Rahil Patel

| (• ◡•)|/ \(❍ᴥ❍ʋ).

Awareness and Consciousness

26 July 2015 by Rahil

Here lies the problem of living a stable life, why I prefer living in flux (constant change of awareness), nomadic ally. To constantly be consciousness of the physical reality of the world, and not become lazy to forget about it.








Leave a comment | Categories: Philosophy, Philosophy of mind

Habit and Addiction

26 July 2015 by Rahil

A short thought. Related to awareness.

Addiction is a habit. People tend to create habits. Habits are created from living in the same area. The same area contains the same materials and humans. Moving to a new area alleviates the mind from old habits, uses a little mind power to create new habits

Leave a comment | Categories: Uncategorized

Space, People, and Time

11 July 2015 by Rahil

Just a thought that’s been rumbling in my head as I look for a space in Taipei to use as a public space, written the day after  reading an article about a public space in New York City posted by a friendly chef.

The people in a space contribute to the social decisions of a group. Social groups: neighborhood friends, family, classes, organizations, companies, hostels, towns, cities; outcome depends on the people in it.

Win found like-minded people on the internet because the Internet contains the a great portion of the world. Win physically gathered people in a city, just as he did in the Internet, with a space. A space is the equivalent of an Internet message board. It’s a place where communication is made for a group of people.

Many personalities need a social group to progress in a certain direction. Without it, they continue in a viscous cycle, creating ideas, but not actualizing them.

Space and people create experience. The awareness of the space and the awareness of people’s actions (communication) is the experience.

The change of space and people creates new experiences.

Experiences are what give people knowledge and social relations (feelings, memories).

Therefore a good method of learning is a constant change in space and people.

The intensity of an experience does not have any factors, it is quite random.

To create something (not consume, or copy) requires time to think (or talk). To think, time is needed in a space, perhaps without much action. A relaxed social space; downtime.

People create naturally. Forcing people in a space and guiding them to create is artifical. These guidances work (school, art, jams, events), and are often needed for many personalities to work, mimicing a deadline, a restriction in social time, but it is not required; work has no time limit.

All that is needed are people and time in the same space. This is how any lengthy work is accomplished. Though, work is not judged by its scale. This is also how several works by a person, or a social group is accomplished. This is a virtuous cycle.

To gather people in to the same space is the first step of creating an experience. To do this several times is the formation of a community.

Leave a comment | Categories: Sociology, Uncategorized, Urban Planning

The Ideology of Taiwan

09 May 2015 by Rahil

TODO: mind dump part 1:

In the past I’ve professed many characteristics of Taiwan that I enjoy, and even would want in an ideal society: Taiwan: First Impressions, Taiwan and Japan: Active and Passive lifestyles, Autonomy of Taiwan.

Poke some questions at a Taiwanese person and one will quickly come to the conclusion that Taiwan lacks ideology. Ask them their identity, what they’ve done, are doing, and want to do, what they like and don’t, the common response is “I don’t know”. But watch for a moment and their ideology comes to view, like cute ants they create incredibly cute mounds for everyone to live in, high quality tools for everyone to use, and still have a soft spot for their traditions: old and new.

Positive Facade
Everything is done with a seemingly positive attitude, so it’s quite difficult to see the struggle. During the protests, their struggle expressed itself in the least forceful ways: sunflowers, posters, decorative arts, and sit-ins. Again, ask them how they feel about the protest and the common answer is “The government is bad. I don’t know what to do. Taiwan is always struggling.” with a cute angry face.

Another example of this positive facade: it is common to see people happily working, yet once one reads their Facebook posts, their journals, their LINE messages, struggle appears in the form of sad emoticons from LINE, FB cat emoticons, and short writings.

Why the positive facade? Why not simply directly express negative feelings? Was negative expression punished and rid of during education? Frowned upon (should endure)? Is this simply a cultural difference in negative expression?

When a positive facade is created in society, perhaps it becomes more difficult to express negatively, simply because it is against the norm. The resulting conflict being a positive facade opposing another positive facade.

This seems to be the case in employee-employer relationships. Both work seemingly happy, but force exists, and in covert messages unhappiness exists.

