PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, November 30, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Do we have a right to anything?

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Do we have a right to anything?

During times of economic and political turmoil we can easily agree that we do have rights; and
whilst this maybe useful politics, it does not automatically immunise us against the philosophical
issues we might encounter in a discussion on rights. In my few comments below I might give the
impression that whist we know where our destination, and that we'll arrive there safely, we still
have to cross the minefield successfully!

Best 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/
-----------------------




Do we have a right to anything?

To even speak of rights assumes that we have progressed from a zero sum game natural environment to
a win-win environment. Rights imply that we share with others and that we do not share at the
expense of others.

And although rights have certainly vexed philosophers for millennia, it was maybe the concepts like
the social contract and property rights that we find the germ for the modern concept of rights.
Maybe in the last month of 2012 we might speak of a right to an internet connection in the same way
as, for example, the French Revolutionaries spoke of the right to free speech. Hence, for all
intents and purposes we can assume that rights do exist, and that we do have rights.

Politically, this might settle many issues, but I suspect that philosophically we might not be so
lucky. Indeed, philosophically speaking, we don't want to rush into what at face value might seem
clear cut solutions. Maybe philosophical investigation is not meant to make life easy for us now,
but rather to prevent us from making life hard later on!

And the first issue we might want to consider is this: if we don't have rights to anything, what do
we have? I mean if we don't have rights, then surely to speak of duties does not make sense as well.
And yet we normally speak of rights as well as duties. And if we don't have rights who is
responsible to make sure that we don't have rights? But this is a bit circular, if someone is in
charge to make sure we don't have rights then upon what right do they have that job?

There might be an issue with the idea or concept of rights because of some implied meaning of the
word right. Somehow the word right implies a process of giving entitlement; i.e. being granted the
right. And in the twilight zone of the meaning of rights we come across the idea of merit or deserve
to receive or be granted a right. But deserving to be granted a right is different from having a
right simply because of an accident of nature that we were born human beings.

But this language of merit to receive a right or a rights being an inherent property we have for
being born a human being is not new. We first come across this idea of inheritress of some property
purely because we were born a human being in the teaching of some religions about the original sin.
So it not surprising that after the dark and middle ages we begin to find the idea of possessing an
inherent human property of something good for us personally; that is all of a sudden we have rights
to things, after millennia of servitude, slavery and class exclusion.

As for the idea that rights are somehow bestowed on us, it is no different from the idea that
eternal life is bestowed on us by some deity if we are good. Again after millennia of human beings
living under the model of hierarchy and master servant mentality of reward, it would make sense that
in an age of enlightenment we personally have something good (a right) not because of our parent's
station in life, but by virtue of the fact that we were born at all. Or to put it in another way,
now all parents bestow a privilege on their children by virtue of giving birth to them, and not by
virtue of class status.

So although rights are supposed to be a modern and revolutionary idea, in reality, at least in the
twilight zone of the meaning of rights, we find a reactionary language to millennia of human
survival based on zero sum games – I win, you lose – I'm master, you're slave, I'm god you're dust.

But as I have suggested earlier, rights might also suggest merit: we have a right to owe something
might mean we deserve to owe something. Thus do we have a right to anything, might be equally
interpreted to mean: do we deserve to have something.

Maybe we can understand this idea of merit, which is basically a value judgement, by suggesting that
it is very easy to mistake a right to something to mean I must have what I want. On the one hand, of
course, we cannot expect that everybody does an analytical philosophical analyses between what
rights they have and what they are entitled to have because they want it.

Hence, we don't expect the pensioner this morning at the GP's to have made a conscious analysis
between rights and wants, when this person insisted that they have their blood pressure taken by the
nurse, even though it was pointed out to them that their appointment was for an other day. And of
course there was no suggestion that this person was feeling unwell or anything; sadly, the reality
was that this person might be suffering from the ravages of old age on the brain. (They got their BP
taken plus some other attention not planned!!)

So there is a good chance that some people might insist on what they think are their rights, when in
reality they are insisting on something they just want to have, just because they want it. And human
beings, being human beings, we cannot help ourselves and judge others when they insist on getting
things because they simply want it.

