Rahil Patel

Transportation Disrupts Sense of Space

30 April 2016 by Rahil

Transportation disrupts one’s sense of space. Just as cars do, especially in the suburbs, motorcycles do too, even in cities.

People go to destinations skipping the space between, not caring for it. In Taipei, for example, people might directly go to their favorite night market food stall via motorcycle, picking up the food in a plastic bag, nearly running pedestrians over. There is no thought about the space between, just as there is no thought between one’s location and destination in a car in the suburbs. This lack of sense of space is what ruins space. In other words, the lack of awareness of the space around one’s self, the material and the people, is what leads to the ruin of the material and the people within it.

To walk is to care for the space and people around. The space and the people within it aren’t skipped over. One can interact with both. One feels [as if one is] a part of both. The choice of walking through a slum or driving through it is a choice of care: does one care for the space of the slum or not?

Care, for me, is directly correlated with the distance between humans. If I am within the same space as humans, I care for them. It is that simple for me. Therefore, care depends on position in space, and the routines of everyday life that alter one’s position. I am aware this is an abnormal psychology, but I believe there is some truth in this.

Leave a comment | Categories: Design, Environmental Design, Humanities, Philosophy, Urban Philosophy

Noisy Transportation Destroys [Social] Atmosphere

30 April 2016 by Rahil

[to The Ideal Neighborhood?
– can grab a quote from this (not that) post later

[Written after biking to day markets for a day in Taipei, itself after bike commuting for several days.]

Noisy transportation ruins the [social] atmosphere around it. Wherever there is noisy transportation (petroleum-powered motorcycles and cars), the space around it, in which sound can permeate, is destroyed.

The body seeks comfortable spaces. A place where once can sit, talk, and drink some tea. [todo: needs more thinking?]

in Taipei

All of the streets are a terrible place to be. It is only there to pass by. One way to avoid some of the noise and get by is to take a bus. Another, the subway (but that’s another problem [todo: how subways ignore space]). Walking [todo: urban problems of walking], biking [todo: urban problems of biking], and motorcycling creates a thoughtless, uncomfortable experience that disrupts one’s sense of space.

When one is stuck on a noisy street, then an exclusive comfortable place is a likely, deterministic choice, such as a convenient store or cafe.

One way to ignore all of it is to wear earplugs or headphones. But to ignore space, similar to when one drives an enclosed vehicle, is a dangerous choice, as exemplified by how the suburbs have developed without care for the space between.

The most comfortable (public) outdoor areas are in dense neighborhoods, where buildings are built close to each other, split by narrow streets in which only a few vehicles can pass by at a time.

This is exemplified by some of the densest neighborhoods in Taipei [台北] (including New Taipei [新北]). The neighborhood around Tonghua street (通化街), the neighborhood west of Taida (太大), south / southeast Songshan (松山), perhaps Datong (大同), and perhaps Shuanghe (雙和).

The day and night markets provide further comfort by nearly blocking vehicular traffic.

The more people on the street, the more comfortable the space, and less likely that vehicles will try to break through.

So, it seems, the urban solution is to build narrow streets which attract people [to be on the street], resulting in filled narrow streets.

Neighborhoods in Taipei

Tonghua is the best neighborhood in Taipei because it has a by-foot-accessible day and night market that nearly blocks all vehicles. It seems the vehicles that do make it in are those that belong to the market workers. The rest of the neighborhood consists of the typical 3–5 story buildings, small neighborhood parks, small neighborhood temples, and so on. It’s streets seem to be quite irregular, making it even more difficult or undesirable to pass through. It effectively blocks vehicular traffic.

The southeastern part of Songshan District is also great. 3–5 story buildings in a simple grid for a larger area. A day market on the east. A night market further north. Traffic permeates better, especially on larger streets, at the cost of noise.

All good neighborhoods in Taipei have these characteristics[: 3–5 story buildings, narrow streets, filled narrow streets (markets), small neighborhood parks, small neighborhood temples, irregular streets].

Connecting the good neighborhoods

The problem is simply the transportation between the areas: the uncomfortableness of getting to each one. To get to Songshan, one must traverse through the commercial belt, similar to Midtown in Manhatten. It is a terrible experience, ruining the sense of home. Instead of feeling as if one is simply going to a friend’s dwelling in a neighborhood, it feels as if one has to traverse through some annoying alien world to reach it.

The goal then is to figure out how to provide comfortable routes between residential areas. How can one comfortably get to Songshan from Daan? Bike and pedestrian routes through smaller streets is one method.

Currently the best bike routes merely are aligned with the most commercial streets, the red and blue lines. They don’t appear to go anywhere useful in itself. They require [bike] tributaries. There must be signs at each tributary, as there are exit signs near ramps on a highway. The red and blue lines are bike highways without exits.

Without comfortable routes, one becomes isolated in one’s neighborhood, not wanting to leave it, which is good and bad: good to develop a home, bad being unable to traverse [between], diversify, and melt [with] others’ homes.

Design Patterns?

I’ve only skimmed through the first few chapters of A Timeless Way of Building, but once I began adding emphasis to words, design patterns clearly began to emerge. Although it seems natural for it to occur, is it right to implement design patterns from my experience? These are not universal design patterns. Therefore, wouldn’t that destroy space, as it may conflict with another’s design patterns? Doesn’t environmental design always destroy the space by altering it?

When these patterns are taken together, the authors say, they begin to form a kind of language, each pattern forming a word or thought of a true language rather than being a prescriptive way to design or solve a problem. As the authors write on p xiii, “Each solution is stated in such a way that it gives the essential field of relationships needed to solve the problem, but in a very general and abstract way—so that you can solve the problem for yourself, in your own way, by adapting it to your preferences, and the local conditions at the place where you are making it.
– Wikipedia, A Pattern Language, Christopher Alexander and colleagues

So it seems as long as the ideas are general, abstract, one can avoid specific design, and therefore avoid destruction of space from repetition. The set of ideas merely exist as a toolset to solve urban problems.

Leave a comment | Categories: Design, Environmental Design, Humanities, Philosophy, Urban Philosophy

The Ideal Work

20 April 2016 by Rahil

[todo: search thoughts for exact thought.

Also can look at my previous history of how this is my categorical imperative, especially dependent on place: I move to a place and try to do good within the society. For example, I may stumble upon a city and try to improve the urban planning, or homeless people, or I may stumble upon a bunch of Burmese refugees and join a nearby social organization to try to improve the situation. But also how joining these organizations (especially anything large) are never satisfying because one must spend much time communicating, as opposed to doing, which leads (and isolates) me to take on more direct actions: personal art, media, urban and social interventions

This, with Capitalistic Behavior may become one of my largest posts, because it should contain my personal history (including experience), the ideal, the practical, and more.]

When I stumble upon a human settlement, I should have the ability to see problems or spaces for improvement and then implement the solution, which, especially of it involves society, may require others through social organizing, and through communication come to a consensus to take the necessary actions. That is the ideal work.

Politics [political philosophy] is the study of ideal social organization.
– The Story of Philosophy

Politics then should be the practice of actualizing the ideal social organization. And I don’t mean a revolution. “Don’t get any big ideas“. Every tiny step counts.

It is during this kind of work, this state of mind, ideas, practical and theoretical, to improve society will form in the mind. This process is social progress.

As long as I begin the ideal work as an individual, I am not afflicted by the cultures (capitalism, social customs, the economic status of the others, the knowledge of the others). The danger begins once I interact with another to engage in political actions. I have to continually argue until the actions passes through.

group decision-making vs not (via capitalism):

Without capitalism, this would be far more smoother. With it, then I must either invest in myself, have other invest in the consensual action (a group of individuals pay), throw it on a crowd-sourcing platform (the public pays), ask government for a grant (public sector pays), or ask a capitalist for funding (private sector, venture capitalist pays).

When considering the time it takes to argue, to rationalize actions, make group decisions, nothing would ever get done, just science and government get nothing done; It is a bureaucratic dystopia. Artists and people who get shit done simply do not have the time to argue in this old-fashioned way. Instead, it’s done in lightning speed in the city, through the multiple methods of communication now available.

