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March 27 2017

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March 14 2017

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March 12 2017

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Different types of color blindness demonstrated

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March 10 2017

don't be a chicken
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March 08 2017

"Who wants to work with the intern?"

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March 05 2017

Why do we love?


Ah, romantic love; beautiful and intoxicating, heart-breaking and soul-crushing… often all at the same time! Why do we choose to put ourselves though its emotional wringer? Does love make our lives meaningful, or is it an escape from our loneliness and suffering?  Is love a disguise for our sexual desire, or a trick of biology to make us procreate? Is it all we need? Do we need it at all?

If romantic love has a purpose, neither science nor psychology has discovered it yet – but over the course of history, some of our most respected philosophers have put forward some intriguing theories.

1. Love makes us whole, again / Plato (427—347 BCE)

The ancient Greek philosopher Plato explored the idea that we love in order to become complete. In his Symposium, he wrote about a dinner party at which Aristophanes, a comic playwright, regales the guests with the following story. Humans were once creatures with four arms, four legs, and two faces.  One day they angered the gods, and Zeus sliced them all in two. Since then, every person has been missing half of him or herself.  Love is the longing to find a soul mate who will make us feel whole again… or at least that’s what Plato believed a drunken comedian would say at a party.

2. Love tricks us into having babies / Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

Much, much later, German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer maintained that love, based in sexual desire, was a “voluptuous illusion”.  He suggested that we love because our desires lead us to believe that another person will make us happy, but we are sorely mistaken.  Nature is tricking us into procreating and the loving fusion we seek is consummated in our children.  When our sexual desires are satisfied, we are thrown back into our tormented existences, and we succeed only in maintaining the species and perpetuating the cycle of human drudgery.  Sounds like somebody needs a hug.

3. Love is escape from our loneliness / Russell (1872-1970)

According to the Nobel Prize-winning British philosopher Bertrand Russell we love in order to quench our physical and psychological desires.  Humans are designed to procreate; but, without the ecstasy of passionate love, sex is unsatisfying.  Our fear of the cold, cruel world tempts us to build hard shells to protect and isolate ourselves.  Love’s delight, intimacy, and warmth helps us overcome our fear of the world, escape our lonely shells, and engage more abundantly in life.  Love enriches our whole being, making it the best thing in life.  

4. Love is a misleading affliction / Buddha (~6th- 4thC BCE)

Siddhartha Gautama. who became known as ‘the Buddha’, or ‘the enlightened one’, probably would have had some interesting arguments with Russell. Buddha proposed that we love because we are trying to satisfy our base desires.  Yet, our passionate cravings are defects, and attachments – even romantic love – are a great source of suffering.  Luckily, Buddha discovered the eight-fold path, a sort of program for extinguishing the fires of desire so that we can reach ‘nirvana’ – an enlightened state of peace, clarity, wisdom, and compassion.  

5. Love lets us reach beyond ourselves / Beauvoir (1908-86)

Let’s end on a slightly more positive note.  The French philosopher Simone de Beauvoir proposed that love is the desire to integrate with another and that it infuses our lives with meaning.  However, she was less concerned with why we love and more interested in how we can love better.  She saw that the problem with traditional romantic love is it can be so captivating that we are tempted to make it our only reason for being.  Yet, dependence on another to justify our existence easily leads to boredom and power games.  

To avoid this trap, Beauvoir advised loving authentically, which is more like a great friendship: lovers support each other in discovering themselves, reaching beyond themselves, and enriching their lives and the world, together.

Though we might never know why we fall in love, we can be certain that it’ll be an emotional rollercoaster ride.  It’s scary and exhilarating.  It makes us suffer and makes us soar.  Maybe we lose ourselves.  Maybe we find ourselves.  It might be heartbreaking or it might just be the best thing in life.  Will you dare to find out? 

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why do we love? A philosophical inquiry - Skye C. Cleary

Animation by Avi Ofer

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February 26 2017

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Yosuke Hyodo, Two-mouthed woman
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February 23 2017

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Prof Rainer Mausfeld - Die Angst der Machteliten vor dem Volk - (ohne Werbung!) :)

"Wir leben in einer Zeit der radikalen Gegenaufklärung. Das geschieht mittels Aktual- und Tiefenindoktrination."

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Prof. Rainer Mausfeld hat einige vielbeachtete Vorträge auf Youtube, u.a. Warum schweigen die Lämmer. Es gibt ein neues Video von ihm, Die Angst der Machteliten vor dem Volk, den ich hier mal weiterempfehlen möchte. Wer die Schriftform bevorzugt, kann sich hier ein PDF runterladen. Länge des Videos: Knapp 1¾ Stunden.
Fefes Blog
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Kann man bei uns von einer Demokratie sprechen, wenn die Medien in wenigen Händen sind? Pressefreiheit ist die Freiheit von 200 Familien, ihre Meinung zu sagen, meinte der frühere FAZ Herausgeber Paul Sehte. Heute sind das noch weniger: Springer, Bertelsmann, Holtzbrinck, Schaub und ein paar wenige mehr, die sich obendrein bestens mit den politischen Spitzen verstehen und darüber auch abstimmen können. Und die öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten werden von den rechtskonservativen Parteien CDU und CSU und der Wirtschaft zusammen mit den Vertretern der politischen Inhaltslosigkeit beherrscht. Von Pluralität und Liberalität kann man weder bei uns noch in den USA noch in Großbritannien noch in Frankreich sprechen. Nur der Schein ist etwas besser als in Ungarn und in Polen.

Das Ergebnis ist ein informationeller Einheitsbrei.

Man kann dies sehr gut am Beispiel der unreflektierten Bewunderung für die NATO und bei der selbstverständlichen Unterstützung für die neue Konfrontation zwischen West und Ost beobachten. Innerhalb kürzester Zeit ist die Einsicht der Altvorderen Willy Brandt, Helmut Schmidt, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, Helmut Kohl und Egon Bahr begraben worden: Dass wir uns auch mit Russland verständigen wollen, dass Russland zu Europa gehört, dass die NATO eigentlich überflüssig ist, dass es besser ist, wenn sich auch die baltischen Staaten und Polen mit Russland verstehen, statt Panzer anrollen und Soldaten aufmarschieren zu lassen, ist innerhalb kürzester Zeit verflogen.

Das ist nur möglich, wenn es im eigentlichen inhaltlichen Sinne keine freie Presse gibt.

Zur Zeit finden großangelegte Verschiebungen des Meinungsbildes statt. Beispielhaft bei Anne Will. | NachDenkSeiten – Die kritische Website
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February 22 2017

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Cern: The early years
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February 21 2017

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February 20 2017

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You can stop playing now. [video]

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