Thursday, August 14, 2014

Arendt’s Radical Good and the Banality of Evil

Arendt’s Radical Good and the Banality of Evil from Babette Babich on Vimeo.

Babette Babich, "Arendt’s Radical Good and the Banality of Evil: Echoes of Scholem and Jaspers in Margarethe von Trotta’s Hannah Arendt "

Video recorded late Spring, Fordham University, NYC. Lecture originally presented at the World Congress of Philosophy, Athens 5 August 2013

Friday, August 8, 2014

"Once you invest two billion dollars in a firecracker, you have to light it."

The crowds of victims, their bodies burned red and black, seemed to him like a parade of ghosts from another world. Most of the injured. . . died in agony, and the living screamed at passers-by to kill them quickly. 
"Curtain Rises on War's Last Act as MacArthur Takes Over Japan: Atomic Agony," Newsweek (3 Sept. 1945): 19-28.
In an important overview quoted by far too few scholars to this day, David S. Bertolotti writes in his Culture and Technology
"Atomic Bomb Packs Punch Equivalent to 2000 B-29s" screamed the headlines of the Ann Arbor News (III, No. 187, August 6, 1945, p. 1).  The Associated Press reported: "Atomic Bomb U.S. Pulverizes Japan with Bomb Greater than 20,000 Tons of TNT," (Detroit News, August 6, 1945, p. 1). "Tokyo May be Next Target for Explosives." (Ann Arbor News, p. 5) "Power of Sun Harnessed to Make New Bomb." (Chicago Tribune, August 7, 1945, p. 1) Such headlined stories appeared in virtually every American daily news-paper on either August 6 or August 7,1945.
Quotation from David S. Bertolotti, Culture and Technology -- for a PDF of the chapter from which the above quoted note is taken, simply send an email to

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Increasing Attention Paid to Animal Suffering -- With No Effect

Painful images of what we do to animals, 

so painful that most of us 

cannot bear to look 

(which means we turn away):

It is hard to imagine that this can be stopped. 

It is, after all, done by scientists, 

highly educated individuals, 

all of it with a good conscience, 


who regard themselves, 

and whom most of us

would likewise regard, 

as being

among the most cultured 

and intelligent human beings, 

but if these men and these women

designed this, if they do this to animals

as they do 

if these scientists 

teach their students to do

this and train professional technicians to do

such things 

(all in the name of science), 

if they sanction this, 

how on earth can

one imagine that we 

(who is the we here?) 

can influence anyone 

(who is this anyone? 

someone? who is that we hope can be 


Who are these beings and where do we

suppose that they have gotten 

the power to enforce anything like

that which would be needed

to effect the kind 

of change we might wish 

at all the levels, anywhere, everywhere:

the kind of change that would be 

the kind of change that is needed.

One of the primary places for 

this torture, 

its perpetration,


is the 

university itself, science itself. 

Science 101

and worse yet science at the PhD level of 


brain science, and every other kind

of science in between 

all the way to the most 

extreme and violent kinds.

In medicine, 

in the pharmaceutical industry,

in the food and nutrition industry, 

in the industries that provide clothing, 

shoes, luggage, etc., and oh glue too and

then there are the bows used in string

orchestras, and so on all in unexpected

places (in the scent you wear, that is your

perfume, your cologne), and most

dissonantly, perhaps, in veterinary science,  

in what it takes to train a vet, in what it takes

to prepare supplies for your pet -- if your pet 

needs blood during even a routine operation

where do you think that blood comes from?

And so on.

If these scientists and other 

rational people

will not listen to reason, 

because they already know 

they are in the right, 

and that they have the right, 

then who will?

It is not enough to change your life.  

We, all of us, need to change the inhumanity

of all of humankind. 

We need to change the world.