Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy’

The Chinese Riddle, & How To Keep It Nice

July 18, 2016

China is the other great civilizational center. The primary one being the Indo-European ensemble (which crucially incorporated Egypt, where a lot of what came to be known as Greek mathematics, was discovered).

To understand Europe, the last 500,000 years have proved necessary (Neanderthals started to burn coal, 80,000 years ago, foe example, and explored immensely deep caves, 165,000 years). In the case of China, the evolution of the last 5,000 years are crucial to understand how China became China.

 

China: A World Within The World, But Not Quite The Center Of Everything

China: A World Within The World, But Not Quite The Center Of Everything

China is the other great civilizational center. Much of what China uses as civilizational instruments was developed in situ, from writing, to the number system, to much philosophy. However, that philosophy was unbalanced, too much under the influence of Confucius (whose works have been under care from the same family inside the same city for 60 generations or more).

China developed an examination system which, in theory, enabled the most cognitively qualified to rule. Thus Mandarins and not aristocrats were in command. At least in theory.

This system, admirable in principle, was flawed in practice, as China got terminally invaded at least twice. The Mongol invasion came close to annihilation, when some of Genghis Khan’s generals proposed to exterminate the Chinese and change the ecology! (The generals knew they could turn much of China into a steppe similar to much of Mongolia, by cutting the forests and bringing massive herds of cattle, goats, sheep…)

The primary civilization center is the Indo-European ensemble (which crucially incorporated Egypt, where a lot of what came to be known as Greek mathematics, was discovered).

Now we have basically just one civilization, worldwide, so the misadventures of China are highly  instructive.

To understand Europe, the last 500,000 years have proved necessary (Neanderthals started to burn coal, 80,000 years ago). In the case of China, the last 5,000 years are crucial.

Now, granted all and any explanation can only be incomplete. What is important is to introduce new ideas, and that includes new hierarchy in what is more important, and what is not.

Right now, China seems severely influenced by the Germany of the Second Reich, and its incredible fast scientific, technological, mercantilist, and economic expansion… At the cost of a more general, more pacific mood. That uncanny comparison is quite a bit spooky. An evidence is the madness about the south of the South China Sea.

As in Germany, starting 165 years ago, increasing aggressiveness towards foreign powers seems to be the glue which increasingly keeps the dictatorship together. In the case of Germany, the increasing aggressiveness, which had started by attacking Denmark in 1853, went on with the catastrophic apotheosis, encouraged by the US presidency. of the savage surprise attack on the world of August 1914. Naturally enough, it was followed by the encore of Nazism. Yes, it’s not a reassuring comparison. But the same psychohistorical forces are in play. Psychohistory rules national moods and the actions they lead to (Isaac Asimov wrote a book on this; the real, live, historical case was the second foundation of the Roman Empire, the “Renovation of the Roman Empire made official by Roman emperor Charlemagne…). 

On the reassuring side, China adopted, and accepted to be guided, by a huge chunk of Western philosophy, a Franco-German contraption sensitive to the nastiness of great capital. That was a huge philosophical revolution, but it was made possible only by a great openness of mind (in part learned in Paris by the top leader of Communist China, such as Chou En Lai and Deng Tsiao Ping)

China used to rile against capital. Yet, who has the most capital under command in the world, after the USA? China.

Nevertheless, to accept a distant philosophy, extremely alien to China, China had to open its collective mind and eyes gigantically. And intelligence itself is something one can learn to acquire.

The kindest attitude with China right now may well be to show to it that its aggressiveness in the south of the South China sea can only lead to war, even a world war. And that China cannot win it. Australia has started to do just that by acquiring, with US help, a fleet of the best submarines in the world, made in France. (In World War Two, after the Americans learned to make torpedoes which actually exploded, their submarines were one of the main factors in closing the Pacific to the fascist Japanese military.)

The Han are dominating the Middle Kingdom as never before. One hundred nations are now submitted to them. Their languages are even disappearing. (My own daughter is learning Mandarin, BTW.) That’s all very good for the Han. They are now very much richer than before, not just from their considerable industry and genius, and change of philosophy, adopting instead European philosophy. Those increased riches also come from occupying Tibet and Xinjiang.

The Han should not push their luck with aggressive military and imperialistic distractions. Adopting just a piece of European philosophy and history, while ignoring the rest, plenty of Dark Side in full evidence and how to control it, can only lead to an unbalanced mind. And, from there, dangerous, irreversible courses of action… Of the sort Europe is all too familiar with.    

Patrice Ayme’

 

From Sentience, To Reason & Philosophy

February 17, 2016

Why Is It Modern To Study Ancient Philosophy?

Because one studies this way the roots of reason, as first put into digital form (that’s what writing is). One does not study ancient physics, so why ancient philosophy? Well, one should study ancient physics, that would be an occasion to mention obvious mistakes one is tempted to do, but that one should NOT to do when interpreting nature.

For example, Aristotle believed that one needed to keep on applying a force to keep on moving. That was a curious mistake: anybody running fast, or, a fortiori, galloping on top of a horse, realizes that air resistance is what necessitates to keep on applying a force. And that’s why arrows have the shape they have.

One could make arrows with other shapes: emperor Commodus amused himself by firing in the arena arrows with a crescent shaped blade. Commodus was an athlete of great physical beauty and power (said various contemporaries). The sharp crescent would hit an ostrich’s neck, and the bird would run without a head, to the amusement of spectators (they better be amused).

In serious usage arrows had a very aerodynamic shape (and even could be made to stabilize by rotation thanks to their back feathers).

Humans and Horses Are Capable of Reason. Human Reason Was Communicated to the Horse, and This Is How Horses Learn To Jump

Humans and Horses Are Capable of Reason. Human Reason Was Communicated to the Horse, and This Is How Horses Learn To Jump

[I have practiced that sport, by the way… In Africa, with stallions. Definitively, a good obstacle rider has to be able to able to communicate… reason (what else?) to the horse, in a spirit of trust and conviviality! Otherwise, death and mayhem may result… Aristotle was definitively not a rider, while Xenophon, general, superlative philosopher, and horse breeder, was.]

