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Meet Our Philosophers!

Name? Serhan Ozturk Mehmet Photo you feel comfortable sharing:
Age? 23  serhan
Gender? Male
Favoured philosopher/philosophical stance? Alan Watts
Profession? Teacher
Which philosopher would you give your last Rolo to? Rumi

Blogs created by Serhan:

A Cheeky Analysis of Rumi.

 

 

 

Name? Sean Ash

 

Photo you feel comfortable sharing:
Age? 35  sean
Gender? Male
Favoured philosopher/philosophical stance? Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Profession? Educator
Which philosopher would you give your last Rolo to? I would give my last Rolo to Plato and ask him to give it to Socrates.

Blogs created by Sean:

Socio-Emo Extinct.

 

 

 

Name? Samuel Mack-Poole Photo you feel comfortable sharing:
Age? 32  sam
Gender? Male
Favoured philosopher/philosophical stance? Nietzsche, Jesus, Norse mythology, Christopher Hitchens. Viva la contradiction.
Profession? Teacher
Which philosopher would you give your last Rolo to? Marx, as he is so fond of sharing.

Blogs created by Samuel:

A (Very) Brief Philosophical Inquiry of History

 

 

Name? Martin Prior Photo you feel comfortable sharing:
Age? 72  martin
Gender? Male
Favoured philosopher/philosophical stance? Logician, scientific socialist.
Profession? Retired
Which philosopher would you give your last Rolo to? Arthur N Prior or Bertrand Russel.

Blogs created by Martin:

Brexit, Jean Monnet and the ethics of ratcheting

 

 

 

Name? Ellese Elliott Photo you feel comfortable sharing:
Age? Declined to answer in strong terms. I could not get the consent of this philosopher to share a photo. It was not that she did not give it, she did not respond in time, and I can’t share information without consent (Ed).
Gender? Is a sterotype.
Favoured philosopher/philosophical stance? Stokely Carmichael and Love-ism.
Profession? Dole-ism.
Which philosopher would you give your last Rolo to? A starving one.

Blogs created by Ellese:

Eaten By Your Appetite

Featured post

The Philosophical Brilliance of Rick and Morty – Part Two by Samuel Mack-Poole.

                     The Philosophical Brilliance of Rick and Morty – Part Two.

                                                             By Samuel Mack-Poole

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“We must all learn to pray for peace,” he says, “and then become and answer to that prayer.” ~ No Atheists In Foxholes: Reflections and Prayers From The Front ~ Patrick McLaughlin.


“Please, God, O Lord, hear my prayer!”
 ~ Rick, in a life or death situation in A Rickle in Time.


“F**k you, God! Not today, bitch!”
 ~ Rick, after surviving in A Rickle in Time.
 

 

Following on from  my blog yesterday, where I heaped an epic amount of praise on the science-fiction genius that is Rick and Morty for its acerbic insight into the human condition, today I would like to focus on a moral dilemma which is faced by the misanthropic, nihilistic, scientific genius come anti-hero, Rick Sanchez. In season two, episode one, Rick is presented with a salient issue. With death appearing a serious and likely consequence (Six months after Rick froze time in the episode Ricksy Business, Rick unfreezes time again, but after being outside of it for so long, they begin to start splitting time into two different realities with potentially fatal results), Rick acts in a way which is, in essence an act of understandable moral human hypocrisy, but in the end it is still hypocrisy, something universally despised amongst various cultures across the world.

Yes, Rick, despite being a defacto atheist, rather than an overt, evangelistic one) opts for prayer. His fascinating and rather rapid conversions from rather antithetical theological standpoints (defacto atheist to Christian theist to anti-theist) are hugely comical, but have a sobering truth in the middle of the chaos.

Death, after all, is a frightening concept. In the UK, most people would meet the criteria of a defacto atheist. They might put CofE on a census, and they would even have a Christening for their children, but they would probably resent more muscular Christian intrusions into their lives (such as Jehovah’s Witnesses knocking on their doors, open air preaching and the like). These defacto atheists live in a consumer culture, without fully contemplating their existence. However, when faced with a life or death situation, whether for themselves or a close family member, they will sink to their knees and pray for divine intervention and mercy.

Rick does this selfsame thing. Rick pleads, “Please, God, if there’s a hell, please be merciful to me!” This all plays out, quite neatly into a Christian apologetic: that there are no atheists in fox holes. If you’re not au fait with the premise, let me elucidate: an atheist is a (without) theos (God), and a foxhole is merely a hole in the ground used by troops as a shelter against enemy fire or as a firing point. However, the premise is that when a soldier is afforded a brief opportunity of a safe haven on a battlefield, with his mortal coil in danger of being shed, they will appeal to a higher power, a supernatural power for safety, or for the guarantee that their soul will find itself safe in the afterlife.

