Procrastiblog

February 15, 2007

On Wisdom

Filed under: Not Tech — Chris @ 5:45 pm

Paul Graham is both smart and wise. On the futility of seeking wisdom qua wisdom:

People seeking some single thing called “wisdom” have been fooled by grammar. Wisdom is just knowing the right thing to do, and there are a hundred and one different qualities that help in that. Some, like selflessness, might come from meditating in an empty room, and others, like a knowledge of human nature, might come from going to drunken parties.

Perhaps realizing this will help dispel the cloud of semi-sacred mystery that surrounds wisdom in so many people’s eyes. The mystery comes mostly from looking for something that doesn’t exist.

On the discontent of the over-achiever:

To me it was a relief just to realize it might be ok to be discontented. The idea that a successful person should be happy has thousands of years of momentum behind it. If I was any good, why didn’t I have the easy confidence winners are supposed to have? But that, I now believe, is like a runner asking “If I’m such a good athlete, why do I feel so tired?” Good runners still get tired; they just get tired at higher speeds.

BSG 3.14: “The Woman King”

Filed under: Battlestar Galactica, Not Tech, TV — Chris @ 2:48 am

I did not like this episode. Specifically:

  1. In partial answer to Query the Second, it turns out treason and sabotage won’t get you court-martialed, but it will get you busted down to administering a refugee camp in the basement.The last thing in the world Helo needed was for his God complex to get a little boost. This episode would have been much more dramatically interesting if he had turned out to be wrong, if the stress of being the “man (who’s not Baltar) who loves a Cylon” was making him paranoid and delusional. The episode could have gone in this direction right up to the last minutes, but opted for the pat, feel-good ending instead.
  2. The Mystery Disease could have been handled in more dramatically interesting ways as well. As Matt Zoller Seitz suggests, if the disease had been incurable, this could have led to an interesting long-term arc that would mirror the AIDS epidemic. If the disease had been more virulent, the theme of public health vs. religious anti-medical conviction could have been developed further.
  3. Where is the constituency that will rise up in insurrection if Baltar goes on trial? Baltar publicly collaborated with the Cylons in the enslavement of humankind. It’s as if the writers just take it for granted “every event has a real-world parallel” (in this case, obviously, Saddam Hussein) without going to the effort of setting the parallels up properly: remember, guys, the Galacticans were the insurgency and Baltar was Ahmed Chalabi…
  4. What’s the deal with the titles, lately?

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