“I work,” Parfit replied with a smile, “on what matters.”

[Following up to “The Priorities of Beethoven“.] According to Jeff McMahan in his remembrance of Derek Parfit.

When the ventilator tube was removed and he could again speak, he immediately began to discuss with me the ideas and arguments on which he had been working when I had to rush him to the emergency room. […] The next day […] the graduate student whose thesis Parfit was scheduled to examine, came for a visit, during which Parfit delightedly insisted on discussing the thesis with him for several hours. A nurse, having noticed how many visitors Parfit had had, exclaimed, “Jesus Christ had only 12 disciples – but look at you! You’re clearly a very important man. What do you do?” “I work,” Parfit replied with a smile, “on what matters.”

and

The one exception to his monomaniacal commitment to his philosophy was his architectural photography, samples of which appear on the covers of his four books. But he gave that up many years ago when he came to fear that he might not live long enough to complete his remaining work in philosophy.

There are many anecdotes about the ways in which Parfit simplified his life to take as little time as possible away from his work. He ate only twice a day, with almost no variation in what he had at each meal. He ate cold food only, mostly fruits and vegetables without any preparation. Even when he could have had freshly ground coffee with only a minute’s additional preparation, he drank instant coffee, often with water straight from the tap. He sometimes kept a book open on the chest-of-drawers so that he could read while putting on his socks. His speed in reading was phenomenal, in part because his power of concentration was prodigious. Wanting to preserve his mental and physical capacities, he took an hour every evening during his last decade to get vigorous exercise on a stationary bicycle, but never without reading philosophy (or occasionally physics) while furiously pedalling.

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Megalothymia: a need to disproportionately dominate over others in ostentatious and spectacular ways

According to Paul Sagar in “The last hollow laugh: Since Francis Fukuyama proclaimed ‘The End of History’ 25 years ago, he has been much maligned. His work now seems prophetic

Throughout his analysis, Fukuyama insisted on the centrality of thymos (the Greek for ‘spiritedness’), or recognition, to human psychology: what Thomas Hobbes called pride, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau labelled amour propre. This denotes the need to be liked and respected by other people, and to have that recognition outwardly affirmed – if necessary, extracting it by force. Some human beings, Fukuyama thought, are always going to be inherently competitive and greedy for recognition. Some will therefore always vie to be thought of as the best – and others will resent them for that, and vie back. This has the potential to cause a lot of trouble. Human beings demand respect, and if they don’t feel that they are getting it, they break things – and people – in response.

Fukuyama thought, human beings didn’t just exhibit thymos, but also what he termed ‘megalothymia’: a desire not just for respect and proportionate recognition, but a need to disproportionately dominate over others in ostentatious and spectacular ways.

There was every chance that the last men (and women) would be deeply discontented with their historically unprecedented ease and luxury, because it failed to feed megalothymia. If the last men went this way, they would become bored by what Fukuyama called ‘masterless slavery – the life of rational consumption’. The spread of egalitarian values that went along with secular democratic politics would open up spaces of severe resentment – especially, we might now postulate, among those who had lost their traditional places at the top of social hierarchies, and felt cheated of the recognition that they believed they were owed.

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

According to Dean Bokhari’s summary of the book “The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

Start with “The Focusing Question.”

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

You’ll want to write that down… because the whole entire book is based around that single question, and the power of organizing every area of your life around ONE Thing (per area).

The Domino Effect

The key to success is figuring out your ONE most important thing in your business/career/life over the long-run. Think of this as your “someday” goal.  Once you’ve figured that out, you need to identify how many dominoes you need to line up – and then knock down – in order to achieve it. Simple right? … actually, yeah. It is. But just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Rossi E-CAT — 6x power out vs. power in, according to testing report

According to this testing report by Fabio Penon (tip of the hat to Frank Acland), Andrea Rossi’s E-CAT device produced 6x output power vs. input power over the course of a year.