Hence, capitalism here, allows people to take actions without verification. In doing so, it creates a wildly uneven world. But as a person who wants to get shit done, because it must, then individually accumulating capital and then using it to fund my unverified actions appears to be the better path, because it is time-efficient.

Arguing against institutions is a waste of time. The amount of cultural problems within them, and the time to educate them on their problems are infinite. One [a single individual] cannot argue against every institution. Instead one must leave it to media which highlights their problems, or some other method of educating them At least, that’s the nice way.

How would people behave without capitalism? Would it be benevolent? Would that require some education in ethics? Without capital, then everyone must constantly make group decisions, or, it could turn into anarchy. Then, a common ethical foundation, which is then reproduced through culture, would be the only thing that keeps the society together.

Doot doot doot, this had digressed quite a bit.

Leave a comment | Categories: Applied Philosophy, Civics, Humanities, Personal, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Social Change, Social Philosophy, Thoughts

Capitalistic Behavior

19 April 2016 by Rahil

[todo: this might become my largest post, which may involve my experience in each society (from childhood to now), my desire to reverse it, and perhaps use Marx’s Capital to continue thinking about it.]

“What is the point of mentioning the word profit1?”
– Mencius, first line from Mencius

When one physically sees the masses that move across streets in large cities — New York, Seoul, Taipei, and especially Tokyo — one wonders, why are they walking to their destination? Are they thinking? Are they human, or zombies? Is their mind separated from their body? Must one use music to stop thinking in order to move the body?

“Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get home before the morning comes
What if I’m late, gotta big date, gotta get home before the sun comes up
Up and away, got a big day, sorry can’t stay, I gotta run, run, yeah
Gotta get home, pick up the phone, I gotta let the people know I’m gonna be late”
– Harry Nilsson, “Gotta Get Up”

The body needs to be somewhere at a certain time. But with current technology, is it necessary for many jobs? Why not simply communicate through digital means?

[Singapore and Hong Kong: Asia’s businesses cities. Let’s not talk about them please. I could only stand half a day in Singapore, and I was happy to purchase a flight out of Hong Kong as soon as possible.]

In Seoul, one really gets a strong sense of capitalistic behavior. That, the economic system is almost in entire control of the society. That nobody is thinking about their actions. The entire society blindly follows what capital wants. If capital wants technology, that is what they will give it (hence the economic boom). Capitalism determines the actions of all its citizens from professional business to art to everyday life. The way shopping malls (thinking of Rick Roderick’s Philosophy and Human Values) determine where people go and what they buy, the entire city is planned to control Seoulites position and advertise their feeble minds to purchase commodities. A good dungeon master or game developer could easily create the material structure and rules for them to follow. (Unfortunately, the masters are boring, rich capitalists.) Capitalism determines their place in society. If capital values exchange-value, that is what society values. A higher salary actually is valued in this society. Go figure.

In Tokyo, the capitalistic behavior pervades, but perhaps is weaker in some parts. Of work, it is the same as Seoul: the old bergousie wealth culture, mannerism still exist. But it doesn’t extend to entertainment, or their everyday life after work. They have unique arts, though, itself extremely insular. When they have free time, they don’t go to malls (well, many do), but they might actually go home and play some video games, or actually go to a park.

In Taiwan, the capitalist behavior is the weakest [of East Asia], hence the lack of economic boom. Somewhere in the culture (Confucius?, benevolence is prioritized over ‘profit’?) having an experience (a la Dewey) at a good price is prioritized. Every experience is calculated, from snacks to flights. Thus, perhaps, going to Thailand is better than going to a developed country, because there is more experience in Thailand. Maximizing experience is the categorical imperative. Strive to make every action a social experience. Try anything. Nothing is looked down upon, instead people cheer you on (加油). It doesn’t matter what the direction is, therefore, capital does not affect their actions; It doesn’t matter if an action generates capital or not; Just do it for the experience. Go on, try (试试看) riding a skateboard, or hunting wild boars with aboriginals. Who cares. If one fails (which is pathetically often the case), oh well. It was worth trying; It was worth the experience of trying. If one runs out of capital, well, one must work (工作) for it, it’s one’s duty (负责). Playtime (玩) is over. But surely after work, maybe even during work, and after saving a little, one can play again. Thus, capital here is merely something needed in order to try things, to take actions in desired, natural directions. Those directions could be to have an experience (try something new: food, travel, art), urbanize a comfortable place, or volunteer to try to do good (热情) for one’s society. Capitalism limits behavior, but only for the time necessary to earn capital.

