A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Editor’s Pick: Roland Barthes

Credit: French Philosopher Roland Barthes, Paris, 9th June 1978; Gettyimages

A Lover's Discourse: Fragments

"Am I in love? --yes, since I am waiting. The other one never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn't wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game. Whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover's fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits."

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Editor’s pick: Jacques Lacan

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Excerpt from Transference (1960-61)

"The hand that extends toward the fruit, the rose, or the log that suddenly bursts into flames – its gesture of reaching, drawing close, or stirring up is closely related to the ripening of the fruit, the beauty of the flower, and the blazing of the log. If, in the movement of reaching, drawing, or stirring, the hand goes far enough toward the object that another hand comes out of the fruit, flower, or log and extends toward your hand – and at that moment your hand freezes in the closed plenitude of the fruit, in the open plenitude of the flower, or in the explosion of a log which bursts into flames – then what is produced is love."

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Editor’s pick: Georg Simmel

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Excerpts from The Sociology of Secrecy and of Secret Societies (1906)

"Since one never can absolutely know another, as this would mean knowledge of every particular thought and feeling; since we must rather form a conception of a personal unity out of the fragments of another person in which alone he is accessible to us, the unity so formed necessarily depends upon that portion of the Other which our standpoint toward him permits us to see."

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Thoughts to reflect on

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3 Famous Thinkers on Science

1. Natural science will in time incorporate into itself the science of man, just as the science of man will incorporate into itself natural science: there will be one science.
- Karl Marx

2. Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
- Albert Einstein

3. Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.
- Max Planck

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Brainy Quotes to Reflect on

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5 quotes by Jacques Lacan that will blow your logic

1. "I think where I am not, therefore I am where I do not think. I am not whenever I am the plaything of my thought; I think of what I am where I do not think to think."

2. "...Desire, a function central to all human experience, is the desire for nothing nameable. And at the same time, this desire lies at the origin of every variety of animation. If being were only what it is, there wouldn't even be room to talk about it. Being comes into existence as an exact function of this lack."

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10 Thought that will challenge your convictions: Theodor W. Adorno

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Theodor W. Adorno

1. Not only is the self entwined in society; it owes society its existence in the most literal sense.

2. Love is the power to see similarity in the dissimilar.

3. Work while you work, play while you play - this is a basic rule of repressive self-discipline.

4. Today self-consciousness no longer means anything but reflection on the ego as embarrassment, as realization of impotence: knowing that one is nothing.

5. He who stands aloof runs the risk of believing himself better than others and misusing his critique of society as an ideology for his private interest.

6. Happiness is obsolete: uneconomic.

7. Estrangement shows itself precisely in the elimination of distance between people.

8. Thinking no longer means anymore than checking at each moment whether one can indeed think.

9. Quality is decided by the depth at which the work incorporates the alternatives within itself, and so masters them.

10. Insane sects grow with the same rhythm as big organizations. It is the rhythm of total destruction.

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What does the philosopher say

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Jose Ortega y Gasset

1. We distinguish the excellent man from the common man by saying that the former is the one who makes great demands on himself, and the latter who makes no demands on himself.

2. We have need of history in its entirety, not to fall back into it, but to see if we can escape from it.

3. Youth does not require reasons for living, it only needs pretexts.

4. Being an artist means ceasing to take seriously that very serious person we are when we are not an artist.

5. Under the species of Syndicalism and Fascism there appears for the first time in Europe a type of man who does not want to give reasons or to be right, but simply shows himself resolved to impose his opinions.

6. We live at a time when man believes himself fabulously capable of creation, but he does not know what to create.

7. Biography - a system in which the contradictions of a human life are unified.

8. A revolution only lasts fifteen years, a period which coincides with the effectiveness of a generation.

9. I am I plus my circumstances.

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3 Important Questions No One Knows The Answers To

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The Universe

There is nothing more paradoxical, thrilling, and surreal than the universe we live in. It's so out of the explanation, wild, and complex, that there is no need for additional fantasy or fiction over it. We just have to take a look around, try to comprehend the nature of even a small thing like a flower or a bug, let alone something like our solar system, and suddenly we enter into the endless rabbit hole with no definitive answers. Since the beginning of our civilization, we have always wondered about the meaning of life, the laws of nature and yet there is a new theory changing the old one, a new fact proving us wrong. It's like an infinite loop we are going through. Although, our understanding of the mechanisms of nature is progressing and from a pragmatical point of view we have advanced a lot, there are some philosophical questions that still leave us in numb bewilderment.

Here you can enjoy a short video of three of them and ponder over it.

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A very brief introduction into the philosophy of Hegel

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Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

If you have at least a minor interest in Philosophy you should have heard the name Hegel. One of the most important, influential, and perplexing authors that have ever written in the Western tradition. During his time, Hegel was a famous lecturer, professor, and writer, who was notorious for his complex and often incomprehensible way of writing – Phenomenology of Spirit (1809) is considered one of the most difficult books ever written. His works spun around various topics including philosophy, religion, art, civil rights, logic, the dynamics of consciousness, and many more. Hegel inspired a great multitude of intellectuals both from the 19th and 20th centuries. The list includes names like Søren Kierkegaard, Ludwig Feuerbach, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and later on Herbert Marcuse, Theodor W. Adorno, Ernst Bloch, Raya Dunayevskaya.

Below you will find a short video putting forward some basic concepts in Hegel's philosophical legacy.

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Alan Watts' Life Advice Will Leave You Speechless

Credit: Alan Watts in middle age, bearded, with pipe and beads; via Wikipedia

One of The Most Eye Opening Videos Ever

Alan Watts was an influential British writer, theologian, and philosopher. The conventional academics often underestimated his work and labeled him "New Age" or "Hippie" guru. In fact, he specialized Eastern Philosophy and was especially concerned in elucidating it for western audiences. He dedicated his life to sharing the wisdom he obtained throughout his studies and life experience. Moreover, he was a great speaker showing unsurpassed eloquence and delivering skills. Alan Watts left a significant body of work, which includes 25 books and more than 400 audio recordings. Here you can enjoy three of his short speeches. What are the essences of dream, illusion, and reality? What happens after we die? How could we stop worrying and be calm with ourselves? These and many more topics are discussed during the video. Don't hesitate but let the wisdom goes through your body and soul.

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Thoughts to reflect on

Credit: Portrait of Michel de Montaigne; via Wikipedia

Michel de Montaigne

"My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened."

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Thoughts to reflect on

20220107-103110gettyimages-154687916-612x612 Credit: Gettyimages

Credit: Gettyimages  

Claude Levi-Strauss

One of the most influential voices of the 20th century – Claude Levi-Strauss – has made his path through the unordered world of ancient cultures and myths to become the founder of Structuralism. Although he hadn't had formal education in Anthropology, he managed to raise the discipline to a completely new level of understanding of the essential processes of human nature, thought, and society. The concept of structure as Levi-Strauss stressed it grew into one of the most significant intellectual movements, which went a lot beyond the borders of Anthropology. Structural analysis was implemented into social studies, literary and cinema studies, philosophy, and many more. Among some of the names that more or less adopted his approach were Roland Bart, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, and others.

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Inspirational thoughts

20220121-170606620px-Spinoza-1 Credit: Wikipedia

 Credit: Wikipedia

5 quotes by Baruch Spinoza

1.  Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.

2. The highest activity a human being can attain is learning for understanding, because to understand is to be free.

3.   Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand.

4.  All happiness or unhappiness solely depends upon the quality of the object to which we are attached by love.

5.   I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule, not to bewail, not to scorn human actions, but to understand them.

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The hidden troves of etymology

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The word science

What do you imagine when you hear the word science? Isn't it people with white uniforms, peering into microscopes, surrounded by complicated machines and computers, checking statistics, and conducting complex experiments. Truly, that's part of its modern usage. But what does the word science actually mean, where does it come from? Maybe, some additional connotations could shed some light on the hidden processes that stand behind the visible action. As one could expect, this word has a long story that lays beneath it. Let's follow its history and see if there is something that we miss from first sight.

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The great free will debate

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Is there free will or not?

One of the oldest and most perplexing philosophical questions of all time. Do we have a choice or are we just subject to the predetermination of our biochemistry? And if we don't have free will, are we responsible for our actions or not? What is the relation between free will and morals? And many more topics debated by some of today's brightest minds. 

Enjoy the video below!

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Democracy and Capitalism Are Destined to Split Up

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Slavoj Žižek

In the last two decades, Slavoj Žižek became something of a philosopher super-star. His distinctive accent, funny appearances, and weird, though witty remarks put the audience into a state of simultaneous amazement and deep pondering. Is he serious about what's he saying or maybe it's just provocations? Is he making jokes or maybe, we just can't follow him? Do we agree with his criticism or not? Well, everyone should decide by himself. Enjoy his speech and turn on your speculative attention - you will need it.

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What does the philosopher say?

Portrait of Søren Kierkegaard; Image credit: via Wikipedia

Søren Kierkegaard

"Marry, and you will regret it; don't marry, you will also regret it; marry or don't marry, you will regret it either way. Laugh at the world's foolishness, you will regret it; weep over it, you will regret that too; laugh at the world's foolishness or weep over it, you will regret both. Believe a woman, you will regret it; believe her not, you will also regret it… Hang yourself, you will regret it; do not hang yourself, and you will regret that too; hang yourself or don't hang yourself, you'll regret it either way; whether you hang yourself or do not hang yourself, you will regret both. This, gentlemen, is the essence of all philosophy."

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Sunday Quotes to Reflect on

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The provocative mind of Jean Baudrillard

"The futility of everything that comes to us from the media is the inescapable consequence of the absolute inability of that particular stage to remain silent. Music, commercial breaks, news flashes, adverts, news broadcasts, movies, presenters—there is no alternative but to fill the screen; otherwise there would be an irremediable void.... That's why the slightest technical hitch, the slightest slip on the part of the presenter becomes so exciting, for it reveals the depth of the emptiness squinting out at us through this little window."

― Jean Baudrillard

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On this date, 337 years ago...

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Elena Cornaro Piscopia

On the 25th of June, 1678, the Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia defended a doctorate thesis of philosophy and was awarded at the University of Padua. She was a high-esteemed philosopher and musician of her time. However, she became famous as the first woman in European history to receive a university doctoral degree or Ph.D.

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10 quotes from one of the greatest American writers and philosophers of the 20th century

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Robert Pirsig

Robert M. Pirsig is the author of only two books - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (1974) and Lila: An Inquiry into Morals (1991). Someone could say: Well, then what is so special about him? There were other incredible minds in the States and they were definitely more prolific writers. It could be regarded as impossible but inside these two books, Pirsig managed to say more than other writers in 30 volumes. He was able to synthesize the inconceivable number of theories, researches, and personal experiences that he had gone through during his long life in less than 1000 pages. And that is not because he had nothing more to say. Matter of fact, the biography of Robert Pirsig is quite interesting. He was a prodigy child who had an alleged IQ of 170 at the age of nine. Several years later he graduated high school at the age of 14. He studied Biochemistry, entered the U.S. Army, which brought him to South Korea and when he came back to the States he became a professor at the age of 30, teaching creative writing. At the age of 33, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was treated with electroconvulsive therapy on numerous occasions. One of his sons – Chris – who is a main character in his first book, got stabbed to death at the age of 22. And while all of that happened, Pirsig never stopped his ardent and vigorous researches into the essence of quality, metaphysics, truth, and existence in general.

Here are some of the pearls that crystallized inside his two books:

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Credit: French Philosopher Roland Barthes, Paris, 9th June 1978; Gettyimages A Lover's Discourse: Fragments "Am I in love? --yes, since I am waiting. The other one never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn't wait; I try to b...
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