討論會行事曆

【12/11 The Proper Way to Apologize
【12/18 What do you want to be (when you grow up)?
【12/25 No meeting. Merry Christmas!】
【1/8 What's Leisure For?
【1/22 What do people ‘deserve'?
【2/5 RO End-of-Year Dinner!】
【2/19 思‧英語討論會】
【2/26 思‧英語討論會】

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What do people ‘deserve'?

In Taiwan recently we had the news about three siblings who sold puddings on the internet as a way of receiving donations to help support themselves. They were found to have ‘luxuries’ like mobile phones and expensive t-shirts, and there was a social media backlash.

Some questions:
Should poor people who receive donations from others have ‘luxurious’ things?
What constitutes ‘luxury’?
To what extent should the poor be able to enjoy valuable things?

Let’s talk about this statement:
From viewpoint of donators (the rich), receivers (the poor) are seemingly not allowed to have something donators (the rich) have.

What's Leisure For?

We’ve all heard some version of this:
在忙碌的現代社會中,每個人都是匆匆忙忙的。學生忙著學業,上班族忙著工作,主婦忙著做家事。每個人都太忙了,忙得忽略了休閒的重要性。其實,適當的休閒使我們放鬆緊張的情緒,有助於健康。因此,我們應適當安排自己的生活,在工作、讀書之餘不忘休閒。
-from a high-schooler’s translation homework this month
We’ve also all heard some version of this:
“We’ve been so perfectly acclimated to the sick society we’ve created, we actually believe we’re NOT DOiNG ENOUGH. More, more, more, we’re driven to do more, more extremely, faster, harder, louder, bigger, swaggier. There is no connection of the infinite growth model & ever more consumption to the exhaustion of all vital resources and by extension life on earth a.k.a mass extinction. How much is enough ‘stuff’? Ask yourself, why are we being told that idleness is to be avoided at all costs; that if you’re not “productive” you’re not therefore valuable.  We must let go of our emotion-backed obsessions to be productive ALL THE TiME.  We must realize that we are not our “productivity”, or the “value” of it. We must stop trying to profit from our leisure.

What do you want to be (when you grow up)?



This talk really gave me a「!!!」moment. Wonder if it'll be useful to you guys too?


The Proper Way to Apologize

How to conduct an apology when you've messed up? Different cultures have different approaches to interpersonal communication. Here's what's considered to be better quality apologies in the US. Let's talk about it!

The Proper Way to Apologize
Don’t say, “I’m sorry this offended you”.
Instead say, “I’m sorry I was offensive.”

Don’t say, “I didn’t mean to hurt you.”
Instead say, “I didn’t mean to hurt you, but intent means nothing because the damage is already done.”

Don’t say, “It was just a joke.”
Instead say, “Some things should not be joked about.”

Don’t say, “I wouldn’t try to hurt anyone like that.”
Instead say, “I realize I hurt people with my words, and I’m sorry.”

Don’t say, “I‘ll remove the joke if it bothers you so much.” (if posted online)
Instead say, “Yes, I said this, and it was wrong, and now I know not to say things like this again.”

Don’t say, “Well other people weren’t bothered by it.”
Instead say, “Well some people weren’t bothered by it, but others were, and their concerns are just as valid and worthy of consideration.”

Stop accepting passive apologies that do not show the offensive party actively taking responsibility for their mistakes.

Freedom! And The Fear!


Lyrics for The Fear

When Francine said last week that she wanted to talk about free will, I asked her over Line to say more about the topic. She ended with a sentence:
“When we grow up, we get more physical freedom but less freedom of will. That's because of the fear.”
I understood immediately! But then when I sat down to pull information together for this article, I found that I didn’t understand at all. What is The Fear? Is it maybe different for every person?

Lily Allen made a song entitled The Fear, and it catapulted her to superstardom. It really resonated with people. But is her The Fear the same as what Francine mentioned, or is it different?

So let’s talk about this sentence! When you hear it, what do you think of?
“When we grow up, we get more physical freedom but less freedom of will. That's because of the fear.”

