/ Journal /

showtime at the Apollo last night. So glad to see it’s still great. The Fat Boys. the amateur contest, everyone of them good, a few very good. the pair of girl singers, mulatto and blond, so excited to be performing, so anxious to please. gorgeous. and actually musical. none of this shit. now it’s the sputnik somethings. pickpockets is right. the comedian in the shades: his ethnic honesty reminded me of that show with hawk and the alcoholic girl. your ears were bleeding before you got on the bus. they’re just mistrustful of me b’cause I’m black. ‘corse it could also be the way I’m carrying a shotgun. and such good audience rapport. His timing was like the guy who lives at E-7.
Burke just wonderful on darwin and then social darwinism. Reminded that it was Spencer who coined “the survival of the fittest.” Main thing I think of this time through this territory so familiar to me and yet all new as presented by this great synthesizer, is how incredibly “grounded” everyone’s thinking is. Spencer, Carnegie, Rockefeller. The weak “should” go to the wall so the strong can survive. A moral imperative with them at the top. I’ll do all the choosing, you just accept my choice. and call it science, god’s law, nature, natural law.
Carnegie: That light came in as a flood and all was clear. Not only had I got rid of theology and the supernatural, but I found the truth of evolution. ‘All’s well since all grows better’ became my motto … Man was not created with an instinct for his own degradation, but from the lower he had risen to the higher forms. Nor is there any conceivable end to his march for perfection…
March. ahem. perfection. now there’s the linguistically elastic clause.
if the weaker should willingly go to the wall (and not struggle for their part in the struggle), how can you tell who’s weaker? now it’s opinion. if the russians can bomb the hell out of us, then shouldn’t we willingly go to the wall and acquiesce in god’s wisdom? is nuclear winter perfection? by definition, if that’s what happens. WW II, Nixon’s lies, all perfection. why have any state at all? what’s the dif between what reagan says and marx? let’s get rid of social organization in favor of chaos. let’s organize society so that it’s not organized. what? excuse me? come again?
we’re entitled to it … if we can take it …
p 276 Newton’s universe was certain, operating in absolute conditions. All events taking place in it at the same time occurred simultaneously, which is to say that everything, at any one moment, existed simultaneously. All simultaneous events on earth were also simultaneous with those on the most distant stars. Newton’s universe implied an attitude to KNOWLEDGE that was at once practical, optimistic and CONFIDENT. The purpose of science was to investigate reality and to make DEFINITIVE statements about it. Knowledge advanced certainty.
That’s one paragraph. the whole page is great on Newtonian epis.
The Enlightenment was wholly in the dark about electricity. And relativity. And all sorts of problems with epistemology.
not everyone can understand Newton’s calculus (with application, we probably all could, but could we all find application? that’s like, if no one sinned, or if everyone were sincere in their prayers.), but by the 20th-cen every westerner automatically has his, newton’s epistemology. Just in time for it to have been demonstrably wrong for a couple of hundred years. (that’s just demonstrably; was it wrong before that?) to us it seems like the “natural” epistemology. electricity and einstein and all that, that must surely just be some kind of trick.
is there a comparative epistemology? among anthropologists? is GB typical? or the exception?
science was once something that any gentleman with the inclination could acquaint himself with (again, with the inclination is the elastic clause here. Shelley. like a tenth of a percent.) but not know. I devote my life to trying to synthesize an understanding (not even an explanation, just an understanding on my own part (though it would be nice to write it, as communicable, felt, lived, experience: see, one can live on earth and feel the earth turn.)
is there any epistemology which is natural, hardwired instinctive for a creature with a “consciousness”?
we have survived with wrong epis; i find it difficult to survive in this “economy” with a better, call it “right” one.
or is the whole thing infinitely receding, fractal (though if it’s fractal, at least it may turn out to be made up of itself), that pursuit makes it recede and only a fool thinks he’s getting close.
Burke says that the problem was uh oh what if the sun also moves? why the deep secret? it took me into my adulthood, my mid to late twenties to figure that problem out myself and till age 49 to learn that any one else had ever even noticed it. then it’s presented as universally known. among scientists. so i disqualified myself from knowing. or rather science disqualified itself from being known by me. parading as such claptrap through the media (including schools).
Credo; ergo sum.
I think; therefore I am … I think.
“I believe in Crystal Light … ’cause I believe in … ME!”
Title: Beyond Certainty
epis. Newton’s universe implied an attitude to KNOWLEDGE that was at once practical, optimistic and CONFIDENT.
yesterday, driving up to Manatee Springs SP, I’m as usual, risking my life, scribbling notes as I drive. Somebody cuts me off. It’s ok; I don’t think I would have hit them anyway. But it reminds me: one of these days. Not long after, I’m not writing, just poking along on automatic pilot, when the fact that I’m driving off the road penetrates the filter. I yank left and there’s a sickening swaying. My god, I’m pulling a trailer. We’re swaying back and forth like that double truck with the cigarettes in Beverly Hills Cop. It’s ok. Even if there had been other cars around, I got it and kept it pretty much in lane. I don’t even think I would have been rear-ended: automatically, I didn’t slow too much at once. But now, I find that page one has flown away. Maybe at the supermarket. It was about epis and the ether, I’m sure. Some will come back as I transfer pages 2-5.
If the ether goes, does god go with it? To many he already had.
Ah, that’s it. I was writing about if the earth moves and the sun moves to, how do you know where you are? You’re on the earth. Yeah, but where’s the earth? It’s going around the sun; or the whole system is turning around me. Yeah, but were is it absolutely? god knows. or he doesn’t. So it bothered people. So they kept the concept of the ether. It’s invisible but at least that doesn’t move.
If the ether goes, does god go with it? To many he already had.
But they had asked the wrong question: not does G exist? but have we got the nature of deity right? or wrong?
We can’t “know” whether god is immanent or transcendent because we don’t know enough about the nature of reality to be sure.
Ah, but he’s told us: how do you know you got the message right?
What sort of syllogism? of metaphor? What degree of shagginess? of “identity”? (now there’s an elastic term)
It took Einstein’s genius to see that we don’t know where we are in absolute terms. Freud to know that we don’t know who we are. And Bateson to begin to put together some idea of what we can know. The epis humility incumbent upon philosophers and scientists, which should be more than shared by theologians and too by the common man, more, more than shared, does not mean that there’s no difference between humility and lies and deceit. The stance that the moon is made of green cheese does not suddenly become respectable because a physicist can’t be so sure what matter is. If our only contact with “reality” is perceptual, that doesn’t mean it’s ok to bear false witness.
Aristotle sounded so sure of himself. Was Socrates really right in some way or was he just a bully? I think he was really on to something at his death, but is that adequate justification for the Republic?
The Church was certain. But the Church was also certainly wrong to anyone who understood the issue. Though follow Whitehead here: its wrongness was still the “rational” choice. But faith, reason, and the evidence had parted ways.
(reason was related to intuition and intuition was founded on false epistemologies)
Science is no longer built on evidence that anyone can follow. Who can check the computer’s math?
guy is gonna beat up Shaw, the skeptic. guy doesn’t make a dent. guy is dented. If I lost my faith, I’ll loose my mind, he says. Suddenly, reason and argument and proof is “faith.” Now we’ve got an if … then thing with faith as a condition and its lack in a causal relationship with insanity, unreason. Now the argument is mere sentiment. Feel sorry for me, I’m so weak and helpless. The hotel speaks in its real voice. Debbie begged not to be stripped of her “last illusion.” The underdog exposes his belly, his groin, his throat.
fact translation. much cultural activity is adapting to new facts. the guy chases me off the road to hit me and the cop immediately starts asking about no fault insurance. Of course there’s no way to tell whose fault it is… Are you kidding? Look at the positions of the cars. I practically drove into the woods to avoid being hit. If I had reached that guys driveway I would have escaped. The guy confirms, yeah, I hit him. The cop wasn’t interested. He just didn’t want to do any thinking or investigating or paperwork. but we had moved into a no fault world which he was a teacher in. A very different world from my childhood.
Disney and Blake Edwards Sun eve. George Carlin plays a ghost telling this girl to act like Bogart in intimidating some creepy crook. She can’t do it. The crook cooperates is acting creepy and petrified no matter how ineffectual she is. She practices some more, finally gets it to where they put the film in the can. The crook is intimidated. Maybe in the future girls will be able to act like Bogart, crooks will really be intimidated, and it will have become true. Meantime, it’s a patent lie.
Myth. it just occurs to me. Maybe MYTH is a lasting form of fact translation.
Blake Edwards did other scenes that may last as myth. Clouseau is a great example of someone trying fact translation and obviously failing. But then he stumbles into a success or two and Clouseau becomes famous. In the Pink Panther, Sellers goes happily to jail, once he realizes that the false belief has made him sexy. B Edwards comedy is about CONSENTUAL REALITY.
what’s the correct price of something? why, the price it was when you first noticed the price, of course. gas 21 cents a gallon, beer, two for 33 cents, 99 the six pack, …
how about the price it was before money was invented? cheap? is there really such a concept in an inflationary society? sure, to the person who believes he has a market for it as a much higher price. or the person who wants it, can afford it, and has no other affordable way of getting it (in other words, he’d prefer not to jeopardize his position by stealing it, murdering for it, or going to war).
now relate that to our sense of absolute space.
so too the idea that god is unchanging, the idea that scientific laws are unchanging, that reality is unchanging.
the more time passes the greater I think my story the model is. where the reality and the perception of it changes, and it’s the material reality which changes more and faster.
‘s funny. driving up Rt 75 yesterday, the median grass at one point ablaze with purple and white flowers. How nice. Then, an hour later, a side road, even more ablaze with more of them. My heart leapt up … How nice suddenly to think Wordsworth was such a great poet when I had never really thought so before. Great, sure; so so great? I mean of first importance?
Trailing clouds of glory as he comes. our life a forgetting. I knew that once … when I was younger. I love GB’s point about sequence. I remember that amateur and very wrong anthropologist’s cartoon about the cartoon pygmy with the imagination containing Watt’s steam engine, governor and all. Ok, infant, build us the shuttle. We don’t know what’s self deception and what isn’t.
god how I hate those moments in a howard hawks film where someone goes to the piano (played by hogey charmichael or something) and sings. i’m here to watch bogart, and maybe bogart and bacall, not to see you try to make a singer out of betty. at least she was speaking in something like her own voice, not like poor gail. but the worst is having to watch bogey “enjoy” it. I’ve never hated David Niven so (I suppose it’s to make up for how impressed I was the first time I saw separate tables) (I’ve had my revenge on leslie howard and james mason since then, but david niven was the worst. maybe because he became the most familiar and always with the same de bon air) as when he’s the pink panther in switzerland, we go the cocktail bar and this perfectly awful singer goes into her act and david niven puts on his i couldn’t be enjoying this situation more face. and a moment ago we were supposed to be crediting him with good taste. all because of the accent and the air of confidence.
anyway, last night, i didn’t change the channel from bob hope’s fiftieth nbc anniversary while cooking. the young sammy davis jr was one of the greatest entertainers i’ve ever seen when he was a kid. what’s he done since but be very successful. by losing what made him special. i don’t think he could win an apollo amateur night now except by reputation. but at least he really was something to start with. bob hope. now he’s a real entertainer. they show him dancing with 50 years of partners. first off, with real tap dancers going like blazes. hope gives it the college try. hey, look at the limey. o’ fay is a real sport. ‘corse he can’t really dance, but he’s trying. sammy davis jr looked like he was trying to imitate hope imitating.
but my point is that all the hoofers after the first two real ones, were exs, people who no longer danced, dancing on their reputations. cagney, ginger rogers. was she ever really a good dancer? a good partner, certainly, a great partner for a really great dancer, astaire’s best female mirror.
but now we have to look at brooke shields trying to sing. hey, she’s like hope. she can almost really do it. i’m impressed. of course we don’t know how many lessons she had to have. but embarrassing was michael landon. there’s a difference between being off the beat and not knowing where the beat is or indeed even what the beat is. or what a beat is. what rhythm is.
Cut to Don Rickles. he’s got on an i’m enjoying myself so much i’m gonna burst face. i can’t believe it. but i don’t hate him the way i hated david niven; the energy in that face seems real; it isn’t social enjoyment plastered on and dried.
anyhow, i feel like a nazi in the early forties. potempkin success. oh, we all love ronald. what a great president. how successful we all are. and we’ll kill anybody in the world who says we’re lying. that we’re miserable. that we know we’re frauds. (actually, of course, we’re not. we’re what we are and very good at it. but we have these ideals you see that we can’t keep up with but are obligated to appear to have. we’re all good mothers, we love our children, we’re all good fathers, good providers, we love out associates. no we’re not selfish, we don’t want to push the hostesses face in the dip.
but hitler really did arouse fervor. it’s probably not the same at all. the air of desperation in the enjoyment.
tom wolfe in one leap, from one of our greatest writers and easily our greatest reporter, to one of the greatest novelists. one of the few worthy and serious ones working. oh there are plenty of people who may write well, and imagine well, and empathize well, and strike attitudes well, but think well? belong in the 1980s? or even in the 20th Cen? very few. I try. and Clarke and Asimov succeed. Without either of them even being such great writers qua writing. Then there’s Beckett and Lem, Beckett saying disrespectful good-byes to the old and Lem riotously greeting the new.
it’s with p 491 ff. of The Bonfire of the Vanities on which I base my claim for Wolfe.
yay burke. we get to the last chap and i’m beginning to say gee it’s terrific, he’s taken everything but the last step … and then he takes it. bravo.
is reality of chameleon litmus that can reflect any structure? or is there no reality, no reflection except within the looker? it’s still possible to lie about results, to train oneself and others to perceive according to some imagined (and perhaps actual) advantage. we see n-s the way we want to so we can enslave them. maybe at first we didn’t see them at all and the lies came later. then we lie to cover our mistake, first from ourselves and then from others. i didn’t know. there was an earthquake. it wasn’t my fault.
[Bowdlerizing K., 2016 08 02 To me a syncopated word is even more offensive than the straight vulgar term.]
there’s where I keep sticking. sure reality is conceptual, I’ve adjusted to that all the way to the marrow (I think). But still, there’s a difference between looking at the sky and seeing Aristotle’s system and looking and the sky and seeing what Galileo sees and suppressing it, harassing him, threatening and bullying. that way lies chaos. (sure, so what? that chaos is better ordered than your order) that way lies communism. atheism. and beyond atheism lies the possibility of a better faith, digested concepts …
BK’s AE (í): Access Enterprises
ss: in which there is democratic discussion and a vote to determine what reality is, not among scientists who are comparing evidence, but among partisans who are competing for how things will be perceived.
ss: who was it went around with a lantern, peering into the dark, looking for an ‘honest’ man? cartoon of scientist peering myopicly into the shadows, entangled in his instruments, looking for “god.” Behind him, composed of the shadows behind him, is god, amused, perhaps a little contemptuously. scientist becomes convinced that god is following him around, but no matter how fast he turns around, by the time he’s got his instruments into place, god is behind him again. so he works on a way to stick his head, inside out, out of his own ass.
seeing Malthus again (in Burke), for the first time in a long time, .. I can’t see it. it instantly reduces itself to nonsense for me: population growth unchecked? geometric growth while food increased arithmetically? what nonsense. show me. how can a population increase without food. birthrate, sure; but a population? a population is a surviving birthrate. there could be a temporary imbalance, like a saturated solution or like energy in steam, but it’s gotta release, return to an average, an average with a relationship to the matrix which supports it. that means food.
Burke p 316. Limitations were also imposed by the political structure that reigned after the French Revolution. Mathematics and physics were deemed to be too closely allied to the elitist ideologies of the pre-revolutionary Enlightenment, and were banned. Chemistry, on the other hand, dealing as it did with such things as bleaching agents, gunpowder and general technical processes, was felt to be closer to the life of the common man, and as such received encouragement and financial assistance.
Huffman chart. binary tree. path. edge. node.
George Berkeley “instrumentalist”
Ernest Mach & positivists (opposed to absolutism in every form)
apropos of betting on the horse race, before the race is run, it’s also important not to cheat, not to drug the other horse, put a burr under his saddle, etc. otherwise, though the others may believe you to have won, and you may in fact take the purse and spend it, the point wasn’t the purse but the victory. now it isn’t known (especially by you) who won. ss in which god catches an angel having cheated to convey divinity. then priests, then popes, he damns the whole lot.
phr. they don’t need much logic; they have certainty.
changing definition, changing social context. freedom to bear arms … against tyranny, not to defend it from individuals. of course the govt isn’t in a position to decide whether it is legally constituted or whether individuals need protection from it. franklin said I’ve given it to you, now it’s up to you to keep it. there’s a case where we didn’t. i think. the supreme court thinks differently. the supreme court thinks differently within itself. so, law, human law is an illusion. could the same be true of physical law? divine law? once you change your cosmology, your deity changes too whether you notice or not. the church sees this, tries desperately, but is helpless to defend against this sort of reality. ok, maybe there’s a reality that really is “out there” whether or not we believe in it, collectively or individually.
someone can be sure they’re not a “sadist.” but is there a definition which would protect them from suspicion no matter what the context? would such a definition have to be quantifiable in some way. oscar wilde’s ‘a gentleman is someone who never injures another … unintentionally’ is a ‘definition’ which depends on social coherence. my mother certainly didn’t “intend” to insult or embarrass that pueblo brave by saying what a pretty blanket, ma’am. corse he was pretty well anesthetized by alcohol or habit or something. couldn’t tell how offended he was or if he even understood.
burke says all theories are equally valid? how about someone who identifies male and female by bright colors. the bright cardinal is the female. then how comes it’s the male that lays the eggs?
how could I ever forget myron asking, “can you imagine taking a shot of heroin right into you balls?” and then looking approvingly as though this were a pleasant prospect rather than one which would make one faint with terror, pain and revulsion, and for more than one reason.
sem: facts are metaphors for “someone paid some attention on this one.”
