Hostile Gods

Big Gods

Brian Klaas | The Garden Of Forking Paths | 21st March 2024

Humans had largely lived in small bands of fewer than a hundred people, until 12000 years ago, when large, complex civilisations emerged. What enabled the transition? The “Big Gods” theory holds that it is the belief in omniscient beings who watched and punished moral transgressions — “supernatural monitoring” which acted as social glue, preventing individuals from acting against the group’s interests (3,700 words)

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The Hostile Mother-In-Law

Jack Maden | Philosophy Break | 25th March 2024

Reflections on Iris Murdoch’s philosophy. The essence of a moral life is not in moments of action or decision, but in paying the right kind of attention. This entails “unselfing”: “observing the world without the crutch of our usual prejudices”. Example: a mother-in-law finds her daughter-in-law “unpolished and undignified” but over time, realises that this reflects more on herself as someone “old-fashioned and prejudiced” (1,400 words)

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