• Ukraine Crisis
    That is a matter of opinion. Athens lost the territorial war but then founded an empire of the mind that is arguably far more lasting and important.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    If we assume that this war is not itself scripted with a motive we can't clearly grasp (which can't be dismissed, but let's set it aside for now as it's not relevant to our current discussion), then it becomes easier to understand what's happening, why it's happening, and what the potential consequences might be.

    This war in the Ukraine has miraculous parallels with the Peloponnesian War or what has been called the Thucydides trap. Now this might give us good cause to be cautious but none to be ignorant. The American Empire like the Athenian Golden age of the 4th Century BC is exceptional. Where the charge of hubris could be levelled against ancient Athens it can be more justifiably be charged against our USA. The theatre of action may have expanded from a corner of the east mediterranean to the entire globe and the actors have different names but the action appears almost mystically destined to follow the same sequence.

    Set in the early part of the 21st Century, this tragedy of Empire reloaded has the following cast: the US playing the role of Athens; NATO the Delos League, Russia as Sparta, China as Persia, Ukraine as Sicily. History often offers parallels but rarely do they rhyme so tightly.
  • Donald Trump (All General Trump Conversations Here)
    It's bewildering. When, by any rational assessment, Trump has been a rather benign but lightweight talent, who's worst quality is perhaps his incredibly over inflated ego; yet, he continues to consistently cause many rational people to entirely lose their dignity and continues again to trigger widespread public tantrums.

    There just has to be some unconscious element to all of this. It is like he is some kind of cultural mirror: when he reveals his shallow crassness, the obvious lies and obfuscations, something about the way he does it - reveals us to ourselves - us content westerners - and we can't face it.

    His vileness is obvious to us - because, in our rare moments of honesty - we remember and recognise ourselves. The MAGA crowd lacks our sophistication, and our refined duplicity and so they don't see what is obvious to us: He will say anything to get ahead - as we all do and must - in a culture which increasingly demands and rewards compliance.
  • Postmodern Philosophy and Morality
    Postmodernism is a big category, as is marxism. For instance, there is cultural postmodernism, which focuses on economic, political and social dynamics affecting large numbers of peoples. A TV show can be postmodern in this sense. Then there is philosophical postmodernism, also a very broad category, which is my interest. Summarized very generally , it includes much more than critique. As far as its practical applications , there an emerging movement of scientific thinking that applies postmodern ideas to the understanding of the nature of scientific practices , as well as to specific theoretical approaches within psychology( perception, neuroscience, schizophrenia ,mood disorders, autism), biology and even physics. This is anything but ‘pseudo-religious’. On the contrary, it reveals the remnants of religious thinking still influencing modernist forms of science.Joshs

    I have been wondering whether Euripides Play - MEDEA - written circa 500 BC - isn't essentially post-modern? We see Medea directly attack Greek assumptions concerning Patriarchy, Heroism, Hierarchy, Gender, Status... The poor woman, in her personal despair, fights singlehandedly against the entire classical greek narrative. A narrative that was not very different from our own until very recently.

    Medea continues to be a difficult play to read even to our modern sensibilities. For what it is worth, Euripides was not as well admired by his contemporaries as Sophocles and Aeschylus. The later two tended to reinforce and glorify the prevailing myths, gods and heroes. Whereas, Euripides liked to reveal the shadow side of things the culture did not readily perceive of itself.

    Postmodernism during the 20th and 21st Century has confronted many of the same themes as those dramatised by Euripides, so long ago. But this later version of Postmodernism has come to eschew the clarity of language that Euripides used so powerfully in favour of obscurity, where only those initiated into something like the Delphic Mysteries can hope to decipher its meaning and profundity.

    If Medea is not a timeless exemplar of the essence of the postmodern project, then what is it? And if Medea does indeed contain the essence of PoMO, then, postmodernism is not something new but something with an ancient history.

    Consider how Early-Christianity, challenged Roman Imperial sacred cows over 2 centuries before its ascension to the state religion.. That was some clash: Roman aristocratic honour against Christian forgiveness. This is not completely dissimilar to the project that postmodernism undertook to challenge Anglo-European Cultural assumptions during the 20th and 21st Century.
  • Postmodern Philosophy and Morality

    Whether marxist or postmodernist they are pseudo-religious ideologies. Both have something valid to offer as critiques but neither offers anything practical. They aren't even preventative but act merely as a kind of cultural post traumatic therapy. Well done to Martin for making it so clear.
  • Postmodern Philosophy and Morality
    Consequently, when I insist on the necessity of protection and
    calculation, I am not advocating a ‘purely calculated hospitality’ or a
    morality that insists on suspecting strangers (this being the two charges
    Attridge makes against my position). Rather, I take into account that
    the openness to the other is the source of every chance and every threat,
    which is why openness may give rise to the most generous welcome as
    well as the most paranoid suspicion and why there can be no such thing
    as a purely calculated hospitality. The task of deconstructive analysis is
    not to choose between calculation and the incalculable, but to articulate
    their co-implication and the autoimmunity that follows from it. It is not
    only that I cannot calculate what others will do to me; I cannot finally
    calculate what my own decisions will do to me, since they bind me to a
    future that exceeds my intentions, and in this sense I am affected by my
    own decisions as by the decisions of an other.
    Tom Storm

