Sunday, 19 July 2009

The Weekend, Briefly

My legs are tired.

This basic fact leads me to consider that my job does not tax me physically. Most of the time I am not even standing any more. I sit at a table or a desk in whatever room I am processing. I must climb ladders and stairs to get from one boat to another, but this is not quite the same as walking around all day (as I did last summer) or standing all day (as I did in highschool summers and my first job here). No, I sit most of the time. Which perhaps makes days like today a bit more tiring. Or maybe it doesn't at all. Maybe days like today would always be tiring and I'd just be tired more often.

Today my brother and I did a lot of walking. We walked over to the apartment, because last night my brother had a flat and he was forced to park in the apartment space as he drove by. So moving became suddenly more difficult. We walked over. As he fiddled with the spare tire, which had become seized into place, I climbed up the stairs and started dismantling the bunkbed. This took a few hours. In fact, after a few hours we came home, had lunch, and then returned so I could finish it and Nick could fight with the tire some more.

I enjoyed taking the bed apart. First, it was real, honest work that I wasn't getting paid for. Whenever I wind up doing this, it makes me somewhat happy. Second, I got to play with power tools. The only way the joy of power tools would go away would be through injury or habituation. So far, I have avoided both. Third, I got to try to figure out how to disassemble something. It wasn't difficult (otherwise I'd enjoy it less), but it did take a little thinking sometimes. I had to do it all in the right order, see, and often had to do something which would be easy for two people by myself. So it wasn't bad. It just required standing up for a few hours straight, which I haven't done much this summer. Also, I walked and climbed a few stairs. Geez, I need to exercise more. I don't get nearly enough at work these days.

We also moved some stuff around in the apartment, too.

In other news...

I got some books from the library: a L'Engle book and some rather recent literary theory concerning Lewis' "Narniad" (as the author insists on calling it). I have way too many books out already, since I still have The Last Battle, since my brother's still picking away at it, a book of short stories by Thomas King that I've hardly dipped into, and a book about the science-religion interface, which I'm having trouble really engaging in.

I sat my brother down to watch Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.

That is maybe it. More happened, I am sure, but I can't think of what. I had no epiphanies, nor can I think of any interesting news that I came across. Sorry.

Oh, wait. My brother and I did talk a bit about sin and morality. There might have been something there. I recalled that a prof I had once had said that, if Pascal Boyer is right and morality is biologically wired into us (ie. we have evolved to have some moral sense because groups who were 'moral' were selected for), then laws are unnecessary. Educating people to act according to these morals should be sufficient; it is, in fact, the laws and structures which drive us to be immoral. My concern with this is that Pascal himself, nor any 'evolutionary moralist,' would not claim that morality as we understand it is wired into us. A moral sense is, but not one that we might like. Our instinctive moral sense is fiercely xenophobic (or at least xen-apathetic). Selling armaments to someone overseas will not trip nearly as many instictive alarms as shoplifting, even though most philosophical moral systems would say it's worse. (We did talk, though, about how most forms of Christianity would state that no sin is worse than another, and I believe this generally. That has no bearing on the laws, though.) What this means is that people are far more likely to refrain from stealing even if there were no laws about it than they would be to refrain from selling arms, and yet the latter would be far more costly to society.
See, as I understand it, morality and law are more cousins than siblings--and they may not be first cousins, even. One has to do with cosmic truths and personal decisions, requiring it to be both all-encompassing and remarkably supple. The other has to do with streamlining a particular society at a particular time, requiring it to be fussy and particular, but not necessarily flexible, since it can be altered if need be. The law does not uphold morality. It cannot. The law ensures (or ought to ensure) that society runs in such a way that it doesn't self-destruct and that we are free to do the right thing morally. Of course, morals come into play when we construct the law. They must, because morals must govern our decisions and we must decide on our laws. But laws are not regulative encodements our morality. They are safeguards against societal chaos, and no more. Morals are safeguards against societal chaos, but also much more.

Anyway, if we relied only on our instictive morality (as opposed to true, cosmic morality), society would fall apart. So we need laws to protect society.

Well, that's it for me. I hope you all had good weekend.


Cait said...

which L'Engle book did you get?

Christian H said...

The Wind, Door one. I forget the syntax.

Cait said...

A Wind in the Door, I think it might be.

Jon Wong said...

I have it on good authority that it's called One Wind Door The!

Have you read A Wrinkle in Time? That one was pretty good if I remember correctly (from 10 years ago).

Christian H said...

I have read Wrinkle, One Wind Door The, Many or Deep or Whichever Waters, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and maybe another one (maybe?). But that was quite some time ago. I couldn't find Wrinkle in the library. I had wanted to get that one, even though I remembered Wind/Door better.

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