THE COMMON OBSERVER UNCOMMON OBSERVATIONS

Archive for the "Philosophy" Category

Why does the myth of overpopulation persist?

I just published a controversial article over at 3 Quarks Daily. I ask why the myth of overpopulation persists. The idea that human population is growing out of control is in factual disagreement with the numbers that show the growth rate of humanity is now slowing. But of course, the subject is complicated and it […]

Life, then Oxygen, then Fire

The Earth is on fire, but it was not always this way. Billions of years ago at the time of primordial life’s genesis the Earth lacked free oxygen in the atmosphere. The evolutionary rise of blue-green algae in the oceans led to the advent of oxygen. And so today every creature burns a little when […]

Space and the Stature of Man

Hannah Ardent’s 1963 essay on The Conquest of Space and the Stature of Man is a bit dated and a bit timeless… “Has man’s conquest of space increased or diminished his stature?” The question raised is addressed to the layman, not the scientist, and it is inspired by the humanist’s concern with man, as distinguished […]

The Myth of Earthrise

Is the Earthrise image the begning of a modern myth? Perhaps explores Craig Chalquist where he writes that, “To tell a myth is to tell a culture’s dream about its inner workings and truths.”

The Happiness Index

Bhutan has troubles, but maybe it also has good intentions. It is trying to build itself with happiness before profit. Gretchen Legler over at Orion Magazine writes, Westerners, in their dawning realization that money can’t buy happiness, often misinterpret [Gross National Happiness] GNH, holding out hope that Bhutan alone knows one last magic trick that […]

Seeking Transcendence in a Materialist World

Fausto Ribeiro at 3 Quarks Daily: Let us imagine for a moment the following story: a man is sitting at the edge of a cliff, marveling at the immensity below and all of its beauty – a resplendent lake, enormous mountains, a vast field covered with trees, maybe a small village with a few lovely […]

The Power of Empathy

Empathy is a choice because in order to connect with someone’s feeling you have to connect with something in yourself that knows that feeling. When people are in a painful emotional space, rarely can a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.

A Comet Unnoticed

Comets have long been portents of change. They challenge the rote repetition of our skies. An astute observer of the sky will perhaps have recently noticed a new object in the sky, a comet, present for the last few weeks (you would have had to look east just before sunrise near the star Spica). This was […]

THIS IS WATER

David Foster Wallace took his own life. He chose that. There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one […]

Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

Wade Davis speaks eloquently on why ancient wisdom matters in our modern world and how experiencing a multitude of cultures adds to our understanding of what it means to be human, Our world is only one of many. A chance to live amongst people who have not forgotten the old ways who still feel their […]