Pop Science, Philosophy etc

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Does it work as the gateway it's sometimes intended as or does it just leave people sated with a poor grasp of a given subject? Is Alain de Botton a charlatan?
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Is Alain de Botton a charlatan?
The shit he's flogging through his "School of Life" shop...

😂

The Imperfection Pot
New reduced price: was £50, now £40

A humble ceramic pot crafted according to ‘wabi sabi’ principles of artistic imperfection, to remind us of the inevitable imperfection of every day life.

Inspired by the Japanese tradition of wabi sabi, which finds beauty in humble, imperfect and easily overlooked places, this Imperfection Pot was made with a free hand which has resulted in the appearance of subtle flaws. Rather than ruin it, these imperfections are the key to its charm. They encapsulate – and promote more widely in life – an attitude of generosity and acceptance.

To contemplate an object and to live with it is to let a little of its character seep into our own souls. If only briefly, we become more like it. This pot, designed by Adam Buick, has a traditional celadon glaze of greyish green, associated with calm in buddhism. It is tranquil and modest, as if it is untroubled by aspiration and content to be only what it is.

Inconsistencies in the pot’s form and finish are intentional. It is designed to help us in the tricky but necessary task of accepting and even learning to appreciate our imperfections – as well as the flaws of others. The imperfect pot provides a counter to our yearning for perfection, which can be relentless. The pot is something to turn to for support and inspiration when our unreasonably high expectations of ourselves and those around us threaten to get out of control.
 
Last edited:

DannyL

Wild Horses
I have a couple of the "How to..." books and tbh they're really good. They really pack a lot in a short space. But they feel like starting points, not the whole mile.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
He turns every philosopher (or novelist, painter, etc.) into a lifestyle guru, which is toe-curling.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I should say, I am a bit of a sucker for pop psychology/science books, though.

With science particularly I feel like I will never have a good grasp of what's actually going on. So give it to me simple so I'm at least somewhat aware.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
He turns every philosopher (or novelist, painter, etc.) into a lifestyle guru, which is toe-curling.
Yeah, repackaging this stuff as self-help and business strategies is tacky in the extreme. Guys on Wall St. with an unread copy of The Art of War in their desk.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Tbf nietzsche sort of is self help. Kpunk presented Spinoza as self help. Deleuze is self help it's not all disinterested exercises of pure abstract logic
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
True, but there's self-help and "self-help" and I'm referring to the latter. You could read Marcus Aurelius' Meditations or you could read some business guy's book of repetitive anecdotes and buzzwords called something like "Stiff Upper Lip: How to Triumph in the face of Adversity in Business and in Life".
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I guess if it works, it works, but the trend seems to be that people just end up with stacks and stacks of self-help books they can't remember much of.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Yeah yeah course. I was being provocative. It's not self help per se. But it is often concerned with our lives how we should think them and live them. I've got no interest in or aptitude for logic puzzles so this is the only bit I'm interested in.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
That Matthew Walker book on sleep was what triggered the thread. I was looking at all the Guardian quotes on the cover about how "life changing" it was, the Bill Gates endorsement on Goodreads etc and becoming increasingly apprehensive. A science book published by Penguin with a load of bland quotes from journalists and business-types.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Anyway as far as the question goes I'd far rather misunderstand and mangle a primary source than get a trite summary from a guide for idiots.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Some of these philosophers I think we're "supposed" to know about. We're supposed to know who Nietzsche was, for example, even if that boils down to "God is dead" and "Ubermensch".

But the truth is 99% of us don't have the time or will to read either Nietzsche or the philosophers Nietzsche was battling against or influenced by. We're condemned to be dilettantes. Only a very small group of people have read and understood Nietzsche, and to do that they probably have had to read a lot of other philosophers, not least Hegel (I tried to read some Hegel once - never again).

We desire, then, these cultural mediators. If it also then promises us that it's going to improve our daily lives then all the better. We can feel cleverer than the bozo reading a business book. We know who Nietzsche is.

(As always I may be mainly projecting my own neuroses onto everyone else.)
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
I definitely suffer from that snobbishness toward The Guardian - despite reading some of their reporting myself - that you were on about with Mark, although not to the point that I'd read The Times out of spite. I just see anything with a Guardian, New York Times etc endorsement and roll my eyes. It reminds me of my aunt who's always reading whatever's currently being billed as the book you have to read by them.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I dipped my frontal lobes in Heidegger when I was a student, and I found it very interesting and even exciting - but it was also such hard work. I knew that if I wanted to really get to grips with this stuff I'd have to spend most of my time in the library.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
Which most of us are too time poor too indisciplined too stupid to do. And we have other priorities.
 

luka

Well-known member
Staff member
I guess one of the key questions is whether it's better to be uninformed or misinformed.
What I keep using ted talks as a shorthand for is the notion that there are shortcuts to being informed. This is a delusional belief monetised by ted talks. Pure wishful thinking. A scam.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Have you ever seen that alt-right comedian who blagged his way into a TED Talk and just chatted shit for the whole thing?
 
Top