Every day someone delivers a newspaper at your front door. It’s predicting what will happen in the next 24 hours.
Every day someone delivers a newspaper at your front door. It’s predicting what will happen in the next 24 hours. It has only one possible outcome. But it’s probably wrong. The paper will probably say that the sun will rise tomorrow. In fact, it will say something very different. It may say that the sun will rise in the west. It will almost certainly say that the moon will pass between the earth and the sun, blocking the sunlight, and the day will be cloudy. A storm will probably occur at that time, blocking the sky, and the day will be grey and miserable. But that’s just what the newspaper predicts. You’ll have to take it as a matter of course.
The authors of this little thought experiment are the Coakley Scholars in Philosophy at the University of Oxford. They have discovered that most people will take a newspaper prediction as a given. They will probably follow the advice in the newspaper.
They will even pass on that advice to others.
And if the newspaper had made the prediction in Greek, and then had translated it into English, the prediction would be a different one altogether.
That’s the new way of thinking about beliefs and opinions.
That is why I’m a pessimist about the knowledge revolution.
And why I am a pessimist about climate change.
But that’s the subject of tomorrow.
Marilynne Robinson is the author of Gilead, House of Mirth, Robinson in the Second Life, Home, Gilead Again, Sense and Goodness, and The Case for Impeachment. She is a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Manitoba, and a visiting Professor of English at the University of Toronto.
Every day someone delivers a newspaper at your front door. It’s predicting what will happen in the next 24 hours. Someone has been giving you a newspaper for a long time, since the beginning of time.
The newspaper at your front door probably has no real value except to you and your family. You’re not the only one who gets this newspaper delivered, and it’s always there, day in and day out.
But that day, you open the door to your home and you find a really nice looking envelope. There’s a letter inside the envelope that says, “Congratulations! You’re going to have a baby!”
There are people who never get a newspaper delivered. They don’t even know they have a front door.
You see, every person, who has a front door, is also a news delivery person. They get a newspaper delivered to them every day.
Life is a lot like that.
Sometimes people deliver a newspaper to you, and you think, “Wow, that was nice of them.” But they’re not doing it for you.
They’re doing it to everyone. Every day they deliver a newspaper to everyone, and they all get it at the same time.
The world isn’t just a big box, where every person is a person, living inside it.
It’s a big box that also has people who live outside of it, who deliver newspapers to the people living inside it.
Everyone is a delivery person. Everyone gets a newspaper delivered to their door.
That means there are also people who don’t have a front door, but they still get a newspaper delivered to their door.
It doesn’t mean that they don’t get a newspaper delivered to them, it just means that they don’t know that they’ve got one delivered to them.
People without front doors get a newspaper delivered to their door.