Saturday, July 21, 2007

Is Love Enough?

I don't agree, but it's thought-provoking - an excerpt from Richard Flanagan's novel The Unknown Terrorist:

THE IDEA THAT LOVE IS NOT ENOUGH is a particularly painful one. In the face of its truth, humanity has for centuries tried to discover in itself evidence that love is the greatest force on earth.

Jesus is an especially sad example of this unequal struggle. The innocent heart of Jesus could never have enough of human love. He demanded it, as Nietzsche observed, with hardness, with madness, and had to invent hell as punishment for those who withheld their love from him. In the end he created a god who was "wholly love" in order to excuse the hopelessness and failure of human love.

Jesus, who wanted love to such an extent, was clearly a madman, and had no choice when confronted with the failure of love but to seek his own death. In his understanding that love was not enough, in his acceptance o the necessity of the sacrifice of his own life to enable the future of those around him, Jesus is history's first, but not last, example of a suicide bomber.

Nietzsche wrote, "I am not a man, I am dynamite". It was the image of a dreamer. Every day now somebody somewhere is dynamite. They are not an image. They are the walking dead, and so are the people who are standing round them. Reality was never made by realists, but by dreamers like Jesus and Nietzsche.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

From U2's album The Joshua Tree:

I have climbed highest mountains
I have run through the fields
Only to be with you
Only to be with you
I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls
These city walls
Only to be with you

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I have kissed harderned lips
Felt the healing fingertips
It burned like a fire
This burning desire

I have spoken with eternal angels
I have held the hands of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I believe in the Kingdom Come
When all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well, yes I'm still running

You broke the bonds
And you loosened the chains
Carried the cross
Of all my shame
all my shame
You know I believe it

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Down on the Farm two interesting articles today. William Saletan writes in Slate and The Washington Post about the controversy over the impact of growing crops for biofuels on the developing world; will it drive up food prices and increase hunger? See The Globe & Mail reports on suicides among farmers in central India who cannot make ends meet;

Monday, July 02, 2007

The Bottom Billion

The day after Canada Day celebrations - let me recommend seeing The Cowboy Junkies live. Great show.

I'm reading the review of Paul Collier's The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries are Failing and What We Can Do About It. Collier makes interesting arguments regarding focusing development efforts on the poorest billion people, among them his identification of the reasons why civil wars have plagued sub-Saharan Africa: the risk of conflict is exacerbated by a relatively high proportion of young, uneducated men, a numerical imbalance among ethnic groups, and a supply of natural resources (like diamonds or oil) which can encourage and finance conflict.

I'm also reading Freeman Dyson's article, Our Biotech Future, in The New York Review of Books: favours using genetic engineering to narrow the gap between rich and poor countries in general and stop the migration from rural areas to cities in particular. He describes a vision of genetic technology " halting the migration from villages to megacities. The three components of the vision are all essential: the sun to provide energy where it is needed, the genome to provide plants that can convert sunlight into chemical fuels cheaply and efficiently, the Internet to end the intellectual and economic isolation of rural populations." I'm inclined to argue against his embrace of genetically modified crops to alleviate rural poverty, but I'm still thinking about it.