High and Low, One by One or All Together
Thinking some more about my last post, I’ve realized why I am so often frustrated with academia: it’s high church and I’m low church. The terms were first used in the 1600s and 1700s as the Anglican Church was trying to figure itself out; both take scipture and salvation seriously, but adherents of the former emphasize formality and tradition while those in the latter camp are much less concerned with ritual and the authority of clergy. Research universities are one of the few high church institutions left in Western society; while I am not religious, I am definitely low church.
And a friend suggested another analogy. While Theravada Buddhism focuses on the individual’s path to enlightenment, Mahayana tends to emphasize the enlightenment of all beings (“tends to”, because over 2000 years it has divided into many schools and sects with a wide range of doctrines and practices). Theravada says, “The only thing you can control is your own state of mind,” while Mahayana says, “No truly compassionate being can achieve enlightenment while other beings suffer.” In those comically over-simplified terms, I’m Mahayana: I don’t see the point of one person getting it right if others continue to get it wrong.
But whatever analogies I use, when I have to deal with package management I realize that it doesn’t matter if I’m religious or not: evil exists and is all around us. Iä! Iä! npm install fhtagn!