Tag Archives | Culture

Should libertarians hate the internet? A Nozickian Argument against Social Networks

RobertNozick-ASU

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

My title is needlessly provocative, and may ultimately disappoint, but bear with me a moment. I’ve recently been reading Andrew Keen’s book The Internet is not the Answer. It is an interesting, occasionally insightful, but all too often hyperbolic, personalised and repetitive critique of the internet age. I recommend it, albeit in small doses. But this is a digression. I do not wish to give a full review here. Instead, I wish to dwell on one idea that struck me while I read it.

In the fourth chapter of the book, entitled “The Personal Revolution”, Keen launches into a scathing critique of the “Instagram”-generation. He excoriates them for being a selfie-obsessed, narcissistic and attention-seeking generation, increasingly parochial and disengaged from the world. But he reserves his major criticisms for the company itself, which is simply one of the many large-scale internet networks that provides a social space or platform in which we can upload, share and search one another’s content (Google, Facebook and Youtube being the other obvious examples – and yes I know Youtube is owned by Google).… Read the rest

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The Hilarious and Disturbing History of Shaye St. John

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The Internet is home to some of the strangest and most wonderful oddities. It’s also filled with opportunists who try to capitalize on trends, eventually transforming once original ideas into kitsch filled circle jerks. That’s why it’s especially captivating to come across something wholly original. And the story of Shaye St. John is just that: captivating.

Many of you already know about Shaye’s horrendous past and have most likely seen many of her videos. But for those of you that haven’t, prepare to be disturbed, but strangely intrigued. Shaye St. John’s videos seem to be a mash-up of Lynchian uncomfortableness, Tim and Eric’s humor, with a bit of Harmony Korine’s oft-used lo-fi shock value. She is the brainchild of the late comedian, Eric Fournier.

Shaye St. John was once a supermodel who was hit by a train (car? I’ve heard both versions) that horribly disfigured her face and resulted in the amputation of both her arms and legs. This didn’t hold Shaye back, though, and she rebuilt herself with mannequin parts and covered her disfigured face with a mask.… Read the rest

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The end of originality?

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By Mark Beeson, University of Western Australia

The International Studies Association conference, from where I write, is the world’s biggest gathering of international relations scholars. Held annually in one attractive American city or another – New Orleans this year – it is typical of the sorts of jamborees that characterise tribal get-togethers in other disciplines too, no doubt.

It is – to borrow a slightly hackneyed and anachronistic metaphor – the Woodstock of IR-types.

What is striking about this conference, and similar events in other areas of intellectual activity, I suspect, is the absence of an undisputed star turn. The field’s leading lights are here in abundance, but there in no single figure that everyone agrees is pushing the proverbial boundaries of knowledge in a way no one else is.

At the risk of stretching an improbable metaphor to breaking point, there is no Jimi Hendrix of the IR world – or any other, for that matter.… Read the rest

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Building an Artistic Community with the Warren Arts Center – Free Radical Media Podcast

In this episode, the Free Radical team talks with Adam, Carl, and James of the Warren Arts Center, an art collective based in Warren, OH, USA. We discussed their plans to build and nurture a vibrant artistic community, including fighting gentrification and navigating local economies and politics. We also talked Dada, photography, the meaning of Art itself and the ways in which a strong group of artists can help their community and society at large.

“The artist’s task is to save the soul of mankind; and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. Because of the artists, who are self-selected, for being able to journey into the Other, if the artists cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.” – Terence McKenna

You can contact our guests via ZENspeak Publications (Web and Facebook) and at ZENStreet Photography.

Free Radical Media can be reached via:
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The Solipsism of Evangelical Morality

Joel Penner (CC BY 2.0)

Joel Penner (CC BY 2.0)

Morgan Guyton writes at Patheos:

“Against you alone have I sinned.” These words from Psalm 51:4 are attributed to the Israelite king David speaking to God after he knocked up another man’s wife and had that man betrayed and murdered on the battlefield. Many evangelical pastors have praised this verse for how it names sin, but I consider it to be one of the most morally problematic verses in the Bible. It does do a very good job of encapsulating the solipsistic morality that I grew up with as an evangelical, in which sin had nothing to do with hurting other people and everything to do with whether or not I was displeasing God. Solipsism describes the delusion that I am the only person who actually exists in the universe. While I can’t blame anyone in particular for instilling me with this mindset, I grew up viewing morality as though the universe consisted of just God and me walking through a minefield of temptations, whether they were female bodies, drugs, or other objects.

