Sunday, 28 August 2011

Great War, Great Pessimism.

Welcome to another post on philosophical audio collections and lectures.  Today we hit on a lecture that talks about one of the biggest changes in European thought, culture and civilisation.  The lecture is called "The Great War and Cultural Pessimism" from the course "European Thought and Culture in the 20th Century", which is taught by Professor Lloyd Kramer.

Professor Lloyd Kramer
Every now and then when I am not looking into philosophy courses, I probably end up listening to history lectures.  The thing is that sometimes philosophical ideas drive the changes throughout history, but every so often it is the great events of the age that influence philosophical ideas.  The Great War, otherwise known as World War I certainly influenced many ideas on the western stage. 

If you manage to get hold of this course, pay some attention to this lecture, especially if you are interested in how Europeans saw themselves after the disastrous Great War.  Lloyd Kramers lecturing style keeps the listener interested from start to go, especially since lectures on the Great War can be quite difficult since many historians still research on what was to blame in leading up to the clash of European nations and what led to the decline in European power and influence.

Within this lecture Lloyd covers what the Great War was about.  We get to listen to why Britain, France and Russia (The Triple Entente) went to war again Germany, Austria and the Ottoman Empire (Triple Alliance).  There are many questions that one needs to consider before listening to the lecture.  Why did the war last so long? What were the freedoms of those who continued to sign up to the front? Even though so many died, why did many continue to go to the front? What ideas came out of the disaster of the Great War?

Professor Lloyd then moves on to the ideas of two famous people who experienced the Great War. The first is on Robert Graves who wrote the autobiography called "Good-Bye to All That", which was released around 1929.  Robert Graves book summarised what many people were thinking about the rapid changes after the great war.  The good times for the previous generation were gone and now the age of pessimism begins.  Robert Graves served as a British army officer during the battle of Loos. His book gives account of the horrors and realities of the Great War, which so many governments at the time were trying to hide within the cloak of nationalism.

Robert Graves
The next person Professor Lloyd focuses on is Oswald Spengler whose book called "The Decline of the West", which was very popular after the war.  Many Europeans were soul searching wondering if the ideals of Europe were the best to follow if it led to the disasters of the Great War. Within this book, we have Oswald explain that the west is currently in decline as with many other eras of the west.  His book mentions different cultures from the Babylonian, Chinese and 6 other cultures.  He compares them to the western view of culture and states there are patterns where decline was inevitable for the west.  Each culture goes through a season of changes from spring to winter, where winter would be the decline and fall.  

Oswald Spengler
At the end of the lecture we get to look into who benefited from the war and who suffered.  Obviously those who lost their lives from the war gained nothing and they needed a voice.  Women's rights gained some important changes as governments began to recognise the value, commitment and rights of women.  We then look at the break up of 3 empires after the war and touch on those who felt alienated from society after the war.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Social Contract

Welcome to another post on philosophy-101 blog.  Today we have an audio introduction to The worlds 100 greatest books.  This audio package delivers an introduction to why these books are the greatest, the period the books were set in, the brief introductions about the author of the book and then the audio goes into some detail about the story.  Some books in this package are not even novels; some of the books are non-fiction.  Just like the one I hope to describe here in this blog.

There are such a vast array of books within the audio collection, that the package will not give you the whole story of each book word to word.  That would take far too long, but you will get some idea about why such the books are so famous. 

The audio package is released by intelliquest who also did the audio collection called "The world's 100 greatest people".  The reason they released such a collection on books, is because life is so short and some books can take so long to read.  One of the books called “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy would take months to read, maybe years, however it is a very easy book to read, but here the audio collection will give you a much shorter the breakdown, summary and idea behind the book along with some symbolism.   Can you imagine trying to read and understand “Ulysses” by James Joyce? Unfortunately this collection does not cover James Joyces materials, but it does cover Shakespeare, Stendhal, Gustave Flaubert, Goethe and many more.

I recommend if you are really interested in the study of literature, please visit shmoop gamma.  With that site you get an even more detailed analysis, summary and plenty of famous quotes.  Shmoop  offers breakdowns on tougher books including “Altas Shrugged” by Ayn rand, “Ulysses”  by James Joyce and so much more literature.  Perhaps you can use the Shmoop in conjunction with the audio collection.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Well lets delve into the book I hope to discuss on the blog today.  The book is indeed quite famous or infamous depending who you are talking to.  The book is called “The Social Contract" by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.  This book is number 73 within the audio package and each section is usually 30 to 45 minutes.   Rousseau did not have an easy upbringing, his mother died after his birth and his father left him when he was aged 10.

