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“Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you need the approval of a boss or an authority figure; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the “responsible mainstream” (emphasis mine); someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship.

“For an intellectual these habits are corrupting par excellence. If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits.”

Excerpt here.

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“Here’s a little secret. You want to work? You want to work really, really, really hard? You know what? You’ll succeed. The world will give you the opportunity to work really, really, really, really hard, but are you so sure that that’s going to give you a great career when all the evidence is to the contrary?

“Passion is your greatest love. Passion is the thing that will help you create the highest expression of your talent. Passion, interest — it’s not the same thing. Are you really going to go to your sweetie and say, “Marry me! You’re interesting.” (Laughter) Won’t happen. Won’t happen, and you will die alone. (Laughter)

“[And yet another excuse..] I want to be a great parent, and I will not sacrifice them on the altar of great accomplishment….[And then, when your kid decides to be a magician…] are you going to tell him this? “I had a dream once, kid. But then you were born.””

Food for thought!

Video here.

“The point is, most of us struggle throughout our lives by giving too many fucks in situations where fucks do not deserve to be given.

“Indeed, the ability to reserve our fucks for only the most fuckworthy of situations would surely make life a hell of a lot easier….if we could only give a few less fucks, or a few more consciously-directed fucks, then life would feel pretty fucking easy.

“What we don’t realize is that there is a fine art of non-fuck-giving.”

Love this article! If I give a fuck about you, you’ll know it. And if you do something or behave in ways that is undeserving of my fuck, then I will stop giving a fuck. I have enough on my plate as it is, I don’t “need” to give a fuck about things I don’t need to give a fuck about…. and I don’t care if you know it.

I actually think there are too many things I give a fuck about – although I do have different degrees of giving a fuck – but in another way, this is also okay because I no longer give a fuck about people disagreeing with me on things I give a fuck about. As a result, I’m no longer enraged or frustrated by people being stupid.

This is indeed, quite liberating… and quite sardonically amusing. I’m not entirely sure what has brought me to this stage, but I know that only three years ago, I would have agreed with this article but would never have had the temerity to (re)post it so publicly in a statement of solidarity.

Perhaps I’m just tired of making the same mistakes over and over again, with the same people in different skins. Perhaps I’m tired of explaining things over and over again to people who refuse to listen, to debate, and to accept responsibility.

I think a big part of it though is that there are now certain things I value – integrity, equality, and justice, for starters – that take precedence over pleasing others. Introspective thoughts about recent events have made me realize that I care deeply about people and doing what is right, and if other people have lower standards, that’s quite all right. There are plenty of other people to admire and respect, because those things are to be earned and never freely given.

Article here.

“He calls it the paradox of wu wei, the Chinese term for “effortless action.”

“The texts on the bamboo, composed more than three centuries before Christ, emphasize that following rules and fulfilling obligations are not enough to maintain social order.

“These texts tell aspiring politicians that they must have an instinctive sense of their duties to their superiors: “If you try to be filial, this not true filiality; if you try to be obedient, this is not true obedience. You cannot try, but you also cannot not try.””

Clear as mud?

““Particularly when one has developed proficiency in an area, it is often better to simply go with the flow. Paralysis through analysis and overthinking are very real pitfalls that the art of wu wei was designed to avoid.”” – Jonathan Schooler

“However wu wei is attained, there’s no debate about the charismatic effect it creates. It conveys an authenticity that makes you attractive, whether you’re addressing a crowd or talking to one person.

“Before signing a big deal, businesspeople often insist on getting to know potential partners at a boozy meal because alcohol makes it difficult to fake feelings. Neuroscientists have achieved the same effect in brain scanners by applying magnetic fields that suppress cognitive-control ability and in this way make it harder for people to tell convincing lies.”

Wait, what? There’s an actual lie-suppressing machine now?

“He likes the compromise approach of Mencius, a Chinese philosopher in the fourth century B.C. who combined the Confucian and Taoist approaches: Try, but not too hard. Mencius told a parable about a grain farmer who returned one evening exhausted from his labors.”

I like this last approach, too…

Article here.

“CHRISTMAS is at our throats again.” – Noël Coward

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” – US President Calvin Coolridge

“Which quotation strikes a chord with you? Are you a Coward or a Coolidge?”

Hah, I’m a Coward.

“Call it the Christmas Conundrum. We are supposed to revel in gift-giving and generosity, yet the season’s lavishness and commercialization leave many people cold. The underlying contradiction runs throughout modern life. On one hand, we naturally seek and rejoice in prosperity. On the other hand, success in this endeavor is often marred by a materialism we find repellent and alienating.

““There is nothing wrong with money, dude. The problem in life is attachment to money.” The formula for a good life, he explained, is simple: abundance without attachment.

“Material things appear to be permanent, while experiences seem evanescent and likely to be forgotten. Should you take a second honeymoon with your spouse, or get a new couch? The week away sounds great, but hey — the couch is something you’ll have forever, right?

“Wrong. Thirty years from now, when you are sitting in rocking chairs on the porch, you’ll remember your second honeymoon in great detail. But are you likely to say to one another, “Remember that awesome couch?””

Article here.