Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky. (slithytove) wrote,
Be wise. Be brave. Be tricky.

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Turtles, all the way down

I think buymeaclue got it right yesterday in her comment, about why different personalities exist, at least among humans: there is, so to speak, an ecology of personalities, and different personalities fill different ecological niches. You need both chiefs and indians, as an overly simplistic example. A society of all chiefs or all indians won't be very successful.

But I suspect—and it's just a WAG, doesn't even rise to SWAG status—that society's need for different personalities is deeper, darker, and more subversive.

Consider this pediatrician: he's great with kids, he's kind, he's infinitely patient with anxious parents. He's utterly non-violent, and is greatly disturbed by the effect of familial or societal violence on children. He believes that almost all problems can be solved by people reasoning together. He thinks that international problems should be solved by diplomacy and not war. He is a Democrat, or a Nader voter.

I want this guy taking care of my kids.

Consider this general: he has seen service in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq. He is intimately acquainted with the horrors of war, and is convinced that the human race exists in a 'state of nature', a Hobbesian 'war of all against all', where the only safety is in having the biggest guns and no reluctance to use them. He considers diplomacy to be an illusion, a postponing of inevitable conflict. He is a Republican.

I want this guy defending my country.

The above two individuals don't like each other much. While each may accord the other a grudging respect as a skillful practitioner of his art, on a philosophical level each considers the other to be a dangerous fool, enamored of bad ideas, and wishes that those ideas could be expunged from the Republic forever.

What do I think? I think I want the first guy taking care of my kids, and other guy fighting my wars. I want each of them to hold whatever views make them them most effective in their own field, whatever those views might be. Even if those views are different from my own.

Which raises this truly awful, destabilizing question: what if there is no right answer? If there are no correct political views? What if there is no General Theory of Politics, to which we can all subscribe? What if societies function best if different members hold divergent, incompatible political views?

What if it's turtles, all the way down?

And I can't resist closing with the Fifty-third Calypso of Bokonon, Kurt Vonnegut's description of a karass, from Cat's Cradle:

Oh a sleeping drunkard 
Up in Central Park
A lion hunter In the jungle dark
And a Chinese dentist
And a British Queen
All fit together In the same machine

Nice, nice, very nice
Nice, nice, very nice
So many people in the same device



meaning: mineral, ore

鉱石 == kouseki == ore, mineral, crystal
金鉱 == kinkou == gold mine

Left radical is 'metal' (金), right is 'extensive' (広). Henshall suggests as a mnemonic: 'Extensive metal ore.'

Stroke order from Josh's Chinese Lookup Thingy (animated)
Stroke order from Taka Kanji Database
Other info from Taka Kanji Database
Gahoh kanji movie

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