Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Thu Apr 22 23:00:44 2010
A Priori Man

(Warning: This is likely some combination or permutation of inspiring or interesting stuff and utter BS. I'm not sure myself .. but then I never am)

One of the requirements for intellectual maturity (and virtue) is to develop a deep understanding of human nature - this is a potentially unpleasant task (or perhaps a journey) - the most important aspect of this is to make impossible many types of ego. Trying to understand humans as logical entities and human thought as a logical process is natural, but the logical lense is something to surpass rather than a destination. A Priori Man (forgive the slight violence to the term) is quite different from Actual Man - until we accept, at the very least, that:

And so on. With these, an appropriate level of self-doubt is present to limit some types of ego and allow for intellectual maturity. The A Priori Man (that "makes sense") we believed in in youth is replaced with the Complex, often maladapted, unreasonable, self-struggling Man.

In other words, glasses (apologies to those who don't wear them - this is a metaphor) are the most symbolic invention of humanity at its best. They help bring us the rest of the way to truly being qualified to have a civlisation - they symbolise our struggle to grow beyond the "good-enough-to-fill-a-niche-in-nature" we evolved to be in the EEA towards our potential for greatness.

P.S. I think if I were asked right now to sit down in front of a typewriter and produce a decent-sized book, either an expansion of this, or another thing that's been floating through my head that I'd probably call 「Advice to new Atheists」 would be what I could most quickly and confidently produce without needing a lot of "do I really mean this" and "is this formulation of the idea as mature as it should be" self-questioning. (the latter book would be a combination survey of atheist philosophies, an introduction to reasoning and debate, and some gentle steering of people towards particular ideas and conclusions that I think are important). The problem with books of this sort is that they're not very deep, but I think they'd be reasonably easy and fun to write.