The myth of Sisyphus

24 Apr

It was already a myth and could be forgotten, were it not for Albert Camus’s book on the subject in which he provokes the philosophy of his time which he describes as having an attempt to deal with the feeling of the absurd Heidegger, Jaspers, Shestov, Kierkegaard and Husserl.

It would be easy to contradict Camus for his own myth, a closeness to nihilism in his thinking, his tragic death in a car accident, however, his thinking is serious and must be taken seriously, as many authors have done.

The myth of Sisyphus is of a character of Greek philosophy, who having defied the gods is doomed to push a mountain stone up, and when it rolls down, must continually repeat its effort to push it up hill.

The myth of Sisyphus must be taken seriously because in it today much of mankind lives, which resignedly carried out its heavy daily task although sometimes doubts its meaning.

For Camus the world is not the absurd, the absurd happens when “my appetite for absolute and unity” completes the “impossibility of reducing the world to a rational and reasonable principle.”, Thus recognizing the absurdity of man could lead him to the absurd, to live it intensely.

Thus Camus’s reasoning is not a misnomer or irrationality, it is necessary to have the strength of the Brazilian thinker poet Guimarães Rosa, who contradicting logic, without being illogical, affirmed: “Everything is and is not” (ROSA, 1968, 12) in his Book: “Grande Sert]ao: veredas”.

The force of the essence of é is so strong and present that it can create an entity, the finite, the nothingness.

CAMUS, A. (1991) The Myth of Sisyphus: And Other Essays (Vintage International) .


What is the meaning of life ?

23 Apr

Edgar Morin and many other thinkers like Habermas say that an education, a philosophy of life is necessary, but the question of what life is is not simple.

Many times when we are faced with a serious problem, a loss or a radical change in our lives we ask what the meaning of life, the question without a definitive answer was faced by many philosophers, novelists, theologians and poets.

I remember the Song of Tamoio de Gonçalves Dias, “do not cry my son, do not cry that life is fighting hard, living is fighting …”, although it was only a poetry she helped me throughout life.

Shopenhauer (1851) and Tolstoy (1886) reflected the fact that our lives end up with more, so it is impossible to think of one theme without the other, since life ends in a point, has a finitude, refers us to infinity and Surely this has made all people think of beyond-death, in their cosmogonies.

Belief in God and an afterlife alleviates the situation, to the point that some philosophers admit that if God does not exist, human life is absurd, but Albert Camus and Thomas Nagel have accentuated the little objective significance of our lives, so we walk in the different direction of the infinite, the Nothingness, the nihilism, but the conflict between them awakens Ek-sistence, I Martin Heidegger stressed in Being and Time.

Existentialism is fundamental, because the thought in the line of Camus, leads to live what he described as “absurd man” who lives the life “without appeal”, in his view this person embrace life as fully as possible even without forget or deny some fundamental rational of it, this is at bottom the way of nihilism.

Nagel’s thinking is more cosmological, to the liking of some in our daily life, as the Brazilian Mario Sergio Cortella, the recognition of our insignificance before the cosmos, the light of this thought that seems to go towards the infinite, and will not, avoids an exaggerated and dramatic attitude, irony being the most appropriate, is a form of skepticism.

Both paths are attractive because they are facilitators, think about the essence, this is what “is” of the things of life and of the world, and what in fact they are, that is, what is the “being” in this world before the cosmos and the infinite?

This path also refers to the question of the principle, what we have already been and where we came from, must not be displaced from time but built in time.

Schopenhauer, A. The suffering of the world (1851 first publication).

Tolstoy, L. The death of Ivan Ilitch (1886 first publication).


Justice and Freedom for all

20 Apr

Amartya Sen reflects in his book The Idea of Justice on the Challenges of Social Development and asserts that there are “plural and competing reasons for justice, all with a pretense of impartiality, though different – and rivals – of each other” (p. 43).

One of the fundamental aspects of his work, originally published in 2009, is that despite his 1998 Nobel Prize for Economics, it is even “the economy is supposed to be my profession, no matter what I do with my love affair with philosophy” (p. 303), reflecting that their concerns and response seek to go beyond this.

As Sen’s own reflections on knowledge indicate, the question he has about the ability to both enlighten and generate illusions, and this is what we call sustainable and distributive justice.

As he explains in another book Development as Freedom Field of Moral Theory of Economic Argument developed in his book, in which he argued that “development can be seen as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy” (Sen, 2000, p. 17), and any model based on restricting human freedom is not a sustainable model because it will be a source of conflicts and interests.

The role of education as well as being fundamental to sustainable social justice is also a model of moral and human development, and if there is lack of freedom, this development will never be complete, of course, without neglecting the aspect of economic development that guarantees life .

Thus the idea of single-mindedness, of philosophy or single-party politics, which has been at various times in history rejected by man, and which comes to light again is not politically, morally and socially sustainable.

The idea of a planetary citizenship today must be linked to the idea of ​​a world of less economic discrepancies allied to the free expression of cultures and peoples, only then we can think of a planet for all.  



A way forward in education

19 Apr

The basic basic education as stated in the first post of empathy, the ability to resolve conflicts and it will not be possible with online education reach the levels of schooling for the lower age groups, but from the first schooling.

I call this age up to 10 or 12 years, it is possible to observe that online education helps and can be of great advancement, especially for children living in peripheral countries have a school performance capacity above what would be appropriate for their age, of course this child should enjoy normal channels of empathy and sociability of his age.
But at the higher level we can have higher quality jumps and provide high schooling on a world scale, just to give an example, India that still has alarming levels of health and poverty is a country that generates brains and high school students.

Massive Open Online Curses (MOOCs) is a type of open course offered through virtual learning environments, Web 2.0 tools or social networks that aim to offer a large number of students the opportunity to attend without physical presence in universities and without costs of housing, transport, etc.

A fake News ran this universe saying that the MOOCs were born in 2012 and died in 2014, but this is not true, the numbers prove this: the current numbers according to the Central-Class site, the number of online students is 58 million distributed in more than 700 universities, in 6850 courses, also the graphics of this site show increasing values.

In Brazil, large universities already have online courses, for example: FEA, from USP, has a course on Fundamentals of Administration (FEA / USP), available on the Veduca online education platform in Brazil. who wants to learn how to manage, another course is Social Responsibility and Sustainability of Organizations (PUC / RS), a PUC course in Rio Grande do Sul available in Miríada X, the Physics of São Carlos has The Basic Physics course (IFSC / USP) the course has a workload of 59 hours divided into 26 classes and UNB has the Bioenergetics course (UNB), which allows the interested party to choose to attend classes or obtain the certificate.


Education is the way out?

18 Apr

Despite major improvements in recent years, progress toward education for all has stagnated globally, few initiatives exist to make leaps higher, Open Education for All in Massive Online Courses can be the solution?
In total, 263 million children, adolescents and young people so out of school for the school year that ended in 2016, statistics for 2017 were not at all optimistic. 

This means that more equitable progress will become increasingly difficult if huge barriers are built already in youth education will be doomed to emergency resources rather than to an equitable and sustainable improvement of the distribution of assets across the globe. The reason why this process is not equitable has some evidence: children face the most severe barriers to education that have a lower chance of professional and personal development, this becomes dramatic when they are associated with gender, poverty, displacement, nomadism, disability and / or ethnicity, and even when they are left behind in displacements due to wars.
There is a disproportionate number of out-of-school children living in countries characterized by instability and conflict and / or extreme poverty, little is said about Africa, but every day there is a new conflict. Many of the countries with the greatest number of out-of-school children do not have adequate outside funding or funding to meet their needs, and the NGOs and actions of some countries are localized and loss-making.
Beyond the obvious question of a global policy of income distribution is a massive attack on the issue of education, if armaments money were invested in this, we would have great solutions in the medium term, the short would be a strong intervention to the UN.


Child abandonment

17 Apr

I find, reading a Portuguese newspaper that the number of abandoned children worldwide reaches 220 million worldwide, one in ten, and the number caught my attention because it is practically the population of Brazil.

The news of 2016 says that only in Portugal about 8,600 children were removed from their families in 2015, and also very curious news that in three villages where these Portuguese children are referred (there is still much life and many villages in Portugal, which differs from small towns), the villages of Bicesse (photo), Guarda and Gulpilhares, they are integrated into a house with a “social mother” and cohabit with the other children as brothers.