What is fascinating about this predicament is the fact that Rick is such a huge nihilist. He has quite a bleak view of humanity, as is confirmed by his dark philosophy in a number of quotes:

 ‘I hate to break it to you, but what people call “love” is just a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed. It hits hard Morty then it slowly fades leaving you stranded in a failing marriage. I did it. Your parents are going to do it. Break the cycle Morty, rise above, focus on science.’

‘Listen, I’m not the nicest guy in the universe, because I’m the smartest, and being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets.’

‘The world is full of idiots that don’t understand what’s important.’

rick-grumpy

It doesn’t take a doctor of theology to figure out that these quotes don’t exactly espouse Christian values, when it comes to love, moral behaviour or loving thy neighbour.  That may be the whole point of Rick’s comic hilarity (his humour is clearly derived from his counter-cultural ethos), yet I find that his appeal for divine absolution from a Christian deity is the most hypocritical of all (and yes, that is what makes it funny, but it is also what makes this scene the most troubling, for when we laugh, we laugh at our own moral hypocrisy).

What complicates matters is that when Rick’s situation changes for the better, he is far from thankful, as is the expected response from someone whom has survived a life or death situation after an appeal to divine providence. Much the reverse! In fact, Rick transitions from a questioning Christian theist into an anti-theist! Rick exclaims, “F**k you, God! Not today, bitch!

Whilst I can only reiterate that Rick’s theological flip-flopping is designed for comic intent, I experienced a simultaneous revulsion for him, because he is so very human. His weaknesses are understandable. Death is a prickly terror to us all (not matter how much people deny nice from afar, once confronted with death, we act very differently, often in unexpected ways), and thus we all experience an eccentric schadenfreude in watching Rick fail to match his lifetime’s  nihilistic philosophy to his (potential) deathbed’s moralising.

I’m quite aware that a number of Christian theists will feel a certain level of smugness when they read this post, and I’m also aware that a large number of atheists will feel that of all shows Rick and Morty should have treated this theme somewhat differently – after all, it was born from the imagination of post-enlightenment society, and of a character whom wears the Nihilism like a badge of honour. However, I can only comment upon what has been presented, and it seems that even Rick isn’t immune to a death-bed conversion.

 

rick-sure

The Philosophical Brilliance of Rick and Morty — Part One by Samuel Mack-Poole.

 

                              The Philosophical Brilliance of Rick and Morty — Part One

                                                                      by Samuel Mack-Poole.

sam

God.png

“A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.” ~ As You Like It, Act 5 Scene 1, William Shakespeare.


“Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere
.” ~ Morty, Rixty Minutes.
It is quite rare that you stumble upon genius. As Jonathan Swift once said, “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” Now, I don’t want to take a dangerous start into Gulliver’s Travels and misanthropy from the start, as there will be much more of the latter later, but Swift’s biting aphorism holds true when it comes to the principal writer of Rick and Morty, Dan Harmon (born January 3, 1973). He had produced three other failed pilots for Fox TV, prior to Rick and Morty becoming that rare brand, a commercial and critical success.

Now, the question is:  why is a science-fiction comedy cartoon worthy of a philosophical analysis? My response would be as so: the philosophers of the past were limited to verbal debate and, if they were lucky enough to be educated, the written word. In this world of bleeding edge technology, rising with machines, we can create art that carries extremely salient philosophical messages – messages which permeate through our moral zeitgeist. As Ernst Fischer (3 July 1899 – 31 July 1972) once stated, “In a decaying society, art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay.
Rick and Morty reflects the crumbling society of the west with acerbic wit and biting insight. And, now that I have built it up with the plaudits it thoroughly deserves, I shall now get to the philosophical analysis.

In Mortynight Run, (season 2, episode 2), whilst on an escapade to an alien arcade called “Blips & Chitz”, Rick and Morty stumble across a computer game called Roy. The premise of the game  is that a player’s consciousness is transported into the game, so that the life the player has in reality is forgotten (although it residually manifests itself in dreams or nightmares). In this life, you make salient choices which impacts on then value your life will hold.

In this way, of course, the game is not unlike reality.

However, the game is available for everyone and anyone (who is interested) to watch the game manifest. Thus, although the game play feels completely authentic, and with extreme value, to the player, in reality, it’s just a way to score points in the way society views success.

Most interestingly, Morty’s journey as Roy leads him away from school, which he finds dull, and to the excitement of being what appears to be a great college level player. Unfortunately for Morty/Roy, when he is middle-aged, that career has fizzled out, and with the responsibility of fatherhood, Morty/Roy acquiesces to his wife’s wishes and works in a dull, yet stable, carpet shop.

Further down this narrative, Morty/Roy is afflicted with cancer, but he overcomes it, and goes back to work in the carpet shop – however, the irony is that Morty/Roy dies in a meaningless accident, after overcoming cancer.

roy

The game over sequence flashes on the screen, and Morty finds himself simultaneously confused about his identity and judged by is immoral grandfather, “You beat cancer and then you went back to work at the carpet store?! Boo!” Find the video here.

