February 25, 2003

Of humanity and such …

I’m still reading Gordon R. Dickson’s "Childe" cycle. The fifth book in the series "The Final Encyclopedia" has been the biggest yet. At a whopping 700 pages and a font size tinier than normal, it probably equals all the other four books that went before it since all of them were around 200+ pages :p However, this books does take the time to explore the character and to talk about humanity and its future at length perhaps because it was written at a different time – a time at which novels weren’t bound by page limitations which set them at around 200-300 pages .. Or maybe it was just because Gordon R. Dickson was a known writer by then. Whatever the case maybe, while some might find this book to be extremely long winded at times, I found it to be thought provoking.

The book postulates that humanity is a giant multi-celled organism made up of all the individual people that make up humanity. That humanity as an organism has a consciousness of its own and that this mega-creatures actions are defined by the combination of actions of all individuals. I am not sure that I do subscribe to this idea or to some of the others Dickson has in the book about the evolution of the race. But then again, I probably am not the kind of person who sees things philosophically – at least, not at that high a level of philosophies. I’d rather deal with things at a personal level or at least at a tangible level.

Something did come out of the book that made me think of something though – evolve my own philosophy if you want to call it that :p However, it was not the book itself but an analysis written about the book and it’s characters which made me come up with my idea. The analysis pointed out that the main character – Hal Mayne, who incidentally is male – acquires traits like compassion, intuition and empathy which are traditionally the domain of females and that Hal’s companions, who happen to be female, take up traditionally male roles … or something to that effect. This made me think about Dickson’s idea of "splinter cultures" differently. In Dickson’s story, the "splinter cultures" are basically people who embody one specific facet of full-spectrum man from Earth – the philosopher, the man of faith or the warrior. These people have left Earth to travel to different worlds where they built a life for themselves with like minded others.

To me it seems as if we have splinter cultures here on Earth itself – that of men and women. I’ve always maintained that men and women are just two halves that make up a whole but if you look at it another way, they are each missing a half to make them complete. This half as far as men goes is the ability to empathize, to be able to see something from another’s point of view, to have compassion. I can only speak for men since that’s the point of view I’m familiar with, I can’t say this is what women lack since I’d be going based on hearsay, stereotypes and other input which might not be objective – plus, any ladies reading this might get totally ticked off at me :p But I digress …

To me it seems that humanity can be improved upon if the two halves of humanity were able to acquire some of the positive traits of each other. This would lead to a more compassionate, more caring race that could perhaps at last leave behind all the bickering, all the schisms, all the other ills of humanity and work towards a world united as one race. That is my dream …

Looks as if the Blog 7.1 did the trick – or at least so it seems from what Dominion tells me :p He says things are working fine for him and so I hope that the mysterious slowdown bug is laid to rest at last because I’d hate for it to be carried on to Blog 8.0 since some people might not want to migrate to 8.0 if it turns out to be too bloated :p This is something Phil mentioned in a comment – that if I merged Blog and BlogMan, people can always decide not to upgrade but I worry about bugs since all bug fixes usually go into the newer version and I’d hate anybody determined to stick to 7.0 to be stuck with any bugs. Hopefully, the 7.1 release will take care of all bugs and we can start off 8.0 with a clean slate.

Incidentally, I’d be interested in your response to the new UI changes in 7.1 but I guess I’ll have to wait till 7.1 is release and everybody has had a chance to test it out for themselves. Personally, I like the new UI but that’s only because I use the bare minimum of Blog features :p I’m more interested in the comments of somebody who uses the Preview feature a lot and/or the built-in Blog comments. Since the Preview pane is in a tab by itself, you might find it a bit awkward and if so, I’d like to try to do something to make the user experience a better one.

Since I’d switched over to Delphi 7.0 at work yesterday (I uninstalled all the old Delphi 6.0 and 7.0 stuff and reinstalled Delphi 7.0 :p), I had messed up and put in the demo version of PlusMemo. So the users who got the pre-release version of Blog 7.1 get a PlusMemo nag screen. This will be rectified as soon as I can find my copy of the registered version and you should have a nag-free release when I do do the public release. I’m also playing with a few internal components to see if I can try to reduce the application file size since the switch to Delphi 7.0 meant a sudden jump in the final executable size. Granted, it’s not even 100kb (more like half that) but I still hate executable size increases and am trying to see if I can somehow cut down on that by using a different component to do the same job.

Posted by Fahim at 6:15 am  |  4 Comments