Friday, October 07, 2011

Drunk and happy


The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.
           -- George Bernard Shaw

It is a far, far better thing to have a firm anchor in nonsense than to put out on the troubled sea of thought.
           -- John Kenneth Galbraith

I'm actually not sure if Galbraith was being sarcastic. But it's interesting to see it in counterpoint with the Shaw quote. 

The funny thing is that many people in this world would in earnestness argue that being happier when drunk is actually the whole point, and that alcohol is a great thing. If one has markedly less intelligence and control while drunk, gets hangovers and ruins the liver, that's a minor price to pay. 
Well, it's all just beliefs in a subjective world. Uhm, which actually is closer to the points of the two quotes... 
I wonder, can you have a "firm anchor" in nonsense, if you are aware that it is nonsense? 

9 comments:

Jan said...

Brilliant post, thank you Eolake.

Sarah Pendlebury said...

Aren't they talking about religion?

eolake said...

Most probably. The world has, and even more *had*, this artificial divide between "believers" and "sceptics" or "rational people". "Religion" and "science".
But we all believe in something. Take the Big Bang for instance. It's taken for granted by most scientific minds, but if you look at it straight, it's horrific as a "theory". How did it happen, what caused it? What was before it? It's really no more solid than "let there be light".

Bruce said...

"Strong beliefs, loosely held." That seems to be this man's answer:

http://www.physics20.com/2011/08/25/strong-beliefs-loosely-held/

Dave Nielsen said...

The difference is that scientific theories change as new evidence is found. Religious ideas like are not intended to ever be altered, and aren't based on anything.

Ray said...

@ Eolake:

"Take the Big Bang for instance. It's taken for granted by most scientific minds, but if you look at it straight, it's horrific as a "theory". How did it happen, what caused it? What was before it? It's really no more solid than "let there be light"."

Hmmmm! Let's see.... A Big Bang, horrendous heat, energy, radiation, expansion....hydrogen the most common element, from which all the others later formed...through more nuclear reactions....could it have been some kind of unimaginably large bomb? Perhaps a hydrogen bomb? In some grander but no more advanced universe? And what of religion and science? In the primordial soup of the evolving cosmos, science and religion taken far enough both lead into 'gray areas' where no man has gone before, nor may ever.

We can't speculate on the nature of a universe too vast for us to catch an adequate perspective of it. So we can only guess at its true origins and who or what began
the whole process. Taken far enough, both religion and science come down to beliefs and whose are presumed valid or correct. The truth being we just don't know.

As Will Rogers said, "It's not the things we don't know that get us into trouble. It's the things we do know that ain't so."

Anonymous said...

How about this as a firm nonsense anchor: "the only thing i know is that i know nothing" ?

Peace !

Dave Nielsen said...

How about Horrendous Space Kablooie?

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Yep, Hobbes said it. It is better.