Maybe when we do an audit of our rights, we shouldn't just make a tally of the instances when
something was our right and we wanted to available ourselves of that right, but rather we should
make a tally of when we have a right for something, an it was intentionally withheld from us for no
justifiable reason.

To illustrate my point, maybe my right to free speech does not equate to insulting and abusing other
people. But rather how many times have I been prevented from expressing my opinion on things I
disagree with because I believe they are not for the good of everyone. Thus being prevented to
criticise those in power because of suspicious policies is not the same as insulting people who
paint their toe nails green because I feel like it and I want to just insult them.

Best Lawrence








from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Do we have a right to anything?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Do we have a soul?

Dear friends,


This Sunday we are discussing: do we have a soul?

I'm afraid a short message this week! Message from Carlos, below.

Best 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/




-----------------CARLOS-----------------
PROGRAMA DE EVENTOS DEL DÍA DE LA LIBERTAD
MADRID UNE
DISTRITO DE LAS LUCES
Carrera de La Milla por la Libertad
Ganador del Premio promotor de la Libertad 2012.

Propósito: La carrera transcurre por las calles emblemáticas de Madrid, en las cuales se encuentran
lugares en los cuales se ha desarrollado y sigue desarrollándose el conocimiento y las acciones en
pro de la Libertad en los siglos XX y XXI. Entre estos lugares tenemos: La Residencia de
Estudiantes, La Estatua de la Libertad, La Fundación Ortega y Gasset, La Institución Libre de
Enseñanza, La Fundación Fullbright y El Museo Sorolla. Por las calles por donde pasará la carrera se
encuentran también las residencias de intelectuales y artistas, entre los cuales se encuentran Dalí
y Picasso. Los premios a entregar se harán en lugares que rememoran la lucha por la libertad
individual de los seres humanos.
Descripción del Evento: Carrera que se inicia en el principio de la Calle
Martínez Campos y acaba en la Plaza de Olavide. Performance, entrega
de premios, concierto, recitales y fiesta.





LA ASOCIACIÓN CLUB DEL HOMBRE LIBRE

Desde 2008. Declarada de interés Público Municipal. Área Cultural (Programas de Filosofía Pura y
Crepúsculos Culturales de Olavide). Creación y puesta en escena de Obras de Teatro Musicales
Costumbristas. Área de ayuda al Desarrollo Social. Tel. 654604717. Correo electrónico:
cfargases@yahoo.es


-------------------------

NOTA DE PRENSA
LA ASOCIACIÓN EL CLUB DEL HOMBRE LIBRE LE INVITA A PARTICIPAR EN LA ENTREGA DEL PRIMER PREMIO AL
PROMOTOR DE LA LIBERTAD 2011
MADRID UNE
DISTRITO DE LAS LUCES
El 26 de Noviembre, y con motivo de la entrega del Premio al Promotor de La Libertad 2011 al
psiquiatra Dr. Enrique Rojas, la Asociación El Club del Hombre Libre le invita a la cena-concierto
homenaje y entrega de premio Promotor de la Libertad, que tendrá lugar a las 21:00 horas, en el
hotel Miguel Angel, Calle Miguel Angel Nº 31. Dicho premio se otorga en virtud de las votaciones que
han tenido lugar en las diferentes actividades y eventos de la Asociación en el transcurso del año.
El precio de esta actividad es de 35.00€. reserva anticipada previo pago, tel. 654604717.
Próximamente tendrá lugar la primera carrera denominada La Milla por la Libertad. No es casualidad
que el recorrido arranque en la plaza de Emilio Castelar, donde, en la estatua se destaca La
Libertad, y que posteriormente continúe por la calle de General Martínez Campos, que, aunque
pequeña, está llena de centros intelectuales, y formativos que, según la Asociación, sitúan
históricamente en el distrito de Chamberí el esfuerzo intelectual de poder y de negocios, tales como
los Nuevos Ministerios, el nacimiento de la Residencia de Estudiantes, el Museo Sorolla, la
Fundación Ortega y Gasset, etc.
Las categorías de la carrera serán: Cadete, Promesa y Veterano en sus modalidades masculina y
femenina. A la carrera le seguirá un concierto de violín, opera, guitarra, Pop, recital de poesía y
otros, llevados a cabo por diversos profesionales de reputación, además de consumiciones gratuitas
en los establecimientos próximos.
Añadirá vistosidad a la carrera el hecho de que la comitiva que la preceda incluirá un caballo con
su amazona, que representa la Libertad, y un grupo de coches de época, cuyos conductores/as
representan la ambición, premura del tiempo y el entorno que circunda actualmente a los seres
humanos. Al llegar a la plaza dichos personajes ejecutan un ´Performance´, que consiste en un
contraste de pareceres en lo relativo a la Libertad en sus divisiones de libertad física, material,
mental y espiritual.
La Asociación sigue de esta forma con su trayectoria, iniciada hace cuatro años, consistente en dos
áreas: cultural y social. La primera se centra en diversas conferencias, recitales y conciertos, y
se llama Crepúsculos Culturales de Olavide, y por otro lado en ésta misma área hay otra parte
denominada de Filosofía Pura, de un talante más intelectual que la primera, ofreciendo conferencias,
debates y estudios. En el área social se ayuda a personas y entidades que necesitan un estímulo, se
desarrollan actividades como la lucha contra la corrupción, ayuda a los ancianos, etc. También se
desarrollan y ponen en escena obras de teatro musical costumbrista.
Para obtener información o para hacer una reserva a la cena homenaje pueden llamar al teléfono
654604717 ó enviar un correo electrónico a cfargases@yahoo.es.


