Aporia – 

internal contradiction, paradox. Aporia likewise could encompass the sublime, the surreal, and, the absurd. The Greek origin is a mixture of the ideas of without and passage. Rather than a dead-end, we may want to focus upon the way an aporetic experience halts and pauses us, like a fissure in familiarity, requiring a strange, timeless delay: also a liminal space which calls for questioning familiar things and for pure thinking. Art and philosophical experiences are fundamentally aporetic.


the Audience – 

an aggregate of people’s attention spans. That attention orbits an interest area rather than attaching to an individual or a personality. Therefore each contribution addresses that Audience without its contributor trying to possess those people’s loyalty or attention. Electronic media remakes audience members and distinct ‘audiences’ into interlocutors and explorers of their interest area, rather than mere receivers of content that is more or less entertaining.


depression  – 

Isn’t it telling that economic downturns and emotional downturns go by the same word? Money is an emotional medium because of the meanings cast upon it by people experiencing something on the continuum of poverty and wealth.


The Disaster – 

Punctuating this term as a proper noun draws attention to the essential, primordial, universal disastrousness of Existence when alienated from Being (that alienation being a state of duality). So, we’re using The Disaster to point out both a discreet phenomenon (the Covid-19 pandemic, shelter in place orders) and simultaneously what is always already disastrous about life generally – it’s what Zorba called ‘the full catastrophe’.  How this full catastrophe is understood will affect the interpretation and very experience of a certain disaster that is here, manifest. An overall tragedy like Covid-19 should prompt us into curiosity about that universal Disaster (in its existential opposition with Fortune) – yet, direct interest in Covid-19’s threat of death points us beyond duality, and multiplicity, altogether. The quiet, persistent gift of The Disaster is transcendence.


electronic media

In the 2005 Masters Thesis, Electronic Phenomenology (University of Denver), it is argued that ‘electronic’ more accurately describes online media than ‘digital’, since the latter is from entirely outdated eras of technology. Although in common parlance, such as ‘digital media’, the word digital is interpreted as inclusive of ‘online’, which implies computers of all sizes. From Electronic Phenomenology, page four: ‘Digital technicity (eg, coding and storage) cannot reach as far with its significance, for instance, as electronic technicity (eg, qua a central processing unit, computer programming languages, autonomous logic, virtual reality [and we should include AI in the list]).’


endemic poverty –

When seeking to find a philosophical solution to the problem of poverty, it is understood that the register for such a solution is pure understanding that is prior to a specific response. We are examining and considering the entire problem, the essence of poverty, rather than specific case(s) of it. So our theory is not tasked with developing any social policies, for instance, and should not be criticized for a lack of concrete recommendations or fixes for individuals. A philosophical approach to solving the problem of poverty is investigating on behalf of all human beings throughout history who have suffered artificial, manufactured impoverishment, generation after generation.


escape velocity – 

Poverty sucks people down, negative inertia, and is packed with trappers hunting those who get weak. To reverse that dark sinking slide, a person must find a source of progression, a spark for movement, and then by pushing forward achieve livelihood, much like a spacecraft requires ‘escape velocity’ or sufficient speed and momentum to defy a planet’s gravity.


existential journalism – 

Imagine a philosopher; picture Plato; now imagine Plato using the strategies of Journalism to report upon philosophical investigations of all kinds, but especially phenomenological reflections upon current events and problems.


Humanism–Western Enlightenment–American Constitution – 

If we were to study each of those three major landmarks of Western history, we would become aware of many differences among them, even shades of variance in the ontological understandings expressed by each. However, I generally think of them together as a kind of bulwark for our contemporary expectations of human rights and civil liberties.

Those expectations rely upon the convictions, for instance, conveyed by the consensus of the Enlightenment: there is intrinsic value and potential in each and every human being, by virtue of being human, rather than by the circumstances of birth.

