Of course these two things are opposed. But what leads to tribalism and the consequent divorce from truth? Tribalism is a substitute for truth–it’s what you cleave to when truth isn’t going your way. It takes up the slack between wish and fact. If your beliefs can’t be true, they can at least agree with the beliefs of others. The more your beliefs fail to correspond to the facts the more you substitute tribalism for truth. So the degree of tribalism in America today is a function of the distance that believers stand in to reality: the more false your beliefs are the more tribal you become. And of course there is a tacit awareness of falsity. A society brimming with delusion is a society of tribes, generally hostile to each other. This principle applies both to the political right and the political left.
I was just perusing the “Inclusivity Workshop” recently held at the University of Miami and was amused to see that the event opened with something described as a “Women’s Lunch”. No men invited presumably. Moreover, all the speakers seemed to be women. Doesn’t seem very inclusive. A black man would have been nice, for example. The event would be better named “Exclusivity Workshop”.
I just got back from Nicaragua. Fine people, terrible roads, great surf. It’s still not a popular tourist destination, especially on the Pacific coast (Playa del Maderas), so it is relatively unspoiled. The beaches are spectacular, with perfect surfing waves for both beginners and experts. And good to be out of America!
As I watched Trump’s response to the latest gun massacre in America a sentence pressed itself upon me: “He has the mind of a sociopathic rat”. Or am I being unfair to rats? His boorish indifference was almost titanic.
Am I the only one who feels that the world has stopped feeling real? Is this evidence that we are living in a simulation? Nothing makes sense any more. Is this a new syndrome–global unreality syndrome?
I have a solution to the problems of higher education (sic) in America: I am founding my own university–McGinn University (MU). It will of course have a vibrant philosophy department teaching all branches of the subject. We will also cover psychology and brain science, as well as literature, biology, and the more interesting parts of mathematics and physics. There will be a special emphasis on creativity (creative writing is compulsory) and advanced writing skills. In addition we will have an athletics program: tennis, table tennis, gymnastics, trampoline, squash, badminton, swimming, kayaking, surfing, windsurfing, paddle boarding, and skim boarding (oh it will be fun!). Also a music department covering all aspects of music, from music theory to how to hit a drum, from old to new (basic guitar and percussion skills desirable). Fees very reasonable (unlike that monstrosity Trump University). The aim is to turn out first-class minds and free spirits.
I sometimes think of all the close possible worlds in which I am still teaching–all those happy students! Sorry (actual) chaps (and chapesses), it wasn’t my idea to deprive you. But at least I have a counterpart who is still teaching. The actual world is just one possible world in which I don’t teach, but I teach in plenty of other worlds. Ah, the consolations of metaphysics.
A philosopher I know came to Miami to give a talk at UM on consciousness. It turned out that he only had time to meet with me if I went to his talk on the campus. I asked the chairman of the philosophy department, Otavio Bueno, if he had any objection to my attending the talk, intending this to be a mere formality. I was told that if I came to the talk I would be removed from the campus. No reason was given. When I inquired whether I could listen in to the talk via telephone I was told that this would not be allowed. Again no reason was given. This is America.