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Logos

When people hear the term Philosophy they often think of either a course they didn’t ever want to take, or that blow-off subject about a bunch of old dudes. What most don’t realize is that they are being fed philosophy in many ways, even by pop culture.

I hope I can safely assume that everyone has heard the word Logic. That word comes from another one, Logos, which has many meanings through history but the one that I want to discuss today is the one that Aristotle gave it.

Before I lose you, did you know that the film The Matrix models Plato’s Allegory of the cave? Aristotle was Plato’s student, and The Republic has given a lot to pop culture, from dystopias to utopias. If you read The Hunger Games, the idea of a society divided by what their people produce or do for a living is right out of The Republic.

Rhetoric has become even a bad word in modern politics. I think a lot of the people that use the word don’t even understand where it came from.

Aristotle wrote the treatise on rhetoric. So before I am accused of using long words that I don’t understand, treatise is like an essay but more in depth; think of writing a thesis. So Aristotle is the dude who wrote the handbook on how to bullshit!

Rhetoric is the art of discourse, an art that aims to improve the facility of speakers or writers who attempt to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.

While all of this has in some ways been tainted by our negative connotation of politics, it is not just about that. You can pretty much argue about anything, and the ancient philosophers used to. We don’t do that enough. We almost sit complacent on the thought that everything has been figured out for us. But, logos is what puts humans above the other animals.

So what the heck is Logos?

Well, on his bullshit handbook, Aristotle talked about the modes of persuasion: Logos, pathos and ethos.

Every single time you are trying to convince someone of something using language you are using logos. When you tell your spouse that you should eat at closest and cheapest restaurant you are using speech laced with logic.

When you try to convince someone that you have high moral character (or know more than they do, LOL) you are using ethos. So this is kind of what preachers or a college professor. We listen to them because they should know better than us, that is how they persuade us.

Pathos is when you try to appeal to someone’s emotions. Trying to put someone in an specific state of mind. I think this one is the one that has given politics a bad name, because you can use fear to drive your point home. Any human emotion really, so even a comedian is using a form of persuasion.

I often use pathos and metaphors when talking about a subject. Being able to relate is something that makes others able to understand the message you are trying to convey. That said, nothing beats logic. I don’t think that until you have an argument and simmer it down to pure logic is it really resolved or put to rest.

A lot of my conversations with my friends lately have been all about the logos. And there is a post about faith and worship coming up thanks to one of those conversations. Hopefully this post can help frame some things to come. Maybe it just shows to my teacher that at least I was not sleeping during my entire philosophy class.

Why the American dream is a lie that only Americans believe

Before I get into the article, I find it very interesting that a corporate firewall would block a site like my friend’s Oso’s as political/activist but lets drudge go right through.

My relationship with America as a country is a complicated one. I am an American. I have the citizenship and passport to prove it. However, I am not happy with the status quo and even angry at times for what this country does, not so much to the world but to its own people. I also long ago stopped believe that this was the best country in the world because I found the view not just inaccurate but myopic and even at times absurd. How can the best country in the world let the aftermath of Katrina happen?

Today I want to talk about the American dream, and something that conversation with one of my best friends brought out this week. There is a huge disparity between what the American dream means to an immigrant and what it means to an American. While both of them are hard to achieve, one is not just unrealistic but a flat out lie.

The American dream to an immigrant is that they will be able to feed, cloth and educate their children. That they will have the opportunity to get a job and earn a good wage in an honest way. I don’t think many immigrants come to this country believing that it will require no work or that it will be astronomical.

Not everyone can be a winner. Not everyone can be Donal Trump. Not everyone can be a sports or TV start. Not everyone can be a celebrity.

I never considered this before, but it seems that a lot in America believe they can become Rockefeller. That his story is not only possible but almost guaranteed! and that could not be further from the truth. No wonder the sense of entitlement so many people feel. Even through hard work, astronomical rise to fame and fortune is not easy to attain or sustain.

If that is what American’s believe, that everyone can be in the 1%, then the American dream as presented to them is a lie.

Capitalism is very cruel because failure is very punishing. You invest, you fail, you lose. In order for there to be winners, there has to be losers.

What frightens me the most is that the middle class is being eroded, and nobody seems to be noticing the trend. You can look to your neighbors to the south, not just Mexico but all of Latin America and you can clearly see that when you do away with the middle class, the economic system breaks down. See the huge difference between Argentina and Brazil. I mean Brazil is now lending money to the IMF.

Wake up people. If you continue to think that the country is the best one in the world and don’t pay close attention to what has failed around you, this country will end up in the same situation. I guess as long as everyone is entertained and with a full belly, we will all be ok. Having celebrities is way more important than being sold a dream that is really not attainable by everyone.

Obama calls Nobel Peace Prize is ‘call to action’

As much as I don’t like talking about politics I and very excited that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize.

While I know that the talking heads will cheapen the significance of an international body recognizing a person for their efforts in fomenting peace, it vindicated one of the main reasons for I voted for this man.

I believed from day one that his election as president would show the world community that WE as a nation of many backgrounds had a MAYORITY of people that believed in change, that believed that we were at war with TERRORISM and not with ISLAM.

I applaud Obama’s reaction as a call to action as he works hard to get our house in order still does not forget that a world not a piece will only bring more issues back to the US.

I am proud to have voted for Obama, and even more so that the world sees that change will bring peace.

Sheep

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.”
- George S. Patton

A “yes man” annoys the crap out of me. Having hundreds of yes man in a congregation is great for a pastor, having thousands of yes man is great for a radio show talking head, having millions of yes man to a president is what we call a nation. Or do we?

During the early Bush years I was a yes man to the president. I remember having arguments with my now wife, back then just a fellow blogger, about how I believed Bush was doing the right thing. I believed that he had more information than I did, therefore he was making better decisions. That bubble quickly burst into a million little pieces like that Oprah book, when during Bush’s second term I started to see that no matter what information he had, what was being done by his administration was wrong. The war opened my eyes, talking to people that were coming back from over there truly painted a different picture. I had supported going there getting the bad guys and getting out… however, dropping a trillion dollars with the hope that it would turn into cheap oil for us was a massive FAIL. Then I started to realize how much politics is actually about ideology and beliefs, much like religion. My view of Bush was shattered because he worshiped the mighty more than his oath to serve the country. It was clear when legislation had turned into the playground of Bush’s “good old boy” as they started raking in dollars like that movie Casino.

A couple of months back I watched the movie “The Smartest Guys in the Room.” If you can stomach documentaries, it is not half bad, but in the end is pretty disappointing. We let the government deregulate everything so that profits could be made and years later we are looking at the result of the push for free market and capitalism. I became aware of what deregulation meant when I did a little research into credit cards some years ago. I am happy that new regulation on credit cards is finally happening and hope that people see the benefit of some regulation.

Recently the whole town hall meeting format seems to have turned into an spectacle. Believe it or not it makes me happy. People should question legislation and look at the facts. While I believe that some of those people are just there to cause havoc, it is making more people become interested in our legislative process. Knowledge is power, and we should all know what our representatives are doing for us. Hopefully people are reading more about the laws that are being passed and not simply being sheep to some organization trying to be disruptive.

When it comes to ideologies I still believe in personal responsability and success through hard work. Socialism and capitalism are both concepts that require people to believe on them for them to get started, but do either of them really work? Calling our current administration socialist its as naive as still wanting a free market after our economy almost tanked with our flavor of capitalism. What is even more amusing is that the government that free market is so against meddling in their kitchen is who bailed out the corporations that were “too big to fail.” I’ve heard over and over that they should have been allowed to collapse in true capitalist fashion, as well as people blaming our president for the whole bail out when it was not even his policy.

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