Wednesday, April 1, 2009
My first flush impression on reading about Freeman Dyson is largely the same as the feeling I have about Christopher Hitchens. I would not in any way deny their respective smarts (and, in Hitchens' case, find myself nodding along with a lot of what he says) but they ultimately seem to be so enamoured with taking a contrarian stance that it muddies their thinking when it needs to be clearest. This makes them vastly more entertaining than many other public thinkers but I they seem to do a lot less to helpfully move debate forward towards change (in the form of changed minds or social change). Maybe I am wrong about this.
Any value in being a contrarian would seem to depend on what you are against and on your stance being rooted in some sort of objective truth (what you are for). I think the same is true of faith, which is not a good or bad thing in and of itself. The object of one's faith is where the true interest and value of the faith lie.
Maybe thinking like this leads me to look too often towards thinkers and friends for whom I already have a positive bias. But even the places and people I go to, who shape my thought and sense of God and the world, can leave me frazzled and challenged. I have already mentioned this in regard to The Gospel According to America. It happens all over again when I read N.T. Wright. What is my love like? How do I actually see the world and what does my seeing say about where I am really placing my faith?
I should say that Dr. Dyson looks more gentle and less foreboding than I have managed to draw here.
I have been posting for three months now. I like posting. Not sure how I feel about what I post. I feel myself edging towards saying more about me, which I am happy about. The drawings are part of that and part of a larger process. I am happy about the anonymity too at the moment. Now I sound like a contrarian (at least with myself).