Depressing Thoughts

This is a discussion on Depressing Thoughts within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; It was my wife's birthday yesterday (terrible association with the title, but I assure I'm talking about something else) and ...

  1. #1
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Depressing Thoughts

    It was my wife's birthday yesterday (terrible association with the title, but I assure I'm talking about something else) and I got her an Otis Redding Box Set.

    We sat down to listen to some of it today, and after we were done and she went to bed and I sat at my computer for the usual insomnia exercise, melancholic thoughts poured in. It's the soul, man.

    I caught myself wondering about life and loss in culture. Can you imagine if this man hadn't left us at the age of 26 in that plane crash. What a tremendous loss. His soul unmatched, his writing and performance absolutely unique. What if he was still around? What songs from him have we missed? What new works would we be listening from him today? What have we missed?

    And then the opposite. What if Tolkien had died in WWI? Can you imagine the loss to English literature? A world without Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, two of the most influential fantasy books ever written? And so many died in WWI. Who did we lose, some we don't even know we did? What great loss to our world heritage did these great wars represent? Could we have discovered the cure for cancer if X hadn't died in WWII? Could we be telling the most wonderful children stories ever written if Y hadn't been killed by a drunk driver at the age of 12? What if Poe hadn't left us at the age of 40? What if he had lived past 70, when the wise and the advisors are born.

    Embarrassing thoughts, but decided to share them anyway. One note though: There's a bias on the text towards western culture that in any way represents my stance. Just no one really wants to read a wall of text for the sake of impartiality.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  2. #2
    Devil's Advocate SlyMaelstrom's Avatar
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    I'm going to stop reading at the first open parenthesis and ask...

    Why would you be depressed it was your wife's birthday?

    *nyuck nyuck*

    EDIT: Ok, I read on... so, I'd say that there are plenty of examples like this. Too many to get depressed at any single one. What if Buddy Holly didn't die at 20-something? What if Jim Croce didn't die at 30? Hell... what if Hitler died as a soldier in WWI? O_O
    Sent from my iPad®

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    With writers in particular, it is easier to deal with if you believe the amount of stuff you can write depreciates over time, anyway.

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    War isn't biased, we may very well have lost potentially great, inspiring people, but we may very well have lost some potentially evil people too.

    It's best not to reflect on what we could have had, but to be glad for what we do have and be glad that it didn't turn out worse.

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    It's interesting that Hollywood movies that deal with alternate realities where WWII turned out different, inevitably conclude (and assume the viewer instantly agrees) that the world today would be far worse. Perhaps, perhaps not. Different geniuses would have flourished. Different evil people would have lived. Maybe we all would be decades ahead in science by now.

    It's really western-centric to think everything where "we" triumph is automatically good for the whole planet and civilization as a whole.

    Oh, and the examples of "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit" do not convince me in the least. I was forced those two down my throat in English class and I was bored to tears. I'm sure there are and would have been other influential works in their stead.

  6. #6
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    The examples are simply illustrative. I wouldn't try very hard to explore them. And although I find your comment on Tolkien distressing (maybe you don't understand the significance of his work on future generations of fantasy writers), I do agree his are not works that should be force feed onto anyone. One particular example comes to mind: I really only started appreciating Nathaniel Hawthorn, when many years later I decided to read the The Scarlet Letter on my own volition. Not when it was part of the English curriculum in high school.

    Besides, it was on purpose I didn't even made a reference to another Tolkien much more influential book.

    It's interesting that Hollywood movies that deal with alternate realities where WWII turned out different, inevitably conclude (and assume the viewer instantly agrees) that the world today would be far worse. Perhaps, perhaps not. Different geniuses would have flourished. Different evil people would have lived. Maybe we all would be decades ahead in science by now.
    There's one interesting film that doesn't paint such a bleak alternative reality. Fatherland, with Rutger Hauer based on a book with the same name from Robert Harris. Try to find this movie, if you want. It's a particularly good film. But do not miss the novel. It's exceedingly well written. Classic status in my opinion. And a very well constructed alternative reality and with every detail.

    In it, the allies lost D-Day. Eventually America retreats from the war to concentrate its efforts in Japan which it eventually defeats. With the European campaign lost, UK eventually resigns after the Germans learn their Enigma has been decrypted and resume their U-boat campaign in a siege that starves the country. The USA meanwhile signs an armistice after Germany tests their first atomic bomb. The novel/movie happens in the late 60s. It's essentially about the discovery by Nazi society of the crimes of the Holocaust and the beginning of the end of the Nazi regime.

    In the book and the film, the Nazi society is depicted has having a high standard of living, some manner of liberties (within the confines of a still oppressive regime) and working civil organisms with some form of autonomy.

    I agree this would seem far more likely. However, nonoob, be careful how far you take this idea of yours. You may have not a direct experience with living under an oppressive dictatorship. I do. While I was still young when my country got rid itself of a 40 year near-fascist dictatorship, its consequences still shape today's Portuguese society as well as many families histories.

    The fight against the Nazi regime in Europe was a good fight. It's was a just fight. Not seeing this is particularly somber. It's just not Europe that may complain at your remark. You are being particularly offensive to your countrymen who fought and died in this war to save the world from one of the most brutal regimes in recent human history. Had the allies been defeated, not only would Europe plunge into a new Dark Ages of thought and arts, but also the Final Solution would have gained a new breath and millions more would have died simply because they were not part of the racial ideals of the regime. The subhumans as they were called.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 07-19-2010 at 04:19 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  7. #7
    Master Apprentice phantomotap's Avatar
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    I really only started appreciating Nathaniel Hawthorn, when many years later I decided to read the The Scarlet Letter on my own volition. Not when it was part of the English curriculum in high school.
    I can't help but agree with the tone here.

    Sometimes a little more experience is necessary to appreciate a work.

    *shrug*

    But I still hate "Moby-Dick" with a passion.

    Soma

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