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- Jan 23, 8:31 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
If you could follow up on Seth's observation about the difference between meeting people and subsuming them under a category (my paraphrase), that would be fantastic. Not sure how you'd do it. Something about Virtue Ethics? Michael Slote has a book, From Enlightenment to Receptivity, that sort of touches on this.
- Jan 23, 8:28 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
The second half of Perls, Hefferline and Goodman (the theory part) addresses this somewhat - they try to take seriously that the person is always social - and that behaviour makes sense in the current situation.
- Jan 23, 8:25 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
With regard to the female sexual harassment thing. I think we can be sure that if men were treated by women as women are treated by men there'd be outcry. So I do think that it is very likely this is injustice and violation. Arendt I don't see giving guidance on what it would mean to think well (regresses threaten). I do think she implicitly endorses something like empathy - being able to put yourself in another's shoes. Which I think is a pretty good guideline. I suppose the closes academic elaboration of this is care ethics.
- Jan 22, 10:18 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part Two)
Here's an example of 'boiling the frog'; from Helmut Thielicke - a Christian pastor under the Nazi's in Germany. At school people were required to frequently pledge allegiance to Germany. This meant an endorsement of the present regime in some way - and yet, when was the point that it was right to object or not comply?
- Jan 22, 5:56 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part Two)
thanks you guys are on a roll with sticking to the text and really working bits thru, I think Arendt (like Heidegger, Benjamin, and all) was really struggling with how to come to terms with a truly novel historical development (and not just say as we do with emerging phenomena like platform/surveillance capitalism that this just a reiteration of the printing press or the tractor, or to resurrect some antiquated notion of the "Sovereign" or such), one sees that now with the work of folks Saskia Sassen as she tries to move past just repeating outdated modes/models to try and begin to outline the assemblages and brutal impacts of new kinds/economies of extraction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBwkNekicak
- Jan 22, 5:14 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
I don't think any of us are Adolf Eichmann. I haven't read the book, but what I took from the podcast is some relation to evil and grand narratives. It seems to me that something has eclipsed grand narratives. In particular, we seem completely uninterested in military engagements. Libya happened, and we barely noticed. W's approval rating has climbed into the 60s. We've stopped asking why. The narratives are no longer necessary. The various "*gates" that dominate the media today will for the most part disappear in six months. When one goes out of fashion (or is proven objectively wrong), another appears in its place. They're tiny, insignificant things. The hypocrisy of the FISA 702 vote (Dems voted to expand Trump's ["Stalin's"] domestic surveillance powers.) reveals the hollowness of our 21st-Century political narratives. Political "radicals" everywhere you look, but I can't imagine one dying for their beliefs. I'm not a psychologist, but my hunch is that the climate you're describing is something different than pre-digital *isms.
- Jan 22, 3:17 pm - On Being a Monster: "Frankenstein" and Creative Ambition, Part V—Artist
Beautifully written! Thanks for writing that Wes!
- Jan 22, 2:53 pm - Episode 114: Schopenhauer: "The World Is Will"
Is there more information linking Schopenhauer's Will to ideas of samsara, moksha, maya, or Vedic or Buddhist thought in general? If anyone knows of references to point out more of Schopenhauer's relation to those eastern philosophies, I'd be greatful for a link. ...now I'm back to episode 94, Schopenhauer, originality, Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac. Rock on.
- Jan 22, 10:41 am - Episode 179: William James's Introspective Psychology (Part Two)
- Jan 22, 5:09 am - Episode 179: William James's Introspective Psychology (Part Two)
Seth, there is an audible version - you must have missed it somehow https://www.audible.com/pd/Science-Technology/The-Principles-of-Psychology-Vol-I-Audiobook/B07934H9SC?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=FZ9S47942X0SFW10AY1R&
- Jan 21, 6:30 am - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
I appreciate it all the same. I've struggled with that idea lately, since I am about to leave a well paying career half way to retirement and slide back down the social ladder, which has produced a bit of anxiety. But the way you put it makes the subscription to that devotion seem so voluntary. So cheers to that.
- Jan 20, 7:52 pm - Science, Religion, and Secularism, Part XVIII: Humanistic, Scientific, and Theistic Approaches to History
Thanks Daniel, lucid as ever. Very much looking forward to what you make of A Secular Age.
- Jan 20, 12:29 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
Sorry -- I can't point you to anything. Just something I've thought about a bit.
- Jan 20, 4:25 am - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
In this episode, Wes mentions that a person, rationalizing why they should be treated better than busboys because they "worked hard and got an education", was actually code for "I sacrificed part of my psyche in devotion to my pursuit of status". This comment caught me off guard and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it the past couple of days. Can someone point me to some relevant literature on this? I'd like to look into this idea more. Thanks!
- Jan 18, 3:11 pm - Episode 98: Guest Michael Sandel Against Market Society
Working through PEL episodes and I arrive at this one. As I tried to listen between the lines there seemed to be 'something at stake' here over on the Liberal-Left end of the US spectrum, but it was never articulated. That said, Sandel strikes me as essentially dishonest. He sets up the idea that certain things (such as prostitution) might be proclaimed to be so 'degrading' that 'we' (undefined) should ban them for the wider good. Fine. But that argument needs balancing with the idea that it is also 'degrading' for the state or some other authority to tell us what to do and not do in ever-more meticulous prissy detail, and punish us (indeed use violence against us) for disobeying (sic) their orders. Who gets to decide what's 'degrading'? Isn't there at least a solid case that we need to proceed very cautiously before limiting markets in goods and ideas as one form of oppressive degradation simply usurps another? The whole point about free markets in goods and ideas alike is that they provide ways in which societies can change in some sort of measured way. Sandel's moaning about market 'ideologies' and so on is really railing against human...
- Jan 18, 6:53 am - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
Wow you've zeroed in on some of the big questions and I don't know and I don't think anyone seems to know. There seems to be some what of a shift in that women no longer feel restrained to suffer in silence and society is open to holding men/people accountable but I don't know. I hope things work out like the timesup charitable fund but it's set up by women who have huge amounts of money who probably could/should be contributing more. It makes me a little cynical see wealthy business men or football players create a charitable fund and get millions or billions of dollars from well meaning poor people to send to them. But I watch the stock market it does well and goes up and up when everyone else does terribly and when everyone else does well it goes down. It all seems to profit off the exploitation and misery and suffering of others. But I don't know here there much meditate and reflect on. I'm inclined to think that genocide/mass murder, murder, rape, child molestation are in categories of their own and the people who empower or cover for them (or profit) are accessories to these...
- Jan 17, 8:10 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
"But that’s the hard work of it right? Finding out how to begin to change things and solve problems without relying the same kind of thinking that got us here in the first place." I don't think that is the hard work ( tho overcoming habits is hard in its own way) in these sorts of matters (not talking about how to treat other individuals as with many of the sexual violence/oppression cases here but more about systemic/wicked issues), I think that the truly tragic part is coming to terms with our limits (my sense is that Heidegger was gesturing to this aspect of our being mortals in his God comment)., coming to terms with the fact that our being aware of problems doesn't offer ready/practicable solutions and that we are quickly reaching some very real (but largely unimaginable) limits to life and resources like clean water and air in terms of the environment and all. I get the rhetorical appeal of the arc towards justice but in terms of understanding history one has to 'smooth' away (as we do with statistical modeling) too many current and past hardships/horrors for most people (Hegel spoke monstrously of it as a butchers-block)...
- Jan 17, 12:54 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
I love that there is a term for this. Wicked Problem. There is an overwhelm from these wicked problems that makes way for apathy or give-upedness, acquiescence, resignation - you get the gist - which I thought I could only feel due to my white privilege. Now with the whole issue surrounding sexism being so top of mind, I think - geez this is getting confusing. But that's the hard work of it right? Finding out how to begin to change things and solve problems without relying the same kind of thinking that got us here in the first place. I think these are the growing pains in the arc toward justice. Still my only answer is mindful living and a belief that if I am open things will be made aware to me. I wish I could, like Heidegger, believe in God -- wait - or did he? 😉
- Jan 17, 12:02 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
Thank you for the thoughtful reply. This conversation led me to wonder the following: In the latest Hollywood sex scandal story, is Aziz Ansari Adolf Eichmann? Or is this just bad sex and an outcome the woman didn't like? Or are they both Adolf Eichmann and the female is the more obvious victim of the social norm and the first to realize it and perhaps it's kind of like property - when the lines aren't clear, the first to steak out the boundary gets to decide? This is what I find so difficult. These social norms that Eichmann had so much trouble fighting against because of his lack of free thinking - how can we know what we don't know? Sure, murder seems obvious, but some day perhaps all of this "bad sex" will seem obvious too. I find myself trying to sort out what's what with regard to things in the news lately and it seems at times as though I don't have a grounding conscience to guide me. At least not one that I feel comfortable trusting in. So then I listen to stories like Adolf Eichmann's and think - Jesus - am I this guy? I don't...
