- 1 Dialectical Thesis: Social Media destroys and enhances our relationship [[Future]]
- Social media amplifies
- Control it instead of dismissing it
- Psychologists will be trained in [[Social Media Management]]
- 2 Social Media enhances and destroys our knowledge
- 3 Social Media intensifies our connection to the world and separates us from it
- Social media supports the shift from the physical into a psychological life-form
- Our environment becomes more and more human and less natural, but this human environment becomes another form of nature
- Everyone lives with and against something as his species and as the individual
- humans make a new nature
- Social Media is a glimpse of the future life in a virtual world where
- Social Media is about a self-infusion with meaning
- Our informational exchange was limited to our fingers and thumbs, on social media it is enhanced by click-functions that make memes, pictures and videos sharable.
- The flow of information increases.
- Social media is a lot of noise
- Social Media can let us connect to Being but also separates us from Being
- Social Media is a task to learn stoic kynism, it means to transform anger into bitter irony. But the problem is this might be only a form of sublime anger.
As we can observe in China, New Zealand, Vietnam or Australia, Covid-19 is a disease that could be quickly contained with the correct individual actions and disease prevention measures. The outbreak of Covid-19 must therefore more so related to our current form of social living and communication of Covid-19 as I discussed in my last article. Covid-19 is therefore a phenomenon relative to our form of communication and society. In this article, I discuss the relativity of Corona that is related to our binary constitution of society and media communication:
- 1. Thesis: Corona is relative.
Explanation: Corona locates right between being a very dangerous disease and a harmless cough (also relative to specific individuals). Both positions, independent from which one is true, are defended with selective evidence and relate to the new complexity that social media mass communication has initiated.
- In the New England Journal of Medicine, Fauci writes on the risk of Covid-19: “This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.” In other words, the risk should not be exaggerated.
- The ambiguity of Covid-19, however, does not substantiate the claim that it is part of our normal life-risk (the chance of death is 1 to 1000). The chance of dying in a car crash, for example, is much lower (in most states lower than 1 to 10000 (Source: Thrillist.com)
- Ambiguity-intolerance reveals itself as neglecting the relativist nature of knowledge. Capitalists and anti-capitalists, cultural optimists and pessimists, progress-deniers and progress-proponents utilize their science to emphasize what they perceive as clear answers. In addition, it seems that viral media only allow for binary communication.
- As a result, the discussions center around rather useless binary questions of whether we should wear masks or whether Bill Gates is the head of a vaccination conspiracy. Of course, any possibility of limiting the outbreak should be seriously considered. However, the mask question was politicized as a marker of political difference. In Republican terms, it stands for the freedom to die and for the absence of evidence. In other words, it stands for Democratic silliness. In Democratic terms, it stands for the cruelty and absence of empathy, as well as it stands for the denial of scientific evidence. In the words of a Democrat, Republican are cold-hearted and silly. In this climate, Democrats tend to perceive themselves to be the returning Jedi to slay the Emperor and his Sith-lords.
- The thesis of the excellent podcast “You are not so smart” is that anything can be politicized. The podcast therefore depicts the current discussion as a result of tribal psychology. According to the podcast, the discussion became a question of “us versus them” which is particularly part of the American psychology. The podcast also argues that the question of masks became a marker for distinguishing Democrats from Republicans. It is not a matter of science, but a matter of political sympathies (Note on Masks and Evidence).
In comparison and far from the dilemma of political debate, China has established suitable living conditions already at the beginning of June. In September, it began opening its universities without any significant events. Given the freedom, I currently enjoy in China, it is not a political question but simple pragmatism.
Regarding the mask-aspect, many people argue that there is no evidence for there effectiveness. ZEITONLINE has compiled an interesting list that might counter this claim:
Health Affairs__: Lyu & Wehby, 2020
Cochrane__: Jefferson et al., 2011
[Lancet: Chu et al., 2020 (https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(20)31142-9.pdf)
Proceedings__: Stutt et al., 2020
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene__: Leffler et al., 2020
Science__: Prather et al., 2020).