    Eureka! Post-Modernism revealing itself as a philosophical Stream of Consciousness. There is no refuting this kind of writing - it is sublime and invalid at the same time. The tone is something confessional, psycho/religious
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The current German Chancellor, Herr Scholz, was anxious to divert any nefarious reading of his recent caravan of CEOs landing in Biejing The visit has sparked much criticism and conjecture throughout Germany, Europe and the USA.

    Scholz admit that German industry is heading for the Schiesser; Industrialists are shutting down plants all over Germany as the increased energy costs begin to bite. And many of those Industrialists are jumping ship, and loading up to unprecedented levels of investment in the USA and doubly so in China.

    The European Consensus is firmly against both Russia and China, who we are told don't share our Values. So any visit to China is going to attract speculation. But as no-one - especially Scholz - is permitted to admit that the Post WW2 Germany Economic Miracle has hit a reef, the search for a fix to keep the German Economy afloat needs to occur surreptitiously as forlorn as Brussels and Washington are watching Scholz carefully.

    Although no one can say it, everyone knows it. Scholz's industrial caravan to Bijeing is a glaring admission that Germany is in a major economic crisis. Xi - in his inscrutable CPC style - delivered Scholz a scornful dressing down, detailing the foolhardiness of Germany Policy towards Russia and schooled him to pressure Zelensky to the Peace table.

    Of course Xi promised to work in harmony with Germany but what if anything else was agreed on is uncertain. Interestingly, paranoid circles are concerned that the trip maybe just the first step for Germany to enter a tripartite alliance with China and Russia. It's a compelling idea - one no doubt appealing to those German Industrialists - but then Germany would need to relinquish those precious western values .
  • Ukraine Crisis

    If Portugal possessed over 20% of the World's commodities and an untold volume of unexplored resources, sanctions against Portugal would also prove difficult and cause devastation to the world economy.

    What is apparent is that the presumption that the modern economy is driven by technological know how and financial instruments is at least partially wrong. The uninterrupted supply of cheap energy and commodities is at least as crucial if not more so, as no amount of technology can replace it.

    Similarly, there is something fundamentally misleading citing per capita GDP as a measure of comparative economic strength: functionally, there is little difference between an apartment in London or an apartment in Moscow, yet the London apartment maybe valued at 2 million pounds whilst the Moscow equivalent is valued at 200k. Similar comparative price disparities occur across wages, services and assets.

    Economic historians believe that specialisation and trade is the driving force of economic progress since the beginning of time, and that this specialisation on the global scale, that we enjoyed pre-2020, is precisely what has enabled a world of 8 billion to enjoy the high standards of living we became accustomed to.

    Removing Russia from the global economy runs against this economic truism and means countries all over the world will need to either diversify their economies back to pre-1980s levels or other countries will need to step into the breach to fill the gap left by Russia's exclusion. All of which means, if not permanently then at least in the short to medium, increased costs, decreased efficiency and a reduction in competitiveness across the global economy.

    But as It now appears baked in that China and India will continue to receive cheap Russian energy and cheap Russian commodities whilst western countries pay significantly more. Countries like China and India will possess a significant competitive advantage over the likes of Germany, France, Japan and South Korea. Over any significant period of time, demand for Western Products will fall causing a drop in standards of living in those countries.

    Assuming of course - which is daily appearing more difficult - our political leaders don't render this whole discussion moot by triggering a nuclear exchange.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    The global economy is a highly evolved and finely tuned system with an immeasurable level of complexity necessary to provide a population of close to 8 billion the abundance and cheap essentials: from energy, commodities, to luxury items - we have come to expect.

    With over 20% of the world's land mass. It is patently clear that the consequences of removing Russia from this highly tuned global economy - for any length of time - must inevitably cause the existing global economic systems to become unworkable.

    This is not the 19th or 20th century. Countries all over the world have, now for several decades, restructured their economies to become specialists in select industries where they possess comparative advantages.

    Russia may not be an advanced country but until we can 3D print commodities, the exclusion of Russia from the global economy means a significant reduction in living standards across the world.

    What are the odds that pampered westerners will stoically endure this looming impoverishment?
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I condemn Putin for this war, and I also condemn my government for its actions leading up to it. This idea of “picking a side” is strange.Mikie

    Strange it is but just for the laughs - The Regime Change Scoreboard.

