Saturday 26 June 1999


Pic of the day: Screenshot from the roleplaying game Darklands, set in late medieval Germany. As far as I know, this is the only computer role playing game in which Catholicism fills most of the niche reserved for magic in fantasy role playing games.

You have to admit that if Christianity wasn't God's own truth, it would have made for a great roleplaying game. I don't mean the current mix of moralism and political ossification; I am talking about the original, supernatural Christianity. Where overcoming temptation is not something you do to avoid a bad conscience, but is a spiritual victory, routing the invisible forces of darkness. Where angels and demons abound, and the impossible is possible. Where the blind may start seeing any moment now, and even the dead may come back to life. Where voices in your head is not a sign that you need to see a doctor immediately, but a message from forces beyond mortal comprehension, to be shared with others and tried and tested to find out if it's from the forces of light or darkness. Where a dream may send you off to a country far away, with nothing but your clothes and shoes.

I can't remember who pointed out to me the similarity between Christianity and role playing games, but I am pretty sure it was one of my fellow philosophers on YouthNet. Probably Bjoern Staerk, or possibly ARJ.


Good old YouthNet. My formative years as an online writer were on this rather modest network of BBSes here in Norway. Despite the English name of the network and of all the conferences, it was a purely Norwegian thing. The small network attracted a group of bright young men, plus me, and occasionally a girl or two. We discussed science, philosophy and politics, and there were short stories and whole novels published on the Literature conference. (Original stuff, of course, not other people's.) But soon enough the time for BSS networks was over, as the Internet took its rightful place in human history. It isn't as if I never warned them. The Net is coming, I said, the Net is coming! But they did not listen. Now YouthNet is dead, and with it a forum that most of all reminds me of ancient Athens in the days of Socrates, Platon et al. *sniffle*


Today has been a gray, overcast day with some light rain. A day well suited for quiet reflection, memories and chocolate cookies.

Quite possibly the most peculiar spam mail I've got till now: The subject header was "כןמזיהומדיבלרמן!", and the message body continued in the same way. I guess there is a subtle irony in the fact that I skip most spam unread, but scrolled through all of this one.


Bought a box of table salt today with 40% potassium cloride. You know, usually table salt is practically 100% NaCl, but most of us get more natrium than we need. And not enough potassium. (See Mike Leung's May journal, May 5th, for more than you will ever want to know about potassium.)

Blasts from my past:
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