The Godfather of Philosophy

(“Alcibiades Being Taught by Socrates” by Francois Andre Vincent)

As an avid philosopher and historian, I’m often frustrated by what’s known as the Socratic problem. The whole thing really centers on the fact that one of the founding fathers of Western philosophy never wrote anything down. However, in Ancient Greece people such as Xenophon and Aristippus did mention Socrates in their writings. The thing is that this could reveal more about their feelings toward him than who he actually was or any number of other things. There’s really no way to know for sure. To further complicate the problem, Plato not only wrote about the life of Socrates, he…


On the Neurology of Gamma Brainwaves and the Psychology of Peak Experiences

(Image Source: Pixabay)

Among humans, there are five levels of consciousness, and these mental states correlate to brainwave activity. Of course, correlation does not equal causation. This is important to understand, particularly when it comes to physiological versus psychological phenomena.

Regardless, the point is that brainwaves, or neural oscillations, are rhythmic or repetitive patterns of neural activity in the central nervous system. …


A Brief Look Back on the Most Legendary Fraternity in the World

(George Washington as the Alexandria Lodge’s Worshipful Master)

In the 12th century, a number of charitable Christian confraternities emerged on the British Isles, some of which were stonemason guilds. The members of those groups were fine upstanding men, who took care of each other and their communities. The masons also began to use their trade, as an allegory for life, thereby sculpting their souls with symbols. They even used stonemason mauls to call their meetings to order. In line with that, Kilwinning Abbey apparently became the Mother Lodge of Masonry in or around the year 1140. It’s actually so old that it’s number 0 on the Roll, not…


A Concise Solution to the Hard Problem of Consciousness

(Image Credit: Agsandrew/Shutterstock)

In 1995, a philosopher named David Chalmers described what he called the “hard problem” in contrast to the “easy problems”, like that of finding the neural correlates of specific states of consciousness. The former requires a complex explanation-based solution, while the latter requires simple correlation-based solutions. By doing this, Chalmers was able to articulate precisely why the easy problems are easy. It’s because all that is required for their solution is to specify a mechanism that can perform the function of mental phenomena such as perceptions and emotions. Thus, their proposed solutions, regardless of how complex or poorly understood they…


A Monumental Reminder of the Impermanence of Things

(Image Source: Mike Fuchslocher/Alamy)

On a lush floodplain, just above Tonle Sap Lake, deep within the tropical forest of northwestern Cambodia lie the crumbling ruins of a colossal ancient city at the heart of which is a magnificent monument called Angkor Wat. As a Hindu temple that was turned into a Buddhist sanctuary, Angkor Wat is a monumental reminder of the impermanence of things, having been reclaimed by nature in an apparent state of ruin, swallowed up by the wilderness. That is to say, the millennium-old building has been blanketed by five hundred years of overgrowth. Of course, it wasn’t always like that. In…


In other words, are they rudimentary forms of life or just organic structures that interact with living things?

(Bacteriophage T4 virus group 1 by Russell Kightley)

Most biologists assert that viruses are not alive, but what if they’re wrong? Are they really the most numerous kind of organisms on the planet? What is the ontological and teleological nature of their existence? Better yet, if a virus is a non-living thing then how can it evolve? Knowing the answers to questions like these will allow us to see how and why viruses fit into the Big Picture. Think of it this way, on the spectrum of objects from particles to people, is there a point at which biological systems emerge from chemical systems? …


Proof that Plato’s Dialogues are both Historical and Allegorical

(Image Credit: Rocio Espin Pinar/ArtStation)

According to Alfred North Whitehead, philosophy “consists of a series of footnotes to Plato”, and this is particularly interesting in regards to Atlantis. You see, according to academics, who are all the descendants of Plato’s Academy (including his best pupil, Aristotle), Atlantis was nothing more than a fictional island mentioned in an allegory regarding the hubris of nations. Granted, it’s true that in Timaeus and the unfinished Critias, Atlantis does represent an antagonist naval power that besieges “Ancient Athens”, which was the embodiment of the ideal state in The Republic. Nonetheless, Plato repeatedly stated that Atlantis was a real place…


Identifying Every Different Kind of Atom that Could Theoretically Exist in the Local Universe

Early in the 19th century, a pioneering chemist named Johann Wolfgang Dobereiner noticed that certain chemical properties repeat when the elements are placed in order of increasing mass. That is to say, halogens, alkaline metals, and alkaline earths always occurred in the same order. Then, once Dobereiner’s pattern was established, another trailblazing chemist, named Dmitri Mendeleev, tabulated the sixty-one elements that were known at the time. This helped set the stage for modern-day chemistry.

It did this by allowing Mendeleev to see blank spaces where other elements should exist. This gave him the ability to predict undiscovered atoms on the…


“The truth is out there.”

Although the “Star People” have been visiting North America for millennia, Native Americans have a much different relationship with extraterrestrials than that of Americans (at least, for the most part). The main reason for this is because during FDR’s second term in the White House, on Devil’s Night in 1938, Orson Welles directed The Mercury Theatre on the Air live radio adaptation of H. G. Wells’s novel The War of the Worlds. More importantly, by mimicking a news broadcast, the show was so realistic-sounding (for its time) that many listeners were fooled into thinking that a Martian invasion was actually…


The Art of Precious Scars

During the Muromachi Period, in 14th-century Japan, a shogun named Ashikaga Yoshimitsu broke his favorite tea bowl and became highly distraught in reaction to the destruction. In fact, he was so inconsolable about the whole thing, that the damaged item was shipped to China to be repaired by expert craftsmen. However, on its return, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was horrified by the big ugly, metal staples that had been used to join the broken pieces of his once elegant bowl back together. In the wake of this tragedy, the infuriated shogun charged his own Japanese craftsmen with devising a more appropriate solution…

Joshua Hehe

An Autodidact Polymath

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