Later On

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Archive for the ‘Evolution’ Category

Life without design

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Chiara Marletto, a postdoctoral research associate and junior research fellow at Wolfson College at the University of Oxford, writes in Aeon:

Living things have puzzled and challenged us since the dawn of our species. Even in the light of our modern scientific understanding, they seem remarkable. A merlin falcon hunting its prey, a hummingbird suspended in the air beside a flower, the self-reproduction of a bacterial cell: all are instances of stunning control and precision. How could anything so complex have originated from inert matter?

For millennia, some of the most brilliant thinkers have attempted to answer this question. Most of them concluded that living things must have been produced by an intentional design process. They were wrong, of course: the theory of evolution by variation and natural selection – Charles Darwin’s momentous leap – shows how those stupendously intricate mechanisms can come about without one. Yet the task of showing how life itself can arise without design is surprisingly vexed.

The very problem Darwin’s theory addresses is ultimately rooted in physics: living things have certain properties that seem to set them apart from other aggregations of inert matter. They have many different subparts – instantiating biological adaptations – all coordinating to some function. That’s the key property: they closely resemble objects that have literally been designed, such as factories and robots. For example, the ciliary muscles and the lens in the eye coordinate exquisitely to permit vision, just like the optical components of a sophisticated camera. In modern biology, this is called the appearance of design – a property described by Socrates and given canonical expression in 1802 by William Paley in his ‘watchmaker’ argument for the existence of God.

More generally, living things, again just like factories and robots, have the ability to perform physical transformations with a very high degree of precision, and to do so repeatedly and reliably. A goat’s jaws and heart just keep on chewing and beating for its whole lifetime. If you got the goat to graze your lawn, it would mow it to high accuracy and be just as capable of doing the same when presented with another lawn. It just keeps going: the goat is, among other things, a lawnmowing machine.

Unlike factories, all living things rely on a rather peculiar contrivance: the living cell. Cells can self-reproduce, manufacturing new instances of themselves in a process involving, at its heart, the faithful replication of the genetic information contained in the cell’s DNA. We find this capacity nowhere in the rest of nature. Even among human technologies, there are only dim foreshadowings of it, such as 3D printers that print some of their own spare parts.

Why should such features of living things constitute a problem for physics? Crucially, what can and cannot be made to happen in the physical world is determined by physical laws. For example, a perpetual motion machine cannot be constructed, no matter what resources are devoted to the task, as it is forbidden by those laws. Conversely, given the presence of life in our universe, physics must be such as to allow for it.

But our laws of physics provide only certain elementary objects, such as simple chemicals, in great numbers. These objects do not, in themselves, have the ability to repeatedly cause highly accurate transformations. Neither do they seem adapted to do anything in particular. If they do cause transformations, it is neither very accurately nor reliably: they wear out and make errors, their resources get depleted, and so on. In other words, the laws of physics contain no built-in facility for accurate transformations; nor, in particular, for biological adaptations that can bring such transformations about. They are no-design, in this special sense. Thus the problem with living things, expressed within physics, is that they are highly adapted to effect all sorts of transformations to high accuracy, whereas the laws of physics aren’t.

Given that life isn’t the output of an intentional design process, but evolved, how could living things have evolved given these design-free laws of physics? Darwin’s theory addresses this problem, explaining that variation and natural selection bring about the appearance of design. But this in itself doesn’t close the explanatory gap, as we can see especially clearly in the modern version of Darwin’s theory – neo-Darwinism. At its heart are the replicators, or genes – bits of DNA that are transmitted, by replication, to the next generation. Moreover, for replication to be as accurate as it is in living things, accurate self-reproduction of the cell is also required. In short, the theory presupposes the possibility of certain accurate physical transformations, and these are just what no-design laws of physics fail to provide in their starter kit.

Here’s where the puzzle arises. Biological replication and self‑reproduction are in fact such stupendously well‑orchestrated physical transformations that one must explain how they are possible under the simple, no‑design laws of physics such as ours. This additional explanation, which was not included in the theory of evolution, is essential for that theory to properly explain how living things arise without intentional design – to close the explanatory gap.