When Rousseau was in his teens, he left for Paris because he became bored and felt trapped in his home town.  He was drawn to the bright lights of the city, working in many fields.  He found his calling in literature and philosophy, although Rousseau was skilled in many fields.  Rousseau won a competition which raised the question if the arts and sciences did society a disservice.  Rousseau submitted a paper called "Discourse on the Arts and Sciences", which argued why the arts and sciences were dangerous to society.

Rousseau took this step further by publishing his most famous book called "The social contract", which this audio collection describes in some detail.

Interestingly Rousseau is nearly the opposite of what Thomas Hobbes (another philosophy from England) explained about the state of man's nature in society.  In Hobbe's book called "leviathan".  Thomas felt that man without an established society was weak, living in fear, violent and dangerous.  Hobbes argued for a social contract where all would give up their power to the absolute ruler and that contract would hopefully bind all men to live in safety.

Thomas hobbes
Rousseau disagreed and felt that complex societies actually made men more brutal, dangerous, and living in fear and stress.  Rousseau felt that man who lived without the need society or possessions did better off, because they did not fear who would take things away from them.  All man would need was a place to sleep, eat and not be corrupted by power or knowledge.  Rousseau felt such men were "Noble savages". 

Rousseau's ideas caused friction with those who were in power at the time and Rousseau was hounded by the government and monarchy.  Rousseau was even jailed when he criticised those in power. The audio book discusses Rousseau's life, the idea behind his book and its influences.

You will not be disappointed with this collection.  That is unless you really want to read all the books on the list and there is no reason why, but to get through 100 books can take nearly a life time, and some books are not always a fun read.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Art defining man's nature and itself

Back for a new month and I have been so busy listening to audio courses over the internet, I have forgotten all about the blog.  Well I have decided to add another post today on a lovely lecture, which I have listened to for the 10th time.  This particular lecture is "lecture 5 art and the Post-War "Crisis of Meaning"".  The lecture is from the course called "Interpreting the 20th Century: The Struggle over Democracy".

Professor Pamela Radcliff
The course has been around for some time, but it’s still available off The Teaching company’s website.  It is taught by Professor Pamela Radcliff.  So then, why do I listen to this particular lecture so many times? even though there are 48 lectures in the course.  Do not get me wrong, I do listen to some of the other lectures, but this one grabs my attention for a number of reasons.  Basically I am interested how high art and culture affects and inspires society. The other reasons are that this lecture is highly informative on some of the major art movements after the turn of the war.  Within this lecture it discusses Dadaism, Surrealism and futurism art movements.

To be honest, art analysis can be difficult to understand, so the next reason why I replay this lecture is that some notes are not so easy to take in, but it’s worth the time because understanding art makes you understand the period or time the art was set.  This then lends to your cultural understanding of artist movements.

So then? What are these art movements and why were they formed?  You might have noticed that I mentioned these art movements sprung up after the Great War or World War I.  If there was high culture influencing nationalism, imperialism and man's reason to fight, then after a devastating war, there must be a counter culture.  These were some of the movements. 

The first being Dada or Dadaism.  Its main point was to state that everything means nothing, I mean everything is nonsense.  Do not try to even bother to understand or interpret dada because you will be sucked into meaningless confusion.  Dada was a criticism of the rationality that drove the great nations to war. It was an attack on colonisation and superiority over others.  Aimed at the masses, Dada hoped to push its message across that everything is meaningless.

Dadaist Art
Next we move on to another big art movement called Surrealism, which actually came out of a mix of Dadaism.  Surrealism relied heavily on producing art which seems to come out of someone’s dreams.  It looks so real, but then the art is odd, what the art defines cannot possibly exist and yet it is right before us in its representation.  No more do we have art representing the landscape, the trees or portraits, no much pictures representing religion.  We now have art representing the impossible, the imaginative the sublime.  Surrealism lent itself not only to art, but also the philosophical theories, to literature and films. If you want to look into surrealist art then Salvador Dali is a good start, but there are many others.

