Professor Michael Sandel delivers four lectures about the prospects of a new politics of the common good. The series is presented and chaired by Sue Lawley.
Sandel makes the case for a moral and civic renewal in democratic politics. Recorded at George Washington University in Washington DC, he calls for a new politics of the common good and says that we need to think of ourselves as citizens, not just consumers.
Notes: "Philosophy is the childhood of the intellect, and a culture that tries to skip it will never grow up." Thomas Nagel. Who has got the responsibility? "I was reminded of something Justice Louis Brandeis once said: that in a democracy, the most important office is the office of citizen. Barack Obama ‘The Audacity Of Hope’. A new ‘Mind Map’ https://www.mindmeister.com/21660144
Mind Maps For Children "What Shall We Tell The Children?" http://www.mindmeister.com/13207398
Author: Stephen Law
Playground for Faith and Belief. UK. Quangoes of Religiosity. Religion in Schools REBT and Disconnection. Church Schools and Faith Schools UK. The Proper Structuralised View Of The World – for our children is missing i.e. History, Evolution, and Cosmology: only various forms of ‘muddled thinking’ exist in our institutions and schools (Bloom and ‘other’s’). Riots will be the result http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1174955/Recession-spark-riots-civil-disorder-minister-warns.html "People who are hungry, people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made." Barack Obama. Philosophy: 100 million or more (infantile) deaths http://luckyme0.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!A18BF3FCC5E126A2!2400.entry Man the Killer. "No doubt, Professor Williams’s committee will advise setting up, combined – sex and philosophy shops, in all major towns. Thus, giving the public the best of both worlds. It has been leaked that Labour Members of the Committee would support such action, in lieu of buying Trident Missiles."
Confusion – Wasting Time & Befogging The Issues
(a whole section of our society has only one simple role – they are particularly ‘those people who consider themselves most important and live amongst our ‘intelligentsia’)
Even, somewhat – ‘Hoodwink’d with Faery Fancy’ ‘Unweaving The Rainbow’ R Dawkins. "If anyone can help us get rid of this (massive and destructive) form of hideous fraud and madness – he can"! See, ‘Identity and Violence’ A.Sen. Video above…
Stop ‘the drifting’ into silliness’s, and now. An exam board has scrapped a GCSE biology question about creationism after admitting it could be misleading. The Assessment and Qualifications Alliance paper asked pupils how the Bible’s theory of creation seeks to explain the origins of life. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/8136034.stm Leo Straus ‘religion is a fraud’. ‘If religion is a fraud, then it remains debatable, to say the least, whether that fraud should be (constantly: forcibly in most schools or some institutions UK) perpetuated on the public’ Stephen Law (above). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Strauss
In Schools: ‘The Choice Or The Muddle’ & ‘Refractoriness of Youth’
A BOOK REVIEW THAT MAY BE OF SOME INTEREST TO TEACHERS
"The ‘meaning’ of life is unclear, but that is why we must spend our lives clarifying it rather than letting the question go. The university’s function is to remind students of the importance and urgency of the question and give them the means to pursue it. Universities do have other responsibilities, but this should be their highest priority" Alan Bloom. Of course, we now know that there is no such ‘meaning’ to life (In Bloom’s ‘concepts’) – it just is. ‘DNA neither knows nor cares and we dance to its music’ R Dawkins (to think otherwise, has to be a form of madness).
‘THE CLOSED MIND’
1) The mentality of a person, who lives inside a closed system of thought, can be summed up in a single formula, he can prove everything he believes and he believes everything he can prove. The closed system sharpens the faculties of the mind, like an over-efficient grindstone to a brittle edge; it produces a scholastic, Talmudic, hair-splitting brand of cleverness, which affords no protection against committing the crudest imbecilities. People with this mentality are found particularly often among the intelligentsia. I like to call them the "clever imbeciles" an expression, which I do not consider offensive, as I was one of them. A. Koestler ‘Bricks to Babel’.
2) Allan Bloom is a professor of Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He has taught at the Universities of Yale, Cornell, Toronto, Paris and Tel Aviv. He is author of ‘The Closing of The American Mind’ of which over one million copies have been sold.
3) Bloom writes (p.198) "Nietzsche’s works are a glorious exhibition of the soul of a man who might, if anybody can, be called creative.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allan_Bloom (Bloom’s, followers and teachers – ‘befoggers of issues’, are many and most powerful, but they are so very awfully dangerous, and more often, frighteningly and terribly wrong, leading to 100 million and more terrifying deaths – ‘drifters or dreamers’ and very ‘primitive in their science’, ‘you eat the heart of common enemy and therefore you will become strong’, but they continue to have a very large and common appeal’.
Nietzsche (1844-1900) wrote, "The object is to attain that enormous energy of greatness which can model man of the future, by means of discipline and also by means of the annihilation of millions. And which can yet avoid going to ruin at the sight of the suffering created thereby the like of which has never been seen before…vast new aristocracy, based upon the most severe self discipline in which the will of philosophical men of power and artist-tyrants will be stamped upon for thousands of years.”
4) Bloom writes (p 240), "I must reiterate that Rousseau, Kant, Hegel and Nietzsche are thinkers of the highest order.”
Nietzsche wrote, "It is mere illusion and pretty sentiment to expect much (even – anything at all) from mankind if it forgets how to make war. Yet no means are known which call so much into action as a great war. That rough energy born of the camp, that deep impersonality born of hatred, that conscience born of murder and cold-bloodiness, that fervour born of effort in the annihilation of the enemy, that proud indifference to loss to one’s own existence, to that of one’s fellows. That earthquake like souls shaking, which a people need when it is (mankind) losing its vitality.”
5) Let us take a brief look at Rousseau (1712-1778) another of Bloom’s, "thinkers of the very highest order”. Rousseau was a key figure in the making of what is called Romanticism, which of course has nothing to do with love. Rousseau’s teaching in modern parlance was, "if it feels good, do it". In fact Rousseau was so romantic that he abandoned the five children he had by his mistress to the foundling hospital, the condition of which, in those days, is best left to the imagination! Historians consider his intellectual influence to have been mostly pernicious in its effect.
6) Kant (1724-1804) and Hegel (1770-1831) make up Bloom’s quartet, but why not Galileo and Darwin "They Turned the World Around" (article on this blog)? But, Kant and Hegel, left it much as they found it. Galileo and Darwin are not to Bloom’s taste. Perhaps they offend his religious susceptibility, which is so strangely impervious to the advocates of genocide and licentiousness. But, belief can cause blindness.
7) Much of Bloom’s book is a mixture of theological dogmatism and verbose obscurity. One seldom knows quite where he stands, but when he does it is clearly on the wrong spot.
For example on page 194 Bloom pontificates, "Reason cannot establish values, and its belief that it can is the stupidest and most pernicious illusion.” If reason cannot establish values what is the substitute? Values established by unreason will not bear examination (The sleep of reason brings forth monsters).
8) The reader despairs, when on page 199, Bloom states, "the faith in God and the belief in miracles are closer to the truth than any scientific explanation…” Which god? There are and have been so many. Which miracles, the virgin births or reincarnation as an insect (or predestination) and what truth, genesis or evolution? Discretely he does not say!
9) Bloom’s book contains so many curiosities that many pages would be needed to list them. But, the one I found most amazing is on page 229, "The sanctity of human nature. That must not be mastered.” The sanctity of human nature is displayed for all to see on every gory page of our history and tomorrow’s newspapers. Those who try to master it are usually murdered for their efforts.
10) Despite all the questions in his book, Bloom’s attack on the self-degrading worship of the primitive, uncouth and the problems of illiteracy. These are hideous stains on western democracies, and in my opinion, these attacks are fully justified. But, there is money in muck, much money, and the communication revolution spreads muck widely, thickly, quickly, and profitably. We may all drown in it, but leaky life rafts like Bloom’s, will not save the young or us.
11) Bloom, denigrates Science (which he does confuse with technology) and is ambivalent towards the Enlightenment. Has it not occurred to him, that no Enlightenment means no science, and consequently, no medicine or any surgery for millions that is worth a damn? No Enlightenment means a secret universe, a closed mind and an early death.
12) I note that Bloom’s book received laudatory reviews, in reputable newspapers and periodicals. Perhaps the educators need educating. A dose of, Karl Popper, Jacob Bronowski and Carl Sagan, might (seriously) help them.
13) Bronowski summarised his scientific humanism in his monumental television series, ‘The Ascent of Man’. Speaking in Auschwitz he said, "When people believe that they have absolute knowledge with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do, when they aspire to the knowledge of the gods. Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgement in science stands on the edge of error and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible…We have to curve ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.”
The theology of Bloom or the philosophy of Bronowski? The educators must choose. They don’t mix.
It is a parents duty to know or we are at the mercy of every crackpot idea and political nonsense: duty is a very dirty word today!
*"The hypothesis that this type of "schizophysiology" is part of our genetic inheritance, built into the species, as it were; could go a long way towards explaining some of the pathological symptoms already listed. The chronic conflict between rational thought and irrational beliefs; the resulting paranoid streak in our history; the growth curves of science and ethics, would at last become comprehensible and could be expressed in physiological terms". Ref, ‘Notes of Dads’ 16. And, http://www.aqr.org.uk/inbrief/document.shtml?doc=simon.roberts.01-03-2005.anthropology
"The truths contained in religious doctrines are after all so distorted and systematically disguised," writes Sigmund Freud, "That the mass of humanity cannot recognize them as truth. The case is similar to what happens when we tell a child that new born babies are brought by the stork. Here, too, we are telling truth in symbolic clothing, for we know what a large bird signifies. But the child does not know it. He hears only the distorted part of what we say, and feels that he has been deceived; and we know how often his distrust of the grown-ups and his refractoriness actually take their start from this impression. We have become convinced that it is better to avoid such symbolic disguisings of the truth in what we tell children and not to withhold from them a knowledge of the true state of affairs commensurate with their intellectual level".
Tolstoy – "As soon as man reaches the highest degree of development (in Tolstoy’s case it was just 32 years of age), he sees that all is bunkum and deceit; and that the truth, which he values above all, is terrible: that when you look at it well and clearly you awake with horror".
St Matthew Academy in Blackheath opened its doors to pupils last September, after replacing two existing schools on the site.
it is independent but receives state funding and is sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Southwark.