virus: Level 3

Eric Boyd (
Sat, 24 May 1997 22:50:34 -0500

Hi everyone;

There was a topic discussed here a while ago that I've been trying to
grasp for a long time. It comes under several names like
1) Level 3
2) The Aphorist's Dilemma
3) several quotations which I've come across:
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two
opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the
ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that
things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
* F. Scott Fitzgerald
I've always felt that a person's intelligence is directly reflected
by the number of conflicting points of view he can entertain
simultaneously on the same topic. -- Lisa Alther
4) The Church of SubGenius (well... part of it, anyway. But then,
that's sort of the point of the whole thing, isn't it? That all truths
ARE only half of the truth)

I've been struggling with the idea for a long time, and I not sure that
I'll ever be able to really understand what it implies. But it looks on
the surface like a cool way to overcome any dichotomy where both sides
of the issue result in a "valid" answer.
-- the one I've been battling with is -- of course -- the existance of
God. Is it possible that God can both exist and NOT exist and it is
only my level 2 mind that can only entertain one of these view points at
once? (for I have thought deeply in both view points, I just can't
merge the two except by applying one view point to critique the other)
If it is possible to embrace this dichotomy as "two sides of the same
coin" as it were, how do I go about achieving this? Maybe I should read
that damn book, eh?


"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
-- James Thurber