A Model of Resilience: An Interview with the Stoic Doctor Matthew Galati of the Brain Changes Initiative

I interviewed Dr. Matthew Galati, founder of the Brain Changes Initiative, to learn about his remarkable recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). In the interview, Dr. Galati offers us a reminder of the importance of resilience and perseverance in overcoming obstacles in order to reach your goals. Readers of the A Life of Virtue blog […]

A Model of Resilience: An Interview with the Stoic Doctor Matthew Galati of the Brain Changes Initiative

The first traffic jam on Broadway

I’ve owned the book Time and Free Will by French philosopher Henri Bergson (1859-1941) since university days – but regretfully never quite got around to fully reading it. It still resides on my bookshelf, awaiting the day… I was also interested in American polymath William James, and did at that time read some of his […]

The first traffic jam on Broadway

Escaping the Rat Race: Lessons from Buddhist Thought

Source Republishing this article with edits, as it aligns with similar themes in the Work and Leisure series As humans we spend most of our lives in a state of perpetual craving and desire. We land a big promotion at work, but soon fantasize about continuing to move up the corporate ladder. We become consumed […]

Escaping the Rat Race: Lessons from Buddhist Thought

the Aesthetics of Populism [Minor Treatise]

This is a follow-up treatise on my article What (and how) to expect from Leaders [Opinion] by H.St.C For as long as humans have made use of their intellectual faculties to ponder upon the question of what makes something attractive, we have always known- almost instinctively- what we want. The philosophical discipline of aesthetics exists because […]

the Aesthetics of Populism [Minor Treatise]

Albert Camus vs Jean-Paul Sartre

In this post published on Medium, James Cussen describes the relationship between Camus and Sartre, the “intellectual superstars” of post-war France. As I am interested in the French Existentialism, which is a recent interest to me, this article shows the real relationship between the two men, beneath the surface.

From intellectual competition to political feuds, their friendship accompanied their philosophical and literary works.

For more details, click on the link below for the full article. A pleasure to read!

https://link.medium.com/MvQdNBhhUkb

Emile Durkheim: La morale est un état de dépendance.

Est moral, peut-on dire, tout ce qui est source de solidarité, tout ce qui force l’homme à compter avec autrui, à régler ses mouvements sur autre chose que les impulsions de son égoïsme, et la moralité est d’autant plus solide que ces liens sont plus nombreux et plus forts. On voit combien il est inexact de la définir, comme on a fait souvent, par la liberté ; elle consiste bien plutôt dans un état de dépendance. Loin qu’elle serve à émanciper l’individu, à le dégager du milieu qui l’enveloppe, elle a, au contraire, pour fonction essentielle d’en faire la partie intégrante d’un tout et, par conséquent, de lui enlever quelque chose de la liberté de ses mouvements. On rencontre parfois, il est vrai, des âmes qui ne sont pas sans noblesse et qui, pourtant, trouvent intolérable l’idée de cette dépendance. Mais c’est qu’elles n’aperçoivent pas les sources d’où découle leur propre moralité, parce que ces sources sont trop profondes. La conscience est un mauvais juge de ce qui se passe au fond de l’être, parce qu’elle n’y pénètre pas. La société n’est donc pas, comme on l’a cru souvent, un évènement étranger à la morale ou qui n’a sur elle que des répercussions secondaires ; c’en est, au contraire, la condition nécessaire. Elle n’est pas une simple juxtaposition d’individus qui apportent, en y entrant, une moralité intrinsèque ; mais l’homme n’est un être moral que parce qu’il vit en société, puisque la moralité consiste à être solidaire d’un groupe et varie comme cette solidarité. Faites évanouir toute vie sociale, et la vie morale s’évanouit du même coup, n’ayant plus d’objet où se prendre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Emile Durkheim, De la Division du travail social (1893)

Showcase: Simone de Beauvoir on feminism and existentialism

Considered as a pioneer of feminist philosophers, Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) was one of the most important French existentialist philosophers and writers. Working alongside other famous existentialists such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, de Beauvoir wrote excessively on ethics, feminism, fiction, autobiography, and politics.

