Questions: What is The Idea of Justice in a New World (Order)?

Reblogging only because the link –continue reading — was inactive. Works now. Sorry!

The Uncanny


What has happened to justice? How do we — today, now — perceive justice?

I sense that what has lead us to this strange, historical moment is our confusion about justice, our reluctance to struggle for a definition. We’ve instead become comfortable with injustice.

Is justice that elusive? Is it too difficult to define, too arbitrary? Is justice relegated to the eye of the beholder, justice for one an injustice for others? Is humanity normalized by injustice?

Or maybe it’s that injustice everywhere parades as justice and this is what we’ve become used to.

I want to know what justice looks like because I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it. Have you? Do you know what it is?

continue reading … 

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Running Away or Running Toward?


I was explicitly forbidden to run. I was not allowed to just throw in the towel and hit the escape key. I had to have a plan, or at least enough determined passion and enthusiasm to placate my pare…

Source: Running Away or Running Toward?

The Uncanny is Migrating to Medium


The New Uncanny

The New Uncanny

The Uncanny is moving over.  This move will make it easier for anyone to contribute ideas, art, short clips.

Invitation: Write for The Uncanny

Are you interested in trying to get deeper into ideas, into how things work — or don’t? Are you interested in trying to find meaning where there doesn’t seem to be any?

And are you interested in trying to explore ideas beyond what we hear, what we see, what we’re told is the new normal?

This is an open invitation to writers interested at looking deeper at strange current events, different ideas, and trying to lay the path for fresh trends in media, politics, education, sports and entertainment, the environment — new ideas for us.

I am interested in challenging orthodox ideas. I am interested in finding a way through what seems to be an impenetrable and weighty status quo.

The original Uncanny is a WordPress site of 215 stories, if you care to learn how and when all this began.

Now migrated to Medium, The Uncanny is an invitation to collaborate, contribute and critique any and all ideas pertaining to the dramatic reality we seem to be living.

What will the other end of this transition look like? What do you want it to look like? What should we consider? What good ideas about navigating through this period are out there?

The new Uncanny contains most of the old stories. Some of my own work can be found in The Policy as well.

I will consider a broad range of stories and ideas, images, very short clips, art, inclusive of cartoons.

I can be reached here: hector j vila I really look forward to hearing from you.

How We Got Into The Mess We’re In : The Moon Illusion & the Question of Thermonuclear War

After the news today, Obama Unlikely to Vow No First Use of Nuclear Weapons, (, it’s worth reblogging since this is, as we speak, the most dangerous of all situations we’re living in!!!!! THIS IS THE PROBLEM that BEGETS ALL OTHER (PROBLEMS)!

The Uncanny

“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance” (1839-1840)

We are more at home with illusion than we are with the reality before us. It seems quite natural for us to walk away from facts when they don’t support our illusions — and our emotional attachments to them. Our minds and our eyes always fool us. We even reject the notion that they do — a catch 22 if there ever was one.

Consider this: Why does the moon look so much bigger when it is near the horizon?

Most scientists agree that the reason the moon looks bigger is purely in our minds. Our mind interprets the things we see in interesting ways.

Like facts.

One theory about the moon illusion says that…

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Gabby Douglas and the True Story of the Olympics

Given the way Americans have treated the Lochte case compared to how Americans treated Gaby Douglas, it’s relevant to reblog this piece so that Americans can take stock in what “Gaby Douglas means” to us – and what Lochte never will, other than to show the most negative aspect of white privilege…

The Uncanny

This is may be one of the most significant Olympic Games in history but the story — why is it so important? — has yet to be told. Let’s tell it.

Gabby Douglas — winner of the individual all around gold medal in gymnastics, the team gold (as I write, she failed to medal in the balance beam, a ghastly apparatus, opening the field for Ali Raisman who went on to win a gold in the women’s floor exercise) and the first African American to reach this pinnacle of success — is the perfect way into this Olympic story about the (permanent?) dissolution of boundaries.