With the rise of GPT-3, a new program that can produce human-like texts, one of the major questions is whether Blockchain-technology can built an immunesystem to control fabricated information: https://www.leewayhertz.com/blockchain-fake-news/
A further valuable link: https://medium.com/swlh/gpt-3-and-in-the-beginning-was-the-word-part-1-2-38e67633c315
In the beginning was the word…
- In 2008, 1 month before the election, Obama beat Apple as the Marketer of the year: “Obama replaces last year’s winner, the video game system Nintendo”
- Obama’s social achievement was celebrated: “It’s the f***in’ Web 2.0 thing,”
- The Grand Old Party was, at that point, not yet organized on social media, so that Obama could “across multiple media platforms … drive a potent, single-minded design [while the campaign was] close to a level of design strategy from a great brand like Nike or Target.”
- Also the numbers are interesting: “Obama, who recently released his final campaign fundraising report, raised $745 million during the course of his campaign—more than double the amount raised by McCain. Obama’s fundraising total easily eclipsed the combined total of the 2004 presidential candidates, George Bush and John Kerry, who together generated $653 million. In the last five weeks before the general election, Obama broke his own personal record, culling in another $104 million. His campaign was so prolific that he has been left with $30 million in the bank, which he can stockpile for 2012.”
- Given these numbers, similar amounts granted to the Republican party would probably further nourish the myth of them being Sith Lords or reptilians. It might also be remarkable that Obama won also against the Lizard from Geico.
- Source: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2008/12/obad-d06.html
This is a Draft (Ideas are welcome)
To shipwrecked and divers ,
The sirens of education sang their song luring the poor sailors into their arms. With feverish dreams, they crushed their ships on the rocks of an educational wasteland. Captured by the lullaby of self-improvement, they reduced their whole life to a few remarks in a CV: a bachelor degree in a fringe subjects. Accumulating student debt, their educational odyssey has no end.
Fact is, the strength of knowledge often counts only on the island of the lost. Their knowledge has rarely power outside of an outraged twitter community. Knowledge like beauty hypnotizes the middle-class. Knowledge appears as a gate to further dreams.
Now, in the wasteland of the sweet promise, the enchanting sirens spread their visions, give advice of how to proportionate brain muscles and how to expand the aesthetical self-imprisoned spirit. Mind-builders are left with their self-built mind-maze.
What is its secret purpose of education?
The modern Odysseus travels on an extended seminar through our educational system. Tied to his boat, while his sailors are working, he perceives the song of education. Well-informed that its music is seductive, he still cannot escape. He listens for nearly 20 years until the sweet and promising hymn of education fades. Once he wakes up from every man’s dream, once he sees the lost sailors on the shores of an educational society behind, he is is still carried unwillingly in an uncanny and uncertain future. He has chained himself to the self-murdering project of education that only the middle-class is obliged to.
Yet, the average citizen who can escape the island of dreams will be left with this nostalgia for the sea. They still want to deep-dive in the unbound ocean, they want to unlock their full potential, awaken the giant in themselves or finally habituate success-patterns. It would be a crime to themselves to be pessimistic and desperate.
Self-help Industry Information
And you, shipwrecked diver? Too long, you have been a good listener and passive learner following the enchanting promise of the sirens. These sweet songs that the siren-professors sing from their tenure-track hill. Now, you want to look behind the curtain of their social theater, you search for their hidden curriculum and their secret, unconscious will.
Yet, your critical spirit has grown and after 20 years of education, conspiracy theories and educational snake-water won’t do it for you anymore. Now, you look into the abyss of the ocean and everyday that water stares back into you:
“Estimates place the size of the deep web at between 96% and 99% of the internet.”
“Accessing the Deep Web requires specialized knowledge and tools, as well as an anonymity network to guarantee privacy protection for users. Tor is an example of such a vehicle.”
Passages cited from the internet
You invest in bitcoin, dogecoins, altcoins and create the jobs of the future. Maybe, you wanted to find this solid core of golden motivation amidst a current self-improvement-depletion. You are tired from news cycles around the everyday apocalypse. Yet, far away from drone wars, mass-incarcerations, and cultural extermination, from presidents and their droning ego-project, far away from sickness and torment of education, you, the every man lives, in the moderate torture wheel of a 9 to 5 economy. Though after your work, you are condemned to prepare for an entrepreneurial escape, there is still too much energy left to sleep and dream.
You, the other, has internalized the promise of education, which means that you have to kill yourself. You cannot stop with this project of turning yourself against yourself. The remaining cultural forces redirect your inborn rage towards your incomplete nature. You hate that the genetic lottery has not chosen a genius brain for you. Nature, the unfair distributor of talents, shall be, as education has assured, conquered by your culture that is also you. The hidden curriculum you have internalized so far can be summarized:
You cannot remain yourself.
You must become an identity.
You have to become better.
