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ahall : culture   55

Rupert Beale · Short Cuts: Wash Your Hands · LRB 19 March 2020
Humanity will get through this fine, but be prepared for major changes in how we function and behave as a society until either we’re through the pandemic or we have mass immunisation available.
culture  healthcare  health  coronavirus 
27 days ago by ahall
Bertrand Russell Authority and the Individual (1948) | Open Culture
His lecture series, Authority and the Individual, delved into an age old question in political philosophy -- the individual and his/her relationship with communities and states. The head of the BBC later groused that Russell spoke "too quickly and had a bad voice." But the real complaints came from the Soviets, who interpreted Russell's lectures as an attack on Communism.
culture  philosophy  government  radio 
7 weeks ago by ahall
Prayer to Maat (Lobsang Rampa's version)
I have destroyed wickedness for Thee.
I have not done evil to mankind.
I have not oppressed the members of my family.
I have not wrought evil place of right and Truth.
I have no intimacy with worthless men.
I have not demanded first consideration.
ethics  anthropology  history  culture  death  religion 
august 2019 by ahall
Kindness / The Murmuration of Starlings
Truthfully,
separation itself is an illusion
double-brewed in the hateful culture-stew
of roiling cruelty
we have all been cooking in.
poems  culture  psychology 
june 2019 by ahall
How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation
It’s not a temporary affliction: It’s the millennial condition. It’s our base temperature. It’s our background music. It’s the way things are. It’s our lives.
culture  burnout  corporatism  socialism  capitalism  psychology  work-environment 
january 2019 by ahall
Miriam Haefner: Recording the Sky
I wondered what the light was that glowed on my blanket. He took one look outside, saw the bright full moon in the sky and declared that the moon was actually shining down in through my bedroom window onto my bed.
calendar  culture 
november 2018 by ahall
On Craft, Appropriation, and Distance.
We cannot un-know. And so we must come to terms with what we make, what we buy, what we sell, what we believe, who we are, who we have yet to become, and how to choose accordingly.
art  diy  fountain-pens  culture 
september 2018 by ahall
Q: Why Do Keynote Speakers Keep Suggesting That Improving Security Is Possible? A: Because Keynote Speakers Make Bad Life Decisions and Are Poor Role Models | USENIX
Some people enter the technology industry to build newer, more exciting kinds of technology as quickly as possible. My keynote will savage these people and will burn important professional bridges, likely forcing me to join a monastery or another penance-focused organization. In my keynote, I will explain why the proliferation of ubiquitous technology is good in the same sense that ubiquitous Venus weather would be good, i.e., not good at all. Using case studies involving machine learning and other hastily-executed figments of Silicon Valley’s imagination, I will explain why computer security (and larger notions of ethical computing) are difficult to achieve if developers insist on literally not questioning anything that they do since even brief introspection would reduce the frequency of git commits. At some point, my microphone will be cut off, possibly by hotel management, but possibly by myself, because microphones are technology and we need to reclaim the stark purity that emerges
security  funny  video  work  culture  computing 
august 2018 by ahall
Pick a Hill Worth Dying On, America
Affirm life, speak truth, defend the vulnerable, call out injustices—and gladly brave the criticisms and the wounds you sustain in doing it, knowing that they are a small price to pay for the nation that could be if you speak—or will be if you do not.
politics  culture  fascism  activism 
july 2018 by ahall
The Mirage of Knowledge: Tom Nichols and “The Death of Expertise”
Narcissism elevates feelings above facts, and it breeds social resentment, a major driver, Nichols believes, of the revolt against expertise. “People cannot accept ever being at a disadvantage in a conversation with anybody else,” he says. “It’s a persistent insecurity that goads people into having to say that they know something even when they don’t. Which didn’t used to be the case—we used to be a much more reasonable culture. You know, everybody doesn’t have to know everything.”
books  Russia  knowledge  culture 
february 2018 by ahall
The Coming Amnesia ("The end of cosmology")
Upon reaching that moment, it will no longer be possible to understand the universe’s history—or perhaps even that it had one—as all evidence of a broader cosmos outside of one’s own galaxy will have forever disappeared. Cosmology itself will be impossible.
