/ Journal /

take your environment for granted? of course. what else should you do? be aware of everything? you can’t. to start is to begin to cease to be able to survive, to exist.
(my own pursuit of understanding has rendered me all but helpless. i’ve looked past the edge (not of everything, there’s no such thing, i assume) but of the ordinary envelope of perception, and removed myself from the environment to which I was born and trained, trained quite purposively in double binds that it’s done me no good to see through. my only hope beyond the fact that like a junkie i am quite happily addicted to this endless pursuit of pushing the infinite envelope and will die smiling if still another Bateson book, or another Chaos book, or another Bateson comes within my attention, is that my silliness may be part of an evolutionary pressure of benefit to the system (i don’t care which part, or even which system in the endless nests of systems), i don’t know how (anymore than presidents know how to do something about “communism” other than not knowingly to be a communist).
is there perhaps a chaos pattern within a cease fire that looks like a Mandelbrot set? or a Lorenz attractor? whether or not there is an order to cease fire, what is the actual pattern of slowing and ceasing? with or without an order, there has never been a war or a battle or a shootout that hasn’t ceased at some point. (are there any current slated for infinity? impossible. even if the will were unslaked, the bullets would run out: the will or ability or industrial plant or materials to make bullets.) maybe i’m part of a cease fire. i don’t care whether i’m the first or the last (that’s meaningless if you’re following a strange attractor), i just hope that, whether I starve to death in the next year or whether poverty makes the rest of my teeth fall out the year after, i’m one of the soldiers no longer pulling the trigger that if infinite would kill us all: not just us, I almost don’t care about us (meaning humans), i mean the rest of us mammals (or maybe it is mammals that are wrong and we’re just the expression of it, maybe all mammals as well as the biosphere should thank us for purging it, whatever the cost), the biosphere, Gaia, our planet of life, life itself which we now know isn’t limited to our planet, may it be pan galactic, pan universe, (pan cosmos?).
perhaps the world is protecting itself by its system of specialists. it knows better than to try to understand the whole. in this case, the schizophrenic may have a better survival strategy than the saint. we give our mite to sainthood on an occasional sunday morning, and ravidly pursue schiz throughout the normal week.)
discrimination. an essential human mental trait. we couldn’t survive without it. But in the social, economic and political realm it’s become a double bind. sure, why not prefer your own sub set of the gene pool, appearance, third cousins instead of hundredth cousins, … on’a-utha’han’, why not prefer variety? problem is: is there species recognition? or suppression of recognition for the sake of greed? enslaving for money isn’t the same as pressing for space at the water hole. but why oppress blacks after you’ve enslaved and then (ha) “freed” them? preemptive defense? if you ever give them anything like near equality, they’ll come back and fucking kill you and who could blame them?
an important but misused and overused tool is now a tool we can’t be honest about. the would be corrective lie is worse than the original lie.
be objective? who are we trying to kid? ourselves? we can’t know any one single thing for certain (unless we confuse certainty with decision, exactly the thing that we are good at: good calculated guesses) let alone everything.
but then again social political and economic prejudice isn’t the result merely of that kind of discrimination. it’s taking an extra step out of our way to punish the appointed alien. not marrying (mating with) someone with different racial traits is one thing: but mating with them repeatedly, raping them, and then not legitimizing the issue, then not hiring them, destroying their family structure, making house slaves of the attractive females and field slaves of the rest, and then setting the dogs on your own descendants, that’s putting a twist on the knife. That’s not the kind of discrimination which distinguishes air to breathe from smoke or water, or that knows a shelled kernel from an unshelled one.
ah, there. or does “certain” merely mean “I trust my discrimination here enough to put that perceived kernel into my perceived mouth to begin ingestion.” Always a trial ingestion. If I’m wrong, I trust that I can spit it out. If I’m still wrong, I trust that I can regurgitate it. If I’m still wrong, maybe I’ll survive and recover anyway. etc.
of course all i’m judging by is what my mind makes of the raw input from my sense organs. no two individuals have equal sensitivity or acuity with regard to the relationship between any such organ and the interpreting mind. Neither does that “one” organism have sensitivity or acuity equal to itself at any other moment in time. My eye sight at forty-nine is not the same as it was at forty-five. Discrimination is waned; acuity is waxed. I believe, based on a lot of information processed and digested, information from others, people famous for it, as well as my own.
Lorenz’s question “is there a climate?” definitely does improve upon acquaintance. The same question could be asked about many larger, long term, large scale abstractions. Is there a species? law? a nation? Is there anything that retains an identifiable bias over time? What period of time should qualify? a nanosecond? a millennium?
I see Geraldo Rivera for the first time in I don’t know how long. He’s developed beautifully. His show is the second time I’ve ever seen Charles Manson interviewed from prison. I’ve commented more than once on my impressions from the first time. My impression this time was quite different. First time, I found the seeming moral superiority of his ranting to be ludicrous. Corporations are lethal; therefore I’m not only innocent but virtuous …? This time my impression was quite different. I was fascinated to discover that I agreed with much of what he said, but mainly, I found (intellectually) his main attitude, that of not valuing individual human life, is very much what my own has come to be. His statement that the continent would be much better off without 50,000,000 people matches my own sentiments, though I’d prefer a figure of 150,000,000. (I don’t know what the “right” or best figure would be. Maybe it’s not knowable. That’s beside the point: it’s enough that we’re too many in my judgment. And we’re less overpopulated than just about anywhere else.) Of course, Mansion’s “my” water and “my” wildlife is interesting, but there are plenty of possible explanations for that: it’s rhetoric, he does it to be annoying, he’s a megalomaniac … He’s a clown but this time I thought a brilliant one. Maybe he’s nuts but in a way that only a good mind can be. Far and away the most interesting person interviewed in the two hours. It did make me uncomfortable to feel so closely related to him.
And how’s this: the show is about murder, right? two hours. what was the point? change human nature. eliminate crime. or titillate our voyeurism? Manson owns up to having no silly little conscience but claims a rather good rather abstract one. kill a few hogs? fuckem. can I be the only person in the audience that doesn’t agree to some extent? isn’t that an attitude that we’re all under a terrible burden to pretend we don’t feel. how taxing civilization, esp. x’ian civ is, that we have to have this perpetual ‘oh how could this happen’ attitude. fire bomb Dresden, A bomb Nagasaki, but how could this happen?, oh these poor weepy victims … it was the victims, the innocent that turned my stomach, not the interviewed death row people, even those who struck me that they were lying. why not? under the circumstances. But the whole show made me feel like a voyeur. Very uncomfortable.
Even with the computer as handy as it can be, phrases, syntheses, …, come when i can’t do anything. In the shower just now. This time I maybe held on to some of it.: to mock the idea of a “rational basis” for anything. basis has got it backwards, or upside down, or inside out (we need more topographical flexibility in our metaphors). confusing the periphery for the center.
but then to what extent are our clichés subjective, inflexible, … we are each the center of the cosmos and yet we are, any of us, the periphery, part of the periphery to some other center which to us is the periphery.
