26 August 2011


If I had to give a label to my philosophy, I'd have to call it postmodern. "Postmodernism" isn't really a coherent philosophy, but rather a label for the condition of postmodernity, in which all the old meta-narratives and verities come under scrutiny, doubt and provisionality. It's an acceptance of the inherent absurdity of life, and beyond that acceptance, an attempt to 'make do' with it. One feature of postmodernism is pastiche, in which a patchwork of prior verities and modalities is sewn together to make a provisional, functional effort.

My philosophical pastiche includes bits and pieces of Taoism, Buddhism, Stoicism, Existentialism, Pragmatism, Liberalism and Cosmopolitanism. I'm drawn to the thought of Lao-zi, the Buddha, Nagārjuna, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Locke, Mill, Sartre, Camus, Derrida, Appiah and Joss Whedon. My mind is an ongoing discussion (and sometimes an argument).

19 August 2011

Favorite Quote, VI

The highest efficacy is like water.
It is because water benefits everything
Yet vies to dwell in places loathed by the crowd
That it comes nearest to proper way-making.

Dao De Jing: A Philosophical Translation, Chapter 8 (Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall, trans.)

18 August 2011

Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism

I read an interesting piece today on Israeli and Palestinian nationalisms, by Hussein Ibish at NowLebanon.com. Here's a salient quote:
All contemporary nationalisms are based on constructed and imagined narratives about history, geography, culture, ethnicity and religion.
There are several reasons I've chosen cosmopolitanism over nationalism. For one thing, nationalism implies 'us vs. them', with a decided preference for us. It perpetuates a dualistic outlook on the world, and contrafacilitates seeing the gray areas and thinking critically about reality.

Secondly, I prefer to encounter racial, ethnic and cultural variety. The variety keeps me from becoming complacent. It challenges my thinking and helps me see a broader, more colorful world. Also, it simply is more fun.

However, I do not support an unexamined diversity. When someone claims that sexism, heterosexism, ethic superiority, or some other similarly divisive and/or oppressive attitude is integral to their culture, I would ask them to purge that attitude from their culture. To my thinking, cultures, like people, need to grow up, and shed immature attitudes, such as sexism, in order to join in on a healthy cosmopolitan discourse.

For a well-written, thoughtful and deep book on cosmopolitanism, I recommend Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Additionally, his The Ethics of Identity goes further into exploring living one's identity in an ethical manner in a cosmopolitan world.

15 August 2011

Favorite Quote, V

To the existentialists, the discovery of a world without meaning was the point of departure; today a loss of unitary meaning is merely accepted; that is just the way the world is. Postmodern man has stopped waiting for Godot. The absurd is not met with despair; rather it is a living with what is, a making the best of it, a relief from the burden of finding yourself as the goal of life; what remains may be a happy nihilism. With the death of Utopias, the local and personal responsibility for actions here and now becomes crucial.

—Steinar Kvale, "Themes of Postmodernity"

11 August 2011

Favorite Quote, IV

That’s what everybody wants, Nicky. They don’t want a twenty-four-hour hump sesh, they don’t want to be married to you for a hundred years. They just want to hold your hand.

—Thom [Aaron Yoo] to Nick [Michael Cera], Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (Lorene Scafaria, writer; Peter Sollett, director; 2008)

Favorite Quote, III

We know our world by learning about difference. What is the word we often use? Tolerance. Is that a positive notion? Not really. 'For the time being, I will tolerate you?' I'm against that concept. It means difference is a threat. Difference is a blessing and you don't tolerate a blessing. You embrace it.

— Mohammad Mahallati, presidential scholar in Islamic studies at Oberlin College

08 August 2011

Favorite Quote, II

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

—Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself" (1855)

Favorite Quote, I

To be nobody-but-yourself— in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else— means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

— e. e. cummings, "A Poet's Advice to Students" (1958)

02 August 2011

What I'd Like to Inform You of for Now

I am a mutt. I am cosmopolitan in my outlook. I identify as panerotic/pansexual. I love books, ideas, movies, television, cats, coffee, and long walks.