Tomorrow will have suffering in it – Stoic Philosophy.

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Simple, to the point video. But the loud, dramatic music that drowns out the speakers voice is unnecessary and overdone to become a lame meme at this point.


What was the stoics response to suicide?


Great video! Nice and simple. I’ll check out your others


i dont have what it takes to endure


This is a great summary of stoicism. I was always a stoic, but people call me a pessimist. It’s not that I wish to suffer. It’s just that I’d like to be prepared when calamities and adversities show up on my doorstep, or knock me down like a tornado out of the blue. Stoicism has parallel reasonings with buddhism. I wonder if you could compare the two and make a video?


Bertrand Russell – In Praise of Idleness and the Morality of the Slave State

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Summary from the summary:

Russell acknowledges that there is a duty to work in the sense that all human beings depend on labor for their existence.

What follows from this is that we shouldn’t consume more than we produce, and we should give back to the world in labor or services for the sustenance we receive. But this is the only sense in which there is a duty to work.

And while the idle rich are not virtuous, that is not “nearly so harmful as the fact that wage-earners are expected to overwork or starve.” Russell admits that some persons don’t use their leisure time wisely, but leisure time is essential for a good life. There is thus no good reason why most people should be deprived of it, and “only a foolish asceticism … makes us continue to insist on work in excessive quantities now that the need no longer exists.”


The method of exposition of this essay shows the wonderful straightfowardness of Russell’s ideas, and the simple yet perennial concept of the necessity of leisure and the limits of work grows better with age.

On his comment that people need not spend all their leisure time on “high-brow intellectual activities,” I am reminded of a comment from Josef Pieper’s work *Leisure: The Basis of Culture*, wherein he praises the “uselessness” of philosophy. He means that philosophy is a pursuit undertaken for its own sake, and while it can be useful in many respects (e.g., making better ethical choices, deciphering complex puzzles in the real world, etc.), through philosophy we once again experience wonder, which he defines as “thought marvelling at itself.” Such would be the pinnacle of leisure, although the less “high-brow” pursuits and activities have their own goodness and own place as well.

My question for Russell, if he were still alive today, would be this: in a world so full of various hobbies and pursuits and possible interests, how does one choose a leisurely activity if too many appeal to him with equal force at once? At this point, purely subjective choosing is paralyzed. How do you think Russell would advise us to make a decision in such a beautifully frustrating situation?


Question: How many pins are „enough“? Is there even such a thing as too many pins? I would say only under constraints. If I could have infinite pins at no cost I would choose so.


Fast forward today and the argument of the necessity of work doesn’t really stand anymore, since technology has increased productivity by quite a lot.

Unemployment is good.


Shared reality allows us to realise there are values independent of ourselves. We require ‘informational bubbles’ to establish shared reality – calls to break our bubbles fail to recognise this.

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Allow me to take the metaphor of the bubble to its’ extreme interpretational limits and offer a thought:

Some bubbles are larger, or smaller than others, relatively speaking. Also, bubbles, in a literal sense, can merge with the surface of other bubbles, creating larger ones. That is to say, the purpose of breaking a bubble is not to necessarily shatter one’s subjective shared reality, but to become encompassed by a much larger shared reality, to enter a larger and more ideologically diverse echo chamber, so to speak…


Wouldn’t that contribute to confirmation bias? Being fed the same info that reinforces your already solidly held beliefs. This happens to people on both sides of politics. Which can be dangerous, if you think about it.


>certain abstract values are objective

What work does the label objective do? It seem it does little to nothing to clarify which values are correct.


Values are always subjective, even assuming we live in a shared reality, which is unverifiable. I’m super curious as to why you’d say that


Here’s the thing—objective Truth COULD be possible, BUT we have no way of determining what is true or false outside of man made systems of understanding. We act on “sense certainty” (read Hegel or Wittgenstein for more on this) because we can not objectively prove anything, we realize that we must believe in some principles in order to function—like the floor not falling from under us as we walk. Of course this COULD happen, but it is unlikely so we don’t think about it.


