Beardedness was associated with older age, greater responsibility, and leftist political ideas. In Study 2, respondents were 50 Brazilian personnel managers (28 men and 22 women) who made hiring decisions at different companies in the city of Saõ Paulo. Personnel managers clearly preferred clean shaven over bearded, mustached, or goateed men as prospective employees. In a hiring situation for a conservative occupation, a man who signals disposition to conform to rules may be preferred by personnel managers over another who signals nonconformity.
Just a Short Pause Before the Next Horror
After every horror, we’re told, “Now the healing can begin.” No. There is no healing. Just a short pause before the next horror.– George Carlin
The closure narrative assumes that grief is bad and that it’s something that needs to end, and it assumes that closure is possible and that it’s something good and something that people need to have. Grief is a difficult, messy experience and can be very painful. A lot of people carry loss and grief for much of their lives, but that doesn’t mean that the pain is as intense as it was the first few months. You carry that loss and grief, but you learn how to integrate that into your life … .We grieve for a reason. We grieve because we miss the person who died, or because of whatever loss we’re experiencing. Our grief expresses how we’re feeling and allows us to acknowledge that loss. So asking or expecting someone to try and end that quickly is really misunderstanding the importance of those emotions.
Like contemporary anti-Cartesians, Nietzsche believes that the idea of objective knowledge as a “view from nowhere” is incoherent. He tries to bring this out by comparing knowledge as we actually have it to seeing a visual image, which is “perspectival” in a more straightforward but analogous way. When I look at something, I have to stand somewhere, and so what I see is only the image as it appears from that angle. I cannot see the back (or maybe even the front), nor can I see the whole thing at once.
In this sense, no perspective is “truer” than any other. If a snapshot taken from that angle results in an inaccurate image, this must be due to a faulty camera, not my standpoint. Nor can there be such a thing as a complete visual image, say constructed out of all the individual ones. (Of course I may move from one place to another until I have seen enough; but that is not at all the same thing.) Yet I may find one angle more revealing than another, and some of them may be misleading or useless. Still, these judgments and manipulations are after the (photographic) fact: they are not reducible to purely disinterested registering of how things are, visually speaking.
If cognition is like vision in this way, then just as there is no such thing as a single complete visual image, to be seen from no particular vantage point (which yet preserves the idea of accurate or faulty representations of what can be seen from each), then there is no such thing as a single complete way things are for us to know (a “world-in-itself”): all there are are interpretive perspectives and what can be seen from them.
One of my SNR friends uses a similar definition of “God” — she suggests it being something like the sum total of all the knowledge in the universe. But, as I tried to argue with her, knowledge in and of itself is senseless; knowledge means nothing without a knower, an interested perspective, a particular point of view. Facts matter to us not for what they are, but what they’re for.
Everyone talks about “spirituality,” but less often is it especially clear what we (or they) actually mean. That’s why, together with The Immanent Frame and the historians of religion Kathryn Lofton and John Lardas Modern, Killing the Buddha has been quietly working since the beginning of the year to develop Frequencies, a new online “collaborative genealogy of spirituality.” Today, finally, the site is being unveiled.
While at times our task might have seemed as opaque as our object of study, the majesty of what we’ve managed to come up with will speak for itself. Over the course of 100 days, 100 never-before-seen essays will be appearing on Frequencies, each taking on some facet of the bigger-than-sky-sized constellation of things that came to mind when we dared say the word in question.
I am licking my chops and sharpening my utensils in anticipation of the most savory, Ouroboran word-salad ever assembled.
Let My People Go
Officials in the rural Virginia city where Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are buried voted late Thursday to prohibit the flying of the Confederate flag on city-owned poles.
After a lively 2 1/2-hour public hearing, the Lexington City Council voted 4-1 to allow only U.S., Virginia and city flags to be flown. Personal displays of the Confederate flag are not affected. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, whose members showed up in force after leading a rally that turned a downtown park into a sea of Confederate flags, vowed to challenge the ordinance in court.
