Tags: a note to myself

thinking

Смысл жизни

Понять смысл жизни мы, европейцы, не сможем никогда. При жизни. Наша задача понять есть этот смысл или его нет. Простую вещь понять - присутствует смысл в нашей жизни или... А уж какой он этот смысл, - это нам объснят после смерти... Если человек понимает что смысл есть - он большой молодец. И пусть по слабости человеческой он даже не пытаетца разгадать его - этот смысл - все равно этому человеку свезло. А вот по-настоящему восточные люди или монахи вполне могут и с содержанием смысла разобраться. Только объяснить его они могут таким же людям как они сами. http://chen-kim.livejournal.com/6553.html
thinking

The shape of the blank

...the benevolent atheist stands alone upon his own good will, without a reference, without a standard, trusting to his own impulse to goodness, relying upon his own moral strength. A certain immodesty, a certain self-righteousness, hangs like a precipice above him; incalculable temptations open like gulfs beneath his feet. He has not really given himself or got away from himself. He has no one to whom he can give himself. He is still a masterless man. His exaltation is self-centred, is priggishness, his fall is unrestrained by any exterior obligation. His devotion is only the good will in himself, a disposition; it is a mood that may change. At any moment it may change. He may have pledged himself to his own pride and honour, but who will hold him to his bargain? He has no source of strength beyond his own amiable sentiments, his conscience speaks with an unsupported voice, and no one watches while he sleeps. He cannot pray; he can but ejaculate. He has no real and living link with other men of good will. And those whose acquiescence in the idea of G-d is merely intellectual are in no better case than those who deny G-d altogether. They may have all the forms of truth and not divinity. The religion of the atheist with a G-d-shaped blank at its heart and the persuasion of the unconverted theologian, are both like lamps unlit. The lit lamp has no difference in form from the lamp unlit. But the lit lamp is alive and the lamp unlit is asleep or dead. (HG Wells)

thinking

Birds & frogs: two-culture view

"birds" (<-Decartes) vs. "frogs" (<-Bacon) discussion replayed on math LJ
http://sowa.livejournal.com/102006.html
They think it is about mathematics... Cf. Dyson's address on Cartesian vs. empiricist schism replayed in math, with many examples
http://www.ams.org/notices/200902/rtx090200212p.pdf

PS Dyson rhapsodizes about Manin's book (sounds too Frenchy).

PPS ...string theory will end between success and failure... it will be like the theory of Lie groups created as a mathematical framework for classical physics. So long as physics remained classical, Lie groups remained a failure. They were a solution looking for a problem. But then, fifty years later, the quantum revolution transformed physics, and Lie algebras found their proper place.... I expect that... another revolution in physics will happen, introducing new concepts [that] will give string theory a new meaning...