why is it so hard to alphabetize names. because naming conventions came before alphabetizing conventions. and how about spelling and pron. we struggle to keep Eng old fashioned, but in America at least, the foreign names come in galore. try alphabetizing jazz musicians
fractal. black holes. maybe black holes are part of the fractal nature of reality, an “infinite”? skein of recursions composed of themselves. a black hole is a pregnant emptiness. sentiences on the outside can’t know anything about what’s on the inside except that it has gravity. an absolute threshold of discontinuity, at least to sentience. but what’s on the “outside” is what we can see, interface with, etc. but it’s mostly empty: but it’s all the “matter” we know about: an empty presence: “reality.” now. we look at the Mandelbrot set, go into it to a magnification of a million: it’s all lace and space, and the lace seems to be made of … of all things … the Mandelbrot set, an emptiness that has everything in it. … (ie., a mathematical transform of everything. or conversely, everything is a transform of a mathematical recursion. or mathematical recursion is a transform, one of the inevitable expressions of the spiritual flexing of the void. being and nothingness. it’s all still mental models. that’s the one reality we can be pretty well sure of, the mental modeling. but is there anything to BE modeled?
there is a paradox in epistemology: the more careful you’re method, the more conscious you are of its assumptions, the less certain the result.
we are design/evolved for decision making not for “truth.”
arbib: Durkheim: social facts, natural facts, individual facts.
“Embarrassment, on the other hand, may be seen as a social artifact, arising when the person finds she has broken the social rules and is isolated from her group; this depends on the society’s having a set of rules that are easily broken. One could conceive of a society in which there is no such thing as embarrassment, because of the support people give to those who display their imperfect mastery of the social rules.” p 5
ss: JDay: statute of limitations, ex post facto, it was ok for a bronze age jew to advocate genocide because it wasn’t then against the law, it was wrong of the nazis on the other hand because the allies had already proved that you could make up the law as long as it was against germany, and it’s ok for the americans to practice it because they’re on the side of right.
the third law of thermodynamics proves that life cannot exist, nor endure if it does exist, that the universe can never have formed in the first place let alone evolved into star systems and galaxies, and that you cannot be reading this sentence.
rock bottom. how do you know where it is? because you went no lower. circularly defined terms. utterly subjective, but then they’re terms that are about the subject. is fred an alcoholic? rock bottom for him was noticing that someone noticed. rock bottom for Myron was having the pusher suggest tickling his balls to get at the vein on his cock (since he had no others left.) rock bottom for someone else hasn’t been reached yet, because death intervened.
ideas must be adaptable. evolution must change to remain the same. (to appear to)
Plato Platonism Neo-Platonism: cybernetic monism with allowance for discontinuity.
is there sequence in eternity? birth before death, A before B?
so much entertainment indulges our insecurities about mating. that’s fine for virgins … but parents? everybody?
discontinuity: how about semi-discontinuity? non-symmetrical relationships: time’s direction: the child is less likely to understand the parent than the parent the child because the parent has been a child (though he may not remember it), whereas the child has not been a parent, at least not yet. the male has never been the female, not in the same lifetime, and visa versa. of course there may be the possibility that the child would make a very good parent given the time, the male an excellent female, while the parent may be indifferent in the role however suited he was for being a child, the male actually hostile, even disruptive to his gender; and visa versa. and versa visa: the female could be an embodiment of the “platonic original,” or another poor, lost, inappropriate modern: Kate Millet or one of her sisters.
these are discontinuities and semi-discontinuities apparent to us: would any of them be even ghostily visible to a smart martian? or is that an even more impossible discontinuity? how about the discon between living and non-living? creatura and pleroma? being and non-being? is there such a “thing” as the latter?
the literature i aspire to is impossible because it’s superhuman. it violates the discontinuities. it want to justify the ways of god to man. is that a blasphemy? if so, is it a heroic blasphemy? or just pathetic? promethian? hardly, if the theft doesn’t work. i mean, i stole it, i think i did, it was my perception that i had violated discontinuity after discontinuity: but what had I carried away? nothing i could hand over. not even my own son, who shares more of my vocabulary and semantics than any one ever, feels what I’ve tried to generate. without that communication, then everything i’ve bent the rules for is unjustified.
all we know of reality is perceptual, and people can mishear, misremember, misunderstand, and disagree (that is, construct their world from different hypotheses which will in turn affect their perceptions [and, since no world can be constructed of all possible hypotheses, or of all possible facts or events, some perceptions will be impossible; nevertheless, there is still plain lying, perceptual or social or epistemological cowardice, false witness, suborning others, etc.
social dimensions: closed doors, don’t notice bad smell, gimme a blow job and then … repo man doesn’t even flush, blink, or turn aside when the other store lady walks into the store room. are we getting back to being accustomed to make love in public?
poverty as evidence of basic utility: civ the thief and slave master: all freedom to the destroyers. the emerald forest.
you make money in the gap between theory and reality. free market/ govt control
re: decoration “there’s no intellectual leadership there.” picasso may be crazy but he takes an unabashed and unapologetic leadership.
steven king, tennesse williams … shameless in their freedom to choose bad taste. you can’t go home again, and they don’t look like they intended to. Will Shakespeare putting incestuous cannibalism on the stage? Ingmar Bergman having his characters castrate themselves? what happened to victorian reticence that had been so pervasive we had assumed it was “natural,” or “universal,” or “human”? What happened to the ‘i don’t have sexual thoughts’ pose? Most of us still have it. Or we parade our sexual thoughts but only imitating a soda commercial in their expression. these young people aren’t liberated; they’re just taking all their signals from magazines.
truth and thought: we always want there to be identity between our theories and what’s “real”: if it ever happened, we wouldn’t know. (one could “solve” the rubik’s cube randomly while not looking, move right on to another position, and never know it, unless we were speculating: at some point it was probably solved.) life would be saner if people understood that mental process interweaves with life cybernetically. in a sense, american politics participates in that consciousness in that we’re always writing new laws. hey, if the old ones were perfect, what’s congress for? let’s get the right theory and then dispense with all science, all new data processing, all new input. let’s declare perfection and then end it all.
i can distinguish among the words/concepts think, believe, and know, and i can even achieve a kind of consistency. but i cannot compel the world to follow suit. follow suit: that’s good; the world will if we’re playing the same game.
s j gould. p 42 expresses the no doubt common desire for the logically “defeated” to dry up and blow away. “But Bucky, even when you blew up that comet, the fragments are still there, just spread around.” gould and logic: phaugh! strictly aristotelian. (that is to say, argue something in a “logic” without having established the appropriateness or limits of that logic. Should academics who are “refuted” have to pay back their salaries, awards, etc? Should Harvard refund all collected tuitions?
