Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Group One: The Musical

Q: What does Flanagan refer to as the empirical-normative inquiry into the nature, causes, and conditions of human flourishing?  A:  Eudaimonistic scientia.

(I have Flanagan's Kindle book, and this particular one is sans page numbers. This question is in the second paragraph of the first chapter.  I’ll post the page number when I get to class for later reference.)

Q: What is the question we are asked to ask ourselves at the end of each chapter on wisdom in The Good Book? A:  "How long will you delay to be wise?" 

I’m really excited about our class in general and Group One specifically.  I found myself suddenly surrounded by some great thinkers and wonderfully talented residents of this pale-blue dot.  I envision our presentation to comprise of fantastic claims subjected to rigorous critical thinking delivered with enthusiastic speeches escalating against a musical backdrop of Chicago blues, Rush, and drop-thumb style banjo.  All questions will be addressed in the form of a scrum.  And that’s just the first PowerPoint slide.

Here’s a nice piece in Salon entitled "15 WaysAtheists Can Stand Up for Rationality."  It encourages atheists to assert themselves, and it provides detailed suggestions on how to handle the presumption of religious privilege.


  1. Well, I must say, our prologue (I wouldn't really count Tuesday's class as the opening number, Act I Scene I seems more likely to occur today honestly) certainly makes me hopeful and excited to see how this plays out, inevitably culminating in our show-stopper of a group presentation. Well, you know the show-stopper always has to happen right before intermission. Except for Lion King. Circle of Life is a textbook showstopper and it's the very open of the show. It's an interesting thought, really, for that musical to open with arguably its most significant song, and it's a cold open at that! Interesting writing indeed on the parts of messrs. Rice and John. But maybe I've overextended the musical metaphor.

    Nonetheless, I think it's as good a place as any to start our inevitable moments of sheer wonder at the beauty of the natural world. The Lion King echoes so beautifully what I think, in a naturalistic way. Dean and others have heard me talk about my idea of a "naturalistic resurrection." The thought is so beautifully made apparent at a point early in Lion King, as a bit of dialogue between Simba and Mufasa.

    Mufasa: "Everything you see exists together in a delicate balance. As king, you need to understand that balance and respect all the creatures, from the crawling ant to the leaping antelope."
    Young Simba: "But, Dad, don't we eat the antelope?"
    Mufasa: "Yes, Simba, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life."

    Heavy shit for a Disney movie/musical. But I also think it's one of my most beloved ideas, that when I die, I will live infinitely not in any spiritual sense, but in the fact that my body will become the grass, and the flora and fauna upon which I've dined will in return dine on me. It's beautifully intricate, this circle of life. It's made all the more beautiful by the fact that it's not only true, but naturally necessary. What sheer beauty lies in that fact! It's the most invigorating thing to think as a naturalist. And they say to me, "But don't atheists fear death?" And the answer is quite simply, no! Sure, dying will suck, but being dead will be awesome! Imagine, that the cow grazing on the grass fertilized by your own decomposition (I know it's morbid but stick with me) going on, herself, to feed the next generation, and so on and so on, ad nauseam. It's the circle of life, and goddamn is it beautiful.

    From the day we arrive on the planet
    And blinking, step into the sun
    There's more to see than can ever be seen
    More to do than can ever be done
    There's far too much to take in here
    More to find than can ever be found
    But the sun rolling high
    Through the sapphire sky
    Keeps great and small on the endless round.

    1. By the way, for the uninitiated, this kind of tangent is the majority of the stuff that comes out of my mouth, so you might want to get used to it.

  2. FQ: according to Wisdom 17:6, what should we avoid, if possible, altogether?

    A. Swearing

    To which I heartily say, "fuck that."

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