Gala and the Tigers, Surrealist art
Next we move onto the last of the major art movements after the Great War and this would be the futurist movement or futurism.  The main point of this movement was the look towards the future.  Futurists are sick and tired of anything old. The old art is slow, distant and boring.  Now we get art that emphasis speed, technology and most of all the future.  Pamela gives a great example of how futurists see themselves, she gives an example of a person getting into a car and driving off, but futurists see themselves moulding with the car. The see the car as something completely different, they see movement as a potential for violence. 

Unique Forms of Continuity in Space
Every so often I tend to visit the Tate modern museum and up on the top floor you will see pop art and the famous “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space" by Umberto Boccioni.  Notice that even though the art is still, it defines speed and movement. You can just imaging the human moving at great speed.

One thing to notice about these movements is that they lend themselves to the Postmodern tradition.  It can be very hard to work out what the actual paintings, sculptures or designs mean.  The representation is all over the place and that’s the way these artists like it. This is one defining feature of Postmodernism, which is a critic of modernism. Or a critic of what came before it.

If you ever get hold of this course, you will enjoy this lecture.  Pamela's lecture style isn’t too exciting, but she makes up for it in sheer detail and information, which is why I come back again and again.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Meaning of Death

It had to happen.  I mean although it’s not one of the biggest questions concerning philosophers, usually it is one of the answers to the meaning of life.


Yet, it’s not so simple, because as you might know within philosophy there are questions about questions and that’s when we get metaphysical.  So now the biggest question is what is the meaning of death?

Well I have two great pieces of news.  The first is there is a course on the meaning of death.  It is called "death", which is obvious for a course on death I guess. It is taught by Professor Shelly Kagan from Yale University.  The second piece of great news is that this course is FREE!  Unlike the audio book for the meaning of life which isn't really free.

Prof Shelly Kagan
The course has 23 lectures and it covers several aspects relating to the meaning of death, but be warned, some of the lectures are aimed at high level graduates, while most of the lectures are available for anyone to dive into. 

Let’s have a closer look at what this course covers?

Kagan lets us know his conclusion about death at the start of the course, if you do not like his answers, do not let it put you off the course entirely, since the course is quite an eye opener.  We all can get something from the course.

We get to look into the dualism which is mind/body problem of death, which is to state what happens after death.  Do we get to live on in another form? Do we have a soul? Does that soul die also? 

We then move on the Plato's arguments for the soul and for most of you out there, Plato believed that we can live on in another form, but are his arguments cohesive?  Do they make sense?

Next the course moves on to personal identity, I would say this part of the course is where things get little tough, because the course seems to move on to what is known as individuation theory.  What is the identify of something through space and time when it ceases to exists?  We then move on to how we can be sure if the identify of something or a person is lost? Such theories work best on mechanical objects like a car or train, which Kegan will actually use to define this difficult concept.

We then move on to the badness of death, where we get help from Leo Tolstoy (the Great Russian novelist) and some other great novelists.  What is so bad about death? How does existentialism fit into the definition of death?  This lecture I felt was a real eye opener, but at times I just cannot help trying to break or counter Kagan's logic on why he felt some arguments for the badness of death does not make sense.

The course then moves on to immortality, who on earth does not want to be immortal? I mean is death such a bad thing that one prefers to live forever instead?  Maybe this is not such a good idea as Kagan explores this subject in great detail.  I have not been through all the lectures, but mainly identify theory, badness of death and dualism.  I have also just listened to lecture 22 called “The fear of death”.

Time flows away

Fear of death

On this particular lecture, we look at the emotions.  Is it appropriate to have a fear of death?  What are the conditions for these emotions?  Here we look at the psychology of death concerning if we have anyone to blame for death.  We know death is coming, so who is to blame?  How shall we feel when death takes its icy claws and draws nearer to us? 

This lecture also takes a look at our personification of death?  If there is someone to blame, then how does this affect our emotions?  Examples of the personification of death would be god, since many people would blame god for allowing us to live and then taking our lives or placing in the condition that we have to die, this idea is explained psychologically in this lecture.

We examine pride, fear, sadness and anger. One thing about being alive is that we cannot avoid our emotions. Our emotions revel themselves to events even before we think, maybe perhaps they are ingrained deep within us, perhaps learnt from society or from our habits.  Yet when it comes to death, are our emotions rational? Are the emotions appropriate?

