Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: Brooklyn, new york, pool, Sunset park, swimming
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life | Tags: Hudson River, midtown, new york, Weehawken
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: facts, Justin McBrayer, morals, opinions
If children are taught from a very early age, as apparently many are, that facts are tested and proven and opinions are feelings or beliefs, then they don’t learn that morals – not tested, nor proven – are not just feelings, that morals can be facts. That it’s not ok to kill someone or discriminate is not proved, is not an opinion, is a moral fact. I can imagine living with one or two people who believe this – they can be contradicted and quelled – but a generation? Please no.
Justin McBrayer on morals:
When I went to visit my son’s second grade open house, I found a troubling pair of signs hanging over the bulletin board. They read:
Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.
Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.
In summary, our public schools teach students that all claims are either facts or opinions and that all value and moral claims fall into the latter camp. The punchline: there are no moral facts. And if there are no moral facts, then there are no moral truths.
The inconsistency in this curriculum is obvious. For example, at the outset of the school year, my son brought home a list of student rights and responsibilities. Had he already read the lesson on fact vs. opinion, he might have noted that the supposed rights of other students were based on no more than opinions. According to the school’s curriculum, it certainly wasn’t true that his classmates deserved to be treated a particular way — that would make it a fact. Similarly, it wasn’t really true that he had any responsibilities — that would be to make a value claim a truth. It should not be a surprise that there is rampant cheating on college campuses: If we’ve taught our students for 12 years that there is no fact of the matter as to whether cheating is wrong, we can’t very well blame them for doing so later on.
We can do better. Our children deserve a consistent intellectual foundation. Facts are things that are true. Opinions are things we believe. Some of our beliefs are true. Others are not. Some of our beliefs are backed by evidence. Others are not. Value claims are like any other claims: either true or false, evidenced or not. The hard work lies not in recognizing that at least some moral claims are true but in carefully thinking through our evidence for which of the many competing moral claims is correct. That’s a hard thing to do. But we can’t sidestep the responsibilities that come with being human just because it’s hard.
That would be wrong.
The Stone Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts, Justin P. McBrayer
Filed under: the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: clothes, Earth, Kahlil Gibran, Winds
Your skin is met by the sun and the wind. The earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair. When you walk feel the earth under your feet, the wind in your hair and say, I have arrived, I am home.
And the weaver said, “Speak to us of Clothes.” And he answered: Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful. And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain. Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment, For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind. Some of you say, “It is the north wind who has woven the clothes to wear.” But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread. And when his work was done he laughed in the forest. Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean. And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind? And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Filed under: chronotopes, departure lounge | Tags: Risk at Sea, Soon-min Hong
Risk at Sea, Soon-min Hong
An MBA walks into a room – the start of a bad joke – and proclaims this institution – or company, NGO, whatever – no longer works and I am going to fix it, and then proceeds to radically alter the root structure of the thing – which has existed and served people well in the black for generations – even to the point of destruction, and pockets the profits. This has happened over and over, again and again during the neoliberal age: education, health, food and agriculture, transport, government services, housing. So what next, after all of the conventional businesses and institutions have been gutted? Here’s a dark vision of the next step in which the MBA ups the ante and air, water, flesh, our minds become the new targets.
Sex, sunshine, sleep, singing. The best things in life are currently free. We’d better make the most of them, because in a frackable future they’ll all be metered and chargeable. Libido International or whoever would be alerted to any sexual activity via, I don’t know, some sort of monitored hormonal “thinkernet” and would shut it down after 60 seconds unless you authorised a debit or had a prepaid sex account.
Maybe people will be fitted with retinal paywalls to allow in sunshine, which will be owned by a solar consortium based somewhere tax-efficient and warm. Sleep would be traded on the international sleep exchange – imagine the premium new parents would pay for an hour of ultra-deep oblivion. And all human singing would be automatically Shazammed to a central licensing bureau for billing, the days of “out of copyright” having long gone. Everything out of copyright will be automatically the copyright of Singinc, who own “trad” and “anon” now, too. And your vocal cords.
In the future it will probably be best to stay celibate, in the dark, awake for as long as possible and quiet. So let’s live a little now, before we’re all fracked.
Fracketeering: how capitalism is power-hosing the last drops of value out of us all: Once you’ve mined the earth and milked the service industries, what is there left to frack? Us, that’s what – with everything from admin charges and estate agent fees to blockbuster premiums and ‘cakeage’, by Ian Martin, The Guardian
Filed under: brave new world, chronotopes, departure lounge | Tags: Dziga Vertov, Soviet Toys