PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Thursday, May 31, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: The Future of the European Union – ESSAYS + News

Essays: Encarna (in Spanish) and Lawrence + News


Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: The future of the European Union.

The last time Europe was united under a single power, the Roman empire, someone reminded us that
those who live by the sward will die by the sward. Luckily we stopped using swards, but this does
not mean we are not in danger.

Indeed, today we have the feeling that the EU seems to be facing its own dark ages as the Roman
empire did in 395AD. Except that the lesson today is that 'if we live with funny money, we'll most
certainly end up in the funny farm." What is stopping us from getting there is that the men who are
supposed to come for us in white coats cannot afford the white coats any more. But despite this
predicament we live in today, the irony is that we cannot even afford the luxury to face our
traditional fate of war in Europe. The future must therefore be something new for the continent.

In the meantime here is some serious news:
---Ceit----German films---
I have my tickets already, since I have a crushing paranoia about getting them at the last minute
and finding them sold out. I'm going to the opening because I really want to see die Unsichtbare
and I won't be able to the other time it's shown. I'm also seeing Whisky mit Wodka on Wednesday at
5, die Summe meiner einzelnen Teile on Thursday at 10, and Gnade on Friday at 7:30. In case
somebody feels like seeing one those movies at those times.

--Centro Segoviano – Encarna--
XXIV Concurso Petico "Segovia Y Su Sierra" 2012 – Deadline midnight 2 June 2012. Details from the
centro Segoviano or I can send you a scan of the leaflet.


---- Cementerio Británico-----
Por el presente mensaje hago saber las fechas de las visitas comentadas programadas para mayo y
junio : si hay alguien que quiera formar un grupo, no importa que sea pequeño, en cualquier otra
fecha, sírvase avisarme para llegar a un acuerdo mutuo de hora y fecha.
This is to give you the dates of the guided visits on Saturday mornings in May and June : if anyone
wishes to make up a group, however small, independent of the dates I give below, I will be most
happy to make arrangements and take them round - all they need do is state their preferred dates and
we will work out a schedule.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Redacto el presente mensaje tanto en español como en inglés con el objeto de comunicarles que sigo
con el programa de visitas comentadas, sábados por la mañana, al Cementerio Británico.
Las visitas empiezan a las 11 horas en la entrada del Cementerio Británico, calle del Comandante
Fontanes 7, distrito de Carabanchel
*sábado, 26 de mayo, cuando daré las explicaciones en español
*sábado, 2 de junio, cuando daré las explicaciones en inglés
Lo dejo a su elección cuál día acuda y no hay necesidad de avisar.
Tomen nota de nuestra página web < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > que contiene información de la
historia del Cementerio y el mapa de su ubicación.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am writing this in both Spanish and in English to tell you that I am continuing Saturday morning
guided visits to the British Cemetery.
We meet at 11 o'clock at the Cemetery entrance in Calle del Comandante Fontanes 7 in Carabanchel
* the visit on Saturday 26 May will be in Spanish
* the visit on Saturday 2 June will be in English
The choice of date is left to you and there is no need to inform me in advance of the visit whether
you are coming.
Do take note of our website < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > where you will find details of the
Cemetery's history and a map with its location.
David Butler

-------end-------

take care
Lawrence



PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/

----------From Luisa---------
Please not you will have to let her know in advance if you wish to attend, thanks:
Data of language exchange,
Location: Café Comercial
Address: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
Website location:
http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=es&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=glorieta+de+Bilbao+en+Madrid&fb=1&hq=glorieta+de+Bilbao&hnear=Madrid,+España&cid=168580715753984644


Dates: on Saturday
Time: from 12:30 to 14:45
Price: 2.50 € (exchange organizing, hiring the top of the cafeteria and coffee, tea, soda, wine or
beer are included).
Luisa - email to confirm please alvarez_luisa@hotmail.com
--------end----



