Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Making Beef Stew For Unhoused Persons

 Stagg and I made beef and cabbage stew the other day to take out to people living outside. We often go to the viaducts on the northside....but we also take hot food out in the southside. Stagg led the way with a cooler filled with servings. Some people live in nooks, doorways, loading docks and under an auto service car port.

Holiday With Family

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Meaning And Civil War


3. The Current Moral Disorder and Its Consequences

MacIntyre begins After Virtue by asking the reader to engage in a thought experiment: "Imagine that the natural sciences were to suffer the effects of a catastrophe…. A series of environmental disasters [which] are blamed by the general public on the scientists" leads to rioting, scientists being lynched by angry mobs, the destruction of laboratories and equipment, the burning of books, and ultimately the decision by the government to end science instruction in schools and universities and to imprison and execute the remaining scientists. Eventually, enlightened people decide to restore science, but what do they have to work with? Only fragments: bits and pieces of theories, chapters of books, torn and charred pages of articles, hazy memories and damaged equipment with functions that are unclear, if not entirely forgotten. These people, he argues, would combine these fragments as best they could, inventing theories to connect them as necessary. People would talk and act as though they were doing "science," but they would actually be doing something very different from what we currently call science. From our point of view, in a world where the sciences are intact, their "science" would be full of errors and inconsistencies, "truths" which no one could actually prove, and competing theories which were incompatible with one another. Further, the supporters of these theories would be unable to agree on any way to resolve their differences.
Why does MacIntyre ask us to imagine such a world? "The hypothesis I wish to advance is that in the actual world which we inhabit the language of morality is in the same state of grave disorder as the language of natural science in the imaginary world which I described" (After Virtue 2, After Virtue 256). People in the modern liberal capitalist world talk as though we are engaged in moral reasoning, and act as though our actions are chosen as the result of such reasoning, but in fact neither of these things is true. Just as with the people working with "science" in the imaginary world that MacIntyre describes, philosophers and ordinary people are working today with bits and pieces of philosophies which are detached from their original pre-Enlightenment settings in which they were comprehensible and useful. Current moral and political philosophies are fragmented, incoherent, and conflicting, with no standards that can be appealed to in order to evaluate their truth or adjudicate the conflicts between them – or at least no standards that all those involved in the disputes will be willing to accept, since any standard will presuppose the truth of one of the contending positions. To use an analogy that MacIntyre does not use, one might say that it is as if we tore handfuls of pages from books by Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Danielle Steele, Mark Twain, and J.K. Rowling, threw half of them away, shuffled the rest, stapled them together, and then tried to read the "story" that resulted. It would be incoherent, and any attempt to describe the characters, plot, or meaning would be doomed to failure. On the other hand, because certain characters, settings, and bits of narrative would reappear throughout, it would seem as though the story could cohere, and much effort – ultimately futile – might be expended in trying to make it do so. This, according to MacIntyre, is the moral world in which we currently live.
One consequence of this situation is that we have endless and interminable debates within philosophy and, where philosophy influences politics, within politics as well (After Virtue 6-8, Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry 7 and Chapter 1). MacIntyre demonstrates this with regard to philosophers by a comparison of the positions of John Rawls and Robert Nozick on what justice is, positions which are mutually exclusive, but internally coherent. Each conclusion follows reasonably from its premises (After Virtue Chapter 17). Each position has many adherents who can point out the flaws in the other but cannot successfully defend their own position against attack. In the political world, one of the examples MacIntyre uses is the abortion issue in the United States. One side of the debate, drawing largely on a particular interpretation of Christian ethics, asserts that abortion is murder and hence is both morally unacceptable and deserving of legal punishment; the other side, usually drawing either on a conception of privacy or of rights or both, asserts that women should have the right to make a private decision about terminating a pregnancy, and therefore abortion, while possibly morally problematic, deserves the protection of the law. In either case, the conclusion follows logically, that is, reasonably, from the premises. But the starting premises are incompatible, and there is no way to gain everyone's agreement to either set of premises, nor is there even any agreement on what kind of argument might be able to gain a consensus. (And a look at public opinion polls about abortion taken in the United States shows that the percentage of people for or against legal abortion in particular circumstances has basically remained unchanged since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973).
It is also the case, according to MacIntyre, that those involved in these philosophical and political debates claim to be using premises that are objective, based on reason, and universally applicable. Many of them even believe these claims, misunderstanding the nature of their particular inadequate modern philosophy, just as the people in MacIntyre's post-disaster world misunderstand what it means to be doing real science. But what they are really doing, whether they recognize it or not, is using the language of morality to try to gain their own preferences. They are not trying to persuade others by reasoned argument, because a reasoned argument about morality would require a shared agreement on the good for human beings in the same way that reasoned arguments in the sciences rely on shared agreement about what counts as a scientific definition and a scientific practice. This agreement about the good for human beings does not exist in the modern world (in fact, the modern world is in many ways defined by its absence) and so any attempt at reasoned argument about morality or moral issues is doomed to fail. Other parties to the argument are fully aware that they are simply trying to gain the outcome they prefer using whatever methods happen to be the most effective. (Below there will be more discussion of these people; they are the ones who tend to be most successful as the modern world measures success.) Because we cannot agree on the premises of morality or what morality should aim at, we cannot agree about what counts as a reasoned argument, and since reasoned argument is impossible, all that remains for any individual is to attempt to manipulate other people's emotions and attitudes to get them to comply with one's own wishes.
MacIntyre claims that protest and indignation are hallmarks of public "debate" in the modern world. Since no one can ever win an argument – because there's no agreement about how someone could "win" – anyone can resort to protesting; since no one can ever lose an argument – how can they, if no one can win? – anyone can become indignant if they don't get their way. If no one can persuade anyone else to do what they want, then only coercion, whether open or hidden (for example, in the form of deception) remains. This is why, MacIntyre says, political arguments are not just interminable but extremely loud and angry, and why modern politics is simply a form of civil war."