It took 16 centuries to correct Aristotle’s confusion of aerodynamic resistance and violation of inertia. Buridan, a physicist, philosopher and mathematician, was the first to do so, with his theory of impetus. (Even then he got confused in some detailed examples.)

Explaining to children Aristotle’s mistake should be part of the (early) teaching of physics.

In “Why is ancient philosophy still relevant?”, February 16, 2016, Massimo Pigliucci ponders:

“Why on earth am I devoting years of my life to studying (and practicing) Stoicism? Good question, I’m glad you asked. Seriously, it would seem that the whole idea of going back two millennia to seek advice on how to live one’s life is simply preposterous.

Have I not heard of modern science? Wouldn’t psychology be a better source of guidance, for instance? And even philosophy itself, surely it has moved beyond the ancient Greco-Romans by now, yes?”

Massimo finds the answer in eternal human nature:

“…there is clearly something that the Stoics, the Epicureans, the Peripatetics (followers of Aristotle), the Buddhist, the Confucianists and so forth clearly got right. There is something they thought about and taught to their students that still resonates today, even though we obviously live in a very different environment, socially, technologically, and otherwise.

The answer, I think, is to be found in the relative stability of human nature. This is a concept on which the Hellenistic philosophers relied heavily, though they didn’t use that specific term.”

Notice, by the way, that all our mathematics and physics rest on what the Ancient Greeks knew which happened to be right (although much of their mathematics came from Egypt, for example “Euclid’s Theorem”; also the Greek had modern number system half baked, the final baking happened in India, and were christened “Arabic Numerals”, although they were brought to the West by a Persian…)

Thinking works in a hierarchized way: from the obvious to the extremely subtle revealed by the latest neurology. The Greeks were the first to write extensively on the first aspects of thinking, so their considerations have to be considered first, whenever one studies thinking. So they stay first, and always will, as long as the memory of the past survives.

Massimo: “For Aristotle, humans were essentially rational (meaning capable of reason) social animals. The Stoics agreed, and in fact their theory of oikeiosis (“familiarization”) was essentially an account of developmental moral psychology… Crucially, although other primates seem to share in our natural instinct for sociability, they are incapable of extending it by reason.”

And the big question is: what is reason?

Reason can be put in words, thus expressed digitally. But it can also be transferred by a drawing (that’s not digital). Basically reason is neurology that works, and which can be transferred to other minds.

So reason can be transferred to a dog, or a horse (say when one teaches a horse to jump obstacles).

A sentient animal is one with feelings, it can reason. However, it cannot communicate that reason easily. Although it can learn through communications: songbirds are known to learn from other birds, more or less well, to make more or less complicated songs: educating birds to make mini symphonies is national craze in Indonesia.

Philosophy is the study of reason for reason’s sake. Animals do not do that industrially, nor tribally, but our species and two or three before that, obviously do.

Patrice Ayme’

MINIMIZING EVIL As the Greatest Good

January 27, 2016

Do the ends justify the means, or the means, the ends? Neither. A completely different answer awaits. We have to change our considerations of complex issues from unsophisticated, uncouth, flying blind, to something much more subtle, inspired by the turn towards more subtle analysis that physics itself had to take, in the last three centuries (just post-Newton).

“Maximization of agency towards greater good”… is the only good. Why?

Because the world is fast, and getting faster, exponentially. We are confronted to an increasingly violent shoot storm. Philosophy is not just a consolation anymore. Philosophy has become the only pragmatic way out of a gathering multidimensional cataclysm.

Yes, it is also an excretion storm. Humanity is excreting, all over the planet, creating lethal imbalances all over. Contemplate the Great Barrier Reef, in Australia, one of the world’s greatest biological structures. 2,300 kilometers long, 350,000 square kilometers in area. Yet, it is suddenly threatened by utter destruction. Why? Australian agriculture, all these plants, eaten by all these hungry vegetarians, out there. (In full truth, sugarcane is the primary culprit.)

Crown of Thorns, 35 Centimeters Across: Science Always Beats Fiction!

Crown of Thorns, 35 Centimeters Across: Science Always Beats Fiction!

Yes, of course, the spikes will make you bleed, and they are venomous.

Massive production of plants requires a lot of phosphates, and other fertilizers. The latter gets into the sea. One thing leads to another. And then the babies of a killer starfish, the Crown of Thorn starfish, survive at roughly 100 times their natural rate. And the ladies Crown of Thorns are rather prolific: they produce up to twenty million eggs each. What is the Crown of Thorns prefered diet? Live coral. Crown of Thorns have already eaten their way through roughly half the Great Barrier Reef.

It is a science fiction situation, it requires a science fiction solution (philosophy will tell you as much). There are too many killer starfishes already. One needs killer robots. They are been developed: the starfish terminators have eyes, and they recognize Crown of Thorns with 99.9% precision, and inject them with bile, to which the Crown of Thorns is highly allergic.

Autonomous killer robots at sea: what could go wrong? Are sharks next? Of course! Not to terminate the species, but to make the swimmers safe (we could reprogram for plutocrats, some will insinuate…). Proper usage of philosophical evil optimization theory shows that, only this way, is evil minimized.

So welcome, killers robots!

Take another example: lack of awareness, and the evil Clintons, helped by the Bush of Oblahblah, let the financial plutocracy grow completely out of control. The silly ones will give money, clothing, even food, and feel emphatic, happy about themselves, and their pacific tendencies. Does the Will to Peace generate peace? A philosophical question. And the answer is awful: when a bushel of wheat goes from the American Middle  West to Africa, it is bought and sold virtually, by the financial traitors… No less than 2,000 times! Then they live in plush mansions. Of course those traitors are culprit. But so are those who let them thrive, namely all those ready to vote for crooks (names starting with “C”).

Shoot storm? Yes, not just animal waste and dirt that is flying, but outright bullets. To wit: extremely violent wars out of nowhere. Contemplate Rwanda, Somalia, the Islamist State. Worse could be around the corner: a (nuclear) war of India with Pakistan, quickly generalizing, is imaginable.

Science fiction, some will sneer, from the bottom of their feel-good ignorance.

But 2015 was considerably warmer than 2014, which was, itself, the warmest year, ever, by a long shot. Greenland is melting, fast. A collapse of ice shields in Antarctica, little talked about, looks imminent (at least to me).

