30 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Literacy Increases Compassion

The human capacity for compassion is not a reflex that is triggered automatically by the presence of another living thing. As we shall see in chapter 9, though people in all cultures can react sympathetically to kin, friends, and babies, they tend to hold back when it comes to larger circles of neighbors, strangers, foreigners, and other sentient beings. In his book The Expanding Circle, the philosopher Peter Singer has argued that over the course of history, people have enlarged the range of...
Folksonomies: literacy morality
Folksonomies: literacy morality
  1  notes
 
30 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 Violence Must be Considered Proportionally When Compared ...

In absolute numbers, of course, civilized societies are matchless in the destruction they have wreaked. But should we look at absolute numbers, or at relative numbers, calculated as a proportion of the populations? The choice confronts us with the moral imponderable of whether it is worse for 50 percent of a population of one hundred to be killed or 1 percent of a population of one billion. In one frame of mind, one could say that a person who is tortured or killed suffers to the same degree ...
Folksonomies: violence quantification
Folksonomies: violence quantification
  1  notes
 
29 MAY 2015 by ideonexus

 The Past is a Brutally Foreign Place

If the past is a foreign country, it is a shockingly violent one. It is easy to forget how dangerous life used to be, how deeply brutality was once woven into the fabric of daily existence. Cultural memory pacifies the past, leaving us with pale souvenirs whose bloody origins have been bleached away. A woman donning a cross seldom reflects that this instrument of torture was a common punishment in the ancient world; nor does a person who speaks of a whipping boy ponder the old practice of flo...
  1  notes
 
22 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Man is Nothing Special

The power that produced Man when the monkey was not up to the mark, can produce a higher creature than Man if Man does not come up to the mark. What it means is that if Man is to be saved, Man must save himself. There seems no compelling reason why he should be saved. He is by no means an ideal creature. At his present best many of his ways are so unpleasant that they are unmentionable in polite society, and so painful that he is compelled to pretend that pain is often a good. Nature holds no...
Folksonomies: nature evolution purpose
Folksonomies: nature evolution purpose
  1  notes

If we fail, nature will move on to try other things.