This week ending 1 December is the second annual international Live Like A Stoic Week. When I began research a few days ago in order to rush out a quick post for the event I had forgotten how much I was inspired by Stoicism, and consequently I my essays are too involved to finish in time.
After some pestering, Toby Coe has kindly come to the rescue with this brief analysis. He said he read the Meditations, so I hope he didn’t mean Descartes’ or this is going to be a very short post indeed.
The Roman Emperor and Stoic, Marcus Aurelius (pictured) writes:
“…philosophy doth consist in this, for a man to preserve that spirit which is within him, from all manner of contumelies and injuries, and never do anything either rashly, or feignedly, or hypocritically…”1
This is a very elegant summary of one of the core features of Stoic philosophy, namely, a moral and spiritual view of the task of philosophy. Philosophy is to provide a man the ability to cope with misfortune and not to be dominated by the passions that often make us attached to things that are fragile: fame, wealth and security.
The elusive peace poppy – does it do justice to the fight against militarism?
In 2011 Prince William called the (red) poppy ”the universal symbol of remembrance”, and from my experience of England it would be near-impossible to disagree with him. In late October / early November, in every kind of workplace it is expected for people to wear them, in public most people are wearing them, and on television they are evidently compulsory. It is not just this social conformity that we must be suspicious of, but that this potent symbolism has permeated our daily lives to the point of ubiquity. Continue reading
“Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else.”
(Usually attributed to George Halas, but I’ll bet he got it from this Snorlax–Mr. Lazy hybrid.)
In a previous post I argued that Western culture needs to make a dramatic shift away from devoting so many hours towards paid employment. This has become something of a hot topic in the USA right now, partly because some implications of the Affordable Care Act apparently involve forcing some employees to reduce their hours (why such a rich country must interfere with all employers just to ensure that sick children born to poor parents aren’t simply left to die is beyond me and thankfully also besides the point here), but mainly because The Partially Examined Life covered the topic of work in their most recent podcast. In the following guest post, my friend Joey Jones -in a section from his Philosophy MA thesis- takes a rather different view on work both to myself in that aforementioned post, and to the traditional socialist position represented by Karl Marx, whose views I have also written on.
Governments always want to increase the amount of work being performed via employment levels, but is this a goal we should be seeking? This depends on whether doing so is in peoples’ best interests. Continue reading
Detail from the poster for Zizek’s film, ‘The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology’.
This is a guest post by Toby Coe. Most readers will be at least aware of the Slovenian philosopher and intellectual cult figure Slavoj Žižek. The message of his 2011 book, Living In The End Times (published by Verso) is the prediction that has been repeated by almost every Marxist intellectual who has ever taken up a pen in anger, namely, that capitalism will inevitably collapse due to imbalances inherent in the system it creates. Living In The End Times does not really fulfill the promise of showing why this will happen, but is the umbrella under which several interesting discussions of various issues takes place. One of these concerns Transhumanism.
Žižek thinks that Transhumanism is a kind of “apocalypticism”, in other words an ideology that is parasitic on religious notions of an “end times” or “reckoning”, where the old order is brought violently to an end. Continue reading
The character ‘Marx’ from the Kirby video game series. Don’t stare or you’ll get a headache.
NB readers only interested in video games should skip to the last section.
Intro to Philosotips
I’m very happy presently as I’ve just managed to access this site for the first time in many weeks (WordPress.com tell me they’ve got ongoing technical problems here in the UK). So I’m going to celebrate the best way I know how: dreaming up a whole new series of posts instead of carrying on with other series that are still only in their early stages.
These ‘Philosotips’ are short and simple hints for understanding key ideas in philosophy and related subjects. Inspired by my (hopefully) immanent enrollment on postgraduate degree in teaching, these tips are aimed primarily at teachers and their students, but will be accessible to all. At the outset I have 3 main aims: 1) correcting prevalent misunderstandings, 2) suggesting engaging analogies and other useful techniques for conveying the ideas, and 3) pointing out my favourite points among details that aren’t usually covered.