Now, where to start? This scene is fascinating on so many levels. Firstly, I think the trite what is reality/ am I dreaming debate rears its head once again. This line of paranoid proto-solipsism  can be dismissed with the arguments exhibited in Simon Blackburn’s Think (fantasy is parasitic upon reality, and dreams are parasitic upon the experience of being conscious). In all honesty, I don’t worry that the reality we live in is synthetic, and this is due to my ability to realise that as Wittgenstein once stated, “How can I generalise the one case so irresponsibly?”. If all we have to go on is sense-data, then we should not be bogged down by unrealistic paranoia.

What I actually find more interesting is the way in which life choices are judged by our peers, and the esteem in which we hold those choices. Rick, who prides himself on his unconventional approach to life – he is, after all, a charismatic maverick of an anti-hero, bitcccccchhhhhh – seemingly sneers at Morty’s ‘dull’ choices. However, I take issue with Rick’s carefree attitude. He seems to not have the same issue of confusion as Morty whilst his consciousness is inhabited by the game, and he lives his life as Roy/Rick with a carefree abandon which others in the arcade are enamoured with.

Thus, what we as an audience judge to be of value – that which is rare: namely excitement and a rejection of society’s rules – isn’t really on the same playing filed as what Morty/Roy did, as he made rational and responsible choices based on what he felt was real. Whatever a player does, it seems that Roy has responsibilities for dependents outside of his own selfish concern, and this is where I have central issues with Rick’s decadence.

Although this is merely a meta-reality (a fiction within a fiction), the attitudes and outcomes are merely manifestations of societal concerns. In the west, we live for ourselves. In fact, we are utterly self-obsessed. It’s the route of our unhappiness. It’s also what I think makes Rick so chronically depressed, (as is evidenced in episode Auto Erotic Assimilation with Rick’s flirtation with suicide and ambiguous passing out/ chickening out from it. See it here.). The juxtaposition of Morty’s more grounded and familial values with Rick’s individualistic yet ‘badass’ values is fascinating, yet I err towards Morty, even if it is truly mundane, as I think family is of the highest level of primacy for a society to function.

The whole premise of the Roy game is to show society that we live in judgement of our success (or lack thereof). Unlike in real life, where the roll of the dice in our life choices slowly manifest, the Roy game shows the outcomes of this with an instantaneous affirmation (or lack thereof).  In this way, I am reminded of the vulgarity of social media and our obsession as a species with instantaneous feedback. It’s not enough to make a video on social media, now we need to go live. It’s not enough that I will write this blog and show it to my friends, I will post it all over a range of intellectual discussion boards, waiting for one or two comments which will validate my choice to write this article.

If there are any conclusions from this, if I can wrestle with the abstract and find something tangible, it would be this: watch Rick and Morty, don’t venerate Rick as moral guide for your existence, and realise that living for yourself in an absolutist way is the first step towards becoming unwoke.

bird-person

Brexit, Jean Monnet and the ethics of ratcheting. By Martin Prior.

Brexit, Jean Monnet and the ethics of ratcheting.

By Martin Prior

 martin

These days everything is Brexit  The important name of Jean Monnet is sometimes mentioned, along with his ratcheting tactics, so I felt this was an interesting ethical issue to discuss.

Now the EU would say that it is committed to (a) democracy, (b) ending wars, (c) the market economy.  But some would say that the priorities are the reverse of the above.

Whatever we may think, all paths to Euro-federalism seem to originate with Jen Monnet (1888-1979), and Prof. Tim Congdon, in his review of Leach, Rodney (2004)  A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union.  4th edition, states:

Leach favours the cooperative and democratic vision of Europe, but he believes that – at present – he is on the losing side. In his words, the federalists and bureaucrats have “won the upper hand”, not because of the merits of their case than because of “the forethought and subtlety of the Common Market’s architects”.  In particular, Jean Monnet is credited with the clever tactic of incrementalism, of never going backwards but always adding small, ratchet-like steps on the path to union.

Now this concept of ratcheting reminds me of the diagram in one of my previous Takeaway articles, on “Survival Society, Self-fulfilment Society and Quixotic Society” (Issue No 57):

The flow chart does in fact depict the interaction of survival society and self-fulfilment society: as with rock-climbing you ensure that each move across the rock-face is reversible.  You only move to a new position if you are in a safe position already, and you only stay in the new position if it is safe.  And this is clearly the opposite in principle to ratcheting: you make sure that when people advance there is no going back.

Now the ‘ratcheteers’ would reply that we have a totally different situation: we are trying to move from a Quixotic Society to a Survival Society, where in the example of the EEC/EU, our first priority is that we wish to avoid wars.

