by Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse
people talk about Socrates, they typically refer to the leading
character in Plato’s dialogues. This is because little is known about
the historical Socrates beyond the fact that he wandered barefoot around
Athens asking questions, an activity that got him executed for
religious invention and corrupting the youth in 399 BCE. The relation
between the historical figure and the Platonic character is debatable.
In any case, Plato’s Socrates is most commonly read as a staunch
anti-democrat. However, once one distinguishes between being opposed to
democracy from theorizing the ways democratic society can fail, the
relationship between Socrates and democracy grows more complicated.
Continue reading “Was Socrates Anti-Democratic?”
From the riffs of outrage coming from the Democrats and their demos
over “our democracy” betrayed, infiltrated even destroyed—you’d never
know that a rich vein of thinking in opposition to democracy runs
through Western intellectual thought, and that those familiar with it
would be tempted to say “good riddance.”
Voicing opposition to democracy is just not done in politically polite circles, conservative and liberal alike.
For this reason, the Mises Institute’s Circle in Seattle, an annual gathering, represented a break from the pack.
Mises Institute is the foremost think tank working to advance
free-market economics from the perspective of the Austrian School of
Economics. It is devoted to peace, prosperity, and private property,
implicit in which is the demotion of raw democracy, the state, and its
This year, amid presentations that explained “Why American Democracy Fails,” it fell to me to speak to “How Democracy Made Us Dumb.” (Oh yes! Reality on the ground was not candy-coated.)
Continue reading “How Democracy Made Us Dumb”
A group of atheists and secularists recently gathered in Southern California to talk about social and political issues. This was the first of three summits planned by the Secular Coalition for America, an advocacy group based in Washington DC.
To many, atheism—the lack of belief in a personal god or gods—may appear an entirely modern concept. After all, it would seem that it is religious traditions that have dominated the world since the beginning of recorded history.
Continue reading “The ancient connections between atheism, Buddhism and Hinduism”
Tim Whitmarsh in The Guardian:
In his view, people everywhere grapple with the same moral questions, which are fundamentally about balancing contradictory imperatives: individual autonomy versus collective good; the social need for impartial arbiters of truth versus awareness of subjective experience; adherence to rules versus commonsense flexibility; and so forth. The differences between people lie not in the issues they face, but in the positions they end up adopting on the scale between the extremes. The analogy he draws is with a producer in a recording studio: “By sliding controls up or down, the volume of each track can be increased or decreased.” All cultures play the same song, but some prefer the cymbals higher up in the mix.
- Hedonistic philosophers knew better. This school of thought holds that pleasure is a good worth pursuing and that the ideal human life is filled with pleasure.
- in Ancient Greece, the hedonist worldview did not necessarily descend into a life of gluttony and frivolity.
- Epicurus ultimately advocates for a rather simple life
- the highest pleasure you can achieve is the absence of pain
- content with bread and water
- once he’d sated his hunger, he thought no greater pleasure would come from actively seeking more elaborate dining.
- the key to Epicurean hedonism is eradicating all anxiety
- the Epicurean lifestyle of bread and water doesn’t sound particularly hedonistic or appealing.
- stop desiring anything you don’t naturally need
- If you think about modern stresses and desires about status and consumerism, there’s a lot of that we might be able to do without and probably would be healthy for us to do without
- It’s easy to fall into false beliefs about what matters, based on the expectations of those around us
佛曰：缘来天注定，缘去人自夺。 若无缘，与之言多，亦废； 若有缘，你的存在就能惊醒他所有的感觉。 种如是因，收如是果，一切唯心造。笑着面对，不去埋怨。悠然，随心，随性，随缘…
掏心掏肺要分谁： 虚情假意的，咱不陪； 实心实意的，咱多给！ 有情有义要看谁： 转身就走的，咱不追； 患难与共的，咱回馈！ 感情其实很简单： 八两换半斤，你重我就沉； 人心换人心，你真我更真！
Van Gogh never had an art exhibition in his lifetime.
-Emily Dickinson never published a book
-Kafka didn’t have a published novel while alive
-Henry David Thoreau’s Walden sold only 2000 copies before his death.
-John Kennedy Toole had no books published until after his suicide
-Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was published in 2008, 4 years after his death
These people did their art in isolation. They teased the blood and guts out of their bodies and used the blood to write and create.