[todo: America.

three parts? VA, SF, and NY?

[applies to all] Work and play. Work hard, play hard. Life is separated from work. Work is completely alienated. One goes into some work zone, physical and mental, then comes out 8 hours later, then proceeds to a social space, a bar, a cafe, an event, home, etc, to not think about work again. Because the wages are so high, benevolent thoughts, politics, society, are not thought of. One doesn’t need to think about how to create a better society, because one is already surviving quite well off.

In Virginia, the suburbs of which I’ve come from, corporations have nearly defeated all small businesses and replaced them with superstores which contain a million commodities, which makes it impossible to imagine the labor that went behind it all. Industrialization is in full force in the suburbs. Cashiers are automated now. So is security. Go on, get your manufactured milk and cereal and check ’em out yourself!

The work in Virginia is either corporate or government, the latter, having a large military presence. Do the engineering for some part of some battleship or spacecraft or secret intelligence program. They’re huge enterprises, and the work is a tiny cog (todo: link to Helplessness Blues). My school spit out cogs for SPAWAR, NAVSEA, NASA, and DARPA. But somehow, no student saw the simple ends: war, wasting capital toward positive science, and building an Orwellian society. That’s the American education. Hurray science! Use a STEM-pack. Ah yeah, that’s the stuff!

SF, see Silicon Valley and Capitalism.


[todo: every other society I’ve experienced]

[very much related to my posts on criticism of capitalism.]

1. profit – the Confucius definition seems to be to gain, but usually in the context of gaining as an end, which goes against the categorical imperative of benevolence

possible things to read:

Leave a comment | Categories: Determinism and Free Will, Ethics, Experience, Humanities, Japan, Metaphysics, Personal, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Philosophy, South Korea, Taiwan, Travel

Language and Decision-making

18 April 2016 by Rahil

And it seems again that I’ve hit the limits of [human language] communication. Previously it was with the society I lived in, but now it’s with media: books, the most abundunt resource of communication. Language is too narrow in scope, leading the mind to more narrower things. The entirety of the philosophy bookshelf of the library seemed quite useless, probably because its ‘ Western philosophy: the categorization of reality. Instead of offering reality, cities, societies, nature, it only contained words describing bits of it. Political questions are great to ponder about, but the words lack the reality of thr environment. There is simply no way for words to offer a real experience. It is only in the mind of an active nomad that thr words provoke recent experiences, entire towns, countries. And for that, then fewer words are needed: poetry and Calvino are enough. [Wittgenstein comes close to creating a poetic dialectic, within the written language medium.] But that’s directionless, anti-dialectic. Well, then, don’t read. Just consume reality and film, then create from it, because there will never be anyone communicating the things I think about.

The content of communication (or any creative action) is unique. [todo: remove or add more to this thought]

I’ve spent so much time [and energy] in my life trying to find, through contemporary people and mediums, people to talk certain ideas about, to share, to socialize, but alas, there was no point [of searching] to begin with. One should not have to go to a human geography department to talk about how capitalism reproduces exclusive spaces. Yet, one cannot simply expect one’s neighbors or friends to have thought of these things. One can only hope the neighbor or friend is willing to spend some time to talk. That is the [socially] normal scenario; Desiring more [energy from others], as I always do, is ideal, and leads to failure.

Why seek to communicate? Why not simply do as I feel? [1.] It’s not social, therefore, it does not feel good. [2.] Communication [sometimes] leads to more knowledge [through dialectic]. [3.] Making decisions for actions via a mutual consensus provides a sense of social verification.