…”I am a firm believer in the freedom to express our individual rights, which include flying the flag that we decide to fly,” said Philip Way, a Civil War re-enactor dressed in a Confederate wool uniform despite the summer temperatures. “That’s freedom to me.”
Now, I’m no historian, but I have a dim inkling that the concept of “the freedom to express our individual rights” is more typically associated with the nation that the Confederacy was, uh, revolting against to begin with. Even more astonishingly, I suggest it to be the case that life in a theocratic, patriarchal, ancestor-worshipping agrarian society built on a permanent class of forced laborers would not be nearly so enamored of honoring one’s right to display whatever colored fabric of their choosing. Should I care to don my herringbone deerstalker cap and my pipe and go about some sleuthing, I suspect I would find that Mr. Way is as white as a catfish’s belly, and has never considered life from outside that privileged perspective.
I say it’s high time for secession to move beyond the boundaries of right-wing crankdom and become a mainstream, bipartisan issue. It should be encouraged. Not only that, but we should give additional fuel to their martyr complex by reenacting a Trail of Tears, if you will. Gather up all these Johnny Reb-come-latelies and put them on the road. I’m going to get things rolling by suggesting that we march them all to Texas and then sell the state back to Mexico, where they can pick marijuana buds in the fields for the drug lords. Sorry, my couple of Texan friends, but the wheels of history take no heed of lowly individuals, and it’s for the good of the nation, after all. I’ll make sure to secure you safe passage back to civilization anyway.
Nothing to See Here, Move Along
Doubt and its religious cousin agnosticism, a word rarely heard nowadays, may have fallen out of fashion, but they have much to teach us, despite the disdain of Richard Dawkins, who famously wrote in The God Delusion: “I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden.” He also quotes approvingly Quentin de la Bédoyère, science editor of the Catholic Herald, who in 2006 wrote that the Catholic historian Hugh Ross Williamson respected firm religious belief and certain unbelief, but “reserved his contempt for the wishy-washy boneless mediocrities who flapped around in the middle.”
To see doubters and freethinkers such as Herbert Spencer, Leslie Stephen, George Eliot, Thomas Huxley (who coined the word “agnostic”) and Darwin himself mocked in this way, given their intense engagement with complex human issues, only highlights the boldness of their thinking and the intellectual hubris of today’s unbridled certainty. The stridency of both Dawkins and de la Bédoyère misses how these and other Victorian intellectuals saw doubt as a creative force – inseparable from belief, thought, and debate, and a much-needed antidote to fanaticism and zealotry.
…A more astute contemporary thinker than Dawkins on the issue of agnosticism, in its broadest, existential sense, is the American playwright John Patrick Shanley. In the preface to his Pulitzer Prize-winning play Doubt (also a film), he argues that “doubt requires more courage than conviction does, and more energy; because conviction is a resting place and doubt is infinite – it is a passionate exercise.” While such questioning takes us past a point of comfort, he claims, it is “doubt (so often experienced initially as weakness) that changes things”, and thus represents “nothing less than an opportunity to reenter the Present”.
Hey, I’m not going to tell someone that they can’t indulge their masochistic fetish for being suspended indefinitely on existential tenterhooks, but, yuh know, on that note, it seems to this observer that those of us who have serenely accepted the nonexistence of any God worthy of the name are the ones who have moved on to the more pressing concerns of how to live in this world with only our fellow fallible humans to rely on for love, support and justice, whereas it is this particular type of doubter who wants to encase religious questions in amber, leaving them incapable of being resolved to any practical satisfaction. It’s people like Lane who dogmatically insist that anything less than 100% certain knowledge on this issue means we must remain open to the possibility that something like the Abrahamic religions just might be true after all. And I still say that if it weren’t for the oppressive, overbearing presence of a jealous, vindictive God haunting our collective cultural memory, no one would think it such a big deal to consider the matter settled for all intents and purposes and get on with it.
What I found really funny, though, was seeing yet another essay using Dawkins as the prime example of strident, intolerant atheism… with a link in the sidebar to related articles, including an interview with Dawkins on the same site that totally belies the claim.