I’ve been through lots and I’m not the same person I was last time I posted. I’m not sure who my audience and thus what to write, and I feel a little funny right now anyway. Just wanted to write that I’m back, because it’s significant in the scheme of this blog, not that there is any scheming. I’ll probably write more when I’m bored but I’m tired, not bored and not writing any more, well maybe. Nah
Life may be pointless, difficult, and absurd, but it’s far more interesting than the barren, lifeless landscapes that cap off a victorious Benatarian revolution.
Within such an order, ignorance occasions kairoi aplenty for microphysics-of-power-type opportunities, thanks to abundant “ideological blindness” and “the all-too-human desire to believe in positive scenarios such as the well known, but hypothetical ‘free lunch.’ ” At the same time, though, capitalism marshals ideological wishful thinking to create “limited horizons” that constrain “the range of potential solutions to those that reinforce the established dynamic.”
Thanks to the new machines, the money that had allowed a hundred weavers to live safely and comfortably could now be saved by the factory owner, or spent on himself. Of course, he still needed workers to manage the machines. But only unskilled workers, and not many of them.
But the worst thing was this: the city’s hundred weavers were now out of work and would starve, because one machine was doing their work for them. And naturally, rather than see his family starve a person will do anything. Even work for a pittance as long as it means he has a job to keep body and soul together. So the factory owner, with his machines, could summon the hundred starving weavers and say: “I need five people to run my factory and look after my machines. What will you charge for that?” One of them might say: “I want so much, if I am to live as comfortably as I did before.” The next would say: “I just need enough for a loaf of bread and a kilo of potatoes a day.” And the third, seeing his last chance of survival about to disappear, would say: “I’ll see if I can manage on half a loaf.” Four others then said: “So will we!” “Right!” said the factory owner. “I’ll take you five. How many hours can you work in a day?” “Ten hours,” said the first. “Twelve,” said the second, seeing the job slipping from his grasp. “I can do sixteen,” cried the third, for his life depended on it. “Fine,” said the factory owner, “I’ll take you. But who’ll look after my machine while you’re asleep? My machine doesn’t sleep!” “I’ll get my little brother to do it — he’s eight years old,” replied the luckless weaver. “And what shall I give him?” “A few pennies will do, to buy him a bit of bread and butter.” And even then the factory owner might reply: “He can have the bread, but we’ll see about the butter.” And that was how business was done.
E.H. Gombrich, A Little History of the World (1935)
What are you doing to bring on the future you hope for? I’m doing everything I can to learn as much as I can in the fields I find important for the future (neuroscience, biology, physics) and I thought this article brings up some good questions.
Here’s a link that gives data from a recent large-scale poll of professional philosophers and graduate students throughout the Anglophone world:
You can see which views on skepticism, God’s existence, the mind-body relationship, personal identity, and free will are the most/least popular among philosophers.