From: Humanist <mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU> (29)
Subject: Solstitial greetings
Tomorrow is Hanukkah, Christmas is in a week, the Solstice in between,
and doubtless are several other religious and cultural feasts of which I
am unaware. Here in Toronto, Canada, the air is sharp and cold; it is
night, and the city buildings glimmer in the dark, snow and ice crunch
underfoot, you can see your breath, and vapours from smoke-stacks hang
thickly in the sky. Once the temperature falls below freezing, humidity
vanishes from the air. This year I welcome the dry air especially, since
my monitor has developed a disturbing affliction that shows up only in
the damp. Crisp weather, crisp image. The house, emptied during fall term
of those I call children, will soon be full and noisy again. The cats
won't know what hit them. They have almost managed to fill up the vacated
spaces -- herding cats may be a ridiculous notion, but cats certainly
can herd people -- and now they will need to make room, suddenly, for
two vaguely familiar (yes, I am speculating) giant humans.
For me the central experience of Christmas is not the joyous noise but
the magical silence. So I choose this moment of quiet, on a Sunday evening
before the final week, to wish all members of Humanist a vigorous and
joyous peace for these holidays. Humanist will continue through most of
the days between now and the New Year, since for me this is not work but
a labour of love. Still, you'll forgive me I hope, there will be times
when I'll prefer eating and dozing to telnetting.
Humanist was once for many of us the only thing of its kind. Now the
discussion groups number in the thousands. My sense is that its
reason for being stems from our desire and urgent need to talk across
the boundaries, trading information and opinions of course, but more
importantly struggling with the difficult questions on a broad
interdisciplinary scale. How energizing this struggle is.
So, from your invigoured editor, happy Hanukkah, merry Christmas, a good
Yule, a wonderful solstice.