“Elitism” is a term that gets used a lot in news media as an accusation towards academics, politicians, and wealthy entrepreneurs. It is also sometimes used by social activists who believe that a privileged group is out of touch with the lifestyles, desires, values, and struggles of a disadvantaged group.
There are various genres of elitism, but they all have on thing in common. Elitism is the view that a select group of people have the authority to dictate what is valuable, important, or worthwhile. This select group is known as the “elite”. They hold authority because they have a special quality: class, intelligence, skills, wealth, or experience. Other people don’t have this special quality, and therefore are deemed unworthy to dictate what is valuable, important, and worthwhile.
But wait – isn’t everyone equal? Doesn’t equality mean that everyone’s opinions count equally? On the other hand, aren’t some people actually more qualified than others? Is elitism a good or bad thing? This week’s topic is Pleasure Elitism.
The word crisis brings to mind a dramatic, life-destroying situation. Yet hindsight reveals that the situations we fear most are precisely the situations that bring out the best in our minds and/or bodies. For example, an injured athlete outperforms his own expectations. Or surprisingly, the much-feared divorce that forces two people to come to terms with the past allows them to move forward into happiness with new dreams and lovers.
Is there a positive perspective from which we can choose to view dangerous and critical situations we encounter? Let’s rethink crisis.
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!
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!
It’s 9 pm already and you haven’t yet had a second to concentrate on yourself. Even if you want to devote time to healing and self-development, it’s a challenge to find time. What can you do in 15 minutes to cultivate a loving attitude, heal your emotional pain, develop discipline, and change your brain for the better? Let me reassure you: fifteen minutes a day can change your life’s trajectory!
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.
This week’s journal topic: Fame Being famous is a new career choice and a highly desirable one for Millennials and Gen Z. Twenty years ago, if you asked an elementary school student what she wanted to be when she grew up, she might have named veterinarian, scientist, or doctor as dream careers. The Barbie dolls of the 90’s reflect these choices. If you asked a student of the same age nowadays, you might hear the answer, “Famous!” Closely related are the “careers” of Instagrammer, vlogger, Youtuber, and Twitch star. Paris Hilton led the way of the tribe of women who are famous-for-being-famous. Kim Kardashian followed a few years later and continues to reign as a pop-culture Queen. And so-called “DJ” Khalid is known more for his social media presence than talent. Fame certainly has an appeal to our generation. Even though it’s clear that fame is a much tougher game than beautiful Instagram profiles make it seem, the number of young people throwing their entire lives into the ring keeps increasing. After the dust settles, …
(This post is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) This week’s journal topic: Objectivity and Subjectivity These terms seem frighteningly philosophical, right? What’s this? you ask. More stuffy classroom terms that serve scant purpose in everyday life? Actually, the terms objectivity and subjectivity are used fairly regularly in intelligent conversation about politics, science, and ethics. And if it’s not the specific terms that are invoked, the concepts behind them are nonetheless are. Objectivity Say you’re having an argument with someone who finishes his speech by saying, “I’m just reporting the objective facts – you have to accept that I’m right about this.” What does he mean by objective facts and why does stating them provide evidence to support his view? Simply defined, objectivity is the characteristic which expresses the idea that a statement is free of perspectives, value judgments, or bias from personal interests. To emphasize that a statement is an “objective fact” is to iterate to your listener that the statement is “faithful to the facts” …