My earlier post on the Trayvon Martin incident was rather throwaway (at least I warned you in the title). Even though other bloggers have done it to death (as it were), I decide to add my own thoughts.
Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category
It is likely a bit late for most, but I do have a suggestion for removing one of the stresses of Christmastime: Declare a gift giving truce.
The placebo effect, the ability of an inert substance to deliver a cure, is an oft-remarked part of hypothesis testing. Such results are dismissed with a cursory “that is just the placebo effect.”
Rarely mentioned is just how amazing such a thing is.
One of the philosophical quandaries of my youth was the question of whether eternal life (on this earth) was actually desirable. A cult movie from the mid 1980s (Highlander) considered this question (well sort of).
While few of us have death wishes, the thought of living forever can cause some queasiness. I suspect this is due to how they consider the question.
Many dissatisfied with the current social order consider dropping out or withholding their best effort, going Galt in the evocative phrase of the moment. Others, even if not completely happy, wish to enjoy the fruits of full participation in society. For them, going Galt may not be the preferred option. If you cannot (or do not want to) go Galt, you can always follow the line of another fictional character: Rhett Butler.
It is popular to talk of the debate (or even “battle”) between science and religion. I am not sure they are really that much at odds. In some ways they are both looking for truth, or at least some description of our reality. Is the belief in a “creator” really much worse than the belief (by some) of superstrings and dark matter (or any other currently unprovable theory)?
Rather than attempt to fight an unwinnable battle, I want to consider the ways in which what science knows is similar to what religion preaches.
One of the most powerful forces acting over the past thirty years has been the growth of computing power and prevalence.
Most see this as a good, even great, thing. I am not so sure.
I believe that shame may be one of the most debilitating emotions. Its toxicity arises from the fact that those who feel it strongest may deserve it least. The worst individuals may not feel it all. Feeling shame after committing a dishonorable act is a good thing; it is a lesson from your conscious. Feeling shame for some perceived shortfall of achievement is less so.