Thursday, 29 December 2011

Power distorts

Physics tells us that a black hole distorts space and time in its vicinity, rather like a lead weight on a rubber sheet. To be honest, I don’t really understand that.

But I do consider that a concentration of too much money in one place distorts human economies (capitalism gone wrong) in the same way as a concentration of too much power in one place distorts human emotion (the funeral of Kim Jong Il), spiritual awareness (the Vatican) and truth (the Murdoch press).

1 Timothy 6:10: “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evils,” is regarded as the more accurate translation of the original Greek. If for money, one reads power, because the two are broadly synonymous, then St Paul’s observation stands.

Monday, 5 December 2011

The Raft

If what we know is surrounded by a sea of unknowing, I suspect our ancestors felt that knowledge was an island which had been explored by their ancestors. You had only to read the right maps, that is the ancient texts, from Aristotle to the Bible, and all would be revealed.

With the Enlightenment and scientific method, people discovered more and more, and they may have reframed knowledge as a vast continent, still surrounded by the sea of unknowing but waiting to be discovered by intrepid teams of explorers (with or without teams of native bearers who never got a mention).

I regard our knowledge as a sea-going vessel plying the ocean of unknowing, but not a battleship, not an ocean liner or even an ice-breaker. I see knowledge as a raft, and a leaky raft at that. We are all still in the sea of unknowing, and we all have wet feet.