Publishers should not be allowed (should not allow themselves) to publish unless the paper is logical by some strict standard. And the logic be “phonemic,” meaningful. Then there would be no “rational” literature, and we could all relax and drop the pretense. And when a logical imprimatur like Euclid got published and then errors were found, the publisher (dead now for thousands of years) should have had to have a fund to compensate the wronged with. But what about where no one was wronged, where the paper was truly creative ex nihilo?
Ever Since Darwin is the second collection of essays by Gould I’ve read and enjoyed and profited by, found wisdom in, etc. then why am I not a fan of his? An enemy rather. Why? He’s learned, even celebrated in the field, evolution studies, which occupies some central ground among my main intellectual passions. What ground is that? It has no one name, rather several, all overlapping: nature, reality, god, mind, epistemology, science, … cybernetics, information theory, topology, … See? My statement of my ground is general, abstract … Generously perhaps, striving to be truthful within these bonds of English, I have stated his field in general terms: evolution studies. What he does, has done throughout his career apparently, and continues to do, is to stick his claws into Darwin and hang on. I am reminded of how I hated Northrop Frye when Fearful Symmetry was assigned to me upon arriving in graduate school. I wanted to study Blake. I got Frye. Now, when someone attracts me because I notice more and more that he’s the author of work that I love (Miles, Chaplin, Shakespeare, Shaw, Kurosawa, Fellini, Gregory Bateson, …) then I may become a fan of his and love him as well as the work (knowing no more about him generally than the work). But I can’t stand assigned heroes. And I can’t stand academic parasitism: Frye living off Blake, Gould living off Darwin. Not acknowledging the contribution of your forebears is a gross intellectual sin, as bad or worse than plagiarism. On the other hand, palming off your own ideas as the work of someone famous, unless done in the form of satire, as with Fritz Krysler or Max Beerboehm, is a gross sin, almost unavoidable in academia but nevertheless disgusting. In a too traditional society, it’s unavoidable. I’m doing this revolutionary thing because some emperor of some golden age even older and more golden than the emperor and golden age from which you claim your lineage.
I’ve had a number of heroes associated with universities or at least dumb institutions like the Church (Ivan Illich), but in just about every case, they got there their own way. Or their present association is on their terms. Or they got booted out and stayed out, or the institution came back begging. Or they never really had any permanent association. Marshall McLuhan, Bucky Fuller, Illich, Bateson. I guess Darwin himself is such a one.
S J Gould has admirable virtues. He’s flexible in a number of regards, he’s liberal, he “sees through” science and orthodoxy and the claptrap of authority. But dammit, he’s also a shit sucking sycophant. Darwin, Darwin, Darwin. Darwin was right about everything. Everything that we’ve learned about evolution, I will force read into what Darwin said and meant. Never mind that I keep changing my diction and the meaning of what I’m saying in order to do the forcing. It’s like: everything that we’ve found to be true is what the Bible really meant in the first place. Why look, you idiot: it’s there. Literally. Anything I can’t force into the Bible isn’t true. By definition.
Gould strikes me overwhelmingly and repeatedly, ubiquitously, through too many essays, to be an apologist for Darwin. If Darwin was right, then Darwin was right. If Darwin was wrong, but we’ve found something else that looks like it might be right, then that’s what Darwin really meant in the first place. And only an idiot wouldn’t see it. Pure totalitarian revisionism. Oh, no. those facts didn’t happen. What Marx really meant was what I now mean.
Now. Darwin is a hero of mine too. But not for being “right.” Or unimprovable. I also don’t read the Bible any longer as being “right,” or all inclusive. (And my respect for the Bible is enormous. It was absolute once, is no longer so, but is somehow, nevertheless, not diminished.) Neither do I so regard the US Constitution.
With one huge difference. I have read the Bible and I have read the Constitution. I have never read Darwin. Except as I’ve seen him quoted. Nor do I intend to. My understanding of Darwin comes from the culture at large (as does most understanding for any of us), but far more from my reading of G B Shaw and therefore I am or was profoundly influenced by Samuel Butler (but I get that part of my Butler through Shaw). And from a little S J Gould here and there. But mostly and most currently from my reading and rereading and continual pondering of Gregory Bateson. Unfortunately for Gould, most of my reading of him has come since reading Bateson.
And it seems clear to me that when Gould talks about natural selection as the “creative” force of evolution and about “improved” “design” he’s using terms completely inappropriate to Darwin. He simply doesn’t seem to have thought it all out. And perhaps Darwin hadn’t either. And perhaps he couldn’t. And perhaps it’s that too that contributed to his 20 year silence. Now, our culture is addicted to the false notion of who’s first and point sources for ideas. (some sort of left over of the economics of primogeniture) which molecule was first to boil? ah, we owe our boiling to that molecule. (I don’t doubt that that error isn’t as bad as not crediting sources or feeding the growing mantle. also true that you don’t want to feed the growing mantle with the bone that holds it all together.) were our culture not so egregiously addicted, perhaps Darwin and Wallace could have thrashed it out together and come up with a really good theory: perhaps killing Jehovah, but not “banishing mind” and as GB says, discovering cybernetics a century sooner. mind and the random are not incompatible. esp. as the random remains undefined. And look how pretty chaos can be not that we can picture some of it.
