Re: virus: Re:Strange attractors and meta-religions (was God

Mark Hornberger (
Sun, 06 Apr 1997 19:56:47 -0500

At 02:46 PM 4/6/97 EDT, you wrote:
>Mark H. wrote:
>>I think I said in an earlier post that
>>we are empowered to change our little corner of the world, and the lot of a
>>few people around us.
>Did Henry Ford who popularized cars simply "change his little corner of the
>world"? If Ford, as an individual, did more than that, then should you
>re-evaluate your position?

Henry Ford was an exception, an anomaly. I'm not ruling out that a small
percentage of people will be truly extraordinary, nor am I saying that no
one should aim for that. I was merely addressing what I consider a decent
method of coping with the world around us without losing your marbles. I'm
thinking of everyday life, not the progression of the species of the
destiny of the universe; sorry if my focus is more prosaic than yours. I
meet people every day who wig out over the smallest things, and yes, I
think they could use a dose of stoicism. Would this turn them into a
collection of apathetic catatonics? No, I don't think it would - it didn't
do that to me.

>> I have not 'given up' but rather gained
>>some perspective when I ask of everything "Is this significant; does it
>>really matter?" Usually the answer is no. .
>There seems to be a false premise that "significance" is something
>intrinsic--exists independently of a people to which things are significant.
>'Significant' implies, 'significant to whom?'.

False premise? Perhaps an erroneous interpretation of what I was saying.
I was addressing my personal coping mechanism, so it goes without saying
that I'm asking the question in relation to myself. As in "Is this
significant *to me*?" I don't think my previous posts were very ambiguous
in this regard.

This is a cute game we're playing, but it's more eristic than inquisitive.
Regardless of what personal coping mechanism I speak of, you can make it
look useless or fatalistic by formulating some scenario in which it would
be inappropriate. You aren't offering an alternative view on things at
all, only trying to make yourself look witty. Destroying an argument is
easy - it's creating a plausible idea that takes some thought.

>>And yes, Marcus Aurelius did seem to benefit the Roman Empire - as much as
>>one man can effect the course of an entire civilization, even given his
>The entire Roman Empire seemed like a loser's culture--they borrowed all
>achievements from the previous Greek civilization. And, where do you get the
>premise that people are given "stations"?
> -David

Nice of you to sum up two millenia of civilization so succinctly. The
Greek civilization had fallen apart by the time the Romans were in full
bloom, so I'm not sure how you decide who were 'losers' and who were
'winners' or whatever. You're borrowing language, ideas, imagery, history,
and just about everything else from those who came before you - does this
make you a loser? To me, we should seek wisdom and try to do what's right,
rather than just striving to do something no one's pulled off before. I
don't see the significance (heh heh) of your concept of originality.

And Marcus Aurelius was emperor, for crying out loud. I think that's a
'station.' You interpreted (though I didn't sayor imply) that I meant that
our stations are irrevocable, or that they can't be changed by our actions.
But being emperor afforded him considerably more influence over the course
of the Roman Empire than he would have enjoyed as, say, a stable boy. I
don't think that's all that profound of an observation. Even here and now
we have stations, though again they can change with circumstance. If
there's a glaring flaw here, please point it out.