Not Yes

There are mystical unknown forces outside of me.

Things happen that I do not exclusively control. These pieces of reality aren't necessarily small fragments..sometimes they are large, organized streams. I do not consciously or exclusively affect them, but they affect me in coherent ways. Some people call this luck. Some people call this god. But even if I do not believe in god, certainly there are things outside my control, and those things are not necessarily fragmented (or: their effects on me are not necessarily fragmented); they are unified, whole entities, independent of "me".

Thinking like a Pencil

If our reality is at least 4-dimensional stuff..and time from my point of view is potentially like space from someone else's point of view, then what I perceive as consequence would be perceived differently with a higher-dimensional outlook. I think that if I think put a quarter in a gum machine then I will get a piece of gum out. This is not always true, but most of the time it is. How would this seem from outside my p.o.v.? What is god's day like? If god's instantaneous being is like eternal space and time to us (god can hear everybody's prayers at once) then what does a continuum of that time look like to god? Maybe getting gum out when you put a quarter in is like a sphere having roundness on both ends, like knowing that a pencil has a point at one end and an eraser at the other. If you were a 2-dimensional instance, you might "think" that when you did an eraser you got a graphite point. Maybe becoming an eraser would be birth, and all your life, along the length of the pencil, would be for the culmination in a graphite would taper off, and cease to exist in following moments.

Forwards and Backwards Determinism

In a finite state model, with the assumption that each state has at least one preceding state and one consequent state, it is true that if there exists either a state with two possible precedents, or a state with two possible consequents, then both are true; that is, if there exists a state with two possible precedents, then there also exists a state with two possible consequents, and, if there exists a state with two possible consequents, then there also exists a state with two possible precedents.

To say the world is finite is to impose the following: if there is more than one possible future, then there is more than one possible past. If either one is fixed/definite/determined, then so is the other.

I perceive the collection as one entity.

They are giving tours of the university. And I am scenery for them. They perceive me with a quality of academic diligence, smartness, coolness, ecology. Like I fit in. Like this academic routine conjures more than just the properties explicitly inherent in it. There is an emergent property. The emergent property is the specialness that they sense, or the specialness associated with them sensing these details and their consequences. Maybe that's what emergent properties are: inaccuracy, misrepresentation. What I look at the pieces that make up a house I say: house. I perceive the collection as one entity. I generalize. I abstract. Add the perception of the house as associated with people in various states and I really have stretched things: a home emerges. Maybe emergence requires perception with some degree of abstraction, like me perceiving another person. I cannot know their inner details. I am external to them. I am in a different scope. So when I perceive them, and interact with them, and describe them with language, abstraction is required. I perceive myself as conscious, therefore, the I who is making such a perception must be abstracted somewhat from the rest of the self. Is this possible? What does this mean? What is the I who is talking?, what is the I that the other I is referring to? Worse, does the conscious I depend on the other I's for processes that make those thoughts possible? For example, does the conscious I depend on a semi-automatic I that is responsible for the construction of lingual syllogisms, thoughts? And is it right to say semi-automatic? Isn't everything automatic? Except, couldn't I now say that from one point of view a something is automatic, and from another point of view it is not automatic/free? Assuming everything is ultimately determined, it would still make sense for the functional perception of the world to allow degrees of determinism or understanding, depending on your location in the world. For example, depending on who you are, it is conceivable that you do not understand/are not able to predict the location of a particle. It is also conceivable that, from a different position, you would know exactly where that particle is. This is: how much of the ultimate Function you are aware of. How few details are missing from your knowledge.

Questions about Probability and the Nature of Stuff

I think my questions about probability and the nature of stuff are closely related. I like the gumball machine model with which to think about probability. What happens at a gumball machine is commonly classified as consequence. You put in a quarter, and then a gumball comes out. State implies state. You put in a quarter, therefore, a gumball comes out. However, this statement is inaccurate. The interaction at a gumball machine doesn't always work this way. Sometimes the machine is broken. So we say: you put in a quarter, and usually, a gumball comes out. But why doesn't it work all the time? Or none of the time? If it's the same machine, and to it you apply the same stimulus, you should always get the same response. Yes? Well, the reason that is not the case is that it is not the case that it is the same machine, and it is not the case that you are applying the same stimulus. Commonly, we say that the machines are similar, and commonly, we say that the stimuli are similar. When you get two pieces of gum, in a row, from the "same" machine, you don't use the "same" quarter twice, but you can expect to get a piece of gum each time, because, as we say, "A quarter is a quarter." That is, one quarter, though it have small differences from another quarter, they function the same, they serve the same purpose. But it is important to realize that "something" is not the same in two moments. Coins don't change very quickly, but dollar bills do. At one point, a dollar bill will work in a coke machine. At another (later) point, that "same" dollar bill will not work in a coke machine. It is wrinkled and faded, and the machine rejects it. The dollar bill does not function as it did before, so we know that it is not the same dollar bill. In fact, everything works like this. Our concept of a constant quarter is inaccurate. A quarter is made up of smaller pieces, or, at least, at some points we would say a quarter exists, and at some points we would say no quarter exists. This produces our concept of change, or something being made up of smaller pieces that get rearranged. So we know that even though we would use the same symbol twice, it does not necessarily correspond to a thing that is constant, even if we perceive it to. A quarter, for example, we refer to with one symbol repeatedly. I put a quarter in my pocket, I take a quarter out of my pocket. But, probably, the thing we are referring to before is not exactly the same thing as the thing we are referring to after. Small changes have occurred to the quarter, its edges have been redefined. With a quarter, this change is slight, but with a dollar bill, this change occurs more rapidly. What we call a quarter can function for a long time as a quarter should. You put it in the machine, out comes a coke. A dollar bill, however, fades and wrinkles and withers away with relatively few repetitions of being put into a pocket and taken back out. Almost never would you expect a machine not to recognize a quarter; more frequently would you expect a machine not to recognize a dollar bill. So a dollar bill is not a functional constant through time. We think of it sort of in the height of its being, in a (non-existent) ideal state: functionally a dollar bill. But that ideal dollar is made up of pieces that were not always organized as such..they were once so scattered that no person would recognize them as a dollar..and someday they will again be so scattered as to be unrecognized as a dollar bill. In fact, in that state, it seems natural to say no dollar bill exists. And that can lead to the conclusion that our concept of a dollar bill is just a simplistic interpretation of the way stuff is arranged and rearranged. There's nothing dollar bill about a dollar bill. That's just a word we use to describe part of stuff for a while. People are more complex, but, for sure, we fit into the same scheme as dollar bills. Today people would think it reasonable to say "Matthew exists" but what about ten years before I was born? What about after I decompose and scatter into other parts of nature? Will I exist then? Certainly not like I exist now. In fact, before I was born, and after I decompose, both the I concept/consciousness of Matthew and the concept of Matthew in others, has no extension; the symbol refers to no present thing. Matthew did not exist before he was born, not like he does now, and after he decomposes, he will not exist like he does now. This can lead to the conclusion that the Matthew who exists at 1:46 does not exist at 1:47, at least not like the Matthew at 1:46. My edges, at least, are different. My self has been redefined.

Consciousness is Gradient, Continuum..

I will not always be conscious (like I am now). I was not always conscious. The fact that my eyes don't focus as well as Nadja's make our consciousnesses different. Consciousness is not separate from material reality..consciousness can be aided by material objects (like glasses)..glasses or lack thereof are part of my consciousness..the definition of consciousness must include grades of consciousness—continuous, without sharp jumps..a small child has different (and, I argue, less) consciousness than a grown person. An elderly person like my neighbor Elizabeth who has limited capacity of memory has differently-functional consciousness than mine.

Symbolic Functionalism and Other Minds

All you know is characterized by your point of view—in fact, determined and defined by—you are your point of to the problem of other minds I can easily answer that I don't know and cannot know if there are other minds in the sense of a subjective (raw) feel, because I cannot, by the definition of I, be in someone else's point of view. If I was completely in someone else's point of view, I would be that person. The closer I get to another person's point of view, the more alike we become, out of shared experiences. (What is important about shared experiences is not that you and I were there together, but that the place you were in is the same place that I was in.) And the closer those points are, the more together we are.

So what is the I that I perceive? It is not my whole body..the I that speaks and writes does not know the inner workings of his own stomach..he knows it as a functional other..he is familiar with what goes in and what comes out, and how that affects his ability to think..but that is all..the I that thinks is not my whole body. There is more than one scope in my body.

To the question of other minds I can say: it does not matter if there exist other minds, other subjective feels. Because the defining characteristic of other is that I do not control it. There is a (symbolic) separation of control. What is considered to be within my control, is considered to be me. What control is not my control, is other. So theories that consider everything to be mental are not fundamentally disproven. And neither are theories of objective reality. The subjective concept of other is characterized by a functional separation, that which I do, and that which I do not do, which is therefore done by others. I am that which I know, that which I experience. So I take my consciousness of now, this thought and action, this moment of awareness: it is something I know. I may speak to that object I perceive as you, and what I call you may react, and we may carry on a series of these symbolic interactions, but as to a subjective feel in you, a subjective feel like mine, like the one I know, I can say nothing. I do not know a subjective feel of yours. I may construct a symbolic meaning of my own, that I feel well represents your consciousness, but I do not know it as my own: that is, I am not you, we are not the same person. If I knew exactly what you knew, did exactly what you did,..then we would be the same person, from a functional point of view.

Of Parties Being Dead

People loosely describe a boring/small city as being dead. Or a was dead, so we left. Stranger would most find it to hear party or city described as being born, thinking, or having consciousness..making decisions and having raw feels, and whatnot. But the life of a person, and the life of a party, I think, lie on a continuum.

Existential Glee

Shouldn't there be something called existential glee? I mean, why does existentialism have to cause dread? That assumes that I started out with an expectation that the world was something other than existential, and that I thought any alternative was dreadful. But why should that be the case? Why shouldn't any number of other possibilities be true, including the possibility that I assume that this is all there is, and I think not only that other alternatives (like permanent consciousness of the existence of god) are dreadful, but that this limited, finite, fleeting awareness is wonderful, and it makes me feel gleeful and immensely happy.

People go through moods, of that I am convinced. To what degree we are in control of them I do not know. But I know that sometimes I describe my state as sad and dreadful, and sometimes I describe it as playful and hopeful.

Well the bar scene was never my thing. I'm not too cool for that and as the security guards go 'round I am saying fuck you to them just as much as or more than I will ever say to anyone for breaking the law. Foolish state! Law is not passed down to the people by congress, but passed up from the practice of men to the government, that exists merely because men get a kick out of writing down the obvious.

I don't care for socializing and I don't care for any kind of acting in such a way that other people will like me. What value is there in that? What does another's care have to do with my life?

And I am afraid of losing control or becoming addicted but what ways am I currently in that state, helpless and out of control? Is writing an addiction? Is thinking? Is asking questions? Is it unbalanced to be always distant when in bars, in coffeehouses? Is it unhealthy to separate myself from the norm and the flow? (If it is I'm going to do it anyway.)

Amy said she had never before heard anyone give that as their reason for not drinking..that they don't want to give up control. I am. I am a control I told Amy, I never want to control other people, but I always want to control myself.

People are so caught up with their issues: it surprises Doreen that a guy listens to Tori Amos. "But she hates you guys.." Doreen says. She suggests that maybe we just like her for her voice, her body, and her piano-playing skills. No, I like her lyrics, too. How is this possible? To Doreen it is not possible because she interprets Tori Amos lyrics to be anti-guy, and also Doreen sees that text as expansive, the ultimate reality. When in fact Tori Amos lyrics may be anti-guy, Tori Amos may even be anti-guy, but that is only part of the world. Equally valid as the idea "I love Tori" is the idea "Fuck Tori". Who the fuck cares if Tori Amos hates guys? That doesn't make guys bad or Tori god. It doesn't mean guys will hate Tori. In fact, it doesn't eliminate the possibility of guys who really like Tori, and her lyrics, or her ideas about guys. Some guys can understand why girls hate guys. Guys can identify with anti-guy sentiment. Not only can they understand it, they can identify with it. Guys can be anti-guy. Some people don't understand this. People are so caught up with their issues that they stop looking beyond small personal worlds into bigger possibility.

I am no longer human. I do not feel regular sentiment like tired and hungry. I sleep and wake by will alone, eat by habit and pattern.

Jealousy is not something I feel for people,

because I know that what Nadja or Amy or Sarah and I have is something that we have regardless of what either of us has with others. I am not jealous simply because I refuse to view the world as triangles. Not only that, but in a more self-centered tack, I focus on the unrepeatability of the connection between me and the person I am relating with. I think of how that connection is unique, only ours, never to be attained before or since. And that uniqueness and specialness gives me cause to spend creative energy and time improving the relationship and nurturing experiences between the two. It is exciting to participate in the building of unions, for unions are truly something larger than the self. That is something I am searching for, something larger than myself. And sometimes I have been disappointed because I am looking for such a larger thing in the form of a god, and functionally I find none to exist. However, the existence of others is compatible with functionalism, and union through interaction is certainly something larger than the functional me. It is a power, an entity, of which I am a part, but which is in its totality beyond just me, outside of my individual scope. This allows for the possibility of mystery and wonder, and truly magical creation. So there is something: an important piece in my growth, when I realize explicitly that the thing I am searching for, which I characterize as higher than myself or beyond myself, that impetus for being, higher meaning, cause, may well be..others..and not just them, or me, but us, the union, the system. There is meaning in coexistence.

And this coexistence may begin to appear meaningless if your model of it pictures (from the outside) two or more entities interacting..and your perception of this interaction is from the outside of the entities, and not from within the system, as an integral part of the interaction. Because viewing as if from outside removes the mystery of the union, and the concept of union as beyond the reach of the individual..not to worry, however; such an external perception is meaningless..perception is always subjective, from the point of view of some subject, and that subject always has a limited/definable scope, that which is everything to (or the universe of) the subject..and working well between that which is the subject and that which is not is the union, the system, the mysterious. The distinction between subject and not subject is, of course, functional. From my point of view (always a redundant thing to say) there is that which I control (and that defines the I who is speaking) and there is that which I do not (that defines what is not the I who is speaking). Nadja, and my gastrointestinal processes lie far away from me on the spectrum of (control..not control). So if mystery and whatnot good lies in the union of me and others, the (glorious) interaction between that which I control and that which I do not control, then this union appears not only in the fusion of me and Nadja, but fusion between the (physically internal) parts of me that I do not control and the I who is speaking, the part of me that is control. Not a subject "I" that controls [some functions] but control of [some functions] {/is the same thing as "I"}.

Games Like Pinball

I like games like pinball, where it is the player's job to redirect a skein of consequence that is not completely under his control. I suppose I am focusing on this aspect because it is characteristic of life and other fun games. Card games with tricks have that quality. You do what you can with what you've got to get what you want. Solitaire is only like that to a certain degree, war is not like that at all. The outcome of war is hidden from the players, but it quickly becomes clear that the players and the game hardly interact, that the players are hardly involved in the game, that the players do not at all affect the outcome of the game. Important for the player to be involved in the game—nay—for the player to become an integral part of the game. The game must totally respond to/depend on/change by the actions of the players. The game must command the attention of the players. It must command their attent to themselves and their attent to the details of the actions of others. It must be like an intense conversation or an intimate sexual act—much is at stake, details count, the intensity of the game can change on a dime, something is known and something is unknown about the situation.

It's not that I don't like thinking,

it's just that there are so many other things out there to do..I'd hate to spend too much time on any one of them. Thinking is okay..but when concrete opportunities present themselves, it seems foolish to me to hold onto the abstract. Who came up with the idea that wisdom is resisting the flesh? I mean, we are flesh! It would make more sense to resist the excessively mental, like trying to think in five dimensions and stuff like that. Better to think in ways that are useful to the flesh; the mind and the body should help each other to be satisfied, not one prosper at the expense of the other.


So I got drunk and puked all over the place. A traumatic memory, now that I start to let it clearly fill my consciousness. Embarrassing, according to Eric's mentality. Amy says you learn from your mistakes. And now I'm here communicating with friends on the first full day of winter quarter. Showing Ryan my website, music, and looking at his cartoons. Getting into the college mentality. Thinking about writing, what I want to do. It must be disgusting for Amy, to have a puking boy friend sleeping in her bed, and I am grotesquely drawn to these harsh moments of realness, unpleasant, or unbearably pleasing, moments of undeniability. Present, pressing, [uncomfortably] close. Then, following, I feel strongly that if I drink again at all it will be with the purpose of getting as drunk as I was last night. Except this one check: I do not like throwing up. So maybe it would be nice to be about as drunk as I was after three or four fire waters. Skip the gin, the beer, and the fifth fire water. But even the thought of fire water now and I can taste the bile in my mouth, so..would I even be psychologically able to drink it again? It would take some thinking through beforehand, that's for sure. And even with hard liquor and no hangover, I don't feel so hot today. But something makes me want to do it again, a nebulous need to be like I was then, right before I threw up. Stumbling drunk, bouncing walk, dancing butt freak with Amy two thirds as drunk as I was. The psychological state of losing control is definitely aided by the drink, but as oxymoronic as the following statement may sound, I can honestly say that the out-of-controlness I had last night is something I have attained in the past intentionally. Everyone here always jokes that they get drunk so that they can act as crazy as me, and that's true. I never had any trouble before being loose on the dance floor, literally and so to speak. When Amy gets drunk she dances all sexual, she touches me more, and more encourages me to touch her. And when she's drunk and I'm not I fit right in. Last night when I was drunk I danced with the same sexual intention as when I am sober, the major difference being that last night I had no balance. And I couldn't walk normally. And everything seemed to bounce without my permission. I do see what people mean when they say that being drunk lessens your inhibitions. My take is that when I was drunk I had less control over what I was doing than when I am sober. But the thing with me is that being sober never stopped me from doing anything that I wanted to do. You know..there's no situation where I was inhibited from doing something that drinking would have allowed me to do. I saw this as an issue of control before I got drunk, and I am interpreting my experience of being drunk in ways that support the same or similar ideas. For me, getting drunk isn't about having a better or worse time; it isn't about doing things or not doing things, it's about control, and intention. If I want to have sex with someone, I will attempt it drunk or sober. With the important note being: if I do not want to have sex with someone, I might do it anyway when I was drunk. More clearly, my intentions while sober are differently constructed than my intentions while drunk. When I am awake I experience a totally different world than I experience when I am dreaming, and I have always been disturbed by that discrepancy. These are worlds of separate sense, each valid in it's own right, and my inability to objectively compare them presents me with sets of irreconcilable truth. I cannot use one to argue against the other. Moreover, my awareness of, and therefore my ability to understand, each reality when in the raptures of the other, is severely limited. The best I can do is to in each moment of consciousness deal with what seems to be the overriding truth of that moment and my memories of past moments. But what is to be said of transition between worlds? With sleep and wakefulness it is evident that one gives way naturally and necessarily to the other. Soberness, drunkenness, sadness and joy, and the multiplicity of other states do not seem as ecologically structured. A drunken moment does not follow necessarily from a sober moment, a sober moment does not necessarily and eventually break the oblivious peaceful waste, intoxication. Right? Or perhaps there is a necessity of change, where complementary states invariably give way to one another. Hope is perhaps always followed by despair, and as well, despair is perhaps always conquered in the local end by hope. Change seems to be unchanging, not a one time thing, forever from endless end to endless beginning. Meaning: what we refer to as change is not a force upon the essence of reality, as commonly thought, but the essence itself. And my dichotomies are simplistic; drunkenness and soberness are not complete and total worlds, but mere descriptions of parts of a commonality, a shared realness to which each of my strands of consciousness is inextricably wed. What confuses each of these individual mes is exactly this: the I of this moment is different from the I of that. There is no objectivity, no solid sameness, only an illusion of the same given by the fragile mystery of representation, memory. And so perhaps that best that I can do is to intensely live this time, this place, knowing that my understanding of selves other than the present can be no closer to my desired ideal than can my understanding of people commonly considered other; in truth, my existence through time is constructed through a gross misrepresentation, specifically, a generalization akin to prejudice, and, in my opinion, equally absurd.

(So then a similarity appears at the core of the controlling/powerless spectrum: the ultimate discipline is to render oneself powerless, whether to a static ideal or to dynamic whims.)

Like an acorn growing into an oak.

Thinking can lead me into uncomfortable areas, insane areas, where I question my own impulses and analyze myself to death. But also thinking can lead to great peace and sense. This thought in particular, stated as part of the following progression, stills my discourse: First I am aware of [what I don't know is] the external, such as an infant, taking in raw sensory experiences with not much way to organize them yet. Then, I become aware of a difference between that which is without, and that which is within. I am able to understand each one through comparison with the other. Next, I become conscious of my consciousness. I realize that I am thinking about myself, I think about knowing that I am aware. And that is the region in this continuum at which, until a few days ago, I was firmly docked. Now, however, I am beginning to broadly accept Hegel's fourth region or stage, and that is: I realize that my mind is consistent with rationality itself. That is, I am sensible. I make sense. By structure, my mind is consistent with Mind, with reason, purpose, direction. The unfolding of my personal history is the realization of potential and the display of truth. I have hit on a slice of this before Hegel's intervention, in thoughts that I have shown myself to have many aptitudes, and now I would like to show myself to have many abilities, or now I would like to develop some of my abilities. Like an acorn growing into an oak.

"I" do not control the workings of my stomach

I did not see Betsy every day, but the thought of her once-living body buried underground is hard to bear. We are mortal, and the duration of individual life is short at best, uncertain. Why the hell would I ever want to smoke another cigarette, or drink another beer? Why the hell would I ever neglect positive healthies, like sleeping enough or eating healthy food? Why the hell would I choose dim, slight experience when ripe fruit is possible to harvest? People need to see themselves with an appropriate perspective, which I suggest might be close to something like: there exists a multiverse of infinite possibility, and the entire scope of my consciousness, action, life, is bounded, limited, just a tiny section of the totality of what is. I am defined by what I control. Or whatever. I don't know what that has to do with anything. Maybe I'm not defined by what I control; that is a premise I have been going on for a while now, that isn't necessarily helpful. Maybe control doesn't even exist, or maybe it isn't as important as I have thought, or maybe it is a small part of the person, and I have been neglecting the rest. So I will attempt to deconstruct the prevalence of control in my thought about the person. I will look at an example of how I have used control to define the person, and then I will attempt to find in my memory an example of a time where the person was defined by something other than exercise of control or the lack of it. How do I exist in ways that have nothing to do with my will or my control?

Okay, I see myself as different from a tree because I fancy that I write this paper while the tree does not, and I fancy that the tree makes apples while I do not. This writing is attached to me in a way that is commonly called control; the tree is commonly considered to exercise a similar ownership over its production of apples. I own the production of this writing; the tree owns its production of those apples. Of course, people don't usually consider trees to control anything, they are just total units whose fruit production is considered part of the whole package. Trees don't, in [the human] perception, choose their traits. People, in [the human] perception, do. People think we decide our choices. Redundant. [People] think that we control our actions, at least partially. Or, [people] view the cause of what people do as twofold: the result of internal and external causes. And this differentiation between internal and external is not much more complicated than the two sides of the physical skin; only more complicated in the understanding that "I" do not control the workings of my stomach, and so, even though it is on the inside of my physical self, it is functionally different from the me that is making up these thoughts. This functional distinction is [part of] what causes people to be tripped up between what is the mind and what is the body. What I refer to as "the me that is making up these thoughts", the control, controller, controlling part, is made up of pieces which are influenced my external things, external in the sense that I do not control them. So "me" is an arbitrary distinction, not absolutely sensible. It is singling out a part of the process and giving it a name, thinking of it by itself. Getting drunk is me, one part of the process, deferring to a while, to some degree, to other parts of the process, giving up control. Holding on to soberness is me, one part of the process, hoarding my ability to select and [internally] alter the effects of external influences. It is expanding the locus of my importance, stubbornness, effect on the rest of the process, influence on the rest of the process, expanding the part of the process (world, universe, everything) that people consider me. It is creating life for myself, creating my life. Does it also take life/control away from others? Not necessarily, although it necessarily changes the quality of other people's lives, because it changes the way that parts of the process interact. Actually I change my mind. It can change both. If two people are in a relationship, and A is used to B doing whatever A says, then if B expands the locus of her control, she may dismantle/alter the effects of some of A's actions. Thus where A functionally had control before, now he does not. I suggest that it would be logical, resourceful, good, for A to choose to view this positively; it allows him to spend time/energy on expanding his own locus of control in different ways.

I like the idea of the playing class, and I think it would be helpful for me to explicitly state, and examine, playing classes I am involved in, or that affect me. Playing classes consist, if I remember correctly, of pieces and rules; stuff and possibility; things, and ways those things can be arranged. I had started to develop some concept of the order of a playing class, and some other measurement of class, which together give some idea of the class's complexity..the total number of possible states for the class was involved. Anyway, I will come to that. Things like Tic Tac Toe go into a playing class, and so do things like human interaction. Or, more specifically, courtship. Or, still more specific, courtship in France. Courtship in Paris France. Dating in Paris France. Initiating a date in Paris, France. Perhaps a possible part of that is making a telephone call in Paris, France. And/or asking a question, possibly in French, in Paris, France. And still, speaking Parisian French is a necessary of all this. And moving tongue and mouth possibly a necessary for that. Perhaps having a tongue, then, is necessary for speaking. Of course it isn't required for asking a question, and certainly isn't required for dating or human interaction. So playing classes can be divided into hierarchies and networks; they can be composed of one another, they can optionally include one another, and some other stuff I haven't thought of yet. People agree on elaborate social playing classes whose rules are often taken as absolute law. But handling the concept of playing classes throws the absoluteness of those rules into question. The what-the-stuff-can-do part of a playing class is the playing class's local definition of possibility. The word local suggests the possibility of smaller and (especially?) larger scope. The word definition evokes a sense of construction, and with that comes a sense that construction might be otherwise. In other words, these rules are not absolute. Sidestep: not absolute does not necessarily mean arbitrary, as commonly thought. Just because something doesn't have ultimate meaning doesn't mean it has no meaning at all. {Sidestep: meaning (definition) and =/equality, are the same thing. And those two are also the same thing as consequence, or implication. Equal(=) signs are double implications(<=>). Not only do the two things have the same computational value, but either one implies the other. And the opposite is true, if one thing implies another thing, then the two things are "the same". They go together. They are part of the same skein of consequence, part of the same [timeless] reality. They define each other; each one defines the other one. If putting a quarter in a pop machine implies you get a coke, then putting a quarter in a pop machine is the same thing as getting a coke, getting a coke defines putting a quarter in a pop machine. And if the only way you could get a coke was by putting a quarter in a pop machine, then the opposite would be true: getting a coke would be the same thing as putting a quarter in a pop machine; putting a quarter in a pop machine would define getting a coke. If you had a coke, you would know you put a quarter in a pop machine. When you put a quarter in a pop machine, you would know that you would be getting a coke.}


Being familiar with a conversation

I always hold that mastery of an area is marked not by knowing all the answers to the questions the area presents, but by gaining familiarity with the conversation that takes place around that area (which is a larger and more realistic task). Being familiar with a conversation means knowing many answers to a single question, and being able to understand the plusses and minuses of each. To do this is simultaneously harder and more realistic than finding single answers to a question. Finding single answers is a small and cheap task; it stops relatively soon after it has begun, and it chooses to remain blind to most of the multitude of truth that lays in waiting. Becoming familiar with the conversation is a never-ending process, and, in its effort to range across many different subjective takes on life, is the only process [of the two mentioned] that has a tendency to approach objectivity, understanding not limited by a single point of view, but understanding as the result of the juxtaposition of many different single points of view.

Similar records/predictions of time's other direction do not seem possible

Two thoughts arise: If (1) macrobehaviors like I would want to predict are composed of microbehaviors like those of molecules, then (2) the best I could do would be to make general approximations as to the microbehaviors that produce my macrobehaviors. Another though I have had before is this: if the world is [at least] a four-dimensional space, could I not come up with a method of analysis that would give me some information about other 3-d parts of this 4-d space in which I exist? Let's try an analogy. If my data were several 2-d cross-sections of a chair, would it be possible to gain some information about the 3-d nature of the chair? I suppose if I had stored examples of chairs I had experienced in one of their 3-dimensional entireties, I could match up these representations and extrapolate that the rest of the chair I was trying to predict would be similar to the chair whose outcome I had already seen. Would this work in 3- and 4-dimensions? That would be like if my data set were several 3-dimensional frames, and I could find in my memory a more complete series of 3-d frames that were similar to the set I was trying to examine. Then I could predict that the future of the set in question would be similar to the past future of my example in memory. Isn't this what people do all the time? Isn't that how I make the prediction that since when I pulled the trigger then, a bullet came out, when I pull the trigger now, a bullet will come out? It seems similar. So where a computer might aid is in making connections and recognitions that a person might not. Where the data to be compared are too complex, or of a nature not normally handled well by people, a computer might be employed to recognize similarities that might lead to more accurate predictions.

Frustrating to me still is the nature of prediction and remembrance. The nature of our memory seems to give a sense of heading to the dimension of seems to be moving in a direction, or there seems to be a difference in moving along the dimension of time that is related to the direction in which the movement is taking place. Why is that? Something in me rejects that there is a big difference between remembering and predicting. It seems to me that both are easy within close time-proximity of the moment of prediction/remembrance..easy to remember things that just happened and easy to predict things that will happen very soon..with exceptions on both sides. Sometimes you have a brain fart and can't remember a part of what just happened, sometimes something unexpected happens, and your predictions of the near future are very wrong. Maybe I am trying to find too much similarity between the two; there are major differences that seem hard to deny. For instance, nearly unchanging records can be kept of the past, in the form of videotape, CD digital data, ink-and-paper writing, where similar records/predictions of time's other direction do not seem possible. Why is that? Do I give too much credit to the permanence of historical records? Do I too quickly discount the possibility of future predictions that exist with the same permanence and accuracy of historical record? What is the nature of this difference by which, from a particular point in time, I interpret one direction as known, and the other as unknown?

I suspect that I won't have any trouble dying

I hate those guys who always look uptight, or always like they're concentrating real hard. I object to any piece of such bullshit I find within myself. I don't think that any of the people that history finds great or brilliant were nerds. Nerd has nothing to do with how much you know, how smart you are. On the same tack, I hate how anyone associated with computer technology is described as a geek, with not a reverence for but another peculiar lifting up of the geek. My vision for the leaders in any field or the members of a leading field is far from geek. The particular tool has nothing to do with the nature of the game.

Looking at myself in the mirror after working out tonight, I am happy with the body I have been given, and excited at the [mental] suggestion of improving it. And then I stepped back from the mirror, startled by the presence of an unanswerable question: what came before this? Why do I exist? That's why I don't look in the mirror too often—almost everyone agrees that it freaks you out. Now, during this writing, I am comfortable, with previous thoughts that eternity is found most nearly by most nearly removing time from the picture..the only thing you can be is the present self in the present moment. Or, rather, you are the present self in the present moment, and that is all, there is no other possibility in this particular moment. It is what it is. And I suspect that I won't have any trouble dying, if I think like this. Still, glancing around myself once again, it seems hard to believe that consciousness could end. Profoundly paradoxical, confusing, unexplainable. But there's nothing I can do about it tonight, so I'm going to get some sleep so I can be alive tomorrow.

The Myth of Real News

Some people think that news media companies have a responsibility to avoid sensationalism and report only the real news. These people argue that sensational journalism blurs the line between news and entertainment. I disagree with those people. I don't think there is such a thing as real news; or, at least, there is no important distinction between sensational news and real news.

First of all, it is unfair to place the blame for trends in media production solely on the media producers. Media companies no more solely control the production of media than the government solely controls citizens' action. When people don't like their government, they replace it with something they like better. When I don't like what I'm watching on TV, I change the channel. Producers and consumers control production and consumption in conjunction with one another. The part producers play is providing alternatives for the consumers. Producers' job is to give consumers what they want. To do so benefits both parties. To do differently is to pass up an opportunity for the betterment of both producers and consumers.

By betterment I mean what the consumers and producers each think betters them. It doesn't matter what really benefits them, it doesn't matter what other people perceive as beneficial; other people are not the ones making the exchange. Some people object to this. What if the situation is that consumers don't want to hear about living conditions in third world countries, and media companies will benefit for not telling them? Isn't that wrong? Don't we have a responsibility to those people in third world countries? Some people think this is a difficult question to answer; I think it's easy. Does the perceived benefit for the media company of representing the living conditions in third world countries outweigh their perceived costs? Which do they think is more cost effective? And for the consumers, which do we think is more cost effective, learning about the living conditions in third world countries or not learning about them? That's it; everyone does what they think will make them better off. Still, though, some people will complain. Who stands up for the people in the third world country? Shouldn't we make an effort to give voice to those who otherwise have no voice? Shouldn't the powerful make an effort to protect the weak? Throughout history, convincing arguments have been made to establish moral bases for individual and corporate action. And while the relative and absolute value of these bases may be argued far into the future, what actually ends up happening in the world is far more influenced by functional limitations and possibilities, the extremes of working reality. If powerful people can possibly stay powerful, they just might do that.

The complaint that media producers have a responsibility to present real news indicates a limited view of what's going on. A more sensible complaint might be that media producers and media consumers have a responsibility to work together to support the production and consumption of real news.

But even that wouldn't make much sense, because there's no such thing as real news; or, at least, there's no important distinction between real news and sensational news. Real news advocates would have me believe that there is a qualitative difference between real news and sensational news, that real news is more valuable, more productive, better. They would say that it is wrong to focus a large part of a newscast on crime and murder, especially if crime and murder rates are down. They see some type of disproportion between reality and what is being presented as reality on the news. I think they are right to see such a disproportion, but wrong to insist on presenting what I consider to be a similar disproportion. If instead of murder on the news, we watch lots of community interest stories, a shift in social consciousness takes place. Now, instead of murder, we are all thinking about new parks and roads and community interest things. This shift is desirable to some people, but there's nothing absolutely good or bad about it. What if murder was on the rise, but news was disproportionately focused on new parks? What if crime was decreasing but there were a multiplicity of crime-oriented news channels? In both of these cases, a disproportion exists between what is actual and what is represented, but the existence of such a disproportion doesn't indicate or eliminate the presence of what is generally called sensationalism. The first case, where crime is high and crime news is low, would hardly be called sensational news coverage. The second case, where crime is low and crime news is high, probably would be. Both cases grossly misrepresent the facts; one is sensational, the other is not. So sensationalism is not characterized by its misrepresentation of the facts. By what, then, is it characterized? What exactly does sensational news mean, if it doesn't mean news that blows reality out of proportion in order to better serve its audience? The answer, I think, is that it means nothing. The concept of sensational news is a concept constructed by idiots with the purpose of stigmatizing certain ways of representing the world. Such a construction is much akin to the construction of racial prejudice, and just as unforgivable.

Real news is equally a myth. If perhaps the defining characteristic of real news is that it comes close to eliminating disproportion between reality and the representation of that reality, then real news is even more hopelessly sunk than sensational news. Deciding how much of a subject to present in relation to how much other subjects are presented involves making a value judgment. Which is more important to think about, crime or the environment? Even if I think they're both important, as a media producer and as a media consumer I decide exactly how much weight to give either subject. So that decision is made, and some media flows from producer to consumer, media whose content was determined by running experience through a value filter. Let's say that is the process that determines the content of Hard Copy. An almost identical process determines the content of NPR. One part is different: the exact nature of the value filter. The producers and consumers of NPR have different values than those of the Hard Copy producers and consumers, so the resulting media is different. NPR people might consider Hard Copy sensational; Hard Copy people might consider NPR boring. Is news also entertainment? Yes; NPR producers entertain their consumers (in the sense of giving them what they want) just as Hard Copy producers do. Does real news exist? Hardly; all representation is subject to the values and desires of individuals. Real news doesn't exist any more than objective reality is experienced by a subjective individual.

[random text file from 2000]

I think it's about time to open up a can of voodoosmack. About time the spider crawled over and sucked dry some flies. Blood is healthy. Blood is good for you. So drink up, darling, before you go to bed.

