/ Journal /

the semantic universe is what we see when we think or dream something. or what we see when we see a movie.
she sank without a trace into the soaps.
humor-shortcuts through the labyrinth
there’s something to be said for wiping the slate clean occasionally and sometimes one would do well to wipe beyond the DNA
what’s the relation between “chaos” and the “random”?
the author of the cause and effect universe is clearly an artifact of that semantic universe and that semantic universe does not match the one being unwrapped by science.
dealers control prices in some markets. some scarcities semi-artificial. clarke’s diamond mtn. ss in which ditto brains, knowledge. cf illich. that’s what it already is. university preserves scarcity. so too govt war preserves scarcity of men, materiel, …
the pres. has got to be the smartest, best informed man … sudden evidence that he’s no where near the end of the curve but only toward the fat side of the middle bulge. suppress the info. kill them, like so many extra queen bees. and quite right too. except for one thing: if the intellectuals purged by the society would have improved the survivability of the society, what is the society doing to its longevity by purging them? how important is longevity? is survival really the primum mobile of evolution? or is there still something to the idea that the main thing, even beyond survival, is to seek and to serve god? the truth, ie. usually the choice isn’t exclusive, but sometimes it is. (usually, we’re not conscious of ever having a choice about either let alone a conflicting one. the key there is “conscious.”)
offended, watching the trailers for some tv shows, special drama or sit- com?, it suddenly occurs to me: my normal reaction is “make sure you don’t see this”-then I think, how many great movies have had offensive promotions? Had I not already known it was Fellini and been looking forward to it like to Beethoven’s resurrection, would I have paid to see a movie with a poster like 8 1/2’s? Star Wars looked extraordinarily stupid on the tv news. I loathed the quotes I saw from Animal House. Ok, I just remembered what show it is that looks so unpromising: Perfect People. It’s an offense against Brazil. Now I remember how offensive Brazil looked when I saw a quote on tv. It was the face lift scene. Great cinema. Great comedy, satire, black humor, etc. Utterly unquotable to a virgin.
I don’t have the same faith in tv. I’m not a fan. There’s very little on tv that I already know enough to look forward to: a new Kurasawa, a newly rediscovered D W Griffith, a Chaplin classic.
And what that leads me to think: the overall context here in Feb 88 being a presidential campaign, that who knows? a worthy executive might actually be hidden there among the offensively presented candidates. “Presented” there is highly ambiguous: presented by the candidate addressing himself to his own image of you the audience, his wished for (and feared) consituency; presented by his campaign manager; by the media-1) by the editing (timing, etc.) of the news editor 2) by the questions asked by reporters. is the reporter playing straight man? or assassin?
true or false is binary? is that why we want to limit logic to tastes better/less filling?
questioning: possible contexts: who’s controlling the question? the questioner? is it a contest of control?
is the one questioned’s point to answer the question or to get rid of the question? to get rid of the questioner? to categorize the questioner as something undesirable, taboo, without rights even of courtesy much less logic, “this mocker of the truth is a recusant knave, a saracen dog, a commie pinko nigger.”? or is it to review and to pursue improvement to one’s set of maps and their relation of the territory of “reality”?
A characteristic of “science” is for the questioner and questioned to be doing the latter. In fact, it is not a questioned being which is being questioned so much as the interrelationship of map and territory: how well does our “science” describe “reality”? It is typical of society (and its governments, its elders, its appointed and self-appointed representatives [the model there being ‘how close to the center or core is one?’, there being no examples of beings which aren’t members or there would be no communication between them. at least for the moment. picture, mr dolphin, do you agree that we should stonewall that amendment?*], to cling to what ever maps it has or guesses somebody has had in use that got them to where they are. don’t rock the boat. law’n-order. sure we need change, but we want it to come from a safe place. we’re waiting for the messiah to bring it to us. or course, that makes us safe, since we’ll kill anyone we suspect of being the messiah even faster than we killed the last one. we’re in a safe loop: only the messiah can save us and no one can be the messiah. if we can kill him, it’s proof it wasn’t him. [Xity is founded on the refutation of that, but it exists on the principle that the foundation only applied once, and in the safe past.]
Society must always polish its image of appearing to know, especially when it’s clear that it doesn’t. it works until the bridge collapses, though it never works perfectly. hitler had to surround himself with smaller and smaller groups of sycophants whom he trusted less and less. Mussolini’s body went on getting punished even after Mussolini has escaped into death.
We may look to unstable tyrannies and would-be tyrannies for our most ludicrous examples. The university: one of its primary masks, whatever it actually is, is to appear to foster both the dissemination of knowledge and the search for truth. [at the same time, we all know that’s it’s a place to buy prestige, to hide from the truth, and to hide from the knowledge that one is hiding. but at least it’s all as apparent as the family seal on the garment of the masked samurai as he strolls the yoshiwara district. we genuflect and know that it’s phony at the same time or in alternate vibrations. Hey great. but another mask is to preserve our culture. hey, fine; as long as they’re not in contradiction. what do we do when they are? Well, that’s exactly my point. The majority will agree with the majority that the short line is the same length as the long line and that the equal line is the wrong length. a staunch minority will always insist that the two similar lines are the equal one’s and that the shorter line, agreed by consensus to be the equal line, is the shorter. The Sanhedron will be the Sanhedron and the xians will go into hiding if they wish to live. except now it’s the xians who are the sanhedron and caesar to boot.
anyway, the illustration I’m attempting to remember and to record was Anton’s eg from Madison. c. 1968. govt lifer appearing before U Wisc to “answer questions” about what the US was doing in Vietnam. Prof. challenges him with some facts. lifer can’t admit that he’s pinned and wriggling. Um, aw, shuffle, stumble, blah, blah. “Next question.” “Not so fast, squirmy,” says prof. “I’ve answered your question,” says lifer.
It wasn’t a question, it was a challenge. and the lifer hadn’t answered (met) it.
what happens when the govt can’t intimidate just by its uniform and its posturing? Mussolini gets beheaded. What happens in the meantime? We’re all limited to the logic of the New York Times. Hey, that’s superior logic to that used by most people most of the time, and definitely superior to that used throughout most of history. But was it superior to the logic of the professor who got insulted in the audience. [that’s just the problem: the govt put itself on a podium. a democracy can’t have a podium for the speaker and a pit for the audience and remain a democracy. or it could if the questioner got the podium while he was questioning, and the answerer got it back only after he had satisfactorily answered. [course that would be a cheap coup, just ask an unanswerable question, or deny the answer and you’re logic and power stealing is as cheap and tawdry as the lifer’s: so there has to be an editor, a chairman … but then …]
Anyway, my point is that representatives of society have to pose as having the answers. [our priests can make it rain. our president can ward off the communists.] they can’t pose as know it alls. but they must appear to know impossibly more than you. and if you know impossibly more than them, so much the worse for you. unless you’re alexander. but, probabalistically, you are more likely to know impossibly less than the lifer. but then possibly, you know more. just possibly you are the messiah, or at least john the baptist, someone who can say and say truly: “I know the work of Buckminster Fuller. And the work of Gregory Bateson as well. I am acquainted with cybernetics, information theory, synergistics or systems study. And I’m now looking into the new physics of chaos.” But even then, probabalistically you are not alexander but one of his brothers. One of the excess queen bees. One to be killed, eliminated, removed from the competition: because you are capable of founding a new hive. emperor alexander can’t have other living princes.
cf Einstein on random and pose on theology. our commitment is to the wrong answer. until there’s a moment of flexibility. did old einstein have it? does any pope ever have it? maybe, as a man. as pope, the role? never.
or if that’s conceivable, how about “Ladies, gentlemen, and cetaceans of both genders of congress, the plague virus contingent has proposed a law which would … I say we call in the viro-toxins, declare a state of war. Concentrate the viruses into camps. Suspend habeas corpus.”
comedy is masks backfiring. don adams’ “would you believe …?”
[could tragedy be masks being over-believed?]
reasons too broad based are off scale, outside the system, invisible.
females arguing for “equality” (an example not of philosophy but of slogan mongering), taking steroids, wanting “jobs” (not realizing that it will cost them their “roles”), aggression encouraged, blurring roles-all diseases of civilization which woman had formerly been relatively immune from
persons. i just realized that if i am ever to find a use for this odious plural it may fit what we so dishonestly call black people. from now on it’s black persons for me. and indian persons. people is exactly what the descendants of our slaves aren’t. it’s like calling cherokees and mohawks and pueblos, all people, all peoples, indians. all real differences are ignored under one glaring mislabel. Indians: people from the asian sub-continent whom Columbus hoped to encounter via a water route other than that around Africa. we bought deracinated individuals from disparate and distinct african peoples [from Bantu to Zulu-whatever was funneled through West Africa], kept or killed them as slaves, mixed our genes with theirs without recognizing the preciousness of either, forced them into company as well as labor not of their own choosing, while not educating them in their new language, the language of their farmer masters: illiterate English mixed with hard-grabbing agricultural commerce.
MCB talking about “the logic boys”: as Whitehead wrote, and like I said to Brian, philosophy has no agreed upon vocabulary and so must keep starting again. like a natural language, English or French eg, before Dr. Johnson or the encyclopedists. hey: maybe we’re like Lewis Thomas’s termites: dropping grains of sand here and there. crazy. purposeless. hey, those two just dropped near each other … that third fell on top of them. Suddenly the termites are building a vertical column. their building seems purposive, intelligent. they’re constructing a termite mound!
GB’s Angels Fear is just what Mind and Nature made me wish for. the beginnings of a coherent system.
we americans are proud of our anarchism. I, pk, am proud of my ungovernability. cause who’s to govern me? i feel as much of a prima donna as any of those guys. it doesn’t matter that no one else shares that opinion. why should I follow their system? they should follow mine. but I don’t have a system. i’m working on it, but at the approach of 50 still have nothing but scattered grains of sand. and besides, they don’t know my work. i was part of the academic purge of ’68. sure, others came back to the establishment. with their hat in their hands and covering their balls you bet. fuckem. it’s their business to find me; not mine to beg them, promising to share their shabby epistemologies. Academic freedom: sure, you can say anything you want … as long as you daily prove that you’ve swallowed civilization as a whole. he’s safe: he let us haze him; now he’s a harmless eccentric. einstein was cute and cuddly. of course he didn’t understand politics. if Life magazine had really understood anything of e’s thought, they wouldn’t have run that cute article. made us all feel like we owned him. he’s a genius: he can’t zip his fly; we don’t have to heed his thought …
but now, GB’s dead. he can’t be a prima donna while he’s dead. the logic boys resent his ignoring their work? was there work any good? was it addressed to the public? then GB would be at fault. maybe. a little. unless, like Bucky Fuller, he had to go silent for two years and come out speaking his own language. then it’s our business to follow him. or our damnation (visible discrepancy between our map and the relevant territory) is our own fault.
sure, as MCB apologizes, GB’s definitions were sometimes idiosyncratic. they’re still the best I’ve ever seen. were the logic boys hiding? or was I merely ignorant of them despite their best efforts.
Anyway, it’s time to build a single system which anyone with the skill can share and build on.
all love is in the future
all trust is a test
how about a “truth quotient”? cf probability
wolfe’s character says that nobody under twenty can have what a bond is explained to them: maybe under thirty, she amends. personally, i was probably closer to 35 before i began to get much even of a glimmer, though no one ever tried to “explain” it to me. jim pollock once said something that made me bristle, though it was the economics and politics of it, not the nature of it that made me unhappy and resentful then. now i see them not only as quintessential “things” but as basic metaphors of the “realities” of creaura to adopt jung/bateson’s word.
March 88 id: maturity.? ahem. deciding what reality you’re willing to take lumps for.? i’ve decided that freedom of thought and action is worth taking lumps for. mostly, people let me think and do what I please. If it doesn’t please them, they stay away. or they don’t see. i don’t try to go out of my way to do my things under any body’s nose. oh, sometimes. some social behavior: here, see me. small group. usually female. but i don’t go far out of my way. but sometimes, oh no, our group thinks this way. here come resonate with us. no thanks, i resonate this way, and if you saw things the way i see them, so would you. trouble. lumps. i take them. maybe sometimes i give one or two.
The Bible is perfectly accurate as long as its terms remain fuzzy: man, created, god, garden, knowledge, forbidden, sin, naked, name, heaven, earth, etc. In other words, as long as accurate has no precise meaning, and literal means anything you want it to. Especially, if you mean “this literature is not literature.” This map is a territory, all other maps are maps.
music: you don’t “follow” the rhythm; you weave with and against it. you don’t have to be, you don’t want to be, matched with the beat except at key junctures where you must correspond or you’re not in the same piece. once you know all the typical patterns, you just have to follow the measures. except of course at ensemble moments where you still want individuality. listen to Miles Sextet on any of the classic numbers: are they ever metronomically together? no, but boy are they always together.
how is it possible for the lower to be higher as in an Escher perspective? yet it’s true in human society all the time. Good as Gold is a greater novel than Catch-22. The Bonfire of the Vanities is a greater novel than Good as Gold. Yet The Bonfire of the Vanities, great as it is, isn’t as great as Catch-22.
if Ronald Regan is bettern me, how can I be better than RR? Nixon is certainly greater than RR and I am certainly better than Nixon. Right?
