Like Elvis before you,
you have now left the building.

Navigating this page is a bit of a challenge.
But, what did you expect?
You chose Random.

Just so that it is clear. . . a boojum am I.

So should we happen to meet, beware.

No matter how broad your smile, or sweet your "hi!",

You'll vanish, with no sound, in thin air.

Why I Teach Evolution

Just to get it out of the way, I am an atheist. But, that is not why I enjoy teaching about evolution. I teach evolution because it fascinates me more than anything else.

From time to time, I get emails from people who are afraid of evolution presumably because they feel that its existence undermines their value system. Often, these emails make me stop and think about how evolution might (or might not) be reconciled with alternative perspectives. When I really get engaged, I respond. Often these responses are as much for me as for anyone else. Feel like corresponding on this topic?

In October 2000, I received the following cryptic note:

Subject: Theory
Do you enjoy being wrong or are you going to keep searching?
Punctuated Equilibrium
Pithecanthropus Erectus
Piltdown man
Peking man
Energy Conservation

Okay, it might not have been worth it. But, I bit.

To whom it may concern:

In response to your email letter with Subject Line: Theory. . . .

DEFINITION OF THEORY from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913):
1. A doctrine, or scheme of things, which terminates in speculation or contemplation, without a view to practice; hypothesis; speculation.

Note: ``This word is employed by English writers in a very loose and improper sense. It is with them usually convertible into hypothesis, and hypothesis is commonly used as another term for conjecture. The terms theory and theoretical are properly used in opposition to the terms practice and practical. In this sense, they were exclusively employed by the ancients; and in this sense, they are almost exclusively employed by the Continental philosophers.'' --Sir W. Hamilton.

2. An exposition of the general or abstract principles of any science; as, the theory of music.

3. The science, as distinguished from the art; as, the theory and practice of medicine.

4. The philosophical explanation of phenomena, either physical or moral; as, Lavoisier's theory of combustion; Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiments.

Usage: {Theory}, {Hypothesis}. A theory is a scheme of the relations subsisting between the parts of a systematic whole; an hypothesis is a tentative conjecture respecting a cause of phenomena.

I do not think that dictionary writers tend to be bad people or atheists, especially those working during the early 1900's. Do you?

>>Do you enjoy being wrong or are you going to keep searching?
I believe that being wrong is a very basic and inescapable part of life. AND, I do plan to keep searching. By that I specifically mean that I intend to keep learning about the world in which I live.

>> Pseudosaurs
>> Pro-Avis
>> Punctuated Equilibrium
Here is a list of twenty specimens (five each from our plant, microfossil, invertebrate and vertebrate collections) housed here at the University of California Museum of Paleontology. These specimens are type fossils to which UCMP associated scientists have given formal Latin names that represent all fossils of the same species. In all, we house many thousands of type fossils here at UCMP. I can provide you with a complete list if you would like. In turn, these type specimens represent millions of fossils. The thousands of people throughout the world who do this sort of work should be offended that you suggest that they are foolish or deranged. Do you know them? Do you know that they are not good, honest, loving, ethical people? The people I know that do this sort of work seem to be good people.

Delesserites libanensis (5761)
Albizzia oregoniana (5124)
Eopuntia douglassii (2816)
Tectochara ixtapensis (20501)
Acer kluckingii (9109)
Praeglobotruncana loeblichae (49019)
Bolivina lutea (48825)
Barathrisphaeridium pumilispinosum (49663)
Diexallophasis cuspidis (49688)
Ephelopalla talea (49695)
Euryzygoma dunense (66093)
Gyps melitensis (77882)
Microhyus musculus (95735)
Neohipparion eurystyle (32987)
Branta esmeralda (29601)

>> Pithecanthropus Erectus
>> Piltdown man
>> Peking man
I'm an ape man, and I'm not fiction, fraud or fantasy. What is wrong with being related to Chimpanzees and Gorillas? Apes are wonderful animals. As for hoaxes dealing with fossil hominids, perhaps there have been a couple. Who cares when you consider the great number of people who are working in earnest on these fossils? They are not all lying. Just because Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Bakker have been caught doing unethical things does not mean that all evangelists (or all men named James) are unethical. Not every person who works on fossils is honest all of the time. However, I am confident that the majority are simply trying to understand rather than mislead.