The unhappiness doesn’t seem to stem from working, but rather, working for another person. Whenever one encounters an individual worker, say a street food cart worker, or a small school teacher, they seem to have to no qualms. It is a happier choice to have one’s own business in a less developed area than to work for another in a more developed one. (And I agree!)

[Even the slightest force is avoided. An aversion to force.]

Cute and Happy World
The cute and happy aesthetic even manifests itself in material: cute advertisements, products, applications, fashion, shoe-gazing music. Perhaps the same can be said for Japan. It creates an incredibly safe environment for all ages. One may feel quite difficult to find anything remotely socially bad in even Taiwan’s largest city.

The happiness of the people and material makes seeing the problems in society, consciously thinking about them, ever more difficult. This may be my largest criticism against Taiwanese society. So although there is plentiful cuteness in food stands, pet stores, foreigners, and any new product, worthy of several photos to the social norm, few seem to see the butcher of animals, the tiny cages pets live in, whatever awful things foreigners often do, and the factories in which the products are made.

The Cute Impulse
The response to cute aesthetic is a savage impulse. Like reacting happily to eating of tasty food or watching a cat video, it requires no rational. It is a an impulse, a feeling. And in this way, Taiwanese society seems to often react impulsively.

Technology has exasperated this problem. LINE is Facebook, Instagram, Vine, voice-messaging, maybe even Skype, all-in-one. Feelings are expressed in emoticons. Messages are shorter than twitter messages. The sublime is captured by phone cameras. Action is taken without thought.

If it works, integrate it
[Action without thought. Buying things at 7-11, McDonalds, without thought of consequence. Whatever works, the society will integrate it. Hostels work? Build hostels. Tea, snack shops, cafes work? Build them! Too many in Taipei? Develop the rest of Taiwan!]

They have a knack for creating hospitable places, have high regards for health.

Good design.

Leave a comment | Categories: Social Science, Sociology, Taiwan, Thoughts, Travel

Tools for Disorganizing

10 March 2015 by Rahil

A quick thought after looking at the title of an old post: Tools for Organizing.

Though tools for organizing makes sense for the mind to organize information, there seems to be the problem when humans organize too much, or, become habituated with organization and forget why they’re organizing the things they currently are organizing.

Therefore, there should also be tools for disorganizing, inciting a bit of chaos in people’s routine.

Luckily, most people have other humans or even animals around them to create new experiences. But many don’t. In a quiet suburban house or office with ancient societal values, they may not exist, and people will get stuck in routine, letting time slip without thought.

People need constant events to shake them, remind them of reality. For me this was films, but even that was not enough during a period I was at home at a later age. I nearly stopped thinking, reading, experiencing.

I still feel this is a problem of urban planning leading to isolation, and therefore less experiences. If one does not commute via public transportation, they experience far less, requiring more people in their dwelling for them to interact with and have more experiences.

Those that have been isolated need to be reeled back to the city.

What needs to be done: show reality, educate people that their work is not important as they think to break the social contract, detach people from their material belongings, educate people that a more communal society is better.

How it can be done: media that shows reality (link to problem with media not leading to action), physically go to people and tell people this (civil disruption), in gatherings and individually.

… TODO: write more?

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Philosophy, Sociology

Post-war in Post-political Societies

22 January 2015 by Rahil

[aka Post-everything]

I was thinking about Taiwan again, but this applies to any society that doesn’t have military strength to compete with the strongest powers.

It was mentioned that the US can’t even handle their own backyard, Latin (and South?) America. The revolutions of the early 2010s (Arab Spring and it’s tremors) cemented this idea. People are more knowledgeable and less obedient.

But militarily, what now?

Build nukes? If a country already has the ability to build a nuclear weapon, it would take a lot of dignity not to build one. Even Pakistan built some, for the sense of security. This is probably the best first step for military budget.

Build defense? I imagine it costs less than offense. The geographic advantage of being an island seems to still make a huge difference despite technological advances. The worst position simply being next to a superpower, connected by land, is really unfortunate. This is the second step.

Build offense? No way to compete. Besides, that’s what coercive, stupid states do.

Amiable societies don’t put money into war. If there is a rise in knowledge, disobedience against states, fundamental human values, dignity, a heart, then perhaps now may be a time where doing something humane would be seen as meaningful. Perhaps from this time onward, people will notice the good deeds and remember them, because now information pervades so easily.

