Saturday, October 14, 2023

wishful thinking about the Hamas-Israel conflict

Ongoing crises in the news make my immersions in value theory seem foolish: as if care for principle, better distinctions, and compassionate reasoning can have effective merit. Nevertheless, I trek onward.

Here’s a comment I posted tonight at the NY Times article by UN General Secretary Guterres (quoting some key phrases he uses):
If global society will make and keep real that there must be an “international community” (not just global society alluding to the notion)—if We will hold sacred “each other’s humanity”—then we can make “UN resolutions” and “international law” effective, by demanding that our national leaders make the UN an effective institution during crises.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

supreme leader: democratic constitutionality

I want to share the letter I wrote to the Editor of The Atlantic magazine where I praised his article on General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose explicit “constitutional patriotism” expresses that strict fidelity to democratic constitutionality protects against autocratic exploitation of military power.

There is “supreme leader”ship located in (distributed through) the three estates of (1) jurisprudential “divining” of implicit lawfulness, which yields to (2) Congressional action, which yields to (3) valid electoral legitimation.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

anomie of ordinary luck in a time of heat and war

I’m unremarkably lucky among persons not living with intense heat or war. As a news junkie, I regularly feel gratitude and depressing sadness —and anger: How many Ukrainian civilians must die before a conspiracy of confidantes arrests Putin and sends him to The Hague?

Monday, February 6, 2023

staying oriented by the better sense of Our humanity

It’s not that my sense is “the” better sense because it’s basically mine. Rather, prospecting all manner of issues for decades results in—has derived—a “simple” sense of Our humanity which seems better than any other sense I’ve found—which I assert here in hope that—inasmuch as I’m misguided—senses better than mine will come my way!

To be brief, I’ll divide my supposedly better sense into three modes: global, discursive, and life cyclic; and simply allude to how they differ.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

overcoming negate-ive ("Dialectical") thinking

‘Dialectic’, in the modern sense (not Socratic), names an approach to thinking about differences as primarily oppositions. The opposition is resolved through synthesis which transcends the opposition. Typically, opposition is understood negatively: “A is opposed to B” is the same as
“A = not B” or A is the negation of B.

The appeal of this arises in two ways:
  • A person (or party) finds oneself in a disturbing condition of opposition to something, and thinks of this dialectically, i.e., as a challenge of getting beyond the opposition through “synthesis” of some kind (“situated transcendence,” for example: ch. 7 here). 
  • One comes to a disturbing situation already thinking dialectically, so the disturbance is understood oppositionally (e.g., disagreement; or alienation which objectifies the other). 
But the etymological history of the notion isn’t dialectical in any sense,
not even in the Socratic sense, which pertains to a conception of pedagogical debate.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

better humanity through better being

This day, Our humane planet—the True humanity of Us—continues
an historic show of coordinated global response to the invasion
of Ukraine, whose men are fighting to death for their democracy.
Whatever the outcome, this March marks a milestone in Our decade.

Friday, October 29, 2021

for a Literary university in a democratic ecology

for someone engaged with “scholarly work on ecology
and literary modernism” 

What Universities Owe Democracy, by John Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels et al. (Oct. 2021), inspires (for me) an idea of interplay wider than conceptions of the university and democracy:

Literary understanding <—> the university <—> democracy <—> ecological understanding.

Moreover, the interplay isn’t linear. Literary <—> democracy;
university <—> ecology; and Literary <—> ecology are equally relevant.

Indeed, a rich appreciation of ecological thinking—highly humanistic thinking—can contribute importantly to the university <—> ecology interface (which is absent from Daniels et al.’s book).

Usefully, though, they advance four foci, i.e., “four distinct functions of American higher education that are key to liberal democracy: social mobility, citizenship education, the stewardship of facts, and the cultivation of pluralistic, diverse communities” {publisher’s description].