Tag: Reading – Books and Magazines

The Making of the Fittest

November 29, 2007 | By | 4 Replies More
The Making of the Fittest

I’ve just read a good book about genetics. The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean B. Carroll. There is much food for thought in this book. One reviewer called it “A Primer of Evolutionary Theory for Beginners”, and this is accurate. One doesn’t need to know chemistry […]

Share

Read More

A Poet Laureate For Missouri

November 2, 2007 | By | 1 Reply More
A Poet Laureate For Missouri

The state of Missouri has never had an official poet laureate.  Like many people, I didn’t know that, although unlike many of those many people, I should have.  One of the hats I wear (besides the one in the cool profile photo above) is the president of the Missouri Center for the Book. What, you […]

Share

Read More

National Geographic Magazine: a treasure trove of relevant information every month

September 26, 2007 | By | 4 Replies More
National Geographic Magazine: a treasure trove of relevant information every month

I just finished reading the October 2007 issue of National Geographic.  I’ve been subscribing to the National Geographic for more than ten years. As I read the October issue, it struck me what an incredibly informative magazine it is.  Truly, in a single issue of that one magazine there must have been 50 photo spreads […]

Share

Read More

Feminism, Aliens, and James Tiptree jr.

September 18, 2007 | By | 8 Replies More
Feminism, Aliens, and James Tiptree jr.

One of the things that sends me straight up a wall to paw helplessly and violently at ceilings comprised of crushed glass, old nails, and asbestos fibers is when I hear a young woman blithely claim that she isn’t a Feminist and, in fact, “wouldn’t want to be one.” They make this claim with all […]

Share

Read More

It’s time to ditch all forms of un-embodied conscious objectivism.

September 1, 2007 | By | 5 Replies More
It’s time to ditch all forms of un-embodied conscious objectivism.

When developing buildings or ideas, it is critical to start with a good solid foundation. In fact, when people fail to build with a solid foundation, is usually not even worth one’s while to correct the work. It’s best to trash the entire project and start over with a worthy foundation.

When it comes to ideas, there are three intellectual foundations that become indispensable. These three foundational ideas were set forth in the opening words of Philosophy in the Flesh: the Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought, by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (1999):

  • The mind is inherently embodied.
  • Thought is mostly unconscious.
  • Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical.

Based upon evidence proposed by Lakoff and Johnson (and numerous other cognitive scientists), the battle over these ideas is utterly over. To argue otherwise is, in fact, to argue foolishly. Yet, for many, these three principles have not soaked in. There is constant deep resistance to these ideas among many of the people who present themselves as today’s premier philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, theologians, teachers, and political leaders.

As to why these ideas are so often ignored, there could be many potential explanations. I suspect that many people fear each of these principles because they suggest that we humans lack complete power and control over our lives. That thought makes all of us uncomfortable, of course, though a few of us are willing to take our harsh medicine to heart. Most people, however, are not willing to re-conceptualize traditional accounts of what it means to be human. They are not willing to dispense with a believe that each of us has an ethereal soul that is “free” to think any thought, a soul that is unencumbered by our clunky, fallible, poop and saliva-laden bodies. They like to believe that our conscious thoughts fully capture the full importance of every moment and every drop of sentience and proto-sentience. They prefer to believe that when it comes to words, Humpty Dumpty correctly declared: “When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more or less.” They want to believe that humans have the power to speak forcefully without first having to develop a coherent theory of language, as though words serve as infallible conduits for transporting our purified ideas from here to there.

[more . . . ]

Share

Read More

Conservative Conscience Redux

August 30, 2007 | By | 6 Replies More
Conservative Conscience Redux

According to this article, Barry Goldwater’s book, The Conscience of a Conservative, is being reissued. Timely reading? Depends on what audience at which this is aimed. I seriously doubt conservatives of the Rove/Norquist stripe will have much sympathy with Goldwater, who now seems admirable and even iconic compared to the dunces dancing to the tune […]

Share

Read More

Reading In America

August 22, 2007 | By | 10 Replies More
Reading In America

In a recent poll, reading in America is revealed to be, well, less than appreciated by large swaths of the population. This ought come as no surprise. We live in a time of stupendous ignorance, which allows for the expression of epic stupidity. The Founding Fathers were suspicious of democracy (I learned this by reading […]

Share

Read More

TANSTAAFL

July 12, 2007 | By | 4 Replies More
TANSTAAFL

There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.TANSTAAFL. Anybody recognize that? Where it comes from? What it refers to? This past weekend was the 100th birthday of Robert A. Heinlein. I was not there, though I’d wanted to be. You see, Robert A. Heinlein was one of the greatest science fiction writers in the […]

Share

Read More

Exercise great caution when peeling back the skin of life.

June 11, 2007 | By | 8 Replies More
Exercise great caution when peeling back the skin of life.

As human animals, we are condemned to live with great ignorance in an unpredictably violent world.  To compensate, most of us work hard to develop an extraordinary expertise to protect ourselves from considering our precarious existence.  We work hard to pre-screen toxic thoughts.  We rarely contemplate our own inevitable deaths, for example.  We are often […]

Share

Read More