The Talking Lion

Monday, June 20, 2005

I'm back, and forever changed

THAT was an intense weekend. Let me just say that Italian cinema produced something truly perverse in 1975, and leave it at that. Also, do yourself a favor and go read "Three Versions of Judas," a short story by Jose Luis Borges. It blew my mind. Like, for a good fifteen minutes after reading it I was totally a believer.

Anyway, I am here to recommend this NYT Op-ed by the science fiction novelist Neal Stephenson. It argues that advanced civilization is built upon a certain percentage of the population being complete geeks. Essentially, we geeks are basically the most important people in terms of keeping the wheels of civilization turning, so appreciate us! A taste:

Scientists and technologists have the same uneasy status in our society as the Jedi in the Galactic Republic. They are scorned by the cultural left and the cultural right, and young people avoid science and math classes in hordes. The tedious particulars of keeping ourselves alive, comfortable and free are being taken offline to countries where people are happy to sweat the details, as long as we have some foreign exchange left to send their way. Nothing is more seductive than to think that we, like the Jedi, could be masters of the most advanced technologies while living simple lives: to have a geek standard of living and spend our copious leisure time vegging out.


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