Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quote of the Week

From At War With Luck:

"Whenever man looks at himself with a cold, unsentimental eye the result is invariably something self-destructive like artistry or alcoholism. The delusion that a professor is smart, that a cop is honest, or that a priest is moral is responsible for every lurch forward of civilization, albeit through billions of trials and errors and a fair amount of dumb luck."

6 comments:

peregrinus said...

Is it a delusion that a professor be smart, a cop honest or a priest moral? Perhaps it is not a delusion, but an ideal. You know, ideals: things that people try to be, though often they fail. I would not want to make the mistake of calling ideals delusional, lest I fall into the Christian trap- a moral code that no rational person can fulfill...

Matt Mullenix said...

Peregrinus, do you mean Christians are trapped because they cannot realize their ideals or because doing so is irrational?

Anonymous said...

Your response serves to remind me of the perils of leaving a bottle of Merlot too close to the keyboard. What compelled me to put the word 'Christian' in there? I coulda just said 'trap' and it would have sufficed. So now, having forfeited any chance of diplomacy short of just snaking out of the whole discussion, I'd say that some portions of some Christian doctrine, (and many other doctrines as well), advocate a self-abasement that is odds with human nature- and are therefore irrational to pursue. However possible it may be for one person play out the sackcloth and ashes routine, if we all did it, we'd go extinct. Did I put enough weasel words in that?

Bridget

LabRat said...

Beats me whether it's fuel to the fire or a blanket, but I rather regard striving for completely artificial standards as somehow superior to human nature as one of the defining essences of humanity.

What else is justice, mercy, or love? Certainly not much in evidence in nature... if it's in religion, any religion, so much more the statement of essential humanity.

Anonymous said...

The standards don't need to be artificial, just objective. And striving for them is not superior to human nature- it *is* human nature.

Justice, mercy, love- all have survival value. There is nothing artificial about them. They are evident 'in nature', unless you do not believe we are natural, in which case, show me the mother ship. We'd have shuffled off our collective mortal coil without our ability to be just, merciful and loving. So then, I say pursue freedom and happiness, and distrust any who would tell you that you're a low-down miserable sinner, living in a world of lies and shadows, who has only to wait for something better. And yeah, I'm all for religion. Well, some religion anyway.

Bridget

Moro Rogers said...

"...a low-down miserable sinner, living in a world of lies and shadows, who has only to wait for something better."

Christianity isn't just about 'waiting.' Christians are required to work for good, and they are *supposed* to do this happily and hopefully. The sin of despair is, among other things, a failure to love creation.
(Also, I think the kind of Christian morality you're talking about is sort of Kantian, and not all of us go in for that. Of course, maybe I'm not doing it right.=p)