October 31, 2012
The first pollykaryote arose quite by chance. Someone had started a co-operative insurance group with es neighbors so they could protect one another from foreclosures. Needing a constitution of sorts, they had found a set of governance rules online which looked to do the trick. But as it turned out, there lay a clause somewhere in that code stipulating that any section could be changed, added or removed on a vote. Naturally, members began to suggest new uses for their polity, slowly shifting, nudging, extending its initial function. As it matured and friends or neighbors asked to join, the leaderless society swelled beyond its earlier, more manageable size, and so, after much deliberation and a vote, it split in two.
October 24, 2012
From Julian Jaynes’ The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind i learned that the human soul once transformed itself beyond recognition in a second of nature’s time, implying that the liberated, self-aware persons we are today could quickly become tomorrow as incomprehensibly naïve as appear to us already the god-controlled, blind heroes of Homer’s proudful day.
October 23, 2012
From John Fowles’ The Magus i learned that a novelist could not only narrate the tortuous, involuntary process of one man’s psychological enlightenment at the hands of another, but at the very same time trick his condescending reader into becoming that wide-eyed protagonist.
October 21, 2012
From Quentin Meillassoux’s Après la finitude: Essai sur la nécessité de la contingence i learned that the laws of science mightn’t be as strict as i had once imagined, but could instead prove to be approximate, superficial explanations that should soon give way to an infinitely stranger world, one out of which, pace the genius philosophe, something like gods might reappear to enchant us.
October 17, 2012
Having arrived at the end of his career, Prof. Dawkins became so distraught at his failure to achieve his life’s goal — totally eradicating all religions — that he finally resorted to consulting someone on the matter.
Someone: What are these religions you want so desperately to eliminate?
Prof. Dawkins: Those that are poisoning the world with their outdated moralities and destructive certainties! Those that brainwash children and the weak minded into believing in some future paradise, so they will blow themselves up for a stupid lie. Those who preposterously claim to know all truth about everything because it was written down ages ago in some book. The preachers who tell stories about God creating the universe six thousand years ago, and who will end up destroying it sooner than that with their pointless wars!
Someone: I see your problem.
Prof. Dawkins: What is it? Tell me!
Someone: You are fighting the wrong battle; religion is in fact much more pervasive and pernicious than even you realize. These movements you speak of are already old and dying; the kind of religion you should be worrying about has already moved on and found a new, much healthier host!
Prof. Dawkins: I don’t see what you mean.
Someone: The new religious attitude is much more sophisticated, and already so deeply entrenched that few can recognize it any more, though some may discern it when the right parallels are drawn. This higher form of religion has no morality at all; it claims that such is not its business. Neither does it make much by way of specific predictions about the future — and yet it still gives people the means to blow themselves up, millions at a time! It also claims to be the source of all truth, its adherents supposedly possessing the one and only method for accessing that truth; while its preachers tell stories about how the universe and life began, adding a few zeroes and despair to the older religions’ tales. And now it, too, finally appears poised to transform our planet into a rather inhospitable place.
Prof. Dawkins: But science is true, and scientists can’t be held responsible for what engineers and politicians do with their discoveries!