--------------ESSAYS----------

-- Encarna -- The Future of the European Union
A modo de introducción.
Estamos ante profundos cambios económicos y sociales. Los países considerados hasta ahora
desarrollados están perdiendo posiciones y los países emergentes van ganándolas. China, India,
Brasil, avanzan económicamente y tecnológicamente y los países productores de petróleo tienen
excedente de ahorro que les da un gran poder.
Estados Unidos y la Unión Europa viven hipotecados, tanto en el sector público como en el privado,
en la UE se pierde competitividad y se plantean problemas de sostenibilidad del Estado de bienestar
y la crisis financiera hace aflorar esta nueva relación de fuerzas en la economía global.
La Unión Europa comenzó a perfilarse después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, cuando lideres europeos
pensaron en crear una Europa unida y prospera, que evitara los conflictos entre los países vecinos y
los intereses nacionalistas.
La Comunidad Europea del Carbón y del Acero en 1950 fue el primer paso de la unión económica y
política a la que se unieron Alemania, Bélgica, Francia, Italia, Luxemburgo y los Países Bajos,
desde entonces ha pasado medio Siglo XX y la primera década del XXI, la guerra fría, los años 60 y
su cambio cultural y generacional, la caída del muro de Berlín en noviembre de 1989, al década de
los 90, cuando en la UE se posibilita la circulación de mercancías, servicios, personas y capitales,
la entrada en circulación del euro el 1 de enero de 2002, el desarrollo de las instituciones
europeas, grandes avances tecnológicos, la "globalización" y la paulatina incorporación de nuevos
estados, hasta la última ampliación en enero de enero de 2007 con Bulgaria y Rumania, en total 27
países son miembros hoy la UE. En la primera década del Siglo XXI se incorporaron 10 países
dejando un total de casi 500 millones de habitantes.
En un contexto de expansión y crisis, los ambiciosos objetivos marcados por la UE resultan
imposibles para varios países componentes y el espectro del nacionalismo y las mafias especuladoras
nos golpean. Mientras que la región balcánica, las ex repúblicas yugoslavas, tratan de sacudirse
los cruentos años de la guerra civil para adherirse a la UE, en los países del Este todavía se
sienten ciudadanos de segunda y los países periféricos del sur sufren la peor crisis de la UE.
El éxito de las décadas posteriores a la Segunda Guerra Mundial permitió reconstruir Europa
Occidental, convertirla en una gran potencia industrial y de servicios, con fuerte creación de
empleo y un sistema de redistribución del excedente que mejoró la educación, la cobertura de riesgos
de enfermedad o desempleo y las prestaciones de jubilación. Hoy día, Europa se enfrenta a grandes
retos, como la falta de competitividad, dependencia energética, la necesidad de una política común
sobre flujos migratorios, la estrategia de seguridad ante la criminalidad organizada y el terrorismo
internacional, el envejecimiento de la población, la crisis financiera y la falta de agilidad de sus
instituciones. Todo ello hace que cada día nos despertemos con una vuelta de tuerca y que ideologías
extremistas estén empezando a resurgir peligrosamente.
¿Será cierto que nos hemos metido con un gorila en la cama?, como advirtió el economista americano
Paul Samuelson, cuando dijo a los países europeos que iban a entrar en el euro "Van a meterse
ustedes en la cama con un gorila que es Alemania".
Encarna.

--Lawrence -- The Future of the European Union

In the context of European history, the European Union is a bold attempt for different peoples of
the continent to live in harmony and in peace with each other. And in theory the icing of the cake
was supposed to be a modicum of equality throughout the continent. Indeed, since human beings roamed
the continent different groups resorted to war and violence to solve their differences. The Second
World War was supposed to be the last war on the continent. And the European Union was supposed to
be the vehicle to ever lasting peace.

The European Union not only was a bold attempt to establish peace in Europe, but a bold attempt that
has to be the way Europe functions in the future. But since the European Union is the product of
politicians, we can expect some very serious philosophical issues that are not only obvious to a
neutral observer, but explain the growing pains we have to go through regularly and are now going
through with violence. Those issues are numerous, so I will consider just a few of them.

The first mistake or rather philosophical issue is of course was to assume that a group of states
can be transformed into a newly born state. I am of course thinking of the fallacy that the European
Union can not only be like the United States but can be a competitor of the United States. The
United States is a newly born country. The European Union is running away from history, the United
States is running into its own history. Just because history is common it does not mean that it is
the same history, not the same creature.

Another immediate issue of the European Union is the question of identity: assuming that nations and
states can have an identity, is it possible for twenty seven states to come together and share a
singular identity? We might take a bold analogy from quantum physics and suggest that in nature it
is possible for an entity to be in different space-time states (wave/particle: of identity) and yet
still be a single entity. Even if such a thought experiment is possible there is one problem. A
quantum entity that collapsed into a single state is very consistent, especially in the information
it transmits (when a wave particle collapses into say a light photon, the light photon transmits
information that it is a light photos). However, the European Union as a single entity is anything
but a stable concept, meaning that the European Union does not really transmit stable information.
This is like saying that a wave particle when it collapses into a single photon what really happens
is that each single individual wave collapses into different things: one wave collapses into a light
photon, another into a gold atom etc etc.

Indeed, philosophy we will need to explain how unique identities, be they of human beings, wave
particles or political states, can become together into a single unique identity (and at the same
time maintain the original identity).

But one of the most important issues for us is the question of language. The European Union
functions under a chaos of languages and language cultures. To begin with, and ironically, languages
and translation of languages, which is the opus operandi of the European Union to communicate with
the member states and the population, is one of the few instances when we can apply Plato's cave
analogy of forms in its literal sense. A translation is a shadow of the original text. Now consider
that an original text would have its own imperfections, assumptions and hidden meanings we are to
assume that these are kept in tact when transferred to an other language. But this is not the issue,
the fact that we all have different competencies in other languages, ranging from the nil to near
native speaker, we would be in Plato's cave a collection of observers many of us blind to most
shadows and forms and others with different degrees of sight.

But language is a dirty weapon. It is the most efficient tool human beings have devised to
discriminate against each other; and discrimination is not supposed to be an operative policy of the
EU. Natural languages just make it impossible for non speakers to participate in the exchange of
information within that language. I am writing in English and Encarna did her essay in Spanish. Now
someone who does not read Spanish or English is automatically shut out from our ideas and exchange
of information. And it is not that we want to discriminate against these people but this is the very
nature of languages. And translations are, as I said, the equivalent of being a blind person in
Plato's cave looking at the shadows on the wall of the cave.

Indeed, the European Union has had this discriminating effect on the population of Europe. It is an
accepted fact that generally, those individuals who want to live within other parts of the Union
have to be speakers of at least one of the dominant languages of the union, basically, French,
German and English. A German civil servant working in the town planning department of a local
authority probably does not need to be proficient in Portuguese to get the job. Yet, a Spanish bio
engineer who wants to work in Germany would need, at least, have a good command of English.

Hence the future of the European Union depends on how many of us can personally commutate with other
individuals in the union. Today we haven't even overcome the problems of clear communication amongst
people in our own country let alone within the European Union. Basically languages not only help us
to discriminate against each other, but prevent any natural critical mass from taking place to get
the flow of information going without hindrance and corruption.

What we have also inherited from millennia of history and primitive instincts is that we have
established national sovereignty with a political leadership deciding our fate. Sovereignty is
equally a powerful factor whose only purpose is to discriminate against outsiders. The idea that we
can have a common objective based on common rules is of course beyond fiction and castles in the
clouds. This is like playing snooker, but the balls on the billiard table behave as if they were
some particle in a Brownian motion experiment. The European Union is no powerful magnet where all
the atoms are aligned in one direction. The Europe union is more like a very hot cup of tea that
will burn your tongue and palate if you're not careful or super tough.

And the big issue with sovereignty is really the legal system of justice in each state. And the
problem with justice is that this is the mechanism by which individual rights are established and
guaranteed. And yet each separate jurisdiction has its own flaws in guaranteeing individual rights
either because of innocent oversight, misguidance, indifference or simply through moral corruption.
Does the European Union gurantee individual rights.

Of course, history will tell us whether the institution we call today the European Union will mature
into a gentle and caring parent or whether it will mature into a Dracula disguised as Frankenstein.
What is certain is that Europeans have very little choice but to live with each other and cooperate
with each other to have a normal life. Ironically, Europeans today do not even have the optinon of war.
---end--




from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: The Future of the European Union – ESSAYS + News

Thursday, May 24, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: What can a new born today expect of life? + news

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: What can a new born today expect of life?

Predicting the future is never easy, and predicting the future based on our problems is probably a
mistake and certainly a bad idea. Having said that we can at least start by looking at the issues
involved. In the meantime we have some news:

--Centro Segoviano – Encarna--
XXIV Concurso Petico "Segovia Y Su Sierra" 2012 – Deadline midnight 2 June 2012. Details from the
centro Segoviano or I can send you a scan of the leaflet.

--Miguel--
Estimado tertuliano,

Te invitamos a asistir a la próxima Tertulia de Matemáticas:
https://sites.google.com/site/tertuliadematematicas/26-5-2012

Esperamos contar con tu asistencia, y aprovechamos la ocasión para enviarte un cordial saludo,

Tertulia de Matemáticas


P.S.: Si quieres impartir una conferencia envía un mensaje de correo para tratar los detalles.
Si quieres darte de baja en la lista de correo envía otro con "Baja" en el campo "Asunto" del mensaje.


