Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Incident On The Bus

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I still maintain that it was just another bus ride. Although, scratching around for excuses in light of the events that followed, I concluded that there was a first I could attach. It was the first ever time I had travelled on a bus. From Brigade Road. Alone. In a green Big 10. Not terribly convincing is it? Right then, it must be Fate and Her indigestion issues again.

It had been a fruitful Saturday morning. Not only did I get to meet some old school friends, but I got to watch a visually orgasmic ‘Tron: Legacy’ at the same time. Ah, the light cycles, the discs, the Grid, the pocket fighter jets and Quorra; I can ramble on for a bit like this, but obviously this is not the event. Only halfway through a lazy Saturday at the end of the cheapest 3D experience one can get in Bangalore, we asked ourselves –

‘Why not make a good day even better?’

So, we found ourselves sitting in a mildly alcoholic smelling corner of this restaurant called Three Quarters Chinese. Though the excellent food justified it ultimately, we found our own choice perplexing initially as we quickly discovered that none of us really liked Chinese food. How were we to make amends for our hastiness? Why, by making a unanimous decision on where to have dessert of course.

Mama Mia, it was. We noticed belatedly that it was a bit of a ‘healthy’ eating place – every ice cream counter was plastered with helpful signs like ‘96% Fat Free’ and ‘You can eat 20 scoops of this and still look like Kate Moss!’ However, we’d already settled down with our ice cream cups (After Eight for me) and more importantly, we’d had our attention drawn to a shiny new – unmanned – Foosball table in the corner. So, we spent a good hour showing off our skills at the table for the ladies. No, seriously. There were a bunch of girls laughing their tinkling peals of laughter standing by the side, but it might have been a case of laughing at us than with us. Sigh. Anyway, with our stomachs full to bursting point and our hearts glad, we went our separate ways. A short uneventful journey later, I found myself home and plopped in front of a TV watching ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’. The End.

Well, not quite. If that had been the case, you would be seeing a blog post a day on the flavour of toothpaste I use to brush my teeth. We did go our separate ways – Advaith and Aditya went off to catch an autorickshaw, and I went looking for Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood PC. Wait, was that the spark that ignited a raging wildfire? Was that the mote of dust that upset the delicate churnings of Chance’s gizzard? Maybe, but you can’t really fault me there, can you? It’s only Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood, you know! I didn’t find it though.

There’s a point where Brigade Road sharply changes. Where the short stretch of supermetropolitanism with its fashionable women, emo kids, swanky cars and counterfeit watch sellers trying to hawk their wares speaking a charmingly affected English ends and the robotic routine of the real Bangalore with its indifferent crowds and colourful bustle begins. That’s where I got onto a bus. A Green Big10 that would take me to within a kilometre of my house.

I can’t really remember the exact instant when I noticed him. Obviously, I can’t then tell you when he boarded the bus. Perhaps he got on at the same place I did. Maybe he took a while to notice the suggestive look in my eye and make his way over to give one of his own. I’m not sure but when a middle aged Muslim gentleman with a healthy paunch drapes himself all over your shoulder, you cannot help but notice eventually.

First, I passed if off as the crowded bus syndrome. Let me clarify that distasteful concept a little. I had, some time before, observed remarkable similarities between an overflowing bus and a mosh pit. People change - dramatically - from their usual touchy selves where they maintain a foot wide bubble of personal space and shrink away violently at the merest hint of trespass to near about the exact opposite, when put on a crowded bus. Just like in a mosh pit, they push and shove for no reason and take no offence when someone bigger and better comes along and does the same thing to them. They paste a vaguely doped glassy look on their faces and deep into their eyes, just like in a mosh pit but without the hallucinogens, roll their sleeves up and make a straight line dash for that last empty seat. I should love that right? Being the unabashed metalhead that I am? Where’s the metal, man, where’s the metal? Without it, I don’t just want a foot of personal space, I want two. 

It quickly became apparent to me that this was more than that. There are lines of propriety, good people on a crowded bus, even for you, and this man was crossing them with gay abandon. I decided to fight back. Pretending to pick up something up from the floor, I bent down for an instant, and when I came back up I sat a little more slouched than before. Using every inch of muscle in my shoulders, and the bones too if that can be done, I squared my shoulders with a sharp jerk.

The idea, of course, was that with that act I would drive a painful wedge into the persistent paunch, and hopefully get rid of it for good. It didn’t work and in the middle of the bout of helpless frustration that ensued, I realized one thing. That man had the paunch. Historically speaking, I have spent roughly twice as much time being a chubby, paunchy fat kid than the emaciated coder-nerd of college. So, I should know a bit about perfectly reflective stomachs. Yes, there comes a point in any path to obesity when your paunch achieves the optimum level of restitution. It drapes over the waist just right: it achieves just the right amount of flexibility to not jiggle around embarrassingly in moments of activity, to not – on the other end of the spectrum – be so hard as to give off a mortifying impression that it belongs to a bodybuilder: it becomes the shield of all shields. Throw a punch at it, and it will roll it around mockingly and throw it right back at you with twice the force. Worse, it acquires the consistency of the stickiest glue, with disastrous results as you’ll see.

What did that mean in the context of my shoulder charge? One, that my shoulders hurt a fair bit from the effort, and two, that I was now wedged in a rigid Yoga guru posture with no hope of going back to a more comfortable slump. The paunch had oozed around my shoulders to occupy the recently vacated space. I decided to take a look up at my relentless persecutor.

I found myself looking into a heavily lined, ruddy face adorned on top with the orthodox Muslim’s cap. His cheeks were covered with thick, poisonous looking copper coloured hair. There was no moustache. It wasn’t a pleasant sight. The man looked down at me - this might be retrospection colouring my account - but I could have sworn I detected a note of glee in that face of bland evil. I looked away quickly before - the horrors - he might develop an inclination to start chatting. 

I spent the next ten minutes pointedly staring out of the window, in the process making the guy occupying the window seat uncomfortable. In a futile attempt to take my mind off thoughts that involved me being sold off as a camel dung cleaner to some rich Arab, I thought about the giant tub of After Eight ice cream that lay near my feet. I forcefully wondered how long it would last without melting and if my grandmother would like the minty taste. It was supposed to be fat free, right? Perhaps even my mother, who was on a diet, could enjoy a bit of it. Something broke my laboriously constructed chain of thought. He was saying something!

I pretended to not hear and ignored him until the insistent tone in his voice became too much to bear. When I looked up however, I still couldn’t hear a thing he was saying, because my brain temporarily shut down from the stench. Even the memory’s enough to make me gag. As an unenviable collection of nicotine (and whatever the hell else) stained teeth induced in me a strong urge to shut my eyes tightly, at the same time a powerful whiff of what smelt like stale dead fish rotting for a month mixed with fermented garbage juice seeping from a year old corpse, assailed my stunned nostrils.

‘What?’

‘Time?’ he said, pointing at my watch, and tapping his wrist for emphasis.

‘Five o’ clock.’ The expression didn’t change. ‘Paanch.’ I clarified with finality.

Incredibly, that snippet of conversation did bring me some respite. For about ten minutes, because then everything became a whole lot worse. The dude in the window seat decided to get off! My petrified brain failed for the second time in quick succession and instead of coming up with a brilliant on-the-spur plan to make a quick getaway, I limply moved over to the window seat. The man took the aisle seat. As my brain slowly recovered from the shock of proximity, I brought out all the tricks in my manual on ‘How to make it patently clear that you are not to be disturbed?’

I held my head in my hands and rocked back and forth as if in the throes of a painful headache. Chronic migraine, if he were to ask, but if I were to give that reply then obviously all was already lost. I narrowed my eyes to soporific slits, and stretched and yawned as best as I could in the cramped space without touching anything. I opened my cool touch screen phone and stared importantly at the wallpaper for a minute. I checked my watch repeatedly; I synchronized it with the phone stares to hopefully let everyone know that I was late for a meeting, and fretting about it.

Maybe it worked for a bit. It was, by definition, a stop gap solution and stop gap solutions cannot, beyond a point, well, stop gaps.

‘Where are you headed?’ he said slowly.

I knew my tinnitus act was getting a bit trite, but I decided to employ it one last time, and ignored him. The voice did not rise a jot, but the insistent tone returned and despite myself, I turned my head towards him slowly. The metaphor that popped into my head at that point was that of a condemned man’s walk to the electric chair. A laboured sort of slow, world-weary and inevitable as a baby’s bawl. Why, you with the poor short term memory, wonder. Did I mention the stench? I think I was as close as I could get without slipping into a dead faint.

‘Er, Silk Board.’

‘Where’s your house?’

‘Er, near Silk Board.’ My house was in fact a couple of kilometres from Silk Board, but I had decided that the time for evasiveness was past and the need of the hour was for some aggressive falsehoods.

‘Really?’ he asked with as much surprise his inflection-free voice could generate. ‘I live there too. Which road?’

I resisted the temptation to bash my skull against the grilled window and die in screaming agony. Why oh why did I have to pick Silk Board of all the places in south Bangalore? Banashankari. I could have said Banashankari and he would immediately have understood that I was using Silk Board as merely a transit point, and maybe the conversation would have shortened itself a tetchy little.

‘27th Main.’ I replied randomly.

‘Were you with your friends?’

‘Yes.’

‘Sunday’s a holiday for you?’

‘Yes’. What I really wanted to say was ‘Sunday isn’t a holiday for which space aliens?’ but I was restricted by my limited Hindi speaking skills.

‘So, are you in school or college?’

‘College.’

‘First year or second year?’

‘Fourth year.’ An involuntary snicker made its way into that statement.

He lapsed into an unpromising silence. I dared a glance at his profile: his unblinking serpentine eyes were busy boring a hole in the front seat. I sensed respite and allowed my thoughts to drift towards home and my dogs who would be eagerly awaiting my return. A leathery paw slithered quietly through the air and landed on my left thigh.

An involuntary shudder rippled through my body. You can’t really blame me for that, can you? I was flabbergasted. This time, my brain didn’t shut down in protest, it went into overdrive churning out explanations for this latest outrage. The first and the most obvious one concerned repressed homosexuality. Here was a man, who by all appearances was a faithful follower of a religion that hangs men for *liking* other men, with his hand on my thigh and squeezing it menacingly. The next thing he said immediately suggested another explanation.

‘We have a hotel in that area.’

‘OK.’

‘You should come tomorrow.’

‘Er...’

‘You said you were free right?’ in a monotone that lacked the slightest hint of a plea.

‘Not really. Tomorrow’s not a holiday for me. Besides, I have other plans.’

The second explanation, of course, was that this was some kind of scouting mission for human suicide bombers. I have, many times in my life in post-college Bangalore, been asked if I was a Muslim. Obviously, people who didn’t get metal fashion mistook my chin beard for religious symbolism. If I were to make the mistake of being seen anywhere near the hotel I would probably not be heard of again until someone in Palestine got splotches of me on his shirt, and that shirt accidentally ended up in a DNA laboratory cross-referenced with my blog.

‘Here, take my number. Call before you come.’

‘I don’t have a pen.’ I said lamely, fully aware that I could just as easily type out his number on my cell phone. Thankfully, the thought did not occur to him.

‘Give me your number then.’

‘Er, all right.’ I made no move to say or do anything. The groping hand continued its explorations and discovered my left hand, which was immediately locked into a loose grip.

‘Nice watch.’ He intoned neutrally, pointing at my shiny wrist watch. ‘How much did you pay for it?’

‘About 1000 bucks.’ I undervalued it about seven times, but still I wondered if I quoted too much, because the man immediately smiled a little. The stench impinged itself, unsubtly yet again, on my consciousness. He said nothing and looking out through the window I noticed that I was then only two traffic signals and three bus stops away from my destination. I resolved to get down a stop early.

As I’m writing this blog right now, obviously I’m safe, sound and undefiled, if slightly sheepish at my apparent sensationalism; but when the man (who’d claimed earlier that he lived near Silk Board) followed me to the door as I prepared to get off at the wrong stop, I feared the worst. A misplaced sense of confidence born out of four inches in height advantage and four months of gymming evaporated in an instant. I leapt off the still moving bus as soon as the doors opened and, mentally ascribing every condition on Earth that slows down a man’s pace to him – arthritis, allergies, old age, stupidity, I shot off at top speed towards the my bus stop, not once looking back. I don't think I took a breath for half a kilometre - I only relented after I got onto the second bus and confirmed that he wasn't on it by some devilish miracle and he wasn't running after it like a film hero trying to catch up. Whew.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

(B)east of the Web!

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To answer your question, occasionally dear Facebook, Multieight’s what’s on my mind. I vividly recall a similar word shuffling game we used to play on the same site – there we had to make as many sensible words as we could from a single eight letter word, just as in Multieight; only we weren’t taking on other people while we were doing it. There would be a bunch of us playing the game together – first there would be me hunched over the keyboard hitting any key I could reach. There would be some people shouting out whatever words they could pick out, and there would be some other people shouting back that those words were already taken. And then there would be some surprised onlookers wondering what the fuss was all about.


That game was (and is) simply called ‘Eight Letters’ – obviously the creators of these games are not big fans of creative nomenclature – and as it wasn’t broken down into 10-round matches, each session would easily drag on for an hour or more. Plenty of feverish effort later, we would mess up Level 50 and end the game; we would be sad for a bit, console ourselves, pat each other on the back, and we would start all over again.

Fun times, but as I found out when the itch for the shuffle began to gnaw at me again recently, ‘Eight Letters’ is not really cut out for solo brain-recharge sessions. Multieight is though – each match lasts for 15 minutes, and I’ve observed that the effort required to beat other good players over the 10 one minute rounds will necessarily drive your sleep away. The perfect corporate freshen upper then? Well, not if you play five matches back to back.You'll then be too fresh to get back to work.

I’m three weeks and about fifty matches old now, and fairly good at the game, so the time is ripe to share some observations. (One note here though: if you still haven’t played the game, go play about twenty rounds, and then come back here!) Of course some of these things are not only self-evident, but also known to me from my ‘Eight Letters’ days. Like the fact that as soon as you type in a word, you have to, with minimum delay, type all of that word’s anagrams immediately. Easier said than done, but you can, as I did, start with four letter words. As soon as you see ‘tire’, you have to, almost reflexively, type in ‘rite’ and ‘tier’ afterwards. As you get better at this, you’ll even stop allocating brain cycles to this anagramming step. As soon as you see ‘tire’, you’ll start looking for other words, while your fingers drum out the known list of anagrams almost unconsciously. You can then move on to auto-anagramming five letter and even six letter words.

In Multieight, auto-anagramming has another positive side effect. As you type out a word, the letters that comprise it rise up graphically from wherever they are in the full eight letter sequence at that moment, and the remaining letters are moved forward to form an unbroken unit. After the word is submitted, the used letters are appended back as a single unit at the end of the unused letter sequence. What does all that mean? Every time you submit a valid word, you are shuffling your eight letter set! Shuffling always helps because you are giving yourself a better chance of netting bigger words, perhaps even the full eight letter word.

There’s another thing that you should learn to do reflexively, and that one’s probably easier than auto-anagramming. If there’s any eight letter set that has an S in it, you will have a bunch of words whose plurals can also be submitted. If you punch in ‘tire’ for example, and there’s an ‘s’ somewhere in the set, you should immediately enter ‘tires’ too. In fact, you should probably be working with 5 letter anagrams constructed from ‘tires’, but simply pluralizing any word that you can is a good first step. Similarly, if there’s a ‘d’ in the list, there’s a good chance that you can generate past tense forms of words pulled from the eight letter set. Taking the example of ‘tire’ again (don’t get ‘tired’ of it!), you can and ought to immediately punch in ‘tired’ as soon as you are done with ‘tire’. 

The game’s called Multieight for a reason - the eight letter words are bloody important! You’ll see this for yourself as you get better at the game, but if you miss out on getting at least one eight letter word, your chances of winning the match will be hit heavily. There is no general formula for identifying eight letter words – you do need healthy amounts of skill, luck, practice, or a combination of each – but some patterns become obvious over time. If you see the letters i-n-g in your word list, there’s a good chance you are looking at a eight letter word that ends in –ing. It is also quite likely that there are *multiple* -ing suffixed words that you can generate quickly. As –ing itself takes up three letters, if you can pick out such words they will be six, seven or even eight letters long, giving you easy points by the sackful.

But beware the lure of the eight letter word! Only after getting my hands burnt repeatedly have I realized that it’s not lucrative enough and often even counterproductive to stop generating small words and dedicating all my time to picking out the eight letter word. Like I said earlier, the smaller words shuffle the set too, and that *might*help you identify the eight letter word. If you are a fairly fast typist, and you have mastered some anagram sets, you can type out a sequence of four or five letter words that give you the same number of points as one eight letter word in the same time. Easier said than done though, as even now I find myself looking for the eight letter jackpot instead of typing out the auto-anagrammable word sets I see right in front of me.

