virtually no content is lost and virtually all content is shared. The sheer amount of information about every current idea makes those concepts difficult to contradict, particularly in a framework where public consensus has become the ultimate arbiter of validity. In other words, we’re starting to behave as if we’ve reached the end of human knowledge. And while that notion is undoubtedly false, the sensation of certitude it generates is paralyzing.
- Fear arises from a weakness of mind and therefore does not appertain to the use of reason. —BARUCH SPINOZA (CIRCA 1670)
- disharmony of the soul;
- “Learning to know anxiety is an adventure which every man has to affront if he would not go to perdition either by not having known anxiety or by sinking under it,” Kierkegaard wrote. “He therefore who has learned rightly to be in anxiety has learned the most important thing.”
- (Freud observed that threats to our self-esteem or self-conception can often cause far more anxiety than threats to our physical well-being.)
- Harry Stack Sullivan, one of the most prominent American psychiatrists of the first half of the twentieth century, wrote that anxiety was “that which one experiences when one’s self-esteem is threatened”;
- “a sense of foreboding stemming from a threat to the vitality of the self, or, more severely, from the anticipation of fragmentation of the self.”
- A large body of evidence suggests that having elevated levels of cortisol for an extended period of time produces a host of deleterious health effects, ranging from high blood pressure to a compromised immune system to the shrinking of the hippocampus, a part of the brain crucial to memory formation.
- Dr. W., echoing Freud, says that while fear is produced by “real” threats from the world, anxiety is produced by threats from within our selves. Anxiety is, as Dr. W. puts it, “a signal that the usual defenses against unbearably painful views of the self are failing.”
- shake free of the anxiety and depression.q In Dr. W.’s view, anxiety and panic symptoms serve as what he calls a “protective screen” (what Freud called a “neurotic defense”) against the searing pain associated with confronting loss or mortality or threats to one’s self-esteem (roughly what Freud called the ego). In some cases, the intense anxiety or panic symptoms patients experience are neurotic distractions from, or a way of coping with, negative self-images or feelings of inadequacy—what Dr. W. calls “self-wounds.”
- “You’re in the heart of the wound now,” he said. Dr. W. believes, as Freud did, that anxiety could be an adaptation meant to shield the psyche from some other source of sadness or pain.
- Out on the plains of her youth there had been many summer fires. They would blaze in the dry grass, the winds fanning them, driving them toward the settlements. The only way to combat them was to set controlled blazes ahead of the inferno so that when the blaze reached the burned-out areas, it would have nothing to feed on and die away. These perilous rides were for Halysia a way of containing the greater fears she suffered by enduring a lesser fear she could control.
Sorry not sorry
- “We would like to apologize if someone understood our message the wrong way,” the embassy said. (cf. 伤害中国人民的感情 / shānghài zhōngguó rénmín de gǎnqíng)
All memory takes place in the present and is oriented toward the future –Ellis, The Ethnographic I
“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.― Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit
But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
“Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.”
“It is true that freedom, when it is made up principally of privileges, insults labor and separates it from culture. But freedom is not made up principally of privileges; it is made up especially of duties. And the moment each of us tries to give freedom’s duties precedence over its privileges, freedom joins together labor and culture and sets in motion the only force that can effectively serve justice. The rule of our action, the secret of our resistance can be easily stated: everything that humiliates labor also humiliates the intelligence, and vice versa. And the revolutionary struggle, the centuries-old straining toward liberation can be defined first of all as a double and constant rejection of humiliation. ”― Albert Camus, Resistance, Rebellion and Death: Essays
When we were kids and a few of us woud be kicking a ball a round from one to another, how did we know the rules of this game? How did we learn to regulate our “time with ball” and how many times a person could not have the ball kicked to them? We learned a lot from this but we didn’t know we were learning. We learned to share and we learned what was fair.KiF
Good old days.
I’m an artist, and if you give me a tuba, I’ll bring you something out of it. — John Lennon
In full: Rowan Atkinson on free speech
@5:00 ‘The New Intolerance”
- “For me, the best way to increase societies resistance to insulting or offensive speech is to allow a lot more of it. As with childhood diseases, you can better resist those germs to which you have been exposed.
- “Laudable efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics or repress minorities.” – Obama
- “The strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression, it is more speech.”
- “If we want a robust society we need more robust dialogue and that must include the right to insult or to offend.”
