22 May 2013



page 377: mappa mundi. As Caleb Scharf writes in Gravity's Engines, “Our current map of the known universe contains a vast amount of information, yet it is barely a scrap of parchment compared to the full atlas.”

page 377: a gardener wants to...see into the future. “The trick is to live in the moment and in the future at the same time,” says Todd May. (We need to believe in life before death.)

page 379: never...finished. In the preface to his Dictionary (1755), Samuel Johnson wrote that:
one enquiry only gave occasion to another, that book referred to book, that to search was not always to find, and to find was not always to be informed; and that thus to pursue perfection, was, like the first inhabitants of Arcadia, to chase the sun, which, when they had reached the hill where he seemed to rest, was still beheld at the same distance from them.
page 378: predict with precision. Albert Hirschman coined the term possibilism -- to draw attention to “the discovery of paths, however narrow, leading to an outcome that appears to be foreclosed on the basis of probabilistic reasoning alone.”

page 379: fully human. David Deutsch says people or entities that are capable of creating new explanations are, ultimately, the most important thing in the universe. I would say that one of the most important things about humans is that we find or create meaning and value. 

page 379: Regarding Occupy Martin Sandbu writes:
...to the frustration of critics – even sympathetic ones – the movement never stated what it was for...[but] one can be indignant and constructive at the same time.

Image of Milky Way Over Ghost Panel via APOD

This is the twenty-ninth in a new series of notes and comments on chapters in The Book of Barely Imagined Beings. It appears around the time of the US publication, and adds to an earlier series that appeared around UK publication. 

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