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Friedrich Nietzsche Birth Anniversary: Top 10 relatable love quotes by the philosopher –

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German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844. The noted philosopher is known for his writings on good and evil, the end of religion in modern society, and the concept of a super-man.

Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. He became the youngest ever to hold the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in 1869 at the age of 24. Nietzsche resigned in 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life; he completed much of his core writing in the following decade.

In 1889, at age 44, he suffered a collapse and afterward a complete loss of his mental faculties. He lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until she died in 1897 and then with his sister Elisabeth Frster-Nietzsche. Nietzsche died in 1900. Nietzsches writing spans philosophical polemics, poetry, cultural criticism, and fiction while displaying a fondness for aphorism and irony.

Throughout his productive life, Nietzsche struggled to have his work published, confident that his books would have culturally transformative effects. While he did not live long enough to witness his fame, he did learn that his work was the subject of a series of lectures by Georg Morris Cohen Brandes, delivered at the University of Copenhagen in 1888.

Nietzsche died on August 25, 1900, from pneumonia and a stroke. The Nietzsche manuscripts were eventually moved to the Goethe and Schiller Archive in Weimar.

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October 16th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Gazing into the abyss | Opinion | – El Defensor Chieftain

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Last Monday I was wondering if we would be getting the day off on Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day/Old Farmers Day, and at that moment a song popped up on the CD in the car stereo. It was Texas songwriter James McMurtry singing, Im not from here, I just live here. Grew up somewhere far away

I relate. My grandparents emigrated from Sweden and Poland. My other grandparents emigrated from Alabama. Well actually they go back to Colonial Maryland, or so my third cousin who worked on our genealogy says. I guess you could say us Larsons are like millions of other families a tiny droplet out of this big melting pot we call home.

Here in New Mexico, some of the families really are "from here" and have a family history going back 400 years or so, and in the process spiced up the melting pot with green chile .

To be honest though, those ancestors originally came from Spain. Youve got to go back to the early 1500s when the Spanish conquistadors came, with many marrying their indigenous girlfriends and settling down and getting married and having children.

But if I read my history book, the ancestors of the indigenous population had settled around here after their fore-bearers came to North America across a land bridge from Siberia.

This is the point where my brain gets wonky and the neurons start jumping synapses, kind of like it did when I was trying not to flunk algebra, and if I take this much further I may have to resort to a flow chart in a powerpoint presentation. Heaven forbid.

So with all this in mind, I can see why some people wonder if Columbus Day should still be a thing. Here in New Mexico it was officially changed to Indigenous Peoples Day last year, and kin like fashion, other states have made the switch.

It may not be any big loss because if you think about it, Christopher Columbus' name is already enshrined by places like Columbus, Ohio; Columbus, Georgia; Columbia, South Carolina; District of Columbia; Columbia University; Columbia, South America; Canadas British Columbia and on and on.

While we're jacking around with legal holidays let's go ahead and add one that has a tad more significance when it comes to the U.S.A.'s history. This coming Monday, for example, is a day that ought to be right up there with VE Day and VJ Day. I'm talking about - wait for it - VB day!

Yes, Victory over the British, for it was Oct. 19, 1781, that Englands royal army under General Cornwallis was surrounded and consequently surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia. George Washington well deserved having a ticker-tape parade to mark the victory. Of course, there was no such thing as ticker-tape back then and as a matter of fact, theres no such thing as ticker-tape today.

This is where the Z generation will ask, "Grandpa, what is a ticker-tape parade?" And I say it's kind of like dumping your paper-shredder contents out the window of a skyscraper into the street. Ticker-tape, as such, has gone the way of telegrams, "Fill 'er up?" gas station attendants and Kodak Instamatics.

Not to say that my old 127 Brownie couldnt take good pictures, its just nowadays you cant find anyone to process the film. What the latest thing now, though, is to pull all those old faded snapshots out of the photo album and scan them into your computer. And thats okay because with the right software you can make them look (almost) new. But time marches on, and now people rely on their cell phones for capturing those precious moments, and upload them onto the world-wide-web for people from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo to scroll past.

But look at me, being all high and mighty when I just posted a Flashback Friday photo.

Today is the birthdate of Friederich Nietzsche, who was born in Germany on October 15, 1844, and I only mention this because even to this day, you will catch people quoting him, whether they know it or not. It was Nietzsche, as I recall from my philosophy class at the University of Illinois, who gave birth to a million Facebook memes by proclaiming, That which does not kill us makes us stronger."

But that's not all. Nietzsche also said, Without music, life would be a mistake.

And, I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.

He also left us with the sobering, "Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you."

Wait. Sounds like social media to me.

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October 16th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Schadenfreude over Trumps COVID-19 diagnosis was more about cosmic justice than joy in anothers pain – Jacksonville Journal-Courier

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(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

Lee M. Pierce, State University of New York, College at Geneseo

(THE CONVERSATION) After President Donald Trump announced his COVID-19 diagnosis, Merriam-Webster Dictionary reported a 30,000% increase in searches for the word schadenfreude.

The German word, which is often translated as harm joy, or joy in someone elses pain, instantly became a subject of debate.

GQ and Newsweek, along with Stephen Colbert of The Late Show, wondered whether schadenfreude was a morally defensible response to the presidents diagnosis.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow said absolutely not. Harvard professor Laurence Tribe went further, writing that this was no time for cruelty, schadenfreude, or any other form of small-mindedness.

I agree that cruelty is small-minded and indefensible. But as a scholar of rhetoric, I have a difficult time looping schadenfreude in with small-minded cruelty.