Walter Benjamin’s Last Work | Scrawled across the backs of envelopes in the shadow of imminent death, Benjamin’s ‘Theses on the Philosophy of History’ lay at the center of a chaotic wartime executorship of his literary estate

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I think Benjamin’s remark, “There is no document of civilization, that is not at the same time a document of barbarism” was the best part of this piece. What is everyone’s take on this quote?


I’m quite confused by the “Materialist is substituted for dialectic” variant paragraph. It seems to say that Benjamin would surely have said materialist. But then it also says (i think… The wording could be clearer) that of the several copies only one says materialist, and that was “in Dora Benjamin’s copy, which is presumably the version Gretel was typing from since she changed historical back to materialist.”

Changed “*historical*” back to materialist? And wasn’t Dora’s copy the one that said materialist already?


“It is a deep human tragedy that death is terrifying and immortality unbearable” -Adrian Moore (Oxford) on death and immortality.

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It’s interesting that in America, we don’t really talk about death much. Our elderly are put in homes where we don’t have to deal with them. We busy ourselves with earthly tasks (a lot of which we simply made up) to distract us from diving deeper into our consciousness. We all share one thing – existence. A primary component of that existence is death. Nobody knows why we’re here and what happens after we die. Humans are so deeply connected by this, yet we allow surface-level differences (skin color, social standing, etc) divide us. How unfortunate that while we’ve evolved so much, we’re still so dismissive of the connection of a conscious existence.


Imagine you’re playing a video game. It’s one you enjoy, but you wouldn’t want to play only that game forever. At the same time, you don’t want someone to come along and shut down your computer while you’re in the middle of it. After reading the article, it seems like the Author sets up a dichotomy of two extremes by excluding suicide as an option for his hypothetical potion of life.

Carry along with the video game analogy, you may enjoy playing the game as it is meant to be played. But imagine if someone forced you to play it by a set of imaginary rules they developed to play the game by. The game simply would not be as enjoyable.

Our lives seem to be like these two examples. We are struck by the fear of our lives being prematurely cut short. It seems we would rather quit playing the game on our own terms. At the same time, our lives are structured almost completely by artifices, playing by rules that don’t seem quite natural.

I would argue that the most desirable form of ‘immortality’ would be one in which the individual has freed their mind from artifices, and can live out their lives as the most ‘genuinely human’ (Zhen Ren, as described in The Zhuangzi) until the individual feels satisfied and ready to move on.


I believe Immortality would be very much bearable to me.


Yeah speak for yourself. I’m going to try immortality and let you know how it goes.


A strong majority of the people in this thread who agree with the OP seem to be making the mistake of talking about *literal immortality* instead of *life extension.* A few examples:

>Astrophysicist here: The universe is expanding and thus most other galaxies are moving away from us too fast to ever reach them. If our models are right, the expansion will accelerate until we only have the milky way, where the stars will die into dimly shining white dwarfs or turn into black holes. Life won’t have many energy sources to sustain itself. The heat death of the universe doesn’t sound like fun in the long run.


>Well, there’s the isolation of being forced to live alone and watch families die, so falling in love would just end up hurting. There’s the obvious “living hundreds/thousands of years and getting so monumentally bored with it all that you want to die” issue to address…


>Yeah, but I think the unbearable part comes in once you follow the thread of immortality through absurd amounts of time. You would live through the sun going nova and destroying the Earth…

The OP contains the most egregious example of this.

>If there were an elixir of life, would you choose to take it? Let’s assume immortality is an attractive prospect. If you wanted to live perpetually as a healthy twenty-year old, for example, then you could; if you wanted your loved ones to be immortal as well, then they would be; or if you preferred to have a never-ending supply of new loved ones, then you could have. But there’s one catch. The elixir isn’t reversible, and suicide isn’t an option. If you choose to take the elixir, there will be no going back. Now would you choose to take it?

