Bundle of stuff

* “Connotea”:http://www.connotea.org/faq#why — a sort of deli.cio.us for scientists, which picks up bibliographic information from sites like pubmed when it stores bookmarks therefrom.
* If you are doing something else while running a registry optimiser, you, too, can set all your personal folders (desktop, start menu, etc) to be subfolders of %(loony)C:/program files/tools/scintilla text editor/wscite.% And good luck when you do. In particular, you are going to wish you had “made a backup”:http://www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/ of your registry beforehand. Then you’re going to wish you could remember where you had put it.
* David Hume’s collected works, are now my desert island luxury.
%(sane)By what arguments or analogies can we prove any state of existence, which no one ever saw, and which no way resembles any that ever was seen? Who will repose such trust in any pretended philosophy as to admit upon its testimony the reality of so marvellous a scene? Some new species of logic is requisite for that purpose, and some new faculties of the mind, that may enable us to comprehend that logic.%
%(sane)NOTHING could set in a fuller light the infinite obligations which mankind have to divine revelation, since we find that no other medium could ascertain this great and important truth.%
It’s not clear to me, though, that this argument wouldn’t apply with equal force to quantum physics, which, also, can only be grasped by %(sane)some new species of logic and some new faculties of mind% — certainly new relative to Hume’s day. But the last sentence makes me laugh out loud. I wonder if that kind of irony is only really appreciated by people who have spet time in a social system run by fear, like a boys’ prep school?
* I need to write an essay called “Houyhnhnm and Unicorns”.
* I need also to think more about Mother Teresa and the fact that for the last fifty years of her life she was running entirely on willpower while being revered as an icon of love.
* If ever you wanted proof that the motor of -love- romance is not sex but self-deception, [“this perfect story”:http://www.wired.com/politics/law/magazine/15-09/ff_internetlies?currentPage=all] of an IM entanglement, from _Wired,_ will supply it.

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8 Responses to Bundle of stuff

  1. chris y says:

    …you, too, can set all your personal folders (desktop, start menu, etc) to be subfolders of…

    Why? Cui bono?

  2. dafydd says:

    “Mother Teresa and the fact that for the last fifty years of her life she was running entirely on willpower while being revered as an icon of love”

    Whilst this might seem odd prima facie, Catholic theology, as I’m sure you are well aware, sees Love not as an emotion but as an act of the will. It is perfectly consistent therefore with a traditional Christian idea of love, and is a powerful sign of contradiction to that insipid, transient thing that most people mean by “love”.

    Pax et gaudium.

  3. acb says:

    *Chris Y:* It was irony. It did me no good at all, unless you count an hour of steadily rising irritation and fear as something good for my soul.

    *Dafydd:* I’m not entirely certain that orthodox Catholic theology sees love as an act of will. I quite agree it can’t _just_ be an emotion. But pure will, with no emotion, seems to me scarily close to the kind of “love” which led to great brutalities against children. This is not, of course, a reference to paedophilia, but to the utter lovelessness of the Magdalene Nurseries, or some Christian Brothers’ schools.

  4. rupertg says:

    The difference between theology and quantum physics is the double-slit experiment.

    Although you can see Mother Theresa’s experience as simultaneous proof of the existence and the absence of God, I suppose, that’s more psychology than parapsychology.


  5. Mrs Tilton says:

    In the interest of full disclsoure, I will confess up front that I view Catholic theology, as a whole, as a powerful sign of contradiction to that thing that most people call “reality”. That said, it is a very common trope of Catholic hagiography that holy people especially are afflicted with long periods of doubt and spiritual “dryness”. As such, there is nothing surprising in the revelation that Mother Theresa went through such spells — she’s working entirely within a well-recognised tradition.

  6. acb says:

    Mris T: I know all about dry spells. But quantity alters quality — this is a dry spell that lasted for more than half of her life, through all the period in which she was doing the work for which she is revered. There’s no indication that she recovered any sense of god before she died. All of the other examples I can think of end with the glorious recovery of the living presence. But perhaps someone can supply a counter-example?

  7. acb says:

    R: I don’t think the double slit experiment diminishes the impossible strangeness and general indescribability of the world that it reveals.

    I agree that it is _predictable_ in a way that theology just isn’t. I will further concede that the theology which Hume was arguing against thought of itself as describing something predictable or general, though unpredictability must be in the nature of a God to whom agency is attributed, if you think about it.

    None the less, it is still true that the quantum world is pretty exactly described as a %(sane)”state of existence, which no one ever saw, and which no way resembles any that ever was seen?”% The mere existence of one such world does nothing to prove the existence of another, of course. But it is a blow to the argument from incredulity.

  8. Mrs Tilton says:

    I quite take your point. Mine, though, is that somebody who views the world through traditional RC theologico-psychologico-cultural lenses (as perhaps our friend Dafydd does) would see this phenomenon very differently to the way most of us would. From a certain perspective, a long period of spiritual dryness that does _not_ end in “glorious recovery” is _even better_ than the other kind: what truer test of faith? What more glorious passing of that test than carrying on, miserable and uncomforted, unto death? (One presumes posthumous relief would be part of the deal.) In other words, and precisely for those people one might naively expect to be most unsettled by it, Mother Teresa’s “crisis of faith” is not a crisis at all. We all look at the same thing, but they see San Juan de la Cruz where we see San Manuel Bueno, Mártir.

    I don’t have much time for Dawkins’s “memes” nonsense; but if we look at this sort of thinking in memetic terms, it’s clearly an awesomely powerful replicator, practically immune from displacement.

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