One of the issues is that the common English translation of schadenfreude harm joy fails to adequately capture the nuances of the term, and misses whats most poignant about it.

The realization of divine symmetry

Perhaps the confusion comes from the social sciences. Recent studies of schadenfreude have oversimplified it as the darker side of human emotion.

But at its best, schadenfreude is actually a recognition of ironic justice.

Irony is frequently misused in American political discourse as simply not meaning what you said. However, irony is a very specific rhetorical device by which something returns as its opposite. A returns as not A is the classic formulation.

In the case of Trump, he downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19 and ended up being diagnosed with a serious case of the virus himself. A returned as not A.

That is classic irony. Then theres the justice element.

Trump didnt simply downplay it in a vacuum. He was in charge of the federal governments response to a pandemic that has devastated thousands of families across the country. To them, COVID-19 has been deadly serious. So in this case, the irony doubles as a form of justice.

By justice, I dont mean rule of law or a system of punishment. I mean justice in its older sense of divine symmetry. The roots of the word justice have several potential origins, including the Latin stitia, loosely translated as equity, and the pre-Latin word jowos, loosely translated as sacred formula.

Schadenfreude is about appreciating that sacred formula at work in a secular world. Maybe you observe with satisfaction as the person who mocked your weight in high school asks for diet advice on Facebook. Or maybe you look on contentedly as your grandchild gives your child the same grief over broccoli that your child gave you.

Is that small-minded cruelty? Or are you appreciating the cosmic irony by which a perceived wrong has been righted?

An emotional middle ground

Appreciation is not simply another word for happiness or glee. Those are emotions that feel good, the way cuddles with loved ones and delicious desserts feel good.

A sense of appreciation or satisfaction after witnessing poetic justice at work is different, and schadenfreude is a milder experience that involves satisfaction.

To Sigmund Freud, satisfaction was best explained by the word befriedigung, which means ceasing displeasure.

Ceasing displeasure is not the same thing as experiencing pleasure. Its about bringing things back into balance. Befriedigung occupies an emotional middle ground that can be difficult to grasp in a culture that prefers extreme, binary emotions.

The presidents tendency toward hyperbolic and grandiose language is symptomatic of the countrys cultural preference for the huge emotions, such as anger, guilt, happiness and pleasure. Schadenfreude is an emotional chisel in an internet and media landscape that prefers blunt rhetorical instruments.

When schadenfreude veers into hopelessness

That said, schadenfreude can certainly go too far.

Just a few decades before Freud, another influential German thinker, Friedrich Nietzsche, argued that schadenfreude, pushed to its limits, becomes another word: ressentiment. In On the Genealogy of Morality, Nietzsche defined ressentiment as slave morality, a feeling of superiority derived from ones own suffering.

Think of it like a sliding scale. On the far end is simple justice: Someone in power does the right thing, like your boss approving your vacation request after youve worked six months with no time off. But lets suppose your boss says no to the request. And then no again two months later. And then no again two months after that. At that point, you might appreciate learning that your boss was denied a vacation request by headquarters. Thats schadenfreude. You might even point out this cosmic irony to your boss, hoping it will make a difference.

But when it doesnt and your boss continues treating you poorly you might start reveling in your own victimhood. You take every chance you can to tell your co-workers that your boss is out to get you. Thats ressentiment.

Ressentiment takes hold once the possibility for justice is no longer on the horizon. Under those conditions, even the most poignant appreciations of irony cannot speak truth to power. In turn, an oppressed people would understandably take refuge in an extreme form of schadenfreude.

But in between justice and ressentiment is a rich, gray area where schadenfreude can serve a valuable political purpose. If those in power wont take responsibility for the injustices they have perpetuated either knowingly or not then its certainly OK for people to appreciate those moments when the chickens come home to roost.

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5-at-10 on fall break, Day 4: Fab 4 picks, Never picking against Saban, Braves are fine – Chattanooga Times Free Press

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Contributed photo by Kathleen Greeson

CAPE SAN BLAS, Fla. Hope your days have been swell.

Above is a picture from the Mrs. 5-at-10, which was feeding and ate only slightly more seafood than the 5-at-10 did Wednesday night at the Indian Pass Raw Bar. Egad those oysters were good.

Oysters, friend or foe?

We will try to move more quickly today. But, again, you know how that goes.

So with the breeze whistling and the waves crashing, from the satellite offices off of 30E in Florida, let's do this.

Fab 4 picks

We're at a loss. Seriously.

Not sure what the midway point of the college football season is, but it feels like we're carrying bags of cement up a hill when it comes to our college picks.

For every good pick there is at least one flubbed pick. And for every loss when we're on the right side, we have left a clear winner on the cutting room floor.

So it goes, and this year is anything but normal. And for comparison sake, at the midway point of October the last three years in college picks, we've been at 58 percent, 62 percent and 61 percent against the number.

Right now? We're two games below the Mush line.

Side question: What betting movies/movie characters are the best? I ask because Mush from A Bronx Tale is a great one. An all-timer for my group, especially in college. Mush, for those uninitiated, was a character in the mob circle of the rather mediocre aforementioned movie "A Bronx Tale." In fact, Mush, and the story about the $20 are the only true lasting parts about it.

Well, "He can't win, Mush bet Kryptonite."

There's an old saying I learned at card tables across the South. If you can't recognize the sucker, you're the sucker.

Is it possible? Am I Mush? At 11-13, it's Mush-able.

But, we're here. We're clear. We've got more than a little fear. Maybe we need to get used to it.

And pickers gotta pick. (In honor of our beach themes, here's what some folks callthe best ukulele playerin the world. Enjoy.)

