This isn’t a dispute about the meaning of facts, but rather a dispute about whether or not there can be any such thing as facts. The sort of Christian fundamentalist most likely to embrace young-Earth creationism is also likely to be the sort of person who rails against “post-modernism” and who insists on the essential importance of “absolute truth.” Yet scratch the surface of any young-Earth creationist and you’ll find an epistemology more radically skeptical than anything Hume or any of the French deconstructionists ever imagined. Far from the defenders of “absolute truth” they claim to be, young-Earth creationists actually embrace a philosophy that says nothing can be known about the world around us.
The woman dumped the contents of her purse onto the table before her, ignoring the odd glances she received from the people around her. Rummaging through her belongings, or so she assumed, her lips as low mutters escaped her; anxious and incoherent. There was nothing worse than feeling lost and like something was missing. Just who was she? What was her name? Where was she?
Picking up a folded newspaper from the pile, her eyes scanned the text, looking for any indication of where she was. So what if she was trembling and anxious? A huge part of her was missing, who could blame her?
“Embracing HTTP error code 410 means embracing the impermanence of all things.”—
Mark Pilgrim, March 27, 2003
HTTP Status 410 Spec:
Indicates that the resource requested is no longer available and will not be available again. This should be used when a resource has been intentionally removed and the resource should be purged. Upon receiving a 410 status code, the client should not request the resource again in the future. Clients such as search engines should remove the resource from their indices. Most use cases do not require clients and search engines to purge the resource, and a “404 Not Found” may be used instead.
“The contrast of your body and your mind inside … essentially a one-person spaceship, which is your spacesuit, where you’re holding on for dear life to the shuttle or the station with one hand, and you are inexplicably in between what is just a pouring glory of the world roaring by, silently next to you — just the kaleidoscope of it, it takes up your whole mind. It’s like the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen just screaming at you on the right side, and when you look left, it’s the whole bottomless black of the universe and it goes in all directions. It’s like a huge yawning endlessness on your left side and you’re in between those two things and trying to rationalize it to yourself and trying to get some work done.”—
“Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know — all mystics — Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion — are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep. They are having a nightmare.”—Anthony De Mello (via ashramof1)
“People are so vulnerable at night. They’re willing to spill out their souls to anyone willing to listen. They have desires to do things that never cross their mind when the sun is in the sky.”—(via milkied)
“Reading is a technology for perspective-taking. When someone else’s thoughts are in your head, you are observing the world from that person’s vantage point. Not only are you taking in sights and sounds that you could not experience firsthand, but you have stepped inside that person’s mind and are temporarily sharing his or her attitudes and reactions.”—Steven Pinker, The Better Angels of Our Nature
“I stayed under the moon too long.
I am silvered with lust.
Dreams flick like minnows through my eyes.
My voice is trees tossing in the wind.
I loose myself like a flock of blackbirds
storming into your face.
My lightest touch leaves blue prints,
bruises on your mind.
Desire sandpapers your skin
so thin I read the veins and arteries
maps of routes I will travel
till I lodge in your spine.
The night is our fur.
We curl inside it licking.”—Marge Piercy (American, born 1936), “Moonburn” (via honeyedchamomile)
98.3% of web pages change in some way within six months, while 99.1% do within a year.
Scholars that expect to find an authoritative source of knowledge, like the United States Supreme Court Website, instead find links leading to gaping memory holes where that information used to reside.
Memory loss is a structural issue. The brain combats this by writing new memories each time the memory is recalled. The new memory is written with our new contexts and feelings in consideration. It helps us heal, it helps us forgot.
In search of some objective history, we have created an internet that is idiosyncratically ephemeral, but something we hope can turn as concrete as hieroglyphics carved into stone.
It will never work. Not entirely. And that’s a good thing.
“I’d never want to say that there’s only one purpose to literature. I’m not even sure that literature has a purpose, other than to give pleasure and, possibly, enlightenment. Ours is a pragmatic culture, and we’re always trying to justify something by saying what its purpose is. But sometimes art has no clear purpose, apart from the pleasure it gives. What’s the purpose of Debussy’s Preludes? And do novels really make us care deeply about others? If they did, English departments would be full of generous, humane, and sweet-tempered people. Joseph Goebbels wrote a novel, and Hitler loved Wagner’s operas. Art does not always make us better people. We have to remember that.”—
Scientists Create New Memories by Directly Changing the Brain
[…] specific memories can be made by directly altering brain cells in the cerebral cortex, which produces the predicted specific memory. The researchers say this is the first evidence that memories can be created by direct cortical manipulation
During the research, Weinberger and colleagues played a specific tone to test rodents then stimulated the nucleus basalis deep within their brains, releasing acetylcholine (ACh), a chemical involved in memory formation. This procedure increased the number of brain cells responding to the specific tone. The following day, the scientists played many sounds to the animals and found that their respiration spiked when they recognized the particular tone, showing that specific memory content was created by brain changes directly induced during the experiment. Created memories have the same features as natural memories including long-term retention.
~ Science Daily (Study results appeared in the August 29 issue of Neuroscience)
“The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.”—Philip K. Dickon reality and media manipulation (via explore-blog)
“Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups… So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.”—Phillip K. Dick (via nathanielstuart)
“Dionysius Lardner admonished, ‘Rail travel at high speeds is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.’ The Bavarian College of Physicians in Germany warned, ‘The rapid movement [of trains] must inevitably generate in the travelers a brain disease.’”—Larry Aaron, from The Wreck of the Old 97 (via aubade)