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Neil deGrasse Tyson

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djebel View Drop Down
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    Posted: 06 Oct 2017 at 10:53am
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  1. The Bible
     (public libraryfree ebook), to learn that it’s easier to be told by others what to think and believe than it is to think for yourself
  2. The System of the World (public libraryfree ebook) by Isaac Newton, to learn that the universe is a knowable place
  3. On the Origin of Species (public libraryfree ebook) by Charles Darwin, to learn of our kinship with all other life on Earth
  4. Gulliver’s Travels (public libraryfree ebook) by Jonathan Swift, to learn, among other satirical lessons, that most of the time humans are Yahoos
  5. The Age of Reason (public libraryfree ebook) by Thomas Paine, to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world
  6. The Wealth of Nations (public libraryfree ebook) by Adam Smith, to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself
  7. The Art of War (public libraryfree ebook) by Sun Tzu, to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art
  8. The Prince (public libraryfree ebook) by Machiavelli, to learn that people not in power will do all they can to acquire it, and people in power will do all they can to keep it

Tyson adds:

If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.

(What has driven it, evidently, is also the systematic exclusion of the female perspective. The prototypical “intelligent person” would be remiss not to also read, at the very least, Margaret Fuller’s foundational text Woman in the Nineteenth Century, which is even available as a free ebook, and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique. But, of course, the question of diversity is an infinite one and any list is bound to be pathologically unrepresentative of all of humanity — a challenge I’ve addressedelsewhere — so Tyson’s selections remain indispensable despite their chromosomal lopsidedness. My hope, meanwhile, is that we’ll begin to see more such reading lists by prominent female scientists, philosophers, artists, or writers of the past and present; to my knowledge, none have been made public as of yet — except perhapsSusan Sontag’s diary, which is essentially a lifelong reading list.)

Complement with Nabokov on the six short stories every writer should read, then revisit Tyson on genius and the most humbling fact about the universe.



STRIKE WHILST THE IRON IS HOT

reductio ad absurdum

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote max manewer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2017 at 5:39pm
A well-written little piece from here:
https://medium.com/@dailyzen/natures-aristocracy-cc799058c364Nature functions in a hierarchical manner. This concept has been used by Western philosophers to justify the existence of hierarchy within human societies, which is natural and does exist (and always will). Reducing natural hierarchy to this alone, though, still does not paint a complete picture. As always, where the West provides rationality and systematic theory, the East provides nuance and reflection. Let’s delve into this a bit.

The idea of spirituality throughout the ages has been that of a connection with some sort of higher power. Popular atheism has written off all religion reductively as being slavery to some sort of God figure. This is an easy way to justify a childish and arrogant sense of human superiority. When humans attempt to shed their religiosity, they acknowledge themselves as supremely powerful. They start to think that, as individuals, they are the center of the universe. Then they do things like invent the atomic bomb, or fight with the Russians to send a rocket into space.

Oppenheimer recognized this when he saw the first atomic explosion and quoted the Bhagavad Gita, saying, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” He believed himself to be occupying the role of something super-human or trans-human, when in fact his position was simply the apotheosis of the destructive limits of human logic. The evil scientist. On a mass scale, this sort of logic is accompanied by a mass cultural lack of self discipline, the disappearance of moral fortitude, and a general degradation of society. Simple unthinking atheism is a symptom that modern people have lost sight of what religion and spirituality are actually for. No matter how smart a human is, the criteria for human intelligence will always be inferior to the powers and functioning of nature. Thankfully, human spirituality can counter human arrogance when people decide to practice and reflect.

The truth of religion or God is not so simple as someone like Richard Dawkins would have you believe. Spirituality is simply the process of recognizing the profundity of the universe and reconciling your place within it. Science experiences the spiritual when it encounters a problem it can’t solve, or a fact it can’t explain. Masses of people are enthralled by popular science and areas like space exploration or quantum physics because they provide a substitute for the religious spirituality that used to fill a collective existential void. The reason people are drawn to these ideas is not because they actually fully understand them, but because they provide some sort of external precedent for their belief in something larger than life. Just like the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, or the Quran.

The spiritual experience comes when humans, as ‘mere mortals’, feel humbled by something. Space is vast and makes us feel humble. The concept of an overarching God or power is so massive that it reminds people of their relative powerlessness. It reminds them that they are not in fact Gods, and they shouldn’t behave as such. Most religious ideas rely on the concept of submission not as a framework for establishing harmful power relations (that comes soon after) but as a reflection of a genuine human desire for something higher, something above.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djebel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2017 at 5:46pm
In other words, We want to believe in fairy tales ?




STRIKE WHILST THE IRON IS HOT

reductio ad absurdum

The richest man is not he who has the most, but he who needs the least.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote max manewer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2017 at 5:49pm
I don't. But don't be a victim, what was in that short article was highly perceptive, imo.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stayer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2017 at 6:29pm
"She's going through a growth phase." - GW
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