I often say that, if you want to vastly overestimate your own capabilities, you need only do one of two things: (a) get coked out of your mind, or (b) get behind the wheel of a car.[...]
What is “Philosophy”? Yes, we know, the word comes from the Greek philosophia, which means “the love of wisdom.” This rote etymological definition does little, I think, to enhance our understanding of the subject, though it may describe the motivation of many a student.[...]
At the start of 2014, Edge.org posed its annual question to 176 scientific minds: “What Scientific Idea is Ready for Retirement?” The question (as we noted in January) came prefaced by this thought:
Science advances by discovering new things and developing new ideas.
“The great Tao fades away.”
So begins one translation of the Tao Te Ching’s 18th Chapter. The sentence captures the frustration that comes with a lost epiphany.
Earlier this year, Colin Marshall told you how “Chess has obsessed many of humanity’s finest minds over centuries and centuries and Marcel Duchamp seems to have shown little resistance to its intellectual and aesthetic pull.[...]
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If you heard Sun Ra’s Christmas-day radio broadcast of poetry and music we featured on, well, Christmas day, perhaps it inspired you to create something — music, poetry, radio — yourself.[...]
“When they study our civilization two thousand years from now, there will only be three things that Americans will be known for: the Constitution, baseball and jazz music. They’re the three most beautiful things Americans have ever created.” — Gerald Early talking to Ken Burns.[...]
Ten months before his death — a death he knew was coming — Christopher Hitchens debated the question, “Is there an afterlife?”.[...]
What do movies like Blade Runner, Her, Drive, and Repo Man, separated by the years and even more so by their sensibilities, have in common? All come from auteur directors, all have accumulated considerable fan followings, and all have styles all their own.[...]
The United States has two important cultural means of self-examination—the work of foreign observers and of domestic satirists. In the former category, we have the longstanding example of political theorist Alexis de Tocqueville and the much bleaker, contemporary vision of Werner Herzog.[...]