Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

From The world question center:, described by the BBC as "the crack cocaine of the thinking world."
What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

Great minds can sometimes guess the truth before they have either the evidence or arguments for it (Diderot called it having the "esprit de divination"). What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

Interesting answers from such intellectuals as Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond, Benoit Mandelbrot (The inventor of fractals), Ian McEwan: "...that no part of my consciousness will survive my death.", Michael Shermer: "...that reality exists over and above human and social constructions of that reality."

More Philosophy & Reflection

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Pope of the Chimps

A short story by Robert Silverberg in which researchers teaching sign-language to a colony of chimpanzees inadvertently pass along notions of God and the afterlife.

"It's possible sometimes to be too subtle in your analysis," Falkenburg said. "You're suggesting that these chimpanzees have a theology?"

"I'm suggesting that they may be in the process of evolving a religion," Yost replied.

Can it be?

Sometimes we lose our perspective with these animals, as Mick indicated, and we overestimate their intelligence; but just as often, I think, we underestimate them.

Jump high come again.

I wonder. Secret sacred talk? A chimpanzee theology? Belief in life after death? A religion?

Filed under Literature, Religion, Science Fun

Friday, June 09, 2006

Scared Sacred

Watch Scared Sacred by Velcrow Ripper. An amazing documentary that asks the question "Is it possible to find hope in the darkest moments of human history?" Be surprised by the resilience and compassion of the survivors of some of the most awful moments in our memories. Velcrow Ripper takes quite a journey, from the killing fields of Cambodia to NYC just after 9/11, talking to artists in Sarajevo, a Sufi musician and courageous members of RAWAin Afghanistan, and the Bereaved Families Circle in Israel & Palestine. Breathe in suffering... breathe out compassion...

There's bits of Scared Sacred on this episode of Rabble Radio, which is always good for a listen (that's also where I discovered Kobayashi).

Listen to and be inspired by Velcrow Ripper's Podcast, Fierce Light. A good antidote to cynicism without resorting to denial. Interesting, because I'm not spiritual, but this actually reaches out on a very human level, I think. The knowledge of what atrocities and tragedies are occurring around the world sometimes hits at a visceral level, and it is easy to get overwhelmed, and then want to avoid this knowledge, but that doesn't make anything better, it only helps perpetuate a neurotic society.

We need to acknowledge reality, but keep our hope, and perspective, in face of it all. (An excellent read in terms of perspective is False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear by Marc Siegel - I'll review this another time)

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