    NATO = 0/1 v RUSSIA 2/30 (Draghi, Truss/Bozo)
  • Ukraine Crisis
    This is one of the things Westerners are for the most part oblivious to, but genuinely seem to be incapable of understanding it even when it's explained.boethius

    Western Rationality is relentlessly undermined by all forms of media determined to condemn all things Russia and all things Putin into Dante's 9th circle of hell. The myriad articles, opinion pieces, dramatic images, accompanied by stirring music is all a powerful psychedelic that warps otherwise normal people, who care nothing about geopolitics nor have any real interest in the matter, now spontaneously tell you how Putin is literally evil.

    This is our world now

    Even here - in our philosophy forum - smart, erudite and normally rational posters
    - on the subject of this conflict in the Ukraine - often find it impossible to refrain from tit for tat partisan jibes.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Are you saying that Russia is the vanguard for this 'Aspirational majority'?

    Is the Chechen society, as it exists now, a part of this group after decades of genocide?

    Is Assad a paying subscriber to this majority?

    Are the ultranationalists in Europe and the U.S., who have celebrated Putin as a champion of their cause, a member of this majority?

    I am having trouble bringing your idea into view.

    We have in recent years witnessed a growing popular spectacle towards a kind of self loathing exemplified by many western educational faculties; inspiring those with left wing sentiments towards dramatic emotional displays in reaction to our colonial and imperial western history. Some, perhaps many and particularly right-wing circles question the sincerity of these displays and suggest they may be primarily a useful posture to achieve some sort of self-serving political outcome.

    Given that even Westerners are aghast at their own history, should we doubt that the old colonised world has either forgotten its history of colonial humiliation or ignorant of its continued subservient status to those same powers in the world today? The plight of Ukraine is no doubt of some concern to the non-western world but it is not of primary concern. On the other hand, it has suddenly come to be of almost existential importance to NATO countries.

    The Rest of the World - from China, India, Euro-Asia, most of Africa and South America - is naturally not only enjoying this rare moment of schadenfreude as Russia's ongoing impudence threatens to humiliate NATO, but if the leaders of these countries are at all cognisant of their own best interests, they cannot help but speculate whether there is here a rare opportunity to not only humiliate the oppressor but perhaps even force the hegemon's shackles to be permanently loosened.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Nothing about the progress of the invasion suggests it is going as planned for Russia. If it is a practice round, it is a very expensive one.Paine

    Indeed, the war in the Ukraine does not seem to be going well for anyone: not for the Russians - as you say, certainly not for the people of Ukraine, nor for the Europeans now suffering from gas and food shortages together with inflationary threats that are threatening now to de-industrialise western Europe competitive advantage, nor for the US economy or the global economy.

    Whilst, Western Countries have at least politically acted in unison in its opposition to Russia's actions in the Ukraine, other significant powers have resisted Western pressure to sanction Russia. Notably, China and India, together with several Euro-asian countries now actively advancing economic alliances that not only include Russia but are intrinsically being created in opposition to the US led Western World. Several other cracks to the opposition of Russia are coming from Hungary, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Mexico... In France and Germany protests and strikes against these debilitating sanctions spread. In the UK, this economic pressure is causing political turmoil as yet another Chancellor of the Exchequer is replaced and now threatens to topple the - 30 day old - Truss government.

    These cracks have appeared in during the Autumn. We must expect that the looming winter will only widen these fissures.

    As the war in the Ukraine is not likely to produce a decisive result, it is these geo-political, economic factors that tower not only over Russia but over the entire world. And, here at least, there is a growing threat to the status quo, where the US led western countries and institutions have for decades determined the international order. On this battle-field Russia's open recalcitrance acts as an exemplar that most threatens to supplant US hegemony and usher in a turbulent transition to a multi-polar geo-political world.

    Thus we witness just yesterday, a joint announcement by Erdogan and Putin to build a another pipeline thru Turkey - And Turkey is a member of NATO. This is an untenable announcement for a NATO member and will not be well received in either Brussels or Washington.

    The Ukraine war is a domino, a symbol against Western Hegemony that has exposed a myriad dormant resentments between the Western World and the Aspirational majority.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    Is this assessment influenced by any partisanship?
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Can anyone see parallels between this Ukraine conflict and the Spanish Civil War 1936-9?
    Then as now, via proxy, the various world powers probed each others military capabilities, weapons, and tactics in preparation for the main show to follow.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    It may have be largely invisible to us, but Western culture is now hopelessly stupid. A century or two of imperialism followed by another of mass global dominance, abundance, and excess have created an image of power, prestige, technological, political, cultural supremacy and an ingrained presumption of superiority - even much of the non-western world believes it to be true.

    In reality, the many decades of comfort and excess enjoyed by the western world has atrophied our intellect, eviscerated gumption, and left us all ethically deranged.

    Of course, there are many achievements of which the Western World should be proud. There are also excesses that should be condemned. Ambiguity is true of all cultures but few other cultures - in human history - have become so unconscious, so unaware of how it is possessed by an immeasurable hubris that sits on a foundation of unbridled self indulgence.

