The new normal

TOPSHOT-BRITAIN-HEALTH-VIRUS
photo by livescience.com

 

This new concept is everywhere now, underpinning new behaviours, new reflexes, new apprehensions and a new way of life. The so called “new normal’ is a normal reaction to an aftermath.

Knowing this fact, why to hate the new reality?

Reality is a complex concept. The etymology is Latin, res, which means “thing” (for example, the word republic comes from res publica, public thing. A dictatorship calling itself a republic is a contradiction of words). Therefore, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic notion of them.

Zooming in, it is clear that reality is made of different layers: social reality, political reality, public reality, personal reality, environmental reality, individual reality and so on. A repetitive collective action defines the norm or what is normal or abnormal. Wearing a mask has become a new normal as a planetary and an individual repetitive action due to the birth of a new layer: the pandemics.

This powerful new layer threatens all the other ones. Consequentially, new behaviours and ways of thinking and living have already taken place.

Is our life better or worse now? 

So far, we hate it. Humans are creatures of habits and rituals and the latter played a major role in cultural and social cohesion as well as in cultural differentiation throughout history of mankind. It goes for our safety, our sanity and our survival. Even our cells are units of habits. What is a disease other than a disruptive phenomenon in the genetically programmed organism?

The problem is, humans are not their cells. They are their own minds, emotions and desires. Only a human mind can be in denial of an actual threat while an organism can’t be so.

Modern philosophy defined humans as rational beings but we are not or at least not all the time.

We seek pleasure and we fear pain. We function by reward and punishment. If we were only rational, we wouldn’t be depressed facing the new normal.

If ever the pandemics would disappear forever, its consequences on the different layers of the world reality will remain. The new normal will eventually become the normal.

 

Writing… and why I stopped it for a while

Writing is about inventing something new, as in a life, an existence, a becoming. For the becoming is creativity, a change, becoming other, creating hope for us in this world we live in. Art, philosophy, mysticism have a responsibility: the becoming of our societies!

I wrote this small paragraph the day I started this blog in June 2016, about philosophy in simple words or light philosophy, about philosophical writings for everyone with a purpose: to make myself heard, to make the romantics like me heard, to make misfits heard, to make anyone who doesn’t agree with the mainstream heard. Unfortunately, since 2016 the world hasn’t altered much, not to say it has gotten crazier. The becomings I mentioned earlier which we can see are about crisis: wars, violence, poverty, migration, racism etc. Something that made me stop writing for a long time, just because, as Charles Bukowski said it, if writing doesn’t roar out of your soul then don’t write. I found this video with his voice about being a writer:

http://youtu.be/F_1EiVab_08

It just roared now… and I don’t know why it did. I wish my writing desires would be more roaring but I am on those silent writers, and this can only make sense to writers who can go for a long time without any inspiration. If writing is inventing something new, today I didn’t invent anything, I didn’t write. The word, that precise word is yet to come!

I wish you all a lot of boredom

Placeholder ImageI am sitting in front of the blank screen, thinking about writing. It has been like this for the last 2 days but, all of a sudden, my mind has become as blank as this screen. No words, no images, no thoughts… nothing but a quite peaceful emptiness! Only one questions kept on lingering: what to write? What to write?

This is the experience of everyone of us, the experience of the missing word. And we can’t stand silence easily for it makes us unease. With social media in reach, media, news, explosions, celebrations, discussions, debates, loads of writing and posting, the world is talkative and noisy, too exposed and too exposing. Where one is forced to give an opinion, to protest, to cry, to laugh, to ask, to answer, to speak..is where silence is unbearable! For silence is the luxury of boredom!

Boredom is troublesome because it makes our mind wander. Martin Heidegger pointed out that boredom makes us reach the being! In a more simple language, boredom makes us think about the core, about the substantial: life, love, movements, actions, feelings, death, loved ones, hate, beauty, ugliness, freedom, justice, sex…. Boredom makes us think about the existence… about the being!

