EdgeWise 4.1.2004


Ignorance is Not Bliss (and music is very powerful)

I had a really great time in Chicago with Janine and Austin this weekend, but music really affected me on the way back (and a few other things). As I was driving back, I listened to the crushingly beautiful "Spiritualized" album I'd picked up.

Affected by the music, rather than appreciating the wonderful time we had, I got to feeling sorry for myself over how seperated we are. I started to think about the few bad things in my life, and from there to the bad things in the world, and what a burden being able to enumerate them was. I thought about the grim courage of the Norse and "doing without hope." I thought about how treatment by a doctor in the middle ages reduced chances of survival, and how if the doctors hadn't been so ignorant of their own ineffectiveness they would have given up and we wouldn't have had western medical science.

And then (also at the end of the CD), I woke up a little and realized it was the music that had such me in such an uncharacteristic mood of despair. I realized, if the doctors had been less ignorant of their ineffectiveness, they would have known what didn't work and have been more effective, not given up.

Swapping over to a "Tempest" CD, I remembered that ignorance is no virtue. To be ignorant and in pain is to be without hope of correcting the problem yourself. I thought of all the proposed solutions to today's problems that are being refined or implemented, and all of the improvements being worked on even in the absence of an acute problem. I thought of how wonderful and rare it was to be so emotionally close to my sister, my brother-in-law, and my whole family, despite our geographic distance. I thought of how much fun we'd had and will continue to have. What a good life.

I ran across two similar quotes that struck a nerve. The first one from an article on Modeling and the Future:
"the future is uncertain -- and yet we must act."
The second one is from a funny anecdote about Bertrand Russell's apparent encounter with the Flat Earth Society:
A people acquire and retain well being in proportion to the knowledge they possess and the use to which they put it.
(Also relates origin of the expression "It's Turles all the way down")
posted at 19:42:40    #    comment []    trackback []
January 2004
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