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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Think, Don't Feel

The quote of the day is from Horace Walpole, the 18th century British writer and literary critic: "Life is a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy to those who think." So I am trying to think, not feel, as I read about the ongoing mayhem. The suicide bombing of subways and doubledeckers in London, the suicide bomber who kills 100 Iraqis by detonating next to a gasoline tanker truck, the nice lady who blew herself and several others to Kingdom Come on the shuttle bus in Turkey - I need to think about this. I am having trouble finding the comedy in all of this.

I don't understand very many things. I don't even fully understand myself. When I get boggled, I try to take comfort in fatalism - I am not important; in fact, the human race is not that important in the grand scheme of things. This old earth was around for a long time before the first human appeared and is likely to be around a long time after the last human dies. If you think about this for a long time, small glimmers of humor begin to appear around the edges of our most tragic human events. I think this approach is behind Douglas Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books. It can all end, our physical existence may cease yet there will be something that continues - perhaps we continue to participate in the world after we are gone. Perhaps humans will continue to participate in the galaxy when if and when we destroy our planet.

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