>> Eye
>> Egg
>> Earth
Yes, chance plays a role. First, let's consider Earth. It is amazing that Earth happened, but from what we know of the physical properties (and vastness) of the universe, the origin of Earth is understandable. My birth and your birth are similarly amazing when you think about it. What are the odds that of all the people on Earth, our respective parents would meet and reproduce? Also, of all the millions of sperms, who could have predicted which two would contribute half of our DNA? And if that were not enough, most conceptions do not result in a child that lives. Chance plays a role in everything, but it is not the only factor. That is why chance is not equivalent to randomness. Eyes and eggs make sense, and we can expect them to originate in lineages of organisms that evolve. That is to say, they are useful things (as are mouths for things that eat or fins for things that live in water) for some organisms living in some habitats. For me it makes perfect sense that heredity, variation, and differential reproductive success would result in such things. For you (I am just guessing) it needs to be proven that an eye or an egg evolved. Just imagine, however, if I insisted during a thirty minute conversation that you furnish proof that your hair is growing. It would be impossible for you to prove, and yet your hair would grow during the thirty minutes.

>> Effects
>> Energy Conservation
>> Entropy
Ah yes, the relationships among science, God, and religion. This is a tricky topic for me. Many argue that empirical science and religion are two separate things. I could make that comment and then drop the subject, but I do not believe it.

I would define empirical science as a global effort of people engaged in trying to understand the physical world. No one is excluded from practising science. But, what about ideas? Are ideas excluded by definition in the process of science. I do not think so. For instance, the idea that humans are not closely related to chimpanzees is easy to argue against. Nevertheless, the contrary cannot be strictly proven. Those who practise science have an extremely high (although not absolute) level of confidence that the great extent of our common descent with chimpanzees is evident in our shared behaviors, gross morphologies and molecular morphologies.

I have to admit that I do not have a clear understanding of what religion is. I see religion as factional, although I see no reason why a religion would have to be. If religion is defined as a shared belief system, then a belief that science is a good way to live one's life could be the basis of a religion. Some would argue that a belief in God is a key part of religion, but that would exclude the Jain Religion (and probably others). What it may come down to is whether science and God are incompatible concepts. That would necessarily depend on what constitutes God. If God must be supernatural then that would settle it. Science only deals with the natural world. However, another definition of God is something that is worshiped, which simply means honored, respected, or treated with reverence. There are certainly things in my life that I honor, respect and treat with reverence. Does that mean I believe in God? Would that mean I am religious if other people honored, respected and treated the same things as I with reverence? I feel myself searching for answers and I love it.

Thank you for your stimulating letter. My sincerest best wishes,
--Allen G. Collins

I received an interesting email during August 1998 and this is what it said.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and all creatures that inhabit the earth, at the same time they inhabited the earth. How can you teach children things that are truly only speculation on your part? Dinosaurs were among us pre-flood, check it out!

Concerned parent looking for the truth to be taught,

That got me thinking a bit and this is how I responded.

I understand that it is difficult to be a parent and to see things that threaten the view of the world that we would like to present to our children. Please do not confuse this next comment for flippancy; we have opposing views, but I mean no disrespect.

I would be as concerned to hear someone argue before my child that God created all the creatures on earth, as to hear someone try to convince my child that it is okay to kill another person.

However, I would never consider silencing these opposing views. My resolve in these matters is absolute and I have no doubt that my children will grow to be thoughtful adults, confident that their convictions were reasoned in addition to being heart-felt.

Thus, the answer to your question about how I can teach children about evolution is both simple and complicated. The simple answer is that there is overwhelmingly abundant evidence to support the view that biological evolution occurs and is a basic property of life. The more complex answer is that I love the study of the history of life and the ramifications that it has for me as an individual and for humans as a species. _Homo sapiens_ is but a single species out of millions that exist on this planet and all are connected by phylogenetic lines of descent. Like you, please excuse my presumption, I am comforted by my beliefs.

--Allen G. Collins

That last letter seems to me to be a nice introduction to why I teach evolution. Our society could greatly benefit by gaining a more sound understanding of phylogeny and evolution.

As everyone knows, Darwin's theory of evolution by the mechanism of natural selection has had a profound social impact. The public, however, has yet to be imbued with an understanding of what Darwin actually thought, as well as what evolutionary biologists have learned since. I assume that much of the reason for this situation has been the public's reluctance to teach science that contradicts a literal interpretation of the bible. Because evolution is still so misunderstood, a situation has come about that allows people to make spurious comments on the relative fitness and performance of races. These people appear to be motivated by racist ideologies, and their racist ideas are given more than deserved consideration by a public who is steeped in misperceptions of what the history of life is actually like.

Social Darwinism relies on the misperception that evolution means survival of the fittest. Natural selection is the evolutionary mechansim that gives us this phrase, survival of the fittest. In turn this phrase brings to mind our ordinary concept of competition. But natural selection is much more subtle and precise. It does not mean that the strongest or the smartest win. Instead, it means that those who leave the most descendants (relative to their fellow class of individuals) leave a greater representation of their genetic material for posterity. This is getting a bit technical, but the upshot is that natural selection purges characteristics that do not work. It does not CREATE superior beings!

The history of life teaches us that all things alive today are the endpoints of equally long lineages that ultimately coalesce with all others at various points in the past. Evolutionary processes have together created divergences of both form and relatedness. This stands in stark contrast to the view that evolution has produced humans (especially caucasians) as the natural endproduct of ever increasing perfection due to the pressures of competition.

Let's replace social darwinism with social evolutionism! By doing so, we stand to gain two very clear advantages over the present situation. First, racism, which is detrimental to both the racist and his target of fear and hatred, will be less apt to spread when faulty arguments can be recognized for what they are. More importantly, self-respect will be greatly enhanced when more people recognize the historical connectedness of all living things.

Incidentally, if you find this confusing, spend some time looking through the phylogeny section of UCMP's virtual museum.

Drop me a quick email note now and let me know what you think.

Here's some feedback that I have received concerning the above.

Number 1

How can you teach or even want to teach false material. With the discoveries in recent times on the age of the Universe which is much younger than treories of evolution allowed. Since there is no longer enough time for evolution to have taken place with out help from someone (God). Or what ever you want to call it. As for the dates you all give to your findings. We all know Carbon 14 dating will only date back 40,000 or so years. And that the average date is around 10000 or so years. So teach the truth not Fiction.
My Response
Number 2
You have stated a very simple and concise evolutionary theory, which I happen to agree with. I know that caucasians are the albinos and mutants which walked out of africa to survuve, while those individuals who were born with little or no melagin and did not leave died of skin cancers, though possibly after having offspring. I do however believe that the pressure to leave a native habitat caused pressures to increase or change intellectual processes, or eliminated those mutants which did not develop the increased intellectual abilities which the new enviornments required. Those individuals who remained in africa were allowed to reproduce and compete against one another without the increased intellect,so as you pointed out, the survival was not necessarily a superior being. Are you familiar with Mensa? You remind me of my many friends among that group. We are here on the net also. Robert Hedges, a student of law, historian, etc.
My response
Hmmmmm. This idea could be tested with many groups of animals. Surely, humans are not the first group of animals to have migration patterns affected by their environment. Are Antarctic cockroaches smarter than those in Brazil? Do refugees get smarter over time? I wonder. Sounds like a another grant application.
Number 3
I like your explaination. I like to remind racists that they had no choice in picking their parrents or place of birth. Ocassionally that is enough to wake them up. I like your home page also. I just started on mine this week. Its is
My response
I wish it were always that easy.
Number 4
I find your statements interesting and smacking of PC. I for one do not believe in Evolution. I have observed that there is compelling scientific evidence in support of evolutionary theory. What bothers me is the way that the educational community has an almost religous intensity in defending evolutionary theory. After all it is just a theory, not a proven fact. What if there are physical mechanisms that have created complex life forms that we havn't discovered? I'm not talking about creationism, I am not a religous fanatic. I'm mearly saying that the domination of evolutionary theory may be blinding us from exploring other possabilitys. As far as raceism is concerned, I find it repugnant and with out redemption. In fact many religions reguard raceism as a sin. As you can tell this topic interests me a great deal. If you get the chance I would love to hear from you. You can mail me a response at:
My response
Hi: Thanks for reading my blurb. I guess it does sound a bit PC, but as far as I can tell, its become pretty PC to call things PC and that tells me that it might be time to abandon the term. I think I can understand what bothers you about the scientific community. Just imagine the other side for a second. You work within a paradigm (the theory that biological evolution occurs) that is as obviously true as the theory of gravity. In the case of evolution, however, the truth of it doesn't set well with some people. So, naturally they fight it. I don't have to defend my belief in the theory of gravity everyday, but if I did, I'm sure the non- believers would hear me sound pretty religeous as I made an earnest defense. For me, there is simply no doubt in my mind that biological evolution is reality and that must sound like faith to you who are on the other side of the coin. As far as racism is concerned, I'm happy that you also find it repugnant. I didn't mean to suggest that everyone who does not believe in evolution must be a racist. I only meant that racist arguments have been posed that rely on faulty understanding of the way evolution works. Certainly, there are many evolutionists who are still racists. It's one of those things that often goes beyond intellectualizing. You either feel it or you don't. And, I believe, that those feelings slowing shrink or grow in people; they don't just simply appear or disappear. My wish/ naive hope is that these feelings will more often than not shrink than grow. I was trying to suggest that poor understanding of evolution can work against that goal. I've got to run for now. --Allen Collins
Number 5
Dear Allen: I really liked your essay on social evolutionism. The world would be a much different place if we all understood our connections to other people/things. I'd love to talk to you about evolution a bit more and hopefully we can do that in the future, but right now I'm writing for help with some research on kids. I am with a company called daVinci Time & Space. We create wholesome, interactive"Times & Spaces" for kids that will eventually turn into an interactive TV channel. In our never-ending search for information about kids, we have started to look into how many kids are surfing the internet and what they have been doing on the web. I would greatly appreciate any information on the number of kids visiting the museum site that you helped develop and what they like about it. Thanks so much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Janine McDade daVinci Time & Space
My response
was mailed directly to Janine.
Number 6
If humans evolved from apes, why has the evolution stopped.
My response
First, humans ARE apes. This is a perfect example of how little some people understand the biological world. Has a Rolls Royce ceased being a car? Has a Ford Taurus ceased being a car? Check me, am I losing my mind here? Humans are apes and humans are animals and humans are Eukaryotes and humans are part of the biosphere. Ants are insects and ants are animals and ants are part of the biosphere. Plants are eukaryotes and plants are part of the biosphere. Our history connects us to all other living things, rather than separates us. It is all question of how far back you have to go before you find the connection between any two living things. For you (the reader) and a chimpanzee from the Denver Zoo, you only have to go back 5 million years or so. Whereas, you must go back maybe 500 or 600 million years before you would find the ancestral link between you and one of the ants in your yard.

