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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Today’s Contemplation: Collapse Cometh XXXVII

Teotihuacan, Mexico (1988) Photo by author

Got involved in a discussion after an Facebook Friend (Alice Friedemann, whose work can be seen here) posted a study on the decline of ‘rationality’ over the past few decades.

My initial response was as follows:

My initial thought is that this shift is more the result of a paradigmatic shift in academia itself from ‘Modernism’ to ‘Post-Modernism’ that has slowly filtered into the mainstream than anything else. As a university student during the entire decade of the 1980s, I was exposed to A LOT of Post-Modernist philosophy that questioned ‘Rationality’. Off the top of my head I recall a number of the philosophies I was exposed to coming from such academics as: Roland Barthes, Jacques Derrida, Claude Levi-Strauss, Michel Foucault, Clifford Geertz, Friedrich Nietzche, Martin Heidigger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Stephen Jay Gould, G.W.F. Hegel, H.G. Gadamer, Thomas Kuhn, and Jurgen Habermas. The topics included: rationality, literary criticism, deconstruction, deconstructive criticism, hermeneutics, philology, metaphysics, and dialectics. These all reflected a questioning of the strict ‘factual’ or ‘rational’ universe at one level or another — especially the ‘subjectivity’ verses ‘objectivity’ aspects of ‘science’. Here’s just a few of the books I still have in my dwindling collection:

The conversation has brought back some of my interests that arose during my university education (the ten years were in the pursuit of four degrees from biology/physiology to psychology/anthropology that culminated in an M.A. in archaeology and B.Ed. for a career in education; retired almost ten years now). It’s been a while (decades) since I studied this stuff but here are my two cents on the topic:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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