WESTERN PHILOSOPHY: “Brief Overview of Schopenhauer’s Thought” ☮

A few clips of Professor Christopher Janaway discussing the thought of Arthur Schopenhauer. This comes from an episode of the Essay on Wagner’s Philosophers. I thought it provided a good overview of Schopenhauer’s general philosophy

IN REMEMBRANCE: “Happy Birthday! Howard Zinn: Terrorism, What Americans Don’t Want to Hear” ☮

Howard Zinn would have turned 94 today if his seemingly boundless energy and youthfulness had not been cut short in January 2010.

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It’s worth remembering that A People’s History of the United States first came out in 1980 as a tide of reaction was seeking to bury the social movements that inspired Howard’s book and which he saw as the hope for the future.

[…]

Howard challenged these ideas in a terrific speech he gave in 1970: “If you don’t think, if you just listen to TV and read scholarly things, you actually begin to think that things are not so bad, or that just little things are wrong. But you have to get a little detached, and then come back and look at the world, and you are horrified. So we have to start from that supposition—that things are really topsy-turvy.”

Howard had that rare ability to step back and help us understand our topsy-turvy world primarily because he approached politics and history from the standpoint of someone who thought it was possible to turn our world right side up — to put people before profit, the environment before the interests of mining companies.

¡Howard Zinn presente!

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CHRISTIANITY: “Christians: You Are Upset About the Wrong Things” / Darrell Lackey ☮

Sociologist Tony Campolo has been known, when speaking to Christian audiences, to begin by saying something like this:

I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact I just said “shit” than you are that 30,000 kids died last night.

When citing this, I have had people prove his very point by responding something to the effect of, “Yeah, I get it, but I still wish he would make his point some other way…” Ummm, that is his point. His point, in my opinion, isn’t really about the children (although it is, obviously); his point is that we (Christians) get upset over the wrong things. Our moral sense of outrage is often misdirected.

The fact that we notice the language, our being offended, before we really register the fact that children are dying, tells us all we need to know. Any focus on a crude term and not on his greater point that children are dying of starvation or malnutrition and that we might be complicit proves his very point. If there was a tiny gasp from the crowd at that word or an awkward silence—such reactions were misdirected. These people were upset about the wrong thing.

The legalistic, simplistic, and shallow world of fundamentalism (and even many aspects of evangelicalism) breeds some rather odd triggers for what it is we are supposed to get upset about. Here are just a few:

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