Tao of PI

Five Tips to Win Any Debate

Don't Debate the Player, Debate the Claim
Five tips to verbally own your opponent with respect, grace and heavily veiled contempt.

Heroes of Freedom, Truth, and Reason

Heroes of Freedom, Truth, and Reason

And what they inspired in me.

I will spare you long commentary, or my novice opinion of any of these great minds. Instead, I will list the thinkers who have had the greatest influence on my own life, and in a sentence or two what they inspired in me, followed by a quote or two from each. I highly recommend reading any of their material (or in the case of Socrates and Jesus, the material written about them by their followers). They are listed in chronological order:

Socrates – Humbly question everything.

“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.”

Jesus Christ – Forfeit everything in pursuit of truth.

“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you…”

St. Augustine – Reason is the God-given tool by which to discover truth. It is within our individual power to become free.

“If we did not have rational souls, we would not be able to believe.”

“He that is kind is free, though he is a slave; he that is evil is a slave, though he be a king.”

St. Thomas Aquinas – The universe is ordered and purposeful, and by reason we can discover its principles and progress as a human race.

“Reason in man is rather like God in the world”

John Locke – Rights are not conferred upon man by other men, but are natural and inherent to all individuals.

Every man has a property in his own person. This nobody has a right to, but himself.”


Being Big Vs Being Powerful

Being Big Vs Being Powerful
Foreign policy lessons from the gym

by Justin Hartfield, on politics

In the gym, they are everywhere. You can spot them by their tribal tats and 20" biceps. They are blasting Pantera so loud through their headphones you can hear it on the Smith Press some 20 yards away (Crush! Kill! Destroy!). They seem to have a particular preference for black Tapout wife beaters at least two sizes too small, along with the mandatory weight belt, Harbinger gloves and ever-so-slightly skewed Yankees hat.

The Ten Most Influential Philosophies of All-Time

The Ten Most Influential Philosophies of All-Time

A brief history of Western thought

By Justin Hartfield

All modern Western thought can trace its roots down to ten essential philosophical concepts. These philosophical (and metaphysical) assumptions about man's role in nature are the backbone of modern science, philosophy, psychology, technology and a host of other far reaching concepts.

All of these ideas are still alive and well, persisting in Western thought even to this day.

1) The Bible- God as the Creator; later Nature as the Created

The most fundamental assumption of Western thought is that humans, the Earth, the Milky Way and even the entire universe were created. For many centuries, the creator was the Lord Almighty, as depicted in both the Old and New Testaments. Avant-garde thinkers of the 18th century began to reject the notion of a Lord Almighty in Heaven. Yet they still kept the notion of the universe as being created.

This contrasts with the way the Chinese view the fundamental nature of the universe. They see the Earth as something organic, living even. Just as an apple tree grows apples from out of its branches, the Earth peoples and creates humans.

Interesting, one can see the effect of this fundamental assumption in children. It's commonplace for a Western child to ask its mother, "Mommy where did I come from?" Yet this same question would be totally out of context for an Asian child, who would rather say something like, "Mommy how did I grow?"

Buddhism and Libertarianism

Buddhism and Libertarianism

Finding libertarian parallels in the Asian philosophy

By Justin Hartfield