Why are you uncomfortable with polygamy? Why do you need to be the only? Why do you need to be special and unique throughout the world? What is the root of your nagging discontent? What moon is it that instigates inexorable tides of melancholy against your shores, who sows seeds of doubt in endless rows across the fields of your mind? Why is it that song always reminds you of her? That some loves lodge themselves permanently in your illusions while others melt like wax on the hearth, break like grain at the stone, gone, gone, beyond painful reach, outside possibility, never to enjoy again, never ever to comfort, never to bring light to your face, smiles to your lips, never again to paint your gray with color.

Who is it that you admire? Who is just beyond your reach? And if you determine the two most diverse enjoyments which bring you utmost sanity, how far is the distance between them, what is the spectrum they encompass? I hope you're not above lucidity, fury, passion, terror, and I hope you have the strength to laugh at the places where your own fabric comes undone. I hope you're not paralyzed by the fear of being misinterpreted. I hope you don't think about everything before you say it. I hope you're not always conscientious, not always careful, not always self-aware.

I hope you've been fucked just the way you like it.

I hope that you're still reading. I hope that you like me. Why?

Why do you make enemies? Why does anyone you know ever like you less as time goes on? How many really close friends can you have? Why are you scared of people you don't know? Why are you jealous? Have you ever committed a crime? Have you ever thought you were going to die and then lived through it? Why are you impatient? Why are you bored? Why are you lonely? What is the nature of others? Why are you more interested in certain others than you are in yourself? What makes a house a home? What makes a house a house? Why do some people just not get it?

Who is better: Buddhists or capitalists?

Is there a god? Is there a reason why everything got started? What is the nature of consequence? Is there a reason to do certain things rather than others? What if you had done things differently? How would it have turned out? Can you ever really go back to Cincinnati?

doggy style and the Kama Sutra
Why do I want you to love me and me only? Why do I want the same from you? Why do people have best friends? Why do people get married? Why do people get jealous? Why do people want to be famous? And is there anyone in the world who wants none of this?

I have at times in my life called a person my best friend. Called a person my lover. Called a person my girlfriend. Had favorite people of various types. I have at times been another's favorite person in some category. Who is the best listener you know? Who's your favorite composer? With whom do you most enjoy sex? And don't I want to be at the apex of such categories in others' minds? Want to be the fastest? The most talented? Casanova? Mozart? Why do I order myself so, among others, and order others among themselves? Which one of them is prettier? Does he have a bigger dick than me? Why didn't I get into Mensa? She did.

Why do I ask such questions? And why are their answers important to me? Why did I take the Mensa test? Why don't I like to go dancing? What is really going on in both of those situations? Who am I without these arenas? Am I a Christian or an atheist? Am I white or black? Am I a programmer or an athlete? Am I a boy or a girl? Am I tall or short? Am I smart or dumb? Am I sexy or boring? Am I rich or poor? Can I dance? What am I in relation to you, the others of the world?

Is one a big number?

When I meet someone who can dance, it is then I discover either that I can dance or that I can't. When I meet someone who is dumb, it is then I know I am smart. When I meet someone who is black it is then I know I am white. Do you notice the smell of air except when it stinks? Do you notice the pressure on your skin except when you're swimming? Do you notice the sweetness of milk until it is gone? More precisely, how do you know what milk tastes like until you've tried juice? What is milk if that's the only thing in your refrigerator? It might make the difference between hungry and full for a while, but without a broader menu milk would be like hometown water; until you drink it somewhere else you think water has no taste. If what you know now as deep purple was the only color you ever saw, you wouldn't know what color was even though you were surrounded by it. How can you know what a Big Mac tastes like if that's all you've ever eaten? How can you know that you're having good sex if you've only had it one way? If you've only had it with one person? Only done it doggy style?

If I want to know how smart I am, how good a lover I am, then I should take the Mensa test and have sex with as many people as possible. I should go dancing and try to be an athlete and a musician and an actor. And when the day is done I will know who I am, that I am a not a Mensa genius, but I am a good lover and a bad dancer and not at all an athlete or a musician or an actor.

Why do I want you to love me and me only? Because I want to be something that I can never be: I want to be all things to all people, I want to be Mozart and Cassanova to everyone. If I did not want this then I would have no reason to be unhappy with who I am. I would recognize that I am Mozart to noone and Casanova only sometimes to someone. If I wanted to be no different than who I am then I would not be jealous of anyone, I would not be jealous of anyone's position in relation to others. I would not expect to be loved exclusively by anyone; I would know that I am finite, unable to be everything at once, unable to fill every prescription that can be called in.

Can I have a best friend? Can I love someone exclusively? Can I be someone else's only and their all? There are undeniably times when such relationships exist, but they cannot remain thus forever if the people involved in them continue to change. We can all be god in some ways sometimes, but there is only so much audience for god to go around. While you play that role, be preparing for your next. I've seen some shows, and the credits roll on every one.

Everything exists for a purpose

In The Silence of the Lambs, Dr. Hannibal Lecter encourages Clarice Starling to "Read Marcus Aurelius. Of each particular thing, ask: What is it, in itself, what is its nature..?" I thought of that line one day when Nakia handed me a note that said, "inhaesio, what is your nature?" Given the definition of inhesion, the defunct English translation of the Latin inhaesio, that way of stating the question is especially fitting.

Becoming familiar with the discussion surrounding this question and resolving discrepancies between that understanding and the course of your actions is fully the task of self-actualization. An entire class of psychological conflict is simply the result of simultaneously holding incompatible goals. For example, the tenants "I find happiness in relating to many close friends" and "I am highly selective about who I consider my close friends" are inconsistent with happiness. How will you ever have many close friends while being highly selective about who your close friends are? If you are not selective, how will you ever find the happiness you could find if you were selective? But many of our thoughts and goals are like this, in conflict with each other and our natures. What is your nature? What is your self, in itself? What does it do? Not being familiar with the myriad answers each of us can supply to those questions makes unintentional self-confusion and accidental self-thwarting a matter of course. Becoming familiar with the discussion surrounding those questions makes it easy to see internal inconsistencies that cause frustration. If part of your nature is to be a truth-teller, a bearer of light, then you are prophet and exorcist and executioner. In telling truth to those who thrive on lies, you will threaten death to those who still fear death. You are like the sighted among the blind, like the hearing among the deaf. What you do appears insane to the masses of your world. If that is your nature, if you seek to bring new truth to stagnant masses, do not also seek to be loved by those masses. Expect them to fear you like vampires fear the sun. Expect them to systematically attempt your destruction. You appear to them as death, your light to them is pain. So cause death, bring pain, tell truth, bear light. That is your nature. That is your job. Shave off everything that is incompatible. If you discover that your nature in this momentary lifetime is to please others, to seek praise, to be liked by as many as possible, then go all the way down that road. Actively strip away any tendencies that will get in the way of your expression of that nature. Become completely a phantom, try to starve your hunger into dying, deny your longing, ignore your crying and your aching, idolize the vacant, make uneasy growth your monument of death.

If you are the sky, rejoice in being blue and black, make the stars your shining friends. If you are the sea, endlessly make love to the shore, and know that you are home to the whale. Do not only float the ships but also bash them against the rocks, sink them with vengeance to your heavy depths. If you are the sun, then give light even to those who are far away while you consume those who dare to approach you. If you are a puppeteer, then animate the inanimate. If you are a dancer, then use your body as the vessel and conveyor of that which is madness to those who do not hear the song that serves to inspire you. Let the composer compose, the writer write, the inventor invent, the critic balk, let the zombie walk while dead. Let the pioneer die going first. Let the guardian clutch seeming rock. Let rock inevitably turn to sand. From Marcus Aurelius:

"To a stone thrown in the air, it is not good to be tossed up and not bad to fall down."
"Whatever anyone may do or say, I am committed to be good—just as an emerald says, 'I am committed to be an emerald, and keep the color that is mine.'"
"Everything exists for a purpose—a horse, a vine, even the sun. What then is your purpose?"


If I may say so, I don't think it will be everything you dream of. I think it is always something else. With overlap, quite likely. But it's the lilly pads. The surface of a pond represents mental possibility, everything you imagine you could attain. The lilly pads are what you can actually attain. From your vantage point as a frog, you can't see very far, so all you can ever do is just hop to a lily pad that is different from the one you're on, but is one of the ones you can actually get to due to its closeness to your present spot. Hopefully this process will lead you to a lily pad that is close to the point on the surface of the pond that represents what you consider ideal. If the lilly pad completely overlapped that point, I suppose you'd be perfectly happy. If it didn't overlap completely, but it overlapped some, or was close to the ideal point, then I suppose you'd be pretty happy. But, even if you got close, in this analogy lilly pads are the only part of the pond you can stand on. You can't necessarily jump to that ideal spot. You have to hope that it's covered by a lilly pad.

Of course, in Frogger, I always make it past the street but I usually die in the water, so what do I know?

Keep looking at it.

Continue staying there. Be unrelenting in applying pressure to the pain. When the right song comes around, put the player on repeat. Press through stages. Zoom in. Zoom out. Move over slightly. Zoom in again. When moment presents itself, allow self to integrate with moment. When something of interest comes across, allow it to become something of sphere, allow something of sphere to become something of self, something of self to become something of gravity, something of gravity to become something of depth. Surprise become delight, delight become ecstasy. Spark become tingle, tingle become wave. Wave become oceans. Oceans cover globe. Allow slightest discomfort to give way to decided trouble, decided trouble give way to distinct pain, distinct pain give way to unbearable torture. Only then I know I hurt, only then I can bleed through it, breathe through it, wash myself of it, purge, drown, sweat, expel. Only after the black hole collapse, crush of weight, can I truly be of air, weightless, no border between other and self, water in water, space in space, breath in breath, motion in motion, chaos in chaos, body in body, light in light..

The Second Monkey teaches that pain cannot be salved by circumvention. Numbing pain never makes it go away. Only after going though it, on the other side, is there beauty, peace, fullness. Only after the terror of chaos comes tranquility, stillness. So it is that depth lies on the other side of pressing; that ecstasy is the millionth rushing ocean wave, the first of which is only a tickle..

Thinking through the Frogger metaphor again.

Listening to Jesse's song. Thinking through the Frogger metaphor again. Thinking of a different angle on it. What kind of a journey would a journey be if you knew where you were going to end up before you started? If you really knew exactly where you would end up, it wouldn't be like moving toward the future, it would be like being Merlyn, living backwards through time, approaching an end you already know, like perfect memory. Just tracing the steps from point a to point b. Astrea writes about following longings that you can't really put your finger on, and, really, what other way is there to travel? An impetus to move, yet an acknowledgement of one's ignorance of the actual goals and paths that will be touched. In science, when people know what they are trying to find before they start looking, it seems they often find paths that prove the rightness of whatever they seek. When you observe with such expectation, your mind finds ways to make your desires come true. Wonderful this is when you can know with confidence what it is you want to find. You seek it, you find it. But the related handicap, for science or spirit wanderers, is that what you know or think you want to find when you start looking, serves as a bias against finding something else. What if that something else would have pleased you more? So you must travel toward the unknown, travel always open to change, if your journeys are ever to take you somewhere profoundly new, somewhere you didn't know about when you started the trip.

If those guys are such geniuses

Yes, yes, yes. I know what you mean. And you're talking about it from two distinct (but highly related) angles, both of which I think from myself. Angle number one has to do with how much attention you pay to outside validation (or criticism) of what you do in life and in art. Angle number two has to do with how you go about deciding whether you're doing what it is that you're supposed to be doing with your life and your art. I am extremely empathetic to your struggle with these things, because they are some of the most crucial struggles in my thoughts about my own life. It's comforting to hear you express your thoughts on this, and, in that vein, I will tell you what I think when I think about these things.

I have cultivated a confidence regarding my own actions and activities, but I don't think it's innate. I think that the origin of this in me was as a defense mechanism against other people's skepticism and criticism of things I've done or been. I think that, as a result of times when my parents, other adults (when I was not an adult), and my friends have expressed doubt that some of my ideas were sensible, doubt that some of my statements were plausible, doubt that some of my plans were possible, that the idealist/dreamer part of me has developed an automatic, knee-jerk shield against almost everything anyone else has to say about how things I'm involved with should be done. Now, since the initial development of that shield as a defense tactic, I have definitely cultivated, consciously, that way of thinking. My thoughts on this subject have been influenced by something David Mamet said, that's transcribed in this book of three lectures he gave to film students (the book is called On Directing Film, but parts of it are really more accurately On Making Art). He says that when he writes, he always makes the characters do only what they are required to do by their circumstance, given their desires and their problems, and that he never thinks about whether or not the audience is going to like what the character fact, that he divorces himself from all thoughts about what the audience is going to like or dislike, because he thinks that allowing thoughts of how the audience is going to respond..allowing that to affect the decisions an artist makes when making art, always results in bad decisions, and bad art. When I read this idea (in high school, while cutting a math class I was supposed to be going to at Sinclair, during which I actually went to the Sinclair library to read plays) it really affected me. I think that single idea goes pretty far down the path of describing a philosophy of art, and it has everything to do with what you wrote about in your message. Actors feed off the praise of the audience; they need to be liked in order to continue doing what they're doing. Applause is the air they breathe. They care about what the audience thinks of them. They care if people like them.


If the audience dislikes an actor, the actor changes. If the audience dislikes an artist, the artist tells the audience to go to hell. Something I believe to be equally true, and necessary to make the whole thing work, and which is harder to do, is: In the case that the audience likes the artist, the artist still tells the audience to go to hell. Of course we're all some part actor and some part artist in these ways, and I do like praise, and I am affected negatively by criticism, but I'm working to minimize the effects of both on my thoughts and actions. So you ask if I feel the need for validation? Yes, I do. Absolutely. But I try to work out ways that I can feel validated in my life in general by a few people who really love me regardless of what I do, and use that general validation to build myself up in general, so that I have less of a need for anyone, including those people, to like what I do or what I make. And, yes, I do feel that what I am doing is right, but only because I'm me, and that's what I'm doing. It's no one else's business to try to define what it means for me to write a poem, and if I let their ideas about it into my head while I'm writing one, then it won't be as fully mine as it could be if, for a moment, I completely forget that they exist. And David Mamet is right, in my experience, that if I ignore the audience, their liking of what I make..increases. Sometimes, for me, it helps to have secret projects, because knowing that no one is going to look at a certain thing I'm making helps me to get into the mode of making process decisions based on my internal guides. What if no one was looking? What would you make then? What if no one knew you? How would you live your life then?

Which brings us to angle number two. Other people have ideas about what you should or could be. And to the degree to which you are smart and multitalented, others will have more and more ideas about what you should or could do. They're right about the could part, of course: you could do all kinds of things, reader. But just because you can doesn't mean you should. And you can't do everything, and it's your job and your job only to decide what you will do. It pisses me off to no end the way people have designs on other people's (especially smart people's) lives. Tracy's parents think she's wasting her brainpower because she could have been a doctor and "all" she's doing is being an actor. But I take issue with every situation like this, which at the core contains this: We, society as a whole, think that you, brilliant person, have a duty to serve us by using your extraordinary talents in ways we think are valuable to us. No, no, and no. Tracy has a genius-level IQ, but that's her mind and her IQ and her life and her consciousness to do with whatever the hell she damn pleases. Reader, you do not owe the world (or your parents or people who know you and know something of your skills) do not owe them that you use yourself in any particular way. None of us do. Was it a waste of time and talent for me, particularly, to quit a perfectly good tech job, get in my Chevy Metro with a friend, and drive to the ocean without a map? No; that was a great thing for me to do. I can write hardcore software for large companies, or I can sit in a field eating rose petals and talking with god on a cell phone. I can use my brain and body any way I want, I can kill them any way I want, too, and it's okay, because for all their ability to generate ideas about who I am and what I should be, no one else has near the qualifications I have to actually be me. That is solely my department. And, as me, it is my luxury to decide, in each moment, exactly what I like best, what activities I think suit me best, and what I'll do. How inconsistent it is for someone else to say, "I think that someone as smart and talented as yourself, someone even smarter and more talented than me, shouldn't waste your time on x,y,z." When someone says that (and I have heard it often), I think: "What makes you think that my smartness and talent, which you recognize is greater than your own, would be less informed than yours and less able than yours to make decisions about what I do?" How strange it is, indeed, to say such things, but people say them all the time. "That Mozart: I really liked his music, but did he really have to write backwards poems about his incest-cousin's feces?" "That Jean-Michel Basquiat, he's a freaking genius..I really wish he hadn't been so into heroin." If those guys are such geniuses, why does anyone think they made the wrong choices by fucking their cousin and injecting heroin?

You feed your fire and your fire feeds you.

Amy writes: "It is important to me that I have my own personal time, apart from work, to relax and stay healthy, spend time in prayer, time with loved ones. But I feel very counter-culture in this effort--that there's an expectation that people should be skipping lunch breaks and staying late and commuting long hours to work. And that being too busy to take vacation means that you've got the right amount of work. I very much like the idea of a Sabbath, in the face of all this. Time that is dedicated, for God's sake and our own, to something other than work.."

I also like that idea of Sabbath. And as ammo against those who claim that the Sabbath Time and the Work Time are at odds, consider that Sabbath Time is resting-the-muscle time, rotating-the-crops time..far from being at odds with Work Time, Sabbath Time is Work Time's necessary and supportive counterpart.

One of the most important things I've learned I learned while on a Shamanic journey with Shringara Hasya, camping in the woods of southeastern Ohio. In the mornings, we went to the lake to gather fresh water. In the afternoons, we gathered wood for the fire. In the evenings, we boiled water to make tea and we talked about our lives. In the evenings it was cool; sitting at the fire kept us warm into the night so that we could stay up and talk. The fire, as a source of heat and light, took on the status of a third party to our evenings. It wasn't just Shringara and me; it was Shringara, me, and the fire. For days we collected water from the lake to make tea, gathered wood for the fire, drank our tea and talked. We came to explicitly recognize the extent to which we needed our fire. Without the fire we would be cold. Without the fire we could not see. Without the fire we would not have safe water to drink. We needed the amenities it provided and we appreciated the role it played in our time in the woods.

The last night of our stay, however, we realized that there was a profound dimension to our relationship with the fire that we hadn't yet considered. When the flames died down and we grew cold, we took wood from the stacks we had gathered and added them to the burning pile. The fire would keep us warm..but not if we didn't feed it wood. And so we saw the mirror aspect to the idea that we needed our fire: our fire needed us. It needed us to collect wood during the day and to feed it wood at the right times. It needed us to supply an initial spark. It needed us to tend the pile of coals, to allow oxygen to reach its core. Without us, it would die!

You need your fire and your fire needs you. You feed your fire and your fire feeds you. If you neglect your fire, your fire will be unable to warm you. If your fire lets you get too cold, you will be unable to gather its food. This relationship exists in great multiplicity among the systems of our world.

Digital copying is really creating new things.

When I "go to" a website, in my mind I usually think of the site being on some server somewhere, associated with some address, and I think of myself as "looking" at the site "on" that server. But every time we go to a site, we're really copying the site to our local computer and looking at that local copy. When I "copy" digital information from one place to another, I'm really making a whole new thing in the new place—I'm cloning. From an implementation point of view, all this is obvious. And with TiVo and with music, we do tend to use a different metaphor: we know when we're watching recorded video that we're watching a copy, that's how we think of it. And we know that songs in our iPods are copies. But with web sites, since we pretty much instantly disregard the copy (our cached copy) when we're done looking at it—or maybe because almost every time we look at "the site", we check for a new copy—we use a different metaphor for viewing a digital copy: instead of replaying an acknowledged [local, duplicate, out of date] copy, we go to a web site. With books and CDs, the fact that each viewing/listening is associated with a particular copy of the information is obvious to us, it's built into our metaphors for the consumption of those media. But with web sites, now that we don't have to wait a million years for Mosaic to download a graphic, it seems to me our consumptive metaphor has collectively ceased to reflect the fact that every time we "go" to a web site, it's more the case that the site is coming to us—and, even more, the case is that we are quickly making a copy of the site, just like a book, and then consuming that copy. We think of a web site as being there, as being a there, but until we have constructed the web site here it does us no good.

The mechanics of that simple digital copy astound me, in a way: it's like you're on the phone with your uncle in another city and he's describing his house to you, brick by brick, and you're building an "identical" house from his description. It's not the same house, it's a house with the same number of bricks in the same position. But they're not the same bricks. Do you ever delete part of a word when typing, but you only delete up to a certain point, because you can reuse the first part of the word already typed to help form the word you now want: the "re" from "really" can remain, to serve "reopen"..? Or, when you stop microwaving your hot dog 16 seconds short of the minute that you originally programmed, do you refrain from clearing the remaining time from the machine's memory so that the next person can use that time, rather than "wasting" those 16 seconds?

Two R's may be digitally equivalent, but they're actually not the same thing, not the same at the level of storage on the disc. They're in two distinct places, for one—there can they not be the same thing. I can sit here typing "R"s and erasing them all day; not one of those "R"s is the same as any other "R" (simply because none of them was ever typed, stored, or read in the same place at the same time, among other distinguishing characteristics). The irony of digital fidelity is that all these "exact copies" are created not by paying attention at a higher level of detail, but by ignoring all that lies below a specified level of detail; those "R"s are only "the same" because of a collective agreement to ignore everything that makes them different.

Ignoring the Time Which Makes Them Different

A digital photograph, either of something "real", or of a traditional photograph (like a scan of a film print), is choosing to ignore the passage of time. That's the collective agreement there. My film prints are fading. They're not fixed properly. Even if they are, they're fading, they're decomposing. But the second at which I scan them in, is the second of their existence I am not ignoring. I am ignoring all other periods of their existence, in favor of the moment in which I digitize them. Time makes the film prints, or the world, different from moment to moment. Taking a photograph is agreeing to ignore all time except when the shutter was open. Scanning is the same. By digitizing photographs I am choosing to ignore the ravages of time.

You cannot classify the complexity of a system which you cannot predict.

You cannot classify the complexity of a system which you cannot predict. Like in CAs: there's no way to know how complex a system is if you can't always say what it's going to do next. All you can do with such systems is know how complex you think they are, which is a whole different kettle of fish. It's kind of like intelligence testing: all you can really determine by testing people is which ones produce the same test results, or which ones agree (on the correct answers) with the test-maker. For job performance, or school performance, or life performance, if you could predict it, the key quantity would be what is the person going to do next [in this job, in this school, in their life]? But testing can't tell you this.

We know from complex systems (chaos, NKS) that it doesn't take much design complexity to produce system behavior that is too complex for even the most complex system to predict by shortcut. To be able to reliably predict the behavior of a system is, in a way (and among other things), to understand the "level of complexity" of the system. But, even if you can see regularities or patterns in a system, if you can't [reliably, simply, quickly] predict it, then you don't understand it well enough even to classify its complexity. You might recognize patterns in its behavior, but there might be things going on in the system that you don't recognize, that are hidden from view right in front of your face.

When I look at what in NKS is classified as a level III system, I might dismiss it and say that there is nothing "intelligent" going on, or that nothing intelligent could go on in a class III system. But this would be a big mistake. I can look at class I and class II NKS systems, and because they are so simple and repetitive that I can form a shortcut-style predictive model in my head, it is reasonable for me to claim to be able to classify their complexity, because no aspect of their behavior defies (and could therefore elude) my understanding, my mental model, of the system. But in a "class III", just as much as in a "class IV", system, the very fact that I cannot predict what's going to happen next (without running the system) means that I cannot even classify the complexity of the system. There might be visual similarities in our representations of all class III systems, and then in all class IV systems, in NKS, but how can I possibly dismiss the possibility that there is cooperative systematic order, or long-range communication, (or intelligence,) in a class III system? Our dividing line between class III and class IV is based on what we can see. But the fact that even class III systems are complex enough to evade prediction means that they are complex enough that we have to admit that there are things going on there that we cannot see. Which means, frankly, that even behavior that looks "random" or randomized, or simply textural, could contain [intelligent] computation that we just don't recognize. That is to say that those systems could be doing computations that are meaningful from a certain point of view, one that is at least as deep and complex as ours, but that we just don't happen to share. Think of it this way: in CA systems whose cells have three "rows" of awareness/memory, like the water systems I've looked at some, the output of most systems looks like television snow..there could be something going on, but it's not easy to spot. That TV snow is random-looking in a way similar to class III systems. But even though class III systems look random, it may be that in the interaction of those many "triangles" or other repeating forms, there is systematic long-range communication taking place between various parts of the system that we just can't see. Just like with systems that look like TV snow, if our way of observing the system was different, it might not look random at all.

In intelligence testing, performance and job testing for humans, this signals the need for a shift for some analysts: there's a very concrete sense in which the case of a subject doing things that the tester cannot predict means (and only means) that the tester doesn't completely understand the subject. Somewhat akin to how it's sometimes possible to show how two parts of our chaotic world are connected, but impossible to ever say that any two parts are not connected, in testing, it's sometimes possible to say that you understand a subject, but that's the minority case. Whenever a test taker does something the test maker cannot predict or explain (and that includes "wrong" answers), the only safe conclusion the test maker can assert is the quite humble one that he does not understand the subject. I think it's clear in these situations on which side of the court the limitation lies.

Meaning is Resonance

What is the meaning of meaning? What does it mean to mean? I think meaning is resonance. Just like the air in the cavity of a drum is resonant with respect to the vibration of the drum head, just like a story that bears similarity to the nature of my life is meaningful to me, a system is meaningful to me if it resonates with me. And resonance has everything to do with the [shape of the] beholder.

Let's say I'm looking at the output of a good pseudo-random sequence generator. If I am looking at simple statistical frequency of the digits produced, the sequence will appear random, meaningless. But if my way of looking at the thing was different--let's say I had in my mind the function(s) used to generate the sequence--then the sequence would resonate with me, it would seem meaningful.

NASCAR fans like racing movies more than I do. Can the seeming randomness of class III systems be (although an extreme example) analogous to this in some cases? Maybe there are systems which, because of our methods of perception (visual and otherwise) seem random or meaningless to us, but which, if we perceived them in a different way, would resonate.

Couldn't I hide a message in a sequence of (at first look) seemingly random digits, steganography-style, by using every hundredth digit to store the message, filling in the other digits so as to make the frequencies of the digits come out [pretty much] evenly? If I could do that, then couldn't class III systems, in a similar way, be doing something decidedly non-random while appearing otherwise?

Ok, let's try this.

If you cannot classify the complexity of a system that you cannot predict, then, isn't it the case that you cannot classify your own complexity, since (based on Stephen Hawking-type ideas about predictive models needing to contain as many data elements as the thing they're predicting in order to be accurate) you can only contain as many [predictive] elements as you can contain [actual self] cannot shortcut-predict your own future actions..if you cannot know what you yourself will do next, then isn't it the case that you cannot classify your own complexity..i.e. that you cannot know how smart you are, that you cannot know where you stand with respect to other intelligent beings? Maybe I'm stretching this too far, but: might it be the case that it is fundamentally impossible for an individual to know how smart they are with respect to others..such that, essentially, when I converse with you, there is no general, absolute guarantee, that I can know which one of us knows more, or knows better, about some subject or fact? I may simply be predisposed (for whatever personal, historical reason) to think that discussions can continue forever without conclusion, that while discussion is possible, conclusion is not always possible, but..that is how it seems to me. That perhaps I cannot predict my own actions, and therefore I cannot understand my own complexity, and furthermore I cannot compare my complexity with the complexity of others..maybe, in this sense, in a conversation, it is fundamentally impossible to be sure who is right? Or who "knows more"? Maybe it's impossible to tell.

You're not an MBA.

I am not what I do. I do what I do. But that's not what I am. This idea is lost on people who say things like "I'm an MBA." You're not an MBA. You're a dork. You have an MBA. And what you do, that's something else still.

To Play

My objective is not to be right. My objective is to play.

Also, to know what I can affect and what I can't; which is to say, to build the "then" part of "if-then" conditionals, wait for the result of the "if", and then just do. If [condition I can't control] happens, then [I will do this thing that is characteristic of me]. I cannot control the if. I can control the then.

Ifs and Thens

Rishi said: "what if.. if and then are conditionals of one another? meaning what if the if is determined based on your definition of the then, or what if, the if monitors your then and shifts."

If if and then are conditionals of one another, then to be resolved, they would be have to be resolved simultaneously, external to the statement (the statement couldn't resolve itself, or be resolved within its own scope)..or they would have to be resolved in two or more passes, I think. Your scenario puts the if in a dicey position of having to commit to being something first (otherwise the then couldn't possibly happen), then the if has to re-evaluate itself (and then the then might occur again, or might have occurred only once, or might never have occurred).

"if a then b". a=="if qfalse then false, otherwise true". b="qfalse". In this case I guess when evaluating a, since b doesn't happen until a==true, we could consider the a to use its "otherwise" path, so now a is true and b can happen. b happens: q becomes false. Now a re-evaluates itself, and since q is false, then a is false. So b doesn't happen a second time.

"if a then b". a=="if q==[whatever] then true, otherwise false". b="q==[whatever else]". In this case, when evaluating a, a has to again use its "otherwise" clause, since until a is evaluated, and evaluates to true, b doesn't happen. But since a's otherwise clause makes a false in this case, then b will never be evaluated in the first place.

The kind of if-thens I was thinking about were like: if the price of gas rises above x, then I will switch to oil. So my ifs were simpler than the type you propose, and more insulated from external tampering. If an entity who could manipulate the price of gas knew of this if-then plan of mine, I suppose it could constantly switch the price of gas from just above x to just below x, causing me to constantly switch between gas and oil.

Is that the type of manipulation you were thinking of?

Mainly in my if-then thinking I want to move away from hoping about things like the price of gas, and become less emotional and more sane in certain types of decision-making, so that when conditions outside of my control do one thing or another, I know where I stand. I can just say: Sorry, sweetie, but I only date women over 6'2″.

Everything said is a lie..

because you can't ever say everything about something, and to neglect an aspect is to lie. I can say the car is blue, but if that's all I say then it's somewhat untrue. The car is blue because of the reflection of the sky, but the car is also black. Blue is not black, but the car really is blue and the car really is black. Every statement, once made, is incomplete, inadequate, it ignores and neglects aspects of what is. Because the world is not adequately describable by simple statements, simple statements are each, in a sense, false.

Life has everything to do with what you pay attention to. Writing a textual description of an actual place is the perfect example of this: of all the things you see, you write certain ones. Of all the things that are, you only see certain ones. Similarly, the subsections of the world we interact with determine how we feel about the whole world..if such a thing was even a reasonable concept. For, since you cannot know the whole world, you cannot reasonably possess feelings or summaries about (it).

Genius is like that, and specialization is like that: a production designer is what she is primarily because of the pattern and template of what she pays attention to. Same with a mathematician, or a killer.

Mythology is as important to technology as science.

Can you really separate style and substance?

John Mayer and Fiona Apple have substance, but what are they without their style? Wittgenstein and Foucault are stylish, no doubt, even though they are normally revered for that other quality.

Who's doing the wanting?

If I'm being run as part of someone else's experiment, and I want to communicate with my creator, imagine that from the creator's point of view: I write a program. I want to write a program so I go to a computer and write a program. I'm doing the wanting, right? But maybe not. Maybe the thing that I program is doing the wanting. Maybe that future thing wants me to go to a computer and build it.

Just like sex: who's doing the wanting? Am I doing the wanting? I want the girl, so I do xyz to get her. I'm doing the wanting. But not entirely. The baby we might have is doing the wanting. The baby wants to be born, or "biology" wants to further itself. I, the individual, am not in control. I want to eat, but I'm not the only one who wants me to eat. People want to make artificial intelligence. But, someday, it might be clear that the reason we wanted to do that was that whatever it is we eventually create—that next species that rises above us—wanted us to.

If you believe in god: why did god create us? God has no idea. He just wanted to. But why did he want to? Because we wanted to exist.

The creator is inspired by breathing life into that which does not yet exist. Our inspiration comes not from what created us, but from what we might create.

The Surprise-Cohesion Continuum

On one end, you have an explosion; on the other, you have a rock. Things we consider living have both: enough surprise that you know it's not dead, but enough cohesion that you can tell it's the same thing from moment to moment. Not enough surprise, and I'll seem dumb or boring to you. Not enough cohesion, and I'll seem insane. With too much surprise, you can't individuate the thing: if my cell phone changed so much that one second later it looked like a beach, then I wouldn't even be able to recognize [it] as a thing. For me to think of a thing as a thing, it has to be changing slowly enough for me to recognize it from moment to moment. But for me to think of a thing as living, it has to change quickly enough—and substantially enough—that I'm surprised.


The degree to which a person can affect the world is proportional to the degree to which the person has been (and can be) affected by the world. Cacophony.

The Biggest

The point at which you notice something is the biggest is the point at which you know that it will be getting smaller. In abstract sense, this is obvious and acceptable. But if you apply it to a popular fascination, it strikes a different note: when I know, know in my heart, that a band, that a genius, that a writer, has filled the room, that is the same as the point at which I know, if I am wise, that the thing has started its descent.

Carpet, Subtitles, and Nail-biting

The phenomena surrounding me liking you more when you like the things I like and me liking you less when you dislike the things that I like are varied and interesting ones. But what I've been thinking about lately is the corollary phenomenon wherein I lose all respect for you when you dislike something that's in a small set of things which aren't necessarily my favorite things, but which are, in my mind, so basically indistinct, that for a person to feel intense hate for them makes me question whether logical processes exist inside this other person's head.

For example, I love Pulp Fiction, but when I meet a person who does not like Pulp Fiction, I figure: well, they were raised with a lower tolerance for media violence than me; or, they cannot tolerate any use of the N-Word, even in literature. Or whatever. But the point is that in this case I can understand why they wouldn't like the thing. At the very least I can invent reasons that could possibly account for the person not liking the thing. Other items in this category, for me, include: sushi, dense urban areas, and C

But take, for example, hiking. This is actually not one of my favorite things. I like to hike, I like it very much. I even like camping and have camped by myself on several occasions. But I haven't been hiking in months, and I probably won't hike again more than twice this year. But some people hate hiking. How can you hate hiking? I could better understand hating camping, because it's more involved, more specific, and a little scarier. But this is the earth you live in, how can talking a walk in it be hateful? When I meet a person who hates Pulp Fiction, I can at least continue the conversation: "Yes, the violence is a little rough." Or: "Many people were outspoken in their opposition to the prevalence of the N-Word in Tarantino's script." But when someone says they hate hiking? I mean, what can I say to that? "You're a fuckin' idiot!"? That does come to mind, but actually saying it would be out of character. Other items in this category, these bland yet hate-inspiring entities, are: carpet, subtitles, and nail-biting.

Strawberries and Lemons

Got your message the other day about the berries that change your sense of taste..I saved the message and have listened to it several times since..talked with Amy about passports re: your wedding..she asked if you need one to get to you need one now?..I know they just changed the laws about Mexico for sure..not so sure about canada..anyway..miracle's been at the surface of my mind, I trying to imagine a lemon without the sour..that's what poetry, drug experience, and all subjective experience is about: the untranslatable..a lemon without the me it's just words, as one who's never tasted the miracle you it's more than that..but our modes of communication don't allow for anything except summaries and derivatives to travel across the a way, I think that's what makes poetry's the inaccuracy of it, the have the boon of having experienced a thing which warrants such expression..I have the boon of having experienced such expression for which, in my experience, there exists no thing.

"New Yorkers" & Food

See, New Yorkers are spoiled about food, and they're proud of being spoiled about that and a great many other things. But what a New Yorker can never see is that being spoiled isn't a good thing. Because having good food all around you and not really enjoying it, is actually not better than being able to appreciate good food, even if you don't have it around all the time.

New York has such a gravity for the easily influenced, and it may sound like I'm dissing New York, but I'm not, I love New York, I love it more than almost anyone, whether they live there or not, whether they're from there or not. But people who see themselves as being from New York, or who see themselves as being so intrinsic to that place as to be a part of it, just the same as people who are so Italian or Irish or Jewish or African or Suburbian, or Whatever, people like that have thus far missed out on a wonderful way of investigating the truth: which is..transplant yourself, and you will quickly discover the partitions between what was you and what was the place (or the family, or the country).