These might be alleviated: [1.] I can make what I do social, simply by having a social network, or even more simply, people around. [2.] Communication can be received through media. Although not ideal, it’s more efficient. [3.] Can’t be fixed; People with knowledge are needed to provide input in the decision-making process.

But when the entirety of society is ignorant, then there are simply two [positive] paths: do things myself and/or [forcefully?] bring others to do these things with me. Skip the consensus.

[todo: compare Confucius / Socrates / Bacon and Zhuangzi / Heraclitus / Montaigne lives, which is better? Living in the city, constantly fighting [arguing] to push society toward ideal vs living as a hermit, thinking and creating freely [whether or not society listens or argues]? Compare the outcomes of my personal experience when living in those two modes. What was most effective? Individual communication, group communication through social organizations in the city, or mediated communication through various mediums (essays)? Or a combination of all? Which mode was healthier, happier?

Read my old post about ideal lifestyles]

The verification, justification of social behavior comes with experience. I don’t know what I was doing when I first created anything: games, photo essays, written philosophy, work, travel, event organizing, social organizing. It was all nerve-wrecking. First, because, all of these things went against capitalistic behavior. They were feelings, impulses acted upon. Second, because there are infinite things one can always do, and being conscious of this, constantly thinking and choosing what to do results in a roller-coaster of decisions and emotions.

[possible quotes:

After “It’s not social, therefore, it does not feel good”:

First of all: what is work? Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid. – Bertrand Russell, “In Praise of Idleness”

“Democritus and Heraclitus were two philosophers, of whom the first, finding the condition of man vain and ridiculous, never went out in public but with a mocking and laughing face; whereas Heraclitus, having pity and compassion on this same condition of ours, wore a face perpetually sad, and eyes filled with tears. I prefer the first humor; not because it is pleasanter to laugh than to weep, but because it is more disdainful, and condemns us more than the other; and it seems to me that we can never be despised as much as we deserve. Pity and commiseration are mingled with some esteem for the thing we pity; the things we laugh at we consider worthless. I do not think there is as much unhappiness in us as vanity, nor as much malice as stupidity. We are not so full of evil as of inanity; we are not as wretched as we are worthless.”
– Michel de Montaigne, “On Democritus and Heraclitus”


Individual communication was best during travel, meeting and talking to people wherever I went.

Only in New York was I able to even achieve a good level of group communication and come to multiple mutual consensuses. Oh so much to do, as opposed to deciding what to do.

My apex of mediated communication was during my time living abroad, especially in Taipei during Humans of Taipei and in solitude (in Taipei, home, Yilan) after travels reading and writing philosophy. The second form is detached from society, perhaps because it involved reading. One should never read, just create (writing is okay, but the worst form).

The ideal, it seems, was the second, group communication. To be part of multiple social organizations which directly affect society, because media has its limits in affecting society [link].

The most creative is mediated communication. One can freely explore and drift wherever one desires, talking about anything via essays.


Leave a comment | Categories: Communication, Ethics, Experience, Humanities, Philosophy

Positive and Negative methodologies

17 April 2016 by Rahil

Just some highlights and thoughts from the last chapter of A Short History of Chinese Philosophy by Fung Yu-Lan, edited by Derk Bodde. After reading a few books, it led to this thought.

28. Chinese Philosophy in the Modern World (last chapter)
end (the methodology of metaphysics):

“I maintain that there are two methods, the positive and the negative. The essence of the positive method is to talk about the object of metaphysics which is the subject of its inquiry; the essence of the negative method is not to talk about it. By so doing, the negative method reveals certain aspects of the nature of that something, namely those aspects that are not susceptible to positive description and analysis.”

“…the West started with what he [Northrop] calls the concept of postulation, whereas the Chinese philosophy started with what he calls concept by intuition. As a result, Western philosophy has naturally been dominated by the positive method, and Chinese philosophy by the negative one. This is espeically true of Taoism, which started and ended with the undifferentiable whole. In the Laozi and Zhuangzi, one does not learn what the Tao actually is, but only what it is not. But if one knows what it is not, one gets some idea of what it is.”

– sounds like a research programme by Lakatos, which is from 1976!

