Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Nature of Good and Evil

Many times in my English classes here in São Paulo, a student will make a comment that seems to me to strike right at the heart of a fundamental misunderstanding. The comment will go something like, “But who’s to say what’s right and wrong? What’s bad for you might be good for me. Everyone has their truth, after all.”

This is the essence of relativism, isn’t it? Right and wrong? Well, that depends on your point of view ...

These types of comments sound scholarly and learned. After all, we must learn to appreciate all points of view in our increasingly globalized world. In Canada, where I’m from, we’ve taken this on as a national initiative, making a great effort to absorb all differences into our malleable and ever expanding national heritage.

But philosophical relativity is deeply flawed. In actual fact, we don’t live our lives by it either. If someone tells you a lie, you don’t say, “Well, maybe he needed to sleep with that other woman and not tell me about it.”

Further, we can say unequivocally that slavery is ALWAYS wrong, lies are never welcomed, goodness is better than evil. We may have opinions about these truths; those can be relative. But the absolutes are … well, absolute.

With all that in mind, let's explore it a little further.

Click here to download this episode.
Click here to read the transcript.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Blog and podcast overview

I moved from New York City to São Paulo in the summer of 2001 with a six-month return ticket. I'm still here. Best laid plans and all that ...

Why I'm still here is what this blog and podcast is all about.

All of my work here emerges from my study at Dr. Norberto Keppe's Institute of Integral Psychoanalysis in São Paulo.

The title, Thinking With Somebody Else's Head, derives from a conversation with my good friend, Cesar Soós. We were discussing how we human beings base our lives on opinions and points of view we seldom question. A lot of this comes from the heads of people who’ve been dead for awhile. And what's worse is ... we don't even realize it.

This podcast wants to change all that. Thanks to Keppe, we can finally understand what was going on in those long-dead heads. And what their ideas have done to our understanding of reality. Come on along for the ride. What have you got to lose? For sure, you'll never get anywhere thinking with somebody else's head.