---- Cementerio Británico-----
Por el presente mensaje hago saber las fechas de las visitas comentadas programadas para mayo y
junio : si hay alguien que quiera formar un grupo, no importa que sea pequeño, en cualquier otra
fecha, sírvase avisarme para llegar a un acuerdo mutuo de hora y fecha.
This is to give you the dates of the guided visits on Saturday mornings in May and June : if anyone
wishes to make up a group, however small, independent of the dates I give below, I will be most
happy to make arrangements and take them round - all they need do is state their preferred dates and
we will work out a schedule.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Redacto el presente mensaje tanto en español como en inglés con el objeto de comunicarles que sigo
con el programa de visitas comentadas, sábados por la mañana, al Cementerio Británico.
Las visitas empiezan a las 11 horas en la entrada del Cementerio Británico, calle del Comandante
Fontanes 7, distrito de Carabanchel
*sábado, 26 de mayo, cuando daré las explicaciones en español
*sábado, 2 de junio, cuando daré las explicaciones en inglés
Lo dejo a su elección cuál día acuda y no hay necesidad de avisar.
Tomen nota de nuestra página web < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > que contiene información de la
historia del Cementerio y el mapa de su ubicación.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am writing this in both Spanish and in English to tell you that I am continuing Saturday morning
guided visits to the British Cemetery.
We meet at 11 o'clock at the Cemetery entrance in Calle del Comandante Fontanes 7 in Carabanchel
* the visit on Saturday 26 May will be in Spanish
* the visit on Saturday 2 June will be in English
The choice of date is left to you and there is no need to inform me in advance of the visit whether
you are coming.
Do take note of our website < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > where you will find details of the
Cemetery's history and a map with its location.
David Butler

-------end-------

take care
Lawrence



PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/

----------From Luisa---------
Please not you will have to let her know in advance if you wish to attend, thanks:
Data of language exchange,
Location: Café Comercial
Address: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
Website location:
http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=es&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=glorieta+de+Bilbao+en+Madrid&fb=1&hq=glorieta+de+Bilbao&hnear=Madrid,+España&cid=168580715753984644


Dates: on Saturday
Time: from 12:30 to 14:45
Price: 2.50 € (exchange organizing, hiring the top of the cafeteria and coffee, tea, soda, wine or
beer are included).
Luisa - email to confirm please alvarez_luisa@hotmail.com
--------end----




from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: What can a new born today expect of life? + news

Thursday, May 17, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Do things change if we change? + news

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Do things change if we change?

At heart we have a classical topic in philosophy, the subject of causality. As part of the Newtonian
world we have our own right to cause things in the same way that everything else in universe can
achieve if they operate in the Newtonian universe.

Of course, this does not mean that what we can cause will have an outcome we desire. But this goes
against the claim that the Newtonian world is governed by causality and determinism. If there are
determinism and causality and they do work, that is if an action of type A has the effect type B,
why is it that sometimes we do A but B does not happen?

Usually we put it down to the fact that we do not know enough about A or that in reality we did not
do what it takes to bring about B. Not to mention the idea that determinism and predicting the
future are in a way incompatible.

But what is a paradox or an issue in the Newtonian world, is quite normal in the quantum world. In
the quantum world we have things happening when they should not (tunnelling), we speak of the
probability of an event rather than the certainty of something happening, the possibility of a
quantum object existing over different space and time, and of course the dual state, of wave and
particle, a quantum object can have.

Basically, we just do not know whether things will change if we change. And worse, we also don't
know whether we can bring out the right outcome if we change. Of course, if we don't change it does
not follow that things will turn out the way we want them to turn out.

The bottom line is that sometimes we change, because we are changed, and sometimes we change because
we want to change others. However, if we're digging ourselves into a whole, and don't want to be
there, one of the things we can do is to stop digging.

Best Lawrence

In the meantime we have some news:
----from Miguel
ENCUENTROS DE PRIMAVERA EN EL PLANETARIO DE MADRID Mayo-Junio 2012
Les informamos que a partir del lunes 14 de mayo se podrá empezar a reservar invitaciones para la
conferencia "El Mecanismo de Antikythera, un planetario del siglo II a.C." perteneciente al ciclo
"Encuentros de primavera en el Planetario de Madrid".
Para más información sobre el ciclo de conferencias:
http://www.planetmad.es/PDFs/encuentrosposter-2012.pdf
Jueves, 31 de mayo a las 19 horas
"El Mecanismo de Antikythera, un planetario del siglo II a.C.". Conferencia a cargo de Toño Bernedo.
Planetario de Madrid

