Oh, Baby

“PLAYING God” is what medicine is for. Every Caesarean section and cancer treatment is an attempt to interfere with the natural course of events for the benefit of the patient. Not every procedure should be allowed, but a general sense of what is “unnatural” is a poor guide to what to ban. Transplants and transfusions were once considered unnatural, but now save many lives. That insight is why MPs were right to agree, on February 3rd, that Britain should become the first country to allow the creation of children with genetic material from three people instead of the usual two (see article).
By doing so, they hope to relieve terrible suffering. Faults with mitochondria—the tiny power sources inside cells—afflict about one child in 6,500, or 100 a year in Britain. The many conditions that result, a lot of them agonising and fatal, have no cure. So scientists hope to prevent them at conception, by transferring the healthy nucleus of an egg cell with damaged mitochondria into the body of an egg with functioning ones.

Time, Labor, Balance 討論逐字稿

Concluding statements
So for me, I was thinking about how when I was a child, totalitarian countries were the big scary thing that the news talked about. And it was presented as this brand new thing that came out of nowhere, that was somehow new and scary in the world. But tonight when we were preparing for our concluding statements I realized something: because Chi-ning said that thing about how in capitalism, you have to use every single bit. And that made me think of how in the Story of B they talked about totalitarian agriculture, that if something was the enemy of your crops, you had to destroy every bit of it. Like, wolves: we had to kill ALL the wolves, even though wolves don't actually threaten all of our cows. So it made me think that this is all on a continuum in our culture. The same ideas that started with the new kind of agriculture 12,000 years ago are the same ideas that led to capitalism and are the same ideas that lead to totalitarianism [極權主義/集權主義].

I don’t know if Angela arranged the paragraphs intentionally, that the capitalism was first and the balance was the last part. The paragraph that’s ‘in balance’ we should think, we are only guests in the world, I kind of agree with the idea that we’re only passengers, guests, we are not possessing what we thought we have, anything material or land or houses. And talking about the goal, I was thinking that, how can we decide or, I mentioned, define, that this is real or true or final goal for us, or for me! To pursue. I used to set the goal from others’ opinions, or social expectations, we should do this, this is good, this is better for your future or whatever. But I’m trying to discover, or define my own path or my goal for the next decade.

I thought the totalitarianism is not the same as capitalism. But if we want to be balanced in life, maybe we must try to use the benefit of capitalism. And also consider why totalitarianism is the little good…it’s not all good or all bad. I mean, sometime one thing is a good or bad, so it’s not totally the worst. If we want society to be better and better, we can consider capitalism and totalitarianism in balance
—Good idea, to not think about it as a dichotomy.

Time, Labor, Balance

Okay! This is one of those posts where I give you seemingly unrelated quotes, and in the discussion we find what connections there might be between them. What a way to begin the New Year!

Time Is Money
"Remember, that time is money. He that can earn ten shillings a day by his labor, and goes abroad, or sits idle, one half of that day, though he spends but sixpence during his diversion or idleness, ought not to reckon that the only expense; he has really spent, or rather thrown away, five shillings besides.[...]Remember, that money is the prolific, generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more, and so on. Five shillings turned is six, turned again is seven and threepence, and so on, till it becomes a hundred pounds. The more there is of it, the more it produces every turning, so that the profits rise quicker and quicker. He that kills a breeding sow, destroys all her offspring to the thousandth generation. He that murders a crown, destroys all that it might have produced, even scores of pounds."—Benjamin Franklin, as quoted in the summary of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

Working Hard 2015/2/6的討論逐字稿

Final Statements:
—Do you have to be hard on yourself to be a good creator?
Is it really better, to be hard, to work hard, to develop yourself through adversity? I mean, can’t we just go drinking together? Hang out and talk and make beautiful things together?
—Well, all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
—Yeah but all play and no work makes Jack an alcoholic!

—when we were discussing woman A or woman b being more virtuous, I was thinking one thing, the chairman of Foxcomm, Guo Taiming, he once said, I just told my daughter how to spend my money wisely, and then also, spending my money to help society, to help the community. So his daughter doesn’t need to work, but it’s better for…I mean she is just so lucky, but at least, during her childhood, her father was working very hard. Because this guy, the chairman of Foxcomm, did not really have rich parents himself, but he works hard, but his daughter, the next generation can deserve, can enjoy the achievement that he brought to them. So how do you say about that.
—it’s a good fate!
—and also she was very well behaved, she doesn’t spend the money crazily on luxury goods.
—maybe she will…
—but we speak good of her, so well respected. So yeah, she deserves to be his daughter!
—because she’s morally correct?

Working Hard


When you think of ‘hard work’ what are some of the images that come up for you?

Is ‘hard work’ a priori virtuous?
To ask this question through a narrative: Say there’s a person who’s worked hard all her life for her dream, she’s suffered a lot, but finally she makes it, the thing she was working on happens, she gets what she wants.
Then imagine someone else, who just for no reason, luck or the universe or whatever, totally just gets what she wants.
Who is more virtuous?

Why I am not a "Maker"

In this Atlantic article, Debbie Chachra brings up an important issue about global culture:

"Creators, rightly, take pride in creation. In her book The Real World of Technology, the metallurgist Ursula Franklin contrasts prescriptive technologies, where many individuals produce components of the whole (think about Adam Smith’s pin factory), with holistic technologies, where the creator controls and understands the process from start to finish. As well as teaching my own engineering courses, I’m a studio instructor for a first-year engineering course, in which our students do design and fabrication, many of them for the first time. Making things is incredibly important, especially for groups that previously haven’t had access."

Discipline

Here's another excerpt from "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible", this one from Chapter 21, Attention.

"Most of us have grown up in a society that trains us, from kindergarten or even earlier, to do things we don’t really want to do, and to refrain from things we do want to. This is called discipline, the work ethic, self-control. Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution at least, it has been seen as a cardinal virtue. After all, most of the tasks of industry were not anything a sane human being would willingly do. To this day, most of the tasks that keep society as we know it running are the same. Lured by future rewards, chastened by punishment, we face the grim necessity of work. This would all be defensible, perhaps, if this work were truly necessary, if it were contributing to the well-being of people and planet. But at least 90 percent of it is not. Part of our revolution is the reunion of work and play, work and art, work and leisure, of have to and want to.

Pleasure

This is an excerpt from Chapter 24 of "The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible" by Charles Eisenstein.

"Pleasure, remember, is among other things the feeling we get from satisfying a need. The more powerful the need, the greater the pleasure. To follow this principle requires, first, accepting that our needs are valid and even beautiful. And not just our needs, but our desires as well, coming as they do from unmet needs. Hold your breath, and your need for oxygen generates a desire to breathe. Stay too long at a dull job, and your need to grow will generate a desire to break free of limitations. Society tries to confine or divert that urge to break free, channeling it toward something inconsequential like drunkenness, video games, or bungee jumping, but what are these pleasures next to the exuberant expansiveness of real freedom?

To trust pleasure is to controvert norms and beliefs so deep that they are part of our very language. I have already mentioned the equation of “hard” with “good” and “easy” with “bad.” The fact that words like “selfish” and “hedonist” are terms of disparagement speaks to the same basic belief. But the logic of interbeing tells us that among our greatest needs are the needs for intimacy, connection, giving, and service to something greater than oneself. Meeting these needs, then, is the source of our greatest pleasure as well.

Open Discussion


What's on your mind? Let's talk about it!



Parable of the Polygons

This week no less than two people mentioned this site to me, so let's talk about it! It's about how personal bias works on a systematic level.

Because the site's interactive, you have to play the games to understand its point. Click on this link to go there:

Parable of the Polygons



The Trial

Let's talk about this story. It's from Michael DeForge's cartoon Sticks Angelica.