--------------------------------











from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Do we have a soul?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Taboo Language + News

News from Carlos about two events by the LA ASOCIACIÓN CLUB DEL HOMBRE LIBRE – more information from
Carlos or I can send you the full info he sent me.


Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing taboo language.

No doubt this is an interesting subject, not least because it is specific topic in the philosophy of
language, but because it is a subject that directly affects our emotions and feeling. Maybe we can
expand the topic to include, such other topics as insults, innuendos, gossip and similar common issues.

I have tried to outline a brief analysis of taboo language:

What sticks and stones can do to the body, language can do to our psychological well being and
feelings. It is not surprising, therefore, that like stones and sticks, we have language conventions
about what words and expressions ought not to be used freely in public.

I propose that there are two types of taboo language that probably concern us most in our day to day
affairs: words and expressions that are associated with a meaning that represents something many
people feel offended with, for example profanities. And the other type of taboo language is the
adaptation of language to mask taboo ideas for example questions about ones health especially
serious ailments and even death.

Profanities are taboo language, no doubt, because of social and maybe moral (religious) conventions.
Profanities, or swear words, of course seem to function at two levels, as expressions of anger, and
as psychological weapons or tools we use to attack others or defend ourselves against. In many cases
such language is also associated with physical aggression.

However, the second type of taboo language I propose is not in and of itself taboo language, but
rather we use what seems to be normal language to express taboo ideas. Thus the effect of the idea
on the language is to include the taboo meaning to them. We come across some of this taboo language
in our everyday pseudo type of philosophical questions. And two of the most widespread and
fundamental ideas of this pseudo philosophical thinking are: what is the meaning of life? And, are
we alone in the universe?

Indeed these two ideas are taboo ideas because they challenge our long held beliefs that 1) we are
somehow special and superior from other living creatures and 2) the belief that somehow we are the
exclusive creation of a god or gods.

I would therefore argue that the question -what is the meaning of life?- is a language mask to hide
the legitimate philosophical question: are we mechanical biological organisms like other biological
creatures? And of course, questions about life in the universe are really language masks not so much
about other life forms in the universe, but rather whether there are people like us, and whether
they are more advanced than us and a danger to us.

Of course, if there are living creatures out there then we're not so exclusive beings as we would
like to think. And this would have a direct bearing on our sense of pride and feeling of superiority.

And, of course, if there are other human-type beings out there this would be a direct challenge to
our existence as much as people from one tribe invading another tribe represent a threat. Thus a
question like -are we alone in the universe?- is taboo language to mask our emotions of fear and
self preservation.

