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An Entertaining Foray into Rational Decision Making, Legitimacy, and Justification


To my Brother, Greg


Once upon a time, my brother Greg and I were presented with the opportunity to go to the movies by my Grandmother and my Mother. In retrospect, the discussion of which movie to watch was very humorous, but at the time the discussion was extraordinarily serious, with an all but fore-ordained conclusion. My brother and I were presented with a lengthy series of options, each met individually with exactly the same response, and almost to the instant, in unison; "Tron". Ironically, or to further underscore the point of this illustration of the principles of such decision-making processes, I cannot for the life of me remember what the other options presented actually were. They could not possibly matter. "Tron."

You must remember that at the time, there really were only two options for viewing movies; in a movie theater, or watching the bowdlerized version on one of the three and a half channels of broadcast television (PBS was the half a channel, and largely on the back of the quality of Monty Python). So having shocked you with the paucity of broadcast television options, it will come as no surprise that most all of the entertainment options available in these dark times had almost as much appeal as the canned rations of a nuclear fallout shelter; not guaranteed to be harmless, and almost certainly not appetizing. It would require a special expedition to actually recover what the other options presented could possibly have been, and the suspicion that microfiche copies of the quaint "newspapers" of the time are likely to make a dramatic appearance. You may have to google the term "newspaper", and you definitely should google the term "microfiche"; they add a certain context to this discussion that should not be missed. Interestingly enough, the term "google" has its own history... but I digress.

As should be obvious by now, I feel that my brother's and my insistence on the one and only breath of fresh air in a dark and fetid cave that makes Plato's Republic seem a fairy tale of happiness and contentment, that this insistence is now, with all the evidence one could ask for "in", and then some, that our headstrong insistence was fully justified. To paraphrase a much more serious position, if we and the rest of the world continued to disagree, than indeed, the world was horribly mistaken. As it always is, the evidence that will have all the meaning in the world at some later date, is absolutely ineffective in convincing others who are far more at home facing into the past, than bravely and squarely facing the problems and opportunities of the present and the future. There is no traction; there is no common ground; there is no room for compromise: there is only the truth, disclosed to one party alone, and nothing else but ignorance to be had.

That our Grandmother and Mother finally relented is much to their credit; many would simply have insisted that one or the other of the options were there own preference, "for our own good", and the discussion would have firmly closed, excluding all possibility of sunshine and beauty in that dark world. We saw Tron. It was glorious; it was marvelous; and as some of you may know, it not only made "movie history", it made Human History. This was arguably one of the most profound advances in cinematography since it had been invented, rivaled only by another Disney movie, "Fantasia".

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