Amiable societies often are closer to having more survival values. They’re nurturing. While still developing science (and technology), there should be more push toward nurturing other nations, and aiding them in times of natural emergencies.

The effects of nurture is opposite of that of imperialism. It is a positive force that increases solidarity, as opposed to a negative force that increases isolation. Maybe it results in more raw material or manufactured goods for the developed country, but never out of coercion.

Helping a less developed nation could add security for the lesser. If an East Asian country were to aid all of Southeast Asia, there is no military benefit for East Asia, but Southeast Asia may feel a bit secure against other larger powers. A solidarity among lesser nations is created from benevolence.

Plundering a less developed nation should decrease relations with everyone, but it often hasn’t, is ignored, resulting in no effect, because solidarity among higher nations is created from fear. There is no benevolence.

Helping a more or equally developed nation could make a change. If Taiwan were to help Japan or South Korea during a time of disaster, there’s an increase in relations, resulting in security for both or more for one.

If there is an increase in human values, perhaps people will look at a history closer to reality, and there will be a bit more acknowledgement of truth. In this way, the relationships of nations will take on a few more characteristics of more mature, modern relationships, as opposed to childish, ancient ones.

Then when it comes time when an an imperialist nation decides to conquer a neighbor, there will be more disobedience. In the victim, the victim’s friends, and imperialist nation itself.

If East Timor had good relations with other less developed nations in 2020, could the genocide have occurred so swiftly?

Hmm, this may be my first and last political post. It paradoxically feels inhuman, especially when one is not politically active. Non-pragmatic academia is a heartless pursuit.

Leave a comment | Categories: Politics, Social Science

all products should have a face

20 January 2015 by Rahil

[Product Ethics?]

In my parent’s large suburban home, there are a multitude of things. Those that I cherish most are either of most utility, likely in my backpack (some of which are from small companies whom I am able to contact), or an art object by someone I at least know by name or stage name.

But of the products in the house, this creates a very disproportionate amount of people I am aware of.

Who put this brick in this house here? Who put the pulled the wires through it? Who made this bed frame? Though, I sleep on the floor. Who stitched this underwear?

If every product had a face on it, I imagine I would have valued the products differently.

If this paper I write on had the face of a hispanic lumberjack or a picture of all of the people that work at the company. If this phone had the face of a Japanese factory worker lady. If this sleeping bag had the picture of the duck with all its feathers.

Surely these thoughts become unconscious or never conscious or eventually lost in order to live life in the developed world.

In the developed world, people often buy things from the person who created it via crafting, farming, or just putting tea in a cup. The gratitude is wholehearted and leaves a positive feeling to both.

The hope is that perhaps when one sits in their home and cut their favorite fruit, with their favorite knife, that they don’t love just the knife, but are able to be thankful to those Latin Americans factory workers that materialized it with a little picture. The house would be full of little pictures. Perhaps it would add a bit more connection in such an isolated environment, or more disgust. Both are positive outcomes.

Until the developed world adopts this standard, it is up to people to create tiny photos of the creators, and post it on every object that they own.

[Perhaps this is why I feel happy and compelled to always place myself in a public space, a restaurant, a cafe, but never a private space.]

[I really need to get out of the suburbs.]

Leave a comment | Categories: Ethics, Thoughts

Examined Life

19 January 2015 by Rahil

[todo: lots of old ideas came up here, that may be worth creating a post for, or maybe not, because they are old]

Notes taken during viewing and my current thoughts while going over them:

“The examined life is not worth living.”

great intro

Cornell West:
beam toward death

philosophy is critical of these things:
domination in institution
democracy is elites that are accountable for most people
of powers, which are not accountable to people
– ?, notes are quite unreadable

Current thoughts:
I like the guy because he speaks a common language and lives in New York, but everything he said was obvious.

Well, one interesting thing is “domination in the institution”. I don’t remember what he said, but the idea that all institutions are coercive, having a force. Chomsky and Assange say this too. Veblen finds the point where in the process of the development of society where force is first displayed: when the men of the amiable societies begin to war. That single force effects all of society. Forever! Well, until society learns to become amiable again. Naturally toward post-politics. Or some large-scale disaster.

