PHILOMADRID

PhiloMadrid - Pub Philosophy Meetings in Madrid

Friday, January 27, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Resistance Vs Resistance

Essays by Alicia and me

Dear Friends,

First of all, Alfonso sends greetings to everyone.
I also have to apologise to Lola for not including her essay on Joy last
week; you can now read it on the blog.
This Sunday's topic is Resistance Vs Resistance. As Alicia points in her
essay, in both English and Spanish, these two concepts are very topical
in business and work life. She outlines her ideas especially in the
context of the work environment.
In my essay I take a different perspective. Although I also discuss
these two concepts in the context of survival in society I see these
skills as inadequate; I see them as a defensive strategy, but to
progress we need skills that help us set up offensive strategies.

---- Alicia
"RESISTANCE VS RESISTANCE." (Alicia del Hierro)
Resilience: Ability to overcome pressure and also recover our initial
state thus leaving strengthened.
Ability to overcome moments of crisis and the ability to create
proactive and productive methodologies.
Emotionally resistant people have a specific set of attitudes about
themselves and their role in the world that motivates them and allows
them to cope with stress more efficiently and effectively than their
non-resistant peers.
The chalk represents Resistance and plasticine Resilence
The chalk is broken if we do not make a correct use of it and instead
the plasticine is ductile.
Resilience and effective teamwork have a true model for their
development, are composed of methods and the 5 Cs: cooperation, trust,
communication, commitment and complementarities. Democratic leadership,
effective positivism, a definition of global and individual goals,
mutual support and understanding of change processes are key to success.
We must understand our shortcomings, accept areas to improve and
overcome obstacles.
Skills and attitudes go hand in hand with the objective of developing a
resolute and effective project.
With the economic crisis: the lack of values, the custom of economic
rotation, excess resources, duplication of efforts and processes or lack
of emotional structure and training has taken its toll.
Resilience, a concept that is going to be discussed in the next few
years because it represents the ability of work groups, organizations or
people to overcome adversities and overcome them
Someone said: "The optimist always has a project, the pessimist an excuse".
Difficulty in living translates into making it difficult to manage your
personal talent. If we live with a positive attitude, where pleasant and
humorous situations prevail with a sense of humor we will create more
relaxed environments, more fluid relationships, we will be better
protected against stress and reduce the consumption of drugs.
We must deepen the cause of the negative impact, work the mutual
relationship between the team, the individual and the problem, manage
the construction of the new reality and enhance the effective exit of
the conflict.
"Luck is what happens when preparation and opportunity meet and merge."
Voltaire.
"The motive does not always exist to be reached, but to serve as a point
of view." Joseph Joubert.
Temperance, motivation, discipline, verbalize the mission, attitude to
change what does not work, action and positivity.
"Know, accept, and surmise." San Agustin.
Someone said:
DIVERSITY IS POWER, IF WE LEARN HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.
True resilience and effective teams learn to empower one mind, by a
thousand arms. To do this we must understand and internalize: If we win,
we must win the others too.
We have to measure whether our effort brings us closer to our goals.
Every team should congratulate themselves on their successes, enjoy
their achievements and thank the vital part contributed by each of the
participants.
For my team to be resilient, solvent and successful, leadership is
necessary. But it is not possible to create a team, but it is possible
to activate and activate all the resources available to us. Too many
people are worried about sticking wheels.
If we want to be resilient we have to work day by day to get it and
never lower our guard, but it is worth the effort. !!

---(Spanish original by Alicia)---
RESILENCIA VS RESISTENCIA.
Resilencia: Capacidad de superar la presión y además recuperar nuestro
estado inicial saliendo fortalecidos.
Aptitud necesaria para superar momentos de crisis y la habilidad de
crear metodologías proactivas y productivas.

Las personas emocionalmente resistentes tienen un conjunto específico de
actitudes respecto a sí mismos y a su papel en el mundo que los motiva y
les permite hacer frente al estrés de manera más eficiente y eficaz que
sus compañeros no resistentes.

La tiza representa la Resistencia y la plastilina la Resilencia
La tiza se termina rompiendo si no hacemos un uso correcto de ella y en
cambio la plastilina es dúctil .

La resiliencia y el trabajo en equipo eficaz tienen un verdadero modelo
para su desarrollo, se compone de métodos y de las 5 ces: cooperación,
confianza, comunicación, compromiso y complementariedad. Un liderazgo
democrático, un positivismo eficaz, una definición de los objetivos
globales e individuales, un apoyo mutuo y la comprensión de los procesos
de cambio son fundamentales para llevarlo al éxito.
Hay q comprender nuestras carencias, aceptar las áreas a mejorar y
superar los obstáculos.
Aptitudes y actitudes van unidos con el objetivo de desarrollar un
proyecto resolutivo y eficaz.
Con la crisis económica: la falta de valores, la costumbre de la
rotación económica, el exceso de recursos, la duplicidad de las
gestiones y de los procesos o la carente estructura y formación
emocional ha pasado factura.
La resilencia, concepto del q se va a hablar en los próximos años porque
representa la habilidad de los grupos de trabajo, organizaciones o las
personas para superar las adversidades y salir reforzados de ellas
Alguién dijo: "El optimista tiene siempre un proyecto, el pesimista una
excusa".
La dificultad para vivir se traduce en la dificultar de gestionar tu
talento personal. Si vivimos con una actitud positiva, donde primen las
situaciones agradables y divertidas con sentido del humor crearemos
ambientes más relajados, relaciones más fluidas, estaremos mejor
protejidos contra el estrés y reduciremos el consumo de fármacos.
Hay que profundizar en la causa del impacto negativo, trabajar la
relación mutua entre el equipo, el individuo y la problemática,
gestionar la construcción de la nueva realidad y potenciar la salida del
conflicto con eficacia.
"Suerte es lo q sucede cuando la preparación y la oportunidad se
encuentran y fusionan". Voltaire.
"El motivo no existe siempre para ser alcanzado, sino para servir de
punto de mira". Joseph Joubert.
Templanza, motivación, disciplina, verbalizar la misión, actitud para
cambiar lo q no funciona, acción y positividad.
"Conócete, acéptate, supérate". San Agustín.
Alguién dijo:
LA DIVERSIDAD ES PODER SI APRENDEMOS A SACARLE PARTIDO.
La verdadera resiliencia y los equipos eficaces aprenden a potenciar una
misma mente, pero mil brazos. Para ello hay que comprender e
interiorizar: Si nosotros ganamos también deben ganar los demás.
Tenemos q medir si nuestro esfuerzo nos acerca a nuestros objetivos.
Todo equipo debe congratularse de sus triunfos, gozar con sus logros y
agradecer la parte vital aportada por cada uno de los participantes.
Para q mi equipo sea resilente, solvente y llegue al éxito es necesario
un liderazgo. Pero no es posible crear un equipo sino se posibilitan y
accionan todos los recursos de los que disponemos. Hay demasiadas
personas preocupadas en poner palos a las ruedas.
Si queremos ser resilientes hay que trabajar día a día para conseguirlo
y nunca bajar la guardia, pero merece la pena el esfuerzo.!!
Alicia

-----by Lawrence
Resilience vs resistance

Resilience: the ability to recover from some adversity and overcome any
negative effects. And resistance is the ability not to be affected by
something that could be an adversity. We might even care to say,
fortitude or fight.
These are qualities that would help a living system to survive. The
ability to recover from an adversity is quite an achievement in the
sense that it's quite an ability to be able to recover just before one
succumbs to the effects of adversity. Survival is the name of the game
and an ability to survive in the nick of time, is still survival.
Although the outcome is a success, the fact that one has come so close
to the end because of an adversity, might also reflect an important
weakness of the person as much as a fortitude to recover.
Resistance, however, is an even more worthy ability since one has the
ability to prevent harm or adversity from happening. But this does not
mean that resistance comes free. Resistance requires presence of mind
and strength either from the foresight of being prepared or from
experience. And although being able to fight off adversity shows a
strong character, it is still a close call for one's survival. After all
even Achilles had a weak spot and weakness can be, by definition,
exploited by the enemy. Resistance is not risk free, but not as damaging
as resilience.
Our ability to survive, either in the sense of physical survival or even
metaphorical survival in life, is a skill we need but again it does not
come cheap. It is true that we are born with some survival skills but
usually these skills imply biological survival. Our ability to survive
in society requires more advanced and fine tuned skills which are,
today, more associated with intellectual and psychological robustness.
More than ever we need to hone in our learning skills and language
skills to survive in the complex artificial societies we live in today.
Even a bar of chocolate today comes with all sorts of messages and
information about contents and storage. One slip when reading the
contents of a food product and this could mean life or death for some
unfortunate people.
Indeed, today I was at a press conference for a play production and the
interview was spontaneously conducted in both Spanish and English even
though there was an interpreter interpreting the proceedings. However,
the majority of the journalists were all young people and the panel,
apart from the non Spanish playwright, were also young. People were
using English as a tool to exchange information and language was not a
hindrance to do their job. The situation was a bit different when I
arrived in Spain.
This adaptation of skills to meet today's requires means that many
people have moved (evolved) from resilience and resistance to certain
intellectual challenges, i.e. coping with a bad situation, to basically
becoming immune to these challenges. Having learnt new language skills
means that my younger peers are not threatened by foreign language
skills but these serve them as a survival tool.
In effect what this means is that the best defence against adverse
events is to be immune to them rather than to survive them or fight them
off. Immunity as a concept in the context of our discussion, i.e. not in
the biological sense, means that we have the psychological and mental
skills not to be affected adverse events.
The advantage of being immune to certain events means that in our life
we can apply an offensive strategy to get what we need rather than set
up a defensive strategy. Journalists who have adequate foreign language
skills can conduct interviews with international personalities directly
with them thus obtaining direct information, not only in meaning but
also the innuendos or nuances. Sometimes interpreters have to forego
nuances because they don't have the time to interpret both form and
substance.
In effect although life might be about survival, just surviving might
not be enough. But moving from a defensive strategy to an offensive will
certainly require changes in our mind set.