Science fiction, some will scoff, and turn around, to study nothing. Yet, look at the Zika virus, propped by global warming. The USA is scrambling to study it. It did not exist six months ago, as a problem for WHO. Now it’s a total panic. Brazil just attributed 4,000 cases of microcephaly to that virus carried by mosquitoes. Four countries advised women not to get pregnant, more will follow. Tomorrow.

Genetic engineering may be a way to stop Zika. Otherwise, massive usage of poisons (which

already started). This sort of question are all highly philosophical, they are always choices between an evil, and the other.

In Libya, the West, led by France, destroyed a bloody despotic regime, practicing mass murder, but then, the West dropped the ball. On the philosophical ground of non-intervention, and Obama “leading from way behind” France, the West let the Natives argue between themselves to find out how they would organize this country, which is more than 4,000 years old.

That was a serious debate: Libyans have had some outstanding issues, of civilizational grade, for millennia (so do Algeria, Tunisia, even Morocco). One of these issues is whether the 3,500 years old alphabet could, or even ought, to be used, in parts where it still exists, rather than the youngish alphabet brought by the invading Arab armies, armed with their “Submission” (= Islam).

However, profiting from the chaos, the Islamist State moved in. And now it’s moving ever more, as the West is destroying it in the Orient.Now France wants to attack and destroy the Islamist State in Libya. Is this philosophically correct? (I think so, can’t wait!)

Philosophical questions are everywhere, and they are not just fascinating, but they have to drive policy. The situation is much more acute than when Seneca was advising emperor Nero, or when emperor Marcus Aurelius was playing stoic philosopher.

To all these questions, only one context in which to frame the answers: relativity. Relativity of knowledge, relativity of evil, relativity of consequences, relativity of action.

So yes, “maximization of agency towards greater good” is where it’s at. Not just where ethics ought to be at, but where action should be.

(Massimo P. and his friends have what seems to me roughly the same approach to goodness of “maximizing agency“; see: “From ancient to modern From ancient to modern Stoicism — part I“. It’s pretty clear that it was always the overriding principle of my approach to philosophy. I thank Massimo in passing for giving me the occasion of planting my claws and fangs into something juicy, in other word, making my thoughts more, well, effective by providing a debating ground.)

Can we find some inspiration in science? Yes, of course. Look at physics: energy is not of the essence. The essence is the potential, not the absolute energy. It is the potential which sits on the right hand side of the De Broglie-Schrodinger equation. Thus it’s the potential which acts (contemplate the Bohm-Aharanov effect).

Physics is dominated by the principle of least action (found by Maupertuis, during the Enlightenment). Least action of evil, such is modern stoicism. Keeping in mind that inaction is itself a form of action.

Notice that the old problem of the “ends which justify the means” has been completely reformulated in a much larger physical and philosophical universe. The entire, immense power of modern logic, mathematics and physics can then be brought to bear. It is not a question of carrying the equations over: equations constitute only logical foam. What is deeper than the equations, what really gets the logic going, is the context they represent.

For example, a way to formulate Quantum Physics, related to the Least Action Principle, is to consider the “sum over histories”… Well, just as human history itself. Causalities, entangled, are all over histories.

Ethics has got more complicated, but, in this vastly richer landscape, minimal energy, minimal evil solutions abound.

This is not just the great age of science, it’s the greatest age of philosophy. In the age of Seneca and Marcus Aurelius, the empire was in danger, from forces, in and out. Now civilization itself is in question, and even worse, the biosphere itself is threatened. It’s an ecology most propitious to a blossoming of philosophy. The greatest questions ever, await the greatest answers.

And much inspiration has to come from science, whose main job is not just to find the facts, but sophisticated logics to give them meaning. Today’s most sophisticated logics and mathematics are far ahead of the best known yesterday.

We want goodness? Let’s maximize agency towards goodness. The Principle of Least Evil, in other words.

Patrice Ayme’

Love Without Wisdom: Ruin of Humanity.

November 20, 2015

Love without wisdom is only ruin of humanity? Lying, too, is the ruin of humanity, which is truth, if nothing else.

Lying about Islam will not seduce youth. Just the opposite.

If there is no love of wisdom, there is no wisdom in love.

Attack of the day, this time Al Qaeda on Bamako’s most prestigious hotel. Ten Muslim Fundamentalists versus 200 guests and 30 employees. What could go wrong? “God is great!” screamed the gun totting Radicals. Therein were airline crews from Air France, Turkish Airways, and many Members of Parliament from many countries, including France (of course), Senegal, Quebec, etc.

Human Spirit Is Indomitable

Human Spirit Is Indomitable

Well what could go wrong is that there were 40 French gendarmes from GIGN (Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale) plus French and U.S. Special Forces in the immediate area. The siege got resolved very quickly with only two dozens killed.

The deepest problem we are facing is philosophical. There is the Islam we have, and then there is the Islam we wish to have. The Islam we have, is the one in the Qur’an. Nobody reads the Qur’an, everybody talks about it, as if they had. Well, nobody reads it, except for the Islamist State, and other Muslim Fundamentalists, or “Radicals”

The West says:”The Islamist State is not Islam, it’s terrorism”. The Islamist State, and other Muslim Fundamentalists reply:”Just read the Qur’an”. Young, dissatisfied people (rightly dissatisfied from austerity, discrimination, inequities, etc.) then decide to make a little experience for themselves: who is right? They read the Qur’an and discover that the Muslim Fundamentalists told the truth: the Islamist State is the Qur’an, unadultarated. As long as the leadership of the West (political and intellectual) lies in a blatant way, and is easily caught lying, it will have no credit, and will only enrage youth ever more. (Maybe that’s what they want? As war serves plutocracy well?)

Islamism Is Terrorism, Wisdom Is Love

It’s as simple as that. Don’t agree? Well read the Qur’an oh you silly ones who talk about books you never read and were mostly told lies about. Before reading comprehension, one needs reading. Right, normal people prefer reading novels than reality.

