First Dog on the Moon: Vegans!

You feel ashamed because you know you are actively contributing to unnecessary cruelty and you have a choice to stop but you do not and the vegans know you know and you know the vegans know you know and the vegans… anyway.

-First Dog on the Moon


Guardian: Yuval Noah Harari Interview

‘The more people believe in free will, that their feelings represent some mystical spiritual capacity, the easier it is to manipulate them, because they won’t think that their feelings are being produced and manipulated by some external system.’

They don’t want to think that so they will do everything in their power not to think that.

Atlantic: Why can’t we all just get along?

An extended extract from the end of article. By ‘salvation’, the author is writing about everyone overcoming their difference and getting along:

So maybe the first step toward salvation is to become more self-aware. … Greene certainly thinks more self-awareness would help. … [H]e encourages the cultivation of “a kind of meta-cognitive skill.” This would depend on “understanding how our minds work” and could help us “decide more wisely” …

Which leads to a question: Um, how exactly do you do metacognition? Well, you could start by pondering all the evidence that your brain is an embarrassingly misleading device. Self-doubt can be the first step to moral improvement. But our biases are so subtle, alluring, and persistent that converting a wave of doubt into enduring wisdom takes work. The most-impressive cases of bias neutralization I’m aware of involve people who have spent ungodly amounts of time—several hours a day for many years—in meditative practices that make them more aware of the workings of their minds. These people seem much less emotion-driven, much less wrapped up in themselves, and much less judgmental than, say, I am. …

Happily for those of us who can’t spare several hours a day, more-modest progress can be made by pursuing this “mindfulness meditation” in smaller doses. … Loosening the grip of your emotions can make you happier, and for many meditators that’s the big draw. The fact that emotionally driven and subtly self-centered moral judgments loosen their hold on you as well seems almost like a side effect. …

BBC: Is there a link between mass shootings and mental illness?

According to studies cited in the BBC Future article, in the US, people with mental illness, while composing up to 18% of the population, account for just 3-5% of violence and less than 1% of gun-related homicides. Renee Binder, a professor at the University of California, is quoted as saying, “When one of these horrible mass shootings occurs, people say, ‘Anyone who would do such a thing must be mentally ill. But we need to be careful with our definitions because, while something is clearly wrong with them, it’s often not a serious mental illness.”

So what the article is saying is that definitionally, most people who commit mass shootings do not suffer from mental illness, or as Binder puts it, a serious mental illness. Serious-ly? Then perhaps now would be the time to change the definition of mental illness, or start working outside of that definitional framework entirely, as it is clearly no longer useful.

Unless what you want to tell me is that mentally not-ill humans in our modern world must needs on occasion kill lots of other humans, because that’s just what humans do, in which case I say maybe we need to do something about being human, that is, be less that.


Guardian: Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

So much here to unpack.

We can’t fight something faceless and nameless. We can’t see what we can’t see. When the problem is everything, how do you get outside of ‘everything’? The first fish turns to the second fish and says, What is water? If the ‘solution’ causes the problem, then more of the ‘solution’ will only lead to more of the problem. I say freedom, you hear freedom.

‘Inequality is recast as virtuous … The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve … The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit … The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.’

Atlantic: The tricks people use to avoid debate

“A proper argument takes intellectual vigor, nimbleness, and sustained attention. If carried on long enough, it can push both parties to a deeper level of understanding. Oxford debaters hack away at each other for something like two hours. Socrates could sometimes go on for weeks. But who has that kind of time anymore?”


Guardian: A breakthrough alternative to growth economics

Review of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth.

‘Instead of economies that need to grow, whether or not they make us thrive, we need economies that “make us thrive, whether or not they grow”.’

Guardian: Ball tampering scandal could be Australian fans’ tipping point

Forget cricket, some shitty truths about celebrity-worship, competitiveness and masculinity (in Australia and elsewhere).