Scripturient: Empathy and The Dog Allusion

Empathy, writes Martin Rowson, is one of the things that make us human, make us civilized, allows us to interact without tearing one another’s throats out. Without it, we’d have no civilization; we’d be like the beasts of the fields. And we’d have no dogs or gods, either. Empathy is what makes us own pets ...

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Quote of the Day – On Life

   I hate it when people say stuff that rings true and hits close to home.   “A word about my personal philosophy.  It is anchored in optimism.  It must be, for optimism brings with it hope, a future with purpose, and therefore, a will to fight for a better world.  Without this optimism, there ...

Scripturient: On growing old

No man is so old that he does not think himself able to live another year. (Nemo enim est tam senex qui se annum non putet posse vivere) I was thinking of that line from Cicero this week when I attended a friend’s drop-in post-Christmas party. Most of the many people in attendance were my ...

Scripturient: Eheu fugaces, Postume…

Alas, Postumus, the swift years slip away. Those words are one translation of the opening line of the 14th Ode in the second book of Horace’s carminas, or songs: Eheu fugaces, Postume, Postume/labuntur anni… * For me, it’s his most moving piece, a bittersweet acceptance of mortality; the inevitability of age and death. Something no ...

Scripturient: The subtle art of Mark Manson

I have a healthy skepticism towards anything labelled a “self-help” book – especially those that aim at making your life happier or more fulfilled through some fad, superstition or pseudoscience. I am, as you know from this blog, cynical towards the unending volume of New Age woo hoo, fads and pseudoscience that pollutes bookstore shelves ...

Dead Wild Roses: Larry Strangelove or How Lurking in a Haunted House Helped Alleviate My Existential Angst and Fear of Death

“I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.” -Mark Twain, maybe I like this quote and I envy its author. It is rational, clear headed, and it makes all kinds of sense. Earlier this year ...

Scripturient: Horace and him. And maybe me, too.

Horace and Me, subtitled Life lessons from an Ancient Poet, is a recent book by Harry Eyres (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2013) about his efforts to connect the dots of his modern life to meaning via the ancient circuitry of a classical Latin poet. It attracted me because these past few years I have been reading such classics ...

Scripturient: The bucket list, kicked

Nowadays the “bucket list” concept has become a wildly popular cultural meme, thanks to the movie of the same name. Subsequent marketing of the idea to millennials has proven a successful means to derive them of their income, with which they seem eager to part. I don’t like the concept. The list, I mean, not ...

Things Are Good: Philosophy Will Help You Be (Happy)

Happiness can be a fleeting feeling, or it can be an ongoing emotion. It all comes down to how you approach the world and react to what you experience. In this video the idea of happiness is explored via the views of philosopher Bertrand Russell. Give the video a watch and reflect on how you ...

Scripturient: Old habits, old junk

The past couple of weeks I have been trying to turn my office (one of our spare bedrooms, once upon a time) back into my office. A working space I’ll need when Susan retires this winter. My man cave, so to speak. Over the past few years, since I sold the store and went back ...

Scripturient: The definition of evil

I try to choose my words carefully. Words have power, words can create emotions, words linger and stick with us. Words matter. Words can be tools of great precision and effect. So when I hear or read them being abused, misused or simply inappropriately chosen, my hackles rise. I want to make corrections. I want ...

Dead Wild Roses: What are You?

Human thought tends to function in binaries, but much of the reality we inhabit just doesn’t work that way. Filed under: Philosophy, Science Tagged: Cells, Human thought, Philosophy, Reality, Science, What are you?

Scripturient: The Purple Thread

Roman men wore togas for formal occasions. The basic toga – toga alba or toga pura – was a simple garment of plain white wool. It was undyed and unadorned. White was the colour required by Roman sumptuary law for citizens’ togas. This basic toga was also the garment draped on a boy when he ...

Scripturient: Stoic or Epicurian?

I’ve been listening to the History of Rome podcasts of late and was pondering on some of the comments about the emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was, before listening, one of my top three choices for best ruler of the empire. What better role model than the philosopher-king? Now, I’m not so sure that he managed both ...

Things Are Good: Never Disregard Kierkegaard

There is a trend in our culture to be proud of how busy one is – and this approach to busyness isn’t a good attitude. Instead, we should look to Søren Kierkegaard the Danish existentialist who advocates for reflection on what one is doing and not how much one is doing. This can be hard ...

Scripturient: Spotting incompetence

Further to my earlier post, I wanted to provide some tips on how to spot incompetence in an employee or, especially, in managers and executives. I understand that incompetence may be a subjective view. What some view as incompetence others may see as cautionary, conservative or even adequate. But here’s what others have identified as ...

Scripturient: Peter, Parkinson and Adams

C. Northcote Parkinson, Lawrence J. Peter, and Scott Adams are for me the ‘holy trinity’ of philosophers of modern bureaucracy, within both the public service and the corporate structure. As philosophers, they are all keen observers and witty commentators on the human condition, with emphasis on the nature of organizations, leadership and management. Not always in the ...

Dead Wild Roses: The DWR Sunday Religious Disservice – What is Life?

Rather than referring to a one musty-tomb or another why not consider what life actually is and base our questions about existence (or not) on that basis? This video asks some great questions.  What is your take on the questions it asks?     Filed under: Atheism, Philosophy, Religion Tagged: The DWR Sunday Religious Disserivce, ...

Dead Wild Roses: Transporter or Death Machine? – Star Trek Questions.

Star Trek writers have fun with the technology in their universe.  CGP gray takes a look at some of the issues that transporters bring to the table. Filed under: Philosophy Tagged: Consciousness, Sci-fi, Star Trek, Teleporters

Scripturient: De Officiis: Cicero on Political Obligations

No phase of life, whether public or private, whether in business or in the home, whether one is working on what concerns oneself alone or dealing with another, can be without its moral duty; on the discharge of such duties depends all that is morally right, and on their neglect all that is morally wrong ...

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Shell-Shock: A novel by installments

Here is an unconventional move. I am considering publishing a novel by installments. This has been done in the past, but is not the current norm. But I am not sure if it has been done while the novel is still in the process of being written. That would be a bold, and perhaps risky ...

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Blessed be the gadflies

Metaphorically speaking, and only with regard to issues of the greatest importance, I wholeheartedly agree: “When confronting your enemy, go for the jugular, and never back down.” – Alexander Cockburn (A journalist with a rare quality – a spine) Alexander Cockburn: born in Scotland, raised in Ireland – of course he was a scrapper. And ...

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Confronting Evil: Not with a bang, but a whimper? Neither, I say

Yes, it is best to be cordial, courteous, friendly and respectful, and to avoid harsh words and harsh speech, generally speaking. But when it comes to confronting power, when it comes to addressing the power elite and their willing vassals, servants, prostitutes in high office and other shills, we must be fierce, and uncompromising – ...

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Ship of Fools

Having compassion, respect and love does not mean we must become grinning, blinkered, deferential, obsequious and obedient, compliant fools, unable to tie our own shoe laces without the approval of some authority figure or the bleating crowd. Sometimes, the most compassionate action, is strong action. Sometimes, the most compassionate words, are strong words. To speak ...

Scripturient: Myth and Meaning

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the physical plane will have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually ...