Hear Four Hours of Music in Jim Jarmusch’s Films: Tom Waits, Iggy Pop, Neil Young, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins & More

“I got­ta say — not to rant, but — one thing about com­mer­cial films is, does­n’t the music almost always real­ly suck?” Jim Jar­musch, direc­tor of films like Stranger Than Par­adise, Mys­tery TrainBro­ken Flow­ers, and most recent­ly Pater­son, put that impor­tant ques­tion to his audi­ence dur­ing a live inter­view a few years ago. “I’ve seen good movies — or maybe they would be good — just destroyed by the same crap, you know? If you look at films from even in the sev­en­ties, it was­n’t that bad. Peo­ple had some sense of music for films. But maybe that’s just the com­mer­cial realm: guys in suits come and tell ’em what kind of music to put on.”

Jar­musch’s own movies draw obses­sive fans as well as bewil­dered detrac­tors, but they’ll nev­er draw the accu­sa­tion of hav­ing their sound­tracks assem­bled by guys in suits. Music seems to mat­ter to his work on almost as fun­da­men­tal a lev­el as images, not just in the final prod­ucts but in every stage of their cre­ation as well.

“I get a lot of inspi­ra­tion from music, prob­a­bly more than any oth­er form,” he says in the same inter­view. “For me, music is the most pure form. It’s like anoth­er lan­guage. When­ev­er I start writ­ing a script, I focus on music that sort of kick­starts my ideas or my imag­i­na­tion.” The process has also result­ed in sev­er­al high-pro­file col­lab­o­ra­tions with musi­cians, such as Neil Young in the “acid west­ern” Dead Man and the Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA in the urban samu­rai tale Ghost Dog.

You can hear four hours of the music that makes Jim Jar­musch movies Jim Jar­musch movies in the Spo­ti­fy playlist embed­ded just above. (If you don’t have Spo­ti­fy’s free soft­ware, you can down­load it here.) Its 76 tracks begin, suit­ably, with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You,” to which Eszter Balint famous­ly danced in Jar­musch’s break­out fea­ture Stranger Than Par­adise. Five years lat­er, Jar­musch cast Hawkins him­self as the concierge of a run-down Mem­phis hotel in Mys­tery Train. Between those pic­tures came Down by Law, the black-and-white New Orleans jail­break pic­ture star­ring no less an icon of Amer­i­can singing-song­writ­ing than Tom Waits, whose work appears on this playlist along­side that of Roy Orbi­son, Elvis Pres­ley, Otis Red­ding, Neil Young and RZA, and many oth­ers.

Giv­en the impor­tance of music to his movies, it should come as no sur­prise that Jar­musch orig­i­nal­ly set out to become a musi­cian him­self, and now, in par­al­lel with his career as one of Amer­i­ca’s most respect­ed liv­ing inde­pen­dent film­mak­ers, spends a fair chunk of his time being one. His band Sqürl, formed to record some instru­men­tal pieces to score 2009’s The Lim­its of Con­trol, has now grown into its own sep­a­rate enti­ty, and sev­er­al of their tracks appear on this playlist. Jar­musch described their music to the New York Times Mag­a­zine as fol­lows: “It varies between avant noise-rock, drone stuff and some song-struc­tured things with vocals. And some cov­ers of coun­try songs that we slow down and give a kind of molten treat­ment to” — all of which fits right in with the rest of the music that has shaped his movies.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jim Jarmusch’s Anti-MTV Music Videos for Talk­ing Heads, Neil Young, Tom Waits & Big Audio Dyna­mite

Jim Jar­musch: The Art of the Music in His Films

New Jim Jar­musch Doc­u­men­tary on Iggy Pop & The Stooges Now Stream­ing Free on Ama­zon Prime

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.


