Monday, September 01, 2008

Song of the Morning: Lucky

First, a disclaimer: I support skepticism. I think it is a healthy and necessary human behavior and way of thought (you'll soon see why I mention it).

A very admired professor of mine is in the habit of producing an anecdote which, he says, demonstrates the importance of skepticism. It goes something along the lines of:
"A man goes to the temple of Poseidon, god of the sea, where he is shown a lot of offerings made by those that were saved from drowning. 'Ah', he says, 'but what about those men who did drown?'".

My point is, and I'll probably ruin the humorous part of the anecdote, that this story is incomplete. Why? Because we don't get to hear the reply from the local priest. I'm sure the priest can produce all kinds of reasons (or excuses) as to the wickedness of those who drowned (or their lack of offerings before going on board that last fateful voyage...). But the reply of the priest is omitted, and one may ask if rightly so. After all, this story is not supposed to deal with the relations between science (represented by skepticism) and theology (represented by the absent priest). It is just suppose to show that skepticism is important. Well, is that a complete answer? I'm not sure.

Could another example serve us better? Suppose the man from the anecdote went to the horse racing tracks and was shown a wall full of pictures of happy people. Would he not ask "where are all those who lost in their bets?". Would not the reasonable reply be "since they lost, they were disinclined to give thanks to the gambling authorities"? Would that constitute a good answer? How is it different from the answer of the priest?

Doubt has no real end and its beginning is in the first breath and the first sight. Doubt doesn't paralyze out of fear; it is the certainty we perceive or believe to exist that causes that hesitation.
So, this post's songs are extraordinary beautiful covers of a beautiful Radiohead song (from OK Computer). I don't believe in luck; I have cause enough to doubt it. But there are some things, like this song, I don't doubt. They exist.

John Frusciante - Lucky (live)
Warren Haynes -Lucky (from Live at Bonnaroo)

Warren Haynes' picture from
John Frusciante's picture from the blog PenguinsKnowWhy

No comments: