A Puff of Absurdity: On Bertrand Russell’s The Conquest of Happiness

Some  Russell quotations have been floating around lately, so I read The Conquest of Happiness, first published in 1930, and, boy, did I need this right now! The main ideas and some bits I liked are below by chapter. The book is really just a mix of Stoicism and Epicureanism, so you could just read ...

A Puff of Absurdity: If We Could Be as Smart as Frogs

I regularly tell students about our likely future. It’s often met with skepticism, so I provide lots of citations from the IPCC and NASA. Then I sometimes get a lecture on being so doom and gloom. Denial is our go-to defence against reality. But for whose benefit? It’s just for our own short term enjoyment ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On the Philosophy of Mr. Money Moustache

A friend pointed me towards this podcast in which Tim Ferriss interviews Mr. Money Moustache (MMM), a man who retired from work in his 30s to live on the interest from his investments and then got a significant following as a blogger. The podcast describes the kind of life I’ve tried to live (except for ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Swiss Army Man

I first saw this at the theatre and, despite the fact that it starts with a whole lot of farting in a wide variety of tones and tempos, the ending had me in tears. I highly recommend it. The surface story is about Hank, trapped on a deserted island – sort of – who finds ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Swiss Army Man

I first saw this at the theatre and, despite the fact that it starts with a whole lot of farting in a wide variety of tones and tempos, the ending had me in tears. I highly recommend it. The surface story is about Hank, trapped on a deserted island – sort of – who finds ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Is This the Sixth Estate?

The “Fourth Estate” is an antiquated term for unofficial social and political forces, primarily the media. Use of the term recognized, over two centuries ago, that the media affect social change. But once that became clear, it became a tool of the establishment. The church, politicians, and corporations started using the media to sway the ...

PostArctica: Walking With Andy

Walking with Andy he talks and talks he copies things and gets on my nerves he has been to China I respect that but it looked boring (he didn’t get it) He said the sky sucked in my picture and I agreed So we did this together he laughed I admitted It was better so ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Justice and Hatred

I had an online discussion at Dawg’s Blawg about the primary theme of Tarantino’s newest film, The Hateful Eight, and it got a bit too provocative to manage a sincere response in the window of a comment, so I brought it here. Unfortunately I can’t discuss the ideas without spoiling the film, so do see it ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Those Statues Again

There are dueling petitions out to continue (which curiously disappeared) and stop statues of all 22 prime ministers being planted on the grounds of Wilfrid Laurier University, my old school that I loved all to bits. I wrote about this statue project on its inception two years ago. The statues were originally to be set ...

LeDaro: Greek philosopher Plato’s view of God

“When speaking of divine perfection, we signify that God is just and true and loving, the author of order, not disorder, of good, not evil. We signify that he is justice, that he is truth, that he is love, that he is order, that he is the very progress of..” Plato “In order for man ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Measuring Well

In Plato’s Protagoras, Socrates and Protagoras argue over the language Protagoras uses to explain what happens when, as he describes it, pleasure overtakes reason and people make horrible choices.  Socrates insists that it’s not pleasure that overtakes reason, but ignorance.  Here’s some key bits of the passage: They maintain that there are many who recognize ...

A Puff of Absurdity: Upset Them at Your Peril

Professor Edward Schlosser wrote an interesting piece in Vox about, in part, the power his students have to call the shots these days.  I can attest that it’s at best, defeating, and at worst, absolutely terrifying. First of all, to clarify, my students are typically a delight, but the current system is fostering behaviours that ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Words and Virtue

Scott Long wrote an excellent article separating the act of supporting free speech from the act of supporting the words and images created by Charlie Hebdo.  But I disagree with this one bit: “Words don’t kill…” As I said in a comment there, too many young people have lost lives as a direct results of ...

A Puff of Absurdity: The Tao of Environmentalism

At Politics Respun, Stephen Elliott-Buckley suggests we make decarbonizing our New Year’s resolution.  In a fit of frustration, I commented thusly: What does it look like to join you? I mean I’m totally in, but what do I do to “seriously begin to decarbonize”?  How to stop this? I already don’t own a car, freezer, ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On John Stuart Mill, Free Speech, and Climate Change

I got caught up in a few arguments about climate change recently that just reinforced to me, that there’s still such a strong bashlash against the entire idea that we’re unlikely to move forward quickly enough to be effective. Paper is trees! My school board is fundraising for the Philippines, and I’m totally on board ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Liberty and Death

One of the reasons I advocate for restrictions on personal freedom as a means to save our species from extinction is that I need my own behaviours to be externally regulated!  Intellectually, I can assess what I need from what I want – I think better than most even.  I’m usually at the tail-end of ...

A Puff of Absurdity: On Education, Stress, and Success

I’m starting another run at the Futures Forum Project:  three subjects over two periods with one teacher (two team-teaching this year) that emphasizes an intentional digital footprint as we write for an authentic audience including students from classes in the 14 other participating schools.  Whew! There’s no way I can implement every idea suggested by ...