Jordan Bates

Do Something: A Short Diatribe

“Be quiet, play by the rules, stand in line,” the system implicitly tells us. To hell with that. Break the rules. Open your eyes. Make some noise. Our institutions and sociocultural structures are failing us, and now is the time to take notice. Economic inequality has never been greater. Billions of people are living in poverty, starving, [...]

“Self-censorship is insulting to the self. Timidity is a hopeless way forward.” ― Ai Weiwei In the wake of publishing my recent piece on the sociocultural dysfunctions of the United States, a few people have criticized me. More specifically, a few Internet-folks have suggested that my emphasis on the need for change in our present global situation is [...]

“Sitting quietly, doing nothing, Spring comes and grass grows by itself.” Zenrin Kushû It is notoriously difficult to define Zen Buddhism. For one, Zen has been co-opted and disfigured by countless ‘new age’, ‘spirit science’ types, transformed into quasi-religious tripe. Furthermore, Zen “masters” themselves have disagreed for centuries as to the importance and validity of various Zen [...]

“We live in a world where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning.” Jean Baudrillard I think an interesting and fruitful metaphor for the Internet is this: a man-made multiverse of information, intellect, and imagination. I say “multiverse” for no reason apart from it being more fun and mysterious and futuristic-sounding; “universe” could be inserted [...]

A collection of methods, ranging from the sorta-ordinary to the unorthodox, of learning via direct experience. A couple weeks ago, I published part one of this essay, in which I considered Arthur Schopenhauer’s ideas of “natural” versus “artificial” education. I summarized Schopenhauer’s contrasting concepts of education as follows: “So Schopenhauer opens the essay by asserting that [...]

“Instead of developing the child’s own faculties of discernment, and teaching it to judge and think for itself, the teacher uses all his energies to stuff its head full of the ready-made thoughts of other people.” Arthur Schopenhauer, if you’re unfamiliar, was a 19th-century German philosopher and a rather cantankerous pessimist. He basically hated Hegel, his contemporary, [...]

I’ve been traveling in the Philippines and Indonesia for about twenty-five days, but it feels like much longer than that. As per usual, time curiously expands when familiarity and routine are exchanged for novelty and daily choose-your-own-adventure games. The distinction between weekdays and weekends, one week and the next week, ceases to exist, and in [...]

Reflections on the “cosmic perspective” and what to remember when feeling powerless to change the world. I finally started watching the new Cosmos series the other day. You know, the remake of Carl Sagan’s classic 1980s science documentary-show? The one about science and the universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson as intergalactic guide? Yeah, that one. I’m [...]

In Nietzsche’s most popular book, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, he described what would become one of his most memorable theories—that of the Übermensch. In English versions of the work of Nietzsche, “Übermensch” is translated as “Superman” or “Overman”. The term “Superman” has adopted many connotations as a result of the comic book hero in popular culture, so for most [...]

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