Because people would eventually become suicidally bored if they were to live forever, they often argue, it’s better to live out a natural lifespan.

But like u/Kicooi said, this is a false dichotomy. I do think that given the constraints of the human mind, people would probably become suicidally bored long before the heat death of the universe. However, a more realistic option is living for several hundred or thousand years (or maybe more), accomplishing everything you wanted to accomplish and doing everything you wanted to do and maybe more, and then eventually choosing to die after reaching a long-pondered conclusion that life has nothing more to offer you. Having the ability to determine when you die, as opposed to having your life forcibly ended at a point that evolution decided was long enough, seems like an infinitely better option to me.

I mean, there’s even an example of this in the OP.

>The British philosopher Bernard Williams addressed this issue in his article, “The Makropulos Case”, whose title was taken from a play by Karel Čapek. The play is about a woman named Elina Makropulos, who is the beneficiary of an elixir of life. She finds, after some three hundred and fifty years, that “her unending life… has come to a state of indifference, boredom, and coldness.” For Makropulos, though, death remains a possibility if she doesn’t take the elixir again. The play ends with Makropulos welcoming her own death.

This play was cited as an example of why immortality isn’t so great after all. But what if you asked Elina whether she regretted taking the serum when she was 100 instead of 350? What about 150? 200? If it took her in the ballpark of 300 years to become suicidally bored, then presumably she didn’t regret living for the extra 200-plus years before that point (or she would’ve killed herself earlier, since there was ample opportunity to consider the question).

Setting aside practical concerns for the moment (after all, this is a philosophy sub), I don’t think there’s any good arguments in favor of banning or restricting radical life extension. It’s conceivable that some yet-undiscovered part of human psychology will result in everyone becoming suicidal once they reach 150, but given that suicide-driven boredom isn’t a major cause of death among the elderly–it’s probably insignificant–I think the tipping point is likely to be far beyond the limits of our current lifespan.


The fact that human nature exists doesn’t mean we’re incapable of positive change; there’s evidence of progress all around the world, from fewer wars to higher literacy, and that’s down to how societies continue to embrace enlightenment values: Steven Pinker

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Pinker’s position (much like his entire worldview) fails to appreciate just how much he is a prisoner of the moment.

The 20th Century saw two massive world wars that unleashed untold calamity and human suffering on countless lives and nations. The root political cause of these wars was nationalism, and they became far deadlier than the conflicts of previous epochs thanks to capitalism’s unparalleled ability to make people rich from the arms trade. The second half of the 20th Century did not feature a history-defining war between great powers only because (a) the major world powers had nuclear deterrents, (b) international law and international institutions like the UN Security Council (flawed though it is) made it more difficult for nations to start wars, and (c) a stable balance of geopolitical powers made it costly for states to engage in stupid behavior (this did not eliminate such behavior, but reduced it.)

Meanwhile, Pinker ignores the displacing effect that global capitalism has had on many communities, from the indigenous tribes of the Amazon to the factory towns in the Rust Belt in America and the Midlands in England — the kinds of places that my grandfather came from. While global capitalism has certainly created winners, it has also created losers, and it has also created a gap in bargaining power between labor and capital that has allowed big business to engage in exploitative labor practices in poor nations not unlike the conditions that prevailed in 19th Century Europe or America — conditions that workers’ rights activists made sacrifices to end. This is to say nothing of the effect that privatization of health and welfare services has had on the welfare of the ordinary person, or the sociological stratification that we now witness between the haves and the have-nots.

The international liberal order has been good for Steven Pinker. His mistake is thinking that the world really is how it appears to look from his privileged perspective.

The geopolitical winds are shifting at present and the world order is changing. The forces that made the past 70 years feel like the “end of history” will soon be recognized as a temporary aberration rather than the dawn of a new era brought about by an enlightened class.


