critical philosophy

The essential characteristic of philosophy, which makes it a study distinct from science, is criticism. It examines critically the principles employed in science and in daily life; it searches out any inconsistencies there may be in these principles, and it only accepts them when, as the result of a critical inquiry, no reason for rejecting them has appeared.
—  Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy
  • Aries: Passive-aggression, beating around the bush, being helpless, having things not meet your expectations, having to wait for things to happen, wasting time, being ignored, being left out, being underestimated, assuming you know how they feel, admitting defeat or failure, giving up.
  • Taurus: Disrespecting boundaries, obnoxious and rude people, being placed in an aggravating situation, too much pressure, too much stress, being convinced to change their minds, fast-paced environments, being unable to think through things themselves, having their steadiness and deliberateness interpreted as a weakness, "fakeness", artificiality.
  • Gemini: Always doing things by the book, inflexibility, anything too conventional, anything too repressive, mental inactivity, dullness, feeling bored, feeling "stuck", feeling inhibited, too many regulations, bureaucratic nonsense, menial work, taking things too seriously, not having a sense of humor, having to slow down for someone, possessiveness, feeling suffocated.
  • Cancer: Insensitivity, being taken for granted, being manipulated, having their kindness being taken as a weakness, lack of depth, lack of loyalty, shallow people, disrespecting privacy, disrespecting personal space, forgetful people, people who don't remember the past, people who aren't connected with their emotions, excessive criticism, too much conflict, instability, insecurity.
  • Leo: Pettiness, cruelty, mean-spiritedness, the mundane, menial tasks, penny-pinching, lack of excitement, put-downs, deceit, lying, being forced to be dependent on others, not being respected, not being admired, lack of attention or admiration, forced to take orders, being taken as a joke, being laughed at or seen as "lesser".
  • Virgo: Condescension, being treated as inferior, being treated as incompetent, being unprepared, being disorganized, being surprised, having their helpfulness mistaken for subservience, being underestimated, not having their intelligence appreciated, vulgar behavior, carelessness, crudeness, uncertainty, people who don't put any effort, insincerity.
  • Libra: Rudeness, hyper-aggressiveness, people who can't appreciate the finer things in life, uptight people, people who don't know how to relax, violence, injustice, unfairness, being misled, being misinformed, admitting they're wrong, harshness, stressful situations, being pressured to make a decision, conflicts, people who can't apologize, confusion.
  • Scorpio: Betrayal, superficiality, shallowness, arrogance, bragging, pretentiousness, people who put themselves on a pedestal, hypocrisy, disloyalty, manipulation, two-faced people, distrustful people, harming their loved ones, being taken advantage of, people who make a joke out of everything, compromising, unemotional people, aloof people.
  • Sagittarius: Lying, deception, being kept secrets from, being restricted, hypo-criticism, disrespecting their philosophies, disrespecting their beliefs, constraint in their freedom, having too many restrictions- too many rules, too much regulation, too many obligations, being judged or disapproved by others.
  • Capricorn: Pettiness, wastefulness- wasting time, wasting energy, wasting money, wasting emotions on people who don't matter, being ridiculed, being publicly humiliated, having their private thoughts shown in public, making a big scene, losing control, unreliability, encroaching on their personal time.
  • Aquarius: Disrespecting their ideas, ignorance, narrow-mindedness, being too straight-laced, overly rigid people, attempting to control or manipulate them, dishonesty, being forced to conform, being forced to pick a choice, subservience to anyone, having an excessive ego, hyper-aggressiveness, rudeness, not keeping promises.
  • Pisces: People who can't read between the lines, know-it-all's, lacking creativity, lacking imagination, lacking intuition, having things not meet their expectations, being forced to face reality, being unable to make their dreams a reality, negativity, nitpicking, people who are unable to see the bigger picture.

Fantastic Video Series Explaining Various Cognitive Biases. From Wireless Philosophy.

On Thinking in Slow Motion

As should be clear, the primary function of this blog space is to popularize philosophy. Science, despite all of its esoteric concepts, has been popularized by the likes of Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Bill Nye, and Neil deGrasse Tyson. I strongly believe the same can be done for philosophy if and only if it is made more relatable and communicated in a way that helps more people understand difficult concepts.

This is the primary reason why I’ve spoken about love, specifically through my disagreement with traditional modes of partnerships; I’ve spoken, for instance, about polyamory. I’ve spoken also about free will or what might be better understood as decision making. I’ve spoken about politics and morality. I’ve shared articles, videos, and other forms of media about these topics as well.

To succeed in this mission, however, I need to address the bigger problem: some societies are moving much too quickly; workweeks are getting longer, businesses emphasize productivity over efficiency, thus resulting in people having less time and energy to think critically and deeply. To compel people to think in slow motion, I’d have to play a role in slowing down their lives. I would have to shift the “for profit” mentalities of corporations, champion a shorter workweek, ensure that people get more time off, and so on. Of course, I won’t be accomplishing any of that alone; I’d need plenty of help. The question with such a sizable issue is: where do we start?

Upon realizing the myriad issues in the world, one often feels small, powerless, and even inadequate. I can’t do or say enough, can’t change enough minds; people are much too obstinate, in love with their chains, slaves to their habits. In very Marxist fashion, a change in consciousness would require a change in the structure, so a would-be rebellion would be up against well-funded, powerful enemies who don’t want change. They would rather keep things as they are. Yet there’s precedence because any worthwhile movement has been the impetus of monumental change.

Philosophy is thinking in slow motion, dwelling on a concept, an idea, a question for minutes, hours, days, and even years at a time. It is returning to that thought years later, questioning whether your initial conclusion was correct. It is the removal of chatter in the mind, the daily stress from school or work, matters dealt with in your home. It is setting aside financial frustrations, tensions in a given friendship or relationship, and so on. It requires a careful attention and focus in a day and age where focus and attention are constantly shifting; in where two friends are together, but make more eye contact with a phone screen than with one another; in where two lovers can embrace on a park bench, each with a device in hand, be it a phone, an iPad, or an e-reader; in where many can’t sit still and commit to one task unless that task is a requirement or obligation. 

Some of us find time to slow down and think deeply because we see the importance in doing so. We see the utility in it as well. How do we teach that to people who see neither? Popularizing philosophy in the modern day is a tall task, but it’s a worthwhile undertaking. Deeper and more critical thinking would improve many aspects of human life. Educators would think of better ways to educate; doctors will envision ways to better treat patients; scientists will think of ways to improve their tools and advance their theories; politicians would think of legislation that’s the best possible compromise rather than settle for legislation that appeals to a small portion of their voting block; police officers will realize why they shouldn’t abuse their power; people in general will find ways to improve their lives, specifically in how they deal with and treat others and in how they raise their children, lead their love lives, and make their decisions more generally.

The average person admits to this because the bigger decisions compel them to slow down. Few people leave a job or move from one home to another on a whim. They consider their options and whatever variables are involved. People ought to be as methodical about a great many issues, both on the personal and collective level. The manner in which many think is strong indication that people aren’t methodical at all. A lot of people succumb to cognitive shortcomings, often opting to indulge their confirmation bias, avoid views contrary to theirs, and even going so far as to show disdain toward people who have a different view. The people who hold the most well-reasoned positions have considered extant cases against their views and have considered whether a successful case can be made against their position. If more people adopted this approach, there’d be wider consensus on matters of importance and that common ground would be the very basis on which lasting change is built. Unfortunately, this currently isn’t the case. How do we change that? How do we slow down?

Heterotopia is a concept in human geography elaborated by philosopher Michel Foucault to describe places and spaces that function in non-hegemonic conditions. These are spaces of otherness, which are irrelevant, that are simultaneously physical and mental, such as the space of a phone call or the moment when you see yourself in the mirror.
—  Wikipedia
Foucauldian morality

So Michel Foucault, arguably the best thinker and philosopher of the 20th century and original gangster of critical theory, had a set of morals all of his own that we should all consider paying mind to.

Foucault lived and achieved success through a moral code of only three steps.

1. The refusal to accept as self evident the things that are proposed to us.

  •  Don't accept anything as fact. Everything can and should be questioned.
  • Why should we believe that which is presented to us as fact, for most societal recommendations or instructions are norms, not rules.
  • A perfect example of this is gender norms. “you’re a boy so you can’t/shouldnt wear a skirt” (but like why?, thats not a rule, thats not a fact, thats nonsense.)

2. The need to analyze and to know, since we can accomplish nothing without reflection and understanding thus, the principle of curiosity.

  • research, understanding and falling on your own conclusions. most of what we know and believe has been told to us not achieved through self discovery or experience. 
  • most of the time when we believe we’re thinking were actually listening and repeating. So what have you not heard before and why?

3. The principle of innovation, to seek out in our reflections those things that have never been thought or imagined.

  • Again, figure out what have you not heard, been taught, or seen, and why you haven’t heard, been taught, or seen this.
  • what is it? and why can it or can it not come to be?
  • get a new perspective.

SO Basically…

Refusal~ Curiosity~ Innovation

and remember. “The enlightenment that inspired the liberties also invented the disciplines” M.F. (the OG)

[The] entire logical order, with its chains of inference and dependence, the superordination and coordination of concepts, is founded on the corresponding conditions in social reality, that is, on the division of labor. Of course, this social character of intellectual forms is not, as Durkheim argues, an expression of social solidarity but evidence of the impenetrable unity of society and power. Power confers increased cohesion and strength on the social whole in which it is established. The division of labor, through which power manifests itself socially, serves the self-preservation of the dominated whole. But this necessarily turns the whole, as a whole, and the operation of its immanent reason, into a means of enforcing the particular interest. Power confronts the individual as the universal, as the reason which informs reality.
—  Theodor W. Adorno and Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment
Our elders have been warning us about this for generations now—they saw the unsustainability of settler society immediately. Societies based on conquest cannot be sustained, so yes, I do think we’re getting closer to that breaking point for sure. We’re running out of time. We’re losing the opportunity to turn this thing around. We don’t have time for this massive slow transformation into something that’s sustainable and alternative. I do feel like I’m getting pushed up against the wall. Maybe my ancestors felt that 200 years ago or 400 years ago. But I don’t think it matters. I think that the impetus to act and to change and to transform, for me, exists whether or not this is the end of the world. If a river is threatened, it’s the end of the world for those fish. It’s been the end of the world for somebody all along. And I think the sadness and the trauma of that is reason enough for me to act.
—  Leanne Simpson, Nishnaabeg writer and theorist
The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency, and this will improve our position in the struggle against Fascism. One reason why Fascism has a chance is that in the name of progress its opponents treat it as a historical norm. The current amazement that the things we are experiencing are ‘still’ possible in the twentieth century is not philosophical. This amazement is not the beginning of knowledge—unless it is the knowledge that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable.
—  Walter Benjamin, On the Concept of History