Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Hanover, NH
Mile 1733

Over the past decade, I have become something of a materialist. I have not always been so. I used to think that ideas shaped the larger world of human affairs, love and beauty mattered more than steel and concrete. It's a good recipe for a long term drunk. Being an idealist, that is.

On the trail, however, I begin to see that dismissing intellectual history is like rejecting language. Ideas exist because they describe reality particularly well. They are reality, they are the power behind history. Wars are fought to control the place in which the ideas are stored- minds, books, computers. They are ideas waging war on other ideas, by attacking the ground in which ideas can grow. The ideas are the competing organisms, fighting on a battleground of possible futures.

It is somewhat frightening, thinking of things like "The Reformation" and "Communism" as gigantic five-dimensional macrointelligences controlling human affairs. But as our minds become better connected- more like nodes than individuals- these idea forces take on more substance. They rear, monolith, over human affairs of the 21st century. I am not sure if their sudden solidity makes me feel better or worse about the futur

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