Are you the bacteria in your gut?

Gut bacteria might guide the workings of our minds. A professor of medicine and psychiatry at U.C.L.A. “thinks the bacteria in our digestive systems may help mold brain structure as we’re growing up, and possibly influence our moods, behavior and feelings when we’re adults.”

Lying to Nazis

Nazis, lies, and videotape. Is it morally permitted to lie to Nazis today to obtain information for the historical record about the Holocaust? “Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah consists in large part of an extensive interview with former SS-Unterscharfuhrer Franz Suchomel who worked at the Treblinka and Sobibor death camps. Lanzmann told him that the interview will be taped but the tape will not be released for thirty years due to the sensitivity of its content. In addition Lanzmann filmed the interview with a secret camera secreted in a briefcase.”

Philosophy on the battlefield

A philosopher-general.   To succeed in battle, study philosophy. “People used to tell me that business administration is for the practical life and philosophy is for the spirit. … Through the years I found it is exactly the opposite — I used philosophy much more practically. Philosophers that spoke about how to balance, how to prioritize principles in a right way. … [t]his is something that I find very helpful.”

Is fatalism toxic?

Beware toxic fatalism, in its atheistic and theistic forms.  Jules Evans thinks: “I don’t think the main battle line in our culture is between theists and atheists. The main dividing line, for me, is between those who believe in free will, and those who don’t. It’s between those who think we can use our conscious reason – however weak it is – to choose new beliefs and new directions in our life; and those who think we are entirely automatic machines, without the capacity to choose.”