What is wrong with tolerance

Jewish Haim Addad posing with his Arabic neighbour near Djerba, Tunisia, May 2008. Photo by Patrick Zachmann/Magnum The ideal of religious tolerance has crippling flaws. It’s time to embrace a civic philosophy of reciprocity by Simon Rabinovitch is an assistant professor of history at Boston University. He is the author of Jewish Rites, National Rites: Nationalism and Autonomy in Late Imperial and Revolutionary Russia (2015) and the forthcoming Jewish Collective Rights: Religious Liberty and Modern States. Edited by Sam Haselby The purpose of religious tolerance has always been, and remains, to maintain the power and purity of the dominant religion in a given state. Most dominant … Continue reading What is wrong with tolerance

We Need to Save Ignorance From AI

DRIVER’S ED: The website moralmachine.mit.edu tests human moral intuition in cases where machines will soon be making decisions, using data types of our own choosing.MIT In an age of all-knowing algorithms, how do we choose not to know? BY CHRISTINA LEUKER & WOUTER VAN DEN BOS After the fall of the Berlin Wall, East German citizens were offered the chance to read the files kept on them by the Stasi, the much-feared Communist-era secret police service. To date, it is estimated that only 10 percent have taken the opportunity. In 2007, James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, asked that he … Continue reading We Need to Save Ignorance From AI

Marcus Aurelius on How Meeting Reality on Its Own Terms Helps Us Live Through Our Difficulties

“Accept everything which happens, even if it seem disagreeable, because it leads to this, the health of the universe.” BY MARIA POPOVA “At bottom the whole concern of both morality,” William James wrote in contemplating the human search for meaning, “is with the manner of our acceptance of the universe. Do we accept it only in part and grudgingly, or heartily and altogether? … If we accept the whole, shall we do so as if stunned into submission… or shall we do so with enthusiastic assent?” The pioneering psychologist and philosopher was reaching across time, space, and cultures to perch on the shoulders of … Continue reading Marcus Aurelius on How Meeting Reality on Its Own Terms Helps Us Live Through Our Difficulties

WHY HAVING IT ALL DOESN’T WORK AND WHAT DOES

by Jonathan Zap, Guest Waking Times One of the most potent of spells or enchantments that can bind you into the matrix is to live under the compulsion of always having to imagine getting more in the future. Under this spell, you become a donkey forever hypnotized by an imaginary carrot just up ahead. The carrot, the ‘more,’ that ever glitters in your mind’s eye like a ring of power, could be many things–sex, money, power, fame, looks–often the imagined more is a vision of that more perfected life just up ahead, the one in which you have realized your ideal weight, … Continue reading WHY HAVING IT ALL DOESN’T WORK AND WHAT DOES

This is what God’s face looks like, according to American Christians

What would God look like? A new study shows what Americans think.  by SCOTTY HENDRICKS What does God look like? In our culture, we often see images of an older white man with a flowing beard. This image has been remarkably consistent and can be found in works from Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam to The Simpsons. But, if you pressed them, how many people would say that is who they think of when they pray? Luckily for us, new research shows us precisely what American Christians think God looks like.  In a study done at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, … Continue reading This is what God’s face looks like, according to American Christians

Truth is also a place

In 1966, Clair C Patterson joined an expedition to Antarctica to see if lead pollution had made its way to the ends of the earth – it had. Photo courtesy Caltech Archives Throughout history, people found truth at holy places. Now we build courts, labs and altars to be truth spots too Thomas Gierynis a sociologist at Indiana University Bloomington. His most recent book is Truth-Spots: How Places Make People Believe(2018). Edited by Sam Haselby Some places make people believe. For nearly a millennium, archaic Greek city-states and diverse cultures throughout the Mediterranean world sought truthful accounts of the future from the Oracle … Continue reading Truth is also a place

The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics Pioneer Norbert Wiener on Communication, Control, and the Morality of Our Machines

Man as Industrial Palace (1926) by infographics pioneer Fritz Kahn “We are not stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves. A pattern is a message.” BY MARIA POPOVA “Information will never replace illumination,” Susan Sontag asserted in considering the conscience of words. “Words are events, they do things, change things,”Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in the same era in her exquisite meditation on the magic of real human communication. “They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.” But what happens when words are stripped of their humanity, fed into … Continue reading The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics Pioneer Norbert Wiener on Communication, Control, and the Morality of Our Machines