In the Qur’an it is famously said that who kills someone, kills all of humanity. Never mind that Muhammad himself killed more than 1,000, including an entire tribe of Yathrib (now Medina). Yet, the Qur’an says this. However that verse is ABROGATED by tens of later verses which order all sorts of people (remember that later verses take precedence over earlier ones):

Imams bemoan “Radicalism”. But “radical” means about roots, and in the case of Islam, it means the Qur’an. Radical is the Qur’an. The Qur’an itself is a fabrication of Uthman, not Muhammad, as Aisha pointed out. Entire pieces of it were removed (notably the famous “Satanic Verses”).

So why not rewrite the Qur’an in a new version, the “Real Message of God According to Muhammad, Which Uthman And Others Hid From You”?

That will allow to remove the verses in the Qur’an which are in conflict with civilization.

Meanwhile the comedy of stupidity unchained, keeps on unfolding. I showed an educated lady from California hyper-threatening verses from the Qur’an, which should be unlawful, just because they are hate crimes. She quietly told me: ”Oh, there is the same in the Bible.” She has been a professional woman earning her keep as an engineer for decades.

So the pan is hot?’ Say who pass nowadays for smart, well-balanced people. ‘No problem, the fire is hot too.” Surely, the argument that we should be happy with the Qur’an, because it is similar to the rule book of the Inquisition belongs to those who hope keenly to bring back the Inquisition.

If there is no love of wisdom, there is no wisdom in love. It’s not enough to love God. You have to check first it’s not the Devil, as the Cathars pointed out.

The Vatican had the King of Paris (also known as “France”) annihilate the Cathars, using a Bible Fundamentalist army. One million dead. And all the Cathars’ writings.

But not, as you can see, all their ideas.

Meanwhile in Algeria, the local dictator, Bouteflika, had cartoonist Tahar Djehiche imprisoned 6 months in jail for cartoons ‘insulting the president’ -https://t.co/nJ9tF5xafX”. When the mood is around that insulting the Prophet deserves death, surely insulting the president deserves 6 months. Islam is the bed of gory dictatorship.

Who is Bouteflika?  A terrorist who became a general. He is one of the original principals from the FNL, a terrorist group to whom the French dictator (the one who dictated), De Gaulle, gave power in… 1962. De Gaulle, a famous racist, thought that Bouteflika was perfect for Algeria. De Gaulle thought he could keep “Muslims” or North Africans at bay, and away, by giving them to the wolves. That mood persisted, although its racism had to morph a bit. So the children of the North Africans who fled to France, or Europe, were mistreated by austerity (no schools for you, Muslims, the Qur’an is good enough, and selling drugs, too). So here we are. (Fully describing the relationship between France and North Africa deserves 1,000 pages, I am myself a byproduct; this was just an appetizer…)

If there is no love of wisdom, there is no wisdom in love. People are born from love, and thus have a capacity, and a need to love whatever, including evil. Love is not enough. Love without wisdom is only ruin of humanity.

Patrice Ayme’

Aging Is A Disease. To Improve Wisdom, Fight It.

October 23, 2015

The Food & Drugs Administration does not think of aging as a disease. However the FDA only allows to test drugs which potentially fight a disease. One disease. Just one disease. This has practical consequences: the FDA cannot authorize testing drugs which would combat aging. Since, according to the FDA, aging is not a disease.

I disagree. Philosophically considered, aging is obviously a disease. On the face of it, dis-ease means one is not at ease anymore. Not only is aging  a reduction of comfort: watch old people bent over, shrunk, transpierced by various pains related to all sorts of inflammations. Moreover nearly all diseases which affect people, and are ultimately impossible to treat are age related. But, moreover, clearly, aging is not comfortable:

Brigitte Bardot In Her 20s, & More recently: If That’s Not A Disease, What Is? Aging Is A Disease, Like Elephantiasis

Brigitte Bardot In Her 20s, & More recently: If That’s Not A Disease, What Is? Aging Is A Disease, Like Elephantiasis

The FDA’s position is arguably the greatest obstacle to progress in health care. Why? If aging is not a disease, and no drug can be developed to cure this non-disease, most diseases known will not be treated, as most diseases are age-related: when people are in their prime, say between 25 and 45 years of age, they are pretty much disease free.

Theories of how aging proceeds exist. They are not complete, but they fit well with the plausible modes of action of the five substances which are known to have anti-aging effects.

Some will philosophically object to the desire of having people live 1,000 years or so. However, suppose people did. It would be then very easy to persuade people to save the biosphere from the Greenhouse Gas catastrophe.

The one billion people living within 10 meter elevation from the sea would not appreciate to see their properties flooded within a small fraction of their lifetimes. Indeed, it’s pretty much guaranteed that sea level will go up tens of meters in a few centuries, displacing billions of people. Such a displacement of population will bring huge wars, and misery, among other problems.

Thus with long lives will come a better stewardship of the planet.

Some have dared to idiotically proffer that we would not want to live that long. Well, I am all for voluntary euthanasia: let them idiots and people of little appreciation die, that will help the biosphere. And it will help the ambiance too: who wants people in such a bad mood, with a jaundiced attitude to life, sticking around? Would not they start wars, just to get out of their colossal ennui?

Not fighting aging is tantamount to calling death a necessary calling, short-term, of the human experience. It’s nearly tantamount to approving of young people dying in war. It’s the reign of the philosophy of the Dark Side posing as Enlightened.

Ageing as something to be respected has to be disposed of, be it just to improve the philosophical mood of humanity.

Patrice Ayme’

Only Philosophy Can Reverse Civilization Collapse

August 12, 2015

World population is presently exploding. How many human beings were there before dogs became in wide use? In 35,000 BCE, it is estimated that Earth had three million human beings. Before the rise of cities, in 10,000 BCE, world population had reached 15 million. The rise of civilization was enabled by a technological explosion, the discovery, invention and intense use intense use of science, technology, writing, genetic engineering (dogs, cattle, goats, chicken, cats, wheat, rye, millet, rice, beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, etc.), irrigation, fuel, etc.

Civilizations rise when they find new technological tricks to dominate and exploit their environments, be it the human, and, or, natural, environments. Those tricks exhaust resources after a while, bringing stress, thus war (against people, and, or, nature). War activates the fascist instinct, bringing the rise of plutocracy (as observed nowadays), and complete cretinism (also known as theocracy). This makes the collapse worse. Civilization can be destroyed by fate. The most famous case is a civilization we owe so much to: Crete. It was devastated by one of the worst volcanic explosion in 25,000 years (as it tried to recover, it was hit by a “plague”, according to Greek historians). 