    There is an unconscious competence, a built in inertia and momentum that continues to sustain the satisfaction of whims. The incompetence and signs of a systemic collapse are obscured by this fading but continuing momentum. Only don't need to look very carefully to know there is no wherewithal to reverse the decline.

    We haven't so much surrendered to our own doom as we are determined to bring it on. The public, our political class and even our oligarchs are exhausted and bereft of ideas or agency. We just don't appreciate what we've got and especially how we got it.

    You don't know what you've got til it's gone
  • Ukraine Crisis

    GO is an abstract strategy board game for two players in which the aim is to surround more territory than the opponent. The game was invented in China more than 2,500 years ago and is believed to be the oldest board game continuously played to the present day.Wikipedia
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Card games like Gin, Bridge, Canasta, Whist and their variations were made popular in Europe. These games mould a mind for congenial co-operative, diplomatic competition.

    The card game Poker - most popular in the USA is a game that teaches one to calculate odds, study opponents idiosyncracies and bluff

    The game GO - popular in China - is riddled with serpentine complexity and uncertainty - a long game requiring a myriad of simultaneous calculations requires patience and endurance

    The game Chess - popular in Russia - is purely combative - there is no element of chance. Where as in GO the idea is to stymie your opponent - in Chess the objective is to capture and destroy.

    Thus we have Gentlemen Diplomats v Showmen and Businessmen v Diligent Bureaucrats v Combatants

    And remarkably or perhaps predictably - in a crisis - they each revert to type
    The Europeans scamper about forming alliances
    The US bluffs and sells a story
    The Chinese patiently study the board and make moves no one understands
    The Russians find a opponent and go to war
  • Ukraine Crisis
    What constitutes the condition of "until proven otherwise"?

    For example, for one who does not see any gap between Heidegger's philosophy and his political declarations, why is it incumbent upon me to separate the two? He does not do that anywhere that I am aware of. If the burden of proof does not fall upon him, what else is left?

    That was just an example. The first question about proof is what confronts all in regard to the situation in Ukraine.

    Because so many Philosophers and thinkers have admired and been inspired by Heidegger's work, including Jews, who remain uncomfortable with his political involvement with NAZIS, who are fully aware of the accusations but who nevertheless can see the gap between his best ideas and his political biography.

    Imagine if Hitler himself had discovered antibiotics - and his name was synonymous with not only the holocaust but also this life saving medicine. Would - in this alternative reality - the continuing use of antibiotics to save lives be an affirmation of NAZI sympathy?

    It's of course a ridiculous example but I think it nevertheless helps to crystallise the dilemma your position presents. For Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence, Heidegger's contribution is undeniably profound. It would be one thing to be suspicious and cautious of Heidegger's work if his Opus Magnus was political but I am unable to envisage what nazi threat or contamination his phenomenological work could possibly possess.

    Canadian Professor John Verbanke has a series online titled "awakening to the meaning crisis.." where he explores amongst other topics across 50 lectures, a lot of the latest questions concerning Human and Artificial Intelligence. He is - like many - very circumspect - far too much - about Heidegger. And I contend his series is all the poorer for it.

    The reason I raise this obscure series is that the Verbanke asserts that the prevailing consensus in AI is that the keystone to human intelligence and the challenge for AI is something he calls "relevance realisation." The autonomous AI guys can't get around how we make sense out of the infinitude of information that we are always confronted by. There is just too much complexity and no amount of processing power can fully examine the combinatorial explosion and make a functional decision in a timely manner - yet we humans manage it.

    Humans function by ignoring what is not relevant and focusing on only the key parameters - thus the term "relevance realisation." So if I am interested in Heidegger's personal biography his nazi affiliation is of course very relevant; when attempting to understand his philosophy the same personal biography is an unnecessary complexity which is likely to hinder not assist my attempt to comprehend his complex philosophical ideas.

    I have found it helpful to think of Rational as synonymous with Relevance Realisation - as distinctly different from logic or deduction.

    Thus, "ratio" forms the first part of the word. It is a balance of probabilities we need to mostly negotiate. To function at all, we are forever forced to decide and exclude what is not precisely relevant. The certainty we feel with deduction and logic is mostly not available to us. As embodied beings surrounded by infinite complexity we can only apply logic were the parameters are fully defined.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    I fail to follow where you're going with this passage.boethius

    I was trying to illustrate what a hopelessly riddled mess of invective this heated partisanship has led us to.

    A person can be concerned about the environment without having any confidence in the proposed solutions being offered and can legitimately suspect the motives and sincerity of its proponents. A person can hate US/NATO foreign policy without being a fan of Russia or Putin. A person can prefer Trump over Biden or Hillary without being enthusiastic about any of them. A person can respect all races, homosexuality and trans people whilst being suspicious or even opposed to the various related policy campaigns. Just as a person can be impressed with Heiddegger's Being and Time without being a NAZI sympathiser.

    A person can acknowledge historical crimes and errors of the culture they belong to whilst still being proud of its achievements.

