Ignomatic [adjective or adverb]: Description of a type of behaviour that is acquired by imitation, sustained by habit, with an origin to which the practitioner is perfectly oblivious.
In the days after the horrific Japanese earthquake in March 2011 an SMS circulated around in the Middle East claiming that it was an act of punishment from Allah for the wrongdoings of the Japanese people. If you, like me, are not a fundamentalist Muslim you will probably find that attitude morally repulsive. At the same time I would argue that it is a rational conclusion and that it presents profound challenges for moderate believers.
Censorship is about concealment. I am exploring different motives for it, and argue that it is a fallacy to consider the state or corporation as a paternal person with rights like an individual. Granting leaders the power to decide what is real and what is not is giving them more power than any human can handle.
Some people have a very dark view of man based on our cruel history of war. It is tempting to draw the conclusion that human nature is ferocious and evil, but I don´t think this view makes sense. The cruel and nasty people do not like to obey or listen to anyone. It´s the people that are nice but don´t think for themselves that follow orders.
From a fountain in the garden of comte Xavier Branicki’s castle I would like to have another bash at convincing you why philosophy is good not only for the individual but also for society at large. I also defend why multiplicity, plurality and contrast within society is necessary to be prepared for the future.
What is a valid belief? What does it mean for a belief to be valid? How should we deal with beliefs that may not be valid? I am arguing that truth is not the most important decider of validity, but rather what practical implications a belief has for the believer. I am digging for a lost epistemological dimension, more fundamental than that of accurate representation of reality.
“Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore…” wrote Luther in 1569. I think he had uncovered a rift between how he wanted the world to be and how he realized it is. A fact he tried to hide. But since then this tension has only grown and I believe that any hopes for a sane world must find better, more constructive ways of coping with the anxiety it produces.
I came across a new word recently and I realized it might be the most beautiful word in the world, yet it has no direct correspondence in English. Mudita is a Pali word, and is usually translated as “sympathetic” or “altruistic” joy. Basically it means to take pleasure in someone else’s well-being. Isn’t that lovely? [...]
The Queen of England apparently asked why no one saw the crisis coming. I am suggesting she might have been somewhat sheltered and that the real question is why those who could have avoided it didn’t. I suggest that the religious hubris inspiring the Project for the New American Century played an important role.
I set out on the road to Seville to find some of the historic places of the Spanish civil war, and try to understand what made European intellectuals come and fight in the front lines of a foreign country. I follow the Hungarian-born journalist Arthur Koestler, who was captured and sentenced to death by Franco, and find the place where he managed to con his way out right under the nose of both Nazis and the fascist military.
Looking at the etymology of reality and the German concept of Wirklishkeit it is hard to see how the Anglo-American distinction between reality and imagination as anything more than a luxurious logical biscuit at an English teaparty. For Scandinavians and Germans alike what is real is whatever has an effect, and a bit of digging reveals that we are fundamentally mystics in spite of our reputation.
Science needs to be understood historically as a reaction against religious epistemology, but also as a movement born inside religion itself. Throughout Western intellectual history it is hard to find thinkers and philosophers that were not religious. As science is still struggling to establish its separate identity, like a rebellious teenager it wants to disown everything religious. The tension thus built up between religion and science is pusing each side to extremes.
The most influential female spiritual leader in the West today is arguably Oprah and many people watch her and are seduced by the magical message that you create you own reality. While there are some good news there are also some serious bad news with the last wave of consumerist spirituality to hit the highstreet.