Sip by Sip, Knowledge Accumulates
We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.
- Denis Diderot (1713-1784)
Sip by Sip, Knowledge Accumulates
Inspired by Denis Diderot (1713-1784)'s quote, "We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.". The titled responsion is
Albert Einstein, James Clerk Maxwell, Paul Dirac, and Niels Bohr are all great mathematicians, but it is Paul Dirac who truly sets the standard for what a mathematician can do. In fact, he is considered by many to be the most influential mathematician ever, not just because of his contributions to relativity theory, but also because of his contribution to quantum physics.
Paul Dirac is best known as the father of quantum theory, which is the study of the behavior of elementary particles in a state of zero energy. His contributions to this field are legendary, and in fact, were such that he is often called the father of Quantum Theory. Quantum theory was born of quantum physics and has since been applied to many fields of science, including physics, cosmology, biology, chemistry, and astronomy.
These days, the term “sustainability” is almost as inescapable as the term “tubular” was during the decade when your high school algebra teacher was trying to think of ways to ask his now ex-wife to the homecoming dance. However, while “sustainable” may seem like just another hip descriptor, it actually has a very meaningful definition that, when properly understood, can go a long way towards shedding some light on the values of those who choose to use it.
So, what does it mean, then? Well, in a nutshell, it basically means that something will continue to exist. It is typically used in an economic and environmental context, though, which gives it a bit of more complex meaning. The most common noun with which this adjective is paired with is “development”, resulting in the highly popular term “sustainable development,” a term which has become a centerpiece of any modern company’s mission statement (should that company seek to survive in this era of increased environmental awareness). According to the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, sustainable development is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” - a noble endeavor, indeed.
In addition to this pairing, there is also the equally noble (although not as widespread) “sustainable consumption,” which is essentially just the other side of the sustainability coin; while sustainable development refers more to the production of goods in a sustainable way, sustainable consumption refers to...well, the consumption of goods in a sustainable way. After all, environmental accountability extends far beyond the supply-side of things; you can run a fair-trade coffee shop with the most ethically sourced beans on the planet, but if your customers are chucking their chai lattes into the chrysanthemums across the road, what even is the point? There wouldn’t be one - it would all be for naught!
Sustainability does not just have to do with the physical environment, of course - it can also be used to describe more abstract concepts, having to do more with the mind than the body. Mental pollution, for instance, is just as treacherous as physical pollution. In fact, it may be worse, since enough mental pollution could cause one to justify physical pollution, resulting in double trouble. Just as much, consumption does not have to refer only to the consumption of physical goods, as those are not the only things human beings consume. In fact, I would wager that the most commonly consumed good in the world is not physical at all - thought.
Thoughts, whether transmitted through media (such as books, movies, television shows, podcasts, what have you) or directly from another individual (such as a teacher, neighbor, priest, family member, cult leader, and so on) are what, ultimately, define us as people. Therefore, we must take great care to ensure that we are only consuming the cream of the crop; just like you want to be putting good food in your body that promotes sustainable physical growth, you want to also be putting good thoughts in your brain that will promote sustainable mental growth. Right?
Perhaps the great parliamentarian Sir George Clinton illustrated this concept most aptly in his seminal philosophical treatise “Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts”, the final track on his legendary work of funk, Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On. In this song, Sir George instructs his followers (endearingly referred to as “funkateers”) to “be careful of the thought-seeds [they] plant in the garden of [their] mind” as “seeds grow after their kind”; furthermore, Dr. Funkenstein also reminds us that “every thought felt as true or allowed to be accepted as true by your conscious mind takes root in your subconscious, blossoms sooner or later into an act, and bears its own fruit.”
To sum it all up: “Good thoughts bring forth good fruit; bullshit thoughts rot your meat.”
Honestly, that’s really all you ever need to know about this subject. Abide by these simple instructions, and you shall remain perpetually in tune with the divine order of things. That being said, I will continue to elucidate the concept of sustainable consumption further, if only just to be one-hundred-percent certain that all of my proverbial bases have been covered.
Think back to college for a second. Wait a minute - now, don’t get on your - are you doing a keg stand? Get back down here! I’m not talking about that, ya silly goose. I’m talking about the college part of college; you know, what your parents sent you there for. Now, when you were deliberating over which classes to enroll in, odds are that you didn’t just go through the entire list of courses, line by line, and weigh the pros and cons of taking each; no, what you most likely did was choose from a handful of courses that grabbed your attention and, from those, narrowed it down to the ones you ended up taking. At least, that would have been the smart thing to do.
Indeed, people tend to sign up for classes based on what they want to learn - they won’t just sign up for anything that offers information. This is because people are selective with the information they choose to put in their brains. While this may potentially shut out useful information, it is also a great way to avoid steeping yourself in useless information, as well as dodging harmful ideologies that may poison your mind.
This extends, naturally, to all forms of content consumption. For example, let’s say you are at the library and come across a book entitled How To Barbecue A Newborn Baby To Sweet Perfection. Now, even though this book is very likely to contain a wealth of information about a subject that you are not super familiar with, it is just as unlikely to pique your interest too much (and if it does...stop it; get some help).
In this regard, we are already all fairly avid practitioners of sustainable consumption. And, for the record, there is nothing new about this concept; Siddhartha Gautama, otherwise known as The Buddha, spoke at length about how important it is to employ extreme caution when filling our heads with stimuli. Then there are, of course, the famous three wise monkeys of Japanese lore (Mizaru, Kikazaru, and Iwazaru, pictured below), who forbid themselves from seeing, hearing, and speaking (respectively) anything they perceive to be evil.