    This understanding is actually an essential pre-condition for rational discussion. No matter how erudite the interjection that breaches this pre-condition it renders rational discourse impossible. If discourse and public debate is to be productive it must avoid descending into a contest - until proven otherwise - we should assume the very best of our interlocutor.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    There are and always will be existential threats - they exist with or without us.
    Their existence is unavoidable as is our necessity to negotiate thru them.

    So, what precisely is stopping us from managing the eco-system better, in preventing the degradation of land, in moving towards a more sustainable future? In the western world green leaning policies and green leaning parties have been in the ascendancy for over a decade or two. A series of global announcements with big promises over this period have been celebrated as near religious events.

    The myriad of little things that could have been done yesterday, that could be done today are never done or just poorly done. It seems that unless saving the planet involves a large uber-expensive and serpentine administrative process its not worth the effort. The idea that any individual, any business or any local, regional, state or federal government could by itself initiate something ecologically worthwhile that did not fall under the auspices of some strategy administered by a global bureaucracy is unthinkable.

    When exactly did multi-governments committees, let alone trans-governmental committees prove themselves to be efficient and effective at dodging complex existential threats? But here we are.

    Saving the planet is a grave matter that can only be conducted by the most serious and important global professionals, who can articulate the correct creed, the consensus of principles, using the appropriate language, defined by the sanctioned legal articles, the internationally certified methodologies, the standardised measures, inspired by a select focus group talking points, the hot button advertising campaigns that elevate the role models that will bravely lead us to our Uber-future.

    But before anything can be done - anyone who disagrees with the sanctioned global agenda is cancelled. Once the heretics are silenced - the work will commence - Promise!

    This is all of course a vulgar exaggeration and its author should be immediately dismissed as denier of climate change, most likely a Trump and or Putin supporter and very probably racist, misogynist, homo and trans-phobic.

    Now that's a debate.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Still? Which good old day are you nostalgic for? Mussolini made the trains run on time, and The British Empire made the trains, and published Marx.unenlightened

    Whilst, I am cynical and hyper-critical of the current Western hegemonic culture - and would argue that we have collectively lost our minds - and that there never was never any benevolent golden age; Nevertheless, amongst the grotesque litany of excess, genocide and hubris - western culture has also led a remarkable rational awakening of science and ethics which has empowered quite miraculous achievements lifting humankind out of universal misery, disease, hunger, war and superstition.

    The price paid for these achievements has been bloody and ruthless but what is now possible for billions of people today - is the stuff of magical thinking and fantasy for all preceding human history.
    We throw the baby out with the bath water - so to speak - when we diminish these truly astonishing achievements.

    Our errors and misdeeds are not the whole story. Not in the past nor today. It may be wise and useful to study and remind ourself of our errors so as to not repeat them. It is at least as equally wise and useful to study and remind ourself of our achievements - so as to propagate more of them.

    It seems to me that much of our contemporary cultural and political melee comes from an myopic emotive emphasis concerning our past mistakes which has left our culture petty, whining, bitter, resentful, shameful, bereft of pride and most importantly - incapable of agency.

  • Ukraine Crisis
    Let's delete "for good", which is indeed quite debatable. The remaining part of the question is in the balance: Is the Western World still a force?Olivier5

  • Ukraine Crisis

    This being so, why does it matter whether you are camp West or camp Eurasia? Cheering for a team is a natural human reaction, but why not evaluate the whole of global politics through an ecological lens?apokrisis

    You can't because from a purely ecological lens the extinction of humans is a boon. And in that case the sooner we are all gone the better.

    Thus if we wish to live, our negotiating thru the various political, cultural, economic and environmental issues becomes unavoidable.

    But factually, both sides make the same comparisons. So the criticism applies equally. The habit is shared.apokrisis

    This is sadly all too true and hopelessly dysfunctional. Emotive partisanship is by definition myopic and prone to confirmation bias. It narrows the field of cognition and clouds the exploration of possibilities. The level of technological power - we possess today - means the consequences of our errors no longer permit us to indulge our primordial and medieval instincts.

    For much of political history, it has been wise policy to keep the public's stomach full but its head empty - the problems that come with modern complexity and advanced technological capability make this ancient instinct not only insufficient at overcoming systemic challenges but almost certain to lead to an existential catastrophe.
  • Ukraine Crisis
    Ukraine is only one front - in a much larger struggle between the US Empire and an emerging multi-polar world order; one where China and Russia have begun to challenge US supremacy. However, the country that most challenges US hegemony is China - not Russia. China's industrial capacity exceeds that of both the USA and the EU combined. It is a rhetorical question whether or not China's objective is to supplant and eclipse US power, because the fact is that it is what the US believes and it is a belief that most explains US geo-political behaviour. And for an emergent China, Russia represents critical resources essential to ascent on the global stage.

