HTLGI2013 Extraordinary?

May 28, 2013

I got the wrong Micael Foley when I booked this.  I thought I was getting the historian not a former IT lecturer at a Polytechnic turned University who wants to talk praising the ordinary and made too many jokes about sex with minors for my taste – they were clearly jokes but …   Either way he is selling some books by not saying anything of substance, but saying it well with a lovely irish accent.  I wonder if he really takes his ideas seriously or if he has just caught onto something that sells.  I do know his references to process philosophy and neuroscience were baldy wrong so I suspect a light read of sources to create apparent validation for an unchallenging view of the world.

Snake Oil, but with added sugar so you don't notice it.



Michael Foley wrote Embracing the Ordinary to persuade himself that his conventional and circumscribed life had not been pointless.  Key word is experience but we tend to see it as what rather than how wedon't  reflect on it.  Changing the way we see things is an alternative to changing what we do.  So how do we enrich perception, luckily lots of way of doing it and we need all of them.

Arts are the most useful as they embrace the ordinary earlier on and in different ways.  Philosophy got off to a flying start with the Stoics, praise the ordinary.  Marcus auralious praising bread and figs.  Then things when silent.  Marx saw modern life as alineted and debased, Heidegger's idea of everydayness as mediocrity, Satre dismiss of everyday life as inauthentic and conformist

Ruse as transgressive and subversive.  Cool hand Luke used as an example where he starts to spread gravel with manic zest then all do it, run out of road and laugh hysterically, perfect loos ruse takingforced  hard labour and making it personally subversive

Do things at work with excessive enthusiasm and it confuses bosses

Treat meetings as satirical one act plays performed for his benefit or go to meetings to collect cliches which spring eternal.  Ruse it or loose it

More generally useful is process philosophy, flourished in the US based on simple idea which is the view that everything is process, nothing is solid no end states reality is motion nothing but flux.  This can be a disturbing idea for many but its also a productive idea.  Human consciousness is also a process.  can be alarming and counter intuituve – what is there to hang onto?

So universe is the same boat as the rest of us, dust and to dust it will return.  Dark energy seething and writhing about so something is nothing and nothing is something.  Neuroscience says there is no such thing as self its all flux a series of psychological experience.

(Getting really fed up with this drivel)

We think in terms of objects and end states which creates a problem as they don't exist.  There is no right person or end state to love, when you find someone your problems are only beginning.  The common problem of depression is dispelled by the process model as there is no such thing as sameness there is no repetition – the famous axiom of Heraclitus   No one steps in the same river twice

So if we think of live as motion then everything will seem easier.

Bergsen (again) said its not only about flow but (science hs proved him right) the paradigm of emergence which explains how complexity arises from simplicity order from chaos life from inanimate matter.   Human consciousness was an accidental development.  self organisation, creative networks.  If everything is so unpredictable how come we keep waking up in the morning say same old shit again. Bergen says we are deadened by habit and convention, the utilitarian demands of everyday life

The threat grows with age, petrifaction is age related, petrified of becoming petrified
resistance to change is itself change
men are more at risk of a form of spiritual alzheimer

how do we avoid petrifaction.  a common cause is self-importance as little incentive to change   life is the comic model of God  if we refuse to laugh we may end up being punished, God may turn us to stone.  Bergsen argued that comedy has evolved to break down petrifaction

Comedy that approaches real life is more useful as it makes you groan as well as laugh.  Mike Leigh (film maker) is an example of this.  So comedy makes us pay attention to life

(This is getting more and more tedious)

Major theme of William James, experience is nothing more than we pay attention to.  Bergsen was a friend of James, said puprose of Philosophy is to teach you to pay attention.

Reality is revealed in its full glory through arts. 

(Thank God that is over)

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