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Selma blurs line between past and present

Selma director and co-writer Ava DuVernay has crafted a new and important vision of an oft-examined era in our nation’s history. Stanley Wolfson/Library of Congress

Selma director and co-writer Ava DuVernay has crafted a new and important vision of an oft-examined era in our nation’s history.
Stanley Wolfson/Library of Congress

By Mary Schmitt, University of California, Irvine

Hollywood films that depict American history deeply influence our sense of national identity. Films that portray Civil Rights and Black Freedom history are particularly important.

Beyond entertaining moviegoers, films like Glory and Remember the Titans have served as barometers of US race relations. As (mostly) stories of progress and triumph, they provide us with the picture of morality we wish to project as the world’s leading superpower.

Needless to say, who gets to tell these stories, how they are told and why they are told is no simple matter. In her new film Selma, director and co-writer Ava DuVernay plunges into the history of the Civil Rights movement, and emerges with a new and important vision of an oft-examined era in our nation’s history.… Read the rest

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Grimerica Continues Talking with Randall Carlson; Sacred Geometry, Catastrophism, and More

Via SacredGeometryInternational.com and Grimerica.ca

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Randall Carlson is back in Grimerica to once again smash your paradigm with sacred geometry, catastrophist theories, renegade scholarship and much much more. He’s on the quest for the Cosmic Grail.

It is the mission of Sacred Geometry International and The Cosmographic Research Institute to investigate and document the catastrophic history of the world and the evidence for advanced knowledge in earlier cultures; through educational programs to advance a deeper understanding of the implications of this knowledge for both past and the future of planet Earth and Human civilization upon it; and to promote strategies for successfully coping with the inevitable change that is to come.

The guys chat about alternative history – ancient archaeology pre and post ice age. And what a delicate culture we really are with the potential catastrophe via natural planetary disaster or asteroid impact. Throw in a little bit of sacred geometry and anti Al Gorian climate change talk.… Read the rest

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Santo Daime: Home of The Cosmic Christ

imageEntering into the initial phase of research regarding the Santo Daime religion, I had little understanding of what it really was, or how the activities within the religion generated something unique, but my interest is in finding the answer to the question, “What is it that draws modern middle class individuals to a highly ecstatic and mystic religious culture in light of the increasing presence of scientific rationalism and reductionism?” Andrew Dawson’s book has helped me to make discoveries that have led me closer to finding the answer to the question of why we moderns still seek out the mystic and ecstatic. In order to find an answer, one must find the proper context within the culture, the economics, the background and the history that surrounds Santo Daime and this framework has been deftly established in Dawson’s book.

Dawson explains the questions he sought to answer in his book:

Building upon questions raised by my first experiences of Santo Daime, the research undertaken from 2007 to 2011 primarily focused on three areas.

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Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

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The ‘Commodification’ of Sleep

Adam Goode (CC BY 2.0)

Adam Goode (CC BY 2.0)

Via 21st Century Wire:

In the 21st century, like every other thing in our lives, something as fundamental as sleep has surprisingly become a ‘commodity’ – to be rationed – rather than an essential human need.

Can man really ration sleep and then medicate for the side-effects with pills, energy drinks, drugs and binge sleeping on the weekends?

The side-effects of this personal policy can be devastating to your health and well-being. According to Web MD, other conditions that might interfere with your day-to-day tasks include sleep deprivation can cause car accidents, drops in IQ, memory loss, increased aging of skin, and loss of sex drive. Aside from these, a chronic lack of sleep can either lead to, or exacerbate the following health conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

Clearly, there are some serious risks associated with our 24/7, wireless, ‘smart’ culture.

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