A philosophical discussion about sports betting and gambling, based on my e-book Sports Betting Pure: The Educated Bet, which is now published here for free download.
The Dolphins score a touchdown and Homer celebrates (spilling his Duff beer in the process) while Lisa copies his cheering. Homer lets it slip that he bet $50 on the game, but Lisa doesn’t understand why. Homer: [Gambling is] a little thing daddies do… to make football more exciting. Lisa: What could be more exciting than the savage ballet that is pro football? Homer: You like ice cream, don’t you? Lisa: Uh huh. Homer: And don’t you like ice cream better when it’s covered with hot fudge? And mounds of whipped cream? (getting carried away) And chopped nuts? And, ooh, those crumbled-up cookie things they mash up? Mmm, crumbled-up cookie things. Lisa: So gambling makes a good thing even better?
The Simpsons, ‘Lisa the Greek’
Sports and Gambling: An Inevitable Match
The lures of both sports and gambling are apparent and ancient: throughout history, sports has served multiple functions considered essential to society; while gambling has had rising and falling prominence in societies of every place and age*. Given the excitement and the stakes common to both, it’s inevitable that the combination of sports and gambling would appear to many as a perfect match (as Homer explains simplistically), particularly during an age in which both are prominent.
Over the last century, general discourse concerning the topic of ‘free will’ has become increasingly more pronounced in Western culture—a trend that reflects the rapid development of societal complexity during this period: for especially since the postmodern era, the organisational phenomena of bureaucracy, specialisation, and compartmentalisation have intensified the diffusion not only of responsibility but also of knowledge. Concomitantly, scientific theory has supplanted philosophy as the locus of epistemology, producing theoretical phenomena such as relativity and quantum mechanics and instilling them into the foundation of Western ideology. Effectively, such theories have undermined not just traditional knowledge and wisdom but the very basis for their acquisition, i.e. the subjective perception of an objective reality. In concert, postmodern developments have thus created a culture of disintegrating knowledge and implicit indeterminacy, wherein matters both philosophical and practical are deemed – tacitly more so than explicitly – to be fundamentally uncertain. Crucially, this ideological domination includes the dimension of institutional contradiction; as in, for example, the periodical turnover of scientific axioms, many of which are treated as dogma until they have been deemed falsified and replaced by new axiomatic ‘truths’. Within this culture of impenetrable systemisation and philosophical confusion, the question of free will has arisen to prominence: For at least the last half-century, Western culture has been affirming an inherent inability to determine anything at all, let alone an ideology that is clear, consistent, and stable. Adversely, it has instilled a societal paradigm of reactionary measures against the flux of indeterminable existence, which thus represents the postmodern ideology of Western culture—an ideological inversion of Ideology.
An essay on Understanding (or, understanding for an Understanding of UNDERSTANDING)
For the proper philosophical discussion about any particular thing, the identification of the thing itself is more important than the word used to refer to it: A word is merely a tool used to approximate the meaning of a concept, thus enabling an expedient means to refer to that concept in conversation or writing. In a way, this conventional approximation of conceptual meaning highlights the purpose of Philosophy, which I define here as the unmotivated, uncompromised expression of the innate need to Understand. And, Understanding is perhaps the most important concept to philosophise about—which I define here as the pure and thorough attempt to clarify the essence and significance of a thing. Thus for this essay, a cluster of related ‘things’ I consider worthy of discussion are most closely approximated by the word ‘understanding’, with each of these things representing a particular aspect of that concept, thereby being a different sense of its meaning. Hence, I will use the word ‘understanding’ in multiple senses, supported by my definition of each one; and by which I attempt to describe these particular aspects of Mind and Life.
In the third and final part of this article series, I describe four notable aspects of books; followed by various methods for assimilating information and thoughts generated through book-reading; whilst including examples and photographic samples throughout for illustration.
As someone who began to read books regularly for the purpose of intellectual stimulation, I naturally discovered various ways to improve my conduct of book-reading towards higher degrees of efficiency. In this article, I describe the principles and methods derived from my experience in book-reading, which I offer for the potential benefit of similarly oriented individuals. Essentially, these principles and methods* concern the effective assimilation of information and thoughts from one’s reading experiences. However, as individuals tend to differ in their purpose for reading and capabilities of assimilation, factors of and methods for assimilating literature can apply differently on an individual basis—hence, the methods here are offered as tips for anyone who regularly reads literature; or at the least, as a stimulant to one’s thoughts on ways to make more effective use of their literature and more efficient use of their reading time.
In the second part of this article series, I identify twelve different subjects (including sub-types), which I classify by their ideal mood for comprehension; whilst also providing examples and photographic samples to support the description of each type and sub-type.
Having long had a personal interest in seeking and reading the most substantial literature available, I have in the process acquired an experience of book-reading that covers all of the major subjects in literature. As a part of this experience, my mind naturally formed classifications of the qualities and uses of each subject; as well as the particular ‘moods’ I found to be best suited for engaging with their different characteristics. The aim of this article, then, is to clarify and share this experience by making these classifications—hopefully to the interest, if not to the benefit, of fellow book-readers.
In the first part of this article series, I identify fourteen different types of book, which I classify by their required mode of concentration; whilst also providing examples and photographic samples to support the description of each type.
Over the course of the years during which I have been reading books regularly, a particular categorization of book-types naturally formed in my mind. Specifically, it is based on the distinct kinds of concentration I found to be demanded by different books. These different kinds of concentration can be thought of as different modes of reading; and the classification of them in this sense may be useful for a regular reader of books to consider and refer to, towards a more conscious and informed practise of book-reading.