(Editor's note. Picks coming in a few. The Mrs. had a flat tire on the way back from the world-famous donut shop on Cape San Blas this morning, and hey, duty calls.)


Not sure how you bet that one, to be honest, but I know that I will never bet against Saban against non-FCS competition.

Sure, I might not bet on Alabama every week, but it feels like a 10-day old tomato to do otherwise. (That means it feels really Mush-y, Spy. C'mon, I expected a littlemore from a varsity letterman.)

We wondered Wednesday if Saturday's showdown between the unmistakable top two teams in the SEC even matters in the race for the college football playoffs.

It's more like qualifying and positioning at this point all things considered, and as Chas noted on Wednesday, that could very well be about the strangeness of this season.

Speaking of which, that COVID has arrived at Saban's door stinks. Here's hoping the GOAT whips this thing like he does former assistants.

A lot of folks are banging the drum that this is Kirby's time and this defense is that good.

Maybe so.

But I'm not picking against Saban. Not on Saturday. Not against the Corona. Not ever.

And if this is Kirby's time, well, then Saturday's going to be a barn-burner and someone on Georgia's roster is going to be made into a mythical figure.

Because the only times through the years that anyone has toppled Saban in the last decade, it has been in a pretty magically memorable fashion.

And if it's going to happen, it's not necessarily going to be the defense that does it. Yes, Ole Miss put up a billion yards and a million points and this Bama defense is not what we're used to.

But if there is one common thread through the last 10 years of Alabama losses, it's a dude at wide receiver having a game for the ages or a quarterback who will be the subject of songs. Be it Alshon Jeffery or Rueben Randle or LaQuan Tredwell, or the likes of Cam, Johnny Football, DeShaun Watson or Joe Burrow.

Sure there are Auburn holes there that were inexplicable rivalry games that came with fancy nicknames and highlight videos, but other than that, it will take an extremely superhuman effort from a skilled offensive guy? Does Georgia have that guy on Saturday? We'll see. (But I'm still never picking against Saban.)

Braves stumble

So what? So bleepin' what?

There's not an aggregate tie-breaker in the NLCS, so losing 2-1 or 8-7 is the same as the 15-1 loss the Braves took Wednesday.

In fact, as Braves manager Brian Snitker told reporters, including Dave O'Brien of The Athletic the game, "Quite honestly, we're in better shape than if we had grinded out a 7-5 loss. We wanted to win the game and all. Those last 4 hours were not a lot of fun. But now that it's over and you look back, if we had to lose the game that's probably the best possible way."

And he's right. Completely.

Because after not getting out of the first, Kyle Wright is available sooner rather than later.

Sure it puts a ton of heat on Bryse Wilson tonight, but so it goes. Braves fans almost assuredly needed Kyle, Bryse or one of the other guys with Greg and Doug and Chip from the Omega House to get one win.

And the knowledge of Fried and Anderson still looming as needed is way more comforting than the frustration of what was a historically bad first inning Wednesday.

Deep breaths Braves fans.As aforementioned Chip Dillertold us, "All is Well."

This and that

You know the rules.Here's Paschall on Sabangetting the COVID despite wearing a mask "all the time."Here's his picks column. And here's a look atUGA's hopes Saturday night, and maybe how that could even happen Sunday morning.

Did some wheelin' and dealin' to shake up our fantasy football team, which had lost three straight games. We dealt Chris Carson and Antonio Gibson for Christian McCaffrey. And we dealt Tyler Lockett, DeVonta Freeman and the Packers tight end for Davanta Adams. We were flush with depth, but a high scoring bench does you little good. Of course, in our Mush run right now, we'll get two injuries and be stuck. We got a pretty righteous collection of RBs and WRs now with Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jonathan Taylor and McCaffrey as well as Adams and DeAndre Hopkins. We're either going to make a charge to win this thing or finish DFL. Mush.

Loved this storyfrom USA Today about Joe Mogila. What an interesting dude, who is now the head executive director of the football program at Coastal Carolina seriously, that's his title and CC is 4-0 after last night. And, he's doing it for $1 a year. (Of course, when you are the former CEO of TD Ameritrade and had various years making more than $20 million per, you can afford to do what you love for any price.)

Today's questions

Hey, remember the mailbag gang.

Nietzsche was born on this day in 1844. Is there a more famous often repeated philosophical theory than "That which does not kill us makes us stronger" by the aforementioned Nietzsche?

As for a Rushmore, Penny Marshall would have been 77 today. Rushmore of female directors. Go, and remember the mailbag.

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October 16th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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On Face Masks, God, Baseball, Kidneys and Cancer InsideSources – InsideSources

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Today, I wouldnt consider walking into a store without a cloth mask. Im not happy if you walk in without one.

However, I dont know whether masks are or arent effective in preventing COVID-19. Neither do you, Fauci, Birx, Atlas, Trump, Biden, Fox, MSNBC or myriad Twitterati.

A disconcerting feature of the pandemic is frequent abuse and misunderstanding of science itself. If the topic were theology rather than virology, 2020s dominant voices would be cultists and atheists. Those who view scientific evidence as unquestioned truths or superstitious nonsense. Jim Jones versus Friedrich Nietzsche.

I revere science and have taught its tools to medical researchers and others. I view masks and other COVID-19 precautions through the lens of Pascals Wager.

In the 1600s, Blaise Pascal argued for a cautious approach to the existence of God. If theres no God, he argued, living a godly life will reap no benefits post-mortem but will entail only modest sacrifices in the present world.

If God exists, he argued, an ungodly life in this world will bring only modest pleasures, followed by infinite suffering in Hell. Hence, a godly life is a good bet. Pascals reasoning (along with that of Thomas Bayes and other theologians) played a powerful role in the development of scientific methods.

A recent missive from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: if that is what the scientific and medical advice tells us we must do. Arecent articleat a medical website says: [T]he science is clear: Face coverings tamp down the spread of COVID-19.

Properly used, science never tells us what to do. Science is a witness, and not the judge. Its testimony may be loud and convincing, but never clear. At some point, science rests and humans decide what to make of it.

In teaching economics and statistics to thousands of students, I stressed the importance of maintaining a healthy skepticism toward scientific evidence.

As the world stumbles its way through COVID-19, science provides only a faint and flickering light to guide us through the darkness. Just as a spelunkers flashlight cannot tell him which way to proceed through a cave, so it is with scientific evidence. To assume otherwise is to confuse science and faith.

In conveying this message to my students (many of whom were already well-established scientists and medical practitioners), I had them consider baseball and kidneys.

In 1995, 1996 and 1997, David Justice batted .253, .321 and .329, respectively, while Derek Jeter batted .250, .314 and .291.

Justices average was higher each year. A baseball scientist (sabermetrician) might conclude, The science is clear. Evidence commands, Bat like Justice, not like Jeter. Q.E.D. Selah.

But heres the problem. If we combine each players stats for these three years, it turns out that Jeters batting average over the three-year period 1995-97 was actually higher than Justices. If this anomaly (known as a Simpsons Paradox) bothers you, great. Google it and work through the math. Youll be a better person.

The same paradox showed up in a 1986 study of kidney stones byC. R. Charig, et al.The group compared success rates for two different kidney-stone treatments.

Treatment X had an 83 percent success rate, while Treatment Y achieved only 78 percent. One might have concluded that: The science is clear: Insurance should pay for X and not Y.

However, when the researchers divided sufferers into those with large stones and those with small stones, it turned out that Treatment Y had higher success rates for both groups. So now, one might conclude that science says pay for Y and not X.

Health journalistJulia Belluzpresented a wonderful graphic titled Everything we eat both causes and prevents cancer (borrowed from study bySchoenfeld and Ioannides). The diagram summarized studies indicating that wine, tomatoes, tea, milk, eggs, corn, coffee, butter, and beef prevent cancer and studies showing that each causes cancer.

Ultimately, though, human beings must sift through ever-conflicting, ever-shifting data and do their best.

And so, I wear my mask, because its not too onerous, because it might save me, and because the data are relatively convincing.

As with Pascals Wager, it all comes down to costs, benefits, probabilities and weight of evidence.

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On Face Masks, God, Baseball, Kidneys and Cancer InsideSources - InsideSources

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Artica makes its ‘Eternal Return’ October 10 and 11: ‘Annual celebration of creativity, innovation, and exploration’ on North Riverfront – St. Louis…

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A scene from Artica 2019

Artica is an outdoor event that is far-out by just about any standards, with no confines other than the limits of your imagination, so it is better suited to survive in COVID-19 time than just about any festival one could think of.

Artica returns under the triumphant title of Artica 2020: Eternal Return from noon to 10 p.m.Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11. The location is on the grounds of the old Cotton Belt Building at thecornerofLewisandDicksonstreets on the North Riverfront north of Lacledes Landing. But there are no actual barriers: Artica disappears off into the city, into the night, into the unknown.

This is a free open-air event for all ages featuring two days of music, sculpture,interactive art installations, roaming performers and the Burn, organizers promise.The Burn is a public burning of Our Lady of Artica, a wooden effigy, that closes the festival on Sunday night. If that sounds too far out, then just wander off when the burning is about to begin.

Artica ends Sunday night with the Burn though socially distant in 2020

Each year, Artica establishes an art city uninhibited by commerce, organizers promise, and that checks out Artica is the unbranded anti-festival, an annual celebration of creativity, innovation, and exploration, organizers rightly claim.

It is not, however, underground or outlaw. The festival has been approved by the city Health Department. Masks and social distancing will be required while on the festival grounds. Guests are encouraged to wash their hands often at the provided handwashing stations and to use hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol in between hand washings.

If you are not feeling well, organizers request, please stay at home, which is never a bad idea anyway.

Of this years theme in particular, organizers say: Artica 2020: Eternal Returnis a creative celebration and exploration of the apparent paradox of existence, that every step forward, somehow takes us closer to what we imagined we'd left behind.

Artica is a free open-air event for all ages featuring two days of music, sculpture,interactive art installations and roaming performers.

The title is borrowed from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (18441900), a thinker suitably edgy and unsettling for the disrupted here and now. Nietzsche returned to the idea of the Eternal Return (appropriately enough) several times throughout his work; one classic statement of it comes in a demonic thought experiment.

What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequenceeven this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust! Nietzsche wrote.

In the nightmarish year of 2020, its daring indeed to conjure the notion of the Eternal Return. Who now wants to contemplate the possibility that this life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more?

Actually, embrace Artica (at a social distance) and you just might find yourself enlivened by every joy and every thought, and maybe you will want them to return after the Lady burns and youve wandered off into the long, dark night of 2020. for more information or email

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October 16th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Behavioral Psychology and its Practical Implications – The Great Courses Daily News

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FROM THE LECTURE SERIES: Redefining Reality: The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science

Burrhus Frederic Skinner, a Harvard psychologist, who was influenced by logical positivists, adopted Watsons work. He, too, was interested in studying human behavior in response to certain stimuli. He found a mathematical relationship between environmental factors and human responses as well as the influence of positive and negative reinforcement on such responses. For example, he studied how room temperature influenced how long it would take a subject to drink a glass of water. Even further, he observed how reward and punishment would make the subjects behave in specific ways that he wanted.

