I was reading the latest issue of Psychology Today recently and came across an article about a man who haphazardly fell into ultramarathon running. For those of you who don't know, an ultramarathon is a race anywhere from about 30-100 miles long, and, yes, you run it. A podiatrist who ran two miles "to keep in shape" gradually found himself training for marathons and then graduated into runs lasting from 10 PM to 6 AM in preparation for hundred-mile races.
In class today we discussed where prose is heading in our digitized world of short attention spans. In a world where we read in 140 characters or less and in which we spend an average of five minutes reading the New York Times online, is Powers' novel foreshadowing the kind of abbreviated prose and fragments structure that will be seen more often in the coming years? Where is our beloved novel headed?
Hi fellow Serendippers (or are we Serendippians...?),
For our final project, ewashburn, rachelr, katlittrell and I are exploring medium by using a Facebook page as a place to explore the question, "What is the role of fiction in science?" If you all would like to participate or just watch, you can "like" our page. We'd really like this to be interactive and would appreciate your reactions!
In Paul's class on Thursday, we discussed human emotion and the possibility of being happy in the context of challenging events or disorders (like MDD). Throughout the novel, Candace and Thassa both assert that happiness is attainable regardless of the hand you've been dealt. But can we all escape the clutches of negativity, and is negative affect a result of choices in cognition?
On Thursday in our discussion group we talked about the idea of the Library of Babel. Most of the group seemed to hate the idea that they couldn't be creative because every possibility already exists. I don't have a problem with this notion. Should I find myself a failure because I can not defy the laws of physics? Of course not. The Library of Babel analogy is saying that given laws of the universe, here are the infinite options available. Why should I want to go beyond infinity when my life is so short and there is plenty we need to discover before our world becomes boring?
Maybe I can't be held be held responsible for my actions in a court of law (or at least Dennett says as much)
According to Dennett, our actions are all results of outside forces, and, as we discussed in class today, that takes agency away from us. I don't buy into this. Yes, I think outside forces determine our emotional responses, but I don't think they determine our behavioral responses. There is a degree of randomness in our behavioral actions in that they are not direct results of contingencies set up by our environments. For example, say that one kid pushes another down on the playground.
We were talking in class today about how random change is inevitable in a species, and how changes are "selected" by the environment and thus end up being found in future generations. That's well and good, but we have a problem: horseshoe crabs (someone also mentioned alligators in class). Horseshoe crabs have been around for half a billion years, at least, at haven't really changed since them. Why, if random change is inevitable, have certain species (seemed to) have avoided it?