I’m surprised to see so many commenters questioning Pinker’s assertion that, as a whole, humans are better off today than in the past. The benefit isn’t necessarily distributed equally, *Homo davos* faring better than *Homo reddit,* but I think that discounts just how bad life was previously. No polio, high literacy, no being forced into trench warfare, [almost] no slavery, very low crime — huzzah!

On the assertion that Locke (et al) were wrong about the *tabula rasa*, Pinker is probably correct but not in the way he hopes. I’d take a Hobbesian tack and suggest “human nature” leads to a life that’s nasty, brutish, and short. Enlightenment is overcoming human nature, adopting reason and empiricism over pattern matching spurious correlations (which, IMHO, is a good definition of human nature). In this way he’s not so opposed to Locke, the influential enlightenment thinker most associated with the *tabula rasa*.

Finally, when considering whether enlightenment should be credited (or blamed, if you prefer) for the modern world, it seems like we’re in a feedback loop. Enlightenment values may encourage science, but some minimal level of predictive science was necessary to embrace those values. Starting with Copernicus and ending with Newton’s *Principia*, we could explain many natural phenomena in terms of mathematics rather than moloch. Until then, it seemed perfectly sane to predict the harvest based on the retrograde movement of Mercury because… why not?

Unfortunately, as everyone who works in finance knows, past performance does not guarantee future results. I largely agree with Pinker that the world would be better if more people embraced their inner Kant, Locke, or Hume yet recognize future progress may look very different than the past.


While I’ve seen quite a few comments point out of the valid flaws of Pinker’s arguments, I think one thing he said should be noteworthy, and that’s in the title: The fact that human nature exists doesn’t mean we’re incapable of positive change.

I think he was answering more towards the negativity expressed by so many in regards to the current situation. A lot of people here have immediately taken this line of submitting to utter despair. While I’m definitely not on the same page of Pinker’s line of thought, I’m also not a defeatist in terms of outlook.

I suspect a better angle to take is this: That human nature exists doesn’t mean we’re incapable of overcoming it. Progress is measured by how much we transcend and surpass the limits of ourselves, to think and act beyond self-interest. To simply give up is more or less submitting to human nature itself.


In this interview, experimental psychologist and author Steven Pinker challenges Locke’s tabula rasa theory, with an argument in favour of the existence of human nature, human progress, and the centrality of enlightenment values in the connecting of the two.

Pinker argues that while some fear that admitting to the existence of human nature would excuse and perpetuate strife, data sets from literacy to life expectancy to violence to affluence show vast human improvement – not just in affluent countries but all around the world.

Steven Pinker ascribes this progress to societies following enlightenment values, such as toleration and cosmopolitanism. And that even with issues such as the rise of populism, the general global trend is towards human progress. Pinker explains that the evidence for his argument is very strong. It only feels provocative because the discourse in politics and the mainstream media focuses so heavily on what’s going wrong.


Thanks for this bit of uplifting info.


Albert Camus on how to live in an absurd world

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Yes Camus is a wonderful antidote to all the over-intellectual, esoteric thought out there. He addresses big simple questions, and for that we love him. If the world is absurd, which it is, what should we do? Kill ourselves? No do our best in the face of it he says, and in doing so, we bestow on ourselves our own dignity. Fantastic stuff.


I wasn’t really sold on camus’s reasoning here.

personally, I just figure I’ll die eventually anyway, so I may as well stick around for now and see the sights while I can

“Live well and live broadly. You are alive and living now. Now is the envy of all of the dead.”


Camus is great.

For some reason today this reminds me of the following Zen Story:

Tigers and a Strawberry

(Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, New York: Anchor/Doubleday, 1958, pages 22–23).

“A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him. Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away at the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!”


If I’m understanding Camus correctly which i may well not be, the statement in the article about not living to the best but to the most would be incorrect because to try to extend the absurd for an absurd reason of continuing to be would be well… absurd. Whenever I read Camus I take away be the best possible person to others and enjoy life as much as you can because the enjoyment is what matters.


Holy shit. This is the best thing I’ve read in this sub. Camus gets me. I choose the permanent revolution.