Some emotions like sadness or worry might make sense, but it seems fear actually might not be rational since fear does not three conditions.  I will not tell you all of the conditions, because I want you to listen to this lecture, heck! I want you to listen to the course (if you have time).  Alas time is short, so make time before death takes us, because the meaning to life can heavily lend to the meaning of death and to make sense of life, we must come to terms with death.  Within this course we shall find meaning and this is the meaning of death.

Style of course

The lectures (except the first one) are long, nearly an hour per lecture.  That’s good, because there is so much to get out of this course, but then it’s bad if you want to get a straight answer.  It is worse if you find the course might be out of your level and you still find that you do not understand the meaning of death.  

Kagan loves to use examples for his theories, which is good because some theories are difficult to get your head around.  This course looks at highly metaphysical arguments, which means beyond ideas that could be easily measured, so Kagan will try to lessen the damage by tackling tough answers from our psychological understand of death. 

Sometimes Kagan might take some time to get to a point, but its worth waiting around, because again the ideas can be pretty hard to work out.  You might have to read in between the lines.  Make sure you listen to the lectures more than once, some will not make sense and you may have to reference the lectures against other material.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Philosophy talk from Australia, back to the old style

Just been listening to a radio show based in sunny Australia.  The show is a slot on ABC radio and it looks to be still running.  This particular show is called "The Philosophers Zone" and has been running since 2005.  Their site must have over 300 dedicated philosophy subjects and guess what? They are all free for download.

Today I was listening to a 25 minute talk hosted by Alan Saunders.  The subject was about the rise of three Greek schools in the Hellenistic period.  The title of the subject is called "The Therapy of Desire - Epicureans and Stoics on the good life".

Alan Saunders
We have Alan Saunders talk to Martha Nussbaum from the University of Chicago, who seems to be a specialist of Greek philosophy.  She mentions about why these schools were founded, their philosophy and influence on later philosophers, especially in towards the Roman period.

So let’s have a brief look at these schools.

The Epicureans

The Epicureans basically looked at philosophy being used for therapy against irrationality and harmful desires.  Their view on life would be an appreciation of beauty, detachment from earthly delights and being free for fear, especially death.  We have the famous quote from Epicurus who said, "When we exist death is not, and when death exists we are not"

The Stoics

Here in this school, the Stoics wanted to spread forth the belief that our emotions can be destructive if we act upon irrationality.  Stoicism pushes forward the idea that men should be free not only from grief, but also from Joy and be steadfast not only in belief, but how we behave.  

Our emotions can obviously be destructive to others if we act irrationally from anger, but worst of all; we can eventually destroy ourselves.

The stoics stressed that each man must live according to the reason within nature.

The Cynics

The talk does not go deeply into what the cynics did, but here is a little breakdown.  Mainly what the modern age knows of the Cynics is that they are doubtful of knowledge and felt that all knowledge should be questionable.  Cynics also taught that people must live free from desires, being wealth, fame, power and even being overly concerned with our health.  Our lives must be lived through a rational agreement with nature.  You might notice some stoicism within the cynics, so their ideas did merge from the two schools.

Why did these schools form?

Well, back in the Hellenistic period, war was rife and it was hard enough to survive. Fights broke out over the simplest things due to anger, desire, fear and irrationality and it seemed the best way to counter such emotions was through rationality. 

What best way to do this then use Philosophy of course!!

With such rationality, we can cure the irrational thoughts that can lead to pain and sorrow, thus people will become peaceful and seek higher forms of living.  Notice I have mentioned peaceful rather than happier, because again being happy might be brought around by irrational thoughts.  These being lust, money, fame can all make one happy, but in the end those emotions (if unchecked) can cause stress to society.

The talk continues on the problems of these philosophies.  Sometimes the philosophies go to their extremes, where one not only detaches themselves away from the painful emotions, but eventually detaches themselves away from their loved ones, even family and friends.  I think its because death takes us all and we must learn not to become too attached to each other. Not only can death destroy our attachments, but people can be un-trust worthy, people can turn on you for the slightest of reasons, so we must hold our emotions back, keep them in check and not be so vengeful. 

The show is quite short and could only cover the ethics taught within these schools.  The schools also looked at logic, poetry, physics and the study of nature.

There are hundreds of episodes from "The Philosophers Zone".  I hope to cover many of them. Feel free to download from their site.

