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Monday, February 14, 2011

The Modern Mind

We cannot sin.
We count and quantify,
And know for sure
That we are free from such a quaint superstition.
In the fin du siecle
Our clear-headed science banished obscurantism.
Look! Six million of our neighbors are murdered!
We are horrified
Because someone else, mired in the guilt-ridden past,
Was the adult And admitted guilt.
We are surely off the hook!

We cannot be superstitious,
Even if we once believed
In phlogiston,
In homonunculi, and suchlike.
It's just as we taught you when you were in school,
That an atom is a tidy little solar system
Of electrons orbiting a nucleus of protons and neutrons.
That is truth for the ages, that will never change.

And we cannot perjure.
Again, a quaint impractical notion.
Why must we be bound by our word,
When situations change,
And there is the need to be practical?
How dare you lie to us!
This is why you must trust us.

We cannot be ignorant.
We have banished the ghosts of the past!
We are a bundle of sense-perceptions,
And know we are reality-based!
Hence we are forever excused
From asking an important question.

We are what Hooper thinks
When Ryder revisits Brideshead.
What goes on in that unkempt head,
Self-satisfied and careless,
Bewildered that someone,
Is more modern than he?

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