Living a Justified Life With an Existence that Is Unjustified

Getting Existential

Jean Paul Sartre was one of the father’s of Existentialism. Existentialism can be summarized by a particularly interesting quote from Sartre:

“Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.”

In fact, Sartre thought humans were painfully forced (condemned) to be free. But this is no matter for the existentialists, for no matter the constraints of existence, we can exercise our freedom through the power of the will. And the justification for life arises in this action.

The existentialist justification of life is like your roommate throwing a…

Cultural Tiredness

Paul Cézanne Melting Snow

The River to The Sea

Ernest Hemmingway wrote prominently about “The Lost Generation”. The Lost Generation refers to those directly involved in World War I and left thereafter in disarray and a sense of a lack of purpose. This very commonly occurs to those who have one unifying objective that cuts across society, and that has the ultimate wager attached to it: death. War possesses both, especially in the early-mid 20th century. A nation works towards the goal of subserving some other state by the destruction or attainment of strategic objectives. The quick removal of this unifying enemy results in a vacuum of meaning, an…

Is it like something to be a bug?

Photo Credit: James Wainscoat, @tumbao1949

“The question is not, can they reason? Nor Can they talk? But, can they suffer?” — Jeremy Bentham

A lot rides on whether or not we decide insects can suffer. Most creatures on the planet are insects, and most humans currently operate on the assumption that insects don’t feel pain. The implications for treating most insects as if they are as valuable as mammals is huge.

Insect research would have to have ethics boards, and substituting mammal meat for insect meat could not be considered more ethical a priori.

Do Insects Have Pain-Related Behavior?

Behavioral evidence found in mammals indicative of pain has found to…

Can Machines Do It? A Fictive Account

He walked into the patient’s room, which was expansive, something he wasn’t used to. Faux wood floors sounded beneath him as he walked. He could see tile flooring through the cracked bathroom door. The patient lay in her bed on the other side of the room past an open curtain. She looked at him. His eyes darted to his digital tablet. He swiped a couple times, clicked a couple times.


He looked up. A woman with graying hair, bundled in blankets and with thick glasses set on her nose.

“Hi,” he replied.

A cup with water sat before her…

What is it Like to Be Euthanized?


Euthanasia is a contentious subject in the United States. Working as an EMT, I immediately saw the need for substantial policy change to allow people in abject suffering cessation from their pain. This was made clear to me in five simple words spoken so frankly the desire to die was unmistakable.

My patient was dying. Not fast, but very slow. He had been to dozens of doctor appointments over the past months. I had sat with him for surgeon consultations, pain clinic visits, x-ray scans, and many more. During one of these appointments my patient looked at his wife and…

Are you Being Sold Bullsh*t by Modern-day Gurus?

José León @josem_leon

The Professor Of Wisdom

Self proclaimed gurus of the internet today can reach an audience and dictate the conversation, ideas, and values of more people than ever previously possible. Jordan Peterson alone has 3.6 million subscribers on his YouTube account, and growing. Therefore, distinguishing between those seeking personal gain, and those seeking to really improve the world is of the utmost importance. This is not a new problem, as Athenians in ancient time wondered about which educators and mentors were motivated by the truth, and which coin.

Traits of a Sophist: Resist Division

How do we know when we are being manipulated for the gain of others? It is not…

Data Privacy Exists Only to Stop Bad Data Miners

Google used to have “don’t be evil” as a part of its COC until recently. Data privacy is a huge problem in the world, what do we do about it? Well, if companies are legally forced to “be good” to acquire personal data, would this solve data ownership problems? First, lets look at the way data privacy laws will likely go, by looking at property laws.

Current Ownership Norms

Whether or not you own your own personal data on the internet is a subject of hot debate. Property laws have different cases and applications depending on the type of property. Real property like…

Connections are mortal too.

Photo Credit:

The world is a senseless vacuum of stimulus. No real sense exists in it. Yet somehow we manage to not only extract sense from it, we come to have expectations of the objects within it. These assumptions mostly help us, but some expectations and assumptions, especially about about people, can do us great harm.

Sense from Chaos

Writers, scientists, and philosophers have come to the realization that the sense that is in the world is mostly imposed by ourselves. We are born into a body that is predisposed to understanding cause and effect, motion, objects, and even intentionality of others.

The assumptions our…

The problem of human knowledge.

Photo by James Wainscoat on Unsplash

Descartes discovered that the only knowledge beyond skepticism is that we are thinking beings and whether what we are experiencing reflects reality is beyond answerable.

The empirical scientists' answer to knowledge is that I can know things by experience, and this constitutes knowledge. The problem with this position will be made clear, but this is a claim most modern scientists take for granted.

In Plato’s dialogue Theaetetus, the immense difficulty of pinning down what knowledge is is demonstrated by Socrates. The dialogue features a conversation between a geometrician Theodorous, Theaetetus, and Socrates.

Knowledge is Perception.

The first premise trying to give an account…

The Race to Stop the Plunger

Photo credit: Diana Polekhina at Unsplash

Eternal Midnight

The writer Jerry Stahl used heroin and speed to attain “the soothing hiss of oblivion. […] Everything, bad or good, boil[ed] back to the decade on the needle […] a lifetime spent altering the single niggling fact that to be alive means being conscious.”

This unfortunate fact, to be human means to have consciousness, is a problem. We all answer this problem by kicking it down the road in some way, but the addict does so by reaching for the needle, the pipe, the pill, the bottle.

During the Vietnam war, nearly 50% of American servicemembers partook in smoking the…

Brandon Long

Writes about science, politics, philosophy, and the spaces that separates us as as species — and occasionally in story form.

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