by Carson Reynolds
Laying awake on my way back from SIGGRAPH in Boston, the following idea struck me: there are people whom blame all problems on those who do not adopt their philosophical, political, or religious stance. For instance, particular overwrought liberals who think that conservative politics are the source of all evil in the world. Or for example, certain maniacal Christians who think that the moral problems of the world are introduced by non-believers. So I was trying to recall the right English word, but none seemed to fit. A zealot implies just being overly committed to the cause. A drum-beater is someone who just seems to be spewing the party line without thinking. Neither of these imply the accusation that all wrong stems from opposing or other positions. Totalism or absolutism are more political ideas about the best way to structure government, not moral theories. Perhaps this calls for a neologism: diametrist.
An individual who thinks all wrong in the world is the result of viewpoints other than their own.
That gotten out of the way, life in Tokyo and Japan has been becoming (unexpectedly) comfortable although I still stumble over my words. Work proceeds, however slowly. I spent some time in 富山 over the weekend and was deeply impressed by the architecture of some of the more traditional buildings. My friend Ilkka has gotten a summer job working with a 大工 who works on some of older buildings about town. Staying at Ilkka’s place along with 淑子 made for an entertaining weekend as we were treated to a fantastic meal by some of the townspeople.
In addition to a few issues of the New Yorker and a stray Harper’s, I’ve read and started some good books: Letham’s Motherless Brooklyn, Banville’s The Sea, as well as Dennett’s Breaking the Spell. Perhaps the last is what prompted the outburst at the beginning of this entry?