oh people who reject this unexamined and unexaminable materialism are just too chicken to face mortality. ah, that may be true to this and that objector, but if you apply it to me, it’s a slander. You’re not Galileo; you’re the cardinals. (Not that Galileo didn’t do his own cheating.) Any reasonable future epistemology should include cheating and misunderstanding and self-promotion and vanity and being culture bound (what else should we be bound to?) as well as a passion for the truth etc. in its expectations. (in a way that’s already true of american politics which is loaded with contradictions, double binds, and paradox. and almost self-consciously so. the truth is that we are self-serving and that we lie a lot but it’s ok cause it serves “progress.” Just as long as it’s the property owners and managers who lie and have double standards; the property may be poor but it must be honest.
p 44. SJG says one (2 part) succinct and undeniable thing about Darwin: “D did two very separate things: he convinced the scientific world that evolution had occurred and he proposed the theory of natural selection as its mechanism.” Amen. The two are distinct and also related. Evolution had been in the air for some time, but the scientific world wasn’t “convinced” until Darwin’s theory of “natural selection.” (Still evolution is not a “fact” as Dr Carl claims for it unless by “fact” you mean what a great majority (or sub-class, such as scientists) believes to be a “fact.” Our intellectual priesthood couldn’t be wrong. Fact is precisely what a theory isn’t. Darwin’s mechanism was the first such that wasn’t outright wrong. It had the advantage of being a little fuzzy and hard to falsify. It was much easier to shoot Lamarck down by experiment. (Yet it wasn’t mere wrongheadedness and cowardice that made us yearn for Lamarck to be right. Rhetoric doesn’t prove truth; it merely wins elections.
Any valid theory of natural selection should include the subroutines that intelligence and “consciousness” within an individual organism brings to things. Selective breeding, and the politician who says I’ll show you natural selection and then gases all the jews. Or most. or many. you never (read seldom?) get all. Cain killed Abel? how come the world is still full of Abels? more Abels than Cains? Lamarck is dead? oh really? I think that both truth and error must be immortal.
Anyway, what I mean about SJG is that I don’t care and don’t think anyone should care too much if the genius of dolt or whoever that formulates or publishes or gets credit for a theory is “wrong” in the long run. It’s the theory that’s wrong, not the man: right? Or is it the theory that has a chance of being right, while the man must be wrong? Anyway, the theory and the man don’t have to be seen as the same thing. I don’t care that Newton has been proved wrong. Physics wasn’t disproved thereby. Physics was improved thereby. Unbelievably brilliant. Still, he left out a few important things.
Natural selection doesn’t hold up? or what’s almost as bad, doesn’t satisfy? without constant rephrasing? fine. Evolution is fine. Doing fine. Evolving. Hey, and improving as it evolves. Not necessarily the same thing, is it?
Now you can have a concept of “improving.” Meaningless in sheer materialism. I killed you; so what? You killed me; so what? The universe burned to a crisp; so what? We all screamed in agony. Agony? no such thing. pure materialism. Quality? No such thing. There’s no difference between this poison gas and this butterfly. they’re both material, products of accident. your and my consciousness is an accident, an illusion. meaningless. interesting though.
think how much bigger the universe of contemporary telescopes and relativity is than the infinite universe of not so long ago and how vastly bigger both are than the say ptolemaic universe of only 2,000 yrs. But now the fractal universe is infinitely bigger than that finite universe, but bigger unendingly inward. Limit outward? So what? unlimited inward. A limit at the size of atoms? no. why stop there? gauge field theory. infinities within any point.
think how much older the mere 11 to 20 billion years of current big bang theory is than the Eternity of the god of just the few generations since Adam. It’s not the Earth and the universe that’s only 4004 years old; that’s the correct age of Eternity. God made Adam from a creature already a couple of millions years into its own upright branching within primates. the newest god declares himself to be the oldest. just like chinese politics.
Jun 29 and I can’t move. three nights in a row of 11 hours of sleep. feeling alive by noon, but where should I start to go at noon when I haven’t breakfasted or showered yet or gathered my thoughts? Moving myself and the Coleman out of Florida in this heat has taken its toll. on the other hand, this GA Army Corps of Engineers camp site is paradise. i think frank lloyd wright designed it. why would i want to leave unless starvation necessitated the effort?
tv documentary last night on battered women. guy beat up wife. kid finally confess that the father beat the kid too. guy kills a couple of neighbors. the neighbors had been harassing him, but he had been harassing them for some time. wife’s testimony gets the guy off. the guy kills the wife while a boy friend is feeling her up. ‘the system’ failed to protect her, the show says. they show the judge. they show a cop. no apologies. maybe the wife’s heirs should get a share of their tax money back. anyway, except for the officials shrugging off responsibility, the show’s moral position was uniformly “there’s no excuse for violence.” war, yes; violence, no? we’re some society to pretend to take that position! as an expacifist, i find more and more excuse for violence and less and less for moral solemnity. at the guy’s trial his defense emphasizes the wife’s being kissed by this other guy. she was to have been my wife, the other guy says. like a Sh sonnet, you may have syphilis, but love is still ideal. her father says i don’t care if she was banging every body on the street, that’s no excuse… a clear reversal of attitude from a short time ago. how typical though. this doc was trying to show it as ubiquitous. friend says, i don’t care blah .. no excuse for violence. hmm. is violence a non-human activity, then? then how come there’s so much evidence that it exists among humans? what they’re doing is name calling. homeopathic magic. preparing to deny the father of his otherwise rights. denying his.
big problem. i’m not sure what business the state has in it. or what we should care what the neighbors say. they’re like a greek chorus, always shocked, always not quite getting what’s going on, … still, it’s the chorus, the public, the bulk of the species which is what’s in danger or to be protected, no matter what. gr tragedy can kill elektra, heroes can die, but not kill the chorus.
get to the point! moralizing, revising the law and custom and attitudes and manners, the way we go about it, is always stumbling back and forth between two uncomfortable and impossible poles … (GB view of course)
freud’s brothers killed the father (of course, in so far as it’s possibly true at all, it’s way way pre-human), had a hard time making killing of each other taboo instead, and now the sisters want equal protection under the law.
myth and biology. noah’s ark the mass extinctions of the end of the Cretaceous Period, eg? or 250 Myrs? Garden of Eden the replacing of gathering by gardening? and it’s attendant miseries …? maybe they had to put clothes on because agriculture now committed them to stay put in a changing climate? therefore, noah far far older than eden. cain and abel, etc. freud’s band of brothers: guess at what point in evolution. any precedent (among primates) for the banding of the sisters. the weak many against the strong few. the invention of morality.