    Russia's inclusion in this power calculus is both surprising and illuminating. Conventional wisdom - post the USSR - had largely come to assess Russia as a mid-level regional economic power that enjoyed an elevated global significance largely by virtue of its legacy nuclear arsenal. Senator John McCain - one time Presidential Candidate - went so far as to describe Russia as a "Gas Station masquerading as a country." Something of this thinking underpinning McCain's derision must have featured prominently in the minds of EU leaders when they began to enthusiastically proclaim a series of dramatic trade sanctions against Russia.

    A free trade alliance between China and Russia is the necessary foundation for any Eurasian economic zone capable of challenging Western hegemony. The partnership of Russia's unlimited resources combined with China's population and industrial capacity possesses an irresistible gravitational pull on the entirety of the Asia and the Middle East. The SCO, and Silk Road investment projects are already expanding and attracting interest from India, Iran, Turkey and the all the Stans. These countries represent over half of the worlds population.

    For the West - It is this perspective that makes it necessary to balkanise Russia. As Secretary of State during the Obama Administration, Hillary Clinton bemoaned that it was unfair that Russia possessed so much access to natural resources. In the short term, the Ukraine war is a financial windfall for the MIC, a fillip of relevance for NATO, it consolidates power of the EU in Brussels and it advances the agenda of the WEF.

    So what happens in the Ukraine is important but is only one part of a much larger game. What we know about Putin and the war is filtered by our media thru this lens.

    Our Western political leaders are in the habit of elevating one foreign leader after another as the latest reincarnation of Hitler. In just the last 2 decades we've had five of these Doctor Evil types: Saddam, Gaddafi, Kim Jong-un, Trump and now Putin. Popular Western Culture can accept criticism of its imperial colonial past but is not so comfortable discussing and arguably blind to its current geo-political excesses.

    Is the Western World really still a force for good?

    Ever since 9/11, hysteria, outrage, anger, fear and hate have all become normalised. It's more than a little unsettling just to review a sampling of the headlines and vocabulary used to cover news over the last 2 decades: Patriot Act, war on terror, rendition, Al Queda, ISIS, Rendition, GITMO, Waterboarding, Coalition of the willing, Axis of Evil, Snowden, Assange, GFC, Moral hazard, Quantitive Easing, Novichok, Wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria,
    millions of refugees, Russia Gate, Not my President, Stolen Elections, Impeachments , Insurrections...

    And if that were not enough, there is the threat of extinction from greenhouse gases and climate catastrophe. All the while, there are an increasing number of media reports of key personnel in the administrations of both Russia and the USA threatening each other with Nuclear war.
  • Ukraine Crisis

    Sources: Not Mainstream Media
    Various Pro-Ukraine and Pro-Russian Telegram Channels
    Military Summary Channel - telegram
    The Duran
    Scot Ritter
  • Ukraine Crisis
    There is a little bit more clarity concerning the relative strength of both sides and the Kremlin's objectives following the events on the front in both Kharkov and Kherson over past week.

    It would appear that Russia - having abandoned the Kharkiv region without a fight - has no intention of conquering/holding any territory whose population is not predominantly supportive of Russia and also capable of deploying its own troops to defend that territory.

    Although, the Ukrainians were successful in reclaiming a large swathe of territory in the Kharkov region - last week - the weight of evidence suggests that the Russians had largely already withdrawn and repositioned their defensive lines behind the Oskil River on the Lugansk border.

    A much larger Ukrainian Offensive operation was attempted in Kherson region - last week - but there the Russian and allied forces were prepared to fight and for now have successfully repelled Ukraine advances. Since then, a series of minor further Ukrainian Offensive operations have yielded little if any gains and the war has resumed its normal pattern of the last 2 months: where Russian allied artillery relentlessly pounds fortified Ukrainian positions near Donbas and Donetsk with the occasional minor Russian advances.

    The Ukrainian capture of territory in Kharkhov led to jubilant claims throughout western media and Kiev. And in Russia, Putin and his leadership attracted widespread criticism. Senior Ex-military officers and opposition parties began calling for an escalation from this timid Special Military Operation to an all out declaration of war and full mobilisation of the country. However, following a series of high-level meetings in Moscow, where it seems various escalations were considered - including declaring Ukraine a Terrorist State - in the end it has been decided to continue with the Special Military Operation - with some minor tweaking of the rules of engagement but without any declaration or further military mobilisation.

    With due respect for the fog of war - if we assume the above synopsis largely depicts events as they actually are - then it would seem that the Kremlin is prepared to play the long game in the Ukraine - or at least to the end of the coming northern winter. Putin's calculus maybe that the economic trade war is working to its favour and that European unity against Russia may begin to crumble, over the coming winter, as pressure on fuel prices, gas shortages and food continues to mount.