What is the school success of the current 120 children? in all villages have already lived in these villages more than 500 children, the school success rate is 88%, do not report the metric, but I believe that is the approval, since they do not talk about evasion numbers.

The time I went to look for what are social mothers has turned out to be an even greater reality, the NGO SOS mothers was founded in Austria in 1949, and is already in 135 countries, with about 2000 programs in the areas of protection, prevention, health, education and emergency.

The program is one of these programs. In the case of Portugal, it aims at Family Empowerment through 130 biological families, who receive an “employment grant”, with parents selected through such a detailed profile: – age between 30 and 55 years old; – minimum schooling 9th year, preferably secondary education and training in the area of education; – experiences in daily management of care and teamwork; – personal availability, intense professional commitment with majority residency in the SOS Village; and, – determination, tolerance and perseverance; – resistance to frustration and conflict resolution; – flexibility: ability to adapt to different situations and individual characteristics; – communication and empathic skills.

Expression and understanding of the other’s feelings. – ability to work in team and organizational competence. It is not just a program for social families, it is a program for all families, but more importantly, besides being a social work, it is a source of income for families with the capacity to face the challenges of family education.


Abandonment in the literature

16 Apr

The subject seems hidden in the literature, but it is not, I began to read the author’s Abandon trilogy Meg Cabot because there was reference to the myths of Hades and Persephone.

But the climate of excessive suspense, in my view of course, made me uninterested in the book and unlike many others that I return to and understand the author’s purpose, in this I did not do it. For those who do not know the mythology Persephone is Zeus’s daughter with Demeter, was a goddess concerned with picking flowers, and gradually when he grew up he enchanted the god Hades, lord of the dead who asked his daughter to marry him, but Demeter did not want them to get married .

They end up getting married, but Demeter asks Zeus to bring her back at the end of a complicated plot, Persephone ends up with a period with Hades, which is winter on Olympus, and a period with Demeter, which is spring in the realm of Greek gods. Anyway, the trilogy does not seem to me at the beginning any of this, it was just a “cult” touch.

Another more realistic book caught my attention, I find the Italian author Elena Ferrante, who has been writing since January in The Guardian, about family, childhood, gender and aging.

While I was waiting for a friend in a bookstore in Lisbon, I began to leaf through the book “Days of Abandonment” by Elena Ferrante, which tells the story (I do not know if it is true) of Olga, who is abandoned by Mario and finds herself trapped in a shattered daily life with two children, a dog and no job, but will fight against the feeling of a poor abandoned woman. I did not go to the end, of course, and I did not buy the book to resist the temptation to deviate from my compulsory readings, which at this moment are many and the pile is huge, I quickly saw on the Internet that 90% of the people who read it liked it.

Your book “A genial friend” is going to the TVs, in Portugal there will be a series.



Phantasmagoric and realism

13 Apr

Undoubtedly, reality may not only be what our senses indicate, but also the senses are part of a good discovery of reality, one can use a glasses, a microscope and a powerful telescope to see reality, but using the eye.

What is difficult to imagine is how constructing narratives can deceive reality, can make it different from what the simple vision indicates, for example, it could be imagined that quantum physics would give rise to a called the “physical world”.

Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen; three eminent physicists at the time, wrote an article that counterposed the idea of ​​quantum physics, that quanta occupied a space between “pulses” and that there was nothing between them, they said three physicists was a “phantasmagoric” distance action and mathematically proved to be something impossible, the phenomenon became known as EPR (initial letters of the authors).

Recently, in a study led by Ronald Hanson and published in Nature magazine in 2015, the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands reported having done an experiment which, according to them, proves one of the most fundamental assumptions of quantum theory – that separate objects by a great distance can affect one to other.

The apparitions of Jesus, in various events, after his departure and resurrection brought astonishment and even fear to his disciples, in a little known passage appears to several people and says (Lk 24: 38-39): “Why are you worried, and Why do you have doubts in your heart? See my hands and my feet: it is I myself! Touch me and see! A ghost has no flesh, no bones, as you see I have, ”

Unfortunately he is still a ghost and even a legend to many.


The  real (im)possibilities

12 Apr

In addition to contemporary idealistic thinking, I surrender to the fact that part of it started from religious presuppositions attached to mechanicism and the order of the universe, there is a set of possibilities that have long been thought of, and some proven, as we have previously posed quantum physics and the real possibilities of science.

