We’re not as selfish as we think we are. Here’s the proof

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Stories of greed and ego bombard us. But a new study shows that humans are inherently good The Guardian – George Monbiot, @GeorgeMonbiot Do you find yourself thrashing against the tide of human indifference and selfishness? Are you oppressed by the sense that while you care, others don’t? That, because of humankind’s callousness, civilisation and the rest of life on Earth are basically stuffed? If so, you are not alone. But neither are you right. A study by the Common Cause ... Read More »

Greece could sure use a philosopher-king right about now

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Plato’s paradox As Greece approaches yet another election—its fifth in six years—the country’s philosophical forefathers can only be smirking. QUARTZ – Written by Mark Y. Rosenberg Plato and his teacher Socrates famously warned about the pitfalls of democracy: social disorder, economic turmoil and, eventually, a disillusioned turn towards tyranny. As governments based on the will of the masses lurch from one shortsighted policy to another, representatives fall prey to avarice. Democracy, in short, is inherently vulnerable to populism—which inevitably leads ... Read More »

Antigone, a Greek tragedy plays out in Paris and Melbourne – review

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ABC – A war-time incident that pitted the authority of the state against a community’s need to mourn their dead is the real life backdrop for two updated versions of the Greek tragedy Antigone. One is slightly sentimental, the other is great, unforgiving theatre, writes Alison Croggon. Last month, a grim drama played out on the Habur border between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. Amid simmering tensions between Ankara and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, a truck carrying the bodies of 13 ... Read More »

Antigone now: Greek tragedy is the debate we have to have

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When you hear the words Greek tragedy, you might think of white masks, or even the ongoing economic crisis – ancient drama and modern depravity in its most enticing form. These first impressions may seem simple, but within them lays a theatrical form that refuses to die. The Conversation – Christine Lambrianidis, Playwright and theatre researcher at Monash University Maybe we have never truly progressed beyond this classical period; maybe we just have no other way to express ourselves; but ... Read More »

Buddhists and Catholics travel to the Vatican to talk about the ‘mystery of life’

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Representatives from the Buddhist and Catholic communities in the US are holding an interreligious dialogue this week near Rome and will meet with Pope Francis today. The five-day meeting, which began on Tuesday is on the subject of ‘Suffering, Liberation and Fraternity’. Christian Today – Lucinda Borkett-Jones The 46 American representatives have gathered at the headquarters of the Focolare movement near Rome, a predominantly Catholic movement which does also have members from other faiths, including Buddhism. The delegates have come ... Read More »

Three Reasons to read Classical Muslim Philosophers

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Recovering the basic insights of the Islamic philosophical tradition can bring much blessing and benefits to our confused world. Daily Sabah İBRAHIM KALIN@ikalin1 Why read philosophy when it appears to be largely irrelevant outside academia? Why bother with quaint, now largely unintelligible metaphysical arguments formulated centuries ago? Against all odds, there are good reasons to read the classical Muslim philosophers today. The ancient Greeks defined philosophy as “the love of wisdom” and there was a special reason for this peculiar definition. ... Read More »

Yanis Varoufakis: No Time for Games in Europe


ATHENS — I am writing this piece on the margins of a crucial negotiation with my country’s creditors — a negotiation the result of which may mark a generation, and even prove a turning point for Europe’s unfolding experiment with monetary union. The New York Times – Yanis Varoufakis Game theorists analyze negotiations as if they were split-a-pie games involving selfish players. Because I spent many years during my previous life as an academic researching game theory, some commentators rushed to presume ... Read More »

Inside the Notorious Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre


Susan wrings her hands and twitches as she speaks, jerking her head from side to side. She is clearly not well. “I ate washing powder to try and kill myself,” says the nervous woman in her fifties. Her eyes flash wild. “It was all I could find. I wanted to die. I would rather die than go back.” Susan, whose name has been changed, as have those of all the residents quoted in this article, at their own request, says ... Read More »

China Weighing More Emphasis on Traditional Culture in Textbooks


Education officials in China are considering changes to elementary and middle school textbooks that would  expand the study of Chinese philosophy and literature, a shift that some education experts say is connected to recent efforts by the government to emphasize China’s cultural heritage. At an annual education conference this past weekend in the southwestern city of Chengdu, Wang Xuming, president of the state-owned Language and Culture Press, told reporters that his publishing house had revised its Chinese language and literature ... Read More »

How to Kill a Culture in 3 Easy Steps


Over the past few years I’ve been filming interviews with random people I’ve met from the streets of New York, to Prague and from the farms of Eastern Europe to the Midwest and Western United States. I’ve interviewed hundreds of people from farmers, artist, workers, professors and even celebrities and pop stars, and in nearly all cases most people especially in the United States, haven’t a clue about what culture is. I’ve gotten responses from, “Its some fifty-dollar word that ... Read More »

Is math discovered or invented? – Jeff Dekofsky


Published on 27 Oct 2014 View full lesson:… Would mathematics exist if people didn’t? Did we create mathematical concepts to help us understand the world around us, or is math the native language of the universe itself? Jeff Dekofsky traces some famous arguments in this ancient and hotly debated question. Lesson by Jeff Dekofsky, animation by The Tremendousness Collective. Read More »

Why Do We Make Art? Author Explores The Depths Of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Brain To Find Out


“The good painter has to paint two principle things, that is to say, man and the intention of his mind. The first is easy and the second difficult.” Leonardo da Vinci, the man who pondered these thought centuries ago, was an innovator across art and science, who obsessed not only over the rigors of beauty, but over the creative processes taking place deep inside his mind. Leonard Shlain, the late author and surgeon beloved for books like Art & Physics, ... Read More »

On Aristotle, Friendship and bottom-dwellers…

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In a particularly influential section of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle reflects on the role of friendship {GR φιλία} and its effect on one’s life. In considering how humans should best live “a virtuous life” Aristotle considers friendship as a most vital element. He states that “without friends, no one would want to live, even if he had all other goods”. Aristotle distinguishes between true friendship – that is between people who are good, like in virtue and wish the best ... Read More »

The Vatican Library’s Amazing Documents Are Finally Online


The news: The Vatican Library is getting an e-upgrade. The official library of the Holy See is undertaking a massive digitization project designed to upload hundred of thousands of books and images from its physical archives into an online database. As Business Insider reports, nonprofit organization Digita Vaticana Oculus was founded in 2013 with the goal digitizing 80,000 manuscripts. That’s just a little over half the approximately 180,000 manuscripts, 1.6 million books and 150,000 images that are housed in the library. ... Read More »

An Intimate Portrait of Edward Snowden


Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s documentary about Edward Snowden, premiered to a sold-out audience at the New York Film Festival on October 10. The film was not originally part of the festival lineup, its inclusion only announced less than a month prior. The premiere understandably generated an overwhelming amount of anticipation, promising a personal look at the enigmatic figure who leaked a trove of classified NSA documents that expose a horrifyingly massive, US-run surveillance program directed at both US and global citizens ... Read More »

As a Briton, I hang my head in shame. We must return the Parthenon marbles

The marbles were created for the Parthenon in Athens

Now Amal Clooney has reignited the debate over the Parthenon’s crowning glory, it’s time we rectified a historic wrong. Reunite these ancient sculptures with their home Almost every day I take a walk around the Acropolis. “Around” is the operative word, because the Greeks have gone to great lengths to unite their Athenian antiquities with a pedestrian path. At the centre of this classical treasure trove stands the craggy outcrop known as the Sacred Rock. As you ascend the walkway, ... Read More »