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/




-----------------CARLOS-----------------
PROGRAMA DE EVENTOS DEL DÍA DE LA LIBERTAD
MADRID UNE
DISTRITO DE LAS LUCES
Carrera de La Milla por la Libertad
Ganador del Premio promotor de la Libertad 2012.

Propósito: La carrera transcurre por las calles emblemáticas de Madrid, en las cuales se encuentran
lugares en los cuales se ha desarrollado y sigue desarrollándose el conocimiento y las acciones en
pro de la Libertad en los siglos XX y XXI. Entre estos lugares tenemos: La Residencia de
Estudiantes, La Estatua de la Libertad, La Fundación Ortega y Gasset, La Institución Libre de
Enseñanza, La Fundación Fullbright y El Museo Sorolla. Por las calles por donde pasará la carrera se
encuentran también las residencias de intelectuales y artistas, entre los cuales se encuentran Dalí
y Picasso. Los premios a entregar se harán en lugares que rememoran la lucha por la libertad
individual de los seres humanos.
Descripción del Evento: Carrera que se inicia en el principio de la Calle
Martínez Campos y acaba en la Plaza de Olavide. Performance, entrega
de premios, concierto, recitales y fiesta.





LA ASOCIACIÓN CLUB DEL HOMBRE LIBRE

Desde 2008. Declarada de interés Público Municipal. Área Cultural (Programas de Filosofía Pura y
Crepúsculos Culturales de Olavide). Creación y puesta en escena de Obras de Teatro Musicales
Costumbristas. Área de ayuda al Desarrollo Social. Tel. 654604717. Correo electrónico:
cfargases@yahoo.es


-------------------------

NOTA DE PRENSA
LA ASOCIACIÓN EL CLUB DEL HOMBRE LIBRE LE INVITA A PARTICIPAR EN LA ENTREGA DEL PRIMER PREMIO AL
PROMOTOR DE LA LIBERTAD 2011
MADRID UNE
DISTRITO DE LAS LUCES
El 26 de Noviembre, y con motivo de la entrega del Premio al Promotor de La Libertad 2011 al
psiquiatra Dr. Enrique Rojas, la Asociación El Club del Hombre Libre le invita a la cena-concierto
homenaje y entrega de premio Promotor de la Libertad, que tendrá lugar a las 21:00 horas, en el
hotel Miguel Angel, Calle Miguel Angel Nº 31. Dicho premio se otorga en virtud de las votaciones que
han tenido lugar en las diferentes actividades y eventos de la Asociación en el transcurso del año.
El precio de esta actividad es de 35.00€. reserva anticipada previo pago, tel. 654604717.
Próximamente tendrá lugar la primera carrera denominada La Milla por la Libertad. No es casualidad
que el recorrido arranque en la plaza de Emilio Castelar, donde, en la estatua se destaca La
Libertad, y que posteriormente continúe por la calle de General Martínez Campos, que, aunque
pequeña, está llena de centros intelectuales, y formativos que, según la Asociación, sitúan
históricamente en el distrito de Chamberí el esfuerzo intelectual de poder y de negocios, tales como
los Nuevos Ministerios, el nacimiento de la Residencia de Estudiantes, el Museo Sorolla, la
Fundación Ortega y Gasset, etc.
Las categorías de la carrera serán: Cadete, Promesa y Veterano en sus modalidades masculina y
femenina. A la carrera le seguirá un concierto de violín, opera, guitarra, Pop, recital de poesía y
otros, llevados a cabo por diversos profesionales de reputación, además de consumiciones gratuitas
en los establecimientos próximos.
Añadirá vistosidad a la carrera el hecho de que la comitiva que la preceda incluirá un caballo con
su amazona, que representa la Libertad, y un grupo de coches de época, cuyos conductores/as
representan la ambición, premura del tiempo y el entorno que circunda actualmente a los seres
humanos. Al llegar a la plaza dichos personajes ejecutan un ´Performance´, que consiste en un
contraste de pareceres en lo relativo a la Libertad en sus divisiones de libertad física, material,
mental y espiritual.
La Asociación sigue de esta forma con su trayectoria, iniciada hace cuatro años, consistente en dos
áreas: cultural y social. La primera se centra en diversas conferencias, recitales y conciertos, y
se llama Crepúsculos Culturales de Olavide, y por otro lado en ésta misma área hay otra parte
denominada de Filosofía Pura, de un talante más intelectual que la primera, ofreciendo conferencias,
debates y estudios. En el área social se ayuda a personas y entidades que necesitan un estímulo, se
desarrollan actividades como la lucha contra la corrupción, ayuda a los ancianos, etc. También se
desarrollan y ponen en escena obras de teatro musical costumbrista.
Para obtener información o para hacer una reserva a la cena homenaje pueden llamar al teléfono
654604717 ó enviar un correo electrónico a cfargases@yahoo.es.


