The Guru Effect

Four years ago a paper by Dan Sperber published in the Review of Philosophy and Psychology coined the term: The Guru Effect – the tendency for people to “judge profound what they have failed to grasp.” The paper examines how self-professed Gurus have a knack for inspiring devotion through speaking in a way that confers profound understanding but in reality fails to deliver anything of actual substance.

Read the full article here | Big Think

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Salt of the Earth | Wim Wenders’ New Documentary | The Social Gaze of Sebastiao Salgado

Wim Wenders’ upcoming documentary “The Salt of the Earth” screened well at Cannes this year: the audience sprang to its feet and burst into applause after its premiere. Check out the first batch of clips: they’re beautiful, evocative and very Wenders-esque.

“The Salt of the Earth” focuses on Brazilian photographer and photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, whose work over the last 40 years has focused on social issues, exploring the challenges facing the Earth’s diverse–and dispersed–communities. Salgado has traveled to more than 100 countries, and in the last 10 years has shifted his attention to a project he calls “Genesis,” a series that focuses on documenting unspoiled nature and the human societies that live in such environments in accordance with ancestral and not modern conventions.
Watch parts of the film here | Indiewire

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Schirmacher (R)evolution in Saas-Fee: The Badiouan EVENT Takes For(u)m

“A radical change is required for the human species to survive, and if we want to prevent our destruction, we must learn a “bodily” langauge which precedes the division into subject and object, and admit the individual into a successful enterprise that needs no planning.” –Dr. Wolfgang Schirmacher “The End of Metaphysics” 1983

Alain Badiou: AN EVENT IS A SURPRISE; IF IT IS NOT A SURPRISE, IT IS NOT AN EVENT

Read the full article | The Huffington Post

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Nuns to Pope Francis : Revoke 15th c. Doctrine of Discovery

The Doctrine of Discovery is a series of papal bulls, or decrees, that gave Christian explorers the right to lay claim to any land that was not inhabited by Christians and was available to be “discovered.” The doctrine’s modern influence re-emerged recently in the debate about the racism and exploitation of Native American sports mascots, Fiedler said. It has justified efforts to eliminate indigenous languages, practices and worldviews, and it affects Native American sovereignty and treaty obligations.

Since 1823, it has also been enshrined in U.S. law. In 2005, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cited the Doctrine of Discovery in a land-claim ruling against the Oneidas, one of the six nations of the Haudenosaunee.

Read the full article here | Washington Post

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Harvard Scientists Studied the Brains of Pot Smokers | NPR

According to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers from Harvard and Northwestern studied the brains of 18- to 25-year-olds, half of whom smoked pot recreationally and half of whom didn’t. What they found was rather shocking: Even those who only smoked few times a week had significant brain abnormalities in the areas that control emotion and motivation.

Read the full article | NPR

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A Sinking, Disappearing Place | Louisiana’s Boot

[While politicians, lawyers, scientists and engineers fight over the future of the state, people like Jonathan Foret are trying to give shape right now to the emotional toll exacted by Louisiana’s massive wound. Foret spends his days educating young people about our disappearing coast as executive director of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center.

“I was telling the kids, ‘Let’s go plant marsh grass because this is going to help.’ And then the kids go back three years later and all of that is washed away,” Foret told me. “They say, ‘Mr. Jonathan, that was supposed to help!”

Viewed from a distance, the shape of Louisiana on Snead’s 2000 map isn’t noticeably different from the boot. But its larger scale allows for the wetlands along the coast, particularly in the southeastern part of the state, to convey some of the porousness that is so obvious when you actually see them in real life. On the boot, those same feeble swamps and marsh appear as invulnerable as Iowa farmland.]

Read the full article and see the maps here:

View story at Medium.com

Philosophy’s Homogeneity Needs Rethinking | Grumpy, White Old Men

[I used to be a philosophy PhD student at a well-respected department in the Midwest. After six and a half years of graduate study, I withdrew from my program and left academia altogether. Why? The dismal academic job market certainly had something to do with my decision. But, more importantly, as a person of color, I found myself increasingly uncomfortable in my department and within the discipline at large. Granted, a PhD program in any discipline will involve a certain amount of indoctrination, but the particular demands of philosophy were, in my view, beyond unreasonable...

For instance, the subfield of philosophy of mind does not typically engage at all with Indian, East Asian, African, or Native American ideas about the nature of mind. It's as if non-Western thinkers had nothing to say about the matter. Similarly, those who work in the history of philosophy work almost exclusively on the history of Western philosophy -- e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Russell, Wittgenstein, etc.]

Read the full article | The Huffington Post