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About Boethius

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    Syracuse, NY USA
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  1. Not everyone is equally capable of taking care of themselves or of contributing to society. Those who are more capable have a moral obligation to help care for those who are less capable.
  2. Here's a relatively obscure political issues: boys are poorly served by our contemporary education system. By this I mean that they are more likely than girls to be diagnosed with attention deficit disorders and put on medication, less likely to be able to happily sit still than girls are in elementary school, more likely to be punished for misbehavior, and less likely to graduate high school or attend college. This is an issue that gets attention here and there (The Atlantic has written some articles on it) but it's kind of viewed as uncouth to talk about since the official Social Justice view of American society involves women overcoming the system of oppression known as Patriarchy. In other words, we "should" be focused on seeing women catching up to men and so we "shouldn't" worry about boys falling behind girls. The exceptions to this rule occurs when female journalists write articles for mainstream publications decrying the paucity of dateable men (by which they mean college-educated men) or anti-racism articles come out condemning the rates at which Black male youths are being disproportionately punished in school. In those contexts it's apparently acceptable to talk about the education problems facing males. This is an issue that I find important in itself, and also as a "canary in the coal mine" in terms of how much the Social Justice framework holds sway over what gets printed in mainstream media sites.
  3. So I'm just too stupid to understand the racist dog whistling of some alt-right troll. OK.
  4. Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder on May 29, 2020 -- back when Donald J. Trump was still president. So how does this trial have much of anything to do with Joe Biden?
  5. I agree that conspiracies often help give voice to concerns that have been socially marginalized. For example, politicians who seem disingenuous and slick can be described as lizard people in human disguise. And one cannot "argue" with a conspiracy theorist who believes politicians are lizard people until one addresses their underlying concerns about politicians being deceptive liars. The problem, for me, is when conspiracy theories are used to provide cover for things like anti-semitism. Not only can you not argue with an anti-semitic conspiracy theorist about whatever fantasy they've latched onto (a cabal of Jewish bankers who are secretly pulling the levers of power, for example) but you also can't address their underlying concerns without engaging in anti-semitism yourself.
  6. I've only ever done a bit of marijuana here and there but I've had some pretty intense experiences both with marijuana and sober. I'm thinking about a time, for example, when I was on campus on my way to hold office hours for my students as they were about to take a Calculus exam the next day. I was thinking about the problems I was having in my relationship with my partner and how I felt he was dismissing my emotions. Accepting that I have emotions that are not dependent on whether he does or doesn't find them to be "reasonable" was a huge thing for me, and in accepting that everything radically shifted/opened up. My perception of colors became super intense, everything felt connected, and as each student came and sat down at my desk across from me I felt about them "Wow, you are a giant!" It was the first time in my career I felt honored to be in the presence of my students (almost intimidated, even). Then eventually the experience faded, though I did learn a lot from it. I figure this is both a blessing and a curse: I am more open to these sorts of experiences, but also more prone to experiencing them at inconvenient times and without always knowing how to "get out" of them.
  7. What communities do you see that really embody and embrace the New Age ethos or New Age values?
  8. @Forestluv It seems to me that there are two ways a professor can conceive of course design (especially when it comes to the development of assessments like quizzes/exams and the assignment of grades): (A) the course exists to provide an arena of competition for students to demonstrate academic excellence, in which case exams should be "rigorous" and an A should signify that the student has out-competed their peers (B) the course exists to get students to meet a certain set of pre-specified learning objectives, in which case exams should be closely tied to those learning objectives and it would be "ideal" for all students to get A's I've come to believe that (B) is a more appropriate vision for college courses (and certainly for first year courses), not least of all because it makes it easier to implement the anti-racist institutional values with regards to curricular choices, classroom policies, the construction of assessments, and the assignment of grades. Presumably the vision of (A) still has a place, perhaps with higher level courses, but it seems like implementing the anti-racist values in a course that takes (A) as its vision would be much harder. Does what I'm saying here sound like it's in alignment with the sort of conversations your university has been having on these issues? I ask because I suspect a lot of older professors would chafe at (B) versus (A). It seems to me a lot of older professors have as part of their own personal identity the fact that they were the ones who excelled at school back in the day (so much so that they became professors!) And I would hesitate to share with them that my goal is to help as many students as possible get A's, lest they accuse me of simply "lowering standards".
  9. I don't think we're going to get a more exhaustive analysis than the one John McWhorter has provided: Speaking as a college professor myself, this is something that has to be discussed very delicately, to say the least.
  10. I don't think the human impulse to engage in violent warfare ever goes away. After all, every person must pass through the Red stage of development even in a Turquoise society. So instead, the best we can hope for is that it is transmuted into alternative forms of human expression that aren't as destructive. In our current society we see that transmutation take the form of professional sports including MMA, violent video games, violent movies, etc. So it may take a different form in the future but it will probably be necessary for people to have some place where they can (safely) let out those impulses to dominate and control others.
  11. @Loba I hadn't considered that there might be a spiritual or sexual dimension to being otherkin (as I believe that's the label for that identity). With my comments I was more trying to map out how to relate to a person like a friend or family member should they declare themselves to be otherkin -- that I would want to relate to them empathetically but without "feeding" into their idea of being otherkin. To be fair, I suppose there is something judgmental in that from my end. After all, everyone has a right to pursue whatever spiritual path that feels right for them. So if a friend of family member declared themselves to be otherkin and viewed it as a positive thing then I would respect that decision of theirs. I probably wouldn't be greatly interested in talking about it (not least of all because my own religious beliefs allow no room for non-human souls) but it doesn't seem like something that would naturally come up much either. As far as finding a shamanic teacher, good luck with that! Truly. I know how hard it can be feeling like you're close to being on a personal spiritual path while not yet having found it ?
  12. People internalize the values of being a "winner" in the competitive arena of capitalism. That is, everyone wants to be rich and famous. It is true that no one is obligated to adopt such values, but our culture at large encourages these values through advertising, tv shows, movies, etc.
  13. The world will be re-enchanted, one way or another:
  14. And you're in a good position to determine this from postings on an internet forum? Talk about being judgmental...
  15. I don't think of them as savages either. I believe they are humans who are a bit confused and who have been greatly harmed by other people. In the second video included in the first post, the dragon lady recounts different stories of having been harmed by others (including an account of rape). My overall point is that -- insofar as we are capable -- we should try to be compassionate towards such people while still drawing them back to some understanding of themselves as being human like everyone else.