Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The School of Life - Sunday Sermon On Uncertainty

David Eagleman On Uncertainty - Watch David Eagleman's 40 minute lecture on the importance of Uncertainty, it's really good! He is a neuroscientist and writer.

I love David Eagleman's take on the world and his book SUM: Tales From Afterlives is brilliant. In it he makes up various different alternative ideas of the afterlife and why we are here. For example Egalitaire:

'In the afterlife you discover that God understands the complexities of life. She had originally submitted to peer pressure what She structured Her universe like all the other gods had, with binary categorization of people into good and evil. But it didn't take long for Her to realize that humans could be good in many ways and simultaneously corrupt and mean-spirited in other ways. How was She to arbitrate who goes to Heaven and who to Hell? Might not it be possible, She considered, that a man could be an embezzler and still give to charitable causes? Might a woman be an adulteress but bring pleasure and security to two men's lives? Might not a child unwittingly divulge secrets that splinter a family?'

'In a moment of desperation the thought crossed Her mind to let everyone wait on line indefinitely, letting them work it out on their own. But then a better idea struck her generous spirit. She could afford it: She would grant everyone, every last human, a place in Heaven.'

'The Communists are baffled and irritated, because they have finally achieved their perfect society, but only be the help of a God in whom they don't want to believe. The meritocrats are abashed that they're stuck for eternity in an incentiveless system with a bunch of pinkos. The conservatives have no penniless to disparage; the liberals have no downtrodden to promote.
So God sits on the edge of Her bed and weeps at night, because the only thing everyone can agree upon is that they're all in Hell.'

Or as in Collectors:

'We are the product of large beings that camp out on asteroids and call themselves Collectors. The Collectors run billions of experiments on the time scales of universes, subtly tuning the galaxy parameters this way and that, making bangs bigger, lesser, dialing fundamental physics constants a hair's breadth at a time.'

'When you die, you are brought before a panel of Collectors. They debrief you and struggle to understand your motivations. Why did you decide to break off this relationship? What did you appreciate about that relationship? What was wrong with so-andso, who seemed to have everything you wanted? After trying and failing to understand you, they send you back to see if another round of experimentation makes it any clearer.'

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