 

Now this is to some extent understandable: Jean Monnet’s career dates back to 1916, when at the ‘ripe’ age of 26 he pressed on the French PM a scheme of war-time co-operation.  Nowadays we think of the Nazis as the archetype warmongers, but in those days the French wanted a war – partly to avenge the 1871-2 Franco-Prussian War – as long as they didn’t start it.  And in August 1943 Monnet declared to the French National Liberation Committee:

There will be no peace in Europe, if the states are reconstituted on the basis of national sovereignty… The countries of Europe are too small to guarantee their peoples the necessary prosperity and social development. The European states must constitute themselves into a federation…

 

But what becomes apparent is that in the early days, when France was much stronger than the defeated Germany, France wanted access to German resources.  France initially wanted to detach the coal-rich Ruhr region, and in the face of American opposition to this, only consented to the establishment of the Federal Republic (West Germany) when they agreed to placing the Ruhr under allied control.  And then they only stopped dismantling German industry when Germany agreed to the European Coal and Steel Industry.

So when we view all this we realise that the Survival Society being created was very much French Survival Society before German ascendancy took effect.

But we now see that the quest for Survival Society, be it French, German, EEC or EU was in effect Quixotic Society: the measures to bypass or manipulate democracy meant that a bureaucracy was being built up which could impose its own agenda, and we certainly see this in the imposition of the prevailing neo-liberal policies: a philosophy of institutionalised Quixotry that fuelled Nazism during the depression, and now fuels neo-Nazism in Greece.

In effect the attempts to bring in measures to avoid wars may well be counter-productive, and maybe Leach’s vision of a co-operative and democratic Europe is the right one after all.  Indeed it is said that the only time two democratic countries have been at war was Britain and Finland.

So, whatever we may think, all paths to Euro-federalism seem to originate with Jen Monnet (1888-1979), and Prof. Tim Congdon, in his review of Leach, Rodney (2004) A Concise Encyclopedia of the European Union. 4th edition, states:

  • Leach favours the cooperative and democratic vision of Europe, but he believes that – at present – he is on the losing side. In his words, the federalists and bureaucrats have “won the upper hand”, not because of the merits of their case than because of “the forethought and subtlety of the Common Market’s architects”.  In particular, Jean Monnet is credited with the clever tactic of incrementalism, of never going backwards but always adding small, ratchet-like steps on the path to union.

But to my mind, all this is on borrowed time, for the simple reason that the Single Market is too large and unwieldy.

The most serious feature of it is the way in which one country, Germany, acts as a centre of gravity, attracting funds to enable greater development in the core rather than at the periphery.  Regions need to have greater meaningful control: while each region will have its own centre of gravity, these will be far more manageable, with fewer funds needed in the exercise to achieve the same result as developing the periphery to a Single Market.  If there are to be cross-country currencies, they should be confined to these regions.

To avoid Brexit leading to or intensifying a messy collapse, what we need is a European Environmental Community:

  1. This would retain the EU environmental institutions.
    2.  The Euro should be dismantled.
    3.  TTIP and/or CETA should be abandoned and TTIP-style ‘partnerships’ torn up.

Since the Single Market is unwieldy, the environmental community should be divided into regions which pursue co-development, rather than the neo-colonialism of the core, eg. Germany vis-à-vis Greece and other PIIGS.

As I have already argued, the EEC was set up as a move to end warfare in Europe, but it made the crucial mistake of thinking this could be brought about through political developments, while fuelling the economic causes of warfare. The Second World War itself came about because of austerity and the prequel to neo-liberalism. Well, certainly not the Single Market and its ‘four freedoms’, which do not represent freedom for the UK.

Since we have decided to go it alone, rather than hope we can reform the EU from within, we need, along with allies in Europe, to resist the ever-powerful EU sucking us in with its ratcheting strategy (see note below): just as the Roman Republic turned into an Empire, democracies in Europe are turning into a neo-Empire… and now, with ‘Brexit’, there’s a chance that that will unravel.

But finally, the reality is that UK vis-à-vis EU is very similar to Canada vis-à-vis US and NZ vis-à-vis Australia… there is no way that the UK would accept loss of sovereignty to the extent that would be necessary to make the EU properly democratic, if indeed that is feasible.
REFERENCES

  • Leach, Rodney (2004) A Concise Encyclopaedia of the European Union. 4th edition
  • Congdon, Professor Tim (2004?) Review of Leach(2004) on the June Press website.
  • A useful link:

http://conversableeconomist.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/european-union-functionalism-and.html
European Union: Functionalism and the Ratchet Effect

Socio-emo Extinct By Sean Ash.

Socio-emo Extinct

By Sean Ash

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Young people are now growing up in a post-modern reality that is far different from the reality my parents grew up in. I would argue that by growing up in-between realities, I have been able to observe the patterns and therefore see the shift firsthand. This has helped to build a profound understanding as to why I think that we are solely thinking of and prioritising our own happiness, whilst we simultaneously are making our own children suffer for it.