    On balance, it seems highly unlikely that the Ukraine will recapture its lost territory or that Russia is able or willing to conquer all or most of the Ukraine. In boxing parlance, we are looting at a split decision. And at some point, a settlement will need to be negotiated and signed by NATO, Russia, Ukraine and its neighbours.
  • Global warming discussion - All opinions welcome
    If it is so - then, why isn't there a mass pro-nuclear evangelical proselytising. It seems like the perfect kumbaya alignment for a popular progressive marriage with big energy companies - to save all of life.
    A veritable blockbuster script: Humanity dodges the source of its own destruction and big capitalism saves the world.

    Yet, no dice.

    Instead of any practical commitment to immediately replace the dirty energy with something clean - we instead are trapped in an endless parade of pseudo -religious rituals that merely require us all to affirm our commitment to the climate creed. From the cafe to the parliament, the game is to be the most convincing, the most passionate, set the largest targets, make great proclamations...

    It is heresy to just ask how these targets can be met. What technology will be used? When it might be ready? Rational questions are evidence of disbelief. It is merely cloak worn by deceitful deniers.
  • Global warming discussion - All opinions welcome
    The current climate debate tends strongly towards a psychogenic and sociogenic mass phenomenon, keyword alarmism, which I think is dangerous, because you lose your cool head, which you need in case of any possible danger. One should just take an in-depth look at the philosophy of science, the history of science, and the criticism of science, to be more relaxed. I am very skeptical of climate modeling. Human beings imagine that they can model everything. That is hubris. The world is always much, much more complex than we think.spirit-salamander

    A pleasure to read your post.
    Many post-modern ills are - if not exactly caused - certainly exacerbated by our blindness to the functional importance of J.S.Mills treatise concerning individual liberty and the utility of free speech. Speech, Thought and Ideas are the vital ingredients that sustain civilisation and help buttress the human tendency towards barbarity. Jordan Peterson repeatedly makes the point, that, there is little technical distinction between censoring free speech and censoring thought. The history of Science is a history of ideas that challenged orthodoxy.

    Attempts at developing general purpose Artificial Intelligence has been stymied by the problem of Computational Explosion; As you state:"The world is always much, much more complex than we think."
    Neither a computer, nor a human can identify all of the data, model all of the alternatives and their subsequent consequences to determine the optimum decision. If discourse is limited to orthodoxy we cannot hope to solve any complex problems.

    Nuclear Power is one proven source of energy production that could consistently deliver the necessary base-load power required by modern cities without the burning of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the climate orthodoxy is risk averse to the use of Nuclear Power and so there is only muted public discourse on this subject.

    Whilst, there are concerns and risks posed by Nuclear Energy Reactors: i.e. Chernobyl, Fukushima...the latest technical solutions can substantially mitigate those risks and some suggest they may even eliminate most of them. Either way, if Climate Change is an existential threat then, even in the worst case, the more localised threats associated with Nuclear Reactors are solutions that should have been pursued decades ago. The fact that they have not been is so fundamentally irrational that it cannot help but raise concerns that the climate hysteria is driven by something other than science.
  • Global warming discussion - All opinions welcome
    ↪yebiga By not being a fucking idiot, lol_db

    There is a rather foundational philosophical tradition, where I begin a discussion on a complex subject by assuming I'm the idiot.
  • Global warming discussion - All opinions welcome
    Too often 'free speech' is confused with a right to be taken seriously. The right to be taken seriously is earnt, it's not a birthright.
    — Isaac

    How precisely does a person earn the right to be taken seriously?
  • Global warming discussion - All opinions welcome
    If one is free to say "global warming is a hoax", then I'm equally free to say " this person is a moron and we ought not entertain their views"Isaac

    You can legitimately opine that you find this opinion moronic - but if your response is to attack the speaker - "this person is a moron" - you have changed the subject from global warming to the person saying it - this is the death of discourse.

    The person being told they are a moron has nowhere to go - even if they were to suddenly flip their view - they would only confirm the moronic title. This form of ad hominem is all too common and all too unproductive.
  • Global warming discussion - All opinions welcome
    However, to the people who disagree that global warming is a threat, that climate change isn't real, I would like to have a polite and interesting discussion about why you feel the way you do.SackofPotatoeJam

    A pattern of public hysteria has been normalised as the fitting response to an increasing number of topics - not just climate change: Race, Gender, Trump, Ukraine, Russia, China, COVID.... Any challenge to the prevailing authoritative narrative may not only be censored, but the author is often reflexively condemned to a virtual public lynching. Discourse itself has become precarious; jobs are lost, friendships severed.

    This cultural pattern of behaviour is not symptomatic of a rational or scientific age - rather, it possesses a striking resonance with a medieval mind that adheres staunchly to fixed truths, doctrines, and a good v evil dichotomy.

    This is exhausting, in practice fatally unproductive, emotionally infantile and suspiciously disingenuous.
    Absent the active suspension of judgement no rational enquiry concerning any complex subject is possible.

    It cannot be said often enough, the singular characteristic consistent with every cultural pathology is censorship. The insane manifestations of Stalin, Hitler, Christendom may have been driven by distinctly different ideologies but where they are alike is all three strictly censored and punished criticism.

    The absence of dialogue is indistinguishable from the absence of thought.

    On a complex matter, such as global warming, it is by definition insufficient to simply affirm evidence that aligns with your own pre-disposition - particularly when the subject is emotive. Rather, we should first genuinely and actively seek evidence to convince ourselves that the obverse is true. Only, then, can we hope to acquire a sufficient understanding that may lead to practical solutions.
  • Does God's existence then require religious belief?
    Logic and reason compel the human mind to believe by necessity that something created all this. We call that something God. Past this point reason can't help us, so everything that follows is dreamlike, a phantom, a metaphorical projection, or perhaps, just fragments of our unconscious - all leading us to construct from this aether a transcended meaning and purpose.

    The dream like fragments - if they possesses sufficient utility, power and persuasion may attract further embellishments and more phantoms that are refined into something viral. These are the god myths that pervade a culture, possessing and attracting followers who add rituals to further preserve, sanctify and elevate. Sometimes, a myth becomes so widespread and exalted it is formalised into a religion.

    God without Religion is a story about God that is insufficiently compelling to have developed into a religion. Only, let's not be too hasty to dismiss the intelligence embedded in stories that are sufficiently powerful to evolve over aeons and be deified. It's not to be scoffed at - they may be trying to tell us more than we think.
  • How is Jordan Peterson viewed among philosophers?

    The Christian story asks the timeless question and answers it with a sacrificial mythical exemplar: What should my response be to the injustices of the world I confront:- hypocrisy, poverty, betrayal, power, greed, lust, deception, envy, disease, deception, violence, brutality, torture...

    What is portrayed in the gospels is as valid today as it was 2,000 or 4,000 years ago - or anytime in between. So, it has failed to change the world. The kingdom of god is unrealised. The individual exemplar has not only failed to inspire or transform the world, it has in practice remained captured and vacillated between empty ritual and self-mockery.

    The timeless question is not sufficiently answered. The sacrificial exemplar embodied in the saviour to transform the world is far too simplistic, self-destructive, dysfunctional, pathetic and ultimately insufficient. After 2,000 years, this much is undeniable.

    The christian message is fundamentally comforting but ultimately naive. It offers a profoundly impractical appeal to self-pity, divine intervention, and not least, a sublimation of revenge to another dimension. It's enduring quality is to offer eternal comfort to the defeated.

    Instead of the victory of the individual, Christians celebrates the individuals impotence and defeat.
    And for all that, I still accept the gospels as profound documents because they posit the question.
    It's just that the answer is BS.
  • How is Jordan Peterson viewed among philosophers?
    Perhaps, instead of shallow - I should have said narrow. By insisting on the centrality of Christianity, other rich myths, religions and stories are lost or ignored. It seems to me most if not all of them shed light on the individual journey.

    By elevating one religion/myhology over and above all others we embrace limitation, inviting institutional, cultural and political possession. Inevitably, it all becomes trite, losing its vitality it degrades and can no longer inspire.

    This is my sole criticism of JP - but it is a fairly big one - because he must know better. It's difficult to avoid the conclusion that he is pandering to this Christian audience to maximise readers and lecture attendees or maybe it's something more noble I can't see. Whatever the motivation - it's wrong by his own standards of truth telling.
  • How is Jordan Peterson viewed among philosophers?

    No, I take no issue with the biblical series - the lectures are great - imo.

    I dispute his often cited claim that our Judeo-Christian heritage plays a central role in formulating the Western World's greatest ideal: the Individual.

    I agree with his conclusion, that the individual is our Cultures central and greatest ideal. But it's an ideal that predates Christianity by at least half a millennia. It's an ideal that found its greatest expression in classical Greece - or more specifically Athens.

    Of course, Peterson knows all this but insists on this Christian centrality nonsense - it's intellectually dishonest.

    No matter how shallow a familiarity one may have with world history, it is an undeniable fact, that the unparalleled era of advancement and progress civilisation has experienced over the last half millennia has an uncanny inverse correlation with Christian hegemony. In short, claims that Christianity plays some central role in the advancement of the Western World is to put plainly unfounded and the evidence overwhelmingly points in the opposing direction: Christianity prevented progress.

    Yet, Peterson repeatedly makes this judeo-chrisitian claim and the claim is never challenged. In fact even atheists like Harris have failed to call him out on it.
  • How is Jordan Peterson viewed among philosophers?

    I admire and am in awe of much of JPs ideas and the clarity of his elucidation.

    But, this Christian obsession is annoying and plainly wrong - I can't believe that someone who usually is so determined to get to the bedrock of human understanding is stuck in this shallow paradigm. The Logos idea is not even Christian. It was certainly around in 5 century BC with Heraclitus and who knows how much earlier. The entire Christian creed is derivative.

    He doesn't need it. I really believe it's stagnated his work.