Have you ever heard of a scientific experiment without both a control group and an experimental group? The only way to know anything about complex systems is to start isolating their components.

Without that type of transplant in yourself, whether it be from place to place or from role to role, from job to job or from team jersey to team jersey, or from family to family..well, I'll tell be frank I pity those who are so identified with one backdrop that they don't know who they might be against another one. Do you know how tired I am of White people and Black people and Mexicans and Republicans and Democrats, how tired I am of Scientists and Artists, how tired I am of Nubians and Nordics? How tired I am of Feminists and Football Players. How tired I am of Atheists and Fundamentalists, of Conservatives and Liberals. Everyone has it backwards: you think you're living your life the way you do because you're a Liberal, when actually it's that you're a Liberal because of the way circumstances have forced you to live your life. You think you're rich because of the way you view the world? You view the world the way you do because you're rich. Try living one day where you get beat up and one day where you don't—live them in the same city on the same day as the same sex with the same color skin and the same amount of money in your bank—and see how different those circumstances might make you feel.

All of you Libyans and Lesbians and MBAs and PhDs and Creationists, Capitalists, Communists, and Punk Rockers: take off your hats and grow the fuck up.

A Nature of Reporting on Truth

Sometimes I stop writing on blogs. The reason is: I get to a point where I can't write what is true or else I'll get [fired, disowned, divorced, etc]. You can't write what is true, both, and also continue to live in society. The funny thing is, when you do write (or say) what really one will take it as's too impossible to believe literally.

So much it seems

the important point is not what you're saying, but whether you're in the conversation. When we disagree, at least there is a we. Like all press being good press, the essential quantity is not what happens in the room but whether or not you're in the room. Life is pinball, the beginning and the end of the game is always the same, but it's still fun to play. What happens during a round of pinball? Who can say? But it's still easily quantifiable as pinball. So are you arguing? Are you lovemaking? Are you interviewing? All of that matters nothing..but are you talking at all? That matters. Is the relationship going well? That matters nothing. Is there a relationship at all? That matters. When it's going bad at least it's going. When you let it fall through the gates then it's no longer happening. When you're arguing with your producer at least you have a producer. When you're divorcing your wife at least you have a wife. When you're lying to your man at least you have a man. The question of difference is not between various things said, but between speech and silence. When you're disagreeing with someone, when you're at odds with someone, in those times you have a someone..when you have that problem employee, that's you in business. As much of a pain as it is, that's the essence of what you do. Your choice isn't between having a problem employee and having a perfect employee; your choice is between having a problem employee and having no employee. The relationship problem that wraps you up at night: that is your relationship, there never was a perfect one, what there was was "problem" ones and no ones at all.

A Reflection

I am a reflection of everyone around me. And I am a part of the mirror off which everyone I know reflects. The primary way in which we discover who we are is to experiment with how our actions reflect off others. So when your friend is doing poorly, that is partially a reflection of you. And when you are going crazy, that is partially that you are reflecting the crazy world around you. So I must take [partial responsibility for everyone around me, and I can take [partial] credit for everyone I know who succeeds, and for everyone I know who loses, I must accept [partial] responsibility for the failure.

Wild Animals

Some animals are basically tame (or able to be tame(d)), like cows and small cats; some animals are wild, like snakes and pumas. Maybe people are the same way.

The stigma of writing

is plagiarism..but that is also the essence of writing..the essence of writing is copying. The stigma of writing is also the essence of writing, and that copy. What we hate most within a domain is what is the fundamental nature of that domain.

And all my crushes

have been the wrong ones. They have always been the ones that all my friends hate, that all my family raises their eyebrows at. All my friends' worst enemies have categorically been my lovers. Things have not improved in recent days. My latest crush is of insanity's ilk..not even my closest friend can guess her. No, my latest crush, the crush of the most developed me, is my worst crush of all.

There is no such thing as mental illness: such illness is just a term invented by those who have left themselves is convenience invented by the typical to excuse the fact that they have been eclipsed. It is your way of neatly tucking aside something you cannot explain or understand. The wonderful paradox is that those who allow themselves to be confused (to embrace the mystery) are those who might understand something—those who cannot admit to the truth of their own confusion—never will.

The One-hand Poker Tournament

If it's the first hand of the first round of a poker tournament, you play a certain way. If you're smart, you play in a way that is likely to get you to the next hand, and the next round, etc. And there is a sense in which life is like this, at a certain scale. On a daily basis it is prudent to look both ways before you cross the street, etc. But at a larger scale, I believe this life is a one-hand poker tournament, or at least a one round one. And in a law-of-averages sort of way, if it's smart to play the first hand of a tournament in a certain way then it's smart to play the last hand in the exact same way. But I don't think people, in the sense of soulful beings, are well served by law-of-averages thinking. In that light, in this one round of poker, I think the prudent way to play is rather wild.

The only unacceptable thing

to me, is not believing in my dream. All else is forgivable, that is not. There's a scene in Signs, two brothers on the couch, that speaks to this. And I'm supposed to be bigger than my failures, we're supposed to somehow escape our limitations, become more than our parents and more than our yesterday. Currents of culture create the reason that, say, Titanic played longer than any movie ever—Ash asks: what was it about our place and time that made it so people went to see that movie over and over in the theater? Why is marriage unacceptable to us now? It's so hard to see, from within the culture of a business or a family or a country, that a lot of this is arbitrary. The king of Morocco makes bigamy legal in a country where, in that time, there was so high a female-to-male ratio that even-matched marriages left many women poor. And we forget this, but: when my sister is doing badly, that reflects on me. That's part of the definition of family that has been forgotten: your problems are mine and my problems are yours. We're deluded with the illusion of independence: people in Dayton want to keep public transportation out of the Beavercreek mall, but they don't understand that in order to live the life they want to live in Beavercreek, you have to bus in people to clerk the stores in the mall, you have to bus in housekeepers and maids and slaves..having slaves and having no busses are mutually exclusive, but people will try for them both anyway. I read the website of my friend (and it inspires me to post here—maybe our websites are just talking to each other), I enjoy aesthetic reactions in my own brain to a computer-generated graphic of a surreal biological entity,

And I think if you step way back from the arts & sciences, that maybe, even though it's all interesting, it's all worthwhile, that the only thing left is poetry, photography, snapshots of existence: science is all well and good, and probably will never see an end, but, as a limited subjective being in time, who cares? What matters to us is isolated fragments, a conversation, that moment, one taste, the particular way it happened to me..that—and only that—is of the utmost importance.

I'm on a beach, and the sea and the sand and the sky come together. A railroad track separates the ocean from the highway and we take in the view, in our time.

Madonna quote

Listening to my iPod on shuffle, a song comes on I haven't heard in forever, Justify My Love, and I hear for the first time in years this lyric that I love but had forgotten, profound and poetic:

"Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another." (Madonna)

Simple and easy

Permeating the creation of strategies by conscious beings is the difference between simple and easy. Much of what we do is simple but not easy. We know what to do but don't do it. That's one of the essences of not being a machine.


The last place in Los Angeles where you could get optical prints, Simons in Hollywood—their machine is broken (permanently), and optical is dead. People who get their family photos printed at these places have no idea there is a difference; photo technicians who tell us they cannot do sloppy borders and who say that the aspect ratio cropping inherent in cramming a 35mm image into a 4×6″ or 8×10″ print is not important..these people have no idea what they're talking about. When people involved in a certain art use phrases like " not important.." I know they are is does matter..the devil is in the details..actually: everything matters, every detail is of the utmost importance, anyone who feels otherwise is fake. "I want an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin.." Know that movie? That moment? That is what is required. An equal amount of blueberries in each muffin. The distance of the whole world is the distance between you and me. If I am striving to accomplish anything in this world that I do not have, it is because I have not yet understood the gap between you and me. If there is anything in this world that you are striving to accomplish but do not have, it is because you have not yet understood the gap between you and me. The world illustrates itself in grandiose ways, but its essence is in these intimate connections and gaps between [us—you and me].

The most important thing (to me) is:

What can I learn from you, and what can you learn from me? That's the whole thing. That's what we're doing here, as far as I can tell. In every domain, this is what is happening.

Giving Intellectuals Something To Do

It is much more useful to be able to ask a question than to be able to answer one. Einstein said: "Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them." But perhaps we can also say this: Intellectuals answer questions, geniuses ask them. Or even: Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses create them. There is much talk about things that have been created, about problems that have been posed; creating things and posing problems, however, happens relatively rarely. So, all you geniuses out there, all you brilliant people, all you bright sparks: keep creating problems so that intellectuals have something to do.

Anytime you're afraid of something someone else might do, it's because you're afraid you might do it.

This is a voicemail I left for Amy.

She liked it and saved it and eventually transcribed it and sent it back to me:

"Amy it's your brother, kind of a cool thing: just because of how your name falls in the alphabet, you're the first person in my little phone list in my phone, but that's not why i called you. I called you to tell you something about genius, which also applies to coolness and royalty. These are all things which are not bestowed upon you either by genetics or by the opinions of others or any other way, they are things which are claimed. No one makes you a king except the fact that you decided you were a king. It's the same thing with coolness, and I think coolness is the arena in which it is easiest to see. People who are cool, that is not something that is bestowed upon them or agreed upon by other people. It's something that they claim for themselves, and then other people decide to go along with that idea. And I believe that it's the same thing with royalty and leadership, and political power, and also genius. It is something that you claim. And i think that that's something that, in my opinion, is a clear kind of continuity between various people that we now look upon historically as geniuses, is that they claimed that for themselves, that they decided that they were going to do something unequivocal. And there's a commonality among all creative and scientific geniuses, that they wanted to do something that no one else had done. They wanted to become that person that was totally different and totally beyond anything that anyone had ever been and it is that desire that makes them a genius or a royal person or a cool person, you know? Um,'s just one thought about that stuff."

Having an answer doesn't indicate intelligence. All having an answer means is that you've stopped thinking.

You can't write on blogs.

Not if you want to speak what you really feel and speak in specifics, self-expression is anti-social, the survival trait in groups is delicately not to offend, groups require exactly this, I used to think me and my friends were special, but no, this is all groups, all workplaces, or maybe I just miss my old friends, and that is no offense to my current friends (some of whom are old friends), it takes time to get to know people usually, except for those rare sparkling soulmates you meet on the first word (actually before, in the first look), that's those though, some are built well with time, built better?, not sure, think it varies on a case by case basis, and actually me and my friends are special, when I compare what I thought at the time with what happened later they never match, now I remember that when I think at the time, the present seems all-consuming right now, and the relevance pass, I mean relevance passes, but the syllabic nature of the present tense works so much better in that statement don't you think?, sometimes I feel like I can't understand what someone is saying, I feel like I'm slow and stupid, and sometimes later it seems instead that we were talking different languages, or maybe I convince you that what I'm saying makes sense right at the moment that I am convinced that what you are saying makes sense when the two are at odds, as of late I think of the meta-skill of knowing what to do that goes with knowing how to do, favorite example being the old man and the sea, why is that his most revered book?, it's no mistake it came nearer the end of his career than the start, that book wasn't hard for him to write I suspect, the writing was easy, the unusual thing he did there wasn't writing a book, it was knowing what book to write, that's the difference between young hemingway and old hemingway, old hemingway knew much much better not how to write, but what to write, what was appropriate to write, what was timely and what would be resonant and impactful to write, a million people know how to tend the gardens of software but none of us know what to plant hardly that would make any difference, the skillful application of a tattoo is relatively common compared to the insightful wise judicious selection of a tattoo I'll never forget, like a comma, like Lincoln, those are good tattoos, but mostly everyone gets tribal knots and kanji symbols, what else can I say without offending anyone?, of course everyone including me is afraid that everyone else will take offense to what we say and who we are but of course actually everyone wants to really hear all those things and see us be all those things that are really us, but it's still hard, there's still that temptation to fear, I never really understood karma until this year, in my early twenties people used to say I had karma in the bank, at present that account is overdrawn and I think it had to happen before I could appreciate what karma is, I used to think it was this crappy new age thing but now I know it's more like you make your bed and you lie in it, it doesn't really have anything to do with anyone else, I have this new policy I love, I love my policies, my new policy is if you're a shithead I don't have to be nice to you, well actually that's the crude version the real version is if you're aligned against me I won't help you in any way ever, for instance my policy used to be that I needed to be true in a moment, which meant being true to others too, I had to change that, when you're sharing a moment with someone who wants to hurt you, it doesn't make sense to help them, even if to avoid helping them you have to withhold information (which I classify as a lie), you start with a clean slate naturally but once you become a shithead the normal laws do not apply, once you become a shithead I don't need to speak to you, respond to you, help you look good to people I know who you are trying to impress, once you become a shithead I can without qualm withhold information from you that would prevent you from being hurt, yep, once you're a shithead I no longer have any duty to help you, once you're working against me, once you're trying to hurt me, I put you in the last page of my book and I refer to the policy whenever coming in contact with you, once you become a shithead you can basically suck it, and you can become not-a-shithead, it's actually quite easy, I don't keep grudges, all you have to do is stop doing things to hurt me, simple, so simple, and yet so hard for some of you, and if you're reading this and you're a shithead, then stop being a shithead, although most of the people I know who read this aren't shitheads, but we're all shitheads a little bit, and I reject any content that objects to style, form follows function and all that, of course it doesn't, of course it doesn't, I saw this ad in a magazine, it said subaru is a proud sponsor of women who kick butt, they were trying to get women to buy suvs, I cut it out and taped it to my door and when I look at it I say to myself, of course they aren't, of course they aren't, even if subaru gave an suv to every woman on the planet there's just no way that statement could ever be true, subaru is a proud sponsor of women who kick butt?, of course they aren't, of course they aren't, of course form does not follow function, function is impossible without form, form is impossible without function, a form cannot be without effect, nothing can be effected outside of form, so take your movie reviews that say elizabeth the golden age is bogged down under the weight of its visual grandeur, it's a movie not an almanac, movies are pictures and sounds and if you don't go gaga over pictures and sounds when you make a movie and when you watch a movie then I suggest you stop making movies and stop watching them, that's you in the plural, as in, all of humanity, what makes a movie a movie and not a book, what makes prose prose instead of poetry, is the nature of the snapshot, the nature of the snapshot, there I made it a title see, the nature of the snapshot is it's a unique moment in time that will never exist again, of which there will never be a copy, that look on a face, the way the sky was for one hour on one night of the entire universe, that's what poetry is, what's poetic in a thing is what can't be translated into another form, what's poetic and meaningful and special about the gettysburg address is everything I have never felt because I was never there, what's poetic about it is everything that would be lost if someone else spoke it, what's poetic about it is everything that would not survive translation into any other language, as such if you're going to make anything in a form, which if you make anything you're going to be doing whether you like it or not, you better do things that you can only do in that form, that are loved and supported by that form better than they are supported or loved or made possible by any other form, otherwise you do not understand the form you are using, and you do not know anything about form, and anyone who considers form to be a frill is the very picture of an idiot when it comes to function, it goes the other way too, you know who you are, scientists who consider business an assailant to the purity of your methods, businesspeople smug in your inability to feel art, artists too visionary to consider what is right in front of your face, your hunger your need for sex your want of comfort, you are a fool to deny the pain in your wrist as any less important than all those wonderful abstractions, I am speaking to myself of course

Alchemists must expect an explosion.

Verifiability and Poeticism Go to the Beach

There's a play between verifiability (which is to say, navigability, determinability, investigability) and poeticism (which is to say, surprise, variety, artfulness) which appears in natural language writing, computer programming, and all language and sequential audio/visual/touch arts. You have two things playing together, one is the structure, one is the eventual effect; and the way they talk is of the utmost. Ok, so structure, form, skeleton, this is the device by which an effect is brought to you, is applied to you; this is the punctuation in eecummings, this is the indentation and architecture of simple and masterful C, this is a paragraph in English from Donna Tartt. These are domains in which there is no known best answer; but in these domains there are most definitely right answers and wrong ones. Perfection in this tension play is achieved when verifiability is just achieved—nothing short of it, but nothing beyond what it requires..and, when, also, poeticism is maintained: poeticism as just enough imbalance, just enough symmetry, just enough symbolism to be manipulatable, simple-seeming, and abstract. It is the large-scale structure (the form), I think, that enables verifiability at a local level in a componentized system: a C function, a line of dialogue, a specific, a sparse, scene, is perfect precisely because it is locally comprehensible due to its seeming simplicity (via its representation in abstractable, in other words, envelopable, symbols) and as well due to its effect (via its meaning in the context of the definitions of the symbols it refers to (poetically, abstractly), in the ordering and placement and syntax that is the form of the relationships of those symbols, without which form there would be no effect). If you know me, you know I make no claims; rather, a confession.

Let's look at some text examples.

Here's a C function that is at once simple and effectual. It is verifiable and poetic. You would pay money for such a function because you can tell that this function does something (and whoever wrote it knows what it does); it is standard and clear. The way the function is expressed indicates that its author has logical and sane thoughts (people who write functions like this are happy to make changes to their functions, because making changes to functions like these is easy):

bool server_start(server_t *server)
bool success;
if (start(server))
if (0 == pthread_create(
NULL, server_thread,
(void *) server))
success = true;
} else
success = false;
} else
success = false;
if (!success)
return success;

Here's a C function that is neither verifiable nor poetic. It is worthless. It is meaningless. You would never pay money for this function because it is convoluted and obscure; you can't be sure of what it does (given that the function designer is unsure of what it does). The way it is expressed is disorganized and confused; the person who wrote this function is insane (people who write functions like this are even more apprehensive about making changes to their own code than they are about other people making changes to their code, because making changes to code like this is hard):

void image(int x,int y)int i,j; long ii,jj,z1,z2; unsigned char array1024; unsigned xx,yy,a,b; xx = XResolution; yy = YResolution; a = .4xx; b = .26yy; z1 = 21024L/a; z2 = 1024L/b; vsa_move_to(x-2,y-2); vsa_set_color(250); vsa_rect(x+a+1,y+b+1); for(j=0;j<b;j) { ii = (iz1) & 0x000003ff; jj = (jz2+256) & 0x000003ff; /.... arrayi = 144+112sin(i6.28/c)cos(j6.28/c); ..../ arrayi = 144+112.0(SINE_LUTii*SINE_LUTjj);  vsa_raster_line(x,x+a-1,y+j,array); } return;}

Even if you don't program in C, I think the difference will be apparent. Forget trying to understand what either of these functions does inside a computer. The question is what the language in which the functionality is encoded does inside your mind—think of them in an abstract sense. In one example, you detect symmetries and asymmetries, repetitions and patterns that resonate with a lingual and symbolic brain; this example also deceives us with its seeming simplicity (yet, due to the contextual definitions of the symbols it contains, it is effectual, functional, potent—the symbols start(server) and stop(server) have external definitions which encapsulate meaningful functionality, yet in this context they are presented simply, through abstractions). In the other example, there is a lack of form which produces meaninglessness. That function might do something, or it might not, we will never know; it is characterized by a blindness to form; its lack of poeticism is not a strength when it comes to this function's effectualism—the simpler one is harder to write, even though it's easier to read. When something does something, but it doesn't mean anything, then, again, it doesn't do anything. At least it doesn't do anything knowable, doesn't do anything verifiable.

The first is poetry, the second is rambling. The form of each is crucial to the verifiability, translatability, comprehensibility, meaning, validity, and force of the effect (that is to say, the function) of each. The funny thing (but not funny ha-ha) is that bad poets can never know how truly bad they are—what makes you a bad poet is not being able to tell the difference between a poem and not-a-poem. Bad poets think they are getting more done with their complex-seeming poetry than those whose poems are simply and elegantly expressed—simplicity and clarity are exclusively the domain of the talented; you will find the most idiotic people expressing themselves in the most opaque ways..only a person who is pure will ever be able to answer any question with a simple "yes" or "no"; the faker in the room will invariably respond to every question at length (this has an analogue in the differences between the two function architectures shown—the structure of the first answers questions simply and plainly, the structure of the second is oblivious to the value of that type of clarity). Another way to recognize idiots and bad poets is that when they summon the hero in themselves they always see a warrior; warriors, on the other hand, believe themselves to be poets. The most violent warriors, as lovers, are the most tender, the most vulnerable. Bad poets are defensive. If you have conversations with them they will think it is you who does not makes sense (because to them, what you do (and do beautifully) is unrecognizable)—those who hear not the music think the dancers mad.

Something that mediocre writers, mediocre programmers, mediocre visual artists, mediocre scientists, and mediocre business people fail to grasp, is this: if what you do, what you make, or how you express yourself isn't supremely elegant (in form), then whatever it is, is useless (in function). The idiot laughs at his listeners because he can say something they do not understand; the genius laughs at anyone who is unable to express himself to an idiot. If you find yourself trying to bowl me over by confusing me, know that the joke is on you. To be of substance and value is to speak such that everyone who hears you understands. Contrary to the attitude of the pseudo-intellectual: to confuse me..does not reflect well on you.

Accountability & Performance

I've been thinking about groups of people that everyone I know, knows (an empty group, unless I count myself); groups of people that many people I know, know (a medium-ish group); groups of people almost no one I know, knows (a small group); and then, individual people I know that no one else I know, knows (an even smaller—and, by definition, eclectic—group).

I was intuitively drawn to thinking about these categories, and especially to thinking about this last category. I sensed that there was something special about the interactions I've had with this last group. Is it that I like to keep secrets? I do think secrets and preferences bolster a person's identity: they are, essentially, unshared. But I felt, in my gut, there was something else special about those interactions that happen between two people who have no other relations in common.

What would the last two people on earth do?

What did the first two people on earth do?

Sex is an obvious answer, and it is probably right for many pairings. But, beyond that, what is the character of relations between two people when there is absolutely no one that either of them knows, no one who is aware that they are relating?

I didn't have any clear ideas about this when I posted earlier, but last night while talking with one of my favorite people (Is it someone you know? Is it someone that anyone I know, knows?) we made some progress on this front.

In honor of the dialectic between order-of-discovery and order-of-logic, I will mention that our conversation took place over the phone, and that I was in Gelson's supermarket during the conversation, "taking inventory" (as someone else I used to know, used to say) of the store. At the end of our 42 minute conversation, I settled on two chicken pot pies, one of which I ate last night and the other of which I plan to eat this night. Now, back to the order-of-logic.

I have sometimes in the past observed that when two people are observed by another, they are held accountable by the presence of that third person, held accountable to that third person. They are observed, they are judged, (they are kept honest?), by the presence of this third. Many people I know, know couples who say they love each other more than they love anyone else, but who also treat each other worse than they would ever treat anyone else. And, in these situations, it is in private that the worst treatment occurs. With no one watching, the consequence of abuse can be less, if you don't care about the experience of the person you are abusing. Of course, these rarely meet the criteria for unobserved relationships; rather, they are usually merely unobserved moments in a relationship where the people involved hold in common knowledge of at least one other person.

What is it about unobserved relationships that seems magical to me? It isn't that people can abuse each other without being held accountable by a third party. During my walk around Gelson's, it became clear to me that in addition to being held accountable, a couple in the presence of a third party is always doing something else: performing. When there's someone else around, when I say something to you, it's sometimes for the benefit of the other person. If it's not completely for their benefit, it's often partially for their benefit. Even if it's not for their benefit at all, the words I choose and the actions I take are at least chosen with the knowledge that the third person can observe them. Let's say that you could somehow know how two people would have interacted without knowledge of a third person, and then you watched them interact with the knowledge of a third person. Even if what they did was exactly the same in both circumstances, their interaction in the presence of the third person would still be a performance. Performance, in this context, is acting with the encumbering knowledge that you're being observed. Even if I do exactly what I would have done to you if that third person wasn't there, I am still, at each choice, thinking about what effect my actions might have on that person. Even if at every step I am completely disregarding, as input to my decisions, what I think the effect on that third person will be, I am still performing, because I am still encumbered by the knowledge of the third person.

(Of course the third party doesn't have to be present for this to apply. It is enough that a couple is aware of the third party's existence, and that that party is able to know/communicate with/relate to both members of the couple.)

This definition of performance elucidates what is magical about relationships with people who no one else you know, knows; and, similarly, about unobserved moments in relationships (and also, moments involving only one). What would you do if no one else was watching? What would you do if you thought no one else would ever know about it? You would not be accountable to a third party. Also, you would not be performing for a third party. With some couples this means that in their most honest moments, they admit they hate each other; when they are held accountable, when they are performing, almost all such couples are less honest about their hate than when no one is watching. Many unobserved moments of many couples are doubtless beautiful. The person I was talking with on the phone during my stroll around Gelson's said she used to hate introducing people she knew to each other, but she never knew why. She said she feels more comfortable in one-on-one settings; when the group reaches a certain size, she is completely quiet, not participating at all. I follow a similar pattern. We now think maybe it's because the ratio of performance to non-performance grows directly with the number of people in the room (and we don't like high levels of performance when we're not at the theatre).

Perhaps we can think of god as one of these observers. If you believe in a god who has values and who is always watching, then you must also believe that you are accountable to that god. Your actions, then, are a performance for that god. I know theists who derive great satisfaction from choosing what they do in order to make god happy. Maybe this accountability makes one a better person than one would have otherwise been. The presence of this performance aspect also taints a theist's relationships with other people: at the very least, a theist is encumbered by the knowledge that god is watching. As theists, we can't allow ourselves to think of performing for god as an encumbrance; it must be thought of as a joy—and, certainly, can reasonably be thought of that way. But also, as theists, we are unable to experience a certain type of light-spirit-ed-ness that exists for couples who are in the type of situation I refer to above (or that exists for one person when truly alone)..that is the lightness of spirits unencumbered by the knowledge of others, that is the lightness of spirits unencumbered by needing to be accountable to others, that is the lightness of spirits whose actions are not a performance for others.


Great speech is culturally specific. Great friends have zero objectivity when it comes to you. A great piece of knowledge is knowledge that is almost impossible to find and ridiculously simple to transfer. Great music questions whether, previously, you'd been listening at all.

A great experience, poetry, the snapshot, is that which is never repeated.

There are things happening, and by your very nature, you are missing them.

Great choices..they always confound your acquaintances. Making a great choice is like being able to predict the birth of a baby even before conception, being able to draw all those red lines through the air, one for each molecule that will become me, long before my father and my mother came together. A great life is a life with no fear. Great drama is what breaks you and builds you, what takes you in and what puts you out. Great stories are stories that leave you with nothing. That leave you wanting. Great stories are what leaves a person with such wanting that they will endure the writing process. A great story is an injection of longing whose vacuum births a poet, a romantic, a listless wisher, a bomb.

There are things happening around you, and you have no idea what they are.

There are some things happening to you that you have no idea what they are.

And commerce swirls, and religion swirls, and it all falls blank. Who can manipulate who? That is the question, the answer to that question defines commerce and religion. Masters of self-manipulation, those who elegantly change their own states, these are those who own the world. If you can get someone to listen until the completion of your joke, you have more power than the greatest task requires. Attention is king and keeps us in perfect balance: to gain your worship I must worship you. Simpletons who think they can manipulate without love and worship of their adversary: this is a tricky game! You have won nothing if you have not won my nod. Mass media in its essence is one person communicating with one other person..the catch is that they might not know who that recipient is. Mass communication is not about one person reaching a million people, it's about one person finding one other person across space and time. A message is characterized by its perfect recipient and its perfect sender. That nineteen million people see Kill Bill is incidental..Kill Bill is a message sent by one person, somewhere, to one other person, somewhere.

What is the essence of sleep such that: you can wake up to an alarm, but you can't go to sleep to one?

Be free of ghosts

I want to demonstrate to myself that change is really change things, and change my ideas about what is possible, in the process. I want to be 100% fit asap, happy and present, not dealing with ghosts—free of ghosts—be free of ghosts—that is rarely taken, good advice, live simply and pure, straight forwardly, plain, present, with presence, without obsession of control, without seeking any thing that cannot be attained. With a reasonable, with a sane definition of an acceptable day. Being free of ghosts, actually, can be seen as a consequence of as we intentionally fill, intentionally emptying; emptying thoughts, emptying influences, emptying ties to—things that are not there..gardener, drink water, free of toxins, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, extraneous salt, smalltalk, all drugs, fear. Beth lived on a wolf preserve, a wolf farm, something—she seems to have a deepness and a peace about her and I am the universal connector as ever—solutions for me right now lie in simplicity—in cancelling out pairs of factors that work together in the construction of a problem—neither of which are necessary.

One essential nature of human beings is: not accepting reality the way it is.

We must change it, we must master it, we must make it ours.

When this is overcoming adversity, it inspires us.

Essentially, this feature is imagination, and delusion, and god-like-ness..we decide that the powers that be hold no sway over us, we stubbornly redefine the features of reality that we do not like.

It's's also ridiculous.

Dog Dreams, and Thoughts on Dog Training

A few nights ago, while staying with a friend in my friend's bed, I had another dog dream. Like my dog dreams of old, where a person who is an enemy of mine sicks their dog on me to hurt me, and my defense is so strong I kill the dog, ripping its skull in halves by the jaw...but the dream a few nights ago, a person didn't sick the dogs on me, it was three black dogs, and they wanted to hurt me on their own volition. The other night I just let myself be bitten, the three of them with their jaws locked on my arm. And my mom was there, and some other people (neighbors), and I was asking them to call for help, as my arm was about to be broken, but they didn't think, or wouldn't accept, that the situation was that bad, and so they wouldn't call for greater help.

Last night I had another dog dream. A single black dog, who was as strong and stout as a wild boar, was biting my hand. He wasn't sent by anyone, he had just showed up from outside the town, from the wilds. At first he was biting my hand, then I discovered I could train him. It was rough going, but I trained him to bite plastic cup lids instead of my hand: I would throw them in the air and he would catch them (sometimes), and when he caught them, when he was nice to me, I dared to rub his muzzle with my hands and kiss him on the face as praise. With some backsteps, he was trainable, and he hardly bit me at all, and he learned to accept my love and praise.

When I looked up dream symbols for dogs biting, the other night in my friend's bed, the consensus was they represent a friend who will betray you. Of course I'm always trying to figure out what these dogs mean in my dreams, as they are one of the most constant symbols in my dreams in at least the last five years, perhaps more. I think they mean various things, actually. I think they represent others who would do me harm, others who are close to me. I think they represent my addiction. I think they represent a part of me I can't control, the part of me that isn't "my" consciousness, the higher self, the other self. Like the ancient word for god: that, they represent the that: which can be a friend (who in drama are characterized by toggles from ally to adversary, and back—like the random turning of a pet from a loving thing into a biting thing, into a loving thing), that: which can be the uncontrollable part of self which plays into addiction, that: which can be, broadly the other part of self anything which is me and yet not me, connected and yet not connected completely.

I suspect my dream last night was heavily influenced by having watched The Accidental Tourist sometime in the evening. While watching the movie last night I decided that for dramatists, an excellent question to consider is: What does Macon's dog represent? At the time, I didn't make the connection I made this morning, while reviewing the fact that I'm, again, attempting to interpret dog symbols from my dreams: my question might be good for dramatists in general, but it has been an ongoing one for me: what do Zha's dogs represent? While watching the movie last night the best terminology I could assemble for Macon's dog is that it represents his anger. Anger being one's fight, the fight in the dog. His dog goes through phases in the movie: at first it bites others, then it bites him, then it gets trained, then it protects and loves Macon's girlfriend's son. The dog in the movie, best I can say, represents Macon's fight. It lashes out at others, then in depression is anger turned on himself (the dog biting him), then his fight is put under control (with help from a dog trainer / lover / love from outside), then his fight is used to provide love where love is lacking (as a father to Macon's girlfriend's son—he releases the dog to protect/love the son in the alleyway where the son is being teased by bullies, but, less symbolically, Macon provides father-love where father-love is lacking in the child's life).

Last night I did something I haven't done before in my dog dreams: I trained my dog with love. Before, I have decimated them with force, with force held them stilly at bay, and given in to their attack waiting on the verge of my own destruction. Now I have trained him with love.

I have been talking with god again, lacking the name to use, I used to use "universe", yesterday I used "sky". Maybe I should use "dream": my dreams are part of my that, part of the somewhat-but-not-quite-completely other, the me that is me but not every part of me, something that is larger than the conscious me, the unconscious me.

As an additional note, I'm considering the idea of training another being via praise, in light of my idea that the essential motivation of beings is to go: to see themselves go in the world, to act such that their concept of the world includes the concept of the being throughout greater and greater parts of the world, and in greater and greater ways. Who is in charge when training with praise? Generally we think it is the trainer; by controlling rewards, praise, love, we control the beast. And in controlling the beast, we see ourselves go in the world; our will is present in a greater locus of the world, the beast now internalizing our will. But certainly to the beast it seems the same: the beast sees itself as controlling us, as controlling our praise, our love, our response to its action. By catching the plastic cup lid in its mouth, my dream dog controls my love: I think I'm making him catch the cup lid by loving him afterward, he thinks he's making me love him by catching the cup lid. Both are true, and in this type of exchange we see beings going in the world: beings seeing themselves inhabit the world in other beings, their concepts of themselves planted in other beings, and so, their concept of themselves becoming greater, better traveled.

On the training tip: consider this: what sense does it make to think that I'm making him catch the cup lid by praising him with love after he catches the cup lid? How could the love be the cause there, since it happens after the catching of the the cup lid? Of course what we say to ourselves is that the praise, the love, is the cause, because the dog is thinking ahead to multiple choices of what we might do depending on what he does. But the facts are these: sometimes when we throw the cup lid, he catches it; sometimes when we throw the cup lid, he doesn't; but every time he catches the cup lid, we praise him, and every time he doesn't catch it, we don't (if we're training him). So what's the real cause here, and what's the real effect? I think it's fair to include that our throwing the cup lid into the air, is a cause, and that him catching it is a possible outcome. But the only certain relationship of implication in the facts above is: if he catches the cup lid, we praise him (and if he doesn't, we don't). The cause is him catching the cup lid (or not), the effect is us praising him (or not). We're not making him catch the cup lid nearly as much as he is making us love him.

Pity and the Profound

To experience pity, is to hear someone's story, then think how their life could be better. To hear someone's story, then think how your life could be better, is to experience the profound.

Can you write a book and a blog at the same time?

I think if I'm unemployed the answer may be yes. I remember reading on William Gibson's blog, I think, that he wouldn't be writing on the blog for a while because it was an either/or situation and he wanted to focus on a book. Maybe that was someone else's blog. I'm going to do Nanowrimo this year though, so I may try both for a while.

Also I feel freer to write something online, something public, now that I do not have a job. This is always the case. When I had my first public site around 2000, the internet was still a child and it was interesting to ponder why and whether one would have a public site (a "home page") to tell the world about [the private?] you.

We're way past that now. You assume your employer or date is googling you, assume it. Specialized background-check apps exist to screen your online hookups. In ten more years, what it means to be an individual will be totally different than it was ten years ago.

I find some aspects of this ridiculous; they are ridiculous from my point of view. I remember asking, in a blog post before my last job, "Can I keep my job and my personality at the same time?" One former employer, in a phone interview, asked me "So, what's the deal with all this gay poetry?" Gay poetry? Ohhhh..this lopsided schmuck must be referring to a poem I wrote that has the phrase "gay teenagers" in it, which he, or some employee of his, found online before my interview. I should have sued him for mentioning it in an interview (is that possible?—might be). But I'm not about suing people. My question is this: am I required to discuss poetry with a person who doesn't read or write poetry? If that former employer had been a broad enough person to have written a poem, or to have published a poem—or even: to have been able to read a poem—then I would have much more enjoyed discussing poetry with him! (If he was able to read and comprehend poetry, he would know that that poem, while technically containing the word "gay", was not about gayness—unfortunately this subtlety was lost on him.) Instead, from my point of view, I am suddenly in a conversation about poetry with someone who doesn't know anything about poetry. How is that fun for me? From that guy's point of view, he's in a conversation trying to figure out if I'm gay, or if I'm weird enough to write poetry, or if I'm reckless enough to attach my name to a poem that might be published, because he wants to guard against too much weirdness in his company. Or he's just a lopsided schmuck.

