October 20, 2008

Time and chance

Venus the goat is pretty random.

In his book Beyond Good and Evil, Friedrich Nietzsche argued that a person's view of the world is more a matter of biography than of logic and conscious reasoning. He wrote

It has gradually become clear to me what every great philosophy has hitherto been: a confession on the part of its author and a kind of involuntary and unconscious memoir...

Today, some people might go even farther in arguing that worldview is shaped by temperament which itself is to a significant degree the result of genes.

Sorting through that question is beyond El Cabrero at the moment, but for whatever reason I've always tended to see the world as a place ruled in large part by chance, luck and randomness. There is a part of me that is kind of surprised that the same math problems yield the same results on different days. As far as the "laws" of nature are concerned, I tend to view these more as habits or recurring patterns.

Of course, this leads to all kinds of disagreements with my deterministically-inclined friends who tend to follow Einstein in saying that God doesn't play dice with the world. For me, cosmic dice playing might be another name for God.

At any rate, I'm with the author of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, who said

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

SPEAKING OF A CHANGE OF FORTUNE, the economic crisis has many people rethinking Reaganomics. Here's a similar item from Newsweek as well.

THE MORTGAGE MESS and how to fix it is the subject of this item.

SPEAKING OF MESSES, here's a book review discussing the cost of the Iraq war.

YOU MUST CHECK OUT THIS PICTURE of the world's longest insect. We're talking over one foot.



Yennob said...

1. I'd like to share a quote from BSG: "Sometimes you gotta roll the hard six." - Admiral Adama

2. Nietzsche: If what really matters about a philosophy is the personal experience behind it, then it makes sense to be curious about that experience...then it makes this study all the more interesting....

El Cabrero said...

I'm going to use that line. Thanks!