Thursday, October 29, 1998

The End of the Dream (Part 2)

        The crucial question here is why? Why are my feelings self-defeating? That makes no sense. Now that I realize that my emotions aren’t the enemy, how can I believe that they’re simply bad? I can’t. I know that they’re working for me. Time to apply my method.
        Your emotions are trying to protect you from the unknown. That’s the first part. I just now called in from work sick, and I feel guilty & scared. I’m not sick; I just feel I have to have this day to myself to hold onto (and possibly advance) whatever gains I’ve made.

        Here’s my essential problem: the more I look, the more I learn, the more I understand, the harder it is to convince myself that the systems of morals we are handed are wrong, stupid, pointless and a waste of my life. I see the reasons behind them and realize that there were indeed good reasons for these rules and modes of behavior, and although I still hate them, it becomes harder and harder to convince myself that my way is the “right” way. I must need a new viewpoint.
        This all from Phillip Wylie’s The End of the Dream, p. 157: “Too many discoveries had been of sorts that showed the clerical dogmas were unsound, untenable, nothing for sensible people to fool with.”
        —Just because it’s wrong doesn’t mean it’s useless, or even bad! Do we have an alternative? A truly better way? How do we know?

Sunday, October 25, 1998

The End of the Dream

From the Preface by John Brunner:
“Perhaps, one of these days, archaeologists will come to Earth from another planet and think of erecting a monument to mark our passing. If so, they could choose no better inscription for it than this: ‘Here lies a species capable of thinking, but too lazy to think anything right through.’”

        Not lazy. Not lazy. The exact opposite, in fact. Too busy. Frightened, even. Impatient, certainly. But not lazy.

Sunday, October 11, 1998

The Roads Must Roll

I like Heinlein’s “The Roads Must Roll”—How about a tale of a real functionalist revolution? A successful one, I mean? Or an alternative sequel to his story, where Van Kleek wins, not being the simpering weakling Heinlein presumes everyone who disagrees with him to be? Who would be next to revolt? What would the ultimate consequences be?

Aggravated Vehicular Genocide

The following inspired by “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide,” Christopher L. Bennett, 11/98 Analog.

“What is the purpose of Justice? Is it to punish the guilty? To wreak vengeance upon the perpetrators of unsavory deeds? To somehow rectify and right wrongs, when often the wrong cannot be undone, no matter what anyone desires or what punishment is meted out? No, I say! The purpose of Justice is not to right wrongs or satisfy rage, but to help ensure that the wrong does not reoccur. When a crime is committed unknowingly, when moreover none connected with the perpetrators will ever be aware of the verdict or the consequences, and especially when it is in the interest of all to prevent this sort of incident from ever occurring again, what purpose does it serve to put the perpetrators to death? Do you intend to solve the problem by evolutionary attrition, allowing only those to live that have not committed crimes, in hopes that the genetic capability of performing the forbidden act will be eventually eliminated? Surely this will be as costly to both sides as it is unlikely to succeed. Far better to forgo the illusion of legalities and simply go to war. The purpose of the Court is to serve the people, not to punish the guilty in order to satisfy some feeling of vengeance, fairness, or justice.”

Feeling Good (Part 2)

• p. 62: “Suppose, for example, you suddenly realize you’re late for a…meeting. Your heart sinks and you’re gripped with panic. Now ask yourself, ‘What thoughts are going through my mind right now? What am I saying to myself? Why is this upsetting me?’”
        These are valid questions. I’m not arguing with him anymore. But I do think this is a good time to clarify what I think actually goes on in our minds.
        There aren’t necessarily any thoughts going through your mind at that moment. There might be, but there don’t have to be for you to be feeling bad. As I’ve said, feelings don’t come directly from thoughts, and emotions can react directly to stimuli, without any intervening cognitive action. (can≠always do)
        Darn. I let the Muse slip. Maybe later.