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Alan Lightman, the first professor to receive dual appointments in science and the humanities at MIT, expands on his views on science and spirituality at a February 18, 2014 talk at The New York Public Library.
Lightman’s latest book, The Accidental Universe, is a mind-bending, soul-expanding must-read
All right,” said Susan. “I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.”
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
"So we can believe the big ones?"
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.
"They’re not the same at all!"
YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME…SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.
"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—"
MY POINT EXACTLY. Terry Pratchett, Hogfather (via alyseofwonderland)
I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, “Kiss me harder,” and “You’re a good person,” and, “You brighten my day.” I live my life as straight-forward as possible.
Because one day, I might get hit by a bus.
Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands.
But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate.
And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care.
We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans.
We never know when the bus is coming.
This works if it’s mutual. I’ve always seen telling somebody you love them, especially if they don’t feel the same way, as placing a burden on them too. And I feel like a lot of people take this as instruction to do the latter, not the former. Am I wrong?
Learning evolution’s significance for male sexuality can enable men to rationalize sexist double standards and wallow in their loutishness, as they do in guyland. Alternatively, it can serve to encourage men to control their caveman natures by becoming self-conscious, enlightened cavemen. But either way, the popular versions of man-as-caveman never question men’s putatively natural shortcomings or innate aggressive heterosexuality. The caveman is certainly not the only form of masculine identity in our times. But the emergence of a caveman masculinity tells us much about the authority of science, the flow of scientific ideas in our culture, and the embodiment of those ideas. We live in a culture attached to scientific authority and explication. The popularity of the scientific story of men’s evolved desires — however distorted the science becomes as enthusiasts popularize it — can tell us something about the appeal and influence of that story. Caveman Sex: How Evolutionary Psych Pushes Sexist Stereotypes | Alternet (via brutereason)
lesbiangoggles (discussed here)
I really need this as a stand-alone on my dash right now, because that last part gets erased completely 99% of the time.