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  • negation « Liam McHugh-Russell
    belief is the very substance of our social world but shit like The Gift mistakes a sociological insight for a psychological one and reduces the profound premise of existentialism we always have the freedom to act even when there are consequences to a patently false pretense of self help you can do anything if you set your mind to it Anyway in the result positivity became associated with happiness and success and good tidings and negativity with the sense of inviting their opposites Of course this is doubly unfortunate not only because it universalizes a misreading of positive that makes both references to positive law and positive social science nigh incomprehensible to anyone who lives outside the university but stupid also because to negate something need not mean replacing a thing with its opposite it simply implies putting something else in its place Thus ideally the negative encompasses that part of thought and practice that goes beyond the imagining of what if things were such and such a way to the more practical fraught task of thinking what if the nominally existent was replaced with something else or the even more charged practice of demanding this nominally existent thing should be replaced with another To negate is simply to deny to say no to the merely existent The critic is not the cynic but literally one that judges a person not only capable of saying both yes and no but also of stopping to say are you sure and especially am I There is something sick I think about cultural practices rooted in the belief that problems can be solved simply by saying yes to any idea new or old so long as it is well packaged and expressed with enthusiasm or certainty I suppose compared to the dominant strand of the American zeitgeist that a country willing to raise a quizzical eyebrow pause before jumping onto the wagon of every fad that bristles with enthusiasm and reject the magical thinking of by believing it we can make it so will look like an elephant graveyard of nay saying Eeyores But nothing could be further from the truth For inasmuch as the Russian stereotype of fatalism is anything more than a stereotype it has nothing to do with being critical and has everything in common with the eager beaver American disease whereas in the lands of Slavic stereotype there is an almost overweening willingness to say yes to everything that already is no matter how bad and no to any idea about how things might be better in the always on digital Manhattan of Twitter Entertainment Tonight and BuzzFeed the almost laughable but ultimately tragic logic of the TEDtalk circuit doles out gold stars to every nincompoop self deluded enough to stand in front a crowd and expound breathlessly on an idea that promises everything everything and at almost no cost What I am getting at here is of course being critical is a constructive disposition and even a positive

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/tag/negation/ (2016-05-01)
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  • positive thinking « Liam McHugh-Russell
    belief is the very substance of our social world but shit like The Gift mistakes a sociological insight for a psychological one and reduces the profound premise of existentialism we always have the freedom to act even when there are consequences to a patently false pretense of self help you can do anything if you set your mind to it Anyway in the result positivity became associated with happiness and success and good tidings and negativity with the sense of inviting their opposites Of course this is doubly unfortunate not only because it universalizes a misreading of positive that makes both references to positive law and positive social science nigh incomprehensible to anyone who lives outside the university but stupid also because to negate something need not mean replacing a thing with its opposite it simply implies putting something else in its place Thus ideally the negative encompasses that part of thought and practice that goes beyond the imagining of what if things were such and such a way to the more practical fraught task of thinking what if the nominally existent was replaced with something else or the even more charged practice of demanding this nominally existent thing should be replaced with another To negate is simply to deny to say no to the merely existent The critic is not the cynic but literally one that judges a person not only capable of saying both yes and no but also of stopping to say are you sure and especially am I There is something sick I think about cultural practices rooted in the belief that problems can be solved simply by saying yes to any idea new or old so long as it is well packaged and expressed with enthusiasm or certainty I suppose compared to the dominant strand of the American zeitgeist that a country willing to raise a quizzical eyebrow pause before jumping onto the wagon of every fad that bristles with enthusiasm and reject the magical thinking of by believing it we can make it so will look like an elephant graveyard of nay saying Eeyores But nothing could be further from the truth For inasmuch as the Russian stereotype of fatalism is anything more than a stereotype it has nothing to do with being critical and has everything in common with the eager beaver American disease whereas in the lands of Slavic stereotype there is an almost overweening willingness to say yes to everything that already is no matter how bad and no to any idea about how things might be better in the always on digital Manhattan of Twitter Entertainment Tonight and BuzzFeed the almost laughable but ultimately tragic logic of the TEDtalk circuit doles out gold stars to every nincompoop self deluded enough to stand in front a crowd and expound breathlessly on an idea that promises everything everything and at almost no cost What I am getting at here is of course being critical is a constructive disposition and even a positive

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/tag/positive-thinking/ (2016-05-01)
    Open archived version from archive