Historical discussions surrounding sustainable consumption have not only been limited to the old East - there was plenty of talk in the old West regarding the need to selectively consume information, in order to keep one’s mental faculties nice and pristine. The mental, after all, is closely tied to the physical, and one cannot function properly without the other also working up to par.
What most philosophers have concluded regarding the subject of what information is best to consume is that, ultimately, it really rests on you. This is because, logically speaking at least, nothing is ever really “true” per se, merely just the culmination of whatever information you have been feeding your brain thus far. Someone who has fed their brain entirely different information is likely to arrive at a completely different version of “truth,” and any debate as to which of these “truths” has a higher degree of “truthiness” is pretty much pointless, since neither of you have actually arrived at “truth” (which doesn’t exist, by the way - wait, didn’t I already say that? Ah, man, forgive me; it’s late, and the effects of the espresso shots I wolfed down earlier are beginning to fade).
Maybe a more tangible illustration of this idea is in order, so that you can get a sense of just what in God’s holy name I am blathering about. In the realm of modern political debate, while the vast majority of people are rational, civil, emotionally stable adults capable of discussing the issues without one of them busting out the verbal kukri, there also exists two camps of people, both of which are truly awful. In one corner, you have rabid left-wing lunatics, many of whom will often have mouths filled with foam, who will regularly approach anyone to the right of Nicolae Ceaușescu with the same energy one would need in order to fend off a pack of dire wolves. These individuals believe they are somehow morally superior to the rest of the general populace because they spend all of their time talking about the prevailing social causes of the day, refusing to just have normal conversations with people.
Perhaps even more pernicious, however, are their counterparts in the other corner: vapid, flavorless reactionaries, often emanating the aroma of their mother’s basement, that love to rag on the aforementioned group, who they refer to (almost always pejoratively) as “social justice warriors,” making them out to be a much more sizeable portion of the population than they actually are. These people think that they are somehow intellectually superior because they are “above” caring about the social causes these so-called social justice warriors have rallied around, opting instead to defend the status quo like it’s the last bag of Utz potato chips at Safeway. The reason why these folks are particularly deserving of contempt is that, while their peers on the left might be incredibly obnoxious, they are at least taking an ethical stand on issues worthy of attention and attempting to make the world a fundamentally better place to live (regardless of how misguided their methods of bringing that about may be). The other guys, meanwhile, are completely devoid of any righteous passion, not seeming to care about a whole lot other than making the lefties look crazy. Crazy as they may be, they’re crazy about something. At least it’s an ethos.
Bottom line: While there are definitely many important things out there that need to be taken seriously, “yourself” is not one of them.
Now, in terms of consuming sustainably, there are a number of options available to you that won’t rot your brain (and may actually help it get even bigger than it already is). We here at planksip always try to facilitate this cerebral expansion as best as we can and, as a result, have developed a reputation as highly skilled curators of beneficial content. We draw inspiration from a wide range of sources, from Aristotle to Arthur Conan Doyle, Baruch Spinoza to the Spin Doctors, all of whom we believe are the reasons why we are able to engage in such effective discourse and maintain a vibrant platform for those who desire more from their noggin than just a little bit of joggin.
As a forum for high-level intellectual discourse, we understand that, parallel in terms of importance as curating good content is shielding users from bad content, content that does not contribute to the overall well-being of society, that isn’t sustainable, but, rather, is actively harmful and destructive to both your mental state and the state of the union (the domestic one and the collective global union, which we have also been tasked with protecting as well). Examples of such content include (but are far from limited to) conspiracy theories, frivolous gossip, slanderous lies, mindless junk, most political commentary, and, of course, just plain evil. There is enough hate out there in the world as it is. We don’t need to be adding to it, and, thus, we refuse to. We’re a force for good (just like Obi-Wan Kenobi).
Our passion for pushing things along and our commitment to fostering an environment that encourages sustainable consumption, which we offer to anyone who wishes to be a part of it (for a very modest monthly subscription fee, of course) stems from the larger pit of passion that our founder and CEO, a Mr. Daniel Sanderson, has for philosophy. You see, the discipline of philosophy (at its core) is chiefly concerned with sustaining the growth of the human species. This tradition of sustainable development, achieved through the sustainable consumption of high-minded ideas, has been in motion since the dawn of man (or at least since we first started trying to figure out what we were doing here, and whether or not throwing rocks at each other was okay), and it is our goal here at planksip to do whatever we can to see that this tradition continues to carry on well beyond our lifetimes. It is our hope that, by providing people with such a cohesive, focused medium in which to exchange only the brightest of ideas, the sustainable mindset never goes the way of the Motorola Razr. That means you’ve got to pass it on to those around you; so do.
Sipping Lady and planksip Consumption - A planksip Möbius Worthy of Self-Replicating or a Presupposition?
Sip by Sip, Knowledge Accumulates
Inspired by Denis Diderot (1713-1784)'s quote, "We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.". The titled responsion is...
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Inspired by Charles Dickens (1812-1870)'s quote, "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.". The titled responsion is...
The accused stands in perpetuity. Exoneration is a new identity, no longer accused, the redemption narrative is an unnecessary salvation. The consumptive knowledge we should be consuming is found in the classics and our ability to respond. That's life!
Coffee Keeps You Awake!
Inspired by Carl Jung (1875-1961)'s quote, "Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.". The titled responsion is...
I said awake, not woke! There is a difference, the former is indelible to your conscious states of being, the latter is a pejorative reflection of the callout culture and the warriors of social justice that mingle among us.