You must become a learned man*.
You cannot be your current imperfect identity.
You must kill your former self.
As a result, you have sworn an oath for life-long-learning. You are the dead man walking. You learned to be a shell, an empty cell of death, something that becomes and never is. You are a Westernized buddhist, a form without stable content .
Now, you are ready for employing your trained critical spirit and discover your personal conspiracy theory in the deep web.
This was the first step.
2. Step: Realize the Man-Manipulation of all Surroundings
There are only a few resorts of nature left. Most of your surrounding were already touched and altered by human hands. “One forgets that there are environments which do not respond to the flick of a switch or the twist of a dial, and which have their own rhythms and orders of existence.” Born as a clean slate, as a tabula rasa, we have forgotten that Being lurks behind the shadows of these beings.
Mountains correct this amnesia. By speaking of greater forces than we can possibly invoke, and by confronting us with greater spans of time than we can possibly envisage, mountains refute our excessive trust in the man-made.”
― Robert MacFarlane, Mountains of the Mind: Adventures in Reaching the Summit
The waves of flesh flush through a normal day. Most of the time, you attempt to elegantly surf on the “sea of troubles”. You follow the sight of Google’s eye once you enter the internet. Now you might decide to dive.
Be aware: any new idea might be a Point of No Return exposing you to an “ascension curse” that will prevent you from an unaltered return. Be brave because what can be worse than the trauma of being born chained to a promise of social identity? More and more you will say “no more; and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to. To sleep, perchance to dream […] for in that sleep of death what dreams may come”. You want to find this American dreamlike state of being. Yet, the abyss of your American dreams may effect you as follows (Made from Abyss):
1. Light dizziness akin to Decompression Sickness.”
Contextual web: pages with content varying for different access contexts.
2. – Heavy nausea, numbness of limbs, headaches.
Dynamic content: dynamic pages, which are returned in response to a submitted query or accessed only through a form, especially if open-domain input elements (such as text fields) are used; such fields are hard to navigate without domain knowledge.
3. – Loss of balance, visual and auditory hallucinations in addition to the above effects.
Limited access content: sites that limit access to their pages in a technical way (e.g., using the Robots Exclusion Standard or CAPTCHAs, or no-store directive, which prohibit search engines from browsing them and creating cached copies).
4. – Whole-body pain, bleeding from every orifice.
Non-HTML/text content: textual content encoded in multimedia (image or video) files or specific file formats not handled by search engines.
Private web: sites that require registration and login (password-protected resources).
5. – Loss of all sensation, increased likelihood of self-harm.
Software: certain content is intentionally hidden from the regular Internet, accessible only with special software, such as Tor, I2P, or other darknet software. For example, Tor allows users to access websites using the .onion server address anonymously, hiding their IP address.
6. – Loss of Humanity, very possibly death.
Unlinked content: pages which are not linked to by other pages, which may prevent web crawling programs from accessing the content. This content is referred to as pages without backlinks (also known as inlinks). Also, search engines do not always detect all backlinks from searched web pages.
7. – Certain death (alledgedly).
Web archives: Web archival services such as the Wayback Machine enable users to see archived versions of web pages across time, including websites which have become inaccessible, and are not indexed by search engines such as Google. The Wayback Machine may be called a program for viewing the deep web, as web archives that are not from the present cannot be indexed, as past versions of websites are impossible to view through a search. All websites are updated at some point, thats why web archives are considered Deep Web content.Quotes from “Made in Abyss”
Third, kill yourself again:
Traveler, you want to dive, dream and die? Too often you assume that death is waiting at the end of this tunnel of wakeness, yet, in fact, he, the grim reaper, is a traveler on your side. While your eyes are open, your soul, made from the same fabric as death, sleeps. You find yourself imprisoned in an ocean of light, a vastness of experiences, a lust for images, a joy of taste that is crossed with a hunger for dreams, the longing of wills, the desires of many beasts in you, a tormenting search for honor and a excruciating quest of pain. All these forces tear on the surfaces of your existence, the absence of goods penetrates like needles. As long as you seek out of desire, you are not yourself. Your body, this thin layer of ice, holds in it all these feelings, centers them around you, and burns them into your memory. What more could you be than this body-like thing?
But there is this thought that penetrates yourself, a glimpse promising a way to your self. A hope offered from the box of the pandora that you opened as your body. You let yourself down on the rope of questions. Rappelling down you risk to loose your grip and loose yourself in the ocean of vast nothingness you are. It is you, you who is speaking to yourself.
Fourth, realize who is speaking with you
“[A text is composed from] more than four hundred smaller [texts] and [fragments]. It extends several thousand [meanings] in all directions. The [core lies] close to the mouth of a river. […] The ruler of this country is not permanent. When disasters result from unusual phenomena, they [inhabitants] unceremoniously replace him, installing a virtuous man as king, and release the old king, who does not dare show resentment. […] “— Gan Ying, prospective Chinese ambassador to Romenote , c. 97 A.D., providing a fanciful account based on stories from Parthian sailors.
Traveller, the ruler of this text is you. The eyes that slide through the lines and a vivid brain that projects an inner wall of images into the nothing of existence. All of this is you. The voice that sounds in your inner ear is you and the meaning that it invokes in you comes from whatever there is.
Dear traveler, evolution has climbed a mountain for you. It delivered you to the top where the tides of identity nag on your appearance. With each second of reading further you become older and you lose your grip on life. Every second is a chance to die. Yet, what is this second worth considering that millions of individuals died for the sake of our arrival in this corner of the internet. The causal chain of beings and animals has become you. Under the darkness of this fleshy ocean wave of creatures, you will find yourself, a meaningless abyss that stares into people as it stares in itself. You the abyss, welcomes you as you stare through reflection into yourself. If you stare long enough into yourself, an abyss will stare back.
Something in me writes to you that has just become you and that has always been you. Wherever you go, there is empty body following your thoughts, it attempts to catch you. Like the shadow follows your body, your body follows you. Wherever there is silence, you will be chased by this voice. It will talk to you. While 30,000 sensations flood your body each second, while some light hits your eyes, some air touches your skin, some clothes pressure your body, you just simply are. While millions of organisms in your body secure your meaninglessness, while millions of processes have worked out so that you could live, you got lost in this dark corner of the internet.
Isn’t it a truth of the internet that where ever its users go, they still find only themselves, a body that somehow produces them? The internet is another form of reflecting your ego back to yourself through your body. How pleasant would it be that if we lift the veil of flesh, if we pull the curtain of our organic matter aside and looked into our own soul’s eye?
The truth of human nature is that we want to find ourselves in this lonely dessert of mediated objects. We produce ourselves by projecting inner selves to the outside so that we find them in ourselves. We create ourselves in the stone, on paper, on screen and find only ourselves again and again. The woke negate everything.
Isn’t the only confirmed fact that when we meet people we mainly find ourselves in the other. Isn’t the other only another form of loneliness. How can two lonely people add to each other.
All of this is the attitude of a genuine writer that he wants to truly live in the imagination of somebody else so that the other finds him in himself, and him or herself in me.
So what is this blog about? It was all about you.’
2020 was, as meme-culture ironically metaphorized, an apocalyptic seizure. Of course, compared with the centuries of slaughter and plagues preceding it, this is obviously a dramatization. Yet, it hints at a substantial problem: emerging from a great tectonic shift in the geography of our media, 2020 revealed how Social Media Warriors have seized the means of crises production, finally mastered the “art of exaggeration” (Sloterdijk) and began producing minor earthquakes shaking its social media landscape (including a social media hype in Gamestop and Dogecoin).
Meme-Culture and Covid-19
- The democratic occupation of society’s communication hubs has overloaded the power-circuits of our knowledge distributers. Yet, with the new free market overrun by opinionators, the major question became how to define knowledge. Twittrepeneurs and podcasters have destroyed the classic transmitters that once infused knowledge into the social body. Moreover, they have partly replaced knowledge of experience with self-referential knowledge–knowledge that grounds itself by being cited often enough.
- The new power energized the power-play of politics. The fourth pillar of the state is now distorted by an anonymous lump of quasi-professional, well connected opinionators interested in disruption for social media attention. Pseudo-knowledge-production is power. It’s internal motivator is mere growth.
- Though Obama’s presidency changed little, it stood at the forefront of this fundamental change (in 2008, before he was elected president, Obama was honored as the advertiser of the year, beating apple, and following the Nintendo Video Game System; see Note on Obama). It began with Obama’s social media voters’ acquisition, until Trump allegedly built the social media “bomb”.
