The Pietà

Submitted by frlarry on Sun, 09/24/2017 - 13:28
A little language experiment using Google translate: First, notice the curious similarity, in English, between "pity" and "piety", words which are quite distinct in meaning. Then, translate each of these two words into Latin, Italian, Spanish and French, the Romance languages. Notice the curious differences, pointing to very complex language histories.

A day for remembrance and reflection

Submitted by frlarry on Sun, 09/17/2017 - 12:10

Today seems to be a day for remembrance and reflection. Thomas More published his novel (known by the shortened name) "Utopia" in 1516, perhaps 500 or 501 years ago.

The delegates to the constitutional convention in Philadelphia signed the U.S. Constitution (preparing it for ratification by the individual states) on September 17, 1787, or exactly 230 years ago.

William Golding published "Lord of the Flies" (a kind of dystopian novel) on September 17, 1954, or exactly 63 years ago.

On the postmodern hubris of meta-level thinking

Submitted by frlarry on Tue, 06/06/2017 - 16:40

Ever since computer games developed significantly beyond the PACMAN stage, and imagined realities took on three dimensions and other attention absorbing features, our inveterate game players have come to think of reality itself as a kind of programmed virtual reality, and, as such, that it could be reprogrammed. This may strike someone who entered adulthood before PACMAN went viral as delusoinal. Reality, we might say, is a given. Our capacity to shape reality is very limited, and subject to unforeseen consequences. We might even wonder at the sanity or the cluelessness that this almost godlike attitude seems to imply.