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Meaningless omens: number 333 in a series

November 22, 2018

I opened my phone
And a pop up from the Podcast app appeared saying:

Hope is available

Gosh I thought: I could use some of that.

I consumed the promised discussion while exercising at the gym for the first time in three days. They seem to have used the recent closure to give it a thorough clean, get the heating started for winter (we shouldn’t have to warm ourselves up that much) and fix a number of minor faults.

Nonetheless, the weighing machine wasn’t working so I can’t tell you how much good I’m doing myself by all this working out.

Philosophical discussion seems to work even better than Sousa marches (my other habitual accompaniment on the rowing machine and the exercycle) at making the effort fly by and keeping my body’s complaints at what I’m doing out of the front of my mind.

Today’s was a good one: a survey of the idea of hope from the last thing in Pandora’s jar to Albert Camus and Heidegger. Is it a sheet anchor or a deception? Are faith and hope necessarily in competition? Must we choose between hope in this world or in the next? (I’d say no but my ideas on this are agnostic as well as probably heretical.) More Big Name Philosophers were tagged than you’ll find in a week of Final Exams.

I really do envy Melvyn Bragg his gig. He gets to chat to experts and tell them that they’re going to have to skip over the rest of the nineteenth century so they can get to Nietzsche and how he changed his mind about hope as he got older.

I suspect I indulge in too much of the false sort of hope brought on by signs and omens. When there is no applicable superstition I’m liable to see portents in things like the pop-up I started with. I do wonder how much I need that sort of false meaning projected on the random events of the universe to give me a sense of agency and my own special insight into What’s Going On. A tendency that has to be watched rather than eliminated I think.

From → Personal, Philosophy

One Comment
  1. I think it’s a reasonably well-accepted idea that the human pattern-recognition engine is very prone to false positives. Pareidolia is one obvious example of this; conspiracy theories are another. It’s been argued that this might offer an evolutionary advantage: if you run away from the watering-hole just a little before anyone else does, the sabre-tooth eats them and you get to breed.

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