That’s enough theorizing, here’s a six letter auto-anagrammable word that’s a big favourite of mine: you really should see my eyes light up like streetlights when I spot this one: MISTER. In about ten seconds I will have got Timers, Timer, Miters, Miter, Smiter Smite, Merits, Merit, Remits, Remit, Times, Time, Mites, Mite, Tires, Tire, Rites, Rite, Tiers, Tier, Tries, Site, Rimes, Rime, Mires, Mire, Miser, Trims, Trim, Emits and Emit. Obviously there are more, but I had told myself I would stop the second I paused to think, and here I am.

Incidentally, if you spot one of the nicks ‘LoneRanger’, ‘RegnaRenol’ and ‘Geriatric’ on Multieight, you can safely assume that that’s me (unless I’m doing terribly of course). Before you run away to get high on word shuffling, here’s a parting thought, an eight-letter word that seems to produce more juice the more you squeeze it: REVERSED. There seems to be no end to six, seven and eight letter words you can make from it: play on!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Divine Thoughts

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Another post on philosophy is long overdue. (Is that a cringe I see?) There are a couple of things I want to flesh out my thoughts on, special pleading being one of them, but I've decided to dedicate this one to God. 

No, I did not see a surreal light fill my room, and convert overnight. Forgive my little guilty pleasure, because I put that in just to shock. I’m talking about the God of the philosophers, of course, a God that has been disparaged by innumerable religious figures over the ages as a mere abstraction and nothing more than a plaything for logic crunching philosophers. (That does sound about right.) The God of the philosophers has to, first and foremost, make sense. We should be able to realize Him through pure application of reason. One of the implications of that statement is that we should be able to prove the existence of God through a perfectly logical analysis. 

And so I bring up the first of three well known historical proofs for study: the teleological proof, or the argument from design. This proof was very popular in ancient times as it appeals strongly to intuition. It can be paraphrased as:

“It is evident that there is design (or structure or purpose) to the Universe. That mandates a designer, and that designer is God.”

It is very easy to back up this claim with analogies. Can you imagine a car forming itself? No, it has to be built by human hand. Can the intricate machinery of a watch assemble by chance? No, only a watchmaker can use his skill to guide the numerous parts into place. And so the argument gathers force until it eventually ends in the inevitable comparison with the impossibly complicated machine called the Universe. While support for this argument has dropped off in modern times, continued promotion of theories like Intelligent Design indicates that teleological thought is not quite dead.

But what’s wrong with the teleological argument itself? (On a sidenote, I’m not documenting all for and against arguments here. I’m just putting in whatever’s occurred to me so that I can stoke a debate and encourage readers to explore the concepts themselves.) The first thing, obvious to any student of science, is that apparent complexity, in the form of a perceived regular structure for example, can arise out of simplicity. There are innumerable examples in scientific literature, but here are a couple which spring immediately to mind: swarm intelligence and protein folding. Swarm intelligence is the production of complicated macro behaviour by a collection of simple ‘swarm’ agents. It looks like it’s tailor made to shoot teleology down, and it is.

I dislike the argument from design for another reason: it's usually a cop out. If you don’t want to try hard enough to find a consistent explanation for a natural phenomenon, you simply assert that it was designed. A modern version of the teleological argument cedes ground to Science a little, and accepts that the Universe may be governed by a set of ‘unintelligent’ laws, but maintains that those laws have been designed (perhaps to ensure that humans arise?) This is very close to the First Cause proof of God (which I'll talk about later), and so I’ll hold on to that thread for now. There are more difficulties. Even if you accept the premise of teleology and agree that a supernatural ‘designer’ exists, it does not prove that that designer is God. Or that that designer is one entity – it could be that there are a bunch of deities out there taking turns playing snakes and ladders with reality. It does not guarantee that the designer of the Universe possesses attributes traditionally associated with God , like omnipotence (our designer God simply needs to be powerful enough to force order on the part of the Universe we see), omniscience (teleology does not say anything on the designer God’s foreknowledge), or omnibenevolence (that’s perfect goodness, and there’s nothing on this either).

There, that’s enough of bashing that proof I think. In fact the only thing that the argument from design has going for it is its intuitiveness. Once the self-evident nature of the argument is brought into question, and in this day and age where science has taught us to routinely doubt our own intuition it will be, it simply does not hold any water. That leads me to the second proof of God I would like to table for discussion, one that’s far less easy to hold in contempt for me, because it is the one that conclusively shattered my rigid atheism. The cosmological argument would appeal to many a scientific reductionist because it neatly sidesteps the domain of science. I’ll paraphrase Thomas Aquinas’s formulation here:

“Every effect has a cause that is different from itself, for it does not make sense for an effect to produce itself. That cause may be held to be the effect of another cause; a simple extrapolation of this argument produces a chain of cause and effect pairs that must stop somewhere because an infinite sequence of these is meaningless. I’ll call that First Cause, the uncaused cause that can exist stably exist in isolation, God.”

