I found something that’s vaguely similar to what I tried to say in the last post; it’s just, well, much better. It goes much further; maybe what an extremely deeply thinking individual would inductively reason over a very large scope, if asked to suppose that the last post was acceptable. 

       
 

“The cause of our current social crises, he would have said, is a genetic defect within the nature of reason itself. And until this genetic defect is cleared, the crises will continue.
Our current modes of rationality are not moving society forward into a better world. They are taking it further and further from that better world. Since the Renaissance these modes have worked. As long as the need for food, clothing and shelter is dominant they will continue to work. But now that for huge masses of people these needs no longer overwhelm everything else, the whole structure of reason, handed down to us from ancient times, is no longer adequate. It begins to be seen for what it really is… emotionally hollow, esthetically meaningless and spiritually empty. That, today, is where it is at, and will continue to be at for a long time to come.”

 

Sphere

February 15, 2009

” On your planet you have an animal called a bear. It is a large animal, sometimes larger than you, and it is clever and has ingenuity, and it has a brain as large as yours. But the bear differs from you in one important way.

It cannot perform the activity you call imagining. It cannot make mental images of how reality might be. It cannot envision what you call the past and what you call the future. This special ability of imagination is what has made your—species as great as it is. Nothing else. It is not your ape—nature, not your tool-using nature, not language or your violence or your caring for young or your social groupings. It is none of these things,which are all found in other animals. Your greatness lies in imagination. The ability to imagine is the largest part of what you call intelligence. You think the ability to imagine is merely a useful step on the way to solving a problem or making something happen. But imagining it is what makes it happen. This is the gift of your species and this is the danger, because you do not choose to control your imaginings. You imagine wonderful things and you imagine terrible things, and you take no responsibility for the choice. You say you have inside you both the power of good and the power of evil, the angel and the devil, but in truth you have just one thing inside you—the ability to imagine”

 
 

 
 

                                      

The man who learnt to learn

February 14, 2009

When I first started to understand that I could begin to understand the world in little spoonfuls, this man captured my imagination as possibly no one else. Michael Crichton stood for so much that I try to make a point of remembering( and am not successful ).

  •  He  published at fourteen, dabbled in literature and anthropology at Harvard, took a summa cum laude in one of them, and finally qualified as an MD ,and then decided to write. All that , while winning the Edgar still in College, with two different pen names as a writer. Directed movies, created TV shows,wrote (quite stunning) science fiction, and , towards the end of his life, took impassionate and controversial views on many legal issues – Cloning,Global Warming, and Science in general. Gulp.
  • He seemed to be able to take on academic complexity with remarkable disrespect for professorial reputation, and emerge  with a ringside view of how much progress had been made. Somehow, he kept spotting petty human prejudices in the forestry of high-sounding words. You were reminded of why someone chose to explore Nature –not to publish in Nature, but really, to feel the thrill of having a jab at a hypothesis.And then check that out.Even if it happened to be wrong.
  • He behaved as if passive learning was an oxymoron. He learnt to program in BASIC(not because he had a console job, but because he didn’ t feel comfortable operating a black box). He was audacious enough to write a general manual for BASIC. The book was audacious enough to sell itself. 

I did not  agree with him on everything, particularly in the last eight years when I thought he wasn’t in the same place he was earlier. Maybe that was an unfair comment. I know I ‘m not in the same place where I was awed by him.  I think that’s what he’d have replied if ever faced with an accusation of that sort. Sure, after reading (and using equations based on ) Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle for a full year, I finally understood what I was into when a character from  Jurassic Park made this comment:

You can’t observe anything without changing it. That’s the single most important scientific discovery of the twentieth century. 

Of course I knew that . I just didn’t feel  it until then.  That was Michael Crichton. I already started missing him in the last eight years. I hope I can latch on to what spoke to me(and it seemed, just me) from across half the globe, into my bedroom.