Best Lawrence


tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------


from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Resistance Vs
Resistance

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Joy by Lola

Essay JOY 18/01/17
Life has given us joy and sorrow. It must be so. The one goes with the
other. It is impossible to be one hundred per cent into one or another.
Most of the time we are in between.


Personnally I would like to change the formula and be more than fifty
joyfull.
It has been proved that joy or happiness ease the functions of the
body, make the mind work pro life in our own self rather than cold
seriousness, self concentration and somber thinking. As the bible says
"A joyful heart is good medicine...".


I know there are moments... when you can´t be cheerful, but what the
hell! What´s the use of being sad and mournful... Unless you believe in
mortification, there are so many beautiful things to enjoy in this world!!


And, really, these are as simple as daily sunrise, a miraculous promise
of life in its fulfilment!


However, I don't want to make a dogma out of this. There is nothing
more stupid than searching for happiness all the time, as you simply
won´t be able to look at the other side of the moon. I don´t want to
seem a preacher or a self-help writer anxious to make money from general
idiocy.


Love is very important, for all ages, as it is to be acepted by
society, something that takes us a life! It´s been proved that health
and quietness relaxes our muscles, strengthen our immunological system
and so reduces solitude. May be it´s a question of hormons but IT WORKS!


My advice is to keep a good state of mind to try to look into the best
possible way of understanding things, that´s simply all.
BIG HUG TO YOU!
LOLA.

Friday, January 20, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Joy

Dear Friends,


This Sunday we are discussing: Joy.

We usually use the word happiness to discuss joy; indeed in most
discussions they are treated as synonyms. Except that a more fine tuned
definition of joy links joy to feelings of great pleasure or happiness,
whilst happiness is defined as a state of being happy (e.g. search both
"define joy" and "define happiness" in Google).

Whilst these two definitions do not really help us, searching Google to
find out which term is more common in language will equally take us
nowhere. A search for joy will result in approximately twice the number
of appearances in Google than happiness. This is not because joy is a
better term in English than happiness, but rather that the word joy is
much favoured with business establishments and artists; it has a punch
to it that happiness doesn't.

So for those who really want to identify the differences in meaning, we
might argue that joy includes the idea of pleasure, maybe even physical
pleasure such as titillation or eroticism. Happiness is an agreeable
state of mind over time which we would describe ourselves when we are in
this state as "being happy".

From our perspective, I will consider these two questions as more or
less the same: what makes me happy? And what brings me joy? To these
questions we might add: is pleasure the only cause or at least source of
happiness and joy? Must there always be pleasure for there to be
happiness or joy?

This third question is probably more important than the previous two
since pleasure is more associated with physical than metaphysical
phenomena. Very often we say things like "it's a great pleasure to see
you again". However, it sounds a bit odd to say that "I get a lot of
pleasure thinking about the saints in heaven," but not so "I derive a
lot of joy or happiness thinking about the saints."

But if pleasure is always associated with joy or happiness then surely
joy and happiness are more associated with empirical experience rather
than a spiritual elation. And I don't mean spiritual is a religious
sense but more in the sense of something over and above the vulgarity of
physical perception. Thus joy, happiness and pleasure are basically a
language description of different levels of physical stimulation that is
not pain but something agreeable.