space  culture  history 
june 2017 by ahall
Don’t Call Me a Millennial — I’m an Old Millennial -- Science of Us
[Twenge] … highlighted those two events: the financial collapse of 2008 and the rise of smartphones around that same time (the iPhone was introduced in 2007). Their impact can’t be overstated, and because of precisely when they hit, it really might be the case that in 2017 a 33-year-old is more different from a 23-year-old than at any other point in recent history.
history  work-environment  culture 
april 2017 by ahall
Midwestern Nice: A Tribute to a Sincere and Suffocating Way of Life
To be from here is, quite simply, to read a room better than fucking anyone.
culture  introversion 
october 2015 by ahall
Why Twitter’s Dying (And What You Can Learn From It) — Bad Words
"And so the wounds will continue to bleed until they are healed. Not with bandages, nor with salves. But with grace, mercy, love, and meaning."

This really isn't about Twitter; it's about hurt people hurting one another.
culture  web 
october 2015 by ahall
Among the Disrupted
There is nothing soft about the quest for a significant life. And a complacent humanist is a humanist who has not read his books closely, since they teach disquiet and difficulty. In a society rife with theories and practices that flatten and shrink and chill the human subject, the humanist is the dissenter. Never mind the platforms. Our solemn responsibility is for the substance.
culture  humanities  academia 
march 2015 by ahall
Potter: Authenticity, anti-vaxxers, and the rise of neoprimitivism | Ottawa Citizen
The problem is you can only be authentic as long as most of the people around you are not, which has its own built-in radicalizing dynamic.
psychology  science  culture  health 
february 2015 by ahall
Why the rise of cosplay is a bad sign for the U.S. economy - The Week
It's hard to blame them. After all, it's not that these young adults in Japan are resisting becoming productive members of the economy — it's that there just aren't enough opportunities for them. So an increasingly large number of them spend an increasingly large amount of time living in make-believe fantasy worlds, pretending they are someone else, somewhere else. This is a very bad thing for the Japanese economy.
economics  culture 
november 2014 by ahall
Of Gamers, Gates, and Disco Demolition: The Roots of Reactionary Rage
Reactionaries know they can’t win. Their anger stems from their desperation.
sexism  activism  gamergate  culture 
october 2014 by ahall
We Need to Talk About TED
If we really want transformation, we have to slog through the hard stuff (history, economics, philosophy, art, ambiguities, contradictions). Bracketing it off to the side to focus just on technology, or just on innovation, actually prevents transformation.
politics  civilization  culture 
december 2013 by ahall
I feel like a bad activist, what should I do?
and, most importantly, not all activism is talking to people irl or organizing marches or doing political work. sometimes activism is calling out a friend when they say something shitty. sometimes activism is working hard to acknowledge your own privilege and make spaces safer for those without it. sometimes activism is simply EDUCATING yourself, and sharing what you learned with the ether by writing it out on a blog post.
culture  activism  anxiety 
december 2013 by ahall
Russell Brand on revolution: We no longer have the luxury of tradition
We now must live in reality, inner and outer. Consciousness itself must change. My optimism comes entirely from the knowledge that this total social shift is actually the shared responsibility of six billion individuals who ultimately have the same interests. Self-preservation and the survival of the planet. This is a better idea than the sustenance of an elite. The Indian teacher Yogananda said: “It doesn’t matter if a cave has been in darkness for 10,000 years or half an hour, once you light a match it is illuminated.”
economics  bastards  civilization  culture  government  politics 
november 2013 by ahall
The difference between unfairness and injustice, and why it matters
Rather, injustice occurs when humans increase unfairness, either through cowardice or malicious intent. When people are brought down by bad luck, that’s unfair. When they are kept down by social stigma and others’ moral weakness, that’s unjust.
bastards  sociology  culture 
november 2013 by ahall
Fantasy, Collapse, and a sense of history | Studio Tendra
The flip side of always having a non-mythological golden age somewhere in the histories of your world is the fact that you inevitably have societal collapse stitched to its hip. Grand, great, empires don’t go down silently. Even a great kingdom’s slow decline will inevitably be marked by bloodshed and chaos. History’s slate is wiped clean with blood.
the-fall  culture  history  literature 
november 2013 by ahall
The Melancholy of Subculture Society
Internet links small groups, helping dissolve big groups; good, bad?

"If someone really prefers their subculture, which gives them mental ease and physical health, then what right do the rest have to interfere and drag them into the main culture? ... Perhaps we should accept gracefully the inevitable sundering of national cultures, and learn to operate within a truly multicultural world. Each of us with a niche of our own, on respectful (if uncomprehending) terms with all the other subcultures."
culture  sociology  depression 
november 2013 by ahall
Julian Assange: Everyone and no one wants to save the world
To meaningfully interact with the world, you have to either constrain your perception of what it is back to valley proportions by eschewing all global information (most of us here have engaged on just the opposite course which is what has provoked this discussion), losing your sense of perspective, or start seriously engaging with the modern perception of the world.
culture  sociology  philosophy 
november 2013 by ahall
You Never Even Call Me by My Name
That some have difficulty making such a sudden switch, or that millions continue to equate gender and biological sex, cannot be surprising. That I had trouble calling my mother-in-law “Mother” did not make me an uncaring daughter-in-law; that someone brought up as white claims a subjective sense of racial identity does not mollify our outrage at his use of a racial epithet. We all draw the lines at different places, but we do draw them.
language  names  naming  culture  academia 
october 2013 by ahall
John Calhoun's Behavioral Sink
Mice found themselves born into a world that was more crowded every day, and there were far more mice than meaningful social roles. With more and more peers to defend against, males found it difficult and stressful to defend their territory, so they abandoned the activity. Normal social discourse within the mouse community broke down, and with it the ability of mice to form social bonds.
sociology  psychology  dystopia  culture  depression 
july 2013 by ahall
Rowley's Whiskey Forge: The Wu of Maker's Mark
Through it all, that squat bottle with its red wax top remained unchanged. The trope of Maker's as custodian to an unbroken legacy of quality suffuses marketing materials, bottle design, and even the grounds of the distillery itself which in 1980 was declared a National Historic Landmark. Your haircut, your president, and your wife may change, but Maker's would always be Maker's.
booze  culture 
february 2013 by ahall
Back to the old school
"Most of us, says Brown, opt for one of three strategies to cope with this pain. We move away from it, “by secret-keeping, by hiding”; we move toward it, “by people-pleasing”; or we move against it “by using shame and aggression to fight shame and aggression.” Whichever strategy we choose, she says, the odds are good we’ll use that strategy for life, and those feelings of shame will heave to the surface, unbidden and unannounced, in all sorts of unfortunate settings down the road."
psychology  culture 
february 2013 by ahall
The Overadjusted Person
"From being well-adjusted for its own sake, what a short step to becoming overadjusted: the public-relations personality of public smile, private blank...The unadjusted should not be confused with the maladjusted, the psychiatric; nor with the never-adjusted, the merely crotchety; nor with the flaunted grandstand-nonconformity of bohemia's 'misunderstood genius' act. The alternative to these mere caricatures of the Unadjusted Man is a viewpoint more selective in its non-adjusting, a viewpoint whose coin has two reciprocal sides: adjustment to the ages, non-adjustment to the age. This distinction -- between lasting roots and ephemeral surfaces -- the Unadjusted Man is committed to try to make, even though gropingly, fallibly."
psychology  culture 
february 2013 by ahall
The structure of thought and the life and death of "ghosts"
Shennan and Mark Thomas of University College, London1 theorize that the repeated disappearance of cultures is related to declines in population. In other words, the structure of thought behind early neolithic civilization required more minds than existed following droughts or other disasters that reduced population below a level that would sustain it. This might be called the death of ghosts. Those patterns of thought and action that had entered the structure of thought and culture died when there were not human agents to carry them.
psychology  culture  myth  history  anthropology  the-fall 
january 2013 by ahall
The grief problem
...contrary to our long-held assumptions, there are no rules to grief, no stages except our personal journeys and no tasks except those we set ourselves. Normality is not what we return to, it is what we go through.
psychology  culture  grief 
december 2012 by ahall
Ten theses in favor of free download of cultural goods on the Internet (by Enrique G. Gallegos) | Gunnar Wolf
Culture does not need intermedieries that reduce cultural works to goods. Culture is too important to leave it in the hands of salespeople that simplistically equate cultural goods with cakes.
culture  corporatism 
november 2012 by ahall
Ricky Gervais is embarrassingly stupid.
But here’s the shit of it: the real basis of most of the mass violence in human history is something even more ubiquitous than religion. It is political-categorical thinking: the subsuming of humans into groups, the stripping from these groups of their “humanity,” the development of oppositional and “othering” rhetoric, etc. etc. 
religion  science  philosophy  culture 
october 2012 by ahall
Sacred Economics: Money, the Gift and Society in the Age of Transition
"Another thing is what money would look like if instead of bearing interest, it had the negative of interest. If it decayed, just like everything else in the universe decays. Right now, money seems to be an exception. If wealth is in the form of grain or potatoes or iron or anything that you have to keep – the grain decays over time. How are you going to stay rich? You can’t be rich by just having a lot. But money’s not the same. Money doesn’t decay."
economics  culture  futurism 
september 2012 by ahall
Symbols and their meaning
Unintentionally funny. Also somewhat useful.
symbols  culture  funny  religion 
august 2012 by ahall
All Along the Watchtower | Reason to Rock
A wildcat growls from a distance, suggesting the savage, untamed power of nature lurking just beyond the well-ordered lights of the castle. Then we see the two riders approaching. Suddenly, in only four words, the first two verses are connected with the last.
music  culture  bastards 
august 2012 by ahall
What I Believe — E.M. Forster
I believe in aristocracy, though - if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke.
philosophy  culture  religion 
august 2012 by ahall
On the disenchantment of the world
As we discussed in this post, when we entered into the strange and wonderful world of symbolic thought, we entered an enchanted world. Everything seemed to have a real existence and a symbolic existence. The woods had tree nymphs, the brooks had water sprites, the transit of the sun was the journey of a god, people had stories, poems and legends instead of history. The world seemed populated with graceful ghosts and terrifying monsters with an existence beyond the world of our bodies.
psychology  religion  history  culture  myth 
july 2012 by ahall
The significance of plot without conflict
Kishōtenketsu contains no such violence. The events of the first, second and third acts need not harm one another. They can stand separately, with Derrida’s beloved difference intact. Although the fourth act unifies the work, by no means must it do violence to the first three acts; rather, it is free merely to draw a conclusion from their juxtaposition, as Derrida does when he interprets one narrative through the lens of another.
culture  writing  philosophy 
july 2012 by ahall
The crayola-fication of the world: How we gave colors names, and it messed with our brains (part II)
Meanwhile, your right brain is rather oblivious to these categories (until, of course, the left brain bothers to inform it). The conclusion is that language is somehow enhancing your left brain’s ability to discern different colors with different names. Cultural forces alter our perception in ever so subtle a way, by gently tugging our visual leanings in different directions. Whorf was right, but only when it comes to half your brain.
colors  culture  psychology  naming  language 
june 2012 by ahall
This Column Is Not Sponsored By Anyone
Seen in isolation, these commercial encroachments seem innocuous enough. But Sandel sees them as signs of a bad trend: “Over the last three decades,” he states, “we have drifted from having a market economy to becoming a market society. A market economy is a tool — a valuable and effective tool — for organizing productive activity. But a ‘market society’ is a place where everything is up for sale. It is a way of life where market values govern every sphere of life.”
corporatism  culture  philosophy  advertising 
may 2012 by ahall
How we will read: Clay Shirky
I remember, as a child, being bored. I grew up in a particularly boring place and so I was bored pretty frequently. But when the Internet came along it was like, “That’s it for being bored! Thank God! You’re awake at four in the morning? So are thousands of other people!”

It was only later that I realized the value of being bored was actually pretty high. Being bored is a kind of diagnostic for the gap between what you might be interested in and your current environment.
reading  writing  books  culture 
april 2012 by ahall
World building 302: Psychology, beliefs, and other times
Longer term, we can expect a more cautious societal background, with slower change. More dispossessed youth feeling put-upon by their long-lived elders (as is particularly notable in Greece and Italy. Politics may well slowly swing back towards a pattern of state provision of social services by mid-century; the alternative will be serious civil disorder as the surplus labour left high and dry by the receding tide of automated industrial production revolts.
politics  economics  culture  futurism 
march 2012 by ahall
The Web Is a Customer Service Medium (i.e. "Why Wasn't I Consulted?")
Brace yourself for the initial angry wave of criticism: How dare you, I hate it, it's ugly, you're stupid. The Internet runs on knee-jerk reactions. People will test your work against their pet theories: It is not free, and thus has no value; it lacks community features; I can't believe you don't use dotcaps, lampsheets, or pixel scrims; it is not written in Rusp or Erskell; my cat is displeased. The ultimate question lurks beneath these curses: why wasn't I consulted?
web  culture 
october 2011 by ahall

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