Spoiler alert: because it’s pernicious.

The problem with “The News”, as a window onto Reality, is that it isn’t a window at all — it’s an interpretation. And as with all interpretations of Reality, The News is filtered through something of a “fundamental worldview,” an implicit — if not explicit — metaphysic. The facts, it’s true, are always filtered (if not their content, their context). Now if your own, embodied metaphysic happens to align with the default metaphysic of The News, the way the world is presented —by traditional media — will roughly mirror your sense of the way the world is. Cats get stuck…


But why people think it does anyway, but also why it does suck a little bit and how it might one day suck less.

!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

There’s a general suspicion towards philosophy that pervades the present moment. A sense that there’s really nothing there, that the whole philosophical enterprise is but a raft of smoke and mirrors. A rort. As someone who, on certain occasions, identifies as a philosopher — indeed as someone who views philosophy as utterly central to the entire human project — I find this suspicion, naturally, rather curious. Disconcerting, even. From whence, I wonder, did it came? And how is it possible, I ask, that there could be such a divergence between my own sense of philosophy’s utter essentialness, its individual and…


Or swimming against the current while having coral lobbed at you.

Ideals are great. Until you have them. Without ideals, you are swimming with the current along with the rest of them — being swept along by the caprices of the ocean to nowhere in particular. You will have friends, comrades, fellow fish in the sea. You won’t have a sense of purpose, to be sure, but fortunately — for you — your lack of introspection will render that entirely unnecessary. Your ignorance is your bliss, and you don’t even know it. You simply go with the flow.

The idealist, on the other hand, almost invariably finds themselves swimming against the…


In search of a positive conception.

It’s a curious fact of our existence that even the most conspicuous of concepts are, at bottom, utter mysteries. Space. Time. Life. Reality. Matter. Mind. Meaning. Truth. These things we take for granted — as brute facts of existence — are windows onto the Mystery. That’s why they’re mysterious — because this is all a Mystery. Thus every door in the palace of Reality ultimately opens onto the same cosmic void. But just because everything is mysterious, at some level of analysis, doesn’t mean things aren’t amenable to understanding at all — that they’re mysterious all the way down.

Consider…


In praise of not working like a fool.

Of all the ideologies that pervade the present moment, the ideology of “hard work” — the “grind” — is among the most pathological. Not because it’s the most perverse, on its face, but because it’s so pernicious. It takes what is, on some level, a bona fide virtue — that is, doing what needs to be done — and twists into something psychotic: doing as much of anything — for it really doesn’t matter so long as it’s something, so long as you can tell people you did it and how hard it was — as humanly possible. It’s a…


The existential pains and pleasures.

There will come a day in some of your lives, I hope, when you believe in yourself and others don’t. At least not to the same extent. I say this not because I wish for you the second bit — to be sure, I wish you all the belief — but rather because it means that you will, some day (if not already), believe in yourself. And that’s a most beautiful thing. But it will also hurt; that’s what I’m here to tell you about.

First I should define what I mean by self-belief. When I refer to self-belief, I’m…


On the subtle radicalism of materialism.

As sophisticated, modern homo sapiens, we take it for granted that things are made of stuff — physical stuff, to be precise. In fact, we largely take it for granted that all stuff — including the stuff that makes us, us — is physical stuff. As in, there is no other stuffs, only physical stuffs! And all this physical stuff obeys, of course, the laws of physics — which are themselves physical, of course, because, well, again, that’s all there is! It’s physical stuffs all the way down.

This view of the world — and its stuffs — is known…


Getting meta for better.

Got cave?

Philosophy has conventionally been framed in terms of the ‘pursuit of Knowledge’ (or just knowledge, depending on one’s epistemology). Plato — the ancient Greek dude — had a story about a cave that captures this view of things. You might’ve even heard of it. Something about how ignorance is akin to living chained in the darkness of the underground, taking shadows for ultimate Reality, whereas Knowledge is the light of the world above — Reality for real. It’s, like, an allegory, right. And the moral of it is that the philosopher — should they have their business straight — ought…


The conjectured existential pleasures of being a tile. As in, like, metaphorically.

How would our lives differ, if at all, if instead of viewing them, as we tend to, in the most grandiose, conceited terms imaginable — as great journeys, heroic adventures, singularly ultimate missions— we viewed them in context, pictured them for what they really are: single tiles of civilisation. What if instead of conceiving of our lives as an attempt to build, from scratch, the ultimate building — replete with all the finest finish — we thought of them in single-tile terms, so to speak. A single life as a single tile, with single tile type business. Against such framing…


On what things could maybe possibly be

Imagine a world wherein all needless human suffering had been eradicated. Not that silver-lining-there-were-lessons-learned-the-glass-is-half-full-I’m-ultimately-glad-I-went-through-it kinda suffering but rather the well-that-just-sucked-and-for-no-reason-now-I-have-herpes sort. A world wherein nature and technology had been harmonised, brought into accordance with the Tao of things. A world wherein health was the default state, not some elusive mirage beyond the horizon of sickness. A world wherein creativity and intelligence reigned supreme, wherein love and compassion prevailed always. A world wherein the mystery of existence was embraced, suffused through all things. A world wherein we all got along, wherein we’d learnt to collaborate, to amplify one another’s unique potentiality…

Nathan McNiece

@fair

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