After Magritte

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We sold our souls for $300.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Things fall apart. The center cannot hold and everything devolves into chaos. While a scientific concept, you see it in literature and philosophy as well. Pynchon has a great story on it. Our attempts to create meaning out of life are an uphill fight, doomed to fail. The theater of the absurd - After Magritte, the play for which this blog is named for example - embraces entropy. Things don’t make sense. Order is unnatural.

However, I don’t believe in entropy. The last few links to this blog include:
  • A fight between an Ivy League school and a Jesuit school’s football teams.
  • A book by Dinesh D'Souza
  • A town encouraging everyone to own a gun
  • The social status apartment size conveys on NYC toddlers.
  • A teacher fired for taking her class to an art museum where there were nudes.
No, things are not getting more random. Things are just getting worse. Evil is winning. There may have been times where things got better, but now things are just getting worse. Some may argue that today we have I-pods and arthroscopic knee surgery and TiVO. Yes, technology is getting better. The scientists have done their part. But philosophy, religion and spirituality is not keeping up. What good is an I-pod when the #1 album is Money Maker by Ludicris?

One of the classic religion/philosophy questions is the problem of evil. How does an all powerful, all good God allow evil in the world? The explanation I got, as a Catholic, was that because we had free will, God let us do as we pleased. This world is just the previews anyway. The afterlife is what matters. The pain and difficulty of this world is small compared to what is to come. Thus, God can seem aloof, like a parent who lets a child struggle to put on her shoes. The struggle is good for them. This works well in a world of Entropy. God was the creative force that put everything together, but over time, without the hand of God intervening, things fall apart. What does it mean if things just get worse? What kind of world is it if the overriding principle is that evil is going to win?

Entropy is really about heat diffusing, getting colder. The temperatures are going up, not down.


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