Monday, April 23, 2012

On Being Wrong

It's often been brought to my attention, recently, that a graduate student --- indeed, any honest research professional --- spends most of his time being confused. Sometimes this confusion is consciously felt; sometimes it isn't. When it isn't consciously felt, it can lead to people declaring things like "Of Course the Riemann Hypothesis Ought to be True" (this is something most number theorists expect, and can't prove yet) or "Of Course You Can Square the Circle" (this is something actually true, in the right context, but not the context most people claiming it intend) or "Of Course All Widgets are Thingumy" (may or may not be true, depending on W and T, but usually not).

This happens to (honest) research professionals all the time, as well as to the more-normal core of Humanity; but there is a key difference between (honest) r.p.s and a particular subgrouping, not really quite fitting in the latter; which is that an h.r.p. is likely not to mind having been wrong, and will happily acknowledge it and receive correction. The weirdos are convinced that they Are Not Wrong, and no ammount of argument will convince them --- because the wrong conclusion derives from honest unknown confusion. Exposed to truth, honest unknown confusion learns only deceptive felt confusion, and prefers what it doesn't find confusing (even unknown confusion). I trust I make myself clear?

Anyways. I get confused a lot, and sometimes it shows. It's actually kind-of fun! Have a good day, everyone.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Monday Musings

Dear Herecomeseverybody,

If I may be allowed to imagine, I should imagine that today would be the liturgical anniversary of "Twin" Thomas' assertion "nisi videro ... non credam". Certainly, it wasn't yesterday, and it will certainly come before the Octave, when we shall hear "beati qui non viderunt et crediderunt".

At other times I've wondered why might Thomas not have been there that Easter Sunday; today, being in a mood for punning, it occurs to me that, in Vulgate and Douay, the Low Sunday Beatitude is, as all beatitudes, written in the perfect tense: "blessed are they who have not seen, and have believed". But it raises the curious question of whether this particular beatitude applies in that moment to anyone at all. The only candidates that spring to mind are Mary the Mother of Our Lord, Peter, and the disciple whom Jesus loved --- but that disciple ("he that saw these things... his testimony is true, and he knows his testimony is true...") was careful to write, earlier
4 ... they both ran together, and that other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And when he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying; but yet he went not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter, following him, and went into the sepulchre, and saw the linen cloths lying,
7 And the napkin that had been about his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but apart, wrapped up into one place.
8 Then that other disciple also went in, who came first to the sepulchre: and he saw, and believed.
Nonetheless, let us not think on these things into thinking of ourselves as being better than Peter or John were in those moments of great amaze. They had to live through the Gospel before telling it to anyone, whereas we grow up hearing about Easter as a thing accomplished, every year about this time --- we know the ending of this story long before we know what the story is even about, or where it really started.

Nor is Our Lord's visible revelation of his resurrection made to make up for what is wanting in his disciples' faith, but to make up for what is wanting in ours. It's one thing for the Eleven survivors among the Twelve to learn of the empty tomb and believe, but another for them to say so to those same priests and scribes and lawyers who, mere pages earlier were crying "surely thou hast a devil". That is, not only has He given them faith in His rising, he has also given them the power to say and we have seen Him. I have not seen, but I believe because Peter saw.

Let us think on these things with humble joy, and take every help to live as people new-raised from the death that is sin.

Happy Easter,
a simple one among everybody

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tomorrow, we'll sing...

echo << eof >> /dev/null

II 1 So the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the furniture of them. 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done.