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Posts Tagged ‘Economist magazine’

  1. Weekly Reading of the Economist: Unifying Contrasts

    August 22, 2012 by Fan

          Makoko, the 150-year-old fishing community and slums around Nigeria’s Lagos, is going to be reclaimed by a modernizing government. The Economist, while seemingly sympathetic to the fate of its residents, approves the government’s action. Similar thing occurs in the outskirts of French cities when roma’s tent cities are cleared by the socialist government. The magazine cynically observers that the leftists are quiet about human costs this time. Rio’s Olympic dreams are now officially undergoings. How well could they do? Some interesting cultural observations: the Brazilians are sloppy public workers but good at parties; they are good at team sports while sloppy in individual sports.

           In Paul Ryan, the Economist sees an individual with big ideas, detailed planning, consistency, common sense and “athleticism” (why does it matter any way?). In the Chinese Olympic nationalism and in contemporary drinking cultures across the Islamic world, the magazine detects both irrationality and rationality, or ambiguity between engagement and detachment. Individuals are not individuals but dividuals after all, which can also be seen in the fact that human body is a colony of contrasting microbes. The unification of  human contrasts, however, is beautifully manifested in late Bernard Lovell who played church organ in his local parish for 40 years when he was not studying physics. Sir Bernard believed in the ultimate superiority of metaphysics:

         “I am no more surprised or distressed at the limitation of science when faced with this great problem of creation than I am at the limitation of the spectroscope in describing the radiance of a sunset or at the theory of counterpoint in describing the beauty of a fugue”