These findings had both theoretical and practical implications. They helped gain knowledge about the structure of reality and also to manipulate people.

Skinner wrote a book titled Beyond Freedom and Dignity, which was reminiscent of Friedrich Nietzsches book Beyond Good and Evil. According to Nietzsche, good and evil are not inherent properties of the world. They are human-made features manufactured by the weak to restrict the strong, which has helped the weak prosper and keep the strong behind. Thats why human progress has been restrained. Similarly, Skinner held that moral concepts of freedom and dignity are not features of the world. They are created to glorify the individual and have retarded human development.

Rather than autonomous agents capable of rational thinking, human beings are regarded as creatures of habit. If these habits are shaped randomly, they will have no consequences for us. If they are correctly shaped, they can lead to our advancement. They can also be formed in a way that they limit human progress. The only way to achieve human growth is to identify the best culture that contributes to such growth and prepare the conditions for humans to thrive. Freewill is a mere myth that deters human flourishing.

This is a transcript from the video series Redefining Reality: The Intellectual Implications of Modern Science. Watch it now, on The Great Courses Plus.

Learn more about solving psychological mysteries.

John Watson was fired from John Hopkins University, where he held an academic position. He pivoted his career to advertising to use his expertise in enriching business owners instead of advancing humans. By manipulating the masses, he used his knowledge of the human mind to create gold, like the alchemists philosopher stone.

Psychology gave him the power to shape individual minds and culture as a whole. He found out fear, rage, love, habits, or needs were crucial for making humans take the action we want. Testimonials from ordinary people and celebrities were two powerful marketing strategies proposed by Watson.

The same ideas were adopted in the fashion industry by Sigmund Freuds nephew, Edward Bernays. He found out that he could use the results of his psychological studies in the world of fashion and advertising.

The term public relations was his idea to replace propaganda. He rightly thought that propaganda had negative connotations because it was associated with the military and the Nazis. So, he used a propagandistic term as a euphemism for the word propaganda.

In one of his books, Propaganda, he outlines the instructions to engineer public opinion, which formed the basis of modern public relations. Due to the collapse of monarchies replaced by democracies around the world, he believed that Power had been taken from the king and given to the people. So, the power of masses had to be harnessed by controlling the peoples behavior to achieve profit and authority. Now, rather than a tool for searching the nature of the human mind, psychology was used to manufacture false realities in the mind of people to make business owners wealthier and help certain politicians get elected.

Learn more about how human nature evolved.

In the realm of arts, the same notion was adopted, too. In the 1910s, Marcel Duchamp started a series of works called Readymades. He treated mass-produced goods as works of art by putting them in galleries. He made people rethink the way they looked at these everyday objects by putting them in not-so-familiar places.

The same approach was taken by Andy Warhol with his paintings of soup cans and Coca-Cola bottles. In the same vein, he took objects out of their standardized contexts and made his audience see them from another angle. He meant to show us that we were conditioned and manipulated by advertising, and, as Skinner had in mind, we could finally behave like autonomous beings with freedom and dignity.

John Watson is the founder of behavioral psychology. He was the first person to introduce the doctrine of cognitive significance to oppose the idea that psychology was the study of consciousness.

Fredric Skinner was an American psychologist. He found a mathematical relationship between environmental factors and human responses as well as the influence of positive and negative reinforcement on such responses.

Edward Bernays was Sigmund Freuds nephew. He coined the term public relations to replace propaganda. He believed in controlling human minds to gain profit and authority.

Readymades are mass-manufactured products displayed in galleries as art. The concept was first introduced by Marcel Duchamp to make people see everyday objects in a different way.

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October 16th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Liberalism will remain vulnerable unless it can speak to our need for emotional storytelling – New Statesman

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Close to the end of Hari Kunzrus new novel, Red Pill, the narrator is telling a Manhattan therapist about his deranged attempts to expose Anton, an alt-right screenwriter who he believes is stirring up dangerous political forces. The therapist scoffs that Antons television shows hardly make him a significant figure: Dragons, that sort of thing. Surely I could see that this was not a field for anyone with serious political ambitions. It would be hard to think of anything more purely escapist. But he demurs: There were underground currents, new modes of propagation. It wasnt even a question of ideas, not straightforwardly, but feelings, atmospheres, yearnings, threats Essentially I was talking about fascism. The therapist dismisses it as anxiety about the presidential election. It is polling day, 8 November 2016.

The narrator is a restless New York intellectual who accepts a fellowship at the Deuter Centre, an interdisciplinary institute at Wannsee, outside Berlin. Alienated by its clinical and rigid atmosphere he takeslong, bleak walks around the lake; encountering the grave of the romantic poet Heinrich von Kleist, the villa where theNazis devised the final solution, and a former East German punk haunted by her past as a Stasi informant. He also lurks in his room, binge-watching footage from war zones and Blue Lives, a trashy cop drama whose nihilism and unacknowledged quotes from an anti-rationalist opponent of the French Revolution beguile him. Meeting Anton, the shows Nordic supremacist writer, in Berlin, he develops an obsession, pursuing Anton to Paris and a Scottish island.

