All Posts in philosophy

June 20, 2016 - Comments Off on for long you were silent

for long you were silent

I like Rainer Rilke. His translated poems are great reading, even though they don't actually rhythm (translated from German). Below is one of my favorites so far from the "Rilke's Book of Hours:"

"Your first word of all was light,
and time began. Then for long you were silent.

Your second word was man, and fear began,
which grips us still.

Are you about to speak again?
I don't want your third word.

Sometimes I pray: Please don't talk.
Let all your doing be by gesture only.
Go on writing in faces and stone
what your silence means.

Be our refuge from the wrath
that drove us out of Paradise.

Be our shepherd, but never call us--
we can't bear to know what's ahead."

December 9, 2015 - Comments Off on RIP Doug Tompkins — a true explorer and conservationist

RIP Doug Tompkins — a true explorer and conservationist

I've always admired Doug Tompkins, as much for his experience and leading expeditions and his ecological perspective. He was brilliant as Yvon Chouinard's counterpart in 180° South, and opened my eyes to conversation as more than something you support, but as something you live out. His commitment to Deep Ecology, took him to take his profits from his sale of North Face, and Espirit and invest them into land trust in South America, for the specific goal of creating a large national park for the people of Patagonia.

Proponents of deep ecology believe that the world does not exist as a resource to be freely exploited by humans. The ethics of deep ecology hold that the survival of any part is dependent upon the well-being of the whole.

source

His death, at 72 is a huge loss, as he had much more to give to the land and the people that knew him. His legacy will live on, both in the movement he has helped create, and the land he has bought to protect. Godspeed Doug.

And for some extra viewing... here is his outspoken views on Technology and Nature // A Clash of Concepts.

November 17, 2015 - Comments Off on give me your tired, your poor…

give me your tired, your poor…

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

- From "The New Colossus" an 1883 Emma Lazarus poem quoted on the Statue of Liberty.

The idealism behind this sentiment and proclamation seems to be directly tied to the fact that in the land of opportunity you don't need to kill to provide for your family... you just need to work. And when you work and are paid, you find an affordance of things, thereby making your fundamentalist viewpoint un-ideal.

As resources get scarce, it becomes a bit hazy.

And when people get backed into a corner, the fundamentalist viewpoint seems more ideal, as the alternative of Heaven is a reprieve from the reality of scarcity.

And here I'm talking about most religions and beliefs, not just one in particular.

Clarification. I'm not saying we shouldn't be open to refugees, just pointing out the different socio-economical environment we are now living in. If we can figure out the income gap and revitalize the middle class, there is mounds of opportunity. But if the gap continues to widen, we won't have much opportunity for the natural born citizen or the immigrant. And in the vacuum -- fundamentalism/extremism will continue to bloom in the ghettos and in the suburbs. Creating such polarization, violence will seem to be the only answer.

But again, as Emma Lazarus declared, there is another way. A way of peace and equality. I'm not advocating for socialism, but a regulated capitalism. An economy protected against collapse by a robust middle class, who advances in economic booms, and digs it's heels in during economic busts. A majority of people, diverse in ethnic background, and religious tradition, but unified in opportunity. With this stability, our land can truly be the "Mother of Exiles," a place of refuge for the tempest-tossed.

November 3, 2015 - Comments Off on Autonomous Cars

Autonomous Cars

Yesterday, I fell into a conversation about autonomous cars in response to this blog post by Zack Kanter -- How Uber’s Autonomous Cars Will Destroy 10 Million Jobs and Reshape the Economy by 2025.

It's a thought provoking post, with lots of links to sink you deeper into the wormhole of autonomous car dystopia (or utopia... depending on how full your glass is this morning). Not to argue with any of his stats or the conclusion he draws from them; the post did kindle some thoughts on the ethics around autonomous cars, and the risks we assume by stepping into a vehicle with no driver.

These are a few of the questions spurred by this conversation, as it opens pandoras box regarding AI and altruism. Can the sometimes selfless and irrational acts of man to save countless lives be programed into a machine?

No doubt we have time to answer this question, but my fear is it will be an afterthought, only studied once we have a handful of deaths attributed to autonomous driven cars. The inventors role is not necessarily to write ethic statements that influence law, but it should be on their minds as they write algorithms and code that will direct a 40-ton machine careening down the interstate at 70mph. There is a lot to unpack here, and if you are in law school, it might be something to focus on for your term paper... wait, do law students even have term papers?

Either way... that's my two cents.

September 3, 2015 - Comments Off on Inter-Digital

Inter-Digital

a brief manifesto of my [current] digital philosophy.

Digital is dead. What has replaced it is something more tangible, more personal. When a disease is localized to a population it is an epidemic, and when it becomes ingrained into the entire system, it is endemic. Using this terminology, the digital age began as a localized permutation of technology, that is, the experience was tied to a particular device and when that device died the digital experience ended. With the internet and the “cloud,” digital experiences have become agnostic to the hardware. When one platform dies the experience lives on in the next device — no longer localized — digital experiences have become endemic to the larger networked system.

Inter-digital. When digital becomes integrated into the system, it becomes apart of more than just platforms and networks — it becomes an appendage of the person who interacts with it.

This personalization of the digital experience is why Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, et cetera, are globally popular… and addictive. They have created a place for user generated content to live and breathe —these networks prey on individualization and narcissism to proliferate the constant stream of noise needed to be deemed a viable financial investment. In this reliance on the consumer generated content, we have all heartily joined in on the production. A production that gratifies instantly, as sharing our lives to the masses fulfills a real human need… the desire to be heard and known. An addictive experience, which continues the stream, and feeds the machine.

What is my point?

There is opportunity to bring meaning into the stream and healing to the void, an opportunity to evolve the experience.

Connectedness. One thing strong enough to kill the narcissistic endemic of today’s digital natives is a fuller view of where we are going. A connected perspective on the future and true personal transparency — can lead many through the messy middles of our narcissistic now. What I’m advocating is not more apps and more notifications… but a reigning in of the features.

A simplification of the options.

A reduction in the noise.

The answer is not more but better platforms, smarter networks, and connected databases. In moving our lives to digital, we’ve centered around our own vanity. Once we find temperance in the medium, we will begin to dig our way out of ourself and into the wild world around us.