Many younger people do not aspire to be teachers, nurses, care assistants, paramedics or philosophers anymore. Why would they want to? They’ve seen how hard people working within these professions struggle on a daily basis. They’ve seen how hard professionals have to fight in order to justify their jobs to bosses, who’s bosses and their bosses are only concerned with finding somewhere to save money. They’ve seen how stressful it can be and the sheer amount of (time + energy) professionals have to give just to = a fairer wage that allows them to live. Many of us belittle younger people by presupposing they don’t know about these things, or that they can’t read between the lines when we are lying to them, but young people aren’t stupid, even if we are certainly doing our very best to send them that way.

Younger people have been brought up forever seeing the good punished, while those who are selfishly in it for themselves succeed with far greater rewards. They’ve seen how meaningful jobs can easily come and go, while observing those who have made it rich off the backs of others, last far longer and go a lot further. What does this teach young children? That people might want to be more of an arrogant so and so like Steve Jobs than to be an altruistic teacher such as Mr. Mackers from Poole? Where is the consistency for younger children? What message are they learning?

We used to look up to those with knowledge because we had a thirst for it. It was hard work at school, but we understood the importance because one day it would be us responsible for passing the knowledge down. We admired and looked up to our teachers, not down at our phones. Instead of stepping up and providing young people with the skills to think, and the confidence to turn to their fellow human being for help, we’ve taught them only how they can rely on smartphones for everything. They no longer look for answers from the likes of Plato, Hobbes or Hegel, but their one and true philosopher (or God) is now called Google.

We as a society have given younger generations the false hope that more people can be successful Youtubers and Social Media entrepreneurs than they can be successful in the public services. We have instilled inside their minds a false consciousness. We have built machines because we don’t want to be bothered anymore. We just want to be left to our own devices.

We have glorified and invested all our time and money into dumbing kids down by placing our faith in technology, instead of placing our faith in them. All due to our own desires to be lazier and making things easier, we have only taught them how to be lazier and how seek the easiest option.

We have removed their natural evolutionary yearning for survival and love for their fellow womb-man by replacing it in a reliance for technology. In classrooms up and down the country, teachers are being ignored while smartphones stifle the attention of students. Students would rather play ‘Sugar Sugar’ than learn about the historic events that have lead to their existence. They would rather take snapchat selfies and wallow in narcissism than try to understand how learning maths can help them in life. “We have a calculator on our phones, Sir. We don’t need to do this” is a common response when asking students to find a simple equation on their own. We used to seek out complexity but now we seek out simplicity.

Instead of feeding our children with warmth, love and empathy, we tell them to leave us alone and to go play their games. Anything for a spot of peace.

As educators, we have to acknowledge and accept, just like any addict would, that we have a problem and that problem is we are engineering a future society of cyborgs. I will not deny that it is a huge statement to make, but I personally think that the rise of autism and ADHD isn’t vaccine related as such, but more to do with the social and emotional parts of our brains being rapidly killed off due to technology. What do you think?

 

Eaten By Your Appetite by the intellectual Juggernaut, Ellese Elliot.

A fish, golden and serene, scaly and gracefully, glistened swimming around a small silver office bin. Another, just the same, swam in the opposite direction, for a moment, then followed, then didn’t. Blue and green translucent fins, of a slightly larger liquid creature, let the light of a full moon beam through onto broken slivers of glass that reflected a stream of photons onto a cracked mirror. A temporary luminous narrow pathway gently glowed. Tiny forgotten formations waltzed silently into the path and out into a space once inhabited by capitalist creatures.

Microsoft keyboards swayed gently like seaweed. Once blank white walls were colored green with algae and purple pods. Tentacles wrapped around desks like wires. Though largely bound by blackness, one can see the skeleton of a tall phallic building that once stood center of London. What was a colossal symbol of control and power, now lurked in the darkness unnoticed, like a ghost without a machine.

One thousand years ago, the Shard, as the building was named, buzzed with busy bee like workers. Wall to wall Wi-Fi would fill the space with cancer causing frequencies that could carry codes from anywhere in the universe. It mimicked the great Egyptian pyramids, built from tons of sand that had been blown into glass.

Formerly towering over all of London, the Shard now dwelt below a cosmic ocean; the surface covered with a dusting of glittering ice. This ocean had poured down from a gigantic interstellar cloud that had drifted from the moon of Venus and had burst above the earth. It rained down a substance called palatine. Palatine, a foreign element to earth, instantly killed most water-based life forms. However, what it did not kill, it gave extraordinary powers to. Palatine creatures could pass through solids and morph into other palatine creatures, from two creating a new evolved life form. That life form could absorb all others. Palatine created a world where you and I, this or that, could be effortlessly altered. The boundaries of identity were repetitively breaking. Subsequently, creatures behaved collaboratively in simplistic ways, sharing food, and building underwater nests for each other’s young. If one could easily morph into the other we want the other to be well. The other may become the I. Humans observed none of this. Yet, persisting, under this harmonious realm, a human hybrid subsisted, still holding onto a sense of self.