--------------------------------











from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: Taboo Language + News

Thursday, November 08, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: The importance of physical appearance

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing a topic that might well be described as the curse of human beings in
the 21st Century. No, it's not the corrupt politician, but our appearances: The importance of
physical appearance.

Unfortunately, discrimination seems to be a permanent feature in our society. In my short essay I
try to assess why this is the case.


The importance of physical appearance

Let's exclude the interpretation of this topic to mean one's grooming and up keeping. Shampoo,
shower gel, shaving blades, soap, mouth wash, hair styling and make up should all take us a long way
in being presentable in public. Indeed being sufficiently well groomed is very important for us when
meeting other people. And rejection or exclusion for not presenting oneself in public with a minimum
of grooming is more than justified.

But underneath the face value of this topic, there is a very serious philosophical issue because
there is a very serious social and biological issue implied in the topic. And the issue comes in two
parts. Our distaste for things that do not conform and our bias towards things we perceive to be good.

Now, we not only like things that we perceive to be good, but many times go one step further and
desire them. And of course, as we all know today, the primary purpose for a biological system to
desire another member of its own kind is for reproduction purposes. And an equally important purpose
is for companionship, because biological systems are, generally speaking, social creatures, despite
the fact that some animals live a solitary life (sea turtles).

Thus, physical appearance certainly has biologically importance because it conveys relevant
information very efficiently about our physical state to other people. So someone who looks anaemic
or pale is a sure visual sign that they are sick or worse and therefore at the very least we should
be cautious how we approach them, and certainly not valid candidates for reproductive partners.

We can go another step further. We also know today that a good well balanced diet, amongst other
things, has at least two effects, we grow taller and we are smarter. Although we also know, today,
that being taller does not cause us to be smarter, but before we knew this there was a bias for
people to favour tall instead of short people (especially tall males), because there was always a
good chance that they were also well off than the average person. And thus were more likely to be
also well nourished and therefore healthier.

And then we can go to the twilight zone of the topic and look at obesity or size challenged. In the
past (look at Ruben's paintings) and even in some cultures today, being fat was associated with
beauty or fertility. Today being fat, despite being a very common condition in advanced cultures, is
a no, no!

Of course, it comes as no surprise that the cultures that have a bias towards fat women (based on
body mass and not body frame), are also the same cultures where famine and disease are likely to be
rife. There are other reasons why women should be large in size, but I have made my point.

While the above is generally valid and well documented, it might have been practical a few centuries
and a few millennia ago, but today behaviour based on these biological instincts is not necessarily
valid. And part of the reason is of course, we have such control over the human body and our
environment that appearances might not reflect the true well being and intellect of a person.

In other words, appearances might have given us more true positive hits in our basic biological
state, but obviously, in our rational state appearances we are more likely to have a false positive
hit. How else can we explain states, such as the USA, who claim to be God fearing peoples and still
have 16.3% of their population without health cover? (Health care in the United States – Wikipedia)
and how can we explain other countries (UK and Spain for example) trying to adopt the American model
of health care? The American health model appears to give choice and access to health care, but the
reality is that it excludes a large portion of the population from healthcare whilst not necessarily
being better than other models.

If we are attracted towards things that look good, we are also repulsed with things that do not
conform to our perceptions. However, things that conform to our perceptions are things that conform
to some value judgement and criteria. And therefore, by implication, values that are probably based
on the idea of culture or a collective group.

