Articles about Philosophy
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What If Our Theories Are Horribly Wrong?
Miasma Theory was universally held and horribly wrong. What else might we be wrong about? In 19th century London, everyone was certain that bad air caused disease. From cholera to the plague: if you were sick, everyone thought it was because of bad air. It was called the...
The Oceans Are Not Worth $24 trillion
Some things are beyond measure and beyond price. No amount of money is enough to compensate for the loss of the sacred. In case you were wondering whether the oceans are worth protecting, the World Wildlife Fund has helpfully put a monetary value on them: $24 trillion. No...
What Are We Greedy For?
A lot of people reacted to my comment on Facebook the other day that greed is more a symptom than a cause of our current system, with all its inequities. I’m asked, What is the cause of greed? First I’ll say what I think greed is: Greed is the insatiable desire for that which...
Embracing 'Radical Hope' in Our Fight to Save the Earth
Radical hope is not just about determination and courage in the face of darkness, writes Paul Hoggett - it is also about love and a re-finding of all that is benign in the world. And this is the spirit we need to muster to confront the serious challenges that lie before us ...
When Another Person Makes You Suffer, It Is because He Suffers Deeply Within Himself
“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over.” - Thich Nhat Hanh I grew up in a family dominated by alcoholism, narcissism, illness and dysfunction. There were four of us, my mother, my father, my...
Judgement
Many people have little trouble confessing to being hard on themselves, to being “my own worst critic” or to being a perfectionist. They are, after all, merely confessing to something that our culture upholds as a virtue: the struggle against the self. People are generally...
10 Quotes From a Oglala Lakota Chief That Will Make You Question Everything About Our Society
Luther Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who, among a few rare others such as Charles Eastman, Black Elk and Gertrude Bonnin occupied the rift between the way of life of the Indigenous people of the Great Plains before, and during, the arrival and subsequent...
Revolution without Upheaval: A Manual Of Change
When we talk about saving the world, what world are we talking about? Not the globe itself, obviously. But also not the biological world—the world of life. The world of life, strangely enough, is not in danger (though thousands and perhaps even millions of species are). Even...
A Love That's Louder than Rage: The Beautiful Revolution
At first I thought… The most powerful thing that you can do for your people, your future, your land, your air, your water is to fight and die for what you believe in. But it’s not true… you have to LIVE for what you believe in. So begins the wise words of 13-year old...
When the Grandmothers Awoke
Becoming a global family, one that unites ancient indigenous wisdom with other faith and cultural traditions, is essential if humanity is to overcome the crises of climate change. Given the global challenges humanity faces in the 21st century, we can no longer afford to...
Our Religions: Are they the Religions of Humanity Itself?
Contrary to popular opinion, Charles Darwin did not originate the idea of evolution. By the middle of the 19th century, the mere fact of evolution had been around for a long time, and most thinkers of the time were perfectly content to leave it at that. The absence of a...
We Need a New Story for Our Relationship with the Earth, One that Goes Beyond Science and Religion
It is no secret that the Earth is in trouble and that we humans are to blame. Just knowing these grim facts, however, won’t get us very far. We have to transform this knowledge into a deep passion to change course. But passion does not come primarily from the head; it is a...
The Lessons Ancient People Have for Us
From the San and the Kogi: Value community and cooperation; we are part of the world, not separate from it. One of the oldest cultures on Earth is that of the !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in the northern parts of South Africa. The exclamation point in their name...
The Invitation
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure...
The Cynic and the Boatbuilder
A few days ago in Stockholm I was walking by the water and was accosted by a youngish man from Ireland who shouted out my name. This is not something that happens to me often -– apparently he is among that small subset of humanity that has read my book – so I took this...
On Charlie Hebdo: A Letter to My British friends
Dear friends, last week, a horrid assault was perpetrated against the French weekly Charlie Hebdo, who had published caricatures of Mohamed, by men who screamed that they had “avenged the prophet”. A wave of compassion followed but apparently died shortly afterward and all...
Thich Nhat Hanh: Call Me by My True Names
In Plum Village, where I live in France, we receive many letters from the refugee camps in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippines, hundreds each week. It is very painful to read them, but we have to do it, we have to be in contact. We try our best to...
If We Want to End This World's Tragic Cycles of Violence, We're Going to Have to Do Something Extremely Radical
When every cultural force beckons us to hate, to harden our hearts and vilify the other, we must have the courage to look, deeply, with an intention to understand. To ignore the rage of the dispossessed, to dismiss it without understanding its roots, will not bring us any...
To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This
More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four...
How Is Capitalism Like a Religion?
How capitalism functions like a religion Capitalism is not a religion, but there are two broad ways in which it is like a religion. In the ways that it encourages blind belief and discourages critical thinking. In the ways that it molds and influences social and...
Mourning the Parisian Journalists Yet Noticing the Hypocrisy
As the editor of a progressive Jewish and interfaith magazine that has often articulated views that have prompted condemnation from both Right and Left, I had good reason to be scared by the murders of fellow journalists in Paris. Having won the 2014 "Magazine of the Year"...
Zombie Apocalypse and the Politics of Artificial Scarcity
Dystopian narratives have long been an alluring and thought-provoking form of entertainment, especially for those who take an interest in studying social and political structures. From classics like Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World to the current hit, The Hunger...
Thich Nhat Hanh on Loosening the Knots of Anger
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us how to relax the bonds of anger, attachment and delusion through mindfulness and kindness toward ourselves. To be happy, to me, is to suffer less. If we were not capable of transforming the pain within ourselves, happiness would not be...
Waking Up to the Water: An Ecocentric Vision of Human Identity in the 21st Century
It’s been said that it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than it is the end of capitalism, so ubiquitous is the ideological project of neoliberalism in the modern world – like goldfish in a bowl that are totally ignorant of ‘water’, we often fail to notice how...
The Oldest Living Things in the World: A Decade-Long Photographic Masterpiece at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Philosophy
What a 13,000-year-old eucalyptus tree reveals about the meaning of human life.
Where Right-Libertarianism Goes Wrong
Libertarianism is, in theory, no defender of the rich and powerful who must always be subject to market competition. As a libertarian who has engaged in countless classroom and online debates, I’ve often asked myself why other people cannot see that. However, I’ve come to...
Why Anarchists and "Anarcho"-Capitalists Can't Be allies
One things that crops up over and over when someone on the libertarian right notices the outright hostility of anarchists when he appropriates the “Anarchist” label for himself is the accusation of “harming the movement” by not being willing to look past differences and work...
Anarchists United
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how the diverse anarchist strategies could combine against our current class society. How every variation on the theme of “assert your freedom now,” from the anarcho-syndicalist direct action to Sam Konkin’s agorism, could combine in order to...
Benjamin Tucker - Anarchist or Capitalist?
Editor's note: We found this article about Tucker relevant to today because his views represent such an interesting break from stereotypical views about socialism, markets, anarchism, and the 'left/right' associations we have with all these terms. For instance, that if you...
Reconciling Differences & Building Solidarity
This is Part 2 of 3 articles in Generation Alpha's ‘Shades Of Green’ series. Read part 1 here.  In building a movement, finding common ground is paramount. When strategy-building becomes complicated by incongruent worldviews, then common ground becomes shaky or elusive at...
An Invitation to Anarchism
The word “anarchist” is thrown around a lot these days. When discussing their mild disagreements over foreign policy, healthcare, tax rates, gun control, immigration, torture, or the war on drugs, it’s not uncommon for a Republican or Democrat to hurl the word at each other...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
“Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?” “In disputes upon moral or scientific points,” Arthur Martine counseled in his magnificent 1866 guide to the art of conversation, “let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your...
The Secret of Enough
First, the truth If you are naked, cold, and hungry, and somehow you get shelter, clothing, and food, you will feel better. Providing for these necessities creates a qualitative change in life, and could even be said to, in some ways, produce “happiness.” You...
To See the World With Eyes Unclouded by Hate
Today is 9/11. If you asked me what my intention is for today it would be this: "to see the world with eyes unclouded by hate."
