The man who would not save himself

Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'”

The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, “This man calleth for Elias.” And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, “Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.”

Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
– Matthew 27:38-50

Mailvox: just read the bloody book

BL suggests a theory as to why internet discourse takes place at such a low level today:

I wish to comment on books and reading. My observation is that most people don’t read books; those that claim to usually don’t finish them or skim the book, read the forward, and carry on as if they,ve read it confident that next person they encounter on the subject has done the same thing or less. This I find to be predominant among younger liberals who operate behind an intellectual facade. They then seem to be convinced that they have actually read the book! This is clearly evident in the response to TIA – an excellent and valuable book which I like to give as a gift to students.

I find it remarkable how many individuals on both sides of numerous debates – not just the atheism/religion one – operate in almost complete ignorance of not only the material on the other side, but of the material on their own side! Just as it’s readily apparent that the average individual who brings up Hume, Epictetus, or Plato have never read their works, it’s seldom hard to detect that a significant percentage of those who claim they have read the works of Shakespeare, Dickens, or Homer have actually done so.

The conflation of having heard of something with knowing it is a widespread disease, and tools like Wikipedia and other Internet reference sites only make it worse. But reading a single famous quote from a work is not tantamount to reading the work itself, and citing a summary on Wikipedia is not indicative of actually understanding anything about that which is being summarized.

Most people read only to have their prejudices confirmed. So, if you want to have a significant advantage over most people, always read as much as you can about your subject from every perspective. I don’t particularly enjoy wallowing in jargon-filled Communist literature, logically challenged atheist philosophy or mindless neo-monetarism with a Keynesian twist, but I do it because I cannot understand the full scope of the discourse if I don’t.

I very seldom agree with Cisbio – and mama mia is he in for a spanking when I finally get around to replying to his last critique – but one thing he was absolutely right to do was to call me on my not having read a book that I cited based on a third-party reference. In general, it’s always wise to either read a book so that you know what you’re talking about, or just keep your mouth shut about it.

Blame the Biz School

Here’s a belated link to Nate’s damning thoughts on the business school mentality:

You want to know whats to blame for your current economic crisis? Greed you say? Harvard Business School says I. Its that theory.. thay wretched buzzword style catch phrase… so often repeated… its impregnated every fascit of american economics. Its a deplorable, loathesome, and ultimate suicidal business theory. Its one that eventually damns and destroys everyone and everything that adopts it… from a business, to a school, to a city or town. But why? Why is it so destructive?

Several different ways actually.. and I’m going to provide some fairly varied examples from completely different, and seemingly unrelated, areas to demonstrate them.

Nate provides examples from NASCAR to the housing market in illustrating how a mindless focus on revenue growth leads to an abbreviated financial lifespan. A few months ago, I saw a newly hired technology executive fired, quite justifiably, because his “plan” for the company he had recently been hired to run was – surprise, surprise – to focus on the short term, goose the sales numbers, and sell the company as fast as possible based on “the ramp”.

He got canned almost immediately after presenting that plan… mostly because he was the third or fourth straight executive who had come up with precisely the same “strategy”.