Philosophy



Over at Harper’s, Scott Horton asks Julian Young six questions about his new book Friedrich Nietzsche: A Philosophical Biography:

2. Nietzsche wrote that a “deadly insult” had come between himself and Wagner. You suggest that you’ve learned what it was.

Wagner had long disapproved of Nietzsche’s close friendships with men–love he held could only exist between the sexes–and by 1877 he was offended by the developing anti-Wagnerian tenor of Nietzsche’s thought. To Nietzsche’s doctor he wrote that the cause of the patient’s many health problems–which included near blindness–was “unnatural debauchery, with indications of pederasty.” His former disciple was, in other words, (a) incipiently gay and (b) going blind because he masturbated. Somehow Nietzsche learned not only of the existence of the letter but of its the exact wording. That was the “deadly insult.”

3. In a review of your book, reformed neoconservative Francis Fukuyama chides you for writing repeatedly about global warming in the context of Nietzsche’s thought. He seems to feel that this discussion is frivolous. How do you react to this critique?

Well, as you say, Fukuyama has seen the error of his ways. So he’s not a global warming skeptic…


A short animated film of a talk by philosopher/theorist Slavoj Zizek, who is always eager to push people’s buttons. Zizek examines the ethics and effects of charitable giving, and concludes that charity has a dark side, in that it helps preserve the status quo:





NewtonWilliamBlakeIf you will be in the New York-metro area this week, please come and join us for a talk and book signing for Tim Wallace-Murphy’s new book Hidden Wisdom: The Secrets of the Western Esoteric Tradition. Please RSVP on Facebook (see links below) or if not there, then by comment on this article:

Thursday, May 6, 2010: East West Living Bookstore and Cafe

Saturday, May 8, 2010: New York Theosophical Society

Monday, May 10, 2010: Livingston Masonic Library

Whether you can make it or not, here’s the first five chapters of Hidden Wisdom available on Scribd:

From Egyptian mythology to Jewish mysticism, Rome and Greece to the Druids and the Gnostics, Tim Wallace-Murphy exposes in Hidden Wisdom a fascinating lineage of hidden mysteries and secret societies, continuing through the Templars, Rosicrucians, and Freemasons to our modern visionaries. This hidden stream of spirituality and that of sacred knowledge are inseparably entwined to form the single most important continuous strand in the entire Western esoteric tradition.

More info at www.hidden-wisdom.com.


Defenders of religion argue that no matter how much information science gives us about the world, it can never answer fundamental questions such as “Why are we here?” and “What is good/evil?” — That’s what we have religion/spirituality for.

Speaking at the TED conference, Sam Harris lays out how he believes science can in fact provide us with the answers to basic moral questions (and give us better answers than the Bible).


LBThese A-holes are no longer happy with the “Greed is Good” mantra? Kicking it up to the Almighty now? Great job ducking those questions from Congress today. Matt Taibbi, who’s been excellent on speaking the truth behind the so-called financial “crisis,” writes in the Guardian:

The investment bank’s cult of self-interest is on trial against the whole idea of civilisation — the collective decision by all of us not to screw each other over even if we can.

So Goldman Sachs, the world’s greatest and smuggest investment bank, has been sued for fraud by the American Securities and Exchange Commission. Legally, the case hangs on a technicality.

Morally, however, the Goldman Sachs case may turn into a final referendum on the greed-is-good ethos that conquered America sometime in the 80s – and in the years since has aped other horrifying American trends such as boybands and reality shows in spreading across the western world like a venereal disease.

When Britain and other countries were engulfed in the flood of defaults and derivative losses that emerged from the collapse of the American housing bubble two years ago, few people understood that the crash had its roots in the lunatic greed-centered objectivist religion, fostered back in the 50s and 60s by ponderous emigre novelist Ayn Rand.




From www.lifehack.org: Brilliant thinkers are very comfortable with ambiguity — they welcome it. Routine thinkers like clarity and simplicity; they dislike ambiguity. There is a tendency in our society to reduce complex…



John Pavlus writes on io9.com: Science fiction has long played with the idea of projecting unified personalities/minds/”souls” into different bodies. The premise is baked into the plots of stories like Avatar and…



Was reading Boldtype’s “10 Awesome Books to Give Your Nonreading Friends” where I came across the work of cartoonist R. Sikoryak. Here’a an article about him from The New Yorker:

For twenty years, the cartoonist R. Sikoryak has been creating parody strips of literary masterpieces, casting familiar cartoon characters in classic roles — Little Lulu as Pearl Prynne, Little Nemo as Dorian Gray, Charlie Brown as Gregor Samsa. If you’re like me, and you sometimes like your serious literature with a side of Beavis and Butthead (see Sikoryak’s take on “Waiting for Godot”), you will probably laugh out loud over Masterpiece Comics, a collection of thirteen of these strips, just out from Drawn & Quarterly.

Here is R. Sikoryak’s take on an existentialist superhero:

ActionCamus

Check out the The New Yorker link for a Kafkaesque Charlie Brown tale.





Disinformation: The Podcast – 2010: Science or Superstition with Alexandra Bruce

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Woo-woo (or just plain woo) is a term used, often in a dismissive way, by skeptics for dealing with phenomena that can’t be verified by independent evidence, but yet, many people strongly believe in. So who better to investigate the “woo-woo” world of the present-day 2012 phenomenon than author Alexandra Bruce (Beyond The Bleep, Beyond The Secret), no stranger to the realm where pop culture and the esoteric collide.

Raymond Wiley and Joe McFall, hosts of our monthly interview series Disinformation: The Podcast, talk with Alexandra about her new book 2012: Science Or Superstition, a companion to the Disinformation documentary of the same name.