---- Cementerio Británico-----
Por el presente mensaje hago saber las fechas de las visitas comentadas programadas para mayo y
junio : si hay alguien que quiera formar un grupo, no importa que sea pequeño, en cualquier otra
fecha, sírvase avisarme para llegar a un acuerdo mutuo de hora y fecha.
This is to give you the dates of the guided visits on Saturday mornings in May and June : if anyone
wishes to make up a group, however small, independent of the dates I give below, I will be most
happy to make arrangements and take them round - all they need do is state their preferred dates and
we will work out a schedule.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Redacto el presente mensaje tanto en español como en inglés con el objeto de comunicarles que sigo
con el programa de visitas comentadas, sábados por la mañana, al Cementerio Británico.
Las visitas empiezan a las 11 horas en la entrada del Cementerio Británico, calle del Comandante
Fontanes 7, distrito de Carabanchel
*sábado, 26 de mayo, cuando daré las explicaciones en español
*sábado, 2 de junio, cuando daré las explicaciones en inglés
Lo dejo a su elección cuál día acuda y no hay necesidad de avisar.
Tomen nota de nuestra página web < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > que contiene información de la
historia del Cementerio y el mapa de su ubicación.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am writing this in both Spanish and in English to tell you that I am continuing Saturday morning
guided visits to the British Cemetery.
We meet at 11 o'clock at the Cemetery entrance in Calle del Comandante Fontanes 7 in Carabanchel
* the visit on Saturday 26 May will be in Spanish
* the visit on Saturday 2 June will be in English
The choice of date is left to you and there is no need to inform me in advance of the visit whether
you are coming.
Do take note of our website < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > where you will find details of the
Cemetery's history and a map with its location.
David Butler

-------end-------

take care
Lawrence



PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/

----------From Luisa---------
Please not you will have to let her know in advance if you wish to attend, thanks:
Data of language exchange,
Location: Café Comercial
Address: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
Website location:
http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=es&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=glorieta+de+Bilbao+en+Madrid&fb=1&hq=glorieta+de+Bilbao&hnear=Madrid,+España&cid=168580715753984644



Dates: on Saturday
Time: from 12:30 to 14:45
Price: 2.50 € (exchange organizing, hiring the top of the cafeteria and coffee, tea, soda, wine or
beer are included).
Luisa - email to confirm please alvarez_luisa@hotmail.com
--------end----




from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Do things change if we change? + news

Thursday, May 10, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Does the working class still exist? + ESSAYS + news

Dear friends,

Adrian kindly sent us an essay for this Sunday's meeting on his topic: Does the working class still
exist?

Although I did not start this email with intention of writing an essay the sentence or two I wanted
to write ended up being quite a few paragraphs long.

As always I did not read Adrian's essay before finishing mine, but I couldn't help noticing a word
or two that suggested we might be thinking on the same lines somewhere. I'm about to find out.

In the meantime:

----- Cementerio Británico-----
Por el presente mensaje hago saber las fechas de las visitas comentadas programadas para mayo y
junio : si hay alguien que quiera formar un grupo, no importa que sea pequeño, en cualquier otra
fecha, sírvase avisarme para llegar a un acuerdo mutuo de hora y fecha.
This is to give you the dates of the guided visits on Saturday mornings in May and June : if anyone
wishes to make up a group, however small, independent of the dates I give below, I will be most
happy to make arrangements and take them round - all they need do is state their preferred dates and
we will work out a schedule.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Redacto el presente mensaje tanto en español como en inglés con el objeto de comunicarles que sigo
con el programa de visitas comentadas, sábados por la mañana, al Cementerio Británico.
Las visitas empiezan a las 11 horas en la entrada del Cementerio Británico, calle del Comandante
Fontanes 7, distrito de Carabanchel
*sábado, 26 de mayo, cuando daré las explicaciones en español
*sábado, 2 de junio, cuando daré las explicaciones en inglés
Lo dejo a su elección cuál día acuda y no hay necesidad de avisar.
Tomen nota de nuestra página web < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > que contiene información de la
historia del Cementerio y el mapa de su ubicación.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am writing this in both Spanish and in English to tell you that I am continuing Saturday morning
guided visits to the British Cemetery.
We meet at 11 o'clock at the Cemetery entrance in Calle del Comandante Fontanes 7 in Carabanchel
* the visit on Saturday 26 May will be in Spanish
* the visit on Saturday 2 June will be in English
The choice of date is left to you and there is no need to inform me in advance of the visit whether
you are coming.
Do take note of our website < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > where you will find details of the
Cemetery's history and a map with its location.
David Butler

