May 31st, 2011

Interesting words

"The questions of immortality of the soul and freedom of the will, though they have called forth libraries of controversial literature, continue to appear not only utterly beyond any possibility of satisfactory proof, but trivial. The conception of a God so constituted that we are, as individuals, of direct concern to Him appears both presumptuous, considering our individual insignificance in the scheme as a whole, and unnecessary. Moreover, one would have to assume that such a personal God existed long before the evolution of man. "Why did He wait so long to create man?" asked Diderot. Yet reward, punishment, immortality of the soul in the theological sense, could have no meaning whatever until there had developed creatures possessing a nervous organization capable of abstract thinking and of spiritual suffering. One cannot imagine such a God occupied through millions of years, up to the Pleistocene, with personal supervision, reward and punishment of amoebae, clams, fish, dinosaurs and sabre-toothed tigers; then, suddenly adjusting His own systems and purposes to the capacities of the man-ape He had allowed to develop."
Hans Zinsser

381 - Long lunch

I had a long, enjoyable lunch today with a grad from the class of '98, reminding me what a great year that was to teach. My JSA group was prime that year, too. So many unforgettable people. Today's conversation was movies movies movies, as J***n was a movie fanatic in high school (even acquiring scripts to upcoming films) and has remained so to the current day, now that he is thirty years old. He lives in NYC, so has the cultural fermentation that goes on in Gotham, too. And he is just one of the nicest people.

So we met at my new favorite spot for conversation and feta omelets, the Varsity over on 65th and 23rd. If I were not retired I couldn't devote time like this to grads, so this is another perquisite of being an idle and useless man. Good time.

On top of it, I got to hear the M's jump on the Orioles in the bottom of the 8th, with a Smoak three run home run to win 3-2. Fun time.