• counterpunch
    1.4k
    This is a common, and flawed, defense.Foghorn

    Is it? Please show me an example, and explain in what ways it is flawed. And could you do so without emojis? I'm not a teenage girl!
  • Foghorn
    244
    Please show me an example, and explain in what ways it is flawed.counterpunch

    I already did that by demonstrating that scientists too are capable of making questionable decisions.

    Scientists are people. People tend to be FUBAR.

    I'm not a teenage girl!counterpunch

    You're not??? Really? Rats!! Look at all this time I've wasted! No smilies for you!
  • baker
    1.6k
    The salient point is people disparage science and aren't interested in the subject - I find that interesting in a so called science obsessed society.Tom Storm

    Because mostly, what there is is actually scientism, not science. And many people rightly recognize it as such, and disparage it.
    Somehow, science doesn't seem to have the power to undo scientism.
  • baker
    1.6k
    Scientists are people. People tend to be FUBAR.Foghorn
    *facepalm*
  • baker
    1.6k
    My point is that, despite the fact that many more ppl died young in olden times, nevertheless, those who did survive enjoyed a richer culture, and I question the validity of the argument that science is undeniably good simply because it increases physical prosperity and longevity.Todd Martin

    Basically, would you agree with something like this:
    As more people survive past childhood and live well into their 70's, human life and culture have become cheap, flat, superficial, lacking deeper meaning and value; lacking opportunity for true heroism and grit; commodities that are only meant to be consumed and then discarded.

    --?
  • Wittgenstein
    374

    Western civilization according to Spengler aims at the infinite. It's characteristic nature is "will to power". It wasn't until the early 20 the century, philosophers realized that it will all come to an end. Our fields of knowledge will be exhausted and our arts will simply be a recombination of historical art forms. Western civilization will die in the next 200 years and a Cesarean form of government will take control over it. Just as the Islamic Civilization died after the siege of Baghdad, the Gothic civilization will also die.

    The destruction of traditions , low birth rate, all time high depression, poor economy, immigration, racial tensions, late capitalism are all symptoms of a collapse
  • Todd Martin
    298
    Basically, would you agree with something like this:
    As more people survive past childhood and live well into their 70's, human life and culture have become cheap, flat, superficial, lacking deeper meaning and value; lacking opportunity for true heroism and grit; commodities that are only meant to be consumed and then discarded.
    baker

    Yes, I would agree with all that, Mr. Baker. But I would emend “into their 70s” to read “into their 80s and even 90s.” I live with a woman in her late 80s who shows little sign of slowing down anytime soon. I work for a local nonagenarian couple: he is 95, ran to the opposite side of his ship to avoid incoming Kamikaze in the South Pacific; she is 90 and works her garden every day, lifts the other side of a heavy piece of furniture to move it whithersoever we will, feeds me lunch and takes up whatever tasks her invalid husband can no longer perform. The 80s and 90s are the new 70s and 80s...

    ...but what is an extra decade added onto an already long life? This was one of Socrates’ calculations when he chose to die at the ripe young age of 70. I was told by @Fooloso4 that this opinion of both Xenophon and Allan Bloom—that Socrates calculated his old age as a part of the reason he chose to die—was “not to be taken at face value”, ie, that it was part of some esoteric teaching; I pointed out to him, however, that 70 years were considered to be the “years of a man” in the Old Testament. But I failed to point out to him that, of the two contemporary philosopher-authors of Socrates, Xenophon is the least esoteric.

    Bloom writes, “Xenophon tells how Socrates responded to Antiphon, the Sophist, who was trying to attract his companions or students away from him by claiming Socrates’ life was not a happy one, particularly because of his great poverty...

    ““Antiphon, as another man gets great pleasure from a good horse, or a dog, or a bird, I get even more pleasure from good friends. And if I have something good I teach it to them, and I introduce them to others who will be useful to them with respect to virtue. And together with my friends I go through the treasures of the wise men of old which they left behind written in books, and we peruse them. If we see something good, we pick it out and hold it to be a great profit, if we are able to prove useful to one another.””

    “Xenophon comments, “When I heard this, I held Socrates to be really happy...” (Memorabilia, I 6).

    “How naive! It is a naïveté we would do well to recover. But, oh, the difficulty of it! Rousseau understood this very well:

    ““Our bombastic lapidary style is good only for inflating dwarfs. The ancients showed men as they are naturally, and one saw that they were men. Xenophon, honoring the memory of some warriors who were killed during the retreat of the ten thousand, says, “They died irreproachable in war and in friendship.” That is all. But consider what must have filled the author’s heart in writing this short and simple eulogy. Wow unto him who does not find that entrancing!””