I wish you all a lot of boredom!

What are we discussing?

It is commonly known that philosophy is about discussions and debates. However this common idea is not totally accurate; some philosophers might say it is totally wrong. Therefore, what is the source of this misconception?

Discussions and debates have always been present with opinions; to be more precise, when democracy was invented. We discuss opinions and this goes alongside the freedom of speech. Regardless of this much needed sense of freedom, philosophy is not a gallery of opinions.

“Opinion”, from the Greek doxa, is a subjective and sometimes emotional point of view. An opinion is never based on any rational analysis not on a scientific proof, in spite of the sharpness and the truthfulness of some opinions. This is the reason why we argue about opinions because the latter has no rational foundation.

Philosophy treats with concepts. A concept is an abstract idea that synthesizes many relevant empirical and concrete representations. For example: the concept of freedom is the collection of many ideas about freedom: freedom of speech, the belief that freedom is to do whatever one wants to do, for some people a natural scenery like watching the sea or walking in nature is representative of freedom etc. All of these are implicitly contained in the concept of freedom. Therefore, discussing freedom is about what each one believes freedom is; it means discussions goes to opinions and representations.

Philosophy is concept crafting. When philosophers criticize one another, it is through long analysis and essays. Philosophy is not a talk show.

Is the world’s population living better than ever before?

The World Economic Forum in Davos in January, more than usual, prompted a spirited round of elite-bashing, which has now become the trendy political posture on both the right and left. On one side, US President Trump and Fox News hosts slam the out-of-touch establishment that, according to them, has run things into the ground. […]

Is the world’s population living better than ever before?

Sénèque, De la constance du sage (extrait)

“Est invulnérable non pas l’être qui n’est pas frappé, mais celui qui ne subit pas de dommage; c’est ce caractère que je te montrerai dans le sage. Est-il douteux qu’une force qui n’est pas vaincue soit plus assurée que celle qui n’est pas attaquée? N’étant pas mise à l’épreuve, sa vigueur reste douteuse; au contraire, n’a-t-on point toute raison d’être sûr de la solidité d’un être qui repousse tous les chocs? Sache donc bien qu’un sage à qui l’injustice subie ne nuit pas est supérieur en nature à celui qui n’en subit pas. L’homme courageux, dirai-je aussi, c’est celui que les guerres n’abattent pas, celui qui ne s’effraye pas à l’approche des forces de l’ennemi, et non celui que le repos fait engraisser au milieu des gens inertes. C’est en ce sens que le sage n’est pas exposé à l’injustice : aussi peu importe tous les traits qu’on lance sur lui, puisque aucun d’eux ne peut pénétrer. De même que certaines pierres sont d’une dureté inattaquable au fer, le diamant par exemple qui ne peut être ni coupé, ni entamé, ni même usé, mais qui fait rejaillir tout ce qui le frappe, de même que certains corps ne peuvent être consumés mais conservent au milieu des flammes leur consistance et leurs propriétés, de même que les rochers avancés dans la mer brisent les vagues et, fouettés depuis tant de siècles, ne montrent pas trace de ces attaques, de même l’âme du sage a de la solidité et a rassemblé en elle tant d’énergie qu’elle est à l’abri de l’injustice tout autant que sont à l’abri des coups les corps que je viens de citer”. 

Sénèque, De la constance du sage, suivi de De la tranquillité de l’âme, traduit du latin par Émile Bréhier et édité sous la direction de Pierre-Maxime Schuhl, Paris, Folio, « Sagesses », 2016, p. 17-18.

Epictetus vs Jesus on Figs. The relationship between philosophies… | by Massimo Pigliucci | Stoicism — Philosophy as a Way of Life | Medium

Massimo Pigliucci refers to two passages on the fig tree. One is from the Gospels, where Jesus cursed a fig tree and it died completely. The second passage is from Epictetus, the stoic philosopher, who explained that it is wise to take advantage of what life has to offer; therefore it is foolish to desire the impossible.

