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Building the Insanity In: Ex Machina

This is not a movie review. This is me thinking about empathy. Last night, lonely little ol’ me sat in a hotel room in Laramie, Wyomig (inauspiciously named for Jacques LaRamie, a French or French-Canadian trapper who disappeared in the Laramie Mountains in the late 1810s and was never heard from again–nice choice, Laramie). I […]

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Happiness Is Notoriously Difficult To Describe

Preface to the Paperback Edition of George Kateb’s Utopia and Its Enemies (1972, 1963). “Of course, no honest person claims that happiness is now a normal condition among human beings; but perhaps it could be made normal, and it is upon this question that all serious political controversy really turns.” “Happiness is notoriously difficult to […]

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Swerve Me Ye Cannot!

From Lecture #6 from John Searle’s 1984 Reith Lectures, “Minds, Brains and Science.” If libertarianism, that is the thesis of free will, were true, it appears we would have to make some really radical changes in our beliefs about the world. In order for us to have radical freedom then it looks as if we […]

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The Tatters of Pragmatism

I just reread the section of Louis Menand’s The Metaphysical Club  where Chauncey Wright is introduced and his importance to the major thinkers of the time is noted. Menand begins this introduction with what seems most humanly interesting to know about Chauncey Wright. Wright was unmarried. He lodged, after 1861, in the home of Mary […]

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The Manufactured Ant

The hominid is not an ant. The Machine is modeled on Ants.  Coded directions. Social organization requires hierarchy. Culture instructs us, directs us to pattern life “appropriately.” Managing the massive polis requires NOT democracy but instead predictability. The machine is predictable because it is prescribed in its actions. As an example simply imagine driving a […]

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The Wages of Progress…

People get interested and involved in issues and dilemmas that primarily affect them personally, physically, specifically.  I get that.  Me too.  Yo tambien. However, it seems to me that a particular injustice or unfairness normally has tentacles that seek to attach themselves in myriad sucking ways to all aspects of life generally. The recent arbitrary […]

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The Dart’s the Thing: Melville on Emerson

“All men live enveloped in whale line.” Self-Reliance (Waldo) 1841 Life only avails, not the having lived. Power ceases in the instant of repose; it resides in the moment of transition from a past to a new state, in the shooting of the gulf, in the darting to an aim. This one fact the world […]

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Iniquitous Airy Abstraction, or The Lawyer’s Truth

Having neither the wherewithal nor the erudition (nor the patience, nor expectation of readership) to craft a cogent article on the fact that Western civilization as represented by governments and ideologies serving “manifest destiny” as created in minds “blessed” with thousands upon thousands of square miles of “empty” geography has from its inception been keenly […]

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Melville On Mind

…it has the savor of analogical probability.  Chapter 73: STUBB AND FLASK KILL A RIGHT WHALE; AND THEN HAVE OVER HIM The boats were here hailed, to tow the whale on the larboard side, where fluke chains and other necessaries were already prepared for securing him. “Didn’t I tell you so?” said Flask; “yes, you’ll […]

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Against the Eye of Self

This is a huge topic in my own mind, and if you read this blog or the previous blog (Nemesis) this is no revelation (ah, damn, a visual term).  I think it is an enormous calamity: we are dominated by the visual sense.  Almost entirely excluding all other senses.  (Robert Harrison, in a recent podcast […]

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Glorifying War Shall Not Grow Old

Concerning War Movies (prompted by a conversation about Peter Jackson’s movie They Shall Not Grow Old). In J. D. Salinger’s […]

Cutting Down the Clouds

This winter they are cutting down our woods more seriously than ever,—Fair Haven Hill, Walden, Linnaea Borealis Wood, etc. etc. […]

Representative Texts from Hawthorne to Dickinson

In your daily busyness you are pressed for time to think and often choose instead anesthetization – watching any number […]

Between Hope and Defeat, History and Heaven

“God himself culminates in the present moment.” (Thoreau) What is “now” for? What if you “know” the future? Fairy tales […]

Absolute Solutions Necessary

Only two things to do: 1. zero out carbon emissions 2. exception: all technological and scientific labor exploring new solutions […]

Rachel Carson’s book had no real effect

Facing Global Climate Disruption and the End of Everything All At Once… David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth tries very hard […]