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....