On Being an Arsehole: A defense


The arsehole, writes philosopher Aaron James, is someone who “allows himself to enjoy special advantages in social relations out of an entrenched sense of entitlement that immunizes him against the complaints of other people.” At the other end of the spectrum is the fully cooperative person who recognizes others as equals and therefore acts respectfully. From my perspective I was being respectful to the archaeologist: the real disrespect, it seemed to me, lies in assuming your interlocutor needs to be treated with kid gloves. And if I broke the no-follow-up rule, well, that was down to a failure of self-control rather than an entrenched sense of entitlement: This is where the fun begins, I wanted to exclaim. Looking around the room, however, it was clear that I had already pooped the party. I had spoken out of turn, but more importantly I seemed to have revealed myself as the kind of person who is willing to embarrass a colleague to make a trivial point.

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Jonny Thakkar — The Point Magazine

What is Stoicism and How Can it Turn your Life to Solid Gold?


The core of the philosophy seems to be this: To have a good and meaningful life, you need to overcome your insatiability. Most people, at best, spend their lives in a long pursuit of happiness. So today’s successful person writes out a list of desires, then starts chasing them down and satisfying the desires. The problem is that each desire, when satisfied, tends to be replaced by a new desire. So the person continues to chase. Yet after a lifetime of pursuit, the person ends up no more satisfied than he was at the beginning. Thus, he may end up wasting his life.

The solution, the Stoics realized, is to learn to want the things you already have, rather than wanting other things. The most interesting technique that will help you achieve this is Negative Visualization.

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Mr. Money Mustache

Wild Wild Country’s white American provincialism


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The other side of the story.

Yet by framing Rajneeshpuram as a “sex cult” without this historical context, Wild Wild Country elides the fact that plenty of middle-class Indians had the same reaction to the “sex cult” as did citizens of Antelope. Not only that, we also miss out on a crucial irony: that India’s first godless and capitalist guru merely claimed to be a religious teacher for U.S. immigration purposes. Even worse, Wild Wild Countryremoves the capitalist-elitist substrate of the “material spirituality” Rajneesh espoused. Always a smooth operator, Rajneesh tracked his newspaper and magazine coverage, and though his lectures were designed to outrage the Indian masses (in order to ramp up publicity), he often appealed to elite venues such as the Rotary Club and the “cocktail circuit” of Mumbai.

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Noopur Raval & Phalguni Desai — The Baffler

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Jean-Paul Sartre’s Concepts of Freedom & “Existential Choice” Explained in an Animated Video Narrated by Stephen Fry


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Just a two minute video to help understand existentialism.

For the Existentialists, the self can be a prison, a trap, and a source of great anxiety. Heidegger called selfhood a condition of being “thrown into the world.” By the time we realize where and what we are, according to restrictive categories of historical thought and language, we are already there, inescapably bound to our conditions, forced to perform roles for which we never auditioned. Jean-Paul Sartre took this notion of “thrownness” and gave it his own neurotic stamp. We are indeed tossed into existences against our will, but the real condemnation, he thought, is that once we arrive, we have to make choices. We are doomed to the task of creating ourselves, no matter how limited the options, and there is no possibility of opting out. Even not making choices is a choice.

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Open Culture

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Simone de Beauvoir’s #MeToo


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This dissatisfaction has arisen on the basis of moral objections to particular actions in particular situations. So to Colosimo’s claim that #MeToo feminism promotes a view of women as “victims and helpless objects of male desire rather than free agents” we need to ask two questions: first, if in other moral contexts free agency involves the freedom to denounce behaviour that we consider harmful, what’s different about this one? Second, what is this ‘male desire’, such that women are victims of it?

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Kate Kirkpatrick — IAI

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Is there definitive proof of the existence of God?


How does Gödel try to show that God’s existence is possible? He argues that it is possible because God has only positive properties. If God were to have both positive and negative properties simultaneously it would seem impossible for him to exist because they would contradict each other. For example, it would seem impossible for God to exist if he were to have the property of being all knowing (a positive property) and the property of being ignorant (a negative property) simultaneously. Therefore God, as the greatest possible being, has only positive properties, such as the properties of being all knowing, all powerful and morally perfect, which, according to Gödel, do not contradict each other.

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Yujin Nagasawa — OUPblog

The Contagion of Euthanasia and the Corruption of Compassion


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Is euthanasia compassionate in some cases?

Humans do not live in isolation. The more our culture sends messages that some lives are less valuable than others, the more some people will internalize messages to end their lives. A psychological contagion of suicide is unleashed by euthanasia and assisted suicide laws. Condoning suicide in one circumstance implicitly condones it across the board. The wrong of suicide is no longer absolute: death is made a reasonable—even the expected—response to pain, misfortune, and sadness.

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Arthur Goldberg & ShimonCowen — Public Discourse

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