In the old queens warrens, built for apocalyptic purposes, but reserved for royal and state secret meetings, some survivors of the cosmic cloudburst had escaped the peril of palatine. The scientists of the day had managed to create a device to recirculate air underground and a machine run lab that grew food out of petri dishes using DNA and artificial lights. The lab had been created by the most incisive minds of the day.

There were fifty-two survivors at the time. Those who survived were the most powerful men and women of the corporatocracy in England. Among them was Queen Elizabeth the second herself and her near relatives, Teresa May the head of state, the Chiefs of MI5 and MI6, Tony Blair, the Ex Chequer, Tony Pigdeley (CEO of BERKELEY GROUP) a number of members of the Rothschild’s and Rockefeller families and other CEO’S. The man to woman ratio was seven to one. There survived, no children, no animals no workers, no bourgeoisie, no masons, bar a few freemasons. It was a hostile environment. At first the atmosphere was mildly celebratory, but soon the powerful were rendered obsolete in their new conditions.

The senile, scaly, geriatric, wretched upper class reproduced a genetically poor population they scorned and abused.

The new young learned to snatch the scraps of organisms grown from the petri dishes from their mothers who reluctantly shared a morsel. Their diet mostly consisted of protein, so they were more brutish than intelligent. But there was never enough. The intelligentsia of that time was quickly overtaken by force, as the selfish way of being for the upper-class in a period of scarcity was now inept. They could no longer hide behind the wall of the atomized masses using methods of manipulation. They were as good stripped bare, to reveal fragile bony bodies. Weak, it is a wonder how they ever got away with oppresses the masses of workers all that time.

Unlike the palatine creatures, and despite the real threat to their species, the human hybrids did not advance beyond their dog-eat-dog mentality that had been sowed into their skin by the elite, which in turn, turned back on them. The prince ate the queen, and the princess ate the prince, and the princess grew fat and died of a heart attack. Her young losing there mother and they fought one another. Reproduction happened largely through incestuous rape and sexual pleasure came from disparities in power between old and new blood.

However, atomic amounts of palatine had entered the hellish species and many were born at a time. There were subsequently many births, from little conception, but many killings kept the numbers low. Now, there stood a modest human population of five thousand. The individualistic way of life, that had worked so well in 2016, in a time of material abundance, where man was pitted against man in their billions, to keep the ever increasing weight of a super rich race on their shoulders, had backlashed drastically in a time of scarcity and when the numbers were few. If only they could have been more fluid, more harmonious, more like the palatine creatures of the cosmic sea, a glorious species may have lived. But for now, ugly violent cannibalistic mutants persisted.

 

 

Welcome to our new blog!

A note from the Editor, Samuel Mack-Poole:

Salutations, fellow thinker! You are most welcome here, in the arena of thought.

Six years ago, I stumbled across The Philosophy Takeaway.  It was an overwhelming experience. I met many great young minds, willing to ask, question, argue passionately, and wield their intellects like hammers and shooting stars whilst attempting to discover a truth that motivates the human condition. These special people, united by a common and rare bond, were a gem of beauty in this rough ocean that is life.

However, like the Roman Empire, The Philosophy Takeaway peaked – but it is when you peak that the only direction that can follow is an inevitable fall. Great minds moved on – whether to family, work, travelling, activism, or politics (and if those special people are reading this, you know who you are). Yet, whilst you can take the philosopher out of the takeaway, you can’t take takeaway out of the philosopher.

Out of the ashes, the phoenix will arise!

This is but the first attempt at a comeback. There are new and exciting issues at stake.  We will make cartoons, videos, podcasts, radio and, most inevitably, more blogs.

Beauty and creativity will flow from our fingertips, and you are more than welcome to participate.

Also, as a message to all members of The Philosophy Takeaway – I am not in charge of this. If any of you want to be an editor for future blogs, that’s fine by me. Should you wish to create something which doesn’t coincide with an issue, then you go ahead and create. We are not bound by hierarchy in our brave new world.

Enjoy all rare things for the rare.

Contact me at sammackpoole@gmail.com if you wish to contribute. Continue reading “Welcome to our new blog!”

A (Very) Brief Philosophical Inquiry of History By Samuel Mack-Poole

A (Very) Brief Philosophical Inquiry of History

By Samuel Mack-Poole

sam

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.’ – Karl Marx.

The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history.’ – George Orwell.

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.’ –  Marcus Garvey.

It is with delight and relish that I ponder upon history from a philosophical perspective. History and Philosophy are two of my favourite academic disciplines; they naturally complement one another like a pint of beer complements a curry, or like a biscuit complements a cup of tea.  It shall be my endeavour to discover a truth that shall make the reading of this article a valuable use of your time. I wish to apply a Mack-Poole style metaphorical truth-scalpel with great skill; or one could merely say that I wish to utilise the method of reductionism and thereby wield Occam’s razor onto this grand topic.

