-Oscar Davis, Indigenous Fellow, Assistant Professor in Philosophy and History, Bond University, Australia. How do we live good, fulfilling lives? Aristotle first took on this question in his Nicomachean Ethics – arguably the first time anyone in Western intellectual history had focused on the subject as a standalone question. He formulated a teleological response to the question of how we ought to live. Aristotle proposed, in other words, an answer grounded in an investigation of our purpose or ends (telos) as a species. Our purpose, he argued, can be uncovered through a study of our essence – the fundamental features of what it means to be human. Ends and essences “Every skill and every inquiry, and similarly every action and rational choice, is thought to aim at some good;” Aristotle states, “and so the good has been aptly described as that at which everything aims.” To understand what is good, and therefore what one must do to achieve the good, we must first understand what kinds of things we are. This will allow us to determine what a good or a bad function actually is. For Aristotle, this is a generally applicable truth. Take a knife, for example. We must first understand what a knife is in order to determine what would constitute its proper function. The essence of a knife is that it cuts; that is its purpose. We can thus make the claim that a blunt knife is a bad knife – if it does not cut well, it is failing in an important sense to properly fulfil its function. This is how essence relates to function, and how fulfilling that function entails a kind of goodness for the thing in question. Of course, determining the function of a knife or a hammer is much easier than determining the function […]
Jonathan Taplin is director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California and author of Move Fast and Break Things, which was nominated for the Financial Times / McKinsey Business Book of the Year. This is a brilliant takedown and exposé of the great con job of the twenty-first century—the metaverse, crypto, space travel, transhumanism—being sold by Peter Thiel, Mark Zuckerberg, Marc Andreesen, Elon Musk, leading to the degeneration and bankruptcy of our society. At a time when the crises of income inequality, climate, and democracy are compounding to create epic wealth disparity, these four business men are hyping schemes, designed to divert our attention away from issues that really matter. Each scheme—the metaverse, cryptocurrency, space travel, and transhumanism—is an existential threat in moral, political, and economic terms. In The End of Reality¸ Jonathan Taplin provides perceptive insight into the personal backgrounds and cultural power of Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marc Andreesen and shows how their tech monopolies have brought middle-class wage stagnation, the hollowing out of many American towns, a radical increase in income inequality, and unbounded public acrimony. Meanwhile, the enormous amount of taxpayer money to be funneled into the dystopian ventures of “The Four,” the benefits of which will accrue to billionaires, exacerbate these disturbing trends. The End of Reality is both scathing critique and reform agenda that replaces the warped worldview of “The Four” with a vision of regenerative economics that seeks to build a sustainable society with healthy growth and full employment.
-Oliver Franklin-Wallis An award-winning investigative journalist takes a deep dive into the global waste crisis, exposing the hidden world that enables our modern economy—and finds out the dirty truth behind a simple question: what really happens to what we throw away? In Wasteland, journalist Oliver Franklin-Wallis takes us on a shocking journey inside the waste industry—the secretive multi-billion dollar world that underpins the modern economy, quietly profiting from what we leave behind. In India, he meets the waste-pickers on the front line of the plastic crisis. In the UK, he journeys down sewers to confront our oldest—and newest—waste crisis, and comes face-to-face with nuclear waste. In Ghana, he follows the after-life of our technology and explores the global export network that results in goodwill donations clogging African landfills. From an incinerator to an Oklahoma ghost-town, Franklin-Wallis travels in search of the people and companies that really handle waste—and on the way, meets the innovators and campaigners pushing for a cleaner and less wasteful future. With this mesmerising, thought-provoking, and occasionally terrifying investigation, Oliver Franklin-Wallis tells a new story of humanity based on what we leave behind, and along the way, he shares a blueprint for building a healthier, more sustainable world—before we’re all buried in trash.
Is the story of the marriage behind some of the most famous literary works of the 20th century —and a probing consideration of what it means to be a wife and a writer in the modern world. At the end of summer 2017, Anna Funder found herself at a moment of peak overload. Family obligations and household responsibilities were crushing her soul and taking her away from her writing deadlines. She needed help, and George Orwell came to her rescue. “I’ve always loved Orwell,” Funder writes, “his self-deprecating humour, his laser vision about how power works, and who it works on.” So after rereading and savoring books Orwell had written, she devoured six major biographies tracing his life and work. But then she read about his forgotten wife, and it was a revelation. Eileen O’Shaughnessy married Orwell in 1936. O’Shaughnessy was a writer herself, and her literary brilliance not only shaped Orwell’s work, but her practical common sense saved his life. But why and how, Funder wondered, was she written out of their story? Using newly discovered letters from Eileen to her best friend, Funder re-creates the Orwells’ marriage, through the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War in London. As she peeks behind the curtain of Orwell’s private life she is led to question what it takes to be a writer—and what it is to be a wife. A breathtakingly intimate view of one of the most important literary marriages of the twentieth century, Wifedom speaks to our present moment as much as it illuminates the past. Genre-bending and utterly original, it is an ode to the unsung work of women everywhere.