  • positivity « Liam McHugh-Russell
    belief is the very substance of our social world but shit like The Gift mistakes a sociological insight for a psychological one and reduces the profound premise of existentialism we always have the freedom to act even when there are consequences to a patently false pretense of self help you can do anything if you set your mind to it Anyway in the result positivity became associated with happiness and success and good tidings and negativity with the sense of inviting their opposites Of course this is doubly unfortunate not only because it universalizes a misreading of positive that makes both references to positive law and positive social science nigh incomprehensible to anyone who lives outside the university but stupid also because to negate something need not mean replacing a thing with its opposite it simply implies putting something else in its place Thus ideally the negative encompasses that part of thought and practice that goes beyond the imagining of what if things were such and such a way to the more practical fraught task of thinking what if the nominally existent was replaced with something else or the even more charged practice of demanding this nominally existent thing should be replaced with another To negate is simply to deny to say no to the merely existent The critic is not the cynic but literally one that judges a person not only capable of saying both yes and no but also of stopping to say are you sure and especially am I There is something sick I think about cultural practices rooted in the belief that problems can be solved simply by saying yes to any idea new or old so long as it is well packaged and expressed with enthusiasm or certainty I suppose compared to the dominant strand of the American zeitgeist that a country willing to raise a quizzical eyebrow pause before jumping onto the wagon of every fad that bristles with enthusiasm and reject the magical thinking of by believing it we can make it so will look like an elephant graveyard of nay saying Eeyores But nothing could be further from the truth For inasmuch as the Russian stereotype of fatalism is anything more than a stereotype it has nothing to do with being critical and has everything in common with the eager beaver American disease whereas in the lands of Slavic stereotype there is an almost overweening willingness to say yes to everything that already is no matter how bad and no to any idea about how things might be better in the always on digital Manhattan of Twitter Entertainment Tonight and BuzzFeed the almost laughable but ultimately tragic logic of the TEDtalk circuit doles out gold stars to every nincompoop self deluded enough to stand in front a crowd and expound breathlessly on an idea that promises everything everything and at almost no cost What I am getting at here is of course being critical is a constructive disposition and even a positive

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/tag/positivity/ (2016-05-01)
    Open archived version from archive



  • Theodor Adorno « Liam McHugh-Russell
    belief is the very substance of our social world but shit like The Gift mistakes a sociological insight for a psychological one and reduces the profound premise of existentialism we always have the freedom to act even when there are consequences to a patently false pretense of self help you can do anything if you set your mind to it Anyway in the result positivity became associated with happiness and success and good tidings and negativity with the sense of inviting their opposites Of course this is doubly unfortunate not only because it universalizes a misreading of positive that makes both references to positive law and positive social science nigh incomprehensible to anyone who lives outside the university but stupid also because to negate something need not mean replacing a thing with its opposite it simply implies putting something else in its place Thus ideally the negative encompasses that part of thought and practice that goes beyond the imagining of what if things were such and such a way to the more practical fraught task of thinking what if the nominally existent was replaced with something else or the even more charged practice of demanding this nominally existent thing should be replaced with another To negate is simply to deny to say no to the merely existent The critic is not the cynic but literally one that judges a person not only capable of saying both yes and no but also of stopping to say are you sure and especially am I There is something sick I think about cultural practices rooted in the belief that problems can be solved simply by saying yes to any idea new or old so long as it is well packaged and expressed with enthusiasm or certainty I suppose compared to the dominant strand of the American zeitgeist that a country willing to raise a quizzical eyebrow pause before jumping onto the wagon of every fad that bristles with enthusiasm and reject the magical thinking of by believing it we can make it so will look like an elephant graveyard of nay saying Eeyores But nothing could be further from the truth For inasmuch as the Russian stereotype of fatalism is anything more than a stereotype it has nothing to do with being critical and has everything in common with the eager beaver American disease whereas in the lands of Slavic stereotype there is an almost overweening willingness to say yes to everything that already is no matter how bad and no to any idea about how things might be better in the always on digital Manhattan of Twitter Entertainment Tonight and BuzzFeed the almost laughable but ultimately tragic logic of the TEDtalk circuit doles out gold stars to every nincompoop self deluded enough to stand in front a crowd and expound breathlessly on an idea that promises everything everything and at almost no cost What I am getting at here is of course being critical is a constructive disposition and even a positive

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/tag/theodor-adorno/ (2016-05-01)
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  • culture « Liam McHugh-Russell
    but only as a way to encode other kinds of communications Why does the NY Times have its own dedicated microurl Because of how frequently people were using Twitter to link to articles in the Times So when Gabler claims that Twitter is bad because tweeting is largely a burst of either brief unsupported opinions or brief descriptions of your own prosaic activities a form of distraction or anti thinking he s providing an unfairly narrow image of how social media is used Another example It s true that I waste some amount of time on facebook watching videos of cats chasing lasers though my favourite online video remains this classic of cats who shoot lasers But most of my time there is spent following links posted by friends reading the comments they write on these articles commenting on their positions and when I m lucky getting into an even more extended conversation on these topics The reality is the majority of my discussion of ideas now happens not IRL but on facebook This concerns me certainly But not because it heralds the doom of thought itself One could respond that among those using online technologies my network of friends is anomalous and that though Gabler s vision of Twitter may be narrow he s right about the majority of online content Well fine but then the only important question is are people talking about big ideas more or less than before Twitter Because I am willing to wager with 1 to 1 odds that most of Western societies has always talked about the mundane details of their lives most of the time Were the biggest celebrities in 1899 intellectuals actors or war heroes But let me get back to Gutenberg no doubt reading a lot of articles online is different from reading an entire book But it s not clear to me which form of reading allows more thinking As I read Gabler s piece I stumbled on his use of Gresham s Law which is sad because I spent much of August reading political economy So I looked it up on wikipedia It turns out that basically Gresham found by accident that bad money will always replace good where both are available in the market Which also implies that my bothering to provide a hard link to the wiki page on Gresham is kind of silly because as my experience indicates if people stumble with ideas in their traipsing through the blogosphere they will do the legwork to find out more Indeed a lot of my online activities will lead into a web of related readings some followed links some watched videos It s not deep reading but rather networked reading What are the implications of this change in the nature of reading for thinking for ideas and for culture A fascinating question no doubt and one which is being addressed obliquely in the literary sphere But knowing the answers like knowing whether we talk to each other