Back in New York, his wife is devastated by his melodramatic self-absorption, friends regard him with pity and detachment and the therapist dismisses his sense of dread about the future. The novel concludes as his wifes fashionable Brooklynite circle gathers to watch the election results coverage, champagne at the ready to toast a Hillary Clinton win and the natural next step on a timeline in which the future is predictable, an extrapolation from the past, a steady progression. Donald Trump triumphs, their world collapses and suddenly the momentum seems to be with Antons people, the alt-right trolls with their memes, in-jokes, sinister Nordic symbology and conspiracy theories; a rival timeline in which all this normality is a paper screen over something bloody and atavistic that is rising up out of history to meet us. It occurs to the narrator: My madness is about to become everyones madness.

A presence looms over Red Pill but is not named in it: Friedrich Nietzsche. He looms thematically, as the supreme theorist to emerge from the mists of German Romanticism. And he looms intellectually, his arguments echoing in the contrast that strikes Kunzrus narrator towards the novels end. The world experienced by the narrator at Wannsee and in Antons oeuvre is not the orderly, rational, linear system of the therapist or the Brooklyn sophisticates, what Nietzsche dubbed the Apollonian. It is revealed disorder, frenzy, urges and appetites, or what the philosopher dubbed the Dionysian. Nietzsche argued that Greek tragedys synthesis of the Apollonian and the Dionysian order forged in the very affirmation of the chaos of reality made it the highest and purest form of art. It is such a tragic synthesis that Anton finds in his fascistic nihilism, and that the narrator, too, finds in his own, doomed quest to stop Anton.

Four years on from the fictional Brooklyn party, the madness seemingly unleashed at the last US presidential election hasindeed become everyones madness to some extent. Established assumptions about the march of progress are not gone, but are less glib and more qualified. The Dionysian forces tribes and masses, mysticism and disorder have announced their presence behind the paper screen. It is now widely accepted that desiccated liberalism, the weightless technocracy of Stronger Together (Clinton 2016) or Stronger, Safer and Better Off (Remain) is vulnerable when up against rival offerings that speak to the human yearning for emotional story-telling, for operatic goodies and baddies, for the recognisable narrative of a Make America Great Again (Trump 2016) or a Take Back Control (Leave). Once more a US presidential election approaches and once more a liberal candidate looks likely to win. But this time few are willing to predict that outcome with confidence.

Even if Joe Biden does triumph on 3 November, this should not be mistaken for a restoration of some temporarily disrupted order. The Dionysian will still lurk below the surface, and with it myriad chances, for those willing to take them, to mould it into forms and stories. Trump will almost certainly decry the result as illegitimate, urging his supporters to agitate against it. Violence may ensue. Disinformation and myths will continue to ripple across social media. More previously apolitical types, isolated by lockdowns and spending too long online, will be drawn into conspiracy theories such as the QAnon claims that Trump is secretly battling an elite, Satan-worshiping paedophile ring; modern-day Quixotes driven mad by reading too many fanciful tales.

None of which is to say that these threats should be overblown in a way that flatters their propagators, or to deny that humans also have an immense capacity for reason and science and individuality. But it is to remind ourselves that there is something universal, eternal and, like it or not, innately human about the atavistic passions that seemed to come out of nowhere four years ago. They existed beforehand and will long outlive any Biden presidency. Feelings, atmospheres, yearnings, threats will stillshape and define experience. History will not be over, nor will it have been proved to be linear. Stories will still matter.

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Liberalism will remain vulnerable unless it can speak to our need for emotional storytelling - New Statesman

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October 16th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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Lockdown read: The Unbearable Lightness of Being – The Mancunion

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With its recurring lockdowns and periods of isolation, 2020 has been a year of intense philosophical reflection. Many turned to works that would speak to the current situation, reflected in a surge of sales about fictional pandemics, such as Albert Camus The Plague. Milan Kunderas novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984) offers the same philosophical musings but with significantly less deaths. The book will persuade you of the insignificance of your individual existence whilst also managing to feature a dog as one of the central characters.

Kundera spent his life and career in exile. But he has recently regained his native citizenship, and been awarded the prestigious Czech literary award the Franz Kafka prize. The news brings me back to Kunderas most influential work, The Unbearable Lightness of Being,to see how it can still speak to a reader today.

The novel tells the story of a group of romantically involved intellectuals and artists in Czechoslovakia during the period of Prague Spring in 1968. As accurately reflected in its grand title it is the philosophical musings (rather than the plot) that make up the force of the novel. The personal lives of the characters are aligned and juxtaposed to the wider political drama in Czechoslovakia. Kundera creates an immersive read on an almost predictable whirl of love, sex and infidelity between Tomas, Theresa, Sabina and Franz.

The political landscape and communist occupation of Prague intensifies the drama of the characters lives. The pressure on Tomas to submit to the communist ideology eventually leads him, followed by his two lovers, to Switzerland. Sabina then meets Franz, in a short-lived illusion of a happy resolution to their love triangle.

The narrator consistently places the lives of the individuals in perspective. Nietzsche is name-dropped in the first sentence of the novel, and the text is concerned with the burning philosophical questions that plague our existence. Ideas of eternal return, time and the question of lightness vs heaviness of existence are interrogated in the course of the novel. The narrative is a case study of different perspectives on life in a complex historical moment.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being often leans towards the nihilistic through the narrators insistence on the meaninglessness of a single existence. However, the story also focuses on the interconnectedness of four people in difficult times which becomes a lot more exciting with the entry of Karenin. Karenin is a female dog, and her presence is among the reasons why the novel has aged so well.

The portrayal of the dog is uncommonly generous. The navigation of the relationship between Karenin and the human characters invites broader discussions on the treatment of animals, and how that reflects on human nature. This and other themes that the novel tackles have not only remained, but increased in their relevance to this day.

Kunderas provocative insights have maintained their relevance thanks to the novels focus on the eternal its main advantage that could not be conveyed to film. The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a worthy read in-between all the hours we are currently spending hooked to screens.

