The EXPLORER Press

The Explorer Press sets out to do what its name suggests: explore. This press explores what it means to be human, what the dangers and advantages of technology are, and many other things. The most important thing to The Explorer Press is introspection. We hope to provide food for thought that allows for self exploration and discovery. 

The Empathy Exams There isn’t any way to measure or quantify empathy, or any other emotion. There is no monetary value, emotion cannot be exchanged for any goods, and its value as something material is just about zero. But all humans have emotion, it is part of being human. The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison explores emotion, and more specifically, empathy and how we perceive the emotions of others. Understanding and appreciating one another’s struggles, and perhaps relating, are the truly the first steps to a better society and world. More people being able to connect with each other would prevent so many senseless, hurtful acts. The Empathy Exams is an extremely important book to examine your own attitude towards empathy, and perhaps a way to become more empathetic towards other. As she says, “Empathy isn’t just listening, it’s asking the questions whose answers need to be listened to. Empathy requires knowing you know nothing”. Realizing that you know nothing about others is a concept that is hard to grasp. But it is in seeing that you know nothing that you are able to know anything at all. This essay is an intellectual treat, and will open your eyes to facts about yourself, and more importantly to the unknown abyss of “others”.
The Most Human Human What is it to be human really? It’s not exactly an easy question to answer. Could a machine that mimics a human closely enough be considered human? Could it be that a human is somehow confused for a machine? Brian Christian explores these ideas in his book, The Most Human Human. The book looks at the Turing Test, a test where judges have blind conversations with either humans or computers, and must decide which is which. To have to justify one’s own humanity is something that seems to be a problem uniquely rooted in modern times. The book looks at technology and the effect that it has had on humanity as a whole. This thought provoking will have you questioning the essence of what is so special about humanity as a race. Words like intelligence, sympathy, and empathy may be things that cross your mind as you read through this fascinating discourse. Or you could glean something else entirely. This book does not provide a clear answer, which makes it a book perfect for pondering. You could glean any meaning or worth out of the story as you see fit. Curiosity about Christian's own perspective will keep you hooked, and the message will leave you in a state of wondering.
Oration on the Dignity of Man Pico della Mirandola’s “Oration on the Dignity of Man” is a classic work, that truly exemplifies what this press is all about: exploration. Mirandola beautifully describes the potential of man. He talks about how a person can truly become anything, depending on their choices. “Whichever of these a man shall cultivate, the same will mature and bear fruit in him. If vegetative, he will become a plant; if sensual, he will become brutish; if rational, he will reveal himself a heavenly being; if intellectual, he will be an angel and the son of God”. There is a sense of optimism about this work that is truly motivating. Mirandola is does not talk about how man is inherently good or inherently beautiful. What he focuses on is how they can become good and beautiful, and this is something extremely worthwhile. Pointing your attention inwards, and focusing on what you “cultivate” will shape what you become for the better. And this oration is exactly what you need to accomplish this. Who doesn’t want to be a better person? Everyone does. So there’s no question about it, cultivate your intellect and become an angel in Mirandola’s eyes.
Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle is a truly outstanding book. It’s “hilariously sobering”. Vonnegut’s writing is easy to digest, but extremely deep. There isn’t any easy way to write about the meaningless of religion and perhaps of life itself, but Vonnegut does so masterfully. He makes you laugh at the absurdity of everything, from the created words to the calypsos of Bokonon, you are laughing while thinking about the dangers of science and about fate and free will. As Vonnegut puts it, there is "No damn cat, and no damn cradle." It isn’t easy to find a purpose or a meaning in so strange a world. But he does not discount trying. Perhaps trying to find meaning is one of the purposes in life. And perhaps Cat’s Cradle is the book that can help you figure that out. Vonnegut does not pull any punches in his commentary, but he does it in an extremely entertaining, refreshing way. There is little downside to purchasing this book, as it will make you ask important questions about religion and science. These questions are tough to consider, as these things are often seen as positives in society. But this may not always be the case, and this book gives the ability critically analyze them.
Snow Crash Snow Crash is a different type of book. It isn’t a book filled with flowing prose and elegant, subtle themes. It gives a cold, hard look at the world and the world of the Metaverse. It has a character literally named Hiro Protagonist. There's a girl named Y.T. that shoots a poon gun. What’s not to love? The fact that it is science fiction allows for some impressive world building, and Stephenson does this well. The deadpan sense of humor that keeps the book rolling along. Stephenson’s ideas on the Metaverse are truly interesting, and are not inaccurate in talking about where our world is heading. The Metaverse is present in our world today to a lesser degree. There are all sorts of alternate realities, from living vicariously through characters in television, or literally becoming the character in a video game. The Metaverse becomes more and more real everyday, and that is a dangerous thing. A distinction has to be made, and Snow Crash is the book that can help do that. There is a clear message about the dangers of technology, all packed into an action packed and fun book.
Redeployment “They’ll never get even close to orange. You can’t until the first time you’re in a firefight…and you realize that everybody’s life depends on you not fucking up”. Phil Klay’s Redeployment is a very real look at the total effect of war. It’s not just war on the battlefront, but also about the battle that occurs for soldiers as they return home. There isn’t any easy way to easy back into civilian life, and it this readjustment is something that is difficult for a civilian to appreciate. Phil Klay allows people who have little experience with veterans a glimpse into the horrors of war and the trauma that can come along with it. “An extremely astute commentary on the lack of attention given to soldiers coming back home, Klay paints a picture that simply must be seen” (The Explorer Press). The violence of war can change a person, and it is often not for the better. They may permanently become “orange”, and unable to lead normal lives. It is worth reading this essay so that you can start to understand a little of what soldiers feel and think about during and after wartime. Knowing more about their struggles allows us to become more empathetic and enables us to help them in ways we could not have before.
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