Action, reflection, and automation

I’ve been reading Mark Kingwell’s sounding of the philosophical depths of the relationship between action and reflection- his meditation on how fishing bridges much of the gap between our understanding of those two spheres of life.

I also heard an interesting talk with a professor on the radio. The professor said that with automation and driving, much of the courage of the moment involved in action will be taken away. For example, a customer could choose to program the car to make selfish or altruistic driving choices, which are made in the heat of the moment now.

So, with technological extensions of man we can objectively decide in tranquility what we want to do in the middle of powerful emotions and split second fluid happenings. I think how or if we reflect on the good life it has always affected how we act in the heat of the moment. I guess the question is where ‘guts’ and ‘heart’ come from- it seems that technology will take some of that mystery out of it now, though.


I just learned about the wooly bear moth- it captured the attention of everyone who learned about it

The wooly bear moth is either in a cacoon or hibernating 345 days a year. It has about ten days in the spring to eat and find a mate. It made me think about how much of my life is spent waiting out hard times or storing up in anticipation for a time to move again.

I learned a couple things about light on the news

I learned a couple things about light on the news

I learned that there is light in black holes- anyone outside them just can’t see it.

I also learned why snow is so beautiful- it’s actually clear but looks pure white with light reflecting and twisting off all the intricacies of snowflakes- wow!

I didn’t learn this on the news but light is the only thing that acts as both a particle and a wave- let there be light! So, it makes sense in that most powerful sentence that life started with water and then light: and God said, let there be light: and there was light.

Thoughts on neuroscience and art

I’m fascinated by neuroscience. I think of phrenology, though, and how it was cutting edge science at the time. The idea of pointing to bumps on the head to explain emotions and character is a lot like pointing to nodes in the brain. I don’t think science can throw a net over what makes individuals quirky. Phrenology is a laughing stock now; we don’t laugh at cave paintings, and we’ll never laugh at Homer or Chaucer. Read Hawthorne’s ‘the birthmark’: that’s what happens when you pursue beauty or happiness with science alone.