“…Ch’anism, which I would like to call a philosophy of silence. If one understands and realizes the meaning and significance of silence, one gains something of the object of metaphysics.”

– perhaps there’s something he’s getting at here, that Chinese Philosophy tries to focus on actuality, not language. Where western philosophy focused on creating ideas in the form of words, and even later, a terrible linguistic turn, Chinese philosophy maintains a better perception of reality, but simply cannot communicate much about it, at least, not through written language.

“In the West, Kant may be have said to use the negative method of metaphysics…he found the unknowable, the noumenon. To Kant and other Western philosophers, because the unknowable is unknowable, one can therefore say nothing about it, and so it is better to abandon metaphysics entirely and stop at epistemology. But to those who are accustomed to the negative method, it is taken for granted that, since the unknowable is unknowable , we should say nothing about it. t和business of metaphysics is not to say something about the unknowable, but only to say something about the fact that the unknowable is unknowable. When one knows that the unknowable is unknowable, one does know, after all, something about it. On this point, Kant did a great deal.”

”…A perfect metaphysical system should start with the positive method and end with the negative one. If it does not end with a negative method, it fails to reach the final climax of philosophy (~earlier he mentioned how Western philosophers usually use words like Good, God, Love denoting the end of their philosophy and the beginning of their metaphysics). But if it does not start with the positive method, it lacks clear thinking that is essential for philosophy.“

– isn’t this Hegel’s triad idea?

[Ch’an [Zen?] story of thumb being cut off and enlightened is referenced.] ”Whether this story is true or not, it suggest that the truth that before the negative method is used, the philosopher or student of philosophy must pass through the positive method, and before the simplicity of philosophy is reached, he must pass through its complexity.“

– perhaps what is meant is teaching should not involve any positive direction, people should arrive at it on their own. Do not en-culture or indoctrinate students.

“One must speak very much before one keeps silent.”

– similar to “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” by Wittgenstein

Leave a comment | Categories: Eastern Philosophy, Epistemology, Humanities, Metaphysics, Philosophy

Media and Action

15 April 2016 by Rahil

From a thought today:

“…The second essay is about whether ‘personal essays’ ever cause action: has anyone acted upon an Essai by Montaigne[?], as people acted when Blow made Braid, or when Vertov made Man with a Movie Camera? Did the games and films made in response [to them] merely create more communication, as opposed to action? No [and Yes?]. It’s the accessibility of the medium that increases the chance of acting in response. ‘I read the news today’ is a different experience from watching Night and Fog, and that itself different from what I imagine and hope the experience of playing This War of Mine. The closer the experience of a medium is to real experience, the greater the chance of acting in response.”

Leave a comment | Categories: Action, Art, Communication, Critical Theory, Films, Games, Humanities, Linguistics, Media, Metaphysics, Philosophy, Philosophy of Film, Philosophy of Game, Social Philosophy

Thoughts, Highlights, Notes, and Dialectics with Media

11 April 2016 by Rahil

I was just thinking about the word dialectic and how I’ve inadvertently always engaged in dialectic with media in the past.

From the beginning, I always wrote down my thoughts and notes into a text file titled thoughts. Later, I created a knowledge and education text file to separate my notes from my thoughts; Mainly, because I read and “highlighted” (copy text) huge amounts of text from Wikipedia. During the beginning of my philosophic period, and likely because it began with the audio of a series of lectures, I began highlighting (from audio to text), taking notes, and engaging in dialectic (without knowing the word) in separate text files on my phone through Byword (now I more frequently use Writebox). Later, these text files went under a folder titled knowledge and education. Even later, my notes on other media — physical books, documentaries, films, real conversations, real experiences — were all created in their own separate text files. During the middle of my philosophic period, I discovered Voice Dream, and now my highlights and notes are stuck inside the application. Still, I use the knowledge and education text file and folder for all other kinds of media and real experiences.

Then I figured, there’s probably some useful things I said in my notes that I could scavenge. Alas, there’s never time to look back and organize it all, is there?