In a basic society, height and size might have some validity as excluding or including factors;
until, that is, a society becomes a scientific society and starts building a knowledge base to deal
with health and nutrition issues (amongst other things). Nevertheless, repulsion is no less a
natural instinct than attraction is, but in a society where nature is no longer the only master of
our destiny the old gold standards and the old values need to change as well. Otherwise this can
lead, in a supposed civilized society, to anomalies or straight forward discrimination.

Unfortunately, people today still discriminate on race, looks, nationality, weakness, body size,
shape, beliefs, biological norms, and so on. Sure we have developed the concepts of human rights,
and constitutions as tools for those rights, and constitutional courts to protect those rights.
Indeed today in an average civilised country, that tries to uphold the rule of law, we find a solid
set of laws to protect people against discrimination. And those who openly advocate discrimination
are unfortunately mentally sick, or mentally wicked or mentally challenged.

Indeed we have also developed the language to describe instances when we discriminate against people
because of their physical appearance. The term is "size discrimination or sizeism" (see Wikipedia)
and the term does not only mean that people discriminate against short or fat people, or other
feature, but discrimination because of any physical feature which others might not like. For
example, very slim people (not anorexic) are sometimes also discriminated against, or very tall people.

Or take the case of Debrahlee Lorenzana, who according to a report in Forbes.com*, was fired from
her job because she was "too hot" or too attractive for some of her male colleagues to concentrate
on their work.

What the Lorenzana case confirms is that we are creatures that have a bias towards conformity (the
centre of the bell curve) and repulsion of instances that appear in the fat tail of the bell curve
(extremes). The company could have fired those guys who could not concentrate and employed people
who could! This knowledge serves social engineers, including businesses and politicians, to exploit
our weaknesses by prodding and poking our biological instincts. Why are American presidents**
always^ above the average height of American males?^ Or why are film stars always attractive and
nearly body perfect? Or why are families in adverts are always a male, a female, an older boy and a
young girl; in other words the average family with the average number of 2.5 kids?

As rational beings we know that discrimination is wrong, we have legislation for that, although not
yet for sizeism, but against this awareness we also know that the world we live in is still
controlled by the principle of survival of the fittest or the luck strike.

And here we will find the key philosophical issue. Given that the principles of evolution are sound
and universally valid, why is it that biological evolution develops much slower than intellectual
(knowledge) evolution? In other words, why does our physical body and its survival mechanisms,
evolve much slower than our knowledge base?

This might go a long way to explain why we develop moral and ethical systems, such as laws against
discrimination, and yet we still succumb to biological impulses such as discrimination on
appearances. But this discrepancy between biology and our knowledge development raises its own
question: is knowledge (human knowledge) an anomaly of biology in general and of evolution in
particular?

Best Lawrence


*The Conversation: The Booty Bias
http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/05/sex-discrimination-workplace-beauty-forbes-woman-time-debrahlee-lorenzana-citigroup.html
**Heights of presidents and presidential candidates of the United States
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heights_of_presidents_and_presidential_candidates_of_the_United_States
^Height Chart of Men and Women in Different Countries
http://www.disabled-world.com/artman/publish/height-chart.shtml
^except for Carter




Best 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 Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: The importance of physical appearance

Thursday, November 01, 2012

from Lawrence, Sunday PhiloMadrid meeting: The power of emotions in our society

Dear friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: The power of emotions in our society.

What might seem to be a pleasant run of the mill subject might prove to be the most explosive issue
in political philosophy. Unfortunately the gap between political philosophy and real philosophy is
wide enough for people to ignore the obvious as I try to demonstrate in my few lines on the subject.

In the meantime, this Saturday is the last opportunity you have to visit the British cemetery for a
while, although you can always get in touch with David to check when he next opens the cemetery for
public visits. I can assure that the Cemetery is a monument to the history of Madrid in modern times.
--------------------
Cementerio Británico

Redacto el presente mensaje tanto en español como en inglés con el objeto de comunicarles el
programa de visitas guiadas 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, día 27 de octubre, cuando daré las explicaciones en español
*sábado, día 3 de noviembre, cuando daré las explicaciones en inglés.

Lo dejo a su elección cuál día acuda y no hay necesidad de avisar.

Si prefiere hacer la visita en una fecha no programada por la presente lista, no hay más que avisarme.

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 provide the programme of 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 27th October will be in Spanish
* the visit on Saturday 3rd November will be in English.

The choice of date is left to you and there is no need tell me in advance of the visit whether you
are coming.
If you would like a visit on a different date, just let me know and I will arrange it.

Do take note of our website < www.britishcemeterymadrid.com > where you will find details of the
Cemetery's history and a map of its location.

David Butler

------------------------------


The power of emotions in our society

Emotions in the context of society, must by definition, have the characteristics of being publicly
manifested and cause public behaviour. Of course, by public behaviour I am also including inactions
and not actions might develop over time. For example the effects of a terrorist attack might lead to
a collection of emotions over time.

And although emotions are states of consciousness that are caused by external events to the person
(I am excluding diseases of the brain here), the physiological process might affect individuals
differently. Fear or anger, for example, might be felt in different degrees by people in a given
situation and might cause different reactions. Why this should happen if of course beyond the scope
of my few lines, here.

For me the worst issue is not the nature of emotions but rather what we mean by society. The word
–society- is like one of those hologram pictures we find with sweets and chocolate bars, although
today they are more common on credit cards, that look very pretty and convincing but in reality they
are just a trick on our perceptions and weakness of the brain. Indeed, one of the weaknesses of the
brain is that it receives data of the world in the same format, and it does not matter where the
data represent a real thing in the world or a representation of some thing in the world. A picture
of a tiger and a real tiger is transmitted to the brain in the same data type (chemical/electrical
signals). It is only the associated date that we also receive from each situation that will cause
different reactions in us. Coming face to face with a real tiger on the run wouldn't be very
entertaining!

There is no doubt that the word -society- is just a linguistic hologram, in the real world there are
individuals: each with a unique emotion system and each reacting to subjective stimuli from the
world. Thus the word –society- is a word that tricks our brain into thinking that there is some
singular collective of people out there, when all there is are just individuals. The only problem is
that this word society is a very successful word in our language and also very effective; we fall
for the illusion every time.

And there is a good reason for this language trick to work, most of us react more or less the same
way in a given situation. A nice picture of a tiger would make us feel good; a real situation where
we are face to face with a live tiger would also create the same panic fear in most of us. This
capacity in most of us to more-or-less feel the same emotion in more-or-less the same situation
gives us the sense that we can tie emotions to society. The question is whether all situations can
have this infectious effect on most us? And, as a consequence we experience the same emotion. Of
course, the point about emotions is not the feeling but the behaviour. If as a "society" we can feel
the same emotion and hence behave the same way, this could be a very useful tool in social
engineers. And hence manipulate individuals indirectly by hiding behind the illusion of society.

For example, by proposing that something is good for society, say spending billions of Euros to hold
a ridiculous sports event, means that individuals not only go with the programme, but wouldn't
object to such destructive projects to the nation's economy. We can be persuaded to believe that the
Olympics are good for the country, but you and I know damn well that such an event is not good for us!

One emotion that fits this criteria that can activate the same emotion in most of us from a single
event, and I cannot think of another one, is fear. So for all intents and purposes, the power of
emotions in our society, boils down to, the power of fear in our society. Of course, being
confronted by a tiger face to face is an extreme form of fear; mainly because humanity has
practically killed all tigers and we're therefore unlikely to meet a real tiger. But within the
concept of fear, we can include anxiety, insecurity, a sense of inferiority, feel good factor, etc.

Indeed this is why such things as nationalism, separatism, terrorism, war, racial phobia, and the
fires of hell are very popular with governments when the welfare of the population is being
threatened by failed government policies. These are serious events that can affect the security of
our group and hence us individually. These are risk free ploys guaranteed to generate fear in
society and the population.

What this means is that if you are a parent with a young family and the government is happy to
pursue policies that are guaranteed to maintain unemployment at 25% of the labour force, fear is a
real emotional experience many a parent would feel. And we all know that civil disobedience or
revolutionary fervour are just not options for people with real responsibilities. And those who are
not concerned about this situation is because they have nothing to lose or because they know that
their wealth is safe in the hands of a more reliable society overseas!



Best 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: The power of emotions in our society

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