- Salman Rushdie on ‘The Outrage Industry‘
Resilience – Dr Tony Bates with Brendan O’Connor (Dec 5, 2020)
- The redwood tree, its roots only go down about five feet, sometimes six. What happens is a five foot, six feet, they turn and they they grow horizontally about 100 feet, and they join up with each other and they fused together and they’re intertwined. And then what happens is there is exchange of sugar or nutrients or enzymes that each tree needs. So the strength that we receive when we look at a redwood, we couldn’t imagine something more resilient, is actually coming from being a community of belonging.
- George A. Bonanno is a professor of clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University: responsible for introducing the controversial idea of resilience to the study of loss and trauma. He is known as a pioneering researcher in the field of bereavement and trauma
Pedagogy of the Oppressed: Design Theory For Our Futures
“There is no such thing as a neutral education process. Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate the integration of generations into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘practice of freedom’, the means by which men and woman deal critically with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.” – Freire
People, in general, want convenience from their technology, not morality. So instead of building a more ethical version of the past, we need to build a more suitable version of the future.Ben Werdmüller: Building decentralized social media
responsibility breeds moderation – Thomas Jefferson
“But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.”Robert Ardrey
Laws are like sausages. It’s better not to see them being made – John Godfrey Sax
It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you got to do it every day. That’s the hard part. But it does get easier.Jogging Baboon, in Bojack Horseman
The 2002 CBC Massey Lectures, “Beyond Fate“: Margaret Visser‘s five-part lecture: excellent listening.
She takes an ancient metaphor where time is “seen” and spoken of as though it were space; she examines how this way of picturing reality can be a useful tool to think with — or, on the other hand, how it may lead us into disastrous misunderstandings. There are ways out. We begin by observing how fatalism expresses itself in our daily lives, in everything from table manners and shopping to sport. Having learned to detect the signs by which fatalism begins to manifest itself, we can go on to consider how to limit its influence over us, thereby gaining new perspective on our lives and our cultures.
Escape from Freedom by Erich Fromm, AKA ‘The Fear of Freedom’:
explores humanity’s shifting relationship with freedom, with particular regard to the personal consequences of its absence. His special emphasis is the psychosocial conditions that facilitated the rise of Nazism.
Fromm distinguishes between ‘freedom from’ (negative freedom) and ‘freedom to’ (positive freedom). The former refers to emancipation from restrictions such as social conventions placed on individuals by other people or institutions. This is the kind of freedom typified by the existentialism of Sartre, and has often been fought for historically but, according to Fromm, on its own it can be a destructive force unless accompanied by a creative element – ‘freedom to’ – the use of freedom to employ the total integrated personality in creative acts. This, he argues, necessarily implies a true connectedness with others that goes beyond the superficial bonds of conventional social intercourse: “…in the spontaneous realization of the self, man unites himself anew with the world…”
Expectations are resentments under construction.― Anne Lamott
Chronic remorse, as all the moralists are agreed, is a most undesirable sentiment. If you have behaved badly, repent, make what amends you can and address yourself to the task of behaving better next time. On no account brood over your wrongdoing. Rolling in the muck is not the best way of getting clean.― Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Hanlon’s razor is an aphorism, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”
@annegalloway: Best advice I got when I entered academia: “We’re all smart. Distinguish yourself by being kind.” https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/438412389319319552
2. Be slow to speak. Be considerate and kind, especially when it comes to deciding on matters under discussion, or about to be discussed in the council.
3. Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings, and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent.
6. If the matters being discussed are of such a nature that you cannot or ought not to be silent, then give your opinion with the greatest possible humility and sincerity, and always end with the words salvo meliori iudicio—with due respect for a better opinion.– Ignatius of Loyola to the Fathers Attending Council of Trent (1546)
As Dr. Henry Jones Jr. famously observed: “It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.” – Kif
“The illiterate of the 21st century,” Toffler wrote, “will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.” ― Alvin Toffler
“If you don’t know how you feel, you don’t know who you are. If you don’t know who you are, you are probably leading somebody else’s life!” – Maybe Garrett O’Connor
* On Ireland’s “malignant shame” by Dr. Garret O’Connor, former Director, Betty Ford Clinic https://www.mixcloud.com/rt%C3%A9-radio1specials/michael-littleton-memorial-lecture-2010/
[as email footer] No trees were killed to send this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced. (Attributed to Kelvin Dueck)
A human being is part of the whole, called by us `universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is capable of achieving this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security – Albert Einstein
“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.” ― Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition
“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires” (Wright, 2004, p. 124)[paraphrasing Steinbeck]
“that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection” – Johann Hari
Acknowledgement: This panel discussion will take place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking Musqueam people. We acknowledge that UBC occupies stolen land that has served as a place of learning for millennia, and that we must keep Canada’s long-running genocide of Indigenous peoples top of mind in any discussion of the rights and freedoms some of us enjoy on this land
Here was a man who was either in total harmony with his nature or had beaten it into perfect submission – Richard Russo, Empire Falls
The problem with the contemplative life was that there was no end to contemplation, no fixed time limit after which thought had to be transformed into action. Contemplation was like sitting on a committee that seldom made recommendations and was ignored when it did, a committee that lacked even the authority to disband. – Richard Russo, Empire Falls
Betteridge's law of headlines [Hinchliffe's Rule] is an adage that states: "Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no."
