Operation Concrete


So, been a busy little bee on the Wikipedia front this week, reading and learning about plenty a new thing. I've got so many interesting pages saved that I'm going to do a top three, Existentialism, the Chinese proverb 'May you live in interesting times,' and a look at Edward De Bono and lateral thinking. There is just links to the others, as they are ace, but I just don't have the time to go through them in detail as to why I think they're ace, what they've taught me and how I'm going to use it. So, more below.

Existentialism - Now, I think it's been shown that I'm no philosopher throughout the course of previous posts on this blog, but I do like to try my hand at it, and I'm constantly learning about new doctrines and buying new books on philosophers that I some day hope to get around to reading. Existentialism seems to be a really popular train of thought right now, people really like to say things like 'what are the existential ramifications' and other such things, because, well I'm not sure, to feel clever? Now, existentialism is reasonably important to me and my thinking, but something that as with a lot of things, I don't know nearly enough about. For instance, as an Incompatibilist, I maintain that you cannot believe in free will and determinism without being logically inconsistent, existentialism has ramifications in this regard, because it believes people are personally responsible for living their lives with 'passion and sincerity' but, if you have no free will, how can this be possible? I try to explore such things in Concrete Operational, with varying degrees of success, as I said, I need to read more into this, perhaps a 'A very short introduction to Existentialism' will be purchased soon.

Opening: Existentialism is a term applied to the work of a number of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, generally held that the focus of philosophical thought should be to deal with the conditions of existence of the individual person and his or her emotions, actions, responsibilities, and thoughts. The early 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, posthumously regarded as the father of existentialism, maintained that the individual is solely responsible for giving his or her own life meaning and for living that life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many existential obstacles and distractions including despairangstabsurdity,alienation, and boredom.

May you live in interesting times - I came across this saying when I was in Hong Kong, which seems apt really considering it's a Chinese proverb or curse. The whole saying is 'May you live in interesting times. May you come to the attention of those in authority. May you find what you are looking for'. At the time, back in 2007 when I was in HK, I looked at the phrase as more of a blessing than a curse, and I guess this is the interesting thing, because as I've got older, even by only three years, I'm seeing how it really is a curse. Global recession, war on terror, x-factor, etc, etc, all of these things that make 'interesting times' and also make time and life difficult. I think as I increase in age, it's going to be interesting to track my reaction / thoughts on the saying, and how I sway between thinking it a curse or blessing.

Opening: May you live in interesting times, often referred to as the Chinese curse, is reputed to be the English translation of an ancient Chinese proverb and curse, although it may have originated among the English themselves (or Americans). It is reported that it was the first of three curses of increasing severity, the other two being: May you come to the attention of those in authority (sometimes rendered May the government be aware of you). This is sometimes quoted as May you come to the attention of powerful people. May you find what you are looking for.

Edward De Bono - I remember reading the most excellent Red Dwarf books when I was a teen, funny, thoughtful and just great sci-fi, they had my complete and utter attention. Now, there was one particular bit that always stuck with me, I can't remember what book it's from exactly, but it's when Lister is about to die, he's trapped in some sort of big bubble, and he's choking to death, and he says to himself, 'I can get out of this, I just have to think laterally'. At the time I had no idea what that mean, and I actually had to go and find an encyclopaedia to look it up - rather than a 1 second google search - but when I did I was fascinated. I have since forgotten about De Bono, but someone reminded me of him, and I just had to go back, he's amazing, he coined the term 'lateral thinking' and is still one of the worlds leading thought leaders on thinking, and problem solving and creativity. Genius, and I'm going to read more of his stuff in the near future. I recommend you do too.

Opening: Edward de Bono (born 19 May 1933, in Malta) is a physicianauthorinventor, and consultant. He is known as the originator of the term lateral thinking, wrote a best selling book Six Thinking Hats and is a proponent of the deliberate teaching of thinking as a subject in schools.

Other ace things:

Terra: People

Epic of Gilgamesh

For What Its Worth

Nikolai Gogol

Fin De Si