Corporate Capitalism or Late Capitalism, and the unthinking development of Artificial Intelligence, are examples of forces that generally antagonize this heritage of Humanism. That antagonism is what prompts the goal of updating and double-thinking current conceptions of Humanity, Human Being, Livelihood, Civil Rights, and so on, while simultaneously interrogating the aggression toward humanity demonstrated by corporate power, the military-industrial-complex, and, the medical-industrial-complex.


interlocutors – 

Socratic dialogues always involve interlocutors, participants, interactions between people with different experiences of intellect, subtlety, aesthetics, rhetorical skills, confidence, and in a word, variations of consciousness. Today members of an audience have the tools and capabilities to talk back to all manner of electronic media, as well as to write back, image back, so to speak, and generally to feed back. There is really no excuse nowadays for passive absorption of media and submission to the ways things are portrayed and pre-interpreted. We are not just mute viewers, readers, seated in a crowd in a studio or upon bleachers – we are actually an audience of interlocutors, questioners, who think about what we see and hear.


labor in survival mode –

We should make a distinction between employment of people for ‘living wages’ (presumably enough that they are stress-free and do not experience survival mode) that just distracts them from tracking their own livelihoods, on the one hand, and on the other hand the employment and underpayment of human beings who must subsist on less than the cost of a healthy lifestyle. They are therefore unhealthy and desperate vis-a-vis their employers. This ‘labor in survival mode’ is similar to earning only ‘starvation wages’, but our phrase goes further into an interrogation of businesses who knowingly employ people who are in a world of pain and can’t get out of poverty on the wages they earn – this criminal exploitation should be investigated and dealt with on its own.


leisure – 

The vernacular, casual meaning of leisure is associate with laziness, privilege, wealth, entitlement, the easy life, or, ‘time off’ from employment. These are all, in terms of linguistics and etymology, forms of the pejoration or degeneration, even perversion, of the idea of leisure. The deeper, real, full, ancient meaning is this: a relaxed time not consumed by menial labor (for oneself or for others), not distracted by experiences of survival mode, when one is healthy and well rested, unthreatened by pressing concerns or dangers, and, being the ideal time for pure thinking. Therefore, leisure is an experience of being highly energized, alert, creative, engaged, productive – the same sort of state that is ideal for transcendental (sitting) meditation.


livelihood –

The word casually means a person’s ‘living’, as in ‘I make a living at–’. But our interpretation is going another way, beyond the concept of having a job and paying bills to ‘put food on the table’. 

Our meaning of following one’s livelihood combines a person’s true craft and receiving income from sharing it with others. In other words, it is the person’s destiny plus rewards for offering that back to humanity. Each human being must follow livelihood because it is a natural, honest, noble impulse, which also contributes to the overall vitality of humanity. 

If there is a general, public, online marketplace for things generated by people following their livelihoods, with a ‘for what it’s worth’ attitude, then there is a path toward The Livelihood Economy. This economic strategy would play the necessary role of guiding federal, state, and local policies that would help Americans, as it were, in first understanding their own livelihoods (in theory, and, personally), and then transmuting those creative passions into shareable things, which is the pathway for their private incomes.

Logically, citizens of the state that has adopted The Livelihood Economy would have, as it were, two income streams: the constant one is public funding in their destinies (a kind of national self-investment), and the second income stream is the register of how well they communicate and share their crafts, and thereby receive remuneration from The Audience(s) with whom they interact.

Technology, and crowdfunding sites, and social networking, may be the only required pieces to solve the problem of work and labor in our country by as soon as 2030, with any luck. The solution is The Livelihood Economy (see below), which provides cohesion to these online tools, making them powerful in the hands of everyday people who can seize upon them to stabilize their own livelihoods.

The concept of stabilizing livelihood dovetails with quality of lifestyle on the personal level; at the national and global level, proliferation of this Humanistic economic system privileging livelihood goes hand in hand with the conversion of ‘poverty’ into a strange anomaly. 


The Livelihood Economy – 

If we concede that the present economic system is occupied with managing poverty, perpetuating the poverty trap, to ‘enframe’ or commodify human labor and brain power, to reduce people to a ‘human resource’ to be used and utilized and manipulated, as if a standing army of workers, those who compose a ‘working class’, then, The Livelihood Economy is the opposite of that state of affairs.

