Juggernaut: Re-evaluating the Morality of Missionaries

Juggernaut: Re-evaluating the Morality of Missionaries

How did a popular regional Hindu deity become synonymous with unstoppable forces and the death of Jesus Christ? The work of missionaries is often controversial, and through an analysis of the vitriol on the subject of the god Jagannath spread by evangelicals in the 19th century, we can observe the cultural hatred and destruction bred by missionaries, whilst also understanding why they feel the need to convert, and the good works they do around the world.

— Benjamin Kumar Morris

Can we ever close the open veins of Latin America?

Can we ever close the open veins of Latin America?

“The division of labor among nations is that some specialize in winning and others in losing. Our part of the world, known today as Latin America, was precocious: it has specialized in losing ever since those remote times when Renaissance Europeans ventured across the ocean and buried their teeth in the throats of the Indian civilizations”. 

A Reflection on Economic Monism

A Reflection on Economic Monism

Swiftly approaching the end of my economics degree, I find myself -much like many of my more critical colleagues- questioning what it is that this great university institution has made of us. For we are now technically ‘economists’, even If we are a little wet behind the ears. It is said that we have entered an elite group of individuals, capable of wielding a unique economic insight; understanding the fundamental human condition through the lens of economics. It is exactly that last sentence where the issue lies. In this short reflection I shall make the case that rather than being agents capable of doing economic analysis, interpreting the basic economic question and applying critical economic thinking to problems we may be faced with, the modern-day economics course is one which gives its students hammers, to whom all economic issues swiftly become nails. In doing so I shall employ Kuhns paradigm shift.

-Omer Selcuk

Rethinking Justice within the law

Rethinking Justice within the law

Western philosophy’s most well-known concept is that of justice, yet its vagueness has resulted in both philosophers and jurists failing to agree on its exact meaning.[1] Its lack of a solid, defining characteristic leads individuals to maintain their own perception of justice, accepting and attributing various characteristics to their understanding of it. [2] However, what remains a defining characteristic of justice, is its tendency to “attack and replace all theories that came before it”. [3] In the words of Hans Kelsen, "man cannot find a definite answer but can only try to improve the question".[4]

Rethinking The Myth of Transcendentalism

Rethinking The Myth of Transcendentalism

Transcendence can be described as a sort of overcoming or surpassing- though it is usually understood in a metaphysical sense- to be transcendent it is usually assumed that one engages with some ephemeral force beyond the regular bounds of human perception. This view is one that both elevates and devalues the transcendental experience. It gives it an otherworldly mystique- detaching it from the milieu of existence- which is understandable given its tremendous power in fundamentally altering one’s perception of that very existence. However, elevating it to this status makes it seem as though transcendence is something adjacent to or beyond regular life, rather than something necessary to seize onto its full joy. In this article, we will examine the modern, western positions on transcendence to clear up misconceptions and establish a basis for understanding the transcendental as an intrinsic element in achieving a fuller conception of one’s self and the world around them- as well as an undertaking that does not, as many assume, preclude religion.

Rethinking Social Categorisation

Rethinking Social Categorisation

            Tejftel and Turner unpack ‘social identity’ as the phenomenon through which individuals associate themselves with groups that provide them with a sense of belonging, as well as an additional source of pride and self-esteem. Social identity differs from personal identity – the distinction was made by William James in the 19th century. In his work, he explicates the difference between the ‘me’ and the ‘I’. Whereas the former makes for the sociological component of the individual, the latter makes for the personal component of the individual. Social identity, as explained by Tejftel and Turner, is formed in three steps: self-categorisation, social identification with the chosen group(s) and social comparison (of one’s chosen group to the out-groups). In their piece “The Social Identity Theory of Intergroup Behaviour”, Tejftel and Turner thus make the argument that social identity is spontaneous, malleable and voluntary, and that its formation and consolidation are overall individual processes. Through this article, we suggest that social identity has been redefined and institutionalised in a way that feeds into our system’s problematic obsession with categorisation.

