Here’s why we should care about it after the election

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Every four years, America has the same conversation about the electoral college:

This system is unjust and undemocratic! Why do we still have this antiquated system?

And then we forget it about until the next four years, when the possibility of electing a minority president (a president elected by the minority of voters in the popular vote) rears its head again.

This time, Joseph Biden narrowly won the electoral college despite winning approximately 4.2 million more votes nationwide. …

“The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation”

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The popularity of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the young adult action show on Nickelodeon, seems to rest in its action packed plot, the war of the Fire Nation against the other nations and the wicked cool element “bending” powers of the characters. However, Avatar also actively incorporates elements of Eastern philosophy for extra emotional impact, giving the show a more mature feel than an average cartoon.

I find that adding elements of Eastern religion into a popular children’s TV show without perpetuating stereotypes or misreadings is a very positive development. Eastern religion is never explicitly mentioned, given that the show…

The Matrix in the Matrix in the Matrix…

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In this video by The Film Theorists Youtube channel, a compelling plot theory is proposed for the movie The Matrix and the entire Matrix franchise created by the Wachowski Brothers. In this theory, Neo (played by Keanu Reeves) and the movie’s heroes of Zion, the last refuge in the real world of free humans not enslaved by machines, are actually still trapped inside the Matrix. This explains Neo’s powers outside the Matrix that are seen in the later movies in the series.

However, I believe this interpretation misses many important elements. For instance, the Matrix itself isn’t real either. …

Thoughts on inclusion in the “Western canon”

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Lately I’ve been browsing the internet for lists of the “greatest composers of all time.” Like all other clickbaity lists, these lists are subject to various problems. By what standard are we judging the “greatest” composers? By expert opinion? By public opinion? What criteria are we using?

I also recently watched a thought-provoking video by the Youtuber 12tone called “Beethoven sucks at music.” With that kind of title, you can expect to ruffle some feathers. However, 12tone makes the point that what is included in the Western musical canon has always been political.

While I’m not actually going to delve…

The problem with “New Age” yoga shops

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Recently, I visited a trendy shop in Vancouver that primarily sells musical instruments from around the world, but also sells a variety of Eastern religious items like Tibetan singing bowls, mantra beads, and statues of Hindu and Buddhist deities like Ganesh and Green Tara. All of these musical instruments and spiritual products seemed to be sourced directly from makers in places like Nepal. However, for actual practitioners of Hinduism and Buddhism, the question arises: are shops like this, shops that sell “healing crystals,” New Age bookshops, and yoga stores that sell incense alongside representations of “Oriental” religious figures, a positive…

Sam Harris has become a touchstone figure of the so-called “Intellectual Dark Web”, known for his political commentary on controversial subjects such as Muslim immigration and political correctness. But before that, Sam Harris was one of the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, one of the premier popular atheist writers and intellectuals, known for books such as The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. There is a trajectory that Harris has maintained throughout his career, however, and that is the rejection of the belief that there are any “moderate Muslims.” Perhaps it was this conclusion that led…

Stephen Amorino

Anthropology MA, PhD candidate at Heidelberg University in Germany, studying Bhutan, Tibet, ecology, and religion

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