Feb 22 2009

From Petrarcha’s Trionfo del Tempo

Your triumphs and your pomp transpire,
The nobility passes and kingdoms crumble,
Time brings low all mortal things;
And what he reaps from those less good, he does not pass to those more worthy:
And not only the superficial things are laid waste by time,
But also your eloquence and works of genius.
Thus sped along, the world moves with him;
He takes no time to rest; neither does he stop nor turn from his appointed course,
Until in the end he has transformed you back to your essence: a bit of dust.

–Francesco Petrarca, Trionfo del Tempo (The Triumph of Time), v. 112-120 (S.H. transl.) (ca. 1352)

Swiped from Harper’s - visit and see the wonderful detail from a tapestry illustrating the poem

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Dec 27 2008

Non-Realism in 75 words or less…

So, very briefly: realists think that mathematical truth is discovered, whereas non-realists about maths think that maths is a complex collection of useful games invented by us. Realists think that scientists discover ‘the laws of Nature’, readymade and out there, whereas non-realists think that scientists invent theories that help us to tell stories about why things go the way they do, and to predict outcomes successfully….

Realism tries to turn cultural fictions into objective facts.

For more on non-realism and its application to world views, religion and atheism, read the full article the above was quoted from or listen to the “Philosophy Bites” podcast interview with Don Cupitt.

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Nov 22 2008

Think your writer’s block couldn’t get worse? Think again.

I confess: every time I open a new notebook, writing pad or agenda, I panic. How can I possibly sully that perfect white paper? Whatever I write down better be good. It better be brilliant.

I own a lot of blank notebooks.

Then along comes something new. At first you think, Okay, someone’s obviously put a lot of thought and effort into this. Then you think, Is this tasteless and disrespectful? And then you think, Oh my god I will NEVER doodle again.

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