But this perspective has its own dark side. Firstly, there would be
nothing lofty about Plato's rational person achieving happiness by being
moral. There is simply no reason why evil people couldn't be happy or
derive joy from their deeds, than us ordinary people. And if evil people
are sick so they do not qualify as rational people, what qualifies us as
rational people? Doing evil can be no less joyful than doing what is
good. This suggests to me that joy and happiness have nothing to do with
morality at all.

And another issue is: how do we know that we are intentionally feeling
joy or being happy. In other words, is feeling happy an intentional free
act? And must states of happiness also be conscious states of mind
(brain)? I started writing this essay listening to Beethoven's Symphony
No. 9 (Ode to Joy), so when I was listening to this music was the joy it
was giving me a free conscious act of mine or was Beethoven manipulating
my brain from beyond the grave so to speak? And if Beethoven can
manipulate my brain to feel joy, why can't an malevolent manipulator
affect my brain to feel joy as well? Indeed would joy caused by a
manipulator count as joy?

Thus, what is joy (happiness) should not be mistaken for the question:
how to be happy? But whatever joy means I am not confident that this
will help us answer the question: should I be allowed to pursue what
gives me joy, pleasure or happiness?

Best Lawrence


tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------


from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Joy

Sunday, January 15, 2017

mourning



CORRECTED SOME TYPOS.

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: mourning.

No doubt this is a subject none of us would like to experience and even less, discuss it. Moreover, we might rightfully think that, at best, mourning is a topic at the peripheral edges of philosophy. Perhaps even more appropriate in psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Our task is not to show people how to mourn or overcome their grief caused by  the loss of someone close, but more to understand the scope of mourning.

Indeed the process of mourning seems to happen in two planes: we have the personal level and the social level. Thus, at a private and personal level we find a way to deal with the grief and the loss of another person. And at the social level we are expected to behave in a manner that is prescribed and recognised as mourning by our social group.

Despite the fact that we should know better we still judge people in society by their behaviour; especially people we are not familiar with. Thus the public act of mourning also affects our personal instinct to mourn. In times gone by, it was customary to mourn by wearing black, even though we might have hated the person that passed on. Thus the public display of mourning might be in conflict with the personal private state of the person. And sometimes, for social reasons, we could not manifest our private mourning in public.

Either the word itself or the experience of mourning refers to the grief, pain or sorrow we feel when someone passes on. But this grief is caused by the loss to us and not necessarily by the absence of the person. We don't really mourn when a friend goes to live in another city, but we do mourn when that friend passes away. So could it be that our grief, and hence our mourning, is not caused by the death of a person but by our loss of that other person: meaning that the grief is cause by the fact that we have lost someone and not by someone dying?

There is a big difference here: if we feel grief and pain because the other person passing away this suggests some form of empathy with that person. However, if we mourn for the loss of the other person then surely it's because we sense a personal event of deprivation something that is no longer ours.

Of course, these two options of interpreting mourning shift the emphasis of mourning from the person who has passed away to the person(s) that are still living. Could it be, therefore, that we mourn not from empathic motivation or causes but rather from selfish instincts of a loss?

Indeed, a loss of someone we relate to means that we have to readjust our character and our mode of life. Hence, a loss of someone is more than just the death of a dear person, but more importantly a loss that has a direct and radical change and impact on our life. After all we are social creatures, and we function best when surrounded by other people especially by people we trust and people we have a connection with.

This might go a long way to explain why we mourn certain people in the public eye; film stars, political leaders, royalty and so forth. These people are not friends or relatives and yet many mourn them as if they were friends or relatives. There life must surely have affected us in a meaningful way which is something not everyone can have on us.

The personal loss approach interpretation to mourning might explain why mourning hasn't evolved out of our mental set up. But just because we mourn, because it is our loss, it does not follow that mourning ought to be optional or that the social act of mourning is unnecessary. On the contrary if we lose someone close or dear to us it follows that others who might equally be close to us will also experience a personal loss in their life. And if we have no empathy with the dead many of us still have empathy with the living. And the first principle of our social survival and personal existence is that we depend on others as much as our own skills to survive and deal with the changes in the world around us.

To sum up, mourning might be interpreted as some sort of empathy with the passing away of someone close or dear to us. But grief is usually associated with loss of what belongs to us and pain is usually associated with personal injury. But someone passing away might explain the grief, but what explains the pain we feel? It seems that maybe mourning might take us a level further: those who are in mourning for the same person means that they all have lost a personal "belonging". This means that there is an imbalance in the status of cooperation in the group; given that stability in a group can only be achieved by cooperation or a state of equilibrium over time. Indeed, the loss of a person in a family can sometimes lead to an acrimonious division in the family. Thus pain can  be both real pain through stress or mental pain through psychological emotions.

