Author Topic: In the New Yorker...  (Read 743049 times)

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1080 on: February 11, 2015, 08:42:24 pm »
There was a lady at my Bible study class last Sunday who was born in Sweden. She said that you are automatically a member of the Lutheran church when you're born and if you want to join a different church, you become a member of a "free" church, that is, one that is not tied to the government. The Lutheran church and the government are associated somehow. Swedish Brokies, please correct me or elaborate! Many Swedes are nonreligious or atheists and few attend church. Who knows, perhaps this is one of their keys to happiness?

The Swedish king in the 1500s used the growth of Lutherian Protestantism to transfer the Catholic church's properties and assets into the hands of Sweden, so that is the reason attributed to the popularity of Lutherism.

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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1081 on: February 11, 2015, 10:50:08 pm »
But then the question becomes, why is Lutheranism particularly popular there? (And is Lutheranism that much more existential-angst-filled than other denominations?)

During the era of the Reformation, the churches in Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway were all reformed "from the top down," similar to the church in England, and the state churches in the Scandinavian countries all adopted a Lutheran theology. I wouldn't exactly say Lutheranism is "particularly popular" there--it's not as though the people had a choice--just that the Scandinavian countries have 400 years of history of being "Lutheran countries."

Yes, I think Lutheranism is more "existential-angst-filled" than other denominations. Ref: Kierkegaard. Lutherans don't have comfort of conviction of their own predestination to salvation, unlike the Reformed "Puritan" denominations.

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I think it could be the climate and sun angle.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if that's a part of it.

"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1082 on: February 12, 2015, 02:36:59 pm »
I started the Pollan article (Feb. 9) over lunch today. I find it interesting and exciting.  :)

On a very mundane level, I didn't know LSD was legal until 1970. I was just a kid back then.  ::)
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1083 on: February 12, 2015, 07:55:44 pm »
I don't usually read the fiction, but for Toni Morrison I made an exception (Feb. 9).

I read this last night. Very readable and short, but I'm not sure I got a whole lot out of it. The name of the story is "Sweetness".

ALice Gregory's piece "R U There?" on texting-based crisis counseling was good in this issue, too. 
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1084 on: February 13, 2015, 09:54:40 am »
On a very mundane level, I didn't know LSD was legal until 1970. I was just a kid back then.  ::)

Which means that by the time I tried it, it had been illegal for less than a decade.  ::)

I've started reading the one about the guy who discovered some amazing mathematical proof. It may be too soon to tell, but so far it's interesting. Math itself makes my eyes glaze over -- I was once actually good at it but I never particularly liked it, stopped taking it in high school, and now my skills have atrophied to about a fifth-grade level -- but as in the play/movie "Proof," the human drama surrounding amazing mathematical feats can be interesting.

One thing I like about this is the guy was middle-aged and seemingly washed up -- he couldn't get a job in academia, was working in a Subway! -- when things turned around for him.

The proof in this article is described as one that demonstrates, as I understand it from the brief description early on, that two prime numbers can be consecutive. Logically, that doesn't make sense, does it? Except in the case of 1 and 2. After that, every other number can be divided by 2, so ...? At least, my fifth-grade math mind can't conceive of it. But then, the world's great math minds considered it impossible until this guy did it, so it's not just me.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1085 on: February 13, 2015, 10:50:36 am »
My [math] skills have atrophied to about a fifth-grade level.

Unless you're working in a job that demands sophisticated math, that's probably about all you need. I mean, how often in our daily lives do we have to find the square root of anything? (And what was the purpose of that, anyway?)  :laugh:  Plus, we now have calculators and computers, which we didn't have when you and I were in fifth grade. Calculators only started to come in when you and I were in high school.

In a similar vein, I heard something recently about new attempts to make kids understand mathematical concepts, instead of just learn how to add, subtract, etc. I thought to myself, "OMG, that sound an awful lot like the 'new math' that was in vogue when I was in elementary school: 'Subtraction is the additive inverse,' shit like that taught to first graders." WTF? It was a disaster in 1964-65; I can't see it being an better now.

Which means that by the time I tried it, it had been illegal for less than a decade.  ::)

The other thing I came away with from that article is, If LSD can successfully treat anxiety in cancer patients and the terminally ill, why can't they titrate the dosage and use it to help people who "just" have Generalized Anxiety Disorder? If I had a bad case of GAD, would I be willing to treat it with one or an occasional session of LSD with a therapist instead of having to take medication every day? I sure would!
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1086 on: February 13, 2015, 11:11:08 am »
Unless you're working in a job that demands sophisticated math, that's probably about all you need. I mean, how often in our daily lives do we have to find the square root of anything? (And what was the purpose of that, anyway?)  :laugh:  Plus, we now have calculators and computers, which we didn't have when you and I were in fifth grade. Calculators only started to come in when you and I were in high school.

I know. Occasionally the mathematical demands of my journalism job exceed my abilities. I have to stop and think about how to calculate percentages and things like that.

But I have taken the GRE twice; the first time I studied the math, relearned how to do quadratic equations, and got an actually respectable score (that is, my percentage among people taking the GREs, which includes everyone from math majors to, well, people planning to go for an MFA in writing) and the second time I didn't study at all and my score was ... I guess you could call it respectable by creative-writing program standards.

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In a similar vein, I heard something recently about new attempts to make kids understand mathematical concepts, instead of just learn how to add, subtract, etc. I thought to myself, "OMG, that sound an awful lot like the 'new math' that was in vogue when I was in elementary school: 'Subtraction is the additive inverse,' shit like that taught to first graders." WTF? It was a disaster in 1964-65; I can't see it being an better now.

I never really understand what "new math" was, because it was the only math I'd ever known.

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The other thing I came away with from that article is, If LSD can successfully treat anxiety in cancer patients and the terminally ill, why can't they titrate the dosage and use it to help people who "just" have Generalized Anxiety Disorder? If I had a bad case of GAD, would I be willing to treat it with one or an occasional session of LSD with a therapist instead of having to take medication every day? I sure would!

Having experienced both, I would say it would have to be a very low dose.

I haven't read the article yet but the premise surprises me; I would think LSD would take the minds of terminally ill people into some unsettling places.



Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1087 on: February 13, 2015, 11:23:34 am »
I never really understand what "new math" was, because it was the only math I'd ever known.

That was the thing. It was supposed to make kids understand why the different math functions worked--kids who didn't yet know how to do the basic math functions.

I will never forget being in grade school, and having trouble with and getting upset over my math homework, and getting grief from my dad because I couldn't do math in my head, had to do all sorts of stuff on paper like cross off numbers and "carry" numbers--but that was how I was being taught. And he blamed me for it!  :(

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Having experienced both, I would say it would have to be a very low dose.

I haven't read the article yet but the premise surprises me; I would think LSD would take the minds of terminally ill people into some unsettling places.

It's a very interesting article. I don't want to give too much away, but your concern is exactly why it's done with a therapist present. I don't recall that they go into the amount of the drug taken by the patient.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1088 on: February 15, 2015, 04:16:10 pm »
I've started reading the one about the guy who discovered some amazing mathematical proof. It may be too soon to tell, but so far it's interesting. Math itself makes my eyes glaze over -- I was once actually good at it but I never particularly liked it, stopped taking it in high school, and now my skills have atrophied to about a fifth-grade level -- but as in the play/movie "Proof," the human drama surrounding amazing mathematical feats can be interesting.

One thing I like about this is the guy was middle-aged and seemingly washed up -- he couldn't get a job in academia, was working in a Subway! -- when things turned around for him.

I loved that story too. The vulnerability of people whose minds are focused on such abstract things that they can't function in the day-to-day world very well. I like the way the story ended...completely in character.
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Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: In the New Yorker...
« Reply #1089 on: February 19, 2015, 02:17:28 pm »
At lunch today I finished Elizabeth Kolbert's story about "the impossibility of justice for the Holocaust" (Feb. 16) and read Nathan Heller on a book about Scandinavia (so it appears Donald Duck is to the Swedes what Jerry Lewis is to the French).
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.