Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Forensic Etymology, 101
So much for "later this evening." First week of classes has been intense and rewarding. So now it's Friday, and I'm hoping I can remember why I posted these photos. First, when I saw this poster, and had not heard of the performers, I started reading the "fine print." The above quote bothered me because it represents the same sort of sloppy thinking, or non-thinking, that I try to cure in my writing classes. The phrase "sometimes Fate, or God, or the Universe or whatever you want to call it" implies that there is a common understanding of the "it," but that we call it by different names. This is wrong. If you say "God = the Universe" you obfuscate any serious meaning of God or Universe. As astronomers and astrophysicists continue to probe the "depths" of the Universe, both they and the general pubic at least agree on a vague definition that the word stands for "everything that exists." We just don't know the size of it all, and there remain tough scientific/philosophical questions as to what might its size be, and, if it actually has boundaries, what's on the other side of the boundaries? Other universes? And what could that mean? Only a small percentage of people, I suspect, allow their inquiring minds to go beyond this point and just grab another beer or cup of coffee and tralk about something else.
On the other hand, when we use the words "God" or "god," it opens up a discussion - or battle - in which all sorts of warring claims tend to cut the discussion short. "Fate" is probably the least useful word in the bunch. I won't comment about it further here. However, when I put my scientific training aside and check into the Alvin brothers' music, I found it mostly pleasant, and I realize the above quote was mostly a friendly statement, not meant to enter the science-vs.-religion wars, and refers to a long period during which they did not record anything, and they are now on a resurrection (sorry about that) tour. We all know you can't really "lose time."
P.S. My new Nikon DSLR arrived last night. I hope to be ready to photograph nature and post some new, better images soon.