THE COMMON OBSERVER UNCOMMON OBSERVATIONS

Archive for the "Philosophy" Category

The Use of a Book

Books are useful when you have to hold open a door, when you need to press flowers, or when you just need to prop something up. But does literature always have to be useful? Fiction’s lack of practical usefulness is what gives it its special freedom. When Auden wrote that “poetry makes nothing happen,” he […]

Would you cross the Atlantic on a sailboat?

You always leave for just one reason. To touch land again one day.   “Shouting: Tierra” is a short documentary that investigates the philosophical motivations that push people to sail the seas and to challenge the unknown. It is a film about the Atlantic crossing, but it is also a film about Nature and human […]

Pale Blue Dot

Carl Sagan penned these words while pondering over a photograph of Earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft when it was 6 billion kilometers from Earth. Out of context these words take on strange meaning, From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again […]

A Manifesto for the Truth

On Sunday Edward Snowden published a piece in Der Spiegel “A Manifesto for the Truth” where he argues that the United States government’s spying programs and subsequent suppression of dissent are against the public’s interest. Reasonable arguments within the public discourse continue to strengthen his position calling for at least some restraint to be shown by the […]

How do we go about

I keep coming back to this thought, how do we go about finding a meaningful life, not just a happy one? This begins to suggest a theory for why it is we care so much about meaning. Perhaps the idea is to make happiness last. Happiness seems present-focused and fleeting, whereas meaning extends into the future and […]

A Day at The Park

A graphic philosophical diversion asking the question of questions, should you be collecting answers or questions? It seems that the answers to the questions most worth asking aren’t available. So then what is the value of questions without answers?  See the rest of the amazing webcomic…

Banality of Evil

You will be gladly excused if you have never heard of Hanna Arendt or Adolf Eichman, but you will not be excused if you are guilty of not thinking. Arendt’s book “Eichman in Israel” is a work that remains to be understood. Ardent brought forth the term, ‘banality of evil’, that has been co-opted to […]