Recently, I've been thinking about the role of grand narratives in philosophy, in particular, the idea that much of human experience can and should be analysed in terms of a particular, philosophy-specific framework. Some feminist philosophers, for instance, suggest we look at social relations through the light of gender relations, while marxist schools of thought suggest that we analyse things in terms of class relations. Often, this type of lens is illuminating -- the drive to accumulate power is deeply ingrained in humanity, and is present in the majority of our social interactions. The Marxist perspective provides a healthy cynicism that thus illuminates much human behaviour, especially in a society such as the modern Western world. However, not every action is explicible relying strictly on that framework, just as too much cynicism actually reduces understanding. History is full of possible stories, and people are full of possible motives. Not quite all people are driven by a desire for wealth and power. As I was thinking this, however, I was at Coffee Tree, listening to a large number of people around me talking about how they wanted to make more money and retire early, and talking about five, six, and seven figure income. Occasionally, I hop into conversation, and poke holes in their ideals of wealth. I keep hoping that society will produce more of what I see as virtuous people -- people who turn their backs on wealth, and instead focus on living a good, intellectual, sustainable, culturally rich life.
Speaking of which, I found a funny site poking fun at everyone's favourite toy Linux distro, Gentoo. Sort of like membership in the Libertarian party, running Gentoo is a good indicator that someone is likely a clueless asshat. Speaking of asshats, a clued one snapped last week, tired at the state of sound card support on Linux, and moved to OSX, the newly doomed operating system. I actually have some sympahy -- on Linux, for some classes of hardware, people generally get basic support, without the fancy stuff that some other operating systems have. It, of course, doesn't change the fact that jwz has always been a whiny asshole. That's always been part of his charm -- his rants are amusing, from sufficient distance.
There's a recent worrying article on intellectual integrity in science -- apparently a number of scientists have been playing games with author lists, ignored observations, ignored results that go against prior convictions, or, worst of all, changed conclusions or study designs to satisfy sponsors. The last is infuriating.
I've always had a bit of the martyr in me -- when someone is doing something that I think is wrong, I'm willing to do what it takes to ensure that they do not profit from their efforts, and ideally suffer from them, and in doing so am willing to endure considerable suffering myself.
It's Shavuot, so I probably won't be seeing much of my Jewish friends who are religious for a few days...