In The Physics of the Impossible, Michio Kaku, who has a famous book on hyperspace, uses an unexpected feature, the idea that in all religions there are other dimensions of life, he wrote: “The church believed in Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Buddhists have Nirvana and various states of consciousness. And the Hindus have thousands of planes of existence “(p.236), they do not know but could be quoted the cosmogonies of various cultures and religions where orality prevailed and many of these tales speak of other dimensions.

The author acknowledges that in literature there are at least three types of parallel universes: hyperspace, or higher order dimensions, the multiverse (nonuniversity), and the quantum parallel universes.

The fact that we are attached to the three dimensions, clarifies the author comes from Aristotle, that his work On the sky, established the width, height and depth, which are translated into three ideal dimensions: the point, the straight and the plane, which are inexistent if examined in the real nature, the fractals are a modern rediscovery (a monk had already conjectured) of the rupture of these dimensions to the one natural plane, is the natural fractional, where dimensions 0.7 or 2.78 exist.

The author says that Carl Gauss had already conjectured these dimensions, but it was a pupil of his that overthrew with a simple example this theory idealista supposing a sphere, in her the minimum distance between two points is an arc and not a straight, and a triangle will have more of 180 degrees in the sum of the angles.

For the fourth dimension, it is a surprising feature of art historian Linda Darymple Henderson who wrote: “Like the black hole, the ‘fourth dimension’ had mysterious characteristics that could not be fully understood, not even by the scientists themselves . “(P. 238), recognizing the importance of this theory.

He also cites Salvador Dali’s picture Christus Hypercubius (stylized image above), he is “crucified before a strange and hovering trimester cross that is a reality in” tesseract “, a four-dimensional cube unfolded” (page 238)

Movies like “Contact” made from the novel by Carl Sagan and “Interestellar” where ships travel in the fourth dimension, wormholes may already be virtually possible, a project that has more than 100 million dollars, was launched in England in 2016 and has Stephen Hawking’s support, could micro-ships travel in this dimension?

The future will still bring surprise and there will be no shortage of false prophets succeeding against i


The (im) possible future of mankind

11 Apr

He criticizes the part of the technoprofetas, it is possible to make speculations, in the field of hypotheses, therefore, on the future of humanity, this is the most recent book of Michio Kaku, where he explores in rich details of physical and theoretical possibilities how humanity can, in gradual steps and certainly looked at by ethical committees, to develop a sustainable civilization in outer space.

It is necessary to take a few steps back and see how much we have already achieved by reading another book of this renowned physicist and someone who goes in the field of hypotheses with fundamentals and theoretical basis for speculation.

The  book “ The Physics of the Impossible” in his 2008 book, Good Portuguese Translation by the Bizâncio Editorial, shows in what field is physics, the advances already known and the promised ones. After going through the great physicists of the nineteenth century, James Maxwell, who questioned the fact that magnetic fields can become electric and vice versa in a clear discontinuity, and go to the possibilities of invisibility based on nanotechnology of metamaterials, it falls in reality and says: “most nanotechnology machines are nothing more than toys.” (page 51)

Kaku’s second quest is teleportation, Einstein’s famous article, in which he and other colleagues test the phenomenon of quanta teleporting without going through an intermediate stage, breaks with the Aristotelian principle to go from A to B through C intermediate, has been demonstrated in the last fifty years, despite the questionnaire of Einstein, Poldoslky and Rosen, reason why it became known as EPR phenomenon.

We have already posted on robots, now we want to talk about artificial intelligence, Kaku wrote: “The supreme irony is that machines can easily perform tasks that humans consider difficult, like multiplying large numbers or playing chess, but failed when asks them to do things that are extremely ‘easy’ for humans, such as walking in a room, recognizing faces, or chattering with a friend. ”

Take the speech from Marvin Minsky of MIT, one of the founders of AI, who summed up the problem as follows: “The story of AI is funny, for the first real deeds were beautiful things, like a machine demonstrating logic or did well in a course of calculation. But then we started trying to make machines that could answer questions about the kinds of simple stories that are found in a book in the first year of elementary school. Today there is no machine that can achieve this “(p.131).

We will explore in the next post, (im) real possibilities, in Kaku’s view.