The Week Links: in which our blogger sees cousins!

I’ve been busy with family over the past couple of weeks–our Offspring have been on their school holidays (a two-week break) and also, my cousins, whom I’ve not seen for over a decade, came to visit. It was really great to see them, and meet their children (and introduce ours) and now our Offspring are sad because I told them that the cousins live on the other side of the country! Still, it was lovely to see them all getting along, and my cousins are as awesome as they ever were.

Now, on with the links!

This is an interesting piece about whether philosophy should have a Nobel Prize — or at least, some prize. I think there are some good points. If not a Nobel Prize, then perhaps a different prize, but there should be some recognition and appreciation for what philosophy offers us. I know that many believe it’s just a means of an easy degree (which is vastly oversold–philosophy as a degree is hard!) or that philosophers are just sitting around using long words semantics to try and sound impressive, but we need the kinds of questions philosophers ask, and attempt to argue.

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I could identify here with what Omar Sakr writes, about how hard it is to write when you’re preoccupied with full time work or when you’re hungry. Of course, you can still do it, and many have, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to produce your best work. Perpetuating the myth that artists should suffer for their work and therefore don’t deserve to have financial security is far from helpful. It’s also more than a little ridiculous to use the small number of examples from history where people managed to produce amazing work in their limited free time. There’s something to be said for taking one’s art seriously and so devoting the time you have to it, but it’s far from ideal or healthy, if you have to give up sleep and any social life, in order to create.

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Bill McKibben’s The End of Nature was one of the first books I read in preparation for my thesis on environmental ethics, and I really admire his energy and commitment to environmental issues, in particular global warming. He tweeted this link with the words: “In 28 years of thinking about climate change, no single story has made me as angry as today’s revelation about Exxon.” I feel similarly, although I suppose I’m also cynical enough to be unsurprised. I also find it so frustrating that we are still arguing about what causes climate change and wish we could just agree that regardless of the reason, it is prudent to be investing in renewable energies now. We need to stop wasting time.

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Finally, a beautiful and perceptive article about the way literature affects one during times of depression. The author here talks about the impact of different stories on her state of mind after the births of her babies, but I think that the theme is something with which many can identify, not just those suffering through post-natal depression.

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