25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 Distracted and Obsessed with Politics

My Dear Wormwood, Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from advancing in personal virtue, character, and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to avoid any kind of charity or inner peace from further developing. ...
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 The False Promise of WWW Enlightenment

Never before have so many people been connected together in an instantly responsive network through which memes can spread faster than natural viruses. But the notion that taking the whole world online would create a utopia of netizens, all equal in cyberspace, was always a fantasy—as much a delusion as Luther’s vision of a “priesthood of all believers.” The reality is that the global network has become a transmission mechanism for all kinds of manias and panics, just as the combinati...
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 The Importance of Networks in the Enlightenment

Like the Reformation, the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment were network-driven phenomena, yet they spread faster and farther. This reflected the importance of acquaintances in correspondence networks such as Voltaire’s and Benjamin Franklin’s, communities that might otherwise have remained subdivided into national clusters. It also reflected the way that new social organizations—notably, Freemasonry—increased the connectedness of like-minded men, despite established divisio...
Folksonomies: networks enlightenment
Folksonomies: networks enlightenment
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 Profligation of Biblical Literacy Led to Ideological Trib...

Luther thought the result of his movement to reform the Roman Catholic Church would be what came to be called “the priesthood of all believers,” the sixteenth-century equivalent of Zuckerberg’s “global community.” In practice, the Protestant Reformation produced more than a century of bloody religious conflict. This was because new doctrines such as Luther’s, and later John Calvin’s, did not spread evenly through European populations. Although Protestantism swiftly acquired the ...
Folksonomies: tribalism networks literacy
Folksonomies: tribalism networks literacy
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25 OCT 2017 by ideonexus

 Anger isn't Necessary and Gets In the Way

A prominent author who recently disagreed with me on a technical matter quickly labelled me as belonging to a ‘department of bullshit’. Ouch! How is it possible not to get offended by this sort of thing, especially when it’s coming not from an anonymous troll, but from a famous guy with more than 200,000 followers? By implementing the advice of another Stoic philosopher, the second-century slave-turned-teacher Epictetus, who admonished his students in this way: ‘Remember that it is we...
Folksonomies: anger stoicism
Folksonomies: anger stoicism
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20 JUN 2017 by ideonexus

 Underreported Atheists

The authors of the study, published earlier this year, adopted a novel way to measure atheist identity. Instead of asking about belief in God directly, they provided a list of seemingly innocuous statements and then asked: “How many of these statements are true of you?” Respondents in a control group were given a list of nine statements, such as “I own a dog” and “I am a vegetarian.” The test group received all the same statements plus one that read, “I do not believe in God.”...
Folksonomies: atheism identity reporting
Folksonomies: atheism identity reporting
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27 MAY 2017 by ideonexus

 Star Trek: The Motion Picture as a Meditation on Cybernetics

Consider for a moment just how many times Star Trek: The Motion Picture lingers upon the important act of a man entering -- or connecting to -- a machine. We watch Kirk's shuttle pod "dock" with Enterprise after a long, lingering examination of the ship. We see Spock, in a thruster suit, "penetrate" -- in his words, "the orifice" leading to the next interior "chamber" of V'Ger. This terminology sounds very biological, doesn't it? Consider that Spock next mentally-joins with V'Ger, utilizing a...
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 The Propagation of "Brute Men"

Many thousands of other quasi-human worlds, besides those of the "Echinoderm" type, came to an untimely end. One, which succumbed to a curious disaster, perhaps deserves brief notice. Here we found a race of very human kind. When its civilization had reached a stage and character much like our own, a stage in which the ideals of the masses are without the guidance of any well-established tradition, and in which natural science is enslaved to individualistic industry, biologists discovered the...
Folksonomies: otherness alien other
Folksonomies: otherness alien other
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 Religion of the Other Men

Science and industry had brought one of those sudden and extreme revolutions of thought which were so characteristic of the Other Men. Nearly all the churches were destroyed or turned into temporary factories or industrial museums. Atheism, lately persecuted, became fashionable. All the best minds turned agnostic. More recently, however, apparently in horror at the effects of a materialistic culture which was far more cynical and blatant than our own, the most industrialized peoples began to...
Folksonomies: religion otherness alien other
Folksonomies: religion otherness alien other
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10 MAR 2017 by ideonexus

 Religion on Other Earth

Perhaps the most striking example of the extravagance of the Other Men was the part played by religion in their more advanced societies. Religion was a much greater power than on my own planet; and the religious teachings of the prophets of old were able to kindle even my alien and sluggish heart with fervor. Yet religion, as it occurred around me in contemporary society, was far from edifying. I must begin by explaining that in the development of religion on the Other Earth gustatory sensat...
Folksonomies: religion otherness alien other
Folksonomies: religion otherness alien other
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