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Meaning of Life

Hello folks.

I have just listened to an audio book called "The Meaning of life" by Terry Eagleton.  To be fair I have not listened to the entire book as yet, but I thought I would mention it today in the blog.  Why should I mention such a book? Well come to think of it, the question "What is the meaning of life" is perhaps one of the most basic, most philosophic questions of all. 

Book Cover
I usually visited a site called Yahoo Answers to answer questions asked to budding armchair philosophers and the question that most pops up within the forum is "What is the meaning of life?".  Well this audio book, or book depending what you get hold of, will help us discover the answers to such a basic question.  Yet be warned. There are many answers to this question and although the audio book is simple in tone, the answers the book gives lead on to more difficult questions.

One might as well ponder if it was even worth asking such a question.

Take heart though, it is always good at some point to ask such a question, because the information we receive lets us ponder over life's questions, which can hopefully lead to wisdom.

Let us now take a deeper look at the first part of the audio book.  The first section is called Questions and Answers. There are other sections, but I have not listened to those yet.

As I have listened to the audiobook around several times, I decided to break down the main answers the audiobook has passed on.

We shall look at around Seven sections.

The question - What is so important about the question of the meaning of life?
The question definition - What does this question actually mean?
The history of the meaning - The questions progression throughout history
What it means to different philosophers - Different interpretations.
It’s Role - How does the question serve us?
It’s Usage - How it is used each time the question is asked?
The Answer - Well, plain and simple, the answers of the meaning of life.

The question

Let us examine briefly how this lovely audio book looks at what is so important about such a question.  The question "What is the meaning of life" actually used to be the most fundamental question asked to philosophers, considering before that, the question used to be "Why is there something, rather than nothing?".

I guess such a question could have been asked to the Greek philosopher Socrates, until he in turn started to ask questions to other people, rather than answering people's questions.  

The book shows us how such a question can twists and turn each time we ask about it, but the thing is such a  question is important, because it gives our lives meaning.  We need to sometimes stop and check if we are not wasting our time. Perhaps we just want to copy what other people are doing with their lives.

The question definition

This is perhaps the answer most philosophers of the modern age will reply to anyone who asks them such a question. Perhaps Wittgenstein turned around and answered that it is not the answer, but how the question is asked.

It might go so far to be said that you will not get a right answer if you ask an impossible question.  Most philosophers these days will look at the structure of the question or go so far to deconstruct the question (break down the hidden meaning of the question). The audio book will help us examine the questions structure

The history of the meaning

It used to be so easy in the early days; it used to be all so easy.  When someone asked such a question, the answer would be "God".  God is the meaning to all life and all our problems will be solved.  This perhaps was the earliest answer to the question one can probe.  You can replace the word "God", with other religious deities, but there is no denying that religion will often point on the responsibility of such an answer to another mysterious force.

Now throughout the ages, people who hit a life crisis, or even just began to seriously ponder to themselves, they just kept asking the question over and over again.  The answer to this question began to change as religion in the west ended up letting people down through corruption, persecution and most often unexplained answers.

(I am not saying that religion is fully at fault, but this is the history of the meaning of life problem)

So in turn people invented their own meaning, perhaps a good era would be idealism, romanticism, enlightenment and modernism, but even those ideas failed, because after the horror of world wars leading to the cold war. We are again forced to ask ourselves what is the meaning to life. 

Now fast forward to the present. It’s not so easy anymore because Postmodernism has crept in and says "We know the answer, but unfortunately there are so many standpoints, there are many answers and perhaps too many answers".  This audiobook will tell us the history of such a question.

What it means to different philosophers

There is not one type of philosopher these days.  If you are a philosopher you might end up being classed in a category of philosophers.  Perhaps you’re a Structualist, a Pragmatists, Rationalist, maybe a Postmodernist or Nilhist, maybe your not in a group of philosophies and follow a major philosopher instead.  What I am trying to say is that you will get a different answer depending on which philosopher you ask.

A nilishist will tell you that there is no meaning to the meaning of life; a deconstructor will ask you 10 questions to your 1 question.  Some philosophers will tell you to think for yourself.  Others will say that that the question has a language problem.

It’s Role

I can guess that the role of such a question is to give our lives meaning.  So the meaning of life is the value or quality that is fed back to our lives or at least what we take from it.  This would be a pragmatists way of viewing the meaning of life.