Second, evolution certainly happens over a timescale that is difficult ( to put it mildly ) to perceive. Our lives are so incredibly short in comparison. The only answer I can give to the question posed is that evolution has appeared to stop because you are thinking in seconds, hours, or at most years, when evolution takes place over thousands or millions of years. It's like watching your hair grow. In my mirror, it looks as though my hair has stopped growing, but (SOMEHOW) I always wind up needing a new haircut.

Number 7
i appreciated your calm and clear tack on evolution - it's good to hear someone say what you did as well as you did, rather than dictating your interpretation of life without room for the other half of humanity: our ability to think rationally... i've spent my whole life in the southern U.S., listening to people be passionate about every subject they can, so often refusing to examine their own assumptions and biases, and question why they believe what they's heartening to hear that people exist who will demand more than words for what they call truth...however, that is my own angle, based on my well-worn assumptions *wry grin*
Number 8
Here's somthing that I have often mulled over.....As you say evolution does not create SUPERIOR beings, it's just that those who leave being the most descendants can dominate the gene pool. However, I would think that most evolutionists believe that it has resulted in the advancement of us as a species. My question is whether "darwinian" evolution should now be considered as stopped, reasoning:

In an age of birth control and instant rewards (well, instant compared with evolutionary timescales) there is (at least in the, so called, developed world) no chance for the number of descendants to be related to the success of any physical mutation of their ancestors - i.e. modern controls just work at a rate that do not allow the evolutionary process to act.

In the, so called, developing world it could still be argued that at least physical characteristics can effect subsequent generations. However, with an exploding popolation, we can only be a few generations away from all the planet using birth control. Once this happens, the link between the number of descendants and likely hood of survival will be at least tenious if not broken, and hence natural (or implicit) evolution will have stopped.

I believe, for better for worse, we are approaching the age of explicit evolution, where we will have the power to effect the gene pool directly. Our current gentic abilities are weak and ineffective, but breakthoughs in areas such as nanotechnology will revolutionize our control of our species. We are probably the last few generations where we evolved naturally. It is a scary thought, but I don't see anything that can stop it - let's just hope we can control it when it gets here.

Number 9
Do you have any problems with the lack of intermediate forms between species/fossils?
My Response
None whatsoever. It is one of the most intriguing questions that challenges traditional views among evolutionary theorists. There are, however, several plausible explanations of this situation (the sparseness of intermediate forms), none of which contradict the fact of evolution. Simpson's Quantum Evolution and Puctuated Equilibrium are ideas that partly deal with this question, and they are both argued well from within the evolutionary framework.
Number 9
Does science really dispute Biblical reference? Notice how day one speaks "let there be light" (creation of the universe).Day two of the condensation of water (cooling of the Earths surface).Day three speaks of the formation of water,dry land and the first plants . Day four possibly speaks of the earths axis tilt. Day five "Let the waters teem with living creatures, and let birds...." .Notice how birds are mentioned here. Day six warm blooded animals and man. So I ask the following question: What time interval is a day to God?. The idea that life started with it's own food supply,means of reproduction and in an environment that would support it seem too far fetched to me.
My Response
I'm not that familiar with the bible to be able to properly answer this question. I'll ask my mother who is a minister and all around religeous scholar.

As far as the part about life starting with its own food supply etc:
The sun is a ready source of energy for any organism that can exploit it. And, many many different types of organisms do just that, from bacteria to protists to plants to the occasional animal. There is another great source of energy just waiting to be used as well, the mediation of chemical reactions. This is another candidate for the source of life's first food. We are all too used to thinking in terms of eating food as a source for energy, I guess because we get our energy that way.

And this guy responded to me by saying:
I agee the sun is a source of energy.Recent discoveries have found oceanic life utilizing thermal energy from volcanic faults at great depths. It is true, life forms utilize many sources of energy.

If life came from a chemical reaction, and had a source of energy (solar,chemical,thermal), absent of food. How did they reproduce? How did they know to reproduce? And how did they survive and evolve having identical gene structures? In fact what would happen to our species if everyone married their sister?

Number 10
Did you ever study Genesis chapter one?
I Bite on Number 10
I have read it, but I wouldn't say that I have studied it. Why do you ask?
Number 10 Expands
I ask because evolution is directly opposed to the truth. Genesis chapter one is part of the truth that evolution is opposed to. Were you aware of that?
So, I try to do battle on someone else's turf
Well, I honestly do not think the bible is true in a literal sense. I hasten to add that I think that it is filled with valuable lessons and that these lessons do reveal a truly good way to live.

If my memory serves me, Moses' first book, chapter 1, says that God created man and woman on the 6th day. And then, the second chapter of the same book says that after the 7th day, God made man from dirt and then subsequently made woman from Adam's rib. One or the other of these cannot possibly be literally true.

Just a curiosity, but have you ever read "On the Origin of Species"? It really is not an evil book, and Darwin was not an evil man trying to undermine people's faith. He simply knew alot about plants and animals and had an idea. His book is a thoughtful discussion of life on this planet. Maybe you should read a bit of it, and try not to see it as a challenge for your faith, but simply as one man's point of view or story. Consider it fiction if you like, but enjoy how wonderful and interesting the story is. I think one of the saddest things about this entire creation vs. evolution debate is that it curbs the desire to explore. It seems like we're afraid to learn that what we believe might not be true, but the consequence is that we stop learning. And who could argue that that is not tragic.

--Allen G. Collins

But, Number 10 didn't get it (probably due to my lack of eloquence)
Why do you think it is not possible for God to create a man from the dust of the ground? Or a woman from Adam's rib? There is a type of learning that never learns the truth. That is the most tragic thing that could happen to a person. Not one person on this planet stops learning.
Trying again to get through to Number 10
I'm afraid you misunderstood what I was getting at. I was not finding any fault with the amazing claims of God's power as described in the Bible.

What I was getting at is this: There are many contradictions (as noted by Bible scholars as well as critics) in the Bible. I do not personally have a problem with them, because religeous faith by definition does not need to rely on logical arguments. However, the existence of contradictions in the Bible implies that a strict literal interpretation of the Bible as truth is impossible.

