Friday, December 31, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares(2) we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest(3) began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots(4)
Of tired, outstripped(5) Five-Nines(6) that dropped behind.
Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets(8) just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime(9) . . .
Dim, through the misty panes(10) and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.(15)
8 October 1917 - March, 1918
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I watered it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.
Songs of Experience
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
Friday, December 03, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
It is not new technologies that we have to fear, but old passions. The ban on human cloning will be lifted at some time with both good and bad consequences most of which are currently unforeseeable.
The future is unpredictable and will become more so. New technologies will continue to proliferate and the average standard of living will continue to rise. Life will become materially easier and psychosocially more stressful. We remain constrained by a very slowly evolving biology.
Welcome to the Future of Medicine.
I am sorry.
I am sorry that you do not have the life that you dreamed of having. I am sorry that you do not have the work you thought you were made for or the partner you believe you deserve. I am sorry that you were mistaken in the options you thought you had.
I am sorry.
I was late learning that saying those three words is not the same as saying that it is my fault. It is my expression of my feeling for you and not an attribution of blame, an acknowledgement of responsibility. Women seem to learn this at an early age. Men often do not.
Most people feel entitled to an apology for numerous unnamed injustices and many walk around with an unacknowledged anger. No-one's life is perfect and no-one cares!
Csikszentmihalyi has an agreeable prescription: forget happiness as a goal, it is a by-product: seek challenge. Goethe offers encouragement too, "Whatever you believe you can do, or dream you can…."
"If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;"
I cannot do that.
I am unusually rational and by that I mean that I tend not to make decisions on the basis of my feelings. I try to be risk neutral which is not always easy and even so, I know I cannot do that: risk everything and bear the loss in silence.
Life is about risking loss. We love despite the risk. We marry and have children despite the risks. We may be blind to the risks; we still take them.
I cannot do that, but I do consider it an ideal to strive for.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
We are arrested in conviction; deafened with acclaim and facile with facade. Torment knows no preparation and Ecstacy burns it all away.
Good night! Good morn! Good day! Scripted so; and such! Welcome! [Got any LSD?]
Sunday, November 07, 2010
From Alexander Pope. An Essay on Man. As reproduced in Poetical Works, ed. H. F. Cary (London: Routledge, 1870), 225-226.
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan;
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Plac'd on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest,
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his Mind or Body to prefer,
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much:
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself abus'd, or disabus'd;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all;
Sole judge of Truth, in endless error hurl'd:
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world!
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Here's to the celebration of apparently useless knowledge: may the worlds we live in intersect....
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Monday, October 11, 2010
In the beginning was the Word and the Word....
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Friday, October 08, 2010
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Friday, September 17, 2010
Thursday, September 02, 2010
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Barring Adam and Eve – and perhaps her 13 daughters – Genghis Khan is the biologically most successful individual in recorded history: 1 out of every 200 people alive today is a descendant. I read too, that he was illiterate and uncultured and that his empire was born of rage and no grand vision.
He altered the course of human events.
This is human life: accident, luck, chance.
We do not think statistically. We are not rational; we are people. If 10% of all the people who had ever lived are alive today and that proportion will increase as time passes it means that we have been and are a successful species. Logic then is not necessary to survival.
It seems survival only needs experimentation.
The irregularity with which I update this blog implies that either this blog is not important or I have difficulty meeting my commitments.
Like life, the truth is neither as stark nor as simple: this blog is important but it is not my first priority and I do have difficulty meeting my commitments to myself but not to others. This blog is written for others, but the readers are an undefined mass. I feel no personal responsibility towards them because I have assured no individual that I will update this blog daily.
I do not know how many have read this blog or have done so more than once. I have been dropping stones into the abyss waiting to hear them hit bottom.
Futile actions have utility on more than one dimension and so are not necessarily futile. It all depends on your point of view.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Friday, August 06, 2010
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Friday, June 04, 2010
Thursday, June 03, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Saturday, April 17, 2010
and psychology finds that people often make inconsistent choices, fail to learn from
experience, exhibit reluctance to trade, base their own satisfaction on how their
situation compares with the satisfaction of others and depart from the standard
model of the rational economic agent in other ways."
Daniel Kahneman and Alan B. Krueger
Monday, March 29, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
have a slight and regrettable acquaintance. A moving line called the
Present parts it from an imaginary period known as the Future. These
two grand divisions of Eternity, of which the one is continually
effacing the other, are entirely unlike. The one is dark with sorrow
and disappointment, the other bright with prosperity and joy. The
Past is the region of sobs, the Future is the realm of song. In the
one crouches Memory, clad in sackcloth and ashes, mumbling penitential
prayer; in the sunshine of the other Hope flies with a free wing,
beckoning to temples of success and bowers of ease. Yet the Past is
the Future of yesterday, the Future is the Past of to-morrow. They
are one -- the knowledge and the dream.