Meme Watch: The Fruit was Good for Food


A FaceBook friend shared this meme on FaceBook a couple of days ago, coupled with shouts of great confusion. He spent some time trying to track it down to its source, evidently successfully, but was still no wiser as to what the author was after. Me, I don't care where it came from; it's a meme, and needs to be taken as it is.So we've got a picture of Eve making bedroom eyes with Adam after having just taken a bite from the fruit of the tree of good and evil. And Eve is quoted as saying, … [Read more...]

A Tale of Two Financial Collapses: More BS?


Here we have another economic meme, somewhat similar to the meme I examined recently and accused of being BS.*It's comparing two disparate regions, Iceland and the United States. It's discussing economic actions and results. It's trying to make an implicit point.So what is it claiming?Both Iceland and the United States suffered financial collapses. I don't follow the news from Iceland, but I'll take it as read that Iceland has indeed had difficulties. The events here in … [Read more...]

Meme Watch: Economic Bullsh*t


I hate memes like the above with a deep and fiery passion. Not because it is untrue, because I have no idea whether its immediate claims are true or not, but because it's bullshit.The word "bullshit" is a technical term in the philosophical community these days. It means speech used to persuade and manipulate others, with no concern for whether the speech is true or not. A bullshitter doesn't necessarily lie to you; the essence of bullshitting is that he doesn't care whether he's lying to … [Read more...]

Aphorism Watch: Do What You Love, Love What You Do

Just recently I've run across a number of essays debunking the aphorism, "Do what you love, love what you do." (Here's Leah Libresco's take on it.) The gist of these essays seems to be that large corporations are encouraging their employees to look on the work they do as the most fulfilling part of their lives. If they are really doing what they love, they'll work long hours and won't require much of a personal life outside of work.I agree with Leah that this is nuts. There is life and … [Read more...]

Wishful Thinking vs. Prayer

It occurred to me after finishing this post that perhaps the individuals in question believe that affirmations actually change objective reality, as opposed to one's attitude. It seems that there are people who believe this.In my view, though, this is to confuse wishful thinking with prayer. Prayer—I'm speaking particularly of prayer of supplication—isn't simply a matter of warm positive thoughts, prayed with intensity, as though I can will something to happen without taking concrete act … [Read more...]

Meme Watch: Their Story vs. Your Story


I ran across this meme on Facebook a couple of times recently, and as so often I asked myself, "Well, OK, it's affirming; but is it true?"I've written elsewhere about the ambiguity inherent in aphorisms, and the same can apply to memes. Ms. Occelli meant something by it; the people who shared it on Facebook meant something by it; but as I've no context from any of them, I can't say how precisely or generally they understood it. All I can do is interpret it based on what it says. So, just … [Read more...]