Maybe it’s because I’m in my thirties, but I’ve begun to notice that our society equates ‘life’ with ‘youth’. By that I mean that concepts relating to “life” immediately stir up images of youthfulness. Close your eyes and visualize ‘life’ and ‘living’ – you might see what I mean. “Life” is misidentified with the decade or so of youth that is sandwiched between two other periods called “childhood” and “aging/decline”.
Read this week’s topic to reflect on your own attitude towards aging.
Have you been following the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong? Democracy is once again a hot topic in the news. What is meant by the word ‘demoracy’? Generally, when people refer to democracy they mean that the government represents the “will of the people”. There are many ways that a government can be democratic and represent the will of the people, but no type of democracy is more famous than American-style democracy. For this week’s topic, we look at Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysberg Address – memorized by American schoolchildren every year – to understand the foundation of American-style democracy.
Read more to find out and to consider some challenging questions for democracy!
Loneliness is a popular topic in the news these days. News articles tell us that loneliness is the new epidemic, that research is being directed into pharmaceuticals and AI to combat loneliness, and that governments are installing public infrastructure directed at facilitating interactions between strangers. How is it that we can be so lonely despite living in densely populated cities? What does it mean to be lonely?
Read more to find out!
If you passed elementary school, you’re surely literate. But maybe you still don’t know much about reading. Knowing what and why you’re reading is beneficial because it allows you to better apply reading techniques according to they type of reading you’re doing. There are three kinds of reading: reading for pleasure, reading for information, and reading for enlightenment.
Try this week’s questions to evaluate your reading style!
We’re all aiming for it, right? Perfection, that is. It’s a sneaky concept that smuggles the unfathomable into everyday conversation and personal goal setting. But what is perfection, really? Is it a real thing? Is it a substantial, useful concept?
Get your concepts straightened out in Week 30 of Know Thyself 2019 Journal Project!
Humans are differentiated from other animals by our extensive use of tools. Yes, other animals use tools, but the use is relatively rare, and the tools are basic. What counts as a tool for an otter might just be the use of a rock to smash shellfish from their shells. A rock and a jackhammer are hardly comparable, though. Comparing basic animal tools to complex human tools is like comparing communicative animal cries to human language. Viewing the comparison that way, it’s clear that human tools are in a special category.
Human tools also have symbolic meaning. What is a dream catcher, a magic wand, or a ghost trap?
Keep reading to find out what makes human tool use special and what your attachment to tools says about you!
You love the arts and want your government to spend more on grants and public art, right? Well, even if you don’t, there are many good reasons for devoting effort and resources to the arts, such as cultural development, social activism and community engagement, and childhood education. The artists themselves insist that art is good for us as human beings.
But there are plenty of reasons to reject funding the arts, too. Top of the list: it costs a lot of money, it “does nothing”, and we can’t even agree on what counts as art. The alternative is to spend money on things that give us utility – we can all agree on what’s useful to society. In contrast, words probably never said about art: “That’s really useful.”
Let’s explore the Top 5 reasons to reject art as a concept and as a recipient of funding!
Who’s making up the ethical rules when it comes to AI and tech? Labs in America and China are racing to make AI ready for consumers, for economic growth, and for warfare. It’s clear that 21st century warfare will be fought with smart drones instead of humans. In the economy, AI robots are being sent on suicide missions to do jobs that humans do not want to do. How does it feel to know that your next intelligent, self-driving car is programmed to either kill you or a pedestrian when it encounters an imminent collision situation?
This is the mere tip of iceberg of ethical issues – issues that human beings have never had to think about before now.
Visit the post to get informed about the future. As usual, the daily journal prompts are here to help you mine your mind.
Let’s start by recognizing that we all care about fetuses and believe they have some moral status. Whether you’re discussing this issue with someone is pro-choice, pro-life, or declares undecided, take it for granted that s/he doesn’t wish harm on a fetus. I mean, it’s safe to say that protesters who are pro-choice aren’t pro-death; they’re protesting for what they believe are women’s rights. There’s a difference – like protesting in favor of job creation isn’t the same as protesting in favor of fossil fuel usage, even if increased workforce participation not-indirectly results in increase fossil fuels usage. The point: we all recognize that fetuses have a moral status but can’t agree on three things: first, when that moral status comes about, second, what that moral status should be called, and third, what rights it earns the fetus.
Visit the post for this week’s questions!
Personhood is a topic that bears legal and moral consequences. You might have heard about it in discussions of immigration or abortion. But even if those issues don’t relate to you personally, personhood is still an important topic for you. Your security and status in society require an entrenched concept of personhood developed over hundreds of years. Personhood relates to all rights, responsibilities, respect, citizenship, voting, and freedom.
The designation of personhood adds special significance to what would otherwise be regarded as a mere thing. The personhood designation says: [pointing to someone] That thing is not merely an object, but is a person. That means it requires special treatment and special ethical consideration – you can’t kill it and can’t treat it however you want, as you would a brick, or a computer, or a stuffed bear.