I recently learned that, under certain circumstances, poor directional hearing can be a bit of a blessing. It works kind of like “ignorance is bliss”. Case in point:
There is a lunatic in my building. Statistically there always had to be one, so that is not the point of this story. The point is that the lunatic in question has fits of rage, during which a sort of tourrette’s syndrome descends upon his speaking abilities (at giga decibels), and also during which (recently) much furniture is slung about…
“Comfy?! SEX SHOULDN’T BE COMFY!!“
- chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola, in the movie ‘Kinky Boots’.
[I warn you that, even for the tinuum, this is going to be a spectacularly nonsensical (to you), rambling post. And downright incoherent.].
Since you are still here I will ask you this: have you sworn an oath of allegiance to Mother Nature, and would you want to, if you thought you had a choice? Do you presume that you already have? If so, why? She hasn’t, after all, done a whole lot for you in particular. This isn’t a sacrilegious statement – she works for the species; not you, not me.
It’s interesting that while all manner of Gods have been taking a bollocking of late, unimpressed as we’ve become with religion, somehow the Mother Nature meme has remained relatively unscathed. Having crept caterpillar out of the “earth mother” archetypal memeplex and inched its way across the fecund landscape of our collective imaginations, don’t you think it’s high time Mother Nature got on with her metamorphosis?
I mean, when will the idea of her flutter off and leave us alone? Or at least be transmogrified into the next generation of slightly-more-useful ideas?
On my way to Canadian Tire a few days ago I put the radio on and settled at the CBC radio show ‘Tapestry’ with Mary Hynes. It was an interview with Robert Wright (author of The Evolution of God) who spent the later portions of the interview trying to explain his way out of a sort of wet paper bag of his own making.
In early religions in which gods were so anthropomorphic that they couldn’t possibly have been omnipotent or omniscient (for what human was?), the gods were generally on a par with everyone else. They were fickle if not downright feeble-minded… that is to say they weren’t necessarily revered.
People just tried to get things out of them the same way they would try to get things out of their fellow humans. (“Alright, if you’ll do it I’ll give you this” sort of logic. Sacrifices).
I have to admit that this revelation of Wright’s kinda tickled me…
If only we’d stopped there as a species, eh? But there’s more to Wright’s story, not to mention my hopelessly divergent take on it…
I was pointed at an article in the Economist named ‘Darwinian answers to social questions’. It makes for interesting reading, and it at least tries to struggle outside of the box of watery writings on such topics.
I say ‘watery’ because often such articles either come across as a) telling you what you already know, or b) failing to really grab the reader by the shoulders, giving them a good shaking if they don’t, for some bizarre and inexplicable reason, already understand the pathetic and basic drives underscoring human interaction.
The Economist at least tries to suck off the sugar coating before placing it’s bilesome pill of ideas into our unwillingly gaping mouths…
And we need the nutrition. Click here to read the full article: ‘Darwinian answers to social questions‘.
I am currently reading about concepts of the universe as a vast quantum computing machine /evolutionary engine, and what this might mean in terms of our concepts and understanding of life itself. Of course such topics tend, inevitably, to lead up to the big ‘OK then, so what is God?’-type question.
It all reminds me of a ‘formula’ that I came up with when I was younger, and at a crossroads between lots of competing philosophies, ideologies and religions (not to mention science itself) that attempted to explain what ‘God’ might be.
To help wade through the quagmire of competing ideas I decided to generalise like hell and see what was left behind after that process. In addition to that, I tossed anything that was too anthropic in principle or a tad anthropomorphic in its descriptions. So what was I left with? My teenage mind was left with something rather disembodied… the idea of something without substance and yet permeating everything. Continue reading
I came across this article in scientific american about how people conceptualize different types of beings – with respect to how much consciousness / human qualities they can ascribe to each one. The subjects in question were robots, corporations and gods. The test groups were generally willing to ascribe some anthropic qualities to these different types of beings – except feelings. People seem to feel that what really sets us apart from other entities is our awareness/sense of self, and our ability to have feelings like joy or sadness.
This cognitive intuition (about how aware we think other entities are) tends to make us want to get on a pedestal and preen. Oh look! We have feelings. We can express ourselves. But what if our collective cognitive intuitions are the wrong way round? Maybe consciousness is not some higher state to be achieved… maybe it’s the bottom rung of the ladder… Continue reading
When I heard Lee Smolin talking at SciBarCamp something struck me: this gentleman from the “hard sciences” distanced himself from all the pop science theorizing that made physics and maths popular in the late 90s: He wasn’t extolling the virtues of one Grand Unified Theory over another, nor was he gushing about the strange and magical mathematical tools we’ve developed of late to solve some (sometimes inconsequential) problems. He was excruciatingly humble about his own obvious prowess, and kept claiming that he was ‘befuddled’ (this being, I concluded, his favorite word). Continue reading