Thresholds: Edge of Translation
@ K. 2001 10 18

The visitor to may well encounter me saying that communication is something I’m confident I’ve accomplished only rarely. One exception stays with me. I’d said barely a few words, the context being war and politics, when my office-mate interrupted, saying, “Right: there is a difference between an atom bomb and a punch in the nose.” My sally had been along the lines that at some point a quantitative difference becomes a qualitative difference.

I intend to explore that point further though right now I have barely time to insert a place marker. Half the information is already in the neighborhood: Centers, Edges & Borders, Spectra

Which straw breaks the camel’s back? At what point does the weakest link yield? How many wens turn beauty ugly? How much muscle does a weak man need to be strong? At what point is one ape a chimp and another a human? At what point is one man damned and another exalted? How many miracles does a mortal need to become a god? How many mistakes does a god get before he degenerates into a devil?

I want to discuss thresholds between species of thing. From a distance, distinctions may seem clear: up close they may blur.

When does a trait, beneficial in small doses, become pathological?

What penalty does the society pay for its efforts at an illusion of political uniformity? The White House, the CIA, Congress … Don’t see much harm in lobotomizing the intelligentsia and replacing them with party-line robots: the core never sees itself as in danger from its own behavior …

Thinking Tools

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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