-------end-------
ake care
Lawrence



PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/

----------From Luisa---------
Please not you will have to let her know in advance if you wish to attend, thanks:
Data of language exchange,
Location: Café Comercial
Address: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
Website location:
http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=es&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=glorieta+de+Bilbao+en+Madrid&fb=1&hq=glorieta+de+Bilbao&hnear=Madrid,+España&cid=168580715753984644



Dates: on Saturday
Time: from 12:30 to 14:45
Price: 2.50 € (exchange organizing, hiring the top of the cafeteria and coffee, tea, soda, wine or
beer are included).
Luisa - email to confirm please alvarez_luisa@hotmail.com
--------end----


-----ESSAYS-----

---Adrian-- Does the working class still exist?
Before analyzing this question, it is necessary to separate the two parts of the term, 'working
class.' It is quite clear that the majority of citizens can consider themselves to be workers, even
though in some countries in this moment of crisis an excessive proportion of them do not have the
opportunity to exercise their right to paid employment. Nevertheless, more questions arise when we
analyse the second part of the term: 'class'.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, 'class' is a mass noun referring to 'a system of
ordering society whereby people are divided into sets based on perceived social or economic status.'
Now, in Europe we supposedly live in an egalitarian society in which all citizens have the same
rights and should ideally have the same opportunity to progress. Many cases can be cited of
individuals who have progressed from humble backgrounds becoming enormously successful businessmen,
sportsmen, etc. Supposedly we can no longer discuss class as a planned system. Nobody, in government
at least, aims to purposefully order people into specific social groups, even though the concept is
often deemed to be useful by marketing companies when establishing the profile of potential
customers or clients. Nevertheless, in some countries such as the United Kingdom, perhaps more than
in others, citizens themselves often like to label themselves as pertaining to a certain class.
There is a famous BBC comedy sketch featuring John Cleese and the classic double act, The Two
Ronnies. In a similar style Laurel and Hardy, Ronnie Barker (now deceased) was tall and fat and
Ronnie Corbett is short and thin. John Cleese, of course, was the tallest of the three. The three of
them lined up in different costumes: John Cleese in an upper class costume, Ronnie Barker in a
middle class costume and Ronnie Corbett in a lower class costume. They each presented themselves and
described their situations. John Cleese said, "I am upper class but I don't have any money." Ronnie
Barker said, "I am middle class but I aspire to be upper class." Finally, the smallest of them all,
Ronnie Corbett said, "I am lower class. I know my place."
The footballer, David Beckham, hardly has a working class lifestyle nowadays however he comes from a
traditionally working class area in East London and will always claim to be working class. The
actor, Michael Caine, likewise. When Tony Blair was Prime Minister, his deputy, John Prescott, who
had previously worked as a steward and waiter in the Merchant Navy, always insisted on his working
class origins even though he later became known as 'Two Jags', because he was discovered to own two
Jaguar cars, and was also spotted playing croquet, a traditional upper class sport in Britain. On
the other hand, Margaret Thatcher was a working class Prime Minister. Her father was a grocer and
her policies allowed many working class people to become rich on the stock market while at the same
time doing immense damage to industrial, working class communities in the north of England.
Was Thatcherism therefore the beginning of the end for the working class as it used to be defined?
This might seem like a sterile debate however it does bring some important issues to the fore. The
strength of working class identity was clearly a cause of pride in the days when there was less
social mobility. It also meant that many of those who considered themselves to be working class
accepted their circumstances and felt pride in the work they did. Our modern, egalitarian and
meritocratic society is something we should be even more proud about however it does mean that
increasingly we all aspire to the same things. A middle class 21st century capitalist society does
not have the same aspirations as a 1950s class based society. The goal is ultimately to get rich, as
was the case of Silvio Berlusconi, another famous working class kid –he was previously a crooner on
cruise ships- who discovered that it was possible to become incredibly wealthy but who failed to
replace the working class values with alternative values and ethics for the present day. If we come
to the conclusion that the working class no longer exists, can we therefore say that the replacement
is any better or have we instead lost all motivation to aspire to great scientific or technological
discoveries, preferring the glory of the football field or the fame of TV talent shows? We could
argue that modern day ideas of success are ugly or even grotesque and consequently mourn a passing
golden age in which, like Ronnie Corbett, everyone knew their place. Nevertheless, surely our task
should be to look to the future and see how it is possible to motivate people in a fair and equal
society rather than indulging on myths about the past.


Adrian

And a timely example of the blurred boundaries between the upper and working class:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2012/may/10/prince-charles-weather-bbc-scotland-video


----- Lawrence--- Does the working class still exist?

