02 September 2010

True ignorance

"Socrates liked to tease his interlocutors by saying that the only thing he knew was that he knew nothing. There is a deep insight in this, for the one thing that is more dangerous than true ignorance is the illusion of knowledge and understanding. Such illusion abounds, and one of the first tasks of philosophy." 

A. C. (Anthony Clifford) Grayling, On Becoming a Philosopher

Scarlet Hotel

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01 September 2010

Which side are you on?

"On one side are those who inquire, examine, experiment, research, propose ideas and subject them to scrutiny, change their minds when shown to be wrong and live with uncertainty while placing reliance on the collective, self-critical, responsible and rigorous use of reason and observation to further the quest for knowledge.

On the other side are those who espouse a belief system or ideology which pre-packages all the answers, who have faith in it, who trust the authorities, priests and prophets, and who either think that the hows and whys of the universe are explained to satisfaction by their faith, or smugly embrace ignorance. "

A. C. Grayling

City Square Mall

City Square Mall at Serangoon Road. I wonder how this new mall is faring.
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31 August 2010

Owen Road

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The real transcendence

"The real "transcendence", then, is the one that allows us to shake off the notion of a never-dying tyrannical father-figure, with its unconsoling illusion of redemption by human sacrifice, and assume our proper proportion as people condemned to be free, and able to outgrow the fearful tutelage of a supreme supervisor who does not forgive us the errors he has programmed us to make."

Christopher Hitchens
Quote from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-hitchens/collision-is-religion-abs_b_326673.html

30 August 2010

Hypothetical questions with no easy answers

The longsword versus the katana? The medieval knight versus the feudal Japanese samurai? The katana versus the rapier?

These are, of course, questions with no easy answers. The people today are different from those of the past, likewise, the skills, the lifestyles, the mentality, physiques and more.

This train of thought was prompted by a Neal Stephenson article where he thought that the rapier would probably win.

*Thank you Ethan for the link.

Dear Mr Chuang, I am calling from a ...

"Dear Mr Chuang, I am calling from a market research firm representing some of the more prestigious financial firms..."

And yet another cold call from out of the blue. A salesperson with an accent from one of those nations providing call centre services.

Like the many previous ones before (numbering over ten) this was likely a call to provide information on alternative energy and green energy which would be followed up by another on purchasing shares in such companies. A cleverly staged and scripted thing with a bait, a hook and follow-up. I had told these firms a few times never to call again but they had persisted with a regularity similar to that of annual taxation, modern life in the 21st century I suppose.

Previously, I had entertained these folks with questions and amused myself. Numerous calls later, the novelty has subsided. Thus, now, as soon as I hear the line about a market research firm, I will put the handset on the side and let the speaker continue. Minutes later, I will hang up. Once in a while, they will call again, thus the cycle begins.

Whose presence his heart first opened...

"A man's work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened."

Albert Camus

29 August 2010

Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts (MICA)

The Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts (MICA), now housed in the former Hill Street Police Station. How apt. Policing our culture and information? What do you think?

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