But that’s hard when the rich are accustomed to be comfortably rich. And that the world has already been materially stratified, with slums to skyscrapers.

Maybe the problem is comfort. Travelers travel the world as if it were the apocalypse. The world is equally comfortable. The comfortably rich need to be shaken. If Katrina hit mid-town and Silicon Valley, maybe people would have woke up.

Avital Ronell:
This lady read way too much philosophy.

“the other” – can never understand others, so should not violate with my sense of understanding, let it live.
should always feel ethically, one does not do enough, never content

current thoughts:
The two points again is a kind of post-politics, autonomous society, where everyone is respected and appreciated.

The second point is nice to hear, and confirm, as I am never content, and try to never compromise. Is contentment synonymous to comfortable? Interestingly, she appeared quite content in her walk around the park.

Peter Singer:
developed city
– ethical issue of just living there. People should see moral problems.
– money, consumption, saving poverty (with money)
– “obligation to help people in starvation”
– can’t justify eating meat
– think of what to choose from another’s position
– neglecting not using money

current thoughts:
More obvious ideas.

I absolutely agree with the ethical issue of just living in a developed country. It’s probably why I watched so many foreign films when I was younger. Constant reminder is needed to keep life in check.

His resolution is naiive and possibly detrimental.

To think from another’s position, people have to live in a less developed society. After a certain time, people won’t choose to. Then they have to be forced to.

Kwame Appiwe:
think between evolve to globalization
– we are good at face-to-face stuff, family, few people, can we figure out how to be responsible to everyone?
– problem of globalizing cultures
– recognizing other’s moral values is having a moral nature
– not just responsible for zoo people (don’t quite remember what “zoo people” is)
– cosmopolitanism – can’t retreat to a few people and base moral on them, but also can’t abandon them, either learn to do both (or not?)

current thoughts:
Again, the question of politics vs post-politics, but phrased interestingly. [todo: think more]

The third point just boils down to appreciation, no forcing one’s values to another. This runs into the second point, that when the world globalizes, cultures face each other, and this is where complex interactions occur. Like when a person in a bamboo hut is introduced to modern technology, and media. Things in New York seem fine though. People sort themselves out with ethnic enclaves, or mold in hipper areas.

Cosmopolitanism is probably what every second generation child goes through with their parents, a la the film Tokyo Story, or just what every artist goes through when they move to a city. It fits my ethic of leaving traditional societies alone. But when the society to be left alone is wasteful, this poses another problem.

Martha Nussbam
foundation in Aristotle’s theory of justice
– job of good political arrangement
– to provide each person with what they need to become capable to live a flourishing human life; Supporting human capability.

social contract
– think about people with disabilities
– people get together out of love to create the world as good as it can be.

current thoughts:
Again, utopian post-politics. It’s a nice reoccurring confirmation. I really disliked this lady. Stereotype professor, no novel ideas at all. Her basic ideas are found in the most ancient of books. Not based on experience at all.

I agree, everyone should be provided the tools to do the best they are capable of. Someone said, perhaps Singer, that instead of thinking it as another person dying, think of it as lost talent, innovation.

The helping disabilities bit fits well with the first point: to make all people as capable as possible.

The third point is social construction based on utopia, which I agree with.

Cornell West pt. II:
Hah, I think I just like him because he’s conversational.

lover of wisdom
not school
to philosophize is to die
truth as way of life

listen to artists too
– aesthetic pleasure
*socially isolated yet more alive than the people on the streets

current thoughts:
I’m guessing the interviewer asked what a philosopher is.

“to philosophize is to die” is a phrase that comes to my mind too. It’s a social death. “socially isolated yet more alive than the people on the streets” was nice to hear while being filmed on the streets.

‘Listening to artists’ is something I didn’t realize ’til quite late in life. Probably because I didn’t socially die ’til a late time in life. I was the artist. I kept an eye on the forms and aesthetic of others, but didn’t see it as a way of something that people create as an action in life during a certain point in time and place.