Hence, mourning, it seems, is much more about the living than about the dead. The dead live in our private world, but the living live in the real world.

Best Lawrence



tel: 606081813
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
----------------------------


from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: mourning


Show quoted text

Friday, January 13, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: mourning

Dear Friends,

This Sunday we are discussing: Mourning.

No doubt this is a subject none of us would like to experience and even
less, discuss it. Moreover, we might rightfully think that, at best,
mourning is a topic at the peripheral edges of philosophy. Perhaps even
more appropriate in psychology, sociology, and anthropology. Our task is
not to show people how to mourn or overcome their grief caused by grief
caused the loss of someone close, but more to understand the scope of
mourning.

Indeed the process of mourning seems to happen in two planes: we have
the personal level and the social level. Thus, at a private and personal
level we find a way to deal with the grief and the loss of another
person. And at the social level we are expected to behave in a manner
that is prescribed and recognised as mourning by our social group.

Despite the fact that we should know better we still judge people in
society by their behaviour; especially people we are not familiar with.
Thus the public act of mourning also affects our personal instinct to
mourn. In times gone by, it was customary to mourn by wearing black,
even though we might have hated the person that passed on. Thus the
public display of mourning might be in conflict with the personal
private state of the person. And sometimes, for social reasons, we could
not manifest our private mourning in public.

Either the word itself or the experience of mourning refers to the
grief, pain or sorrow we feel when someone passes on. But this grief is
caused by the loss to us and not necessarily by the absence of the
person. We don't really mourn when a friend goes to live in another
city, but we do mourn when that friend passes away. So could it be that
our grief, and hence our mourning is not caused by the death of a person
but by our loss of that other person: meaning that the grief is cause by
the fact that we have lost someone and not by someone dying?

There is a big difference here: if we feel grief and pain because the
other person passing away this suggests some form of empathy with that
person. However, if we mourn for the loss of the other person then
surely it's because we sense a personal event of deprivation something
that is no longer ours.

Of course, these two options of interpreting mourning shift the emphasis
of mourning from the person who has passed away to the person(s) that
are still alive. Could it be, therefore, that we mourn not from empathic
motivation or causes but rather from selfish instincts of a loss?

Indeed, a loss of someone we relate to means that we have to readjust
our character and our mode of life. Hence, a loss of someone is more
than just the death of a dear person, but more importantly a loss that
has a direct and radical change and impact on our life. After all we are
social creatures, and we function best when surrounded by other people
especially by people we trust and people we have a connection with.

This might go a long way to explain why we mourn certain people in the
public eye; film stars, political leaders, royalty and so forth. These
people are not friends or relatives and yet many mourn them as if they
were friends or relatives. There life must surely have affected us in a
meaningful way which is something not everyone can have on us.

The personal loss approach interpretation to mourning might explain why
mourning hasn't evolved out of our mental set up. But just because we
mourn because it is our loss it does not follow that mourning ought to
be optional or that the social act of mourning is unnecessary. On the
contrary if we lose someone close or dear to us it follows that others
who might equally be close to us will also experience a personal loss in
their life. And if we have not empathy with the dead many of us still
have empathy with the living. And the first principle of our social
survival and personal existence is that we depend on others as much as
our own skills to survive and deal with the changes in the world around us.

To sum up, mourning might be interpreted as some sort of empathy with
the passing away of someone close or dear to us. But grief is usually
associated with loss of what belongs to us and pain is usually
associated with personal injury. But someone passing away might explain
the grief, but what explains the pain we feel? It seems that maybe
mourning might take us a level further: those who are in mourning for
the same person means that they all have lost a personal "belonging".
This means that there is an imbalance in the status of cooperation in
the group; given that stability in a group can only be achieved by
cooperation or a state of equilibrium over time. Indeed, the loss of a
person in a family can sometimes lead to an acrimonious division in the
family. Thus pain can both be real pain through stress or mental pain
through psychological emotions.

Hence, mourning, it seems, is much more about the living than about the
dead. The dead live in out private world, but the living live in the
real world.

Best Lawrence



tel: 606081813
philomadrid@gmail.com <mailto:philomadrid@gmail.com>
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
<http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/>
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
914457935
Metro: Bilbao
-----------Ignacio------------
Open Tertulia in English every
Thursdays at Triskel in c/San Vicente Ferrer 3.
Time: from 19:30 to 21h
http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/
<http://sites.google.com/site/tertuliainenglishmadrid/>
----------------------------


from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: mourning

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Entertainment

Dear Friends,

First of all Happy New Year!! Feliz Nuevo Año!!

This Sunday, the 8th we are discussing: Entertainment.

(I'm sending the email today Wednesday, because it might be difficult to
do it late tomorrow.)


We've just spent the past few days busy engaged in activities full of
merriment, joy and entertainment in the year, i.e. Christmas. Or at
least that's the universal idea we are supposed to have about Christmas
and the new year celebrations. This idea of entertainment goes back to
the beginnings of time. Maybe at the beginning activities weren't as
sophisticated as a shopping mall today with all sorts of retail shops
and cinema theatres.

Of course, we know the difference between entertainment and work. And we
appreciate that our entertainment is probably someone else's work. But
what does this have to do with philosophy?

It has always been argued that life is balance between pain and
pleasure, and indeed we also have in our language such proverbs as "All
work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Even from this very simple
idea, we can engage in such questions as: what is the right work/rest
balance? How do we ensure that everyone enjoys this balance? Or at the
very least offer real opportunities for everyone to have a work/rest
balance?

And by definition we are encroaching into human rights, exploitation,
slavery, health and safety at work, economics, political powers and the
duty of the state towards people in general, and workers, in particular?
For example should governments subsidise certain entertainment activities?

Entertainment can be a personal activity or something we do with small
groups such as family or friends, social and national in scope, and
today with the help of technology we have global entertainment. When
describing personal entertainment we would use such terminology as
hobbies, personal interests, relaxing activities, personal time, and so
on. The idea here is that we are not just participants in these
activities but in most cases we design the nature of these activities.
Someone who likes hiking might have the option to join a hiking group or
simply plan a day out hiking. What is clear is that there are very few
things, apart from contemplating the infinite, we can do without the
need of other people. If we are into hiking we need hiking shoes, bags,
maps, transport etc.

At an extreme end we have the individual actively creating what pleases
them and on the other hand we have the individual whose only
participation is to have the necessary technological device and enjoy
the event. The football world cup is such an event where we are expected
to sit in front of the telly and enjoy the games. In other words
creating an entertainment event requires economic, financial and
technology as much as other activities of human beings.

But somehow we feel that entertainment is special from the other
activities we engage in. For example, most people would agree that
theatre plays, concerts and dance shows should have very little VAT
imposed on the entrance ticket. But why not for football matches and
sports car racing, such as Formula 1?

One reason is that we regard entertainment activities as cultural
activities as well; or at least many entertainment activities. Indeed,
cinema, theatre, music, dance, books and plays are closely associated
with culture. And we want that these activities are promoted and
supported; indeed companies go out of their way to sponsor the right
activities that fit their corporate profile.

But the entertainment industry could easily be regarded as a political
force as much as any other group of people. Today we understand by the
entertainment industry entertainment activities organised as a
commercial concern for profit. Thus a drama group organising a play at
the local theatre is probably not part of the entertainment industry,
but a Hollywood film is, or an international pop group is part of the
entertainment industry. And, therefore, whilst the cinema is part of our
culture, blockbusters from Hollywood are first and foremost a business
concern.

Indeed, the globalisation of Hollywood and the Hollywood effect
(behaving like Hollywood celebrities with all the trappings) are also
regarded as part of the social and political survival game, but at a
global level. Hollywood is probably more influential in shaping
political thinking and social ideas by individuals throughout the world
than say the US military. Rambo is has more influence in Russia or China
than all the Purple Heart heroes since the award was created. Hollywood
successfully promotes the American dream in other countries than say the
constitution of the USA. As far as I know very few people want to go to
the US because of the First Amendment (Amendment I), but people do go to
the US to try their luck at the American dream. Indeed, I would say that
due to global communication the American dream has become the First
World Dream.

The bottom line is that probably entertainment has evolved from a time
together round the camp fire, to a huge industry with probably more
political and social influence than the military establishment. But does
this mean that just because an activity is labelled as entertainment it
is immune from responsibilities other activities are legally or morally
bound by?

Best Lawrence



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from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting at 6:30pm: Entertainment

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Philosophy, Social Issues, Classical Philosophy, Citizen Philosophy, Applied Philosophy, Non-Political Meeting, Non-Religious Meeting,