(very important to me, how does GB know that the things which I agree are true of creatura: (ah! p 18, he says it’s all speculation) aren’t also true of pleroma?)
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 patriarchs 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 concluding 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 defined 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.”
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 evolutionary 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. Boolean. 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 publicly 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.
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?
epist: one thing we need is a “synonym” of thing or thing divided into (minimally) two “nouns”: one for extensional things, the other for intensional. Damn hard to due accurately, in need of constant revision, but even to begin the attempt would be to relieve much pathology.
3/13 5 pm version of epistemology copied to sem.dic. edit from one or other, not both.
3/14: bk.let, id file, etc all at once.
There’s that touching scene in 2010 where Chandra, the computer expert who developed all the HAL series, accuses Floyd of having made HAL go crazy and kill the astronauts of Discovery. Floyd doesn’t have any idea what Chandra is talking about. Chandra then diagnoses HAL’s double bind: protect the mission/protect the astronauts. They were contradictory: HAL made a choice. Floyd still doesn’t know, then he figures it out. Big deal scientist? he’s still a government flunky. Someone from the executive branch gave HAL special secrets and special instructions. Chandra looks at Floyd tearfully. (in the film, here) “HAL doesn’t know how to lie.” he says. Or, no one ever taught HAL to lie. Or some such. A grown man, an expert, an original, a genius, a something, half-alien too … and he looks like he’s been told there’s no Santa Claus or that his pet cat ate his pet gerbil. Poor HAL. Poor Chandra. Innocence spoiled. I was, of course, sad and upset too. Wow. decades after, Clarke gives us a penetrating analysis. Of course. a mystery explained. and in keeping with our paranoia about civilization (eminently justified).
But, now that I think about it, who but a scientist could be so stupid as to think that there should be any important interface with an artificial logic system, a pure tautology as it were, in which there had been no information about so basic a characteristic of human messaging? We teach our children to lie: what other serious purpose does Santa Claus have? or Does Santa Claus seriously have any other serious purpose?
cf. our horror at any pure anything. or what should be our horror. Chaucer’s monsters of virtue, eg.
let’s imagine a scenario (pleasant, however improbable): that there will be a future, a human future that is, and that certain characteristics of our own present (which is to say, certain characteristics of our own past) will be present in it: a certain literacy, an idea of history, heroes and villains with at least some correspondence to actual events as we know them. In others words, imagine them imagining us. as we imagine or fail to imagine Chaucer’s time for example.
You’re a judge. It’s your job to fail to see any difference between killing Barabas and killing Jesus. Jesus in the religious world, Socrates in the intellectual/secular. Hey, why should an execution be exciting if it were nothing but a garbage disposal system. No, there’s always the possibility, silently and mostly unconsciously acknowledged but acknowledged by everyone present, that it’s your own salvation that you’re killing.
Sherman goes to the Bronx to be arrested in the Wolfe novel. he’s gotta be fingerprinted, but the VAX to Albany is down. bottleneck anyway. having a world anything isn’t so easy. continuity and discontinuity.
“a country of laws not of men” is still filled with people desperate to maintain a double standard for a class they have anointed. nixon has suffered enough. it’s not where you wind up but how far you’ve fallen. these things being said by senators, and house this’s and that’s. finally, for the first time in a long series of abuses, we have chance to test the system, including the judicial part of it, and Ford prevents it. suffered enough to how far fallen or any of that crap should come from a judge at the End of the trial. Picture the purse snatcher not being arraigned because somebody stands in the precinct and says he’s suffered enough. how far he’s fallen from his mother’s hopes.
cf the ideal of shiny floors and setting the thermostat. both epistemological lies! one denies the necessity of cybernetics and the other denies entropy. sure, the floor can be reshined, at great labor. invisible slavery. why have it in the first place. princes appearing exempt from physics. is that wise?
what you mean by “know” depends a lot on what you know
science is the translation of poetry into prose (with both advantages and disadvantages)
genetics GB “the digital names for settings of the bias of the system.” p 99
civilization is based on fraud. we’re all getting away with murder. but my diction implies that we live in an ethical universe; sure, when convenient. when it reflects well on us. we despise Hitler because he frankly assumed that war was a natural state and further assumed that he knew how to be practical, how to achieve victories. while we are far too polite to admit to stealing and raping a continent, enslaving a whole gallimaufry of African peoples, and pressing consumers and managers through our Procrustean institutions …
One of the things I’ve held against Plato all these years, beyond my failure to be swept up by his semantic self-delusion, is our attribution to him of endless “originality.” Here he is showing himself, in so far as he does at all directly, as the son of Socrates, his Boswell, his student and chronicler, with it unmentioned as to who Socrates’ intellectual and epistemological father was (his whole culture and language, of course) (I am not denying originality or development, change, or growth, but the wholesale attribution of it where ever the written record peters out), while we make him not only the father of our intellectual approach (which he is) but the inventor of ideas as a class. Would we be more accurate to think of him like the Grimm brothers or like Uncle Remus, transmitting culture, like Homer, yes his version is the best: it must have been the best, it was the one most revered and eventually written down. Or like Einstein: he didn’t invent physics, but relativity is wholly his.
But then my quarrel isn’t with Plato (who must remain largely innocent of what we think of him) but with our view of originality and influence and mind and culture and teaching and learning and thinking and everything.
Anyway, it annoys me incredibly especially when I keep doing the same thing: as Plato says … or the interesting question that Plato raises … Right now, a moment ago (there is no now, our quickest perceptions are still in the past tense or perhaps rather “now” is the same as the immediate past, “just then” is what “now” means. The basic “platonic” question here is: what are we to make of poets who we come to see have used misleading or wrong metaphors. See that metaphors can’t be right in the first place? Understand how thoroughly our thinking is of the syllogism in grass variety while our thinking about our thinking is of the syllogism in Barbara variety. (It’s just like our attitude toward education: we make ourselves all the more neurotic and even pathological by having higher levels of learning as an ideal. It’s almost all zero level learning, but we think of it as level one and aspire to level two. We’re almost always once if not twice wrong about what we’re up to. Anyway, yes, it’s a good question. My Model story in part asks the question, what do we do with the story of Genesis once our physics has changed our metaphor for the universe. One thing I’m learning from Angels Fear is that perhaps we shouldn’t be overly concerned: our perception of our interface with the extensional universe is speculative at best. A “wrong” metaphor? Sure, but be humble about the current one too.
a stupid religion can kill
There’s no such thing as a political party that doesn’t (or didn’t) represent somebody’s interests; there’s no such thing as a political party that does represent everybody’s interests. (then, elastic: define everybody. define body. dogs and germs included?)
dueling realities
it is a sin of science that, like politics (and because of our politics and economics,) it has been ahem “forced” to lie about it’s limits. There are no bounds to our greed, to our deceit, to our knowledge… entropy
spring leaves falling in Markham Park
science takes a stance skeptical of authority (the Church’s fault, esp. with Aristotle). Then the sophomoric scientist turns around and is credulous of his own hypotheses!
a nuclear winter would make us wish we had heeded the sermon in Job.
lear & x age x sex communication. continuity and discontinuity.