One of the central questions I ask myself, as a teacher of history, is how do I know what I am about to teach is true? Do I know the events happened? Do I know where the source came from? Do I understand the context of the source, its utility, its biases, assumptions, imperfections and inaccuracies? The first stage which any historian treads humbly and carefully towards is quite simply to the field of empiricism¹: can this part of history be proven to be true?

That is merely the first stage. It is also the simplest one. All you have to do is investigate. Now, before the age of the internet, this was extremely tedious. Having to scour a range of different academic historical books in a university library wasn’t tremendous fun, but it did yield a wonderful sense of joy once you chanced upon the source that you needed to write an essay which would go towards your degree, which would then enable you to apply for employment within Adam Smith’s capitalistic dream.

Sorry. I digress: mea culpa ². Back to the issue in hand, the method of searching for information has now changed. We live in the age of the internet5

; it is a brave new world. We have such a gigantic wealth of information at our fingertips, just waiting to be discovered by enlightened minds. But, Lo! There is a great issue here, one which an empiricist would warn us all about: whilst, in the past, finding information was laborious, now we are awash with it. We currently live in the era of misinformation as much as we live in the era of information.

This takes the historian to a central question: what is the provenance of the source? Who created it, and why? I imagine that the historians of the future will look at the US election with academic trepidation, as the sources on both sides of the political spectrum will be deeply acerbic, passionate yet almost infinite. In our age, however, the name of the website, as well as whether it ends with dot org or dot com adds to the authenticity of the source. This is, however, dangerous. Why should there be gatekeepers to the truth?  As the Roman poet Juvenal once said, “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?³

 We all know, or should know, the famous quote, ‘All power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely’4. Why would we think that a historian is any different? The historian is a still a human: he or she has their unconscious and conscious biases, strong opinions, hates, loves, moments of strength and weakness, changes of heart and mind…they are not to be put on a pedestal, even with their intellectual prowess.

Now, to be a true philosopher, or a true Scotsman, I should present a counter argument. This is inspired, as well as heavily borrowed, by Simon Blackburn’s Think, which is most worthy of reading. As there are websites with fake or sloppy research, there are also websites with genuine and diligent research. After all, the notion of ‘fake’ is parasitically dependant on the notion of ‘genuine’.  If we look at the following statement, I’m sure you will follow my analogy:

‘Some banknotes are forged. So, for all I know all banknotes are forged.’

The conclusion is impossible. After all, forgers need genuine notes to copy. Once again, the analysis of the fallacious logic in the above statement is that the fake is parasitic and utterly dependent on the truth.

For me, or at least in the way that my mind works, this leads quite logically to the arena of conspiracy theories. Now, we must be honest about this: history is littered with conspiracy theories. Who really shot JFK and why? Were the moon landings faked? Was the Lusitania sunk so that America could intercede in World War One?  These examples are just some of the many, many conspiracy theories that exist. However, what is a conspiracy theory?

conspire

A conspiracy is defined as ‘to make secret plans jointly to commit an unlawful or harmful act.’  Moreover, a theory is defined as ‘a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something’. However, philosophically, conspiracy theories are a dead end. They can’t often be proved, as the event which is theorised upon was committed in secret. Consequently, they can’t be disproved, as the conspiracy theorist can reply that their lack of evidence is evidence itself of the success of the conspiracy – and we are led into a spiral of questions, and it’s turtles all the way down6.

Despite all of this, we do know that governments lie to their people. Failed states subsequent to an invasion, and successful invasions, and leaked memos have all displayed the sobering fact that our elected officials are, at the very least, not entirely trustworthy – and, consequently, nor is the mainstream historical narrative entirely correct.

“In the end it must be as it is and always has been: great things remain for the great, abysses for the profound, nuances and shudders for the refined, and, in brief, all that is rare for the rare.”  – Nietzsche.

Concluding this, a historian is behoved to find the truth. This means being confronted with something uncomfortable, something which challenges your petty biases and the values of the zeitgeist in which you reside. You must study the past, not with the eyes of the narrow-minded millennial, with their safe spaces and Pokeman Go apps, but with utter intellectual sincerity, and a willingness to realise that the truth you discover may fit outside of the ideals which you cherish, or what you have been taught to cherish, above all else.

Footnotes:

¹ Empiricism: what can be proved to be true by the senses.

² Through my fault.

³ This, literally translated means ‘Who will guard the guards?’

4 Which is a quote that has been attributed to a range of different wise men over the ages.

5One has to wonder what Nietzsche† would have thought of the information highway. He believed that with a pen and a piece of paper, you could turn the world upside down. Well, with a laptop, perhaps he would have thought you could have the Earth in a permanent spiral.

http://cosmology.carnegiescience.edu/timeline/1610/turtles-all-the-way-down

† My favourite philosopher. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philosopher, cultural critic, poet, philologist, and Latin and Greek scholar whose work has exerted a profound influence on Western philosophy and modern intellectual history.