    “Rousseau’s observation is even more appropriate to this passage, the only one in the writings of Xenophon, who had experienced so much and seen so many illustrious men in action, where he calls a man happy.”


    Along with “cheap, flat, superficial, lacking deeper meaning and value”, I would add “coarse, vulgar and ostentatious”...

    ... I used to be a skilled roller-skater in the artistic style, 3-turns, spins on either foot, one-turn leaps, etc. I once visited an out-of-town rink and found there a fellow who was jealous of my skills. I suppose he was considered to be the local prodigy, and to do me one better, performed a backwards flip in which he landed safely upon his skates, followed by acclamation and applause of his friends. But despite this stunt, his style was rough and coarse and lacked general skill and subtlety. He seems to me to be a paradigm of the modern artist.
  • Fooloso4
    1.9k
    But I failed to point out to him that, of the two contemporary philosopher-authors of Socrates, Xenophon is the least esoteric.Todd Martin

    But as the commentaries by Bloom's teacher Leo Strauss show, Xenophon was deeply ironic. that is to say, he cannot not simply be taken at face value. But Strauss said:

    The problem inherent in the surface of things, and only in the surface of things, is the heart of things.

    To get below the surface you have to be able to see the surface.

    A funny story told by Seth Benardete a friend of Bloom's and fellow student of Strauss:

    He was heading home after a conference with Stanley Rosen and Allan Bloom in the car. Bloom spotted some deer by the side of the road. They stopped the car. Bloom wanted to get out to see them. He asked: "Do you think they'll attack if I got out and approach them?" And Rosen said: "I don't think they've read Closing of the American Mind".
  • Wayfarer
    12.6k
    :lol:

    Western civilization according to Spengler aims at the infinite.Wittgenstein

    Aims at displacing God with science, more like it.

    I would agree with all that, Mr. BakerTodd Martin

    (Ms., I think. :yikes: )
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    It must've come up in the preceding discussions but here's what I like about science. There's an almost obsessive desire to legitimize one's work by giving it a scientific character. Most of the time this takes the form of mathematizing a subject of study and while some are amenable to quantification to some degree, others seem resistant to such attempts but all is not lost, there's always statistics to save the day given that its scope of application is almost universal.

    However, this thirst for mathematics discernible in every field might be overdoing it a bit. Granted physics has worked its way up to the top of pecking order precisely because it's mathematical to the extent of being a dependent rather than a patron so to speak. There's so much more to science than just fancy arithmetic and geometry. What's non-mathematical about science, to me, is what it has in common with philosophy - clear language, logical rigor, to name a few. We could focus on this non-mathematical side to science too you know.
  • counterpunch
    1.4k
    Western civilization according to Spengler aims at the infinite.Wittgenstein

    If Spengler is right, what makes you believe the infinite is unachievable? If I had a few tens of billions to spend, I'd drill for magma energy - close to magma pockets in the earth's crust, line the bore holes with pipes, and pump liquid through to produce steam to drive turbines - for limitless, base load clean electricity. Then I'd sequester carbon, desalinate, irrigate, recycle, farm fish, protect the forests, make the deserts bloom, and live happily ever after!

    Point being, this could be the dawn for humankind; and a renaissance for western civilisation - for how else, but western industry and capitalism, could the technology be applied?
  • Foghorn
    244
    It wasn't until the early 20 the century, philosophers realized that it will all come to an end.Wittgenstein

    In one interpretation, the Book Of Genesis predicted our current state of affairs and likely future some three thousand years ago.

    1) We ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge, and then...

    2) Were evicted from the Garden of Eden.

    Here's how I think this remarkable prediction was accomplished. It wasn't a vision from beyond, the word of God transcribed, or magical psychic powers. It was deep insight in to the human condition, a condition which hasn't really changed since the prediction was made.

    As example, if you've read enough of Foghorn's posts, sooner or later it becomes clear that my human condition is to go endlessly blah, blah, blah about all kinds of things like a typoholic madmen, and swing wildly back and forth between being a jerk and a decent dude. Once you see the pattern, once you understand my human condition, you can predict the future of my writing with a degree of certainty.

    Ancient peoples had some advantage in understanding fundamental properties like the human condition because their minds weren't crammed with all the kinds of mass produced noise which assaults our attention today.

    There are of course many other interpretations of the Book Of Genesis, and no way to ever finally conclude which is correct. I'm just reporting my current favorite interpretation.
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