Frankenstein could not be more different of a novel than I imagined it to be from what I gathered of the Frankenstein monster in popular culture references. I would categorize it under philosophy not horror. It is a story of an outcast (the monster) tortured by imposed isolation. It’s a story of a creature that seeks to be loved, and in failing to find such love, fills his mind with spite, anger, and revenge.
He is a child, learning the ways of the world, full of the dueling human emotions of compassion and jealousy, of love and hatred, of decisiveness and fear.
I have always imagined the Frankenstein monster as an embodiment of evil that lurks in the shadows of society. I thought of the scientist that created him and the people he murdered as the victims. They indeed are victims, but so is the monster.
A society that defines strict boundaries on what is good and what is evil, produces outcasts that are not inherently evil but become so because of the society-imposed isolation. In my mind, this is similar to the result of Abu Ghraib “interrogations” of suspected terrorists that were completely innocent at the beginning of the process. However, because of the pro-longed torture, were convinced of the evil of the United States and thus essentially converted into terrorists.
When asked why he was doing away with free college in California, Reagan said that the role of state “should not be to subsidize intellectual curiosity”. The source for this comment is Thom Hartmann’s “Rebooting the American Dream”.
Here, like for decades after, the ideal of “intellectual curiosity” is talked about as if its an immoral sexual act that the kids are doing these days and it must be stopped. You can disagree with whether college education should be free or even if public universities should exist. I think you’re wrong, but it’s a legitimate dependable point of view. What is not legitimate is an assault against intellectual curiosity. Such curiosity is what gives birth to great ideas. It allows a political leader to integrate the lessons of history with the new challenges of today. I would even argue that the patience required for learning is the kind of patience that leads to genuine compassion.
Perhaps the reason a president can say something as absurd as the above quote is that most of the people in public life are not scientists. They are lawyers, businessmen, doctors, etc. And while members of all of those professions are certainly intelligent and curious about the way the world works, “intellectual curiosity” is not quite the staple for them that it is for scientists. Science progresses through a mechanism of rigorous skepticism, which requires one to constantly ask “Why?” and seek proof in whatever form possible. So, I think the fact that scientists are for the most part absent from public life in the United States contributes to the simplification of political discourse, and Reagan’s statement is just one of many examples of it.
McManus puts forth a romantic version of poker that we all love. But the reality of poker is that it’s gambling. It’s luck. Skill will increase your probability of winning enough to make a profit (maybe even a living) playing the game, but it does not ensure that great ability will lead to tournament hardware. Imagine if quantum mechanics applied on the scale of the golf ball, Tiger Woods would miss the ball completely some percent of the time. Sure he would still do a lot better than the average player, but on any given day, you couldn’t say if he finishes first or last.
It feels great when you win, and horrible when you lose, but somehow the conclusion one ought to draw from the losses are never arrived at…
This is why I avoid the game, but I love to watch others put their well-being (financial and psychological) on the line. The whole thing has the same absurd mix of optimism and pessimism that life has for an introspective person. There’s hope, there’s fear, there’s the delusional rationalization for trying again and again and again.