Strictly speaking the "working class" is not really related to work but rather to social status.
Indeed, it is about the division of society into the Royals, the aristocracy, the middle classes,
who basically were there to serve the royals and the aristocracy, and the working class. The middle
classes were the ones with brains whereas the working class were the people with the muscles and the
ones that put brick upon brick to construct the cities we live in today.

We also mustn't forget that for many centuries there was also another stratum of social beings which
we call slaves. Of course, slavery has been abolished, but needless to say, slavery still goes on
even in the 21st century.

To complicate matters, the problem with the "working class" concept is that it is very British; a
very British concept used for many decades to discriminate against a group of people within society.
And to confound the issue even further the use of the term working class could also be used as a
means to disparage someone's taste or style, or background. Of course, I say British because this is
a term in English and is well recognized; but the same issues and the same social phenomena happen
in all other societies. The devil is in the detail.

But if we stick close to the original definition of working class to mean those people who were not
intellectual (i.e. providing a professional service), maybe not well versed in academia and
intelligencia, and who depend on their brawn to exist, then maybe the working class has had a huge
paradigm shift.

People who are supposed to come from the working class are today as successful with money,
intelligence, academia, style, and whatever you wish to consider breeding as anyone from the top
classes.

But does this mean that those who maybe have been born into a working class family, can claw their
way up into the middle class or beyond. Unfortunately this is where it gets complicated in Britain.
According to the theory, at least, class is something one inherits in the same way that intelligent
people inherit blue eyes and height, rich people inherit beauty and money and of course, royals
inherit blue blood and a family business.

And to prove that class is really inherited, there is the final defining arbiter which we call
accent. As I have written in the past, language is a very efficient and effective tool to
discriminate against people, and accent is the henchman or the guillotine operator of the ultimate
discriminating tool. Traditionally what defined someone beyond reasonable doubt as working class was
their accent. The only function of an accent is precisely to discriminate against others with a
different accent; accent has not linguistic function what so ever. But an effective antidote to
accent is multiculturalism based on the respect of the individual.

But this creates a problem, a problem to the higher classes in society; how can a higher class group
maintain their privileged position? Unfortunately, the biggest weakness of the working class has
always been money, especially access to the use of money; such as borrowing money cheaply.

These past few decades it has been demonstrated that even the working class can have money, but not
necessarily institutional money, such as being a chairman of a bank, or an academic position, but
rather from other activities such as sports, entertainment, the constriction boom and so on.

Unfortunately, what we're seeing happen today under the excuse of the economic crisis, either
intentionally or as an unintended consequence, is that those who traditionally had limited access to
money, are now beginning to experience a new class game.

Today many governments in Europe, and a few other countries, have cut their spending on education,
health services, and housing has become open-season-big game hunting expedition. Don't forget well
into the twentieth century the working classes did not have automatic access to health, education
and housing. If a person was lucky, they got help from some charity. Oliver Twist is not just a
pretty book on your shelf. And at the same time governments are blatantly using racism as the basis
of policies, unchecked violation of human rights, and manipulating political language for propaganda
purposes.

Unfortunately, discrimination and exploitation are some of the ugly side of human biology (any
biology), but the answer to the negative side of biology is not aggression or violence but first, to
understand the issues, and then cooperate to find a solution. Which probably explains why
philosophical investigation is not very well funded in academia or well respected in the world at
large. Thinking is the antidote to rampant elitism. Mind you, I do mean philosophical analysis and
not some form of sentimentalism or an exercise in emotional or mental self massage.

Best

Lawrence






from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Does the working class still exist? + ESSAYS + news

Friday, May 04, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: How women think + NEWS

How women think + News

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing How women think.

A rather curious subject since as I say in my few paragraphs on the subject, this question is
usually a Trojan horse for more basic issues about life. Ironically, what sounds like a
philosophical question is indeed a encrypted code to a Pandora's Box (pardon the pun) that blows
open the blatant discrimination and immorality of some sections of our society.

In the meantime we have a list of news for the next few days:

---from Diana---
I am sending you the information about my friends' play in English. It will be on stage on Saturday
5th and Sunday 6th May, 4.30 and 8.00 pm, in Instituto Cardenal Cisneros, calle de los Reyes, 4,
near plaza de España and calle San Bernardo.
Reservations: originalworkstheatre@gmail.com
More info: facebook.com/originalworkstheatre
Could you please post this information on your weekly e-mail?
Thank you for your help.
Best regards,


Diana


-------Carlos-----
LA ASOCIACIÓN EL CLUB DEL HOMBRE LIBRE LE INVITA
A la Conferencia
"Einstein y el Materialismo"
por Lawrence Barón
y al
Claustro de Poesía
Siete poetas en inglés
Textos fundamentales del siglo XX
por Jesús Urceloy y Mari Carmen Carrasco
Lunes 7 de Mayo de 2012 a las 20:00 horas
Café Comercial
Glorieta de Bilbao nº7 (Madrid)
(if you want more details please write to me to send you the full document)

----- Cementerio Británico-----
Por el presente mensaje hago saber las fechas de las visitas comentadas programadas para mayo y
junio : si hay alguien que quiera formar un grupo, no importa que sea pequeño, en cualquier otra
fecha, sírvase avisarme para llegar a un acuerdo mutuo de hora y fecha.
This is to give you the dates of the guided visits on Saturday mornings in May and June : if anyone
wishes to make up a group, however small, independent of the dates I give below, I will be most
happy to make arrangements and take them round - all they need do is state their preferred dates and
we will work out a schedule.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Redacto el presente mensaje tanto en español como en inglés con el objeto de comunicarles que sigo
con el programa de visitas comentadas, sábados por la mañana, al Cementerio Británico.
Las visitas empiezan a las 11 horas en la entrada del Cementerio Británico, calle del Comandante
Fontanes 7, distrito de Carabanchel
*sábado, 26 de mayo, cuando daré las explicaciones en español
*sábado, 2 de junio, cuando daré las explicaciones en inglés
Lo dejo a su elección cuál día acuda y no hay necesidad de avisar.
Tomen nota de nuestra página web < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > que contiene información de la
historia del Cementerio y el mapa de su ubicación.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am writing this in both Spanish and in English to tell you that I am continuing Saturday morning
guided visits to the British Cemetery.
We meet at 11 o'clock at the Cemetery entrance in Calle del Comandante Fontanes 7 in Carabanchel
* the visit on Saturday 26 May will be in Spanish
* the visit on Saturday 2 June will be in English
The choice of date is left to you and there is no need to inform me in advance of the visit whether
you are coming.
Do take note of our website < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > where you will find details of the
Cemetery's history and a map with its location.
David Butler

-------end-------

--- How women think---

Usually this kind of question is a Trojan horse for the real question: how can we attract a woman in
our life? And by all means, how men think is used for the same purposes.

Of course, we know that women are supposed to like tall men, but then many short men have a
successful life with women. And we also know that women like money, and even men like to have money.
But today, like most other ages, many men and women have a successful relationship with very little
money.

Of course, today we know very well that women are very good at multi tasking, not that there aren't
men who are capable at multi tasking. We also know that women are good at details, not that some men
aren't good at details. Another thing we know about women is that they make very good doctors and
teachers, although some men are also good doctors and teachers.

Women are also good at politics and are as capable as men at protecting the integrity of their
country. Although women, like male politicians, are also capable at blatantly infringing the human
rights of others; as many people are experiencing today even in Europe, including our country. It is
true that we haven't had any high profile dictators to the calibre of Sadam Hussein, Hitler or the
Kim's in North Korea. But some women in politics today are working hard at trying to break the mold.

What is more curious is how women think in an environment where, even in our own country, they are
likely to be earning twenty five percent less than their male peers. Or how politicians of all
colours and all convictions speak of family values and yet mothers are directly discriminated in the
labour market, or when there is instability in the economy that diminishes the prospects of earning
a living for themselves, their partners or their children earning a living.

But the irony is that it is those organisations who shout the loudest about family values and
morality that blatantly discriminate against women. Indeed their whole warped thinking is to
discriminate against women. Of course I am thinking of world religions.

Although the question how women think is not terribly interesting, although quite handy to know,
what is extremely philosophically interesting is: how women ought to think in a world of discrimination?



Take care
Lawrence



PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao

-----------Ignacio------------
Thursday's Open Tertulia in English
Important Notice: From December 1st, the Tertulia will take place at O'Donnells (ex-Moore's) Irish
Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/

----------From Luisa---------
Please not you will have to let her know in advance if you wish to attend, thanks:
Data of language exchange,
Location: Café Comercial
Address: Glorieta de Bilbao, 7
Website location:
http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl=es&um=1&ie=UTF-8&q=glorieta+de+Bilbao+en+Madrid&fb=1&hq=glorieta+de+Bilbao&hnear=Madrid,+España&cid=168580715753984644



Dates: on Saturday
Time: from 12:30 to 14:45
Price: 2.50 € (exchange organizing, hiring the top of the cafeteria and coffee, tea, soda, wine or
beer are included).
Luisa - email to confirm please alvarez_luisa@hotmail.com
--------end----



from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: How women think + NEWS

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