Archive for The universe in a single atom

Literary Thought of the Week (part 3)

Posted in CoJo with tags , , , , , , , on Wednesday, April 2 by Cojo

Everyone’s favorite literary discussion has returned. Right now I am reading 2 books so why not put up a thought from each of them. You may comment on whatever one you find most interesting (or neither if you so decide).

1) This comes from Tom Robbins’ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Robbins) [Parker can you make this a normal link, for some reason I am too retarded to figure out how to do that] “Another Roadside Attraction”. I’ve said this before and I am sure I will say it again, but Tom Robbins is a fucking incredible author.

The scene is pretty simple John Paul Ziller (drummer/magician) is asking his wife Amanda (hot chick/mushroom aficionado) about her thoughts on religious schooling:

“My impression is this: There is an insect called the hunting wasp. The female hunts for spiders and other insects and preys on them in an unusual way. She stings them in the large nerve ganglion on the underside of the thorax so that they are not killed but only paralyzed. She then lays an egg on the paralyzed victim (or within it’s body) and seals the prey up in a nest. When the egg hatches, the wasp larva commenses to eat the prey, slowly, gradually, in a highly systemized way. The nonvital tissues and organs are eaten first, so that the paralyzed creature remains alive for a good many days. Eventually, of course, its guest eats away so much of it that it dies. During the whole long process of consumption, the prey cannot move, cry out or resist in any way.”

“Now, suppose we view the Church as the hunting wasp, it’s stinger being represented by the nuns and priests who teach in the schools. And let us view the pupils as the paralyzed prey. The egg that is injected into them is the dogma, which in time must hatch into the larva-personal philosophy or religious attitude. This larva, as that of the wasp eats away from within, slowly and in a specialized manner, until the victim in destroyed. That is my impression of parochial education.”

2) The second thought comes from “The Universe in a single Atom” by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. This is a pretty cool book that shows the convergence of current scientific theory and Buddhist philosophy. Before I go into the quote I wanted to point out that the Dalai Lama is going to be in Seattle for 5 days, April 11-15. I am actually pretty excited I got free tickets to 2 of his events (one of them is about the convergence of modern science and Buddhism, something I find fascinating). If you want to find out more here is the site (http://www.seedsofcompassion.org/)

You don’t really need any set up for this one. This Dalai Lama (the 14th) is really into hard science and it’s applications for making this world a better place. This quote comes at the end of a chapter where he goes over evolution and its application for the world.

“If twentieth-century history — with its widespread belief in social Darwinism and the many terrible effects of trying to apply eugenics that resulted from it — has anything to teach us, it is that we humans have a dangerous tendency to turn the visions we construct of ourselves into self-fulfilling prophecies. The idea of the “survival of the fittest” has been misused to condone, and in some cases to justify, excesses of human greed and individualism and to ignore ethical models for relating to our fellow human beings in a more compassionate spirit. Thus, irrespective of our conceptions of science, given that science today occupies such an important seat of authority in human society, it is extremely important for those in the professions to be aware of the their power and to appreciate their responsibility. Science must act as its own corrective to popular misconceptions and misappropriations of ideas that could have disastrous implications for the world and humanity at large.”

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