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Lockdown read: The Unbearable Lightness of Being - The Mancunion

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October 16th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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The Wild and the Disaffected: A Conversation with Reinaldo Iturriza (Part I) –

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A blogger-become-minister, Reinaldo Iturriza has written creatively and insightfully about Chavismo and its contradictions. His work includes El chavismo salvaje (Wild Chavismo) and La poltica de los comunes (Politics of the Commons). In this VA interview, Iturriza addresses what is possibly the most difficult question facing Chavismo today: the political disaffection that can be found in important sectors of the Venezuelan people.

You have developed a creative reading of the Chavista identity over the years. Could you tell us something about this?

First, there is what is laid out in the El chavismo salvaje book, which basically gathers writings that go from 2007 to 2012. Among other things, it is a first attempt at identifying the tensions within Chavismo, an effort to present the logic of the different lines of force that traverse the movement, how they are expressed in practices, etc.

Writing these texts involved some abstraction in the attempt to capture the real movement it was a dizzying exercise , but at no point did I intend to position myself as an observer of Chavismo from the outside. On the contrary, these are militant writings. At that time I considered it imperative to explain what we had learned, what we had been, and where we were as a movement. It required working in two registers: on the one hand, recording what the experience of the Bolivarian Revolution meant to us; on the other hand, we had to construct a story outside of the propaganda, not make concessions to self-indulgent approaches.

The very concept of wild Chavismo'' is far from being a mere metaphor or attempt to provoke. What I pinpointed then is that there was an attempt to brutalize [brutalizar] Chavismo (in fact this is one of the founding practices of anti-Chavismo), but there was another attempt aimed at "stupefying it" [embrutecer] this latter would become a characteristic of what I call officialism in my reflections.

Nonetheless, I highlighted that civil service, for example, was not by definition officialist, and that it is also possible to reproduce an officialist logic inside the grassroots movement. In synthesis, I tried to problematize the question of power, of its exercise, and also the question of the state and its institutions.

In the book [El chavismo salvaje], I raised issues of this kind and left open, as is inevitable, many questions. It was a starting point. From then on, I have tried to go deeper into some of these issues, while other themes have emerged.

In 2017, I wrote an essay (still unpublished): Chvez, lector de Nietzsche [Chvez, Reader of Nietzsche]. During the last years of his life, Chvez was a committed and unprejudiced reader of Nietzsche. And, as one would expect from a man like Chvez, his were not mere philosophical cavilings.

The Nietzsche readings, with others, inspired some major decisions. In fact, Chvezs Commune or Nothing, the famous slogan, was born, at least in part, from Chvezs peculiar and very heterodox reading of Nietzsche. Finally, in line with the analysis initiated in El chavismo salvaje and taking as a reference Gilles Deleuzes interpretation of Nietzsche, I suggested that there was an active Chavismo that would set itself apart from reactive Chavismo.

In 2018 I wrote another book (also unpublished), La poltica de los comunes [Politics of the Commons], in which I collected some already published texts on the communal question in Venezuela. Among other things, I attempted to demonstrate that Chavismo breaks with the political culture of Accin Democrtica [the social-democratic party that ruled for many years in Venezuela]. In other words, I argued that although there is a clear line of continuity between Accion Democraticas political culture and that of Chavismo, what distinguishes the latter is precisely its singularity.

What does the singularity of Chavismo consist in? When is it born? A real epistemological rupture as Chvez would call it occurred in the 1990s when a young Bolivarian military contingent discovered the ide-force of participative and protagonist democracy. We were in the presence of a full-fledged theoretical and political event: by gravitating around this idea, revolutionary politics in Venezuela would never be the same. It marks a before and an after. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that the Bolivarian Revolution becomes possible with this breakthrough. It changed everything and, in particular, the way of relating to the popular subject.

More recently, in 2019, I wrote a series of articles called Radiografa sentimental del chavismo [Sentimental X-ray of Chavismo], and I began to work on a line of research that I called Cuarentena [Quarantine]. The latter has nothing to do with the coronavirus pandemic, but with the fact that, in 2017, the most reactionary anti-Chavista lines of force became fervent promoters of the total economic blockade against Venezuela a quarantine to contain and eradicate the contagious disease that is Chavismo.

Radiografa is an update of the analysis that I began in El chavismo salvaje. For example, what I identify in Radiografa as disaffected Chavismo is the most contemporary expression of wild Chavismo which, as far back as 2010, has been fed up with dumb politics, with the aggravating factor that [in recent times] this phenomenon of disaffection has become massive.

In Cuarentena I tried to identify the conditions triggering the phenomenon of political disaffection by delving into an area which I had not paid enough attention to until then: the economy. More than a pending issue at the personal level, Im thinking that this understanding the economy is a pending collective task.

To give you an example, we have to understand the class composition of Venezuelan society today. But more than a snapshot of the current historical situation, I think we should understand the evolution of the class structure in Venezuelan society since the 1970s. Until we begin to gather such basic and crucial information, we will be condemned to repeat the same old generalizations about oil rentierism, post-rentierism, and other vague analyses.

A grassroots Chavista gathering in Caracas, 2018. (Voces Urgentes)

Have you come to any conclusions from your recent research and thinking?

Some of my working hypotheses right now are the following. First, there is a close relationship not mechanical but not casual either between the emergence of the first revolutionary cells within the Venezuelan Army in the 1980s, and the growing informality and unemployment of the time.

