How to Mark a Book by Mortimer J. Adler

“marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love.”

You know you have to read “between the lines” to get the most out of anything. I want to persuade you to do something equally important in the course of your reading. I want to persuade you to write between the lines. Unless you do, you are not likely to do the most efficient kind of reading.

I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love. Continue reading “How to Mark a Book by Mortimer J. Adler”

Camus and “one truly serious philosophical problem” → Suicide

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.

Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest-whether the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories-comes after wards. These are games …”

— Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

Urban vs. Rural Religion / Christianity vs. Paganismus and Heathenism

“Christianity was born among the urban Jews of the Roman Empire and spread gradually into the countryside. Even in largely rural Europe, monasteries functioned as surrogate cities and Christianity spread outward from these centers of structure and literacy.

Pagus is the Latin word for “countryside,” and in the countryside the old polytheisms lingered long after they had died out in the cities. Thus, a rural polytheist was a pagamus, and paganismus (paganism) became synonymous with polytheism. In England, pre-Christian polytheism lingered in the inhospitable heath, and so heathenism became an English synonym for paganism.
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Classification of Science(s)

“… some ways of classifying the various sciences.

(1) Pure sciences versus applied sciences. It is widely held that we must distinguish: (A) science as a field of knowledge (or set of cognitive disci plines) from (B) the applications of science. It is common to refer to these as the pure and applied sciences. (A) Among the pure sciences we may distinguish: (a) the formal sciences, logic, and mathematics; and (b) the factual or empirical sciences. Among the latter we may also distinguish: (b1) the natural sciences, which include the physical sciences, physics, chemistry, and so on, and the life and behavioral sciences, such as biology and psychology; and (b2) the social sciences, such as sociology and economics. (B) The applied sciences include the technological sciences such as engineering and aeronautics, medicine, agriculture, and so on. Continue reading “Classification of Science(s)”


METAMORPHOSES (Pygmalion and Myrrha)

by Ovid, translated by A. D. Melville

In Metamorphoses the Latin poet Ovid tells “of bodies changed to other forms.” The first part of the excerpt that follows tells of the sculptor Pygmalion‘s creation of a perfectly beautiful woman, who is later brought to life for him to marry. The latter half describes the consequences of this marriage two generations later.

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Marxism as theology and eschatology of modernity

“…. philosophy is nothing else but religion rendered into thoughts and thinking expounded …”

– Marx, Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: Introduction (p. 108)[1]

“Darwin gave atheists their story of genesis; Marx gave them their eschatology.”

– Views expressed by a cleric in a Youtube video presented by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Magna, Utah[2]

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The Pledge of Allegiance in The American School: A Functional Analysis

The Controversy

            A California public school teacher posted a video on TikTok, which went viral on social media and invited a strong backlash. She described the video that she removed the American flag from her class because it made her feel uncomfortable and gave her students the option to opt-out of the Pledge of Allegiance exercise. One student, however, pointed out that they were pledging allegiance to ‘nothing’ alluding to an absent national flag. The teacher suggested they could pledge allegiance to another flag hoisted in the classroom, which was the Rainbow flag. Her action infuriated thousands who stormed social media to make hateful remarks. The teacher ended up removing her post, but the video is being circulated over social media by several patriotic accounts. For details, please see (Yurcaba, 2021).

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A Bayesian Model of Lynching

Collective violence spreads through social learning among autonomous agents, especially when decisions of the observing agents are not simultaneous, but vicariously yet rationally made on the basis of information they receive from the actions of other agents on in-group. These actions and decisions can be expressed as a sequential game in which the outcome of prior actions influence the likelihood of subsequent actions as beliefs are updated through Bayseian updates at each time step. The model presented below hence underscores the dynamic underlying process at play during various episodes of collective violence. This model specifies the mechanism through which a local episode of collective violence may amplify the global likelihood such events, and specifies conditions under which violence waxes and wanes.

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Draft: Lynched in the Name of the Cow – An appraisal of Cow-related Violence in India

This paper sheds light on the recent spike in communal violence in India by theorizing unorganized violence as an epidemic. The basic premise is that riots, lynching, xenophobic assaults, and forms of spontaneous and uncoordinated violence spread rapidly when states fail to contain the initial violent events. Poor quarantine i.e. inadequate state response catalyzes the outbreak among the observers with variable predisposition to violence. Some of them are more vulnerable than others due to a combination of several unit-specific and system-specific factors. Each event generates a pathogenic template of action i.e. a heuristic containing information about the event and the ensuing sanctions. Lower probability of sanctions increases the likelihood of violence. Repetitive exposure to violent events cements the template in the minds of the observers, and the heuristic is involuntarily activated when they nd themselves in a situation they had vicarious observed. I use a novel dataset on cow-related violence in India to show that a violent heuristic around a common object of contention spreads like an epidemic in the absence of satisfactory police response. I also identify other cases where this analogy can be applied to increase our understanding of how violence spreads. Continue reading “Draft: Lynched in the Name of the Cow – An appraisal of Cow-related Violence in India”