One of the recurring themes of this blog is that the fast pace of technological change is making various cultural modes like art and philosophy considerably less relevant than they once were. As if sensing the immanence of its twilight, there have been a number of popular writers in recent years who have tried to inject philosophy back into the public consciousness and cultural debate. Sam Harris has made one such attempt with his new book 'Free Will'. In it he argues that there is no such thing as free will and that this truth matters. But does it really?
A few years ago a study by researchers (Acevedo, Aron, Fisher, Brown) from Stony Brook university made the claim that a small percentage of mated couples (10%) indefinitely maintain a brain state similar to that found in most couples during the early 'honeymoon' stage of their relationship. Consequently these "swan" couples displayed a passion and devotion to one another that is uncommon in long term relationships generally. So then - here's the question: what if you and your partner could take a honeymoon pill that would allow you both to maintain the swan-like brain state permanently? Would you take it?
Recently Apple released a set of new ads to advertise their Mac personal computers. The response from the internet has been that of vituperative hatred. This post made it on to the front page of Hacker News and I think most accurately sums up the accepted reasons for this response.
Generally what I do on this blog is interpret narratives, and try to give my readers a more sophisticated understanding of the narratives they encounter during their day to day lives. This is no academic exercise. Being able to interpret narratives in a sophisticated manner is an important skill. Why? Because we all create and [...]
You need to see "I'm Still Here", the documentary/mockumentary of the spectacular fall from grace of actor Joaquin Phoenix, directed by his brother-in-law, Casey Affleck. The central question posed by this film concerns the nature of this dividing line and how it gets drawn by contemporary culture and media. Its skill lies in the way it blocks us from drawing this line in the ways to which we are accustomed.