“It is not our difference that divides us.
It is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences”
We live in an era in which our individual and collective identities appear to have taken on an increased importance in their presumed ability to establish who we are—and who we believe we are not. But who are we really? Whomever we decide to be, we tend to construct such stories in terms of what we have come to call identity politics. Take a look at these “food for thought” articles related to this issue. Then consider some of the ramifications of such methods of self-recognition and, indeed, self-creation.
Who are we? Who are we as individuals? Who are we as a national collective? Who are we as a world community? Who are we as a species?
For several month, we at seekingGood have been researching and discussing these questions. For the next few months, we will begin to share some of our emerging findings, insights and ideas. To begin, consider the following video by Robert Reich in which he asks “What is the Real American Story?” His proposal can serve as a means of framing a certain way of thinking about the question “Who are we?
Just curious, do you consider yourself a Hobbit, a Hooligan or a Vulcan? Not sure? Well, are you politically well informed? Do you perhaps vote in accordance with your best buds, your BFFs, your clan, your family, friends or grossly defined political party (largely disregarding the issues associated with a particular candidate)? You wouldn’t by chance make a habit of either choosing a candidate without even knowing who or what you are voting for or (perhaps more likely) do you not vote at all? If you recognize yourself in two of these three descriptions, according to political philosopher Jason Brennan, you should be excluded from the voting rosters of your community.
The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Peace and Progress
The above quote was famously delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was apparently often quoted by President Barack Obama. But it was probably originally written by slave abolitionist, and Unitarian church minister Theodore Parker on the eve of the American Civil War. All three men were suggesting hope as a hallmark of our days on earth. Do we still believe this quote? Are we justified in such a belief? (more…)
On the frontier of artificial intelligence journalism
In an era when venerable news publications such as the New York Times and the Washington Post are being maligned by key societal figures accusing them of “leftist” bias, when publications such as Breitbart or similar media sources often deemed “conservative” unabashedly present stories slanted to reflect political views far right of the majority of public sentiment in the country and when a significant portion of the general public acquires its “facts” about the nature of world events from Twitter, Facebook and a network that used to fly a banner emblazoned with the words “fair and balanced”, bias both inadvertent and intentional has become an insurmountable impediment to attaining the “truth” about what is going on around us. In the face of such a large, sprawling situation, we sometimes get lost, failing to understand the meaning of our daily encounters and the most appropriate intent we should seek regarding any of these events. Enter knowherenews.com. This website proposes that computer software can filter reports of world events and effectively sanitize them of ideological bias.
“Free market” is an idea often associated with labels like “Libertarians” and “Republicans”. However, thinking rationally about the concept (rather than merely reacting to it) should cause no one to grab up the children and head for shelter when such ideas are floated within public discourse. Trading freely represents an extension of the same freedom most of us want to believe in (if only for ourselves…and maybe for our loved ones). But do these notions about “free” this and “free” that actually present true freedom or something else? (more…)
Vixra: A potentially valuable source of stimulating ideas
Continuing the “decentralization” theme that was largely the focus of a recent post, consider Vixra.org as a resource you might find useful (or at least entertaining). Vixra is “an e-print archive set up as an alternative to the popular arXiv.org service owned by Cornell University. Vixra was founded and is maintained by scientists who found they were unable to submit their articles to arXiv.org because of Cornell University’s policy of endorsements and moderation designed to filter articles considered by the editorial staff as “inappropriate.”
Vixra provides free access to well over 20,000 electronic documents which can be read online or downloaded as PDFs. Access is free, with no subscription required. Available articles cover a wide range of topics falling under the general categories: physics, mathematics, computational science, biology, chemistry, humanities, and academics. While the general idea is to present articles on “science and mathematics”, you might be surprised by the wide range of topics that appear. Each of these major categories contains multiple subcategories such as Mind Science, Religion and Spirituality, Quantitative Biology, Education & Didactics, Condensed Matter, Mathematical Physics and Relativity & Cosmology, and many others. (more…)