Cretan Girls Leaped Over Bulls In The Nude

Cretan Girls Leaped Over Bulls In The Nude

Crete is part of our cultural inheritance. Today, the status of women depends upon the breakthrough ancient paintings (from the Knossos Palace, above), some 40 centuries old, depict. The status of women was high in Crete. Women could be in authority, for 2,000 years. Women were then to be subjugated in Greece, for 3,500 years (yes, time flies, these are big numbers: civilizational setbacks can last millennia).

Europe is named after Crete, an acknowledgment. The goddess Europa was from Crete (and one of her sons was the famous king Minos, after whom Minoan Civilization is named).

An example of self-imploding collapse is the Maya. The Maya were, for millennia, an extremely advanced civilization which seemed to be on its way to accomplish on its own something similar to the ascending superiority of Middle Earth (my term for the Mediterranean plus Egypt-Middle East-Arabia plus India area).

However, a terrible century long drought starting in the Seventh Century struck the Maya who proved unable to manage the crisis, to which they added terrible wars (the worst involving a queen, in the leading role, not just the usual demonic males). All Maya cities were destroyed. When the Spaniards landed, eight centuries later, the Maya were just shadows of their former selves (yet, they proved to be tough customers).

As Jared Diamond (2005, in his book “Collapse”) wrote, one can only be struck by “the disappearance of between 90 and 99% of the Maya population after A.D. 800 …and the disappearance of kings, Long Count calendars, and other complex political and cultural institutions.” Not just that, but much more importantly, the giant irrigation system of the Maya, with its dams and canals, was one of the world’s largest, ever: it can still be seen from space. When that centuries old irrigation system was left in disrepair, civilization became history.

In the close-by very extensive highlands of central Mexico, many powerful states also rose to high levels of power and prosperity, only to rapidly collapse. Teotihuacan (the sixth largest city in the world in the Seventh Century) and Monte Alban among those to experience dramatic collapse, with populations decline of at least 20–25% from their peak within a couple of generations (Tainter, 1988).

Civilization collapses come in many guises. Egypt cycled through more than two dozen dynasties, and a couple of century long occupations, tweaking itself every time. However, in the end it was unable to stay an independent, original civilization, undergoing thereafter 2,000 years of subjugation. 

The present civilization was born from a near-collapse. And was born thanks to a philosophical reset.

Indeed, in the case of the Greco-Roman empire, full collapse was avoided. The Franks rebooted Greco-Roman civilization, with their own Germano-Christian sauce, by the early Fifth Century (defeat of Goths who were ejected from Gaul, 507 CE, thanks to the battle of Vouille’). This is completely clear, when one inspects known facts, battles, laws, and the Storia Francorum of bishop Gregory of Tours.

The truth of what happened was masked by severe setbacks which were endured in the Sixth Century, under (Constantinople based) Roman emperor Justinian: Christian madness made Greco-Roman intellectuals flee to Persia (!), while a terrible plague (“Justinian Plague”), and a mysterious cataclysm (asteroid, volcano?) struck Earth’s climate. (The reality of what happned under the Franks was also masked by French Revolutionary propaganda, which was anxious to put all and any “ancient regime” in a bad light, and the usual Anglo-Saxon propaganda, anxious to disparage its absurdly French origins in all and any way.)

Differently from the Maya, the Franks centered in, or around Paris, and the Romans in Constantinople, were able to adapt to the catastrophes of the Fourth (Christianization, Gothic invasion), Fifth (Germanic invasions of 406 CE; then, the Huns), Sixth (as related above), and Seventh Centuries (dramatic war with Persia, followed by the surprise attack of the god crazed Arabs).

Both then defeated in the Eight Century those fanatics of war who had attacked like carnivorous locusts.   

The official “Renovatio Imperii”, the Renovation of Rome, was made formal when Carlus Magnus (Charlemagne) was endowed with the sole “Imperator Romanorum” (Imperator of the Romans) title in 800 CE, an imperial tradition which went on with say Otton II in 962 CE, and for more than a millennium (formally, Napoleon I, as leader of Francia was entitled, the Roman way, to grab back the title for himself).

Greco-Roman civilization incorporated the Cretan, Egyptian-Sumerian, Phoenician civilizations (with more than a touch of Etruscan). Then other Middle Eastern elements were included (Mythra, Great Mother Cult, Judaism, etc.) Western civilization incorporated even more: the fierce love of freedom, and women, of the Germans, and the generalized tolerance and open mindedness of the Franks (by 600 CE all citizens were Franks, and, within a generation the slave trade was outlawed by the Imperium; that latter fact was a world’s first). Interestingly the Franco-Roman synthesis incorporated traits which Crete had, but that the Hellenes had lost (for example maximum sexual equality, in at least some respects: there were female Cretan matadors, playing with ferocious giant bulls).

Conclusion? Even in an horrendous situation (the decline of the Roman empire, under fascism, theocracy, barbarity, invasions, ecological collapse, plague, unfathomable impact of a giant explosion somewhere), fresh new ideas, arising from shock philosophy can turn things around. The Franks demonstrated this thoroughly. The Chinese also did, on a more modest scale… Until Mao came, and unleashed the Dark Side onto fossilized Chinese thought, habits, and a philosophy, Confucianism, which had ruled for 26 centuries, as the symbol of ultimate wisdom (which it was not).

