Archive for January, 2003

Edward O. Wilson, world-renowned Harvard biologist and founder of Sociobiology, writes this in his new book, Consilience: “Philosophy, the contemplation of the unknown, is a shrinking dominion. We have the common goal of turning as much philosophy as possible into science.”

Good luck Mr. Wilson. I am a fan of science for the most part.

I have two things to say. 1) Science is a largely rational effort. 2) People are largely irrational efforts.

Science can allow you to put someone on the moon, but only contemplation of the unknown can inspire you to do so in the first place.

I guess I am a skeptic when it comes to the promises of science. It may one day let us live hundreds of years…but it will never tell us what we are supposed to do with all that time.

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I sometimes claim that I keep this site as a surrogate for returning emails. “Just check my webpage” goes my reasoning.

Well, here is my update: I am preparing taxes for H&R Block during tax season. I’ve been taking classes since October. I am now a tax professional…ish.

Why? I wanted to learn how to do it. The people are nice (my mother knew them previously). I could use a buck or two. I need something to occupy some time.

You know what they say: Death and taxes.

As a service to the (hopefully) small number of people that read this page, feel free to email me with tax questions.

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Some people were born to question things. I am one of those people. But it gets really annoying sometimes.

Here are a few things I thought about today:

The Golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Ahhh…what a perfect world it would be right? Not really. Some people are masochists, some would eat broccoli for every meal, some like camping, others have foot fetishes. People already too often make the mistake of treating others how they would like to be treated. If there were a pot luck dinner I would bring cheesecake. Why? Because I want other people to bring cheesecake to my dinners….I love cheesecake. But what if everyone at my dinner is lactose intolerant?

Taking it too far you say? Is it an extreme example that doesn’t apply to the general rule? Sure, a little bit. Most of the time the golden rule works ok…but any rule that claims to be “golden” had better have its shit together.

What if you only had a month to live? Would you be doing the same things you are doing now?

This is part of the whole Just Do It culture. But its silly. Of course I wouldn’t be doing the same thing if I only had a month to live. I’ve heard it like this too: Live every day like it is your last. To somehow imply that you’re not living your life to the fullest because you are not acting like you’re about to die is just plain stupid.

There is an agreement we implicitly make with ourselves when we get out of bed everyday. I agree that because I think I will live about 75 years that some things are worth building towards…and in fact, some things really are worth building towards. The effort you put in today will pay off later…because you think there will be a later.

The point here is not that the golden rule sucks or that we shouldn’t Just Do It. The point is that I wish I could shut off that part of my brain that must always ask why.

I remember they were interviewing this guy on TV with a photographic memory. This is what he said: “Yeah, having a great memory comes in really handy sometimes. But alot of the time its annoying. I wish there were a delete button so I could get rid of all this junk in my head.”

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I don’t really dream about sailing anymore. Only unrealized dreams stay forever perfect in your head.

But the image of sailboat and sunset still makes me think….not about sailing, but about greener pastures. What was it Tolstoy said? “Everything known is small and unimportant, everything unknown magnanimous and all-important.”

That about sums up my life.

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