Delight Springs

Thursday, February 4, 2016


Aristotle's up today. A life of flourishing is what we all seek, he knew, and we find it when we strike the right balance between deficiency and excess. That's a formula, not a precise prescription. Building one's character, becoming virtuous and eudaimonic, is not a magic bullet. It's an experimental quest, requiring long experience and plenty of trial and error. That's life.

In Atheism we continue to ponder Scheffler's thought experiments on the collective and mortal afterlife. We'll wonder about games and what they can teach us about life-and-death, about how much value we can really extract from a moment in time, how much it matters that we don't have an infinite supply of moments, and whether any of us would volunteer to be the last human. Does it trivialize Scheffler's serious question to think about Fox's Last Man?

In Bioethics we look at the uses and abuses of research, of which "perhaps the key ethical question is whether all the effort and money expended has been put to the best uses"... and whether the future of research promises to expand or constrict healthcare access, to promote everyone's best interests and enhance everyone's lives? Or only those whose pockets are deepest? Will we ever really "prioritize health research according to need rather than profit"?

Bernie and Hillary talked about that at last night in New Hampshire. Will it be revolution or evolution, radically quick change or slow incremental improvement to expand coverage and reduce costs? Which is more progressive, to tinker with the ACA until it works for everyone, or scrap it and fight for a single-payer system? The other party wants to scrap it all, of course. Why would anyone ever vote for that?

Speaking of pockets, Hillary got an unusual question from a Rabbi about ego and humility. Her response was unusually thoughtful. She thinks about it every day, she said, about striking a suitable balance between confident self-possession and humble self-effacement. Aristotle would approve that message.

5:45/6:48, 37/42/27

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