I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
February 16, 2015 - 12:45 p.m.
I did not have an exciting day. I went to Trader Joe's. that was my excitement for the day. I didn't even buy anything exciting there. I do have a complaint and I'll tell them next time I am there. Usually the help is so good but yesterday I wasn't paying attention and the checkout guy put my eggs on the bottom of the bag. I was lucky only one egg was cracked. I took it out and fried it. That and the fact that my chicken hadn't thawed led me to not actually having dinner. I had a peanut butter sandwich too. I did get to appreciate having warm clothing. It was 11˚ and I was not in the least bit cold. I wasn't even at defcon 3. I didn't wear a scarf and I had only one pair of long johns on.
I have an idiot story. When I got to LORi and Steve's a week ago I was wearing my totes overshoes. I asked Steve what to do with them and he said put them in the corner in the kitchen. that's where they remained when I left. Good thing I have winter boots but they are not as high and won't do the job when the snow starts to melt.
I'm considering what to write about and it's one of those days where I think hardly anyone is going to e interested in any of them. My ratings have been crashing as they are, what will happen if I write about the spiritual value of science or the dangers of what everybody knows? No matter. I love when people read Wise Madness. I love even more when they have something to say. But as much as I love My Gentle Readers in the end I'm writing for myself, to fulfill inner needs.
Interesting juxtaposition; Christine Evans writes in Save the Wisconsin Idea about Scott Walker's attack on the University of Wisconsin while I'm reading Dreams of a Final Theory: The Scientist's Search for the Ultimate Laws of Nature by Steven Weinberg.
There was his infamous changing of the mission statement; deleting “the search for truth” and replacing it with language about meeting “the state’s work-force needs.”And I'm all with Prof. Evans there. I don't think college is just a high priced trade school. But then she loses me by only talking about the humanities. What is science but the search for truth? Sometimes that truth is the we can't know the truth but the ideal is close enough. Scientists can see the value of history, literature, art, and music. Prof. Evans apparently feels that science is high priced trade school. She's wrong. Science and math feed psychological needs too. Look at the title of Weinberg's book. If that's not about the search for truth what is? I'd use the word spiritual if I didn't like the way that word is used to mean exactly what the speaker wants it to mean. I don't want to imply anything mystical but it is about mystery. The ultimate rationality is a romantic notion. Physicists don't want a final theory to make better things. It isn't about technology. It is knowledge for knowledge's sake. Just as the goal is a theory that doesn't depend on a deeper theory it doesn't require anything external to justify it. It is valuable in and of itself.
That might be a basic division of humanity, those that appreciate that and those that don't. Horatio Hornblower is tone deaf. When he hears music all he hears is noise. He is incapable of hearing it as expression. He cannon tell one melody from another. He doesn't experience it as a whole. Perhaps there are those that can see the beauty in equations and those that can't. Or maybe it's just training. I always hope for the latter. Are there people in real life like Hornblower? I don't know. I wish I did.
What I do know is that I get a feeling of awe from science. There is beauty in Maxwell's equations. If you don't get the math there is beauty in Michael Faraday's pictures of lines of force. The beauty I in the concepts. I want our colleges to about art and history but about that too.
And it's just not for the individual, it's for society. We are better citizens when we understand more. Those that don't learn from history are condemned to repeat it. But we learn from literature. Les Miserable affects the way I look at both social and criminal justice. I never lose that. We are better citizens if we know how other people think, and art helps with that. We are also better citizens if we know how the physical world works. If you know some basic physics you'll understand how global warming works. But if you don't the arguments are like music to Hornblower, just noise.
Have I lost my way? Should I have not mentioned the societal benefits because the value of science is intrinsic? No because we have to deal with the Gov. Walkers and Prof. Evanses of the world.
And now I have to deal with pancakes and maple syrup. I might even make bacon to go with it.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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