Don’t forget: The plural of anecdote is [not] data.Raymond Wolfinger
“You have to give to receive. You have to surrender to something outside yourself to gain strength within yourself. You have to conquer your desire to get what you crave. Success leads to the greatest failure, which is pride. Failure leads to the greatest success, which is humility and learning. In order to fulfill yourself, you have to forget yourself. In order to find yourself, you have to lose yourself.” ― David Brooks, The Road to Character
Show me a man with both feet on the ground and I’ll show you a man who can’t get his pants on. Joe E. Lewis
“A man who leaves home to mend himself and others is a philosopher; but he who goes from country to country, guided by the blind impulse of curiosity, is a vagabond.” – Oliver Goldsmith
“A theory is an empirically replicable general hypothesis that surpasses its competitors in reliable verifiability, making it a warranted albeit not absolute conclusion. By contrast, education as a field of study is a deliberative activity for particular situations whose problematic formulations and solutions lead to defensible, though not replicable, decisions that could turn out better or worse than anticipated but from which we can always learn. – How Joe Schwab Thinks
Camus: the unreasonable silence of the world
- The two tore down the stairs and swung around and off the end of the bannister toward the sitting room door where the selection boxes lay waiting under the Christmas tree.
- The embers in the fireplace still had a little warmth in them
- The huge mirror above the mantle piece
- The turf box with the horse embossed on it
- The set of encyclopedias
- The lamps in either corner
- The fireguard
- TV & VCR
- Heavy brown curtains, white net curtains,
- Hand-made snake draft excluder the neighbor made
- Anything goes on the TV: The birthday roller
- 1985: contraceptives made available without prescriptions
- 1996: divorce legalized
- 2015: same-sex marriage legalized
- 2018: abortion legalized
There’s a strange contradiction revealed by the naïveté and kindness demonstrated by humanity when faced with the universe: On Earth, humankind can step onto another continent, and without a thought, destroy the kindred civilizations found there through warfare and disease. But when they gaze up at the stars, they turn sentimental and believe that if extraterrestrial intelligences exist, they must be civilizations bound by universal, noble, moral constraints, as if cherishing and loving different forms of life are parts of a self-evident universal code of conduct. I think it should be precisely the opposite: Let’s turn the kindness we show toward the stars to members of the human race on Earth and build up the trust and understanding between the different peoples and civilizations that make up humanity. But for the universe outside the solar system, we should be ever vigilant, and be ready to attribute the worst of intentions to any Others that might exist in space. For a fragile civilization like ours, this is without a doubt the most responsible path. – The Three-Body Problem (Cixin Liu)
Being deeply lonely seemed to cause as much stress as being punched by a stranger. Being disconnected from the people around you had the same effect on your health as being obese. So every human instinct is honed not for life on your own, but for life like this, in a tribe. Humans need tribes as much as bees need a hive. Our sense of home has shriveled so far and so fast it no longer meets our need for a sense of belonging. So we are homesick even when we are at home. – Johann Hari, Lost Connnections
Banqiao Dam (1975): The resulting flood waters caused a wave 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) wide and 3–7 meters (9.8–23.0 ft) high in Suiping (遂平) that rushed onto the plains below at nearly 50 kilometers per hour (31 mph), almost wiping out an area 55 kilometers (34 mi) long and 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) wide, and creating temporary lakes as large as 12,000 square kilometers (4,600 sq mi).
Both books and TV bring you somewhere, but with a book you are the driver whereas with TV you are a passenger – KiF