To repeat slowly: the Franks introduced the following reforms, in rough chronological order:

  1. The rule of warriors bound to common sense and religious tolerance (in complete contradiction with the Catholic terror, just prior). This was illustrated by Clovis’ quip that, had his Franks been there, Christ would never have been crucified. On the surface, it’s as if Clovis had understood nothing of Christianity. Indeed it looks as if Clovis had not understood that God wanted to be crucified, just to visit a guilt complex on his followers, same as with the story of the snake and the apple. Most probably, Clovis understood all too well< and made a show that he was firmly intend to violate God’s law. In any case, under the Franks, Judaism, Paganism, etc were freely practiced. Christianism with a human, even Frankish face (to the Vatican’s rage).
  2. The implementation of a modern, much less sexist, non-discriminatory legal system, applying to all by 600 CE, the Lex Salica, on top of Justinian’s refurbishing of Roman law. By 600 CE, all citizens of the Imperium Francorum were Franks (in a dramatic contrast with the situation in Spain, where the Visigoths applied Visigothic law just to themselves; same in italy where the Lombards, another type of Germans, were above Roman law)
  3. The outlawing of slavery (starting around 650 CE).
  4. Nationalization  of the Catholic Church, constitution of the largest professional army since Republican Rome, to face the humongous Islamist invasions of 721-745 CE. Destruction of the army of the Arab Caliphate (which thus collapsed in 750 CE, crushing Bin Laden and other Islamists forever thereafter).    

All these reforms were of a philosophical nature: the Vatican discussed excommunicating Charles Martel, for expropriating the Church, but concluded it was safer not to debate with a Hammer. When the Franks formed, named, and made a bishop, within three weeks, from an illiterate Frankish warrior, they were sending a message to the Vatican about who was the boss: secularism, not superstition.

Civilization survived from smarts, not just swords.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Against Perceived Irrelevance Creative Thinkers Contend In Vain

August 7, 2015

The madness of crowds always rule: it’s a consequence of several deep instincts which made humanity possible. However, one hundred was an immense crowd, then. Evolution did not expect, because it never experienced with, crowds in the thousands. Now, we have crowds in the billions.

This is no exaggeration: several billion people supposedly follow and revere a religion founded by somebody who tied up his son, to slash his throat, like a vulgar goat. Then the “god” in his head told him not to do it, after all: why would that madness be revered for millennia, is a striking example of the madness of crowds.

There are even greater follies in power now: why would bankers and financial types be let to enjoy the power they do, in violation of the basic principle of democracy (which is that power, kratos, is to the people, demos)?

Another folly: that warming up the Earth’s polar regions by as much temperature difference as separates us from the last maximal glaciation, will have dramatic consequences in a few millennia… but not before.

An even greater madness is that none of this is very interesting, and it’s much better to read and fantasize about “Harry Potter” (not “Hairy Potter”).

The madness of crowds has been the argument of those who favor the madness of one, monarchy, or aristocracy, the power of the best. Of course, one has to determine who “the one” would be, or what “best” means. Most often, it turned out to be best born.

The “Internet”, in many countries means “Facebook”, a private company, which, historically has been used politically in many ways, including spying by the government of the USA. “Facebook” also spies on its customers’ “likes” and habits, and sells the information to advertisers, while tweaking what its customers see, in consideration of what they like, or apparently associate to. This amplifies the (already preexisting) bias towards tribalism.

So what of better thinking in all this? Or, more simply, what of creative thinking in all this?

It’s not favored. Indeed, only thoughts that please crowds get amplified. This tribal thinking is a form of intellectual fascism. Intellectual fascism: What concept is this? Subjugating all too much of one’s mind to all too few ideas, principles, or emotions.

Could technology help to foster (more) correct, (less) erroneous thinking, just as it has favored, so far, to all too great an extent, tribalism and intellectual fascism?

Yes. Original thinking could be determined by very sophisticated software. Software could also determine whether (supposedly) known facts are contradicted, and highlight them. Software could also being made to find META hierarchies, thus determining plausible depth of arguments.

Whereas software could not determine whether an argument is correct, it could determine if said argument satisfies the preconditions to be a paradigm jump. Including whether it involves new concepts, and, if so, what they appear to be. And whether the argument lives in another logical dimension (a precondition for originality).

A creative thinker can get discouraged when informed her thoughts are irrelevant. Claimed irrelevance is the first step towards complete impotence.

So technology could help fostering creative thinking considerably. However, the main point remains that ethics would have to change. The mood, at this point, is that thinking, cognition and association, all serve the most basic instincts of tribalism, and, more generally, intellectual fascism. We are far from having put TRUTH as the ultimate god we have to serve.

“Postmodernism” and “French Theory” instead insisted that truth was tribal. In truth, abusing truth is tribal. Truth itself is not tribal.

Verily, it’s a mark of particularly fanatical tribalism to insist that truth can only be tribal: “French Theory” is tribal.

It has always been true that discovering new concepts tends to be the mark of the ascetic ones: one has to be a monk to ferret the truth. Thus great creative thinkers discovering new truths tend to have had difficult lives. So one has to choose: creative thinking of the worthiest type, means a hard life. Marie Curie’s Nobel money was used to build the bathroom she did not have prior.

And when one rolls out more famous thinkers whose lives were easier, it turns out, often, that a good case can be made that they were more opportunistic, or more lucky, or better tribally connected, or to a tribe which amplified renown better, than the ones who really originated the idea. I have documented this many times: Poincare’ originated Relativity, and not just its name, but even E = mcc. Yet, a German was attributed the discovery. The same German was fully attributed the theory of gravitation, although the main idea therein came from Riemann, another German who had the misfortune to die young. This is not just about being nice to pioneers: recognizing Riemann is recognizing that the fundamental idea of gravitation a la Einstein is a tautology. An all-too-easy way of thinking.

So what? Some will suggest to give time to time… And wisdom will blossom. But here is the problem: creating new truth could not change the world much in the past, and that world was rather static. However, now, both potential impact and the world, are highly dynamic. Pure thinking is extremely mighty, and thus, an ethical bomb. Which will expose ever worse, if not properly handled.

New truth can change everything fast. For example, if I am right, and I have exposed detailed reasons why,  Antarctica’s iceshelves can melt in decades rather than centuries, if that were a new truth, the impact on present civilization would be huge. I have even exposed how East Antarctica, supposed to last 5,000 years by conventional climatologists anxious to be taken very seriously, is actually already melting, below the surface. If I spent all my energy writing silly sorcery for little children, I would have, no doubt, more readers. But why to try to do what the tribe wants to honor, to justify its own existence? In the end we are all dead, as (plutocrat) Lord Keynes (not so) subtly noticed. So distinction is not about dying, but how we die.

