Thursday, October 20, 2005

The approval of the 12th imam

In Iran the president's cabinet wanted to come to an agreement with the 12th imam, and the agreement would be signed by the 12th imam just like the president signed his agreement with the cabinet.

Well, this is Iran, right, and presumably signatures from imams are required on all sorts of legal documents.

However, the 12th imam disappeared hundreds of years ago into the bottom of a well in Jamkaran and will not come out until the world ends and the Kingdom of Allah is established.

So they dropped the agreement down the well for the 12th imam to sign.

Imagine if Dick Cheney thought he needed Jesus's signature on something. Or if Tony Blair thought he needed King Arthur's, and actually deposited documents in a cave in Winchester. Although the Pope is a head of state who is considered to speak for Jesus, no one thinks he needs Jesus's actual signature on anything.

I bring this up to point out that it is not rational people with whom we deal, when we deal with the government of Iran. Most of us here know that already.

Unfortunately, their schizoid faith does not preclude them from being rational enough to build nuclear weapons. Science and technology can coexist quite happily in the same mind with superstition, as I can confirm from some of the nutty things I know some particular physicists to believe. (Or some of the nutty things I don't admit that I believe in.)

The rumors of mysterious foreigners who magically disappear your penis by shaking your hand, was spread through Arab nations by text messaging.

And throughout the Indian diaspora in September of 1995 millions of people witnessed statues of Ganesh drinking milk. Not just in some temple in some backward village in India, mind you, but all throughout the world, wherever Indians live, be it Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe, Hong Kong. And not just in temples but in people's homes and schools. And they emailed each other about it, and the Indian government closed its stock exchanges so that people could feed milk to the statues. This in a country that produces a significant percentage of the world's scientists and engineers.

Well, I leave you to draw your own conclusions. I am trying to think of something to say about why it troubles me so much that people behave this way. Maybe later.