I think you can see why it would appeal to the scientific reductionist (I think I’m more or less one). It dovetails into the unspoken modern science assumption, that drives research into the Theory of Everything and the like, that everything in the world should be explicable from a small set of fundamental laws. Who made the physical laws that govern the reductionist Universe of today? As you can see, this is not too different from the modern formulation of the teleological argument I talked about earlier. Some difficulties that are applicable to both become quickly apparent. 

Why should we stop at that particular rung in the cause-effect ladder? We could as well say that the Universe’s existence is the uncaused cause, the first cause. The Universe is, and no one created it. It seems unsatisfactory, but is this statement any weaker than the one you get by stepping up in the cause-effect chain? Secondly, does it even make sense to talk of an ‘uncaused cause’? (Who designed the designer?)

These are vexing questions, and I’ll take refuge in mysticism. The First Cause is the uncaused cause *in our domain of reasoning.* The First Cause is not an ultimate beginning, but it is as far as we can go in our understanding of the Universe. In some sense, *our* God is only a part of a broken bridge to a higher dimension, the final pylon which we cannot cross. Obviously, this is at odds with the supremely powerful and perfectly aware God that classical theology expects. Our mystical God still needs a Creator, but we pass the buck to the inhabitants of the higher reality, perhaps one where our God is only a humble citizen, protesting that we’ve reached the limits of our understanding.

I’ll move on to the third proof, the ontological proof. Both loved and scorned in equal measure over the ages, this argument is more formally logical than the other two. Maybe it’s the ponderous wording, or maybe intuition evolves over the ages, but I found St. Anselm’s original version (you can read it on Wikipedia here) painful to grasp. Hopefully I can simplify the idea through my summarization.

“We can intuitively understand the idea of ‘a thought than which a greater thought cannot be thought’. Not only can we understand the idea, we can conceive of the existence of such a thought: therefore such a perfect thought (instead of saying ‘a thought than which a greater thought cannot be thought’ each time, I’ll contract it to this) either exists only in the mind or in both the mind and reality. It cannot exist only in the mind, because then it would not be a perfect thought; for a greater thought would be one that would exist both in the mind and in reality. Since we accepted earlier that we can conceive of such a thought, the perfect thought must exist in both the mind and reality. The perfect thought is God.”

OK, I will hesitantly admit that it’s likely this argument can never be made unconvoluted. If the weaknesses in the argument are apparent in my paraphrasing, I urge you to read the original, it is far more tangled than this. For me the chief difficulty lies in the presumption that we can actually think of the perfect thought (I’m still using the earlier contraction). Can we? Even if we think we can, I’m unconvinced that there’s an impersonal standard that can be applied to each person’s idea of the perfect thought. Since the whole argument hinges on this assumption, the rest of it’s all a bit of an air-castle really. There are further difficulties. Perhaps you’ll wonder how any sort of logic can prove the reality of a thought. After all, it’s just a thought, right? Actually this argument is invalid once you accept the premise that you can think the perfect thought: the logic that follows is perfectly sound. The problem is still the premise of the perfect thought.

Another potential difficulty is the assertion that the thought that exists in both reality and the mind is *greater* than the thought that exists only in the mind. It does appear to make sense, but again it has a self-evidence that I’ve learnt to mistrust. OK, I don’t really want to get into a debate on the reliability of the reasoning machinery of the human brain, so I’ll let that one pass. Going back to the issue of the perfect thought, there’s another way, a far more damning way, of looking at the issue. The ontological proof makes existence a property of perfection, meaning that if we can think the perfect thought, it has to exist. This way of formulating what the proof is saying makes it lean even more heavily on the first assumption, and is quite close to a proof Descartes quoted.

“The idea of a perfect being is clear and distinct to me, as clear as numbers and shapes. How can the perfect being be perfect without existing?”

To me the ontological proof sounds suspiciously like, “I think God exists, so he does.”, which is of course nothing more than another argument from personal feeling. I need a debate, people.