Dictionaries do not make definitions. Definitions make dictionaries.

July 21, 2012

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A dictionary is not the standard for definitions. A dictionary is a compiled catalog of cultural meanings. When someone tells you to “look it up in the dictionary,” it is merely as a reference point so that you can have common ground in which to interact and operate in your cultural context. But it (the […]

Posted in: culture, epistemology

Compassion and mercy are downstream. Justice is upstream.

July 7, 2012

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If you were saving people out of a river — abuse, abduction, trafficking, poverty, injustice — this necessary work is commendable, laudable, and heaven sent. We call this “compassion.” Sometimes we call it “mercy.” Justice, however, is a far more difficult and challenging task. Justice has to hike through the jungle on the banks of […]

Posted in: justice

Technological amnesia and our absent identity.

July 6, 2012

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Have you ever said something like, “I don’t even remember how we operated without computers?” Or, “What did we ever do before the Internet?” Or, “I’d be a wreck without my smart phone.” If you have said anything like this, then you have technological amnesia, the forgotten ways in which life use to operate before […]

Posted in: culture

What is a thought?

July 6, 2012

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A muse (not amuse)? A meme? A truth? A fact? The beginning? The end? Or is it merely evidence of life, a soul, neurons and synapses properly working? Is it powerful or impotent? Is it fact or fiction? Is it science or art? Is it natural or metaphysical? Is it mundane or sublime? What is […]

Posted in: epistemology