Sure, extensionally, the center of the earth is down, our feet are on the ground, our senses are up and looking around. But “rational” isn’t extensional and doesn’t fit the cosmos the same way.
the universe contains everything extensional; the cosmos contains everything extensional, every universe, and everything intensional as well. at least in my current usage. usage? what usage? I use it only to myself: is that a usage? In any case, if the cosmos contains everything intensional as well as everything extensional, does it also contain every error? Is there a place in it or are these places in it where the moon is (intensionally, of course) made of green cheese? In which Charles Manson is innocent?
Of course Charles Manson in innocent: you didn’t say of what. Of being the architect for those murders? Hmm, that’s a hard one. Sure, in the world of seeming fact it seems to be a fact that a number of people were butchered and seemingly by people much influenced by Manson’s ranting. But was Manson’s ranting of the extensional world in which “real” murder is possible? Can he possibly recognize any correspondence? His world is of his mind, of imprisonment, of resentment, injustice, revenge …
People who imagine consistency no doubt also assume a consistent scale. Even Euclid with his parallel lines and “infinity” axioms. He certainly didn’t imagine his axioms to be purely tautological: to have no necessary correspondence with “reality.”
But see, the computer has allowed the absurdity of Tristram Shanty to become mundane reality. Tristram tries to write his biography, recording ha “everything.” He’s fifty (I have to reinvent the numbers). He finishes the first volume. He’s sixty. He’ll have to live to be 500 to catch up to where he’s fifty.
Nixon tape records everything. Every one in the FBI would have to drop everything and do nothing but listen to White House tapes to sift the simplest little piece of crap for sure. To be surer, every atom in the known universe would have to become a monitor. One mile equals one Mile. I live at E-7.
I try just to sketch what I was struggling to hold onto from the shower and already other stuff from last night is intruding. The extra paragraph about Manson: that’s just infestation.
Damn it, get to the phrase you wanted to hold onto: humility.
Humility, in a scientist, is mere truthfulness.
In a religious, it is imperial arrogance. (a human generalization, meaning that there are exceptions while the rule is still the rule. no doubt Francis was genuinely humble (but then he was a naturalist, a scientist; god wouldn’t have had to teach him Job’s lesson). no doubt francis wasn’t humble in front of the pope. no doubt Fermi and GellMann and some of those guys aren’t so humble before each other. I mean humble before reality. (of which god is the map and where 1 mile does not equal 1 mile).
religious arrogance: the minute someone’s theology is sophisticated enough to admit that god can’t tell us the truth directly, that he has to speak in metaphor, that he has to translate down to us, the Bible and heaven or god or god’s truth as understood by god, etc. are not the same thing. this is a fundamental aspect of Christianity, Milton’s justification etc, and yet there are those who rant about “literally true” and who don’t want to allow you any theological latitude (while allowing themselves infinities of it).
The crusaders acted on a basis as though they were “right” and the saracens were “wrong.” therefore, they accepted the possibility of being wrong. (what sort of logical trouble would a society of i’m ok, you’re okers get into? hey, we’re all right from our own standpoint. they’re merely subtracting the concept of right from allowable concepts, while brandishing the concept of perspective.)
we’re killing you because you’re wrong. the basis of our being right is a commandment not to kill. you also have that commandment. you came here and there and killed lots of the barbarians that i’m calling us. now we’re ganging up and are sweeping into your cities to kill you. because you’re wrong. and we’re right.
now the minute you insist on a right, and punish a wrong, you’ve admitted the possibility of being wrong, haven’t you? by what logic can you not have? now, if you’re right and they’re wrong, it’s so by some standard, right? and that standard should be testable, right? they failed our test so we killed them? isn’t that the logic? (i don’t care what the test is: we’re right by proof of arms, eg. then the guys who can kill you are even righter, right?) well, at some point, shouldn’t it occur to somebody, what if we’re wrong? what if it’s not that we’re wrong but that we’re confusing god’s word to poor stupid us with god’s truth? ie with the world and universe as they are, in fact, not in our perception, i mean in fact as in fact not limited by our perception.
ok, so let’s even say the pope got it right, the rest of us have got metaphor but by some miracle the pope has direct knowledge. so it’s the same thing all over again. how can we understand him? now our potential, our certainty, of not have the pope exactly right is the same as our not having god exactly right. right?
Insects eat each other like crazy, right? and still, there are insects all over the place. how inconvenienced are they by our wars, our pollution, our deforestation? trillions of individuals and some species are, no doubt. But how inconvenienced is Insect as a class? I doubt if at all.
There are spiders which will eat anything they perceive to be a bug. They don’t even necessarily distinguish between insect and arachnid. The black widow eating her “husband” isn’t eating her husband, she’s eating a bug stupid enough to have crossed within her reach. That’s what she does for a living. The male has to suspend that to get laid and he’s careful not to do it until he’s about to die anyway. [Ikiru. The crooks can’t intimidate me. I’m already dying. They can’t torture me. They can’t penetrate the pain I’m already in. The hood punches Takashi Shimura in the belly and Shimura doubles over. His mature face is so wonderfully hideous to begin with, now he really becomes wonderfully horrible in his pain. the one hood comments dryly, sophisticated in his wisdom: see, he’s soft, he can’t take it in the belly. [or am i mixing in memories of DOA, which Kurasawa may have been influenced by, or influenced. check dates.] Takashi Shimura straightens up and twists out of his grimace. he smiles at the dude. genuine amusement. he steps closer if anything to where he could be hit again. It’s the exact opposite of the also great torture scene in Lawrence of Arabia. The crooks have no way of interpreting his reaction. they see that they’ve been wrong, very wrong, but they don’t know how to interpret it. They are the ones who are now terrified. By their helpless, pain-wracked victim!
(what’s the spelling and therefore perhaps the etymology of wracked? rack as on the rack? i don’t think so. i’m guessing racked as in leave not a rack behind. or wrecked?
Insects have this very successful strategy you see. they have lots of babies. the more the better. it’s not a big problem that the majority die. the majority can die and still leave a huge population.
we upright primates too have a great strategy. (great for the last couple of million years; uncertain into even the very near future. while the insects are doing fine even maybe with a nuclear winter, a green house effect, a lowered or raised water table. the profligate use of the earth’s crust. etc.) we have lots more offspring than other apes while still keeping and indeed increasing the ape strategy of have fewer offspring and take better care of them. that strategy doesn’t allow for wholesale slaughter. not of your own, at least. (we slaughter what we can; other mammals, trees, less technological people, but we don’t do very well in slaughtering insects.)
well, all mammals had adopted strategies of which the apes are an extreme example. fewer children, more nurture. well, just as I changed my grammatical strategy midsentence a moment ago, a species can change its reproductive strategy midgenus if not midspecies. that’s what made us a new species. the doubling back on one while increasing the other made us a new species, leaving chimps and baboons in relatively tiny pockets here and there. gorillas and orangs dying out in few and fewer jungles while we infest the solar system and beyond, at least with our junk and our noise already. That is, we have many more young than chimps or gorillas AND we take far more careful care of them far longer. a human baby is a sort of ape. a human child isn’t. and an adult certainly isn’t.