Yet, oddly enough, the answer to the meaning of life will twist and turn each stage of our lives. To make things worse, as soon as you ask such a question, For example I could ask "What is the meaning of life", then end up asking "What is the meaning of the answer to the meaning of life" or worse "what is the meaning to the question of what is the meaning of life", which is what we are defining now.

So in essence the answer will in turn lead to more questions, but we all have to start somewhere. Don't we?

The usage

One thing about asking what the meaning of life is, that it can be asked even if your not in a crisis.  It is a misconception that those who ask such a question are always depressed. You can actually ask such a question out of some life affirming value.  Perhaps some of us are not too easily satisfied.  Yet those who do not ask such questions might actually be worried the answer, which might make them depressed.

The answer

The meaning of life hopefully aims to push us into viewing the answers of life with profound thought, usually there are no single answers.  Perhaps we can view it as that there is no meaning of life, it could be that the problem is with the question and how it is asked.

It could be counted that it is the questions, not answers which are the most difficult thing.

Yet the good news is there are answers and if you get hold of this audio book, your life will bring onto itself new meaning.  Even if you have to ask new questions.

One last note: Always look on the bright side of life.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Big Brother is still Watching you

Here is a lecture I have been listening time and time again.  It’s from the audio company, which is called "The Teaching Company" and the course is called "Books that Can Change Your Life" taught by J. Rufus Fears.

Well what can I say about this particular lecture? I have watched the film starring John Hurt.  I read part of the book, listened to the play narrated by David Niven and now I get a detailed analysis of the famous book "1984". The book was written by George Orwell and in a nutshell the book was aimed at communist Russia just after the Second World War. 

Book Cover of 1984
This lecture is number 19 out of 32 lectures, I could not help skip some of the other lectures.  They are all important books and I am sure listen to them in time, but 1984 is so controversial, so terrifying and almost predicts what could happen in the future.  Well about the style of the lecture. It is always fun listening to Rufus, he never seems to talk in a one tone voice, it is almost as if he is beckoning you further with his style. Drawing you into the story of the book and what the book is about.  Rufus sometimes breaks into voice acting of the characters and does voice of Winston Smith (The main character of the book) superbly.  

You really get the feel of the terror and mystery of Big Brother, which is the dictatorship style of government Winston Smith is living under.  You see the thing is Winston Smith does not like Big Brother, I mean when he does not life Big Brother, he literary HATES Big Brother and from there we get an epic story.

I will not go into the full details of the story 1984, you can either listen to this particular lecture or get hold of the book. I also recommend that you watch the film starring John Hurt (watch trailer), which actually did come out in 1984.

George Orwell
Why did George Orwell write this book? Why did he perceive communism as evil and how does this book even relate to problems of communism? Come to think of it, how does this book change your life?

So many questions and hopefully the lecture will answer them for you. I can also try and answer a few questions myself about this book.  George Orwell was unfortunate enough to take part in the Spanish civil war of the 1930's and although he came to participate of his own willing, he had to ally himself with those who wanted to push for communist ideals in Spain while fighting against those with fascist ideologies.  

Well, George saw what the Russians under Stalin were like and he did not like this one bit.  Over the years throughout the Second World War, he could not keep what he saw bottled up and wrote the book 1984.  He foresaw what life would be like under Stalin once the war would draw to a close.

Why was this book banned?

Well Russia took the main brunt of the war against the Nazis. The British government felt that at the time such criticisms of Russia and communism was going too far and could damage relations. Yet in time Winston Church (does the name “Winston” ring a bell?) spoke out in his famous speech of "The Iron Curtain" closing down over Eastern Europe.

How can this book change your life?

To be honest, any book can change your life.  Yet this book is unrelenting on how a government can turn on its citizens.  We can almost imagine ourselves living under this style of government and come to think of it. parts of Big Brother can be implemented in the governments of today, think of surveillance eroding into your privacy.  

The big question is, would you take a stand like Winston smith? Would you try to make a change? Or would you keep your head down. Perhaps would you bow to the government and do as they tell you to, even if you know deep down it is wrong, but be so fearful of your life that you cannot afford to displease big brother.

Take some time to listen to this lovely lecture and maybe it will inspire you to think carefully about the times we are living in, but remember......

Big Brother is WATCHING YOU!!