Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Bold Thinking for the New Millennium

What was the human race thinking and doing a hundred years ago?

The best minds in Europe were laying the foundations of quantum theory - Einstein recognized the quantum properties of light in 1905 - while the worst minds were busy plotting war and revolution, or cheering on those who were. Those with no minds at all were inventing Dadaism. The Art Nouveau movement was pleasantly living out the last few days of its existence, about to be smashed into a kajillion itsy-bitsies by the War to End All Wars (which ended almost everything in Europe except war).

The Japanese sunk the entire damn Russian Imperial Fleet - much to the amusement of the British, who invited Admiral Togo to London and gave him the coveted Horatio Nelson Maritime Carnage Award.

In France, the disastrous social effects of the Eiffel Tower (which would soon ruin French civilization forever) were beginning to make themselves felt. Climbing to the top of its 1056 foot summit, higher than you could safely go in a balloon, French artists noticed that from up there everything looked pretty flat and squarish. If that's the way things really were, why bother to study perspective in art school? So they invented Cubism, and swore to be irrelevant from that day forth. (Some years later, Albert Camus would attempt to make French thinking work in the real world again. So they tampered with the brakes in his car, and took care of that problem.)

So what have we been up to lately? John Brockman at Edge (thanks to tc at Gene Expression for the pointer) asked 120 of our contemporary dinkum-thinkums: What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it? Here we look for the quantum dreams and dada delusions of our own time.


1. Albert Camus was murdered by French deconstructionist bastards for making too much sense (see above).

2. A romantic relationship and an automatic transmission will both go to Hell at approximately the same time.

3. Nobody cares about apathy.

4. Everybody always exaggerates.

5. Ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall keep you awake at night.

6. Correction to Nietzsche: That which does not kill me makes me smaller.

7. Carpe Diem, before Diem carpes you.

8. Circumcision proves the existence of God. It beats all of the other proofs hollow - forget all of that Ontological and Teleological stuff. Get the hell out of here with your Thomas Aquinas. The practice of circumcision is the proof that settles the question once and for all.

If you were going to invent a religion, would you start by cutting off the end of your genital apparatus? Only God would have thought of such a thing, and only an almighty God would convince people to do it. Would you do it for Elron Hubbard? Hell, no. And this, by the way, also proves that God has a great sense of humor.

I guess that one belongs on a list of things that I can prove, but I got carried away with myself.

9. Why dogs don't watch television: A television image is a two-dimensional representation of three-dimensional space, and the ability to comprehend such representation is beyond the canine brain. To a dog, television looks like a talking Jackson Pollock painting, and the dog sensibly ignores it.

10. Modern Communication, especially the Internet, will eventually force the adoption of a single human language. This language will be English, because Esperanto sucks.