Life Lessons from Bergson

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My dogears from Michael Foley’s excellent “Life Lessons from Bergson” Time “Time” is now the most-used noun in English, whereas many primitive peoples, for instance the Amondawa tribe of the Amazon and the Australian Aborigines do not have a word for it. (p.24) Chance The corollary of predictability as comfort is randomness as threat … We would almost rather accept … Read More


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“A regard for human excellence is the aristocratic ethos. To speak of aristocracy is perhaps a bit eccentric in our time, but consider the paradoxical truth that equality is an aristocratic ideal. It is the ideal of friendship – of those who stand apart from the collective and recognise one another as peers. As professionals, or fellow journeymen perhaps. By … Read More

kung fu pragmatism

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One might well consider the Chinese kung fu perspective a form of pragmatism. The proximity between the two is probably why the latter was well received in China early last century when John Dewey toured the country. What the kung fu perspective adds to the pragmatic approach, however, is its clear emphasis on the cultivation and transformation of the person, … Read More

Charter For Compassion :: home

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The Charter for Compassion will be unveiled to the world on November 12, 2009. In late 2008, people of all nations, all faiths, all backgrounds, submitted their words to the Charter. In early 2009, the Council of Conscience sorted through and discussed the world's contributions to determine the final version of the Charter. The Charter is now complete. The Charter … Read More

A Physics of Society: Critical Mass Notes #1

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Ton has written an elegant post about the value of maths in the design of social tools. It reminded me of a book by Philip Ball called Critical Mass, and I realised how little I could really remember of it other than the broad brush strokes. So I thought I’d reread it and post some notes. 1: Raising Leviathan The … Read More

Simplicity is hard

Piers YoungThoughts2 Comments

David Weinberger has an interesting thought. Knowing has been primarily a way of seeing the simplicity behind the world’s apparent complexity. But now as a culture we’re busy complexifying everything we can. E.g., blogs take a simple idea and turn it over and over in their hands, poking at it, trying it this way and that, connecting it to that … Read More


Piers YoungAsides5 Comments

If you want to know what a philosophy degree’s really like, then Johnnie’s probably the man to tell you. I was particularly hopeless at the jargon. To win a philosophical argument with me, all you had to do was to suggest that I was being solipsistic (or pretty much any such term). I’d stare at you blankly, because I had … Read More

Philosophy Bears and Fruit

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From China Daily, Society must not shun philosophers A friend of mine once told me a joke: A job hunter, a philosophy major, went here, there and everywhere in his search for employment, but in vain. Having run out of options, he swallowed his pride and took up the offer of playing a bear in a costume at a zoo. … Read More


Piers YoungNotes3 Comments

Holiday reading quote #1, from Carl Honore’s brilliant In Praise of Slow: “The Slow movement is on the march. Instead of doing everything faster, many people are decelerating and finding that Slowness helps them to live, work, think and play better… Yet the Slow movement is not about turning the whole planet into a Mediterranean holiday resort. Most of us … Read More