It’s hard to summarize a three-ring-circus like Philosophy Talk, the rings being Ken Taylor and John Perry interviewing a guest, Merle Kestler, the 60-Second Philosopher as Master of Ceremonies, and roving reporter Julie Beth Napolin interviewing another guest on the side. It may take another day or two to get it right.
On Friday 30 January, the Philosophy Talk crew took on the concept / problem of desire. Guest William Irvine made stoicism seem like a pretty good solution to the world’s ills. It boils down to being happy with what you have and taking satisfaction in being the best person you can be. Of course it’s more complex than that, or is it?
For most of us it is. We have all these stimuli around us that create or augment desire. Companies like Coca Cola and their advertisers have figured this out. Coke could double its profit in the short run if they stopped advertising, and then they’d quickly go broke. They have to keep reminding us about our desires.
Oddly enough, the next night on lies, shams and delusions tied in neatly with Friday’s theme of desire, since so many of our desires are based on delusional expectations generated by misleading promises. The Philosophy Talk guys flashed all sorts of impossible products up in the screen, with things like Ron Popeil’s Pocket-Microwave (or whatever it was) being too good to be true.
But wait, there’s more! Ken and John asked guest Michael Philips, The Undercover Philosopher, to outline a couple of ways to detect and protect against lies, shams and delusions. Philips repeatedly refused to provide us with a Popeil Pocket Sham Detector. Instead he kept saying that there is so much crappy information out there that we can’t protect ourselves against all of it; we just have to chose the important things we care about.
I still desire the Popeil Sham Detector.