Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Saturday May 8, 2004. Reread: Isaiah Berlin, _The Crooked Timber of Humanity_. And I was reminded that "The scientific methods used to understand the physical world can work just as well in understanding human society" is a very old idea. It dates back to Classical Athens.

And it usually goes together with the idea that there's one true way for people to live. (Usually "and be happy" -- but one of Berlin's essays is on Joseph de Maistre, who believed that people should be unhappy. And there's a fair amount of science fiction with the theme that too much happiness is bad for us; for example, John D. McDonald's BALLROOM OF THE SKIES.)

The alternative -- that there's more than one way for people to think and act -- appears to have become established early in the 19th century. (See also Jacques Barzun, CLASSIC, ROMANTIC, AND MODERN -- "modern" being the artistic mindset dominant between the World Wars.)

Of course, there's then the little question of who chooses the path a particular individual follows. 1) A group; either through tradition or by the General Will. ("Sometimes a man must be forced to be free" -- attributed to Rousseau.) 2) The individual.

And then: Is the choice open to any group, or only to the right group -- pure Aryans, for example? Is it open to any individual, to any male individual (Rousseau seems to have taken it for granted that women weren't really people), or only to Great Men?
To Pillsbury House, to shop at the Time Dollar Store and chair a Clutterers Anonymous meeting.

The Time Dollar Store had what I needed, and a couple of things I wanted.

The CLA meeting -- oops! Apparently, I'd asked for meeting space on the second Friday at 2 pm rather than the second Saturday. And on Saturdays, the building closes at 2.

For today, it was arranged for me to stay later than 2, and let people in. (There was a rehearsal in the theatre, so the building wasn't entirely deserted.) Next week, I'll see if 1 pm on the second Saturday is workable.

The meeting went well. I think we all benefitted from it. I didn't run it quite according to the rules and I made some mistakes, but it worked.
Have you ever liked a series except for the main character? I find David Weber's Honor Harrington dull. However, I like some of the peripheral stories in which she's either absent or a minor character. (This includes both stories by Weber himself and sharecropped stories.)
Writing: "Well Met..." had been going along too well; the protagonist was succeeding too easily. Fix 1, implemented: he doesn't want one kind of success. Fix 2, not yet implemented: make the other kind of success harder, and make him ambivalent about it.

Being planned: Killing Futures (working title).

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