http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75ZFijbokEM . To see Liz's blog post on this, go here: http://lizardyoga.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/well-are-we/
Philosophy In Pubs (PiPs): http://www.philosophyinpubs.org.uk/
Right, that was a bit of a linkfest!
This is a summary of my thoughts after last night's discussion on this topic. My main points here are as follows:
In terms of our importance to the biosphere, we are probably more important than giant pandas but less important than saprophytes, detritovores or marine algae because if giant pandas disappeared, it seems there would be very little difference to the ecosystem, but if marine algae disappeared there would be no aerobic organisms left after about three or four decades. If we disappeared, there would be a geologically short period of instability followed by business as usual for Planet Earth.
We also had a go at defining arrogance in this context. For instance, does it involve the assumption of the right to use resources non-renewably or without regard for the well-being of other species? That would in any case be reckless or imprudent if not arrogant. Another element is not feeling the need to account for or excuse one's behaviour - i couldn't do very much with that thought because it has a distracting tendency to abut on a lot of other attitudes which have no connection with arrogance.
Valuing an in-group more than an out-group, on the other hand, has quite a lot of mileage as a concept. This means we may be speciesist along the lines suggested by the philosopher Peter Singer - we unfairly prefer our own species to others. There may of course be rational arguments for preferring a particular species though, for instance inter-subjectivity, although such inter-subjectivity may not be equally extensive in all human communities. Another, related phenomenon is moral agency.
There is also a sense in which the humble are arrogant. They may have a world view which means they regard themselves as in some way superior to the rest of the human race. For instance, leaving the rat race might lead to a humble social position but also a sense of moral superiority.
Finally, there's the question of religious positions as humble or arrogant. I regard true religion as humble but many ex-Christian atheists would definitely say the reverse.
This is the "after" video to yesterday's "before" video.
Lapsing into the personal for a change, i'm feeling discouraged and have very little idea why. I gave up editing yesterday's second video halfway through and just uploaded it as it was. This is because for some reason my videos are not being watched and getting subscribers is almost impossible. It has taken six years to reach seven dozen and ten. There really is a big issue in my mind about comparing this channel to the Other, because the Other is perversely successful. One of the problems with this one is that the variation in videos means it probably doesn't encourage loyalty. To me, the videos are connected but to others they seem not to be. Continuity is therefore probably not apparent. The last two videos which were anywhere near popular were the meteorite and the schools ones. This shows in my analytics too - i dropped below 144 views and continued to fall for several days, and i suspect also that yesterday's stats will be down too. Last week's totals were the lowest so far this year and ignoring Christmas, which is likely to be anomalous for a number of reasons, it was the lowest for eleven weeks. It's not helpful that this blog is never read either.
Other things are bothering me too. I have never received an Adsense cheque and i don't know why. I did the various things necessary to link both channels to Adsense, and going by the view count, the Other Channel ought to have generated over £400 by now, but it hasn't. I can only assume that for some reason, i can't get money from Adsense and to be honest i'm wondering whether people claiming they have received money from them really have. I don't want to accuse anyone of lying, but it's the usual problem of my reality seeming completely different from everyone else's for no apparent reason.
So that's it for now really: feeling pretty down and discouraged, but i'll carry on. The looming problems with HMRC and Universal Credit don't help of course, but i also get the impression there's something biochemical going on which is affecting my mood. It's also extremely discouraging when people don't come to Big Science, don't pick up medicine and then i haven't got enough money to post medicine people have ordered.
So basically, i'm feeling completely shit at the moment and everything feels like too much effort.