From here:

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Venusian

"I'm visiting here from the future. What many people are focusing on is not the big picture. The voters of the future are only going to be interested in the environment and everyone being able to make a living. There won't be any place for leaders who are selfishly motivated. When we focus on nature and compassion we erase the illusion of hierarchy. There isn't any such thing as hierarchy, it's a social construct. The desire for power at the expense of other people is corruption. Nature and the environment is the real hierarchy, and the path to our restoration from a corrupt world." The Venusian

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Donations For Needs

We are looking for small camping propane tanks. If you are in the Chicago area and are able to donate these items, please email me at

If you have a second hand tent that you might be ready to upgrade and replace....and could donate we could use those too. These items are for people outside. Thank you and sorry for always asking for help.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

I Sent My Husband To The Store For Baking Powder

I just made a oatmeal cake with caramel topping today. I was glad that I had all the ingredients in the cupboard since this is a holiday.

When I went to get the baking powder...I remembered this photo I took for Facebook. In June 2013....I sent Stagg to the store to get baking powder.

My fault. I just said "get baking powder". So he bought all the baking powder he could carry. How would he know that he could now bury me with this baking powder thats how seldom we need to use it in life.

This is the sitcom of living with Anthony Stagg!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

A Real Dame, R.I.P.

Liberace's mum. My god, to see Debbie Reynolds play the role of Liberace's mum was really a spectacular casting and performance. She was perfect. A lot of people always wonder if there will be "artificial intelligence"...a life form that thinks and exists on it own. In some ways I have these sensations when it comes to stories, movies and characters that there is this alternate world where we live in our dream states. Just the relationship and story of two Goddesses, mother and daughter, entering our collective consciousness is a kind of persona existing on it's own. I've been reading a very difficult set of writings from and referencing antiquity. I can hardly read them as they seem to be talking about something else, some other kind of human. But every now and then....the descriptions form into a metaphor that is applicable and travels universally from the past to today. I feel like the movie "Singing In The Rain" has a connection to all the kinds of stories from the past as a bridge. In a film class I attended way back at York University, we were presented the movie because it had such a great subtext of silent films transforming into talkie films. The movie itself explores archaic structures changing into contemporary narratives and how stories and characters become immortal...without ever being set in the actual time frame it was produced in. I feel such a profound connection to the career of Carrie Fisher, and her mother, who seems to represent the old Hollywood storytelling, and being reborn through her daughters storytelling. The other role I loved of Reynolds was the mother on "Will and Grace". However, I can not even begin to describe the influence of "Singing In The Rain" on me or how many times I have seen it since that film course so long ago. I've been nothing less than obsessed with it at times and it is on my Ultimate Top Five Movie List. There is a reason we call movie stars movie stars. They are our guides for helping us to navigate through life. I feel like Debbie Reynold's motif was to not be a sore loser, to pick up and get going at the work of life and art and make people laugh while doing it. I don't think she would have wanted to leave us with such a sad script tonight, but I bet she is writing some good one-liners in heaven about the whole thing. In fantasy and in reality Reynolds created a persona that we can actually imagine existing invisible and eternal.