books seem like magic, half a flower wallpaper, another look back at martin heidegger and adam smith

Books in home as important as parents’ education in determining children’s education level

Evans said, “Even a little bit goes a long way,” in terms of the number of books in a home. Having as few as 20 books in the home still has a significant impact on propelling a child to a higher level of education, and the more books you add, the greater the benefit.

“You get a lot of ‘bang for your book’,” she said. “It’s quite a good return-on-investment in a time of scarce resources.”

In some countries, such as China, having 500 or more books in the home propels children 6.6 years further in their education. In the United States, the effect is less, 2.4 years, than the 3.2-year average advantage experienced across all 27 countries in the study. But, Evans points out that 2.4 years is still a significant advantage in terms of educational attainment.

This phenomenon is probably not by way of some magic waves emitted from books. How is it that the presence of reading material has this effect. The researchers don’t describe the mechanism. We could, but shouldn’t assume if the books they will be read. It might be the children approach school work and reading as not having the taint of nerdyness since they  grew up with books around. Though back when I used to go to the public or school library a lot I often got side tracked by the sight of a book that looked interesting.

half a flower wallpaper

Reevaluating some reputations:

Adam Kirsh looks some books about the ongoing controversy over philosopher and Nazi Martin Heidegger – The Jewish Question: Martin Heidegger

Faye’s achievement is to demonstrate, in these texts, the very fusion of man and thinker that Heidegger was later so concerned to deny. Yet the seminars and speeches Faye analyzes date mainly from the period 1933-35 — that is, the year of Heidegger’s rectorship and just afterward, when his Nazism was flagrant. To show that he remained a Nazi until 1945, or even for the rest of his life, would require finding similar kinds of propaganda in Heidegger’s work throughout those years. But unlike the seminars Faye has unearthed, Heidegger’s writing from that later period is well known; and aside from a few notorious instances, overt Nazi rhetoric simply isn’t there.

Most humanists admirer political theorist Hannah Arendt – ‘the banality of evil”.  While it is acknowledged that she had understandable biases having been Heidegger’s student and lover, because of her intellectual credentials and moral philosophy, she among others was responsible for rescuing Heidegger’s reputation. Perhaps not a problem if Heidegger’s Nazism was something he mistakenly got caught up in, a result of youth’s ignorance and arrogance. The problem seems to be according to one writer is that Heidegger did not accidentally fall into Nazism, but found his way there through careful consideration.

The argument about Heidegger being excluded from the philosophical cannon is almost silly. Between his own work the philosophers he influenced ( who were distinctly not Nazis such as Arendt and Hans Jonas. Conservatives are still infatuated with Heidegger’s little toad of a student Leo Strauss) leaving him out would be like studying a highly redacted history of philosophy. I don’t especially care for him and can access many of the same inquiries he pursued through other philosophers.

Then there’s Adam Smith. Free market fundamentalist who is rightly evoked by conservative and right-wing libertarians to justify the market without a conscience philosophy? Maybe Smith was more liberal than is commonly perceived,

Beyond self-love, Smith discussed how the functioning of the economic system in general, and of the market in particular, can be helped enormously by other motives. There are two distinct propositions here. The first is one of epistemology, concerning the fact that human beings are not guided only by self-gain or even prudence. The second is one of practical reason, involving the claim that there are good ethical and practical grounds for encouraging motives other than self-interest, whether in the crude form of self-love or in the refined form of prudence. Indeed, Smith argues that while “prudence” was “of all virtues that which is most helpful to the individual”, “humanity, justice, generosity, and public spirit, are the qualities most useful to others”. These are two distinct points, and, unfortunately, a big part of modern economics gets both of them wrong in interpreting Smith.

The nature of the present economic crisis illustrates very clearly the need for departures from unmitigated and unrestrained self-seeking in order to have a decent society.

There has been some news of late about someone running for senate in a southern state whose politics embrace a view of freedom that postulates one cannot be truly free unless you can deprive others of whole or parts of their freedom. On such a foundation one is then required to find a road map to a society that embraces liberty, but either manifestly or as a by-product of social and economic policy does allow all the members of society to participate. Such a nation would be in violation of the 14th Amendment and the spirit of certain founding documents “…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Adams uses “humanity, justice, generosity, and public spirit”.

mixed media grahic art

escape now or later. mixed media graphic art.

“One day I’m going to be a grandfather and everybody better hide their meat.”
Modern Family, Ty Burrell (Phil Dunphy) after his father-in-law takes over the grill.