Now, it turns out that an explanation of this sort is peculiarly difficult to formulate using the prevailing methods of physics. The latter can predict only what a physical system will do (or will probably do) at a later time, given certain initial conditions and laws of motion. But applying laws of motion to particles is an intractably laborious way to express the appearance of design, replication, self‑reproduction and natural selection. Those processes are highly emergent, involving the collective motion of countless interacting particles.

There is more. Even if one could predict that – given certain dynamical laws and initial conditions – particles would aggregate so as to form a goat at a certain time, this would not at all explain whether a goat could have come about without design. The design of the goat, for all we know, could be encoded in the initial conditions or in the laws of motion. In general, one must explain whether and how a goat is possible (ie, permitted) under no‑design laws of physics; not just predict that it will (or will probably) happen, given some version of the actual laws and initial conditions.

Thinking within the prevailing conception has led some physicists – including the 1963 Nobel Prize-winner Eugene Wigner and the late US-born quantum physicist David Bohm – to conclude that the laws of physics must be tailored to produce biological adaptations in general. This is amazingly erroneous. If it were true, physical theories would have to be patched up with ‘design-bearing’ additions, in the initial conditions or the laws of motion, or both, and the whole explanatory content of Darwinian evolution would be lost.

So, how can we explain physically how replication and self reproduction are possible, given laws that contain no hidden designs, if the prevailing conception’s tools are inadequate?

By applying a new fundamental theory of physics: constructor theory.

Constructor theory is a mode of explanation proposed by David Deutsch, visiting professor of physics at the University of Oxford, who pioneered the theory of the universal quantum computer. With constructor theory, Deutsch generalises some of the insights that led to that earlier idea, applying them now to the whole of physics.

In constructor theory, physical laws are formulated only in terms of which tasks are possible (with arbitrarily high accuracy, reliability, and repeatability), and which are impossible, and why – as opposed to what happens, and what does not happen, given dynamical laws and initial conditions. A task is impossible if there is a law of physics that forbids it. Otherwise, it is possible – which means that a constructor for that task – an object that causes the task to occur and retains the ability to cause it again – can be approximated arbitrarily well in reality. Car factories, robots and living cells are all accurate approximations to constructors.

This radical change of perspective is consistent with current explanations in terms of initial conditions and laws of motion, but permits . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

21 January 2020 at 4:16 am

Posted in Daily life, Evolution, Memes

A doctor talks about his switch from low-carb/keto diet to whole-food plant-based diet

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And as blog readers know, I also was able to discontinue all my medications (for diabetes, for high blood pressure, and for cholesterol control) 10 weeks after switching from a low-carb diet to a whole-food plant-based diet.

Written by LeisureGuy

20 January 2020 at 9:17 pm

A Year Inside a Growing American Terrorist Movement

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In New York, Photo Portfolio By Mark Peterson, Introduction By Claudia Rankine, and Reporting by James D. Walsh:

When Dylann Storm Roof walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, he joined the Bible-study class before gunning down nine African-Americans as they prayed.

Roof still communicates with his admirers on the outside. In jail, he began exchanging letters with a man in Arkansas named Billy Roper. A former schoolteacher and the son and grandson of Klansmen, Roper leads the Shield Wall Network, a group of several dozen white nationalists who organize rallies and conferences — often collaborating with neighboring hate groups — with the goal of building a white ethno-state. “I have a lot of empathy for him. I’m 47, and he’s young enough to be my son,” Roper said of Roof when interviewed recently for this project. “These millennials and now, I guess, Gen-Zers that are coming up, they are not stupid about the demographic trends and what they portend for the future. That angst, that anxiety that plagues them, drives them to do rash things — whether it’s that rash or not — I can empathize with.” I would humbly suggest we believe that Roper is being sincere, and that he speaks for many.

