Money is a system of magical talismans that are used ritualistically. A lot of things around money are ritualistic — signing a cheque is a ritual. What makes that slip of paper powerful? You have to use a ritual to make it powerful. Rituals in any society are what a society uses to perpetuate its stories. The story of the people, and many subsidiary stories. And these stories are what assign roles to people, and focus human activity.
Saturday 27 June, 02009
Saturday 30 May, 02009
From a CPX interview [21mb mp3]
Interviewer: Being a Christian in the army… Doesn’t Jesus tell us to turn the other cheek? How do you match those two things up?
Jim Wallace: It’s a question I’m asked often, you know, and I personally have no problem with it. One, because I actually became a Christian in my first year in the army, and certainly as Christians we believe you stay where God calls you, where he’s called you to himself, unless he calls you out of that. And he didn’t call me out of it for 32 years, very clearly. But the other thing was, I had a friend of mine, actually, who was a Christian, and became a Christian about the same time I did, in Duntroon. (more…)
Sunday 26 April, 02009
I’m reading Stephen Wolfram’s A New Kind of Science. I’m about one-fifth the way through this 1200-page tome. He has studied cellular automata and found that complexity can be generated by very simple rules — complexity that appears to ‘come from nowhere’. It feel consonant with Simon Conway Morris talking at the Faraday Institute about convergence in evolution. Convergence is evolution finding similar solutions to design problems in disparate organisms. Sonar in bats and dolphins, for instance, evolved independently (there is no common ancestor with sonar), but their implementations share many features. SCM says that that shouldn’t really be surprising – for any given design problem there may be only so many solutions. There are only a few different ways two-legged creatures could possibly walk, for instance. So he thinks that if you were to ‘rerun the tape’ of evolution, you’d get similar creatures emerging. One interesting implication of convergence is that it suggests there is a sort of structure built into the universe. To someone like me who grew up with six-day creationism, but has let it fall away, that is helpful — that structure, combined with the mysterious fecundity of the universe (its propensity to complexity, life, intelligence, self-awareness) hint at, suggest, or allude to a God ‘behind’ everything-that-is.
Friday 30 January, 02009
Monday 09 June, 02008
I recommend John Pilger’s documentary The War on Democracy. It’s about the adventures of the US in Latin America. The basic idea is that the US has done whatever it feels it needs to do to further its ‘national interests’, including supporting coups of democratically-elected leaders. Pilger is a little simplistic, too easily concluding that the enemy of my enemy is my friend (Chavez, Castro), but he’s still mostly spot on.
Monday 26 May, 02008
Monday 31 March, 02008
Thursday 27 March, 02008
Wednesday 12 March, 02008
Tuesday 11 March, 02008
Friday 07 March, 02008
Monday 03 March, 02008
Friday 22 February, 02008
Friday 15 February, 02008
from second episode of the best documentary in the world, The Century of the Self:
My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness. When in fact possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people’s suffering. The problem is not to undo suffering, or to wipe it off the face of the earth, but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to ‘cure’ ourselves of it constantly, and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call ‘happiness’. There’s too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him – of defining him, rather than letting him go. It’s part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad.
Wednesday 23 January, 02008
In a LongNow seminar, Roger Kennedy said:
When talent emerges it is a sin not to cup your hands around it and help it on. That’s about all I think one learns from the study of history, or the decline of cultures: somebody needed to help somebody a little more.