June 09, 2008


Dostoevsky, courtesy of wikipedia.

It seems to be a fact that people in every age and time view their temporarily prevailing model of the world to reflect the eternal truths of the cosmos and human nature.

In the age of Newton, the universe was like a watch or machine. In the digital age, the mind is, of course, like a computer. Some ancient cultures where the hand loom prevailed believed that our fates were woven like a tapestry.

In our (post) modern world, a model of human nature prevails in economic circles that views people as organic calculators maximizing benefits through "rational" choices. I recently read an engaging book on the subject which attempted to demonstrate that any number of activities, no matter how seemingly absurd, were really rational. It's easy to do that when you argue circularly and assume the truth of what you intend to prove.

It is the opinion of El Cabrero that if we really were all that rational, things would be a good bit less messy. I'm with Dostoevsky, who wrote this in Notes from the Underground:

When . . . in the course of all these thousands of years has man ever acted in accordance with his own interests?

OH THE WATER. Here's an item on a key issue of the new century.

CLOSING IN. For the world's few remaining forest people, there's less and less room to hide.

BIRDS OF A FEATHER. The latest edition of the Rev. Jim Lewis' Notes from Under the Fig Tree is here. It's an avian theme this time around.


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