Ruminations on Zero (and Infinity)

Zero is a strange beast. It is the only number that is neither positive nor negative, it is arguably neither real nor imaginary (or maybe both), and it’s the only number that in modern mathematics no number can be divided by. The way that 0 sometimes behaves like any other number and sometimes doesn’t reminds […]

On Epiphenomenalism

Physicalist philosophers, recognizing that the existence of consciousness poses a threat to their worldview, have been trying recently to come up with theories that can explain the existence of consciousness within a physicalist framework, which usually involves turning consciousness into a completely pointless addition to the universe. They dismiss it as a mere illusion or […]

Unmagical Magic

Most people believe that magic–not in the sense of prestidigitation and illusionism, but in the sense of sorcery–involves such exotic things as immaterial beings, subtle substances, and other planes of existence. However, there are practitioners of magic who assert that invocations, spells, charms and the like all work, but they do so through purely psychological […]

Meditations on the Tao Te Ching: Chapter 33

Knowing others is wisdom; Knowing the self is enlightenment. Mastering others requires force; Mastering the self needs strength.   He who knows he has enough is rich. Perseverance is a sign of willpower. He who stays where he is endures. To die but not to perish is to be eternally present.   -Translation by Gia-Fu […]

Meditations on the Tao Te Ching: Chapter 29

Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it? I do not believe it can be done.   The universe is sacred. You cannot improve it. If you try to change it, you will ruin it. If you try to hold it, you will lose it.   So sometimes things are ahead […]

“It’s Good but I Don’t Like It”; on Objective Evaluations of Art

People sometimes say that some piece of art (“art” in the broad sense, including the likes of movies, books, vidogames, music, etc.) is good, but they don’t like it, or that it’s bad, but they still like it. Statements such as these try to draw a distinction between an objective and subjective evaluation of art. […]

Neitzsche’s Metamorphoses, Taoism, and the Paradox of Nihilism

In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche presents the idea of the Three Metamorphoses. He describes a transformation of a spirit into a camel, which strives to live by the set of values it has been given, until it grows overburdened with these values that are foreign to it and seeks to get rid of them. The […]

Taoist and Stoic Nature

I’ve been reading some Epictetus recently and noticed some points of similarity and dissimilarity between Taoism and Stoicism, so I figured I’d say a little about them here. The main points of similarity seem to come from the shared ideal of the sage as someone who’s actions are in perfect accord with nature. For both […]

Meditations on the Tao Te Ching: Chapter 24

He who stands on tiptoe is not steady. He who strides cannot maintain the pace. He who makes a show is not enlightened. He who is self-righteous is not respected. He who boasts achieves nothing. He who brags will not endure. According to followers of the Tao, “These are extra food and unnecessary luggage.” They […]

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