Cryptocurrencies…

Bitcoin.  We’ve all heard about it.  How it has changed the way the finance world works.  How criminal organizations have used it to launder money.  How the US government & many individuals see it as illegal.  How intrepid entrepreneurs have made millions & then lost them all in a heart beat…

So is there anything to this digital currency revolution or is it just another get-rich-quick scheme based on hallow promises?

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Uniqueness

At bottom every man knows well enough that he is a unique being, only once on this earth; and by no extraordinary chance will such a marvelously picturesque piece of diversity in unity as he is, ever be put together a second time.
Friedrich Nietzsche
The uniqueness of our own Individuality.  It is something to be celebrated.  Something that gives life on this plane of existence meaning.  If we were all the same, would existence not be dull? Continue reading

Angst

Angst means fear or anxiety (anguish is its Latinate equivalent, and anxious, anxiety are of similar origin). The word angst was introduced into English from the Danish, Norwegian and Dutch word angst and the German word Angst. It is attested since the 19th century in English translations of the works of Kierkegaard and Freud.[1][2][3] It is used in English to describe an intense feeling of apprehension, anxiety, or inner turmoil.

In German, the technical terminology of psychology and philosophy distinguishes between Angst and Furcht in that Furcht is a negative anticipation regarding a concrete threat, while Angst is a non-directional and unmotivated emotion. In common language, however, Angst is the normal word for “fear”, while Furcht is an elevated synonym.[4]

In other languages having the meaning of the Latin word pavor for “fear”, the derived words differ in meaning, e.g. as in the French anxiété and peur. The word Angst has existed since the 8th century, from the Proto-Indo-European root*anghu-, “restraint” from which Old High German angust developed.[5] It is pre-cognate with the Latin angustia, “tensity, tightness” and angor, “choking, clogging”; compare to the Ancient Greek ἄγχω (ankho) “strangle”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angst

I am one who counts myself a part of Generation X.  As such, perhaps I have had a generational predisposition toward “Angst”.  In so many of the cultural endeavours & thoughts of my generation – not to mention the Philosophies I studied at University – this idea of “Angst” has predominated.  From the Grunge music I listened to, to the philosophical ideas of the Existentialists – this idea coursed through my final years of formal education.

So am I filled with Angst?

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Scarecrow

Do you take me as a scarecrow?
Do I not yearn to fly?
Crucified and stuffed with straw, condemned to live a lie

from Dirge For A Mutinous Philosopher
Captain Vulpine

The image of a lonely Scarecrow protecting a farmer’s field is an archetype most of us can envision instantly.  There they stand, lonely & protective – yet ultimately powerless.  As Captain Vulpine says in his amazing song: “condemned to live a lie”

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Knowing What You Want…

“We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.”

– Jean Paul Sartre

About a week or so ago I posted some Sartre quotes & promised to share my thoughts on this famous Existentialist’s words.  The above quote has always sparked deep ideas in my mind.  Let me expand on some of my thoughts…

We are born, creatures in this existence, with endless Possibility laid out before us.  Anything & everything is Possible.  All it takes is for us to decide – to Choose what we want.  Yet the problem is we rarely know what we want.  Sure, we are told a lot of things as we grow up & experience the world around us.  Our parents, our teachers, our friends & society in general tell us all about the good life & what we should expect & want out of it.  Yet do any of these things Truly equate with what we want as Individuals?

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Is Philosophy Dead?

Et bien, tuer toutes les Philosophes!

(Well then, kill all the Philosophers!)

There was once a golden age of thought when men & women would ask those deeper & more meaningful questions.  Those most important questions that seem vital to our very existence.  Various discussions would follow & Individuals would share their ideas & their experiences – hoping to find Truth.

Truth.

That is what it is all about in the end.

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Sartre Quotes

“We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards.”

“We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are – that is the fact.”

And of course, his most famous:

“Hell is other people.”

Got me thinking today… stay tuned for my thoughts on such fancies…

Paean To The Mountains

A fascinating look at a trek through the mountains of my ethnic homeland. Wonderfully written & very inspiring. A great read!

JamesRadcliffe.com

[ Paeannoun: a song of praise or triumph. ]

I write for all kinds of reasons.  One of the big ones is: Writing about something lets me know how I feel about it; and why.

A few weeks ago I took a one thousand mile road-trip around the far north coastline of the Highlands.  I rested.  I spent time.  I did Things.

I climbed some mountains.

I wrote this post to find out why.

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Existentialism For The 21st Century

“Is our technology changing what it means to be human that much?

This is a question without a definitive answer … so far.  Futurists claim we are already cyborgs (we have glasses and pacemakers and use Google instead of memorizing things) and are going to keep changing, while leading sociologists of technology like Sherry Turkle point out that this often has more in common with malnutrition than evolution:  just as eating junk food will keep us alive but not make us healthy, social networking and modern media are a cheap substitute that doesn’t really fulfill our needs as human beings.

New Existentialist Eugene Taylor has suggested that trying to deliberately “advance” the human species has been tried many times before, and always failed. “

This is from a very interesting article on the subject.  Well worth the read.

What are your thoughts on how technology is changing human society & the actions/thoughts of Individuals?  Do you think Empathy is something we can teach, or are (as the author suggests) times of solitude also important to help humanize ourselves?  Let me know your thoughts in the comment space below.

Talking Theology With My Son…

Children have the ability to amaze & to inspire us beyond the bounds of what we think is possible.  Take for example my eight year old son.  We were on our way home from our weekly Beaver meeting & he started asking me about God.  Now, we have talked about God before, a subject that he is keenly interested in.  My wife & I have him enrolled in a Catholic school, even though neither of us are Catholic.  The reason why he is enrolled in a Catholic school is because it was the only school in town at the time that offered French Immersion education.

Anyway, about this Theological discussion.  I can’t quite remember how it all started, but I do know that he brought up the subject…

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