Douglas’ story has moved us. It has caused some confusion as well. At the heart of the confusion is the story that’s yet to be told about these Olympic Games. It’s a story of possibilities, of a better, brighter tomorrow. It’s what we’ve…

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The Elements of Teaching

by popular demand – requests – as schools are about to begin yet another academic year…

The Uncanny

for Shipnia, Brittany, Dane, Becca, Christine, Chris and Amanda and Taylor and Annie — and the countless other young souls that will call themselves new teachers

There is a lot of talk, politically and otherwise, about education reform, but there is little conversation about what teaching actually is — and who the teacher is. What are the elements of teaching?

There is a singular demand on education today, namely that it develop producers — students that will mature to be workers and consumers. This single demand is blind to the sources of this production model, the teachers, and the nature of human culture. Of course, citizens have to be productive, engaging the world creatively, we hope, but this is not the first criteria. There are other requirements. In order for education to be productive — produce productive individuals — it must preserve the health and welfare of teachers…

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The Cultivation of Hatred: A Brief History of Violence in America

Again, by popular demanding, especially from those who think that we may be at an “American crossroads…”

The Uncanny

Following American Violence and Education I was asked to take “another ride” on this subject and, following a workshop I was in this summer where, allegedly (it’s on film so I can’t deny it), I said that “we are all educators,” meaning those in and out of education proper, and that this makes us all somehow “responsible,” so, along these lines, I am taking another turn with The Cultivation of Hatred: A Brief History of Violence in America.

I am testing on Medium first since this is a good, well, “medium” to see what kinds of legs this approach has.  For those of you that measure these things, a la Medium, the 2444 word piece will take you 11 minutes to read. There are pictures and links to videos.

It begins like this :

In “The Dawn of Man” sequence of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick introduces us…

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Hope Springs Eternal Amidst Decline: The Bard College Model

Reblogged by popular demand: since 2011, what has changed, I ask?

The Uncanny

Witness today: the pathetic — and uncannyWashington circus concerning the debt and the debt ceiling crisis; the economy is still moving at a snail’s pace, now reacting even more negatively to Washington’s ideologically based idiocies; evidence of climate change is everywhere around us; wars in Iraq and Afghanistan baffle the mind, forever responding to terror and poor Western management; U.S. public education is in the toilet, put there by more controversial political brinkmanship, and continuing to ensure we live in a bifurcated society; unemployment is stagnant, as a result, and more and more people out of work or working in jobs well below their capacity; production is at a standstill, and in some places, such as Ohio, industry has left town — Main Street is emptying out; children and women, some of the most vulnerable in our society, are without health care; the gap between the…

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How to Sit in a Sidewalk Café—Lessons from Paris

I received a note from a student who lives in Paris and well … I’m hankering for Paris, too. I’d like to spend a year, at least, there … Have to come up with a project….

The Uncanny

Paris– In between le café La Contrescarpe and le Delma, in Montparnasse, Paris, on a chilly, overcast evening, though it’s June, I sit. And I observe carefully. Rain may come—then again it may not.

There is a proper way to sit in a café.

In Paris, all café goers lining streets, whether with one partner or several, face the passersby. In case of several people sitting at one table, the art is to construct an experience where one eye is on the intimacy of the moment while the other is watching, observing, taking in the street, the activity. This is very different in other places.

I just came down from Lund, Sweden, where café goers face each other, sometimes even sitting in cafes that are behind small iron fencing or behind a waist high canvas partition sporting the café’s name. The experience is about what’s happening right on the table…

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Amsterdam Revisited

I’m hankering for this since my sister-in-law is in Amsterdam

The Uncanny

I revisited Amsterdam this past week and spent Easter Weekend, along with countless Spaniards, Italians and Germans, in the early spring sun. Last time I was in Amsterdam was in June of 2008 and I went alone for a conference. This time I went with my wife and we lived in a delicious and charming apartment in the Oud West, on Douwess Dekkerstraat, owned by the artist Patty Schilder.

Oud West Apartment --looking toward Farmers Market

From our balcony, looking out over the Buurtcentrum De Havelaar, we gazed at the Baarsjesweg Canal, especially beautiful in the evening when the sun sets and the large barges slowly make their way up and down after a long day’s work. Two blocks away, in the early morning, the farmers market gathers steam. Here, the true ethnic diversity of the Oud West comes alive–Middle Eastern women in their hejabs argue prices with their favorite vendors, breads and cheeses…

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