How we enjoy living through suffering is how we reach for greater values, the highest gods. Camus famously said: The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”  

There is no need to “imagine” Sisyphus happy. It comes naturally. Struggling, even suffering, not too much, but enough, is necessary to fill a human beings’ mind, and generate happiness. Struggling and suffering  are even more necessary to creative thinking. (The pseudo philosopher BHL cannot replace them with the stimulants he takes, such as cocaine, amphetamines, and various illicit cocktails; struggling and suffering, for real, are much more potent.)

The world is changing fast. We are approaching various singularities of our making, none of them we can stop.  

The way out is straight, yet narrow: truth, and lots of it. Nothing superficiality can produce.

Against perceived irrelevance creative thinkers contend in vain. Yet, therein salvation, and only there.

Patrice Ayme’

Art, Philosophy, Science: Joy Of Knowledge

July 9, 2015

As Ludwig Van said: “O Freunde, nicht diese Toene! Sondern lasst uns angenehmere anstimmen und freundenvollere!” (“Oh friends! Not these tunes! Instead let’s strike more pleasant and friendly sounds”)  [My translation of Beethoven’s 9th lyrics introduction.]

Oh friends, not this Germanoid Greek Euro tragi-comedy! Enough of those critters so unworthy, they can’t conceive of themselves, independently of America!

Considered abstractly, and in essence, philosophy, art, science, and even engineering are extreme aspects of general cognition.

This Is Not Just Art, But Discovery. Grotte Chauvet.

This Is Not Just Art, But Discovery. Grotte Chauvet.

[Chauvet cave is up to 32,400 years old, according to Carbon 14 studies; some of the paintings are 12 meters wide, more than 3 meters tall; the cave was discovered just 20 years ago. Picasso once said after exiting the Lascaux cave back in 1940 that “we have discovered nothing”.]

When intellectual property lawyers describe inventions, they use the term “art”. Was the art innovative?

Each of philosophy, art, science, engineering is both knowledge and method. They are tied together, and go together being the opposite poles of cognition. Science as a body of knowledge, is what is known, for sure. Philosophy, as a body of knowledge, is what ought to be true.

Science as a method is the category (Aristotle!) of all ways to ascertain what is absolutely true.

Science, as a category of established facts, enables a plane to successfully take off, more than once a second, worldwide.

Philosophy, as a method, determines not just what “ought” to be true morally, but what “ought” to be true, as an educated guess. Thus, all and any application of the scientific method, requires the philosophical method. The philosophical method is the first approach, always.

An obvious, and state-of-the-art example, is the notion of infinity, where the debate is not just still on-going, after 25 centuries. Progress is made, in the sense that logical subtleties, which lay uncovered for millennia, were recently revealed. Uncovered for the first time, just as those Chauvet lions. Looking differently at Archimedes’ axiom, 23 centuries old, Model theorists discovered something new about numbers. (Model Theory is a part of pure logic which interface strongly with mathematics; actually I just found, as per Archimedes himself, that it should be called Eudoxus Axiom.) I have proposed to go much further with a different philosophical insight in Number Theory (in still another direction Archimedes could not have imagined).

And what of art in all this? Well, it’s the third pole of cognition, where emotion finds truth, before philosophy and, a fortiori, science, ever can. More than the logos, it depicts, or resounds with, the logics of emotion.

Both art and philosophy need just one fact, one intuition, to make a world. Science finds, painstakingly and patiently, what this world is really made of. Just as patiently and painstakingly, mathematics imagine, what this world is really made of. And then philosophy and art lash back further far out.

Cognition is one, approaches to it, and possibilities, are many. There are many possible worlds in our future minds than we can imagine, and they will blossom, as long we take joy in doing what we do best: “Plus Oultre” (“Plus Ultra”)!

Patrice Ayme’

Really New Philosophy Fights, Or Is Not

April 14, 2015

When we look back on history, considering the greatest strides which were ever made, most, if not all, originated in strife.

Take the Heliocentric system. How many people got killed for suggesting it? Many. Millions were terrorized. There is an extant dialogue, deep in the Middle-Ages when the Duke Of Normandy relentlessly questions a top religious authority and professor about why is it that the Earth is not moving.

The eminent scholar insisted that the guy who suggested this heresy to William is no scholar, but a perpetual drunkard.

Nature Is Ruled By The Physical Law Of Basic Forces

Nature Is Ruled By The Physical Law Of Basic Forces

Correct ideas threaten the establishment.

But, then, one may want to ask, why is it that the establishment so often foster idiotic ideas?

I have a spectacular answer: the establishment fosters idiotic ideas, precisely because they are idiotic.

Idiotic ideas have two main advantages:

  1. The very idea of plutocracy is idiotic. Idiotic in a major way. So, should one be in the habit of ferreting out idiocy, one would ferret out plutocracy.
  2. Conversely, if one learns to tolerate idiocy, one would be naturally led to tolerate the biggest idiocy of all, plutocracy.

By making We The People stupid, herd like, the establishment, the oligarchy, the plutocracy, can rule better.

Those who love wisdom though, view idiocy as a prey. That does not mean they eat it with delight. Wolves are often hated because they enjoy killing and maiming much more than they can eat (ask French herders: sometimes dozens of sheep are found killed or otherwise mangled by a wolf).

Why wolves do this has to do with who they have evolved to become: not just eaters of vegetarians, but guardians of ecology.

Similarly, the philosophical drive in the genus Homo may have evolved to be guardian not just of wisdom, but the terror of brute force.

Hence we can tell real good philosophy by the power of the enemies it makes.

In particular, philosophy that caresses the masses the right way, is assuredly philosophy that fit their masters just right.

One may want to consider the following assertion: in the last 4 centuries, the politics and policies of the Anglo-Saxon immigrants to America were diabolically clever. Demonstrate. In full, to make sure of acquiring lots of enmity.

In particular the exact role played by the USA in the World Wars of the Twentieth Century, I suggest, have to be carefully considered.

My thesis differs vastly from official history’s main truth. It is a sort of meta-truth, a higher way to look at what happened. A good suggestion for leads to elucidate a crime is by checking to whom the crime profits. It is not too difficult to find out that:

The Equality Liberty Fraternity Republic of France was attacked by German fascists, in WWI and WWII, at least in part, because the latter were helped, aided, & abetted, by racist American plutocrats. 