Roper and Roof are only two of those affiliated with the 148 white-nationalist hate groups in this country. Though it is impossible to calculate their exact membership numbers (as individual groups either conceal or inflate them), their violence is indisputable. White supremacists were responsible for the deaths of at least 39 people in 2018 alone. And the activity has not slowed this year: not in January, as neo-Nazis plastered flyers outside newspaper offices and homes in Washington State and the Carolinas and an army veteran pleaded guilty to killing a black man in New York to “ignite a racial war”; in February, as Vermont synagogues and LGBT centers were vandalized and a self-described white-nationalist Coast Guard lieutenant was arrested for plotting a domestic terror attack; in March, as WELCOME TO GERMANY and GAS THE JEWS were spray-painted outside Oklahoma City Democratic Party and Chickasaw Nation offices and, on the Upper East Side, classmates handed their school’s only black ninth-grader a note reading “n—–s don’t have rights”; in April, as a shooting at a synagogue left one dead and three injured and FBI Director Christopher Wray called white supremacy a “persistent, pervasive” threat to the country; in May, as swastikas fell from the sky — on flyers dropped by drones outside an Ariana Grande concert — and were scrawled on public spaces in at least three states; in June, as far-right groups rallied in Portland, Oregon, for the first time that summer; in July, as a man promoted a white-power manifesto on Instagram before killing three and wounding 17 others at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California; in August, as another angry young man — this one 1,000 miles away in El Paso, Texas — posted an anti-immigrant manifesto online then committed this year’s most deadly mass shooting, killing 22 and injuring 24 at a Walmart; in September, as the Department of Homeland Security added white-supremacist extremism to its list of priority threats, the same month a swastika appeared on its walls; in October, as swastikas also appeared on Cape Cod and invitations to a white-supremacist gathering were mailed to Maine residents; in November, as a white-supremacist group filmed a video outside Mississippi’s Emmett Till Memorial; nor this month, as students flashed possible white-power signs at an Army-Navy football game.

The photojournalist Mark Peterson has documented this year, traveling the country to surface the extent of the activity and catalogue the most dangerous ideologies. His quotidian look at contemporary American Confederacy and white nationalism shows us our neighbors in other robes. The people portrayed are living among us in every region of the country, in our workplaces, in our government, on social media, and, for some, in our homes. Their culture is made up of both public rallies and private rituals. We see their homes and their streets and their schools, and that these are also our streets and our schools and our neighbors. “These pictures weren’t just taken in the South,” says Peterson, who covers the right wing and began documenting the rise of white nationalism after the 2016 election. “They were taken in New York, in New Jersey, in California, in Portland. The idea of quarantining it or ignoring it: That didn’t work in the past when they tried to do that, and it won’t now.”

The barrage of daily headlines makes it easy to see this year’s incidents as isolated, as white noise in the background of our relentless political moment. But as disturbing as they are, these images portray the American story. It is our inheritance, institutionalized since the Civil War by a government that only recently, and tentatively, began to address domestic terrorism for what it is. White nationalism, legitimized by our president’s support of “very fine people,” has flourished in part because of this refusal to look it squarely in its face and acknowledge it as homegrown. Without a full accounting of the reality, there can be no remedy. To look away is a form of collaboration. —Claudia Rankine

HATE ON THE RISE

After a white supremacist killed 51 people in two New Zealand mosques in March, President Trump was asked if he thought the threat of white nationalism was on the rise. “I don’t, really,” he responded. “I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”

Hate-crime statistics are notoriously difficult to calculate. Local and state law-enforcement agencies are not required to submit numbers to the FBI, laws defining hate crimes vary from state to state, and experts estimate that more than half of all hate crimes go unreported. According to the FBI, hate-crime violence hit a 16-year high in 2018 with the black, Jewish, Latino, and transgender communities being targeted more than ever and the nation’s largest cities seeing the most activity. The FBI’s 2019 numbers won’t be available until next November, but indications suggest they will continue to trend upward. The most deadly mass shooting of 2019 was committed by a xenophobic extremist in El Paso, Texas. “Lone wolf” killers have found their pack.

