Thursday, June 14, 2007

B: a review in blogging

Cumulus has now been going for 3 years (more or less), and this time has covered a period of great change in my life. I went from being a newlywed to a new parent. I went from my mid 20's to getting ready to turn 30, and I have grown and changed quite a bit. Unfortunately, to read the blog you see very little of that because we have always been careful about how much we disclose to the internet.

It is a tough thing this internet sharing. Some people pour their lives out, but then accumulate a crew of stalkers and freaks and create a publicly accessable record of the minutia of their lives for all to harvest what data they. The alternative is Cumulus, with our relatively impersonal blog of meaningless junk. I don't how you balance the trade-offs.

There is a blog that I read semi-regularly by this girl from seattle that is just a little younger than us and really screwed up. Based upon the details in her blog it would be really easy to track her down if I wanted to, and that is freaky! Obviously I don't want to and haven't, but anybody familiar with Seattle could. Is that level of exposure really worth the benefit of having this neat little journal with a bunch of imaginary online friends?

I don't know. What is the point of the blog anyways. What do I get out of this besides an unproductive diversion??? Am i cheating myself by not sharing, or is this whole thing just a whiny useless waste of time? Why blog?

On another topic, I am just finishing up The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. I have found it to be a great read and a refreshing oportunity to reflect upon a perspective that is so divergent from our cultural understanding. He sets out to delineate a basic tenet of evolution and the behaviour of genes, using zoological examples to illustrate his points, but leave the reader to draw what they will about the impact these basic facts have on our understanding of existence.

His greatest desire in the book seems to be to accentuate the fact that humans are the only known animals that can take willful action that is contrary to the design of their instincts (ie genetic programming)to act in a truly altruistic manner. In addition he spends a good deal of time on game theory showing that mutual cooperation is gennerally the best stategy for population stability, ulimatelty leading the reader to conclude that sharing, cooperation, and altruism are really imperative to our genetic survival despite the genetic programming we may have as individuals that lead us to behave in a selfish manner.

I reccomend this as a read, if you can make it through a fairly dense piece of popular scienctific writing.

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