Saturday XI • 12 May 2007

The real argument of last Saturday’s wisdom quiz was that fools seek situations where they don’t have to think deeply or engage fundamental questions. The wise eat it raw, and don’t need their world to be pre-digested by preachers or teachers or ideological shorthand.

I’ve been thinking about this in relation to the commodification of music: the smoothing, compressing, normalizing, generalizing, predigestion that happens to its perfectly edgy elements when an artist makes a bid for the big market. The difference between the genius Regina Spektor’s penultimate record and her last, whose final track “Summer in the City” for all its soupy abstract over-beauty I can’t heartbreakingly get out if my head.

However! I intend to get back to troubling about Monday’s meeting with my adviser. In which: I try to sell her on ethical consumerism (for a dissertation chapter, that is). Meantime, today’s links are all provocative and question-opening. May we remain open to the questions.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the “position” of Insideowl dot com.

? PORN. Oh; I forgot. Not only is the internet edifying as hell and the ultimate community-builder–a ceaseless human wonder–but… what can beat skin? Great video from Good (safe for the office).

NYTBR Review of Hitchens and his clever new religion-screed.

“The human wish to credit good things as miraculous and to charge bad things to another account is apparently universal.”

Buddhistgeeks discussion on the birth of the seeker. Fantastic question and good connection of hungry-mind and the will to achieve, but is this as good as it gets?

? So is some kind of spiritual or kosmic consciousness the only hope for reversing the insane tide of consumerism and capitalism gone astray? Social scientists, take note. Daniel Pinchbeck at realitysandwich.

“In my head, I keep writing my movie of the next few years. In this gripping adventure yarn, the ticking time-bomb of ignorance and greed gets defused at the last moment by teams of stylish secret agents of consciousness and compassion, working in coordination across the planet.”

? Gadfly artist Bansky makes the New Yorker. Iyengar says never degrade that which another holds sacred. When is this not the best advice?

? Is all moral philosophy just a post-hoc legitimation scheme? Great article on the neurology of moral judgments in the WSJ science section.

? ALSO, candy. Math rock this, but ooh I like it. Watch. (Yes, they always sing like that.) “Atlas” on Altertube.

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