What is our Geist 討論逐字稿

—Let’s look at the first question: “Humans are just doomed to destroy each other?” Are humans basically just destructive assholes?
—Well, I don’t think humans are evil, but in a book, “The Third Chimpanzee”, the author analyses human behavior, like from the aspect of environment, he argues that humans always destroy their environments. Like the ancient people, we think they tend to live in harmony with nature, but the truth is not like this. For example, he uses a lot of proofs to demonstrate why the Aztecs and Maya, the reason they disappeared can be ascribed to their destruction of nature, because they used up their resources, no matter animals or plants,
—And the people around them too!
—And some creatures like animals, they went extinct, not just because of climate change, but they were overhunted.
—So you feel like, yeah, this isn’t something that can change
—I was quite persuaded by this author, because the population is more intensive than other creatures, so we can’t help but destroy what’s around us, because we need more resources than other creatures. So I think that’s possible
—Maybe it was true before, that people can destroy each other in the past, or use up a lot of resources in the past, because we have to live. But do you think the situation will change in the future? I think the situation will become better, because people are trying to find the balance between humans and environment. Like we’re trying to protect animals. Some people think we don’t use as much energy as possible, we have to save energy. So the situation has changed. Do you think people will kill each other in the future?
—Do you mean on an individual basis or a mass basis?
—Either one.
—I think individual murders will probably always be with us, but 20th century style mass mowing down of human beings will change.

What is our Geist? What do we want it to be?

Hi guys, this is a difficult article because it compresses a lot of references into a small space. Instead of trying to understand the article as a piece, I’d rather talk about some of the questions it brings up.

So each title is the question to discuss, and the text underneath is the part of the article that brings it up, just for reference. We can also talk about the meaning of each passage during the discussion.


What is Geist?
The concept of Geist is one of the most fundamental of the Enlightenment. It refers to how the human mind creates the world we live in. This mind is, by default, a collective mind, but it is one shaped by individuals’ experiences of the world. And zeitgeist is, as the word indicates, the spirit, or mind, of its time. When Goethe talks about ‘den Geist der Zeiten’ in Faust, he emphasises that it is always with ‘one’s own spirit’ that we look upon history.

Fair Compensation?

THE IDEA
Pay everyone in the company equally, at a livable wage (for the US)
Three months ago, Mr. Price, 31, announced he was setting a new minimum salary of $70,000 at his Seattle credit card processing firm, Gravity Payments, and slashing his own million-dollar pay package to do it. …The idea struck him when a friend shared her worries about paying both her rent and student loans on a $40,000 salary. He realized a lot of his own employees earned that or less.
Yet almost overnight, a decision by one small-business man in the northwestern corner of the country became a swashbuckling blow against income inequality.

THE BLOWBACK
1. Media Onslaught
What few outsiders realized, however, was how much turmoil all the hoopla was causing at the company itself. To begin with, Gravity was simply unprepared for the onslaught of emails, Facebook posts and phone calls. The attention was thrilling, but it was also exhausting and distracting. And with so many eyes focused on the firm, some hoping to witness failure, the pressure has been intense.

2. Both Loss of Customers and Too Much New Business
More troubling, a few customers, dismayed by what they viewed as a political statement, withdrew their business. Others, anticipating a fee increase — despite repeated assurances to the contrary — also left. While dozens of new clients, inspired by Mr. Price’s announcement, were signing up, those accounts will not start paying off for at least another year. To handle the flood, he has already had to hire a dozen additional employees — now at a significantly higher cost — and is struggling to figure out whether more are needed without knowing for certain how long the bonanza will last.

Doing Favors + Creating Relationships, Who Counts?

Today we're looking at quotes from two related articles, one in The Guardian and one in The Wall Street Journal. The heading of each quote is a link to the article it came from.

Women's help doesn't count as something that should be repaid
Women were more likely than men to be asked for favors and were more likely to grant requests for help, Frank found. When the recipients of help were asked how “indebted” they felt, they appreciated the help of women less than the help of men——it turned out that people felt entitled to female help. Worse, the more “agreeable” the woman seemed, the more the value of her help was discounted by the person she assisted (as if they assumed “she just likes to help”).