Category Archives: sustainability

Sustainability (sustainable development) is understanding that we, as a species, are not living within our means, that the planet – our home – cannot be continued to be used in such manner without consequences for future generations.

The Image and Art

The Image is so ubiquitous today that it has numbed us, that is, until we see the unfamiliar image which we usually call Art. In this sense, it is unnecessary to worry about The Image’s overusage since this actually gives all the more Art its strength. 

spring

the period after winter when farm machinery are said to “spring back to life.

Why watching the development of Toyosu is important

Yesterday, it was reported in television again that survey of the groundwater under the yet-to-be-open Toyosu Fishmarket has found the level of the carcinogen benzene to be 100 times above safe levels.

Japan has always prided itself on the environment and cleanliness. It is a part of of its culture in the form of Shintoism. But since industrialisation it has had pollution issues come up time and again. The peak and benchmark is the Minamata Incident where mercury poisoning had caused health problems. Also the problems from the Fukushima nuclear incident from the Tohoku Earthquake which has effects beyond Japan is still with us.

So to build a fish market on top of a toxic dump seems incredible. But that is what they had done. Where the blame and responsibility lies has still to determined. But it is likely that the then the Governor of Tokyo will have to answer some questions. So far he has deflected all criticism away from himself, as a “good” politician does. 

Why I am an atheist but not against religion

As a person who looks at language for a living and have come to believe all of what we know and believe comes from a combination of experience, thought and language

Not matter where we look cultures have religion. We, as human being, like to make religion, as much as we like to make language or literature. We are different to other animals in our ability to do so in such a way. 

So I cannot be “against” religion, or language or literature. It is inherent in us to make religion, language, literature and the such. 

What I do have believe, though, is that we also have the same capacity to “see through” the need for religion, language, literature, etc. For whatever reason we have religion, language, literature, etc, we have to learn to deal with it as reasoned but critical beings in a physical universe. 

On the continuity of the world

There is reason why the world (the external reality) will not continue (for me) after I die. I do not own it, create it. All evidence points to its independence, that I am but one object within reality. So no amount of sensing it will change the reality. And neither will the non-sensation of it change its existence.

On Realism

Everyday I wake up and see the world. I see objects. My wife and children (they are ‘objects’ as well) share the same space and time, and objects with me. Those objects are independent of myself, my wife and children. My children fight over them. They do not disappear or suddenly change into something else unrecognizable. There is seemingly an inherent stability in the the reality of space-object-time.

While I have no evidence to proof this except that in the nearly half-century of my life (is that time an illusion?) my perception of that reality has been stable, constant. And that the intermediary objects have held constant between myself and other sentient observers.

That alone is good enough evidence for me.

If I cannot rely on the world to be consistent (I do not mean willful consistency) I will not be able to function meaningfully in it.

What is Object-Oriented Ontology?

I have been trying to get into Speculative Realism lately. Not an easy philosophy but then again philosophy is dealing with anything but easy subjects. Nothing less then the what exists and how we know.

During this little adventure I came across a term – object-oriented ontology – that, at first, seemed illogical but made sense after careful inspection. Here is an excellent jargon-free definition of it by Ian Bogost:

Ontology is the philosophical study of existence. Object-oriented ontology (“OOO” for short) puts things at the center of this study. Its proponents contend that nothing has special status, but that everything exists equally–plumbers, cotton, bonobos, DVD players, and sandstone, for example. In contemporary thought, things are usually taken either as the aggregation of ever smaller bits (scientific naturalism) or as constructions of human behavior and society (social relativism). OOO steers a path between the two, drawing attention to things at all scales (from atoms to alpacas, bits to blinis), and pondering their nature and relations with one another as much with ourselves.

Essentially, it is a kind of trying to be objective about something by stepping into every objects’s shoes. The language is nuanced to be human center-free.

It feels like something David Suzuki would agree to (this would make sense since he is a geneticist-turned-activist). In sustainability, it seems to have something in common with the animal rights movement opting to be less anthropocentric.


(Monologue: There seems to be a move away from human-centred views and looking at the world from what I call The Other. But whether we can learn to avoid projection of The Self in performing this act. Perhaps I can call this project Willful Philosophical Out-Of-Body Re-embodiment.)