’60s Scrapbook

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A memory from the mid-1960s just popped into my head: a cute girl invited me to go riding with her on our Yamaha YL1 100cc twins. Picture Reese Witherspoon. Petite, nice package: pretty, nice smile.
Picture our blue and white Yamaha twins.

Yamaha-YL1
thanx cyclechaos

I’d bought mine a month or so before, she’d just got hers. She didn’t ask if I was married, I didn’t volunteers it.
Neither did I ever go riding with her.

So what? So why am I telling the story?
Because she volunteered her phone number … Here’s the punch line … And I still remember it!

navykin

She gave me her phone number as a mnemonic. Supposed to be easily rememberable, and I remember it. I remember her!

Stories by Theme by Age
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id44

/ Journal /

Digital Notebooks
1985 – 1997
Id Intros Scant Tech Style
Scant Editing

Jesus Christ
Now that I think of it, Jesus Christ is the most complex oxymoron I can think of. Invisibly oxymoronic. Therefore, the more powerful, working behind the mind’s defenses.
First, the Jesus part: Jeshu. A common Hebrew name in Roman Palestine.
the “historical” Jesus
utterer of the Sermon on the Mount
a man of peace
a sacrificial lamb
lamb of God
martyr
rabbi
healer
miracle worker
magician
rebel
social reformer
etc
the aspect that doesn’t require too much in the way of faith (except for the miracles part. Or is that gullibility?)
Then, the Christ part:
the “Eternal” Messiah
comes with a sword
sits on the right hand of God, etc
our Judge, our intermediary (all confused)
the aspect that’s all faith and no evidence
So, if someone asks, “Do you believe in Jesus?”; and someone else asks, “Do you believe in Christ?”; and a third asks, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?”; you can say “Yes,” “No,” and “Maybe” (in any order) and still be making sense.
A rational response would be to demand a clearer question. A much clearer question.

Except of course that the question asked has nothing to do with truth or belief, but with social and psychological control, with who’s who in some pecking order, with one group trying to control an individual or another group. In which case is doesn’t matter what you answer: either they’re got you or they don’t. Or, you’ve got them, or you don’t. Or neither has got either. Like the Middle East.

Fri, Jul 11, 1997
I am going to try to organize a set of perceptions I’ve been developing for some time, hints of it finding their way into these files, into conversations with bk …, but never articulated in any organized way before I improvised them before Catherine this AM:
Background context: bk may recall my pronouncing the ideas of “right” and “wrong” entirely subjective, bk commenting that the perception was “rare” (apparently not shared as a given among the tribe of “philosophers.” Also: bk’s several recent references to Plato in the Euthyphro, SI’s several recent references to the same source (eg. Shick, Summer, 97). Also: my recent statement to bk, accompanying my rejection of Plato in the Euthyphro: “it’s all so subjective; we can’t have anything like an objectively based morality (ethics) without a few somewhat strict definitions AND a basic set of declared GOALS (and a willingness (and ability) to review and improve them with additional experience). (For example, a society with the imperative(s) Go forth and multiply; (Me first; My family first; Jews first; We’re all equal except Jews, Niggers, Commies, Chicks, Women, and Children, and of course, employees …) will have a different morality than one which say prefers a vital, diverse biosphere.
It’s important to recognize that sometimes morals and ethics are synonyms and sometimes they aren’t. I follow Shaw’s distinction: morals are how the group behaves; ethics are a considered morality, proposals for a morality.

Morality is related to outlook and outlook is related to training and experience. The toilet trained child has a different outlook from the not yet traumatized infant. The infant accepts its “privates” and its functions; after toilet training, they’re taboo.
The adolescent traumatized by a few years experience of puberty (where hormones are in conflict with mother, and we once again, this time overwhelmingly, need to show our privates and functions) has a different outlook from the toilet trained child: three human kinds, all within a baker’s dozen years.
The young adult who’s coupled with more than one partner has a different outlook from the one with one partner. Both have an outlook different from the virgin’s.
But these changes are as nothing compared to the change in outlook that comes with parenthood (not equally to all parents). (And there are subdivisions of such experience: I don’t doubt that the female begins to be a mother with pregnancy; while the male doesn’t typically begin to be a parent till sometime between the announcement of delivery and first beholding the babe.)

A city is a mixture of all those moralities. And the police enforce legalized morality differently in different zones. Mike LaCroix assaulted me in my shed, cutting off my escape route. The sheriff’s people commented that it was a crime anywhere, more of a crime on my property, still more in my shed, but yet trivial compared to an attack inside the house. A fourteen year old girl may be thought fair game alone around Times Square. The same girl would be left alone going to the movies with her parents, and might be left alone going to the movies with a date.

I got that far with Catherine, then switched to a quasi-historical, quasi-mythic, newly imagined example. The standard picture of Jesus has him as, to say the least, a nice guy. Compassionate. A (quasi-)pacifist. A healer. The story has him tortured to death as a criminal. (That part more than quasi-historical.) The story has him abandoned and denied by his friends, his disciples (who’ve shown precious little recognition of who the story then makes him out to have been all along). The story then has him express the feeling of being forsaken by God, the Father, in the midst of his torture.

The story then has him resurrect. The all myth part has him resurrect as the Christ, the Messiah, the Boss’s son, equivalent to the Boss himself. (Myth does not mean necessarily “false”; it means not historical, a part with no ordinary evidence. (The resurrection part does have ordinary evidence: testimony: evidence not reasonably to be trusted unless corroborated by other kinds.))
The standard interpretation has him basically the same nice guy, only this time with the Power. Or rather he had the Power all along only this time he’s going to use it. (The difficult question of So what’s keeping him, going unresponded to.)
I’ve long been tempted to write a story that has Jesus resurrect all right, but transformed by the abandonment and the torture, as different as the Lakota before “the white man” and the Lakota after discovering Whasi Chu. (Last year I discovered that Farmer had already done it and done it damn well. In common, we imagine the resurrected Jesus as a man, a man who had believed himself to be the son of God.

The final example I gave to Catherine is all historical: history including the present. The Jews had their God tell them that Canaan was theirs, that they could freely exterminate the already numerous population. Under the reigns of King David and King Solomon, their empire seemed complete. Then it fell apart. From a non-Jewish perspective, the Middle East is the Middle East, and has been for a long time. (The Jews feel special? So do the rest (except for those completely squashed. The Jews can be commended (or condemned) for their success in making a dogma of being special despite their experience.))
Now take the Palestinians. England (after demonstrably not giving a shit) and the Allies (also not having given much of a shit) create Israel and give it to the Jews, England more cooperative than God in the matter. Then an armed Israel takes more: the Palestinians so many chiggers, like the Lakota to the Whasi Chu.
Most of us know our history best through fiction, well through good fiction. My own best feeling for the Palestinians comes through LeCarré in The Little Drummer Girl, especially in the character of Tayeh. After your family has been killed, some bombed, others tortured, after your yourself have been tortured and jailed, when your homeland has been taken, when you’re now the chigger, it can give you a whole new attitude.

And now we not only have cities with church-going families, with industries, businesses, neighborhoods, cops, gangs, muggers, saints, thieves, infants, children, teens, parents, fourteen-year-olds loose in Times Square, pimps, all of us predators, soldiers in and out of uniform, … and terrorists, uniformed and non-uniformed.
The rhetoric by which we threaten them is strictly for us, not for them. How can you threaten those you’ve already all but killed?

If we don’t recognize the dimension that experience as well as training gives to morality, what we say about morality will be so much self-serving gibberish.

Heisenberg with a Vengeance
British Open. story of Jesper Parnevik coming onto the 18th for the fourth day, leading by two strokes. The ball lips out. He finishes his score at 17 plus 5 instead of his score at 17 plus 4. One hole behind him, the a guy eagles and his final four-day total is one less than Parnevik’s, for the championship.
Fine. So what? That’s how golf is scored.
Parnevik had been playing great without knowing the score. He earned second place in that great golf major.
But the story invites us and him to agonize over the “missed” putt. Parnevik was playing sane; we want to drag him back into the communal pathology.
[Side note: putts don’t “miss.” Golf is a game where the ball is played to reduce the distance between the golf ball and the hole until the ball occupies the space within the hole. The score is: how many times the ball was struck between the start of the game and the conclusion of the ball occupying the same space as the hole over a succession of 18 holes over four consecutive days (weather cooperating, and counting special penalty “strokes,” if any). A billiard player on a true table can miss; not a golfer. Skill there is in reducing the factors that interfere with the player’s minimizing the distance. The more you can minimize, the greater your skill. But nature still holds hidden cards. And the player’s control is not total over his body let alone over the ball, the wind, over the subliminal nuances of topography (which, at the macro level is smooth; pebbled at the micro)…]
Introducing the story, they were praising him for his non-obsessive, golf-should-be-fun attitude. Then we ignore the moral: come wallow with us in our pathology.
By the end of the story I was imagining championship golf psychology applied to the competitive grading of students. Imagine 100 students in a hall taking the SATs. They mark their answers until the time limit is up. Two weeks later they’re mailed a score. Now imagine the scoring being executed synchronously with the marking of each answer and the ranking and changing order of rank announced to each student with each answer. Now imagine an experiment where a series of SATs of similar difficulty are given; in one the students just take the test; in the second it’s a horse race.
Under which condition will which individual score better?
I don’t doubt that some would concentrate better, at least temporarily, in the horse race. But overall, I imagine the great majority of students performing better in the silent test.
Maybe Jack Nichlaus would always opt for the horse race. But would he want his practices also to be horse races?
What would the lottery be like if the MCs got inside the bubble with the balls and got hysterical about what each ball was doing as they “randomly” bounced around? “Oh, look, the 16 ball could get sucked up. No, now I think the 09 is in position. No they just suck out a ball and read the number. (Yes, of course I realize that the lottery balls are not jockeying into position to be selected, that they don’t “care” whether or not they’re the one. I’m considering the audience, the spectator psychology at this moment.)
Anyway, I’d like to see alternating approaches used in sports competitions. The producer keeps cutting to the scoreboard in games 1, 3, 5 & 7 of the World Series; in games 2, 4, and 6 the scoreboard is kept veiled. Next year reverse the odds with the evens.
At Troon next time, unveil the leader board only after all competitors have finished their 72 holes.
After a few years, we’d know what our obsessions gained or cost us.

Democrats: believe that their right to interfere is infinite;
Republicans: believe that their right to interfere is strictly limited: that is: infinite, minus the right to interfere with a corporation’s freedom of speech, which shall eternally be construed to mean their right to deceptive, manipulative advertising.

freedom of speech, censorship
to bk
In our conversation you made a point that I recognized from earlier discussions: freedom of speech doesn’t mean government subsidy of every possible view. Those weren’t your words; they’re mine. But I trust you recognize the reference and don’t find it to misrepresent your words. (Your words were something about the leftists say … Or was it the communists say … Forgive me. The radicals? Something left.)
Anyway, you’ll find Illich saying much the same thing here and there. And I agree with both of you. Yet still have (and had when Illich said it) something to add. Might as well get to it here, since I never said it to him. With him I mostly read and listened. Fuming sometimes, but I listened. (I could talk (or write to him later: time with him (even reading time) was too precious.)

Once again, a PK duality: (two gods: one of magic; the other order:: two governments: one of magic; the other of order …)
There are two freedoms of speech: one technical (the Bill of Rights, etc); the other practical (are the people willing to listen to good speech?).

You’ve heard my views on technical freedom of speech. You’re right that they’re not exactly what you were referring to. Mine isn’t a point about law but about human nature. My point is that while it’s important that we have technical freedoms, it also helps to have actual freedoms; and also that some freedoms won’t be tolerated no matter what the constitution, the bible, the law … says. I just heard a quote from Mrs Pat Campbell (Shaw’s great love (in his letters anyway)): “it doesn’t matter what you do so long as you don’t do it in public and frighten the horses.”
I also like the story of a debate where the “liberal” gave a big speech against censorship. His opponent screens some kiddy porn. The “liberal” tears the screen down.
My favorite of all I’m sure I’ve quoted often enough to you. Twain: “God gave the American people three great blessings: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the good sense never to practice either.” Close, if not a quote.

To me history recounts the achieving of certain freedom, then their dilution till they’ve reversed their meaning, then new attempts to regain a victory already supposedly won. For example, tenure was the medieval achievement of freedom of speech (in their secular monasteries, the universities). If your colleagues didn’t silence you in the first five years then they had to let you keep talking. (It had NOTHING to do with job security. See Paul Goodman.) Then comes the first amendment: but the universities keep tenure (instead of saying, Oh good, now we ALL have tenure, we can drop it for the few. It’s redundant.).

I’ve come to think that we won’t ever make any enduring sense until we take a rigorous look at some of these things and drop from our vocabulary those shibboleths that keep running us into trouble. Personally, I’ve said good-bye to some of my most cherished concerns. Emotionally inflammatory, rationally, they’re dead ends. Freedom is one. Should we want freedom to pollute, to force extinctions, to go extinct?

Now that I think of it, Illich decades ago, argued against positive statements of rights in favor of a few negative don’ts. OK, so he was a priest, but a smart one.

I started out thinking I’d present this is a logical order, but that plan failed starting close to the beginning. I don’t have time to make it right. It’s hard enough merely to layout some of my main concerns. So I’ll go ahead and throw in another story from my PhD orals. Max Patrick, the Milton man, asked me something about Milton’s Areopagitica (I don’t have access to my library to check accuracy of spelling etc). I’d been thinking some of the above and I wanted to challenge any glib talk about censorship with the story about the liberal and his opponent. So I said something about how I could have gotten Milton to favor censorship. (You do realize of course that Milton was the famous anti-censorship guy of the 17th cen and in that essay. but he’d never seen Times Square. Yes, he would have come out again prurience. however much he may have indulged in it privately, forcing his daughters not only to be his secretaries, but to milk the poor widower.
All my life I’ve needed a good straight man, but I’ve never had one. Patrick hit the roof. Thought I didn’t know what every schoolboy knows about Milton. Wouldn’t let me start my point, let along finish it. He was talking about Milton; I was trying to talk about Censorship (and Milton. and him, and me, and the USgovt, and the UShoipoloi)

That’s enough for now anyway. I trust you see some of my thinking here.

epistemology:
ζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζζie, everyone understands that you have to test the rule by turning over the card with the vowel on it; only the disciplinedly rational understand the equal necessity of turning over the odd numbered card. We look for proof; but you also have to look for disproof.
I’ve just ordered a book from the Promethius people, Abracadabra, due out in Dec, that promises to detail the tricks illusionists use to fool people. We’re not only foolable, but we like it.
As I carried the catalogue to the phone, it occurred to me that what the Wason test tests is the precisely the flaw that three-card monte cons, shell artists, and carneys exploit.
The first time I saw it was with Rudy at the RVC “carnival”: the guy had a “game” booth with a ball on a chain suspended from a swivel. He put a bowling pin in a position given precision by a wooden vee jig, swung the ball away toward the rear of the booth, and on its return pendulum swing, the ball knocked the pin over. “Here you try it.” Every time, a knock down. Then he challenged you to put money down on your ability to knock the pin over: 25¢, and you’d get your choice of prizes.
I wouldn’t do it. Rudy tried. Lost 50¢ and quit. Walked away. But I was fascinated. 12 years old or so I was determined to solve how the guy controlled the path of the ball. So I stepped back to watch. People would come, lose 25¢ to a couple of dollars. If a crowd was around, you’d see somebody walk off with a big teddy bear.
How long would I have had to observe to be sure whether or not they were shills? Well, the public can play shill unwittingly too. Maybe the guy chooses a pretty girl for his unwitting shill now and then. I’m sure he got his teddy bears real cheap. I bet they fell apart within days. (Not like mine that John Eberth finally took an ax to.)
The guy chased me. The first but not the last time I’ve been chased by a con irate at too close an inspection. But I came back and watched from a safer distance.
Finally, I got it. That is to say, I’m pleased to this day to believe that I got it. I never formed an actual experiment, satisfied with my hypothesis. If the guy stood upright, not touching the booth, just with his feet on the ground, you couldn’t miss. If the guy leaned on the counter with his elbow, stood back and slouched but with his hand on a post or on the counter, you couldn’t hit it with a guidance system.
I’d gone around behind to see where he had a colleague hidden with a gadget, switching the con on and off. All unnecessary. The con was most economical. The booth itself was the con. Just shift the position of the swivel ever so. Take the pressure off, and it came back to true.

In Wason terms, if you show somebody a couple of free vowels, then you can feed him an odd number and he’ll just be perplexed. If he gets too pissed off, you can have him arrested. Maybe you’ve got to give the cop a teddy bear too.

The shell game artist shows you the pea, shows you the shell, puts the pea under the shell, shows you the pea under the shell … A, A, A, A & A. Put money down and it’s a 7. But we never get it. All we get is the A.

epistemology
Leonard’s Rev. Dawn, the psychic: “She’s something else,” Louis said. “Can tell you things about yourself you never even knew.”
The double question, as always, is: how can you verify it? how can you falsify it?

I love Leonard’s use of her the more considering my normal hatred for normal bullshit. The Government, like the Church before it, like the shaman before it, use, consciously or unconsciously, the principles of astrology and the psychic’s cold reading. You don’t need too many clues if you keep it general and vague enough. Rely on the complicity of the subject: they want to believe.
The priest says I know what’s wrong with you: you’ve got a dirty mind. And we say: Yes! God, how insightful. I do have a dirty mind. You could get a computer or even just a billboard to say the same thing. With equal insight.

That’s all familiar stuff. What I want to know is: isn’t there something different about the modern anxiousness to believe things we can find neither Wason’s vowel nor his odd number for? The psychologist says, “You feel guilt.” I do? It must be unconscious. I don’t see any evidence for it at all. This psychologist is really deep.
The priest telling you you have original sin, to a Christian, is like telling you you have two eyes and a nose. Like telling an American that they are highly moral and love freedom. It’s standard mythology.
(9/28/97 I read more and add more, next page)
see today’s EMail to bk: Can someone who churns out pop genre crap: Steven King, Elmore Leonard: really write a great novel? Well you already know that I believe that Yes, they can. And do.
In fact it’s only genre crap when they keep churning out the same thing.
Hell, Shakespeare churned it out. But though there are themes he deals with in series, fashions he follows (and forges) for a while, he then does something else. 36 core plays: 10 tragedies, 10 histories, 16 comedies, breakable down into sub-groups: romances, manners … revenge tragedies … problems of kingship …
You may also recognize that I don’t believe it can ever be the greatEST literature if it is the same stuff that keeps coming. And the genre itself is a kind of lid: horror, magic … really?

For Elmore Leonard, I think he gets better and better. The early Mr. Majestik will always have a special throne for me. And “better and better” still allows Get Shorty to be the best. In my opinion. For the time being.

I thought The Tailor of Panama was going to be a righteous sibling of The Little Drummer Girl. Wrong.
I’m only half way through Leonard’s Riding the Rap, copyright 1995. But it’s certainly started out up there.

Anyway, I want to tell you about it in terms you already know as mine. I liked the miraculous science fiction when I was a kid but hate it now, think it very wrong, irresponsible to pander. Is the “science” part the real “fiction”? New makeup to palm off the same old bullshit? A little technical jargon to dress superstition and self-indulgence as rational?

When I was growing up you heard about seances and astrology and palm reading but everyone understood it to be nonsense. OK, like losing a few dollars and the track. What harm, so long as you didn’t bet the mortgage.
But of course there are people who do bet the mortgage. Who sign their inheritance away for a few raps under the table in the dark.
And then suddenly, in the 60s, then more in the 70s, and then more since, your friends in GRADUATE school! are talking with what sounds like seriousness about birth signs! What level of put on is this?

So I got a little itchy when Leonard introduces Reverend Dawn, the psychic, and she actually seems to be good, insightful, uncanny. far more than even a smart con could be from a cold reading. WE know the character she’s reading a little bit, so WE recognize how right she is, just as he does.
He’s a bookie the Fed has retired. He’s in a restaurant to meet a guy he’s hired to collect some of his bad debts so he can split the country. The guy says he’s collected sixteen five from his worst deadbeat. As he’s waiting, the Rev Dawn is walking around the restaurant with her Tarot cards. Quick little reading here and there. We can see she knows how to impress, knows her Sherlock Holmes, coal dust on the shoes, he’s been in the cellar.
She gets to the book’s table in turn. Starts saying things. Better than she could get from coal dust on the shoes.
The debt collector hasn’t showed for ever so long. The alcoholic book on the wagon shows his resolve by knocking them down while he’s waiting. Rev. Dawn says she can do a better reading at her house, near by. $100.
“Cash,” he says. “I always pay cash. Bought that Cadillac outside with cash. Simplest way.”
We go to Dawn’s seedy dump. She’s a toucher. Gets her reading by direct contact with the vibes. One guy thinks she’s pretty enough, near 30 to the book’s 69, to point at prizes on a game show.
Well, she’s even better at home than she was in the restaurant. The more “insightful” she’s getting, the more I’m becoming uncomfortable with Leonard. He’s now shilling for the loonies?
She’s been touching him. Now she’s got him lying down. Hypnotizing him. We’re gonna regress to his past lives. Someone’s trying to contact him from the past.

When out of the closet comes the guy supposedly working for him to collect his sixteen five and another guy, also working for the guy who owes him the sixteen five, who, rather than paying, has hired the bill collector as a kidnapper. Lying down with his eyes shut, it’s easy for them to ducttape him into a mummy. Just as easy as it was for the deadbeat, who’s known him for years, to give Dawn all her insights.

The dead beat has got nothing but a senile rich mom who no longer backs him. The book is a millionaire. Who should give who the money?

Has there ever been a more subtle predator than man?

“She’s something else,” Louis said. “Can tell you things about yourself you never even knew.”

I’d appreciate your input on something. The palmist tells you you’re got a long life line, you’re going on a journey, you’re about to meet a tall, dark stranger … You hope so, in all cases.
The priest tells you you’re sinful, you’ve got a dirty mind: Gosh, that’s true, how insightful.
Once upon a time art wasn’t art unless everybody got it. You didn’t make the art unless it was something everybody already got. The pieta, the passion … the reverence of the king. In modern times modern art is what nobody gets: Stravinky’s audience leaving the hall threatening lawsuits.
It used to be the palmist, the priest told you what you already knew, feared, or hoped … How did it come about that modern wizards, Freud et alia, flourish by telling you neither what you know nor what you hope, but only what you fear? And all with no evidence?

“Can tell you things about yourself you never even knew.”
I don’t recognize that at all. Guy must be a genius.

Elmore Leonard’s Rev Dawn: my chap two.
I write bk about feeling uncomfortable with Leonard having Dawn seem to be genuinely psychic, then we see it’s a con: what looks like a cold reading is actually a script. I read on. And he does it again. Same trick, Same result. In spades.
p 169 our hero asks another cop about her. Gets the police read on her. They think she’s genuine. She’s THEIR psychic. Helped them with a case. Uncanny. Poor thing, they thought she needed protection.
And once again, we see the illusion from the audience point of view: the illusion works. Slowly imperceptibly, Leonard pans around. We see the illusion from the side. It still works. Until finally the camera is back stage. We see the illusion, realize that … wait a minute, wasn’t that the stage assistant doing … we figure out what the assistant’s role is, reflect, and now, through unavoidable ratiocination, p 174, the illusion is exposed.

add to bk: 9/28/97 Oh, good: I didn’t send this to you yet. A hundred pages further into it, he does it again: tricks me with Rev. Dawn. Tricks ME!
Wait a minute. There he is again. showing her to be genuinely psychic. The police themselves testify for her. Oh yeah, really tried to help them. Uncanny.
Pages 168 to 174. Brian, you gotta see.
And having already necessarily spoiled at least one aspect of your potential enjoyment of the novel merely by detailing one thing that impressed me, I’ll say no more about his subsequent use of Reverend Dawn.

But I will share a metaphor that’s just occurred to me thanks to the coincidence(?) of my just having ordered a book due out in December called Abracadabra: an illusionist explains, with illustrations, the fundamentals of fooling the marks: misdireciton, the force …
A novelist is an illusionist. Great ones can let you see what they’re doing and still entertain. Educate too. Houdini. The Amazing Randi.

Leonard here like shows you the illusion from the audience perspective. The illusion works. Meantime, the camera’s been on an imperceptibly slow pan toward the side of the stage. We see the behind the facade. We see what the assistants are doing, that they’re not just decoration. The illusion is exposed. Now you think the camera track is over, done, accomplished. No, you’re just in the middle of the shot. Wait till you see what it looks like from overhead, so gracefully arrived at that you didn’t even realize you were looking at the same stage, that the trick with sawing the lady in half is really the same trick as the one with the lion and the Ferrari.

When you realize that in the second case, the illusionist is still the criminal, and that the duped audience is the police and court system … !

Elmore Leonard’s Rev Dawn: my chap three
… When you realize that in the second case, the illusionist is still the criminal, and that the duped audience is the police and court system … !
and I think of my own case coming up.
I tell my lawyer the irony of courts getting witnesses to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth … What? The greatest philosophers can’t swear that. Truth? What does a court room have to do with truth? I said to him, when the government wants to get a man to the moon, who do they hire? a bunch of lawyers? judges? No, scientists.
And now, far from for the first time, but from a fresh perspective, I think of the court room.
When I was 19 or so I wrote about the pulpit as a stage, the Puritan ascent as related to the closing of the theaters from the plague. If the people couldn’t get their entertainment from Shakespeare, they’d get it from Dr Donne, Dean of Pauls, and out in the sticks, from John Bunyan …
My obsession these decades with a democracy having a judge elevated on a “bench”, the court as stage.
Now I think of the jury, assigned to their seats, the audience for the illusions.
Rational inquiry can’t tolerate being shown the evidence from the hand of the prosecutor. then you get to handle it in the jury room. That’s like the magician showing you he has nothing in his sleeves.
Part of any good illusion is the magician’s inviting the marks to inspect this and that. The inspection always controlled by the illusionist.

The Amazing Randi goes with the Skeptical Inquirer to the house with the poltergeist. They don’t want to let that “magician” in there. That’s because, as a magician, he won’t passively inspect the set up as instructed. He won’t just see that you have nothing up your sleeve. He’ll also want to look in your pants, under the stage, behind the curtain.

profession
why doesn’t each discipline publish a digest of its knowledge/beliefs, annually? Biannually? Each half century?
Why instead do we listen to one doctor tell the tv magazine host today that salt is bad for us, and tomorrow listen to another tell us it’s good for us?
For the same reason that we still go to church to hear the bible read to us. Civilization still hasn’t absorbed printing. How can we understand the information age?

movies
This evening I watched Captain Kidd, Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, Carradine Pere …
A scene from the beginning has been in my mental gallery since early childhood, but till now I couldn’t have guessed what it was from: burying the treasure, the pirates demand of Kidd that they check the goods, see that nothing’s missing. They raise the lid, and there are all these glittering jeweled pieces.
So Randolph Scott is the noble son of a framed pirate. He’s turned pirate in order to clear his family name. Spies on Kidd, gets the goods, caught, claims that the kind knows about his spying and will miss and avenge him.
Lady Anne comes aboard and thinks she recognizes him. Some Spaniard promises to have her. Why haven’t they all already had her? Aren’t they pirates?
Finally the spick is snooping around while Randolph Scott is protecting her. They draw and duel. I’m sure that as a kid I was all worried about Randolph Scott, as Hollywood intended me to be. It sure looked different at age 59.
Two differences: I’ll deal with one familiar to my thinking first. First they fight with real weapons. No one gets hurt. Then they close and wrestle or hit each other with their elbows or something. Finally, some damage is done. The kung fu guys fight to a draw with the swords and numchuks, the poles etc break and now they can do the real damage with their fists and feet. Then why have we wasted all this time and all these resources inventing weaponry?
Because it’s only the primitive that we relate to as manly.
But 2 was new: Here’s the spick fighting so he can fuck her; there’s Randolph Scott fighting so that no one fucks her. !!!??? What? Where did this perversion come from. Carnivores battle for territory, prey on prey; ruminants and carnivores do single combat, male against male, to build a harem. How can a species expect to survive fighting to prevent sex? ?Why in order to protect virginity: to protect monogamy; to promote family. Fine. But she’s not his fiancée. Neither is she a “tribal” bride.
Soldiers serving the tribe is one thing: soldiers serving a master is something else.
Good for evolution? I strongly suspect not.

the term devil’s advocate comes from the Church’s practice, when evaluating the appropriateness of beatification for a candidate saint, of appointing a priest to try to poke holes in the candidate’s sanctity. a stumbling step toward science which requires an attempt at disproof in addition to the assembling of evidence in favor of a theory. So the priest play acted being from hell and speaking as the devil’s spokesman. The trouble was: he wasn’t from hell and didn’t represent the devil; he was a priest: he worked for the Church.
My own attorney in the Canfield LaCroix case reminds me to a devil’s advocate. He’s pretending to represent me, but he really works for the society, for its prejudices, blindnesses, and superstitions. If that’s true where he’ll be paid best if I win, how much truer must it be in the case of a public defender. The court appoints an attorney to defend an indigent accused: or is it “pretend to defend.” Their own testimony in this regard would of course be worthless. One needs an independent study.

Journal

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id43

/ Journal /

Digital Notebooks
1985 – 1997
Id Intros Scant Tech Style
Scant Editing

law & order: the protecting of the successful thefts of the past from unauthorized predations in the present.
Richard Feynman climaxes his essay on atomic theory with a statement about the strides the life sciences made once they established a chemical basis: look for some of the things that atoms, molecules, and combinations of atoms and molecules can do. Hello fellow complex batch of atoms. A seemingly strong stand against the spiritual, synergistic, gestalt view I’ve always preferred. But in Feynman’s mouth I don’t see them as contradictory. The history of ideas is a history of false conflicts: gradualism vs. catastrophe; tastes great/ less filling; divine plan vs accident, free will vs predetermination. Better understood, accident comes strongly to resemble divine plan. There’s more mind in evolution than in creation, not less.
But it never seems so to the programmed warriors whose knees jerk at any hint of the enemy idea.
Bucky Fuller talked about watching, say, lemmings doing this and doing that until you’re feeling pretty familiar with lemming behavior. Then all of a sudden they form completely unpredicted group behavior: mating rituals, running into the sea … You can to keep watching even after you think you know what’s what. But then with a synergistic approach, knowing about the sea runs and the mating behavior, and knowing that you don’t know what else you may be missing, you nevertheless know more than you did, have a view from more dimensions, and can make more sophisticated predictions. The early atomists could make predictions, but not very sophisticated ones. Now though, after a century of double descriptions, chemists have a far more profound idea of the behaviors implicit in a hydrogen atom … They haven’t quite brought it up to things that we know atoms do do, like make unibomers and Republican conventions. But now the synergies are more implicit in the single atom.
The whole is equal to more than the sum of its parts is true only when you don’t really have right measure of the parts, their synergies, the whole of what’s implicit in them. We know only parts of parts.
Or maybe not. Maybe there are synergies that aren’t implicit in the atoms. But it’s a good cybernetic change of balance for a better walk. Maybe at a future step we’ll have to change back.
I’ve long understood truth to be a difficult and dangerous idea, but a reason struck me with fresh clarity. Facts and theories are of different logical types that don’t mix. But “truth” is ambiguous between them.
I rethink and revise a metaphor now seen to be inappropriate: 4 something AM. I awake with a self-defeating certainty that I won’t slip right back to sleep this time. Oh well, I’ll read some more, having been at Moravia’s The Lie till 1AM. Reach back turn on the light, put on my glasses, and … need to take a moment to focus my eyes. Thinking in words. Cliché slips in like a dream. But then I dream semantics, etymology, and epistemology. As close to instantly as thinking gets I think: no, wait: it’s not the eyes that need a moment to focus; it’s the visual cortex that needs a moment to synchronize. Hours later the reformulation recurs: no, more precisely, the eyes, the visual cortex, and the rest of the cortex have to boot up. Pretty fast boot, ’cause I was reading just fine within a few seconds: extensions, control panels, everything running pretty damn quick.
political hypocrisy. link in letter to Magnificent Randy. religious hypocrisy is too familiar to need comment; what’s ubiquitous but invisible to us is our political hypocrisy. But then of course the state has become and IS our religion: taken on faith, not evidence, etc
freedom of religion is sort of like saying that one superstition is as good or bad as another. If religion is thought to have anything to do with truth, and truth is thought to have anything to do with evidence, evidence sifted through known, reasonable procedures and examinations, then freedom of worship is sort of like putting Creationism on a level with Evolution, phrenology with anatomy, astrology with astronomy …
our systems suffer from systemic wrongness. When we go down, it won’t be by Marxism or armed revolution but by simple Darwinism.
Nine and a half, ten thousand years ago, a half dozen civilizations developed, independently: wheat based civilization, the only one we “Westerners” know, talk, or care much about, bean based civilization, rice based, corn based … I think amaranth came latter, or branched off from the corn. I too will use the wheat based for example. Slowly, the wheat growers learned to †separate the wheat from the chaff. The gains would have been neither universal nor consistent. I’ll bet there still a lot of waste today, maybe more than say in ancient Egypt. This village did beter than that village, this farmer better than that. Maybe the grandson did worse than the grandfather, maybe the great grandson better than either.
Simultaneously, as Frazer and Freud review, there would have been a winnowing of core superstition from the bedlam of taboos. Somewhere, well hidden, would have been a kernel or two of science: actual technique, near knowledge.
I don’t doubt for a second that a half-dozen gods are less pathalogical or at least, less humanly confusing, than a plenitude, and that one god is simpler still.
We live at what looks like the end of an era of belief in progress. Jewish mythology is about regress, paradise followed by fall, with a sort of a progress nested within it: covenants, the sense of being “chosen,” and a messiah. Christianity runs the latter into a pathetic triumph, militaristic as well as spiritual. Yeah, we’re bad, but our superstition is gonna trample on your superstition. Pretend to believe a lot of hog wash and you’ve got the big magician where you want him: by the short hairs.
Copernicus-Darwin-Freud sent our infantilism reeling and yet it seems immortal. Now the see UFOs and the virgin in a Tampa window. Darwinians in the majority still found us to be the culmination, the apex of a directional if not directed evolution. And so have I for much of my life. I too am a child of my times, at least in part.
In the meantime, some of us became better and better at getting closer to, if not seizing, the kernels. We call it science.
I am sure that Science as an institution is just another superstition, but within it, as within the taboos, actual science sometimes dwells. (And sometimes without it.)
Do I think that your average 20th-cen man is less deceived than your average late ice-age man? No. Do I think that some 20th-cen individuals are less deceived than some late ice-agers? Yes, I think that some 20th-cen individuals are less deceived than any late ice-agers. But that could easily be a vanity.
It’s hard to tell when we can easily measure the strength of contemporary social-reality; and can only guesstimate the strength of ice-age social-reality.
But progress there has been, if only because the tools of thought that expose self-deception are published, at least for the time being, through all the extant civilizations. Not only might some individual in culture X be as smart as Newton, but that individual might also stumble on known methods of sifting experience against theory (and theory against experience). What would Newton have done if he had known of Popper? Yes, he might have become a cobbler.
I see progress (defined and objectively reviewable) in the winnowing of astronomy from astrology, of chemistry from alchemy, in the separation of philosophy from theology, and the further fractioning of epistemolgy from philosophy … Wait, what about the simplicty of one god?
What I wish we would do today is rigorously, formally, pursue those †fractions throughout the soft-sciences and on into the ahem, Humantities.*
Take, for example, economics. I see it as more akin to medieval theology than to science.
*Relate all this to my distinction above (thank you, Dr K) of the god of order from the god of magic. Another winnowing. Perhaps THE key winnowing. Now: distinguish the government of organization: post office, walkway and road builder … and the government of making the sun rise, the crops grow, the economy flourish: the government of “we’re #1.”
and suddenly I’m running out of steam, just as I get to the point I wanted to make, my enthusiam consumed by the introduction. Comme toujours. oh well, just jot some of your metaphors:
a couple of wasps studying how to get more golden eggs before actually killing the goose. ok, so now there are a couple of HongKongers and Koreans with their grip in it too. That’s worse, not better.
it separates the saved from the damned, and, that’s nice: wants the damned to be a little less damned. really?
the concept of significant numbers should enter general epistemology. If you have a number 2,157,243 which has an apparent exactness of 7 figures and a number 5,000,000, an approximation, and you wish to calculate with them, you must first determine how many figures in the round number are significant. Then discard the excess significance of the specific number, then calculate. If your 5,000,000 is significant only to the nearest million,then you have a significant number of only 1. Now you may use the appropriate inexactnesses: 2,000,000 & 5,000,000. To keep the 157,243 would yield a misleading, an unwarranted precision.
This principle should be taught to … judges, to journalists …
Ferinstance: OJ’s linen is being laundered in public. That’s wrong. Unless all laundry will now be laundered in public. There’s no significance to his being a wife beater unless it can be proved that the judge and jury are not wife beaters. We know OJ to seven significant figures but reveal ourselves to only one. That’s like playing poker, me with my cards down and you with your cards up.
But we do do that all the time. We know thousands of things about ourselves and nothing about the Martians. We don’t scruple at finding them deficient in most of these regards.
To compare us fairly, we’d have to discard much of our knowledge about ourselves as misleading.
To put me on trail against Norman Mailer you’d either have to find a jury that had never heard of either of us, and never been influenced by either of us (impossible in this culture), or, you’d have to educate the jury to know me as well as Mailer. Meaning you’d have to wait forty years till my stuff had been digested, discussed, quoted, misquoted, reprinted, worshipped, vilified … Or, you’d have to build a time machine and have the trial before anyone had heard of him.
(I’m reminded of Paulos’ museum guard who said the dinosaur was 150,000,009 years old. That’s cause he’d been at the museum for 9 years and had been told the age was 150,000,000 when he arrived.)
PhoneSex spokeswhore says: “Let your inhibitions run wild.” The very next day, there’s a movie about killer bees and the Hollywood “scientist” says, It’s “a chemical called “pheromone.” The way he says it, I guess it should be capitalized.
description vs prescription. Are both unique to hss? It strikes me that prescription is characteristic of immature thought; description, of mature. Some mental primitive might want to cover up animals. The Victorians even covered piano legs. Ooo, tell that primate not to touch his whatsis.
We have little difficulty with the zoologist who says babboon males build harems, female chimps offers their swollen genitals around generally, Lobo wolves mate for life, timber wolves … We can’t we say “hss sometimes mates for life, sometimes passes it around, sometimes …”
No: we have to prescribe: Thou shalt this and shalt not that.
Skeptical Inquirer should look into correspondence or lack thereof between institutions’ behavior and their description of their behavior. What institution could survive a truth-in-advertising inquiry?
I just articulated something to C I’ve had in mind for a decade or so, acutely in the past half a decade, that really ought to be recorded. Now I’ll bet I’ve scribbled at least a word of it here at some point, maybe a full thought. But with no cross referencing through forty-odd 100K files … If only K & I had made the present deal consciously and at the beginning, that’s all I’d have done. I’d have bought a 286 and I’d still be wordprocessing. And we’d still have $60+K. As it is, now we’re both broke, & I have to keep pursuing PIm. Anyway: invaluable metaphor:
Computer software is sold these days with statements about the hardware & systemware minimally necessary to run the software: x chip, y RAM, z free disk space …
Similarly, in college you can’t register to take Subject A 201 without evidence of some competence with Subject A 101.
But in the regular world anyone has the right and feels the freedom to ask almost anyone almost anything without either party having any way of determining whether an answer can both be given and received.
I say almost, the reservation being: few people would ask the President or the Pope the time of day no matter how proximate they happened to be. Oh, he has so many important things to do, I wouldn’t dream of … Once Einstein became a media star, no one would dream, seeing him on the street, of saying, Hey, Albert, what do you mean c is constant? Where do you get these ideas?
Bateson is a teacher with some notion of prerequisite ideas (otherwise, what was Chap 1 of Mind about?) and some notion of the general non-qualification (otherwise, why did he write it? to waste time?)
The next time someone asks me something, even something as seemingly casual as “Well, what brought you to Sebring,” I wish I could first answer, “Give me a minute :” Think, and then come back and say, “With six months preparation time, I could answer you in 600 well-organized, closely-reasoned pages that would take me, oh, thirty months, full-time, to write. Improvising, starting now, would take 1,000 fairly well-reasoned pages, and five years to write them. Actually, I could probably improvise an outline verbally in the next four hours, a short one perhaps in twenty minutes. But to even dream of attempting the short outline, I’d need assurance that you could understand the answer: x IQ, y education (autoD or formal), z disciplined attention (free disk space). I’d accept as an alternative $100,000 refundable bond before venturing the short outline. If you prove not to have understood it, or walk away in the middle, or start whistling at girls, I’ll keep the money. If you succeed in listening and understanding, then I’ll have to figure out if I can afford to finish the answer at my own expense. Or make arrangements for you or the state or posterity or god … to sponsor the effort. Oh, and I’ll happily prove, once there is such an arrangement, that this is minimally necessary. If an objective third party can demonstrate to a qualified-as-objective jury, that I could and should have done it faster or more briefly, I guarantee to cooperate in doing whatever I can to make a full refund.
In the meantime, I insist on my right to recognize that not 1% of the questions I been asked in the last thirty years have been responsibly asked; Furthermore, I see a pattern, a conspiracy (of the assuredly unconscious variety): the ignorant instinctively and unerringly knowing how to protect their status from the incipiently wise: start them going and then walk away. You won’t stop them, but you will make them stumble. You’ll vitiate their vitality for sure. The trouble is: even someone 99.9999% of whose seed is wasted, in the bed sheets, in their hand, in someone’s ass, in someone’s mouth, in someone’s vaginal spermicide, in issuing at an unfertile period … even that someone can have a normal number of offspring, even a maximal number of offspring. Nature makes a lot of whatever it wants to have a chance of success. If there’s too few of me, the fault is in the ecology itself.
“We didn’t come to play, we came to win,” some football player says as he winks at the camera and gently hands the ball off the where the camera’s stomach would be if the camera were a somewhat normal hss. But when they interview Michael Jordan before the 96 finals, he says something to the effect of, “Play your ass off, and see what happens.” The latter statement is sane; the former insane. So much of our culture, nearly all of the most actively publicized part, is insane. But how consciously? We know we’re lying? The football player winks. He hands the ball off not like John Elway: give you a hernia if you’re not in shape and expecting it; but like an alpha male relaxing with his subordinates: the chuck under the chin could be a death blow if he so wished (and you’re on the team only if you don’t flinch or fight back: the alpha male is the alpha male by agreement throughout the four years; he’s not the king of the wood (Diana’s), unable to sleep for having to look over his shoulder.)
And I’m gonna cut through the development I’d intended and skip through to a point that occurs to me only as I think of that horror near Nemi. Civilization, survival of large numbers of hss, depend on our history, our myths, NOT being literally true. The survival of the fittest is really the survival of those mutually imaged as fit. If we really wanted to know who was #1, just start the bloodbath until there’s no one left to cut (or able to inflict another cut.) SuperSunday is an exercise is all cadidates agreeing that they’re not candidates, the strongest male is the one who at 70 couldn’t fight his way out of a paper bag. Madden’s all team: no active players, no Madden players, no one ever affiliated with CBS? Whis is this shit?
Just like Xity: we’ve chosen our savior; now no one else, no one living, may try to save us. Sit down; watch the pagent; you ain’t the star. The star can’t be the star until he’s dead. Otherwise, how could we control him. God forbid, he might try to control us. God forbid, he might succeed.
also apropos: we teach Shakespeare to children: put a ceiling on their ambitions. Oh, yes, it’s a high ceiling, a very high ceiling, but never the less a ceiling. ditto Homer with the Greeks, Moses with the Jews. I think humans would be the least pathologically human without writing, without history, and with a tradition against remembering any long poems.
early school arranges the environment to exagerate our (very real) helplessness-we’re taught about George Washington, Jesus & Ghadhi; later school arranges the environment to exaggerate our (I suppose) uniqueness-the high school football star gets his picture in the paper before getting hit by Mean Joe Green, the high school or college play star is touted locally like a genuine media star. (Of course, even “genuine” is still parochial (maybe less so now than before since American tv is popular elsewhere): Americans confuse the US with the world (rather they confuse the world (cultural) with the biosphere (planetary), (and the SolSys with the universe, the universe with the cosmos, etc.) The Beetles were famous, Frank Sinatra is famous, Pavorotti is famous … but as famous as Om Kalthoum? My favorite example can’t be communicated to anyone I know because we’ve never heard of her. Still, at least thirty years ago, she was the most famous musician in the (planetary) world. With Ravi I guess second.
Of course school in some way is a necessary invention in a world too big for the individual culture let alone the individual individual. We need to make small ponds within the Everglades, seas within the ocean.
responsibility: this AM in the shower I was remembering Caroline’s bland assurance as she told me that she didn’t feel responsible for slavery. She said it as though “feel responsible” was a satisfactory equivalent of “be responsible.” She wasn’t a racist. She had never been a racist. Growing up in Louisville, “Blacks” (we all now call them) were just the servants. She “never thought anything about it.” Again, unconsiousness offered as of equal value to truth.
As I had plans for the relationship (and she did indeed, invest a little money, not to mention, suck my dick), I didn’t say as much as I would have liked. Obviously, I’d already said more than a dangerous amount. But: it’s Abbot & Costello again. “share and share” alike. Abbot always cons Costello, always cheats him, always under the banner of some admirable slogan. In the next episode, he’s at it again, the counter always reset to zero, never showing: “Abbot is now $255,134.24 ahead, not counting variable interest rates over thirty years.” What I hate most about us isn’t that we say we didn’t personally slaughter the Cherokee: we didn’t (it was done for us); it’s that we keep their land while agreeing that it was wrong to slaugher them.
OK, we didn’t personally enslave, rape, or lynch, but we do drive on the roads built by the labor of the raped … without offering to pay recompense.
this AM just reviewing the history of civilization with C. context was little girl paying her father back for some slight, real or imagined, by howling rape. the cops & courts, of course believe her. the other day, C comes twice into the range of my pirouetting as I cook her a French omlette. For six years, I tell her a thousand times: the kitchen is yours except when I’m cooking for you. & when I’m cooking a French omlette, the whole of which has to be coordinated, into a 30 second climax, then the kitchen is absolutely mine, don’t even cross five feet away. I whirl to get the cheese and bump her arm: she’s standing behind me, her coffee sloshes over the rim into the sink. a thousand times she’s disregarded our agreement, but this is the first time contact has actually been made. I remind her of the pact in no uncertain terms, fortunately missing only a beat and a half in my performance. Ten seconds later, I spin away from the stove, a pound and a half of red iron swirling nearly smoked fat in my left hand … and she’s standing right behind me. I abort the omlette and try to elicit from her some recognition of the obligation of agreements. As always, accused, no matter of what, C is innocent. Somewhere in the next minute or so I grap her wrist so she can’t turn away from me: she must acknowledge responsibility. Feeling the restraint, she does what she always does. (I feel like a gaucho in a Borges knife story, utterly helpless in an ancient, fatal ritual) The neighbors hear her shriek and here come the sheriff’s men. I tell them what happened. They go tell her to get away from me. She tells them I didn’t hurt her, she tells them I never hurt her. The cops don’t believe either of us! Families aren’t allowed to discipline themselves: discipline is for the cops, the army, the courts … Restraint is violence and violence is always wrong. They why are you carrying a gun? Why did you handcuff the nigger? Why are his kidney’s purple where you sticked him?
So I’m telling C about how civ has fashions of who is believed. That nigger is screaming: why? I’m castrating him cause he sassed me. Oooo, bad nigger, and everybody kicks him in the face. I’m helpless to stop H from taking BK from me. The cops, the courts will stick up for the mother. Of course H will be equally helpless when the cops the courts want to take BK from her. She’s a child molester, a witch, has satanic rituals … Evidence? They never need any evidence; just the prevailing presumptions. father bad; mother good. mother bad; society good.
so I find myself reviewing the history (with necessarily mythic simplicity, quasi-Freud).
First, there’s nature. territory, but no Property. law, but no Law. The lion shits on this square meter of ground. The ants kill and drag off the wounded wasp. The hyena licks its clit. The woman pauses and adjusts her sling. Someone from another group sees it and kills her for it. There’s no crime because there’s no Law. the turf is there for whatever use or non-use anything makes or doesn’t make of it.
Agriculture changes that. The famers have invested time in the crop. Now the cattle and the other groups have to be kept from trampling it. Soon there’s excess food and popultation for the farmers and starvation for the cattle and those who follow them. The famers mutiply; the herders shrink. Or the herders kill the farmers and eat their stores. (they they too die because the herds are kaput. unless they learn to farm) Or the herders kill just enough of the farmers to rule them: Here, you grow the grain while we manage the enterprise: our commission is 90%.
Eventually, the 10%ers find they can gang up on some faction of the 90%ers, getting a deal where a faction of the management gets 60% of 88% while the 10%ers now get 12%.
And so forth into contemporary civilization where management and slaves are mixed, of say something closer to 60/40, and where the government’s primary job is still to make sure that Property remains subtracted from nature, whatever the cost. a subsidiary function is to redistribute the excess wealth. In one era the priests will get it, in another the military, now the males, then the females …
this of course all ties in with female dominance even of a male dominated civilization. again with mythic simplicity: conformity is the female priciple; breaking new trails, the male. The Laps castrate their ahem “wild” reindeer if they show any non-conformist leadership. So the herd is actually more domesticated than wild. Fine, so long as their luck holds out. But when there’s change, chances favor the new trail over the old. So, in the long run, civilization is suicide. Conservative is lunatic. The female, the trustworthy guardian of the status-quo is its executioner. We do good when neither principle wins, but when the war surges back and forth. Cybernetic.
cops and courts weight the war eccentrically. very dangerous.
so we don’t survive? so what? fuck us. did we “deserve” to survive? on what grounds? certainly not intelligent self-interest.
ah, but what about me? what about me. the individual in a social species’ only decent chance is with the group. but what if the group can’t be reformed? then you might as well have been an Al Capone and enjoyed your syphilis the best you could. because there is no salvation except as a group: darwinian; not Xian. (fragmenting into selfish spiders cannot be regarded as salvation for a social species; survival, yes, salvation, no..
double description
it drives me crazy that hypertext publishing, which to me is ideal for tracing meta-levels, is trvialized for such bullshit. EG: my music system, apparently equally incomprehensible to both musicians and philistines: the musicians have learned the old system, it functions for them. who has time? the Philistines don’t know what’s going on. so how do they know if it’s well depicted?
but picture this: a contest is held inviting musicians or mathematicians or anyone to propose a composite graph that would allow a seven + zero number system to be mapped easily onto a 12 base system. Now show a stack of such graphs, the zeros making vertical identities as roots do in/as octaves. Color code them vertically and make the code intuitive and permanent. Say: use the order of light in a rainbow for familiarity. Now, anyone can see that with a little practice, anyone could tell nearly instanty which octave they were looking at even if they see only a fragment.
make the graph analogic to the extent that octave, fifth, third, etc divide evenly as physics but not in any way showable in a ten base number system. Now, there’s no way for the beginner to see the scale as evenly stepped. The difference between minor thirds and major thirds will be visually evident.
(now those differences are emotionally perceptable to most of us, but are not auditorily perceptible except to a trained and talented few) now accidentals show as what they are.
OK, the octaves are color coded. Now chose a different method of visual differenciation for triads from the root and triads not from the root. C major and G7 will have the same color but different saturation, different something. They’ll clearly be first cousins, not twins.
Weird chords could have a halo of color from the octave they come from in the cycle of fifths physical hierarchy. see the overtones, as well as hear/feel them!
Now, transcribe Bach’s 2 part invension #1 into this system. Or some perhaps more familiar piece: something from the Ana Magdalena Notebook, something from Mozart.
Now, hyperpublish it so that long views and closeups can appear in windows on the same page, separately manipulable by the viewer.
Now tell me that any ordinary moron wouldn’t understand music in an hour that Bernstein didn’t understand till an nth year of grad school.
assignment 2: do it all over again for a pentatonic against a 12. Hyperpublish a blues in all three systems. Show them simultaneously in three windows. Blues bands would soon be performing in front of light screens that just showed the hyper-published score. No performance of music would be regarded as difinitive unless accompanied by a profound transcription of the score. Criticism could become objective for the first time. Irrelevant bullshit unless you can show it as an improved hypertranscription.
competing interpretations could compete head to head with everyone in the audience seeing as well as hearing that the substance of the disagreement is.
assignment 3: do it all over again for ragas, etc. there’s no reason to assume that one notation system is adequate for all music systems. Mine, however is a system of systems. PK’s meta-system.
put a new idea on Sh into the Sh ƒ today
†fractional epistemology: see above (1352)
†separate order from transcendental mysticism
we throw disparate things into one basket as an aid to sloppy thinking, rendering clear thinking all the more difficult. Let’s take a familiar bag that gets bigger and bigger all the time: Jesus
Jesus
a man, a name, the name of a man, the name of a dead man, the name of a famous dead man, a synonym for Jehovah, the first name of a man whose surname is Christ, the only name of a man whose title, according to some, is Christ, a name which can stand as a synecdoche for sayings such as “Blessed are the poor” …
Let’s separate some of these things, acknowledging in advance that more than one distillation could be true, ditto false, ditto fractional :
1. Outside the Xian Bible there is Judaic evidence of a Jesus who was a famous rabbi. Let’s ignore the ambiguity of the word rabbi for the moment. Let’s also go right ahead and give this view a very high probability of being true (in no way limiting what else might also be true).
2. There is similar Judaic evidence of a Jesus who was a great magician. same man? different man? same man at different stages of his career? same man seen differently by friends? same man seen differently by enemies? We can’t here ignore the ambiguity of the word magician, not wisely. Readers of Frazier will see huge areas in common between the concepts of rabbi and magician, god and magician, shaman and magician, con man and magician, conned man and magician … In fact we shouldn’t postpone discussing “rabbi” either: teacher, priest, liason between non-magician and the big magician (the Jews’ Mono-Magician) … Readers of the Bible will immediately recognize the importance of magicians in Canaan/Egypt/Palestine/… Moses and God’s magician versus the magicians of the Pharoah, etc. It must also be recognized that the demonstrations reported in the Bible, sticks turning into snakes, etc. are tricks that can still be seen on the streets of Calcutta. The fakery so routinely being exposed should make any real magician, supposing for a moment there could be such a thing, think twice before doing a miracle: who cares what the boobs think; but you’d be prejudicing the average intelligent person against you. If I could do miracles, I’d conceal them. Let’s tentatively give this view a moderate probabilty of being true, also admitting at once that it could be argued that it’s probabilty were nearly equal to 1’s, or even greater than 1’s. I was brought up with Jesus the Rabbi, called rabbi in the text, so I immediatly favor 1.
Claims made in the Bible:
3. Son of Man
4. Son of God
And claims associated with interpretations of the Bible (admitting at once that there’s no clear line between “made” and “interpreted.”)
5. aspect of triune God
6. …
I have no idea how to rate 3,4, … in terms of fractional, probabalistic truth without some clear statement of what they mean. If you can’t interpret it, you can’t rate it (though you can recommend it to the trash).
But I believe I’ve gone far enough for it to be clear: separated and quantified, “Jesus” can be talked about responsibly; with everything undifferentiated in a single basket, it’s a juggernaut without steering or brakes (or liability or insurance).
if you want to speak the truth, it may be necessary to learn (or to invent) a new language.
social ideals such as justice encourage us in the delusion that society has a power that it doesn’t, and perhaps can’t ,have.
trying to tell C:
to distinguish between battling for territory and predation. also, within territoriality, is the battle intra-species or inter-species? Where males battle other males of the same species to control the turf that a harem may be gathered to, strength, courage, honor, etc are in order; where you’re hunting for food, stealth, cunning, duplicity, etc rule. Shooting squirrels and gathering them into a bag has nothing to do with courage or honor. The sensible predator attacks the weak first. First and always the weak.
human warfare is a confusion of all of the above.*
she saw no humor in my example of Jurassic Park vis à vis evolution and learning (which I then compared to martial films since Yojimbo). The dinosauria we pay repeated attention to in that film are all predators: veloceraptors, T. rex … Jurassic Park is populated with men in the prime of life, working as teams with heavy equipment and weaponry plus a couple of unhealthy office types who mostly stay indoors. The island is then visited by a scientist, his grad asst/squeeze, a mathematician, an aged carney whose project JP is, and two children: a boy maybe 8 or 10 and a girl maybe 11 or 12. First a few crewmen get gobbled. then the fat nerd within a few minutes of his venturing outside on his own. The lawyer & the mathematician come next. Meantime, the two children are out all night in the jungle with the scientist. Etc. By the end, everybody’s been gobbled or at least mauled except for the scientist, the grad-squeeze, the old carney, and the two kids. Finally a few predators went after the kids, but didn’t get anywhere. The lion hunters are all dead meat, elephant guns and all; the women, children and old men are fine. So how come we haven’t revised our view of who’s strong and who’s weak. Why don’t we give the macho marines discharges and recruit old farts and prepubes for the military?
For the same reason I guess that the bad guys, when 30 or 40 of them, wielding chains, Uzis, numchuks … surround empty handed Chuck Norris, don’t scream and beg for mercy: in film land, the record is
army of bad guys 0 : unarmed good guy 10,000
but the bad guys seem to think they have the advantage. Wholly without statistical support.
*(a few hours later 48 Hours comes on the tube. Audience sympathy has so much to do with controlled application of those confusions. The bad guys grab whores and hotel clerks as shields against cop bullets.
2/9: Aliens is on. Newt is added as a survivor. originally, it was just the skinny flat girl: SW. So the Darwinian fittest is scrawny and female. I love substitute mom SG going up against the truly fecund mom with a flame thrower. My other favorite themes were much in evidence: 1) they all shoot heavy artilliary at each other while within fragile environments. How many submariners put out their shooters and blast in all directions while submerged? No, they shoot torpedos at other ships, not everybody shoot everybody while on board. How come they don’t explain why they’re all still safe shooting laser amidships in Star Wars? 2) the monster is introduced as striking like lightning with no warning. We spend 4/5 of the picture seeing the outsider as undetectable and irresistable. Then, in the climax, the monster stops attacking and starts posing. The Alien doesn’t hiss and slaver at Bishop, just impales him from long distance; but instead of doing the same to SG, now we have long closeups, a lot of anthropomorphic body language, all bark, no bite.
is hypocrisy necessary in a social species? in an evolving social species? If not necessary, is it unavoidable? If necessary, of, if unavoidable, what damage is done by preaching against it? If it is both unnecessary and avoidable, then what harm is done by failing to win the war against it?
2/13/97 Perry Mason: how could I never have thought of this before this week? I’ve long gotten a kick out of how Hamilton Berger remained the public prosecutor despite his never visibly winning a case, despite his always attacking the wrong person, despite his always being the last one to see that he’s done it again: harassed an honest citizen. And then, we never hear an apology from him. No, he and that cop look at Perry as though it’s his fault that they’re perennially wrong, as though the truth were a trick. I’ve long gotten a kick out of how everyone in the courtroom always turns out to be guilty of a host of crimes: everyone except the accused that is. Not counting Perry and the regular cast, everyone is guilty of something.
But now it strikes me: what about the jury? How come they’re never exposed? For being tampered with? for seeking publishing deals? for lying during the selection? and never ever, for being the actual murderer?
But of course. The jury is like the chorus in a Greek tragedy: always the innocent, helpless victims in a drama in which they participate only as victims of the actions of the protagonists*. And the protagonists are always kings and gods and prophets; never the public. No, the public is never guilty. Oedipus moves us because, like any HSap, he looks out; but, unlike the majority, he winds up seeing in. He has finally an honesty not shared by the group. Nixon was exposed, not the American public.
*There’s a school that maintains that the noun “protagonist” cannot be plural, that there’s only one principal character in a drama. I am obviously not following that school at this moment.
my goal is to find the axis where subjective and objective coincide
Garrison Keillor: everything is done from behind a deadpan mask, a mask witfully crafted to portray exactly the same things as what’s masked
govt is so that the people who opposed a reform can get credit for that reform once they finally yield to the still anonymous promoters, mostly long dead, of that reform
people will help as well as applaud your going for the brass ring; they will neither help nor applaud your merely trying to stay alive so you can work your ass off for their benefit.
Tenure; freedom of speech-why do we have to keep inventing the same thing over and over, and then, still not have it? Not even those with tenure, since the great majority of teachers got it only by straight-jacketing themselves as a part of getting in line for it.
The modern world has split into two new factions that can’t and generally don’t want to mutually communicate: the ordinary and the rational. Needless-to-say, the are no individuals in the latter group who are 100% rational 100% of the time and few individuals if any in the former group who are 0% rational 100% of the time. The difference is in who trusts the faulty reasoning they inherited and who makes an attempt to keep up with the evolution of reason. There is no guild of the latter group whose membership can be trusted merely on the basis of their claiming to be in it. No, each claim to reason has to be probed on its own merits, without regard to the status of the claimant. A Nobel laureate does not speak ex cathedra any more than does any pope or guru.
A fast way to recognize who’s who just occurred to me last night: it involves a paradigm shift that I don’t imagine too many others can yet be aware of. I’ll introduce it by way of an implicit analogy.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet refers to events of the future as behind him; contemporary culture thinks of itself as walking forward, it’s keen primate vision a reliable prophecy, whereas as recently as the Renaissance, a smart young man would think of himself as backing into the unknown future, his awareness on the past, things experienced, things heard, things that can be remembered.
Now. Pay attention. Members of the former group, the ordinary, those who trust familiar fallacies, speak of the truth in metaphors appropriate to an extensional object, a fairly sturdy object, one that can be safely handled and even tossed around a bit without distortion, let alone dissolution. In contrast, that nearly invisible, barely audible minority, who pursue reason the way a virtuoso rehearses scales, think of the truth as neither visible nor graspable, indeed, not a thing at all, but (rather like a sculptor who sees an essence implicit in the marble, keeps chipping away everything that isn’t that essence) speak of truth in metaphors appropriate to a spirit never fully visible, never graspable without utter destruction of its symmetries, and always not fully revealed.
If there is a guild that in any way deserves credit for keeping its reasoning tools in working order and up to date, it’s science. In his basic primer on reasoning, Mind and Nature (1979), Gregory Bateson wrote that science can disprove theories, that science can improve theories, but that science can never prove theories. Further, he discusses Korzybski’s map/territory distinction, simultaneously admitting psychology’s finding that the human brain doesn’t seem to be “wired” to allow individual minds consistent awareness of the distinction between the events in space/time and our symbol systems that we intend represent them. In other words, it is possible for human beans to know that something is not true; it is not possible for us to know what is true.
the above got edited a bit as I published it on the net: 40ess.htm
added before id0 this Tue, Mar 11, 1997:
In the most sceptical heart there lurks at such moments, when the chances of existence are involved, a desire to leave a correct impression of the feelings, like a light by which the action may be seen when personality is gone, gone where no light of investigation can ever reach the truth which every death takes out of the world.
Conrad, Nostromo p 196
Decoud writing to his sister, pausing neither to eat nor drink,
while the revolution is crashing the world about his ears.
WWII ciphering show last night referred to Etoin Shrdlu (if I’m spelling it right). I think they had it slightly different than Hoffstetter. And added: least used letters: JKXQZ. Now, I know how Kodak went about their name; did Jacuzzi do the same? First time I ever thought: ET! Did Spielberg do the same in reverse?
Kojiro & the Truth. My decision that Kurasawa is the greatest of all filmmakers hasn’t wavered since the very early ’70s. (Hell, and in the early ’60s I felt confident that my choice of Fellini was permanent.) It wasn’t long though before I knew that not all Japanese films were Kurasawa. Gates of Hell won an award in the late ’50s. So did Samurai, though I’d missed seeing that one till the ’60s. But both of them, despite Mifune starring in the latter, were Hollywood-does-Walter-Scott in comparison.
Anyway, I loved Samurai, Duel at Ichijo Temple, and Bushido, the Inagaki trilogy, almost as much as I loved Roshomon and The Seven Samurai, despite the pretty but static tablaux and the bullshit philosophy. In fact, at least a couple of scenes from Duel have proved over the decades to have become basic metaphors with me: Mifune’s chopsticks is in my In the Park, and Korjiro’s death is never too long from my thoughts.
Kojiro duels Musashi. Mifune as Musashi shows up with a wooden katana, one he’s just carved on the way over. His wakizashi is in his belt. Hell, don’t forget: Musashi’s pen name was Ni Ten: “Two Heavens”: two swords, Kojiro, two! They duel and duel. They both jump like ninja. Kojiro comes down missing half of his vital organs. Musashi’s drawn the wakizashi when Kijiro couldn’t see it. Loving closeup of his dying angel face. He’s smiling. His smile is beatific. One of revelation. He lived his life for Bushido and he dies enlightened: “Ah, now I know: he’s better than me!”
So how come all the people I’ve encountered, social-realists all, get angry when they hear the truth? (correction: when their fallacies are exposed, and non-fallacies offered as substitutes.)
Man can’t live without nature. Nature, in its instanciation as the biomass of Planet Earth, can’t live with Man. Not normally, not healthily, not with civilized, mechanized, industrialized, atomic man. In fact man has proved to be an enemy of a diverse biomass since the Late Pleistocene Overkill. The choice is simple: either One or Neither of us can survive.
For both to survive (I don’t mean for another century, or for another dozen centuries; I mean indefinitely, until a new catastrophe reshuffles the deck) and flourish, man would have to become a very different cultural pheonomenon, perhaps a different species.
I don’t believe that the latter is a choice we can make, not consciously, not politically, not deliberately. Not without some hard-learning at the hands of a not totally fatal catastrophe.
If we wait for nature to make the choice for us, it’ll be a very different, unrecognizable nature doing the choosing.
I am prepared to believe that this society could not exist in its present condition with its present population, beliefs, security, prosperity, etc. without the present government. I realize that that government protects us from worse societies and worse governments. The trick is: it also prevents us from becoming a better society, with a better organization.

