Friday, September 05, 2008

Couldn't resist

Your daily laugh, courtesy of EarthFirst!.

Reminds me a bit of graduate school...

When I was teaching a Master's (!) course a few years ago, the issue came up of how to distinguish living from non-living phenomena. I started out with what I thought was a 1+1=2 kind of example by noting that non-living phenomena show no discernible reaction of pain when attacked and, to illustrate, kicked an empty chair with the side of my shoe.

One of the women in the class jumped, visibly shocked, and said to me, with no sense of irony and no little bathos in her voice, "But how can you be sure?"

I didn't know whether to expel her on the spot or slit my own wrists.

As an old curmudgeonly friend of mine use to say, "It is one of the mysteries of God's universe that it contains more horse's asses than horses."

I'm gonna have a great day. Really.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The ability to feel pain is often cited as a delineator for life. But I prefer to think the ability to feel pleasure is a more accurate and pleasant delineator. Using that metric also changes the debate on what is the humane way to treat non-human animals.

'Paradise Mislaid' by Ed Applewhite is a thorough book on the subject of what is and is not alive.

- Trevor Blake

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