But mammals couldn’t have gone far, not as far as apes, if they (we) hadn’t changed one thing fairly radically. Insects eat each other indiscriminately. Incest of any kind doesn’t exist for them. Incestuous cannibalism. No big deal. Nothing at all. Lots of little insects. How did we become different? god told us not to. right. he told us when we were first becoming mammals. you can’t keep that up and have fewer better cared for young and live. so we developed ritual battles, mating battles, territorial battles. My cardinal too. He’s not a mammal but he’s battering his head against the mirror only now that it’s April. He’ll mate and then go away. or forget to be so intolerant. He doesn’t eat other male cardinals. he just chases those he can and is chased by those he can’t.
Occasionally a brace of elk get their antlers tangled and die of starvation. It’s an allowable accident. Evolutionarily, the result is the same.
[that’s what manson kept doing last night, he kept changing scale without announcement: there being no difference between god and the devil, between, manson, god, and the devil is only true at a vastly different scale, a scale that few people can guess at let alone see.]
But they stopped eating each other. The elk doesn’t beat up the other elk and then turn and beat up another and then turn and beat up all of the females. (let alone kill and devour them.) No, those he mates with. and then he doesn’t beat up the young. Not until they’re bucks and battling with him, at which time it may be he that’s driven back, even though we presume his genes are just as good as they once had been. survival of the fittest, ha. what a stupid concept as generally viewed. how beautiful when stripped of its human avidity.
So we come along with strategies that work fine as long as your scale is local. when it becomes global, new problems arise. you can’t have tribal warfare when all tribes are in contact with each other at all times. we’ve lost the discontinuousness that had protected us.
So what do we do? Well, at some point, what some of us did, was to hash out a document with amendments like the US constitution. [a week later, embarrassed at the errors in my reading of a section to Brian, I run the spellcheck. damn, if GB hasn’t just used the US con as his own example. except his isn’t petulant like mine. i’ve got to get over this irritation that makes me write. how about more of the harmony and wisdom and peace I actually do feel much if not most of the time?] Freedom of religion, speech, etc. Hey, a little less deadliness in our tribal warfare. What would the founding fathers have come up with if a contingent had said, hey someday, they’re gonna come up with relativism. The saracens were right from their standpoint. from their standpoint, we’re wrong. No, we couldn’t allow that. but hey, you methodists don’t kill you baptists. save it for the jews. until the jews too are your neighbors. so, you have to keep broadening it or die. Meantime, individuals worry about logic and sincerity. R Reagan told a bunch of school children (whose school the fed had adopted!) that his parents brought him up without prejudice! (that liar lies best who believes his own lies.) And we all worry about the “rational basis” for our beliefs.
I had such a great time the other day getting instant feedback from Tony and Shannon (14 & 6) when I said you couldn’t shoot everybody. I started off and pretty soon they were interjecting “and you’d run out of bullets”, right, and … “and who’d fix it when it broke?” etc. the increasing invisibility of the remaining distribution I had to finish with, but the rest they saw coming, once I’d gotten them started.
well, it’s three hours or so and i still haven’t noted down all five or so things that came to me in the shower. of course what i have jotted at i’ve filled in some. that’s ok, but my attempt isn’t to finish a second coat but to get full cover from the first. just do the spread, the cartoon; if there’s ever time, and if you recognize the cartoon, you can fill in plenty. i’m just trying to sketch a table of contents.
so, to finish my sketch on humility, there’s a feudal element to how we see it. Reagan, Ford, and Carter were humble with the schoolchildren last night but we want them to be arrogant with Castro and Kruschov. (I can’t think of who the current guy is. I remember my sister’s horror that I didn’t know that Stalin was dead in 1957 or so.) Confidence before a professional, a fool (say a pope, or a minister, or a professor, or a doctor) is confused with arrogance before god. in bowing to the king we were supposed to be bowing to god, the king being seen as god’s rep. of course that was pure rationalization, like bushido. but the habit was there. after all, the god that one would bow to is feudal himself. you don’t bow before a lion; you run away, you yield the water hole. only slaves bow. civilization would have us be slaves. god’s slaves. ha. oh, it’s ok, the king is god’s slave too. oh, then it’s all right. I thought i was the king’s slave. hey, don’t worry, your wife is your slave, isn’t she. and the children are her slaves. just cause you don’t find the kids dead, raped, and black and blue don’t mistake what goes on during the distaff hours. love and kisses and protestations cover it all up.
so how do we endure being civilized? with manners (whose form flows like water). our manners have us avert our eyes before each other (but stare daggers into the back) i don’t want to do all that shit. i just want to kill and eat. and don’t kill and mate. and nurture the young. and be killed and be eaten. when the time comes. i’ve had forty-nine almost complete years of eating and mating (fucking anyway) and nurturing (not just Brian, but anyone who could accept my brand of it), but no killing. i feel like an asshole. so what do i do? i don’t lower my eyes. neither do I stare daggers. if challenged i say what i think (to people who quickly see that they made a mistake and therefore think it’s ok to interrupt me, misconstrue what they’ve prevented me from saying, and to not listen to the answer that from my viewpoint they asked for. no, Paul, they didn’t, they wanted you to agree with them. and if you disagree, you’re supposed to understand in advance that you then have to wear one of the costumes of their recognized pantheon of devils. if you don’t share their particular brand of prejudice then you’re a communist. your ideas come straight from moscow. they have to deny any possibility of thought or analysis. and it’s your fault. they thought you were one of them. you didn’t have a tattoo. or filed teeth. they thought you were a fucking wasp. or at least scotch irish. a damn jew anyway.
Hell, I’ve made it personal again. But I did get in part of my point about humility and social hierarchy. In a democracy we take turns being feudal.
I recognize and revere all sorts of hierarchies. why do I have such trouble with our social ones? Because I think they’re misbased? that’s a good reason, how about a bad one? because I want recognition even though I won’t wear the costume? no, i prefer the good reason. because it’s based on an appropriation of land beyond the term of any known healthy cycle. we don’t want this flora and this fauna on this continent. shoot the bison and bring in the cattle. burn their grass and bring in our wheat. and make them look up to us for having killed them, enslaved them, employed their descendants, gotten them to think democrat and republican.
what the hell is going on here? you are one of them. you are a wasp. you’re one of the burners. leslie fiedler (a jew) says that the white man goes west, kills the red man, and himself becomes “red.” Deerslayer wears deer skin. Leatherstockings. He dies in the rockies, looking east. Sure, but look at all our pop fiction and our lit fiction too. (how does Yossarian fit in? what kind of a name is Yossarian? what does he have to do with indians? be terrified by them) Rambo, a ginny slave reaching the east via the west. he’s got long hair, a bare torso, and a headband. he shoots a bow. But not arrows! He shoots freaking high tech high explosives. in a waterfall, he shoots individual gooks. a bomb to kill one individual and one waterfall! He’s insane. I don’t want to shoot or bomb anything. Sure there are lots of people i’d like to have killed but i haven’t killed any of them. i don’t know how. i have no weapon and don’t want one. it ought to be barehanded. if punching breaks my hand rather than hurt Doug Umpleby (he was out for maybe five or ten minutes; I was in a cast for months) then I’m just out of luck. I still try though. But it’s only by strategies to rearrange the environment so that they can’t survive. pull the rug out from under them. (the rug they pull out from under me is merely economic, it’s really the only weapon that civilization has.) Have a race with them in adaptation. they think the race is for something entirely different, they think they’re winning. they think they’ve won. and when my teeth fall out, it looks like i’ve lost, but i haven’t. it can’t be known whether I have or not. but the race I’m racing in and feel comfortable with my position in isn’t a race for Paul Knatz to win. he can’t live long enough. who cares about him anyway? even his eyes are failing him. already. and that’s just for now. no, no. it’s patterns. patterns that appear to live only a nanosecond, keep living and keep living. forever? what’s that? no, nice pattern that appears, and then appears again, and then keeps appearing. winking out is part of the pattern. there it is again. it was none. then one or two. one can’t trust one’s counting. it’s only what you’ve seen, after all. there it is again. no, there’s more of them. had they been there all along. or are we just noticing them now?
