Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Brief History of Thought

If you are JUST starting out, you should read books that talk about philosophy merely as an institution. Something that looks at it broadly as the history of human thought. The reason I say this is because I’ve found it’s really helpful to have some sort of skeleton in place that you can add meat to– an understanding of the broad movements in philosophy. Otherwise, it’s almost like reading the dictionary. Nothing you read has any context. It just becomes this flurry of random facts that you don’t care about. The trick is CARING about what you’re trying to learn. A couple examples of books like this are:
A Brief History of Thought by Luc Ferry 
The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain de Botton

Once you have a general idea and want to start tackling specific topics that interest you, my advice would be to try reading modern authors who have written contemporary books about these older thinkers. Reason being: for every philosopher out there, some desperate ex-philosophy student on welfare has built a career out of knowing practically everything there is to know about them. These people throughout their entire lives have largely done the leg work that I referenced before, and they can be an enormous help when it comes to avoiding misunderstandings and knowing which ideas were important.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged

Change your life. Enlighten yourself. Read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and decide if life unfolds by the demands of others or by the will of the individuals.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Atlas Shrugged - Finding Joy and the Value of Shrugging

I've started reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand finally after a lifetime of synchronicity probing me to read it. Kids on planes reading it and telling me that their father required it before graduating college. My house framer who came from Mexico under sketchy means and struggles with English shows me the book in his old pick-up truck and tells me he's finished reading it and how it's changed his life.

So now I'm finally reading it. And my wife is also. And I wake up at 4:00 in the morning with parts of it on my mind and go into the living room and pick up where I left off.

One of the pointers from it impacting me this morning is the need and freedom for a man to be able to do what he wants to do. This freedom is his earned reward for his hard work and is just return within a moral universe and a right to be enjoyed free from guilt.

I've struggled most my life with this one. Trying to find joy free of guilt.

I've found the point in my history where this anomaly first entered my moral conscious and bent my path crooked for the next 40 years. It came from my sweet loving and very religious Grandma when I was probably about ten years old. 

I'll tell the story in a separate blog entry hopefully. It has to do with how you interpret the phrase in Psalms 23 that says, "I shall not want."

Point being for now. Read Atlas Shrugged. The world needs you to read it. You need to read it.

Mitch Sanders

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deep Language Constructs Pre-Shape Our Perceived Realities

This is an interesting comment in the book "The Horse, The Wheel, and Language" by David W. Anthony stating that language roots themselves shape our very perceptions of reality with conceptual "frameworks" and biases.

It is possible that the resultant loss of linguistic diversity has narrowed and channeled habits of perception in the modern world. For example, all  Indo- Eu ro pe an  languages force the speaker to pay attention to tense and number when  talking about an action: you must specify whether the action is past, pres- ent, or future; and you must specify whether the actor is singular or plural.  It is impossible to use an  Indo- Eu ro pe an verb without deciding on these  categories. Consequently speakers of  Indo- Eu ro pe an languages habitually  frame all events in terms of when they occurred and whether they involved  multiple actors. Many other language families do not require the speaker  to address these categories when speaking of an action, so tense and num- ber can remain unspecied.
He goes on to compare it to the Hopi language embedded constructs.

On the other hand, other language families require that other aspects of reality be constantly used and recognized. For example, when de- scribing an event or condition in Hopi you must use grammatical mark- ers that specify whether you witnessed the event yourself, heard about  it from someone  else, or consider it to be an unchanging truth. Hopi  speakers are forced by Hopi grammar to habitually frame all descrip- tions of reality in terms of the source and reliability of their information.  The constant and automatic use of such categories generates habits in the  perception and framing of the world that probably differ between people  who use fundamentally different grammars.14 In that sense, the spread  of  Indo- Eu ro pe an grammars has perhaps reduced the diversity of human perceptual habits.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Clowns and Horror - Always Good Fodder for a Story

Just finished a nice little horror story written by a fellow in Australia who says he has seriously been diagnosed a Schizophrenic. Any story that mixes Clowns and Hell together has got to be good and yes this was a page turner. Read through it in two days. Thanks Johnny-O for loaning it out to me. (Johnny-O is a  fellow F.U. Church member with a dark side)
Pilo Family Circus

Friday, August 26, 2011

Reading Now

Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace a very insightful, witty, and enjoyable book given me by my good buddy Josh. This one's a bit high brow for most readers given one essay is criticising John Updike (Rabbit Angstrom: A Tetrology: Rabbit, Run; Rabbit Redux; Rabbit Is Rich; Rabbit at Rest) and anothe points out the humor of Kafka (Franz Kafka: The Complete Stories.) (Yes, I said that right.) 

Good stuff. The analysis of Bloomington/Normal as typical Mid-Western culture was pretty much right on (I'm from Peoria, Il. myself.)

Also reading Age of American Unreason which is about what you'd expect and just finished reading Decline of Men, again, about what you'd respect.

So all in all, I'm pretty much doing what David Brooks expects, by reading books that simply confirm what I already believe.

Except I never really thought of Kafka as funny till now. So there's something new I've learned.

Recently Read

I've been on a Social/Emotional Intelligence kick lately. Actually, ever since my boss dinged me in a review for just not having enough of it. No sense in arguing.

The Social Animal by David Brooks is well worth reading. Brooks is what even Rush Limbaugh called called an "Intellectual" who has studied human nature via his politcal contacts and written about them for places like the New York Times for most of his career.

This is an insightful study told in the form of a family story of just how we all really are just "animals in an environment" if you will, mostly responding to where we are and our "throwness" as the existentialist would say.

I enjoyed it well enough, but the insights of how the brain and human biology works wrapped in a total easily read package is well worth the time to read.

Another book which had high claims for itself as well as from others is a piece of crap that could've been put together as a high school project with the right editor. This one is Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and for all it's swagger and psuedo-science, it can be skimmed in the bookstore in 10 minutes and you'll develop all the more "Emotional Intelligence" you'll ever get from this little piece of marketed self-help snafu.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0

The online "Test"  by the way... the big incentive to purchase... is like 20 questions of your own obvious assessments of how sensitive you are. Save yourself time and just give yourself an intuitive number from 1 to 10.

Another book I read which I really did sort of enjoy was My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, Ph.D. This is an amazing little story that tells of a nuero brain doctor that has a stroke. She watches and later chronicles her collapse of one whole side of her brain.

This one a bit comes down to the old left versus right side of brain study, but the amazing decriptions of what living with just he "right-side" (the artistic, intuitive, (w)holistic side) is like makes you do a real double-take on what really is all going on inside one whole side of my head.

The author had a hard time for year recovering but eventually did. This is a pretty amazing story you can pretty much skim speed read in the bookstore but is worth checking out at the library and taking home.