On the last Friday of each month I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the convinced Communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction and the distinction between true and false no longer exist.”The Origins of Totalitarianism

“Learned and leisurely hospitality is the only antidote to the stance of deadly cleverness that is acquired in the professional pursuit of objectively secured knowledge … I remain certain that the quest for truth cannot thrive outside the nourishment of mutual trust flowering into a commitment to friendship.”Ivan Illich

Why do we call them [public health] “restrictions”, anyway? Do you look at a life-jacket and think “there’s my drowning restriction”?@HalifaxEditor

“I attended a conference recently; real people in a real room. My observation: we were all happy to be being together after 2+ yrs. But the conferencey part could have been online & frankly it would have been better to build fires, dance, eat, cook, sing, not stand at the podium.”@NoraBateson

Productivity hack:
Whenever I need to learn about a new, complicated theoretical topic I just search for “critique of ”
Then I find 2-3 PhD dissertations on the topic, and read their introductions.
Those PhD introductions are usually very good, and succinct.

The strengths of the academic enterprise

In passing I would like to mention that in a rather different sense such openness is a precondition for academic survival. Just for being different and doing things the uneducated cannot understand, the academics are hated and feared, vide Socrates, executed in 399 BC, Archimedes, killed in 212 BC, and, more recently, Hypatia, AD 415 barbarously murdered by a Christian mob. The original Oxford Colleges were buildings fortified in order to protect the students against the rabble, and if you think that that is old hat, I refer you to the DDR or the People’s Republic of China of only 25 years ago. It is a miracle whenever, these days, the academic world is tolerated at all; personally I am convinced that what tolerance there is would completely disappear, were the academic world to become secretive.

“Earth, Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Saturn in alignment.
(Taken in South Africa at 4:00 AM)
This hasn’t happened for 1000 years.”


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