- Of course, this factoid of Trump benefiting from Cambridge Analytica was designed by similar rules of exaggeration. Yet, while most twittrepeneurs hope to be an epi-center of social media earthquakes to promote their version of identity, Trumps’ unshakable ego has become the earthquake weapon in a land of free and cheaply transmittable speech. Thus, after 4 years, 2020 was the season’s finale in a new yet powerful series called A Social Media Democracy. Yet, this finale was not, as many assume, a live-lesson about immune-systems in the bodies of the living individuals. More so it was a seminar on dysfunctional immune systems. It was about a democratic body infected through social media outlets by memes.
- It was not Obama who changed the world, but it was the invention of the smartphone in 2008. On the one hand, it flattened the competitive ground for countries without a strong industrial sector by reducing investment-costs. New population could suddenly participate in the new forms of virtual goods production for comparatively cheap costs. The high technological density of smartphones (containing alarm-clocks, calculators, video-recorders, TVs etc) enabled anyone to participate in the modern economy with a single device. China’s wealth is grounded by the of 1.3 billion people suddenly being connected to the world through such a device.
- On the other hand, an idea could now spread like a virus from any corner of the world. Coinciding with the production of attention-drugs (the infinite news-scroll-screen), memes became a lucrative market for viral opinionators and their shit-storm-marketeering. As excrements were often a source of disease and infections in previous centuries, and since the infrastructure of social media was not built for all the outcomes that humans naturally produce, memes were the new viruses spreading. A climate change towards viral shit-storms is the newest political ingredient. Trump has mastered that game.
- Maybe, the formation of the flat-earth movement was a subtle warning sign, like a cough or a runny nose. Maybe, it was a hint we needed some immunity boosters; that we were in need of establishing some functional immunity infra-structure. While before theories of BigFoot and Ufos only gained distribution by inefficient channels, the addictiveness of social media in everyone’s hands increased their R-value dramatically. The smartphone is a mass-tool for mass-mezmorizing and recruiting soft-brained soldiers. Most of their spreaded viruses are tolerable (one just has to think of the BTS-Army, Justin Bieber, Gangnam-Style), yet, it was only a matter of time until a virus would occur that would test our democratic body and turn into a significant disease. Who would have thought that the result of this climate change could be a real virus?
- A virus is an empty form that only utilizes the mechanisms of another body. The virus itself has no purpose. In this sense, successful opinionators like viruses produce memes that utilize the means of another system. They have no clear intention. Their production becomes self-referential, only producing what is given within their systems. An opinionator like a virus spreads a form and not content or better said the form is its content.
- In the past, the Chinese system unified its concert of social media voices, while the Western democracies failed to respond with a functional immune system. Here, the freedom of bullshit-production is the ideal ground for viruses to flourish.
- Blind reproduction precedes, ideology follows (Note on GPT-3 and blockchain-technology to control fake-news). 2020 was therefore not the year of the Corona-virus, rather it was the year in which a democracy paralyzed itself. The significance of Corona lies in its visualization of underlying democratic problems. With regard to the effective management of a life-threatening disease, it makes Eastern and Western democracies comparable and initiates a new competition with regard to knowledge and pseudo-knowledge.
I have compiled 10 Thesis on the Corona-Virus:
In this newsletter-series I report three thoughts, ideas, stories or events that have happened in the recent 2 weeks. I will talk about my philosophy, my writing, my teaching and my photography. I want to keep my friends updated on what is going on in my life and hope that some people will help me and give me more insights and expand my thoughts.
For weeks now, we wanted to start a Weibo-Account (chinesisches Twitter). Since I am, however, a sloth, we only got more and more models but nothing else going.
At least, I posted some of these pictures on one of my Instagram channels. I learned that I have to focus on objects and storytelling.
Three elements that I taught in my linguistics classes:
Story-telling is a central part of the English language and a human expression. One of the most impressive examples of an effective story comes from Hemingway:
“For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never worn”
Six-word-stories became on own art (http://www.sixwordstories.net) and so I asked my students to produce stories themselves. One student found this very simple one:
Strangers, Friends, Best Friends, Lovers, Strangers.
Simple, but a good story. Yet, is it plagarized? The story can be found multiple times on the internet. Nevertheless, the question will be what we will consider as plagiarism in the future when AI will mass-produce all kinds of high quality texts.
2.2 GPT-3 – A New AI that Revolutionizes Text Production
In our class, we discussed GPT-3, a new astonishing program that can produce human-like articles. For linguistic majors, it is important to deal with such future technologies, especially since the quality of GPT-3 will question our core-abilities regarding language-use. Unfortunately for most average students, the AI writes better essays than them.
