Wednesday, April 21, 2010

final reports begin

We had a great start today with final report presentations. Alex M. offered a thoughtful comparison of Tolkien's Ring with Plato's (Gyges'). Alex S. presented a very thorough and, to some, chilling peek at the brave new world of transhumanism and "living long enough to live forever." Both prompted calm, civil, instructive discussion. So did Kimberley's "Office" report.

But Chris's "Boondock Saints" report and his discussion question-- Do we need people like this [vigilantes who storm a courtroom to murder a defendant, convinced that they're doing God's work] in the world today?"-- provoked a degree of heat that I hope will cool to a reflective glow. I admit I got a bit heated myself.

Do we need armed vigilantes? Like a hole in the head. But we've got 'em in spades. Hobbes would've called them agents of the bellum omnium, representatives of the state of nature and destroyers of the social contract. Some of us think the best name for them is simply "terrorist."

Commenting on Alex's transhumanist report, I mentioned Ray Kurzweil's teenage game show debut in 1965. Was he already thinking about living forever?

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