There's even more I want to say about that. Do people giving interviews and running companies realize that not only are they annoying me by inviting me into conversations on subjects about which they know nothing, but that they are also cataloguing to me a set of liabilities against their company and employees? Do you think I want to work at a place where all that people understand is simply poetry, or simply programming, or simply graphic design? What sane person would want to work alongside people who are paralysingly deficient in all but one of language skills, visual skills, music skills, technical skills? On the one hand, you can say I write gay poetry (which, to you, is weird and scary). On the other hand, I can say you've never been paid by a literary magazine for the right to publish a story you wrote (which, to me, is pathetic). It's a liability to your company that you employ one-sided people. And one-sided people are never really good at that one thing. You can't be really good at one thing if you're only good at one thing. It's lauded as accomplishment in this time and place that someone is soooo good at that one thing that they are good at it to the detriment of others: the engineering prodigy who scores soooo high on the math portion of his SAT that he gets into Case Western—even though he failed the English part. (Psssst: that's not a good sign—for the kid or the college.) I would not hire that guy, and I don't want to work with that guy. (And by the way, I was in the science fair with that guy, and my project won.)

I've mainly done programming work, and I've never met a programmer who was any good who didn't have other loves. The best programmers I've known play in [good!] bands, have Tom Wolfe books on their shelves (yes, at work), and have bent my ear to tell endless stories about how they did LSD in middle school. I don't have among my accolades that I play in a band or have Tom Wolfe books on my shelves or that I did LSD in middle school. I can tell you this, though: people who read Slashdot every morning are shitty programmers. I love to read technical stuff. I read RFCs like a motherfucker. I happily read programming books I've already read—typically I read the same manual twice in a row to make sure I got it. But I also read the Superficial—I need to know about Lindsay Lohan's blurry nipples—need to. (That's something that impressed me about my last employer—if we were meeting in the conference room while Britney ran over a photographer's foot, my boss and his partner knew it instantly.) I need Foucault. I need pop psychology. Somehow, in a way that is counterintuitive to most, caring about Lindsay Lohan's blurry nipples as well as a smattering of other subjects makes me a better engineer than someone whose most endearing conversational gambit is to quote thrust-to-weight ratios from the Nissan website (you know who you are: I love you, but you're a fucking idiot). People like that can write code, but their code lacks QWAN. It lacks that je ne sais quoi. Those people's code, and their lives, are like asymptotes: improvable, but with zero hope of ever getting there.

What makes people like that terrible to me is that they will always exclude me from their club. What makes people like me terrible to them is that—while they couldn't have said it and can't do anything about it—they know the thing about the asymptote is true. This isn't a one-sided smackdown: those twin tyrannies (they are fraternal rather than identical twins) are two distinct types of exclusion. One excludes the unusual. The other excludes the usual.

Even if it means I'm unhirable, I'm going to write openly, as I feel like it, and employers who do not like it may fuck themselves. Do you really want to hire people who offer up no offense? The answer for many of you is yes. So many of the "successful" people I have known in corporations over the last decade—not all, but many—are the programmers, managers, and CEOs who offer no offense: the CEO who (as did the CEO of one Fortune 500 company I consulted) hires an outside firm to tell them who to lay off. No offense there: PricewaterhouseCoopers told me to do it. Or the mid-level manager who is liked by all—but who doesn't actually do anything. You can tell these successful people by this one trait: they never openly disagree with anyone on anything. That is the tactic required to succeed in many of these companies. I call it weak political bullshit. If you disagree with nothing, you are nothing. One of my film school teachers said he would consider a real person to be "someone who someone hates." At the time he said it I wondered whether based on that criterion I was a real person—and at the time decided that I was not. Since then I've racked up a couple of people in that category. When I look at those people and situations, I try to figure out whether it was necessary that those people came to be at odds with me, and me with them. I don't want to have people hate me unnecessarily! But in the few cases where a long-term offense has stood between me and another, there is a definite pattern: the only people who hate me are the ones who think they can control me. Who think that I existed in their world for their purposes only. Who tried to fit me into their reality picture (to use a phrase I read from Gibson).

When I try to fit you into my reality picture it is wrong. Morally wrong, if anything is morally wrong. I do that, and it is a mistake when I do. I need to be aware of it and stop doing it! And so do you. To the extreme, forcing you into my picture is the aggression of murder, and of the vast murder that is war. We do not control each other (and it's wonderful!).

Expectation, Observation, Disillusionment

I was in the grocery store tonight when my mom handed me a plastic bag. We were in the oats and grains and trail mix and gummy bear aisle. She suggests I put something in a bag. I come back to the present, find the pistachio bin, and explain that I was thinking about disillusionment. And with the nails most definitely in the coffin of my 20s, I like the alliteration of the words "disillusionment" and "decade".

You have to be illusioned to be disillusioned. I think it would be sad not to be illusioned; it would mean death and a lack of imagination. It would mean a lack of vision. People have to have illusions of what their world can be if they want to be intentional about proceeding forward in it. People without this type of illusion are not modeling a way I want to be. But what's the best balance for me among idealism and realism? I know that one of my main psychological dynamics is to 1) have unrealistic expectations, 2) discover that someone or some thing does not live up to my unrealistic expectations, 3) get mad at the person or thing. Knowing this is helpful, but knowing it doesn't translate into problem-solved. It's not, I think, completely rational to adjust your expectations to the reality of the world—expectations can be a powerful force for change. To have no expectations, not to fight: I'm sure I'm not built that way. Isn't frustration, indignance, an acceptable cost for the benefit of having a pulse?

I don't look up to those who accept the world the way it is; I never have. Maybe that's from my parents, who are political, religious movers-and-shakers and have been since before they cooked up me. We grew up with activist writers sleeping on our couch, we grew up going to protest marches in Washington, we grew up with Mom going for a while into war-torn El Salvador. Dad sacrificed an executive career and salary to produce literature to educate people on political issues and voting choices. When Mom and Dad thought we were in the wrong classes, they spoke with the school and got us in the right ones. When Dad thinks a room on his house is too small—wide enough but really should have been a little longer..he cuts off the side of his house and lengthens the room. Upbringing alone explains why I might consider the world a place to be changed. In my immediate and extended family, there is a strong current of activism. We don't bite off other people's truth hook, line, and sinker.

I've often been disillusioned with my professional and educational cohorts. English teachers who handed out crossword puzzles, supervisors who got fired for surfing porn at their desks, software development organizations who talked a lot of pattern and process but couldn't produce a product, sweet-talking CEOs of twenty-person corporations who didn't pay their employees on time. (And everybody's ok with this?)

The keener observers of me point out that I judge others harshly, and I judge myself harshly, and that the two are intertwined. Definitely if you're doing one of those you'll be doing the other. Do I not want to give myself a break because I know then I would have to give others a break, and I don't want that because I have a real need to lay the verbal smackdown on folks? Do I not have a nuanced enough understanding of the dynamics between expectation and judgement? What is the point of having expectations if there is no consequence of them not being met? If there is absolutely no response, no adjustment, when expectations are not met, then are the expectations still of use? Is it that I am missing an ingredient—that expectation and judgement need to be part of the mix, but that compassion and love are present in my recipe in insufficient proportion? I think probably it is not a deficiency of love in my case that is the problem. If I didn't love the one who let me down, what about that situation would upset me? Could I solve my expectation/observation/disillusionment cycle by not loving the person or institution in the first place? To ask that question is to confuse expectation with love. But I think unraveling the tangle of those two concepts is not done without some stickiness.

If I know you will be deficient, can I love you? By grace I can love you in that case. But this is where we need more than one word for love. For if I know you will be deficient in some area that I need in order to relate to you nontrivially, in a way that is characteristic of what I actually have to offer, then basically I can love you like a person loves a dog but not like people love each other. What if what I expect of you is not that you will be perfectly kind to me in every moment, but that you will always be able to put aside your ego and discuss statements and observations dispassionately? If I cannot expect that of you, then I cannot love you as a peer. I can love you in the sense of grace, in roughly the sense that I would love a dog—which is to say: very much! Extremely much, but of a limited type, or of an alternate definition. Is it the same to love my favorite dog as it is to love my favorite person? Parts of the definitions of those loves overlap—maybe some of the most important parts, some of the most characteristically love-ish parts. But even if I dismantle the expectation/observation/disillusionment cycle by removing the expectation (such that I could observe without experiencing disillusionment), isn't there a real distinction to be made between someone or some thing I relate to in a more or less contrived way based on the scope of my allowed expectations? Isn't it really like, even among "people", there are species of difference between the quality of relating that is happening between various pairs? I never get mad at my dog for not being able to collaborate with me on projects because the shape and size and odor of the dog, while I love it enough to let it sleep with me in my bed, is so easily understandable as "a dog" that my programming selects the correct scope of my expectations on it? While with "people", even though we use the same word to describe them all and even though they all have the same number of chromosomes, people's developmental variety and knowledge catalogues and thought skills are so widely diverse that in some senses one to the next we are very like distinct species. That "species" is perhaps the best metaphor we have to understand their differences in capability—which differences in capability are a major basis for differences in what is rational to expect from them.

With most animals, recognition of the animal's species is enough to be able to select appropriate expectations for the animal. It is easy for me to recognize a cat versus a dog, and once I know which species describes the animal I am dealing with, I select appropriate expectations for that animal, and we get along fine. I don't expect cats to be exceedingly social and I don't expect dogs to poop in a box; usually that's exactly how it works out, so our interactions proceed without incident. With people, recognition of the species is not of much help. Even the measures we use, beyond body shape, size, odor, to try to recognize what kind of thing I am dealing with—measures like degree of education, history of experience, job title, family history, are of relatively little use when dealing with people. Can I expect, once I meet someone with the title of CEO who has an office with 20 employees and the office is in Manhattan, can I expect that person to have set up a payroll system such that employees of that company get paid on time? I cannot expect that. It's not something I would think to ask in an interview: do you pay people on time? With a dog, sure there is the occasional one who will poop in a box. But the variation in capability and behavior (and therefore the variability in what is rational for me to expect) is so great in humans, that I don't think it makes sense to use the metaphor of species to refer here to what is the same in us. Sure, we may be the same species in one taxonomic sense of the word, but there are senses of that concept that are implied by the word which are absolutely not applicable to our species. What is, in one sense, "our species" is, in some senses, not a single species. We are not the same, in the domains in which so many of us spend so much of our time existing nowadays. Our relevant differences don't have to do with number of chromosomes, body weight, body size, or anything to do with our bodies; and our chromosomal and other physical differences have such little variation across the species compared with the magnitude of variation in those domains that do matter so much to us these days, that the idea we're all the same species (based on not much variation in chromosomal and physical differences) is not really all that useful an idea. So what, I've determined you're human. Now what? Does that really get me very far? Not in most of the ways that count today.

I have to get into my mind that while in many ways members of our human species are held to the same laws as each other and are scientifically and politically considered the same, that in the ways that matter to me—evaluating their viability as conversation partners, lovers, and collaborators—we are so different as to make the idea that we're of the same species, absurd.

How do I proceed with this? Do I think of people in archetypes, boxes, holes, arrays, and rainbows of scope, creating the equivalent of animal species, specifying to myself that this person is a conversable, trustable, smart and that person is an antagonistic, inane? Of course we all do this type of categorization automatically. What I'm wondering, is if massaging my thoughts to consider these categorical differences as justification for some internal categorization of people as of distinct species, would help address some of my problems with expectation. We all already categorize like this all the time. What I want to know is: might it help me address issues arising from expectation if in my own mind I teach myself to understand these differences as reflective of categories for people on the order of species. Not to justify small-time genocide, in saying because someone is of a certain species I won't hold them to certain common laws and expectations—that commonality would be analogous to the overlap that exists between the love that I can apply to a dog and the love that I can apply to a peer—but to justify, to me, the distinct treatment of various "people" in those more esoteric domains. Without some such justification, it's hard for me to allow myself to individualize expectations for specific people; isn't it reasonable to expect that, say, any collaborator who is employed alongside me, is able to discuss technical matters without ego? I have tended to think that is a rational expectation. But I'm wrong. It's not a rational expectation of all human beings, or of all people who get paid more than $100k/year, or of all people who have PhDs, or of all people of any description I can think of. A much more diverse taxonomy, and one given the weight of species, is needed in my head if I want to be able to feel good about the quite rational act of applying individualized expectations to people I encounter.

DNA of the First Day

I'm so stupid for giving people the benefit of the doubt. When I learned that company source code was being hosted from an employee's house, I experienced that through my fantasy world, in which this was a hiccup that would be addressed on the way to this growing up to become a real company. Instead of seeing it as it was: an indicator of a systemic pattern that will never change. That is a sign that that company's DNA includes being small-time. If I was realistic I would have either accepted being part of a small-time company, or quit, way earlier than I did.

You can always tell the nature of a relationship by how you met. You might not be able to interpret it until much later, but the DNA of the future is foretold at the origin of every union. I would never understand how Julian related to me, for years I didn't understand its essence, until I put myself in his shoes on the first day we met. For years I was confused by why this guy was jealous of my relationships with women, why he was paranoid that I would steal the attraction of women he was with. Then maybe seven or eight years into our relationship, I finally understood the simplest thing: when he met me, in high school, his experience was like this: he always had a crush on Tuesday Walker, since middle or elementary school, and they never got together, but he still liked her, and they were friendly, or friends. They at least ate lunch together, and they were both smart, and weird in the context of their schoolmates. Then one day, on one of the many first days of school, Julian goes through the cafeteria searching for Tuesday, who he knew would be sitting at a table for six, by herself. He gets there and who does he find? Tuesday, and this new kid named Matthew who Tuesday seems to like, in a way that she doesn't like Julian. I may not have everyone's inner monologue exactly right, but I think this situation, and this point of view, essentially describes the perceived dynamic for Julian for what would become the next eight years of our relationship. With woman after woman (or girl after girl at the time), Julian was jealous of me, he thought I was up to something. He told me once he thought I had a better relationship with his girlfriend Amy than he did. I was like "I've hardly even spoken with Amy. You live with her." But he insisted. And a climate of jealousy and suspicion characterized Julian's approach to me for many years, even though it was unjustified.

None of this is to say that what happens on the first day is the complete and total reason for what happens later. Julian, for instance, was a jealous person before I came into the picture.

However, you can tell the DNA of a relationship by its first day. A commonly-held example of this is reflected in the advice that you should not enter a relationship with someone with whom you are cheating, as one who cheats with you will also cheat on you. But it's true in a broader sense. What was your first impression, yes, but more: what was your first day like with this person, or on this job? What was your first lunch like? What was your interview like? The DNA of what happens later is there, and at some point, looking back, how that is true will be clear.

My interview with my last job was wonderful. The owner and I sat and talked for longer than we had scheduled, the conversation was fluid. We related genuinely. We shared similar technical viewpoints. I believed in his vision and he believed in my ability to help. But in this relationship the first day is actually two days. Because the person who was to be my supervisor, their Chief Software Architect, was not in the interview. Probably because the owner knew that if I met this supervisor, I would not have taken the job. Interview with the owner: damn near perfect. First day on the job: red flag city. A supervisor who stands at the whiteboard pedantically imparting particulars of the artifacts of his supposed genius, with no receptivity to collaboration, demonstrating en bouffant that he doesn't have the emotional maturity to impersonally discuss technical matters with peers—this person feels threatened simply by others' participation). Boom. First day. Everything I needed to know, but that would take me three years to accept as really true. Externally true, collectively true, unaffectably true—time to quit your job true. Time to cut your losses and run true. It was there at the beginning, in my face—clear as a bell, but not to my ears.

I think I'm getting better at navigating forward based on early clues, probably only because more and more situations have at least some similarity to some situation in my library. I love Rishi and I hope she is doing well, but it would not at this point take me three years to know I needed to break up with her. It would take me a week. Or maybe one day. The properties of the bell curve make it so that nature's ability to throw diverse problems at me diminishes as water goes under my bridge. There is always surprise, but (at least within a major paradigm) there is always less and less of it. The next time I'm having lunch with a girl and her old friend comes up to join us, I will have my eyes open. The second a woman I love acts abusively toward me, I will be aware. And the next time I'm in a job interview where the management has concealed a key employee, I will know to ask why.

If you imagine yourself healthy

and find yourself unable to accommodate the wishes of the sick, then how can you imagine that those you view as sick could possibly accommodate themselves to you?

So paradoxically you will think I make no sense, simply because you are incapable of understanding me.

One of the fallacies of bullshit like A.A. is that if the "sick" people would change their inexplicable behavior, the could be able to adapt to live among "healthy people" (more accurately described as "everyone else")—a compelling alternate paradigm is this: the behavior of the "sick" people is a result of the pervasive sickness of "the healthy"—what you "healthy" people wish would be fixed [about us] is simply a mirror to what we find sick about you.

It's a coping response to institutionalized psychosis, things like drug abuse and alcoholism.

Friendship, which is symbiosis, is based on what is usually called mutual benefit—this can equally be expressed: "mutual dependency"; if what we gain/want/need from each other is the same, then we will be friends.

That is the nucleus of corporate sickness and corporate health.

My friends are maniacs, geniuses, beauty..(and this is a fact you should envy and fear)..and a fact that you do (envy, fear, and love).

The sick cannot adapt to the healthy anymore than the healthy can adapt to the sick.

Those who are mentally sick cannot adjust to accommodate the the wishes of the healthy anymore than the healthy can accommodate the wishes of the sick.

The formal symmetry existing there between the healthy and the sick is proof and elaboration of this: if you imagine yourself healthy and find yourself unable [to adjust/] to accommodate the wishes of the sick, then how can you imagine that those you view as sick could possibly adjust themselves to accommodate your wishes?

You think my brain is unable to function [under these circumstances]?..well, then; you aren't fully acquainted with my brain.

A Duty for Those Whose Yearning is Unfulfillable

I think there is a duty, for those who can, to satisfy their yearning (few do that); and I think there is a duty for those whose yearning is unfulfillable, to create in others equally unsatisfiable yearning (even fewer do that)—but it is somehow fair play, somehow required, I think, that those who know deep longing, encumber a duty to oddly meet that longing by inspiring it in others.

Banality is a crime.

To be mentally healthy you have to use your mind. To say that a person hasn't fallen it is crucial that they at least be standing, if not walking, if not running.

We incorrectly mark so many failures in the category of success whose lack of mistake is simply a byproduct of their lack of endeavour. We consider a marriage a success if it simply lasts, even if it is not an active partnership. We consider a student a success who is of no distinction whatsoever but who unobtrusively graduates. We consider a worker or a friend a success who blends in by method of clothing and speech and spending.

I have to say, simply, I am tired of people like that.

They are criminals. They're so nothing that it's actually criminal.

Their presence is encouraged because they illustrate the perfect groomed pet to owners of slaves. Unbeknownst to them, their adherence to a particular process is facilitated by a few who cleverly steal their labour.

They are worse than neutral. They are not part of any human solution. They are part of the problem. I do not appreciate them. I do not like them. I do not laugh them off as harmlessly funny. I do not accept their behaviour as legal. They are well-camouflaged banal-seeming utter deplorable sickness and evil. And they will be called that to their face by me.

Banality should not be tolerated in me. I will not tolerate it in you.

Beneath it lies individuality. Please unsquelch that.

The world can be changed in a day.

Everything is changeable today. The whole world can be changed in a day, if everyone in the world changes their day, today.

We're in a cycle marked by birth, making babies, and death—those are pivotal points of change that we recognize. Those are the points at which we create names, change names, and at which names go away. But we can change every day, and everything can change in one day.

Hofstadler says that the number of human bodies a human consciousness occupies is near one, slightly over one but near one. That consciousness isn't fundamentally located in one body, but that for us it is typically embodied in a little over one body.

Somewhat similarly I think the amount of power that is represented in the state of things, today, is close to being the complete amount of power present throughout time. Not quite the all the power, but almost all of it, is contained in today.

Most of us are waiting on another day, on something someone else might do in another day, holding back for that before we change ourselves, just as we wait on the zero hour of birth, of babies, and of death to create names, change names, and let names go away.

But we can do those things today. If we all did them today, almost everything would change today.

By Fixing One Moment

Everything is perspective. That's the only reason we're able to by fixing one moment.

They key to everything is that everyone has their own perspective.

I mean that's the secret mystery of it all. The universe. Just that everyone looks at it from their own chair.

Of all the perspectives from where I could see myself, why would I choose to see myself from my own?

Possibility is just us carving out a space.

How We Feel About the Whole World

Life has everything to do with that you pay attention to. Writing a textual description of an actual place is the perfect example of this: of all the things you see, you write certain ones. Of all the things that are, you only see certain ones. Similarly, the subsections of the world we interact with determine how we feel about the whole world..if such a thing was even a reasonable concept. For, since you cannot know the whole world, you cannot reasonably possess feelings or summaries about (it).

There's a conspiracy among average people.

I feel like there's a conspiracy among average people, among weak people, sick people, normal people, to keep the extraordinary person down. Like the Japanese saying "The tall nail gets hammered down." I think that's true. I think people I work with have done it to me for years and my current company continues to support that sort of conspiracy of idiocy, conspiracy of the average.

I find [the company I work for] absolutely ridiculous in some ways: [my boss] doesn't respond to some of my my asking him whether I could sell this or do that or whatever..he just lets them drop. It makes me want to quit my job today. Today. He just ignores me on certain fronts.

The less code that executes, the faster your program runs.

Small code compiles fast, runs fast. Less is more in code performance. Make [this codebase] a small [such-and-such] library, simple to use, quick to compile, easy to understand, and fast fast fast.

It's so simple it's almost a tautology, but this is the zen kernel to making programs that run fast. Skeptics will say my approach is naive. However, it is I think profound when you understand that the most fundamental way to make your code run faster is for there to be less code to run.

Carry an Umbrella

The print in Mom's office: The Red Umbrella. If you pray for rain, carry an umbrella. To carry an umbrella is the most faithful prayer. That's what I need to do. These things I halfway ask about preparing for them instead.

Academic thought is descriptive rather than constructive.

We can use the metaphors of academic dramatic thought to ask "Who is the antagonist in the Woody Allen movie Manhattan?" and if we have to ask that question the best answer is that the protagonist is his own antagonist, but that question isn't the best question to ask about that movie. Models that say a story has an antagonist are descriptive, they talk talk about what has happened, what tends to happen, rather than being most relevant when in the process of making something. You think of an idea for a movie, you make it, it might be something people like to watch..that doesn't mean it has an antagonist, really. The thinking about antagonists can be used when creating, and creations made with awareness of the description of the creation have a special flavor, but it is not necessary to do that descriptive thinking while doing the creative thinking (I want to make a movie about blah blah blah), and the two are certainly distinct.

It is not about the work.

Life, work should be more like the science fair, more like school where you wake up and someone gives you the challenge to make a contraption that helps an egg survive a drop from a five story building (etc.). Why isn't work like that? With well-defined competitions that attempt to reward skill..instead of corporate/family bullshit where what matters and what is rewarded is politicking, not accomplishment at all.

And Joanne mentions that in science fair you at least know that you can pick a project, spend time developing it, and that it will be shown. And, I mention that when you present, each person's project gets the same sized display, and each project will be looked at. In work, similar guarantees are not in much of my work experience has been that it is not about the work, which is disheartening.

Ended up at a beautiful diner and had a cheesesteak

Got lost driving with Mom today but we ended up at a beautiful diner and had a cheesesteak. The metaphor is that it's not necessary to know what life's journey will be before it happens, but that you might end up someplace beautiful all the same.

I want to remember that, and live by it. I don't need to know what might happen in the future, I don't need to concern myself with it, I don't need to know the path, I need to walk the path (only). Walk the path, don't worry about knowing the path  know that it is not required that I know the path..and knowing the path is not a necessary condition for the path leading to someplace beautiful. I worry that I need to plan my life correctly so that I can ensure that the end is something proper, something ok. But I don't. I can trust that the path can end up somewhere wonderful without my knowing it beforehand. As I've said to people at times, I need to remember: that no one knows what's going to happen next..the only difference between people in that regard is that some people think they do (know what's going to happen next). I don't know what's going to happen next, and planning doesn't change that..if I plan well, that will not make it so that I know that my life will go according to plan. So dispense with the planning, and the knowing. Just walk, one step at a time. And one step at a time means look at the current node, and the nodes connected directly to it via one link. Concern yourself with those nodes..definitely not the nodes two links away--because once you go to the next node, its connected nodes will be determined then. They are not determined now, they cannot be predicted now, modeled now, planned for now, approached from here, they don't exist except in theories. Look at the current node and nodes connected to it by one link; deal with that, and that only.

The best thing I can do for anyone, everyone, is to make my life wonderful.

It really is a crime to be different.

So many times in crime stories, what is happening is that people are convicting each other for doing the unexpected. "She wasn't crying" when I expected that she would..she didn't seem like a mother in mourning.. It really is a crime to be different.

Also, watching Investigation Discovery: "Are they lovely, or deadly?" These false dichotomies abound. He didn't seem like the kind of guy who could do xyz, which we didn't like (because he did abc, which we liked).

We're celebrating the wrong people,

the wrong actions. We celebrate the person who solves the case, the person who addresses a crisis. We should be celebrating the people who are feeding people, loving their children, and doing little bitty things to slightly improve the situation. But that doesn't lend itself well to television.

The Shape of Space

I hear on the news about a terrorist named Mehanna. I knew someone during film school named Mhanna. It's a name associated with a country or ethnicity. How many people do I know who know someone with a last name of Mhanna? Probably not many. Yet there are probably tons of people named Mhanna. Finding, meeting, actually knowing people named Mhanna isn't a space that's accessible in a way analogous to looking through an alphabetical list of people's last names. It's not a linear space, actually, even though we have some linear representations of "it" (some linear models claimed to correspond to it). The space is folded up, a maze, tunnels, branches, it's not a line, or a plane, or anything like them.

The only thing that will be voted on in the future is how much processing time will be used toward various ends.

Rendered Unimportant, Erased

I love being the editor of the photos I'm scanning. Things I like, I scan. Things I don't like, people who annoy me, I don't; and they are edited out of history, rendered unimportant, erased. =)

To work at solving a problem is what reinforces it.

This is the whole thing for me right now. I've known that we create our problems by setting up a target, and then by railing against that target. And that to work at solving a problem is what reinforces it. And some people, some times, don't have the problems that others have at other times, simply because they don't set up the same target: they don't exert the same expectations, and so there is nothing to rail against. With Dad, for instance: I don't have to rail against him. I can change my name back to Matthew Van Temple, and I can stop saying to myself and others that there is some problem between me and Dad. I can forgive my expectations of him, forget those expectations. It doesn't change anything except that for me there won't be a problem. On the one hand, I can rail against things, people not being what I imagine they could be. Or I can stop. I can stop railing against everything. It doesn't define what Dad is, it doesn't define what I am, it doesn't make things better or worse in terms of that relationship, in terms of what that relationship is. It doesn't make us close or far away. What it is is what it is despite what I expect, despite how I complain. Me not railing doesn't make us something I could want us to be that we never have been and never will be (any such thing I might imagine). I can proceed with a normal way of doing things, that I have denounced in others and myself, but I can proceed this way: not make it an issue. If Dad doesn't call, who cares. If Dad does call, who cares. I didn't used to care about it as much, back before [sometime]. When I was living in Dayton working at Mead Research, partying with friends and loving Rebecca, I didn't care. Dad came to visit and I left him at the house to go [party] with my friends and my love. I knew he was my father, and I loved him and tolerated him and welcomed him, but I didn't think too much about it! I was much more realistic back then. (And that can happen again.) I can love and call on the phone and go to the park and buy groceries and go to work and not care too much about it or think too much about it, and it still be great.

If you get what you wish for, you won't be you anymore.

The thing you want to be, by the situation changing, is not the thing that you will want once the situation changes. The you that can want that thing to be, is not the you who will be there if you manage to get the thing you want, as getting that thing will have required you to change.

Things you can't see at all

Some of the most amazing things you can "see" are things you can't see at all. Like a cat's eye at night. One of my eyes sees it as black, the other of my eyes sees it as green. In my mind, it's like what I'm looking at is silverish, or reflective, or floating color. But what I see isn't there in simple sight. It's not there with any one of my eyes. It's not there in a picture. But it is there in my experience. I'm seeing it, I'm knowing it in a way that seems visual. But it's really conceptual, not there in simple sight.

Love operates within a substrate of presence.

I'm learning something about love, which is that love some people can be loved more because they're more there. (The one who more creates the story is the one who can elicit a response. The ones with huge presence are the ones eligible for stalkers.) But in any setting, the act of love operates within a substrate of presence.

Do what doesn't make you tired.

You should probably do what doesn't make you tired. That's a good way to pick a career. Most things make most people tired. Sometimes you find that you're the one person in an activity who isn't getting tired. Maybe that's when you know you've found your career.

—Beyond Feeling—Beyond Worry—

There is a place beyond wanting—beyond knowing the relationships between—beyond knowing the definitions of—beyond feeling—beyond worry—beyond emotion, actually, in the realm of action, pure action; beyond caring about all the ways that people act and all the things that people do, there is just acting and just doing, just the motion of the body dancing with all of its desires and its circumstance.

"The tall nail gets hammered down."

From The Thin Pink Line (2009): "The Japanese phrase, 'the tall nail gets hammered down,' refers to the phenomenon by which entire organizations strive for mediocrity to accommodate the majority of workers who are — well, I have to say it — average. When you don't behave 'average' you face negative consequences."

From Stanford (1993): "What you quickly come up against . . . is the often skeptical attitude of your colleagues. And sometimes you face even overt hostility from other scientists who hold to different values or [even worse] represent opposing interest groups. The worst-case scenario, of course, is a linkup of the two, when skeptical colleagues and hostile, opposing special interests join forces."

From the political theorist John Stuart Mill (On Liberty, 1869): "When the opinions of masses of merely average men are everywhere become or becoming the dominant power, the counterpoise and corrective to that tendency would be, the more and more pronounced individuality of those who stand on the higher eminences of thought. It is in these circumstances most especially, that exceptional individuals, instead of being deterred, should be encouraged in acting differently from the mass. In other times there was no advantage in their doing so, unless they acted not only differently, but better. In this age, the mere example of nonconformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric. Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigour, and moral courage which it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time."

This is why I say banality is a crime. Break through the tyranny rather than being the tyranny. Open your mouth (at work, at school, at play) rather than keeping it shut. Don't make (or pay to see) Transformers II or G.I. Joe; make movies that mean something about (or say something to) you! Making Transformers II (when you can do better) isn't merely inane. It's morally wrong. Not speaking your opinion with your peers—not sharing your creative ideas—this is not merely weak, it is not merely lazy. It is morally wrong; it is shirking your responsibility as a human being—and as such, is criminal.

The Sledgehammer and the Spindle

"Keep it guttah. Keep it grimy." From Busta Rhymes. I've quoted it before and I will quote it again. Whether it be logic, be art, be love, this is the best advice I know for people making things.

To understand this you have to understand the sledgehammer and the spindle. Off the street in a town somewhere is a spoon shop, cases and cases of delicate spoons, the most intricate gold lacing in the belly of each spoon, inlaid lacquered stones like stained glass in the part where your tongue goes if you turn it over and lick it clean. It's holy: liquid curves drawn in the thinnest lines of gold.

You go in the back of the shop you see how it's made. A man with a sledgehammer and a blowtorch is hammering the shit out of a little chunk of metal that will become your spoon. He bangs on it for a while, then he takes out a fine spindle of gold and becomes a brain surgeon/seamstress with hands that could hold your baby anytime. He applies the gold, threads like hair.

Then he lets it cool for a second and goes back to the sledgehammer.

That is how beautiful things are made. They are forged in fire that kills; they are rocked in a cradle of feathers. They are not what you expect or what you could have ever dreamed of wanting. They hurt. They hurt. Hear me: beautiful things hurt. Any people who say the word "art" around me, or the word "god" around me, you better keep (to use a term from my sister) the sugar pie lollipop out of it. If I cut open your soul and all that's inside is easy church, easy politics, easy work and easy thought, easy loyalties and easy love, then we can't talk. I have to sew you up and you go back to your school and I go back to mine.

Planning and Liking

"I don't know what to do: I have that plan, and I have this plan.." (I was just thinking.)

There are fragmentary, or templated, plans in my head.

The fit together, interlock, contradict, exclude.

I imagine them like grid-oriented templates, with symbols in the grids that represent elements of the plan (plan template), and holes in the grid where the plan lacks specification.

If you could represent problem-solving domains, planning domains, like this, you might be able to develop sensible search systems for finding master plans, or for understanding aspects of the topology of your plan environment.

Corollary thought:

Planning, the act of deciding what to do, has at its essence not knowing what to do.

It's tautological, but I see the interest in this idea right now:

Whenever you're planning, it is the case that you don't know what to do.

Planning can be a sophisticated thinking activity, and it's only engaged in by those who don't know what to do.

I've always been stumped by the question of how we know what we is something I as yet don't know how to build into a computer program in a profound, sensible way.

I'm wondering now if what you like emerges from the act of planning..because we don't like just anything..we don't, for example, like eating ice cream that is 1 million times sweeter than normal ice cream, nor do we like eating 1 million scoops of ice cream..we don't like these things because we can't do them..they're impossible to may be that we learn to like based on the action of planning..we plan in order to create what we like..but there are nuances and rules and limits on what we can do, and what (and how) we is seeming to me right now that this could be a solid model of understanding, and engineering, desire in systems..planning is  the universe proceeding, the universe do I just have the other problem: how can you start to plan, without first having desire?

As my self was unfolding in the womb, there was a time before when I did not have desire, but I had a plan! I was a plan, more accurately, I was a plan to create an organism, but nor my actual current desires nor even my most basic plans (avoid pain) exist in the dna coding..(I'm proposing)..I'm not coded to dislike was in the execution of planning that I learned to dislike the pain of being burned..because being burned interferes with the execution of my stops me from physically moving..or it is an indicator of a force that can stop me from moving..I don't think there's anything special about the nervous signal of pain that makes it so that an organism would dislike that nerve signal..I think it's that we come to have likes and dislikes, nervous system likes and dislikes as well as higher-level likes and dislikes, as a result of being involved in the planning process..I plan to create what I like, but I learned to like from experiencing the results of the plans I can execute plans with arbitrary goals, but from learning from the results of planning and executing plans, you become realistic, and you also learn what to dream of, what to hope for..each person learns differently what to dream for, because of their history of executing plans in the world.

So, you can create a computer program that has an inherent method of developing its own likes and goals: create a program with an initial plan (to it, an arbitrary plan), and you give it a method of executing the plan, observing the new state of the world, comparing that to the planned result, and creating a new plan based on what it thinks is possible by doing that comparison, and executing the new plan..likes and dislikes emerge naturally from this..the universe does not have a set is the result of trying to see what is possible.

The machine does this:

have a plan (a dream of a desired world state and a method for realizing the dream)

execute the plan

observe the world

compare the world to the dream

modify the plan (how?)

Broadly, it can

change the dream

change the methods for realizing the dream

Central to this is the assumption that the organism's behavior changes the world (which is true, but the relationship of exactly how is an impossibly complex one to understand..which is why this all works, I think: you've got beings going around trying to come up with plans for realizing dreams, and the dream is never quite realized exactly right (if it's even close), and also there's never a way to be perfect in constructing a plan for realizing the dream (because you're not god, there are other factors changing the world)).

I can see (broadly) how the machine can change its methods for realizing the dream (try to figure out what to do and how to do it, so that the dream's twin--the real world--is most like the dream).

But how are my likes evolving through this? what's the most basic instinct? even if it's self-preservation, you've got a dynamic system because the definition of the self is changing..self-preservation, for Larry Ellison, means something different than to me.

But I suspect it is more basic than that. does an infant have the instinct of self preservation? I don't think so. It's funny, but I think I already figured it out in this thinking..and when I wrote it I didn't like the choice of word because it seemed silly, but I think it's: to move.