Second, there is documented evidence of the strategic insight of the Bolivarian military regarding what would have to be the backbone of the revolutionary subject in Venezuela: those who as early as 1993 Chvez identified as the marginal class, fundamentally made up by what some scholars call the sub-proletariat, which is the fraction of the proletariat most affected by the economic crisis: they are the poor who work, but those whose work does not guarantee the minimum conditions for the reproduction of life.

Third, the support of this sub-proletariat turned out to be decisive in Chvezs 1998 electoral victory, and that support became even more decisive in the resistance against each and every one of the attempts to overthrow the Bolivarian Revolution, including Chvezs extraordinary victory in the 2004 recall referendum.

Fourth, the social, economic, and cultural policies advanced during Chvezs presidency had, as a fundamental purpose, improving the material and spiritual conditions of this class fraction.

Fifth, Chvezs effort to build a popular and democratic hegemony had this class fraction as its center of gravity: its aspirations and demands, but also its organization; this perspective is key to understanding the creation of the communal councils and, later, the communes.

Sixth and finally, the 2015 parliamentary defeat rang an alarm bell, warning us of a fracture in this popular hegemonic construction.

I think that, with sufficient information at hand, it is possible to demonstrate that this sub-proletariat is the economic (and no doubt political) correspondent with that which I have called wild Chavismo. Once we have undertaken a rigorous, detailed analysis of the evolution of Venezuelan societys class structure during the last decades something that, as I said before, is a pending task I believe we will be in a better position to confront the challenges that face us today. The question of wild Chavismo today for the most part, a disaffected bloc is also the question of the sub-proletariat. The answer to this question would give us fundamental clues about how to proceed in reconstructing a popular democratic hegemony.

An assembly at the Che Guevara Commune, Merida. (Sinco/Condiciones Capt. 4)

Can we contrast what you call wild Chavismo its desires and aspirations with the governments way of doing politics? I am aware that we need to take into account all the external factors that condition Venezuelan politics, but I want to focus on its day-to-day modus operandi in the country.

It is practically impossible to reflect on the daily practice of governing here without taking these external factors into account. If there is something that overdetermines our daily life, its precisely the US economic blockade that weighs on the whole of Venezuelan society.

The effects of the blockade are almost unspeakable. It produces suffering, stress, anxiety, fear, anger, distrust, and death. To that, we should add uncertainty and the narrowing horizon that the pandemic produces. We are talking about an experience that is difficult to explain to people who have never had to suffer through such a criminal blockade.

Additionally, wherever the imperialist story is effective, we can observe what Walter Benjamin would call empathy with the winner. This translates more or less as follows: if in Venezuela we are going through such a historical crisis, it must be because we deserve it. This idea expresses itself in different ways, including the convoluted discourse about the existence of a dictatorship, regime, and so on.

There is empathy for the winner for two reasons. First, there is the logic of the executioners accomplice in this case, the most lackey-like anti-Chavistas. Second, there are those who fear experiencing a similar blockade, which keeps people from raising their heads and encourages them to either look away or even turn against their own neighbors, to employ Benjamins terms.

Cooking with wood has become common in Venezuela. The blockade limits Venezuelas capacity to purchase gas from Colombia, but the poor upkeep of gas plants, distribution infrastructure, and the impact of corruption are all to be blamed for the current situation. (Archive)

This brings us to another difficult question: have the Venezuelan people been defeated?

Well, anyone could say I'm wrong, and they would likely come up with convincing arguments, but my answer is no. I do not think the Venezuelan people have been defeated. One of my reasons for saying this is my deep conviction that an important part of the population even as it struggles with the harmful effects of the blockade has preserved a margin of maneuver. In other words, our destiny is still in our hands.

What I observe is that, for a large sector of the population, the blockade is not seen as an inexorable fate: it is a crime that produces deprivation and death, but it is not inevitable. It is because they see it this way that so many people of all walks of life strongly reject the typical official story that the root of all our suffering is to be found in the blockade. In fact, the worst thing we can do now is to take an event as serious as the blockade and turn it into a pretext.

The problem with this way of thinking is that it exonerates those with government posts from assuming responsibilities and, worse still, it frees the society as a whole from responsibility. Its a discourse that turns us into victims that have to be protected or, in another reading, we only have the obligation to resist preferably without too much complaining. There is a false epic attitude in this story and also a lot of fatalism.

Should the Venezuelan government cease to fulfill its obligation to protect the population? Of course not. Has everyone in the government adopted this story [of the blockade exonerating them of responsibility]? I don't think so either, but the story is gaining ground.

To me, it seems evident that there is a crisis in the Bolivarian narrative. How can we overcome it? By keeping in mind two elements: on the one hand, the blockade, the effects of unilateral coercive measures, and the imperial siege; on the other hand, our margin of maneuver, the alternatives we have, what we can do. To do this, however, there must be confidence in the collective spirit which is to say, one must trust the popular subject which, at the end of the day, is what made the Bolivarian Revolution possible.

Does this mean that each and every one of the government's decisions must be debated publicly in an assembly? Clearly not. But it is also evident that the there is no alternative discourse cannot become a practice every time that people question decisions or express disagreements.

If the there is no alternative principle of politics were to become normal, we could just as well turn off the lights and close shop. We should understand the consequences of closing the door on the people that Chvez politicized. In fact, it is one of the reasons why there are so many disaffected people people who have come to not expect anything from Chavismo or from the opposition. This is the fact that should concern and occupy us, and not the fact that many are expressing their dissent... Dissent, at the end of the day, is actually a sign of political vitality!

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The Wild and the Disaffected: A Conversation with Reinaldo Iturriza (Part I) -

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October 16th, 2020 at 11:54 am

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