Einstein on the importance of Mystery

In Philosophy, Quote, Words by Ben

‘The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed ‘ Albert Einstein

Superstition; or Why We Must Not be Pigeons

In Articles, Philosophy, Words by Ben

A psychological study (Skinner ’48) showed that pigeons developed superstitions when food was released to them at random intervals. They ended up perfoming any number of actions that they were doing when the food was released in the belief that they had some sort of control over the process. Tellingly, it took a lot more ‘failures’ to stop the behaviours …

Artistic Photography Quotation

In Quote, Words by Ben

“I believe that each artist, like everyone else, has strong views about the world: what it is, what it should be, and how it could be improved. As such, I think that most artists are not so much searching for the truth, but searching for a proper method of expressing the truth as they see it.” Bruce Barnbaum, “The Art …

Why we Will Attack Iran: Or the link between Ivory and Fossil Fuels

In Articles, Words by Ben

Why ‘we’ will attack Iran (Persia) It’s repeatedly said that we’re addicted to oil; and it’s true. From air travel and the internet to creating the means to wean ourselves off our hydrocarbon addiction, our current infrastructure relies almost solely on a petro-chemical base. This hasn’t necessarily been a bad thing. The Earth’s water nourished us as primates and only …

Are You Helping?

In Articles, Philosophy, Words by Ben

John Stuart Mill: “As for charity, it is a matter in which the immediate effect on the persons directly concerned, and the ultimate consequence to the general good, are apt to be at complete war with one another.” Charity is quite a commitment. Doing what appears to be the ‘right thing’ may in fact lead to greater suffering in the …

Caga Tió – Catalan Tio de Nadal custom

In Articles, Words by Ben

  This is quite possibly the strangest custom I’ve come across in Barcelona, Catalunya. The Catalan people have a Tió de Nadal in their house at Christmas. It is literally just a log. They feed it , then beat it with sticks on Christmas day until it shits presents, singing; caga tió, caga torró, avellanes i mató, si no cagues …

Wikileaks publishes US diplomatic cables, and Julian Assange wanted for alleged Swedish sex crimes.

In Articles, Words by Ben

This week has seen the release of confidential US Embassy cables by the website, Wikileaks. How terribly exciting. US diplomats forewarned countries worldwide, the site came under several DoS attacks, and the move has been lauded and condemned in relatively equal measure. Have we been lied to then? Not really. It is reassuring that in the main, the candid assessments …

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Surveillance in a Democracy

In Articles, Philosophy, Words by Ben

Any government, corporation or organisation is composed of a turnover of people. People are fallable. Some people ain’t no good. Surveillance increases the power that these unseen individuals have over me by increasing my visibility. Visibility is a trap, said Foucault, despite the idea that those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear. I act according to what I …