Introduction [Page Six]

Life is probably incidental in the history of the universe.  Someday there will be too little light and too little heat in an infinitely expanding universe for life to exist anywhere.  The physicists don’t want to tell us this, plainly, so they have gone in the direction of theorizing ‘alternate universes.’

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For those who believe there is proof of other realities than this one, remember, you must rely on experts to tell you this is the case.  And perhaps they don’t want to admit the real situation to themselves either.

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If we regard an accelerating, ever-expanding universe, we will find that at least we have finally gotten rid of one pernicious ancient superstition, that of the cosmogony—for a universe with a discreet beginning (the Big Bang) and no end, does not allow for further investigations into its origins through absolute factual proof.  Of course there was never going to be a witness to any re-beginning anyway.

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Remember that the physical sciences go back to classical times as part of an all encompassing category of philosophical reasoning: physis.  Lucretius, the father of what became modern science, was engaged in theology at least as much as he was in the pursuit of a nascent form of naturalism.  [See gloss on Lucretius below]  As a result, the advancements represented by his thinking may not be as great as they have been made out to be.  Modernity comes with its own strong prejudices.

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Lucretius was a member of a much criticized sect, the brotherhood of Epicurus.  In our own time the position once occupied by the Epicurean thinker, or the apostate, is the believer in gods.  Strangely enough, this is approximately the same position as the one occupied by the (usually secular, atheistic) Bohemian.

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Certain species of contemporary youth culture represent mutated versions of Bohemianism.   The challenge is to decide whether they have altered themselves to evade capture by the culture of capital, or to better facilitate their own absorption.  Are these anti-viral variations, or newer and deadlier copies of the virus? 

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Bohemianism is largely for the young.  In old age it should mature into a more regular sense of practice.  The life of the monk is the only way for the Bohemian thinker to grow old well.  There is nothing else.

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I stand—if you are curious—somewhere between the two poles mentioned in the previous statement.

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I once said to a friend, “Do you really think the personal is political, or just petty?”  He replied, “And the distinction is?”

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I am an expat.  As such, I am known as a vagabond to my family, a number to my new government, and a mystery to my home nation.

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It is not that I feel so out of place when I return on a visit to America today, it is more like America seems out of place from where it should be.  I think this is an example of a wise prejudice.

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If we confuse our self-interest for the interests of others, we are being paternalistic.  But what are we if our self-interest coincides with others?  Is this not the essential meaning behind the often abused term solidarity?

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