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Showing posts from April, 2018

Hamlet & Human Nature

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What follows in this note and the linked essay below may be obvious to you. Maybe such things become more obvious to most of us the longer we live; and if, in living longer, we find ourselves among the fortunate who learn from our experience. I think the matter of decision-making prior to taking actions in our lives is worth thinking about to some degree, at least occasionally.
Doing so seems especially important in our teens. Or maybe later in early adulthood when we start to put in practice and test the ideas we learned, fully or partially, as teenagers. But, really, who among us ever did this in our youth? Rarely, except maybe when we were smacked between eyes by the reality of some stupid action we had taken, did we stop and consider what led us to such an action. And when we did we were seldom able to ferret out a good, useful answer from our under-cooked brains and the cauldron of hormones we were drowning in. That said, I think it is important from time to time - in our youth,…

Hamlet & Morality: Where The Buck Stops

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AGIP/Bridgeman Images Jean-Louis Trintignant in the role of Hamlet, at the Théâtre de la Musique, Paris, 1971
"The Question of Hamlet" by James Shapiro April 19, 2018 The New York Review of Books
Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness by Rhodri Lewis 
This book relates to my past efforts on this blog and elsewhere arguing my hope for and the possibility of a global morality. See herehereherehere, and here. I’m not thinking of a morality based on an absolute truth, rather a scientifically-derived provisional truth based on the most simple humane principles. Those being minimizing the harm we do as individuals and maximizing the wellbeing and flourishing of the groups we live in. This would include ideals for human ecology – codes for our relationship to the planet and all its resources and other life forms. We are heading in that direction through the conventions and protocols of the United Nations. Author and skeptic Michael Shermer and neuroscientist and author Sam Harris sugg…