Not a Man of Doctrines
After President Obama's recent speeches—one at West Point proposing sending more troops to Afghanistan and one accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo—commentators have been quick to articulate the "Obama Doctrine" at their base. But Obama is not a man of doctrines. Unlike his predecessor, he refuses to see the world in simple Manichean terms or issue sweeping statements of principle. If anything, what these two very different speeches reveal is his belief that there are no simple general answers to the difficult problems of politics.
By giving Obama the Peace Prize just as he was taking over a nation already engaged in two wars, the Nobel Committee forced him to grapple with this complexity, to reconcile his use of force with a desire for peace. We are, as he admitted, at war, and he is responsible for the deaths of our soldiers and of those whom they kill. Nevertheless, he felt, keeping our troops in Afghanistan was justified by the need to defeat Al Qaeda. The instruments of war, he said, "do have a role to play in preserving the peace." As uncomfortable as it was to say this, the truth is that most of us don't think peace is worth any price or that violence is never justified. Renouncing violence in all circumstances means letting those who refuse to the same do what they will. Most of his European audience would have agreed that someone like Hitler who was willing to exterminate whole groups of people had to be met with force.
But if most of us will agree that violence is sometimes necessary, many may still feel Obama is too ready to resort to it. As I have written, Obama has no good options in Afghanistan. But if you believe, as many do, that our continued presence in Afghanistan will do no good or is not justified by the danger to us, then Obama's decision to stay seems terribly costly. And although he insists that America should be "a standard bearer in the conduct of war," we are still holding prisoners and Guantanamo and elsewhere on flimsy grounds and in conditions that violate the Geneva Conventions. Likewise, as Glenn Greenwald points out, for all that we have done to underwrite global security since WWII, we have also fought wars in Vietnam, Central America, and Iraq which are harder to justify. At the same time, we have done little to end the genocide in Sudan, the violence in the Congo, and repression in Burma that Obama decries. The truth is that our legacy is mixed, and Obama's assurance that we don't use force to impose our will won't do much to reassure the world.
Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"
- A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
- It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
- Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Bernardo Kastrup proposes a new ontology he calls “idealism” built on panpsychism, the idea that everything in the universe contains consciousness. He solves problems with this philosophy by adding a new suggestion: The universal mind has dissociative identity disorder.
There’s a reason they call it the “hard problem.” Consciousness: Where is it? What is it? No one single perspective seems to be able to answer all the questions we have about consciousness. Now Bernardo Kastrup thinks he’s found one. He calls his ontology idealism, and according to idealism, all of us and all we perceive are manifestations of something very much like a cosmic-scale dissociative identity disorder (DID). He suggests there’s an all-encompassing universe-wide consciousness, it has multiple personalities, and we’re them.
Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.
- Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
- While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
- Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
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