Category Archives: Biography

Private liberty and political freedom

I am currently reading Chantal Mouffe’s Democratic Paradox, which explores a fundamental tension inherent in all liberal-democratic societies, which can be summarized by Marvin Simkin’s famous formulation: “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for … Continue reading

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Do you consider yourself ‘broken’?

From the Asphodel blog: Question: “Do you consider yourself ‘broken’? What does broken mean to you?” Response: Until March of this year, I did. I was. Until May, in fact, I was still in deep torpor of pain from it, … Continue reading

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Generative thoughts

My favorite books are nearly impossible to read, because they cause me to have so many of my own thoughts. * An insight is a generative thought: an idea that produces ideas. An insight is impossible to speak about directly. … Continue reading

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The company is the polis

I’ve finished re-reading Richard J. Bernstein’s Beyond Objectivism and Relativism. I didn’t want to finish it. I’d love to keep reading and stay this state of mind forever. Here’s the last paragraph of Beyond Objectivism and Relativism: Marx’s second thesis … Continue reading

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The “analysis paralysis” argument as filibuster

The people I know who most frequently cry, “Analysis paralysis!” and demand that everyone take immediate action without further discussion generally claim to do so for the sake of expedience. There is no time for this, they argue. The group … Continue reading

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Empathy + Alignment + Realism

I wrote a manifesto for my company and put it on our intranet: An attempt at a distillation of [this company]’s culture, in words we frequently use when describing and differentiating our approach: Empathy means to take care to really … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Brand, Design, Philosophy, Synesis | 2 Comments

Brand Cramps

When people start listing great brands you can count on Apple being at the top, then Nike, then Starbucks, then usually Sony, etc. To make my list more interesting and less credible I think I am going to start dropping … Continue reading

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Not a textbook

I cannot believe how much I am enjoying rereading Richard J. Bernstein’s Beyond Objectivism and Relativism. I have a couple of exciting new leads: Paul Feyerabend – who is certain to be a terrible influence on me (consider the title … Continue reading

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The books of my life

I had another amazing morning reading Bernstein. As I’ve said before, Beyond Objectivism and Relativism triggered a major turning point in my intellectual life. Rereading it, I’ll also say it is one of the clearest, most insightful and most useful … Continue reading

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Parallax and intentionality

I had been using the metaphor of parallax for a couple of years before Zizek’s Parallax View came out. The entire book turned out to be structured around the parallax metaphor and he used it essentially the same way. At … Continue reading

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Three years with hermeneutics

Rereading Bernstein after three years, I’m tempted to say (very tentatively) that Bernstein influenced me as radically as Nietzsche did. Where he led me was a infinitely more vulnerable than where I was before (which, though it was painful, was … Continue reading

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Reading

I’ve been reading John Dewey in the morning. Last weekend I finished Experience and Education and started Freedom and Culture. At night I’m reading Jonathan Haidt’s Happiness Hypothesis. It is one of the best-written popular philosophy/science books I’ve read. Haight … Continue reading

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“Success is counted sweetest”

In high school my class was made to memorize this Emily Dickinson poem:   Success is counted sweetest By those who ne’er succeed. To comprehend a nectar Requires sorest need.   Not one of all the purple host Who took … Continue reading

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The I, the We, the Other, and transcendence

I picked through several books today without getting traction in any one of them. I started with Richard J. Bernstein’s The New Constellation: Ethical-Political Horizons of Modernity/Postmodernity looking for references to Martin Buber and Emanuel Levinas (who is generally considered … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Hermeneutics, Holism, Philosophy, Pragmatism | 1 Comment

Goodbye, 20th Century

Camper Van Beethoven’s “Sweethearts”

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Finished

I’ve finished Beyond Good and Evil again, and as always it was a new book. I’ve been furiously thematizing and cross-referencing. Some of the more interesting threads of thought: Shiller’s “The Veiled Statue at Sais” vs the nakedness of Dionysus … Continue reading

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Halloween

Zoe spent much of last night explaining to people that, no, hers was a Tina-Fey-as-Sarah-Palin costume.

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Key passage

This passage from Beyond Good and Evil, though universally relevant, is especially relevant for the designer who aspires to more than utilitarian goals (use-fulness and use-ability) and wishes to show our culture new ways of seeing, which in the parlance … Continue reading

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Win-win

What allowed me to return to work after hiding out for several years in an excessively undemanding environment was a key insight: the pain that had made work intolerable was not meaningless, but was in fact latent philosophical problems pressing … Continue reading

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Snippet

Me: Men are insane. That is all that is good about men. We find some totally unjustifiable kernel of insanity and build logical and practical systems out of them until they look for all the world like something sane. Micah: … Continue reading

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