Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Next Meeting -- December 8

Hello Philosophy Phans --

We will be back at the Eastside Branch of the Lexington Public Library, 9:45am-11:45am.

Our topic will be:

  • The Seasons
  • Time
  • Change
  • Cycles

Evolution V -- Change of Politics

Nobody asked but …
dictionary defines “politics” as
1a the art or science of government
b the art or science concerned with guiding or influencing governmental policy
c the art or science concerned with winning and holding control over a government

2political actions, practices, or policies

3a political affairs or business; especially competition between competing interest groups or individuals for power and leadership (as in a government)
b political life especially as a principal activity or profession
c political activities characterized by artful and often dishonest practices

4the political opinions or sympathies of a person

5a the total complex of relations between people living in society
b relations or conduct in a particular area of experience especially as seen or dealt with from a political point of view

A very antiseptic view, eh?  The definition only mentions dishonesty once, power once, and control once.  Yet politics today is dominated by dishonesty about power and control.  It is also dominated by hypocritical promises.  Politics must be transposed so that its emphasis is on honesty, natural order, and natural self control by individuals.  Politics should observe human nature, not plan it.

 — Kilgore Forelle

Evolution IV -- Elevation of Reason

Nobody asked but ...

The powers of reason that the species of human has are undoubtedly rudimentary.  We are, as far as we know, the first recorded species to be endowed with the ability to deal with symbols and logic.
We should be able to solve most problems, particularly those arising through war, poverty, irrationality, and malfeasance.  But the scroll of history shows the contrary.  We have little to boast of  in any of these areas.  So far, human behavior is dominated by instincts and emotions.

Obviously, a positive assessment of our evolutionary grade by virtue of rationality would require much more reasonable action and far less behavior motivated by baser instincts.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Evolution III -- End to Poverty

Nobody asked but ...

I have been addressing conditions that would accrue when humans could be judged, as a species, to have evolved successfully.  Catch up here and here.

We cannot say that the species is a positive contribution to evolution as long as poverty exists on a substantial scale.  The scale will be substantial as long as we have institutionalized slavery, human trafficking, exploitation, famine, and drought.

A particular example was when, during the Potato Famine years, the British farmed and exported table delicacies from Ireland while many natives were eating grass, thus perishing.

Another example would be the exploits of Belgium's King Leopold II of the African territory of the Congo.

 -- Kilgore Forelle

Evolution II -- End of War

Nobody asked but ...

Yesterday I wrote about four signs that would appear if the human species may be evolving in a positive way.

Today, I will expand on the first, that there would be a substantial end to war.  I am not a seer, and I do not pretend to know how this would be effected, but I would guess at these:
  • War is the principle failure of the human species
  • If man cannot bring sufficient reason to end global war, we will not be fit to survive
  • We are the only species to make war for abstract reasons
  • This is a fatal flaw
  • We must evolve beyond tribalism and nationalism to stop symbolic war
  • States will fail because they evolve toward complexity in a haphazard way
  • A species on the other hand must achieve complexity in a rational way to be fit for survival.
 -- Kilgore Forelle

Evolution I -- The Inquiry

Nobody asked but …

What would be counted as successes in the evolution of humans?  I have often observed that I regard the human species as a failed experiment in creatures with rational tools.  I believe there will be a fork for the better in some future iteration.

When I restated this belief in our philosophy discussion group today, a scientist asked what would I consider to be a success?  Fair enough!

At a procedural level, I would look for a smooth handoff from this species to the next one(s).  No extinction.

In terms of outcomes, I would expect:

  • A substantial end of war
  • A substantial end to poverty
  • An elevation of reason
  • A transposition of politics

— Kilgore Forelle

Friday, December 1, 2017

Garrison Keillor

Don't Erase Garrison Keillor

A Poem a Day

From “A Poem a Day” (anthology of poems)

Editor Karen McCosker (Westfield Maine) in her Foreword makes these remarks after telling the reader about her father who made a trip to visit her in Athens Greece even though he hated to fly, and loathed being away from his business and hometown where he knew everyone and everyone recognized him. They were visiting the Acropolis on a hot, windless day amid a crowd of other tourists- she feared her father

“…might lose the psychological surefootedness that being in his own terrain gave him, want to turn back, go home” When suddenly he began to recite lines from a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay

…..Euclid alone/Has looked on Beauty bare. Fortunate they/Who, though once only and then but far away/Have heard her massive sandal set on stone…..

She goes on to write

“Recalling what he knew oriented my father.  The poem gave him breathing space in the crowd and time to recover from the anxiety of feeling off balance. Hearing the words he had memorized helped him make his way because they suggested an association between the strange place and the familiar poem, gathering up the distance between Athens and his upstate New York home.”


“I hadn’t realized until that morning in Athens how a single poem, even a few lines learned by heart can transform the person who needs to hear those words at a particular time; how they can make what otherwise might be abandoned possible”

“Lately, at 3am. My insomnia in overdrive and a long road ahead, I call on poetry for the most dire, yet commonest of reasons: to convince me I am not alone, that there have been other victims of such extended after hours introspection, that someone somewhere is also trying to make sense of a life”.

Given the Present times in the USA (2017) and indeed globally here is a poem you might enjoy -after reading guess when it was written! (answer at the bottom of the page)

On the Times

Now is England all in fight;/Much people of conscience light;/ Many knights and little of might;/Many laws and little right;/Many acts of parliament/And few kept with true intent;/Little charity and desire to please/Many a veteran pennyless;/And many a wonderful deception/By unprudent and ill advice;/Great show and small wages;/many gentlemen and few pages (servants);/Wide gowns and large sleeves;/ prosperity and flagrant thieves;/Many boast about their clothes,/But well I know they are not short of oaths (curses)

NB. I have adjusted the some of the spelling


*The poem (Anonymous) was written circa 1450 AD just after the end of the Hundred Years War and just before the beginning of the Wars of the Roses