A Cheeky Analysis of Rumi: by Serhan Ozturk Mehmet

A Cheeky Analysis of Rumi:

by Serhan Ozturk Mehmet

serhan

 

“We should split the sack
of this culture
and stick our heads out.”

If we were to crash land on a planet where the alien beings knew nothing of love – that is, to be completely devoid of ever feeling it, receiving it or expressing it – how might we describe the emotion to them and prove it exists? This descriptive task is harder than may first appear. Many have tried and succeeded in describing what love is and how it feels. However, their descriptions have only been successful on the condition that the reader has, at some point, experienced love before. Within this framework, such descriptive pieces succeed only in invoking a mere memory – not love itself. There is a significant difference between feeling something and remembering it. More importantly, we cannot invoke a memory that has not previously existed in the mind.

“Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings.
Move within,
but don’t move the way
fear makes you move.”

So the question remains, how can we prove the human experience of love to beings who are unable to feel it? We cannot show them love in a jar so that they can glimpse what it looks like, nor can we allow them to touch it, smell it or taste it. We may point to examples around us, but love often takes an abstract form and is difficult to understand empirically as an oblivious onlooker. The giving of flowers, the sharing of milkshakes and the small notes lovers write all seem meaningless without an experiential understanding of the underlying emotion. Scientific reasoning as proof, thus seems insufficient in this instance and if we are unable to provide any convincing arguments for love, our alien beings may, justifiably, be inclined to dismiss it as a collective delusion of the human mind.

“The ocean takes care of each wave till it gets to shore.
You need more help than you know.”

The analogy of inter-galactic beings incapable, but curious, of human love presents an interesting problem. It shows us that we have a unifying understanding of love through a shared experience, we are, however, unable to fully explain it without making specific reference to the feelings it invokes. The poetry of Jalal Ad-Din Muhammad, better known as Rumi, offers the best rebuttal to this assumption. The 13th Century Sufi poet believed that we could transcend the material barriers to God through feelings of deep love. Following the death of his friend and mentor, Shams Tabriz, Rumi’s poetry captured the rays of the sun, the waves of the ocean, the flight of the birds and the song of the soul. He did the impossible, he wrote about love in a way our hypothetical alien beings might just understand.

“Lovers find secret places
inside the violent world
where they make transactions
with beauty.”

The poetry of Rumi transcends the walls of experience through abstraction and manifests itself inside the reader as that very thing which it is evoking. A prior experience of love is not needed, for his poetry captures your soul and strikes a chord with it as if your entire being was a guitar pick, the reverberations of each note deepening your conviction. You are no longer listening to music, you are the music. Words no longer suffice in this place, they lose all meaning yet you still understand. The Sufi mystic’s poetry resonates so powerfully because it avoids the specificity of a culturally and linguistically shaped love. Instead, Rumi taps into a dormant, timeless ‘divine love’ which exists within each and every one of us. The enduring power of his poetry 800 years on is perhaps the strongest testament to this.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field
i’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”

Rumi’s verse is so profound because it deals with the abstract, the intangible on appropriate terms. He, like the great Zen masters before him, understood the limitations of a fixed, rigid language. Attempting to define something as free, changing and fleeting as love with a finite language is impossible – like trying to capture the air with a net. Bruce Lee famously stated in ‘Enter the Dragon’: “It is like a finger pointing away at the moon, don’t look at the finger or you will miss the moon in all its heavenly glory.” This Toaist principle underpins the success of Rumi’s work. His writing is not a finger pointed at love or God or anything for that matter. Instead, it presents a looking glass for the reader and for that reason the reader can access something unique to themselves. Herein lies the advantage of poetry over prescriptive literature when attempting to transcribe the metaphysical and transient nature of the world.

“This intensity is invisible.
Have you seen love?
Or heard it?”

Ultimately, love is central to the completion of all art, sport and writing. In attempting to chase and capture their passions, humans translate their endeavours onto canvas, courts, stages and books – these manifestations stand as monuments to the love that guides all human action. The work of Rumi is perhaps the most direct address of this guiding force which is why I argue that it is humanities greatest proof that this invisible, but powerful, emotion does exist as far more than a delusion of the mind. For this reason, Rumi remains one of the many historical figures I would love to visit were time travel possible. His insights on love and connection to God ranks him among the most enlightened figures to walk the earth.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do”

Throughout this post I have interwoven some of my favourite verses. They are not necessarily relevant to each paragraph they precede nor do they hold a hidden meaning. Perhaps, at the same time, they are indeed telling their own narrative with immense meaning. What does it matter? In true Sufi fashion, let us leave behind logic for feeling – at least momentarily – so we may drink from the cup of Rumi.

“The taste of this life comes from you,
soul moving like a mountain stream
under a sky of flowers.”

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