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Kindness, A Time of Gifts (Stephen Jay Gould)

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  • Nancy Melucci
    I wanted to share this with you all. Nancy Melucci LACCD I wanted to share this with you all. Nancy Melucci LACCD I thought Gould s comments very connected to
    Message 1 of 3 , Sep 29, 2001
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      I wanted to share this with you all.

      Nancy Melucci
      LACCD
    • Irwin Silverman
      On Sat, 29 Sep 2001, Nancy Melucci wrote: By STEPHEN JAY GOULD September 26, 2001 The
      Message 2 of 3 , Sep 30, 2001
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        On Sat, 29 Sep 2001, Nancy Melucci wrote:

        By STEPHEN JAY GOULD
        September 26, 2001
        <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/26/opinion/26GOUL.html?searchpv=nytToday>

        The patterns of human history mix decency and
        depravity in equal measure...

        Another example of SJG's wishful approach to reality ...
        unless he reads different newspapers than I do
      • Irwin Silverman
        ... Irving (and Paul, who wrote a similar reply) I suppose my reply was prompted more by an article I read that the price of gas masks had increased from $30
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 1, 2001
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          On Sun, 30 Sep 2001 Inwmd5@... wrote:

          >
          > In a message dated 9/30/01 5:14:13 PM, isilv@... writes:
          >
          > <<
          > The patterns of human history mix decency and
          > depravity in equal measure...
          >
          > Another example of SJG's wishful approach to reality ...
          > unless he reads different newspapers than I do
          > >>
          >
          > Irwin, I do not understand your objection to SJG's remark.


          Irving (and Paul, who wrote a similar reply)

          I suppose my reply was prompted more by an article I read
          that the price of gas masks had increased from $30 to $300 than Gould's
          innocuous piece.
          To my mind, a more realistic characterization of the patterns
          of human history is a mix of depravity and the absence of depravity in
          equal measure. Decency, in the sense of mutual respect, tolerance,
          compassion, concern, etc., is a much rarer commodity, emerging briefly,
          as now, in response to a particularly devastating depravity. That is why
          we venerate the Albert Schweitzers and Mother Theresas - they are so
          unlike the rest of us.
          I take solace also in the love-ins, and I still choke up when
          that pile of rubble and body parts flashes on my TV screen - after all,
          that is my home town - but I have a problem right now with academic
          platitudes about essential human kindness or the like. Perhaps it is
          because I believe that a lot more people, on both sides of the world, are
          going to slaughter each other before this thing is over.
          And gas masks will probably go up to $600.

          Irwin
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