Conversations About the End of Time Paperback – 27 Jul 2000
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This discussion of some millennial themes consists of interviews with the principals followed by a certain amount of mutual comment and some final conclusions. Gould does his standard act about the arbitrariness of the millennium and the importance of the growth awareness of deep time--a sense of the vast age of the world and the universe is important to that perspective which might help us behave decently to each other. Carriere, a Christian intellectual, discussed the hopeful side of the Book of Revelations and the need for loving kindness. Delumeau talks about the end of the Kali Yuga and the balance of the role of Shiva and Vishnu in Hinduism and worries about the disappearance of tenses and moods in French--arguing that something is seriously lost if we can no longer think in the subjunctive Future Perfect. Eco is the star here, and says wonderfully phrased, paradoxical, but not especially memorable, things about how right all the others are; if anyone wants to know what the brightest and best think about the millennium, this is not a bad place to start--the stress on kindness as an ultimate human value cannot but be attractive. --Roz Kaveney
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The work contains according to the book - jacket these essays. " Paleontologist Stephen Jay Goud on dating the Creation, evolutionary ' deep time' and the need for ecological ethics on a human scale. Novelist, medievalist and Web fanatic UmbertoEco on the breave new world of cyberspace, and its likely impact on memory, cultural continuity and access toknowledge. Catholic historian Jean Delumeau on how the Western Imagination has always been haunted by ideas of the Apocalypse. ScreenwriterJean- Claude Carriere on the 'art of slowness' and attitudes toward time in non- Western cultures.'
The work nonetheless contains much interesting information and speculative matter.
One small piece from the work, the great Paleontologist Goud is asked " How do you see earth looking in a thousand years time? '
His answer is humble and refreshing.
" I don't see it. The things one can actually predict are not very interesting. The sun will continue to shine.. But the history of human beings-and that's what your question is about - consists only of unpredictable events. What we are least weel- placed to predict is technological evolution. I can't predict what will happen in fifty years, let alone in a thousand.. Culture evolves in a Lamarckian way, in that it allows the transmission of acquired characteristics. We directly transmit what we have learned to subsequent generations, which is why technological evolution is ultra- powerful, cumulative , directional ..
about the state of mankind!
But these are hazardous waters! Where should we begin
and where do we want to go from there? So, Having
Gould and Eco as guides seems like a clever start!
According to the book, the hebrew language has
no exact present tense?? The infinitely brief, the
very essense of the present, is not to be found - it
can be neither fixed, nor measured. It is therefore
completely justifiable, grammaticale speaking,
to leave out the present?
Yet, obviously, it is from the present we look at the
past and towards the future.
Stephen Jay Gould is always a pleasure to listen to -
and the right one to put time into perspective.
For a palaeontologist, like Gould, 7000 years
(timespand of human culture) is really no more than
the twinkling of an eye. So all we know is really in
the present - which hardly exist!
From this position we look out into concepts like
the eternity - which we obviously really can't grasp.
And into ourselfes were e.g. DNA was discovered as recently
as 1953. Mystery upon mystery.
So, we struggle to discover instances of regularity and
to fit them together with the help of stories. We throw
in a little religion "were religions do not
ask questions, they answer them". Still we are far
removed from any real "understanding".
And that is what these conversations are about.
With Umberto Eco and Stephen Jay Gould - it is
of course an ok read. But only an appetizer.
I'm talking about that Darwinian theory of Natural Selection you keep telling as if it were true. It is "differential reproductive success". So then that means I need at least 2 different things to call some event NS. So then I ask myself what do these 2 different things have to do with each other? So then I say well either they influence each other's reproduction some way, or they could as well be in different environments. So they must influence each other's reproduction some way. So then I ask, what ways can the one influence the reproduction of the other?
+/- increase reproduction at cost of the other +/+ mutual increase of each other's reproduction -/- mutual decrease of each other's reproduction +/0 and so on -/0 0/0
but what you do, is pretend like there are only +/- relationships. You ignore all other type of relationships with NS. Your natural selection theory is false, for being unsystematic in describing the relationships between living beings. You make teachers into liars by it.
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