Heraclitus, change, and flow

Philosophy for change

The ancient philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (530-470 BC) is one of the most important thinkers in history. Heraclitus’ views on change and flow stand in stark contradition to the picture of the static universe presented by his predecessor Parmenides (5th century BCE), and fed into the work of untold philosophers from Marcus Aurelius (121 AD–180 AD) to Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900 AD).

Heraclitus’ philosophy is a good starting point for anyone concerned with change in life. Heraclitus said that life is like a river. The peaks and troughs, pits and swirls, are all are part of the ride. Do as Heraclitus would – go with the flow. Enjoy the ride, as wild as it may be.

Heraclitus was born into a wealthy family, but he renounced his fortune and went to live in the mountains. There, Heraclitus had plenty of opportunity to reflect on the natural world. He observed that nature…

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Trump’s victory: Why it may be much worse than you think

The Real Movement

Why did Trump win?

This is the question a number of writers from all points on the political spectrum have been trying to answer since the presidential election. Some have sought the answer in demographics. Others in issues peculiar to the rust belt regions of the United States. Still others in the language of identity politics; a triumph of racism, misogyny homophobia, etc. There are those who have even broached the long ignored problem of the criminal behavior of the Clinton Cartel and the tin-ear of corporate Democrats to the party’s base.

Each of these explanations has a certain ring of truth. All who hold to one or another of these explanations can point to valid empirical evidence (especially polling) to support their claims.

However, to really answer the question in any meaningful fashion requires something more than a list of real or imagined defects of the usual suspects involved…

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Brahma In The Lighthouse 

Before the dawn of the Internet, there were other entities (and still are) that had the capability to connect consciousness on a planetary scale, that were the internet of the pre-industrial, pre-telegraphic, pre-electric age. Astronomical routers that stand before our very eyes, omnipresent and accessible yet remote, serving the same image to the wretched masses of humanity thrown across the globe like pollen in the wind. These astrosocial nodes — the Sun and the Moon, the ghostly constellations — provide the common ground that geographically separated populations used to accumulate their knowledge about the world, a layer of knowledge that is both timeless and urgent.

The evening of Empires, the homecoming of conquerors — the inward implosion that was the 19th century would produce two Worlds Wars, and culminate in the atomic bombing of Japan. Like the stark, void interior of an atom (the void that makes matter) — through this nuclear wormhole, history entered a phase where matter did not matter — everything was now about Information.

In a deeper sense, because information was being carried along metallic veins by electricity, processed by computer chips and semiconductors, we entered a reprisal of the three great prehistoric ages of metal: Iron, Copper and Bronze. Everything that was once made of metal — weapons, currency, and tools — were now flowing through metal. Just as the gravity of the Moon produces ocean tides, the rhythm of day and night produces tidal waves and thunderstorms of information.

Source: Brahma In The Lighthouse | Business Line

Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here 

As one whose great family and people survived and thrived through slavery, Jim Crow and lynching, Trump’s neofascist rhetoric and predictable authoritarian reign is just another ugly moment that calls forth the best of who we are and what we can do.

For us in these times, to even have hope is too abstract, too detached, too spectatorial. Instead we must be a hope, a participant and a force for good as we face this catastrophe.

Source: Goodbye, American neoliberalism. A new era is here | Cornel West | Opinion | The Guardian

You are a citizen of the world: how should you act on that? 

Appiah is sympathetic to the view that we have significant obligations to our fellow human beings wherever they are. He agrees that we should see ourselves as connected, our lives inextricably intertwined. Even so, he argues, Singer goes too far. For Appiah, the affluent have a duty to pay their fair share to alleviate extreme poverty around the world. But that needn’t entail giving until you yourself become relatively poor. His point is that we only have an obligation to pay what is fair for us, and that we needn’t feel bad if we fail to go beyond this. We in the West don’t have to follow Diogenes’ example of giving everything away and sleeping rough: ‘If so many people in the world are not doing their share — and they clearly are not — it seems to me I cannot be required to derail my life to take up the slack.’

Singer has responded to this with a variation on his pond thought experiment. What would you do if there were 10 children in the pond and 10 adults, including yourself, nearby? If only you and four others jumped in while the other five adults strolled on, you wouldn’t just save your ‘fair share’ of one child and let the others drown, and no one would excuse you if you did that. Singer is convinced that our obligation to others goes far beyond our sense of a fair share of the solution.

Is this a sticking point for cosmopolitanism? If you want to see yourself as a citizen of the world, as I think you should, does that mean you have to give up most of your worldly goods, forego opera, fine wine, live football, or any other expensive indulgences? Even if Singer is right about our moral obligations, there is a danger that the sacrifices he demands will just make the whole view unattractive. Who is ready to follow him even as far as donating five per cent of their annual income? This is a genuine philosophical problem about how to live. It is a serious challenge to complacency and indifference. And there are many ways of avoiding the problem, including embracing inconsistency — the ‘living high and letting die’ option.

Source: You are a citizen of the world: how should you act on that? | Aeon Essays