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September 2009
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November 2009

Ghandi on Unity

Mohandas Ghandi, writing in a political pamphlet, speaking through the voice of the Editor in one of his dialogues:

Religions are different roads converging to the same point. What does it matter that we take different roads so long as we reach the same goal? Wherein is the cause for quarrelling?

Hind Swaraj (Indian Home Rule), 1908

Pannikar on Spirituality

Catholic Priest and proponent of inter-religious dialogue, Raimon Pannikar, summarizes the central ideas of all major spiritual traditions:

The essentials of the religious teachings could be summed up in three ideas: the relinking of onself with the rest of human beings, with our neighbours, with the community, with our true self; the relinking of humankind with Nature, with all things, with the environment, including machines; the relinking of humanity with the Divine, with Mystery, the Sacred, the Numinous, the Absolute, Transcendence.

“Religions and the Culture of Peace”, in Religion, Politics & Peace, 1999

Hume on Religion

Scottish philosopher David Hume considers the role of religion via Cleanthes his “experimental theist” voice:

The proper office of religion is to regulate the hearts of men, humanize their conduct, infuse the spirit of temperance, order, and obedience; and, as its operation is silent and only enforces the motives of morality and justice, it is in danger of being overlooked and confounded with these other motives. When it distinguishes itself, and acts as a separate principle over men, it has departed from its proper sphere and has become only a cover to faction and ambition.

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, 1750-1776

BrainHex Shop Now Open (BrainHex)

Cross-posted from

Thanks to Zazzle (and a little help from Corvus), we have set up some BrainHex merchandise in the new BrainHex shop. At the moment, you can buy light and dark T-shirts, a button/pin badge, stickers, a fridge magnet, a mug, a cap or a mouse mat with any of the BrainHex class icons on them. Each of the T-shirts also has the phrase associated with the class written on the back.

Many thanks to everyone who let us know they were interested in merchandise!

To comment to this post, please do so at the equivalent post on the BrainHex site.

Parekh on Education

British peer and political theorist, Lord Bhikhu Parekh, presents a case for teaching religion in schools:

There is... a good case for teaching religion in schools on both educational and political grounds. One of the principal aims of education is to familiarize children with and to get them to appreciate the great achievements of the human spirit, and religion is one of these… There are also good political reasons for teaching religion. If schools do not teach it, children will come to depend wholly on their families and religious organizations, which only expose them to their own religion and that too from a narrow sectarian standpoint.

“The Voice of Religion in Political Discourse”, in Religion, Politics & Peace, 1999

Dewey on Freedom

Educational reformer John Dewey considering the role of schools:

I shall begin to believe that we care more for freedom than we do for imposing our own beliefs upon others in order to subject them to our will, when I see that the main purpose of our schools and other institutions is to develop powers of unremitting and discriminating observation and judgement.

“Philosophies of Freedom" in Freedom in the Modern World, 1928.

Arendt on Objectivity

The political philosopher Hannah Arendt, interpreting Heisenberg's comments on science:

...the experiment “being a question put before nature” (Galileo), the answers of science will always remain replies to questions asked by men; the confusion in the issue of “objectivity” was to assume that there could be answers without questions and results independent of a question-asking being. Physics, we know today, is no less a man-centred inquiry into what is than historical research.

“The Concept of History”, Between Past & Future, 1961

Heisenberg on Science

Werner Heisenberg, famous for his Uncertainty Principle, proposing that science be understood not as a single conceptual framework, but rather a collection of ways of examining the world:

The most important new result of nuclear physics was the recognition of the possibility of applying quite different types of natural laws, without contradiction, to one and the same physical event. This is due to the fact that within a system of laws which are based on certain fundamental ideas only certain quite definite ways of asking questions make sense, and thus, that such a system is separated from others which allow different questions to be put.

Philosophic Problems of Nuclear Science, 1952.

Testosterone and Videogames (ihobo)

You can read my thoughts about testosterone and videogames over on the ihobo site today.  It builds upon some numbers I recently crunched from the BrainHex data concerning the relationship between class and gender, also up today on the BrainHex site.

By the way, I've been accused (not unjustly) of being obsessed about ranting against the industry's obsession with 3D shooters. This latest piece is an attempt to draw a line under that. No promises in this regard, but I will endeavour to try and find new topics of conversation concerning games after my annual break for the Wheel next month.

And lastly, speaking of BrainHex, this weekend we had more than 10,000 new responses - more than doubling the total so far almost overnight!

Wittgenstein on Systems

Ludwig Wittgenstein considering the role of systems in experimental tests:

All testing, all confirmation and disconfirmation of a hypothesis takes place already within a system. And this system is not a more or less arbitrary and doubtful point of departure for all our arguments: no, it belongs to the essence of what we call an argument. The system is not so much the point of departure, as the element in which arguments have their life.

On Certainty, remark #105, from notes written1949-1951