The theoretical, relatively esoteric understanding of The Livelihood Economy is that it is a public economic strategy, and strategic federal spending, structured around the sanctity of consciousness within each person, which is expressed by each person’s natural, nascent ‘livelihood’ or craft. The overall society and finance sectors would become directed, as it were, by the principle of empowering the populace’s organic portfolio of unique, authentic livelihoods, within a promoted status quo of social entrepreneurship. On this view, it is not fanciful to conceive of rendering poverty a strange anomaly. (There is a white paper in progress dedicated to this single idea of the coming Livelihood Economy.)


Phenomenology – 

Historically, this is the proper name of a philosophical method developed by the German transcendental idealist, Edmund Husserl, which he published in 1913 as Ideas (trans). As far as we’re concerned, the most salient and relevant essence of this science of essences is its scientific idealism, in which two Husserlian concepts rise up in this connection: ‘transcendental subjectivity’, and, a ‘science of consciousness’ (that is a future, necessary science). To understand Husserl’s trip we must think of the Real world not as the subject of a map, an objective realm to which we are incidental.

To get phenomenological, we must think of the reality principle as a function of consciousness, such that what comprises our structural Real (the bottom line for our sense of existence, and the essential environment for experiencing aliveness as a human being) is what we have experienced directly. The sensory aspects of that experience are mediated by consciousness, rather than determined and transferred transparently by a separate objective reality. Phenomenological investigations (and existential journalism) treat conscious experiences, and the essential subjectivity of memories – in their existential plasma of Universal Consciousness – as what is functionally Real. This Real is witnessed with transcendental subjectivity using the new methods and strategies of a science of consciousness.

Furthermore, whatever Power may constitute and originate Universal Consciousness, making witnessing possible, is an excellent trajectory for pure thinking. Our preliminary bearing on this leads in the direction of the work Being Given, by Jean-Luc Marion (1997), a landmark of the French 'theological turn' in phenomenological thinking.


philosophical experiences

Sometimes, everybody becomes aware of ‘having an experience’, or aware of experiencing, which implies a philosophically interesting kind of witnessing. Having experiences in that way makes those ‘experiences’ (as if they can be isolated and separated) a different ilk from most of the less focused, less curious, less alert moments of life. We could say that philosophical experiences are meta-experiences (experience about experiencing, itself). All deep enjoyment and appreciation of serious works of Art, for instance, are philosophical experiences – not to mention making Art. Meditation is a philosophical experience. I think that ecstatic laughing is intrinsically philosophical. Hopefully, you are finding that reading this site is a philosophical experience, as well.

The key thing here is that nothing is objectively ‘philosophical’ (unless the entire manifest world is taken to be so) – it’s like the adage, ‘beauty in the eye of the beholder’. To have philosophical experience, one is already being philosophical, captivated by the essence of Philosophy – which is natural, since humans are inquisitive and probing beings.


poverty trap

Dovetailing with the meaning of The Livelihood Economy above, this term is, yes, quite polemical in identifying a certain whirlpool effect that afflicts Americans who work hard, long hours, for insufficiently low wages, month-to-month, bill-to-bill, day-to-day, pulling them down further into debt, holding back their potential as humans, as philosophical beings. Kant put it this way in his essay ‘What is Enlightenment?’: ‘Statutes and formulas, those mechanical tools of the rational employment or rather misemployment of his natural gifts, are the fetters of an everlasting tutelage.’ In the extreme, this ‘tutelage’ or intellectual subservience descends into what Marx called ‘wage slavery’. To use another metaphor, our economic system is like quicksand for the working class, while it’s like a rocket for the investing class.

But this is not merely a polemical, political stance, and a worldview that generally privileges cooperative social values. The concept of the poverty trap, insofar as it is a conceptual tool for understanding a dubious, probably nefarious breakdown of sociability, also represents quite an epic stance towards global problems such as climate change: we cannot afford to allow the poverty trap to exist, because it is a fact that the biggest polluter in this world is the entire phenomenon of poverty, per se.


praxis – 

The word praxis is more than a fancy synonym for ‘practice’. Talking about praxis would attract a philosopher because it opens the question of doing (from its Greek roots). Yet praxis acts in a fresh, theoretical, experimental, critical way, rather than to rehearse something already known.


problem of work –

Many in this country might retort, ‘Is there a problem with work?’ They may add, ‘work is just work.’ To be brief on this point – that there are many problems with our work ethics, as well as fundamental misunderstandings about work in the universal sense – let’s just say that we still deal with  archaic ideas about working as well as personal, existential responsibility to work (as that is construed by societal norms), and, a connected issue of whether being indebted to others should be tolerated as a common occurrence. Unfortunately, with the confusion of our basic ideas and attitudes about work, in the mainstream, our society is rife with exploitation of workers, plain and simple. This is the basic problem of work today – not to mention the threats of robotics, AI, and highly under-educated masses.


pure thinking – 

Real or pure thinking is not replaying stale memories or reinscribing beliefs. Viable thought has the quality of freshness: to think is surprising, exhilarating, strengthening. So, shelter-in-place is a time to think, first and foremost – it is the time called upon to think about what is most important.


the Quickening –

For convenience let’s call the ‘point of critical mass in the personal creative sense’ simply the Quickening (pun intended, being that we’re under shelter-in-place orders that have us ‘slowing’ down, at home). For me, this is part of a larger phenomenon of being held back, as a phenomenon that is evidently universal among cultures. It’s being held back and then being used by others. Hence, this is a slowing of a person’s nascent maturation and self-possession. – The very opposite of that is the Quickening, or liberation of the person from artificial, outside bindings that is also the arrival of that person in an actual livelihood.

Our term also can characterize, therefore, the Audience for this kind of social and moral philosophy, and that Audience’s collaboration with it: participants are focused primarily upon experiencing the Quickening, because it is deemed what is most important (especially under the circumstances).


relaxing/The Relax – 

Please see my post, ‘Relax!’.


shelter-in-place – 

The younger generations have rarely experienced this emergency policy, and most never will have heard the very term, before the 2020 National Emergency for Covid-19. Shelter-in-place is a fascinating phenomenon in many ways. For example, as with Social Distancing (the overarching policy), sheltering by staying at home (and the closure of all ‘nonessential’ businesses) is the drastic elimination, temporarily, of all ‘face to face’, in-person, close human contact. Moreover, being sequestered in one’s residence – framed as patriotic duty – puts us in a potentially very philosophical mood, and that, is an understatement. To simply say that shelter-in-place orders put us into a situation that strongly calls out for philosophical experiences and pure thinking, is also an understatement.


survival mode – 

Survival mode describes the state of mind when a human being is caught in the poverty trap, of living paycheck-to-paycheck, which is generally a fearful state that can foster paranoia and bitterness. It could be argued that this mode of narrow concerns is rudimentary when contrasted with the concerns and broader creativity of people not burdened by any survival modes at all – some might even argue to the degree that survival mode reduces humans to a more animalistic state, of constant fight-or-flight jolts and chronic fear. It should be noted in this connection that relative wealth up to a point (statistically about $5K USD per month) does in fact disengage survival mode, like a cure.


to do, to act upon – 

Our entire, manifold comprehension of doership hinges upon the proposition of human free will as individuals, who make choices, who make decisions, who follow through on those intentions, who enjoy the fruits of their labors, et cetera. – This seems factual to some, and yet, it is a proposition rather than fact. There is another way to interpret the phenomenality of the world including human subjects, and specifically the question of the agency of human beings – which is explored by Jean-Luc Marion in Being Given (1997) – a way to interpret what’s happening at the human scale that does not depend on the egocentric universe hypothesis just summarized.


what is most important – 

What would one think about after just having accepted one’s own immanent death – one’s last thoughts? Another way to explain what is most important, which is to say most universal, is to bracket out (a Husserlian trope) and pass up any thought that is relevant only to an egocentric state of mind. In casual terms, what is most important is simply to understand why some questions have universal relevance. Understanding per se is most important because of its effect of filtering the range of possible next steps to the point of disclosing the most natural way to act or respond.


wide-scale, philosophical understanding –

Some may scoff at the possibility of large numbers of people if not all of humanity tuning into the same understanding simultaneously; there may be a fair amount of utopian-techno-futurism in the very suggestion of this. However, there are some of us who do believe, at least hypothetically, that if wide-scale philosophical understandings are possible, then they are possible in this age, and with the technologies we have already.

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