April 13th, 2012
Original story by Julian Friedland.
The intellectual culture of scientism clouds alternative ways of knowing that can actually yield greater certainty than science.
For roughly 98 percent of the last 2,500 years of Western intellectual history, philosophy was considered the mother of all knowledge. It generated most of the fields of research still with us today. This is why we continue to call our highest degrees Ph.D.’s, namely, philosophy doctorates. At the same time, we live an age in which many seem no longer sure what philosophy is or is good for anymore. Most seem to see it as a highly abstracted discipline with little if any bearing on objective reality — something more akin to art, literature or religion. All have plenty to say about reality. But the overarching assumption is that none of it actually qualifies as knowledge until proven scientifically.
Yet philosophy differs in a fundamental way from art, literature or religion, as its etymological meaning is “the love of wisdom,” which implies a significant degree of objective knowledge. And this knowledge must be attained on its own terms. Or else it would be but another branch of science.
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February 3rd, 2012
I was speaking with a good friend of mine earlier today and she told me about why her recent ex-boyfriend broke up with her (let’s call her Jane and him Richard). Jane is in her last year as an undergraduate in theatre. Richard couldn’t come to terms with an appreciation for theatre and the arts. According to him these things are only useful if used for explicit ministerial purposes. This led to Richard breaking up with Jane. This is such a sad state of affairs. What makes this a curious situation is that I’m fairly confident this ideology is rampant in men. I often hear that if a man is in theatre, the ballet, or the arts he must be gay or feminine. I’m going to argue on the contrary. It seems that being masculine or manly has become equivocated with being macho or a rough and tough man who likes football and hockey. There’s nothing wrong with football and hockey, surely real men can like these too, but there’s more to being a masculine man than just that. Men who have an appreciation for theatre, ballet, opera, gymnastics, poetry, and the arts are men who encompass so much more about life.
Let’s primarily consider just a few of these examples. Ballet is such a beautiful feat. This is one of the most beautiful expressions of the beauty and ability of the human body. Imagine an adagio, slow graceful movements to slow music, while the woman is performing several movements and entrechats and she comes to rest in battement tendu (sliding her straightened out leg beside her). While she comes to her last position imagine the man gracefully approaching her for their final coda. He forms his body to hers for a perfect coupling. The grace, discipline, strength, and the form of dance is a spectacular demonstration of the body. It’s a presentation of how the beauty of the body can be expressed–the intimacy of the coupling of body to body.
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