If you say “all things are possible,” you haven’t made meaning impossible; you’ve made it impossible that there be any simple or direct correspondence between meaning, deliberateness, and Your language.
What happens when your universe has outgrown your god who supposedly “made” it? What happens when your priests haven’t noticed? (The priests kill you, or try to.) What happens when your cosmos has vastly outgrown your vastly grown universe? (Of course, “cosmos” has no “size” though “universe,” which does, or at least seems to, is contained within in.) How do you deal with the fact that you’ve already defined your already expanded but now too small god as “infinite”? (Study Gregor Kantor, that’s what!)
Why has this writer put some words into quotation marks? Why not others? Why a particular word sometimes and not other times? If “made” is in quotes and god isn’t, and, if you agree with the writer’s punctuation, then how many sets of quotation marks should be around “made” if a set is put around god: “god”? How many if two sets? Three? Is there any way to tell if there is a maximum number of possible meaningful sets of quotations marks? What if you don’t agree with the author’s punctuation? If you see the sets of marks as at all arbitrary, does the number have meaning? How about simply recognizing the metaphorical nature of language? And the multiple valence structure of metaphor? Also that perception, being both indirect and retrospective, is suspect even in an “ideal” (whatever that means) “consciousness” (whatever that means)?
Is there a direction beyond god? Does that question have any meaning? Does your cosmos include every sort of lie, every sort of nonsense, every pathology, every impossible epistemology ever misimagined? Every revisionist history, every suborned witness as the actual event in some “alternate universe”?
ss/ travel to such: alternate universe of impossible epistemologies. Guy tries to build time machine and travels to silly intensionalities instead. “You’re stupid and you’re machine is impossible.” “No, I’m the intelligence in my machine, and it’s you that’s impossible.”
. the history of the future. maybe what Billy Dupree discovers is a multiple level entropy tax. kept in a hierarchy of logical levels.
That star up there is at least party made up of matter. So are you. All matter broadcasts and receives. To all matter? No. Discrete quanta. No infinite.
ie. the “star” “we” “see” “seems” to “be” “there.”
Does talking matter? Whether or not it corresponds to “the truth”? It doesn’t matter in terms of affecting our behavior. We’ve talked our way through 25,000 years and aren’t about to stop. Rats and boxes. To stop, we would have to cease to be homo sapiens sapiens.
Language and insanity. But we can’t go back. It’s no coincidence that Hamlet talks and talks and is more than half nuts. cf. Cratylus (disciple of Heraclitus, c 500 BC, viz. AF p 40)
which should we be interested in: the savior or the salvation? (this is a question of logical type)
parents responsibility: how much do we handicap our children with our eccentricities? give them advantage? no guarantees. the future of the species is not up to us individually, at least not by linear planning.
epis lies, NSEW, (failure to define the direction of a sign in terms of scope of range). (someone who does have a sense of direction is more likely to get upset than someone with none or better yet, with a blind trust in the irrationality of their system) (rephrase: a blind seeming but actually quite “intelligent” suppression of awareness of contradiction) (try being comfortable with 95N when you can see by the stars that you are traveling due east.) 29N which runs due south for miles and miles of Cape Cod would eventually take you further north than P-town, but only back on the main continent. FL says “next” left: ambiguous. what it means is this left coming up. the first opportunity you will have to turn left on a state or county road. Opportunities to drive off the road into the canal or into someone’s driveway, private or commercial, are not included in these directions. Next left as in the left that you will come upon next, that is after this one you see immediately before you, is not what we mean.
setting the bias. as GB says, the temperature setting of the thermostat, whether expressed digitally or analogically, as long as it’s expressed as a single value rather than a range between thresholds, is an epistemological lie.
ss/ the alien’s problem. aliens have been visiting earth, as they have all planets, for billions of years, doing what they do, trying to replicate themselves and or their DNA, and succeeding or failing, as is the norm in nature. Whether their descendants fail or succeed, for long term or for short or for intermediate term, is not their problem. but this one comes, conscious of human culture, trained in English, and ready to look for the white house or to say “take me to your leader.” trouble is, his knowledge isn’t fine tuned and he gets lost. his interpretation is as-it-were-schitz. signs have no punctuation, assuming the (context of the) message to be “obvious.” a slow down of cooperation. kids perversity of taking literally. making impossible. knowledge, where we put our trust, is faith. we don’t have time to be right. but cyborgs would. might? or not? could AI have the same perceptual and epis limitations? necessarily? i must try to better understand Godel’s theorem. is G’s theorem subject to the same epis horseshit as say Pythagoras’ theorem? P’s th. is certainly one of the prime artifacts of all human intelligence, but it still fails to distinguish between an idea system and reality and the idea “I see no flaw here” and “there are no flaws here.” Or what we do: we see no flaws here, no one has ever seen (or been allowed to see) a flaw here, therefore, there are no and may be no flaws here. (Even Achilles and the tortoise in Lewis Carrol is epis naive.)
If you’ve checked your reasoning eighty times and posterity checks your reasoning for eighty millennia, and still finds no flaw, that doesn’t “prove” that there are none, or if it does, it only does so by changing the meaning of “prove” to something fallible.
dear ed. the probability that you are up to reading this is as remote or possibly more remote than your initial estimate that whatever you pick out of the slush pile to pretend to read is the dark horse best seller that you all dream of.
Credo: I believe that I am a mortal creature
in a mortal society
in a mortal species
in a changing, dynamic ecology
in a dynamic, evolving, but still mortal universe
In a dynamic but Immortal Cosmos;
And that therefore
I believe that I, and you, and we, and it
Are immortal.
But that has to be wrong.
I believe that error is mortal.
I believe that the tropism toward truth is immortal.
And could, will, has already survived the death of universes.
The mortality of error: fact. interpretation. etc. the infinity of things appropriate to the conscious mind. And then the multiple infinity of things appropriate to higher level minds: whether to have tannable skin. where the thresholds are set.