GB points out that mammalian communication is about relationship. how much of human communication too? all? most? even math is about relationships. Repo Man ends with “But what about our relationship?” “… What … oh, fuck that.” of something. Ha ha, very funny. Why? Because it’s layers of irony are endless. She’s right, but she’s wrong. He’s wrong, but he’s right. What kind of a relationship did they have? What kind did any of them have in this movie? A future with no future. Better than Road Warrior. The trouble with both is, that the basic paradox of all such horseshit hollywood (whether it’s from bombay, Tokyo, or Australia) is that the world isn’t in any trouble at all as long as Marlon Brando is slouching stage center, as long as it’s Mel Gibson who’s still standing, Emelio Estivez providing something for the earring to hang from.
We look at the world of Repo Man. Have we survived in it? Not really. Neither in Road Warriors. I so very much hoped that those righteous fools that Gibson winds up helping would just hurry up and croak. the lord humongous and the rest would soon follow. and the grass could rebegin to destroy the pavement. Maybe it was the absence of a dominant male even during their military crisis that made me so hate the writing that imagined such a group as possible protagonists (chorus, actually, I suppose; MG is the protagonist). So the slot was all the more there for Mel Gibson. Who then becomes very yielding and passive in how he rescues them. Not yielding and passive to lord humongous, passive to those yammering women who were dressed for Sergei Eisenstein.
what sort of a society are we in in which relationships fuzz before our eyes. Mistress as Mrs. and Mistress as Miss was already a fuzz, but Ms is a new fuzz. (it’s still “mistress,” isn’t it?) Not a clarification of existing relationships, but an emphasis on blurring.
Even in tribes of hundreds (or maybe thousands, this I should check with a good anthropologist) mating status is visibly proclaimed. In smaller groups, one should never have to introduce oneself. You’re Geordy. Leofrik’s son. Your pasture is by the aspen copse. Your children are Ilgabec and Eofrew. Your wife has skill with herbs. When the Yatlings came, you distinguished yourself with your hoe wielded as an ax. Of course you know who’s orphaned, widowed, etc. Who’s quick, who’s dumb, who can paint the cliff in a way that all will understand.
Now, if wife soandso blackens her teeth, or braids her long hair, or anoints herself with skunk dung when she goes abroad, I can understand it. we know who she is if we see her, we know that she’s married and who her husband is, but still, she’s doing her best to make sure that we’re not attracted to her. It’s a courtesy to us; no one in the tribe would touch the mate of soandso, but this way we do not wish to.
The Soul selects her own society
Then shuts the door.
On her divine majority
Obtrude no more.
I’ve known her from an ample nation
Choose one
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone.
So why the ring? on her nose, her arm, around her finger makes no difference. that’s a symbol of civilization. her vagina ensphyncters his penis. but he tethers her like a pet. property.
you don’t have to put your name on what we all know is yours. a good reason to kill the stranger who wouldn’t know.
So, like four hours and a few minutes later. I’ve held onto what came to me in the shower. It grew as I noted it, but I caught all that was still clinging to me as I turned the water off. Day’s shot, I haven’t put my shoes on. At least one thing properly begun. even if a sloppy sketch, I finished it.
There’s the wonderful paradox of evolution: the population of wanton killers should disappear, not the population of victims. better strategy to be a jew than a fascist.
not staying in the university at any price has had a different terrible price to me: i’m limited to books and to my own mind. I can’t run off to another department and ask somebody, anybody, something about their field. If I did that as a faculty member, a certain general competence would have been assumed by the musicologist, the mathematician, the ecologist I wanted to ask something of.
this morning, transposing licks from Eb to Bb and from Eb to C, etc. I felt afresh my frustration at not knowing the mathematical relationships between say the third and the lowered third in the different keys. It’s not the same difference between the G, Gb of Eb and the E, Eb of C. But how can I be sure? i don’t have the math and I can’t trouble to invent it. i just get bogged in calculations, my mind stops. hand me a math problem and it’s the one, the only sure way to get me to stop thinking. like getting a girl to stop fucking by marrying her. So just ask a musician. They should know. right?
One week ago, sunday, in a mall, I asked the piano teacher lady in the Yamaha store, and she didn’t know shit. oh sure, a spew of jargon came out, but it didn’t translate into understanding. She couldn’t understand my questions because they weren’t phrased in her jargon. she said what I was asking was way beyond what most people ever learned in learning music and the only way to get to ask those questions was to start in kindergarten and work your way up in someone’s limited language so you knew who spoke what. CPM and DOS. isn’t there anyone who simply understands programming?
see, in music, i want to understand what the unconscious is understanding. i want to hear what the basic nervous system hears, instantly, without any consciousness, the kind of accounting done by atoms, not by physicists. It’s my assumption that math would be such a microscope as long as you weren’t misled by the part which was natural language.
now till A was tuned to 440 or to 444, you could tune your Eb to be identical was the other guy’s Gb. C = E. But still, I want to know: would the difference between the new G and the new Gb be different than the difference between the new E and the new Eb? I think there would be: that the keys are not just different in pitch but in relationships among intervals. Otherwise, it would be silly to have anything but the key of C where you just change the relative pitches. C = 500, C = 550, C = 475.
Watching Frank Nitti: the Enforcer. The difference between the mafia and the police in their enforcements is that the mafia (of necessity) leaves its bodies where they fall. I am really enjoying the actor, Anthony LaPaglia. I think I’m watching an old performance of Robert DeNiro. Is it that he’s good? Is it that he’s imitating DeNiro? Is it that I like understated violent Italians? Powerful mob figures who show virtues as they work their way up from the street? Or may somebody who’s successful and candidly not Christian?
make sure to come back and spend a minute on my point about fraternity initiations and professions. civ will support you if you’re safe, if when push comes to shove you can be relied on to support the same general set of lies, the (deliberate?) epistemological errors that the local imbalance which we call success is (seen to be) based on. also just hey, i took my shoving, now it’s my turn to shove. eng. public school: beat and bugger Lord so and so, cause it’s all gonna be the other way around once he’s in his majority. training dobermans. every pup will turn once, the good dog is he who was dissuaded. always too young to remember in any conscious way. just constant, uh oh, can’t do that to the guy who feeds me.
(5/19 duplicates before I remembered: rites of passage always include an arbitrary infantilizing of the candidate. most people will gladly let their own ass be kicked as part of the purchase price of the right to kick everyone else’s ass for the rest of your life (though not, the asses of your fellow professionals, them you should only kick while they’re in their rite of passage. cops don’t tell on cops, doctors don’t testify against doctors, lawyers don’t disbar lawyers, etc. social honesty is impossible partly because no one will tell the truth about the one area they know about, not to outsiders. a catholic can hate the church but don’t go telling the jews about it. i am also reminded of the idea that a dog is supposed always to turn on its master once. just once. usually so young that it’s not noticed. when they get knocked by, they decide it’s impossible and then they’re your slave. the doberman that kills the master is the one who becomes an adult before it’s first and only turning. the result is the death or severe wounding of the master.)
science is based on predictions which come true; religion (xity anyway) is based on predictions which don’t come true, that are the more frantically believed when they fail to materialize.
if its something i can’t diagnose myself, i don’t want to know about it.
fractional dimensions! pi dimensions? E dimensions?
you can tell a lot about a man from what he means by God.
mostly, what he means is himself. some to him ideal subset of himself and his ancestors and his larger group. you don’t think god wants us not to rule the world, do you?
oh boy, just remembering Swift on scaling. little Gulliver on the huge bosom, huge face, these gigantic wens and moles. all on what we would otherwise perceive as attractive women.
and here I was just thinking of a story in which my prisoner is lost in a fractal landscape of garbage fallen from the lip of some extremely fussy Mme Eglantine who wouldn’t let any noticeable crumb fall. but the unnoticeable crumb to the prisoner is a tremendous tonnage of garbage.
can he eat such garbage? are the molecules the right size? maybe the molecules are always the right size, as in clarke’s monolith. they’re the size they need to be.
wouldn’t it be funny if we now discard the molecular theory?
If you have to explain your symbol, it’s symbolism.
by preference, i have little to do with human beings except when it is necessary to feed.
That’s all right: you can do all the bragging.
Let me promise you that nature is wiser than you are (and that nature is wiser than your god is).
the god of irony never stops laughing.
definition. scale. semantics. what words like “nothing” mean depends on the scale of your focus.
“value free” could there possibly be such a thing? all the way down to zero? No, just far along away from value loaded, or value blinded, or value trapped.
we must defend to the death the right of civilization to go on inventing ever newer atrocities.
shifting boundaries
islands of perception
as one gets older, one no longer needs danger from the same source
habits maintain/ bad habits escalate
the blueprint of my physio-neurological structure.
remember that article on trees changing their chemistry to defend themselves against caterpillars? and communicating with each other so that some changed even before the caterpillars hit them? this winter’s experience in FL. again and again, family with kids show up in camp. kids get bitten alive. covered with mosquito bites. after a time, they’re still running around bare footed and bare legged. but now only a few bites. they’re still living in tents with no screens and cars with broken windows. sure they’ve learned not to step on the fire ant hills so readily … but I’ll bet that their blood has learned that mosquitoes are around and that they’re changed their chemistry as protection. how check?
freedom to me is being in accord with nature.
hmm, is my devotion to “meditation,” stream of sub-consciousness writing into my diary, possibly an attempt of the left brain to listen to the right brain? get it down before you wake up. semi-aware dreamings. Not unlearning the control emphasized by the culture from infancy, but exercising the alternatives.
“us” extremely elastic. me and my fellow bigots? me and my fellow amuricans? human beans? or larger loyalty? Does us include god? hey, the rest of that stuff, joe and tom and sam and eileen, they’re actual organisms (though what’s in my mind about them, are images. Images virtually and merely and only. But, god, my mind is the only place he “exists.” Oh, no. not in my mind alone, but in minds, “our” minds. Now how far does “our” extend? Perhaps throughout the universe. Perhaps beyond. Or is it just us jews in the desert with our ziggurat phantom?
What if all matter in the whole universe is nothing (physically) but one electron moving very fast? or let’s say one lepton and one meson, where maybe the lepton makes up the meson.
science in school: correcting results of “experiments” to those expected.
no one is in control (of everything or of any whole thing); no one has no control.
gee, i hope she whistles her husband’s flute with more care than she just cooked that egg.
to bill the musician: you don’t have to know how to read. that’s an extra step. you don’t have to know how to read if you know how to sing.
Meese, Agnew, Haldeman, etc. politicians are forever defending their cronies. it strikes me that the most often I hear innocent until proved guilty is from the white house about the white house. pat nixton on tricky dick. (as I said, fine, but when please will he be proved guilty?) the thing is, the concept of innocent till proved guilty is intended for those in danger (innocent or guilty) of losing their rights and liberties, etc. It protects the people from the government, which is famous for abuse. The caveat for the government should be the opposite, while they are in power. The presumption should be of guilt, not with a consequence of loss of liberty, but an aura of caution around their power. We don’t owe them their privileges. Power is not their right. The govt agrees to guarantee the liberty of the people. The govt should be a bit quicker to recognize the need of the people to be protected from the govt’s avidity, cupidity, etc. Mad comics Flesh Garden: what makes you think that alien creature is going to eat Dr Zark? as the alien sprinkles him with salt and condiments and sharpens his knife on his fork. If the lion even looks at us, we shoot it. We shoot it before it gets into the next county. Yet when a political appointee is accused of having his hand in our pocket, we have to wait, holding our pocket open to him, while his lawyers delay and his appointees apologize, pontificate, and accuse the victims of prejudice.
ambiguity and scale. context, etc. the epistemology of the audience has to be known to certain tolerances. ambiguous to whom? unambiguous to whom? religious tolerance in the US of 1776 may have been clear enough to Methodists and to Baptists, but how clear would it have been to a catholic or a jew or a Shi’ite or a Taoist or a peyote eater at the same time? who are the speakers of the language to whom it is clear. what if someone else comes along? what if someone in the group expands his acquaintance?
the tv ad says that we, such and such an authority, recognize that alcohol addiction is a disease, etc. then the news announces that the Supreme Court has decided that alcoholism isn’t a disease or that alcoholics got that way from free will or in any case that the VA doesn’t have to pay for alcoholic veterans. a couple of days later, I hear the first ad again.
tv news or magazine says it’s a myth that old planes aren’t safe. it’s all maintenance. next week an old jet falls apart. well maintained. too much air pressurizing and depressurizing. it’s a myth that old planes can be maintained into safety, the news says.
Numerology: [such] relationships also ruled numbers, which themselves had magical properties. God had created the world in six days because 6 is the product of the adding, or multiplying together, of 1,2, and 3. The number 7 was magic because of the seven heavenly crystal spheres, and because it was formed from 3 (the Trinity) and 4 (the elements). Its multiplicands (3,4) also produced 12 (the Apostles). [Burke] and I add tribes of Israel, months of the lunar year, etc.
math. “rule of three” or “golden rule” or “merchant’s key'”: to work out the cost of 5 units of cloth when 7 units cost 9 lire, you ‘multiply the thing you want to know by the similar thing, and divide the product by the remaining thing’. Burke continues “This is essentially a rule of proportion …”
music: Modern Western music, beginning at this time in Italy, employed the pythagorean scale. Using four strings of equal consistency, 6,8,9, and 12 inches long, the octave was produced, as well as its major divisions. The 6 and 12 inch strings were an octave apart, the 8 and 12 inch ones separated by a fifth. The 9 and 12 inch strings formed the fourth, and the 8 and 9 inch strings were separated by a single note. p 60
wonderful show on the constitution last eve put it all out in your face where no one would see it. of course the constitution’s meaning is changed by changing interpretation …
in other words the law is whatever the society gives you though you can bet is will be clothed as “permanence”. however, as GB says, the formative hint is given.
emphasis on sequence in algorithm
religious, what’s built into us below awareness
ss. pilot takes Ayzee to middle ages. the self-limitation of the epistemology is painfully obvious to anyone not sharing it. why don’t these crazy people do something for themselves? Julia Hern, what’s Maggie Smith’s name? All those poor Dubliners. Ha, but then take Ayzee to the contemp US where everyone is imagining power and linear relationships and control while being infinitely frustrated.
GB: on tautologies: It is suggestive that the mathematicians are content to accept the idea that relationships between propositions can be self-evident, while they are unwilling to grant this status to the propositions themselves. It is as if they were claiming to know how to talk, but not to know what they are talking about. p 158 then an abduction to biological epistemology. wow.
cybernetic bootstrap theory of mental evolution and communication. the relationships and rules of working the interfaces can be known with some accuracy but the subjects (or subject and predicate, the nouns) cannot.
linguistic definition. perhaps verbs can be defined. it is only nouns that are infinitely elastic, especially when those nouns are high level abstractions, especially especially when those high level abstractions (freedom, truth, god) are infinitely deep repositories of double binds, the contradictions that unite us. unite us into a common confusion.
I have just copied the above paragraph to a “bk” file to read into any draft of a letter I may have going to my son. It’s another example of what has thrilled and paralyzed me for the last year, thanks to the acquisition of the T-1100 and its power and portability. I don’t have any idea whether what I’ve just written above is a mere hash of Bateson, a distillation of Bateson, or a Bateson inspired insight which abductively goes beyond any specific relationship claimed for the general epistemological points by the master. And I don’t have time to care: if I don’t touch type it down faster than I can question it, it may be gone. Sure, it might come back … in that form? It struck me that it was a synthesis I had been looking for but I didn’t have time to examine it. Will I ever have time to examine any of these things? I started Jan 1st, for a couple of hours. the whole month passed with new garbage pouring into the id file. the attempt at editing and condensing and clarifying only led to a major new outpouring. So I’ve got a Mississippi, a river, not just a stream, of consciousness. But it’s going to die if I don’t stop and feed it.
but the new direction (also counter-intuitive? remember that the intuition is trained, sometimes self-trained) is more positive. one reason it’s hard to admit an appropriately skeptical epistemology is that we have the certainty that we know something, right? the mind just keeps rushing into what appears to be certainty. Relax vigilance and you’re certain again. The unconscious programming asserts itself. We are set up for sets of assumptions working (harmoniously?), not for nano-second by nano-second vigilance. (and fractally, a nano-second would be just as long as it is short.)
We are not wired to be totally skeptical for more than a moment or two. But it’s ok, maybe we can half trust our procedures, refining them while we use them.
systems and sub-systems. the sub-system’s consciousness will be thrown off balance when it is forced to an awareness of being contained within, being contiguous to, a larger system. 16th-cen Japan bumped up against the world. Now the US bumps up against a larger world. Soviets etc too.
The Church, the Medici, … trying to “rule” the new whole. Latin, one bank, uniform rates of exchange, but then the subunits find new independence and states and cultures assert themselves with a new vigor and a different character. Now they know they’re in a larger world. Grow big enough and mistake self for church all over again.
GB is surely right on when he says that the heart and mind dichotomy is the central problem of religion.
“you’ve got to have heart. miles and miles and miles of heart, oh, it’s great to be a genius, of course, but keep that old horse, before the cart, first you’ve got to have heart.
you’ve got to have hope. mustn’t sit around and mope …”
popular art is an endless rehearsal of the conventional epistemology, and the conventional epistemology is a model of the standard religious stance.
philosophy is at once what reinforces the standard religion, modernizing it from outside the ritual, that is, from closer to everyday experience, and what criticizes the standard, offering revised models.
But popular art is the essence of conservativism. It can take the innovative and remove all spice from it, turn Mark Twain into Norman Rockwell.
All you need is love, love, love.
Therefore, typically, the heart side of the basic mind/heart misunderstanding of life is taken. But it’s taken in despair, in flagrant defiance of experience. Hope: “the triumph of hope over experience.” But it’s hope that you gotta have. The Vietnam years, and all you gotta have is love. Cartoon of starving song writer being rejected with “Wisdom, wisdom, wisdom”; all you need is a new theory of economics, a new rejection of the sovereignty of nations, a reluctance to visit entropy onto other organisms, a conservativism of life rather than a conservativism of false models of reality. “No, kid, go back to work in the stock room at K-Mart.”
We like “oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam.” mournful melody, howl of confusion, most people would prefer the Holiday Inn while imagining that they would prefer Versailles. Well, pilgrim, you’re stuck with it. You can’t go home again; Europe is ashes. Isn’t it ironic that the song of the cowboy, that Asian animal which the buffalo was sacrificed to, should moan about the last refuge of the endangered species as “home.”
But love is a better element of what we murmur to ourselves than wisdom. First, it’s one syllable. The consonants are easy (though nothing is easier than “ma”). The same as “people” should never replace “men.”
The religion of salvation from burning our house down around us must embrace the cybernetic understanding of whole systems, acid as a dynamic solution of ions, not one side of the equation and the other side of the equation, but both sides, the equation itself. Heart and mind, different faces of Janus, ying and yang making one whole, both blending and separating and reforming, neither wholly one or the other.
Burning a house down in a subsystem, in a system with territory beyond its own borders, is not big deal. Merely arson, or misfortune, or conquest, or preemptive defense; but burning all of our houses down around all of us because we have to be tough on communism, or expand our markets, expand or die, comes to change logical level and be expand and die. Save your grandchildren from Castro by having no grandchildren of any ideology. In making sure that Castro has no grandchildren, we risk having none ourselves. Hey, that’s ok. But we also risk that the Iatmuls will also have none. And none the Innuit. And none the Afar peoples of the Awash.
Essay on GBS’s Caesar claiming as much female as male.
Sh’s sonnets.
Romeo and Juliet (last night, Makorova dancing while dead, wow, her helping her partner to fling her corpse about!) and fractal geometry. A series, endless?, of being made of itself, another dimension of recursion. who the hell is this prince? Sh again and again has these deus ex machina show up and order things about. where were they the rest of the time? Who is this prince? we have only the couple of glimpses. he’s a cousin. he Montague and Capulet writ large. he’s there to protect. from what? from other city states, other Capulet families. or Montagues (we may as well let Montague be the enemy here; it’s Juliet’s and therefore Capulet’s bedroom that we spend so much time in. We never see Romeo’s house or party or sister.) And writ larger, there’s this thing between heaven and hell, god and the devil. Etc.
Burke. We are trained to accept the facts of science and technology no matter how frequently the same science and technology renders them obsolete. p 91 how nice: Chuck Rader’s point exactly. and I like the diction “trained.” Ivan Illich’s point almost exactly.
Burke (p 11) tells the story of Wittgenstein and how the sun would look. The point is it would look exactly the same. I agree. Or do I? How do we know what it would look like? I don’t mean by building a model of the system and then looking at it; I mean by looking from within it. Semantically. Being wholly retrained. So successfully as to not know you’ve been trained. (brain washing is only bad if it’s not your own solution that’s done the bathing.) on p. 91 he says “contemp. ref.s reveal the people of the time to have been excitable, easily led to tears or rage, …” Exactly the same? Even if you could model the light falling on the retina you still wouldn’t know what the brain imaged unless it was your brain and your image.
What would the world be like if justice, law, etc were modeled on the latest epistemological theories instead of on the oldest and most faulty? King Tut, a boy, and Cleopatra, a woman, are glyphed with long black beards. Rumpole of the Bailey surrounded by women lawyers wearing the wigs of 18th-cen justice (injustice? what’s the difference, without agreed standards?) the society has standards, but I don’t agree, and not just by whim, by strong argument and evidence, which the govt has no time for.
Academic freedom, free will, justice, law … all these things, these types of things exist only by human standards, that is, by support of examples, not by scientific standards, that is, by testing for the exception. Like the chaos point about scientists being drilled in linear systems and linear equations until they think that they’re dealing with reality. That’s like thinking that counting by hundreds has counted all the numbers. Passed them by, more likely. You have that freedom until you try to use it. Wall Street, the airline’s employees had pension benefits until the new owner put it in his pocket.
We have a model of god as hearing and seeing everything everywhere instantly, simultaneously, and accurately. And lovingly? and justly? does he smell it was well? How about touch? Any other senses? What’s the nature of the hearing if there’s no material medium to transmit it. By what mechanism does he hear what’s said in China and not have his ear drums blown out by what’s said closer by?
Yet we still see him as playing favorites. He must prefer Southside High to Oceanside High, after all, I go to Southside. This omnipresence is regarded as an ideal. Another ideal which cannot be true and would be unutterably awful and destructive if it were.
“Simultaneously,” or alternately rather, we see him as depending on messengers and sons and spirits for messages, etc. Just another king. But that’s good, in that case he can be lied to. Cajoled and flattered. and justice may prevail after all.
St Thos Aquinas: ‘All knowledge has its origins in sensation.’
It was Augustine who marveled at Ambrose for reading silently. ‘…a remarkable thing…when he was reading his eye glided over the pages and his heart sensed out the sense, but his voice and tongue were at rest.’
Our idea of a “fact” as something objective, permanently true and unchanging, seems, like Burke suggests, to be an artifact of the print age. Now, as we pass out of the print age, will we leave the idea of facts behind (leave them in the low grade presence of judges and policemen and the man in the street)? or will we find a new idea for something invariant and knowable? mental process, interfaces perhaps? Is that what GB was suggesting?
(and if he was, what would we think of that toward the end of another five or six hundred years (or whatever the right ratio would be) presuming we’re still thinking?)
How far is it around the circle, I ask. Two and 1/4, the ranger answers. The readiness of the answer, etc. bespeaks a sense of measurement at least say as old as navigation. But modern measurement? forget it. Quantity can never be precise. Which runner ran the furthest? Even with the laned track, you can’t know. How many runners were there? That’s a different question and can be answered.
knowing how to talk but not knowing what you are saying: my god! it’s true of more and more things as I run the double descriptions through my ideas/experiences. language! grammar & definition! undefined terms! theology: we don’t know what we believe in, but we know that we believe. the idea of invariance: science: we’re not sure what it is that’s invariant or how, our theories melt like snowflakes, but we know that we believe that something is invariant, and we test and correct our theories, knowing the vanity of our hope that ours, our pet, the child of our credulity will be the one not to melt in the next moment.
vanity. remembering the ski clinic with Buzz. the physics prof in the class having to listen to the ski meister misexplain how the ski worked. the prof tries to correct him. uh uh buddy, in this class, physics works the way I say it does, see? do you want the freakin pro pin or not? the revenge of the dukes of hazard. this guy looked like something left over from a stock car race, Appalachian Las Vegas.
mistransmission of messages between generations. thomistic eternity, infinity, what did it mean. a child’s sense of exact. of half, of fair. how can two different people talk about free will? now there’s a word: subjectivity. how can we tell the truth to each other, when we aren’t even responsibly aware of the trustworthiness of messages within our own organism. [uh oh, I just thought of another scale problem. people didn’t (don’t) understand GB. unannounced scale and context changes, or announced to people who don’t live in that world and can’t recognize what’s being pointed out to them. see that alligator? they see a clump of weeds, floating. manson. and me too. somebody talks about telling the truth, they’re not talking about what you’re talking about. they’re not even talking about what some pope might have meant.
but what’s terrible with me, and what may be too late to correct, to improve, is my protestant sense of resentment, of betrayal, of presumed innocence on my own part. (or is that not protestant, but something else? the saved calvinist? i don’t know what’s what but i know i’m saved, special. different from you squares, a hipster. i hear what bird is doing, you guy lombardo fan. i don’t know what the truth is but i know i believe in it, i know some of the pitfalls in being deceived in the search. all to others who aren’t searching, they just using the word, trying to get their own way. well, so am I, but i don’t know what my own way is, i’m just willing to assume that it’s so, since it seems to be so with everyone. everyone has a nose and so must i even though i can’t see it. just a blur, oh that thing in the middle of that face in the mirror, that’s just a image, a reflection, that’s not me, this is me over here, behind these eyes, behind all this image reception and manipulation.
medieval in its exaggerations
Burke p 136 is wonderful on map/territory comments (some conscious): Rheticus, defending Copernicus in 1540, “…the hypotheses of my learned teacher correspond so well to the phenomena that they can be mutually interchanged, like a good definition of the thing defined.” Giovanni Pontano 1512 “The circles are not seen because they do not in fact exist. Thought alone sees them …” John of Jandun, earlier: “Even if the epicycles … did exist, the celestial motions and the other phenomena would occur just as they do now… Provided [the astronomer] has the means of correctly determining the places and motions of the planets, he does not enquire whether or not this means that there really are such orbits as he assumes up in the sky… for a consequence can be true even when its antecedent is false.” ha. theoretical pragmatism.
they wanted you to validate their error by joining it. by sharing in it.
MCB on mother MMead, Angels p 202, “Anyhow, she has lost her otherness for me, so I no longer think of her as a vis-a-vis.”
monism, dualism. trinity, infinity. the world of fallen creatures. with saints. manson says he’s god. then he agrees that he’s the devil. sure, then he doesn’t admit distinction between the two. hell, he’s a monist. he’s not necessarily confusing the part for the whole, or the part of one whole for the essence of another whole, he’s asserting a monism. information is illusion.
and of course i recognize that because i often feel the same way. but then i often feel different ways as well. incompatible. depends of what mind set you’re in.
double binds an inevitable, an unavoidable (by-)product of recursion.
anyway, the point I mean to get to is the ambiguity i now feel between the idea (the experience) of god as other and the idea/experience of god as self. not I created the (pleromic) universe, but I have certain unities with what created the creatural universe for sure and can see or imagine or at least believe in unities with the rest of what’s there. Not identity, but analogy. and furthermore, i am sensing that in a sense i do create the creatural universe in that all i perceive is my perception.
it relates to the immanent/transcendental question. to which there are perhaps no permanent answers, only faiths, guesses, gambles. but of course that’s what a certainty is. and of course there will be a tendency to want to burn dissidents. wouldn’t a self-fulfilling prophesy have the best change of being (becoming) true?
how old was I when I first drove myself crazy wondering/worrying whether the whole (cosmos) could be deduced from a single fragment? sixteen? twenty? first i overload and blanked out. no answer. then i started seeing “the answer,” the “obvious” one, the one of first intuition (ie the intuition which would have been common around 1959 or so). i was for sure in my twenties before i started thinking routinely in terms of the formal answers for such things: discontinuity. nominalism. pluralism. the random. then, it came as a pleasure/shock that random was an undefined term. that mathematicians used it but used it warily. now chaos. a more formal investigation than Miller’s assertion in Cancer. or was it Capricorn. either way, that was 23: an instinct for monism.
now, angels’ mythic euclid & her “‘yes, that’s all in there.’ the theorems are immanent in the axioms.” ah, but you claim never to have asserted that the axioms were true.
society is founded on trust. civil-lies-ation is founded on trust. trust that on the one hand, elders, particularly the elder-elect, the king, president, pope-priest, shaman, will perceive and maintain the essence of that society/civ; and on the other that that soc/civ is based on the justification of advantage, we’re entitled to it if we can take it, and therefore, when the prize for betrayal is big enough, when it is perceived (or misperceived) to be big enough, the elder will betray the group. the chief will sell his people as slaves, the dictator will open a numbered account in a neutral country, King Charles will steal the merchants’ gold. But i asked them for it nicely. don’t they understand it’s for the greatest good for the greatest sub-set of the whole?, I used it to pay the army.
Discontinuity. And then there are imaginary discontinuities and exaggerated discontinuities.
believing something to be a fact takes salesmanship.
we are addicted to govt, a bad habit since we always seem to need more of it.
you could not have a science without some sort of epistemological error. certainly not a religion
The Ptolemaic system with the earth at the center was fine until you tried to navigate. The only problem with it was that it didn’t show me at the center of it. Actually, that why the earth can’t be round (spheroid); because I don’t see how I can be both on its surface and at its center at the same time. Therefore, the earth must be two dimensional. The Biblical version is therefore correct, Eden in the center and me in the center of Eden, the center of the beginning of all things, of all history, of eternity. Actually, god is a minor character, having created me, he can now be re-relegated to the wings.
What’s the name of that John Barth novel where the main character doesn’t see himself as central to the events in his life? I leant it to Hil’s DrZ who never returned it. February 13, 1995, spell checking, I remember: End of the Road.
how does thinking progress? it’s all bootstrap pulling. we always think we’re starting at the beginning of something, but that’s only of our attention span; it’s all in medies res.
the contempt in which i hold my own discipline of english, not only my own negligence in it but the naiveté of those hard working, intelligent, and better specialized. if we live on greek islands and sail to troy and think that troy is on a different continent than mainland greece because we sail a short distance to get to the one and a longer distance to get to the other and have no other way of getting there, and the languages of the people is more different once we do, and if everybody three thousand years later still thinks so, even though they fly the distance and see no ocean between Poland and Moscow or Moscow and Vladivostock when they fly further, and if we then go to college and feel that Aristotle is out of our intellectual reach because we don’t know what the hell he’s talking about, if we see no way to synthesize it with what we’ve learned since, and don’t even know that he’s been routinely knocked into the trash can since Galileo, if we then think that there’s a different and superior language in which to talk about important things, human things, and that this ridiculous standard written english is the best instrument short of Shakespeare to do so, then how the hell is thinking possible? we know how to talk but we don’t know what we’re talking about. but do we even know how to talk? the grammar of natural languages is thoroughly falsifiable. yet somehow we can know enough to know this. so maybe intelligence is possible. knowledge may be possible, especially where we are cautious at its low probability.
discoveries seem magical to those who don’t know the field, who don’t know that Darwin had read Lyell, who don’t know that Einstein’s thoughts about light were not thought in a vacuum. Columbus didn’t suddenly think the world was round in a background 100% filled (minus himself) of flat earthers.
why do school teachers insist on lying?
and yet thought does seem to be possible. is the term defined? are we defining it? does the definition make any sense? is it true in any basic way? that is, does it correspond to patterns that are in the extensional matrix, not just in our minds. have we truly evolved to where such correspondences can not only be, but be perceived by individual consciousnesses in individual organisms? No, I suppose not. But perhaps in individual consciousnesses in contact with other individual consciousnesses where there is a selection process, a cleansing of error and superstition. even where the individual mind is still prone to all the errors, particularly of overestimating it’s own power, clarity, reliability, and independence … if the chain of minds is simultaneously sufficiently self-skeptical and informed of methods of weeding and corroboration.
SP from here:
scale. just had a matching of perceptions, looking at Chick Corea’s Senor Mouse, key of Ab, bass line fools around Ab, Db, Eb through chord changes of Ab, Ab7, Db, Db-, Eb7, then the sexiest change to G7 and to C-. right hand picks up at the third beat of the fourth measure with a grace note (Bb)C. grace note: “of no time value.” My frustration with music notation and instruction: learning as an adult who can articulate inconsistency and frustration to a world that has bet its survival on swallowing them. It had better not care. And yet refinement takes place anyway. I finally get it: musicians hadn’t studied math. certainly not gregor cantor. certainly not modern math. neither are they too familiar with semantics. and they don’t want to learn. and they assume that the student won’t know and won’t need to learn. so why should the different sub-languages of the species mesh? that would be sane. music (as written, as thought about) has subdivisions down to sixteenths, and in one sense further because a triplet of sixteenth notes can occupy an upbeat (that subdivides the measure by 1/4//2///3) so one such note is a 24th of a measure. and that’s jazz: i’ve never seen regular western music go below the sixteenth (except, as is the subject here, in the case of grace notes. so. there’s no openly acknowledged idea of fractal infinity. but the potential is still there. or where do these grace notes come from? what does “no time” mean?
also (everything just a kernel to grow crystal from), I look at the piano (synth) keyboard and I see a sliding scale organizer of relationships along an infinitely fractal dimension of pitch (with infinite rhythms and variations coming in another dimension (other dimensions); the keyboard is just the pitch dimension). where is A tuned? but the subdivisions and relations among them are already “proved” enough to improvise (make rapid predictions with few embarrassments). but where the exploration takes place changes. from the real book it looks like it was taking place at the juncture between keys when the jazz i like best was developing. The blues takes you straight to the land of indeterminacy between keys. flat fifth; sharp fifth. between major and minor. find the area where there’s still some dynamic tension, then find another.


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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