Through the comparison of these two references, the author explains the difference between religion and stoicism as a philosophy.

It is a well written article, easy to read but profound. There is a freedom in picking religion over philosophy and vice versa. This choice, along many others, dictates our life in general.

Check the article by clicking on the link below:

https://medium.com/stoicism-philosophy-as-a-way-of-life/epictetus-vs-jesus-on-figs-the-difference-between-philosophy-and-religion-3f47939375d1

The quest for impossible love affairs

Love, probably the most debated concept, is easy (it should be, right?) But complicated (for sure). The most natural feeling that ties people together has never been less than difficult, up to impossible sometimes.

Following a certain pattern of impossible loves, going from one impossible affair into another, is not a pure coincidence. Digging deeper, this pattern hides a subconscious (or unconscious) reason.

Falling for impossible loves more than once says a fear of commitment. Worse, it reveals a guilt feeling of betraying parents or closed loved ones. An impossible love doesn’t lead to commitment; so one is safe from commitment, guilt and betrayal.

Always falling for the “wrong” person is not a lack of chance. It is an unconscious choice. It is repeating the same experience over and over again. This repeated pattern of a person lies between the myth of Sisyphus and the Stockholm syndrome.

Emancipating oneself from the chain of the absurdity of this repeated heartbreaks requires a mind reset. And this is a long sinuous road of self discovery.

Ibn Khaldun and the Crisis of Modernity

Ibn Khaldun was a fourteenth century historiographer, sociologist, economist, and philosopher. Born in a turbulent time when the remnants of the Umayyad Caliphate in Iberia and North Africa were either collapsing or under extensive pressure internally and externally (corruption and European invasion and crusades), Ibn Khaldun set out to chronicle a sociology of the rise […]

Ibn Khaldun and the Crisis of Modernity

The dilemma of teaching (philosophy) online

Photo by unsplash.com

Too bad we didn’t see it coming and we didn’t prepare ourselves. Little did we know that maybe current educational systems needed to change?

Teaching philosophy online to sophomores isn’t an easy task. Philosophy can’t be taught like any other applicable discipline with formulas.

Philosophy has no formulas.

Philosophy is a long process; hence it’s long term effect.

This characteristic to philosophy push people to ask this irrelevant question:

Is philosophy efficient?

My answer is:

No; it is productive!

The rise of cognitive science: A survey of the most relevant historical landmarks

Perhaps you have heard someone talking of minds as computers. In Venezuela, it is common to hear people saying stuff like “let me process that” (déjame procesarlo) as if they were some sort of machine. But why do people sometimes think about themselves in this way? Why do some philosophers believe that minds are […]

The rise of cognitive science: A survey of the most relevant historical landmarks

The IG Yoga

There is nothing wrong with the Instagram Yoga; and by IG Yoga I mean all yoga sites on social media. Yoga here is displayed from a marketing perspective; hence the images of difficult postures, fit bodies, fancy outfits and sometimes music. This is understood and widely accepted because jobs have turned into the online world mainly.

However, the IG Yoga is, in its majority, a continuation of the western perception of yoga, which is different from the eastern one.

So what is the “western yoga”?

Simply put, yoga in the West is seen solely as Hatha Yoga, a workout with many physical and mental benefits. This is the reason why it is taught in gyms for example as part of group classes. The aim is the posture or asanas as a path to the mental benefits.

In India, yoga is taught is ashrams or in specialized institutes. There, it is not about types of yoga but schools of yoga. Yoga, which means union, is the path of enlightenment and connection with all types of life. Hatha Yoga is one branch out of six which are the following:

Raja: with meditation as the main focus

Karma: path of service, of self-transcending action

Bhakti: devotion

Jnana; development of the intellect through the study of the texts.

Tantra: the most esoteric of all branches and widely misunderstood, it is about consecrated sexuality. Tantra is not porn.

Apart from some hints and tips about meditation, where are the rest of the branches on social media?