Maybe animals cooperation in our imprisoning them, and in vivisecting them, and experimenting on them, and driving them crazy, is a strike of cooperation. The worst kind. In a sense, my own obscurity and failures is a strike of cooperation. The world cannot know how lucky it is that I didn’t actively pursue “my own best interests” according to the epistemological lies of our culture. How much better off would we be if Napoleon had gone on a cooperation strike, being perversely literal, using his talent to give everybody a hard time, instead of escalating it into the invention of more mortal and destructive use of artillery?
I used to think that the animals were at fault for not ganging up on us. An alliance of tigers and cobras could trim the humans back some. But no, they go silently to extinction. It’s a MORE effective way to kill us. Hey, it’s aikido. Uses or errors against us. Sure, they perish, but not perishing is already recognized by them not to be one of their options. Ikiru. Hey, I’m already dying, therefore you can’t threaten me, or thwart my will, or even make me lose patience. I’ve already lost! It’s not me I’m trying this for. And if I fail anyway? Hey, I’ve already failed.!!!
What if the biosphere is in the process of trying to preserve itself by amputating not just the insane humans, not just all humans, but all primates, maybe all mammals. What if it doesn’t trust any of us? Cockroaches and crabs. Hey, maybe we should be glad! Cousteau, did you think of that? Maybe we should be rooting for the crabs. Sure, a simpler biosphere. A biosphere with no little girls to be sentimental about the scrap of doll washing about in the tide, a piece of ex-human garbage. But it’s temporary. The crabs will diversify. Or be replaced. Or be joined. Etc.
Bravo the insane Danakil, (the Afar. Ethiopia. Wilfred Thesiger) They hunt each other, but not to extinction. And they’re gorgeous. And since there’s no nonsense about the bad guy draws first, since trophies taken in ambush are just as good as those won hand to hand and eye to eye, I bet they have no welfare problem. No hosts of people with eyeglasses and periodontal problems. Very few lame beggars. No, they’re gorgeous. They were so impressive, I forgive David Niven and the stupid writers for how parochial and patronizing and beside the point the script was.
The Danakil take trophies and castration seems to be a favorite. What can the benefit be? It can’t be population control (except at a cultural level which may be temp. but is nevertheless temporarily real), since one male can impregnate a host of females. And the usual Darwinian horseshit about male combat among ruminants having to do with survival of the fittest (as though Mike Eastler in 1987 has better genes than Mike Schmidt or Mike Schmidt in 1987 has better genes than Babe Ruth. Hell, I could beat Achilleus by that standard: he’s dead! I could out-maneuver Julius Caesar. His troops can’t move or fight at all, if they’re waiting for instruction from him. It isn’t: I killed their ability to breed; it’s I showed my mettle in killing this one husband-father, even if I sabotaged him. But then they kill the females from rival tribes too. And, when aroused, they’ll attack and try to slaughter an entire group. But, it’s still not the whole tribe they attack. It’s not genocide. (You have to be more civilized to try that. But then, I’ll bet if we had films of the Biblical Hebrews with their genocides, the Danakil would look the more culturally developed.)
George Washington never told a lie. Is that history? Or myth?
If history, then history of a different type than the Battle of Bull Run, aka Mannassis, was in 18xx.
If myth, then myth of a different type than Cain slaying Abel, or Oedipus finding himself to be the mother fucker.
Cain slew Abel, but we are descendants of Abel, not Cain. Gengis Khan was a descendant of Cain. The US of A, with its record of righteous violations of treaties, is a descendant of Abel, endlessly killing the descendants of Cain. Though it must end sometime in the future. Soon they may all be dead. Unless we’re all dead first. Could the miserable straggling survivors of Cain outlast the hustling Abels in the “end”? Could we all commit suicide before we quite finish the job with them. Wouldn’t it be funny if two or three humans somehow survived a nuclear war or an ecological collapse and that they were Cherokee?
Standard written English is a con. Sure it’s the highest standard (notice the Janus character of “standard”); sure it shows some training, some discipline, some “class”; sure it shows your parents, or your own, or some business, or social guilt’s investment in affording you the special grooming of school, but still, its only bias is to convince, to win favor, to sway in argument, not to try to tell the truth. For that you have to turn to artificial languages, and even there you find far more self-delusion together with far more con (even science is in the business of selling hypotheses-sure they hope it’s the truth, just like you hope your horse comes in) than rational consideration. (unless (and here’s my elastic clause) you mean by rational, nine parts rationalization to one part search.)
logic: they system by which it itself is organized?
: or the system by which you’ve organized (or mis-organized) it?
keep moving epis stuff to epis.not
Easy to overlook and I fear unstated by me so far is my point about extensionality/intensionality (eg. God has no extensional existence, which doesn’t mean he has no existence) (these things float perpetually around my head, so often the articulation is just out of reach, but they float closer in sleep, so I have to grab at them as I wake, before I really wake, trying to catch one and hold on to it. then I write it, and as often as not, it’s that same fish again. Picasso drawing another satyr. We know that part of your obsessions, Pablo, get on with it or we’ll take back what we said about innovation. But one must keep fishing. What if it’s that new species? What if it’s another link? what if it’s The link?) (of course perhaps there is no The link. So what? I’m just a human being with all those tendencies to overrate the local, the current. Hey, why not? It is after all what I’m having an energy exchange with, an information exchange, an exchange of fluids.): it’s not just god among the “things” most important to us that has no extensional existence; the USA, for all its “real” power, also has no extensional existence (now that much I have said, certainly in my letter to Schmidt at Analog); but then (and here’s the point), neither does much and perhaps most of what most concerns us. To what extent are we ourselves extensional? Sure Paul Knatz can weight himself and seeing the scale say 148 or something seems to confirm that I have mass. True, the body without which I cannot change or learn or grow (or die) has mass, and weighing it is a feature of its extensionality, but is that me? is that Paul Knatz? is that what i care about or want to exchange with others? sure i care about it when it gives me pain, when my teeth are falling out and eating becomes as much a labor as a pleasure. but there: pleasure isn’t extensional. why we eat has no measurement. they may be comparable like infinities, but numbers and the theory of numbers aren’t extensional either.
so, most of what occupies, perhaps all, is abstract. (i do not mean this as part of a political struggle, the semantic, emotional baggage of the word abstract: oh those intellectuals have their heads in the clouds (meaning, we plebes are actually superior), those genius can’t zip their flies; neither do I mean that those privileged and superior beings who actually enjoy the Museum of Modern Art with its collection of things called “abstracts” are in touch with reality and the plebes aren’t (though there may be some difference as with me here in our awareness of the very point that I’m making) but that’s because of the epistemological errors if not outright lies that we train ourselves in): abstract can mean “more essentially real.”
and even beyond that, there’s a case for everything I see right now, the trees, the leaves tossing spring light in the breeze, my anti mosquito lanterns, the coffee pot, this computer which I see and touch, clickety-click-click-click … being intensional in that they are images in my mind. and if I go out and measure the tree, calculate height by triangularization, encircle its girth with a tape, cut it down and “weigh” what part I’ve felled, or find some indirect way to weigh it and its root system and the water and minerals passing through it, sure, I believe that there’s something “there” that I’m taking this information from, and that this information does indeed “describe” it somehow, it’s still images in my mind. and if you help me to do it, it’s also images in your mind (the same images? can’t be. but, we believe, essentially the same) and if we publish the results then potentially images in the minds of others, our contemporaries and successors.)
Is the host in a mass extensional? How about the mass itself? How about taxes. In what sense do you “have” to pay them? What power does the government really have?
Can the Christian God put a non-Christian into the Christian hell? Will it be painful for the non-Christian? Victor tried to put me there for Him, and to the extent that I was once a Christian had partial success. I recognized the flames from my childhood, but I no longer feared them. and realized that they had never hurt. (Shaw’s Wagner, of course.) The hurt had been fear. Imaginary. But his putting me there was an annoyance, an inconvenience. But, insofar as it can affect my relationship with others, yes it can hurt.
I love GB’s point about a shaman’s willingness to fake results without their doing so seeming to affect their faith. Sure I cheated, it was for your good.
sure hell fire can be lethal if the faithful join to it fire from the extensional world, for your own good.
Of course, for your own good isn’t for your own good at all, and never was. once you’re not part of their homeostatic group, once you’re so recognized, as alien, your good, your rights, doesn’t concern them: it’s their good, their homeostatic preservation, even if in error, that concerns them.
in error? what’s the big deal, if “truth” is never in our reach? what if the truth doesn’t even exist? what if the extensional is entirely illusion? What if there is no tree there? Only images! Fine. then we still need a good epistemology of images. in fact, of course, etc. that’s all we can have. It is what we do have.
Is a bad map, a demonstrably wrong map, “just as good as” as demonstrably superior map? Only if you’re interested in survival. Oh, but the bad map is treasure precisely for survival, for the preservation of the view of “reality” which that map once represented. I’d die to protect my vision of the world, said Radiance. And so would I. And so do I.
I also wish to insist that the above is not solipsism, though for sure it will be called so by those who cherish the illusion of direct perception. (almost all of us). solipsism claims validity for my imaging and denies it to yours. I don’t claim any such uniqueness, singularity, or aloneness, at least not in that sense. Especially not after having found GB. My epipsychideon. I had found soul mates before: once Phil, then Fuller, then McLuhan and Illich. But no match had ever for me been so perfect or complete. His diction is not only careful and considered and informed, but has the precise tone that I would have given the same set of things had I his experience, his training, his background, his brains. Or so it seems to me. If MCB agreed, she might have answered my letter of ’85. If she ever got it. Or maybe she did. How do I know what happened without an address?
Another thing about my morning fishing which I can say now as my mind begins to become “mine” again, as my “consciousness” reestablishes itself in its diurnal pattern: sometimes when I catch the same fish again, it wasn’t that fish that I had been in the midst of catching. Some of my fish, grown fat with attention, become greedy for more and they chase more tentative, ethereal, and shy fish from the hook. Or swallow them just as I reel them in, so that it appears that I’ve caught that familiar greedy one. Even so, the familiar greedy ones are still fish familiar from my catching them; they’re hardly the same general sea robins from the public epistemology.
back in the human mind again. I wonder if GB knew that line.
what would global effect be of sens-surround tv larger than life? like cocaine.
cocaine as a solipsist activity. maybe that’s a remedy. drugs as epistemological error. too subjective. Have the tv ads not only use Chris Evert, but make fun of eidetic pleasure! Manduck the Magician in Mad comics hypnotizing himself on the garbage dump after the cartoon pics have already actually drawn him surrounded by luxury summoned by illusion.
Teillard a shaman spiking the evidence (re: early man, the usual assumption about his involvement being that he must be the innocent one)? I love GB’s point about epis honesty.
physics differ going uphill or down? after or during youth, sickness and health? no philosopher can patiently endure the toothache. we have no idea how “secure” (eliz. meaning) our own assumptions are, and if we do, then we at least believe that the assumptions of our priests are correct, or at least our scientists, certainly our physicists: no? not them either? but self-skepticism is an unstable creed and we forget a moment later: we’ll still duck the tiger, and duck shadows too. to stop believing in yourself would be to cease to be human. I don’t want anyone to stop believing in himself, to cease functioning, only to cease overstating his certainty. But then, the elastic linguistic clause. hey, that’s what certainty means; it only means what I mean: I meant something impossible? then I didn’t mean that. And Humpty Dumpty puts himself together again, at least semantically.
sometimes the question, and the repeating of the question, is more important than any answer. Our answers are often swallowings of the camel when a double bind sticks in our throat. If God created everything, who created God? What’s outside the universe? More important to see that the question is misFRAMED, the words not defined or impossibly defined, …
a mismatch of scale
4/4: ideas float into my head and out of it again when the computer is out of reach, put away, turned off. Just now, it was in the shower. Oh, that’s ok, I’ll remember. Wrong. At best I can guess. See, just now, loading up QA, the brain that does things is active. That brain is too self-important and full of confidence to do any important thinking. The pattern that connects is sometimes glimpsed by the other side.
But I’ll try. What’s wrong with political idealism of every kind, communism, the US constitution, Christianity. The flaw is that we imagine that we are in control of our intentions and that we can do what we intend. We also imagine that “reasonableness” will spread. And so it does, but fill, never. It’s just another pattern of turbulence. Like the women’s liberationists coming up with Ms. Hey, fine if it’s universal. But no, you can’t prevent some people, most people, all people from slipping into Miss or Mrs. It’s all the same “mistress” anyway. You had two. You want one. Now you have three. With more innuendo and personal information, not less.
Lyndon Johnson said to the protesters, gee, if you have any suggestions, tell us what they are. Are you kidding, the record is that people who suggest real changes get crucified. Unless … unless it’s for personal profit. Civilization will tolerate any kind of revolution as long as it’s selfish.
semantic elasticity like a fractal coastline? infinite? [saved] your life. rephrase: increased your chance of [survival]. now survival is elastic, plunge inside survival and look around. Clarity depends of which scale you’re perceiving from/on. meaning is simply the current frontier. Hey, the new land. a generation later, west is the alleghenies. then the middle west. then the rockies. After a while Californians think the Pacific is it. They’ve gone as far west as they can and still be new world. Japan tries meeting us half way in bombing Hawaii. war’s over, and psychedelic shit moves to Japan. Then China. Columbus will reach India yet. Current frontier? no such single thing. some of us still live in the stone age, some the bronze age, some are half-assed relativists, while a few have found quantum theory. who can live in the heady epistemology of GB where skepticism is mandatory for any theory of knowledge?
shopping for a damn silver reed ribbon. hand inking. six months later I go through what I went through yesterday. You go to a store, and if you can succeed in asking for something (ss: public school lesson on getting a question asked in a conglomerate), the employee (there are no sales people; salespeople have to know something other than when their break comes, or at least how to lie plausibly) looks in a catalogue. There’s never a manager, or if there is, he certainly doesn’t know anything about the products beyond, oh yes we sell that brand or no, we don’t sell that anymore, or sure, lots of people buy those. But my favorite of all (in its promise of a very short future for civilization) is the clerk who can’t bother to hear your question before her own programmed answer is triggered. Nothing has context to these people. They live in no dimension. Their own context is all that matters, all that exists; it’s where that dimension is the drawing itself.
my note p 143 of Chaos. illustration plotting three dimensions of a skein shaped strange attractor. then shows cross section. two dimensions. in a sense the drawing itself remains the deleted third dimension since that is its context.
Brueghel’s great unzipping of the renaissance convention that any event is the center of general human attention in the Fall of Icarus. A few other ren. “realists” had the odd soldier not looking toward Christ.
It’s only one year and a couple of months now that I’ve had the equipment and the habit to note down some of what floats into my awareness. Still, I use my already existing private vocabulary to describe the new visitors. eg. I just use “realist” after renaissance, not meaning a redundancy or an ignorance but my long digested position on “realism”: almost any new technique, emphasis, or convention where the point stands out to the audience more than the pointing. Ibsen was shatteringly real to his contemporaries, now its realism creaks and seems pure artifice. So too, what we swallow as realism, real realism, just shows that the conventions and techniques are accepted by us. Its an organ we can use. We don’t want to be too aware of our nose or our brain or their interface in smelling.
gauge field theory and fractals: reading Chaos to me is like reviewing something I’m familiar with. Infinities within infinities has been my constant theme this decade. How can that be? it’s all new stuff, stuff that’s knocking physicists on their cans. A Christian/monist background and bias? Hardly, it’s alien to the physicists but it’s at least visible to them. It’s so alien to the x’ians as to be invisible. Or “obvious” which means the same thing. No, I think it’s my reading of Pagels and my frustration over his lack of clarity about gauge field theory. Maybe he didn’t understand himself well enough to describe it well. Or maybe he did and it just took me years of pondering to begin to understand what I read that once. In any case, gauge field theory MUST be related to fractals, etc. So I was getting it indirectly. But this way, I did a lot of the thinking and imaging myself. Much better, for an amateur.
linguistics: map any ordinary sentence or phrase as to what the utterer means I according to his presumed consciousness AND II according to what he must mean for the phrase to have meaning, relating it to some world system.
insert “image of,” “is a metaphor for,” “by syllogism in grass,” etc.
article on language and meaning somewhat akin to Bernstein on abbreviation in Mozart. See his Norton lectures.
Query, how much of undisciplined natural language utterance, easily condemnable by one specialist or another as lacking or violating logic, is actually extreme condensation of meaning. “He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother.” How about a prose translation of Cleopatra’s “salad days” a la that Dickensian scholar’s translation into ordinary English of the utterances and logic condensation’s of Mrs. Gamp. And of course, I’m here condensing, assuming context. Not Cleopatra but Shakespeare’s Cleopatra. Not Shakespeare’s Cleopatra, but the dramatic character “Cleopatra” created by William Shakespeare for his play, Antony and Cleopatra. Still, the history is assumed. Knowledge of English, English history, history of the “ancient” mediterranean, the Roman Empire, Alexandria and Alexander the Great, the glory that had been Egypt before empire moved eastward and then north and westward around the mediterranean, history of Eliz. drama, boys playing women, the Kings men, etc. Eliz. English. Salad as a trifle, the not real food part of a meal.
cf Chaucer’s metaphors of worthlessness. not worth an oyster. alas, now oysters are like diamonds. but the metaphor still works, even to someone who’s never had an oyster. Not worth a fig. We don’t grow any figs here. They’re far from overfamiliar in the US, yet the image works. yet it wanes. How frequently they’re food. disease of civilization. the taking for granted of its own basis. the noble’s contempt for the life of the peasant. samurai and villagers. Ditto money. a koku: enough to buy rice for a family for a year: oh, is that all. I need more.
epis. how many facts are in fact predictions?
there is no Santa Claus. is that a statement of fact? opinion? on non-faith? the imperialization of skepticism? does it translate: i haven’t seen him and am gambling that you haven’t either? that we never will? that no one ever will? Or is it: I have a theory of perception by which Santa Claus is impossible? I have a theory of perception by which your perception is denied!
definition in relation to scaling. cf Goethe’s theory of color. what “communist” means depends entirely on what language you’re speaking, what year and season you’re speaking it in, and in what cultural context. It doesn’t mean the same thing in Moscow as it does in Iowa as it does in New York. “boundary conditions and singularities.”
Amazing: fully in adulthood, too late really to master it, I discover that there may indeed be some correspondence between mathematics and reality. I mean deep reality: god-level patterns. Had I guessed even at the possibility, I might have troubled to learn some. Or was I simply too traumatized throughout the entire period when such learning might have been possible for it, or any such, to have been possible. (I knew such relations were in music, and was content to see virtuoso displays by others; I yearned for no mastery of my own. A witness, not a participant.)
ideal: generally, a false model of reality, often a false model of possibility as well, which we imagine we would prefer. The Greeks imagined “straight” lines and then were frustrated when they couldn’t draw them in the sand. They blamed the sand rather than their naive preference for Euclidean shapes over the infinite riches of fractal surfaces.
advertising: a sophisticated system of semantic and epistemological lies. Quite apart from the air-brushing of photographs in subliminal seduction, the initial arrangement of what is to be photographed to be doctored is just as much of a manipulative lie (only in this case, it’s probably a set of lies that the ad-men themselves “believe” in): the cigarette ad shows smokers before the effects of smoking have set in. If they showed somebody looking like a Blume painting (no, wait, I have the artist wrong, it used to hang next to Bloom’s painting of Jesus and fascist Italy, the old woman with skin like burned paint), it wouldn’t matter how many SEXs they wrote into their hair. But the main thing I have in mind is for example a car ad. They show the car to be new, shiny, and clean. No dents, no dirt. Sure, why not? It’s new. Oh, yeah? go to any new car lot and look at the cars not sold yet. They don’t look new; merely current. Entropy is denied! We park under a tree and blame the tree for shedding sap onto our windshield. Filthy tree. No, false epistemology, for wanting a tree that isn’t alive, for wanting the universe to be manageable, for preferring ignorance to natural science.
[i remember that awful movie where the fat kid was forever spilling M&Ms all over the floor, but when we enter a room with him the room is always clean. infinite new rooms? infinite maids and butlers so he doesn’t have to be toilet trained? The Road Warrior, wreck after wreck, but when the new battle comes, they’ve always got clear highway to joust on. what’s cleaning up the old messes? steel ants?]
language: the most basic system by which we propagate our messages of how we image the world to ourselves and to others. Like any dynamic system, it has elements for self-improvement and elements for self-preservation, resisting improvement.
fractional dimensions: how about the i dimension, or E? or Pi?
Test for the exception. Last night, watching the academy awards, not having seen or even heard of any but two of the movies, never having seen or heard of several of the major contestants, feeling alien even to the nostalgia stuff: the list of former champions seemed so trivial (then suddenly: heart stoppingly, amid all these annoying cameos of the over famous would come a glimpse of beauty: Burt Lancaster grown old and more gorgeous than ever. My god, he’s catching up to Bob Mitchum, at least in that brief shot. If only he’s stop trying to act the rest of the time. Who ever gave him those speech lessons should have their sentence increased every time he utters one these days. Then, surprise of surprises, gallantly supporting Audrey Hepburn, out came Gregory Peck. Finally, in age, he qualifies for a leading man. (In my aging book, of course.) What is it about a solid jaw? It seems to be unimpeachable proof of lack of character. [Gail’s movie, Red Line 7000, looked like Howard Hawks was trying to film a cartoon using real actors, Popeye before Walt Disney, Bob Altman, and Robin Williams. Jimmy Caan has grown up around his jaw and may someday catch up with and surpass his shoulders.] But in age … It looks like proof of the gene for character.
But to my point about proof and the exception. I got distracted by the context and the memory of certain cameos.
Blah blah. Never heard of it. No emotional investment what-so- ever. ‘and for best foreign language’ something or other … Did I hear Babette’s Feast? Did I hear Denmark? You mean somebody made a film of Isak Dineson’s great story? Shades of Orson Wells. Though I didn’t know Dineson when Wells came out with The Immortal Story and I could hardly follow the film. I still have no opinion about it. My only memory is of the Albinoni adagio as the sound track. And even that’s a construct. I saw the Wells film before I had fallen in love with that piece too. By God, that’s what they’ve announced as the winner. Under any other circumstances I would have maybe felt a fragment of rooting for My Life as a Dog cause Brian mentioned it was good. Without the show last night, I wouldn’t even remembered that there had been films this past year that I had half meant to see. Further distraction trying to remember that I had seen two films last year. I could remember the name of one: RoboCop. But there had to be a second one. I saw two with Debbie. Hey, they mentioned it: thanks guys. The Witches of Eastwick. Ann Ramsey’s voice comes on and that makes it clear to me that yes I did see one in Florida this winter. Throw Mama from the Train. And now I can remember a fourth: hey, that can’t be right. they’d be mentioning it for awards: I can’t think of the name. Danny deVito at his near best, instead of his astonishingly good mediocre. Baltimore. Tin Men. Thank you.
Am I missing a fifth? Did Brian and I cram any in while I was wrestling with my new computers last spring?
But why can’t I get to my point? The damn context. But the point has no meaning without the context, right?
HERE. Proof. Seek the exception. I judge the quality of an award by who didn’t get it. The Academy Awards? Piffle. More international, more cosmopolitan than ever. They even say foreign LANGUAGE film now, instead of foreign film (as they give everything to Bertolucci and the last chinese emperor). We want to court the Chinese now? And the news has reached Hollywood? What does that mean for the next few decades? Awards (was it two) were given to Japan in the early fifties, only seven or so years after Hiroshima. Roshomon, Samurai, and Gates of Hell. Three? So where was everybody’s head when Ran got hardly a token a couple of years ago?
Anyway, the academy awards (pish) give an oscar to Babette’s Feast. And only a couple of years ago to Out of Africa? Are they doing the Nobel committee’s job for it?
The Nobel Prize. pshaw, pish, and piffle. Who didn’t they give it to? Tolstoy. Isak Dinesen. Case dismissed.
That’s like the criminal justice system (of any civilization) wanting dignity after crucifying Jesus.
Buddha’s mother pines and dies soon after his birth. Mary should have done the same.
Even Feigenbaum couldn’t get published. The next level is never what they’re looking for. Not if it’s a whole new environment.
recursion implies self-reference (relate to consciousness)
organizational vortex
Wall Street and Bonfire of the Vanities: brokers being led away in handcuffs in two big things all in 1988? Amazing. Has there ever been a precedent? Will the police now have to arrest some big businessman to catch up with their image of fostering justice for a change?
scaling. in psychological and political realm: 1968 squabbles at democratic convention, but left Nixon alone. my point about it’s safer to be an enemy of the fascists than a fascist. They may have killed 18,000,000 gypsies, fags, and “undersirables,” 6,000,000 of them jews; but still, wouldn’t the percentage of fascists purged by fascists be even higher? Not number; percentage.
compare scaling to perspective. Here I stand. This is the viewpoint from which I see things. I look up at God, and down on you, and will not be intimidated by the Church, as Luther might have said. That’s a perspective statement though there’s scaling in it too. The church has just gotten smaller. But not invisible. But Buddha, radiation, microbes, and fractal geometry are totally absent from that world. Discontinuity.
Mother says to child, eat your vegetables, there are people starving in India. the discontinuous made to appear continuous. that world is changing. it might become continuous if it continues. but meantime, it’s imaginary guilt.
the president is going to do something about communism. it’s imaginary credit. he’s not allowing for the discontinuity that the sort of abstraction that he is and the sort of abstraction that communism is are on different levels and at different scales. raise taxes, draft men, build bombs, hire and steal scientists, imagine a South Vietnam, give money to it, those are things that a president can do. take imaginary credit. that too is a thing that a president can do. but do something about communism? how presumptuous. how vain. how fated to failure and humiliation.
give me money and I will cure cancer and aids. I will alter the nature of reality. I will validate your epistemological errors. there will be a hidden cost however. the error will still not be validated, and the effort will be paid for by the future. I flatter you in thanks for your flattering me, but the price is extinction of the species. hey, that’s the fate of all species, isn’t it? all species so far. except those living; you can’t tell about those-it hasn’t happened yet. still, extinction sooner. and anyway, even if there is something which calls itself homo sapiens, would it still be the same species? what would an alien biologist familiar with our classifications say?



About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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