Michael Hardt:
Democracy is rule of all by all
– age 20s in the 1980’s went to Latin America to see revolutions, politics, all he felt he could do was observe*
– better to revolt in the U.S.
– would U.S. lose or gain?
– Go to ??? and start an armed cell. Practically did not know how. Guns, etc.? Don’t know how to conduct a revolution.

current thoughts:
More post-politics.

The first point sounds like me in Taiwan.

The second point is really good. It’s better to revolt in the U.S. because it affects the rest of the world so much. [todo: lose or gain?]

After coming back from travel to the U.S., I had to make sense of the world. The idea of having such a guerilla-style revolution doesn’t seem right in a developed country because it contradicts it so much. Whereas if one were closer to nature, on a farm, it feels more possible. It’s a problem of adaptation. It’s like creating a very weird art that no one understands. The problem isn’t the idea, it’s that it deviates so far from current societal norms, and that makes it more difficult to make reality of.

My favorite. He’s also quite popular, not complex, but at least his ideas are based on cognitive biases (“wired to act”, which leads to poor decision-making, especially in developed societies. It also feels that he’s got some experience traveling. Thus far, it seems all of the others are Americans that haven’t been outside of it. Zizek has the philosopher-traveler feel. A bearded friend on an old couch constantly disgusted at the world, and directly interacts with the world. Perhaps the least academic found in this film.

Problem with world. We don’t see everything, i.e. trash, (or people dying).

temptation for meaning
– natural to interpret to make something simple; but really it just happens

the existing world is the best possible world

against science?

alienated from natural environment

Know, but not act upon it. Should visit sites of catastrophe.* It’s unimaginable we are not wired to act on it. Should learn to love the artificial, love trash, oil, animals, etc.

current thought:
The first thought is the core of all social problems. Related to the distance between humans, it is a basic cognitive bias. Humans will take bad actions, even if they have the knowledge of it [todo: link zizek review, known knowns etc.]. [todo: requires a lot more thought]

Finally a little cognitive science. Indeed the brain tries to abstract detail into digestible ideas. [todo: think more]

This is the first time I’ve heard the third idea. This is very interesting to think about at any point of time, in history, present, and future. That humans overall try to create the best societies and altogether, the best world, and this is what has come so far. [todo: think more]

He’s against science? Did Zizek fail to notice the history of science (and technology) and how it affects the world? Or does he blame the hierarchy required to upkeep it?

I agree with being alienated from the natural environment. The suburbs is the opposite of nature, and this idea is the only reason I can think of people are able to live between house, office, and Walmart.

I agree with the catastrophe bit. People need to directly experience things to orient their mind correctly.

People should love trash, oil, animals, and the natural resources which are naturally dirty. Perhaps it is the adaptation of comfort when people being to fear “getting dirty”

Judith Butler:
Don’t think about ???
– SF is accessible, public transportation, curve cuts, buildings -> social acceptability*
– social repression of people: aversion to others, limited housing, carer(?), socially isolated*
– did not feel she could get coffee
– help is something we all need, though we look down upon it*
– what can a body do?
– where is the backlog(?) of human?
– human as site of interdependency
– want to organize the world based on all those things

current thoughts:
I really like that they are walking and rolling (I’m scientific) around San Francisco. Always good to think about urban planning for all people. This lead to my own ideas of how the material world can socially isolate or bring people together.

Far better than whoever that last lady was. Social repression is a huge problem often neglected. Not in the simple feminism, black people stuff, but the more seemingly slighter forms of neglect: being averse to others. To think that all of the blind and deaf people are in deaf and blind schools and probably rarely go far from it because they are socially isolated. I wish they pervaded society. San Francisco probably is the place where I encountered the largest range of people: several forms of disabilities, disabled veterans, bums in the tenderloin, along with the hippies, yuppies, and in-betweens. It’s indeed quite a refreshing place to be. New York can sometimes be ruthless in comparison.

“help is something we all need, though we look down upon it”. This is so true, and a core characteristic of community.

Lastly, again, confirming the social construction based on one’s utopia.

Cornell West pt. III:
Hi again! :)

– is harmony possible? Beethoven learned to look at darkness and still have it.
– Blues starts with not caring for harmony, ride on dissonance.
– Time is lost on romanticism, keep fairing(?), play, the experience, never reach meaning, die without meaning

current thoughts:
Philosophers’ aesthetic taste is as old as they are. None of them have seemed to experience modern forms of art.