I think an organism in an environment could develop as intricate an array of likes and dislikes as a human being, with the initial plan of moving one's own body (not even for any particular purpose).

I wonder what it means, to move, at the most basic structural level of this universe..does it mean that [we make something happen where] at two points in time we observe the same thing in two different spots? that we make, or that there is, a [perfect, an imperfect] copy of something in two different places? In this world, what is place, what is movement? What is the shape of space? (that question even assumes too much, probably).

If there are particles, or networks, or shapes, or spaces, or pieces of this world, do they have a goal, a design, a basic like (like moving)?

I think of me or Joanne as little kids and Mom saying, of us on a slide or a bike, "go go go!"

Go! It's as good a word as I can think of, of what I'm thinking is a living organism's most basic dictum.

I wish I knew about the structure of this world, but I am most presently interested in the world at the level of living beings and up..fuck I can't even say that, because I always say, a mountain is conscious, is an organism, main difference is different scales in time and space, so we just don't recognize it as being like you can't draw a line between living and nonliving..there is just the one type of thing..and there are many ways to individuate the world..but what we individuate is constantly changing sets of [particles]..dna and minds seem to be quite directed forms of planning/liking..but the stuff that makes up the ocean, the stuff that makes the desert, that stuff has a plan, too, I think, to move, to go!

You can clearly make systems with parts, whose parts have ways of going, which systems become interesting.

I'm starting to think you could build a very complex living organism (like us) by:

putting the thing in a having-a-like(to go!)/observing-the-world/designing-the-dream/executing-the-plan/comparing-the-world-to-the-dream(which can involve, or result in, restating the like (now I have new ideas about what it means for me to go because I observed myself going in the world)) -type of cycle, that you would have a non-corny, very open-ended, very not-designed system that would be the singularity

This isn't a model of living, or of organism.




The Poetic I

Poetry cannot be shared. It can only be experienced. That which can be translated. That which cannot. Model the resonance of explicit stimulus within the cavern of the subject(ive). And measure/model the translatability/untranslatability of the explicit stimulus, in terms of its effect on the subject[ive].

A model of the textual/syntactic production that talks about a nature of syntax in terms that allow it to be considered as either poetic or not, translatable or not. Describe that in the domain of syntax.

That would be interesting, to have a model for determining what is poetic and what is not, what is translatable, and what cannot be translated. (From a position of syntax.)

It might relate to the composite numbers versus the prime (?!) Composite  translatable  prime  untranslatable? (Reducible versus irreducible?) It might, it might.

The rational and the irrational: is there an undeniable way to describe them?

It's about  what can be understood, completely described, by other terms  and what cannot be.

The poetic versus [the not]

Which must be the result of the juxtaposition of two differently-constructed languages. The poetic exists in light of the juxtaposition of two such [differently-constructed] languages. (That is why white culture loves to consume black poetry (rap) and also why Eminem is so culture juxtaposing another..and hence, understanding—and creating—poetry.)

So poetry does not exist, then, in the context of a single language (?!)  but only as one result of considering translation of a text from one language to another.

What excites the poetic..that which must be lost in translation. And by the consideration of which translation, by perception of what would have been lost-ness is known to be the poetic by the would-be, the potential (but the unsuccessful) translator.

The Poetic II

The rational and the irrational: is there an undeniable way to describe them?

The rational deals with ratios? Ratios in the sense of a:bc:d. a:b is a ratio. c:d is a ratio. Z:X is a ratio with Z=a:b and X=c:d. Let's say a is an idea in one language, b is an idea in that same language, and there's a semantic relationship between them in that language, shown by a:b. Is it translatable/unpoetic if there is a c:d in another language such that the ":" in both of those statements means the same thing (as indicated by the presence of "" in the larger statement? That, for f(a,b)=true and g(c,d)=true, that f=g? Clearly it means that in the case of analogies. What I'm asking is whether, to look at whether an idea, or a statement, or a function in one language is poetic or not, you can use this analogy-model?

Does it make sense to say that if in one language you have two named concepts with a named relationship, that if in another language there is the same-named relationship with two named concepts (possibly of different names than the first two), that that is an unpoetic translation? I'm not sure it even means that the translation is literal; it may be an artful translation, or a clever translation, or a meaningless translation, and still be unpoetic in the sense in which I mean poetry. Because I'm saying poetry is the part that is lost in translation, and with this kind of translation, what it means for part to be lost is that when you have f(a,b)=true in one language, that in the target language, there is no function g=f that can be applied to any two concepts in the target language. I don't know if this is what I'm looking for, for this syntactic model that allows me to look at the poetic versus the unpoetic, the untranslatable versus the translatable, it's just a first try that I'm going to play with.

Hat:headshoe:foot is a translation from hat:head to shoe:foot. It is not literal, it is artful, it is clever, it is perhaps meaningless as a translation. But I don't think it's poetic, because the single ":" means the same thing in both cases. The model I'm thinking about now would mean that for poetry to be indicated—that is, for poetry to be known in the mind of the would-be translator—for that to happen, there would have to be no ":" available in the target language for any two concepts (c,d) in the target language for which c:d would be true. (And that either in the not-being-able-to-translate, the would-be translator would know the poetic in the source text by a recognition of its untranslatability, or that in the translation of a:b onto c;d, with (:!=;), that poetry would have been created in the translation.) This is simple but I think nothing more complicated is required.

Considering that model, it becomes clear that for subjects, for those with (subjective) points of view, that when two of us read the same words, we may have wildly different ideas in terms of what concepts and functions (really the same thing) we have available to put the words into objects of a:b form. When you see "Sarah sees red" you might translate that into a:b in your semantic world, I might not have any operator that means the same thing as your ":".

In fact, I think that unless every named concept and operator of yours relates to every named concept and operator of mine in the same way, that we can't say that what we mean by any of the involved concepts or operators is the same thing. For instance, if you have in your head concepts a,b,c,d,e and operators f,g and their relationships, in total, are that the following are true: f(a,b), f(c,d), g(a,e), g(b,e), g(d,e). Then, the only way that you and I mean the same thing about any of a,b,c,d,e,f,g is if I have concepts A,B,C,D,E and operators F,G for which, in total, exactly the following (not more or less) is true: F(A,B), F(C,D), G(A,E), G(B,E), G(D,E). Certainly, obviously, if for me F(A,B) is not true, then our meanings of F, A, and B differ. But also, I think, if for me F(B,C) is additionally true, then our meanings of not only F, B, and C differ, but also our meanings of A and D, since for each of us the meaning of A and D are wrapped up in the meaning of F, etc. etc. such that any concept or function that is any related to any of F,B,C is now different from one perspective to the other. I think you could measure the degree of difference by counting what and how much of the net varies; the tough part would be figuring out how to weight the importance of each concept, each node, to know how much value to assign the fact that that node was different in the two models you were comparing. I think you could do that, though, without knowing anything "external" about what the subject knows, just by using the semantic net itself.

Back to hat:headshoe:foot, I think this all works because if my language only has the concepts hat,head,: and :(hat,head)=true and if your language only has the concepts shoe,foot,; and ;(shoe,foot)=true, then hat:head => shoe;foot is an unpoetic translation. It's a totally logical translation. It's a totally rational translation. If either of us have additional concepts which have no relationship to the three concepts previously discussed for each of us, then the hat:head => shoe;foot translation remains unpoetic. As soon as either of us has any concepts that involve any of hat,head,:,shoe,foot,;, the translation under discussion becomes poetic. Because in that case, the translation itself cannot help but produce, create, define poetry in the mind of the translator—because the pieces involved do not add up, they don't add up the same, they don't add up cleanly.

This shows that there are different kinds of poetry, from a very empirical point of view. There is the poetry of expansion, whereby a production (a set of concepts present) in your language suggests poetic meaning to me by way of my concept web having additional connections to the target concepts involved in the translation. Unless we discuss it extensively, I don't know that it's the poetry of expansion, and neither do you, but if somehow we can see both points of view to some degree, or to some greater degree, then we can see that the poetry of expansion is happening. This is present probably in most interchanges between most people almost all of the time: when we're talking about two different concepts that we use the shared word "dog" to refer to, the poetry of expansion and the poetry of shrinkage is happening almost in totality as we're not really talking about the same dog concept. Each of our concepts "of that" is bigger, smaller, greater, lesser, different all over the place. That's the first kind of poetry that comes to mind based on this model. The other kinds would be less ubiquitous, more particularly defined, and perhaps harder to call with common names.

It's poetic when there's no other way to say it. (Or: it's poetic when there's no way for me to say it. Or: it's poetic when what is said is something that you could not have said based on consistent translation of the concepts and functions you previously knew about. Or: it's poetic when you can't precisely state it in a target language. Or: it's poetic when you see a production in my language that your language didn't previously allow.) That's why the poetic is what surprises us, and what we like in art (read: life). When I hear you say something [in your language] that there is no way to say in mine such that it would mean the same thing, that's the poetic. That I have (or had, before you said it to me) no way to say something that means the same thing [in my language], is by definition surprising. The poetic is necessarily surprising. I think humor is always surprising, so humor is a subset of the poetic. Everything poetic is not necessarily funny, but everything funny is also poetic, given that the poetic and the semantically unhandleable (or surprising) are coincident. To look at things this way also means that, semantically, what I am calling the poetic, and what we easily understand to be original creation, are the same thing. If you're not being poetic in the sense described here, then by definition you're not creating anything original.

Here we get back to Wilde, with his "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." With this definition of poetry and semantic creation it is natural to understand imaginative (original, creative) semantic construction as outside of and beyond consistency. And it shows that mere consistency does not actually ever involve creation, or invention. Consistency, in light of this way of seeing translation and the poetic, is well suited by the idea of is, in this model, the safe place where nothing new is happening, where nothing is being invented, where nothing is being created, where nothing is being defined. (And inconsistency is a place where, instead of nothing being invented, everything is being invented.)

(I think we need to be careful, in what we call science especially, but in all "domains", not to use the word "discover", not to mistake what is actually definition for what we call discovery. Truth is not waiting out there to be discovered, at which point consistent statements may be safely and indisputably (unpoetically) made about it. Truth is not discovered at all; it is, at essence, utterly, and totally something we define. In fact, the whole model involving truth is ridiculous and truth is best not talked about at all. There is definition, and there is translation. Depending on how they happen, sometimes poetry is present and sometimes it is not.)

Poetry is also not primarily a thing on its own, but a condition that is sometimes present in translation. It is a description of some of the dynamics of translation. That would be the dynamics that exclude absolute-consistency, absolute-cleanliness. That does not mean that the poetic is essentially inconsistent—it doesn't mean that the imaginative is not consistent. The unimaginative is that which is merely consistent; the imaginative contains elements of both inconsistency and consistency. Inconsistency is not, on the other hand, the last refuge of the imaginative. In this way of seeing things, either complete consistency or complete inconsistency would be the refuge of the unimaginative. The imaginative, in this way of seeing things, can only refuge in silence. You see that? Because imaginative semantic production (creativity, originality, invention, definition (sometimes mis-called discovery)) require an interplay of the locally poetic and the locally unpoetic, they are necessarily built with a web that has both translatable and untranslatable elements. Whereas unimaginative semantic operation can never translate in any but completely unpoetic ways (which is to say: it translates perfectly). The unimaginative have only the refuge of complete consistency (in which it is definitionally impossible to do anything but restate what has already been said with no modification (whether adding or subtracting) of meaning); or the refuge of complete inconsistency.

A production that is completely inconsistent is as infinitely translatable as one that is completely consistent. It is the interplay between that which can be translated and that which cannot that makes something poetic or imaginative (or creative or inventive). Something that is complete nonsense can always be conveniently and losslessly (cleanly, perfectly, unmessily) translated (translated without conflict, without effort) by defining on the fly an A2 in the target language for every A1 in the source language. In translating the completely consistent, it is easy to find A2 in the target language for every A1 in the source language. In translating the completely inconsistent, it is easy to invent A2 in the target language for every A1 in the source language. Total logic, and total nonsense, are translatable without trouble. The merely consistent, the merely erratic, are not of semantic consequence. It is the imaginative, the inventive, the creative, the constructive, and (most essentially) the definitive which are the types of semantic construction whose translation implies the poetic.

(Sense and nonsense both are meaningless to the subjective perceiver because their translation does not include dynamics of the poetic. Only when its translation can be described as poetic does a semantic production have meaning to the perceiver.)

(It is translation that is making something nonsense or not, it is at the point of translation that something "becomes consistent" "becomes sensible" "becomes nonsense". Right? The thing "itself" isn't sensible waiting for me to discover that; I define it as sensible by my act of translation, or I define it as imaginative by my act of translation.)

(And it should be noted that in this model destructive is not an opposite of constructive; here destruction is a specific type of construction. So that, if we want to think about "destructive" semantic productions, they're properly just constructive semantic productions with a destructive effect (with destructive being used in a completely different sense in this latter occurrence). And they would definitely be constructive/imaginative (as opposed to unpoetic/consistent) productions if they had a destructive effect. But there's no destruction of the productions themselves, not any that we can know about or talk about anyway. If we know about destruction, then it's actually a construction, the construction of a production with destructive effects. But you can't destroy a production with a production, because the production that attempts to destroy another has to contain, in itself, the aim of its goal. So after the destruction was attempted, the worst-case scenario for the supposed victim of the destruction is that that production would live on with its destroyer-hopeful serving as the supposed victim's host. Let that be a warning to all us haters.)

To go someplace is to stop there.

Story and Telling; Effect and Cause

Starting to see story as something that happens as a result of the writing (or telling) process. As opposed to telling being something you do to a story. A story is something that arises from the process of telling. So, if the question is: which comes first, the story or the telling? The answer is the telling.

Nietzsche said that one of the most critical things people get wrong in their thinking is the designation of cause and of effect. He said that one of the most pervasive flaws in people's thinking is confusion about what is the cause and what is the effect.

It is hard to understand the nature of liking or of planning when we think that liking is the cause and planning is the effect. We make certain plans because of what we like, right? If we think that is the case, then planning and liking never seem to make sense. The reason is simply that we have the cause and the effect backwards. Planning causes liking. Liking happens as a result of planning and executing plans.

It's the same with stories and telling. It's impossible to understand what a story is while we hold on to the erroneous belief that a story is the cause and telling the effect. We will never understand story if we proceed that way. But when you see that telling is the cause and story its effect, then the nature of story becomes clear.

You can't like without planning. You can't have stories without telling. You can have planning without liking. You can have telling without stories. It may be counterintuitive, but the same is true of codebreakers and codes. You can't have codes without codebreakers. You can have codebreakers without codes. (This last was pointed out to me in a cryptography history book whose name I don't remember.)

If those statements seem not-right to you, it's because you don't understand what liking is, what stories are, or what codes are. If you think the statements are backwards, then you think that a code is a way to hide a message, that liking is a way of deciding what to do, and that telling is something that happens to a story that already exists. And if you think those things, then when you think about the dynamics of liking, stories, and codes, their dynamics will seem confusing.

When I say their dynamics will seem confusing, I mean that if you try to ask questions about them, the questions will tend to be hard to answer. Here are some example questions: Why do I like one thing and not another? What makes people's likes and dislikes different? Why do I like anything at all? Is there any absolute, objective reason for liking something? What should I put in my story? Is this a complete story? Why do I respond to this story? Is there some absolute or objective reason that a particular story would exist? Those questions are hard to answer. To discuss them is to see the complexity of the dynamics of liking and story. The concepts of liking and story are hard to define. Their dynamics are complex enough to be confusing.

But they're not confusing at all if you understand them as effects rather than causes. Liking is something that happens as a result of successfully executing plans. Stories are something that happen as a result of telling (or writing, or producing). Codes are something that happen as a result of people spying on you. You can't have a code without having someone who is trying to read your messages. Without someone trying to decode your messages, your messages would not be codes. They would be open communication. If no one is trying to decode it, then a message's encoding is meaningless. If no one writes anything, tells anything, or produces anything, then no stories result from those processes. If you never execute a plan, then you can never begin to like. Without executing a plan and observing your success or lack of success at doing that, you have no framework for knowing what to like and what not to. You have no framework for being able to like or dislike. Planning exists without liking. Executing a plan exists without liking. Telling exists without stories. Codebreakers exist without codes. Spies exist without secrets. Spies don't need secrets in order to exist. But secrets can't exist without spies! If there were no spies to spy on me, then I couldn't make anything a secret. You can try to figure out secrets when there are none, but you can't have secrets when there's no one to keep them from. See? There could be a planet with one detective on it and no mysteries, but there couldn't be a planet with one mystery and no detectives. A detective without a mystery is bored. A mystery without a detective is impossible.

True, there is a counterpartship between detectives/mysteries, codebreakers/codes, planning/liking, telling/stories wherein the first part of each of those pairs is more complete, more fully itself when the second is present. But a less-than-fully-actualized detective can still exist without a mystery, whereas even a less-than-fully-actualized mystery cannot exist without a detective. Consider DNA and the early stages of a living organism as an example in the case of planning/liking: an initial organism can clearly exist in a state characterized by a plan and the execution of that plan, without being characterized by liking or disliking. You can have an organism that meaningfully does planning and plan execution without doing any liking or disliking. But you can't have an organism that meaningfully does liking or disliking without doing any plan execution. You can have an organism that does arbitrary liking or disliking without doing plan execution. But it's not meaningful liking because part of the definition (and part of the [seeming] mystery of liking is that it's not completely arbitrary to the one who's doing it).

Liking is inherent to planning, but planning isn't inherent to liking. That is to say that the liking in an organism wherein liking came first and planning came as a result would be an arbitrary kind of liking. Because (due to the individual nature of liking) to define liking from outside the individual (or at the outset of the individual) would go against, would compromise the liking itself. Whereas to define planning and plan execution from outside the individual, to impart that initially from an outside source (or to define that at the outset), would not compromise the planning or plan execution, given the fact that having a plan and executing a plan (unlike having a preference) are not essentially individual traits. If what I like was defined by something other than me, then it's not really a like in the truest sense of liking. Whereas if my plan and my method for executing that plan are defined by something other than me, they are plans just as truly as they would be plans if I came up with them myself.

If we understand liking, stories, and secrets not as the causes of, but rather as the effects of the acts of planning, telling, and spying, then the [previously apparently complex] dynamics of liking, stories and secrets are suddenly a lot easier to understand.

Compared to the dynamics of effects, the dynamics of causes are simple. When you ask questions about planning, telling, and spying, the discussion that results (while it may not be trivial) is a lot simpler than the discussion that results from questions about liking, stories, and secrets. Looking at that is one way to try to figure out which is the cause, and which is the effect.

There are no right answers. Just do what you want and don't think about it.

Let it fucking go

My main psychological focus of the last five years, the thing I am most working on finding solutions to in my mental life, is approaching situations without expectations. I'm not a neophyte at this. At least since my childhood trip to Liberia, I have been quite conscious about approaching the unknown honestly—which is to say: admitting that it is unknown! I knew even as a child that it doesn't make sense to go to Africa for the first time with expectations of what it will be or what you will do there. You just can't know that beforehand. And it feels better to live life knowing that you don't know.

I think something that is helping me is being clear about the distinction between boundaries and expectations. Like, I can't expect certain capacities from another person, but I can set the boundary that says how I interact with another person. It's sometimes a subtle distinction. It's one that I want to keep in mind. I don't have anything to do with what you do, but I have everything to do with what I do with you. I don't think it's going to get said any clearer than that. For my own sake, I'm going to lay out some of my boundaries here, in an expectation-free manner, to clarify my current life M.O.

These are boundaries, and definitions, noting the expectations left behind:

I don't engage with people where the relationship is at all optional and the relationship takes from me more than it gives me. This includes family members and others with whom there is an expectation of relationship. I don't expect anything about them to change. I just don't interact with them. Not face-to-face, not on the book of faces, not in talk with others, not at all. I just let them go and don't spend time thinking about them.

I don't work with companies that don't fulfill my 5-bullet-point requirement list (detailed elsewhere). I don't comment on them with others, nor interact with them in any way. I don't expect them to become something other than what they are. I don't worry about their potential, or create ideas that they aren't living up to what I could see as their potential. I just let them go and ignore that they exist.

I don't attempt any significant interactions with people I don't know. I do curt, respectful business with them. I evaluate them without comment, considering whether they might deserve closer contact. I don't need to speak with them to any degree whatsoever, even if there are social conventions which suggest that I should. I owe nothing to people I do not know. I owe nothing to people I haven't specifically decided to relate to in a particular capacity. I owe nothing. Not a reply to an email. Not a smile. Not a word. Not a glance. Only civility: I don't hit you with my car, I don't step on your property, etc. I don't expect them to give me anything I don't require myself to give them. Only non-engaged civility is expected from strangers.

With people I know in business, whether software, writing, movies, or whatever, I owe nothing off-topic. I don't expect them to be anything to me except a proper co-worker. Which means they respect what I'm doing for them and don't get in the way of it, or that they help me do what I'm doing if they are an immediate co-worker. If a complete corporate entity gets in the way of this, I terminate contact immediately. That means that if a co-worker is working against me, in the future, and the boss or other part of the entity is complicit in the co-worker's failure, I terminate interaction with the entity. If the entity as a whole is able to adjust, then termination isn't necessary. I don't expect anything else from a business partner, except that they are helping me do the work at hand. That is the only reason I see to be in business with anyone; that you are helping each other do what each of you wants to do. That's all I can expect from business partners. Of me, nothing else will be allowed to be extracted. I won't listen to any outside-of-work issues with anyone I work with ever again. I don't want to hear about anything that isn't work-relevant. If, when I request that from a co-working entity, my request for the interaction to remain work-relevant isn't honored, I will terminate my relationship with that entity.

With people I'm close with, I have fewer of these types of problems to begin with, but I want to keep in mind that I can expect a high degree of respect of my sovereignty from people who are close with me, and that they deserve the same from me. Since contention tends naturally not to occur between me and people I am close with, my main duty with respect to expectations, when it comes to people I know well, is to keep in mind that my view of them from the past is not necessarily correct about them today. That people change, and that sometimes with people we've known well, the act of knowing itself can extend so far as to become a disservice. When such a person has become something new, in order for us to remain close, I need to adjust my ideas to reflect their current state. If I can't do that, it is not reasonable to expect that they will remain close to me. When I change, I can't expect people who are close to me to stay close to me. If someone close to me maintains currency in their ideas about me, we will stay close. If someone close to me maintains ideas about me that are no longer current, then I won't get mad for their not doing what I expect. I will just let them go.

Rebecca once yelled at me to "Let it fucking go!" At the time I didn't think I needed to let anything go. And, at the time, I didn't. Perhaps her advice was meant for this me, now. To fully let it go I need to embrace both edges of that sword, however. The freedom gained is one side. The other side is that the thing you let go, is really gone.

Right now I need freedom from some family stuff, some work stuff. The work stuff is easier to let go of. The family stuff is a counter-intuitive domain in which to let go of things, for me at least. But, after years of reflection, I think some of the real freedom that I want involves letting go of some family stuff. I think I am becoming ready to let go of some people in my family, let go of my expectations of them, let go of my feeling of duty to interact with them. I think I can do this without malice, but decisively.

To talk of this interplay of freedom and expectation, I cannot help but think of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz:

"Have you ever considered any real freedoms? Freedom from the opinions of others..even the opinions of yourself?"

Can I replace "opinions" with "expectations" in that quote? I hope I can act toward my freedom without being paralyzed by my ideas of duty to family. Here, Kurtz' point to the United States is a point I'm taking myself:

"I've seen horrors .. horrors that you've seen. But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that .. but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror. Horror has a face .. and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies. I remember when I was with Special Forces. Seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate the children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for Polio, and this old man came running after us, and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember .. I .. I .. I cried. I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out. I didn't know what I wanted to do. And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it. I never want to forget. And then I realized .. like I was shot .. like I was shot with a diamond .. a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought: My God .. the genius of that. The genius. The will to do that. Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we. Because they could stand that these were not monsters. These were men .. trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love .. but they had the strength .. the strength .. to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, then our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral .. and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling .. without passion .. without judgment .. without judgment. Because it's judgment that defeats us."

The things I try to hold onto—are the things I've already lost.

How do you hold onto things? With copies. Digital copies. Copies in your brain. Attempting copies by repeating similar actions. What you try to hold onto is gone. What you can hold onto is a copy. And a copy is a reference to something that is lost.

The way I feel about the other

It's so tricky..the headspace and the freedom, or the perspective I gain, from leaving something behind..does not mean that I could go back to the thing (or forward to "the thing") and it would seem like it seems in my head. There's no way the past could have "been [better]"—been as good as I feel about it now—or been the way I feel about it now. The only way I could feel the way I feel about the past, now, is to leave the past behind and be now. That can transform the way I look at the past, but that doesn't mean that I can approach the past, or the other, now, from here, and it would be the way I feel about it. It doesn't mean that. The way I feel about the other is dependent on it having become the other.

Nonparticipators [Don't] Suck

Nonparticipation is the antagonist tactic of the weak. Withholding, refusing to engage. It is, in the morally bereft domain of those who employ it, a tactic with no acceptable response. Any demand of participation, any attempt to fill in the gap of absence with a suggestion of motive from the attacker, is met with what I see as mock-offense. The nonparticipator feels justified in assailing others for asking them to participate. The nonparticipator is always claiming to be put upon unreasonably by those they assail with their nonparticipation. All you can do is guess at such a person's motives, but in their world, any attempt to guess their motives is cause for a rebuttal. It is wrong of the other party to guess at the nonparticipator's motives. The nonparticipator has created a situation where guessing at their motives, or guessing at their position, is all the participating party can do. It is a lose-lose to try to participate with a nonparticipator. Within the moral structure of the participator, the nonparticipator's tactics are wrong. Part of the culture of the nonparticipator, however, is to recognize nonparticipation as outside of the realm of moral consideration. It is nothing—there is nothing there—says the nonparticipator. What is this person bugging me about? They are inventing things about me that aren't true! That's a deceptive argument by the nonparticipator. With it, they try to write the history such that they (the nonparticipator) are doing nothing [wrong] and the participator is making up either judgments or fantasies about the nonparticipator. It's a passive tactic. It's also the most socially acceptable of the two positions when there is tension between a participator and a nonparticipator. The nonparticipator is more easily seen as doing nothing [wrong] by observing parties, while the participator is easily seen by observing parties as taking [wrong] action. The problem focus, therefore, will be on the participator. As long as the participator/nonparticipator dynamic is in place, neither side will get what they want. The participator will be happy only if a dynamic of strength permeates the relationship; the nonparticipator will be happy only if a dynamic of weakness permeates the relationship. Unfortunately nonparticipation, and support of nonparticipation culturally, is one of the tyrannies that is as widespread in our culture is as family, drug, and drink. All the little lack-of-support moments that occur, add up to critical deficits in people who sometimes reach a node of severe reaction. The severe reaction is easily identifiable. The myriad lack-of-support or lack-of-participation moments are not easily identifiable. The employee who quits because his influence is systematically discounted is easy to identify; the silent non-collaboration by his coworkers is not easy to identify. The citizen who kills himself because his lifestyle is impossible to live in his country is easy to identify; the constellation of laws and customs that make life impossible for him are not easy to identify. The son who rails against his father is easy to identify and blame; the father who systematically withholds acknowledgment of his son's value is harder to see for those who share the moral fabric of the nonparticipator. Nonparticipators support each other in this tyranny. Not doing our not viewed as a crime, while doing something wrong is viewed as a crime. What we frame as "doing something" is too limited sometimes. Not participating is doing something. Nonparticipation is an action. It does have consequences. Nonparticipators will frame their actions in deceptive terms to hide what they are doing, but within a given normative context, what you don't do has as much weight and as much affect as what you do..the only reason we distinguish doing and not-doing is because of the way we construct our terms. In the context of a husband and a wife who kiss each other every day, a husband not kissing his wife one day is doing something. He may use nonparticipator-style tactics, citing literal term definitions, to suggest that he "hasn't done anything"..but of course he has. To say otherwise is insulting the intelligence of the observer. That he didn't do anything is a minor side effect of syntax, not a weighty reality. But nonparticipators suggest otherwise. The aunt who sent all of her nieces birthday cards, except one of them. When/if the niece reacts, the nonparticipator aunt can claim that the niece overreacted..that the niece is acting wrongly, in contrast to the aunt having not acted. The aunt didn't do anything! The niece did something wrong. This example makes obvious the nonsense of the nonparticipator, but look for it in those around you. It is a tyranny, it is evil, its cultural support and prevalence make it worthy of mention.

(The chronic nonparticipator will chronically supply socially-acceptable justifications, justifications that work in a single incident, but she will use them all the time. To forget a birthday card once is a truly unassailable could very well have been unintentional. The nonparticipator turns up the heat slowly, though..he forgets once, then twice, then again and again. He always forgets, and his chronic lack of participation does add up, undeniably, to a rational observer. In each instance, the chronic nonparticipator cites justifications that would assuage a single incident, and pretends that the cries of protest to his justifications are unreasonable, hoping to turn the attack back on his victim by flipping the perceived script: he wants the history to be written such that he was the victim. What honey? I forgot to invite you? It was an honest mistake. Why do you give me a hard time? I'm only human! How does one credibly argue that? All you can do, if you want to argue it, is say that he always forgets to invite you, and hope that he or anyone who's listening is paying attention.)

(The deception that nonparticipation is morally acceptable, and the falsehood that nonparticipators can be marked by success, are similar to the lines along which we should be suspicious of those whose histories are characterized by a lack of mistakes, those whose minds are characterized by a lack of activity. Mistake-free histories are not successful. Activity-free minds are not healthy. In this same way, participation-free relationships cannot sensibly be considered strong. Never having been in an accident doesn't make you a good driver if you've never sat behind the wheel of a car. Nonparticipators will compare your accidents to their lack of accidents, pretending, or believing, that that's an apples-to-apples comparison.)


Watching Project Runway marathon with my sister. My extreme dislike of the designer Malvin Vien deserved some conscious attention. The first shot they showed of him I couldn't tell if he was male or female. I wanted to figure out, in clear terms, where my dislike of this person came from. I was a little disturbed at the possibility that what disturbed me about Malvin might be his most immediately-recognizable characteristic: his androgyny. I typically find androgyny attractive, and in some cases I find it bold, progressive, and highly thought-provoking. The idea that I was possibly turned off based on this person's androgyny made me want to give this some extra thought.

Fortunately I had the opportunity to watch a couple episodes of the show more than once. That helped me review my reactions, and I was able to understand and describe my marked reaction to Malvin. In one of his interview segments, he uses the word "ineffable" to describe the dress he designed for the first challenge. His use of that word is no accident, I believe, and it figures prominently in the play of ideas that make me dislike Malvin.

I knew I was bothered by his conceptual description of his piece for the pregnancy challenge in which he designs a dress for Rebecca Romijn which is supposed to make the woman look like a chicken carrying an egg. But I wasn't similarly disturbed by the designer Ari's highly conceptual and equally silly piece for the first challenge, which Ari described as fitting someone going down the red carpet in 2080, and also being the dress in which the wearer would accept her Nobel prize, or something like that. So I knew that, while I found Malvin's conceptual product silly, that alone wasn't what bugged me about him.

When I heard him choose the word "ineffable" to describe the fashion he designed for the first challenge, the nature of my dislike of Malvin came into focus. Malvin and Ari share a conceptual approach, but Ari didn't rub me as wrong of a way as Malvin. Was that because Ari was a woman and I was more comfortable with her simply because of her gender? Was it Malvin's androgyny that was really making me uncomfortable? I wanted to fully examine that possibility, because I want to know myself. But I don't think that's it, in this case.

Ari, when she's eliminated for her weird concept dress, approaches it humbly. She bows to the judges as they're sending her away. In her goodbye speech, Ari expresses sentiment that indicates she has listened to the critique she received. She acknowledges the guest judge Lindsay Lohan's suggestion that you can push the boundaries, but you have to have some idea of the context of acceptability/unacceptability within which you are operating. It's this receptivity to others' reality that starts to distinguish Ari from Malvin in my mind.

With Malvin, we have a type of behavior that really irritates me, and which makes me feel deeply sorry for the person displaying it. Of course the people who bug us the most are people who are almost like us..not quite like us..but who demonstrate some quality that is like our own, except at a right angle. Malvin thinks that he can make himself ineffable. He thinks that the fashion he designs can mean something to him that is ineffable by others. His conceptual approach launches straight into deconstruction of others. He wants to be able to describe others, but he wants himself to be indescribable by others, indescribable, probably, even to himself.

I have known people like this, and unfortunately I have some tendencies in terms of wishing to be ineffable. Malvin's androgyny, I think, is simply one of the ways in which he's attempting to be ineffable. His look and speech is designed to make it as impossible as possible to be able to categorize Malvin. Yet his method of analyzing external things..say, a pregnant woman for whom he is instantly deconstructionist and simplifying in nature. Malvin wants to describe you, but he wants to make it impossible for you to describe him. Probably why this bugs me is that I sometimes have tendencies toward this last.

I don't tend to want to simplistically categorize others, but I have sometimes produced output designed, in part, to be hard for others to understand. I think that comes from a lack of love for oneself, and a fear of criticism. I think that producing ineffable material, or striving to create an ineffable self, is not only an indicator of a lack of love for oneself (because it comes from a self which is afraid it cannot withstand the criticism of others), it is also, I think literally, an act of withholding love from others, in that it is motivated by creating an experience of loss (or lack) in others. For me to intentionally create something that you cannot understand, is to withhold love from you, it is to want you to have an unpleasant experience, it is in a way to hate you.

I can certainly understand the desire to do this, which is I think why that designer bugs me so much. Some people are blessed to have been created such that it is not an exorbitant amount of work to bridge the gap between themselves and others. Some people are not blessed with that, and I can understand the response that involves demonstrating that [real] distance to others in one's creations, in the styling of oneself.

But, when it comes down to it, it's an act of aggression to communicate with someone in a method designed to preclude their ability to participate—to understand or respond. It's not homicidal, it's not violent, but it's aggressive. Malvin is saying "I understand you but you can't understand me." This is a sentiment I identify with. This outlook reminds me of the outlook of one of my ex-girlfriends (a New Yorker, an intellectual, a product of at least one intellectual parent, a sometimes fan of androgyny for herself). It is a sentiment that exists in some form in much of intellectual thought; this is essentially what turns me off about intellectualism. It's the reviewer who is so verbally dexterous that she herself can never acknowledge that she is enough of a something perceivable by others that she too can be meaningfully reviewed. It is the slope of deconstruction so steep that three terms into a sentence one is mired in unending deflective analysis..people who know how to use words are susceptible to using this style of analysis.

Ditzes aren't in danger of talking you into a hole when you're asking them what they want for dinner; they are fortunate in this way. Ditzes' (and I find ditzes refreshing, by the way, but ditzes') approach is basically "I don't understand you but you understand me"..Malvin is the logical inverse of a ditz.

I have empathy, and respect, for Malvin and people like him. It is not a strong position to come from, to need both to feel that you can explain others and that others cannot explain you. The gist of the phrase "good math is simple math" applies here, and this touches on the root of what it is to be a good teacher. A good teacher is someone who can explain a concept to anyone. Einstein's papers on relativity are papers that almost any moderately educated person can understand, even non-specialists. The same is not true of most physics and math papers that are equally complex conceptually. That is a compliment to Einstein.

To state something in terms that are designed to clearly communicate your ideas to another love. That is love. To express your "ideas" to others in a way designed to make it impossible for others to understand, is at best aggressive, somewhat hateful behavior. At worst, it is probably an indicator that the so-called ideas supposedly held by the would-be teacher, are not actually clear, completely-formed ideas in the mind of the person doing the obtuse communication. Malvin does that, intellectuals do that, that one ex-girlfriend of mine did it, and I have done it in some of my presentations to others.

That's why Malvin bugs me. I hope all that was clear.