Serial killers: to show case or shut away?

Serial killers: to show case or shut away?

In today’s society, we are growing ever more fascinated with the terrifying presence of the serial killer. This fascination has been compelled by the vast number of media representations of real life serial killers. From books documenting their heinous crimes, through to films, documentaries and stories told by victims’ loved ones. Whilst it is undoubtedly important to make people aware of the existence of such dangerous individuals, this article asks whether we should be concerned with the way serial killers depicted. They are frequently sexualised and glamorised in media representations, whilst sensationalism plays a large role in invoking the horror we feel toward them. Together with serial killers desires for notoriety, the vulnerability of some social groups yet increasingly ready access to potentially triggering content, this article will explore problems and potential solutions that could be applied to media representations of serial killers.

A Colossus with Feet of Clay

A Colossus with Feet of Clay

But the blindness of superiority continues in spite of all and upholds the belief that the vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems, which in theory are the best and in practice the most attractive. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented (by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity and incomprehension) from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction.

The Health of Democracy

The Health of Democracy

Amongst the principal facets of the liberal world order is the value of democratic governance. The notion finds its way into discourse often, but there exists a lack of unanimity in its definition. In Book VI of his Republic, Plato lay out an allegory of establishing democracy, describing a keeper “in charge of a large and powerful animal, (who) made a study of its moods and wants.” The keeper is emblematic of a political administration; its electorate an untamable beast. Democracy is what occurs in between: the continuous process of trying to placate and appease a populace whose human caprices stand in the way of their contentment. How does one gauge whether the keeper is successful? How can we measure the health of a democracy? We start by defining barometers and holding them up against a regime built on the promise of liberal democracy: the Weimar Republic. One measure to consider is the strength of the Weimar constitution, but charter will not always reflect reality. Two integral benchmarks for democratic soundness are participation, and pluralism. It’s easy to look at the Republic’s political and economic inheritance and to say that it stood no chance of survival - but sidestepping the arrogance of hindsight to evaluate more closely might yield a better understanding of what caused the Weimar democracy to eat itself.

Nietzsche and the End of Modernity?

Nietzsche and the End of Modernity?

Human beings suffer. The suffering of the human being is unique amongst all creatures on the Earth, for it is only the human being who poses the decisive question: ‘Why am I here?’ That is to say, unlike any other animal, the human being seeks a purpose, a meaning, a goal to their existence. In an attempt to answer this question, humans have developed elaborate systems in the form of art, religion, morality, and philosophy. In so doing, man has found a means of making life endurable.  

How Western is Modernity

How Western is Modernity

Modernity is all-encompassing and therefore frustratingly hard to define and write succinctly about. The philosopher Marshall Berman said that it was ‘an environment that promises us adventure, power, joy, growth, transformation of ourselves and the world – and, at the same time, that threatens to destroy everything that we have, everything we know’. Shmuel Eisenstadt called the history of modernity a ‘story of continual constitution and reconstitution of a multiplicity of cultural programs’. Zygmunt Bauman suggests that ‘post-modernity’ stems from the realisation that that the long effort to accelerate the speed of movement has presently reached its ‘natural limit’. I like to think that this last one implies that the history of modernity corresponds to the development of ever-quicker modes of transportation. Maybe a convenient point to say that modernity started is the invention in 1804 of the first working steam locomotive. Gross simplification, I know.

Rethinking Innovation

Rethinking Innovation

nnovative ideas do not froth up from inside us to be released into the outside world. Rather, innovative ideas emerge through combining and rethinking things that already exist. This process unfolds in our mind through dialogue with the rest of the world, perhaps over the course of many years. No (innovative) man is an island. If we want to innovate, we need to connect-dots; untether our minds from a single discipline or viewpoint; cultivate hunches; and embrace and use our physical surroundings. In this way, rethinking innovation may mean rethinking some of the habits of our lives.