26 December 2013

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Winter solstice

Dear Friends,

This Sunday is the last meeting for 2013. As tradition has it is the
time we exchange greetings of good wishes and prosperity for the new
year; so Happy new year if I don't see your this Sunday. The subject for
our last meeting is: Winter solstice.

Of course, this is not an attempt to introduce astronomy into a
philosophy meeting, although those who can explain the astronomy are
most welcome to come and tell us about it. But rather a topic that ought
to make us think a bit harder than usual about us and the environment
as, indeed, Christmas time is supposed to make us think a bit harder
about our behaviour. Having said that, I have a feeling that God and
Jesus are behaviourists!

In the meantime Ruel has prepared an essay for us and I have written a
few paragraphs on the topic:

Hello Lawrence,
Below is the link to the essay I wrote for Sunday´s meet-up.

Hasta Domingo.

Winter solstice - Lawrence

The Winter solstice in the context of philosophy must feature in two
contexts: our ability to gain knowledge from our environment and our
recognition that we are also part of our environment.

It would this be a folly to assume that somehow we can disengage for our
environment and more importantly have nothing to learn from our
environment. Indeed our more progressive advancements have always been
achieved by taking into account the world around us. Today we call that

This period is also linked with festivals and festivities which in the
Western world we call Christmas. It goes without saying that what we
call Christmas and what Christmas is supposed to represent are as far
apart as any two opposing celestial poles.

At best Christmas today is a prompt for some people to remember that
they have a conscience and that they ought not to abuse others so much.
At the vulgar level Christmas is just another occasion to spend and have
as much fun as possible; although the fun part is more valid for the end
of year celebrations. Indeed the Winter Solstice was a prompt way back
in the mist of time for merriment given that the harvest had long
finished and winter was a quiet time to be warm at home with hardly any
labour activity in the fields.

Today we work most of the days of the year, there is always something to
do at the office, we keep warm and cool with modern temperature changing
machines, also know a central heating and air conditioning, and light is
available artificially. But the link is always there learning about our
environment and interacting with our environment to our advantage.

However, our economic environment today is not necessarily at the mercy
of the seasons but by economic cycles. Peak periods of our goods and
services we are selling, slow periods for sales, seasonal peaks and
seasonal lows but it seems that even this is changing. The boom bust
cycles we have been having these past thirty years or so resemble more
the biblical seven lean cows eat the seven fat cows that the quarterly
seasonal change.

The question we may ask ourselves is whether the regularity of the
Winter/Summer Solstices have been over taken by some oscillating duality
over a period of years that bring prosperity and destruction in a more
violent measure then the growth and harvest of the fields? And we cannot
blame the weather for this oscillation especially when the weather, all
things being equal, seems to be on a linear increase of heating up.

However, there is one rule that does not seem to have changed much over
the ages and that is: when the times are good a few have it extremely
good, and when times are bad only the majority have it very bad.

Best Lawrence

tel: 606081813
Blog: http://philomadrid.blogspot.com.es/
PhiloMadrid Meeting
Meet 6:30pm
Centro Segoviano
Alburquerque, 14
28010 Madrid
Metro: Bilbao
Open Tertulia in English every Thursday from 19:30 to 21h at O'Donnell's
Irish Pub, c/ Barceló 1 (metro Tribunal)

from Lawrence, SUNDAY PhiloMadrid meeting: Winter solstice

No comments: