January 27th, 2004


Simian the Theologian

Dessicated. Fallen asleep with the central heating on all night. Outside the window people are hunched and shuffling in the winter cold. Inside the flat it's Martian dry and I expect most objects to crumble into dust if I pick them up. One piece of good news is the abandonment of plans by Cambridge University to build a new centre for primate experimentation, mostly it seems because of the excessive security costs that would be incurred preventing attacks by animal rights demonstrators. I can't claim to know whether such experimentation is of great use to advances in medical science, I suspect that it's of some, but the actual amount is something that it's hard to prove. You could experiment for years and produce nothing of note and then one day, bang! Or perhaps screech! Why the Sam Hill can't scientists put more effort into developing techniques not dependent on animals? They would perhaps understandably argue that neurology is a sufficiently complex area that it demands the use of living subjects and other techniques are not currently adequate. I also believe that scientists often don't like having to justify their work in public. On one hand, this means having to expose their methodological positions to what they see as an ignorant and bigoted public who, let's face it, aren't as smart as them. This is the public that sees cute little monkeys and goes all soft. The fools. They know nothing. Mind you, what never really gets brought up is the financial relationship of such scientists with various investors, shadowy foundations, pharmaceutical companies and so on. It's in their interest that these paradigms aren't challenged and brought down. We know. You don't. Now please leave us alone. Most of these scientists were mercilessly hounded and bullied in school for their bad taste in music and shitty haircuts, do you not think they still bear grudges?

One of the few distinguishing features of humanity is its ability to exhibit kindness to other species. It is something that truly separates us. This kindness is often at the expense of that cool Dawkinsian logic of survivival. Thank God. The fact we place the survival of a several thousand monkeys over possible advances in the treatment in Alzheimer's is, I think, a good thing and an attitude that will serve us much better in the long run of existence on this planet. No, it's not scientific. Of course, we have a ways to go until we offer such love to nightcrawlers, but we might all be Jainists one day.

A long period of enforced dreaming. I missed my opportunity to be on a Beat Takeshi game show, but spent a long term morphing into a series of transdimensional monsters that would be produced through the combination of Chinese characters. It was with some relief that I found myself standing on a pedestrian railway bridge discussing the differences between Flemish and Dutch pronunciation with Rufus Wainwright, a subject he appeared to know an immense amount about. Is there actually any? Then back to real life and the lack of moisture.

While I remember, anyone who has any interest in what's going on in Georgia would be advised to have a gander at Living With Caucasians, a blog by an American who moved out there last year. It's good to read first hand accounts of recent developments and I await for news of just how drunk they managed to get Colin Powell at the many supras he must have had to attend during his stay. Reading it made me try to think of ways I could move out there once college was over. The trouble is I don't have so much to offer in specialised knowledge. I could teach English. After that, I've no idea what use I could be. Unless I enter into the service of the Orthodox church. I can't pretend this idea doesn't persist, but it would be a seismic change within my life and the issue of celibacy isn't a something that can be dealt with lightly. Once upon a time, so the story goes, on the day when priests were graduating from seminaries, the front steps would be crowded with women looking for husbands, since the position offered some level of security in the community. If you didn't marry on this day, well, too late my friend. I suppose you'd take it as divine providence. My outlook on life is sufficiently bleak to see myself upon that day smoking a cigarette out there on the deserted steps in the style of Jean-Paul Belmondo and saying Merde.....
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