Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hello World

20 GOTO 10
30 END

I guess the output of that 4th grade program (complete with superfluous "END" statement) would be an infinite sum, and also fulfill my unwritten obligation to introduce this blog. Truthfully, the whole "infinite sum" thing was chosen because the other names I wanted were taken, and I just liked the sound of it.

Consilience is another matter. It is a word reintroduced by an intellectual hero of mine, E. O. Wilson, a few years back in a book of the same name. It refers in this case to the unity of knowledge.

It's darned hard these days to be a polymath. Humans are victims of their own intellectual success, as fields are so full of knowledge that we increasingly need to specialize. This is terribly useful to society, but part of its price is the difficulty for a person to see the forest for the mixed deciduous. How many people know enough of physical science, social science, the humanities, current events, etc. to be able to make a coherent worldview out of it? To be able to appreciate how it all fits together?

I'm going to try my best to see things as a whole here. I'm interested in connections, reason, consistency and humor. Our long-term intellectual consensus is fragmented and incomplete, and our current political consensus (America's and the world's) wanting and in need of realignment. Without knowing exactly how just yet, this is what I hope to focus on.

I love reasoned debate, and welcome your thoughts and criticism. I have no time whatever for irrationality or maliciousness. We'll leave it there for now.

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