The Birds Are Sad
Here is one of those little things – tiny on the scale of the vast tragedies unfolding on Earth today – that got under my skin. A family living on wild land in Oregon in tipis, raising their daughter, is now threatened with eviction because the owners are forced to sell the...
Collective Memory, Collective Trauma, Collective Hatred
Trauma runs through the narratives of both Israelis and Palestinians in the form of the Holocaust and the Nakba. But in order to rationalize their moral superiority, both sides actively deny the other’s suffering. This past month, watching the news has brought me to the...
The Present Need of the World
No one with any sense who observes keenly the present condition of humanity, will deny the fact that the world today needs the religion. Why I say the religion and not a religion is because there are many religions in existence which might be called a religion; but what is...
Every Problem in the World is a Result of the Stories We Tell Ourselves. Change the Story, and You Change Everything.
Forget about solving climate change for a moment. Forget about all the problems we face. All of these problems are symptoms of a way of life that few of us are really happy with - especially when we have glimpsed the possibility of a world that could be so much more. We need...
We Make the Road by Walking
In this epic moment of radical environmental and social disruption, the world is experiencing the dawn of a revolutionary transformation to becoming an ecologically literate and socially just civilization. The existential gauntlet is to make the shift fast enough to outrun...
Comic Strip of Alan Watts' Lecture: What If Money Was No Object?
An amazing cartoon made by Gavin Aung Than, which is inspired by this great lecture of the philosopher Alan Watts.
What Martin Luther King Jr. Can Teach Us about Nonviolence
I've been reflecting on the principles of nonviolence that Martin Luther King Jr. learned during the historic yearlong bus boycott in Montgomery, Ala. After Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus, broke the segregation law and was arrested on Dec. 1, 1955, the...
The Greening of the Self
Joanna Macy urges radical transformation of our understanding of the self. Something important is happening in our world that you are not going to read about in the newspapers. I consider it the most fascinating and hopeful development of our time, and it is one of the...
Terence McKenna: Memes are the Key to Societal Evolution
.Gif by Daniel Stuckey Last week, in Beyond “Existentialism," the first installment of this series, I told the story of how I first encountered Terence McKenna. This week, I’ve organized a list of my 30 favorite Terence McKenna memes. McKenna defined a meme as “the...
In Love With the Darkness: Finding Hope in a Cynical, Burning World
These past several weeks have been riddled with news that could douse the flame of even the brightest of spirits. The relentless bombing of Gaza, the cycle of prejudice and violence that is drawing more and more of the world into its maw, the death spiral of Ukraine and the...
Six Principles of Nonviolence
Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote that the philosophy and practice of nonviolence has six basic elements. Principle One: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people It is active nonviolent resistance to evil. It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally. It...
When We Judge a Person, We Kill the Human Being Inside of Them
No person or group of people is ever one thing. Inside each of us are a thousand diverse aspects - evolving dimensions. So when we judge a person, cut off our hearts from them with a label or dismissal, we are killing the human being inside of them. We are interacting with a...
Thich Nhat Hanh: No Enemies
Without communication, no real understanding can be possible. But be sure that you can communicate with yourself first. If you cannot communicate with yourself, how do you expect to communicate with another person? Love is the same. If you don't love yourself, you cannot love...
Co-Creating a Peaceful World Through Love-in-Action
Economic globalization obliterated traditional boundaries and created previously unimagined opportunities for collaboration and expansion. It also unleashed a series of unintended and problematic changes, exposing those with the least power to ecological devastation...
Israel Has Broken My Heart: I'm a Rabbi in Mourning for a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel
I've always been proud of Israel, but the brutal Gaza assault requires Jews worldwide to be honest, not nationalist My heart is broken as I witness the suffering of the Palestinian people and the seeming indifference of Israelis. All my life I’ve been a champion of Israel...
Can We Go to the Very Root of Violence and Be Free from It?
FEAR, PLEASURE, SORROW, thought and violence are all interrelated. Most of us take pleasure in violence, in disliking somebody, hating a particular race or group of people, having antagonistic feelings towards others. But in a state of mind in which all violence has come to...