For our class, students had therefore to evaluate the quality of an AI-generated text without knowing that it was written by GPT-3. Here you can find the text examples:
Students evaluated the quality of the stories and essays as excellent. Given the current quality of AI-generated texts and considering the fact that AI will not develop backwards, it is clear that the internet will soon be flooded with marketing texts that will have a very high and entertaining level. Students will have to define their linguistic qualifications with regard to these inventions.
2.3. Sales Language
AI will support sales tasks in the future. In order to prepare students for such tasks, I used clips from Jordan Belfort. We watched the famous “sell-me-this-pen” scene from Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wallstreet”:
We also used an interview, in which Belfort explains how you actually sell a pen:
I then copied ridiculous products from the internet that students had to sell to me. Here are some examples.
As their “customer” I noticed how much customer-focused approaches impacted me. Many students attempted to sell their product by emphasizing further and further qualities, which I was quite uninterested in. Students who, however, attempted to sell their product to me while inquiring me were particular successful. I learned that customer orientation might be most important.
3. Three Ideas
In this section, I would like to present three ideas that crossed my mind and which are worth to be thought out on a deeper level at some point. Maybe someone wants to pick them up and develop them further.
3.1 Copyright Issues and Knowledge
Medlife-Crisis introduces the platform Sci-Hub, which is a great way to break through the paywall for non-academics and to gain free knowledge that would be reserved otherwise to members of top-universities. Of course, this platform is illegal. Thus, it is impressive that the founder of this platform sustains all attempts of suing her out of the market and is even willing to give interviews. She is, indeed, an impressive woman to whom knowledge is more important than money.
In general, the channel Medlife Crisis gives interesting ironic insights into the daily life of a sarcastic, dry-humored cardiologist.
3.2 Learning as Meditation
- In current societies, learning has become a measure of success and we are exposed to a constant pressure of extensive self-transformation. The new economy focuses on our creative resources and thus it increased in exploiting our humanity. But not only as a “creative”, but also as a costumer, the self is mined for its attention and its transformability. Foucault called us therefore docile bodies, while the produced soul becomes the prison of the body.
- As a consequence, learning serves these external purposes of transforming us into costumers and creatives. Learning does not help to develop into who we are, but into who we have to be in terms of an attention economy.
- We got trapped in a self-improvement mill.
- Yet, If everybody stands on his toes nobody sees more. We do not cooperate, we compete. Learning and intelligence have become means in order to oppress less gifted and less diligent individuals.
3.3 Focusing on Intrinsic Motivation
- The current society pushes us to learn for for societal success, an external factor. We should not learn for external purposes since learning is our nature. There are some studies from Westpoint on internal and external motivation (One type of motivation may be key to success) that prove this point. 1300 young men and women enter the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, while only about 1000 of them graduate. Candidates who had an internal focus, succeeded 20% more likely. Nevertheless, also mixed motivations had a lesser chance for success.
Adam Grant concludes
The study “reveals that intrinsic motivation is powerful, but it is also fragile,” says Adam Grant, a psychologist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Even when West Point cadets found their work interesting and meaningful, if they were also strongly motivated by extrinsic rewards,” such as a good salary or the respect of their peers, “they were less likely to complete their studies, continue their service, and get promoted early.” This creates a paradox for ambitious people. If achieving a goal strikes you as having many benefits beyond the goal itself, but you care too much about those added benefits, you are more likely to fail.
The studies above indicate learning should not be outcome-oriented but seen as a positive way of living. Maybe, in this way learning is about experiences and the skill to become somebody in relation to others. It is about experience something as an external truth to blind other outer influences and to solely concentrate on one aspect. It might reduce might-wandering and make us thus happier. Learning should be like a meditation:
An interesting recommendation on this aspect is Waitzkin: The Art of Learning. In the following, you can find a good summary of his book.
Three Questions for Summary
- What can learning be in a time it has been utilized economically, and has become the constant pressure for individuals to change themselves?
- How to adress the future of writing with GPT-3 at the horizon?
- How to effectively develop my photography and social media accounts?
How Relativism supports Dirty Politics?
If there is one thing we’ve learjedin the Trump years, it’s that many people who would have thought themselves relativists turn out to have some pretty solid convictions.Stephen Krogh
[Trevor Noah] promised to go beyond mining comedy out of candidates eating corn dogs at state fairs. But that doesn’t mean the ultimate goal isn’t to entertain viewers, particularly in a time when news and parodies of news seem to be blending together. “I’m not trying to create a straight-up news show.”Pointer
For some, it might be surprising that researchers saw the origins of the term fake news represented by the Daily Show. In the meantime, the term ‘fake news’ is attributed to the political opponent who is blamed for the destruction of our political discourses and for the most part follows an evil intent. The origins story of the term, however, reveals that the problem lies deeper and is tied to the structure of the media used on both sides:
The distinction … lies in the characteristics of the modern information age, where almost everyone enjoys online access and is able to generate and spread content… the rise of “fake news” …[is]… a result of the rise of the internet as a source of information and the ability for anyone to post content online to reach an audience.”Terry Lee
Since on both sides of politics propaganda has its established formats, it must be right to baptize this age as the post-truth-era. Truth becomes a matter of presenting alternative facts or as Rorty has described it quite unironically: “Truth is what your contemporaries let you get away with.” With regard to this cynical premise, relativism seems to support the counterfactual fabrication of factoids in the dirty business of politics and it urges the question: Is relativism the philosophical, dark underbelly of fake-news and our political problems?
Philosophy and Relativism
Relativism and philosophy seem to be closely related. In a discourse that lasted more than 2000 years, philosophers consistently returned to its beginning with mostly empty hands. Lawrence Kraus comments on this:
“Of course, philosophy is the field that hasn’t progressed in two thousand years.”LAWRENCE KRAUSS, 1954 – PRESENTAmerican Atheists National Convention, 2012
Philosophy thus often occurs as a discipline that twists truths, obfuscates our perspectives, and sophistically engages in fruitless battles that lead us to nothing.
Accordingly, philosophy’s dirty relativism occurs as a useful instrument for political discussions. But even though philosophy has a relativizing attitude, its genuine relativism is not essentially related to political cynicism.
On its way, philosophy’s goal was to transcend any stage of knowledge. Alfred Eisleben would say, it attempted to build “a sky-ladder into the nothing of the universe”. Though philosophy achieved by virtue of skepticism higher and higher standpoints, it also attempted to transcend beyond the limits of empirical thinking and thinking overall. It quickly became the attempt to relativize any belief, position or instituted knowledge. While its goal was to constitute real, everlasting knowledge, revolution, quite paradoxically, became its institution leaving nothing to firmly believe in. So while philosophers destroyed superstitions and false theories, oppression and power, they were also responsible for the eroding ground below our house of sciences. Philosophy’s progress has, at the same time, initiated the destruction of our common ground until it was unclear whether any kind of foundation would count as safe anymore. Philosophers like Descartes therefore warned that our building of science would stand on shaky grounds and believed that only a solid foundation could guarantee knowledge.
Despite these predictions and warnings, however, the doomed card-house of sciences still stands. Under the impression of philosophy’s alarmism, pragmatic sciences, producing real knowledge, replaced the seemingly fruitless exercises of philosophy. Philosophy occurs now as a hypothetical debating-club for dandies entertaining themselves or as a mean for politicians twisting truths.
Not so dirty: a positive Note on Relativism
Relativism, like scepticism, is one of those doctrines that have by now been refuted a number of times too often. Nothing is perhaps a surer sign that a doctrine embodies some not-to-be-neglected truth than that in the course of the history of philosophy it should have been refuted again and again. Genuinely refutable doctrines only need to be refuted once.
Alasdair MacIntyre 1985:22
Despite our attempts, we could not kill relativism. It was seemingly refuted often and MacIntyre postulates that the denial of acknowledging its refutations speaks for a lack of integrity. If we grasp philosophy, however, as the ultimate human project that could not yet provide a stable, firm and everlasting foundation, then, as I claim, it is relativist. So it is not about disproving relativism, the burden of proof is on the foundationalists.
But also looking at the arguments against relativism, it should become clear that most people fight against skepticism than against relativism. Contrary to popular belief relativism does not imply that there is nothing grasped and nothing gained. In fact, our practical sciences are relativist, too. They formulate theories of knowledge that are only warranted by practical experiences (relativism allows for that). Moreover, at any point, they can revoke there theories and replace them with other theories, especially if our experience fundamentally changes. In other words, we always develop knowledge relative to given conditions of experience. This obviously does not imply that we do not gain knowledge. For example, we learn how to build cars and learn how to drive a car, even though as drivers we do not know many details about it. Engineers might not know the last details of all physical processes, but they know that for practical purposes it will suffice. In other words, we do not need an absolute ground, in order to be practical.
