Gongol.com Archives: June 2023

Brian Gongol

June 7, 2023

News Advancing without exploiting

Every worthwhile school of thought needs new advocates with every new generation. Whether it's a philosophical school, a religious faith, or a political perspective, the need for patrons (in the sense of "a special guardian, protector, or supporter") can't be avoided. Without them, the school of thought gathers dust or fades into obscurity. ■ Occasionally, they're rescued from the deepest archives -- but not often. Religions can die out (the Shakers are down to two). So can political movements (the Whigs are no more). Philosophies can disappear, too (good luck finding the works of Diogenes). In general, survival depends upon active engagement and promotion by new advocates in each generation. ■ To be useful, patrons need to be thoughtful enough to add to the canon without trying to overshadow it, and authentically passionate enough to be heard without being hucksters or profiteers. It can be hard to uncover people who are capable enough to add to a canon without thinking they're even bigger than the people who came along before them. It can also be hard to find people who can insert an established school of thought into the contemporary world without putting the spotlight mainly on themselves. A modest, humble, but determined "special guardian" can be invaluable. ■ For how important that role is, what isn't obvious is how people learn to carry it out. It's not hard to find people who trip well across the line of profiteering: Christianity, for instance, has had no trivial number of empire-building self-promoters whose commitment to self-enrichment exceeded their commitment to the message. And Christianity is far from being the only school of thought caught up in such waves of exploitation. ■ Just as the modern world has made occupational and academic disciplines out of management, marketing, and human resources, so too ought we to find the green shoots of a discipline in patronizing a school of thought -- not passively, as a consumer, but actively and constructively. To be an active patron takes a range of skills that aren't immediately obvious, nor consistently bundled together in any existing disciplines: It takes a combination of historical knowledge, promotional finesse, persuasive power, and innovative thinking. ■ If it is possible to make nascent fields out of leadership studies and marketing analytics, then surely there ought to be room in both our imaginations and in our schools for the study of how to preserve and advance philosophical schools without corrupting or profiteering from them.

Weather and Disasters Bad wildfires, great sunsets

The Canadian wildfires are a terrible development, but the hues at sunset are pretty spectacular

Computers and the Internet Abuse of the word "satisfying" is deeply dissatisfying

At least 50% of the watchbait posts on Facebook that use the word "satisfying" really ought to say "repulsive" instead. Truth in advertising and whatnot.

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