Continue reading. There’s much more. Photos at the link showing a meme that, unlike Christianity, is gaining ground in the US.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 December 2019 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Daily life, Evolution, Memes

Christianity meme fading in 21st century America

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The above chart is from a Wall Street Journal article. Meme evolution in action.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 December 2019 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Daily life, Evolution, Memes

Intriguing interview of Daniel Hoffman: The Case Against Reality

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A very interesting interview (and he has a book: The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes.

And there’s also a debate video (45 minutes).

UPDATE:

The natural inclination is to shrug off these fancy-shmancy theories and say that we do see reality as it is, because look! there it is. That flower, for example, the real flower that we see. We didn’t make it up by looking at it.

Kant talked about the “thing in itself,” which seems to be related to what Hoffman is talking about, and the “thing in itself” is locked away from use because we are trapped within our sense. That flower, for example, does look the same at all to a bee or butterly:

So is the flower we see the “true” flower? or is the flower the bee sees the “true” flower?

And the bee not only sees the flower, the bee perceives it through its electromagnetic field, to which we are oblivious (because for us that has no survival advantage, so evolution shut off that perception, just as Hoffman says).

Written by LeisureGuy

21 November 2019 at 9:25 pm

Choose your path — and avoid the fear of missing out

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Epicurus advocates enjoying the daily pleasures that life presents. That requires being present for those pleasure and not becoming preoccupied by absent pleasures.

I mention this idea in the long post on my diet — how some who choose a plant-based diet become preoccupied with the foods they’re not eating (the steaks, ribs, roasts, sausage, duck breast, scrambled eggs, triple-cream cheese, and so on) to the extent that they fail to focus on the pleasures of the food they are eating. Their focus is on denial (no meat! no dairy! no eggs!) and not on affirmation; they keep looking back at what they once had and ignore all the wonders of the new possibilities open to them. I wrote:

How to be happy with your diet

Look at the variety of whole plant-based foods and the meals you can make with them. If you focus your attention on what you can/should eat and not dwell on what you can’t (or shouldn’t) eat, you’ll feel much more satisfied with your lot. If you constantly obsess about foods you should avoid, you’ll make yourself unhappy and undermine your will to eat well. I mention this because it seems that people have a tendency to focus on what they lack and not on what they have. (“We look before and after, And pine for what is not; Our sincerest laughter With some pain is fraught; Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.” – from To a Skylark, by Percy Bysshe Shelley.)

This is a specific example of a more general situation — namely, whenever you choose a direction you necessarily must forsake other directions.

The Road Not Taken – by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Having chosen a path, an Epicurean will enjoy the pleasure of that path and not fret about what s/he has missed from all other possible paths. Whatever you do and whatever you have, you can think of myriads of things you aren’t doing and don’t have. Do not let yourself become attached to those absences.

For example, if you choose a whole-food plant-based diet, do not consider it as rejecting meat, dairy, and eggs (the negative view, which focuses on the path abandoned), but rather look for the pleasures of the path now chosen.

More generally, we necessarily move from one day to next and from one season to the next. We are always moving on, changing, and (hopefully) growing in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. That growth suggests a path that constantly presents new vistas and new choices. Each stage along the way is an abandonment of the previous stage. One can focus on the loss of the previous stage or look for the pleasures the new stage brings. If you follow Epicurus, it is obvious that you should enjoy the pleasures.

I mention this in Leisureguy’s Guide to Gourmet Shaving:

I realized recently that this book might have been more accurately titled The Epicure’s Guide to Shaving, for Epicurus[i] would surely approve making necessary tasks enjoyable. He thought that chance encounters of atoms falling through the void, randomly interacting, produced — after much time — us and the world in which we live. In his view we cease to exist when we die, while the atoms of our body continue to tumble along through time and space.

Because Epicurus believed that life is a one-shot deal, he made enjoying life a high priority. A dissolute lifestyle tends to have highly unpleasant consequences, so it makes sense to seek enjoyment first in the small things of life, which is what we mostly encounter day to day. Learning new ideas and mastering new skills are examples of activities that provide enjoyment without harm.

Take, as a random example, the morning shave: an Epicurean who shaves will seek a way to derive enjoyment from the task: to spend his (limited) time doing things he doesn’t enjoy makes no sense when he could instead do them enjoyably. Moreover, an enjoyable task requires little willpower: you are drawn to the task rather than having to push yourself. Indeed, a task can even be restorative and energizing; rather than draining you, a task approached properly can provide both enjoyment and a satisfying sense of fulfillment.

The psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi wrote several books on a mental state he termed “flow”: a focused, absorbing, satisfying involvement in what is happening in the moment[ii]. So another way to state the Epicurean position is that one should arrange his or her life to maximize the opportunities for flow to occur. Flow is a mental experience, so introspection combined with an attitude that encourages the enjoyment of small things—to look for joy, and to think about how to find more occasions of joy—is an obvious step.

This book is my contribution to an Epicurean lifestyle: the book offers a way to make a necessary chore enjoyable. But don’t stop just at shaving.

[i] Epicurus: See Catherine Wilson’s book and (of course) his own writings, and there’s also the Wikipedia entry on Epicurus.

[ii] Mihály Csíkszentmihályi: See the Wikipedia article on flow. Each person can find activities appropriate for him or her that will promote flow: rock climbing, painting or drawing, gardening, cooking, playing a musical instrument, and the like. Csíkszentmihályi defined the term in his studies and in the fascinating book that emerged from them, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

This is why I see as wrong-headed the effort by some who take up a plant-based diet to focus on trying to mimic the foods left behind: seeking imitation bacon, imitation sausage, imitation roast, imitation burgers, imitation cheese. Those strike me as distractions that prevent appreciation of the new vistas that the new direction offers. That approach amounts to looking back at the past and longing for it.

The Chambered Nautilus – by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main,—
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,—
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathèd horn!
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:—

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!

To cling to your current mansion and fear to abandon it prevents means you will not encounter (nor appreciate) new pleasures. It’s bad enough when this fear means one fails to appreciate the pleasures of a new dietary direction, but such fears can cost more: they can imprison one in a life of misery because their focus is totally on what would be lost by moving on. Consider, for example, a terrible marriage in which two remain together only because each fears the loss of wealth and possessions (the house, the lifestyle, the cars, …). Their wealth and possessions are a prison, and they remain in their current chamber of misery, never moving to a dome more vast. They view taking a new path only as the loss of the old path, and they cannot see the possibility of pleasures that lie unseen ahead.

Epicurus would, I think, see this as a tragedy. They have but one life, and to remain stuck in a miserable situation, never considering the joys that could await them in a new stage, always clinging to what they now have, holding back from moving on: that enacts a terrible price.

Rabbi Ben Ezra – by Robert Browning

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”

That’s but the first stanza of a long poem. It presents a two-chambered version of the nautilus: youth and old age. Don’t cling to youth, for it must pass. Enjoy the pleasures of a fuller experience.

Those who fear change do not grow, for growth is change. They fear to leave the mansions of the past to see what pleasures lie ahead — they cannot make this leap of faith. If your attention is totally taken by what was, potential new pleasures pass by unobserved and unexperienced.

So if you choose a whole-food plant-based diet, embrace it. See where it takes you. Explore the new mansion.

Update: This morning another poem occurred to me on somewhat the same theme — a theme that seems to appeal to poets because being distracted from what is here now before one by pining for what is not is a common human (and uniquely human) condition. Here’s the poem:

Maud Muller – by John Greenleaf Whittier

Maud Muller, on a summer’s day,
Raked the meadow sweet with hay.

Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
Of simple beauty and rustic health.

Singing, she wrought, and her merry glee
The mock-bird echoed from his tree.

