Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Odd Couple?

One of my favorite blogs is Robin Hanson's Overcoming Bias; now Hanson and his wife get a profile in the NY Times Magazine. The profile begins with her point of view and it is thoroughly entertaining.
The one death-related phrase she will not abide, will not let into her house under any circumstance, is “cryonic preservation,” by which is meant the low-temperature preservation of human beings in the hope of future resuscitation. That this will be her husband’s chosen form of bodily disposition creates, as you might imagine, certain complications in the Jackson household.
This is hardly their only point of disagreement though justly the main focus of the article. I rather liked this though:
Shortly after they met, Peggy and Robin decided to read each other’s favorite works of literature. Peggy asked Robin to read “The Brothers Karamazov,” and he asked her to read “The Lord of the Rings.” She hated it. “I asked him why he loved it, and he said: ‘Because it’s so full of detail. This guy has invented this whole world.’ He asked me why I hated it, and I said: ‘Because it’s so full of detail. There was nowhere for the reader to imagine her own interpretation.’ ” Robin, less one for telling stories, describes their early days more succinctly. “There was,” he says not without tenderness, “a personality-type convergence.
I'm with Peggy - not simply is there too much detail, it is also intolerably silly. Like, I suspect, cryonics.
The irony is that if Robin Hanson is right and I am wrong, he will get to enjoy the discovery someday.
I get the feeling he and Peggy like the mutual contention, and surely like its being publicized (an outcome that pleases me very much, as it made for a very interesting article).
Marriage, despite its lack of clean edges and predictable outcomes, is one of the few institutions he seems to have no interest in reforming. Peggy describes their conflict as akin to a deep religious difference, bridgeable by some core shared belief. “Robin and I have been together for 28 years,” Peggy says. “We’ve always loved spending time together. He is an excellent father. He devotes an enormous amount of time and energy to family life. And that has to be there.”
Robin and Peggy remain silent on the issue of how, exactly, death will part them, but earlier this year a stray bit of chatter glanced past the conversational barricade. Sitting at their kitchen table, Peggy told Robin about a funeral tradition she’d heard about: after a cremation, the ashes of the dead are separated among family members. The children and surviving spouse each get a handful, to save or dispose of as they see fit.
“You’re not getting any part of me,” Robin said. “I’m being frozen.”
“No.” Peggy said. “Your head is being frozen. I get the rest of you.”


Post a Comment

<< Home