Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Random Thoughts, Part 1

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I have a lot of random thoughts.  Walking down the street, in the shower, doing the dishes, watching a movie, standing in line at Taco Bell, waiting to fall asleep, clearing the cobwebs from my mind in the morning...  There's really no telling when a random thought will strike.  I guess that's what makes them random.  Several months ago I started writing some of them down, not always right away and sometimes with a little editing.  But I thought it might be interesting project to keep a record of some of my random thoughts and to subject the internet to a handful of them.  Enjoy!

  1. A major problem today is that we see ethics as a limitation of personal freedom rather than a means by which we become fully human. 
  2. I am both a bit of a luddite and a science fiction fan. This may seem odd, but for me science fiction was never about technology, it was always about the ideas.
  3. We’ve spent the last 15 years obsessed with fictional dystopias, and in the last few years we seem to have set our minds to making reality more dystopian.
  4. Much of what makes philosophy hard is that you’re trying to think about the concepts you usually think with– you’re digging a hole in the ground upon which you are standing.
  5. Realizing that philosophy and science aren’t as different as we think not only makes philosophy more respectable, it makes science more interesting.
  6. I am increasingly coming to see the point of philosophy as provoking new and interesting thoughts and attempting to briefly inhabit strange ways of seeing the world.  Less and less do I see the main point of philosophy as convincing anyone of anything.  This is why I’m increasingly drawn to fiction as a mode of philosophizing.
  7. I’ve never gotten into Nietzsche partly because I think I don’t have the disease for which he is offering a cure.
  8. I want to live in a culture that allows everyone to start with the same baseline of self-esteem and sense of self-worth that I was given as a straight white cis man.
  9. Philosophy and science fiction both require from their practitioners an enriched sense of what is possible, to see beyond the horizons of what most people take to be obvious.
  10. I wonder if the fact that “binge-worthy” is considered to be praise for works of art explains a lot of what’s wrong with our culture.
  11. People often think feeling ignorant or appearing to be ignorant are evils to be avoided at all costs rather than opportunities to learn.  How many of our problems are explained by this fact?
  12. Claiming that philosophy is essentially Western because of the ancient Greeks is like saying all music is American because we invented jazz.
  13. We’ve created a world of constant electronic distraction and (real or imagined) economic deprivation, leaving no time for subtlety or depth in thought or communication.  We push everyone into the cult of busy-ness, leaving no time to fully enjoy or experience anything.  Quantifiable, calculative, means-ends, cost-benefit rationality is applied to all things (even personal relationships, education, and self-worth), leaving no time for real human connections or explorations of deeper, more meaningful ways of being.  And then we wonder why so many people have become anxious, vapid assholes.
  14. Americans are always busy but never really do anything.
  15. I feel sad for all of us, but especially young people, because we’ve given them this world in which they never have time to think, to experience, or just to be.
  16. One of the few things that give me hope for the future is the thought that most people probably aren’t as dumb and mean as they pretend to be on the internet.
  17. Few writers have blurred the lines between philosophy and literature as much as Ursula K. Le Guin.
  18. No wonder modern people are so anxious: we spend our lives pursuing ideals of happiness that we not only do not examine but have no idea how to examine.
  19. The internet has made it easier for people to falsely believe they are experts.
  20. I wish I could end everything I say or write with a footnote that says, “Or maybe not.”

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