In The Ethics of Ambiguity, she developed an existentialist ethics that condemned the “spirit of seriousness” in which people too readily identify with certain abstractions at the expense of individual freedom and responsibility.  In The Second Sex, she produced an articulate attack on the fact that throughout history women have been relegated to a passive acceptance of roles assigned to them by society. Freedom, responsibility, and ambiguity are main concepts of existentialist philosophy shown in her works.

Her influences include French philosophy from Descartes to Bergson, the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, the historical materialism of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and the idealism of Immanuel Kant and G. W. F Hegel. Her most famous and influential philosophical work, The Second Sex (1949), remains to this day a central text in the investigation of women’s oppression and liberation.

Against veganism

In this controversial article, “Chris Belshaw makes the case of rearing animals into their meat and produce”. He discusses the ethical motivation behind veganism that points out the harm of suffering and killing animals in mass production industries.

In his point of view, the suffering is less in mass industrial meat production, however the killing is outnumbered. So he asks the question about the possibility of humane farming (which is, in his theory, not even logical as a proposition) and the benefits or not of killing.

I read this article with much curiosity for I am paradoxically an animal lover without being a vegan, humans have thrived for thousands of years on meat consumption. I can relate to him in some arguments but not all of what he says.

The full article is down below:

https://philosophynow.org/issues/146/Against_Veganism

Immanuel Kant: Le bonheur

Immanuel Kant

« Le concept de bonheur est un concept si indéterminé, que, malgré le désir qu’a tout homme d’arriver à être heureux, personne ne peut jamais dire en termes précis et cohérents ce que véritablement il désire et il veut. La raison en est que tous les éléments qui font partie du concept du bonheur sont, dans leur ensemble, empiriques, c’est-à-dire qu’ils doivent être empruntés à l’expérience, et que cependant, pour l’idée du bonheur, un tout absolu, un maximum de bien-être dans mon état présent et dans toute ma condition future, est nécessaire. Or il est impossible qu’un être fini, si clairvoyant et en même temps si puissant qu’on le suppose, se fasse un concept déterminé de ce qu’il veut ici véritablement. Veut-il la richesse ? Que de soucis, que d’envie, que de pièges ne peut-il pas par là attirer sur sa tête ! Veut-il beaucoup de connaissances et de lumières ? Peut-être cela ne fera-t-il que lui donner un regard plus pénétrant pour lui représenter d’une manière d’autant plus terrible les maux qui jusqu’à présent se dérobent encore à sa vue et qui sont pourtant inévitables, ou bien que charger de plus de besoins encore ses désirs qu’il a déjà bien assez de peine à satisfaire. Veut-il une longue vie ? Qui lui garantit que ce ne serait pas une longue souffrance ? Veut-il du moins la santé ? Que de fois l’indisposition du corps a détourné d’excès où aurait fait tomber une santé parfaite, etc. ! Bref, il est incapable de déterminer avec une entière certitude d’après quelque principe ce qui le rendrait véritablement heureux : pour cela, il lui faudrait l’omniscience(1). »

Emmanuel Kant, Fondement de la métaphysique des mœurs

Showcase: Hannah Arendt and the crisis of authority

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was a German-American philosopher and political theorist. Her many books and articles have had a considerable influence on political theory. Arendt is widely considered one of the most important political philosophers of the twentieth century.

Is reading Arendt today helpful to explain the crisis of all types of authorities in today’s world?

“In her anthology Crises of the Republic, consisting of four essays, “Lying in Politics”, “Civil Disobedience”, “On Violence” and “Thoughts on Politics and Revolution”, she studies the contemporary American politics and the crises it faced in the 1960s and 1970s. “Lying in Politics” (which is one of the main criteria of politics as said by Nicolas Machiavelli) looks for an explanation behind the administration’s deception regarding the Vietnam War, as revealed in the Pentagon Papers.  “Civil Disobedience” examines the opposition movements, while the final “Thoughts on Politics and Revolution” is a commentary, in the form of an interview on the third essay, “On Violence”. In the latter, Arendt declares that violence presupposes power which she understands as a property of groups”.

This anthology sums up the reasons why politics have failed to trust it in general. Adding to lying and violence, social media and mass communication brought systems down. Being States in States, social media sites and platforms are transnational, dismantling frontiers and old values. Demystification and opinions rage, followed by civil disobedience, lead to crises in democracies and Republics.

Authority has never been more fragile.