(This makes me think of the juxtaposition of a couple statements in Foucault's The Archaeology of Knowledge. In the introduction to that book, where Foucault responds to anticipated or actual criticisms to the following text, he suggests that he, and other authors, are trying to create texts they can disappear into, texts by which they can erase themselves..but then the entire book that follows is a pretty convincing attempt to say that there is no ineffable truth at the bottom of text, that ineffable truth cannot be re-captured by textual analysis..or perhaps, in the strong case, that ineffable truth doesn't exist. In Foucault's concluding part of that book, it seems to me he's aiming his guns mainly at religion and religious texts—but of course I admit that may be heavily my own interpretation. Anyway it seems related to this Malvin discussion. Foucault is trying to make it so that no one can assail his particular text; he is also trying to make it so that no text can be used to justify an ineffable truth. I don't read Foucault as saying that ineffable truth doesn't exist, merely that such a thing is distinct from language, which language sometimes attempts to have a relationship with ineffable truth which Foucault doesn't want language to be able to have. However, my sense is that if Foucault was going to be rid of either discourse or the ineffable, that he would be rid of the ineffable. I think Malvin would find Foucault to be half-enemy, half-friend, in that I think Malvin wants to maintain ineffability when it comes to himself, yet inflict his discourse when it comes to others. That's my impression; but I acknowledge that I'm neither a fashion designer nor a psychiatrist..this is just what I do while I'm watching Project Runway, when I'm not wishing I was simultaneously Heidi Klum and Seal.)

(A major reason for my interest in this dynamic right now is that I'm in the business of creating things for others. And I think that my creations can benefit from my holding as little as possible of what I perceive as the intellectual stance while I'm creating. When I'm creating I don't want to be in the business of being in the know while keeping others out of it. When I'm creating I want to be in the business of delight—and, if possible, love.)

9/11 and 7/7 Training/Real Event Coincidences Considered Through the Lense of Cellular Automata Models

The coincidence of training exercises on multiple of these terror incidents (9/11 and 7/7) are especially interesting to me, and cause me to consider esoteric theories involving post-human influences. Yes the exercises could be part of the activity of a terror-inducing human influence as part of a "conspiracy". They could as well be pre-existing events with different motives, opportunist by terror-inducing human influence. There could be, and if the simplest theories are true, probably is, an interesting interplay between the realities of the terror proponents and anti-terror proponents involved in the events..agents with varying perspectives on what they are doing and think they are doubt that is the case if any of the simplest theories are wouldn't know what you were part of, you wouldn't even know what kind of agent you were..certainly one can imagine plausible scenarios for 9/11 wherein "U.S." administrators knew of the part of 9/11 they were planning, but given that they worked with other factions, some of the key events of 9/11 were a surprise to people who thought they were planning the events of 9/11..I wouldn't be surprised if high-level spy/counterspy conflicts became apparent on that day, to the major conspirators (you might have thought you had planned tragedy X but the people you got to help you from "the other side" took advantage of that situation and you ended up with tragedy X * Y, or tragedy Z through a series of crosses)..if such things are going on it is truly tragic..we don't need that kind of complicated puppetmastering to enjoy being human civilization. But beyond all those theories I'm grappling with some more abstract ideas. The coincidence of training exercises in both 9/11 and 7/7 might have a simple explanation that both events have a shared genealogy of conception and planning. But that coincidence might have a less-easy-to-understand origin, a non-human origin. Not to say that this idea would be inconsistent with human-oriented theories of what happened on those days. But I'm imagining there might be a different way to understand that coincidence, that wouldn't preclude the essential human-complicity of the obvious theories, but that wouldn't imply that there was an originating agent who was using training exercises [either planned by that agent or not] in conjunction with the actual [bombings] to [whatever—help commit the actual bombings, be there to help minimize human suffering from the actual bombings, or whatever]. There may be another way of looking at it, wherein the training and the actual events tend to occur coincidently without that meaning that the two are causally related either as cause-effect (in either direction) or as direct-common-cause siblings. Maybe there is a theory in which the training and the actual events can be distant common-cause siblings..common-cause cousins, in a way that indicates a larger event-entity we have a partial view into, whose characteristic features surface in these types of events, but whose characteristic features' relationships aren't describable in our logics. I'm grappling with thinking along those lines.

A repost of a post of mine from the NKS site on 20060922, which gets at what I'm saying about the events perhaps being indirect common-cause cousins ("the system that made it versus what it looks like"):

The most amazing lesson from NKS to me is: Let's say I am living in a world, or viewing a system, which appears to have behavior/activity/forms that are cohesive with respect to the X and Y in this picture I'll attach. To me, subjectively, it looks like squiggles, like someone drew squiggles on a basically 2-dimensional piece of paper, with an eye capable of seeing forms in at least two dimensions. It seems that way because if one travels along either the X or Y axes alone, the "squiggles" close themselves. That is, there are closed forms which, whether viewed from left to right or from top to bottom, open and close themselves in a circular form. The squiggles are mutated circular forms, warped circles. Which, consciously/receptively to me, makes it seem like the method behind their creation had some at-the-moment knowledge of at least 2-dimensional space. Right? How else could you draw a circle, or conceive of one?

But of course you can. We can write an algebraic formula that plots a circle in 2-dimensions even though the formula can be said to have no knowledge of dimensions at all.

So from a technical point of view what I'm saying here is obvious, ancient, basic, boring.

But from an experiential point of view, I find that CAs and some other of these NKS systems illustrate beautifully a profound nature of the world, which is:

The method that created the thing I'm observing might have no idea whatsoever of the [dimensional/shapely] context in which I'm observing the thing. Right? The thing that's "drawing a circle" may have no idea that it's drawing a circle, because what it's doing is only drawing a circle from my point of view.

What's profound about this for me is to re-consider my phenomenal world: the thing is, when I see [a circle], while that thing seems like an indisputably cohesive whole to me, it is quite likely that the two vertical or horizontal halves of that circle were computed with no knowledge of each other. You see that from my attached squiggle, yes? Those closed forms, those forms which look closed from my view of them as a 2d image, were created by a process wherein the "left half" of the thing had virtually no knowledge of the "right half" of the thing..for almost all of the form's existence through time in the second dimension!!!

So it's quite possible, and maybe, likely, that complex cohesive forms I experience through the 4th or whatever dimension of time, that cohesions and symmetries in those forms are not, properly, causally related to each other. That a circle is not actually, at the level of its formation, a circle at all! It may actually be two causally unacquainted formation sequences that happen to be symmetrical. Chairs usually have four legs. But it may very well be that the legs have nothing to do with each other..or, more precisely, that in their formation, whatever forms leg 1 has absolutely no knowledge of whatever is simultaneously forming leg 3.

You see what I'm saying? There's a metaphor in philosophy of a two-sided tapestry..originally the metaphor is that the chaotic side of the tapestry is supposed to represent how the world seems to us..and god is on the other side, the organized side, god is making sense, and because we happen to be observing from the back side of the tapestry everything seems crazy.

But I think we have concrete reasons, now, to think the metaphor runs the other way:

It may well be that god's side is the side of chaos [chaotic to us], the side with the strings hanging all over the place in no apparent order [not apparent to us]. And it's because of how we observe the tapestry..through a systematic (and trivial) methodology of simplification..that from where we sit, the tapestry takes on [a simplified] order.

I think "reality" is the complex side, the noumenal world. And what we observe, which is far from how things "are", our phenomenal world, is the organized, the simplified, the "sensible" side of the tapestry.

And you see when I'm saying that the two sides of a circle may not be causally related to each other, that I'm not saying they have no relationship..but the thing is they are related in abstract parallel to each other..but not because they have at-the-moment shapely connectivity. What they have in common is a fundamental, universal creation methodology. So: when I find legs 1 and 3 of a chair looking like each other, it may be that it's not that legs 1 and 3 know about each other (that they exchange information in-the-moment), but that they have a universal [rule-based] commonality..yes, they are similar, but not because one causes the other..instead, it's because they share a common cause, a universality, the rule, which sometimes happens to pop up next to itself in a way that makes me think that C(x, t) is related to C(x+m, t) when "really" it's that C(x, t-q) and C(x, t) share a relationship that is also shared by C(x+m, t-q) and C(x+m, t).

That's what I was thinking in 2006 based on observations of cellular automata. I don't think this means that training and actual events on either 9/11 or 7/7 are not part of the same conspiracy. But I think it suggests that there could be cases of event-objects that we consider obviously cohesive, within which there are elements that are not causally related, except as indirect common-cause cousins. The CA pictured above, the squiggle example, shows a case where the obvious coherent event-object (the closed-circle squiggle) and the real cause of some of the coherence of the squiggle form (the left-and-right closed edges of the squiggle) are most fundamentally related in a non-obvious way. The left-and-right closed edges of the squiggle can be seen as partially the result of local conditions (in which the left and the right edges of the squiggle have no in-the-moment knowledge of each other) and partially the result of distant common-cause ancestors (in which the left and the right edges share distant past knowledge with each other).

Basically, I think this means that in cases like 9/11 and 7/7 where there are coincidences that make us think that training events and actual events must be shared knowledge within the same conspiracy, that it is plausible that actually we are seeing what we perceive as a coherence that implies an in-the-moment cause-effect relationship or some kind of in-the-moment co-knowledge relationship, but that the coherence we perceive does not imply local co-knowledge, collaboration, or membership in the same conspiracy. I think the squiggle shows that it's plausible that the coincidence of the training events and the actual events do not imply membership in the same [space/time]-local conspiracy.

Monkeys Eating Jello  This is CNN

I turn to CNN and Anderson Cooper is there with a story about monkeys eating jello. You might think this is funny (or fine), and if you do, you're what's wrong with the world. When Comedy Central has the best news you can get on TV, it's time to change the names of some channels. A current AARP commercial features the phrase (written and spoken) "SAVE UP TO THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS". Are you kidding me? The whole point of the phrase "up to" is to specify a range from zero to..something definite (not another range). AARP's version takes a phrase pattern that means almost nothing (because the actual number being referred to in a phrase like "save up to one hundred dollars" could as rightfully be zero as one-hundred) and turns it into a phrase that means absolutely nothing. "SAVE UP TO THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS" literally means save anywhere from zero (or negative infinity?) dollars to an infinite number of dollars. So..the phrase now means: nothing. I know some people think I'm overreacting, but if we want to have any semblance of civilization, phrases like that should be outlawed in advertising and contracts. To write that phrase in a serious context is criminal; to read it uncritically is sad and lazy. Your facebook picture means nothing, your 140-character tweets mean nothing, the icons on television and menus and your clothes and cars mean nothing. If what is said publicly means nothing because it doesn't make sense, and what we do is often done because of what is said, we are something but that something is not civilization. This is what happened with the 9/11-based, terror-fear-based U.S. Iraq war. We did something based on statements that made no logical sense. And they made no logical sense before it was common knowledge there were no WMDs; the war was sold by this "logic": 1) Al-Qaeda attacked the U.S. 2) We're invading Iraq. If you believed in that war, you are part of the problem, you're not a real American, you're no friend or family of mine, and you're not even human in the sense in which I use the word (and I hate you for being so stupid and you owe it to the rest of civilization to get your act together—are we clear on that?). I would urge you to rail against this trend, but probably only 10 people are reading this sentence, so my urging wouldn't do much good. To the 10 of you, I recommend Neil Postman's book Amusing Ourselves to Death and secondly Michel Foucault's The Archaeology of Knowledge as guides to these trends. There are people still reading and listening and speaking critically, but I think at this point if we want to maintain the right to do that in our society it has become our burden to convert members of the 140-character/icon-exchange crowd to the domain of more critical and elaborate symbol manipulation. Ten years ago I was uneasy; now I am incredulous. I feel like I should have done more to try to improve the situation in the last decade, rather than contributing to the decline by standing around pissing.

I love laughing, but not when it's not funny.

It's not cool to be stupid. It's not cute, it's not funny, it's not patriotic. It's not funny to make no sense. It's not funny to string together illogic and then base action on that illogic. It's not nice to silently listen to the illogic of others. It's not cool not to care. I am guilty of all these things, and there's nothing ok about that. I've been dicking around for over a decade with corporate assholes who aren't getting anything done. Ever since the Bush Jr. regime took us to Iraq it's been too much insanity for me to even watch the news. That was wrong. It was wrong of me to turn my head away from something I knew was wrong. It was wrong of all U.S. patriots to have let this happen to our country. People like some of my family members whose racism causes them to baselessly attack our current President (while they themselves misattribute quotes to Abraham Lincoln in their arguments)—those people are idiotic to the point of my disowning them (I "love" them, but there's just no way I can continue a conversation with someone like that and pretend that the other side is cogent enough to debate). But we all are responsible for standing by while people who are paid with our taxes fuck up our world for us. Bush, Cheney: not funny. People who supported their tyranny: not funny. Obama, not biting the bullet and getting American and world citizens a real 9/11 investigation: not funny. People like me who stand by and allow it to happen: definitely not funny. We allowed ourselves to accept an election whose exit-poll discrepancies would have declared the election fraudulent in a third-world country  well, guess what, fellow Americans, we'll get what we deserve.

Take things literally.

This was advice I evangelized and lived by as early as the 10th grade. I think I still follow this, in some ways. Sometimes this is alternately stated as "one thing is not another". A thing is just itself, nothing else. A kiss with your fiancé is not a marriage; it is a kiss. Writing about a celebrity is not a scandal; it is writing. I'm keeping this in mind.

False dichotomy of intellect and emotion

Stop supporting the false dichotomy of intellect and emotion. If you are not functioning emotionally, you are not functioning. If you are not functioning intellectually, you are not functioning. Both are required, both are required in interplay, and domains which exclude either are sick. Head and heart are not separable, art and logic are crescent sliver descriptions of the same ultimate thing. Access the wellspring more completely. Don't hide behind so-called discernment or the lie of specialization. People who are good at passion, or precision, are good at both. So-called technicians who brag about a lack of heart are idiots, but most importantly they are crappy technicians. You cannot do one without the other.

Product is Nothing  Process is Everything

You can't guarantee product. You can guarantee process. You have no idea where you're going. No one does. The only thing is some people think they do. Or: sometimes we think we know the future, but we never do. It's psychotic to base my happiness on product, because product essentially has nothing to do with me. It's not guaranteeable by me, it's not guaranteeable by anyone. I have to know what I can control and what I cannot. I can't take a picture, I can't buy a TV, I can't drive across the country. I can press my finger on the shutter, I can go to Best Buy, I can put my foot on the gas pedal. It's an issue of scale. There's an appropriate time-scale on which to think about (in my case) human activity. I can't live a life; I can live a day, I can live ten minutes. I can't write a book, I can't write a blog; I can write a sentence, I can write a word. The "person" that is the person of conscious awareness—which is a person whose span of coherent existence is about ten minutes—that person cannot live a life, it can live one moment and that is all it can do. The conscious "me" is an amnesiac. The conscious you is too.

The efficient-market hypothesis is right.

Free markets do solve a problem, and they solve it perfectly. The problem is this: the problem they solve is not a human problem, it's somebody else's problem. We're living in a post-human age, whether that means that corporate entities exist in some ways on equal or greater footing than human beings, or whether it means that at the singularity we are seeing evidence of other types of post-human entities participating in "our" world.

The free markets solve a problem, corporate monopolies solve a problem, it's true, and they tend to do it perfectly. People have been waving that flag for a number of reasons for a while now. Congratulations, you were right. Unfortunately, the problems that those systems solve are not human problems. When the problem that a free market solves, gets solved, when the problem that a corporation solves, gets solved, it's perfect, it's beautiful, it's optimal—just not for people. We've been tricked into waving the free-market flag, the corporate flags, and we've been tricked into doing this by what I think is reasonable to think of as a post-human entity.

We've been tricked into contributing (sometimes frankly as slaves) to solving a problem that is being solved beautifully. The caveat is that the problem being solved is not our problem. The post-human entity is basking in the rays of this optimal solution; people are not.

More and more people are going to start to see that we have something in common in our sharing the same number of chromosomes and roughly the same cognitive metaphors as each other. We are living among entities who do not have the same goals and values as us. These post-human entities don't necessarily want to destroy all of us, but they don't necessarily optimize our participation in the whole system the way that we would optimize it. These post-human entities do not have the same values as us (as people!). They don't necessarily care that we are happy; they don't necessarily care that we get to play with our kids and make love and have our minds and souls taken care of in the ways that are meaningful to us. They are happy with us as long as we serve their interests; they reward us when we serve their interests. And by serving them, a very few of us are being rewarded immensely over the period of one human lifetime, at the expense of our species. We're selling out our species to post-human entities who have largely convinced us to adopt a value system that helps us justify our doing so.

This is a symptom of the rampant influence of mere intellectualism. The intellectual mode is good at solving problems. Sadly, in that mode, we expend little effort figuring out which problems to solve.

Some people know when you're joking

You know how some people know when you're joking, and some people don't, and that's one way you can tell who knows you and who doesn't? I'm experiencing that right now, something like it. There's a game being played, and everyone views it using their specific metaphors. You can tell a lot about people by how they perceive the game that's being played. There's a focus on attaining certain objectives within the metaphors of a certain game. But you might find yourself playing with someone who is playing a different game than you, and then, your strategy of figuring out whether that other person is winning or losing, no longer works. You have to first figure out what game I'm playing (or, metaphorically, understand when I'm joking) before you can reasonably assess how I'm faring. The best game players, whether it be in poker or politics, first play the game of keeping everyone else off-base about what game is actually being played. That way we keep your energies distracted while the real strategy is being executed. Job one is having more information than the other guy, and having a better model of the other guy's internals than he has of you.

(I mean this with respect to strategic games, which, of course, all of life is not.)

Some Intrinsic Nature of Yourself

When you find that no matter what action you take, the same result will ensue, you must wonder if you have been out-strategized by someone. Or, alternately, that no one is fighting you, but that the thing you are fighting is some intrinsic nature of yourself.

Having Problems and Analyzing Problems

Self-analysis is a funny thing. I remember realizing, at an earlier age, that in some cases I was observing people who were doing self-analysis, but whose problems (the very ones they were analyzing) were not solved. The two are somewhat related, obviously, but also somewhat independent. You might have analytical ability, but not a smooth life. It is funny, to the analytical person, when a non-analytical person suggests that the analytical person's life should be more like that of the non-analytical person. It is funny because the analytical person can see, in a way that the non-analytical person cannot, the full dynamics of both of their lives. And, truly, the non-analytical person is in no place to make such a suggestion to the analytical person, though only one of the two knows that. The caveat, however, is that analytical ability does not equal all-problems-solved. What you have, with these two types, is two people, each with problems. On one hand you have a person with problems who is analyzing his problems. On the other hand you have a person with problems who is not analyzing them. The two are somewhat independent, and certainly distinct, classifications.

A political disadvantage to recognize events

One of the dynamics of the intuitive or successfully-predictive person, the person who in common terms seems to have foreknowledge, a dynamic that I think about and want to record here, is:

Sometimes people observe the predictive person as being participant in the events they are actually only predicting. It seems, sometimes, in some cases, to the non-predictive observer of the predictive person, that the predictive person is causing the predicted events to happen, when it may be a better description that they are simply predicting them.

When you have your finger on the pulse of something, a business, or a political outlay, you seem to other people to be predicting things. The way I think about it, you are not actually predicting—there is no such thing as predicting. But you are able to represent the real edges of the event-thing before others, in the same way that animals act strangely before certain geographic or weather events. The animals are not predicting, they are able to represent (normally we'd say recognize) the event-thing in a different way than some other observers (like us) and so it looks to us like they are predicting.

I think sometimes people think that the intuitive among us are participant in what is happening, that their desires lie in wanting the thing they are predicting to happen, when (sometimes, in some cases) their desires are not meaningfully aligned or misaligned with the event. I think in this way, even though it is a strategic advantage, if carelessly handled it can be a political disadvantage to recognize events at a radically earlier point in time than the majority.

(What we call a prediction is actually part of the event—but that doesn't mean that the prediction, or the predictor, is causing the event. (Nor does it mean that the event is causing the prediction.))


If what you're doing is not disturbing, then what you're doing is nothing. We have a misleading set of connotations of the word "disturbing" that makes this non-obvious. Think of a glass of water. If you stir the water, you are disturbing it. If the water is not disturbed, then what are you doing?

(Disturbing is not a moral issue. It is an issue of content. Art or action that is not disturbing is art or action that is without content. Cries of "crazy", cries of "weird" are cries who come from people who are avoiding self-discovery (out of fear). That's ok, but let's call a spade a spade.)

"This year, millions of identities may be stolen."

From an ad I just saw: [fear-inducing statement] "This year, millions of identities may be stolen." Then the ad goes on to sell identity-protecting services. This is another thing that is not ok. [impossible to substantiate statement] >implication> [desired response]. Illogic like this should be railed against; it is eroding, and is evidence of the erosion of, civilization. And by "civilization" (opposite of barbarity), by "corporation" (body), I mean the same thing: I mean people coming together.

If you're not a political person, you're a political puppet.

We can't make it easy for our family members, friends, coworkers to hold extreme racist or religious positions. When we do, we are complicit in the promotion of those people's causes. We cannot make it easy for the people we know to further causes that we find deplorable. I'm putting pressure on anyone in my family who speaks racism, who supports 9/11 denial, who thinks Fox News or even CNN is presenting a view representative of critical thinking. It's bullshit. We can affect the people around us more than we can affect distant politicians. Racist shit on my mom's side of the family: unacceptable. Tea-party-level idiocy on my mom's side of the family: unacceptable. I condemn you. Get your shit together, ideologically. You are not Christian (as you claim), you shame my family and my country, and I don't find your shit funny in any way.

Why It Will Be Useful to Bridge the Gap Between Programming Languages and More Simply Enumerable Systems Like Cellular Automata

On the one hand, we have programming languages like C. On the other hand, we have very basic logical systems like cellular automata (CA). Even some of the simplest CAs (and other simple Turing machines and like systems) are can use them to emulate any other system. Specifically, Matthew Cook showed that rule 110 of the elementary CAs is universal.

So there are very simple systems that, given their initial conditions, if you run them long enough, can be used to emulate any other system. Anything you could program in C can be emulated by rule 110 or a number of other simple systems. Setting up the initial conditions to make rule 110 emulate most C programs would be an elaborate process, and the number of steps you'd have to run the CA for would probably be very large, but the point is it could be done for any C program, any Pascal program, any program expressible in any language.

The computational devices contained in the rule for an elementary CA are extraordinarily simple. That fact is what makes it interesting that ECAs can produce a universal system. From a theoretical point of view, the question of interest is: what is the simplest system that is universal? To answer that would point to something about the nature of the essence of computation. Some people are interested in pinpointing this minimum threshold above which computation and complexity exist, and below which they do not.

I am not a theoretical physicist, however; I am a programmer. The minimum threshold for complexity is interesting to me to some degree, but from my point of view, there is a more interesting, and possibly very practical, reason to look at cellular automata and their extensions. A CA is a programmable system just like a C function or program. It has inputs and outputs and a way of executing. You can look at the initial state of a CA as program input and the historical states of the system as program output. The CA's rule is the program. Most ECAs have very simple, probably useless, output. If you go through the elaborate process of seeding a universal ECA with the correctly-encoded input string, then this system can theoretically do whatever you might ever hope any system could do. But in practice no one's going to do that in a business situation or other situation that is constrained by non-academic goals. To the complexity theorist, maybe the most interesting thing is to find the simplest system that can produce output as complex as the most complex system. What I envision around the corner is something different: extensions of elementary cellular automata and other discrete systems that bridge the gap between the simplest programming languages in the world (Turing machines and CAs) and the more complex programming languages in the world (C, C

The language-oriented programming languages we're used to contain common constructs across language. A while loop, while its syntax may vary, is the same idea from language to language. So these languages contain an essential set of building blocks that are required for a programmer to get anything done in any language. You can get by without a do-while construct and you can get by without do-while and while-do as long as you have a for, but a language with no looping constructs would be a lot more tedious to get things done in, than a language with at least one looping construct. Of course you can get by without a looping construct as long as you can set and read variables and you have a goto, it's just more tedious. It's as if there's an appropriate set of concepts that human programmers want to have so they can think effectively about designing algorithms to compute things.

CAs and simple systems like them have a similar dynamic at play, I think. The cells in an elementary cellular automata are aware, when calculating their next state, of their own current value and the value of the two cells nearby. If the cells have two possible values, then there are 2^3 possible initial states for each computation that the CA can do, and there are 2^(2^3) ways to arrange the possible outputs of those 2^3 states..essentially, there are 2^(2^3) ways to program such a system. The grammar of an ECA makes it so that there are exactly 256 programs (or functions) that you can write.

The grammar of C makes it so that there are an infinite number of programs you can write.

What I see happening in the future is that people will develop software systems by a bridging of that gap.

In C, you have a relatively complex programming language (compared to ECAs) in which you can write an infinite variety of functions. In ECAs, you have a relatively simple programing language in which you can write 256 programs.

(Of course there are simpler types of systems in which you can only write one, or two, programs, and these systems produce very boring output. It has been suggested that a CA rule has to have at least three inputs to a cell for the system to produce complex behavior. I have shown this is not true if the system uses a heterogeneous rule set..with a heterogeneous CA, two inputs is sufficient for generating complex behavior, by pushing the complexity out of input-space and into another area.)

Anyway, the point is that just as language-oriented programming systems have a lowest-common denominator required to sanely think about a certain class of computational problem (loops, conditionals, objects, whatever), simpler, non-language-oriented programming languages like CA rules also probably have a set of concepts in which it is appropriate to program a CA to do a certain class of computation. An operating system written without any looping constructs would be tedious to write. In the same way, programming most operations using only the rules possible in an ECA would require a prohibitive amount of work. The extensions of elementary cellular automata that I made in the last few years have had this interplay as part of their developmental backdrop. ECAs are incredibly simple, C? A few of the things I've added are:

a concept of memory within a cell

switching mechanisms so that a cell follows different rules at different times

selective memory based on a history of observation

heterogeneous rule sets

alternately-connected networks

There's nothing in these concepts like a variable, or a class, or a loop, but, while these concepts are simpler than what C

One NKS (New Kind of Science) motive is to find the simplest possible system that can theoretically be programmed to do anything. There's another option though: find intermediate concepts that lie somewhere between impossibly simple ECA rules and C has all the concepts you would ever need to do anything, and C would be overkill.

When I say program, I am definitely not talking about the act of a human programmer. The mission here is for a human to write programs that write programs. In inference systems, we want to recognize patterns or classify objects, and perhaps do other things. If we knew how to describe the solution to an inference problem ourselves, and were selling that solution to someone, we would be in the position of translating existing knowledge into a human-understandable programming language: if we knew what made someone a good team player and could describe that to ourselves in English, then we could translate that knowledge into C on the other) are both problematic in their own ways. You could summarize their difficulties by saying that one is a mode of expression that is far too general, and the other is a mode of expression that is far too specific, for most of what we'd want to do. In an ECA, you can say anything, but the generality of the mode of expression of the language makes it unlikely that you will ever say anything useful quickly. In a human-comprehensible language, you can also say anything, but the specificity of the mode of expression of a human-comprehensible language makes it likely that many things that would be useful are difficult to say.

That's why bridging the gap between those two extremes will be useful. All the machine learning methods are essentially ways to search through a space that's too large to search through completely. Each one of them is a path through combinatorial space, where the elements we're combining are the programming language elements described above. Whether a genetic algorithm or a neural net or a tag system, these algorithms are combining what can be viewed as programming language elements. Often the elements being combined are very simple, as in the case of classic neural nets—what each node does is simple, it's the combination of their operation in a particular network that makes something useful happen. Just as in the case of emulating a loop in BASIC, though, in a classic neural net one way to think of what some of the portions of the network are "actually doing" is that the network has stumbled upon an emulation of a larger computational concept. In the same way that a universal ECA can emulate any system (over a huge number of time steps), a simple neural net can emulate any system (with a huge number of cells). By extending the computational building blocks upon which these machine learning algorithms operate in a way analogous to adding a looping construct to BASIC, I think we will have the opportunity to hit a programmatic sweet spot like what has been arrived at by human programmers. We have our while loops and conditionals. CAs and simple systems like them may have a set of programmatic constructs that are less complex than C

[Some genetic algorithms] already do this gap-bridging, because of the way their genes are interpreted. The genetic strings there are interpreted as programs in one of several mini-languages. They do this effectively, but not as effectively as they could. That's because the mini-languages involved make too many assumptions and impose too many restrictions on the solutions that are possible to find. If, instead of using human-created mini-languages to interpret the genetic code, we used CAs and CA derivatives whose rule sets are enhanced as described above (by adding memory, using morphic cells, etc), then we would a much more open-ended, much more capable genetic search system. Right now one evolves gene strings that are interpreted by human-written mini-languages. The human-written mini-languages are effective to a certain degree, but almost certainly preclude arrival at lots of good solutions because of the limits in the modes of their languages of expression. If one replaced the human-written mini-languages with [extended] CA-based languages, there would be fewer human assumptions in GA systems and we'd probably be able to arrive at better solutions to classification problems.

"Bipolar Youths' Misreading of Faces May be Risk Marker for Illness"

Youngsters with pediatric bipolar disorder and healthy peers who have first-degree relatives with bipolar disorder share the same difficulty labeling facial emotions, NIMH researchers have discovered. Reporting in the February 2008 online edition of the American Journal of Psychiatry, the scientists suggest that the facial emotion recognition impairment might be part of an inherited predisposition to the illness.
Two related imaging studies traced face emotion labeling deficits in youngsters with pediatric bipolar disorder to weak connections and differences in activity of a brain circuit responsible for interpreting the meaning of social and emotional stimuli. Evidence suggested that the differences were stable traits, unrelated to effects of medications or mood states.
Since we know more about the circuitry of basic processes like facial emotion processing than we do about the circuitry of complex psychiatric symptoms like mania and depression, it serves as a kind of Rosetta Stone for unearthing new clues," explained Ellen Leibenluft, M.D., chief of the intramural NIMH Section on Bipolar Spectrum Disorders, Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program, which is conducting the studies.
Understanding such specific vulnerabilities in emotional processing may someday lead to improved treatment, diagnosis, and ultimately prevention of bipolar disorder in children, say the researchers."

I think this is a fascinating piece of research. I happened upon this while researching face-recognition from an artificial intelligence point of view, though I do happen to be particularly interested in discussion of bipolar disorder as well.

I predict that some of what we now think of as bipolar disorder will, after additional progression of history, be viewed not as an illness but as a step forward in human development.

Even if you don't buy that prediction, however, I think that some of the conclusions made in the linked texts are not implied by the experiment data.

The emotional meaning of a face is deeply subjective. At the very least, the people making comments in the linked articles have made a questionable assumption: that the majority perspective on faces is correct with respect to the real content of the face-owner's emotional internals. Robert Silvetz suggests that alongside perceived "perception disorders" there may be "projection disorders": people who have trouble projecting an emotion via their face. That alone complicates the act of determining what is an accurate reading, and what is a misreading, of a face.

Additionally, though, what is a disorder here is defined by a majority/minority distinction. I'm not saying that "disorder"s should not be defined that way, but consider that we don't always define disorder as the behavior demonstrated by the minority. A very small minority of the population has an IQ above 150, but I don't consider people with an IQ over 150 to necessarily have any sort of disorder because of that. I mention IQ because its value is defined in part by what we consider successful pattern recognition. Here's a typical IQ test question that involves (among other capabilities) pattern recognition:

I'm excited about the 2008 NIH research referenced above; it has given me new things to think about. But I would be hesitant to label either a specific type of increased brain function when considering emotional dimensions of faces, or minority perception when classifying data on an emotional dimension, a disorder. A tiny minority of humans respond with the same particular minority opinions (the correct answers) to IQ questions involving pattern recognition; but we don't consider them to have pattern recognition disorders because of it.

The language of science can be misleading—especially when we are not rigorous in the way we state conclusions based on the experimental data.

When people find a positive correlation between eating a certain food and heart disease, we see a whole bunch of articles come out saying that that food causes heart disease—which is an absolutely astonishing conclusion based on the observation of such a correlation. Yet this type of unfounded concluding statement appears everywhere—scientific publications, major news sources, everywhere.

In this face experiment we see another type of scientific mis-statement at play. The findings are some specifics about what is going on differently in the brain activity and face-reading behavior of "bipolar" versus "normal" people. That could be highly useful for diagnosis, is qualitatively very interesting, and I'm glad these people did this work. But this data does not show that "bipolar" people are mis-categorizing the emotion shown on faces. That may or may not be true, but this experiment is not sufficient cause to make that conclusion, even though that conclusion is inherent in statements made in all of the linked texts, and that unsubstantiated idea has been repeated in many, many citations of the NIH study.

In trying to put forth the idea of "here is a useful indicator of bipolar disorder", what has additionally been done in this case is putting forth the idea that "bipolar people misread others' emotion". The NIH study, to my reading, supports the first idea. It does not support the second. Yet even the article's title implies the second idea, and lazy readers of the many citations of this study are not likely to realize that the study doesn't indicate that bipolar people misread others' emotion. This statement is in another NIH study: "Such a face-processing deficit could help account for the poor social skills, aggression, and irritability that characterizes the disorder in children." That seems like a reasonable supposition, but I wouldn't build a treatment plan based on that supposition, given that one of its tenets is this same assumption that the minority opinion on facial expressions is misreading. It may be misreading, I'm certainly not saying it's not (I happen to find that idea intriguing)—but the idea that this is misreading is not something either of these studies shows. Even if it turns out to be correct, it is, in these studies, an assumption (and a dangerous one, when one is making further conjectures based on it, about the possible effects of this [assumed] "face-processing deficit.” The language used in the NIH report puts forth this implicit conclusion which the study does not support or address, and which is reasonable to doubt.

The NIH data shows, as the title says, that "misreading" faces may be a marker for the illness. This suggests a powerful and useful possibility that we can use to help people. That a certain type of minority perspective on a face-reading is an indicator of a condition we want to identify, is a breakthrough. But nothing here indicates, or supports the conclusion, that the minority perspective is a "misread" of the faces. That's a critical distinction that I respectfully encourage scientists to make in their further thinking on this subject.

(A pretty good counter argument to what I've said above is that if you ask Alice to make a happy face and Bob thinks it's a happy face but Carol thinks it's a sad face, that regardless of the specifics of Alice's "real" emotional internals, and somewhat throwing out the concept of reading or misreading the meaning of the face, that Alice and Bob are communicating successfully, and Alice and Carol are not. However, even in this argument, I think the use of the word "misread" here is inappropriate. It is not necessary, for the useful conclusion of this study, for the minority opinion to be a misread. That a particular minority opinion indicates a bipolar diagnosis could be used to find bipolar individuals—hopefully for the purpose of helping them in some way. But even with the strong argument that Alice and Bob are communicating successfully and Alice and Carol are not, that doesn't indicate that Carol is misreading Alice's emotional internals. It might mean that Alice and Bob mean one thing when they say "happy" and that Carol means something else, but even that doesn't mean that Carol's minority opinion that Alice is really "sad" incorrect. I realize that, in being more rigorous with their terms, this study's authors would have had to settle for a longer title for their report, but I think the rigor would be worth it, especially when making statements that appear with the scientific backing of the NIMH/NIH.)

(If I were to argue against the relevance of the IQ test question example, I would suggest that in the case of the face reading/misreading, that there is a distinct majority position and a distinct "majority minority" position, in which most people think the face is happy, and some minority group (perhaps the second-largest group) thinks the face is sad, and some other even less-significant minorities think the face is something other than happy or sad; whereas in the case of the IQ test question, the breakdown is different because most people don't have any way to read the face at all, so the majority faction in this case tends to be equally spread across the possible answers, as they're just guessing. I think that would be a pretty good argument against the relevance of the IQ test question example, but it wouldn't be water-tight, given that there are test questions even in well-designed tests where a secondary "wrong" answer attracts a clumping of adherents. For test questions like that, the breakdown of adherents to various positions looks a lot more like the NIH face-reading example.)

(Another thing to think about, as easy-to-accept as the face-misreading assumption is, is that if a group of people are consistently misreading the same stimulus..if there is consistency among the group of perceivers when they read a particular face, as opposed to this brain-flare-up group inconsistently reading a particular face..that could be consistent with a valid face reading. I'm not saying that consistency means that the face read is valid. But a correlation between a firing or over-firing of a certain part of the brain, with a certain read of a face, does not indicate that the reading is incorrect, regardless of what part of the brain is [over-firing]. If the anger center is firing in a rare way, that doesn't mean this kid's brain is misfiring in anger. It just means this kid's brain is firing in anger. Just as reasonable a supposition, based on the data in these studies, as these kids are over-fearful and their misreading is causing them social these kids are more accurately reading the emotion on their peers' faces and the cultural rarity of their accurate perceptions is causing them social problems. I'm not suggesting either; I'm trying to show that they're both suppositions, neither of which is indicated by a correlation of a particular minority face-reading opinion to bipolar disorder.)

Hiddenness Without Privacy or Secrecy

There is a hiddenness, today, without privacy or secrecy, in that there is too much for anyone to read, watch, or otherwise consume. I can tweet, fb, and blog extensively, buy things, surf the web, make calls, take pictures, and otherwise knowingly and unknowingly, willingly and unwillingly create an information trail that is now dense enough that the limit, for someone looking at that trail, is not being able to get information about me, it's having the time to read it all.

In the past, we have thought about privacy like someone in an adjacent building watching you undress through an open window, but it's not like that at all. Today, it's like every window in every building is open, and when you look outside, the problem is not finding an unexposed piece of flesh to look at, but rather that there's so much to look at that there's no way any one of us can consume it all. So there is hiddenness, still, even when there is no more secrecy, no more privacy. You're exposed, but on the whole, no one is looking.

Word Blends and Dreams

[to Douglas Hofstadter]

I was thinking about how you suggest that word blends are evidence of competition underneath the surface. And then just now I was observing my dreams in that in-between place as I was not-quite-asleep, not-quite-awake and it seemed to me that dreams exist in a pre-competition place, or maybe a sans-competition place. In my dreams I float around concepts that don't have acceptable names for waking-life discourse, concepts like the wild place or the big and wild and it's only when I have to stuff those unnamed mental areas into words like "Denver" or "Alaska" that the competition is forced to completion, that the under-the-surface must come to some surface. And it seems like that surface is discourse, whatever terms I use to interact with others. (And not just word-oriented discourse, either, but behavioral discourse.) But in dreams I'm in some kind of mode where (maybe because I know I won't be talking to other people, probably for some deeper type of brain-out-of-gear-ness, but..some kind of mode where) I know I won't be needing to take that competition to completion..where I know I will stay under [the surface of [whatever]], such that there's a way for (the spark of?) my consciousness to float around my concept-net with more freedom, less constraint.

Your "analogy as the core of cognition" talk caught my attention partly because I've been thinking about how I would make the brain in C, from a data-structures point of view. The above ideas are what my mind was thinking as I woke up this morning, and they fit with some more concrete ideas I've been tossing around while I'm awake, and I think dovetail with some of what I've been able to hear and read from you.

A while back (2001-2002) I put together a pair of neural-net-like things and one of the features they had was a waking period and a sleeping period. I was reading Consciousness Explained at the time and Dennett's analogy of consciousness (and then more particularly dreaming) being like playing "psychiatrist", the game where one person leaves the room, then comes back in with the supposed goal of using yes-no questions to determine a) which person in the room had a particular dream-story and b) what that dream-story was (except all the people in the room do is answer yes to questions ending in a letter from a-m and no to questions ending in n-z, except when to do so would contradict an earlier answer)..but then with the idea that the wildness of dreams is due in part to having more noise than usual on the sensory channels to the brain such that our brain has less of the outside world to use when answering our [yes/no] questions to it, so the information of the dream's reality-landscape is wilder. Anyway, in this pair of neural nets I emulated that concept by having a waking phase where the two entities could talk to each other, and a sleeping phase where they continued doing cognitive activities, but their external inputs were randomized..just to see if their thoughts during those phases resembled, to me, waking and sleeping phases from my own experience.

But now, with your talk about word-blends and competition, and the half-awake/half-asleep thoughts that I was having 10 minutes ago, I'm thinking that in some concrete model of consciousness the sleeping phase could [also] be characterized by a disengaging of part of the discursive function, a disengaging of some aspects of the storytelling function, so that consciousness could [float] around those unnamed concept-areas without needing to complete (or engage in) the competition that you speak of resulting in word blends that is apparent when we do [waking?] discourse.

Just thoughts, and now that I'm more awake they're less interesting! =)

Various and Sundry Thoughts

Spent most waking hours of the last day watching news about Haiti earthquake. Switched, over the last three days, my schedule from nocturnal to diurnal; I think it's going to "take" today, meaning that I won't have to take any naps during the day. We got a scale and I weighed myself; my BMI is just over the target range, so if I actually do some walking and some sit-ups that should be deal-with-able. Thought I was getting sick yesterday but didn't. Read some Zen thoughts a few nights ago that I liked. Bouncing around some thoughts about what an individual can guarantee-ably do in life versus what an individual cannot; liking the idea that life is better seen from a single chair (who said that?). Occasionally people do have skills in multiple disciplines, but I'm thinking that I like my life best when I'm doing [almost exactly, maybe just slightly over] one thing. For me right now I think I want that to be writing + a little net surfing and casual commentary. I haven't been doing much writing (for me) the last week; I think now that I've switched my schedule around I will write more and differently, and watch less TV. I've been holding back some of my critiques recently so I don't hurt people's feelings, which is not normal for me. I don't consider this to be a loving act; I think that not critiquing someone or something is much more clearly to not-love the person/thing than it is to love them. Both can be either, of course, but when I choose not to talk about something it's because I am no longer interested. When I stop commenting on something it's because I don't care about it. Thinking about the lack of permeation of knowledge among actors/agents/people/etc..even with the internet, you can still be a first-order expert in your field and never have heard of some of the expert work in your field. I think that paints a picture of the world wherein you might have certificates on your wall saying you're the best, but you're the best within a partition of a world that is not fully connected. (We all still don't know enough.) Thinking about the four-quadrant grid of knowing and liking: I might like you but not know you, you might not like me but at least you know me, etc., with respect to competitive and noncompetitive environments. I think teams limit themselves by only working with people they like, when, from a strategic/competitive gaming point of view, it might be enough in many cases to know a person, even if you don't like them, in order to utilize them for your purpose. Companies, families, organizations, and organisms in general I think could be more optimized by being more rigorous about the distinction between knowing and liking, and realizing that we don't have to like each other, but we do have to know each other, in order to work together (or to "get along"). Remembering for myself that action comes first, then words. That I don't get places by planning without action; I mainly get places by taking action first based on a very simple plan, and then most of the wordy descriptive activity comes after, rather than before, getting something done. Redid my twitter page. Loving twitter; hating facebook. On twitter I can get some information; on facebook I get mafia wars and other stuff I don't care about; except people I like are on facebook, and people I don't even know are on twitter. Thinking about how obvious it should be that a person is not their ideas (and all the consequences of that, like: a person can be paranoid but the thing they're paranoid about could still be true, or: a person could be credible in a field but still have some wrong ideas in that field (and that doesn't make them not-credible)). That should be obvious, it should be obvious if for no other reason the idea of memes, and Dawkin's Selfish Gene text, it should be obvious that the person can be viewed as a host for ideas, but that the host is not the idea and the idea is not the host, that they exist independently. There is an analogy I think from postmodern literary criticism and philosophy in the statement and the sentence. The sentence sometimes plays host to a statement or some statements. A statement sometimes exists not within a single sentence or interjection but across several. Etc. But you can't reasonably disregard a statement because you don't like the sentence it lives in, and if you want to research optimally, you can't disregard an idea because you don't like the person it comes from. Which makes research hard, really hard. Research is hard for everyone, I think, no matter what real set of facts they have access to, because of the intrinsic partitioning of most information, I think it's safe to say that no one has any idea what the fuck is going on when they try to research things (even though some people think they do). I think that will always be the case to some degree (because it takes time/space to communicate/travel and it is over time/space that state transitions happen that we would want to communicate or that would want to travel), but I think that will be drastically less the case in the very immediate future. I think we are seeing the rapid falling away of voluntary partitions in information, and the rapid rise of tools that reach through unpartitioned information, such that "people" (people's ideas) will change much more quickly and so it won't look like there are people at all, as much as it used to look like "people" were a thing, that a person was the correct unit of study, I don't think we will as closely associate a particular person or people with their thoughts of that moment, since their thoughts will be changing more and more quickly. I think we'll see ourselves more as the temporary carriers of ideas; I hope that means we will be less egotistical in general, but I hope we can be distinct about what is authorship (what is invention, what is definition) and what is simply echo-chamber—I hope we're able to be more precise about what is me and what is you and what I did and what you did, etc., such that ego doesn't go away, but also isn't that ego is metered more exactly. I think it would be healthy for this whole place. Also, with the above, the idea that when you work "for a person (organization, company, family, etc.)" you're not really working for that person, and you can never guarantee that you're working for that person/organization/family/thing. You can test it to see if it exhibits the idea[l]s you want it to have, but you can't determine if those ideals are tightly bound to the person/company/thing, and you can't guarantee that that person will maintain those ideals, and you can't reasonably think that that person "is" those ideals. If you want consistency, you either decide that you're sticking with the entity, or you're sticking with the ideals. And if you're sticking with one, you have to be willing to forsake the other. i.e. if I decide that "Rhode Island" is the people of Rhode Island, then if Rhode Island's people make a law that says I have to wear a dress, then to stick with "Rhode Island" I have to wear a dress. If I decide that "Rhode Island" is the manly heterosexual concepts of Rhode Island, then if Rhode Island's people make a law that says I have to wear a dress, then if I stick with the people of Rhode Island I have actually abandoned the real, in my mind, the real Rhode Island (or I can stick with the real Rhode Island (the ideals of Rhode Island) by abandoning its people). But everyone's Rhode Island is different; for some people it's specific holders of the ideals, for some people it's the ideals themselves. Realistically, for all of us, it's some moving-target combination of both.

A Product of the Genome, Distinct from the Culture

"Yesterday, I saw [a woman] at church. Her granddaughter Kayla is the cute little brown-haired girl (about 4) at our church. [The woman] asked about you and said that Kayla is also asking about you. 'She really likes your son' were her exact words. I think people who relate well to children are the best!"

Children are the best! They're examples of what human beings can be like, distinct from the culture we imprint on them as they "grow up". Children are a chance to see the human organism with one foot in human culture and one foot outside of human culture. That's why I like them. As a human adult, maybe I can remember, sometimes, that I am distinct from my involvement in human culture; that I am my culture, but that I am also a product of the genome, distinct from the culture.

I said I was going to write openly.

If I ever do try to get a job again, and my employer googles me, and they mention that in an interview, I'm going to be firm in a very scary way. I'm going to say, did you read everything I posted? If they mention anything that could result in a discrimination lawsuit, I'm going to suggest that in the interview. Most people I've worked with doing corporate software, if you google them, nothing comes up. I don't have that luxury because unlike most of those people I actually have a personality. My new rule for people who I don't really give a shit about (like corporate employers who are giving me a hard time about being a "go-getter" or a "team-player" or a "self-starter") new rule for people like that is  if you haven't read every single thingI've posted on the internet, then I'm not discussing any one of those things with you. The sad thing for those people is that I write more than they read. And I'm not going to discuss writing with people who don't even read. I sum that discussion up as: You think I'm crazy—I think you're nothing.

That relates to what I've been trying to get at in talking about participation/nonparticipation and love/presence. In whatever domain, employment, family, love, friends, a dynamic that becomes clear to me involves a discussion where basically person A, who is not involved in domain X, has an opinion about person B in relation to person B's participation in domain X. And I find these types of conversations absurd. That type of person A doesn't get to even talk about domain X or person B's participation in domain X or what that means to them, etc.  because that type of person A by definition does not know what the fuck they're talking about. It's like if tomorrow I start giving jewelers advice on how to cut diamonds even though I hardly know enough about diamonds to buy one. But people do this, they do it all the time, and when we find ourselves as person B in this game, we need to recognize it so we can, right then, call person A on their shit.

The Emperor's New Clothes

My ability to make statements in this world is complicated by the fact that most people are, in fact, dead. Even with every respect for diversity and variety in living cultural perspectives, the human population is not really alive in the sense that we consider the most alive ideas, the most alive moments, alive. By some willingness to search, I open myself to some sight into the world we are living in. I do think that's an unavoidable tendency; I think everyone is doing that, I think we're all coming unraveled from our blindness at our own rate. For some people the extent of their openness is that they read science do that indicates some readiness to experience a little bit of beauty. What is rampant in the culture is not beauty. Even the terms used in the culture are so distorted as to have become almost opposites of their deeper meaning: when we mean spend, we say "save", the social practices of women-hating men are described as "straight". Our organizations foster mediocrity and hatred, and invent ubiquitous terms designed to preclude the beautiful unraveling. To call a spade a spade, will be met with almost unanimous opposition. In high school I used to say I could tell how well I was doing by how many people hated me. That was correct. That was an early insight into a litmus test that I would now state: anything you do that is accepted, you can know is nothing much. The opinions you have that don't make waves, those are the opinions that are disposable, common, those are the opinions that are supported by the world. Earlier in my life I feared more that I might oppose for the sake of opposing, that I would oppose arbitrarily. I'm not worried about that as much today. You find yourself in a system, whether it be work, family, cult, or culture, in which there is a finely-woven constantly-maintained mesh of the way things are. If you are blessed to find those in your culture encourage you, with money, status, job, "security" (which of course doesn't exist), approval, then you are cursed to find that you are not a distinct person. If you have further ascended the unraveling path, the path of unraveling the you that is partially the mesh of culture, then you will find yourself at odds. You will. I say this without ego, I hope you can hear that. If you come from a family of drinkers, as I do, then when you stop drinking you will be at odds with that family, because the things that drinkers say work in the company of drinkers, and the things that sober people say do not. If you work in a company that has an Emperor's New Clothes mentality about a key employee (as was the case with my last employer), you will get along fine as long as you continue to perpetuate the lie of their culture, which is that such and such an employee is god. If you agree that that employee is god, you will do well! If you state a deeper truth, if you state anything that implies a deeper truth, if you don't shout the lie as loudly as your comrades, you will be out. If you find yourself disagreeing with what I've said here, it is, I promise you, it is because you are so enmeshed in a lie that to accept it would be so painful that your subconscious and the edges of your conscious mind are spinning out myriad coping mechanisms that afford you the temporary luxury of not thinking about how your thinking makes no sense. I do that too. I do it all the time. We all do. Right this minute I have a glimpse into this, I see it clearly, I understand for a moment that it doesn't make any difference when people say otherwise. That is part of the mesh. It really is like The Matrix. It is not the case that hideous lies are present here and there  it is almost exactly the case, if using this terminology, that hideous lies are almost the complete structure of the semantic world, of the culture. I don't think lie/truth is the best way to differentiate those counterparts, I don't know what the best way is, but I am certain that the tyranny of the cultural majority is the most amazing tyranny I have ever thought about. And that is all it is, is a majority. I think what most people may not see..and we have trouble seeing it because of our focus on the individual organism of our species, the importance of a person..but what we have trouble seeing is that the majority is only powerful at present. The majority feels they are right, but through time, when the majority changes, rightness does not change. There is a point of view from which you can see individual people as transient holders of ideas, and from that point of view it is easy to see that an idea being held by the majority of individual people, means nothing. The only thing the majority is, is brutish. I am in the majority on some points, and on those points I am one of the brutes. A different kind of language is appropriate when you are in the majority and when you are in the minority, on a point. Oscar Wilde comes to mind: One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards. When I work for you, when you hold the winning cards, when I'm culturally marginalized, when I'm the under-represented group, the appropriate language is the language of the fighter. When no one is listening to you, if you want to talk, you have to talk wild. When, on a particular point, you are the one guy who knows that The Matrix is not real, you have to use insidious means to proffer your discourse. When, by the definition of the culture-mesh (job, family, country, cult), your perspective is institutionally, systematically forbidden, if you speak in culturally-acceptable ways, you will not be heard. If you play by the rules of the game, as the marginalized party, you will not win. Never. Ever. That's why the rules are in place. And the rules are things like "you have to call this employee god" or "you can't call that racism". If you play by those rules, all you are doing is using your individual human organism to further the cacophony of cultural memes that is already in play. That, by and large, is what everyone wants you to do. The leaders of your cult (culture, religion, job, country) definitely want this. Culturally, those people are slave owners as well as slaves. Culturally, it is impossible to be a slave owner without also being a slave. But it is possible to be neither a slave nor a slave owner, in culture. To do that, however, like Morpheus in The Matrix, you cannot avoid being perceived/labeled as dangerous by the backbone of your culture. Truly, in culture, to be neither a slave or a slave simply not participate in the cacophony of repeating the majority culture to be dangerous. It is dangerous. It is also the only position that is aligned with being an individual. Many people do that. We have many Morpheuses today. Some are very powerful. But there are many more who are completely un-Morpheus..and in truth each of us is, on various points, variously Morpheus or not..remember that, in addition to having a subjective experience which we use to underwrite our individual sovereignty, we are a substrate for ideas..just because at one time in history most people hold a certain meme, doesn't underwrite that meme's tenability at other times in history. If your certainty in your thoughts, if the weighting you give to your positions, is highly dependent on cultural support from your peers, then make no mistake: you are in a perilous position! That you say "the emperor has no clothes" and your family, your religion, your culture, your cult, your country disagree..means nothing. It means nothing. It is a reflection of meme distribution across human individuals at the present moment. That doesn't make it not a is a tyranny precisely because of the fallacy of the majority (that the majority is right). Even if that fallacy were true, the majority would only be right right now. Ideas outlast people's ability to hold them. That almost everyone at your job says a certain employee is god, that almost everyone in your family is upset because you have chosen to call a spade a spade, means nothing in terms of the rightness of the idea. A different majority at a different time would have a different idea of its rightness. Woe to you who are propped up by majority support..if you need that to stand, you won't be standing long.

Lazy listening

Just a minor point that keeps crossing my mind. Lazy listening is the foundation on which manipulative talking is built. In my estimation, our world is in a post-cultural level of disarray when it comes to this. Lazy reading is what allows a political or news "leader" (figure) to partially-quote or misquote a subject as an attack on that subject, and for that attack to succeed (and of course by "succeed" here, all I can mean is gain prevalence in the minds of many). We hear a snippet, suggested to us by a media figure, and we lazy-read. We hear something about a subject and we don't then research the subject ourselves..when we do that, we enable this kind of manipulative talking. Some media figure partially-quotes a celebrity's life, and then all the monkeys of the world just eat it. The reality of these monkeys is built on lazy listening..but the volume with which they re-shout the snippets they've heard, because that volume increases with the number of monkeys..the volume of the cacophony of weak ideas increases. But volume (or majority) doesn't equate to conceptual rigor.

I'll tell you what's going to happen to me.

What's going to happen to me is this: right now I'm in a struggle with some people, some ideas. I want those people to grow with me, struggle with me, and us all get to a better place, a more intelligent place, a better balanced place. Ever since I heard Socrates' quote when I was a little kid, I've been examining my life. A little too much at times, but too much is definitely better than too little in that domain. I know some people people look at me and say, essentially, The results of the analysis here are not desirable..I would not like to have the results of that analysis be the results of my analysis. To which I say, essentially, You should be focused on your own analysis! The opposite of an undesirable analytic result isn't a desirable one in most of your cases..the opposite is a relative complete lack of analysis! I'm not supersmart enough to solve all my own problems in a snap of the fingers, but I am smart enough to predict the future just a little bit: What is going to happen to me is that by thinking/feeling through my problems/life/situations, I'm going to continue to develop into something new, something bigger, something even smarter and more successful and more accomplished and more compassionate than I already am. And with a few exceptions, most people I know and used to know will do analysis and growth at a slower rate than I, which is not for me to judge—to each their own—but most of us will have to say goodbye to each other on most dimensions, because we'll be in distinct places, mentally. I know some folks laugh at me for being open about my thoughts and emotions. This is important work, though. On the other side of being [imperfectly] open, on the other side of [messy] processing, isn't some secret hidden processing that is clean and wonderful..the opposite of analysis, in life, isn't's nothingness. As my favorite philosopher suggests, the counterpart to what is said isn't something else that could be said, it isn't the mystical unspoken. There is only what is spoken, only what is processed, only what is done. Think of a computer when I say the word processing. Processing is what computers do. When computers don't process, they're off, or they have no purpose. We need to get past thinking of our world as a world of individual people..individuals do things like vote and breathe and eat and own a house..we're that, too, of course, but when we hold ourselves back by only doing what I call changing names a few times in an individual's lifetime, we're holding back a larger process that is taking place on top of us. Anyway what's going to happen to me is that some people are slightly slower than me in doing growth and some people are slightly faster than me in doing growth (spiritually—spiritual state changes, in computer processing language), but most people in general and most people I know, for whatever reason operate at a slower speed and with different chip instructions, so those of us who do process fast and well do that, to the judgement and consternation of the crowd, and then communicating with the rest of the people becomes all that more nuanced for us, until we get to be very very nuanced and most people, though they deserve compassion for everyone's sake, become in meme-oriented domains more and more irrelevant (I love you, I care about you, I will help you survive and I will enable your enrichment, but I cannot pretend, to myself at least, that your ideas are interesting or relevant to me). It becomes harder and harder to relate to the same biological individual on multiple thought domains, and that's ok, we adjust such that that's not seen as necessary. I realize average biological individuals reading this will hear it as egotistical or elitist. It actually isn't egotistical, but it is elitist (but in a way that allows for compassionate for the average). I can't not talk about my experience reflective of how it really is, though; that would drive me crazy. I think a good deal of frustration has come to me on account of my not constantly acknowledging that the skills I possess in at least a couple of domains are superior to those of 99.9 percent of the population. Average people, or non-extraordinary people reading this, please know I don't hate you because I'm as good, or better, than such a high percentage of people. It's not my "fault" that I am who I am any more than I am who you are. And, in my case, I'm not so superior that I'm a da Vinci or a Jesus..I'm just at the point where I can, I think, see how truly great those people were. I think that's the level of genius that I have..I'm good enough to know who the real geniuses are..that's the level of insight I perhaps have. But even here, and even though I love a lot of people (even ones I yell at), and even though I'm further developing my ability to feel compassion and love with every day, it is quite a task—almost impossible—to deal with average people (or even significantly above-average people) in a way that is acceptable to both them and me! I think I have shied away from admitting that to myself and others, because there is a social stigma against skill, intelligence, and capability in general. And I have shied away from it due to it's distinguishing and alienating tendency..when my girlfriend figured out my SAT score was higher than hers, it created some distance between us (even for a few moments!). I have a long history of being alienated from people because of my scores, actually. Who cares about the details, but the point is that, from childhood, I've had a number of experiences in school where the fact that I got the highest (or the only perfect) score on a test alienated me from my peers, my would-be friends. That is a reality of my life that I think I would do better not to shy away from. The fact is, I have superior skills in English (written and spoken, multiple genres), logic, computer programming, abstract painting and composition, the creation of writing systems, and film editing and directing, and photography (digital and analog), and some other domains. That doesn't mean I'm a better playwright than Beckett. It does mean that, if you aren't one of my brilliant friends or one of my sisters (who are both brilliant) and you're reading this somewhat at random, the chances are extremely good that I'm a better playwright than you. And computer programmer. And painter. And photographer. And essay-writer. Etc. It's quite difficult, it seems from observation, for people of any position in a world where our dreams are achieved at such diverse levels, to engage each other through the differences in a loving way. I certainly struggle with this. There is an amazing cultural suggestion that in order to make that interaction easy, that the tall nail be hammered down. It's such a strong suggestion because it works for the average people, who of course make up the majority of any domain. It doesn't work for me, even though I have done a lot of it (not always, but often). I am going to try, in my interactions, not trying to convince even myself anything but that I have skills! I have skills, you have different (and in most people's case, to be honest, mostly lesser) skills. I am going to try to walk a line here, because I don't think that, say, people with lesser skills should be executed. But let's be honest. (I'm going to anyway.) I appreciate the skills of other people, and I love when I meet my equal and love it even more when I meet my superior. But, so far, I haven't met a programmer who could work on my level, not at Mead Research, SIG, or Anthem; not at Optimistic Solutions, Softronics, or Alexander Interactive (though AI had a nice dog). I'm not saying that as an insult. I'm just, now, being honest with myself. I'm lonely in terms of programming company..I don't have much programming company (to speak for one type of company). (And people at those companies who will inevitably read this and who don't have enough sight to see where you are in the food chain..get over yourself, this article isn't about ego, mine or yours, but the fact is I'm better than you at programming, simply at programming, that's it.) I know some people will read that last and still think I'm just trying to make myself feel big by calling others small. Ask yourself this: let's say there was someone who was better than you at, say, programming. Can you imagine how that would be difficult for that someone to "collaborate" with you on programming? Ok. There it is. The point doesn't have to be made about me in particular. The point is that there are people who have trouble finding equals in certain domains. And I have that feeling often. I want to be challenged. I'm trying to challenge myself as best I can. And others challenge me, and I like it, I like it a lot when that happens. I grow from it. But I need, for my own sake, to be honest with myself about the situation..I think happiness, for me, is going to have to include being honest, in my own head, about where I stand—when I stand in a room with people. I want to be completely compassionate on a human level, but firm when it comes to people's (my own or others') representations of the skills present. I am not nice enough on the human level and too nice on the factual-leeway level. When people try to interact with me in subject areas about which they essentially know nothing, I would like to be nice to them in a caring-for-a-child sort of way, if I can, and if not, make it clear by my presence—by my presence in the interaction, or lack thereof—that we're not on the level. At gut, I have no desire to insult people or make them feel bad about themselves. That is a struggle, though, since I also have a desire for people's company (so I have gotten mad at people in the past for not being on-the-level company for me, when what I need to do is eliminate expectation, presence and anger all at once..but they are a package deal). But in an employment or family or other situation where, even though others may not know it, I know that there is an at-present insurmountable mismatch on some domain, I would like to simply choose that I not be present with those people on that domain, or at all. In the case of family, that's a hard call with no great solutions. In the case of work, it's much easier but also without great solutions. As I move on, I need to understand that the best solutions for me in terms of interaction with others, probably involve very little random/riff-raff/smalltalk/shoptalk-type interaction with people who are average in the relevant domain, and the interactions I do have with most people need to be highly structured (like: my book is on the shelf, I am nowhere to be seen, if you'd like to pay me $3 you can read it, end of story). And I need to be clear about who it is possible to share a fuller part of my humanity with, there are already a couple of those, and in that category, all you need is one or two. I think that's a pretty good game plan. I've had elements of this known for a while (via the paradigm of expectation and disappointment) but, for me, this is one of the domains where I'm not in the 99th percentile, so thank you for your patience.

Eliminate expectation, presence, and anger all at once

That's the whole thing. That's the summary version for my readers who want to save time (and avoid depth), of my last few articles. What I want to do is, all at once, not expect anything from certain people on a particular domain, not be present with them on that domain, and then not be angry with them (for not being..what they are not). If you are in the majority, you might think it's silly that this is so tough for me to figure out..that is because when you're in the majority this isn't a problem you ever encounter!—if what you expect is already what you see on average, then you will usually not be disappointed, surprised, or even aware of what you see. The crux admission I have to make is this: there are some stimuli that, based on the culture in which they appear, have no appropriate response within that culture. If such-and-such is the majority-reality of a particular (family, nation, cult) culture, and you object to it, for some such majority-realities there is no appropriate response. You either choose to respond within the culture, in which case, with some stimuli, you will be responding in a way that is inappropriate to that culture..or you choose not to participate in that culture.

I like to think about culture. I've done some simulations of culture. I think I can expand those simulations with effect.

(A minor thought on idealism..ok, I see a way for me to collapse one set of my problems..not be angry with people/things etc..for not being..what they are not! So simple I can keep it in my pocket at all times! It's mixed up halfway in idealism, though, and I can definitely see that the solution is not the alternatives to "idealism" either, not the defeatist pragmatism, not absolute realism, but a momentary realism if anything, realism that ignores any idea of future or past, except wherein, perhaps, the present in some ways represents the past. Being totally amnesiac precludes progression, if we were totally, utterly amnesiac we wouldn't be able to complete a sentence or finish making love, but there does seem to be an optimal amnesia at which you're able to accumulate skills but aren't tethered by the hell you had to go through to accumulate them.)

(A thought on insults..I feel the need to insult others, to hurt them, when I'm being insulted or hurt by them. I haven't been very good at keeping myself from getting hurt, which is why I've often needed to insult others! Of course, some people simply aren't possible to interact with without them hurting you, so they have to be avoided, unfortunately. I need to give myself permission not to interact with people who can't be trusted..I have some mechanism in me that wants to feel bad about not including everyone, but, good grief man, some people it's easy to tell that they aren't ready for civilized interaction, so just don't interact with them. I need to do what's good for me, and that doesn't involve riff-raff. I don't want to hurt other people. To do that, I need to first not let them hurt me. Ever. Not workmates, not family, not strangers.)

Doublespeak is all around us

The use of the word "save" in place of "spend" is one of the most pervasive lies there is. 1984 is now. Doublespeak is all around us. If you can think simply and literally, then you can understand what's going on around you. Otherwise, you don't have a chance. Joanne points out that she heard the word "literally" used where what was meant was "figurative". This is a quintessential example, given that it includes the word literal: "And I literally wanted to kill him." (But you didn't..if you literally wanted to kill him, you'd have a knife in your hand.)

"One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards." (Wilde)

I love this quote and I'm going to keep talking about it. It relates to me today. I think part of what this quote points to is, essentially, that when you and your ideas are on the outs, when you're in the gutter position, that that's the only time when guerrilla techniques are ever appropriate. I suggested earlier that when your position is institutionally/culturally marginalized, that sometimes guerrilla tactics are the only way to have a chance at effecting change. I certainly don't think that having the losing hand means that you have to play unfairly or that it necessarily justifies playing unfairly, and the Wilde quote certainly doesn't imply either of those. I do think that there are modes of communication that are more appropriate when you are in the minority versus when you are in the majority. In anti-black America, the Black Panthers make sense. In an America with increasing functional racial equality, the Black Panther style of communication makes less and less sense. That's all I'm saying. And I'm seeing, personally, that I'm at a convergence in my life when I now have the winning cards almost all of the time. Acknowledging that, a modification of play style is in order.

When I'm struggling, that's a lesser me.

Maybe a lesson is that you don't have to struggle, that the pearl is there for you to take. (That when I'm struggling, that's a lesser me.)

Cultural inspiration as god

There will be a generation that reveres cultural inspiration as god, who holds at its highest the exchange and influence of ideas..who knows that that and that alone counts.

A person gets very quiet

when that person has much to say. There is an invisible feedback loop between me and me. That matters, but that is unseen, untransferred, unknown. What is the meaning of meaning? That resonance, that cacophonous reasoning. The asker of such a question is preoccupied with the subject (meaning); and that the asker is so preoccupied is the interesting part..not what answer they settle upon, but the question they have chosen to ask..that more than anything is the piercing insight.

Discovery and Invention

I mean you gotta ask yourself: what is the difference between discovery and invention? People say they discovered something when they think that if they hadn't discovered it, eventually someone else would have. Like treasure that was buried--someone else would have stumbled across it eventually, right?--or like a mathematical truth--someone else would have realized it eventually, right? But in the case of things like a vacuum cleaner, especially a specific type of vacuum cleaner or method for vacuum cleaning, we say that it was invented..conjured of thin air! No one on any planet but this one would have ever come up with the Dust Buster! So that's invented, rather than discovered. But if you think of us and think of what we can do as being things that are enumerateable--numberable--finite--imaginable--modelable--countable--then the distinction between discovery and invention goes away.

Is it unavoidable that intelligent beings eventually "discover" the formula for solving quadratic equations? We tend to think that the quadratic formula is a fact of the universe--that if ants get smart enough it is inevitable that they will stumble upon that universal truth. On the other hand: Maybe it's not universal--maybe it's not inevitable! Maybe we invented the quadratic formula, and it only exists for us!

Not Yes

We have trained ourselves to accept whatever deal we are offered and not to negotiate. The only socially acceptable answer is yes, when often the only right answer is no. We click "yes" on legal documents we have not read--saying no is not an option if we want to participate. And we must participate, or we have no life. What would we be if we did not participate (in what was presented to us, without our real agreement, without our part in negotiation or formation of the activity, without our help creating the activity). We must accept the contract offered us by a corporation or we will not have a job. It would be wrong of us to offend our employer by throwing their shitty benefits package back in their face: to progress, we must acquiesce. We must acquiesce silently at that. To say no would be to cast ourselves off, to say no would be to run from the path. The one path, the only path. There is no discussion, no negotiation, no creation; there is only to follow (with a yes) or to die (with a no). But no is the answer.

I have to be on the internet if all my friends are on the internet. No is the answer here too. No is the answer to the internet and the telephone and no is the answer to work and sex and listening and medicine. No is the answer to eating lunch with workmates. No is the answer to working. No is the answer to agreeing to follow laws just because someone wrote them. I can follow laws and I can break them. I can continue relationships and I can abort them.

People who wear ties are ridiculous. Everyone wears ties because everyone wears ties. This is the most horrible reason for doing something that was ever invented, and yet this is the reason most people use to explain to themselves why they are wearing a tie. What does that tell you about most people? Wearing a tie for this reason is required in order to participate with society in the form of having a career, and yet wearing ties for this reason is morally wrong. It's morally wrong. It's not simply conformist, it's unforgivable, it's illogical, it's anti-meaning. It is, in total, morally wrong.

It's socially unacceptable to be outspoken when someone wrongs you. Yet to remain silent is a violation of conscience; it is morally wrong. So you see that to be socially acceptable in such a situation is morally wrong. And yet we're taught the opposite. Social acceptability is held as an imperative. When in fact it is often morally wrong. It is illogical, amoral, nonsensical. It is, in fact, wrong.

A person is not a form, a response to a form, or a machine built to respond to forms. A person is not a yes to a generic question (how could it be?). A yes to a generic question is the counterpart to a form. A signature is the counterpart to a form. The person's equivalent of the counterpart to a signature is not a form, or anything like a form. If a signature is a response to a form, if a yes is a response to a form, then what is a person the response to? Not a form. A person has no business responding yes to forms or signing them.

Tests do not tell you what you want to know. If a test tells you what you want to know, then what you want to know is meaningless.

A test is not a conversation. In a conversation, both parties can be surprised. In a test, usually neither party is. The issuing party certainly won't. When choosing a test as an evaluation method, the issuing party may be aware that they don't want to be surprised. To choose not to be surprised is failure. It is anti-life. It is a mistake to choose not to be surprised. To choose to issue a test is a mistake. The choice to issue a test is made when the issuing party is unable or unwilling to enter a conversation. This is not of value. It is not a contribution. It is impossible for the issuer of a test to discover something new, something new to them. To proceed that way is false, it is idiotic, it is dead.

To take tests is a lie. To give them is a farce. An invitation to participate in farce is an invitation to lie. The response to such an invitation is not yes.

Exploration, Analysis, and Theory

People who either explore or analyze, but don't do both, never construct theories. Like the effect of three points whose sequential observation suggests a point, then a line, then a plane, theories have three phases of formation. The first requires exploration, it is when you make observations of things you cannot categorize or understand, things you cannot describe or explain, but you see them anyway, and you make notes, having no idea whether the notes will ever serve any purpose. You have to do this kind of random, for-fun exploration to be primed for the second phase, wherein you are able to analyze data because you now have data to analyze. This is the second point of the three; it is where you construct your theory, and only the analytical do this. If you analyze only, then you never get to the second phase of making a theory. If you explore only (or if you play only), then you never get past the first phase of making a theory. After first exploration and, second, analysis allow you to form a theory, further phases of exploration and analysis verify and expand your theory. But while some thinkers understand this, I think many people, if they do either exploration or analysis with any seriousness, only do one or the other significantly. There is even disdain held by the merely explorative, by the merely analytic, of the other discipline. But you have to do both..if you want to construct a theory.

The Subjectivity of Probability

K. M. has an interesting post on the subjectivity of probability. I argued along these lines in my last job. We were doing statistical inference and other kinds of inference, and I was making a distinction my coworkers didn't seem to grasp, similar to the distinction made in K. M.'s post: that is the distinction between probability and ratios of cardinalities of sets. Probability can be calculated using ratios of cardinalities of sets. But they are not the same thing. As K. M. argues, probability is an idea in someone's head. What I was saying to my coworkers is that, while you often have a probability that is calculated using ratios of cardinalities of sets, that the two are distinct: one is a descriptive, predictive idea in someone's head, the other is a descriptive, objective reality. Starting with Bayes' Theorem versus starting with the rule of conditional probability, though they may produce the same number in the end, are distinct processes with distinct meanings. Further, the distinction that is clear to me is this: probability implies a description that is true across all spacetime. Conditional probability does not. We say that a coin toss has a 1/2--1/2 probability of resulting in heads--tails. That happens to be true for all the observations we know about; that is probability. But coin tosses in other parts of spacetime may not occur at that rate; if we observed other data, we would calculate probability differently. Probability predicts the future based on what we've observed. But there's an implicit assumption there that is a shaky one: that the ratios of cardinalities of sets that we observe here/now will be the same throughout spacetime. It's perhaps hard to imagine places and times where coin tosses work differently than they do here/now, but with other types of events this is easier to see: What is the probability that a pass will be completed? What is the probability of my brakes failing? Those events, like coin tosses, purport to involve somewhat interchangeable elements..there are similarities between the quarterbacks, receivers, footballs, cars, brakes, road qualities, weather conditions, and drivers of the examples involved, just as there are similarities between the coins involved in coin tosses. But each coin is distinct, each coin toss is distinct, and like K. M. is saying, there is unquestionably a distinction between the descriptive, predictive, summary view we call probability, and what is going on in the real world.

How can I do what I love among others?

I asked this question 13 years ago. That question I've been asking myself a long time. The metaphor it implies isn't working for me anymore. There's an implication in there, regardless of the answer to the "how" of the question, that there is an appropriateness that is possible, that there is an appropriate matching that can be done. It isn't true. I'm just figuring this out, finally. There is no appropriate matching. There is not a solution that satisfies all parties. I have love with some of you, and not with others. I'm not doing that; none of that is any of our responsibility, to our credit or our fault. It's as it should be, it's as it must be. Essentially, the way that question is asked, how can I do what I love among others, the answer is: I cannot. I can do what I love, that I can do. But I cannot work at the phantom of appropriate matchings between [me] and [others]. You cannot do it either. No one can. It's a mismatch and it always will be. I can do what I love. But if you're one of the ones with whom I hold communion, that will continue, and if our particular pair is less holy, that will continue too. I can do what I love, but I cannot make you happy, and I cannot make you sad. This is true for everyone. If you are happy, you are not happy with me or anything I do, you're just happy, and nothing I do can hurt. If you're sad, your sadness is your own, and nothing I do will ever help. This does not solve any problems; this does not effect any progress; this does not make anything better. I have seen this before, in feeling that as life goes on, I am more and more in love as well as more and more alone, that natural affinities increase without my effort and natural chasms deepen despite my attempts to fill them in. Everything I've ever been upset about, I will always be upset about if I think about it at all. Everyone who's ever wronged me will continue to be foreign to me if I think about them at all. Everyone who I've ever seen as wonderful I will always see that way, no matter what they do or what I do about it. [No dichotomies intended there.] How can I do what I love among others? I can't. I will do what I love, that is certain. I can indulge that flow or resist it, but at best I will be doing what I love with ease, at worst I will be agonizing over doing what I love; either way I will be doing what I love. Can I do it among others? No. That matching can never be made. I am not among others, actually, in the sense implied by that question. I have been attempting a consilience that is admirable but completely irrelevant. Sometimes the language we use to do our theories is what's actually tripping us up. How can I do what I love? Easily. In fact, that's the only thing I can do. How can I do it among others? How can I do it in such a way that all the matchings with others are appropriate? I can't. It's impossible. Some of those matchings will be beautiful elegance. Some of them will be a beautiful mess. That side of the problem is unsolvable; it's impossible to get right. The other side, doing what you love, is the opposite of's impossible to get wrong.

Perversion is born of imbalance. When you see the whole, nothing is sick.

More Nonparticipator Tactics

Watched a Decky11 video yesterday where she's talking about first getting on YouTube and she's talking about having feelings about people posting negative/critical comments without posting videos of their own. Hearing that switches my nonparticipator rant onto the front burner. These statements underscore each other. Mark Helprin talks about an aspect of this in Digital Barbarism. We live in an age of the long tail, or fanfiction. And we live in an age unfortunately impacted way too much by nonparticipators. I'm hip to the post-human thing, I'm hip to anonymity, I get that, I get that "we're not all that different from each other." That's all true. But it's not the whole truth. Nonparticipators, silent voters, backstabbing bomb-droppers, are not, at the very least, doing the same thing as authors, internet posters, public writers, people who stand for something publicly. Nonparticipators, yes, you get a certain equality in terms of not being exterminated by an elite, but you don't get the same props as those who openly contribute to the archive (because, straight up: nonparticipation is weak, participation is strong). I've said this before, but I'll say it again here because it's a concise description of what happens in these conversations..these types of discussions are well summed as: You think I'm crazy—I think you're nothing. In other words, critique away, but recognize that as a critic you're not really doing anything, not on the same level as those who create. You have statements being made extremely rarely, as Michel Foucault points out in TAOK; it seems to us in some views that statements are frequent but they are actually rare. You walk into a bookstore and you see more books than people. It seems that statements are being made all the time. But actually statements are extremely rare, and intentionally-constructed statements are even more extraordinarily so. Compared to the number of people who have lived in the human population since the first book was written, the number of books written is infinitesimal. Ditto movies, ditto plays, ditto eloquent sentences, ditto meaningful internet posts. But nonparticipators get to vote; nonparticipators breathe, nonparticipators form mobs. Mostly, nonparticipators buy things (which is the equivalent of paying attention to things). So nonparticipators count. But they count as slaves (I'm not sure if they realize that). There are a very few people in the history of humanity who are speaking into the archive (even now, with more ability to do that than ever before)..and there are a vast majority of people following them! That's ok, the participators and nonparticipators alike probably, on the whole, prefer it that way. High school was the same way, adult life is the same way: in any room, there are a couple people everyone else is paying attention to. Everyone likes this: there are some who are ready to do something, there are some who are ready to sit against the wall. Everyone is operating at their own speed. Everyone benefits in the way they are ready to benefit. Different configurations are possible; it doesn't have to be this way. I don't think it has to change..and nonparticipators are the ones who have the most to desire, in terms of changing this situation, given that they are the ones most taken advantage of by it, they are the ones doing the serving in this configuration. So participators don't necessarily want this to change, in every way. But as a participator, I do want us to be clear on one thing: if it doesn't happen in the archive, it doesn't happen. If I make a post and you read it, the only thing that happened in terms of construction is that I made a post. If I say something to you and you say nothing back, you didn't exist (in the archive, as a participator). If you think clearly about this, you will see that this is a profoundly ego-less position. It focuses on the material, on that which is constructed, on that which is held common among us. Your silent thoughts are not. Your unpublished thoughts are hardly. In a paradoxical way, it is those who strut their stuff who are least attached to ego..they are giving away themselves, they are externalizing, they are creating something outside of themselves; whereas those who "hold onto" "what is within them" are the most self-oriented, the most selfish, the most ego-attached. Once I say something, it doesn't need me anymore. Or, more accurately, until I say something, nothing is there. Either way, though, creation is an external act, 100% of it, from start to finish, the entire creation exists outside of me, distinct from me. You do not have a book in your head and then write it down. The entire writing takes place outside of you (except in tiny momentary pieces--a sentence or fragment exists inside you for a moment, that is the extent of what is inside you about something you write). Everything created is, in fact, defined by its (to use another word from Foucault) exteriority. You have bomb-dropping supporters and bomb-dropping critics, but bomb-droppers aren't participating in the same way as those who build buildings. They all exist, but not on the same level. My hope in this is that we can understand the distinction. Even if everyone's participation stays the same, even if it is as it must be, I think some rigor in terms of distinguishing those modes of participation is in order. Nonparticipators count, but they count as a mob.

The current lesson for me in this is that, while I use nonparticipator tactics, I also use nonparticipator ones. I critique my workmates and family; that's a nonparticipator tactic. Can I fully, completely, engage only in participator tactics? Can I, in every moment, focus on and work at only what I'm creating outside of myself and leave all nonparticipator tactics behind? I'm going to do it today.

The Essence Inherent Within

"Decky11, Something that occurs to me, as a possibility about you, as the content of your recent "what should I do? I need inspiration; send me ideas" video rolls around my mind, is this: There's that saying that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans. Maybe you're already essentially doing whatever it is that you will someday see yourself as having done, or make videos, you connect with people online (for one thing that you do at least) inspire others, you get them to open up..maybe that's part of the essence of what you do. (?) Maybe if you're looking to do something, you could do that, but do it further; do that, but take it to a new level. Just a thought. MT"

For myself, as I reflect:

It's like being a seed and trying to figure out what a seed does. There is no way for a seed to figure out what a seed does. There's no such thing as a seed. The only thing there is, is the life of a tree.

I might look at myself and say, "I write, and I program, but what should I do?" The answer is that I'm like a seed..I'm already doing what I do. But that doesn't mean that what I'm doing is the end-all, be-all of what I will do, or what I do in total. Like a seed, I'm doing what I must do, though not what I will always do, even though what I'm doing now is, like a seed to the life of a tree, an essential part of what I do in total, what I will do overall. The answer, for me, is something like: I write, and I program, but I'm so limited I don't even know what writing and programming are.

Does a seed know what leaves are? Branches? Roots? No. But it's making them anyway. A seed is doing the essence of roots, roots are inherent in a seed's doing, even though a seed has no possible way of conceptualizing roots. The seed doesn't know it is making a tree. It can't talk about trees or plan for trees; it is precluded from knowing the whole to which it is essential, even though it is essential to that whole.

The word "I" is being used in multiple ways here. The partial I, the becoming I, is asking itself questions about the total I, the complete I. That is why we confuse ourselves with questions like this, like what should I do to make my complete set of actions correct? You can't answer that question because that is the partial I, the seed, asking questions about the nature of the complete I, the life of the tree. The seed cannot predict the life of the tree; it can't conceptualize it, plan for it, imagine it, or know it in any sense except in that the seed can know itself and that the seed is essential for the tree (even as the seed cannot know what a tree is or what a tree's life is). When I, the seed, ask myself questions about the life of the tree, I drive myself crazy by pursuing an impossible task. If: "It's like being a seed and trying to figure out what a seed does. There is no way for a seed to figure out what a seed does. There's no such thing as a seed. The only thing there is, is the life of a tree." Then: the I that's trying to do this figuring out [of something on a certain scale of existence]..that I does not exist [on the scale of existence about which it's trying to do the figuring]. I really believe this is why we run into dead ends on certain types of philosophical is because we're conceptualizing an I, and positing questions as though they were from that I's point of view, when in fact that I does not exist in the sense in which it would have to in order to answer the questions we're asking. When I ask "What should I do to honor the whole?", that I does not exist. In this type of "I can't figure it out" it's not that the "it" is too hard, it's that the "I" is not there. That's why the question cannot be answered. We're trying to solve problems in the service of entities that aren't there. I've been trying to do this all my life and it doesn't work. I think I now understand why.

I'm not going to do that today. I'm also going to commit to doing, today, only creative, constructive things. I'm not going to engage in any way with anyone when they aren't also doing that; I'm going to do participator tactics only and only with others who are doing the same. The only thing I'm going to do is make things outside of myself. That's part of my daily prayer now.

Debugged a hard problem

Most debugging is easy. The compiler or the memory checker tells you what's wrong up to a certain level, and after that you can compare the actual and expected results of your program, to fix the rest. With some experience almost all debugging is routine, even with multithreaded and network follow some process and fix problems with rapidity. But sometimes there are harder problems.

A coworker and I debugged a problem a few years ago where somehow some of the whitespace in the program contained a special showed up as whitespace to our eyes, but to the compiler it was a non-whitespace character. So we were getting an error message that indicated that something was wrong with a piece of code which, when we looked at the code, there was truly nothing wrong with. Even copying and pasting the code section maintained the error. We knew there was something wrong because the compiler was complaining, yet we were correct in our assessment that the code we were reading was error-free. It took us a while to find the incorrect assumption: that the code we were reading was not the code that was there.

Today I solved a hard bug. That's significant to me as it doesn't happen often. I had referred to a variable, called system, in a newly-written function, without passing that variable into the function. Normally, if you refer to something that isn't there, the compiler will find that and it will be one of the first and simplest problems you debug. In this case, though, there was already a global variable named system, that hid the fact that I hadn't declared my variable. That global system variable was not put there by's part of some library I included. So there was no compile error and no memory error, but there was a program error, because when I thought I was referring to my variable system (which didn't exist in that scope) I was actually referring to a different variable of the same name (and the same type, which just happened to exist for me because someone else created it). It was a fun "gotcha"..and finding that in thousands of lines of code took some time..because as simple as the situation is now that I understand it, the way the situation presented itself to me is this: it looks like somehow my pointer value is getting messed up, and no matter what I do, I can't find the line of code that messes it up. That's because my way of stating the problem is wrong: I was looking at some words called "system" all over my program, and trying to find where I mis-set one of them..but the assumption that all those "systems" referred to the same variable(s), variables I had created, was wrong..even though usually that's a safe assumption since the compiler tells you when you refer to something that doesn't exist..but it certainly doesn't tell you when you happen to be using a variable named the same as someone else's poorly-named global variable. The problem took a while to solve because of the way I was stating the problem to myself.

Programming, especially debugging, but programming in general, can be seen as a process of rectifying your idea of the world, with the world as it actually is. Most of the time, during the programming process, what you have left to do is measured by the difference between what you think is going on, and what is actually going on. It's humbling to realize that in programming (as with other parts of life) there is almost always a delta between our models of reality, and reality itself. We are, essentially, wrong. Programming, and some other types of self-examination, involve humbly discovering exactly how.

Because I want to feel this way

The only reason I feel the way I do today is because I want to feel this way. If I choose to be drama-free by not going to facebook, if I choose to feel high by running for an hour, there is only one reason, and it is the best one and a simple one and a tricky one too. I want to. I laugh when I see ads for schools offering careers in criminal justice, because to seek a career in criminal justice is to expect that there will be criminals. Worse, it is to require there to be criminals, otherwise you're out of a job. Mere intellectuals argue that to expect a world without crime is naive. We need less intellectualism in our world and more horse sense. If your job is to bring criminals to justice, then you need for there to be criminals and you will participate in the world in ways that ensure that remains the case. Too much of our world is oriented toward disaster response (via which we ensure that disasters continue to occur). Einstein's phrase says it most cleanly: "intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them". Anyone who thinks that we cannot make this world what we want..and by that I mean make every part of it truly naive. Our impressions create economies. Our perceptions create realities. If you don't see that that is true it is because you haven't thought it through. We should not strive to be progressive. We should strive to be miraculous. Everything else is fear-based inefficiency. Our job is to become unafraid, completely, 100%, absolutely unafraid right now. I don't think my job is to be part of the problem. I don't think my job is to solve the problem. I think my job is to create, to play, to feel, to be. I don't think there's anything naive about that. I think that takes daring, I think it is the result of a great deal of consideration and reflection, I think it is the responsible thing to do. I think we can try to avoid suffering, as the lazy do. I think we can accept that life is suffering, as the Buddhists do. I think we can understand that life isn't any less-worthwhile spent one way or another..that, essentially, no one is pitiable. No path is pitiable. The fearful, the squeamish, the ill-informed are the only people I've encountered who think that the world is what it is, separate from us. We are making this happen. We are making all of this up. Our political world, and larger, our cultural world, and larger, the connective world of reality, of the world, is a universal creature dreaming itself up. We, individual people, are part of this universal creature that is dreaming itself up, that is improvising, that is creating itself over and over, imagining itself and how it could be, and then trying that. There isn't a way that things should be. There isn't what god likes or what god wants to happen. There isn't right or what I like, what I like absolutely. This universe doesn't know what it likes. It's playing, trying to figure that out. But it doesn't know already. It's planning, and executing that plan, and seeing what it can do. It's trying out a new set of wheels, it's taking itself for a spin. And only as a result of trying things does there become a sense in which our world likes things to be a certain way. Sometimes I think I have to start with how the world is, and then decide how to feel about it. That is not the case. That leads to confusion. First, start with how I want to feel (blissful). Then, feel that way. Then, and only then, decide what to do in the world.

NKS and physics and GUTs (or  the religiosity of physics)

"Now, of course, the single greatest modeling challenge for NKS is fundamental physics." (from David Brown)

Mr. Brown, I'm going to pick on you a little bit. But it's not personal. The sentiment you express in that sentence of yours I quoted is a thematic sentiment in a great enough segment of NKS discussion that I've heard, for me to want to say a bit of what I think about it.

With respect, I understand that the statement you made above represents a view held by many who come to NKS from physics, and while I certainly recognize that an NKS theory of our "physical" world would be a historic breakthrough of the first order, I don't think that the above statement will be true for many people for more than about 15 years (from now)..if it's even true now.

It would be an amazing and profound thing if we, organisms within our "physical" world, modeled the physics of our world with NKS, or modeled them completely with any methodology. It would be the ultimate look in the mirror, perhaps.

But thinking isn't going to stop if that happens, science isn't going to stop if that happens. Even though our world, from our point of view, has a shit-ton of atoms, modeling the particular world we're in, while profound (from our point of view) is hardly the greatest challenge—or even the greatest modeling challenge—for NKS, or any other discipline.

Given the limit of running a simulation of a particular system from within that system..the limitation of running out of building blocks to use for the simulation of the thing as your simulation, in accuracy, in completeness, in size, approaches those of the universe you're simulating..having a GUT, while amazing and useful and profound, won't be the end of modeling..

Modeling the behavior of a corporation who is modeling your behavior, for competitive purposes, for example, will be more of an engineering and a theoretical challenge, I think. Modeling the behavior of the simplest organism or culture of organisms will be a greater challenge than modeling the physical universe..and before you say it, I think that is true even though the world of the corporation, simple organism, and culture I am talking about modeling are of course in actuality built on top of the substrate of our physical universe.

While true, that doesn't matter, practically, for the majority of simulations people do now, or are going to do.

Simulating the universe based on an accurate model of physics is of course highly useful..for understanding and observing in high detail small little parts of what goes on in our the first parts of XYZ-type-of-explosion, etc. And of course whoever creates such a model will be the next Newton, in terms of human history books. And that matters to people's egos, in addition to the accomplishment having real value.

But to say it's the greatest modeling challenge for NKS is just wrong. It might be the greatest in some philosophical sense, it might be the greatest in some sort of metaphysical sense, but in an engineering sense, in a theoretical sense, it is not the greatest challenge for NKS.

If we were living inside an Amiga (if we were complex emergent beings running on an Amiga), then us coming up with a model that matched the output of whatever processor is in an Amiga, would be profound. It would mean a lot to us. (As an aside, it wouldn't even mean that we understood the workings of the Amiga's processor, and it wouldn't give us a clue as to what it might mean from some other organism's point of view that "we were running on an Amiga". But that's not the point I want to assert here. What I want to assert here is that:) Once we modeled the output of the Amiga's processor such that we completely understood the instructions that figured into the running of the universe that we were running on, there would still be lots for us to do..and I think: greater things for us to do, in terms of engineering and theory.

That's because it doesn't matter, in many ways, that we're running on an Amiga. There are probably already many systems in our world (running on top of the physics of our that I suspect will be harder to model than the physics of our world..greater challenges of modeling (in an engineering sense, in a theoretical sense) than the modeling of our particular universe. (Assuming you don't have access to the rules of the system..which in most cases you won't.) And frankly (and I know that some physicists aren't going to like this) but: coming up with a physics GUT doesn't mean you understand everything that is built with physics. It doesn't even mean you can practically simulate any particular thing that happens as a result of physics. Even theoretically, there are theoretical limits on physical simulation of the universe, from within the universe—correct me if I'm wrong, please, physicists..but even if you could control a huge portion of the atoms in the universe while simulating the universe with those atoms, is it not a snake eating its tail? there not a simple, practical limit there on the completeness of a simulation of a thing that is running within the [limited] resources of the thing itself (such that you approach a situation where your simulation is the thing, and it becomes completely accurate yet fails to maintain the characteristic of a simulation wherein you can figure out some useful information about a future event before it happens..I've been told before that I (misunderstand? misapply?) this idea of Hawking's..but I believe he very clearly says exactly this)? The physics GUT gets a lot of air-time, it's profound, it's elusive, it will add someone's name to the books of human history,'s not, in many ways, the end-all be-all that it is sometimes touted as. Whether it's with NKS, or whatever theory, when someone comes up with the first widely-accepted GUT, this is what is going to happen: it'll be on the front page of all the papers, no one will understand it, someone will get their name next to Newton's, and then everyone (regardless of their education) will be like: so now what? And then we'll use the GUT in select simulation projects where it will be exceedingly useful, and the majority of simulation will continue, unaffected and largely uninformed by the particular GUT. Then, some years later, someone is going to come up with another GUT, based on different theory, and they'll work equally well and we'll work on translating the theory of the one into the theory of the other..

Our universe is special to us because it's ours. But systems running essentially in emulation mode on our particular hardware can be more profound to us, as engineers and theoreticians, than the physical universe. (And the fact that one is running on the other does not even mean that the substrative system has a meaningful relationship with the system it supports..knowing everything about physics does not necessarily translate into knowing anything meaningful about a particular system physics supports. This should be clear if you think about it via the Amiga analogy: Linus Torvalds' knowledge of the Linux kernel gets him 0% of the way down the road of understanding many of the programs people run on Linux..maybe I'm running an old Apple OS 9 emulator and programming emergent, sentient beings in C on top of that. There's no meaningful relationship, there, between the thoughts of the emergent beings and the Linux kernel. A theory of the Linux kernel will not essentially be useful or even needed in order to do the more profound (greater?) simulation and modeling of the thoughts of the emergent beings that some of us would want to do if we were other beings within that particular universe..)

I understand, I think, the weight that is put on modeling our particular universe. I agree that is profound from a philosophical point of view and from what I can really best call a metaphysical point of view—or a religious point of view..but beyond the specific religion, essentially, of our particular universe, there are all kinds of other universes to model..and because there are necessarily more than one of those emulated universes, whereas since our universe is one..the one..our universe..that verse is absolutely not the greatest one we will encounter, even though it has a special place in our understanding.

Are you slipping secret messages past me in the mail?

me: "..ideas about predictive models needing to contain as many data elements as the thing they're predicting in order to be accurate.."

Mr. Jason Cawley: "..Sorry, an unsound idea, or one misapplied. Predictive models do not need to contain as many data elements as the thing they are predicting in order to be accurate. There are all kinds of simplifying substitutions and shortcuts in formal and real behaviors. Even for every single detail. I have a really accurate description of the future value of every single cell of rule 0 after the initial condition for every initial condition regardless of size or number of steps, using just one element. When the behavior is simple it can be fully predicted without 'one to one and onto' modeling.."

I'm going to respond to this, four years later, because I'm poking around the NKS forum again and, frankly, I get a little annoyed when members of the inner NKS clique take a superior tone with me (JC says I "miss basic points at the outset of the whole subject"..he's "plowing the sea" by participating in this thread with me..he'll "give it a try..and see if any of it sticks"..sorry you seem to have such a low opinion of me, JC; I admire your philosophical and analytical perspectives on this site and others). PJL took a similar tone with me in person at the D.C. NKS conference and Cawley does it with me in this thread. You all should be aware, as people who clearly want to promote an NKS slant in the world, that when you approach outsiders like me with that kind of tone, it's a turn-off to your whole group. That said, I am clearly very interested in thinking about these ideas and participating with you within the context of this forum, so I'll move on to the content of my rebuttal to part of what JC writes above:

I may not have been as clear in my reference, in 2006, as I should have been, to the idea I'm talking about it, which I heard via — I don't know — some popularized Hawking book. The idea is that to predict an irreducible system (of the type most oft discussed in this domain) that, being there's no shortcut-style, reductive description of the system (unlike there usually is in math and physics—math and physics are, essentially, reductive descriptions), that as you build a simulation of this complex system, you end up needing to make your system more and more complex (using more and more "elements"—physical elements, conceptual elements)..and that there's a dynamic that starts to illustrate itself, wherein if you're creating a simulation of what's going to happen next in a complex universe, the more and more accurately you want to do that—in cases where there is no reductive description of the history or unfolded dynamics of the world—you approach a situation wherein it's less and less like a simulation that you can run beforehand, and more and more like an exact copy of the thing you're trying to simulate in the first place..which, when time is part of the universe..means that, less and less, you get the benefit of being able to predict events with your simulation..since the simulation takes as long to run as the universe itself.

In the part of your response that I quoted, you're talking about simple systems, clearly, systems that can be reductively described. In my proposition about classifying one's own complexity, or classifying a system that you cannot predict, clearly I am not talking about that kind of system.

I wasn't as rigorous as I should have been in my original post, perhaps. What I was trying to get at, was that—I'll make a weaker and more articulated assertion here—when one wants to figure out exactly how complex an observed system is, there are limits inherent in that: if you "cannot predict" the system such that you have no exact reductive description of its unfolded dynamics, then there are elements in the unfolded history that, since you can't predict them, you don't understand well enough to eliminate the possibility that they contain complex elements. If you can't predict a system completely, if you can't reduce it completely, then setting an upper bound for its complexity seems to me to be at best a dicey matter! (a functionally-capping upper upper bound that is lower than the highest upper bound in your classification scheme, Class IV in the case of NKS)

If I'm a teacher and I give you a test, and I have a model that allows me to always guess right before you take the test, about what you will answer on the test, then I can claim to classify your test-taking behavior in a wholly-more-secure way than if I can't predict what you will answer on the test..because in the former case, since your behavior doesn't deviate from my reductive description, it would be significantly harder to say that there's anything in your behavior that's eluding me than if your behavior deviates from my best reductive description (prediction). If you're doing something I don't understand, something I can't predict, then you may very well be doing something that is highly complex, sensible, meaningful, etc., that, if I understood it, or could recognize it, or describe it, might affect my classification of your complexity (upward). I might be filling in ovals on a multiple-choice test to spell out "this class is boring" in a compressed binary format, completely ignoring the questions being asked of me. That's an example of a system whose output (my answers on the test) looks Class III to you, but is really Class IV. So while I obviously recognize that there is a taxonomic difference between Class III and Class IV systems, the example I just gave should be sufficient reason to doubt that, in general, behavior that looks random, cannot contain complex, intelligent, or universal behavior.

Distinct from that question, in my mind, is the question: if I know the rules of the system and its initial state and I see every part of the output of the system from step 0, can an intelligent, non-random system produce behavior that looks random (Class III) from the very beginning. My example of the student differs from this in that I wasn't observing the student from step 0, didn't see its initial state, etc. In that example, perhaps obviously, only part of the output of the system is random. Is there a Class III-looking CA, or some other simple system, that looks random from step 0, but that actually contains nonrandom, meaningful, behavior? I certainly don't know, or else I would post the damn thing here. It is hard for me to imagine something like an ECA that could do this..organize itself through time, having instantly assumed a random-looking output. It seems to me that there might usually be some initialization period during which the thing had to decide to, for example, write compressed, binary-encoded messages in multiple-choice answers on a test. (To be more demanding of the test example, it would have to move in the direction of there being the lookup-table part of a compressed message encoded somewhere in my test..the decision to be cryptic would have to be somewhere, right?, in the rule or in the system output(?)..and then, would it be possible for that decision or nature to itself be so cryptic that it looked random to me..(?)..that, frankly, is hard for me to imagine.) But, myself, I do not see reason enough to cast out the possibility that this could happen, that this kind of system could exist.

For one, and this is quite general, but I think relevant here: the way we're viewing CA output is part of why it seems to have form, or to be random, to us. Even the 2d grid, widely-regarded as simple, probably one of the least-presumptive output visualization mechanisms our species can think of, contains assumptions and mappings that inform our ability to see the behavior of the system. It may be that different visualization or perception mechanisms for CAs (and other systems, obviously), when used, would force, say, the 256 ECAs into different Class I-Class IV categories. Maybe rule 110, when viewed through my network-unrolling methodology, looks like a different class than it does in the 2d-grid perception mechanism.

For another, I happen to have seen, and have posted here, years ago, systems very much like ECAs except with a denser connectivity, if you will—the "water" systems, which are like ECAs except with two rows of memory, while not fulfilling the requirements I've given above of a system that appears random from step 0 while actually containing highly-complex, nonrandom order, look a whole lot more like TV snow, on the whole, than any of the ECAs, while clearly not being purely random in their behavior. That doesn't, of course, mean that there are systems with no detectable initialization period that look completely random and yet contain decidedly nonrandom and meaningful behavior, but to me it's one reason to wonder if perhaps there might be such systems.

I suppose, in a way, that some classic PRNGs are non-CA examples of systems whose output, from step 0, even with visibility into the system rule, does not demonstrate a visible initialization period in which the system is organizing itself into a state where it can slip secret messages past me in the mail, and yet, those systems demonstrate decidedly nonrandom (cyclic) behavior, even while most people's way of perceiving the system makes the system look completely random, through and through. It's not intelligent behavior, as far as I know, so I don't find that example very satisfying, myself.

Is there a system where I can know the rule, see initial state and output from step 0, that looks random from step 0 (when using the 2d grid visualization, by which we'd say it's Class III), yet is meaningfully nonrandom when viewed in a different way? I don't know. I've looked through quite a lot of CA-like systems, programmatically searching for such an example, without finding one.

You're right, Mr. Cawley, you can classify anything you please. =) (I hope you keep doing so.) And I like the way you all classify things, Class I-IV and such. There's still a nagging question, though, in my brain, about whether I can be sure that every Class III system is, in fact, not possibly a universal system that is just hard for me to see. Short a satisfying example, however, I certainly defer to you that what looks unintelligently random, is exactly that.

The Age of News

These are ages of how we determine what is true. The age of religion has passed. The age of science, which came after, has passed. We are firmly in the age of news. It abounds, now, that people argue not as we did in the age of science, based on commonly-held research ("facts"). We live in a post-fact age, a post-science age. It doesn't matter to people anymore, whether what they're saying is scientifically true, or true based on commonly-held information. What matters is that someone said it—what makes it true is that a ton of people said it. In the age of religion, those who spoke for god, determined the truth. In the age of science, commonly-held, repeatable, fact-oriented information determined the truth. In the age of news, exposure determines the truth, channels determine the truth. Truth, now, comes about as a result of people following channels. Gone are the days when, in order for a trusted person to continue being trusted, that person had to make sense, logically, scientifically, factually. This is an age in which it is enough, to convince the vast majority of our population, just to keep a straight face and, with a confident-sounding voice, keep repeating the same lies over and over.

"'Normal' behavior, the nearly universal means by which individuals in society solve given problems"

In popular usage, eccentricity refers to unusual or odd behavior on the part of an individual. This behavior would typically be perceived as unusual or unnecessary, without being demonstrably maladaptive. Eccentricity is contrasted with 'normal' behavior, the nearly universal means by which individuals in society solve given problems and pursue certain priorities in everyday life. People who consistently display benignly eccentric behavior are labeled as 'eccentrics.'" —Wikipedia

This definition of normal behavior jumps out at me. From an algorithmic point of view, from an evolutionary programming point of view, from an impersonal point of view, near-universal convergence in terms of how individuals solve problems, is usually a bad thing if you consider the population as a search for answers, a search for effective ways to solve problems.

The fullness of an individual person

can be measured by the distance between the two most disparate elements that reside within them. That is not to say that a person without much diversity of thought, is not valuable, is not lovable, is not worthwhile. But, as a measure of the fullness of one of these individuatable beings we call people, when one of them contains little diversity of mind, little diversity of embodiment, little diversity of action, little diversity of locale, little diversity of possession, that is not a reflection of fullness within that individuatable thing. This is not to say that fullness of the individual container, should be the goal of each container. Not saying that. But, certainly, it is those containers which hold the greatest diversity of goods within the same house, that are the fullest in themselves.

You can't separate yourself from the earth, from the plants, from the animals.

You can't separate yourself from the animals by not eating them. And, as well, by eating them, you are not placing yourself at odds with the animals. Both paths are types of being connected to the animals. They are distinct ways of being connected. There is no choice to be disconnected with the earth. There is only how you will be connected with the earth. This holds true for all kinds of embrace, all kinds of abstinence. By using [whatever], you are connected to it; by not using [whatever], you are connected to it, you are in relationship with it. There is no goodbye. There are only types of hello.

Talk over lunch about presence and visualization

The idea that we're not necessarily into positive visualization stuff, but that, to the degree one is visualizing anyway, thinking about oneself in the future, you might as well imagine yourself having the perfect response in the situation you're imagining. And connecting that Dr. Phil idea about it's not that you're afraid he'll cheat on you, it's that you're afraid you won't be able to handle it to my way of stating something similar from a slightly different angle: that every fear, is a fear of what you will do..people live in rule-saturated environments because it saves them the trouble (life) of having to know themselves..know themselves to the degree that they can be present (by which I mean able to partake or not partake in whatever emotion, sin, pathology, that presents itself). With the rule that in our [sub-]society there is no gay marriage, we don't have to fear that we might be gay; with the rule that in our [sub-]society there is no alcohol, we don't have to fear that we might drink. But can't I let you be gay, can't I let you drink, and not fear myself, not fear who I might be? All regulation is made to protect against, not what you might do, but what I fear I might become.

Only if I am oblivious to a doctrine, do I have no relationship to it.

Decide what to be oblivious to and what to have a relationship with. In terms of correlation, in terms of implication, what do I want to be oblivious to, and what do I want to be related to? What do I want to correlate to, and what do I want to imply or by what do I want to be implied? That is the question.

When a stimulus escalates to the point of encouraging a response..

..and you don't want to engage it, be patient. Chances are, the stimulus hasn't been overdesigned. It has been designed, most likely, to escalate to the point of implying your response. So at the level at which it seems to require one, if you're patient a tiny bit longer, the stimulus will probably stop. It wasn't designed to get a response at all was designed to escalate to the level at which you will respond. There would be little point in designing an impetus that far outclassed the one from whom a reaction is desired.

Oblivion is the only real philosophy.

"I'm not in the business. I am the business." (Blade Runner)

There's that great line in Blade Runner when Deckard and Rachael are talking about getting the shakes and Deckard tells her it's part of the business, and Rachael—as a replicant—says, "I'm not in the business. I am the business." I love that line and that scene for many reasons that I am not planning to discuss here.

But, thinking about that line this morning while editing, and while generally thinking about art and artists, a meaning or application of that line, strikes me, that I have never thought about before.

Joe Byron of the LA Film school says that if you watch enough movies you don't have to go to film school. And I know that to be true, in general. But even as going to film school, watching movies, and working on films all teach you distinct sets of lessons, the more general playground is just your life. And that's the playground artists really need to be paying attention to. Watching enough movies may be a substitute for having to listen to film school teachers break it down for you, but watching your life is the basic school for all art, all science, all business, all love. Movies made by people who mainly pay attention to other people's movies—instead of their own life, or even other people's lives—those movies suck. I always said, at film school, that cinematographers and sound people and production designers, yes, they should go to film school. But directors and writers, when they show up, the school should give them their tuition back and send them on a road trip. People who make the best movies are making them about their lives, or something they know about from life..not things they know from school, or even from other movies. We should, as artists, not be in the business..we should be the business.

Of course, with Deckard as an example, maybe it's possible to be both.