Friday, December 09, 2005



Hey guys - I just wanted to let you know that I just read everyone's comments about Sophie's World from last week. Maybe I'll have to log in from time to time just for fun though =) Robert - thanks for digging up that ridiculous picture of me from the summer! At least I am not doing anything more stupid than mocking somene bowling. (I can't remember why I was doing that in the first place now!!!) It's definitely interesting to talk about fate, reality and our relative significance in the world. As for the book, the difference between you and Sophie and Hilde is that you have opinions about Sophie and Hilde, and the latter two are completely incapable of forming opinions about you, because they don't exist! However, Gaarder does have the ability to make you think that Sophie and Hilde exist and have opinions about you. In essence, just because you think that they can think doesn't mean that they really can. What's beautiful about how all of this is set up is that a single (real) individual, like Gaarder, can create an infinitely nested set of fake characters where each character thinks that all of the ones "below" it are fake and is not aware of any of the ones "above" it. Strangely enough, it's this ability in our thought and language (this sort of recursive abstract thought) that separates us from other species of animals.

As for fate, in Consilience Wilson argues that it's likely that biologically, we need to believe that we have free will. Whether we actually do or not is most likely a question we will never be able to fully answer. I really like Juli's comment about fate. I agree that we can model our fate as a tree of choices. What actually happens to us is fated to be one of these paths, but we have free-will to choose in which path we end up. I mentioned this in class to 3rd period Bell I think, but I wanted to reiterate that through your lives you'll probably have more choices than are readily apparent to you. People will make you think that you have to do certain things, but often times if you carefully seek out your full possibility of choices, you'll find more options than you initially believed you had. In essence, only if you actively explore your tree will you have the chance to maximize your free-will. Learn to accept the boundaries of your condition/situation, but never stop challenging them.

Few people can even come close to comprehending how small we are compared to the size of the universe and how big we are compared to a quark. While it's easy to think that we're incredibly insignificant in the universe, it doesn't mean that we should resign ourselves to be insignificant on this earth. It's true that humanity will probably not live through a cataclysm(sp) that significantly alters the nature of our earth, but this is incredibly unlikely to happen in our lifetime. So, we should strive to be significant in our tiny, tiny niche of this universe. Balance your happiness with helping others achieve the same. To me, that is a significant goal for which to reach.

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