My CMS The View from a New City

November 15, 2014


Filed under: daily,Philosophy — Lawrence Peterson @ 7:34 am

My daughter recommended that I read The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. One of the major themes of this book is that talent and skill are the product of high motivation, persistence, and a humble willingness to address the obstacles that block the path forward. Other factors play a role but are much less important than people have imagined. Raw talent is almost never the key. He even used Mozart as an example of this thesis.

As I read the book, it occurred to me how perfect this life is as a laboratory in which to develop “talent.” As Elder H. Ross Workman once taught my Young Adult Ward, “the willing go to heaven.” He meant those willing to keep the celestial law, but I also think it means those willing to accept the difficulties of life and cheerfully, persistently learn the lessons they teach. This is very different from the image of the “towering intellect” or “genius” usually presented as the source of human wisdom. Friedrich Nietzsche’s Übermensch is as fictitious as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The willing go to heaven and life is the perfect prep-school.

October 24, 2014

“As if to Demonstrate an Eclipse”

Filed under: Philosophy — Lawrence Peterson @ 9:26 am

One of my favorite poems is by Billy Collins, entitled, “As if to Demonstrate an Eclipse.” Yesterday I witnessed a partial eclipse through smoked glasses. The sun and moon are very different sizes, but the moon almost perfectly covers the sun during a total eclipse. This could well be a coincidence, as modern science assumes without evidence. But it might also be a hint–a wink from beyond–that the current arrangement of things is not random; that the phrase from Genisis 1:16, “the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night,” might have more behind it than mere myth and metaphor.

October 5, 2014


Filed under: Philosophy — Lawrence Peterson @ 9:29 am

Recently, I wrote a program that manipulated client data in a large commercial database. While I wrote and tested the program, rather than trying out my code on the real data, I used what was called the sandbox.  By using the sandbox, my program read and manipulated data in a test database, not in the production database. The sandbox was a duplicate of the live data which would be refreshed periodically from the real database.  No changes to the sandbox were ever preserved in the actual database.  So, if a buggy section of test code accidentally  destroyed or corrupted data in the sandbox, no real harm was done. At the next refresh, all was restored.

I have been thinking how much this is like life.  In a world where the second law of thermodynamics rules, human actions, whether good or bad, tend to get washed away with the passage of time. Even the monuments built to last get worn away eventually. See Shelley’s Ozymandius. The conclusion I draw from this is that the world is not changed much by the people who live in it in spite of the ambitions of every young person to “change the world.” It is the people who are changed by living in the world. The world is like a sandbox where the children go to play for a while. Rainstorms wash away the fortifications and castles but the children who play there grow up and move on.  I heard that Woody Allen was once told that his movies would live on  forever, to which he is said to have replied, “I don’t want my movies to live forever–I want to live forever.” And so it is.



August 17, 2014

Dark Matter

Filed under: Philosophy — metamind @ 8:32 am

There is a classic painting I like of the philosopher looking behind the starry sky to see what really is.  Science recently discovered that everything we see–everything science can measure–makes up only four percent of the matter and  energy in  the universe. The rest is something they know nothing about, so they call it “dark” as in dark matter and dark energy. This discovery should serve as notice that much still remains to be discovered.  Those who say, as some cosmologists once did, that we are on the verge of the grand unified theory of everything are whistling in the dark (pun intended). I predict the day will come when our current explanations will be revealed to be the childish speculations they really are. Let us go enthusiastically forward into the mystery, free of the illusion that our current theories will survive as the final explanation for anything.

looking behind the picture



Powered by WordPress