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Majoritarian speech values suggest that we shouldn’t allow corporations to lobby, let alone electioneer. The point of a mixed democratic-market system is that markets are highly powerful tools that can be used for good or ill. Deciding how to use them, how to guide them, and when to reject their results is the heart of democratic politics. The same characteristics that make our business corporations highly effective in their intended tasks of creating jobs and supplying useful products and services—centralized managers answerable only to dispersed financial markets intent on enforcing a single minded focus on economic profit—make them highly suspect participants in the debates and political campaigns that help shape our laws.
If we allow markets to control the political process, we lose democracy. Moreover, we will lose our markets—since successful corporations will simply use money from their past success to buy legislation to guarantee them still more market power. –“Money Is Speech: Why the Citizens United v. FEC Ruling Is Bad for Politics and the Market,” Daniel J.H. Greenwood, Dissent
Finland is smarter than America and likely always will be;
the best of the dead is still better than the rest of the dead;
it’s a circus out there: now we must turn our backs on the Greatest Show on Earth
Attention is “the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought,” wrote psychologist and philosopher William James in 1890. “It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatterbrained state which in French is called distraction.” James came tantalizingly close to understanding at least one aspect of this mysterious phenomenon whose inner workings eluded philosophers, artists, historians, and scientists for centuries. But today, we know much more about attention, and all that we are learning underscores its irrefutable importance in life. Attention is an organ system, akin to our respiratory or circulatory systems, according to cognitive neuroscientist Michael Posner. It is the brain’s conductor, leading the orchestration of our minds. Its various networks—orienting, alerting, and the executive—are key not only to higher thinking but also to morality and even happiness. Yet increasingly, we are shaped by distraction. James described a vivid possessing of the mind, an ordering, and a withdrawal. We easily recognize that these states of mind are becoming less and less a given in our lives. The seduction of virtual universes, the allure of multitasking, our allegiance to a constant state of motion: These are markers of a land of distraction. –“A Nation Distracted,” Maggie Jackson, Utne Reader
For Seneca, the stereotypical Google user would be remarkably similar to Calvisius Sabinus, a rich Roman who Seneca explains mastered a unique type of ignorance and stupidity. Sabinus was a foolish man, unable to remember the facts and literary allusions that comprised the educated culture of that time. But he was also a vain man who wanted to be intelligent. With his great wealth he devised a plan. Calvisius Sabinus purchased educated slaves, each of whom was tasked with knowing a specific bit of culture. One slave knew Homer, another Hesiod and there were others that were expert in each of the nine lyric poets. It cost him a tremendous amount of money to educate these slaves, but once they were ready he put them to use. If, in the midst of a feast, he wished to recite the Greek poet Pindar then he would simply speak while his slave whispered into his ear. In this way, Sabinus believed he had attained wisdom. –“Calvisius Sabinus,” Micah White, Adbusters
More from TedRoss:
Fleming awoke in the dark and his room felt loose, sloshing so badly he gripped the bed. From his window there was nothing but a hallway, and if he craned his neck, a blown lightbulb swung into view. The room pitched up and down and for a moment he thought he might be sick. The word “hallway” must have a nautical name. Why didn’t they supply a glossary for this cruise? Probably they had, in the welcome packet he’d failed to read. A glossary. A history of the boat, which would be referred to as a ship. Sunny biographies of the captain and crew, who had always dreamed of this life. Lobotomized histories of the islands they’d visit. Who else had sailed this way. Famous suckwads from the past, slicing through this very water on wooden longships.
A welcome packet, the literary genre most likely to succeed in the new millennium. Why not read about a community you don’t belong to, that doesn’t actually exist, a captain and crew who are, in reality, if that isn’t too much of a downer on your vacation, as indifferent to one another as any set of co-employees at an office or bank? Read doctored personal statements from underpaid crew members — because ocean life pays better than money! — who hate their lives but have been forced to buy into the mythology of working on a boat, separated now from loved ones and friends, growing lonelier by the second, even while they wait on you and follow your every order.
Average portion of its yearly household expenditures that a South African family will spend on a funeral:
Neuroscientists were hoping to use rat brain waves to find people buried by earthquakes.
Four people were arrested for using a remote-controlled hexacopter to fly two pounds of tobacco to prisoners inside the yard at Calhoun State Prison in Georgia.
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Our congratulations to Alice Munro, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature