Tag Archives: philosophy

Relativity in Biology notes from 2005

It’s always interesting to see the start of ideas. Although I don’t have anything from the Spring of ’04 when I recall realizing biorelativity for the first time, I have found a file with a ‘last modified’ date of June12, ’05, the contents of which are below:

Quantum Biology

biology: the study of the physical attributes of life.

the rate of mutation is constant, much as the speed of light

organisms mutate. light shines. hence organisms bend/curve life-time as objects bend/curve space-time. greater the mass, the more the curve… the greater the inertia (momentum), the greater the curve. so what is meant by inertia in biology (or in physics)? what does mutation light, as photons light objects? [mutation is the smallest unit of life. photons smallest things with momentum.] we use mutation to view changes of a species. so if a species remains the same, its genetic(?) inertia/ momentum is remaining constant. that with the greatest inertia/ momentum creates the most gravity. that with the greatest inertia/ momentum creates biological gravitation towards itself…

space as vacuum for objects, DNA as vacuum for mutations. objects bend space; mutations do what to DNA? organisms bend life. as objects move to the speed of light their mass (apparently) goes to infinity. as organisms move to the rate of mutation (sex), their DNA (apparently) goes to infinity. as objects slow to absolute 0, their mass (apparently) disappears; as organisms cease mutation (death) the DNA (apparently) disappears. [space is a non-material object, same as concepts, numbers, words etc]

so when there is some massive change to the organism.. say when bats developed sonar, every other mutation became pulled closer around that as to become a part of it. nose, ears, face… eyes are just satellites now

we can then use the fossil history to see what was a major mutative innovation of the day- when preexisting mutations became reoriented around a new mutation (as we can see objects by the change they cause in the motion of other objects, and know their relative size)

location * momentum </= const
species * mutation </= const

——————-

Biological General, Special and plain Relativity in both physics and biology are all confused and mixed together and I was nowhere near my current understanding of biological mass (which didn’t happen till sometime in September of this year and perhaps I’ll go through how I came to that a bit later). It looks like I used DNA for biological mass.

Still, there is a lot of good stuff here.

Posted in biology, evolution, fitness, General Relativity, measurement, philosophy, physics, Relativity, science, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , , .

Why Evolutionary Principles Cannot be Used to Support Racial Prejudices DRAFT

Evolutionary principles are sometimes used to justify racial prejudices. While no rigorous scientific study has yet proven one race to be inferior to any others it should be recognized that it is in principle impossible to prove racial superiority/inferiority and hence no study ever will.

Firstly a note on the meaning of ‘more evolved’ and ‘less evolved’. Every species on the face of the earth today has been evolving for the exact same amount of time. We all started at the same time. However you believe that life started, either as a single celled organism in the ancient seas of earth or by some intervention, if you believe in evolution then everything started roughly at that one point and proceeded from there. Hence we are all equally evolved, from humans to gnats. The only things that may be considered less evolved are things that are no longer around to complain about it.

Secondly, if the claim of racial superiority/inferiority is not one of being ‘more evolved’, then it is a claim about being differently evolved to have some properties that other races do not have. This roughly means that one race has some qualities that make them more fit, or, conversely, one race lacks some features that the rest of us have (even if they have made it this far) that makes them less fit. Either way the claim boils down to either having or lacking a certain characteristic or characteristics. These characteristics, by definition, were passed down through the successive generations eventually proliferating throughout a family, later a population and thence to the entire race some time later.

In order to objectively measure the fitness of an organism or species we need to be able to replicate a controlled environment and a control group. Regardless of the implications of cloning people for a control group, the concept of a controlled human environment will present us with insurmountable theoretical problems.

The environment that we place organisms in is the ‘test’ that we are judging them on. Specifically, if we want to see which of two species flourishes in a particular environment we would place both in the same environment and see what happens. However, not only is it impossible for us to replicate an environment to test people in, none of us know what the future will hold for our species. Hence, without foresight into the future, it is impossible for us to have an environment that could be used as an objective test environment.

In lieu of this impossible situation, approximations are the only possibility. To approximate requires making decisions about what will be included and what will be excluded. The decisions made will influence the results making them a function of the decisions made. Hence it is impossible to approximate without biasing the results, rendering the study useless for the purpose of establishing superiority.

Since we are all here now and none of us knows the future, there will be no study that can prove the superiority or inferiority of any race. Anyone who claims otherwise is claiming they can predict the future perfectly, is racist or both.

——-

If there are any argument structure fans (such as myself woohoo!) this argument’s in a mathematical induction style. The first paragraph argues against a base case (of a race being no more fit than any other) and then the subsequent paragraphs argue against any possible way to argue that the property (of being no more fit) could be used as an inductive hypothesis: Base case is day zero for our species, in which we are all obviously equally fit, and then the induction is on day n (today) and n+1 (tomorrow). Since we are all here now and none of us know what tomorrow holds (by way of Relativity in Evolutionary Biology we have no way objectively view the trajectory of our species), we can move from n to n+1 and the inductive step is made. Hence it is impossible to prove future fitness in our species.

If anyone cares to give me some feedback, I’d like to know if you think it is worthwhile to include some of this argument structure stuff into the body of the paper. I’ve had experiences where I’ve written arguments but people have completely missed them because they were not as familiar with argument forms.

Also would it be worth it to have some commentary on recent developments such as Watson’s gaff or the recent NYTimes article about genetics and race?

Posted in biology, evolution, fitness, measurement, news, philosophy, science. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , .

Evolutionary Drift, revisited yet again

With my recent paper on Measuring Fitness I realize that my previous responses to evolutionary drift, though not incorrect, may have not stated the solution particularly clearly. When fitness is defined and measured as described in the aforementioned article, evolutionary drift is irrelevant. The method of measuring the fitness of an organism or species makes no reference to any mutations whatsoever. Therefore evolutionary drift is no problem for the theory of fitness described here.

If we are trying to identify whether a certain mutation makes an organism more fit, we can of course test it against an organism without that mutation. However if we are unable to test it (say we are studying a historical period or it is just unfeasible), then I believe my previous posts are accurate. I mainly argue that you can’t tell what exactly makes an organism more fit- it’s an underdetermination thesis of sorts – based upon our limited evolutionary perspective.

I think I just failed to say how irrelevant drift was to fitness before this.

Posted in biology, evolution, fitness, General Relativity, measurement, philosophy, physics, Relativity, science. Tagged with , , , , , , .

Measuring Fitness

The basic premise is to measure fitness in a conceptually similar way to how we measure mass.  To measure mass we can use a scale to compare the effect of gravity on a test object to an object with an agreed upon mass, or we can compare the test object’s resistance to acceleration as compared to an object with an agreed upon mass.  These methods measure the ‘gravitational’ mass and ‘inertial mass’ respectively.

Gravitational Mass and Selection Fitness

Measuring an object’s gravitational mass requires a uniform gravitational field, e.g. the gravitational field at the surface of the earth.  The gravitational field accelerates things based upon how massive they are: the more massive an object is the greater the force that the gravitational field exerts.  To measure the mass of an object it is placed on one pan of a scale and pre-calibrated masses (objects of known mass) are placed on the other pan.  When the two pans are level the test object has an equivalent mass to the calibrated masses because they have equivalent forces being applied to them by the gravitational field.

To measure fitness we require a similar experimental setup.  First, a uniform gravitational field: according to the General Theory of Biological Relativity ecosystems create large natural selection fields.  A uniform natural selection field requires an ecosystem free from disturbances which could skew the reproductive rates of the organisms.  Secondly we would need organisms with a standard fitness.  A suitable organism would be easily clonable and of a fitness that we suspect our test organism to be near.  That organism’s fitness would be defined as one ‘biogram’ (or what you will).  Lastly we would need to see how the organisms fair in the ecosystem.  Their fitness will be proportional: if both proliferate (or die off) at the same rate, then their fitness will be equivalent, if one does much better than the other then it’s fitness will be proportionally higher.

Inertial Mass and Survival Fitness

Measuring an object’s inertial mass is measuring how resistant it is to acceleration as compared to how resistant to acceleration an object of known mass is.  To measure inertial mass the test mass is attached to a spring clamped horizontally to a stable structure.  The mass and spring are then pulled to one side and let oscillate back and forth: the more massive the object, the slower oscillations.  The number of oscillations per unit of time can be compared to the oscillations per time of a known mass and thence the inertial mass can be calculated.

As above a controlled environment and an organism whose fitness is known (even if by definition) is needed.  However the organisms need to be ‘accelerated’ for this measurement.  According to the General Theory of Biological Relativity environmental conditions will dictate how a species changes over time.  Therefore to ‘accelerate’ a species a changing environment is needed.  Simply put: measuring ‘survival fitness’ is measuring how well an organism or species fairs in a changing environment.  For example a plant that can survive in a wide range of temperatures will be fitter than one that requires a narrow temperature range.  If a test plant proliferates and the benchmark organism withers under a temperature swing, the test organism has a greater fitness.

Posted in biology, evolution, fitness, General Relativity, measurement, philosophy, physics, Relativity, science. Tagged with , , , , , .

NEWS: General Relativity in Evolutionary Biology Final Version and NYC Area Philosophy Mailing List started!!!!!

I’ve posted my final version of General Relativity in Evolutionary Biology to the articles section (and to GroundReport) and I’ve also started a mailing list/rss for philosophy events in NYC. So lots to check out.

Posted in biology, evolution, fitness, General Relativity, internet, philosophy, physics, Relativity, science, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , , , , .

GroundReport: Citizen Journalism (and some Rogue Philosophy)

GroundReport.com is a website dedicated to citizen journalism that I have co-opted. But this is not something you should hold against GroundReport. Its mission is to provide ordinary people an opportunity to report on news that the mainstream media does not pick up on. For instance you can find people reporting on the major news stories of the day, local news from just about anywhere in the world, and every so often a scoop that some ordinary chap happened to get. And they split the advertising revenue 50-50 with the reporter based on page-views. All very good bringing power to the people.

So after hearing about the site back in the days before this blog (from the founder’s proud papa: I went to high school with the founder Rachel Sterne and I ran into her father while at home) I figured it wouldn’t be too off topic of me to post some of my writing and gain some notoriety (and some cents). Long story short take a look at this:

Report Name Report Views
Consequences of Relativity in Evolutionary Biology 200
Special Relativity in Evolutionary Biology 87
Relativity in Evolutionary Biology 88
On Absolute Certainty 107
On The Scientific View of the World 104
Total: 586

These are unique page views too.

With the 200th hit to ‘Consequences’ I figured I ought to give some credit where it’s due. You can check out my ‘Reporter Page‘, but I suggest just going to the homepage and poking around. You might even get inspired to report on something. See Paul Sterne‘s “GroundReport’s Ten Commandments” for a good primer on how to get started (and forgive his GroundReport fanboy rhetoric: he’s the proud papa).

Posted in internet, news, philosophy. Tagged with , , , .

Blogged by The Philosophers’ Carnival #55, Sweet!

The Philosopher’s Carnival picked up my Relativity in Evolutionary Biology! Completely cool. And I won the shortest description contest- take that all you people who write things that can be summarized. And hyphenation to boot. Props to the editor who used an archaic device to help me out in lieu of delving into unruly philosophy of science sure to scare people.

It’s all relative
Noah Greenstein has written a well-worth-a-peek post on ‘Relativity in Evolutionary Biology’ here.

Posted in fitness, internet, philosophy, Relativity, science. Tagged with , , , .

General Relativity in Evolutionary Biology DRAFT

EDIT, July 2015:

See the full draft at the phil-sci archive: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/11557/

Also check out my other Research.

Below are old notes:

—-

I’ve discussed relativity in evolutionary biology with regards to uniform change but, as with the Special Theory of Relativity in physics, we want a theory that covers all change.

This means that insofar as relativity applies to biology under uniform motion, i.e. when a species is reproducing in a regular fashion, we want a theory of relativity that applies to biology even when a species is undergoing non-uniform motion, i.e. when the species reproductive cycle has undergone a serious change.

It is a fundamental equivalence of evolutionary biology that the struggle for survival and natural selection yield the exact same results.  This relationship has yet to be interpreted.  If we consider a person in love, financially secure and who wants nothing more than to raise children for foreseeable rest of his life.  That person may view this situation as the culmination of his struggle to survive and replicate.  That person may equally view the situation to be nature selecting him as suitable to continue life.

For what apparently are good reasons action at a distance is not allowed.  Struggle for survival does not occur at a distance; ‘struggle’ seems to inherently imply some local interaction.  Natural selection, however, is much more amorphous in nature: how exactly does nature select?  I suggest that we think of natural selection as a biofield that acts upon organisms.

Inertial ‘fitness’ and Gravitational ‘fitness’

The fitness of a thing creates a (teeny) natural selection field.  The fitness of a species creates a (small) natural selection field.  The fitness of an ecosystem creates a (large) natural selection field.

Posted in biology, fitness, General Relativity, philosophy, physics, Relativity, science, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , , .

I just figured out general relativity for evolutionary biology

so stay posted, it’s coming soon…

Posted in biology, General Relativity, philosophy, physics, Relativity, Special Relativity. Tagged with , , , , .

The Birth of Comedy out of the Suicide of Tragedy

The Birth of Comedy out of the Suicide of Tragedy

Or:

Letterman and Leno

Nietzsche felt that the rise of the comedic play signaled the end of the traditional Greek tragedy, and with it, great art. However, this new comedy still retained much of the old theory behind his conception of the tragedy. The two primitive artistic impulses represented by the Gods Apollo and Dionysus are still critical, but in comedy the old duality is split into a ternary system with Aesthetic Socratism opening up a ground in between. This middle acts as sounding board that evaluates the merits of the artistic impulses against the average and normative feelings of everyday life. With this new and utterly familiar impulse, the old Gods can at best be hinted at, as the everyday normality that Socratism brings cannot be escaped from.

Tragedies were necessarily made from the interaction of two opposing impulses. Apollo represented the dream state that employed forms and images to generate grand illusions. This aspect of the tragedy gave the general form of the story: Mount Olympus, oracles, Gods, etc., as well as the literary style employed. Dionysus, however, embodied the drunken ecstasy that strips away all representation and reincorporates the body into the world without intermediate thought or consideration. Solely content is given to the tragedy by the Dionysian component. In this Nietzschean tragedy the characters were all merely masks of Dionysus thrust into an Apollonian context. With this union of the Apollonian forms with the Dionysian content comes forth a work of tragic art.

When tragic art was created in such a way, Nietzsche held that it was beyond our mental faculties to completely comprehend it. He says on page 80 (of The Birth of Tragedy and the Case of Wagner, trans. W. Kaufmann), “Even the clearest figure always had a comet’s tail attached to it which seemed to suggest the uncertain, that which could never be illuminated,” and that there was always an “incommensurability in every feature and every line.” Regardless, the tragedies enjoyed almost universal success.

Socrates did not like the old tragedies though. He held that, “Knowledge is virtue,” (84) and as a corollary, “To be beautiful everything must be intelligible,” (ibid.). Under this scheme the absolute lack of intelligibility that was fundamental to the tragedy was no longer of first-rate artistic value. Moreover the new requirements, “man only sins from ignorance; he who is virtuous is happy” (91), made tragedy low, base and to be avoided as sinful and without virtue. The very aspect that previously gave the tragedy its greatness became its downfall in Aesthetic Socratism.

With this full reversal of values, the suicide of tragedy becomes clear. Neither the Apollonian nor Dionysian can withstand this change. The Apollonian is an impulse towards the ideal, to the form of the world and cannot be fully explained insofar as the ideal itself is unreachable; the Dionysian attempts to connect life in a more intimate way with its surroundings, such that the impulse is more basic and prior to rational thought.

Where can Nietzsche go from here? He has seemingly broken any connection to his theory with the advent and incorporation of Aesthetic Socratism. However, not all is lost. As the tragedy declined in popularity, a new form of entertainment arose: the comedy. In the comedy, the plot revolved around daily Greek life. Every aspect, every character, every twist and turn of the plot was readily understandable and identifiable to the audience. But how could this be entertaining, especially with the tragedy still in recent memory? Were the Greeks so sick of tragedy and primed for Socrates arrival that they were prepared to abandon all their old aesthetics for new ones?

Nietzsche does not think that the comedy and Aesthetic Socratism killed the old artistic impulses, but instead somehow bastardized then into being merely secondary. In this way both the Apollonian and Dionysian could be retained in some respects, so long as an undercurrent of overall intelligibility was maintained. What then does Aesthetic Socratism amount to, especially in terms of some sort of substructure for the old artistic impulses to be reconstructed on? It is the firm belief that between knowledge and reason one can be “liberated from the fear of death,” and in doing so, essentially make all of life “comprehensible and thus justified,” (96). Therefore the baseline for the artistic impulses must be everyday logical and scientific truths at home with any person endowed with knowledge and reason.

Even though the fundamental belief of Socratism has now been brought out, it is still not clear how this confidence in our abilities to understand can produce anything artistic. However, it is illegitimate to ask for a remnant of the old tragic theory under the new schema: tragedy is long dead. Instead one must take Aesthetic Socratism while still under the influence of the past: the Apollonian and Dionysian must evolve to incorporate intelligibility, as intelligibility cannot incorporate them. Looking down from the height of the Gods, how does this impulse for the everyday human endeavor appear? As our finite reality enters our currently God-like consciousness, “it is experienced as such, with nausea,” (60). This sickness brought on by the absurdity of human existence in comparison with the far reaches of our dreams and ecstasies can only be made bearable again by art: “the comic as the artistic discharge of the nausea of absurdity,” (ibid.). Therefore it is the old artistic impulse, twice used, that produces of a comic work of art: once to conceive of Socrates as a new God (82) and then again to escape from him.

Hence the artistic impulses are not lost in comedy, but what has happened to them in their second iteration, the re-conception of the everyday? However big the “enormous driving-wheel of logical Socratism… behind Socrates,” (88) actually is, the best it can muster is reason (logic) and (scientific) knowledge. Nietzsche realizes that with these two constraints, logic and science, “The Apollonian tendency has withdrawn into the cocoon of logical schematism… the Dionysian into naturalistic affects,” (91).

Finally we have Nietzsche’s conception of a comic art: tragedy restrained by everyday life. But the above formulation is only accurate for one spectator: the playwright. There is no comedy for Euripides; there is only his bathetic tragedy (the comic doesn’t normally laugh at his/her own jokes). Every other member of the audience, on the other hand, does not have the same perspective, but the opposite. They side with that which they know, the Socratic championing of the everyday, and hence the comic art becomes the everyday constrained by tragedy. This brings the Apollonian and Dionysian together as two different impulses away from the Socratic, giving innuendos towards something great and ultimately tragic, but now unreachable.

Now we can see the general form of the comedy is different than the tragedy. Tragedies were born out of the two artistic impulses and hence could really only take one form: Apollonian form with Dionysian content. With the advent of the third and now critical impulse, two new relations were created: Dionysian to Socratic and Apollonian to Socratic. In the case of the first relation, the Dionysian impulses truly cannot give form, and so the Socratic must then act Apollonian, but only in contrast to the Dionysian. Secondly, as Apollonian impulses cannot give content, the Socratic must then be a surrogate Dionysian; again, not in a true sense of the term Dionysian, but in mere contrast, as a pseudo-god. In so far as the Socratic only acts as a foil, the contrasting impulse is also limited. This signals two distinct forms of comedy, using the Socratic as a substitute for weak comparison.

However, from the Socratic spectator’s point of view, the Apollonian and Dionysian are secondary. Instead of being a foil for the Gods, the Socratic is elevated to Godly status by its ability to make clear the artistic impulses. The Dionysian and Apollonian have now become intelligible: when the Socratic, the everyday, acts as content, then we can know the form in its contrast to the Socratic to be Apollonian, and conversely when the Socratic acts as form, the content is the Dionysian in contrast. Hence Nietzsche volunteers, “Cool, paradoxical thoughts replacing Apollonian contemplation-and fiery affects, replacing Dionysian ecstasies,” make up the comedy from Socrates Cyclops eye, “and in no sense [are] dipped into the ether of art” (83).

Critically, we must wonder whether Nietzsche’s theory is viable. Late night comedy is prime hunting ground, but we must start with the Socratic understanding since it is the only intelligible foundation we have.

“The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno on NBC seems to be a prime example of Dionysian comedy. Leno always starts off the show by shaking hands with the audience. Then he goes into a monologue of jokes followed by some sketches. The show then moves into an interview stage with celebrities and ends usually with a musical performance and sometimes a standup comic. This all seems very normal and could be any sort of variety show. However, this is the first clue to Leno’s comic insight: a Dionysian comedy requires that the form be entirely mundane and everyday, entirely Socratic. Now the way he even starts, by shaking hands with the audience, can be seen as part of his comic routine: it binds him to the everyday people in a communal way. Next comes the monologue. Perhaps not every, but nearly all of the jokes have a similar format: the build-up to the punch line is in entirely normal, everyday speech; he might as well be a reporter. But then comes the punch line: it has some sort of strong reference to some fiery affect, a feeling of drunken ecstasy. For example, a few days ago (probably on or around 4/18) he began a joke by saying how the troops searching Saddam Hussein’s palaces had recently found hordes of pornographic magazines. The punch line: the magazines are being referred to as “weapons of mass–turbation.”

After the monologue comes a skit or two. Some sketches are regulars and appear consistently on certain nights. Every Monday night a bit called “Headlines” is done. Very simply, Leno collects clippings sent to him from around the country that he finds funny due to a misprint or just carelessness and puts them on display for everyone to see. Each headline itself is inconsequential or just an honest mistake and always found in some legitimate source, but when he puts his spin on them, they take on extra Dionysian shades of meaning that were not meant to be there. Tonight (4/23), Leno had a debate similar to the new “Point, Counterpoint” debate on “60 Minutes”. Instead of having two political rivals, he brings together two relative morons and asks them simple questions. The joke seems to be in the universal joy of not saying the stupid things that they say: their ignorance is laughed at, but it only is funny in the setting comparable to simple, serious, everyday questions asked.

“The Late Show” with David Letterman on CBS makes for an excellent illustration of Apollonian comedy. He too begins his show with a funny monologue before having some skits and eventually interviewing guests and ending with some musical performance. However, his monologue is much shorter than Leno’s. Instead he moves directly into skits and stunts. Sometimes he even interviews a guest before the stunts. Recently he has been doing a short little segment that pokes fun at Dr. Phil the TV psychologist. It is called “Dr. Phil’s Words of Wisdom” and essentially consists of a short cut of Dr. Phil saying something apparently stupid. The funny thing about the segment is not the clip itself, which is obviously taken grossly out of context, but the entirely new context given: words of wisdom. This contradiction in name and content is the Apollonian impulse away from the Socratic; the displacement of the form of presentation is the Apollonian comedic insight.

Letterman also has a great segment called, “Is this anything?” A performer does an act and then Letterman and Paul Shaffer decide if what the performer did was either something or nothing. The absurdity of the situation is that the whole thing is treated as a kind of game show, as if the performer could lose something by the act being determined to be nothing. All the while, Letterman has two performers, the “Late Night Grinder Girl” and the “Late Night Hula-Hoop Girl”, and models flanking the person judged, not as a distraction, but as to create an even grander sense of performance. This great build up to a relatively inconsequential decision again shows the Apollonian comedic insight.

Lastly, Letterman’s “Top Ten” is a prime example of the Apollonian form with Socratic content. Nothing in the “Top Ten” is usually that far-fetched or unusual. The genius was to group these ten things together and to order them for a purpose, and that is where the comedy was created.

Many more examples from both shows can be given to support the above claims. Interestingly, both comics are not limited to only their own style of comedy even if they are reluctant to venture too far. The Socratism each uses gives them access to a reflection of the artistic impulse they are unfamiliar with and the illusion that they “know” it. Recently Letterman made a Dionysian joke: he began by commenting on how we could determine if Saddam Hussein had died under rubble since we had his DNA. Then he proceeded to show us a picture of the person who obtained the DNA: Monica Lewinsky. As soon as the joke was over, he began to apologize: the form was not up to his usual Apollonian standards and that made the punch line a comparative low blow to the rest of his jokes. Interestingly Leno had made a similarly “tasteless” joke the same night; his response was to announce that he would not apologize.

Leno too makes some attempts at Apollonian comedy. He has a “Jeopardy” style skit in which he has comedian fill the roles of people in the news. The comedians give answers, reflective of their character, to legitimate questions. This phony game show setup would be similar to a game Letterman might play, but Leno is unsure of this kind of comedy and guarantee’s laughs by having comedians fill the roles. The above-mentioned “Point/ Counterpoint” could be seen as an artificial and Letterman-like game as well. Leno does not focus on this though: the setup is still a current event, not an arbitrary construction as “Is It Anything?” is, and finds the comedy in the content, the contestants.

Comedy, sparked by the tragic and mediated by everyday life, has a special place in between great art and not being art at all. To incorporate Socrates the Gods Apollo and Dionysus had kids: Letterman and Leno. These lords of late night talk shows are able to handle the tragic Godly insights as well as keep one hand on the pulse of the nation. In the synthesis that followed, each developed a unique style antithetical to the other. Leno takes things out of context; Letterman puts things out of context. Ultimately neither could survive without the other, just as Dionysus and Apollo need each other. However, the inheritance of Aesthetic Socratism dooms each into attempting, against their best instincts, the comedy of the other.

Posted in art, ethics, fun, philosophy. Tagged with , , , , .