I like the third idea. To just keep playing, progressively learning, in constant search for meaning, dying without ever finding it. This constant love for wisdom but inability to be content.

I think the film did well in it taking place in developed societies, to show the contrast of the philosopher’s ideal society and the world they live in.

I think all of the philosophers fail in bringing any complex (in art, science, or logic) or novel ideas up, including solutions, which is also where the film excels — I wish 10 minutes were give to every smart person so that one could easily gauge other’s creativity.

The film also works because all of their ideas point toward the same similar idea: post-politics (autonomy, etc.). The problem is that not a single one gave a solution. They didn’t say, displace the entire middle class of developed societies, trade office employees with people from developing countries, remove superfluous jobs in developed countries, assassinate business magnates and distribute the wealth, stop buying products, sit on the streets, disrupt society. And that’s probably what differentiates academic philosophers and artists or revolutionaries. They don’t even say, innovate, use science and technology to consume less and spread more knowledge. None used any kind of empirical science to deduce their ideas, though, I guess that’s what continental philosophy is. Philosophy is a temporary phase. They’ve all spent too much time in philosophy world. They’re out of touch. They don’t see the empirical data. Only Zizek seems to have empirically gathered enough data in his mind to create ideologies of human nature. Perhaps pop academic philosophers have a place, like Jon Stewart has his, but it shouldn’t be honored. Academic philosophers are oxymorons. They say that the ideal is a community, but they aren’t a part of it. They are neither scientists nor artists. These people are unimportant. Likable, but unimportant, in that, they have nothing novel to say, and more importantly, do.

Leave a comment | Categories: Film Reviews, Philosophy

Oral Culture and the Speed of Decision-making

16 January 2015 by Rahil

Talking is a creative action based on a decision. The brain pieces grammar together with words that contain ideas.

Oral culture is therefore more creative, because one is talking more and reading less. People speak books.

The life of a person in a society with oral culture is far more creative than the life of a person in a society affected by writing.

The oral person has less dogmatic knowledge, more empirical knowledge.

When a society has an oral culture, propaganda cannot exist.

How do judicial systems work? Are juries the law? That’s a problem, but it seems paper laws made more problems, or are ignored and not enforced altogether in the case of the US.

Should education be conducted completely orally? Meaning, the teachers do not refer to texts.

Every class would be unique.

Without a foundation, would there be a problem with solidarity and nationalism?

I don’t think so.

It should always be up to the person to create a unique path of experience, then be able to communicate one’s experience to relate to another.

From the Wikipedia article on Orality:

In oral cultures, concepts are used in a way that minimizes abstraction, focusing to the greatest extent possible on objects and situations directly known by the speaker.

[todo: requires way more thought. This is interesting though! Slowly getting to the laziness of written cultures.]

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Philosophy

The Speed of Decision-making

16 January 2015 by Rahil

Rationality and irrationality are associated with slow decision-making and fast decision-making respectively.

Slow decision-making is strategic, like a military officer in an office with a map of the world, all of the battles pinned on it.

Fast decision-making is leads to the fastest action, and therefore is far more creative. Creative in the sense that more thoughts are created, and the ratio of them being acted is high. There is no “think before you speak”, just do it.

The balance of the two is the most important skill in life.

For one can be indebted to a single job for eternity before a causal agent shifts the human. Or one could travel manically until one dies from making an error in decision on something that affects survival, such as eating the wrong plant.

Too slow and it becomes possible to create apathetic suburbs in countries too large to have a sense of community.

Too fast and it becomes possible to create cities to dense, too much stimuli, that one become addicted to the stimulus, and is unable to spend the time to partake on a large project, read a book, or listen to anyone else.

Slow decision-making is needed for the rigors of science.

Fast decision-making is needed for the charitable works toward humanity.

Slow occurs in high-level academia.

Fast occurs in ground-level organizations.


Slow is theoretical.

Fast is practical.

Are big ideas necessary?

Knowledge has certainly progressed since savage times.

Who’s to blame, the brain or the hands?

Doing one without the other is the problem.

Revering one and not the other is another problem.

Every organization needs brains and hands of equal status.

[todo: ended here?]

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Philosophy

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