Obviously, it would be absurd to claim that we know nothing just because we do not know something perfectly. Looking at Socrates, we must therefore also wonder whether he said, he knew nothing or whether he meant he does not know absolutely. Then, however, what does it mean to be relativist? Relativists do not deny that we can have knowledge measured with regard to a practical outcome, they are, however, skeptical with regard to absolute knowledge. Thus, serious relativists never claimed that the foundation of our thinking is impossible. Relativism acknowledges that maybe one day we transform our minds and find a particle of knowledge that will reveal the secret ground of our universe. Until this moment, however, we stick with the idea that our knowledge is based on our experiences that may or may not represent the whole of our world. Yet, independent from absolute claims, relativism acknowledges that we produces knowledge relative to our shared experiences.
Relativism is therefore no Friend of Liars
Relativism is not a friend of twisters, liars and sophists. It is not a political attitude but a genuine way of living. It is a way to live and with its reliance on experience that we can share and repeat. With this common ground, it is an answer to liars.
Relativism as a Genuine Way of Living
Beyond our practical experiences, however, we should focus less on the bits of knowledge we know, but compare our knowledge to the our insurmountable ignorance. From the perspective of the absolute, we do not know. Here, we speculate about the meaning of life, true morals, the will of the universe or God, its existence and truth. Here, we are humans wondering about what is. The open questions that lie ahead of us only allowed for relativist answer so far, and that as an experiential fact is our current nature. We are beings who fundamentally wonder about the world, our soul and God. We should rather ask questions than block ourselves with answers.
Here are some questions that might be relevant for relativism:
1. What is relativism?
2. Who are famous relativists?
3. What is moral relativism and what are other forms of relativism?
4. Are relativists atheists?
5. Are relativists agnostics?
6. Can relativism be a defendable position?
7. Why relativism? Don’t we just see that the world is there?
8. Can we deny that the world exists?
- “Although someone’s beliefs and assumptions may not be true and do not describe reality, they will still drive their behavior. So if someone doesn’t believe in truth, count on him to lie. If someone says there are no objective facts, expect her to be careless with facts to further her own interests. If someone explains everything by referring to evolution and the ‘selfish gene,’ be sure that at some point, he will be extremely selfish on behalf of the fitness of his own survival.” Os Guinness,
- Time For Truth: Living Free In A World of Lies, Hype, and Spin
“…if someone doesn’t believe in truth, count on him to lie. If someone says there are no objective facts, expect her to be careless with facts to further her own interests. If someone explains everything by referring to evolution and the ‘selfish gene,’ be sure that at some point, he will be extremely selfish on behalf of the fitness of his own survival.”
We all need a solution for the flood of misinformation that has come over us, but is the only ark we have the concept of a shared external reality that we can objectively know? Is there something that can warrant the progress of our society beyond the concept of an external reality? Maybe, it is, indeed, relativism.
Words: Digital Wildfire
- Dao is the idea of a principle that underlies all things. Theories of the Dao are therefore attempts to understand our world as a whole. To paraphrase its question: How can this world with its many appearances, such as forests, rivers, lakes and mountains or animals, settlements, villages and mega-cities… how can all these phenomena that are challenged by natural catastrophes, violence, and wars, be understood so that we do not lose ourselves, but find our place in the cosmos?
- Daosim seems to serve a Western romanticism, an admiration for the harmony between humans and nature as a whole. However, how often does somebody point to the moon, but instead of perceiving the higher meaning, he either looks at the finger or the person who is pointing? He, who looks at the finger of someone pointing at the moon, will not see the moon. He, who looks at words, doesn’t see their meaning and he, who looks at meanings will not look at what is. This is a common problem in Daoism.
- Daoism is therefore not another romantic wholism serving our wellnessindustry. Instead of romantic stoicism, Daoism rather cultivates our personal spirit by teaching concentration and self-control in regard to the nothing that is. It brings us to a “system of internal circulation and rejuvenation”. It also teaches the ethical dimension of “self-subordination and frugality”. It questions our self-defeating behaviors such as aggrandizement and childish gigantomania. In the end, it attempts to fulfill the demands of an existing nothingness and an existence that vanishes into nothing.
“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.” ― Alan Wilson Watts [[Daoism]]
“To understand the limitation of things, desire them.” ― Lao Tzu, [Tao Te Ching] [[Life]] [[Daoism]]
I do think that the following vides give the best and most comprehensive introductions into Daoism.