Journal

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id ep

/ Journal /

Digital Notebooks
1985 – 1997
Id Intros Scant Tech Style
Scant Editing

id ep (an early attempt to organize by category, starting with one of the most important)
search id files for more. this is only part. then shuffle with synthesis notes on the C64
we need a new beginning. all zeros are arbitrarily located anyway, right? reset the clock. the OT resets the clock with Adam and Eve, the “first” man and the first woman (or the first man and woman), the first family, the first creatures with “language”: they name things. Their children are Cain and Abel. So, the various scientific disciplines set a date (ie a range of limits) of 40, to 45,000 years ago for the emergence of homo sapiens sapiens, homo habilis 2 or so million years ago. The jewish monotheists reset the clock to some vague bunch of generations of long-lived patriarachs before themselves. So where is zero? Somewhere in the fertile crescent somewhere after the independent “invention” there of agriculture and somewhere just before conflict between the two sorts of land use prevalent among humans at the time: reserving land for crops, creating “property,” and reserving land for migrant herding and herding, creating “territory.” (The latter category being far more deeply embedded in animal, especially mammal, relationships with symbionts such as grass lands and forest lands. Etc. Etc.
The NT resets the clock with the “birth,” unknown, so more or less of course, of Jesus. The resettings aren’t exact in either case because they didn’t think to use zero. They didn’t know it, they forgot, anyway, the rest of us suffer confusion till today because our normal arithmetic has only odd relationships with our calendars. Hardly better than among musicians. Anyway, whatever else he was or did, it seems clear with or without an historical trust in the details of the gospels, that someone with charisma and a clear understanding of creatura, gave his life under unpleasant circumstances rather than back down on a life devoted to promoting higher levels of social unity. Be virtuous, be charitable, bring the world together in virtue, charitably. Also be patient; nothing else works.
Virtue? translate kosher. Kosher? yes, but take it easy. bring the world together. Be charitable. Be patient.
Sounds pretty secular to me. It has to be wrong: the whole thing was about god. Right? Right! god, virtue, kosher. self- and social- discipline. a common oddness. identify the group. this is at one with Adam’s naming of things, only it’s higher. that is to say, there’s another dimension involved. The creation (in creatura, of course) of a class. we. we jews. we lovers of unity. we pursuers of monism. we believers in the interconnectedness of all things. well, maybe not ALL things … hell we’re barely into the bronze age, after all. yet if everything is “one,” then how can you tell the difference between anything? how can you distinguish between a man and a maggot? (both classes of “thing,” having existence only in creatura.) ah, by being kosher don’t you see. there is only one god, and he’s ours, and we’re equal (among us mature males), and we’re superior because we’re “chosen.”
Anyway, if mammal males fought to death in territorial and mating displays, there wouldn’t be any mammal species covering the planet. if victors in group contests, the water hole, land use, female availability …, killed the vanquished .. the tables might be turned as to who was the victor, and/or there wouldn’t be too many groups competing for anything. if surviving adults didn’t care for all surviving children regardless of parentage (charity for orphans), if land grabbers left the evicted with no land rather than with inferior land, … etc etc. There ain’t no future, baby, no present, and no past. Does that mean that we’re perfection? Hey, evolution has a purpose and that purpose is us? No: it’s our business to steer the course cybernetically, ratify the same direction or change that direction, and be prepared for outside input: the crops fail, the rains move, the volcano erupts, California moves northwest and underwater. (But, you see, California also has existence only in creatura: so in fact CA hasn’t moved NW and underwater, but the idea of CA has the idea moved the idea NW and the idea underwater. That portion of extensional territory which we called “CA” and which no longer has the same extensional proportions simply did its thing, which we see as through a glass, darkly.
Etc. etc. anyway: It’s time for a clock reset again in my mind. This time make it zero and place the zero anywhere around some planetary and or celestial and or political coincidence. When the sun and IBM headquarters and Gregory Bateson’s location at the moment of concludng a contract with the publisher of Mind and Nature all line up. Zero.
And then, let’s build a future society for a viable species in a viable ecology. We’ll start with refurbishing the most widespread natural language: English. We’ll use the fuzz and indefiniteness and conflicting pronunciations and meanings and histories of current English to build a new artificial language in which terms are definded or left clearly undefined, axioms are announced, anyone showing skill may participate, the punishment for obfuscation is severe whether planned or accidental, while at the same time, charity and patience are observed.
A new epistemology, based in but not slave to tradition.
Rules of thought are declared, but declared to be a model to be improved upon, endlessly open to refinement, identity with the truth (ie where the map and the territory are one) infinitely remote, though any position, anywhere, can be worked from. And always GB’s emphasis “toward” an epistemology … “steps toward …”
Rules severe for arguing under a misidentified epistemology: such as “I am right and you are wrong because I can snarl your rules (which you must then be ensnared in) like a kitten, entropy, and a ball of yarn while you cannot ensnare me because I don’t follow any rules. (exept to persue my own imagined advantage) (Geo Bush & G Ferara)
I propose the above, plus, but I don’t insist that GB be the model, start with anything universally agreed upon to be the standard. Greenwich pronunciation (who in Greenwich? on what day?). any epistemology (so long as there can then be negative statements of it).
Or let it be democratically elected (this is creatura after all, not “reality”), the requirement of citizenship being proof of understanding the terms. (Most important first problem: how to define terms starting with no defined terms to use in defining them.) ah but we’re already into the cybernetic evolutioary circuit. zero is arbitrary. we’re just marking a place in the loop, a place in time, quickly lapped and relapped. ZoroAstrian. Newtonian. Einsteinian. Quantum. Boolian. But then, seek out the inadequacies. bring the skeletons out of the closet.
List what one can enlist in (and be caught being recusant to):
I-y) embrace the rule of parsimony. I-n) I do not embrace the rule of parsimony.
II-y) I assume that “reality” is perceivable and our perceptions testable. II-n) I don’t. or rather, it doesn’t matter what answer I give because it’s all equally meaningless.
See, even the word “equally” has no meaning here. Irony, yes. meaning, no. Still, it might be useful to distinguish those who claim meaning for their utterances and are willing to examine it publically and those who deny meaning to human utterance, especially those who deny meaning to human utterance excepting theirs (except that there’s no way they’ll stand still for examination.)
note added 7/25/87: the universe doesn’t stand still for us either. our frantic (fruitless) search for a unmoved mover, a still center of things. which moves, the sun or the earth? oh no: not both! then how do I draw my map? we still haven’t figured out how to draw it so that top and bottom are arbitrary or relative and that north is likewise conventional, not real.
can significance be “proved” of an utterance even if it’s utterer denies it? “equal” in above, eg. Mark Twain denied any “meaning” in Huck Finn. Can he have been right? Literally? literally?
What would happen if a scientist, I mean a real scientist, fell into a world with a religious epistemology. Or if a x’ian saint fell into a scientific world? (Why it happens all the time.) Simultaneous alternate universes where we actually see each other. Communicate? No, no, hear noises from each other, but not communicate.
epis: we need a clear (by clear I mean a humble “we’re working on it”) statement of hierarchy of conscious assumption with some clarity of overlap into unconscious (or would that be courting even greater disaster?) with the part which is overlap as clear as possible (the over lap would have to be a statistical distribution based on somebody’s guess (based on “objective” “tests”).
Occam’s razor
consistency/contradiction
rules of perception (ie perception of perception)
would a good map of logical types show a clear structure like a scaffolding? Or would much remain so overlapping as to be hidden like the undercoats in a Klee painting?
what if they made a mandelbrot set?
Newton’s universe implied an attitude to KNOWLEDGE that was at once practical, optimistic and CONFIDENT.
Perceptual conveniencies, fictions, like “the atom”
the whole point of Santa Claus is that he isn’t real (but that generosity is)
any idea of reality, to begin to be objective, should be subject (pun?) to review by at least a second space/time coordinate. double description. modern vs old fashioned. old fashioned? that was the golden age. golden age? what did those sheep herders know? why should we care what Abraham, that old tent arab, thought?
modern medicine says … yeah, but Galen said … even if we knew what future medicine would say, why should we trust the authority of that future age? Woody Allen’s future doctor tells him to inhale deeply of a cigar. and to eat chocolate.
once you have a sense of eplistemological relativity, you don’t have to know what’s true. you’re not just skeptical, believing nothing (by definition, not able to function, not able to live, to be viable for another second, but to live like a backgammon player. I don’t know what the next roll is going to be, but my decisions will be based on expecting more combination or direct sixs or combination sevens than snake eyes or box cars.
we also won’t be surprised when the reigning whatever thinks it’s found fundamental something: god, atomic theory, no, it’s quarks, we’re within an inch of solving physics, GUTS, all we need is to figure out where gravity comes in.
our ancestors worships stocks and stones, but we’ve finally got the true belief. it isn’t a barge which drags the sun across the sky, it’s a chariot. no, silly, the solar system is a nest of perfect crystals. no, it’s a bunch of universes, millions and billions: millions of millions. we like big numbers these days. and maybe it’s true, but there’s every historical reason to suspect that it’s not the end. every reason of vanity to believe that it is. we’re it. the unlimate. we are what evolution, creation, whatever, is for.
anyway, if there are ultimates, we are not creatures of them, we are creatures of the part, of the inside. we don’t lack perspective; perspective is exactly what we have: point of view, limitation, incompleteness. even multiple points of view, accumulated knowledge, wisdom, experience, reading Tolstoy and Shakespeare and living awake and studying history and science, etc, maximizes, doesn’t become all enclusive. god, or the whole, is precisely what we are not. (and neither are the gods most religions typically worship. a god of the jews, of the germans, of the motherland, fatherland, … it’s all fragments. even a god of good. Chaucer’s Saturn, the god of chaos, is more the god of gods than jupiter is. and certainly not venus or mars. and certainly not any manichaen god of light or good. he’s devided already.
but that’s already very ambitious, to include even half of things. see this half? that’s the whole. great. boy, are we smart. see that mountain over there? we’re right on top of it. now we’re not lost.
run down objective/ subjective. quote Paulo Freire.
cf a book in a library to files on a disk. does the book “contain” anything while it’s on the shelf? information is an artifact of the perceiver. but, old materialist us, we imagine the book to be the same whether or not we are looking at it. (cf the ?: is the Sh I read the same as the Sh Y or Z reads? Y or Z may be more literate than I or less. It would be difficult to impossible for I, Y, & Z to be of “equal” literacy.) But find it easier, a bit, to realize that the Lucy Show isn’t hiding somewhere in the tv cabinet while you’ve switched to Who’s the Boss. Good Bishop Berkeley takes Protean shapes.

and 6/22/97 I start to scribble in File Maker Pro where I can organize as I go. Then of course, not trusting my new system, I copy it back here.
Jesus Christ
Now that I think of it, Jesus Christ is the most complex oxymoron I can think of. Invisibly oxymoronic. Therefore, the more powerful, working behind the mind’s defences.
First, the Jesus part: Jeshu. A common Hebrew name in Roman Palestine.
the “historical” Jesus
utterer of the Sermon on the Mount
a man of peace
a sacrificial lamb
lamb of God
martyr
rabbi
healer
miracle worker
magician
rebel
social reformer
etc
the aspect that doesn’t require too much in the way of faith (except for the miracles part. Or is that gullibility?)
Then, the Christ part:
the “Eternal” Messiah
comes with a sword
sits on the right hand of God, etc
our Judge, our intermediary (all confused)
the aspect that’s all faith and no evidence
So, if someone asks, “Do you believe in Jesus?”; and someone else asks, “Do you believe in Christ?”; and a third asks, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?”; you can say “Yes,” “No,” and “Maybe” (in any order) and still be making sense.
A rational response would be to demand a clearer question. A much clearer question.
Except of course that the question asked has nothing to do with truth or belief, but with social and psychological control, with who’s who in some pecking order, with one group trying to control an individual or another group. In which case is doesn’t matter what you answer: either they’re got you or they don’t. Or, you’ve got them, or you don’t. Or neither has got either. Like the Middle East.
Fri, Jul 11, 1997
I am going to try to organize a set of perceptions I’ve been developing for some time, hints of it finding their way into these files, into conversations with bk …, but never articulated in any organized way before I improvised them before Catherine this AM:
Background context: bk may recall my pronouncing the ideas of “right” and “wrong” entirely subjective, bk commenting that the perception was “rare” (apparently not shared as a given among the tribe of “philosophers.” Also: bk’s several recent references to Plato in the Euthyphro, SI’s several recent references to the same source (eg. Shick, Summer, 97). Also: my recent statement to bk, accompanying my rejection of Plato in the Euthyphro: “it’s all so subjective; we can’t have anything like an objectively based morality (ethics) without a few somewhat strict definitions AND a basic set of declared GOALS (and a willingness (and ability) to review and improve them with additional experience). (For example, a society with the imperative(s) Go forth and multiply; (Me first; My family first; Jews first; We’re all equal except Jews, Niggers, Commies, Chicks, Women, and Children, and of course, employees …) will have a different morality than one which say prefers a vital, diverse biosphere.
It’s important to recognize that sometimes morals and ethics are synonyms and sometimes they aren’t. I follow Shaw’s distinction: morals are how the group behaves; ethics are a considered morality, proposals for a morality.

Morality is related to outlook and outlook is related to training and experience. The toilet trained child has a different outlook from the not yet traumatized infant. The infant accepts its “privates” and its functions; after toilet training, they’re taboo.
The adolescent traumatized by a few years experience of puberty (where hormones are in conflict with mother, and we once again, this time overwhelmingly, need to show our privates and functions) has a different outlook from the toilet trained child: three human kinds, all within a baker’s dozen years.
The young adult who’s coupled with more than one partner has a different outlook from the one with one partner. Both have an outlook different from the virgin’s.
But these changes are as nothing compared to the change in outlook that comes with parenthood (not equally to all parents). (And there are subdivisions of such experience: I don’t doubt that the female begins to be a mother with pregnancy; while the male doesn’t typically begin to be a parent till sometime between the announcement of delivery and first beholding the babe.)

A city is a mixture of all those moralities. And the police enforce legalized morality differently in different zones. Mike LaCroix assaulted me in my shed, cutting off my escape route. The sheriff’s people commented that it was a crime anywhere, more of a crime on my property, still more in my shed, but yet trivial compared to an attack inside the house. A fourteen year old girl may be thought fair game alone around Times Square. The same girl would be left alone going to the movies with her parents, and might be left alone going to the movies with a date.

I got that far with Catherine, then switched to a quasi-historical, quasi-mythic, newly imagined example. The standard picture of Jesus has him as, to say the least, a nice guy. Compassionate. A (quasi-)pacifist. A healer. The story has him tortured to death as a criminal. (That part more than quasi-historical.) The story has him abandoned and denied by his friends, his disciples (who’ve shown precious little recognition of who the story then makes him out to have been all along). The story then has him express the feeling of being forsaken by God, the Father, in the midst of his torture.

The story then has him resurrect. The all myth part has him resurrect as the Christ, the Messiah, the Boss’s son, equivalent to the Boss himself. (Myth does not mean necessarily “false”; it means not historical, a part with no ordinary evidence. (The resurrection part does have ordinary evidence: testimony: evidence not reasonably to be trusted unless corroborated by other kinds.))
The standard interpretation has him basically the same nice guy, only this time with the Power. Or rather he had the Power all along only this time he’s going to use it. (The difficult question of So what’s keeping him, going unresponded to.)
I’ve long been tempted to write a story that has Jesus resurrect all right, but transformed by the abandonment and the torture, as different as the Lakota before “the white man” and the Lakota after discovering Whasi Chu. (Last year I discovered that Farmer had already done it and done it damn well. In common, we imagine the resurrected Jesus as a man, a man who had believed himself to be the son of God.

The final example I gave to Catherine is all historical: history including the present. The Jews had their God tell them that Canaan was theirs, that they could freely exterminate the already numerous population. Under the reigns of King David and King Solomon, their empire seemed complete. Then it fell apart. From a non-Jewish perspective, the Middle East is the Middle East, and has been for a long time. (The Jews feel special? So do the rest (except for those completely squashed. The Jews can be commended (or condemned) for their success in making a dogma of being special despite their experience.))
Now take the Palestinians. England (after demonstrably not giving a shit) and the Allies (also not having given much of a shit) create Israel and give it to the Jews, England more cooperative than God in the matter. Then an armed Israel takes more: the Palestinians so many chiggers, like the Lakota to the Whasi Chu.
Most of us know our history best through fiction, well through good fiction. My own best feeling for the Palestinians comes through LeCarré in The Little Drummer Girl, especially in the character of Tayeh. After your family has been killed, some bombed, others tortured, after your yourself have been tortured and jailed, when your homeland has been taken, when you’re now the chigger, it can give you a whole new attitude.

And now we not only have cities with church-going families, with industries, businesses, neighborhoods, cops, gangs, muggers, saints, thieves, infants, children, teens, parents, fourteen-year-olds loose in Times Square, pimps, all of us predators, soldiers in and out of uniform, … and terrorists, uniformed and non-uniformed.
The rhetoric by which we threaten them is strictly for us, not for them. How can you threaten those you’ve already all but killed?

If we don’t recognize the dimension that experience as well as training gives to morality, what we say about morality will be so much self-serving gibberish.

Heisenberg with a Vengeance
British Open. story of Jesper Parnevik coming onto the 18th for the fourth day, leading by two strokes. The ball lips out. He finishes his score at 17 plus 5 instead of his score at 17 plus 4. One hole behind him, the a guy eagles and his final four-day total is one less than Parnevik’s, for the championship.
Fine. So what? That’s how golf is scored.
Parnevik had been playing great without knowing the score. He earned second place in that great golf major.
But the story invites us and him to agonize over the “missed” putt. Parnevik was playing sane; we want to drag him back into the communal pathology.
[Side note: putts don’t “miss.” Golf is a game where the ball is played to reduce the distance between the golf ball and the hole until the ball occupies the space within the hole. The score is: how many times the ball was struck between the start of the game and the conclusion of the ball occupying the same space as the hole over a succession of 18 holes over four consecutive days (weather cooperating, and counting special penalty “strokes,” if any). A billiard player on a true table can miss; not a golfer. Skill there is in reducing the factors that interfere with the player’s minimizing the distance. The more you can minimize, the greater your skill. But nature still holds hidden cards. And the player’s control is not total over his body let alone over the ball, the wind, over the subliminal nuances of topography (which, at the macro level is smooth; pebbled at the micro)…]
Introducing the story, they were praising him for his non-obsessive, golf-should-be-fun attitude. Then we ignore the moral: come wallow with us in our pathology.
By the end of the story I was imagining championship golf psychology applied to the competitive grading of students. Imagine 100 students in a hall taking the SATs. They mark their answers until the time limit is up. Two weeks later they’re mailed a score. Now imagine the scoring being executed synchronously with the marking of each answer and the ranking and changing order of rank announced to each student with each answer. Now imagine an experiment where a series of SATs of similar difficulty are given; in one the students just take the test; in the second it’s a horse race.
Under which condition will which individual score better?
I don’t doubt that some would concentrate better, at least temporarily, in the horse race. But overall, I imagine the great majority of students performing better in the silent test.
Maybe Jack Nichlaus would always opt for the horse race. But would he want his practices also to be horse races?
What would the lottery be like if the MCs got inside the bubble with the balls and got hysterical about what each ball was doing as they “randomly” bounced around? “Oh, look, the 16 ball could get sucked up. No, now I think the 09 is in position. No they just suck out a ball and read the number. (Yes, of course I realize that the lottery balls are not jockeying into position to be selected, that they don’t “care” whether or not they’re the one. I’m considering the audience, the spectator psychology at this moment.)
Anyway, I’d like to see alternating approaches used in sports competitions. The producer keeps cutting to the scoreboard in games 1, 3, 5 & 7 of the World Series; in games 2, 4, and 6 the scoreboard is kept veiled. Next year reverse the odds with the evens.
At Troon next time, unveil the leader board only after all competitors have finished their 72 holes.
After a few years, we’d know what our obsessions gained or cost us.

Democrats: believe that their right to interfere is infinite;
Republicans: believe that their right to interfere is strictly limited: that is: infinite, minus the right to interfere with a corporation’s freedom of speech, which shall eternally be construed to mean their right to deceptive, manipulative advertising.

freedom of speech, censorship
to bk
In our conversation you made a point that I recognized from earlier discussions: freedom of speech doesn’t mean government subsidy of every possible view. Those weren’t your words; they’re mine. But I trust you recognize the reference and don’t find it to misrepresent your words. (Your words were something about the leftists say … Or was it the communists say … Forgive me. The radicals? Something left.)
Anyway, you’ll find Illich saying much the same thing here and there. And I agree with both of you. Yet still have (and had when Illich said it) something to add. Might as well get to it here, since I never said it to him. With him I mostly read and listened. Fuming sometimes, but I listened. (I could talk (or write to him later: time with him (even reading time) was too precious.)

Once again, a PK duality: (two gods: one of magic; the other order:: two governments: one of magic; the other of order …)
There are two freedoms of speech: one technical (the Bill of Rights, etc); the other practical (are the people willing to listen to good speech?).

You’ve heard my views on technical freedom of speech. You’re right that they’re not exactly what you were referring to. Mine isn’t a point about law but about human nature. My point is that while it’s important that we have technical freedoms, it also helps to have actual freedoms; and also that some freedoms won’t be tolerated no matter what the constitution, the bible, the law … says. I just heard a quote from Mrs Pat Campbell (Shaw’s great love (in his letters anyway)): “it doesn’t matter what you do so long as you don’t do it in public and frighten the horses.”
I also like the story of a debate where the “liberal” gave a big speech against censorship. His opponent screens some kiddy porn. The “liberal” tears the screen down.
My favorite of all I’m sure I’ve quoted often enough to you. Twain: “God gave the American people three great blessings: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the good sense never to practice either.” Close, if not a quote.

To me history recounts the achieving of certain freedom, then their dilution till they’ve reversed their meaning, then new attempts to regain a victory already supposedly won. For example, tenure was the medieval achievement of freedom of speech (in their secular monasteries, the universities). If your colleagues didn’t silence you in the first five years then they had to let you keep talking. (It had NOTHING to do with job security. See Paul Goodman.) Then comes the first amendment: but the universities keep tenure (instead of saying, Oh good, now we ALL have tenure, we can drop it for the few. It’s redundant.).

I’ve come to think that we won’t ever make any enduring sense until we take a rigorous look at some of these things and drop from our vocabulary those shibboleths that keep running us into trouble. Personally, I’ve said good-bye to some of my most cherished concerns. Emotionally inflammatory, rationally, they’re dead ends. Freedom is one. Should we want freedom to pollute, to force extinctions, to go extinct?

Now that I think of it, Illich decades ago, argued against positive statements of rights in favor of a few negative don’ts. OK, so he was a priest, but a smart one.

I started out thinking I’d present this is a logical order, but that plan failed starting close to the beginning. I don’t have time to make it right. It’s hard enough merely to layout some of my main concerns. So I’ll go ahead and throw in another story from my PhD orals. Max Patrick, the Milton man, asked me something about Milton’s Areopagitica (I don’t have access to my library to check accuracy of spelling etc). I’d been thinking some of the above and I wanted to challenge any glib talk about censorship with the story about the liberal and his opponent. So I said something about how I could have gotten Milton to favor censorship. (You do realize of course that Milton was the famous anti-censorship guy of the 17th cen and in that essay. but he’d never seen Times Square. Yes, he would have come out again prurience. however much he may have indulged in it privately, forcing his daughters not only to be his secretaries, but to milk the poor widower.
All my life I’ve needed a good straight man, but I’ve never had one. Patrick hit the roof. Thought I didn’t know what every schoolboy knows about Milton. Wouldn’t let me start my point, let along finish it. He was talking about Milton; I was trying to talk about Censorship (and Milton. and him, and me, and the USgovt, and the UShoipoloi)

That’s enough for now anyway. I trust you see some of my thinking here.

epistemology:
The Wason test is crucial. Most educated people get it wrong. Only the rarest genius would get it right without training. And I can’t believe that any genius who has ever lived, without training, would get it right time after time, day after day. We’re simply not programmed to be rational to that extent.
ie, everyone understands that you have to test the rule by turning over the card with the vowel on it; only the disciplinedly rational understand the equal necessity of turning over the odd numbered card. We look for proof; but you also have to look for disproof.
I’ve just ordered a book from the Promethius people, Abracadabra, due out in Dec, that promises to detail the tricks illusionists use to fool people. We’re not only foolable, but we like it.
As I carried the catalogue to the phone, it occurred to me that what the Wason test tests is the precisely the flaw that three-card monte cons, shell artists, and carneys exploit.
The first time I saw it was with Rudy at the RVC “carnival”: the guy had a “game” booth with a ball on a chain suspended from a swivel. He put a bowling pin in a position given precision by a wooden vee jig, swung the ball away toward the rear of the booth, and on its return pendulum swing, the ball knocked the pin over. “Here you try it.” Every time, a knock down. Then he challenged you to put money down on your ability to knock the pin over: 25¢, and you’d get your choice of prizes.
I wouldn’t do it. Rudy tried. Lost 50¢ and quit. Walked away. But I was fascinated. 12 years old or so I was determined to solve how the guy controlled the path of the ball. So I stepped back to watch. People would come, lose 25¢ to a couple of dollars. If a crowd was around, you’d see somebody walk off with a big teddy bear.
How long would I have had to observe to be sure whether or not they were shills? Well, the public can play shill unwittingly too. Maybe the guy chooses a pretty girl for his unwitting shill now and then. I’m sure he got his teddy bears real cheap. I bet they fell apart within days. (Not like mine that John Eberth finally took an ax to.)
The guy chased me. The first but not the last time I’ve been chased by a con irate at too close an inspection. But I came back and watched from a safer distance.
Finally, I got it. That is to say, I’m pleased to this day to believe that I got it. I never formed an actual experiment, satisfied with my hypothesis. If the guy stood upright, not touching the booth, just with his feet on the ground, you couldn’t miss. If the guy leaned on the counter with his elbow, stood back and slouched but with his hand on a post or on the counter, you couldn’t hit it with a guidance system.
I’d gone around behind to see where he had a colleague hidden with a gadget, switching the con on and off. All unnecessary. The con was most economical. The booth itself was the con. Just shift the position of the swivel ever so. Take the pressure off, and it came back to true.

In Wason terms, if you show somebody a couple of free vowels, then you can feed him an odd number and he’ll just be perplexed. If he gets too pissed off, you can have him arrested. Maybe you’ve got to give the cop a teddy bear too.

The shell game artist shows you the pea, shows you the shell, puts the pea under the shell, shows you the pea under the shell … A, A, A, A & A. Put money down and it’s a 7. But we never get it. All we get is the A.

epistemology
Leonard’s Rev. Dawn, the psychic: “She’s something else,” Louis said. “Can tell you things about yourself you never even knew.”
The double question, as always, is: how can you verify it? how can you falsify it?

I love Leonard’s use of her the more considering my normal hatred for normal bullshit. The Government, like the Church before it, like the shaman before it, use, consciously or unconsciously, the principles of astrology and the psychic’s cold reading. You don’t need too many clues if you keep it general and vague enough. Rely on the complicity of the subject: they want to believe.
The priest says I know what’s wrong with you: you’ve got a dirty mind. And we say: Yes! God, how insightful. I do have a dirty mind. You could get a computer or even just a billboard to say the same thing. With equal insight.

That’s all familiar stuff. What I want to know is: isn’t there something different about the modern anxiousness to believe things we can find neither Wason’s vowel nor his odd number for? The psychologist says, “You feel guilt.” I do? It must be unconscious. I don’t see any evidence for it at all. This psychologist is really deep.
The priest telling you you have original sin, to a Christian, is like telling you you have two eyes and a nose. Like telling an American that they are highly moral and love freedom. It’s standard mythology.
(9/28/97 I read more and add more, next page)
see today’s EMail to bk: Can someone who churns out pop genre crap: Steven King, Elmore Leonard: really write a great novel? Well you already know that I believe that Yes, they can. And do.
In fact it’s only genre crap when they keep churning out the same thing.
Hell, Shakespeare churned it out. But though there are themes he deals with in series, fashions he follows (and forges) for a while, he then does something else. 36 core plays: 10 tragedies, 10 histories, 16 comedies, breakable down into sub-groups: romances, manners … revenge tragedies … problems of kingship …
You may also recognize that I don’t believe it can ever be the greatEST literature if it is the same stuff that keeps coming. And the genre itself is a kind of lid: horror, magic … really?

