Sunday, April 3, 2011

Notes from "Letters to a Young Contrarian", Letter XV

Letter XV


We still inhabit the prehistory of our race, and have not caught up with the immense discoveries about our own nature and about the nature of the universe. The unspooling of the skein of the genome has effectively abolished racism and creationism, and the amazing findings of Hubble and Hawking have allowed us to guess at the origins of the cosmos. But how much more addictive is the familiar old garbage about tribe and nation and faith.

There's an old argument about whether full bellies or empty bellies lead to contentment or revolt: it's an argument not worth having. The crucial organ is the mind, not the gut.

Letter XVI

Humor is easily enough definable as a weapon of criticism and subversion, but it is very often a mere comfort or survival technique.

A rule of thumb with humor; if you worry that you might be going too far, you have already not gone far enough. If everybody laughs, you have failed.
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