Alec Baldwin Has a Podcast: Hear His Intimate Interviews with Patti Smith, Thom Yorke, Jerry Seinfeld, Ira Glass, Amy Schumer & More

It some­how escaped me. Alec Bald­win has a pod­cast. With 133 episodes in its archive, Here’s The Thing with Alec Bald­win  (WebiTunes — Feeds) fea­tures “inti­mate and hon­est con­ver­sa­tions” with “artists, pol­i­cy mak­ers and per­form­ers – to hear their sto­ries, what inspires their cre­ations, what deci­sions changed their careers, and what rela­tion­ships influ­enced their work.” Below, we’ve embed­ded his recent con­ver­sa­tion with Pat­ti Smith. It’s quite good. But there are so many oth­ers worth a men­tion. Let me rat­tle off a quick list: REM’s Michael Stipe, Vig­go Mortensen, Michael Pol­lan, Amy Schumer and Judd Apa­tow, William Fried­kin, Paul Simon, Ira Glass, Jer­ry Sein­feld, David Simon, Radio­head­’s Thom Yorke, Lena Dun­ham, Peter Framp­ton, David Let­ter­man, Car­ol Bur­nettKris­ten Wiig, SNL’s Lorne Michaels, and Chris Rock.

Click the links to stream each inter­view, and don’t miss Bald­win’s new mem­oir, Nev­er­the­lessHe hap­pens to nar­rate the audio­book ver­sion, which you can down­load for free if you sign up for Audible.com’s 30-day free tri­al. We have info on that here.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Philosophical, Sci-Fi Claymation Film Answers the Timeless Question: Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

It’s a ques­tion that’s occu­pied our great­est thinkers, from Aris­to­tle and Pla­to to Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye:

Which came first—the chick­en or the egg?

The debate will like­ly rage as long as there’s a faith-based camp to square off against the evi­dence-based camp.

With that in mind, and the week­end loom­ing, we’re inclined to go with the Clay­ma­tion camp, in the form of Time Chick­en, Nick Black’s 6‑minute stop-motion med­i­ta­tion, above.

Described by its cre­ator as a “philo­soph­i­cal-action-fan­ta­sy into the world of sci­ence, reli­gion, knowl­edge and cre­ation,” Time Chick­en ben­e­fits from an appro­pri­ate­ly bom­bas­tic orig­i­nal score per­formed by the Prague Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra and the seem­ing-eye­wit­ness tes­ti­mo­ny of its admit­ted­ly clay-based, all-poul­try cast.

Black’s copi­ous cin­e­mat­ic ref­er­ences and sci­ence fic­tion tropes are every bit as delec­table as a Mughal style egg-stuffed whole chick­en slow cooked in a rich almond-pop­py seeds-yogurt-&-saffron gravy.

Kudos to the film­mak­er, too, for eschew­ing the uncred­it­ed dub­bing that made fel­low clay­ma­tor Nick (Park)’s Chick­en Run a crossover hit, trust­ing instead in the (unsub­ti­tled) orig­i­nal lan­guage of his sub­jects.

Read­ers, watch this hilar­i­ous lit­tle film and weigh in. Which came first? The chick­en? Or the egg?

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How Did Every­thing Begin?: Ani­ma­tions on the Ori­gins of the Uni­verse Nar­rat­ed by X‑Files Star Gillian Ander­son

Watch The Touch­ing Moment When Physi­cist Andrei Linde Learns That His The­o­ries on the Big Bang Were Final­ly Val­i­dat­ed

Hear Carl Sagan Art­ful­ly Refute a Cre­ation­ist on a Talk Radio Show: “The Dar­win­ian Con­cept of Evo­lu­tion is Pro­found­ly Ver­i­fied”

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

NASA Releases a Massive Online Archive: 140,000 Photos, Videos & Audio Files Free to Search and Download

Last sum­mer, astronomer Michael Sum­mer wrote that, despite a rel­a­tive­ly low pro­file, NASA and its inter­na­tion­al part­ners have been “liv­ing Carl Sagan’s dream for space explo­ration.” Sum­mers’ cat­a­logue of dis­cov­er­ies and ground­break­ing experiments—such as Scott Kelly’s year­long stay aboard the Inter­na­tion­al Space Station—speaks for itself. But for those focused on more earth­bound con­cerns, or those less emo­tion­al­ly moved by sci­ence, it may take a cer­tain elo­quence to com­mu­ni­cate the val­ue of space in words. “Per­haps,” writes Sum­mers, “we should have had a poet as a mem­ber of every space mis­sion to bet­ter cap­ture the intense thrill of dis­cov­ery.”

Sagan was the clos­est we’ve come. Though he nev­er went into space him­self, he worked close­ly on NASA mis­sions since the 1950s and com­mu­ni­cat­ed bet­ter than any­one, in deeply poet­ic terms, the beau­ty and won­der of the cos­mos. Like­ly you’re famil­iar with his “pale blue dot” solil­o­quy, but con­sid­er this quote from his 1968 lec­tures, Plan­e­tary Explo­ration:

There is a place with four suns in the sky — red, white, blue, and yel­low; two of them are so close togeth­er that they touch, and star-stuff flows between them. I know of a world with a mil­lion moons. I know of a sun the size of the Earth — and made of dia­mond. There are atom­ic nuclei a few miles across which rotate thir­ty times a sec­ond. There are tiny grains between the stars, with the size and atom­ic com­po­si­tion of bac­te­ria. There are stars leav­ing the Milky Way, and immense gas clouds falling into it. There are tur­bu­lent plas­mas writhing with X- and gam­ma-rays and mighty stel­lar explo­sions. There are, per­haps, places which are out­side our uni­verse. The uni­verse is vast and awe­some, and for the first time we are becom­ing a part of it.

Sagan’s lyri­cal prose alone cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of mil­lions. But what has most often made us to fall in love with, and fund, the space pro­gram, is pho­tog­ra­phy. No mis­sion has ever had a res­i­dent poet, but every one, manned and unmanned, has had mul­ti­ple high-tech pho­tog­ra­phers.

NASA has long had “a trove of images, audio, and video the gen­er­al pub­lic want­ed to see,” writes Eric Berg­er at Ars Tech­ni­ca. “After all, this was the agency that had sent peo­ple to the Moon, tak­en pho­tos of every plan­et in the Solar Sys­tem, and launched the Hub­ble Space Tele­scope.”

Until the advent of the Inter­net, only a few select, and unfor­get­table, images made their way to the pub­lic. Since the 1990s, the agency has pub­lished hun­dreds of pho­tos and videos online, but these efforts have been frag­men­tary and not par­tic­u­lar­ly user-friend­ly. That changed this month with the release of a huge pho­to archive140,000 pic­tures, videos, and audio files, to be exact—that aggre­gates mate­ri­als from the agency’s cen­ters all across the coun­try and the world, and makes them search­able. The visu­al poet­ry on dis­play is stag­ger­ing, as is the amount of tech­ni­cal infor­ma­tion for the more tech­ni­cal­ly inclined.

Since Sum­mers laud­ed NASA’s accom­plish­ments, the fraught pol­i­tics of sci­ence fund­ing have become deeply con­cern­ing for sci­en­tists and the pub­lic, pro­vok­ing what will like­ly be a well-attend­ed march for sci­ence tomor­row. Where does NASA stand in all of this? You may be sur­prised to learn that the pres­i­dent has signed a bill autho­riz­ing con­sid­er­able fund­ing for the agency. You may be unsur­prised to learn how that fund­ing is to be allo­cat­ed. Earth sci­ence and edu­ca­tion are out. A mis­sion to Mars is in.

As I perused the stun­ning NASA pho­to archive, pick­ing my jaw up from the floor sev­er­al times, I found in some cas­es that my view began to shift, espe­cial­ly while look­ing at pho­tos from the Mars rover mis­sions, and read­ing the cap­tions, which casu­al­ly refer to every rocky out­crop­ping, moun­tain, crater, and val­ley by name as though they were tourist des­ti­na­tions on a map of New Mex­i­co. In addi­tion to Sagan’s Cos­mos, I also began to think of the col­o­niza­tion epics of Ray Brad­bury and Kim Stan­ley Robinson—the cor­po­rate greed, the apoc­a­lyp­tic wars, the his­to­ry repeat­ing itself on anoth­er plan­et….

It’s easy to blame the cur­rent anti-sci­ence lob­by for shift­ing the focus to plan­ets oth­er than our own. There is no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the mutu­al­ly assured destruc­tion of cli­mate sci­ence denial­ism or nuclear esca­la­tion. But in addi­tion to map­ping and nam­ing galax­ies, black holes, and neb­u­lae, we’ve seen an intense focus on the Red Plan­et for many years. It seems inevitable, as it did to the most far-sight­ed of sci­ence fic­tion writ­ers, that we would make our way there one way or anoth­er.

We would do well to recov­er the sense of awe and won­der out­er space used to inspire in us—sublime feel­ings that can moti­vate us not only to explore the seem­ing­ly lim­it­less resources of space but to con­serve and pre­serve our own on Earth. Hope­ful­ly you can find your own slice of the sub­lime in this mas­sive pho­to archive.


via the Cre­ators Project

Relat­ed Con­tent:

How the Icon­ic 1968 “Earth­rise” Pho­to Was Made: An Engross­ing Visu­al­iza­tion by NASA

NASA Releas­es 3 Mil­lion Ther­mal Images of Our Plan­et Earth

NASA Its Soft­ware Online & Makes It Free to Down­load

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

An Interactive Visualization of Hegel’s Science of Logic (Available on Github)

In 1812, GWF Hegel pub­lished his Sci­ence of Log­ic. Two cen­turies lat­er, one of his dis­ci­ples put on Github an inter­ac­tive visu­al­i­sa­tion of Hegel’s work, which essen­tial­ly takes the struc­ture of the text and puts it into a visu­al map. Whether the visu­al­iza­tion has any util­i­ty, I’m not sure. But it’s fun to give it a quick spin.

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon.

If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

via Phi­los­o­phy Mat­ters

Relat­ed Con­tent:

An Intro­duc­tion to Hegel’s Phi­los­o­phy of His­to­ry: The Road to Progress Runs First Through Dark Times

An Ani­mat­ed Intro to G.W.F. Hegel, and Every­thing Else You Want­ed to Know About the Daunt­ing Ger­man Philoso­pher

Watch The Half Hour Hegel: A Long, Guid­ed Tour Through Hegel’s Phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy, Pas­sage by Pas­sage

Free Online Phi­los­o­phy Cours­es

5 Animations Introduce the Media Theory of Noam Chomsky, Roland Barthes, Marshall McLuhan, Edward Said & Stuart Hall

We watch it hap­pen in real time, aghast as the media can­ni­bal­izes itself, turn­ing real­i­ty into a par­o­dy of the kind we laughed at in goofy dystopi­an sce­nar­ios from Back to the Future, The Simp­sonsIdioc­ra­cy. A brave new world of hyper­creduli­ty and mon­strous disin­gen­u­ous­ness arrived on our smart phones and TVs. It was gaudy and per­ni­cious and lied to us like we couldn’t trust our lying eyes. We saw real­i­ty TV main­lined into real­i­ty. The response was to shout, “Fake News,” a phrase almost imme­di­ate­ly redi­gest­ed and spun into flim­sy con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries. It now serves lit­tle pur­pose but to get the snake gnaw­ing its tail again.

How?, many won­dered in despair. Haven’t peo­ple read the the­o­ry? Noam Chom­sky, Mar­shall McLuhan, Stu­art Hall, Edward Said, Roland Barthes.… Didn’t we see them proven right time and again? But chances are if you know all these names, you’ve spent time in uni­ver­si­ty Eng­lish, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, or Media Stud­ies depart­ments.

You’ve hung around hip book­stores and cof­feeshops in cities and puz­zled over crit­i­cal the­o­ry, pre­tend­ing, per­haps, to have read at least one of these writ­ers you had­n’t. You gave up your TV years ago and kept your kids away from screens (or told peo­ple you did). You fit, in oth­er words, a cer­tain pro­file, and while there’s noth­ing wrong with that, it was, in the scheme of things, a pret­ty nar­row niche, and an often pret­ty smug one at that.

Maybe aca­d­e­mics, crit­ics, and jour­nal­ists need to be bet­ter at talk­ing and lis­ten­ing to ordi­nary peo­ple? Maybe fash­ion­able waves of anti-intel­lec­tu­al­ism need to be resist­ed with almost reli­gious vig­or…? What­ev­er the solution(s) for mass media illit­er­a­cy, we can treat the video series here from Al Jazeera as a step in the right direc­tion. Called “Media The­o­rized: Read­ing Against the Grain,” the project takes as its sub­ti­tle a quote from Roland Barthes, the French philoso­pher and lit­er­ary crit­ic who dis­tilled cul­tur­al stud­ies into high­ly read­able essays, dis­sect­ing every­thing from wrestling to tourism to adver­tis­ing. Barthes showed how these gen­res con­sti­tute sym­bol­ic texts, just like roman­tic nov­els and moral­i­ty plays, but pur­port to show us unmedi­at­ed truth.

“Media The­o­rized” sur­veys five cul­tur­al crit­ics who have, in five dif­fer­ent ways, made sim­i­lar analy­ses of mass media. Mar­shall McLuhan famous­ly declared the medi­um as the mes­sage: its sig­nal insep­a­ra­ble from its noise; Noam Chom­sky demon­strat­ed how pop­u­lar con­sent is engi­neered by a nar­row set of shady spe­cial inter­ests with influ­ence over the media; Stu­art Hall showed how mass media manip­u­lates dis­cours­es of race, class, gen­der, and reli­gion to mis­rep­re­sent out­siders and mar­gin­al­ized peo­ple and keep them in their place in the social imag­i­nary; and Edward Said doc­u­ment­ed the long tra­di­tion of “Orientalism”—a total­iz­ing Euro-Amer­i­can dis­course that estranges, belit­tles, and dehu­man­izes whole coun­tries, cul­tures, and reli­gious com­mu­ni­ties.

While it’s impos­si­ble to do jus­tice to the rich­ness and depth of their argu­ments with quick sum­maries and pithy ani­ma­tion, what “Media The­o­rized” does well is to present this hand­ful of aca­d­e­mics as acces­si­ble and unique­ly rel­e­vant to our cur­rent sit­u­a­tion. This works espe­cial­ly well because the pre­sen­ters are peo­ple used to putting the­o­ry into prac­tice, com­mu­ni­cat­ing with the pub­lic, and cri­tiquing mass media. Activists and jour­nal­ists from all over the world, who have not only con­tributed short videos on YouTube, but thought­ful sup­ple­men­tary essays and inter­views at the “Media The­o­rized” site (which also includes high res­o­lu­tion posters from each video.) The project is an invi­ta­tion for each of us to take sev­er­al steps back and ask some high­ly per­ti­nent ques­tions about how and why the sto­ries we’re told get told, and for whose ben­e­fit.

Mil­lions of peo­ple have had enough and are demand­ing account­abil­i­ty from indi­vid­ual fig­ures in the media—a pos­i­tive devel­op­ment, to be sure, though it seems like too lit­tle too late. We need to under­stand the dam­age that’s been done, and con­tin­ues to be done, by the sys­tems mass media enable and sell. This series intro­duces “crit­i­cal tools” we can use in our “every­day encoun­ters” with such sales­man­ship.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mar­shall McLuhan, W.H. Auden & Buck­min­ster Fuller Debate the Virtues of Mod­ern Tech­nol­o­gy & Media (1971)

An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion to Noam Chomsky’s Man­u­fac­tur­ing Con­sent and How the Media Cre­ates the Illu­sion of Democ­ra­cy

Sci-Fi Author J.G. Bal­lard Pre­dicts the Rise of Social Media (1977)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

Salvador Dalí Figurines Let You Bring the Artist’s Surreal Paintings Into Your Home

Whether at the Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, a dorm-room wall, or any­where in between, we’ve all seen Sal­vador Dalí’s 1931 can­vas The Per­sis­tence of Mem­o­ry, and who among us would­n’t want to own one of the “melt­ing watch­es” it famous­ly depicts? Alas, tech­nol­o­gy has­n’t quite caught up to that flam­boy­ant Span­ish sur­re­al­ist’s vivid imag­i­na­tion: though clocks now come as flat as you like, no artis­ti­cal­ly mind­ed entre­pre­neur has yet put such a Camem­ber­tish­ly mal­leable one into pro­duc­tion. But that does­n’t mean you can’t sur­round your­self with the oth­er stuff of Dalí’s paint­ings, thanks to this set of col­lec­table fig­urines.

Just like the Hierony­mus Bosch fig­urines we fea­tured last month, these come from the UK man­u­fac­tur­er Para­s­tone, and you can browse the selec­tion on their Dalí page (or get them on Ama­zon). At the top of the post we have one of the tigers leap­ing from the mouth of a fish orig­i­nal­ly paint­ed in 1944’s Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pome­gran­ate a Sec­ond Before Awak­en­ing (anoth­er dorm-room favorite, inci­den­tal­ly). The folks at Para­s­tone describe it as “a Freudi­an image based on a dream from Gala, Dalí’s wife.” Their fig­urine drawn from the pre­vi­ous year’s Geopoliti­cus Child Watch­ing the Birth of the New Man, how­ev­er, bears a mes­sage: “The new human must free itself from its oppres­sive entwine­ment with the past.”

Or per­haps you’d pre­fer to add not just a touch of Dalí to your home, but a touch of Dalí depict­ing Dalí. In that case you might con­sid­er Para­s­tone’s three-dimen­sion­al ver­sion of his 1941 Soft Self-Por­trait with Grilled Bacon. Salvador-Dali.org describes the image as “a spec­tre full of irony, where an amor­phous, soft face appears, sup­port­ed by crutch­es” — the face of Dalí him­self — “with a pedestal that bears the inscrip­tion of the title of the work and, above, a slice of fried bacon, a sym­bol of organ­ic mat­ter and of the every­day nature of his break­fasts in New York’s Saint Reg­is Hotel.” Not only does the fig­urine thus fea­ture a vogue meat of the ear­ly 21st-cen­tu­ry, it ren­ders it in a man­ner that per­haps even Dalí, also a not­ed cook­book author, would con­sid­er good enough to eat. See the full fig­urine col­lec­tion here.

via Dan­ger­ous Minds

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Tarot Card Deck Designed by Sal­vador Dalí

Sal­vador Dalí’s 1973 Cook­book Gets Reis­sued: Sur­re­al­ist Art Meets Haute Cui­sine

Sal­vador Dalí’s Avant-Garde Christ­mas Cards

Walk Inside a Sur­re­al­ist Sal­vador Dalí Paint­ing with This 360º Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty Video

Hierony­mus Bosch Fig­urines: Col­lect Sur­re­al Char­ac­ters from Bosch’s Paint­ings & Put Them on Your Book­shelf

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­ma, the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future?, and the Los Ange­les Review of Books’ Korea Blog. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

Peter Singer’s Course on Effective Altruism Puts Philosophy Into Worldly Action

This week, Peter Singer’s online course on Effec­tive Altru­ism is get­ting under­way on Cours­era. Based on the philoso­pher’s books, The Life You Can Save and The Most Good You Can Do, the course intro­duces stu­dents to the con­cept of Effec­tive Altru­ism, which asserts that “liv­ing a ful­ly eth­i­cal life involves doing the most good one can.” Par­tic­u­lar­ly, the course promis­es to exam­ine the philo­soph­i­cal under­pin­nings of Effec­tive Altru­ism, “present remark­able peo­ple who have restruc­tured their lives in accor­dance with it, and think about how effec­tive altru­ism can be put into prac­tice in your own life.” The intro­duc­to­ry video for the course appears above. You can enroll free here.

A phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sor at Prince­ton, Singer first became well-known when he pub­lished Ani­mal Lib­er­a­tion in 1975 and helped put an intel­lec­tu­al frame­work around the ani­mal rights move­ment. More recent­ly, he has brought his util­i­tar­i­an phi­los­o­phy to bear on glob­al pover­ty. Some­times con­tro­ver­sial, Singer is unde­ni­ably influ­en­tial. (He was named world’s third most influ­en­tial glob­al thought leader in 2013.) The Effec­tive Altru­ism course gives you a good oppor­tu­ni­ty to famil­iar­ize your­self with Singer’s style of thought, and put phi­los­o­phy into mean­ing­ful action.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Life You Can Save in 3 Min­utes, by Peter Singer

Richard Dawkins’ Uncut Inter­views with Peter Singer & Big Thinkers

How Can I Know Right From Wrong? Watch Phi­los­o­phy Ani­ma­tions on Ethics Nar­rat­ed by Har­ry Shear­er


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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.