- Jan 17, 12:01 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
"It’s this sort of mindless backlash and this pattern – we just keep repeating it. What would it mean to really think independently right now? Equal rights seems so in vogue. And when things are so in fashion it always seems there is an undercurrent of lack of mindfulness – of conscious thought and choice." this gets to the sort of Heideggerian heart of Arendt (in my limited study of her work) as a call to Thinking versus gossip (in-group signaling, etc), the difficulty I find when one starts to think systemically (bring forward the generally hidden/ignored background) is that there is very little one can actually do about wicked problems, being as widespread and complex as they are, exceeding our grasps if you will. So how to bear this tragic recognition that we are so weak and vulnerable, that as Heidegger noted only a God could save us mere mortals? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wicked_problem
- Jan 17, 9:59 am - Episode 96: Oppenheimer and the Rhetoric of Science Advisers
I'm a speechwriter among other things, so I found this one unusually interesting. The podcast looked for a while at a speech by Oppenheimer and its 'rhetorical' format. The discussion seemed to set up an odd distinction between an honest/bold/fearless prophet (who speaks 'the truth' with almost reckless disregard for the consequences) and a cynical prophet (who hedges his rhetoric for pragmatic or self-serving reasons). But these are not the only options. Imagine Oppenheimer had been given different drafts of the speech that conveyed the same strategic ideas in much the same 'flow' but with very different 'tone' and inclusiveness and varying nods of generosity towards those who might disagree with him on 'transparency' or process or whatever. He would have a clear choice on how he set about speaking on the day and what he wanted to achieve by it. My namesake Steve Crawford gets it wrong (I think!): "It’s not necessarily WHAT you say, but HOW you say it" No. "It's not what you say - it's what they HEAR". Of course how you say what you're saying influences what they hear. But they may (and do) hear many things on many different levels simultaneously. Some 'rhetoric' is...
- Jan 17, 7:09 am - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
"any thoughts you have are welcome" "about Trump and it doesn’t seem to me that there is silence from good people, rather there are few good people" I think this does tie into what MLK was speaking about, he was appealing to the moral conscience of the "good' people not to remain silent and complicit while Arendt is speaking to a very important point the point at which "good" people who do or should know better go from being "merely" silent and complicit to actions that make one an accomplice and/or collaborator/co-conspirator to a crime(s). I think is is important if we are speaking about nazi collaborators or the silence and complicity that covers and empowers sexual predators in Hollywood, Silicon valley, corporate ceos, clergy in the church, or little girls gymnast doctor. Or wars,genocides, human rights violations (most of our clothes are made in sweat shops and our electronic devices with slave labor in the making or mining of materials) or the human and sexual slavery etc. we see and hear in the news daily. These perpetrators are only able to do these crimes because or the silence and complicity of their collaborators. And of course we should look...
- Jan 16, 6:15 pm - Episode 180: More James's Psychology: Self and Will (Part Two)
Great episode! Mark said that some of this reminded him of Nietzsche, and this quote here sums up what Dylan was getting at: “How is freedom measured in individuals and peoples? According to the resistance which must be overcome, according to the exertion required, to remain on top. The highest type of free men should be sought where the highest resistance is constantly overcome: five steps from tyranny, close to the threshold of the danger of servitude. [...] This is true politically too; one need only go through history. The peoples who had some value, attained some value, never attained it under liberal institutions: it was great danger that made something of them that merits respect. Danger alone acquaints us with our own resources, our virtues, our armor and weapons, our spirit, and forces us to be strong. First principle: one must need to be strong -- otherwise one will never become strong.” -Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
- Jan 16, 12:29 pm - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
I find myself listening and reading about Trump and it doesn’t seem to me that there is silence from good people, rather there are few good people. I’m as guilty as the next, but have you ever wondered what the larger message is when we berate Trump for eating McDonald’s and his crass word choices. It isn’t that I don’t believe that what he says and does is morally abhorant; it’s that the reaction to it stems from the same mindlessness. Perhaps I am too deeply involved in my yoga practice these days and I’m speaking nonsense but if we are really all one - or if we can at least understand that the situation we are in is created by a million different factors that most of us contribute to unwittingly, we would approach him much differently. I see the echoes of this mentality in the way we are handling the sexual discrimination issues. It’s this sort of mindless backlash and this pattern - we just keep repeating it. What would it mean to really think independently right now? Equal rights seems so in vogue. And when things are so in fashion it always seems there is an undercurrent...
- Jan 16, 6:31 am - Episode 181: Hannah Arendt on the Banality of Evil (Part One)
I agree with dmf timely meditations "History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. " Martin Luther King, Jr. "The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people." Martin Luther King, Jr.