Therefore, your claim that evolution contradicts the truth as presented in the Bible, is completely untenable. On the topic of biological evolution, you have faith that what you believe is true. I, on the other hand, have the knowledge of physical facts, none of which can disprove evolution, despite the efforts of many. You rely on faith, while I rely on reason.

I think that that is what you are getting at by stating "There is a type of learning that never learns the truth." The method upon which I rely is apparently not good enough for you. Be that as it may, I think if you were to look up the word "truth" in any dictionary, you would see that science has a better chance of revealing it than faith.

I believe this may conclude our conversation, unless you have something to add. Have a nice day, and thank you for taking the time to write.

Why I Love the Internet

(Damn, where did all that hair go?)

It's for the money! Just kidding. What I really think about the Net is that it was neat to see something as big as the invention of the Gutenberg Press happen during my life. I was really lucky to have been the systems administrator for a machine that served one of the first 50 or 100 web sites. Can you imagine that?

In fact, I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the University of California Museum of Paleontology for providing me with a means of paying rent.

Here's what I thought about having been systems administrator, as of August 10, 1996.

I tried hard to keep calm as I descended into the bowels of McCone Hall and the multi-layered worlds of SunOs, networks, Unix and html. Two things were working against that goal, fear and excitement. Being just another Lotus hack refugee from the business world, my only qualification for taking over as Systems Administrator for UCMP was that I wasn't really afraid of breaking anything. On the other hand, I was very apprehensive at the thought of not being able to learn things fast enough to keep the server growing. It was immediately apparent that the World Wide Web provided such an elegant way for communicating, that it would explode into the world's consciousness. And I honestly thought that there was no way that UCMP was ever going to keep pace with institutions that would soon be throwing enormous resources into developing their own WWW servers. Fortunately, the allure of creating something beautiful for an anonymous public by simply putting together pictures and text is great. A less tangible resource, the unbridled enthusiasm of graduate students, came through for the museum. Indeed, it quickly became a concern that the virtual museum might be growing too fast. This was a miss-placed worry; we simply were experiencing the first of what has turned out to be a periodic need for greater organization. The contribution to the virtual museum of which I am most proud was recognizing this need and attempting to fill it with the scheme of four subpages for each of the phylogeny and geology main pages, as well as the original Taxon Lift and Geologic Time Machine. It's still hard to keep calm when I think about all of this stuff, but atleast the fear is gone.

On Money, Science & Art

Once upon a time, everything was left justified on the World Wide Web. Can you imagine such a thing?

I have always had a penchant for the odd. So, naturally I am a fan of Rene Magritte, who created art during the 1950's and 1960's that I consider to be both fun and aesthetically pleasing. A couple of my favorites are The Art of Living which was painted near the end of Magritte's life and The Voyager.

In my opinion, art and science (the kind I practise) have a great deal in common. Face it, if you're not contributing to sciences that have aplications of death or life or wealth (of humans) then you might as well be painting pictures or writing novels. The greatest value of these pursuits is the process of discovering the unknown (or perhaps trying to understand the unknowable). I suppose some people work for fame or fortune or more altrustic goals, but I suspect that very few get anything significant accomplished with those aims in mind. In short, it is the satisfaction of the artist or scientist that usually drives his or her endeavor. Consequently, society shows what I consider to be a natural lack of interest in supporting art and science on a grand scale. Instead, "Science" funding is aimed at developing technology rather than at furthering science. As a result, many scientists are just like artists, begging off of deep pockets to just keep doing what they love. Sadly, many seem to have forgotten this and become increasingly focused on "selling" their work to funding agencies and society. Don't get me wrong; I think there is societal value to scientific pursuits that do not directly impact the lives, deaths, or bank accounts of humans. It is just comparatively small. That is why I feel priveleged to be a practising scientist. And, should I come to realize that I am not doing (or not able to do) what I love, then I hope I have the courage to try something else.

Magritte had many opinions about Art that I can readily apply to myself as a scientist.

    "I hope I will never stoop to pulling strings to achieve success, which I can get along without."

    "I dislike money, both for itself and for what it can buy, since I want nothing we know about."

    "The only thing that engages me is the mystery of the world, definitively, I believe."

    "The contact with reality (and not the symoblic reality that serves social exchanges and violences) always makes people sick."

              --Rene Magritte