This is an important, valuable book. It’s basically a must-read. It would go on my list of essential non-fiction only I have a few reservations (all of them stylistic). Still, very, very important stuff. Read More
When I was a teenager, some adult told me about Jung’s collective unconscious. I didn’t read a thing about it, but took whatever they told me and created my own elaborate theory about our thoughts influencing others (which has nothing to do with Jung). Ultimately, that theory was a responsible for a lot of mental stress on my part. Years later, it feels like a lot of wasted energy. Read More
2011, Books, and Non-Fiction. Books, Evoluntionary Biology, History, Neurobiology, Neuropsychology, Non Ficition, Psychology, Statistics, and Violence.
If you watch the news today, you will be told the world is awful. Even if, like me, you do not have cable, you can still get enough news of the awfulness of the world from your antenna or the internet. The news is an endless barrage of controversy and tragedy; controversy over the supposedly awful things that people do to each other, and the tragedy of yet another series of deaths, caused by human beings or natural disasters. Even if you’re a bit of an optimist, as I am, it’s hard to resist the conclusion that the world is Read More
People say we’re rational. Human beings may be animals, but we are animals who have overcome our animal natures to make calculated decisions about our choices. I mean, look at all we’ve accomplished with our big brains. We tell each other we think rationally, even logically. And we want rational explanations for what is happening in the world. We want to know why things happen. But every person who believes this is wrong to a degree. Human beings are not entirely rational. We may be able to think rationally or even logically about certain select things but, usually, we’re driving Read More
Philosophy, Politics, Religion, and Society. Existence, Ideology, Just World Fallacy, Justice, Morality, Philosophy, Political Theory, Psychology, Religion, and The Universe.
I have long identified myself as an atheist (even though I’m an agnostic) in religion, an existentialist in philosophy and “anti-apocalyptic” or “anti-ideological” person in politics (i.e. a pragmatist). I have long struggled with this last definition, not because I don’t know what I am – I know exactly what I am, politically – but rather because I have trouble encapsulating it in one word. Politically, I am a centrist or, as I used to jokingly describe myself: a libertarian social democrat with a conservative streak. But I’m not a centrist because of a lack of conviction; I cannot pick Read More
Politics, Psychology, and Society. Ballots, Democracy, Federal Politics, Institutions, Lottery, Political Theory, Politics, Psychology, and Voting.
The Proposal A number of years ago, a friend of mine proposed an interesting idea for promoting voter turnout in Canada: turn it into a lottery. The idea is relatively simple: each ballot cast is also a ticket for Canada’s largest lottery. Every voter is only allowed one ticket but if you don’t vote, you are not entered in the lottery. The winning voter would be entitled to something like $100,000,000 (a large sum for us Canadian lottery players). Read More
Dear Newly Weds, This is certainly a very special day and wedding today will definitely increase your chances of a successful marriage. Numerical repetition in dates have been shown to have the same causal effect on marriage longevity as spending too much money on your reception. Read More
Human beings are sensitive creatures. It’s interesting that this is so because, as a species, we have survived for an unimaginable length of time and more threats to our existence than we could count (none worse than ourselves). So it is always somewhat entertaining (or sad, depending on your point of view) to see how sensitive we humans get about minor things when we have any level of physical need satisfaction. The moment we don’t have to worry about where we will get our next meal, or where we will sleep next, we get ready to get pissed off about Read More
I have vivid dreams. I mean: really, really vivid. Sometimes they are so vivid I am convinced I am living them, until I wake up. Sometimes they are so vivid they take the place of my memories and I occasionally get confused about whether or not something realistic that happened in a dream actually happened in real life. This doesn’t happen often, but it happens occasionally. One of the problems with vivid dreams is they tend to affect you emotionally…a lot. I’m not talking about nightmares. I do get nightmares but nightmares just cause me to wake up suddenly, often Read More
This is a real shocker. It’s actually sort of hard to watch (as it hits me a little too close to home, but I can’t elaborate). It is utterly incredible what happens when people – whether they are rich or poor – seclude themselves from society. As Plato (or someone) said, you are either a beast or a god. Though it is hard to watch, there really isn’t much like it. It was probably the first film (at least it’s the first one I know of) that broke down stereotypes of this kind of thing that we now would associate Read More
All people generally think alike and don’t think alike at the same time. We have some things in common and other things which aren’t in common. But the claim there is a class, a coherent, self-contained ruling elite, that is distinctly different from the average joe, has no basis in fact; its basis is in the desire of some to believe that they are being directed by powers greater than themselves (which is, incidentally, a form of metaphysics). How did we get back on this again? C. Wright Mills, for example, has been totally utterly refuted. There are other examples Read More
Metaphysics, i.e the study of “things” outside of physical reality, is incredibly dangerous for politics. But first, why do we use metaphysics? For some reason or other, human beings need to use abstracts to express themselves. We cannot always refer our ideas to concrete things. There is a whole field of philosophy that studies this and related issues but I have no time for it. I am concerned with reality and politics, so philosophical disagreements over why we need abstracts are of no interest. But basically we need concepts that are not physically real in order to communicate. So, metaphysics Read More
I doubt that most sex is casual. I think this is one of those ideas that people can’t (or mostly can’t) live up to. Sex is an emotional thing and I suspect only certain people are capable (if any indeed are) of having NSA sex. It’s mostly a male dream, me thinks. I love how this question was anonymous. I know who you are… Read More
My family has some odd traditions, like any family. One of them is this: Though my step-dad buys groceries nearly every Saturday morning without fail (except in the summer time), he does not buy milk when he shops. We have always bought our milk from the local convenience store, ever since we moved into their current house. This has continued to this day. It used to be my brother’s and my chore to buy the milk. My step-dad didn’t want to have to make that trip too, understandably, and my mom did lots of other things. They reasoned, fairly enough, Read More
I understand that losing something is annoying and maybe even saddening (depending on what it is). But it should hardly be the catalyst for a breakdown, especially when that thing is a phone, bought and paid for by work. It’s hardly the end of the world. I operate without one and I seem to do okay. We are becoming way too tied to these devices. They aren’t people and you can get hold of the people that matter to you in other ways. But more importantly, any person can indeed function without one. We managed to for tens of thousands Read More
Dear Parents of [name deleted to protect the child], Your kid was pissed on at school. That’s horrible. What an awful thing to happen to your kid. So what did you do about it? You put him in the paper? Seriously?! Because that’s going to make him feel better, especially 10 years from now… Read More
http://www.the912project.com/ I try not to be anti-American, I really do. Especially since my relatives are American. But this is fucking crazy…I love how on one of these pages I guy thinks he’s writing an open letter to the government and it begins with name-calling and “???”s. That’s how you get politicians to pay attention to you, definitely. Read More
Books and Non-Fiction. 20th century, Books, Education, Greatest of All Time, History, Literary Non Fiction, Non Fiction, Philosophy, Political Theory, Psychology, Religion, and Travel.
I find it a lot harder to pick non-fiction. That’s why this list is shorter. I’ve also read lots of silly non-fiction over the years, that really isn’t very good. Hannah Arendt: The Human Condition; The Origins of Totalitarianism Albert Camus: The Rebel Jared Diamond: Guns, Germs, and Steel Victor Frankl: Man’s Search for Meaning Leszek Kolakowski: Main Currents of Marxism Runners-up: Hannah Arendt: On Revolution William Barrett: Irrational Man Bruce Chatwin: The Songlines Northrop Frye: The Educated Imagination Tony Horwitz: Confederates in the Attic Stanley Karnow: Vietnam Leszek Kolakowski: Modernity on Endless Trial Raymond B. Lech: All the Drowned Read More
The best example of people (myself included) being unable to deal with change in towns / cities is Woodbridge: it has been part of Vaughan since 1971!!!! yet we all still think of it as an independent city. I need to shut up about the Toronto amalgamation, clearly. Read More
My dad keeps telling me I have a remarkably strong sense of self and that I’m very patient. He asked me yesterday if I ever get rattled. I used a whole tank of gas in two days. I was doing lots of chauffeuring. I just watched American Movie and as much as it was very funny it made me realize that I haven’t done anything with my life and my dreams are pretty much all empty, just like Mark’s dreams (Mark being the star of the film). Well, I’m just not driven enough to achieve any of mine, as far Read More