Thursday, July 27, 2006:

John Saw the Holy Number

Neko Case -- John Saw That Number
Tea time in hell. A quick one before break's over.

Being raised in a fundamentalist Christian church isn't something I'd wish on people, but it gives a certain appreciation for gospel music, myth, irony, and horror fiction.

As a kid I was encouraged to read the Bible and as a teen I was discouraged from reading Stephen King ... it's a bit amusing, since Revelation puts King to shame, and Solomon was the preincarnation of Henry Miller, but both of those books barely scratch the surface of a strange, fascinating, contradictory, and ultimately disturbing text (filled with incest, murder, torture, racism, and other national hobbies).

My neighbor and I used to talk fiction sometimes. We both loved pulp but she prefered Dean Koontz; she said King always had "depressing endings." She was a heavy smoker, overweight when I first met her; and then she took it upon herself to get into shape. She quit smoking, started daily walks, began losing weight and was generally looking better and better until she died in the middle of a daily walk of an apparent brain embolism. It's not the kind of ending Dean Koontz would write, sort of untidy and relentlessly realistic.
[Fox Confessor Brings the Flood ]

Echolocation among the blind.

Stop motion Space Invaders, with people as pixels. (via boingboing)

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A: Hey, there's a blog here.
B: Oh, shit, so there is.

There was this Metafilter thread about nutjob Christians excited about impending apocalypse. I wanted to post it but didn't realize it at the time and can't find it again. I'm tempted to say that delight about an expected apocalypse is selfish, but selfishness is the least of the concerns about it.

Lovely post.

Yes lust for the apocalypse is selfish, but isn't everything?

Thanks, redruin.

That's a good point about selfishness. Of course there's the argument that even humanitarian aid can be considered selfish, since it's sometimes done out of subsumed guilt. On my better days I like to think that's cynical, and on the rest of my days it sounds about right. ^_^

Rejoice! The end is upon us. You won't have to put all that effort into Godliness no more. The pretense is over. The truth is at hand. The neighbour shall KNOW what you thinkest.

Well Jeez, Ethel, what a relief that is ..

wow, that is an amazing post. way to go.

I think that people can think that they are doing things unselfishly, but when I really think about it, I think that perhaps their cost/reward ratio is just so far unbalanced as to approach invisibility on the reward side.

Hey! My name's not Ethel. Ethylene, please.

Thanks, Dan.

Redruin, I've probably misunderstood one (or both) of your posts, but that last one sounds like a description of altruism to me. Unless you mean the rewards is so common and integral that it's easy to miss it (much like the powerlines and tranformer boxes in the U.S.)

Good point about the powerlines!

What I meant was that even though people can appear to be altruistic, there is (probably unconsciously) a selfish motive. In the case of someone anonymously donating a million dollars to charity, the reward they get might simply be a feeling of self satisfaction, or like you said, the easing of a guilty conscience; but in a way, those selfish feelings are the reason for acting altruisticly.

For a person in this example, the cost of feeling good about themselves is so expensive that we are inclined to think that they are acting selflessly, when really, their emotional economy is just extremely inflated.

Not that it's a bad thing of course, charity needs its money.

Then again, I could be completely wrong...

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