15.04.2020

An Update

 Why do we use the proposition up with the noun/verb date to imply the sharing of new information? Is it either the influence of personal computers or is it the movement of the “arrow” called time moves a long a vertical trajectory. But, in our calender’s dates do indeed move horizontally.

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At least this update will hopefully resist being out of date or outdated for the moment it takes to consume it. Anyway, I have secured a job on the beautiful island Taiwan, still teaching English, still teaching Children. I look forward to starting this new job in a new place and with new people but I also miss all the people I have worked with in Beijing; I had a great time and I am sorry this experience came to a premature end. Due to this nightmare Pandemic which has generated a world under lock-down. I myself have done two weeks of quarantine which is nothing compared to a vast amount of people around the globe. Subsequently those still under lock-down are the lucky ones. Throughout the poorer regions of the planet human life is in increased peril and danger. Such a situation has brought to light the precarious and ferocious inequality that handicaps our species and prevents the very real possibility of a global community – not one that is necessarily free from evil and inequality but one that is a tad bit more equal, less rascist, and prejudiced.

If anything this reality of a looming threat of an as-of-yet uncontrollable virus has brought the need for inclusive and strong truly global institutions into sharp focus. The disrespect given to the World Health Organization by the Trump administration shows the value of Bernie Sanders democratic presence and the push for a global health system. To deal with the coming phenomena that will effect the entire planet we all have established an understanding that something is changing and I hope and worry that this change will be for the better not for the worse. My Dutch peer Albin Van Latum wrote an accurate and heart felt facebook post you can read <here>

I want to share some of the things I have been reading and observing and loose thinking related to these things. I have almost finished reading John Gray’s book Straw Dog’s. A famous book that attacks the secular belief in rational progress inherited from the Enlightenment and secured this British political philosopher’s reputation. The book is well worth a read as it is written in an incredibly accessible aphoristic style. Highlight’s for me included some conclusive evidence against and an interesting support of the famous German Schopenhaur. Gray has an admiration for Schopenhaur because he sees him as providing a position against the importance of meaning and a human or anthropocentric belief in progress. Gray’s book also introduced me to Nietzsche’s reading of Dostoevsky and the notion that life is itself a dream attributed to the Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu or Zhuang Zhou.

These are positives I take from Mr.Gray and I will read his other book on the Silence of Animals too. However reading Gray reminded me of something I have been trying to move away from that is a kind of voice that through a very powerful process of critical thinking arrives at an unhelpful perspective. I find Gray partially innocent of this but his work along with Nick Land has shown the existence of a dismissive or defeatist character to two very successful contemporary thinkers. I have been invited to re-write an essay on this and will accept this invitation at some point. I recently discovered a documentary based upon a Harvard academic’s recent book: Shoshana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism. Then I remembered a direct personal example of this idea at work. I had watched a lecture by Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli on youtube <here>and then recently purchased a copy of his book The Order of Time. It now feels like the link between me interacting with Google owned youtube and purchasing a book is even more tangible and real.

Now a paragraph on personal desire for the coming months: 1) Improve both my Chinese and Japanese (but Chinese mostly), 2) revise formal logic and start learning writing about language and more logic/philosophy of language. Including: Theodore Sider’s excellent Logic for Philosophy (2009), plus the use of logic I learned in Leuven Belgium. This is partly because being able to think analytically is a healthy skill to have and I recently read an article that altered my view on the place of logic in the world: Alexander Klein’s The Politics of Logic. Also thanks to my friend Taz I am a fan of the HBO TV Series Westworld and I wish to write about the powerful philosophical ideas developed and brilliantly explored in these three seasons. Regardless of how your coping with this halted and haunted change in life circumstances remember to find pleasure, joy, and happiness in whatever form you find them in and then share them in whatever way you can.

 

Αιων εστι παισ

Aion esti pais

(Eternity is a Child)   

永恆是孩子     Yǒnghéng shì háizi

永遠は子供です。 Eien wa kodomodesu.

 

Then Nietzsche’s Interpretation:

 

“And as the child and the artist plays, so too plays the ever living fire, it builds up and tears down, in innocence – such is the game eternity plays with itself.”

 

“隨著孩子和藝術家的演奏,也演奏著永生的火焰,它會無辜地積澱和流淚-永恆的遊戲就是這樣。”

“Suízhe háizi hé yìshùjiā de yǎnzòu, yě yǎnzòuzhe yǒngshēng de huǒyàn, tā huì wúgū dì jīdiàn hé liúlèi-yǒnghéng de yóuxì jiùshì zhèyàng.”

….

「そして、子供と芸術家が演じるように、これもまた生きている火を演じる、それは無垢で蓄積され、そして破壊されます。それは永遠がそれ自体で遊ぶゲームです。」

`Soshite, kodomo to geijutsuka ga enjiru yō ni, kore mo mata ikite iru hi o enjiru, soreha muku de chikuseki sa re, soshite hakai sa remasu. Sore wa eien ga sore jitai de asobu gēmudesu.’

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