Leave a comment | Categories: Communication, Conversation, Humanities, Media, Organization, Personal, Philosophy, Thoughts

The Way of Including

29 March 2016 by Rahil

To experience another’s life, in addition to the economic and social influences, the latter impossible to experience, the former, difficult, there is the difference of space and time. To simple be with another person in their everyday life, is to be effected by the same urban and social influences of everyday life. This is something that can be experienced. Live through the shift of a subway repairman, a farmer, an office worker, an at-home technical support worker, a housewife, a maid, a baker, and one will, in addition to appreciate people more, understand the social and material forces at work. This is all we can understand.

Then, to gain an understanding of several people, one must alternate between living the lives of others – their work and their social relations. The greater the amount and diversity of lives experienced, the better on’s perception of social reality is. This is a method of understanding, but it is temporary, because memory is.

Then, retaining the memory of the experiences with people, one must create something that would be beneficial to the greatest amount and diversity of people,.

Then, one should repeat the process [of experiencing and creating]. This is the way of building a more inclusive society and environment.

Whoa! I need to pull out blank sheets of paper more often.

Found these related bits during a random reading today of Russell’s History of Western Philosophy:

“Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils, nor the human race, as I believe, and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day.” – Plato, Republic

Famous quote, but one usually focuses on the preposition, overlooking the exclusion bit.

“democracy, in the proper sense of the word, is of necessity despotism, because it establishes an executive power, since all decree regarding – and, if need be, against – any individual who dissents from them.”

“the “whole people”, so-called, who carry their measure are really not all, but only a majority: so that here the universal will is in contradiction with itself and with the principle of freedom.”
– Kant, Perpetual Peace

Hmmm, exclusion must be on my mind because that’s all I currently see and seek.

Leave a comment | Categories: Art, Critical Theory, Essays, Humanities, Literature, Philosophy, Social Philosophy

Creating Comfortable Places

28 March 2016 by Rahil

For survival, one organizes a space to serve survival needs: food, water, temperature and humidity control, toilet, etc. After survival has been met, the space becomes a comfortable space.

[The degree of comfort needed to survive is about the same, depending on differences in bodies. Any more comfort is a luxury…]

When the weather is uncomfortable, people seek comfortable spaces — Asian convenient stores, cafes, libraries, public spaces, friends’ dwellings, one’s own dwelling, etc. (note: only two are inclusive spaces).

When the weather is comfortable, then these comfortable spaces become unnecessary [my first thought, especially thinking of my comfortable travels in Asia as opposed to uncomfortable times in cold American cities]. They only seem useful in the habit of people meeting there, but that [habit] can be changed to meeting in a public outdoor spaces.

[These comfortable spaces are a huge market, from daycare to hip places to elderly care…]

People with jobs which require their body to move through uncomfortable weather are targeted (and screwed) by capitalist designers [my second thought, thinking of migrant workers in Taiwan consuming junk at railway stations at high costs]. Transport stations, roadside convenient stores, and roadside restaurants, are utilized as a means of survival, but taken advantage of with high costs.

Instead of construction workers being provided with a nice room with a water cooler, refreshments, a clean bathroom, air conditioner, such that would be found in an office, then it is up to the convenient store to provide these comforts. But the convenient store, unlike than office space, or a space in one’s own dwelling (remote and home workers), is filled with mass-produced, high-priced, often useless commodities. 

[There is quite a difference in the experience of a convenient store in Taiwan and one in America…]

[todo: continue?]

Hmmm, well that was the thought: that programmers at home can work and save comfortably because their bodies are at home, whereas the postal workers that bring them their commodities, must efficiently find ways to survive — pack lunch, pack coffee, find free hot or cold water, use air conditioned vehicle, etc. –, or suffer the cost, in addition to the fact that a programmer’s salary is higher than a postal worker’s.

This thought was probably initiated by CouchSurfing with a person who’s job is technical support, and who works comfortably in his well-stocked apartment in a high-rise in he middle of nowhere.  One can probably even see the from the window of his apartment, looking down at the people struggle against the weather.

[insert Veidt comic frame?]

[rename to to comfort as commodity? The capitalist design of space upon laborers?]

Leave a comment | Categories: Design, Environmental Design, Environmental Psychology, Human Geography, Social Philosophy

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