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/category/culture/page/2/ (2016-05-01)
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  • Triangles « Liam McHugh-Russell
    form of the problem and the nature of the solution becomes second nature Attending to a task that is not inherently pleasant fighting off distraction overcoming the frustration that inevitably attends early efforts all these are hard but they come with a payoff Taking a low level skill from heartache to habit sets down a foundation for the pursuit of tasks that are in many cases innately more interesting e g only by learning how to write in complete grammatically correct sentences can you become capable of writing moving love letters Measure twice cut once may seem like a boring rule you have to force yourself to remember until it simply becomes automatic in the way that the carpenter does her or his job and an essential part of doing the job well It turns out moreover that the payoff is double because while overcoming frustration and boredom are hard one becomes better at them through practice Even for the rarest of geniuses the pleasures of virtuosity are built on a scaffolding of boredom self doubt and frustration not only in their own field but across a variety of repetitive basic tasks As for the triangles themselves you might strongly put forward that building up a vocabulary of mathematical fundamentals offers an opportunity for your son to become a person and to live a life that he might not otherwise consider or have access to Knowing becoming familiar with the universal relationships that govern the area and height the angles width and side lengths of every triangle means that each one takes on the gleam of an otherwise hidden meaning Perhaps he ll become the kind of person for whom those meanings and the broader network of meanings of which they are a part form a useful or interesting moment

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/2015/09/13/triangles/ (2016-05-01)
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  • learning by doing « Liam McHugh-Russell
    simultaneously boring and challenging and becomes so familiar with its exercise that both the form of the problem and the nature of the solution becomes second nature Attending to a task that is not inherently pleasant fighting off distraction overcoming the frustration that inevitably attends early efforts all these are hard but they come with a payoff Taking a low level skill from heartache to habit sets down a foundation for the pursuit of tasks that are in many cases innately more interesting e g only by learning how to write in complete grammatically correct sentences can you become capable of writing moving love letters Measure twice cut once may seem like a boring rule you have to force yourself to remember until it simply becomes automatic in the way that the carpenter does her or his job and an essential part of doing the job well It turns out moreover that the payoff is double because while overcoming frustration and boredom are hard one becomes better at them through practice Even for the rarest of geniuses the pleasures of virtuosity are built on a scaffolding of boredom self doubt and frustration not only in their own field but across a variety of repetitive basic tasks As for the triangles themselves you might strongly put forward that building up a vocabulary of mathematical fundamentals offers an opportunity for your son to become a person and to live a life that he might not otherwise consider or have access to Knowing becoming familiar with the universal relationships that govern the area and height the angles width and side lengths of every triangle means that each one takes on the gleam of an otherwise hidden meaning Perhaps he ll become the kind of person for whom those meanings and the broader network

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/tag/learning-by-doing/ (2016-05-01)
    Open archived version from archive

  • mathematics « Liam McHugh-Russell
    simultaneously boring and challenging and becomes so familiar with its exercise that both the form of the problem and the nature of the solution becomes second nature Attending to a task that is not inherently pleasant fighting off distraction overcoming the frustration that inevitably attends early efforts all these are hard but they come with a payoff Taking a low level skill from heartache to habit sets down a foundation for the pursuit of tasks that are in many cases innately more interesting e g only by learning how to write in complete grammatically correct sentences can you become capable of writing moving love letters Measure twice cut once may seem like a boring rule you have to force yourself to remember until it simply becomes automatic in the way that the carpenter does her or his job and an essential part of doing the job well It turns out moreover that the payoff is double because while overcoming frustration and boredom are hard one becomes better at them through practice Even for the rarest of geniuses the pleasures of virtuosity are built on a scaffolding of boredom self doubt and frustration not only in their own field but across a variety of repetitive basic tasks As for the triangles themselves you might strongly put forward that building up a vocabulary of mathematical fundamentals offers an opportunity for your son to become a person and to live a life that he might not otherwise consider or have access to Knowing becoming familiar with the universal relationships that govern the area and height the angles width and side lengths of every triangle means that each one takes on the gleam of an otherwise hidden meaning Perhaps he ll become the kind of person for whom those meanings and the broader network

    Original URL path: http://Mchugh-Russell.ca/tag/mathematics/ (2016-05-01)
    Open archived version from archive