For Elmore Leonard, I think he gets better and better. The early Mr. Majestik will always have a special throne for me. And “better and better” still allows Get Shorty to be the best. In my opinion. For the time being.

I thought The Tailor of Panama was going to be a righteous sibling of The Little Drummer Girl. Wrong.
I’m only half way through Leonard’s Riding the Rap, copyright 1995. But it’s certainly started out up there.

Anyway, I want to tell you about it in terms you already know as mine. I liked the miraculous science fiction when I was a kid but hate it now, think it very wrong, irresponsible to pander. Is the “science” part the real “fiction”? New makeup to palm off the same old bullshit? A little technical jargon to dress superstition and self-indulgence as rational?

When I was growing up you heard about seances and astrology and palm reading but everyone understood it to be nonsense. OK, like losing a few dollars and the track. What harm, so long as you didn’t bet the mortgage.
But of course there are people who do bet the mortgage. Who sign their inheritance away for a few raps under the table in the dark.
And then suddenly, in the 60s, then more in the 70s, and then more since, your friends in GRADUATE school! are talking with what sounds like seriousness about birth signs! What level of put on is this?

So I got a little itchy when Leonard introduces Reverend Dawn, the psychic, and she actually seems to be good, insightful, uncanny. far more than even a smart con could be from a cold reading. WE know the character she’s reading a little bit, so WE recognize how right she is, just as he does.
He’s a bookie the Fed has retired. He’s in a restaurant to meet a guy he’s hired to collect some of his bad debts so he can split the country. The guy says he’s collected sixteen five from his worst deadbeat. As he’s waiting, the Rev Dawn is walking around the restaurant with her Tarot cards. Quick little reading here and there. We can see she knows how to impress, knows her Sherlock Holmes, coal dust on the shoes, he’s been in the cellar.
She gets to the book’s table in turn. Starts saying things. Better than she could get from coal dust on the shoes.
The debt collector hasn’t showed for ever so long. The alcoholic book on the wagon shows his resolve by knocking them down while he’s waiting. Rev. Dawn says she can do a better reading at her house, near by. $100.
“Cash,” he says. “I always pay cash. Bought that Cadillac outside with cash. Simplest way.”
We go to Dawn’s seedy dump. She’s a toucher. Gets her reading by direct contact with the vibes. One guy thinks she’s pretty enough, near 30 to the book’s 69, to point at prizes on a game show.
Well, she’s even better at home than she was in the restaurant. The more “insightful” she’s getting, the more I’m becoming uncomfortable with Leonard. He’s now shilling for the loonies?
She’s been touching him. Now she’s got him lying down. Hypnotizing him. We’re gonna regress to his past lives. Someone’s trying to contact him from the past.

When out of the closet comes the guy supposedly working for him to collect his sixteen five and another guy, also working for the guy who owes him the sixteen five, who, rather than paying, has hired the bill collector as a kidnapper. Lying down with his eyes shut, it’s easy for them to ducttape him into a mummy. Just as easy as it was for the deadbeat, who’s known him for years, to give Dawn all her insights.

The dead beat has got nothing but a senile rich mom who no longer backs him. The book is a millionaire. Who should give who the money?

Has there ever been a more subtle predator than man?

“She’s something else,” Louis said. “Can tell you things about yourself you never even knew.”

I’d appreciate your input on something. The palmist tells you you’re got a long life line, you’re going on a journey, you’re about to meet a tall, dark stranger … You hope so, in all cases.
The priest tells you you’re sinful, you’ve got a dirty mind: Gosh, that’s true, how insightful.
Once upon a time art wasn’t art unless everybody got it. You didn’t make the art unless it was something everybody already got. The pieta, the passion … the reverence of the king. In modern times modern art is what nobody gets: Stravinky’s audience leaving the hall threatening lawsuits.
It used to be the palmist, the priest told you what you already knew, feared, or hoped … How did it come about that modern wizards, Freud et alia, flourish by telling you neither what you know nor what you hope, but only what you fear? And all with no evidence?

“Can tell you things about yourself you never even knew.”
I don’t recognize that at all. Guy must be a genius.

Elmore Leonard’s Rev Dawn: my chap two.
I write bk about feeling uncomfortable with Leonard having Dawn seem to be genuinely psychic, then we see it’s a con: what looks like a cold reading is actually a script. I read on. And he does it again. Same trick, Same result. In spades.
p 169 our hero asks another cop about her. Gets the police read on her. They think she’s genuine. She’s THEIR psychic. Helped them with a case. Uncanny. Poor thing, they thought she needed protection.
And once again, we see the illusion from the audience point of view: the illusion works. Slowly imperceptibly, Leonard pans around. We see the illusion from the side. It still works. Until finally the camera is back stage. We see the illusion, realize that … wait a minute, wasn’t that the stage assistant doing … we figure out what the assistant’s role is, reflect, and now, through unavoidable ratiocination, p 174, the illusion is exposed.

add to bk: 9/28/97 Oh, good: I didn’t send this to you yet. A hundred pages further into it, he does it again: tricks me with Rev. Dawn. Tricks ME!
Wait a minute. There he is again. showing her to be genuinely psychic. The police themselves testify for her. Oh yeah, really tried to help them. Uncanny.
Pages 168 to 174. Brian, you gotta see.
And having already necessarily spoiled at least one aspect of your potential enjoyment of the novel merely by detailing one thing that impressed me, I’ll say no more about his subsequent use of Reverend Dawn.

But I will share a metaphor that’s just occurred to me thanks to the coincidence(?) of my just having ordered a book due out in December called Abracadabra: an illusionist explains, with illustrations, the fundamentals of fooling the marks: misdireciton, the force …
A novelist is an illusionist. Great ones can let you see what they’re doing and still entertain. Educate too. Houdini. The Amazing Randi.

Leonard here like shows you the illusion from the audience perspective. The illusion works. Meantime, the camera’s been on an imperceptibly slow pan toward the side of the stage. We see the behind the facade. We see what the assistants are doing, that they’re not just decoration. The illusion is exposed. Now you think the camera track is over, done, accomplished. No, you’re just in the middle of the shot. Wait till you see what it looks like from overhead, so gracefully arrived at that you didn’t even realize you were looking at the same stage, that the trick with sawing the lady in half is really the same trick as the one with the lion and the Ferrari.

When you realize that in the second case, the illusionist is still the criminal, and that the duped audience is the police and court system … !

Elmore Leonard’s Rev Dawn: my chap three
… When you realize that in the second case, the illusionist is still the criminal, and that the duped audience is the police and court system … !
and I think of my own case coming up.
I tell my lawyer the irony of courts getting witnesses to swear to tell the truth, the whole truth … What? The greatest philosophers can’t swear that. Truth? What does a court room have to do with truth? I said to him, when the government wants to get a man to the moon, who do they hire? a bunch of lawyers? judges? No, scientists.
And now, far from for the first time, but from a fresh perspective, I think of the court room.
When I was 19 or so I wrote about the pulpit as a stage, the Puritan ascent as related to the closing of the theaters from the plague. If the people couldn’t get their entertainment from Shakespeare, they’d get it from Dr Donne, Dean of Pauls, and out in the sticks, from John Bunyan …
My obsession these decades with a democracy having a judge elevated on a “bench”, the court as stage.
Now I think of the jury, assigned to their seats, the audience for the illusions.
Rational inquiry can’t tolerate being shown the evidence from the hand of the prosecutor. then you get to handle it in the jury room. That’s like the magician showing you he has nothing in his sleeves.
Part of any good illusion is the magician’s inviting the marks to inspect this and that. The inspection always controlled by the illusionist.

The Amazing Randi goes with the Skeptical Inquirer to the house with the poltergeist. They don’t want to let that “magician” in there. That’s because, as a magician, he won’t passively inspect the set up as instructed. He won’t just see that you have nothing up your sleeve. He’ll also want to look in your pants, under the stage, behind the curtain.

profession
why doesn’t each discipline publish a digest of its knowledge/beliefs, annually? Biannually? Each half century?
Why instead do we listen to one doctor tell the tv magazine host today that salt is bad for us, and tomorrow listen to another tell us it’s good for us?
For the same reason that we still go to church to hear the bible read to us. Civilization still hasn’t absorbed printing. How can we understand the information age?

movies
This evening I watched Captain Kidd, Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, Carradine Pere …
A scene from the beginning has been in my mental gallery since early childhood, but till now I couldn’t have guessed what it was from: burying the treasure, the pirates demand of Kidd that they check the goods, see that nothing’s missing. They raise the lid, and there are all these glittering jeweled pieces.
So Randolph Scott is the noble son of a framed pirate. He’s turned pirate in order to clear his family name. Spies on Kidd, gets the goods, caught, claims that the kind knows about his spying and will miss and avenge him.
Lady Anne comes aboard and thinks she recognizes him. Some Spaniard promises to have her. Why haven’t they all already had her? Aren’t they pirates?
Finally the spick is snooping around while Randolph Scott is protecting her. They draw and duel. I’m sure that as a kid I was all worried about Randolph Scott, as Hollywood intended me to be. It sure looked different at age 59.
Two differences: I’ll deal with one familiar to my thinking first. First they fight with real weapons. No one gets hurt. Then they close and wrestle or hit each other with their elbows or something. Finally, some damage is done. The kung fu guys fight to a draw with the swords and numchuks, the poles etc break and now they can do the real damage with their fists and feet. Then why have we wasted all this time and all these resources inventing weaponry?
Because it’s only the primitive that we relate to as manly.
But 2 was new: Here’s the spick fighting so he can fuck her; there’s Randolph Scott fighting so that no one fucks her. !!!??? What? Where did this perversion come from. Carnivores battle for territory, prey on prey; ruminants and carnivores do single combat, male against male, to build a harem. How can a species expect to survive fighting to prevent sex? ?Why in order to protect virginity: to protect monogamy; to promote family. Fine. But she’s not his fiancée. Neither is she a “tribal” bride.
Soldiers serving the tribe is one thing: soldiers serving a master is something else.
Good for evolution? I strongly suspect not.

the term devil’s advocate comes from the Church’s practice, when evaluating the appropriateness of beatification for a candidate saint, of appointing a priest to try to poke holes in the candidate’s sanctity. a stumbling step toward science which requires an attempt at disproof in addition to the assembling of evidence in favor of a theory. So the priest play acted being from hell and speaking as the devil’s spokesman. The trouble was: he wasn’t from hell and didn’t represent the devil; he was a priest: he worked for the Church.
My own attorney in the Canfield LaCroix case reminds me of a devil’s advocate. He’s pretending to represent me, but he really works for the society, for its prejudices, blindnesses, and superstitions. If that’s true where he’ll be paid best if I win, how much truer must it be in the case of a public defender. The court appoints an attorney to defend an indigent accused: or is it “pretend to defend.” Their own testimony in this regard would of course be worthless. One needs an independent study.

Journal

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id42

/ Journal /

Digital Notebooks
1985 – 1997
Id Intros Scant Tech Style
Scant Editing

most people spend litttle effort to seek what can be known (physics, chem, hist, semantics …); but are content to believe that they do know what can’t be known (right from wrong, God’s plan, accurate cosmology …)
We are a democracy of disinformation, demagogery, & delusion
for a discussion to have meaning, it’s prerequisite that an epistemology be held in common. for a hierarchically empowered decision to have dignity, the epistemology of the deciders must be of at least equal quality to the espistemology of the decided for. If the Cardinals won’t look through Galileo’s telescope, insisting that belief without evidence is superior to theory with evidence, it’s not Galileo who’s the biggest loser. If Einstein’s physics teacher wouldn’t think through relativity, but simply labored to subvert it, …
all my visions of JD, or of me in any contemporary dock, my graduate school experience, my submissions of my writing, my attempts to communicate with my contemporaries …
Our home; but god’s house
virgin sacrifice: offering their very best? or palming off lagniappe? the foolish cunning trying to con the even more foolish (they hope) god. Like the cargo cultists who threw all their wealth into the sea but made sure it landed on a reef where they could retrieve it once they got their prayer answered. How dumb do they think god is?
July 10, 1995: so many delicious dreams haven’t been recorded here since I met Catherine, started HP, PIm … But this morning’s made me think of my id files. Infantile, ie. dream-typical, shifting of point of view and of identity: I’m with Brian, my son, failing to communicate; I’m with Brian Carey, ditto: I’m me; I’m one Brian or the other … The more I press my love for Brian the more hostile my reception. Resistance becomes confrontation, threat … Angus Bruce & SoHo circle drifted in and out of it. Somebody’s a phyciatrist in a fancy Park Ave professional’s duplex; then that metamophoses into Schismatrix/Futurological Congress-subsidized, better-behave modules, not for a psychiatrist but a golf pro, someone who talks like he’s on the tour but no one ever heard of him. The back hall where you put the garbage becomes a utility trail on the golf course (where a real tour is going on), becomes a good place to mug or get mugged in Central Park … becomes a platform on the El where I see Brian and he does everything to duck me. Raggedly clear in the background drift awareness of the reason(s) BC has to hate me (propositioning Beverly & getting so drunk, mad to fuck that hunchback, leaving the guys to breakfast at Sheridan Square, driving what’s-her-face uptown, porking her twice, and then being so tired, so desperate to get home and crash before I crash the car, I forget Igolf & Roger, etc at the coffee counter) & the reasons BK gives …
But on to endingn of the dream: BC (metemorphing to me), meeting me on the El platform is with a group of fellow workers (professional architects, draughtsmen …; SoHo drunks; janitors; convicts …) has work as an excuse to evade me. Shift to time he and the group are in the boss’s office, waiting to get chewed out, fired, put in solitary, executed … Here come the fuzz, he’s got to escape. He remembers the broken hinge on the swing-out window they never get around to fixing. The others are placidly getting gassed, like Jews in Hitler’s Indian Reservations, when Brian elbows out the steel hinged top of the window wriggling like a snake, collapsing himself like Houdini mouse, and rolls out onto … the El platform. Whew. Alive! He walks down the steep stairs to the street. Uh oh. Here comes one of the boss’s angels. “This way, you. The boss wants to see you.” Oh, shit. Caught after all. They escort him to the enterprise. They pass the short cut the veteran workers use. They show him the entrance used by job appplicants. Fuck, how he hates this place. He starts a sodden plod up the narrow circling stairs, grafittied with condescending jokes, supposed to amuse the clods waiting in line as they slowly ascend, jammed in a crowd of the not too hopeful unemployed. “No,” they say, “use this one.” And they indicate the nearly invisible side stair. He’s too sodden to realize immediately: this is the staircase used by applicants for executive promotion! He’s still sodden with despair, not thinking well. He’s distracted by the graffiti on this even narrower, steeper stair. Condescending? Amusing? No, insulting! Ironically, he’s most piqued by a series of graffiti interstisted through space (and time) among the others: “If this staircase …” and further on, “You did climb …” Actually, he didn’t even need to get to the second phrase to be upset; the diction of the first was too distinctive. He recalled the joke drawn over a series of panels in an early Mad Comic: Dragged Net. 1950 or 1951. Jack Webb & sidekick takeoffs climbing the Matterhorn. In those days everyone knew the Burma Shave billboard-alternatives posted along country roads, typically revealing themselves one at a time around curves, so you couldn’t read ahead:
If this mountain
You did climb,
You are strong
And you are brave.
And now’s the time
For Burma Shave.
Either the boss (or his decorators) read that Mad issue; or, paranoia? solipsims?, the boss has a way inside his head. Could the signs read differently to different observers? Custom tailored to annoy the individual psyche?
He ascends with increasing difficulty. The applicants’ stair was difficult because of the waiting, the standing jammed in a crowed tight ascending curve. Because of the uncertainly, the despair, needing a job you didn’t want even in the unlikely case that you got it. This stair became, more and more as you rose, like the obstacle gauntlets at the old Steeplechase in Cony Island. Some of the steps, some series of them, were closed for repair. You had to detour around them, chimney rock climbing style, something Brian’s great at anyway. But sometimes you had to put your foot down. In a running stream of slippery rock. The next time it was quick sand.
Why is he being tortured like this? If he’s going to be chewed out, why can’t they just do it. If he’s going to be shot, why didn’t they do it on the street? The idea had slipped in, bit by piece, as he was directed to the executive applicant’s stair, that he was going to be promoted. Maybe his escaping the slaughter was some proof, some passing of some perverse test. But if they wanted to promote him, why didn’t they just bring him up the regular employees stair? Why torture him?
If this staircase
You did climb,
it had started.
You are strong …
Now followed. “Only the strong survive.” He realized that that was a motif already repeated among several graffiti, but not written as part of the pseudo-BurmaShave series.
(as a dumb ox.)
Was that part of the series? Everything was so sloppily drawn, it was hard to tell.
And you are brave.
“Into the valley of death …” Snatches of Tennyson were quoted on the wall. Crazy winding wall, Gaudi-like in its oddity, but without his fun, color, or whimsy. This wall was dark and running with moisture. “Rode the six hundred.” Brave? Tennyson’s obediant soldiers were dumb oxen all right: a stupid monarch’s stupid automata.
And now’s the time …
This was really getting to him. Red fury veiled his eyes. He spun round. He slipped. He knocked his knee. He bruised his ass, now annoyingly soaked as well, as he crashed amid the rocks of the stream at the side wall, as he fell dozens of hard gained steps. Or had he already decided what he now decided to do: keep going. Fly, leap, dance down the steps. That time, having sampled some Peyote near the peak of the Grand Teton, and Brian Carey and his climbing companion had run, laughed, leaping down the same face they had so cautiously climbed, descending in minutes what they had gained in hours if not days.
Some kind of an intelligence test. Well, if he had passed that other one, he was determined to fail, or rather to flout, this one.
It was there. More dream magic. The gun he’d thought about but never actually gotten near to buying was in his jacket, cold and black and hard against his bruised unfeeling hand.
Pell mell, he threw himself down the rest of the steps. He charged across the uptown lanes of the steet to the stair for the El. He vaulted the turnstile, the gun now in his hand. On the platform … it was just the elevated subway platform: a grim wall with defaced ads alternating with grimmy windows. But, yes, there it was anyway, the window he’d escaped from. He’d show them a promotion. He forced it open, awkward as the window swung out against his body. He rolled under it and somehow twisted up and in. He hadn’t a clue how he’d get to the boss’s office, an office no one had ever seen that he knew, but he was in it. The boss was there, recognizing him, though he’d never seen the boss, extending his hand. Congratulating him. Fuck that. The gun was in his hand and he was firing. Again and again.
The boss was on the ground, bleeding. Dead quick, like in a movie.
But there were others in the room. The guys who’d found him on the street. Only they were now wearing executive suits. They came at him. He still had the gun. Were there any bullets left? What did he care? He’d expected to be caught, to be executed. What did the executives matter?
But they came at him calmly, smiling. Actually, it was one executive. He had an envelope in his hand. It had been there all along. He was holding it out to Brian.
Brian was confused. “Here,” the executive said. Brian didn’t think the envelope was actually held any closer than it had been a moment before. It wasn’t being shoved at him. But the bearing of its holder was smiling, respectful, insistent.
Brian Carey took it. Opened it. Ran his eyes over it. He saw print. His mind comprehended nothing. “What’s this?” he asked. Dumb. Numb.
“It’s your appointment. Your promotion.” The executive gently took the letter back long enough to read it for him. “You’re now the president of the company.”

Whirling thoughts of No, I’ll kill all of you; I’ll kill everyone.
Huh? I’ll change a lot of things around here.
Oh, it was an extra perverse intelligence test. That letter was written before I pulled the trigger. Can my name have been on it all along?

And all the time I was BC, I was the boss …
But that’s when I woke up.
And now I think of: Piers Anthony’s great story about the torture planet, the same one that inspired Dark Beacon, reading it in Haverford the night before going to Malvern, PA’s Dr. Munin, DDS. The ruling senate of the planet tortures the guy for days. They’ve pulled out his nails, cut each digit off after, cut off his dick, his balls, gouged his eyes, pour boiling oil in his ears, pulled all his teeth, one at a time. He has no senses left, no limbs. Somehow they’ve made it possible for him to continue to hear them and communicate back, always offered the cup of poison when he’s had enough. Finally, he says What’s next. They, for the first time, don’t answer with some new horror. He reapeats the question. Finally, they say: That’s up to you. He doesn’t understand. Finally, he does. It’s the torture planet. All the rulers are missing fingers and ears and eyes. And he’s taken more torture than any of them. So he’s now their emperor.
And I think of Rambo’s inability to stick the knife into anybody of superior rank: the sherrif, the colonel, the general …
And all along, I’ve been thinking of The Golden Bough: the king who refused to accept the pigeon eggs and “take a nap.” Regicide, deicide … Suicide.
science isn’t a tool of thought; it’s a set of sets of thinking tools (and testing, verification, etc. tools).
reading: for months I try catching up on classics I’d never finished or even started.
Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility.
Start Ema, change my mind and jump ahead, determined once and for all to read
Middlemarch cover to cover. One of those novels god knows how many times I’d started …
(The first fifteen or so times I tried to read Barchester Towers I fell asleep in the middle of the second paragraph. By my mid twenties, I actually read it. Great novel. How could I not have caught his tone the first time around? Or at least the third?)
The further I go in Middlemarch, the more amazed I am to find my notes. So I had gotten this far before. Little to no memory of most of it. By the middle I’m convinced that though it’s not Tolstoy by a long shot, it is one of the greatest novels, much as I still hate so much of it. Persevere to the end: and there are still my notes! So I had read it through. It must have been the night before an exam when I was distracted.
What’s next? I go back a little: The Vicar of Wakefield.
ThenDickens’ David Copperfield finally. Almost to the end before I realize that I had gotten almost that far. No memory of most of it. Christ what damage class deadlines do to reading.
On to … change my mind again and go French: can’t find my copy of The Red and the Black. Bookstore doesn’t stock it, but orders it. So I start
The Chaterhouse of Parma. Get fairly far before I realize how much progress I’d once made,but little memory of it. In fact, I’d remembered Fabrizio at Waterloo as Julien Sorel at Waterloo. Half way in, the bookstore calls with Red & Black ready to be picked up. As wonderful as Parma is, wickedly undeceived, it’s really R&B I’d wanted to get to. What was Sorel’s crime and why wouldn’t he defend himself? Now that’s what relates to me and my dreams and plans. Again surprised at how far I’d gotten in there. At least as far as Julien meeting the young bishop practicing his benedictions in front of the mirror. Julien’s ambition I had remembered though without sympathy. A bishop?? His hypocrisy I’d glossed over. Hadn’t at all at 19 or 20 seen how aware Stendhal was.
Time for a little trash.
I see a movie: first in years. Braveheart. Not Lawrence, but damn, it’s fine. Great slo-mo of Wallace approaching the fort after they’ve executed his bride. Drives me crazy for days what the visual quote was in showing the meditative inward distance in his eyes: ah ha! Conan. James Earl Jones looking spiritual before he beheads Conan’s sapphire-eyed mother. Enjoyed Braveheart so much, I see Congo the nest night (and then slip in to see Braveheart again.) (Damn, if I don’t come in just before the same sequence: Wallace alone approaching the fort, the soldiers not guessing the broadsword he has under his tartan.
And the next night I buy and read Congo, the novel. Oh, he’ll lend it to me, Jim says. Too late. I mention Congo to Angel.
He lends me Crighton’s Sphere. Now what?
I pull Wittgenstein’s Lectures and Conversations from the shed. Gulp. Gone.
I rummage for Philosophical Investigations. Bookmark at p 60. But I’m not sure of the thread. So I recommence, now reading the beginning for maybe the sixth time. Pretty familiar now. (Prize: in Intro: he doesn’t wish to save anyone the trouble of thinking for themselves! Give them a direction, fine. Bravo.)
Since this note:
Firefly! Wow, and I’d just been talking about Piers Anthony! A little pedestrian in middle. A few flaws where the author assumes that the reader doesn’t see through any of his unfounded assumptions
(like they take it as a fact that the Firefly won’t feed on the second night) (or they think they they can fairly well guess about their job security with Mid, even when they start doing things on their own, missing assignments, fucking up …)
But denouement with Oenone and her stories and the Firefly … Go to the head of the class.
And then last night, July 27, 1995, more Golden Bough!
But it’s the Conversations I want to comment on: language games. good. got it. much of it, anyway. long part of my vocabulary and way of thinking. (Freud criticisms: good. Hurray! He finds Freud one of the few authors worth reading. Bravo encore. But not wise? Now I’ve got the read this German he does find wise.) Then: religion. Good, great. So unruffled. What’s the use of objecting to someone else’s language game anyway? But I kept wanting him to comment duplicates (antedated) of my own thoughts of these past years. And he didn’t. What function does the set of religious language game serve the players? Conformity with the kind of irrational standard civilization and society depend on! cf. my comments stitched here and there eg on why we tell kids about Santa Claus … Why we disapprove of not telling kids about Santa Claus. Why we disapprove of the older kid who undeceives the younger. He’s missing the point. There are no rewards in this society for anyone not prepared to “believe” an awful lot of unsupported, unsupportable crap. Lies. Manipulations. Unconscious. There’s no conspiracy; when we’re all in it (almost all), it’s not a conspiracy. It’s the truth. Social reality. Science? … reason? … sense? … all irrelevant and unwelcome.
Bud Powell’s relentless spasticity. Dry Soul. By god, just getting to be able to immitate about 1% of about 1% of it.
uses of principle:
99%: bullshitting people with
1%: adhering to
magicians use misdirection to fool the marks. and there are all sorts of magicians: like maybe Ike’s seeming simplicity. Christ, he still had a baby bald face when he was an old man! The super-whore in Schismatrix playing the old mama san with the synthesizer. Now: the king’s power: the king’s obvious power! Is the obvious true? Or is it a misdirection for the real power? The people! The people who want to seem like fools in the background, and will look the other way as insignificant numbers of them are sacrificed to the illusion, wanting, and having the power, but wanting and taking no responsibility for it.
Apropos: Phil Blackburn, the company lawyer in Disclosure, Sanders’ ex-friend, the one who passed on his wedding, says: “I just wanted to repeat to you, on a personal level, how sorry I am about all this. In the press of complex corporate problems like this, human values may get lost, despite the best of intentions. While we intend to be fair to everyone, sometimes we fail. And what is a corporation if not a human group, a group of human beings. We’re all people, underneath it all. As Alexander Pope once said, ‘We’re all just human.’ So recognizing your own graciousness through all this, I want to say to you …”
The corps are always misquoting and misattributing in this novel, but that’s a douzy. I don’t by any means know all Pope, not even all major Pope, but that was not only not penned by Pope, that was not uttered by Pope: that was not uttered by anyone in the 18th Cen. Nor by anyone in the 19th.
Restarting Scott’s Heart of Midlothian for the nth time, I finally get past the first chapter. Ah, the mob not wanting this execution, wanting very much that one. The mob at odds with the government, rebellion seething just under the surface, sometimes erupting, backing off when 20 or so are killed. But never tame. The stupid government never reading that Chinese general’s Art of War: know your enemy. Or you’ll win no more than half your battles.
But then visa versa. The public never knows the government.
Wake up redreaming the “Ouch,” Bonnie said sequence from DB. prose like: ‘his mouth ungluing, unfurling the petals from the bud, his tongue making the vulva bloom, loosening the channel, opening it for his …’ But it’s no good; I reread the passage and its untamperable.
Santa: another reason for teaching Santa Claus to our children is to establish in each civilized person a deep-seated doubt as to the reliability of his own experience and intelligence. Is the emperor really naked? He can’t be or I wouldn’t be the only one to see that he is. The group always turns on whoever is the only one to perceive, utter, or defend anything. The one unimpeachable epistemology that refutes them is that they’re alone! The five year old whispers that there’s not really any Santa to the four year old. The five year old who shouts it out loud is severely disciplined by the elders. Brought into line. The dispute isn’t that what he shouted was the truth; but that contradicting authoritative lies is rude. Social man.
reason, of itself, has no agenda, no program, no goal.
Too many things that people find manifest are demonstrable only by reference to a set of assumptions themselves not demonstrable.
all cultures are a solution, at least a partial solution, to some problem. Agriculture is a solution to hunger, competition is a solution to scarcity, civilization is a solution to competion, war is a solution to civilization … tyranny is a solution to chaos, democracy is a solution to tyranny … We are always valiant in guarding our rear, courageous with the vanguished, and blind to the dangers we’re blundering into.
Hamlet said ‘the rest is still behind’, picturing man as looking at the past as he backs blindly into the future; modern man pictures himself boldly striding into the future, face forward, hair swept back by the wind made by his progress. Shakespeare didn’t invent Hamlet’s orientation; he memorably expressed a conventional view. We’d be wise to downgrade our optimism and see how normally appropriate Hamlet’s view is.
magic is something we invented in a vain but typical attempt to gain unnatural advantages;
magic is something we maitain a belief in to stroke our deliriums.
Dr. Who. last week says goodbye to Romana (“You were the best Romana of them all.”). For the past couple of weeks they’d hung onto the kid who stowed away on the tardus. Good time to give up my newest addiction? I decide to watch this past Sat PM and see if the kid is still there, the Dr. Who is the same Tom Baker, if they reneg on Romana (the cute blond), introduce the next Romana, or follow this Romana & K-9 off on her tangent with the hairy harelip kings. Or spin off the Romana show and still have Dr. Who: binary fission. (I was glad to get rid of K-9.) No, it’s Dr. Who and the kid, in a skit that looked like a PBS production of a Shakespeare history play. (In other words, it doesn’t have to be dramatic; just pompous and slow moving.) Off the mark, Dr. Who is pawing and patting the kid. Now one of the interesting and effective things about Dr. Who and the two Romanas I’ve met, was the strict hands off policy. The cuter Romana, the less close Dr. Who gets to her. Now I also notice in retrospect the number of cute outfits Romana would wear that got much of their cuteness by being like cloths for a little boy: sailor suits with the HMS Pinafore square collars …
Illich manifest: woman doctor on tv, the virgin mother/venus, wise, caring, compassionate, nurturing, says (re: epidemics & nations) “The whole world is now our patient.”
negative entropy (not negentropy): entropy masked as negentropy: dismantling nature which is renewable and displacing it with artifacts, which are perishable but not fast enough.
the media cater to, massage, prevelent misunderstanding; not to understanding
SirJ seriously modifies my recent thinking about teaching children about Santa Claus. Relegating superstition to children is a certain sign that the belief is moribund. Girls dance around the May Pole only after the populace no longer really believe that the vegetation won’t renew for summer without the aid of that magic. Where they do, it’s the highest powered priests who do the dancing.
the church scholastics used to say that man was halfway between the animals and the angels. That invited further extremes in the spectrum: animals were midway between devil and man; angels were (a very short) midway between angel and God … Then Isaac Asimov has a nice piece on the world of human events, concerns, and perceptions being midway between cosmic micro…s and cosmic macro…s … Zipping over to the printer a couple of days back, it came to me … human society is midway between the primitive and civilization (the two seen as ideals, not coextensive with any examplable primitive anything and any particular society which labels itself or is labeled “civilization.”
It also occurs to me that the description is in a sense permanent. There are an infinite number of points between one end of a spectrum and another. There are further infinite numbers of points between any two of those original points, and another infinitude of points between any two points of these new infinities. In other words, the primitive ideal is half an infinity away at all times. And so is the civilized ideal.
I said something approximating this to bk over the phone before I had a chance to notice that I had thought it or to start to jot it down here. however complete my ids were for a few years, they’re extremely sketchy for the bulk of my fifty-odd years. (Of course I didn’t start getting flooded with ideas till I was in my late twenties.)
also from the other day, slips back to me: I don’t believe that teachers in a compulsory school system should be allowed to strap the kids in the exact same way that I don’t believe that prison guard should be allowed to bastinado the prisoners. But that’s extremely misleading because what I really don’t believe in is incarceration. The unfortunate impact is that teachers in a compulsory school system can’t be real teachers. All subjects are disciplines. If you are not empowered to exact discipline than you aren’t a teacher. Imagine saying “teach my son boxing, but don’t anyone hit him.” If he can’t be hit then he can’t learn boxing. Imagine saying to the army “train these recruits but don’t teach them any discipline.” Where we really mean what we say, we grant authority with responsibility. You can’t grant the one without the other.
To school teachers we really grant neither authority nor responsibility. (And of course most school teachers aren’t competent to be teachers of anything and shouldn’t be granted either responsibility or authority. But all we really want is an indocrinator/baby-sitter.)
In The Free Learning Exchange I stressed that any student should be able to fire any teacher and any teacher should be able to fire any student. The firing having only to do with their immediate relationship. If a parent hires the teacher, and the parent is responsible for the student, meaning the student is a child, not a real citizen, then the student cannot fire the teacher: he must ask his parents to do it for him.
At Everglades Holiday Park I was supposedly responsible for the store and for keeping the guard on his toes and moving around the grounds. I was responsible for this without being able to leave the store, of course. When that one guard started hanging around the store drinking coffee and bullshitting me all night, I had no power to control him. I’d say, go about your rounds: he’d pour himself another cup and start to tell me more bullshit. He knew I had no authority. Finally, Mitch had to be involved. The only real power liked to go out fishing or stay home. It’s a miracle his business worked at all, let alone made him thousands of dollars a day. Over the long haul, it can’t.
we blind ourselves to our own experience, in concert, out of loyalty to the principles which sustain our addictions. In this case, it wouldn’t matter which way I spelled principals. Yes, they got us here. And being here will destroy us. (I once made a related point to bk who instantly saw the double-edge of here.
Chaffreneek. It’s become my habit in the last few years to comment on unusual names when I see them on the name plate of a cashier or clerk in the supermarket or gas/convenience store. Inevitably, they are female and black. Yesterday in Riviera Beach, Blue Heron Blvd, Chaffreneek was standing next to Tonia. Tonia was my cashier and I asked her how she pronounced it, offering two choices: /o/ or /a/. She said “either way: people usually call me Tony. I said, “Then I’ll say it T/o/nia, because that’s a name I’ve never heard. And you’ve got a really great name too, Chaffreneek.” This very black and ugly girl blushed to her hair line and writhed her whole body into a smile. A chorus came from the dozen (all black) employees: “he pronounced it right!” And I left amid their astonishment. Merry Christmas.
Conversation with bk last night: my surprise and joy (and hope?) at seeing my list of politically undeceived authors grow from
one Le Carré Little Drummer Girl
to two Puzo The 4th K
to three Asimov more than one brief statement about government’s security in the seemingly permanent state that very few perceive it’s real nature. (& of course, they will never be listened to let alone recognized as right.)
to four Sterling Islands in the Net, followed by Heavy Weather, etc
to five Wilson, … Illuminatus, etc.
I am able to see what I see with the clarity that I do thanks to my decades long perusal of The Golden Bough. And it’s time I tried to distill my own view in expository prose, especially since my fiction has thus far failed to communicate my general intentions except in part and only to isolated individuals. My fiction never had any momentum, which depends on a connected readership.
The enduring essence of government boils down to a short list:
To collect and (almost as important: to spend) taxes.
To facilitate the accumulation of wealth by its friends
And to relegate others to the service of those friends and their purposes
To 1) channel and 2) redistribute wealth
To endure
To grow
The last two characteristics government shares with all* life forms. (*Any rule must be perpetually checked and rechecked for validity. Here’s a soft spot I’m aware of as I write it.) But life forms, as Korzybski says, come in two varieties: normal and pathological. Government is pathological in that it is fueled by, relies totally on, addictions to illusions: Illusions of:
Wealth
Power
Control
Immortality
Government derives its power by embodying what I see as the key pathology of the single species, homo sapiens sapiens, some particular tribe, “race,” or culture of which particular governments consciously promote: the pursuit of unnatural advantage.
(Temporary) species (temporarily) evolve in (temporarily) suitable environments. These environments are part of larger natural cycles. Hss developed species wide a sort of intelligence capable of seeing parts of those cycles but rarely being able to see strings of parts of those cycles. To get concrete: man needs food. He learns to hunt. He learns to over-hunt. Man learns agriculture. He learns to over-cultivate. He learns to multiply to greater numbers: he learns to over-multiply. To pathological numbers. Last years hunt enabled the survival of all of these babies. This year’s hunt is poor. This years crop can’t support the even more babies of this year. He needs an advantage. His primitive intelligence invents homeopathic magic. Thanks to natural cycles he didn’t have the patience or scope to perceive, his magic seems to work. He becomes addicted to the seeming advantage his seeming magic has seemingly given him.
Then the magic evolves. Individuals are sometimes smart and honest enough to notice that their magic didn’t work in a series of applications. But he doesn’t stop believing in magic; he stops believing in his magic. So the medicine man is born. Then the king. I don’t make the sun rise or the rain rain or the day lengthen or the vegetation to renew or the herds to remigrate, but the king does. Then the king doesn’t, but the priest does. Then the priest doesn’t, but the big animal or big magician in the clouds does.
History is the record of man sloughing off one magician to replace it with one more abstract. More remote but more powerful than the previous. This is the evolution of magic, politics, and religion.
The environment in which we evolved (tautologically) provided us with resources and means to survive. That wasn’t good enough for our overpopulation or our infantile cowardice in fearing death. It wasn’t good enough that we already live far longer than any other mammal: our typical number of heartbeats per life is something like times-ten than of other mammals. We wanted immortality. And infinite retirement: work a little, then be served forever. The god who we had promise such to us in another life was an improvement over previous gods, but that god still wasn’t giving us enough advantage. We wanted immortality and all worldly goods. So we invented modern religion: the modern state: The United States.
We pity this or that tribe with their shamen and rain dance; but we gad after Experts who we believe can make the economy rain on us at the push of a button.
Our government is no more real and no more magical than Jehovah. It seems real and powerful partly for the same reason that the primitive is slow to lose his belief in his own magic: after all, it does rain. We do goose the economy and sometimes it does seem good. Then we gorge till we have to goose it some more. But we cannot prove, we assume, a causal relationship.
Our government also seems real and powerful because we spend so much time feeding it, sacrificing (sacrificing especially others) to it. If you stood in Chartres and saw thousands of candles burning, how could you not believe in the Virgin? Especially when you know how your mother mortgaged the farm to be able to light so many of them? It has to be true: you have nothing left if it isn’t.
The United States has no more extensional reality than Odin, an houri, or Christ. (Jesus is another matter.) A lot of government buildings and a lot of bureaucrats running in and out of them is no more proof of the reality of our government than is a lot of priests scurrying about a lot of cathedrals proof of the existence of Christ. The Constitution is as mythical a document as the Bible. We certainly can’t establish its reality by correspondence of its parts to scientifically investigatable facts.
Well, this could be briefer, but it’s brief enough for a fast first jot.
Hook to extensions (condensation is also recommended): we’re on a junkie high, but the high no longer seems high. So we steal more to shoot up more. We think days are passing, but the morning of our real hangover is still to come.
Mark Chaney at work in Sebring: I drive east on 66C. The road Ys. Sign: twisted to midway: WRONG WAY!
Barabas: civilization will embrace any criminal in preference to merely accepting a reformer.
Which does more harm?
god devil
doctor disease
police pillagers
etc etc
Santa Claus, encore: a new slant adds itself upon my waking this AM: society depends on synchronized perception: perceptions not directly accountable by the sense or senses, but by looking around at your fellow citizens and slaves, to see what they’re seeing. Or pretending to see.
Standard line in cop shows and other pop fictions: “Can you prove that?” As thought the speaker and his ilk had proved any of their contentions. Standard lawyer talk: yeah, but could you get a jury to see it that way? Not unless you somehow substitute yourself for what they perceive to be their bread and butter, their pension entitlement, etc.
many theological nicities translate into the question: Is the essence of the universe carnivore or herbivore? God, the ideal, is neither carnivore nor herbivore in our view, but is rather plant: able to take and convert energy as it comes directly from the sun. (I doubt that any of these categories are adequate metaphors for the universe we live in. They’re not likely suitable essences for any other universe either.) In other views, he is the sunlight, indeed in others, he is the essence of all light. But he still looks like a big carnivore.
common to carnivores and herbivores and common to plenty of plants too is the practice and perfection of deception: the flight of the owl is as masked as the path of the mouse is concealed. The flower entices the male wasp to fuck it, anticipating the female wasps release of pheremones by a day or so. The wasp’s first couple of spasmings fertilize the calm flower, not the frantic wasp.
C’m’ere little girl. Don’t worry … I won’t hur’tcher none.
The false promises of the flower reach dizzying complexity by the time it develops through the slight of hand, face, and mind of HSS sapiens. A study of the lies and false assurances given sheep as they’re hearded to the abbatoir would be a wonder to behold.
But crude, crude when compared to the skillful woing of the greatest and most shameless of all carnivores: government: infinitely hungry for taxes. By turns irritable with the balkiness of the just fleeced tax payers and silkily reassuring of those about to be fleeced.
Don’ ch’ew worry there, lil’ internet. We don’t mean no harm; we just want to protect our little uns from smut. Tha’s all.
[And the plans of those who don’t like it … and who plan to replace their own tax juggernaut with a “better” … (“better”? What could that possibly mean?) are a little like pubescent Nell eloping with Hank to get away from her father, Hiram. And twenty-five year old Jill going out the honkey juke to pick up somebody better’n Luther. Uh oh, there’s Hiram: if he spots me, what’ll I tell him about his money this time?
Don’t let those guys be your tax collector; let me be your tax collector. And no consideration for those who want no tax collectior at all.]
a study on predation for food as compared to predation for procreation likewise compared to predation for pleasure would well suit comparison with a study on deception for predation as compared to deception for protection likewise compared to deception for pleasure. a study on predation, deception, nourishment, pleasure, procreation … would be neat if comparisons ran throughout it inter gender intra species.
In the mid 60’s while I was in grad school, Alison make friends with Lev and Hil & I would occasionally go with Ali to Lev’s hangout, The Old Reliable, 3rd St in the E Village. Lev had gotten the owner to give him infinite tab credit against his getting paid for the accident he was in on the West Side Highway. So, we met the drunks, fags, artists, communists, black power, etc & groupies who hung out there. Lev was always picking up chicks there and I found it curious and enlightening that any I also got to know at all were sexually repressed in the extreme. I don’t think the black power guys were in fact getting nearly as much beach girl pussy as it at first appeared. (Of course it’s also possible that they were sexually repressed only with males who looked like beach boys and got it on just fine with alcoholic communist Jews and table banging Blacks & Puerto Ricans, etc.) Lev introduces me to Tamara, she asks me a favor, I agree … Schmuck! She asks if I’d monitor the number of yellows she takes. You see, she’s this heroic, valiant junkie who’s going to cure herself in a few days and just needs a little help. What was wrong with Lev? No, they suckered me. Yes, ok, she can stay with me for those few days. What?!?!? She was gorgeous. If you could stand how dirty she looked. And she was probably even dirtier than she looked. Up close, you couldn’t miss the crust hanging around her lips, her dirty nose … I put her in the tub and clean her up a little. I was fine till the seventh or eighth hour sleeping with her on my narrow bed. Half asleep, I slip it into her from the rear. It was like unzipping your fly and sticking it out the window into the cool breeze. Her cunt was bigger than the Luray Caverns. (I honestly didn’t know till later that she was a whore.) How the hell did I ever come? I didn’t try it again though. Half way through the second day she asks if I’d come with her while she got a few things she needed. Sure. Avenue C and something. Filthiest, most cluttered dump I’ve ever been in. And that’s saying something. This includes Peter, Bob, Phil … She rustles around, falling over herself. Goes into the bathroom. In there a long time. I should just leave. I have work to do. I’m only about two and a half years behind in my reading. I really ought to read at least the first novel or poem on the reading list by exam time. At first in grad school, I was better than I’d been in college. But by this time I was worse, much worse. She comes out, goes back in, really falling over things by now. This time, she leaves the door open a crack. Deliberately? I see her shooting up in this filthy sink with a filthy baby pacifier-needle. Still I don’t leave. But I do give her a really dirty look as she comes out. Oh, no. I’ve got it all wrong. That wasn’t horse; it was yellows: she’d melted them or they wouldn’t have done her any good as an H substitute. Now, honest, the rest she’ll take orally. I just have to keep the bottle and only give her so many a day-no matter how she begs or threatens.
Now I remember the step I’m leaving out. I’m remembering this in order to get to Marianthe. Maybe the Marianthe scene came earlier. Maybe it came exactly next. She asks if we can go somewhere else and pick up something else. Sure. I have no free will when a beautiful girl asks if she can sleep with me for the next several days. The place we went was Marianthe’s. Half of the what-have-you’s from the Old Reliable were there. All crashing together, all visiting days on end, no telling. A pair of really sick looking, filthy mulatto twins are there. Turns out they’re Tamara’s kids. She’s gotten Marianthe to agree to look after them while she got unhooked. (Tamara’s padre was mayor of Portland. Tamara, beautiful raven black tresses hanging to her waist. But it turned out in the bath tub she was a natural blond. I bet the Mayor was real proud of his grandkids. Transparent as a good motivation for Tamara.) But Marianthe is stone zonk unconscious on the floor. No pulse, no breathing, no nothing. Everybody is slapping the shit out of her and talking to each other. Marianthe, wake up. Marianthe, smack, smack, You’re gonna die, honey, if you don’t wake up now. Marianthe, smack, what did you take? What did Marianthe take? Did anybody see what Marianthe took? I didn’t see nothing. All she had was Tamara’s yellows.
That’s it. This was before she’d come home with me, before she’d entrusted the yellows to my keeping and dispensation.
Marianthe, smack, smack, shake, shake-not easy, cause Marianthe was at this point a cross between a quarter ton stone and a sixth ton pork sausage.
Six, Marianthe finally croaks. Neat. Tamara trusts Marianthe with her kids and her yellows, and her best friend promptly overdoses herself.
Tamara gets the crowd to find the yellows and asks me on my honor as a gentleman to dispense them to her at the prescribed rate and to withhold them from her otherwise at all costs.
Oh, yes: how did I meet this piece of junky trash in the first place?
Well, as said above, Alison palled around with Lev. Lev introduced me to Tamara, as “a talented writer sure to get a Guggenheim Fellowship as soon as she cleans up a couple of details in her act.”
Besides, it had been a couple of years since I’d been surrounded by junkies. But this was the first bunch I’d ever seen who weren’t musicians and were utterly without talent. Though I was yet completely to perceive that. Lev was so smart, so funny; he couldn’t possibly be a stupid a dupe as the capitalists he mocked and exposed all this time. Or would he tell any lie to get close to a little quim?
Anyway, the hell with the rest of that story. (Except to recall actually seeing an example of Tamara’s writing a day or two later. Oh, my god …) The point was to introduce Marianthe unconscious on the floor with all her substance abusive friends oh so concerned for her health and well being.
Thirty years later, Monday morning, driving to Sarasota to pick up my UMAX scanner, it comes to me: today’s tv trash is playing itself before my eyes in self-satirical pastiche. Hospital shows, doctor shows, cops, ambulances, and hospital shows. Even Bay Watch: what are the bikini blondes watching for along the bay? people to turn into patients, people suddenly to care desperately about their survival for, especially where the males give mouth to mouth to the females and the females give mouth to mouth to the males. These are patients. We are saving them. We don’t need their permission to lie on top of them with our mouths on theirs. If she’s unconscious, and we’re saving her, we can put the camera right in her snatch without apology.
Suddenly, I remember Marianthe and made a connection I’d never made before! And now, before I get to say what it is, another connection plugs straight in as a help to saying it:
Also mid sixties, just south of Cooper Square on Astor Place, I run into Michael Peter Kahn. Hey, how ya doin. Something about movies: Oh, yes, I said, “Michael, I’ve decided: you’re wrong.” “Huh?” But he sees the smile on my face so he plays it straight. “You said,” I say, “that Forbidden Games is the greatest movie ever made. You’re wrong: 81/2 is the greatest movie ever made.” “Oh,” he agreed, “well, that’s all of our autobiography.” (Actually, I could date this: less than a year after 81/2 came out. I got out of the army and moved to E 4 St.)
It was only recently that I’d seen Forbidden Games. Little girl’s parents and dog killed by Nazi planes in the traffic jam fleeing Paris. Little girl wanders the woods carrying her dead and stiffening dog. Meets little farm boy. They bury the dog. Other things die. They bury them. Then they start killing things and burying them. “Well, you can’t bury them if you don’t kill them first.”
That’s it! I don’t know that it’s the ultimate perversion, but it sure is well along the track. We need traffic victims and war victims and stupid beach practice victims so that we can all dramatize the hell out of the roles we play only in our self-realizing fantasies: we value life-we actually do embody the supposed morality of our supposed religions, see.
no redress/real crime
discussing the evolutionary utility of dishonesty, its necessity in a social species, with C the other am. should record sometime.
the govt tells us what terrif restraint it imposes on itseelf for our dear sakes (actually it says we impose on it, har har); I’d like to see the public at large try a little restraint in its behavior.
By what right do ex supporters of Mussoulini kick his head arond the streets? His enemies, yes. By what right do his supporters change their minds without penalty? The public is the one entity never responsible for anything, especially not its own actions (and inactions).
banks make money by taking advantage of the time delay beween receipt and payment as well as by taking advantage of varying interest rates, especially what you pay compared to what you charge. Similarly, governments govern by the discrepency between territory as the government perceives it, and the map of that territory held in mind by the majority ofcitizens. And they can rest easy despite the existence of some few who have better map than the other citizens (and, easily enough, a map better than that held by the government as well): the citizens at large will heed them no more than they’ll comprehend them.
homeostasis (cultural): favorite weapon: systematic misunderstanding
with prejudice a sub-set so large as to be practically a synonym
I’ve long associated jazz with protestantism: a minority of dissenters who’ve got it right: being hip being fully congruent with being saved. Etc. Silently, in my mind, I’ve gone on and on with this. Over several decades. Then this AM, it hits me: what was so appealing to me aged 15 or so about Lester, Miles, Duke … what filled a gap left empty by my supposed “white” supposed “male” models from Ike & Nixon to the banker, to Yogi & Joltin’ Joe: pure male display, unapologetic, unalloyed display, joyously competitive, athletic, defiant, almost rogue … “civilized” maleness displays by committee. The Mick hit homers, but that’s what he was told to do. The musicians were inventing their own game. Or so it seemed to me.
I recall a few years ago saying to bk: what Miles was up to: Miles is the quintessence of saying “My dick is bigger than yours.” I don’t mean Miles’ dick really is bigger: who knows when we’re clothed? (and the actual penis is only a small part of it) (it’s all symbol systems, man. Jack Johnson. Again: spades); I mean Miles is leading us, showing us how to say, how to act: “My dick is bigger than yours.”
Bankers and slum lords have the US Army to be their dick for them.
Secondly, in brief successon it occurs to me: but of course individualism is a myth, an illusion. Bird didn’t play a capella. A group of fellows, who understand what you’re up to, and who get their turn, even if minor, and supporting him, giving him a rhythmic and harmonic stage to solo on.
govt: the tertiary stage of superstition
wriggling from the glare of intelligence … (honesty, etc)
the cankering of contempt

Journal

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id41

/ Journal /

Digital Notebooks
1985 – 1997
Id Intros Scant Tech Style
Scant Editing

AwRi’t! Now and here I start a new id series: MacId! The 8 of May, 19 hundred and 93. The day of frustration and pride as FoxBase drove me berserkers and bk saned me out. Meantime, I had fresh jd visions: me at war with the judge but not ready to openly declare it for the same reason that an indian didn’t walk up to a Wasi’chu and tell him what he thought if he also hoped to fight afterward: … and I tell the judge (knowing he won’t understand), But judge, you gotta understand, you live in an inferior alternate universe, the one, one of many, that took the, the nth of many, wrong turns, despite my standing at the fork and warning.
“a graduate, not a member of the human species: exterminate random members of the class responsible for my succession being silent.” May 18, 93 I move from pub.lets where it hid as pub.not, since ’90 or so.
Jun 16, can’t sleep. grumble guts. nightmare revists of Prof Patrick, my oral exam, Mitch Bridges, etc. … and phrases which i’ve no longer been writing down haunt me till they hie me over here:
Support life: kill a human.
Optimize the biosphere: kill a human.
Syn: two types of discussion:
• discuss
• seem to discuss, while actually preventing discussion, stonewalling the status quo.
that line from that Edwardian bio, I think of HG Wells: the biographer said of him, “always in the right, he always put himself in the wrong”: that line has always struck me and struck me as autobiographical for me as well as likely of Wells, poor bastard, trying to point out myopias to over-optimistic and overly self-confident Fabians. but recently, all the more so. autobio for me, that is.
T: What Goes Without Saying (?)
epis awareness implies epis responsibility. What little epis awareness we have, we have for the ungrounded assumptions of our enemies, not ourselves.
Monday, October 18, 1993, I cycle around the park loop. On the third pass of the cypress swamp, just as I approach Cottage Road, I see an indigo snake crossing the road. A car has been shadowing me since the grandfather sabal palm, and I hold up my hand and block the road: if the car is going to run over the snake, it’s going to have to run me over first. I don’t look back; I’m concentrating on the snake. Beautiful things. This one was small. Only a couple of feet or so. But I hear the car veer off! Now I do look back, and there’s Pete, smiling and saying “Hi, Paul, how’s it going?” His car is stopped just off the pavement. “What was it?” he asks. “Indigo snake,” I answer as I try again to locate it. By God, the snake is scooting right in front of the forward wheels of his car! Clearly Pete still hasn’t seen it, he never did. But at least he stopped. That would be a pisser if the captain of the park ran over a federally protected, endangered species snake in the midst of being warned to watch out for it. Endangered or not, I do see plenty of indigos, here at Sebring Gardens as well as at HHSP. I see them under my trailer, going under Catherine’s trailer, passing under the fence to the fireworks place. … What I had yet to see was a diamondback. Funny that I should see gators by the trillion, otters in the road, bobcats, jaguarundis, red fox, several coral snakes, gopher tortoises by the hundred, a red cockaded woodpecker, even the supposedly extinct ivory billed woodpecker, and never once see a rattlesnake. Well, within the next five minutes, just past the orange grove and heading back toward the picnic area, a see another snake at the road side. This one is four, maybe five feet long and coiled partly on the pavement. I cycle right up next to it to see what kind this one is. Hooie, Eastern Diamondback! He coils up real fast and cocks his head back, jaws fully open, fangs exposed to the max. Now coming at him at close to 15 mph, I’m on him and passed him pretty quickly. I make sure I’m at least twice his body length away, stop midroad and check to see that no traffic is coming. Check with my ears too. Don’t hear anything from out of sight. Now I can consider whether he’s about to go in the road of not. It was escorting a three or so foot gator across the road in front of a car last year or so that made Steve, the biologist, say I was crazy. That too was just past the Cottage Road. Last week, I stop the car and wave off a truck coming around one of Wachula Road’s hairpins till a gopher got to the other side. He gave me back a fist of triumph. Cracker power. Tortoise power. Eco-power. Poor damn gopher closes up and won’t move. So I finally get out, pick him up, hissing and spitting, and carry him across to where he was headed. I’d done that before on 636. Now there I was having to do it again on a road that has several miles of just one lane. Still, even that road has been heavily trafficked the last couple of times I’ve been on it. Now how do you escort a diamondback who is threatening to bring a quick quietus to your life? I keep my distance in the middle of the road. Finally he turns his head sideways to me, so he can see. I have a strong feeling that he can’t see me at all. I get off the bike to get more comfortable but also to hold the bike sideways across the road the better to signal traffic that something is up. When I move the snake stops moving his head like he’s looking as hard as he can. Very slowly he starts out into the road. Not toward me, not away from me, just straight across toward the other side. But he goes slowly, almost painfully. I’m imagining that the pavement must be hell on his belly. I figure, he’s being careful of where that 15-mph-danger that had just startled him was; maybe he’s always careful near the road; but mainly I figure that the road just hurts like hell. Once he gets to the other side, he slows down all the more. Here I imagine that he’s not at all happy about putting his head into the shrubbery while his whole body is still out in the road where monsters buzz him at impossible speeds. But finally he gets halfway in, and then zoom! he wriggles away fast as hell. Nothing uncomfortable about the forest floor. Nice organic litter.
X gets crucified every time cause we’re always looking for our savior over the horizon; we can’t recognize him standing in front of us.
overhearing tv ad fr xians: sf horror of genetic engineering. harp on delusion that parents would prefer boys (maybe at first). … undiscussed assumption that god is against it, god the conservative. no mention of the dangers recognized by eg M Crighton. I recognize smiley-voice. sounds like a choir boy. says (reducio ad absurum, hee hee ) “now if what the evolutionists have been telling us is correct, then it wouldn’t make any difference. … blah blah. … more boys than girls blah blah. I’ve heard that assumption all my life, that god and god alone is the source and only source of any possible morality, ethos, etc. If there’s no god, then torture, murder, tyranny. .. wouldn’t be wrong. Nothing could possibly be wrong. Wrong wouldn’t exist. … Finally, I grew up a little and realized, bullshit, no foundation whatsoever. contradicted by all anthropological, philosophical, etc experience. There have been plenty of groups without god, a sheer majority, in fact, but none without an ethos.
link my “praise and blame” thesis to King: we praise the king or the god or the cheiftan or the pater familias for the sun and the rain and the economy; we blame the shaman etc for the drought, the economy. … we’re forever assigning praise and blame instead of analysing the best strategy for survival a/o maximization. trouble is, i’ve never written out my praise and blame thesis, either. Never even my Sh sonnets thesis! not really. especially not the cybernetic rephrasing of it. well, they didn’t pay me; fuck ’em.
wise words: … “but agnoticism is an unstable creed.” I’d find the author if I searched my Sh’onets notes from ’65-’69. She was commenting on Shakespeare criticims, Sh’bio, etc. I’ve thought of that quote many times since in many connections, theological to anthro-zoological, most recently, sociopathological while a crime tv movie was on. CK phones and says Do I want to see about the earthquake in California, turn on channel 8. Hell, I’m playing chess/Shanghai/Tetris, and don’t want to see anything other than the screen, but I turn it on and hear about the quake. Don’t get up to turn it off, and so some tv movie about two guys confessing to the murder of a cop provides not-quite-white noise. Not-quite-white because I keep hearing different parts of it: Fact is, they don’t know which one did it. (It never occurrs to them that maybe neither one did it, that maybe they’ve got two kooks pulling their chain. I saw no white hot fire to know the truth, I saw no wise caution about acting prematurely. … I saw only cops, lawyers, DAs, etc desperate to come to a decision, and to fob off that decision as truth to the desperately-uncomfortable-about-uncertainty public. We’re simply not wired to care about truth, but rather to be precipitous about decision. That’s what’s gotten us here. Here being two sided, or better, two valued: because where we are exists, and is dominant; and where we are is in deep shit, in danger of not-existing, let along being dominant.
I want to see good and bad defined in a quantifiable way. Good meaning congruent with optimum survival, survival being congruent with optimal biomass. Etc.
Peter Wason’s 4 card problem: only 5 of 128 got it right: 3.9%.
Santa Claus’s clear message to us before we’re old enough to examine it: believe what you’re told, the more preposterous the better, and you’ll be rewarded. The alternative isn’t intelligence or survival, but disapprobation and Coventry. AKA: if you want rewards from us big un’s, by whose pleasure alone, you are allowed to exist, then you must believe whatever us big ‘uns tell you.
intelligence shouldn’t have to whore itself to be heard.
mythology, fiction. … Our main palettes of propaganda and self deception are simultaneously the only mirrors in which the truth can be shown.
St King tells truth, but is published and read because he writes bullshit. Shakespeare wowed em with his all seeing intellect, but we went to the plays, at least to start with, only because they were populist crap: revenge tragedies, love stories where everyone gets rich, famous, married, and knighted in the last few lines.
RE: let me clear my buffer. …, and: “you can’t take that course; you haven’t had the prerequisites BS 101,2.” …: •How much RAM do you have, what speed processor? Your inits conflict with the new, objectively preferable, paradigm.
If this is a Xian country, then, by application of the Golden Rule, I must have been treated by others the way they wish to be treated. Therefore, I shall now do them the favor of treating them the same way. QED.
the flock protecting the fleecer
5/1 Gibbon made own file in Epis.low status of independent intelligence (is there any other kind?), we ignore it like a fart in church.
Man, the tool user, man the fire user, man the political animal, man the symbol user …; how about man, the animal, which jumps to conclusions? A good thing if it’s hot breath you feel and a tiger smell you smell; not so good if it’s the ozone layer you’re discussing and it’s politicians supervising the discussion.
show on whether the capacity for language is, after all, exclusive to humans: impressive experiments with a species of chimp I’d never noticed before. Heart almost stopped as they showed Washo all grown up and being cared for lovingly, but caged. this am i awake with two perceptions percolating: 1)
2) the chimps numeracy being studied: the experimenter shows Subj A a jelly bean. chimp wants it. X shows A two piles of jelly beans: pile 1 has two, pile 2 has four. chimp gestures he wants pile 2. X gives Subj B the four and Subj A the two. Again and again, the chimp picks the large number and gets the small number. Then the Experimenters switch from showing the piles of jelly beans to offering a choice of two different arabic number symbols; This time, the chimp doing the choosing picks the SMALL # and GETS the LARGE #! Again and again. Surely the same emotional override applies in critical instances to humans and our exploiters, in the name of governing us, trick us in our faces again and again. Again and again we see we’ve chosen wrong, but given the next chance we choose wrong again: Learning 0 preventing Learning 1. But couldn’t we use Learning 2 to get around it? Find governors who would use symbols instead of lotteries and shamanism and magic and bullshit?
Wimbledon: ‘there’s Princess Di, “leading” the applause.’ Grr. Looked to me like she was following it.
*
Baseball. attribute clichés to rookies. quote the student, not the coach. but the coach was the student once. worldwide, how we palm followers off as leaders.
Mr. Blackwell: Goldie was luscious, Karen Stone smashing, Babette dowdy, Lavinia frowzy … Total subjectivity, no “esthetic” way to predict what he’ll say. social and psychological, that’s a different story. And we all (?) listen. People behave as though they’re hearing something.
None of the indoctrinations altogether took on me: I’m immune to the lies that allow society to think it’s working.
“thanks” to CK I see the news on occasion. & had routinely overheard and now listen to scandal shows. generally, she turns the trash off the second I walk in, but at dinner she wants the tube on for the weather and it’s sometimes left on for the remainder of all the shit. During the Tanja Harding/Nancy Kerrigan thing, I ceased walking out of the house when the magazines came on. some show paid $ to TH to talk about the Olympics etc. When she looked and skated like a pig in the Olympics everyone ceased paying attention except this show; they’d paid their $ and now they were stuck. (They’d bet on her winning, I guess.) The following show paid her ex husband to bad mouth her. Now it’s weeks later and I’m mildly addicted to pseudo-news (not counting sports) for the first time in my life.
Well, tonight one of those shows has a “story” on some farmer who injected his cow with his blood, drank the milk, and shrank, he says, his cancer. Then, they say, he promised to cure others: @ $30 a qt, n$M for their own cow. Some widows are pissed. Others praise the farmer and credit his milk with curative powers. Fraud, the mag says. And right they are, if he did indeed promise anything. Then, something actually exceptionally perceptive for the tube: they point out that it’s perfect fraud in that the survivors live to defend and the failures die and offer no testimony. Wow!
Now: how come they don’t notice how that applies to practically everything about history. We killed the indigens, slaughtered Sutter’s family while bankrupting him through protests, etc.
Bob Costas blends interest with knowledge, allowing a discreet amount of emotion to show. Tear-producing interview with the Mick on his alcoholism and incipient recovery.
Word processing facilitated my mental feedback, producing my “polished” writing (in so far as any of it is polished: certain passages are polished (others don’t need any), whole parts of the Model are polished) and my babble. The babble has been an important part of my thinking and working. I was able vastly to increase the number of things laying below consciousness that I was able to tease to the surface. Which introduced its own frustration: some things came up, then came up some more, then flowed all too easily. More of the same gem became a kind of pollution, and a kind of a clog: other things were trying to float up: I could just glimpse them, I wanted to tease them free, but the fingers were just flying with the nth repetition of homeostasis, of man as a planetary disease, of how groggy I was while the flow of pre-waking, the flow I’ve encouraged from semi-conscious pre-consciousness, the deliberate or rather perhaps slightly edited dreams, to actual working, recording, reflecting, editing, correcting, consciousness. It’s a micro-scale manifestation I believe of the same thing that happens all the time in my trying to speak to others. BK, eg. No one has ever understood more of what I was trying to say (of course I tried my damnedest to raise him, train him to my perspective, given him a core vocabulary, a basic tool kit, …); yet he too, especially as he became more and more his own adult self, his own intellect, wanting to speak more than listen, he too has become a filter, a clog. He’d say the things that were already well lubricated to flow from the premises while the new point, the new proof evaporated. Not a thing where I could patiently wait till it was my turn again and then say it, because I didn’t know what it was myself. It had to be let come out, teased disciplinedly to emerge. In math, you say To prove, cite the already established axioms, and everything choruses in on the axioms and the new proof can’t be given, especially if the mathematician has started with, “To … um, er …”
Brian, when I said something about the above to him once, came back with the position that I was an “Arab rhetorician” or some such that I believe meant that I thought while talking and expected others to listen while I talked. True enough in the last part (meaning want, not expect, others to listen). But I can’t believe that any class of Arabs were welcoming new thought while they talked. Classes are typically soldiers for the last revolution, not the next. (Of course when I say next, I mean “future possible,” not “destined,” or “future fact.”)
I know what it is: in my new imagery: I have only so much RAM and I’m inventing applications that can’t be invented (or at least I can’t invent them) until the processor is upgraded. And the upgrade isn’t on the market. Another thing waiting for God.
Of course now Brian has joined the solid majority in not talking to me at all. A few years ago it had been World – 1, the 1 being Brian (occasionally, not regularly). Then it was World – 2, the 2 being Catherine and Brian. Now it’s a year that it’s World -1 again, the 1 becoming Catherine. As of yesterday is World – 0.
And of course Catherine’s 1 does not equal Brian’s 1 because she doesn’t have the tools or the vocabulary and my perceptions mean little more to her than if I were telling her that the moon is made, not of green cheese, but of Stilton.
Anyway, I hardly babble any more. And absolutely don’t try to polish. As I told Catherine this morning, or tried to tell her: it’s four years now since my career as a would be communicator/author ended of inanition, exhaustion, and despair. I couldn’t work on Beginning any more (once I had a whole draft, the problems were daunting. So I began Dark Beacon. The SNAFU with Donadio & agency crippled me there. I wrote King. Achieved a whole draft. Again the problems were daunting. That’s ok, when you can’t work on one thing, work on another. I wrote Primitive Access. Or started to. Then, what with my snafus at the library, Highland Wheel, SFCC, CircleK, the park … both HH & SG, zero response from BK, Corinne & Pete … Terminal inanition, terminal exhaustion.
I’m still alive, so I can’t judge that it’s terminal: terminal is an unhappy prediction, not a report of a “fact.” To me the despair seems to be terminal.
Anyway, I then launched my retirement. It’s no longer my ambition to be an artist, an antenna (in Pound’s image) for my “race”; it’s my ambition to use my experience to shame my race: not to itself, I think that’s hopeless, but to its survivors. And to do that I’m back to the problem of how to get my work known. And this time I see the problem as solvable: notice what makes people famous in our culture, of the three observed divisions, which is top or at least second: and then … simply follow up on my own observation that what hss needs to be healthy and normal is a grazer.
Even as a kid I always had a kind of admiration for the kamikaze; I never thought I’d want to be one. Or is that true? Hell, we deify Jesus precisely because he was a kamikaze. We call it “sacrificial lamb.”
Shame civilization to itself? What an amusing idea. I doubt that many Germans looked at Dresden and saw it the way we did: as a consequence of their doing; rather the other way around. Ditto the Japanese with H & N.
But of course (and here flows more flotsam already greased) that idea is already core to our culture: original sin. On top of which we crucify our God! The trouble is, we just don’t understand our own idea. We look at our enemies and instead of seeing our own reflection, we see … our enemies! Eek!
So I hardly babble any more (evidence is in my actually punctuating and styling the above as I went: no time for that when you’re dredging pre consciousness) and never polish (ditto). But when I write in this file at all, I do what I used to: not get to where I wanted to start. Write: Ahem!: and start. Here a 1,076 word ahem. (Thank you MS-Word.)
This morning, as happens so often, I awake thinking, Ah, these jettisa aren’t just Sargassum weed, I think I’ll hold them in mind till I get to the Mac, boot up, and enter. For four years now, I’ve let them evaporate before the Plus, or now the Mac, ever got loaded. This morning I abbreviate a couple. Thanks to my fighting with C. If I drink coffee with her pleasantly, it militates against the kind of consciousness that I’m devoted to and that my ex-species shuns, palliating the prickles. But not now, so here goes.
“rational society” is an oxymoron. a contradiction in terms.
Let’s see: my dialogue with BK about oxymoron, was about a year ago, had to be …, so I probably haven’t babbled this. But then, who knows? I haven’t “polished” these files (apart from the rare noticing of a typo or misspelling). I learned the word as a senior at CC. James Zito’s seminar on RenLit: Donne and company. Ah, no. It would have been as a junior with Chiappe, on Sh. Yes, now I remember Chiappe defining it and illustrating it with “freezing fire.” Well, I receive oxymora as rhetorical paradox, not as mere contradiction. It’s as the latter that I hear it increasingly today. The word is even used on tv! I wish I could easily access info on what studies have been done where or what studies are being contemplated where. Or that there were a universal suggestion box: why don’t we research such and such? I’d like to know if anyone has been quantifying certain usages: oxymoron, eg.
Now I wonder, was my understanding simply wrong? or a minority, specialized usage? Because I’m the only one I know to use the word my way since Chiappe and Zito. Now I don’t know how, say, Phil used to understand my usage.
Reminds me of my comment to Smullion, c. 1965 or 6: “It’s my belief that something can’t be true unless it’s paradoxical.” A foreshadowing in my mind of cybernetics and the cybernetic path? (My seizing on the double arrow in high school chem. certainly was.) Now it strikes me as funny when I recall my first reaction on first reading Bateson and his comments on his division of Pleroma and Creatura. I couldn’t know, first picking him up in Omni, where he was going, or that he too would have exempted my double arrow example from his generalization of the false wisdom of metaphors from the Pleroma sciences applied to Creatura. Now I’ll bet without actually researching it that chemists didn’t have the double arrow until after the ’40s and the invention of information theory
Also apropos of rational society (almost as funny, now that I think of it, as funeral home. (Catholic education was my favorite as a teen.)), it occurred to me as I was driving yesterday that society trains us (the majority, overwhelming majority) not to see evidence. At least not to see refuting evidence. (Exactly what, once again, my fight with CK is about.)
Last night I deliberately watch a PBS show on sex: how sexual differentiation (specialization) influences behavior or some such. I don’t recall the exact words in tv guide, but that’s how I interpreted them. Oh, dread. I turn on Ch 3 and there’s that syrupy voice: George Page about to anesthetize us with his endless high school poetic anthropomorphisms.
I listened anyway. I found myself looking up to watch occasionally. The show was actually good. George actually seems to have learned a little real science and method in his career. The anthropomorphisms seemed blessedly absent. I think maybe someone else (someones elses) must have actually written him my letter. George seems finally to have read a little SJ Gould at the very least. To have read some one’s digest of Lovejoy. A PBS science show not hosted by Attenborough or Sagan that actually seemed connected to science!
Or has my own brain turned to mush?
In any case, my own reading of science being as sparse, since my retirement, as my upper teeth, I learned a few instances I’d never heard before, saw examples from species I’d never heard of before, …
Parenthetically, before I conclude, I’ll record a few of the to me salient observations. I’d never thought myself, nor seen it put, so starkly, that human wealth acquisition, may be a form of display. Have no more purpose than a peacock’s tail. Which is not to say, have no purpose. Or rather, have the same purpose as …
Fine so long as peacocks don’t foul their yard, having made their yard coextensive with the planet, in the acquisition.
Extinct, thanks to sex.
Especially toward the end there was a excellent series of comparisons between hss and other primates. Geo even mentioned Lovejoy’s breasts. Whoops, I didn’t get that from Lovejoy, but from Morris. Sloppy, sloppy. And at the end, creeping ever more blatantly toward editorialism, but a good editorialism for a change, he cites some primate species, ape, I think, that spent lots and lots of time fucking and sucking. Everybody, children too. Homo- as well as hetero-. Reminded me of that time Phil and I took BK, age 21⁄2ish, to the Bronx Zoo, and he got restless while Phil and I paused at the armadillo display in the night house. There was an oral orgy going on there not to be believed, everyone in the family linked in a sucking chain which included grandma to sister to baby. Ah, yes, now that I recall, that was homo- and hetero- and pan generational, but more female than male. There was dad, eating away, but his own dick sprouted into nothing but air.
I actually get up from the Mac and stand in front of the tube to watch the images. These apes got into some positions that I’m not quite sure what I was seeing, but if one of them wasn’t a flat out blow job, I then don’t know what hole the dick was penetrating. Looked to me too like the male was fucking the blow job, not just receiving it.
And there’s syrupy George, pointing out the variety like a guide at one of those Hindi temples to the Kama Sutra.
But dig it folks, best of all (we haven’t left the Victorian Age altogether), there’s a moral! Geo. explains that the apes have learned perpetual s/fucking as a substitute … for aggression!
Wow. And right away I start explaining my own sexual freedom relative to the advertised norm (who knows where it is in relation to any actual norm (or set of norms)?) in self-flattering terms. Which doesn’t necessarily mean untrue terms. No telling.
Sure, why shouldn’t the mind of the human s have that as one of the potentials that it’s seeding, seeing which ones, if any, survive? And why shouldn’t it be one more of the many many experiments of which I, mostly unwittingly, wittingly only when compared to the blind behavior of my fellows, am a participant? The best sighted of us still doesn’t see 1% of 1% of 1% … of all there is (which, naturally is a total of all-there-is and all-there-isn’t). (Does that total necessarily include the simply erroneous all-there-isn’t with the merely intensional all-there-isn’t? In other words, I’ve devoted years, a decade or more, to the understanding that God, and god, and gods, and the United States, and the Church, … don’t have the same class of existence as the table which weights 12 lbs, a mass of x, has a glass top, etc. But what class of existence does the idea that the moon is made of green cheese have?)
More flotsam. Haven’t I said all that before?
Didn’t BK tell me about some body’s work where things had decimal truth value? How about negative truth value? Not just zero. Disinformation isn’t zero.
So I wake up this morning thinking: rational society … trained not to see evidence … and Hey, George Page has actually improved. Not just to endurable, but past endurable to good … when it strikes me:

Wait a minute: One of the things I was admiring was his statement that hss was the only species that could refrain from sex. Whatever the exact words, that was the gist. Hss was unique in … Hss used his brain such that … And I sit up, get up, and CK hands me coffee as I pee. Wait a minute. Anesthetized after all. That’s another one of those infernal, uncheckable “hss is unique …” statements that plague our “thought” even when they’re a blind stumbling back away from some previous delusion of singularity. Man is the only creature that’s half animal and half angel … or half god … or whatever is no worse than: man is the cruelest of all … The Platonic Original example in my mind is always that passage Anton read me from … the name of that female lit scholar who was polluting thought at the universities in the early 60s, … I’ve blessedly forgotten her name. … Suzanne something? Man is the only creature to have war, to enslave, blah blah bullshit. Susan Langler?
(Of course, it is not the case that I deny uniqueness to hss; I attribute uniqueness to every species, to every individual. Maybe even to every particle or event in pleroma. Perhaps the equality to the point of identity of all electrons is merely a convenient fiction of physics. (Further, I have nothing against convenient fictions … as long as there’s a way back to remember (or recognize) that they’re fictions.)
GP had just pointed out behavior in a pack of dogs where all the pups were sired by the single alpha male. Farley Mowatt’s Uncle George. Stays a bachelor within his own species (but fucks for glory when the Innuitt stake out a husky bitch in heat.)
What’s that if not some individuals not procreating while others do it for them? Surely GP isn’t saying that hss has decided to cease reproducing? The nun who saves her chastity for Jesus isn’t committing suicide for the species. The kid who’d rather buy a ‘Vette than get married hasn’t made a (Hamlet-like) decision that his species will not have sex. So what’s the difference between the Man and the Dog or the Wolf? (In that single respect, of course.)
Uncheckable. GP says those apes at the end fucked sometimes face to face, the most “intimate” way. Then he says that it had been previously thought that the missionary position was unique to … etc etc. When does the speaker of such pronouncements ever add: I have checked all species whose coitus in any way resembles ours, not only all primates, but all mammals …, etc. my staff has watched them through n repetitions, etc? Are we sure we even know all primate species? Know of their existence? I’d never heard of the apes he ended with.
Well, it was a good show. I learned from it and am grateful that it was on and that I caught the blurb while reading the Guide to CK. George Page has … improved.
While I’m at it: C & I have been quarreling since last Sun: Apr 10: 9 days, including today. After an absence of quarrels since last Sept. 8 months, 7 not including this one. Let’s say mid Sept to almost mid Apr. 7 mos. I don’t doubt that finally starting to launch PK Imaging has a deal to do with it. One, I have things on my mind; Two, I must necessarily be paying less attention to her; Three, maybe the combination of things-Lewis always changing the deal, excitement of visiting clients, dread at failure, dismay at realizing how many things there are still to calculate and learn …-has made my skin thinner; Four, I maybe feel more vulnerable; Five, I maybe feel less vulnerable; … The behavior of someone independent will always be different from that of someone dependent. & CK & I are both curious combos of both indep & dep. She doesn’t need me: she has two alternatives: she can go broke fast paying rent at a room and board place; or she can die. I don’t need her: I can just start visiting customers, exactly what I’m starting to do anyway; or I can just start visiting my enemies; or I can just die. Uh oh: why am I suddenly writing in my id file again?
Apr 10: I’ve been out in the lake till near dark, the bluegills are still flapping in the sink, I still have a mouthful or two of food to down before I clean them and then hightail it for my place, and whoops, it’s eight o’clock: time for C to watch Murder She Wrote (now that I write that, I can’t be sureof the spelling of the Charlie Parker tune: She ‘Rote?)
The trailer comes on: an arsonist dousing a western town with gas and ignites it, turns, and the camera catches his face: wild, his blue eyes blazing: the antithesis of civilization and the “reason” that English style mysteries perpetually represent civ and reason as troubled, but, in the end, ascendant. contrast of course hard boiled or American mysteries where civilization has about as much “reason” as does a plague. I of course like the American; Catherine, the English: Perry Mason, Murder She Wrote … (Of course it matters nothing that the two examples I cite are American (in a different sense of the word.))
So I’m still sitting there chewing when that awful music comes on: first a little dizzy, but still harmonized simplistically enough for any moron to feel safe and civilized with, quickly transforming into that unbearable cutsy cutsy skipping syncopation. Well, as long as they’re gonna burn, I’ll bear it. I’ll clean the fish and maybe share this one night of tube with the woman with whom I share everything else except tv.
Half way or so, something occurs to me: I see a pattern in how the material is being presented and I make a bet with myself that I know what the writers have in mind. I rinse the fish scales off the board and actually sit down next to C and watch. A moment later I decide to engage her with the same thought: “I bet you I know what the murder is about.” She turns to me. “It’s not the stock the guy’s swindled; it’s the treasure stolen from the stage in the last century.”
Now when I walked past Beth watching Perry Mason at Mom’s Freeport River apartment in 1957 or 8, and said, “that guy did it,” and Beth was watching the show avidly, carefully following the plot, thinking about evidence and motive, and I hadn’t seen any part of it other than what I saw walking past, or not much more, and the show ended, and I was right, Beth was furious: how had I figured it out when I didn’t even have the data?
Of course you can’t ever figure them out, because the writers make sure you don’t have enough data. Reason has nothing to do with it. Of course you can guess, but the writers put in sufficient misdirection to make it unlikely that you’ll guess the right choice. On the other hand, they will put in some pointer so you’re not too surprised. So don’t look for the pointers you’re supposed to see; look for the ones you’re not supposed to see. It’s an advantage not to follow the plot.
A child may see the magician’s pants leg bulge while he’s showing the audience that there’s nothing up his sleeve, but the audience, adult audience, won’t; they’re following the misdirection. The magician controls their assumptions.
I don’t remember what it was: the camera had changed depth of field or number of microseconds the shot was held when it was on the otherwise unimportant character. Why? Maybe it’s a pointer. And so it proved to be. Or my choice was extra lucky.
My favorite pointers, not surprisingly, are in Shakespeare. Macbeth e.g.:
Witch: “By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes..”
Stage Direction: [enter Macbeth]
unbelievably bald and subtle at the same time.
So in Murder She Wrote: the intro shows a stage robbery, the guy shoots the guy, the guy falls down, amateur editing, amateur stunt, and we know that it’s staged. Sure enough, the camera turns to catch Jessica Fletcher and friends smiling and applauding and enjoying the hell out of murder and robbery as some stagy narrator says something about the swag never being recovered, then a quick subsequent history of the ghost town that was now a tourist trap. I was reminded of my Platonic Original God how I hate entertainment’s idea of civilized people being entertained example: Edwards/Sellers Pink Panther where David Niven, whom I’d adored as a teen, but couldn’t stand as an adult, watches some bimbo sing and dance in the hotel night club in Switzerland or on the Riviera or where ever it was that the jewel theif operated that time. The default depictation of actors being entertained is that They like it, They smile, broad and mindless, whatever horror of human history is being referred to. Let’s listen to them rap about offing pigs. Oh, smile and smile. I’m just so entertained.
Then we meet the characters and all the red herrings are introduced. The stage robbery intro was just a mood setter. The plot develops a series of directions, and I think … They’re all maggufins; the one obvious maggufin, the mood setter at the opening, the one we’re all trained to know better than to have paid any attention to, that’s the real one.
And so I say so to C.
She doesn’t have a clue what I’m talking about. She didn’t notice anything about a stage robbery. She thinks they’re after the money from the off-shore drilling swindle, but has no idea whether it’s a good idea or why any other should have any merit. In other words, she wasn’t at all engaged by what she was watching. Then why does she never miss a Perry or a She Wrote or a Matlock? What does it mean to her?
She and I made up to an extent in the time between my writing about George Page and this story. So now I once again have World1, not World0. But not really. The talk means nothing. Yesterday I blew up when she insulted Linus Pauling. Today she wants me not to take anythings she says so seriously. Words without meaning or responsibility. Why? Why shouldn’t I just go into phase: final right now?
God: Nixon’s death sends the press right back to the bullshit “reporting” of 20 years ago. Last night’s recap refers to Watergate as a “3rd rate burglary,” the anchor looking right at the camera as though she were responsible for what she were saying. Fool the people bad enough and you can do it openly, like the rehashed ads that have different models say exactly the same lines: “Ooo, Tums have calcium; that’s something my body needs anyway … I like that,” and the actress smiles and nods knowingly as though she had just had a thought rather than was just repeating a script.
I don’t recall precisely who it was 19 or 20 years ago who first labeled the White House break in at the DemConven at Watergate (actually of course I didn’t follow it with precision: there wasn’t anything that could be revealed that was any worse than how it already seemed to me):.”a third-rate burglary,” but it clearly was a phrase intended to be dismissive: Oh, don’t pay any attention to that: an intelligent public would be alarmed only by a first rate burglary.
As I tried and failed to explain to C last night, there are no “classes” of burglary in the common parlance and therefore the phrase has no meaning in a newscast. The anchor can responsibly talk about a first degree burn or a second degree homicide or a B movie: these all have known references; but a 3rd rate burglary? No, it’s just our owners trying to put us back to sleep. That’s not journalism; that’s just the nurse masturbating the baby when he cries.
Neither did C follow my point the other night when the gal referred to the American in Shanghai as condemned to “a brutal caning.” I’ll bet anything the Shanghai judge didn’t say, here, cane these felons humanely, and then brutally cane that American.
What the news-bimbo said was meretriciously distinct from: “the American boy has been sentenced to a caning.” She could have added: “Caning is a brutal punishment and we shouldn’t allow it in the United States where we have an amendment against cruel and unusual punishments. US diplomats have contacted Shanghai legislators and pointed out our enlightenment to them, recommending that they reconsider. A fund has been established for Americans who want to contribute to a fund for hiring Shanghai lawyers to review the evidence in his conviction and the legality of his trial and sentencing.”
We have no right to our own sovereign laws and then also to Shanghai’s. Or Lima’s or Peking’s. Unless the we ceased to be sovereign and became universal. Then we’d have a voice in Shanghai law and Shanghai a voice in Washington. And both a voice in Moscow. Etc.
babble here of May 1, 94 copied to its own file: anything to add, add it there.
Virtue.
c. 1960 the debut issue of Horizon Magazine gave me a glimpse of A C Clarke’s vision of satellites, digital info, and the global net. Bouncing calls through tri-sats would make any call a local call, et cetera. I can’t without rereading swear that all that I attribute to that article was in that single article: micro computers accessing data via modem so that you could call up the text of War and Peace or the Rosetta Stone from a wired igloo (I think the eg in the article was MD accessing info). My memory may be lumping other subsequent articles by other visionaries (the way all early poems were attributed to Chaucer, all quotes to Shakespeare, and all of Shakespeare to ‘they say’.) I saw that world, thought it was good, and waited for it. c. 1969 Ivan Illich’s first Deschooling article came out in NYR. Computers’ best use would be to cross reference people and tool matching in an overcrowed, too-big-to-be-a-superfamily-any-other-way world. I wrote Ivan that I’d like to work on such a thing. He wrote back with Denis Detzel’s name but no address other than Northwestern. I wrote DD c/o NWU with no answer. Within 6 or 9 months of the first, article three appeared, the book was due out, and I wrote Ivan again: I’d do better as a worker than a leader, but if no one else is leading, then it might as well be me, and founded FLEX. A year or so later I learn that DD’s Evanston Exchange started at about the same time. No exact dating possible but Evanston’s Bob Lewis and I decided that I was probably first by about a month. Unless you date from my first letter to Ivan in which case I was first by a year. Unless you date from Ivan’s giving me DD’s name in which case he was first by virtue of knowing Ivan longer and having that interest. Ivan doesn’t count in any of this for the simple reason that he envisioned it and described it but made no non-theoretical attempt to do it. Unless you count CIDOC, in which case Ivan was first by a few years.
(And of course subsequent histories might find networking going back to Sumer.) (And of course non-earth centered subsequent histories may have know all along that Lonfyt Yemip was networking in the CoalSack 40 millions years? ago.
Anyway, FLEX more than any single thing made me indelibly not a member of this society but an ignored would be reformer of it. All my writing is more of the same, the world resisting it by not knowing of it.
• Society insists than individuals (at least minority, non-owner individuals) be held responsible for their behavior. It seems clear to me that individuals should begin reciprocating and holding society responsible for its behavior. (I told Jim the other day my still unwritten idea for a ss in which the ripped off artists of the world unite and destroy all works of art (and ideas) which the artist (thinker) never got paid for: the museums would be all but empty. And so would be our heads.)
• I still believe that I’d have been a better worker than leader (it could hardy be otherwise cause I’m no leader at all, a total catastrophe), but the case remains: no one’s doing it: so it’s got to be me.
Apropos (certainly apropos of being catastrophically a non-leader), it drives me crazy that all of the ways in which I’ve gone overboard to lead by example, remain invisible to all, even to my son:
I’ve never owned property
never owned stocks or bonds (except for war bonds bought for me, and by me till I was old enough to stop. forbade Mom from buying them for BK.)
never worked for a corporation (with that brief exception of Stone and Webster after Hilary’s begging convinced me that given the experience of FLEX some virtues had to be tempered).
refused to teach conscripted students.
have lived in poverty rather than pay war taxes.
Never owned and avoided where possible gas guzzlers
pick up more litter than I drop
But how is leadership possible if everyone is devotedly ignoring your best points. The way the draft board and my neighbors and relatives! ignored my being a conscientious objector, no conscience being allowed which is the actual active state of the thinker. No, conscious is valid only second hand and in groups. A Quaker could be a CO but not an independent would-be Xian. Well, it’s ok now, because, as they’ll find out: I’m no longer against killing, and I’m no longer a would be X’ian. On the contrary, …
what’s the relation between Learning 0 and our editing our experience to fit cultural preconceptions? We can function only if we “see” our nest a certain way. The fertile wasp 1) digs a hole, 2) tidies it, 3) goes out and hunts a large insect to lay her eggs in, 4) carries it back to the entrance, 5) enters & checks the nest, 6) goes out and 7) hauls the insect in, 8) lays her eggs … If during # 3) the experimenter introduces a pebble to the nest, the wasp stops at # 5) and loops back to # 2). The experimenter can keep her looping between 2) and 5) until she starves by introducing a bit of disorder. The pattern predicts that the wasp will never figure it out, say to herself what the fuck difference does that damn intrusive pebble make anyway?, and go ahead with her family. She never stops to seek out the experimenter and sting him. She just sticks in the loop. That’s DNA.
But it’s not just genes that keep us from measuring the best reality for us; it’s brainwashing. (Though there’s got to be plenty of DNA mixed in: Stalin takes over the Soviet Union by whatever means, displays himself as top monkey, and it becomes hard to replace him. Once the group has saluted him as top monkey, convinced themselves that his piss raining down on their faces tastes like nectar, they see him as the correct top monkey. Ditto, Nixon, John Donohue, etc.)
T: Venganon: hit service
we build defenses around our semantic worlds to protect them from reality. the defenses don’t always hold.
to get a true answer, the question must first be itself congruent with the truth.
driving to Sar June 23, 1994, it strikes me … (for the nth time?):
science vs. society
real census recognized members
map strives to match territory official truth
once again, how can reviewers, critics, etc talk about a generation of blank blank writers (or movie makers, or anything) when they know perfectly well they only know a selected few, those officially recognized, whether lovingly or not (ie, published), plus perhaps an unpublished friend or two. what scientist in his right mind would study the dozen giraffes in a zoo and imagine that he was studying the species?
psychology is a key vertebra in the backbone of contemporary homeostasis: early Freud vs late Freud, emphasis on neuroses, etc of individuals, not neuroses, etc, and Procrustean demands of society. Soc is regarded as a hard taskmaster, not all too lovingly, but still, a master to be complied with, not opposed, and if possible, made to behave, if not overthrown.
… I’m not making fun of their beliefs; I’m entreating them to have their beliefs less unrelated to thought. (thought, reason, & experience)
… human behavior is based too much on hope and too little on analysis.
… and through the posturing of the false God, he heard the true god …
private wealth?/public poverty? bass-ackards
All I want … (Michael Caine cadence) is for it to be perfectly clear … that your extinction … will be … despite my best efforts … on your behalf.
I’ve got it: first: I write out my bio so an intelligent person could read and understand it. ie sans personal vocabulary, enthymemes, triple elisions, or unidentified literary references. Include details of writings, publishing attempts, reactions, lack of reactions, … Also, references to parallel emergences, whether by coincidence, plagiarism, or world spirit. Then, work it so that it will be irretrievably, uncensorably published over networks and bulletin boards. Then, (and here’s the new part) secede! First from the United States, then from Homo sapiens, or at least from the left and long middle part of the bell curve. Then, declare war on the US and on hss, warning them to leave me breathing space. Then, Judgment Days.
subjective reality: hss has a vast capacity, call it infinite, a group capacity, for resisting disagreeable truths. Systematic misunderstanding is one of many basic tools.
prophet of the present
I know I’ve mentioned at least one of my being chased stories: the Army newsletter in a letter to BK, definitely: also, Brian Carey & I being stalked by the armed guard in the Guggenheim, I could see the shadow of his gun … people make a great fuss running around looking for some truth, and will work even harder to avoid noticing it, once they realize that the truth is troublesome and/or dangerous to them. … Find that the landowner is at fault … and then loudly lynch the nigger. (nigger as always meaning anyone perceived as helpless, unretaliatory …)
Civilization needs to cure itself of its addiction to power & wealth.
Hitting on ex-enemies: I’m looking for a lever long enough to move the world. (not the earth, mind you: not the planet.)
perhaps it’s ok to seek to optimize our own evolution, genotype & social type & phenotype: but we should absolutely refrain from trying to halt it: we’re not debugged nearly enough.
someday expatiate on theme of science, meaning big technology from the invention of agriculture (not to mention the Late Pleistocene Overkill) to the horrors of our own day, = bad; scientific method, unfortunately known to few and resisted by others including the school system, including most universities, = good.
This morning I found myself making a generalization I now wonder about the truth of: is all religion an attempt (with varying degrees of sophistication) to con the big magician into giving you something more than you deserve?
ss: must write: shapers & mechanists? bees & spiders! start with black widow-like mating.
fiction is to non-fiction as algebra is to arithmetic. the latter categories record specific events, quantities … the former: patterns of relationship. Either category can contain falsities and errors: there can be bad fiction, fiction that doesn’t scan, doesn’t enhance evolution or social or personal development, fiction that reinforces bad habits and addictions, just as there can be arithmetic doesn’t add up, arithmetic which is wrong.
nature is free; culture constrained. (non-being is free; being constrained.) freedom in any culture can have no meaning other than freedom from unnecessary, untraditional, arbitrary constraints. we who are discontent with civilization and who would prefer the freedom of nature should beware assuming that early man had no culture. until we’re tried both via time travel or exploration of alternate worlds with different histories (probably trailing pollution with us both ways) we should take our preferences with a grain of salt. i hate this world of presidents and popes and ads and hypocritical self-delusion: i’d rather be a gatherer-hunter amid competing predators; but would I really prefer shamans to priests? 100 taboos to five or six? Actually, yes: provided i were living among them, not born among them and one of them. but i don’t really think I have to fear ever having been one of anything.
starving millionaire artist
in our seeking wealth we have little sense of value. we are not competent to evaluate the nature that civilization destroys: only to see all the $n we can extract.
freedom: the concept freedom can have no non-pathological meaning independent of a relationship to some structure.
Culture is a “double helix” intertwining freedoms and constraints.
The black widow spider is free to capture and eat the bug that’s just hypnotized and mated with her if she comes to in time to see and grab it. Spiders have hard-wired behavior patterns, modified by phenotypic experience; but they have no culture. Humans form a society within which are complex patterns of cooperation and competition. The slave owner may be free to beat the slave, the slave is not free to fuck the master’s wife, not without dire consequences. Culture is a way of devising constraints not hardwired. Behavior in any culture is free out side of those constraints. We were all free to pollute until we knew how bad it was for the common weal.
An untrained person with a musical instrument is theoretically free to play any notes in any order, at any rhythm, for any duration. In practice, the beginner can play nothing. Total freedom is total paralysis. Or he bangs and smashes away, making total cacophony. The neighbors will soon put a stop to his freedom. The novice sees, oh, it’s a C measure: I can play C, E or G. The intermediate will add A or B or Bb. The master improviser however will see the total harmonic structure of the composition, or, in improvisation, will know the whole structure of a tradition; and then he is totally free to play anything he wants, any of 12 tones in any rhythm of any duration, because he’ll make them relate to the known structure, the tradition, either by following it or departing from it.
A bank safe keeps the public out, but the designer of the locks would be able to get in.
The nerd in the horror film is constrained by the obvious doors and windows of the castle, but the ghoul or vampire-whatever-knows and uses the secret passageways as well.
An actor familiar with the trap doors can move about the stage gracefully; a member of the audience, brought up onto the stage would flounder like the damned falling into hell.
in this universe, the speed of light is a constant, the four forces are in effect; but a god with perfect knowledge of the structure would be free within its constraints; using worm holes, warps … at choice.
We can’t see our own best interests because we are wrapped in a cocoon of self-complacency
truth & fiction: can they be separated? art & propaganda: they routinely overlap: is there ever part of either unmixed with the other?
Literature serves a double function: to size truth to our capacity to learn it; and, contrarily (but simultaneously? in all cases?) to steep us more indelibly in our own deceptions.
For decades I’ve thought of Shakespeare and Sophocles as truth tellers. I’ve believed there to be a core of truth in the Bible. I’ve thought of Michelangelo as being toward a pure extreme of art whereas commercials, however artful, are at the other. I’ve thought that commercials, however skillful, couldn’t be considered as true art: their motive being to promote, not to reveal. (Of course, there are some commercials that explore something of the human state, but where so, it’s just along for the ride.) 4:30 AM. Fretting on Catherine’s couch, further from sleep than I was when I lay down at 11:30, the thought haunts me more insistently than ever: No, Michelangelo was a commercial artist … as of course was Shakespeare. (The latter less so: coming later in the Renaissance, he was freer to chose is own subject matter. Then again, Michelangelo took biblical stuff and made it his own. And what’s biblical about the “slaves”?)
remember to import from SK (nearly two years into the Mac, I still have the Plus and may sometimes write a note in SK, then forget that it’s there. I know there’s at least one such that says): I don’t doubt that Freud is right that religion is a step (up?), at least a streamlining, from totem and taboo, organizing all the magics into the work of one big invisible magician (or that science is then an epistemological step, a huge one, up from there; but: it occurs to me, that religion is also a prolongation by sublimation of a number of taboos: in Xity eg, we practice deicide & cannibalism. (where’s the incest?) it would be interesting to chart such things worldwide.
I try to restrain my species toward (backing away from runaway destruction) viability in this biosphere.
Wow. Freedom. Last night I slave for hours f&r’ing typographical quotes for all quotes, then Find and Skip or Replace for the right side. Today I put 0-10 into Quark XPress and it does all that automatically! Wow. Wish I’d knows sooner.
Kant’s Pro on Hume encore. last night Caroline’s sons gang up on my trying to answer their question about what I used to do before PK Imaging by perverting everything I said. Refutation by sabotage. Systematic group homeostasis.
God is dead, wrote Nietzsche. Long live God, I’ve frequently added. Agnosticism is an unstable creed, I’ve frequently quoted. I don’t know about nature, but the human psyche abhors a vacuum. Every decade another dozen gods abdicate or are cast out or forgotten, and two dozen new ones come in, confusing everything by having many of the same names.

Journal

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id40

/ Journal /

Digital Notebooks
1985 – 1997
Id Intros Scant Tech Style
Scant Editing

previous save: 9/6/92? and today’s May 6, 93? nine months since a single change or addition?!!

the hero dies, serving viability; so do we all, die, serving what? the villain lives a bit longer maybe, in circumstances in which it was time to die, but the life is factitious, the dreary high of an addict. now: which are we? peering out, thinking it’s all for us, entertainment, we’re safe no matter what. 12/7 dream, heaven/hell cont’d: time just one of many stirrings or reorganizations of the supper time soup. local universes, worlds, species, races, nations, interests, indivs, try strategies, some rote, some reasoned, some misrepeated … most fail, fossilized in darkness, hell … but the soup stirs overall, fractally fract to the fract, and in but what time? all pass at least briefly through light, realization, vitality, … heaven.
T: Now the Victim Speaks
ss: a la DickF’s Fabergé: but of chips, servos, mobots
in Straight, brother jots about law not seen by sociopath as applying to self: doesn’t that apply to everyone but in different areas? (everyone here can include abstract entities: the gov can kill but individual not) Chas Manson doesn’t think Thou shalt not kill applies to self. BCarey & me, entering closed &/or private F.L. Wright bldgs. Rednecks don’t think manners apply to them. It’s the turn to speak of whoever interrupts, and look down on whoever is better organized.
govt as religion: challenging those who would be allowed to relative unmolestation in the brotherhood by demonstrating a willingness, at times an anxiety, to swallow any contradiction.
LW’s what’s a hand? “This.” What’s green? “That.” …
what’s freedom? this, what we have here. Justice? whatever the court administers. but anyone not on the scam could see it’s just stealing from the indians, enslaving the nonconforms, and the conforms too, come to think of it, … Right, that’s justice. “This.”
then where do ideals come from? How survive and reproduce?
Italian god talk-deals with WASP god, both composites of earlier gods, of course: the Italian god is complaining, Columbus was Italian, the money was spick, how come the wasps have all the monopolies, could the wopigrants have something? just a little monopoly? ok, gambling, prostitution, things the wasps need, but can’t be honest about.
hell, soon as we do good, you’ll take it over, like the iron, coal, gold … No, I’ll guarantee this monopoly for decades. How? I’ll make it illegal. So? the fed will still take it over, soon as they see the money. No, they’ll be committed to an alternate employment: bunkos and narcs.
PrimAcc: he’s working on no intelligence; she’s working on phoenixing old species from clones of dead cells, ultimate goal to lab-evolve different type of intelligence, an actually sapiens homo.
after 13 yrs in the minors, a joke just clicks into my skull this am as major: Benny Levy’s Moishe & the sardines: “But Abe, those sardines aren’t for eating; they’re for selling!” So too our ideals, laws, freedoms, truths. ThosJeff, But Paul, those Rights aren’t for practice; they’re for bullshitting the people. PopeInnocent, But Paul, those truths aren’t for testing/believing; they’re for believing/believing. Where would we be if the people didn’t believe?
Maybe no society. Maybe. Maybe bullshit is the best we’re capable of for anything but an isolated moment for an isolated individual. Social glue, without which how would we dominate the world and transform the planet into a tablua rasa for god to write on once again?
soc.think: does it get me into the lodge, oh my brothers? does it keep me in the lodge, oh my brothers?
social “truth” is social ass sniffing for confirmation, not tested against objective experience. then there’s this revolutionary, blasphemer, seeking correspondence with “actual.” check correspondence not just with semantic conformity; but to some … assumed … “out there.”
merely on tube, but finally see RainMan: opening image: crated Lambourghini (we just see fat car bottom) hanging against yellow poison smog canopy of CA world! Tom Cruise lying, creating, bluffing, inventing any logic to fail to see why his cars should pass an emissions test. And also, taking autistic RayMond to small town doctor’s office and failing to get past the ignorance of the nurse to be treated by the ignorance of the doctor.
poker bluff: if it’s true, your history of … virtue, truthfulness, charity, whatever … it will come up on the screen.
Tolstoy & my Turing Test. LT suddenly finds his beloved family members not fitting his standards for humanity, namely, loving and admiring him enough: … I put it a little sarcastically, the work is of a supergenius, the bio of a human, and don’t mean it altogether, or my point would be without point: he applied his standards, looking for relatives, and found robots. Exactly. Now: is it only saints or geniuses who have that experience? Well, aren’t all of us saints or genius, at least in part at least momentarily, at least sometimes?
business, explaining its innocence via admittedly wrong assumptions, without the least effort to correct its assumptions … 1st Union Bank, eg, eats my computer card, and then explains that it’s not its fault, but the fault of its procedures. No promise to correct those procedures …
what test could be devised to check the length of string, or reasoning depth, of the discrete continuum of the social order? My hypothesis, or prediction of results, is that the lower you go, at least among the employed, the shorter the string before the person, recognizes it and accepts it without checking the correctness of the string further (like mispelling), or fails to recognize it, pronounces it a fallacy, and moves on. (Different test: how could you bait a box with something in fact nourishing but deceive the rat into thinking the box is empty and passing on? I further predict, that the patterns would have a self similarity across scale that you wouldn’t need a Mandelbrot to detect. In other words, if it works don’t fix it depends on a narrow view, very shortened in the time dimension, of what “works” means. Like a soldier, E-1, if the uniform isn’t like yours, just, shoot it. E-2, better see that the difference isn’t a captain’s bars, then shoot it. E-3, the uniform’s the same, but the accent is gook, shoot it. … E-11, what if it’s CIA? Have E-12 shoot it. Etc. To the president, who we trust is actually checking these strings for us. If the checking the string of our own assumption were actually followed more than a couple of bits, we’d see that the Tsar-god-president-father can’t possibly look after each of us, not in any human meaning of look, … uh, start again, if we checked the president’s string we might well find an ability to go through a few more beads before the decision comes: I never saw that at Whittier … But at the same time, the string shortens to: that represents no major voting block, screw them, in most cases. A very quick litmus.
Etc, enthymeming all over the place, till, as usual, it looks like my own beads aren’t too well strung.
Simultaneously, the president (or the boss, or the professor, or the doctor …) would show excellent ability to check a long string for accuracy IF he recognizes it as important and advantageous. And do so far more often than the peasant checking to see if his rows are straight. But, and here’s an essential part of the point, I’ll bet the peasant shows some checking ability that would match the president’s, at a different time scale of where-in-the-evolution-did- the-particular-pattern-emerge, and therefore at a different degree of social importance. The peasant might check his baby just at carefully as the president. And which is more important: babies? or voting blocks? Each is, at different levels of organization. Voting blocks assume babies; having babies assumes protective something or other.
I would like to see the mathematical pattern that would map this. A second ago I was imagining a Cantor dust, but then thought: which is which? is the ability to see (as distinct from the refusal to look) the dust of points or the seemingly infinite space between. Also, what I like about the Cantor dust is it’s irregularity: space space space dust. space space space dust dust. says pk, symbolizing a chaotic regularity with a regular regularity.
King’s fascist’s “cover up his parents nakedness” comes floating up in the same moments that I’m teased by the recall of Mandelbrot’s experience in trying to map signal noise, the results didn’t work because his helpers, who were responsible for bringing him the data, were themselves making decisions as to what data to throw out as insignificant. Counter thought: make a model of a system in which ALL data could be gathered without the robots making any decisions! impossible, I believe.
rereading Chaos after AC Clarke reproduces so much of my BHC: M the outsider, “professional” mathematicians resenting and diminishing his claims. so how come their godam rigor didn’t solve the problems? and so I’m thinking of Bucky twice as much as usual. it isn’t that the Sandedron rabbis aren’t really rabbis and good ones: they are; the point is that they aren’t what’s needed NEXT.
other problem I wake up this AM thinking: how much of the Cinderella story is narcotic (keep the peasants dreaming that they’re really royalty or about to be recognized and promoted to consort anyway, mothering future princes) and how much (call the above psych test the Cinderella test) (so all my thinking was really the same) a deep criticism (not necessarily negative, criticism meaning identification, a true modeling) of a pathological homeostasis endemic to hss, a destructive or diseased protect-my-own-(even-if-it’s-killing-me) -place-in-the-system conservativism?
and simulthinking, everyone, every gamete, even every sport, is a king, perfect, for some possible system somewhere in possible space/time, even if only in an alternate U.
and, as toujours, hss is boss however temporarily because of his ability to jump to decisions, the string of evidence is incomplete and infinitely examinable no matter how fragmentary … Ah, but how many of the turnings away are deliberately protecting the known fallacies? so much, naturally and necessarily, is waste; how much shameful waste?
apropos ACC, in my Mandelcube prison, it’s the spirit which is borrowed from the body and imprisoned in the Set; the convicted’s body kept frozen, aestivating, or, at menial labor.
slowly rise to stuff-nosed consciousness with movie metaphor: what’s wrong with this picture? the problem with classics: when contemps, like bk&pk, see the new release, Superman, and Margo Kidder as Lois Lane, is bent over her typewriter, asking how to spell rape and mayhem, and Perry White looks at her MS and offers “there are two esses in brassiere”, even 10 or 12 yr old bk knew that newspaper offices weren’t like that, not only not the NYTimes, but also not even the Inquirer. Margo Kidder is so comically eager to whore her “journalism.” But, though not “realistic” (it’s a comic, ferxsake), we recognize the characature: it’s an exaggeration of something true. In other words, in order to see the picture accurately, you need two sets of points in your head to do a fancy bit of calculus: “here’s an ideal, here’s how we approach it”: hero. “here’s an ideal; here’s how we fall short,” here’s a value, how we pervert it, etc.
Nowhere is literature what we think of as a portrait, simply. not a photosomething portrait. romantic, classic, something.
In other words: we take something literally only when we know little about the time and culture.
Rollo May believing whatsherface about chivalry, fundamentalist xians thinking that history could possibly have once looked like a cheap color 2D greeting card, etc etc. why most americans don’t like foreign films but once had no problem with Eng, why most restofthe worlders follow american films, but wouldn’t take to Pakistani at all the same.
movies of course are just one class, one example of a broader generalization. how can one read A XMas Carol or Oliver Twist without some sense of Victorian life, Vic norms, real as well as pretend? And that’s all only a little more than a century ago: 1/450th of human existence. (I avoid the word “history” as it is such a trivially recent phenom.)
So, I was slowly rising toward time to tap the bladder, blow out the pipes, try to stand up and breathe again, and I try a little replay of one classic I could never get around my hatred of: Wuthering Heights. Now, still loggy, I could have hardly done a very elaborate calculus with it, but I would have liked to see what it looked like replayed, this time extra aware of my nest of prejudices. but no, the bladder sharpened me, and I’m left only with this … criticism.
three dimensions? you need a fourth, duration, in which to picture it. true of dimensionality in general?
if the truth depended on human verification, or, god forbid, on social consensus, we’d be in real trouble.
the economics of psychology: accident of fashion: young parents pay a shrink to blame them, the parents!, for all neurosis. How grand to take responsibility like a king, a great magician.
What life but reproduction? Mindless, of course, the mind is in the feedback after reality sorts out the clones. Boom, big U depts training clones at their and their parents (& tax payers) expense to blame the parents for the human condition (Garden of Eden!). But, employable to next generation? No.
ss: what if! Einstein’s physics professor hadn’t tried to suppress publication of Special Relativity? what if the great German Us had said, hey, here’s our physics department: it’s yours, all our resources, all our admiration … No, you don’t have to do the administrative stuff for us, and we’ll keep our adulation restrained so you can work. And here’s a 40 million mark signing bonus, go to Monte Carlo and have a good time for a couple of weeks; don’t worry, your regular salary and perks will be waiting for you when you get back, spend the 40 as you will. Einstein says fuck that and comes up with General Relativity pronto, only now there are 15 other names on the paper below his, legitimately: the world cooperated, helped. Kaiser Wilhelm says, Gee I never knew physics could be so mind blowing. A young paper hanger says, hey, couldn’t you use this E from this mc2 to like really blow things up? Poland is the experimental target. France comes crawling to Berlin on its knees. Eng calls up US, Holy shit, what’s going on? Both move to Australia. The Japs try to contract some of Ger’s production. Hey, Albert, want a little blow before the show girls come? The paper hanger says, hey, these Jews are ok. The arabs get pissed at the jews’ press and purge Palestine. Life Magazine does an article on Einstein, but in the 20s and very different from the one in the 50s of this universe.
united front: oxymoron, like honesty is the best policy. Yes, but is it also a euphemism like funeral home?
why shouldn’t an enemy, when shown a united front, say, “sure, your Potempkin village facade is impressive, but we KNOW you’re squabbling and poisoning each others’ drinks in the real village behind the papier maché”?
the USSR collapses. ??? what’s happening inside? compared to before, when we knew little, it’s a black hole. then russian athletes compete in the Olympics, classified as “the Unified team.” now there are video profiles on the athletes, their mothers in their Moscow apartments, still looking like people. they’re poor, so what? they still have noses, eyes, speak human speech.
first thing I though of was Entropy, and how at Absolute Zero, the theory goes, Entropy ceases.
That stupid argument I had with Ken. He couldn’t distinguish thermal energy from energy as in E=mc2. “No, Ken, absolute zero doesn’t mean the matter has no energy: the matter is energy, at absolute zero as at any other temperature. Temperature is just thermal energy, energy the system is giving off, communicating with, wasting. When things get down to absolute zero, the system doesn’t stop being, it just goes silent, it stops talking to us. It gets selfish and no longer gives anything away.” Me enjoying the hell out of my outrageous anthropomorphisms, Ken just not getting the point.
But with the Russians, Entropy didn’t cease altogether. Russia went relatively silent, a relatively silent culture anyhow, at least vis-à-vis us.
And that reminded me: Entropy in general. The 19th-cen thermo dynamicists, the engineers so worried about something “lost”, something not in their control, in their old fashioned power. Me, I just take it into the system, expand the system until it includes whatever is worrying you. Expand god till he includes satan, etc. Like Appleby and Bucky. Old fashioned man thinks what he blows up disappears, like no longer exists. so used to thinking only of the visible. counting influences using only major flagrant visible ones.
Bach: the human nervous system’s most nearly complete description of itself.
redefining the random: what’s not protected?
PK toujours: looking into our blindspot; Doug Adams’ SEP, Someone Else’s Problem: social blind spot.
synecdoche
ss: feathered bird trying to tell semi-feathered pterodactyl about sustained flight. Yeah, but tell me in short flights. interrupts after 2 seconds. soar, bump.
Clarissa! Lovelace, the cartoon predator, his long bird rifle a Hector straight from the exaggerations of the medieval morality plays. the first of the 3 part PBS series has me reading, finally, vol I. After just Letter #1 I see a pure blueprint of the needs of the individual vs the needs of the culture, society, family … In particular I love the “contrast” between Lovelace, the rake, the avowed predator run amok, and his good Xian neighbors, smug slave traders all.
finally see Lean’s Passage to India on Sunday tube. beautifully done how the Brit Xians walk around without seeing the Muslims or Hindus. Dr Azziz such a wonderful Stepanfetchit yet slugs the attendant at the caves and is lordly in his muslim garb after vindication. watch out for the persecuted jews once they’ve got Palestine and a few allies: right back to practicing their own genocides. McBride hisses how all they’re interested in is justice. Ouch, as we suddenly see, at least for a millisecond, what justice, in practice, by an imperial power, actually means. A SEP: look at it and it looks like its ideal expression, a false view; look away, and it looks like McBride and witch hunts and kangaroo courts. what other kind are there? A pure semantic reality. rape and the “universal truth … that the dark races are attracted to the light races” an imperial passion, its facts assumed, evidence manipulated, all by the voice of the Hotel in Puritan garb. But …
Is culture possible without fallacy?
why clothes II: liars poker
boot strap, immpossible, illiterate A-Korzybsiite
ss: X is visited by Rabbi fr Sanhedron. “My son, are you ready to make your peace with G? I’ve seen all kinds of sin, trust me, whatever it is that you are, whatever you’ve done, I’ve seen it all before.” Blah blah. And X has to listen to this shit. Priest, rabbi, etc maybe truthful in what he sees, and what he sees is a map to what he doesn’t see, especially to his own participation in the society’s homeostasis, its self-normalization.
X as an eg of redefining the major elements after the events. Ie: contemporary eyewitnesses will see execution of criminals, one maybe a little odd, so what, business as usual; post facto eyewitness seems human swine murdering God, Woton pursuing Brunhilde like Jehovah trying to recall Christ, etc.
dream of seeing Miles in person again but this time in social flow. Miles using Everything! in dream, ragas, electric dingahs … And I try, dream try, to devise some test to see who’s hearing what. “Identify or describe something you notice about the music.” And someone says, “Gee, is that a saxophone?” Up till then you’d thought they were hearing it with you. Then there’s “dig the thing the guitars are doing.” Better yet “… the guitars are doing independent of each other.” Or “that a funny use of the II-7, V7, I progression.” Etc.
Last night, playing the 12 bar learned “improvisation,” second chorus, using the G7 pentatonic for the nth time, I suddenly transpose to C7, then F7. Then Bb7, A7, D7. Then the rest. In no time, I can’t believe that it has to have added up to 12! I’ve done every root! And with little struggle. A measure of how far I’ve come just playing the two or three simple blues regularly. But the major stuff just as much: BbMaj, D back and forth, the GMaj in 5/4, the CMaj bossa thing, and the New Orleans in F. Pretty damn good improv book after all, for all the five years it’s taken me to get a dozen pages into it.
here’s a note: “binary of whether quit after refutation”. I sure wish I could remember what I was thinking: something about how we tend to just keep going after our logic has been cut out from under us. But I don’t quite have it.
thinking comme toujours of judgment, & I think of catholics in the RC heaven, & of muslims in their houri paradise, & I think … of judgment of your PEERS! who? those who live in the same (more or less) semantic reality!!!
“record” implies make permanent, but technology so evanescent, 78 one day, then lp, 45, open reel, cassette, 8 track, quad, cd …
outlines are clear only from a distance; fractal, chaotic up close.
society is that (set of) place(s) in semantic “reality” where, if a potential speaker has the potential to be accurate about anything, it’s never his turn to talk.
semantic field!
“Dr Zeus,” slurred the illiterate father at Earth Day.
liars’ poker! comme d’habitude only more and more so, liars’ poker strikes me as the essence of our species
(w fractal truth values. ever 0 or 1? only in very special, tautological circumstances.)

“Stamp out human chauvinism” said the vegetarian’s button at Free U, c 1970, the one who let his sprouts start to photosynthesize, unlike mine, which I sprouted in the dark. buttons all over the place in those days, chauvinism being much bandied about, particularly male c…, but other kinds too. human chauvinism … that’s the only time I’d even seen or heard the phrase. Apart from my own frequent use of it since. The phrase haunts me particularly these last several days, just as I meet Fenchurch in So Long and Thanks For All the Fish. She had it, understanding, but lost it. My own understanding? All the insolubles of civilization disappear the moment you deny to hss any sacrosanct status. …
my fiction is unpublished I believe primarily because it addresses human blind spots, whose scope is vaster than our polite social fictions of our intelligence, rationality, and self-interest will allow us to admit.
It will take the reader a minute, but only a minute, to recognize the protagonist of The Model.
T: legal suicide: piss off the judge and jury.
6/4/92. haven’t been id-ing for so long. but, no surprise, driving to VA to pick up bk, id after another, including new conception for BHC. It was on 95 in N FL 9 yrs that BHC first came to me, meditative driving. this time, Kind of Blue on the new cd, first time hearing as digital, get to Freddie Freeloader, here comes Trane’s sole, like a dark sun burst, and wham, Ender is diving feet first to slay the Hive Queen’s planet, and … WHAM! simultaneous BHC stimulus and Trek as bullshit perception: Trek is like Hollywood Cleopatra and Xians to the lions movies. Caesar’s dressing room, stone architecture of course, spans expanses to dwarf modern train stations of steel beam architecture. Here’s a space ship like the Hilton, everyone wandering around as though space were no premium. Simully: “Rader straps in narrow … and steps out … large. Ea. ast. dif.” is what I scribbled on my knee. As I wrote BHC I had AA stepping into her cubicle and hang gliders are wafting around her knees, clearly a tiny space with an olympian hololusion; this time, AA, CR, straps into work station, connects electrodes, … and as we narratively visit each astronaut, each is in some huge, hugely populated adventure from anywhere in their semantic universe, and the different universes interact as the astronauts must communicate with each other. So Chuck Rader is with a tribe of headhunters, himself dressed like Mr. Kurtz, when his pager beeps. He leads his hunters through the jungle. The hunters blend into the background as he approaches a clearing in which we see AA having tea with Queen Victoria. Queenie Vic becomes only semi-substantial as Rader & Appleby confer on something. A console materializes. AA feeds it input, console dematerializes, AA & QueenVic dematerialize and Rader withdraws back to his resolidifying warriors. Etc. Later, at some time we see CR & AA, side by side, semi-cryotronic, their whole space for the x years less than a closet, their colestomy bags etc strung discretely around them.
I also scribbled other things on my knee driving north. Do I know understand what I meant by any of them. Seemed compelling at the time.
to what lengths will people not go to try to prevent detection of their foolish decisions?
crucify X, bis and bis, rather than have the church’s ass show as having bet on the wrong God.
it doesn’t follow that one “likes” what one is addicted to.
speech, purpose of: is to hope to be mistaken for … an xian, a good man, sexy, intelligence, self-assured, strong, loyal, successful, …
SemDic. steer. not just get to some target, but say upright, keep afloat, functional …
I was a stranger and You took me in.
theology, pigeon, lottery 5, & biblical epistemology …
Ahha! Cape Fear, the river, is in NC!
redundancy: false advertising
6/16: god is evolution!
synecdoche & salesmanship, can’t sell people intelligence or knowledge or information or self-interest (ie, the necessity of feeding not ourselves, but each other), but only magic: free lunch, vote x and loaf forever, buy schmuck beer and the slick model will blow you right in the middle of the vegas strip. (actually, a la mad, you’ll be passed out in a garbage strewn alley with your hand wrapped around your limp dork, but you’ll think you’re getting blown in vagas.) above is reason explanation of why FLEX failed while 900 flourishes.
t: the silenced majority
db: ooo, he bled on me!
see Borland Turbo Tutor
bpb assign: Have a program prompt you for ten names, then repeat alphabetically.
come walk with me before we fly. we’ll stretch your lineaments, feel the terrain you won’t want to fall back on.
ss: aliens are surprised by humans. whew, careless, we could have been stepped on.
Humans: look around and decide they’re alone. Out come the make up, cameras, synth recording distorters, gates, reverbs … falsifiers. & of course they stage and record a UFO encounter. Leave.
Out come aliens again. (with of course no clue as to what they saw either).
the soc is geared even more to make the rulers behave than the people.
highly imperfectly of course.
7/6/92 weird dream involving Hugh McKay of all people as some sort of film savant. but primarily woke up thinking: management: can society be managed? ie, successfully. it’s socialism’s optimism that it can be. it’s capitalism’s pessimism that it can’t. then why govern it at all? ah, because these positions aren’t philosophies (except in the old, pre-mathematico-logical sense) but are rather rationalizations. (eg, if laissez faire, then how come tariffs? ie, free enterprise for the poor, socialism for the rich.) which therefore leads further … to “can human society be managed (ie, success- fully)?” “yes. for one or two classes.” “for all classes? or for classlessness?” “no. at least no modern (agricultural or industrial) has yet managed to accomplish it.”
have any tried? no. only in rhetoric. democracy as a scam for promoting this or that class by talking about the rights of some other, shill, class.
ah, that’s what I woke up dreaming the other day: what a joke to dream of golden ages like democracy under those intellectual gods, the greeks, until looked at closely. a la Heller’s Picture This. Athens as a full time rhetoric scam itself. talk talk city state while expanding as empire. got side tracked by dream-imagining typical pk losing argument, in which pk recommends someone read Picture This, answer novels aren’t history (implying usual confusion (usually deliberate) between history as truth and fiction as falsehood, rather than history as generally some self-interested or self-deluded falsehood, certainly uninformed by anthropology etc (like how many historians have read Calder’s Timescale?) and fiction as falsehood as though imagination and simplification-representation has nothing to do with truth, survival, mature, responsible activity. In other words, status quo homeostasis knee-jerk interruptions of undigested, non-thought out clichés, all masquerading as thought.
well, that’s typical enough. what galls me is how I see straightening out that confusion as the job of the literature professor but the professing profession is itself a priesthood of status quo homeostasis, oh we don’t misunderstand those things. then how come you don’t crusade against the common misunderstandings, how come you never explain what you now say you do understand. oh, we don’t have enough resources, we’re underpaid, blah blah. then how come you repress that occasional teacher who does come along and try to illuminate things.
fishing:
a couple of Thanksgivings ago I started fishing Little Charlie Bowlegs Creek, my first regular fishing in Sebring, and since then, I have haunted the cypress swamp, intimate with gators, butter cats, stump- knockers. but the resumption to habit started fitfully. three summers ago, in my brief stint at the library, one of the more grotesque displays of the acute degeneration of any possibility of society’s recognizing my relationship to it (it can’t do that because that would mean recognizing itself), I’d carry a rod and a little tackle in the car and walk out to the pier for the lunch hour. Never caught a thing there, never saw anything caught there, though I heard of catches made from the pier and of others made wading. I guess maybe I did see a bass caught from a boat casting Texas rigs toward a weedy shore in the distance. Anyway, that fishing from on high in civvies was as temporary as the library sojourn itself. Pretty funny after my marathon fishing of the previous March, every afternoon, nearly every night, that one time all afternoon, all night, and on till noon to 1ish. (But then all that simply reflected my being on or off in my ability to work: wintering in the Everglades was supposed to be recuperative survival and then back to Dark Beacon. I suppose I needed more than a month or two to recoup.) Maybe the fishing that March was a sign that I was close to being ok again or maybe that I was nearly totally crazy (certainly that I was obsessed with that girl’s ten year old pussy ((but then that would only explain the afternoon fishing with her and her siblings). Then, once hounded out of the Everglades (I guess that was pretty grotesque too, there society equaling merely Martinet Bridges, king of his tiny empire), work gushed in Sebring, and so fishing was as irrelevant as anything else that wasn’t The Model, DB, or King.
Anyway, except for such isolated spots, fishing has hardly been a major thread in my life. Till now. Unless this is just another spot. Catching bass like a son of a bitch. Fishing daily, afternoon to evening.
But that incident last evening of that poor terrified bass cowering against my ankle, appearing and disappearing as my perception of his camouflage winked on and off like that psychology test whether the drawing is of a beautiful young woman of fashion or of an old hag, had to be recorded. So, while I’m at it, I remember a few other things.
Thought to write Pollock two PMs ago after catching my first striper in decades, only the second ever, this one 4 lbs, that first one, like my first largemouth ever, 9. [July 4, 91?]
I’d fished only once or twice as a boy, one of my worst memories being my father saying we’d go fishing in the morning, me unbelievably excited, never having been fishing with my father, never having done anything much with my father, and now fishing! running around in my excitement, “Ooo, can Rudy come? Ooo, I’ll go invite him”, and morning coming and my father still passed out on the couch, me doing everything I can think of to wake him, to tell him that’s it’s morning and that we’re going fishing, and Rudy is ready, and I’m ready, and … “Go dig some worms.” and Rudy and I dig lots and lots of worms and it’s noon and I still can’t wake my father up, and Rudy gives up, doesn’t believe we’re going, and his father says something, and I hear the anger in his tone, and poor me, totally isolated, I think Mr. Stieg is mad at me, while I can’t think why that should be, what I could possibly have done differently?
I guess we did fish a couple of times at my cousins’ cottage on Squires Pond in the Hamptons and I guess my father was even there once or twice. Anyway all that fishing in so far as I remember was salt water, usually from a boat anchored in a bay using worms, maybe a couple of worms with a spreader, and catching flounder, sometimes fluke. Once, I’ll never forget, using a light to net blue claws, my cousins rowing the boat backwards, me being able to see the dark forms scuttling among the black weeds just before they’d get dipped by Uncle Tom, Dad, Tom, or Donald. (Did I ever wield the net? Don’t know.) Then a hiatus, and then I remember something else unpleasant: my mother’s nebbish doctor friend, Donald, solemnly trying to teach me to cast with a bait casting reel in the backyard and me miserable, perhaps least because of the backlashing.
But then at last adulthood, and me discovering skiing and going crazy and infecting John and John also getting me to go surf casting once or twice. All those hours, hurling this or that into the surf and never believing there were really any fish there. Years and years, never feeling so much as a strike. I guess I knew there had to be fish. I’d see plenty of surf fishermen as a child. Blow fish are all I remember seeing anyone catch. But John is telling me, “Bonanza, Paul. I tell you it was a bonanza. Everyone catching stripers as fast as we could pull them in, the beach lined with stripers, two, three pounders.” So it’s the sixties and John, fishes all the time, every opportunity off duty in Virginia, and back in NY, every weekend. Montawk, Fire Island, Jones Beach, mostly at night, and me sometimes with him. Using Dr Michael’s 12′ one piece bamboo rod. I remember stopping off for ribs at Shermans, 4 AM, and John terrified, for his car (triple parking was as close as we could get), for his life, especially after shots go off in the next block and I want to pause with the rubberneckers as some Muslim stomps his bitch while clutching a rifle, stomping the bitch into the sidewalk, and screaming kill whitie slogans. “John, it’s just words. He’s not coming after us; he’s just beating up his girl friend. He doesn’t even know we’re here.” And then climbing up eleven flights at 440 because the 12′ rod wouldn’t fit into the elevator. If I had felt so much as a serious tug on the line it wouldn’t have seemed such an empty activity.
Ah, but then moving to Maine to become a real skier, the outdoors coming with it, and being there year round. The favorite rod of my life still being the light weight fly rod I got a Zayres in Waterville for $8, lasting till I lost the top piece last October. Buz showing me the little trout streams off the Allegheny Trail near Sugarloaf. Catching a native brookie on my first fly cast ever. Not only that, but the fly was also the first I’d ever tied, and Buz running, gallumphing, staggering with the clumsiness of waders, seeing the fight, seeing me net it, joining me in the stream, “Where is it? Where is it?” his eyes sparkling. “I threw it back.” “You threw it back? You threw it back? Why?” “It was too small.” “Small? You threw it back because it was too small? Paul, you caught the biggest trout in the whole stream!” 8″ didn’t seem like much to a saltwater man. By then, my most common, successful, fishing was for blues, and they’d tear your arms off. Even though I’d only gone … total, maybe twice.
So, that’s just about all my experience until John talks me into another assault on the surf. Four days and nights on the Cape. Nausset Beach. We leave NY after dinner, drive four or five hours, arrive to learn from the signs: No Camping on the Beach. John decides we can hide in the dunes. Have a few slugs of scotch, wink for a few minutes, and we’re out on the beach tying on hopkins.
It’s probably 4 AM by the time we’re actually casting. I’m totally at a loss to understand how John can keep up his enthusiasm: hours go by, we try striper-swipers, rigged eels, back to the hopkins … At least you could throw those far. So I’ve never felt a strike, never in my life out of the surf felt a strike, and by this time I’m thirty, but that’s just me; what I don’t understand is, I’ve never seen John catch so much as a minnow out of the surf. So maybe I’ll never see one of his bonanzas, but I should see him, the expert, catch something.
Well, the sun comes up, another hour or two pass, I’m getting a sun burn, I’m tired as hell, I have a headache, I’m getting spastic: all night driving, drinking, fishing, no sleep to speak of, no rest … This is 22 or 3 years ago and I’d still never felt a strike out of the surf until this past March at Bahia Honda in the Keys. Because what happened next sure didn’t have anything to do with strikes. The hell with the hopkins for the Nth time. I clip on the striper-swiper. Damn thing cost me $4.95 or some preposterous price. It doesn’t weight more than an ounce or two and I’m damned if I can cast it more than three or four waves even with the 12′ rod. I’m standing in the surf already up to me ribs, haul the rig back, let fly, and the damn striper-swiper doesn’t clear the first wave crest. The worst surf cast of my life! let alone just the last several miserable hours. I don’t know what happened. Maybe a little extra wind came up. That may have been it, because miles of slack line sparkle in the morning sun as they fall back toward the water. Ah, I just thought of it: maybe the line had twisted and a snarl caught at a ferrule on the way out! In any case, all I want to do is crank the line back in and do better before anybody notices my ineptitude, as though speed will erase the event. Crank crank and all that’s coming is all that limp line. Ah, now the line is taught … and nothing happens. The lure is stuck fast on something. I can’t imagine what. Neither can I have been trying too hard or with too much brain power: I’m thinking it must be stuck on a rock or on some submerged garbage. Too much scotch, too little sleep, too hard a week not getting much studying done as usual, how exhausting … Schmuck! This is the surf! Nausset Beach! Pure sand! Pure waves of pure water! There are no rocks here. None not smashed to smithereens millions of years ago. Well, no, tens of thousands … Whenever. The surf will fill with junk during a storm, but not now. There’s nothing there for it to be stuck on. That’s what I failed to think. I’m too busy trying to unstick it. I’m trying everything I know. Let the line go limp. Just tease it back and forth. More to the left. More to the right. Get the line real taut, hold it taut by one hand, not by the rod, and twang it with the other hand, twang it and let it go limp. I walk way up the beach and try all of the above, then way down the beach. Nada. I’m trying to resist any temptation to cut the line and start over. $4.95! I can’t afford that! Why did I buy the fucker in the first place? Because John said I should have at least one. The couple of hopkins were expensive enough. I really don’t know why I was trying to hang onto a useless thing. I’d have just the same fun casting weight with no hook. More fun. I’d cast better. This whole ritual certainly doesn’t have anything to do with fish.
Finally, even asshole Calvinist me is willing, indeed anxious to break the line and have done with it. Just how asshole Calvinist may be seen by the fact that I wanted to break the line, not cut it. Cutting it would necessarily lose all the line cut as well as the lure and other hardware such as the swivel; breaking it … ah, breaking it, it might break at the swivel and then I’d have all my line back: a saving of … probably at least a mill. Maybe even a couple of cents. Fuck it. Now I work my ass off to break the line. I pull with my hands on the line directly. I really don’t want to break Michael’s rod. John sees me. “Are you still stuck? The same stuck as fifteen minutes ago? Or stuck again?” Now I’m mad. I don’t care about the striper swiper, about Michael’s rod, about anything. Sunburned and sweaty, salty and sandy, the scotch still kicking around in me … uhngrrh … and it comes free! All this limp line I saved with my brilliant economy. I’m placidly reeling it in, amazed at how much seems to have been out after all when the fucking cast hadn’t cleared the first wave … when I catch a glint of light just at the receding wave’s fractally dancing edge. By god! it’s … my striper-swiper! Still attached! I didn’t lose the fucker after all. But … by god, its rear treble hooks are bent out straight!
And that’s when I saw the fish. Another glint of light at the water’s edge. Subjective time. How long was it, this slow motion, this eternity in which I saw the monster, saw that she was helpless at the tide’s edge, gasping, on her side, saw another wave coming, a wave in which the undertow was sure to get her back into deep enough water where she’d get righted, get back maybe enough energy to swim a little further out. I saw her still groggy but safe from me, at least in my waders, there it would be me who’d get killed in the struggle, waders filled up with water and one more ass hole Calvinist dragged away to meet a real infinity. I threw the rod down. Right onto the beach. I didn’t think about sand in the reel. I didn’t think about throwing Michael’s rod into the surf never to see it again. I just started running to the fish, trying to outrace the wave, outrace her recovery of breath, to beat her escape. Gallumph, stumble, sweating like a pig. Feeling like that football defender, he’s just intercepted the ball, a professional athlete, but he can’t advance it more than ten yards, even with no enemy player in tackling range, because he just doesn’t have enough gas, falling down with nobody laying a hand on him, but with me, it’s the fish herself I’m falling on, no time to think how rightly to go about it, what kind of a handle does a fish come with? None that I can think of. I’m sure not going to grab her by the mouth: I don’t know what kind of teeth these fish have. I’ve never seen one, let along caught or handled on. By the gills? How unseemly. She might breathe on me. But that’s bull shit because I’ve got her, tackled for sure, I’ve got her in both arms, flat on my belly on the beach as the wave reaches us, but I take on less water than I thought. Of course her fat body is helping for one thing. But the images of being swept out to King Neptune are still with me. “And what’s this you’ve brought me,” Neptune says to the fish. But no, it’s I who’ve got her, and now I’m on my knees, and I’ve still got her, already hoarse from screaming, “John, John, look, look, help me, help.” English professor, right? Poet.
Whew. Nine pounds. So fat it was unbelievable. John wants to cut her open right away. Take a look at her stomach contents. The fishing pro’s clue as to how next to fish. She was so full of spearing they were still jamming her gullet. There was no way she was going to fit more in her belly, a belly so swollen she looked pregnant and diseased to be so bloated. And here this hawg is going for a lure at least six inches long. Where was she going to put that?
For more than two decades as I recall that incident (and I’ve recounted it a few times since catching my fresh water 9 pounder of three years ago) I thought of the line as stuck fast just in the middle of the first wave. But now that I recall the extra line falling from the sky and the length of line I reeled in before I saw her I realize that there’s no telling how far she’d hauled that swiper before I got the line taut. No question thought that it was in the first wave that lure and fish met for the fatal time.
I didn’t imagine that I had a fish because I didn’t feel fight, only resistance. Like I had an old boot filled with water or cement on the end of the line. So it wasn’t until the day before yesterday that I once again encountered that kind of feeling only to find a striper in the net at the end of it.
I let loose my trio of “shad” worms before I’ve cleared the launch area. Once in the lake I add my heavy rod to the trolling. Only this time I try the Rapala I got in the Everglades and had never once caught so much as a beer can on. I let it out way behind the boat while I start to tie a popper on my fly rod. Once I reach the other shore, I’m going to troll the cattails and then anchor and pop. I can’t get the feeling out of my arms when I’ve had a strong fish only to lose him. That has to be why I’m back at Red Beach Lake day after day last month, haunting the area where I lost the good one, fishing with Ralph. Perfect cast of the Texas rigged plastic worm to the exact side of some submerged stump. Didn’t feel a strike but saw the line tighten, set the hook and didn’t feel a fight, but saw the line move steadily out toward deep water, all the time thinking, ok, bass, jump, dance on your tail, show us your magnificent body. You can never be sure of what you’ll bring to hand, but even if I lose a fish, I want to see him, hell, I’d almost surely release him anyway. And simulthinking, bass? What else could be that strong? No catfish took a worm with a bullet weight from that location so soon after the cast? And why I’m heading back toward the far shore where I lost a similarly odd battle when the fish cut the line on the propeller, me, seeing the move, but lunging to stall too late to save the fight. So like that other time, it’s windy (otherwise he’d never have gotten near the blades ahead of me getting into neutral or even just stalling) and I’m having the devil of a time trying to thread the fly and the boat is beginning to circle and I steer it a little, sort of toward the fish attractor buoy, but then back to my sewing, when I hear the drag screech on the heavy rod. Hell, I’d forgotten about it. No telling how many strikes I miss not paying attention. But here it’s a rapala. Three treble hooks with wicked barbs. Sure enough, the drag is still screaming: no need to “set” the hook. Especially not while trolling. So there’s time to get the light line in and out of the way, then concentrate on Mr. Rapala’s good work. When I do, I oscillate between conviction that I have a quality fish and doubt that I’ve just hooked debris and it’s the wind and the engine which are combining for an illusion of fight. Then for sure, he dives, he comes toward me, he runs. But mostly it’s just hauling in an old tire. And no bass ’cause no jump. His big mouth on the surface, yes, just dragging along for a while, with me totally confused, bass mouth I think, certainly no catfish, no pickerel. (Schmuck Mike at Highland Angler’s interrupts my Red Beach story to say it was probably a chain pickerel, this savant not wanting the complete evidence.) Long fight, long. Finally, believing I’m going to release him, I decide not to prolong it to the point of danger to his recovery. So, I net him, thinking I’ll give him a rest, some artificial respiration if necessary, fill the bucket with water, show him to Catherine, and to Ralph, and to Norby, and bring him back to Lake Jackson. Fucking bass after all that doubt. 22″, 4 lbs. And I put him over the side in the fish basket I can hardly squeeze him into, all the time noticing, err … there’s something odd about this largemouth. Ah, I know, it’s a small mouth … Ah, I’m not sure.
But when I get to the launch area, “Oh, say, nice striper.” Striper? What’s a striper doing in Lake Jackson? (Most of that answer I got an hour later from Norby, but that’s not relevant here.)
So, striper #1, like an old tire, around age 30, striper #2, age 52, another dead weight. Compared to a blue fish or to a largemouth bass, that is. Fought like a mud fish: strong but without that exhilarating fury.
Yesterday I pull a largemouth out of the weeds and he puts up a terrific struggle, only to weight in a 12.5″. Wow. And at 8ish PM that there could do it. I had a slow start yesterday, careless maybe after the previous day, lost probably five fish before I started bringing them hand. Caught about seven, mostly around 12″ when I got #8. A champion at only a half inch more. But no. All my fishing has been from the boat. And a little too deadly with my school of shad invention. What I really love, especially here in Lake Jackson, is wading. And I’ve got on my bathing suit, and my feet are bare, and here’s that huge, clear shallow area. I set the anchor by hand and get out, casting a cricket on the fly rod. Don’t care if I don’t catch anything, probably not a good lure in the falling light, but … wading is so nice, and the cricket is light and lets me do some real fly casting for a change. I see the line straighten. I watch closely. Yes, it’s starting to sink. Wham. And a small bass is dancing on its tail. Oh, such a tiny guy, I’ll bring him to hand quickly and make him once again safe and sound. Except he’s taken the hook deep. I paid $1.69 or so for a pair of these crickets and I want it back, if possible. I release my little friend into the water and walk him like a dog back to the boat to get the needlenose pliers. I hold him gently as I can by the lower jaw and out comes my cricket. I move him back and forth through the water, still holding him by the lower jaw, see the gills work, switch to holding him gently around the middle, loosely so he can swim away if and when he’s ready. He hovers a little slow to catch on, starts a move, realizes he’s free and zoom! But not far. Once again I’m astonished by the efforts of a released bass to find shelter between my legs! This one goes and tries to hide under my ankle. That was one of the first joys I discovered when at last I tried to wade Lake Jackson: the babies don’t perceive my legs to be related to the danger they just experienced. I’ve lost trout by letting them see me before I have them well in the net: whoa! a man! And they triple their efforts to escape.
Meantime, I’m still standing in the water, around knee high, putting the rod away, and I feel something brush my ankle. I look and see nothing. Then suddenly, I see the fish. He’s still there, still hoping he’s sheltered by this first structure he found after escape, and then I don’t see him. Then I do. Had I not just taken a good look at the patterns on his back, I don’t think I would have seen him. I often study the patterns on the backs of the bass, but never before yesterday realizing how perfect the camouflage. He disappeared against the sandy bottom, rippled by water movement and dappled by water weeds. My fish was indistinguishable from a bit of weed swaying in the water currents. The part of my fish that wasn’t dark was indistinguishable from the rippled sand. Until my perception clicked back on and then I could, just barely, distinguish him, appreciating the perfection of his camouflage. Two creatures. Both with perceptions. Both with misperceptions. (How dangerous?) Terrified. Alive. For the moment.
let’s see: I decided earlier to tell about the fish sheltering themselves between my legs after I release them while wading, thought to record my first striper in honor of my second, wind up summarizing a life of sporadic fishing binges, and soon see how much I left out. I don’t think anything will prove more memorable than my first wading encounter with a serious bass. that too makes me recall contexts established earlier. i took up fly fishing in Maine. john came to visit, and we waded a stream local to Waterville, me fly fishing, J spinning. “Did you see that, Paul? that bass committed suicide on my …” I forget which lure. J kept repeating and repeating that. that bass committed suicide. tiny little small mouth, but john was so excited. no trout for me that day. I don’t think I had yet started tying my own, so that outing must have preceded my trip with Buz: that brookie was my virgin honeymoon. But: at the same time that I got my fly tying stuff, I read the Trout Fisherman’s Bible. And that author emphasized understanding what was going on under the surface. He said that if you understood enough about a trout’s habits, you could catch them with your bare hands. And I started to try to project my mind under the surface, to dream the fish’s (plural fish w a singular hypostrophe?) life. I started to picture the currents, the nymph’s habits, the fish’s strategy, the physical logistics of his hunting, hiding, exulting, resting.
It was like the time I climbed White Horse Mt. in Alberta, zowing out on ever greater views of Lake Louise and of the 19 glaciers around it. Toward the top, the other side of the valley was all glacier, Lake Louise a minor detail. But at the actual top of white horse … the top of my head blew off! Boom! 180o became 360o. I’d been so absorbed in the view that expanded as it accompanied me up the mountain, the mountain itself, the one I was on, white horse, being just a wall, veiling perception. but at the top, my peripheral vision tore my head in two, pulling at my eyes equally from both sides, or alternating, maybe even with oscillating voltages, who the hell cares what equally means, like a strobe in the rock club, Boom, and I started spinning around like a top, holy mackerel, the other side was just as gorgeous, the hidden half, only now it wasn’t increasing miles in the distance that the glaciers lay, but under my boots, I was standing on top of a series of glaciers, dozens, on and on, and I whooped and skied down the east face of white horse mountain from the zenith of my own glacier, skied down just in my climbing boots, the tread doing nothing to interfere, it was so steep, a few mad turns, my camera clipping me in the mouth, like at Tucks. Climb back up to the top and I started clicking again. I’d take a 360o sweep, border to border or just overlapping. I then I’d be able to show, somewhat show, Hilary who was waiting below. She’d climbed with me a half hours worth or so and then said I could go on, she’d wait there. Looking up of course it seemed like only another 500′ or so, but steep and very slippery, all loose shale. On I go, and of course the mountain went on and on. Where Hilary had paused was very far short of the top, in fact now it seems to me that the top of the resort and our half hour’s climb above that was still only half way up this serious mountain. Anyway, complete the series of the Lake Louise side, I take pictures border to border, turning now toward my new side, click, advance the film as I rotate that number of degrees to compose the new framing, and … the film wouldn’t advance! I was at the end of the roll! No back up! Gaaa! So, today I have still only the west side, the side everybody in the world already knows, though few have seen it like I have, but my new side, my secret universe … I have only the one 35 mm fragment to remind me of the whole other panorama.
so there’s I’d be, working the brook, but now with my universe doubled, what’s beneath the surface now as much in my awareness, however darkly, as what’s above.
then again, the time at Tannersville I decided to try for trout using crickets. I got a gathering basket and started crawling around the back and side yards, fortunately much unmowed. Wow! another world! the world within the grass. down on my hands and knees, there was no longer any sky, or at least no more than there would be to a fish, that light something up there on the other side of the moving surface of our world, providing light, yes, but having little to do really with this water world here. well, there instead was this grass world. full of creatures who would spend their lives knowing no other. and I was in still another unsuspected heaven, seeing a
crickets world with a cricket’s view. or at least a hss-pk empathimulation of it. not a cricket’s exactly, but not nothing either.
anyway, these past couple of decades pass without many occasions for me to experience these things, a decade of FLEX, then business, then a decade of writing again, and of being broke and exhausted. though actually it only by being really broke and really really exhausted that brought me back to fishing. (unless actually it was meeting Marty and then Lisa.) so, it’s just the past couple of weeks that I’ve been wading again. first in twenty years, first ever in Florida, and certainly the first for largemouth bass. fist time, at Hidden Beach, I cast popping bugs with the fly rod and the waters of Lake Jackson are so clear I can see the fish investigating. Not striking; investigating. I switch flies. Still investigating. Hell, I put on a 4″ plastic worm, too heavy to cast well with the fly rod, but I manage to get it 20′ or so, and I watch the investigating. I twitch the worm. I see the twitch and simulsee the little fishies start away from it, then cautiously return. I’d give anything to know their species. Not blue gills, for sure. Shinners? Don’t think so. Predator types. Little pickerel? So I throw the 4″ worm closer to the cattails, feed out the floating yellow line, and slowly back away to 30 or 40′ where I’m not standing quite so on top of them.
Now, for two years I’ve been enjoying using a fly rod for all sorts of odd uses: cane pole, still fishing, fly casting, jigging … Why? Cause I love the action of the light long willowy rod. It so magnifies the fight. That first bass I’d ever caught on a fly rod, that tiny small mouth at the Colby camp in Maine, casting from the swimming float … That little thing fought for ten minutes or so and I brought him in slowly. “You still fighting that same fish?” Hubbie asks disbelievingly. I also love the incongruity to a trout man of casting the long line in a tangle of cypress swamp. Just showing off, if only to myself. And I love the floating yellow line far better than a bobber. Same purpose, but it points! to the striking fish! So there I am, in the clear waters of Lake Jackson, not at all like the tannin black of Sharlo Apopka, knowing the little fishes are all around the lure, and sure enough, the yellow line is pointing: slowing sinking, and pointing.
Wham! I bring the rod vertical. Only a #6 gold hook in the 4″ worm, but it sinks in, and I’ve got a dandy little fight, every bit as good as that original 8″ brook trout of 1968. oh, please let it be one of those big minnows that were looking it over before. It is, I work it closer and closer. Not to death, I want it to recover nicely. I bring him gently to hand, and before I remove the hook (which I notice while he’s still swimming is perfectly, kosherly set in his lip, the worm swirling around the monofiliament leader some inches further back toward the yellow line), I try to recognize him, give him a species or at least genus name. By god, it’s a largemouth! maybe 8″. 7 or 8 ounces I’d think. and I’m hooked on Lake Jackson. That was first first catch there in three years, but several others followed within minutes. I’ve got the ticket: wade the weeds with a modest lure and you’ll catch plenty of bass. so long as you don’t mind babies.
rading the nursery, I told Brian.
Not true I now know: the big one come to the same areas. It’s just that they’re outnumbered by the young. (and of course the little ones don’t go out deep where the big predators roam at will. or maybe I’m wrong there too.)
I’ve got the ticket and I can’t wait to keep using it. For three years I’ve watched people drive their pickups out on the marsh flats along Rt 27, in front of Harder Hall. Didn’t dare try driving any of my vehicles there. For all I knew those others had all wheel drive or luck or something. but now I’ve got the mountain bike. and off I set for Lake Jackson, pedaling further and further as I don’t want to penetrate through thickets of cat tails in my short pants and no boots. the June sun booms down on me and I’ve made another mistake on the mountain bike, this one not as easily correctable as my first venture out onto the north fence line of Highlands Hammock SP at noon in May. there, it was less than a mile before I could get back into the blessed shade. along Rt 27 I might as well have been in the desert. so, short of ceasing to pedal, I’m stuck there risking sun stroke. but I finally get to the Harder Hall area and there I can walk right through to water.
Up to my neck in no time, but I’m catching bass after bass. fly rod with the 4″ worms. the blue fleck is fine, and now so too are the new red shad ones. Etc. And so the rest of June and now July have followed, the rains coming, but abating here and there while I run to the boat ramp, trying to dodge the lightning bolts, to squeeze in another few catches. (and did I ever, the bass were feeding in a frenzy after 36 hrs of solid rain. I got about 7 bass in 30 or 40 minutes.) but that’s to come. here I am, in my second wade into Lake Jackson, but in a much deeper section. And that’s where the fish seem to be: in five feet of water. maybe in six or seven, me casting from where it’s only up to my neck, having of course to keep my arms raised over the surface to cast. it’s too deep for me along the edge of the weeds, so I try casting from a few feet within the cattails. too restricting. I try trolling the fly as I walk. Something amazing happens. I’m in deep water, but I actually see a couple of young bucks come zooming in to investigate the worm. bass for sure. these guys are must closer to a foot in length, maybe 13″. Like that pair of jets arriving over Glouchester Island at the end of The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming. Zoom. But they didn’t strike. Well, why should they, with me standing only a few yards away? Anyway, what a thrill. All those years imagining the trout haven, now I’m actually seeing the bass in their underwater world. My head and eyes are above the surface, but I’m seeing … Sure, I’m wearing polaroids! It’s almost like scuba diving. God bless. what worlds Jacques Ives Cousteau has given us.
On I press. But I’m catching nothing. I’m in too deep. I had success when I stood shallow and the fish struck deep. or at least deeper than where I was. but it’s ok, seeing those two zero in is the best adventure I’ve had in a while. this is better than catching the fish. on I go till I get to the edge of a really deep pool. I have a had time holding my footing, buoyancy being too great to stand securely. the water is up to my chin, and I’m casting, now a 3″ white grub on a #6 gold Trueturn, as far out into the pool as I can. It’s great, because I can see the grub coming back at me as I draw in line. I’m mesmerized by it, hoving two feet below the surface, the white tail waving and twitching. all my work to imagine the action of the lure here confirmed. boy am I fishing well. if only I weren’t standing here, big as a bill board. maybe I’ll think about green chest waders. Naw, I’d just drown out here. No, this is better, seeing. the lure is only about four feet from me now, as I draw it in, slowly. who needs to catch them? I just return them anyway. That one encounter with the two bucks was …
when a serious fish, a real bass, I mean at least two feet long, at least a few pounds in mass, comes in on the grub like a freight train, stops on the proverbial dime, and give the grub a sharp bite. I’m so startled I couldn’t have set the hook had it been a real strike, at least not for a few more seconds. and then he was gone, swimming off at a far more normal, I presume, speed.
holy cow. I’ll never forget that moment. My heart was racing like crazy. and then the thoughts that followed. did the bass see me? would he have actually struck, I mean swallowed, had I not been there, like a wall, in front of him? (her, probably, at that size.)
I’ve thought about it since and I suspect not. that wasn’t a strike from hunger. I don’t think anger either. I don’t think the fish meant to kill the grub. But to teach it a lesson. “Hey, you. This is my pool. Next time I catch you here you’ll have to give me your lunch money.”
ss: hss colony on alternate environment planet, import teachers etc from E, or teachers etc from anywhere modU trained, that is: trained to make no checks between their model and what it supposed to correspond to, the way NYU profs were professionally on display as sensitive to lit, but showed selves immune to it when not in museum case. very quickly, inability to see that up is here down …
language game. lg what a concept! what a mistake! at the same time! I’m trying to think of what I should do with my thoughts of the last several days about LW & PhInvestigations and recent thoughts on his concept of “language game” and what I now understand him to mean by that etc, etc, esp. in rel. to Johnny VonNeu. etc, etc. dates, thank you. But it shouldn’t go here, thank you, a special file (which I can lose and forget the speciality of etc like so many other epis.etc). and I think, How about “LanguageGame.LudwigWitgenstein, but of course I misspell it. Like so many “errors of scale etc,” this happens all the time.
see Doug Adams, Hitchhikers series.
anyhow: first entry: language game: a la linguistics: try defining something sometime, it’s like farting in church: everyone is too polite to have heard you. ill: Jim Brown and “race” among the … ahem … journalists? ahem, racists.
ahh: epis.lg!
53 yrs old & I just discover Mimesis. two days later I discover Ruskin. Now Ruskin was assigned and I never got past a line or two, but wow is he ever the basis for my own thought. Grandpa! I’d heard of you but never met till now.
Auerbach lists relationships! “their temporal, local, causal, final, consecutive, comparative, concessive, antithetical, and conditional limitations …” are brought to light in perfect fullness. ie in Homer (as then contrasted with Biblical epic).
ss: hazardous information: attention information consumers, the Shrink General has determined that the following news bulletin is of the type to likely contain news of danger: statistics show that avoidance of a catastrophe is likely to be far more damaging than ignorance.
Hurricane Andrews warnings and every one is Sebring heads for Georgia. Cars pile up on the highway, looting after evacuation of Miami, lost luggage, etc. I’d like to see a comparison of damages in two cities; one warned and one not.
now, I’d thought the above a day or two ago, before the storm, but didn’t sit down to the Plus till an hour ago. since then, I’ve called JB and he’s telling me of the total destruction of S Dade, Cutler Ridge, etc, roofs ripped from all the homes, etc.
I still maintain my points above, but this one is one where the storm probably was more damaging than the warnings. for the moment. but, the storm is occasional, the news has us running around like beheaded chickens all the time.
we pay the banks to own us.
sd:? purpose of a church is to rehearse us in consentual irrationality.
just also thinking of RalphV & the SG committee & recycling & me: they told a lie that they knew was a lie, sat there and registered that no one corrected them and … presto, it was history, official truth. so, govt =~ church.
14 November 1992, look in TV guide @ Catherine’s and lo and behold, a way of dating something I’d long been (idlely) curious about: my earliest memory of a movie: a couple of big guys pushing each other around on a dock, some great looking gal saying something, and one of the guys pushing her around. I got upset, started to cry, which upset my mother who tried to shush (comfort?) me. I also remember one of the guys struggling with a giant octopus. Now, 54 yrs old: Cecile B. DeMille’s Reap the Wild Wind, advertised as playing on cable tonight: Duke Wayne, Robert Preston, Raymond Massie? I’m not sure of the guys even after reading the ad only an hour or two ago, but Paulette Goddard!! and Susan Heywood! (who always reminded me of my mother). So, 1942. I’m fairly sure it was a new release as we were seeing it, I’m fairly sure at the Fantasy in RVC. So, I was three or four. Maybe my first time in a theater. Certainly my earliest film memory. (except of course for those things that have always been there, Chaplin, etc.)
what differences are different? depends on the structure (scale & scope) being considered
is “all of Shakespeare …” (the ellipsis expands to include all of Tolstoy, all of Einstein, all of Kant, all of the Bible …) implicit in any set of human genes? Is any set of human genes implicit in all of Shakespeare?
1/8/93 dream waking memory of seducing Linda Jones, her wriggling at the revelation of my independent mind, the quick intimacy in the luxury of her car, the quick fading away as I went on to tell her of the economic sacrifice of FLEX, of writing, of being that independent mind, till suddenly, poof, didn’t know me. I was always proud (and negatively conscious) of my own blind spots, walk down the Ave, see nothing but an occasional bottom, somehow avoid being run over, mugged, etc, but not seeing anything … Well, I’m now sure that some version of my “screen” is h-universal.
Also, can’t concentrate of figure and ground at same time, melody and rhythm …
Matter and near-space, but not space, and definitely not the “space” “outside” the universe.
If equally tuned to every-thing and to every-no-thing, then perception impossible. heat death. no information, no universe, no “intelligence.”
anti-evolution to favor evolution. if any species were really intelligent, it would come too damn close to succeeding in becoming immortal, and evolution would slow way down.
solutions aren’t what being human is about: it’s dilemmas.
court room epistemology: it takes 12 men to establish officially the current social fiction which the group calls truth.
May 17,. 1993: id files todate: 592,160 words; 53,378 lines

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