Thursday, October 30, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Death with Interruptions
Still, Death With Interruptions is a dense read, and feels a bit like an e-mail William Faulkner might write were he in a rush to get out of the office in time for happy hour. The punctuation is way screwy. Saramago's sentences are complex and looong (you may spot a period every two or three pages), and he uses commas like the Smurfs use the word Smurf—as a substitute for everything else. No quotes, colons (semi or otherwise), exclamation points, or paragraphs. The effect can be disorienting, and makes it difficult to read while on the elliptical machine at the gym. Conversely, it does help to provide an excuse for why you are unable to go to the gym.Here's a more substantial review from the New Yorker...
This is really rehashing the same idea that we have gone over many times before, that what we believe as true is not necessarily true, but is a useful lie that we ourselves, or those around us perpetrate upon ourselves:
Pretty much no matter how you test it, children make us less happy. The evidence isn’t just from diary studies; surveys of marital satisfaction show that couples tend to start off happy, get less happy when they have kids, and become happy again only once the kids leave the house. As the psychologist Daniel Gilbert puts it, “Despite what we read in the popular press, the only known symptom of ‘empty-nest syndrome’ is increased smiling.” So why do people believe that children give them so much pleasure? Gilbert sees it as an illusion, a failure of affective forecasting. Society’s needs are served when people believe that having children is a good thing, so we are deluged with images and stories about how wonderful kids are. We think they make us happy, though they actually don’t.
I dedicate this quote and the Wiki-blurb of William James to the rebirth of the XGH blog, may he go from strength to strength.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Secret Muslims end up in clandestine heaven
Funny stuff from a guy name Ben Kharakh.
I can only imagine what being a secret Muslim entails.
Scenario 1:Scenario 2:
Obama is filling out a survey. He gets to a question that says religion. He checks off Muslim. "Oh oh," he says, "That's a secret." He erases it.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Proposition of value versus existential judgment
"James believes that the study of the origin of an object or an idea does not play a role in the study of its value. He asserts that existential judgment, or the scientific examination of an object's origin, is a separate matter from that object's value. One must not consider an object's physical derivation when making a proposition of value. As an example, he alludes to the Quaker religion and its founder, George Fox. Many of the scientists in James' audience, and many today, immediately reject all aspects of the Quaker religion because evidence suggests that Fox was schizophrenic. Calling this rejection medical materialism he insists that the origin of Fox's notions about religion should not come into account when propositioning the value of the Quaker religion. As an aside, many believe El Greco to have suffered from astigmatism, yet no one would dismiss his art based on this medical detail. James proposes, somewhat sarcastically, that his audience's atheism is perhaps a dysfunction of the liver. Some believe science to be superior to religion because of religion's seemingly vain, unfounded, or perhaps insane origin. In his lectures, James asserted that these claims, while perhaps historically or epistemologically interesting, play no role in the separate question of religion's value."
We'll see if things improve after the end of the chag.
Meanwhile, here's an interesting post.
This week, an offhand remark on another blog got me in a Sting mood.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
You learn something new every day
Domine, labia mea aperies: et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
I listened to it on Youtube. How different from my experience with Psalms. When the rabbi asks the congregation to say a kapitel of tehillim, the room responds with a kind of a buzzing hum, muttering inmates in an asylum.
I'd like to think that if the Levites did sing Psalms in the holy Temple, it sounded more like this, a truly Divine harmony:
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Life and Letters
To the Editor of Playboy
December 21, 1962
I wish you hadn’t billed the debate between William Buckley and myself as a meeting between a conservative and a liberal. I don’t care if people call me a radical, a rebel, a red, a revolutionary, an outsider, an outlaw, a Bolshevik, an anarchist, a nihilist, or even a left conservative, but please don’t ever call me a liberal.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
It's a good thing he quit
From the $700B bailout package...