This is the missing “ERV report” mentioned by Mats Lewan

Meanwhile, people with insight to the ERV report that was never released have explained to me that the result presented in the report is conclusive and that the only possible way to attack it would be to attack Rossi, the ERV, and other people involved, for fraud. Yet, based on testimonials I have received, I find the fraud hypothesis highly unlikely. Obviously, it is premature to draw any firm conclusions while the lawsuit is ongoing. Still, my strictly personal assessment, adding all the pieces of the puzzle and weighing them in direct contact with several parties, is that IH was acting logically as a venture capitalist, trying to get hold of an incredibly valuable technology at the lowest possible cost, but that it misjudged the difficulties in dealing with the inventor and other people involved. This does not mean that I find IH’s behavior correct or defendable but again that is for the court to sort out and I have confidence in its ability to do so. At this moment, Rossi is busy with daily actions regarding the lawsuit and the situation might remind someone of what the Wright Brothers went through soon after they made their aircraft technology public. The situation is also similar in the sense that we are discussing a potentially world-changing technology that has been considered impossible from a scientific point of view—just like heavier-than-air flight—yet observations indicate its validity.

Trump elected by Big Data – the impact of Cambridge Analytica

University of South Wales: Information Security & Privacy

Imagine the influence of a London based company, which acted as the catalyst that powered both BREXIT and President Trump’s campaign to success.

What if I told you that Trump was elected by Big Data analysis, carried out by a British company, and that this company can swing elections.  You probably already know the strength of Cambridge Analytica in winning elections, but the video below is for those who may not have realised what was happening.

Here’s the Trump campaign video:

Every single adult in America has been analysed by Cambridge Analytica.  Next they altered the campaign message to each individual’s personality.

So before you get bored.. I always warned you about the dangers of Big Data. This is one of the side effects – one British company can make Presidents.

In Europe there are several elections in the next year.  How much would you pay Cambridge Analytica to win an…

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World Affairs – Cold Fusion: An Impossible Invention

AN IMPOSSIBLE INVENTION

worldaffairsThis text was originally published in Vol. 20, No. 4, of the Indian journal World Affairs in January 2017. It was written on request by the journal’s editor and submitted in October 2016. The journal is circulated to many libraries, institutions, government departments and universities in more than 50 countries but particularly in India.

– – – – – – –

What if there was an energy source that could provide clean water to planet Earth, zero-emission vehicles with unlimited mileage, a solution to the climate crisis and much more but was blocked not by Big Oil but the scientific community. Would that make sense? Much indicates that this is the case with the phenomenon known as cold fusion or LENR (low energy nuclear reactions). Little did I know, when I wrote a short news piece on cold fusion in January 2011 on the website of the Swedish technology magazine Ny…

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“If anyone strikes you on the right cheek”: The day Martin Luther King was punched twice by a Nazi

Brad Pierce's Blog

According to Ron Rosenbaum interviewing MLK biographer Taylor Branch about his “battle to prevent Dr. King’s profoundly considered theory of nonviolence from being relegated to history, and not recognized for its relevance to the issues America and the world faces today”

King’s practice, Branch says, was complex and radical and has been often misunderstood. Some of his closest supporters had their doubts about King’s own commitment to nonviolence—whether it was “personal” or just an abstraction for him.

During a meeting of King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a man rose up from the audience, leapt onto the stage and smashed King in the face. Punched him hard. And then punched him again.

After the first punch, Branch recounts, King just dropped his hands and stood there, allowed the assailant (who turned out to be a member of the American Nazi Party) to punch him again. And when King’s associates tried…

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They didn’t have the arguments on their side, but they had all the energy

According to Stephen Moss in “A few months ago, I woke up to Brexit. Here’s my advice to US voters

Our arrogance had lost us the referendum.

The neighbourhood in which I live had been festooned with Leave posters. The Leavers really wanted this and were prepared to make public their preference. In sporting parlance, they were up for it. The then Ukip leader Nigel Farage said his supporters would “crawl over broken glass” to get to polling stations to vote to leave the EU, and he was right. Leave may not have had the arguments on their side, but they had all the energy. Remain, who didn’t put up posters or show any passion for their cause, were supine in the face of their rhetoric. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” How right Yeats was.

Does all this remind you of anyone? Trump may talk nonsense a lot of the time, but there’s no denying his energy, passion and rhetorical skill. I watched several of the debates involving the Republican hopefuls, and he was incredibly bullish and entertaining. There was no denying he was box office.