May 22nd, 2007



I wonder what it would be like to tell children real-but-interesting summaries of real history rather than fairy tails over their childhood. Maybe that wouldn't work so well because in real life, we don't often seem to have definite openings and closings of stories.. it just goes on and on. I suppose we have real story arcs sometimes, and occasional surprising plot twists, although to what extent that's our pushing the story metaphor onto a reluctant reality varies. Stories seem to be something that are part of the human experience though - imagining a society without them would be hard.

I wonder how much the intense interest by evangelists of various religions is responsible for belief in Africa (especially central africa) often feeling more fundamentalist/vibrant than in established countries. Thinking about "missions" (which I do not like), I imagine the task of converting people from other faiths, especially people living in traditional cultures that don't have much outside influence/organisation, would be both difficult in that a lot of the words/concepts that Christian and Muslim messages have might not translate well to the local language/way of thinking (e.g. a culture without a well-defined notion of "sin" might not see the need for forgiveness from it in the "sacrifice" central to Christianity), but if that barrier could be passed, they'd be memetically sitting ducks because they neither would have experienced western skeptics to point out the well-known holes in their arguments nor necessarily even the experience in mental and word games (e.g. the Ontological argument for the existence of a god - ridiculous, but it takes a disciplined, philosophical mind to move from "this could prove anything with slight tweaking" to "there are two seperate concepts that normally share the same word, the confusion between which lead to this argument being broken"). I would love to see an organisation that would track evangelists on their "missions", sending some philosophers along to argue against them wherever they go. ... I don't think it's feasable though - there's too much infrastructure devoted to supporting missions from governments and donations of individuals to be matched by secularists, at least at present.

I am pretty determined to find some new place to be by December. Hopefully it can be arranged in a way that'll lead to greater happiness. The other option I've been thinking about, with a bit of encouragement from Eckhardt, would be to enter a Masters programme in CS at CMU. I'm not sure if that'd be quite as much change in my life as I'd like though... Hmm.


The Line Between Inanity and Insanity

Sometimes, I wish I could muster the faith, to step apart from my materialism, to believe that there is a plan, that everyhing's going to be all right, that there's some fate that separates our steps from brownian motion..

A few supplemental things to comment on while I wait for an analysis to finish:Collapse )

Ahh, analysis just finished. Hurrah.

Lizza passed this on to me - it's interesting reading.

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