But when she glanced to the far-off town,
White from its hill-slope looking down,

The sweet song died, and a vague unrest
And a nameless longing filled her breast,—

A wish that she hardly dared to own,
For something better than she had known.

The Judge rode slowly down the lane,
Smoothing his horse’s chestnut mane.

He drew his bridle in the shade
Of the apple-trees to greet the maid,

And ask a draught from the spring that flowed
Through the meadow across the road.

She stooped where the cool spring bubbled up,
And filled for him her small tin cup,

And blushed as she gave it, looking down
On her feet so bare, and her tattered gown.

“Thanks!” said the Judge; “a sweeter draught
From a fairer hand was never quaffed.”

He spoke of the grass and flowers and trees,
Of the singing birds and the humming bees;

Then talked of the haying, and wondered whether
The cloud in the west would bring foul weather.

And Maud forgot her brier-torn gown
And her graceful ankles bare and brown;

And listened, while a pleased surprise
Looked from her long-lashed hazel eyes.

At last, like one who for delay
Seeks a vain excuse, he rode away.

Maud Muller looked and sighed: “Ah me!
That I the Judge’s bride might be!

“He would dress me up in silks so fine,
And praise and toast me at his wine.

“My father should wear a broadcloth coat;
My brother should sail a painted boat.

“I’d dress my mother so grand and gay,
And the baby should have a new toy each day.

“And I’d feed the hungry and clothe the poor,
And all should bless me who left our door.”

The Judge looked back as he climbed the hill,
And saw Maud Muller standing still.

“A form more fair, a face more sweet,
Ne’er hath it been my lot to meet.

“And her modest answer and graceful air
Show her wise and good as she is fair.

“Would she were mine, and I to-day,
Like her, a harvester of hay:

“No doubtful balance of rights and wrongs,
Nor weary lawyers with endless tongues,

“But low of cattle and song of birds,
And health and quiet and loving words.”

But he thought of his sisters proud and cold,
And his mother vain of her rank and gold.

So, closing his heart, the Judge rode on,
And Maud was left in the field alone.

But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
When he hummed in court an old love-tune;

And the young girl mused beside the well,
Till the rain on the unraked clover fell.

He wedded a wife of richest dower,
Who lived for fashion, as he for power.

Yet oft, in his marble hearth’s bright glow,
He watched a picture come and go;

And sweet Maud Muller’s hazel eyes
Looked out in their innocent surprise.

Oft, when the wine in his glass was red,
He longed for the wayside well instead;

And closed his eyes on his garnished rooms
To dream of meadows and clover-blooms.

And the proud man sighed, with a secret pain,
“Ah, that I were free again!

“Free as when I rode that day,
Where the barefoot maiden raked her hay.”

She wedded a man unlearned and poor,
And many children played round her door.

But care and sorrow, and childbirth pain,
Left their traces on heart and brain.

And oft, when the summer sun shone hot
On the new-mown hay in the meadow lot,

And she heard the little spring brook fall
Over the roadside, through the wall,

In the shade of the apple-tree again
She saw a rider draw his rein.

And, gazing down with timid grace,
She felt his pleased eyes read her face.

Sometimes her narrow kitchen walls
Stretched away into stately halls;

The weary wheel to a spinet turned,
The tallow candle an astral burned,

And for him who sat by the chimney lug,
Dozing and grumbling o’er pipe and mug,

A manly form at her side she saw,
And joy was duty and love was law.

Then she took up her burden of life again,
Saying only, “It might have been.”

Alas for maiden, alas for Judge,
For rich repiner and household drudge!

God pity them both! and pity us all,
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall.

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies
Deeply buried from human eyes;

And, in the hereafter, angels may
Roll the stone from its grave away!

Written by LeisureGuy

8 November 2019 at 3:57 am

The basic epistemological problem: It’s impossible to see the world as it is

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Written by LeisureGuy

6 November 2019 at 5:43 pm

Posted in Evolution, Science

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