I have written many essays demonstrating this in detail. Not surprisingly conventional historians would, correctly, view such an examination as a career killer. An overall interrogation, though, is what good would it make, to demonstrate this.

An excellent good: when We The People realizes how manipulative and lethal the present, plutocratically controlled political system can be, and how good a it is at covering-up its crimes, We The People will realize how serious the situation is.

Patrice Ayme’

Wisdom, Science: The Eternal Saw

April 13, 2015

Philosophy, the love of wisdom. But what is wisdom? A little research on the origin of the word is enlightening: in all languages it turns out that the concept of wisdom has to do with knowledge. The Proto Indo-European (PIE) root is “WEID” which means to know, to see (hence the “Veda” , I know, in Sanskrit “Videre” in Latin, hence French “Voir”, “Vision”, the German “Wissen” to know, etc.)

(Weirdly, “Sophia”, one of the two Greek versions of divinized wisdom, is an outlier, of unknown origin.)

I will show here that wisdom, and science, have a war-like behavior at their heart. The ability of sawing and cutting. Thus real wisdom and science is all about a mood not conventionally associated with them.

Real Wisdom Is Certain, Certain Wisdom Is Real

Real Wisdom Is Certain, Certain Wisdom Is Real

Lao Zi (previously known as Lao-Tzu, the Old Master), 26 centuries ago, the famous contemporary of Confucius, insisted that the knowledge of the self was superior, while knowing too many things could be inferior. Also not knowing that one did not know was a “defect”.

(Yes, Lao Zi’s wisdom is quite similar to some of the wisdom coming from various Greek sources at the same time; the difference with China, is that Greece, or, at least some city-states such as Ἀθῆναι, Athēnai, were able to enact superior wisdom into superior political systems. The Greek political enactment of superior wisdom in turn inspired many others, as superior Greek democracies were established from Anatolia (Phrygia, Phocea, Miletus, etc.) to “Great Greece” (South Italy) to a small empire in Southern France and beyond (based in Marseilles, Nice, and Athenopolis, aka Saint Tropez).

One should think of systems of thoughts, and moods, in one word, mentalities, as axiomatic systems, highly hierarchized, yet, entangled, as causal webs.

These are actually neurological structures… And that make them very stable.

Superior mentalities discard and throw away axiomatic bits that are inferior. Superior wisdom has to do with amputating. This is why the very concept of science is all about cutting.

The Latin scire, to know, is thus originally from the Latin scindere, to cut, divide; interestingly the French scier, to saw, is thus at the root of science:

Je Sais, Donc Je Scie.

This is not a play on words; it is serious. However, it’s untranslatable in English (‘I science, thus I saw?’)

An example I gave on my essay on the “Flat Universe”, or in “100 Billion Years Old Universe” is my proposal to cut-off (decide, see below), the hypothesis of Big Noise Inflation (“Cosmological Inflation) as we already have another inflation, all too real, Dark Energy.

Gunther Grass died today, he wrote down a piece of imagination, about a boy who was a drummer under the Nazis. Grass helped teach the Germans how Nazism worked. Literature has to be made appealing. Philosophy, though, is not literature, it does not have to sneak in some truths with bed time stories for children. It focuses on reality: somebody has to do it.

Science does not have to be nice, it cannot be nice: after all, it is about sawing off some parts of other people’s neurologies. This is why the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, is also a warrior goddess. Not that the concept was just Greek. It may have originated where a lot of Greek ideas and theories originated, Egypt. The most ancient Egyptians, in the Predynastic period, more than 5,200 years ago, worshipped a goddess whose Egyptian name was Neith. Neith was identified, by both Greeks and Egyptians, 25 centuries ago, with Athena (Herodotus, Histories 2:170–175). Neith was the war goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians. (Neith was also identified with weaving, the high tech of the times.)

To find the truth, one has to decide what the truth is. From the Latin de-caedere, what comes from caedere, from “cut”, literally: cut-off.

Science is about sawing. Science can get over-enthusiastic, and amputate parts of knowledge (wisdom) that, after all, were true.

The Ancient Greeks, or more exactly the Hellenistic dictatorships which followed the independent city-democracies of Greece at its peak, were rife with massive, ill-advised amputations of knowledge.

Non-Euclidean geometry got amputated, Greek algebra and numeration (a proto-modern system) was also amputated, and then emigrated for further development in India. Archimedes’ Infinitesimal Calculus got discarded. The Heliocentric system of Aristarchus, also. Even Mechanical Computers, although extensively developed, were then thrown away.

All these amputations happened because the philosophy at the helm, plutocracy, was antagonistic to creative thinking (And Aristotle has a lot to do with it; at least, so I think).

Philosophy acts as meta-controller on all mentalities, including science.

This is why modern science was launched by Middle Ages philosophers (Buridan, his student Oresme, etc.), who then found that they had to make their discourse more precise, inventing inertia, momentum, stating Newton’s First Law, inventing coordinates, graphs, etc.

A deep strategy of Buridan was to refuse to study theology. Still he was elected rector of the world’s greatest university, Paris. I have in my hand the brand new book of Steven Weinberg (Nobel discoverer of the Electro-Weak theory). “To Explain The World”, 2015. Weinberg gives the greatest place to Buridan ever found in an English speaking book written by a physicist. (Weinberg still makes a hash of Buridan’ throwing out Aristotle’s vertical arrow experiment, as Weinberg conflates the refutation by Buridan from Buridan’s exposition of Aristotle error! This an error traditionally made in secondary American literature. Not everybody reads Medieval Latin!)

Why is it important to give Buridan, and other Middle Age French philosophers and scientists their correct place? Because it is giving reason its correct place.

It is not just about showing that the real Renaissance was in the Middle Ages, or that how exactly Europe pulled ahead of the rest of the world in technology.

To understand how wisdom proceeds, one has to look how it proceeded before.

And to understand well that the mastermind of all important progress in understanding is philosophy. Science without philosophy is like a chicken with a freshly chopped head: spectacular and vigorous, but not for long.

Patrice Ayme’


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Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism