Wednesday 30 December 2015

Veganism: Compassion, Contempt and Loathing.

What you see in this photograph is a truly exhausted Eisel Mazard, in equal parts withered and withering.  And I get back on the airplane tomorrow, waking up at 5:00 AM to do so.

On Youtube:

Sunday 27 December 2015

Crime and Punishment in Japan [日本で罪と罰]

The Japanese government uses torture against its own citizens, as a routine part of its criminal justice system. Discuss.

Link to the Youtube video:

Saturday 26 December 2015

Friday 18 December 2015

Buddhist Meditation, Pseudoscience & Sam Harris

You may or may not have noticed that "professional skeptic" Sam Harris has turned his attention toward Buddhism, but --oddly-- his response to it is not skeptical at all.  Instead, he's also in the long tradition of scientistic thinkers who remain balefully ignorant of canonical Buddhism (or even of village Buddhist praxis) who is eager to tie together a knot of "cognitive" claims, and call it modern ("secular") meditation.

Another product of my prolific "jet-lagged in Göttingen" period (recorded at about 4:30 AM, local time), on Youtube:

Political Action, Guanxi & Greek Philosophy

This one is not about the meaning of life, but about friendship as the smallest unit of social organization, and as crucially important to political action of any kind.  On Youtube:

Thursday 17 December 2015

"Fake Vegans", the Conflict with Reducetarians

Why do vegans hate those who eat less meat, rather than none at all?  While guys like Tobias Leenaert try to take a more conciliatory approach, there are some pretty clear reasons as why the conflict continues.  On Youtube:

Wednesday 16 December 2015

The German Diet (Vegan)

There are not many vegans in Göttingen, and I find it interesting that the only vegan restaurant here uses the English language on its signs, and identifies itself with a (broadly western) set of human-rights ideals; it would be easy to imagine some other world in which veganism (in Europe) was packaged in terms of Chinese cultural ideals, or some Prakritic tradition from India.

However, in terms of what is available at the grocery-store, the situation is better for vegans than almost anywhere in the U.S. and Canada.  I suspect this is, partly, just because the market for the lactose-intolerant is so well-established here (many of the soy products are for them more than they are for "us", as vegans).  The other aspect is simply that the Germans care about fruit and vegetables year round (what's available here, in winter, is better than what I could get when I was living in France).

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Theravada Buddhism, Sam Harris & Skepticism

A monologue covering controversial issues that --frankly-- I think many academics wish they could discuss freely (but they can't, so they won't: there's a pall of silence precisely where critical attention is most urgently needed).  On Youtube:

Thursday 3 December 2015

Nature vs. Culture vs. Nutrition (on Youtube)

Digressions include the meaning of life, disguised as a complaint about contemporary anthropology: