I spent about half an hour last night picking stiches out of a polarfleece jacket to turn it into a vest. For the record, polarfleece jackets are sewn together with no less than three rows of stitches, all done in a different way; they're a bit of a pain. On the other hand, my halloween costume is almost done now.
The book that Kristen gave me for Christmas, Once Upon A Number, got me thinking about how technical nontechnical stuff is and how nontechnical technical stuff can be. In the weirdest, fuzziest, most emotional and qualitative human reactions, there's some underlying mathematical model. (Why do people buy SUV's? Game theory's minimax.) In the hardest-nosed, most black-and-white math possible, there's all sorts of personal baggage. (Newton vs. Liebniz in the development of calculus, the ways statistics are pitched as legal evidence in a courtroom...)
Last night's Social Justice Reading Group started me thinking about the balance between our duty to try to change the world to our version of "good" and our duty to accept the version that others have of "goodness." Do we tolerate intolerance? If we don't think anybody should be able to enforce their way of thinking on anybody else, aren't we enforcing non-enforcement? How do you change the world without being either very narrowly focused or a hypocrite in some way?
I think the answer has something to do with changing ourselves first before trying to transform others. The trouble is that we'll never be perfect ourselves.