Escaping Technology: The Unabomber’s Worldview
Worldview Encounters
by Jens Van Steerteghem
7M ago
From 1978 to 1995 a mysterious serial bomber dubbed the Unabomber terrorised the U.S. by sending explosives by mail to universities and airlines, killing 3 people and injuring 23. He demanded the publication of his manifesto in the New York Times, called Industrial Society and its Future, wherein he advocated a global revolution against modern day society and its reliance on technology, which he saw as a threat to human wellbeing. Despite the mad plan of total revolt, the analysis of technology outlined in the manifesto is sophisticated. Here, we will take a look at the anti-technology worldvi ..read more
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Help Yourself
Worldview Encounters
by Albin Van Latum
7M ago
Complaining about self-help is almost as popular as self-help itself.  To begin with, there is somewhat of a contradiction in the notion itself, as comedian George Carlin points out: The part I really don’t understand – if you’re looking for self-help, why do you read a book written by somebody else? That’s not self-help, that’s help!  There’s no such thing as self-help – if you did it yourself, you didn’t need help. You did it yourself! Try to pay attention to the language we’ve all agreed on.1 While this article tackles some of self-help’s shortcomings, the aim is not just to cri ..read more
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In View: Holism
Worldview Encounters
by Jens Van Steerteghem
8M ago
The word holism conjures up many meanings, some more respectable than others. It was coined relatively recently by Jan Smuts in 1926 in his book “Holism and Evolution”, where he defined the term as the “fundamental factor operative towards the creation of wholes in the universe". This explicitly metaphysical meaning has been largely forgotten and the term has since then transformed and expanded to include both exotic pseudo-scientific claims in medicine and various versions of the slogan that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.  As a worldview fragment, we will take holism t ..read more
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Morality vs The Good Life
Worldview Encounters
by Albin Van Latum
8M ago
I mean by good anything that we know for certain to be a means for us to approach ever closer to the exemplar of human nature that we set for ourselves; and by bad that which we know hinders us from reaching that exemplar.1 Do we need morality to live a good life?  The religious worldviews that inhabit our world certainly seem to suggest so. Religions tend to provide a strict moral code, and failing to live up to it could mean nothing less than eternal damnation. Secular worldviews may have less stringent moral standards, but still compel us to act in certain ways.  Morality, it sh ..read more
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In View: Cosmopolitanism
Worldview Encounters
by Jens Van Steerteghem
8M ago
Diogenes by John William Waterhouse, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Diogenes of Sinope, the memorable cynic philosopher who made a ceramic jar his home and who masturbated in public, once called himself a kosmopolitês—a citizen of the world. Today’s cosmopolitans are better-behaved but they won’t object to the original meaning of their label. The cosmopolitan strives for community among all of humanity, without regard for social or political affiliations. This universal community can take on many shapes. It can be political, with global institutions like the United Nations, or economic ..read more
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Myth, Meaning, Chaos & Order
Worldview Encounters
by Albin Van Latum
8M ago
The total character of the world is in all eternity chaos1 Nietzsche’s striking statement expresses his view that every attempt to capture reality under concepts is ultimately doomed to fail. The immense complexity of nature, in a state of constant change, is bound to elude human reason forever. Nature is chaos and can never be ordered. Nietzsche’s perspective stands in stark contrast with the image of nature painted by modern science, according to which everything operates in an orderly and law-like fashion, and where representing reality is the name of the game. Here, we’ll look at the not ..read more
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The Scientific Worldview Fragment
Worldview Encounters
by Jens Van Steerteghem
9M ago
Science is humankind’s most successful enterprise. It has emancipated us from the whims of the gods and set us free to uncover the machinations that lay beneath the phenomena. It launched a journey of exploration so successful it defies belief, revealing the mysteries of the quantum, the evolution of life, and the vastness of space and time, all while granting us the powers of the same gods it dispelled. Naturally, science has greatly impacted all worldviews. Not just in the conclusions it has reached but also in the methods and presuppositions it takes for granted. Here we will take a look at ..read more
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The Flying Spaghetti Monster & The Struggle for Secularism
Worldview Encounters
by Albin Van Latum
9M ago
1. I’d really rather you didn’t act like a sanctimonious, holier-than-thou ass when describing my Noodly Goodness. If some people don’t believe in me, that’s okay. Really, I’m not that vain. Besides, this isn’t about them so don’t change the subject. 2. I’d really rather you didn’t use my existence as a means to oppress, subjugate, punish, eviscerate, and/or, you know, be mean to others. I don’t require sacrifices and purity is for drinking water, not people.1 Thus read the first two of the eight I really rather you didn’ts from the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM). A parody on t ..read more
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Better and Worse Worldviews
Worldview Encounters
by Jens Van Steerteghem
9M ago
Credit: KenTannenbaum It is considered good manners to respect and value worldviews different from your own. However, we must acknowledge that some worldviews are simply worse than others. The existence of idealistic suicide bombers and genocides compels us. What then are the criteria for distinguishing better from worse worldviews? The presence or absence of senseless violence and oppression is obvious, but in this article we want to go beyond ethics and look for additional ways to rank and evaluate. And while we don’t mean to detract from tolerant and kind worldviews, those looking to improv ..read more
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In View - Individualism
Worldview Encounters
by Albin Van Latum
9M ago
As a worldview, individualism is so deeply ingrained in the modern mind that it affects almost every aspect of our culture. At the same time, its ubiquity makes it hard to recognize – much like fish are blind to the water that surrounds them. What are the core tenets of individualism, and what are the consequences of viewing the world through its lens? What are its pitfalls, and what place might it have in a flourishing future? The Latin root of ‘individual’ is in + dividuus, meaning indivisible. Individualism, in turn, is the view that the individual and its aspirations come before all else ..read more
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