5/2/14 – On being surprised by the world

By Mike Johnson

Today’s blog is really an addendum or afterthought to the last blog. It’s a curious effect, you begin writing about global warming and end up writing about denial, both its cultural and political aspects. Politicians are professional denialists – they get paid for it – the rest of us don’t have that excuse.

Both the cartoon below and the quote arrived at the same time, which made me think there was some connection between them. That the cartoon and the quote somehow complement each other.

Here’s the toon, with thanks to skeptical science:

The fact that a thing has qualities going beyond whatever we think and say about it is behind our notion of objective reality. Clearly, if reality were ever to cease to show new aspects that are not in our thought, then we could hardly say that it had an objective existence independent of us.
— David Bohm

 With regard the quote, it seems to go to the heart of the matter. We can live in the echo chamber of our own hopes, fears and projections, or be surprised by the world. We don’t always like being surprised by the world, but the world being what it is, we have no choice.

The toon suggests that conspiracy theories are used to bolster faltering world views. Reality always wins.

In the last post I put up the foll0wing cartoon.

Growing awareness of sea-level rises is sparking something of a back reaction from coastal landowners, understandably enough. Coastal properties have traditionally been the most expensive and the most sought after, nowhere more so than Waiheke Island where I live. Since posting that cartoon, I have heard stories on the rumour mill of landowners paying good money for consultants’ reports attacking the reality of sea-level rise. That’s like paying for a consultant to attack Einstein’s theory of relativity because I want to built a faster than light spaceship, or paying for a report attacking the laws of thermodynamics because I want to keep adding energy to a system but not heat it up. And while I’m at it, I might as well get a consultant’s report to the effect that the moon is made of green cheese because I’ve got some big import plans – a lot of Asians switching to dairy!

Note: We are working to open comments on this blog. We got spammed out. Watch this space.