June 12th, 2004


Radical Particles Swing

Why is it that fundamentalists, when they happen to lose religion, lose itin a way that's just about as loud as their religion formerly was? Why don'tthey just become quiet folks like most mild atheists? The answer is thatthe questions of religion, and the question as to how one should live one's lifeis still just as important, they've just changed positions. Like all vectors,both an angle and a power are present, and we should expect someone with a lotof power who's changed angle a lot to look like that. Similarly .. ahh, butyou're probably tired of me talking about that :)

After my run today, on my way to my early dinner (lunch-equivalent on weekends),and to Coffee Tree, I ran into a friend from the philosophy group I went to, andwe talked on the street for about 45 minutes. The conversation focused on jobsand finding satisfaction in work in life. He recently read a book, recommendedto him by his landlord, that suggested that most people approach picking theircareer all wrong, comparing what they think they'd like to do to where they arenow, and finding the most efficient route there. The book suggested that peopleinstead shouldn't attempt to plan so much, and should instead try a lot ofcareers before devoting serious time to any. Apparently it provided a lot ofadvice on how to do this in a sane way. It's title is "Working Identity", andit's by Herminia Ibarra. While I'm pretty sure that I have the career I want,he gave it a good enough recommendation that I'm going to need to check it out.I keep on thinking about my father's advice, that loyalty to one's company isoverrated, and while it certainly seems like advice to be successful, I'm stillhave a hard time accepting it as a strategy for me. We talked a bit aboutregional accents, the importance of travel in a happy lifestyle, ways to work aperiod of travel into one's lifestyle (I'd love to backpack across Europe!), andthen briefly about neurochemical speculations. Specifically, he noted that hemakes a big point to continually question most of his beliefs, to prevent thekind of gravity to beliefs that older people get. Being wrong, he notes, hurts,as thoughts and perspectives that are with one for long enough become part ofone's identity, and giving them up, even when warranted, means giving up a partof one's self. The restructuring of beliefs involved in an old person's loss ofa thought-structurally important belief/worldview can be daunting, and fear ofthat closes minds. That sounds plausable, but I also wonder if there might beany neurochemical cues that are also against new ideas, as said restructuringmight not be so disruptive for a single change, but might mandate a lot of newneural connections or restructuring that an older brain is just not chemicallywell suited to implement. It's possible that these are just different-depthanalouges of each other though.

I'm doing a lot more work on the background for Isa's BLOG. I really shouldwrite another entry for her soon though.

Now, onto the usual political fun stuff..Mark Fiore has his latest comic, this one comparing BushJrto Reagan, who recently started hissleep.. Jwz also has a really spiffy picture on the topic.Speaking of dirt, here's some mud in the eye of anti-environmentalists --in the semi-recent power oopses in northeast U.S., the environment recovered abit as some kinds of pollution stopped. Na klar, we're polluting back at normallevels again now..The kurds, and the people supporting the attempted new government in Iraqsuffered a setback recently -- two assasinations of political types,one government member and one Kurdish Imam. In China, in Heilongjiang province,is working on a cultural restoration project for some Jewish buildingsin the area. I wonder if this is very common -- from what I've been readingabout how China and Russia manage some of their more outlying regions, theyare in the practice of a very un-melting-pot-like strategy, granting limitedautonomy to ethnic groups that are predominant in an area. It's verydifferent than what we're used to, and while I have strong suspicions thatallowing much government interaction with culture leads to cultural privilege,I do find it interesting.

Apparently, eventually we might have robot buddies when we gorock climbing. Sharp has a 3d screen that a friend of mine got aprototype of. This is very cool.This is not so cool. You can also watch the poor XFree86 people see theircoalition fall apart...