psychology. we are forever giving ourselves points by some glib “analysis” of some other that we feel threatened by. even sympathetic explanations too. (short of “real” compassion in which there is no feeling of superiority) he’s a nigger, he’s lower class, he’s just a dumb priest, king, whatever. women’s quickness to have some freudian dismissal of today’s males in terms of macho, penis competition (without troubling to understand the possible utility of such let alone whether it’s “true”), fear of castration, (adapted for tv, they give him a bad haircut), etc. so watch out for all sorts of labeling for political and personal purposes. what purpose does understanding have? does “science” justify taxonomy?
redneck paranoia about jews: blame the victim even more if he unbecomes a victim. the jews learned the rules of the game and played them with a vengeance. of course, it can’t last; it’s easier for the despised to be strong and disciplined than the sons of doctors.
slipping on a banana peel is funny. pie in the face (when totally marxist (groucho) ie having no rational justification) is funny, harold lloyd desperately, with genius, escaping one peril totally unaware of another, battling the monster but not seeing the edge of the cliff, surviving by sheer luck just at the moment of your greatest brilliance, is funny. a boy falling onto the bar of his bicycle is funny. if it’s accidental. a nazi torturing a jew is not funny. why? because we perceive the jew to be human and the torture to be inhuman. yet people laughed in the red berets when the gook gets his face blown off, in Ben Hur when the chained slave gets his hand ripped off … the difference is: what perceptions are in universal default setting? that etching of the gang of men holding Jack Johnson down and castrating him with a rusty razor blade: that would have been funny to some in 1911; now we wonder who could have allowed himself to etch the plate.
it’s a continuing thrill to me to perceive that we are in a perceptual envelope, what McLuhan calls the environment. it’s easy enough to perceive the point that a fish is not aware of water. we for a long time where not aware, not fully aware, of air (I mean we knew there was wind, but no medium entered into our calculations of falling bodies, etc.). but my jokes about us being the fish don’t communicate. I try my damnedest: I’ve never worked harder on anything than on Beginning, and no one laughs. am I not funny, or do they not get it? do they get it and just not like the insult? why? those who “get it” should feel superior to the insult. don’t we always? the fellowship of the aware? isn’t that basic to humor?
of course I can’t see outside the envelope any more than anyone else: I just constantly see that there are outsides, many and more.
“because Americans want to succeed, not just survive” as Al, said, refuting my “communism” (10 yr high school reunion), I don’t want the same as you, I want MORE than you. and this said as though such semantic insanity were redolent of moral and intellectual superiority. the devil wears a mask, but it’s a mask of the devil. even evil tells the truth at some level.
shouldn’t the judge take his robe off while accepting a bribe? should a priest at Notre Dame declare that he’s speaking as a combative irishman, not as a humble servant of Christ, in a religion which showcases vanity as the deadliest sin, when he talks about football wins and school pride?
how about the paradox of being proud to be a Christian?
common sense? is there such a (one) thing? intuitive? intuitive truth? so much of science, esp modern science, counter-intuitive? but as the chaos people say, one can retrain one’s intuition. hadn’t some people and some cultures already done that? so wasn’t there already more than one common sense? which is the same as no common sense except as defined by the particular culture (ie UNdefined because unconscious).
related (?) question: is there but one “reality”?
that’s where I don’t fit into the current human world: I spend all my time and energy retraining my perceptions, resetting my defaults in order to perceive things according to the non-common-sense of science, ie the superior (if not perfect) sense of science: but I look around me and everyone else still lives their life in the assumptions of another age. INCLUDING scientists. (even SJ Gould’s epistemology is bits and pieces, instead of a total restructuring a la GB.) except during the
hi-tech ads. TRW et al. just now, the ad shows the recoordination of a monitor simulation of an egg into a animation of a human, flickering into a “real” human (all still of course images on a screen), which they then call “perfect.”
natural language serves us well, but only in formulating algorithms that facilitate decision making far short of exhaustive analysis. it’s gotten us here, but can it save us from the toxicity of our own efficiency? not without the addition of artificial languages that are a little bit longer on analysis and more humble in decision making. Korzybski argued
against the habit of identity in languages in which aristotle has been studied. It suddenly strikes me that a basic epistemological abuse is in the requirement of “being”, the to be verbs. So and so is something. We say is whether the existential aspect is presumed or perceived by a consensus, by oneself, by tradition, by the additional aid of artificial sense organs, etc. Such confidence in our perceptions and symbol manipulations is a dangerous talent.
adverbs are analogies, at least the common ones which end in -ly, -ly being of course an abbreviated “like.” adjectives intensify. it’s the grammar itself, the to be structures, that are metaphors. Understood as metaphor: better than harmless: good; misunderstood as “identity”: uh oh. Unless identity is understood as a metaphor for being an analogy without the visible superstructure of one.
maybe Beginning too with AI type dialogue: how can this story be told? who is the reader? what is his experience? what are his presuppositions?
love has an aspect that dealing with what one doesn’t understand and doesn’t expect to, but respects just the same. men loving without understanding women, for example. but that implies that men do understand men, or themselves. Really?
what could be clearer, since and perhaps before the death of Soc that the intellectual life is more punished than rewarded. still, there are those of us on whom the warning did not take. rather, the warnings may have acted as a spice, an enticement. so too the clear warning of X’ity. don’t be much better, smarter, more in tune with the mysterious other, the universe, than your neighbors or you’ll be rejected, tortured, and executed as a criminal. still, xity has that double message, do and you’ll have god’s arms around you. the church showed that martyrdom could lead to fame and veneration as well as to salvation while it proceeded to make its own series of martyrs, ie its own victims: the thoughtful if not saintly heterodox.
You worship a god in the past; the god I worship lives in the future. but make no mistake, my god isn’t descended from yours; it’s the other way around.
underneath it all, who isn’t a sociopath to some extent?
attributing modern platonism to Plato is like attributing contemporary law to the constitution.
see, they both have blue eyes
but her eyes are green
well they both have eyes.
The question improves upon acquaintance.
Great thinkers all have to invent their own language to some degree. (Not just Fuller) Too many thinkers invent their own language to an unnecessary degree. Mediocre thinkers incompletely invent their own language. (all within the human range of the possibility of accuracy)
reality is not a construction of the observer; it is a collaboration between the observer’s self and other.
the word “net” is defaulted in football yardage.
“ran for two yards” no: ran about and about, forward, back, and sideways “never” straight, and over ground any fraction of which is infinitely long.
soc approval, trad. there is no direct route to the truth. either groups go or individuals flounder
photography eliminates a dimension (time)
medieval painting: a fraction of the 4th dim. fractional dimensions.
one of the spelling conventions hardest to learn is abbreviation. partly cause not standardized. And Gee, Connie. Land o’ Frost. How do you spell hemming and hawing, how pronounce it? Do japanese trains (dodeskaden) make different sounds from occidental (choo choo)?
Godel, Bateson, Oedipus: fifteen years after writing it, I like more and more my Nixon at MacDonalds tragedy. Nixon wasn’t tragic because he didn’t behave like Oedipus, but would have been had he. Oedipus, like his parents before him, spends his life trying to escape his “fate”; meanwhile, from his father’s throne, he genuinely seeks the ex-king’s slayer. When, in the most wonderfully solipsistic connection, at full cycle of the mystery, he learns that he is both the murderer and the mother-fucker he puts his own eyes out from the broach of the corpse of his suicide-mother-wife. Einsteinian time/space: you look out, you maintain your position, and your own vision spans the universe, penetrating your own ass, where you still don’t know where you are. My favorite image of Nixon is still my own: old and long blind, poking around in the dumpster behind a MacDonald’s on Route 66 for the scraps he lives on, while Julie and Tricia work as car hops to keep him in rags.
Joseph Wood Krutch? is that that idiot’s name? wrote the opening piece for that PhiBet quarterly for so many years, as a universal reminder of the meaning of standard education and IQ? Said there could be no American tragedy because we were Christians and Xity has a happy ending. No wonder the humanists from the Ren on came to prefer the heathen Greeks, kept trying to put them into heaven with the Christian swine. Dante. Oedipus is even more bald in its Godelianism than Xity, because Xity seems to be unconsciously so. It’s militantly anti-intellectual reasoning not only generates more heat than light but isn’t even apologetic about it.
the only place reason can take us where there are no contradictions is to a (any of many) blind alley. Xity is a great religion because it is especially rife with contradictions and incompatibilities. koans and double binds: hey, don’t worry the paradoxes: seek them and embrace them.
So why then is simple muddle headedness not regarded as admirable or holy by any science, philosophy, tautology, or religion that I know of? There’s a difference between inescapable paradox and no effort to escape. Or is it spiritual sexism: oh wow man, Buddha just made the most amazing oxymoron; Christ sake, Brooks: can’t you remember what your position was at the start of a sentence by the time you get to the end of it?
we live in a world of plenty: plenty of extinctions, plenty of poisons, plenty of addictions, perverted freedoms, the muck of partial intelligence ungrazed.
burke’s point about cross referencing: ‘1 + 1 = 3’, very much like my own babbling about infinite complication and why the discovery of fractals so fills a need, my need for sure. the ‘world’ that we live in is less and less extensional and more and more filled with more and more abstractions which constitute our ‘reality’. we’d die to protect our world view, and if we wouldn’t willingly, the govt would draft us to make sure. more and more of our abstractions are lethal. but certainly: the world of the early savanna could support what, a few hundred
thousand of us? a few million? the modern world ‘supports’ (however temporarily) several billion. more time, whether or not population is added (or subtracted) will add more abstractions. no wonder the old are willing to die. who can figure it out? to the young, all the new stuff is merely part of the environment, taken for granted. 25 cents to reach an answering machine,
[god, there’s a change. do any kids long to make their own hot rods anymore? my generation (not me) would fool around and fool around, generally making a shitty machine worse, but it would look like it was being created. all you needed was a bad muffler to make people think you were a mechanic. sand down part of the surface of a wreck and drive around as a patch work for the next few years, people would think you were a sculpture in steel.]
a great difficulty with progress is living with a bunch of moribund abstractions (are any of them ever completely dead?): taboo, innocence, free will.
a naked human animal is already a nested stack of abstractions, as indeed so are other creatures. all creatures? any organization of parts is both intensional and extensional. what is matter but how something (energy? what’s below that?) is organized? that’s one way (the one way?) that Bateson’s pleroma and creatura are similar. (the “same”: a rhetorically strong way of saying “similar”?) we complicate things unpredicatably when we invent abstractions wholly dependent on circularity of definition. wholly subjective objects. “white” “all-star” (article just says eliminate the fan from the all star game. what? experts who go by the book. what book? oh, a computer program? the same writer would freak out. no fans? no one then should be permitted to watch, to participate, or to know the outcome. there could be no outcome and no one to care either way.) “conservative” etc. how about good and evil?
7/19: just waking dream image of semantics like sticky hands: “here, let me give you this precise idea.” “Sure.” out comes a hand streaming with semantic goo. the crap gets all over the precise idea before it’s even in the receiver’s hand. here, let me explain cybernetics to you. oh, goody says someone impenetrably surrounded by linearity and cause and effect. now in their everyday lives, they’re not; only in their artificial, thinking lives. that is, it’s only in their explanatory consciousness (for almost all of us, scientists and saints included, our rationalization mechanism-it’s just that the scientist and the saint sometimes have things other than reflex and self-interest in mind (and to some degree therefore we are all at least sometimes, partially, scientists and saints) that they’re on guard to be orthodox, trained. they’re being unaccustomedly tested. it’s just the last few months that I’ve watched and actually paid attention to some political discussions, these guys who sit around on ETV and interrupt each other to spout prejudicial “analysis.” cake mix logic. like journalism. and yet suddenly i’m seeing wisdom in these politicians. we’re dealing with goo and only with goo, mix it up, stir and see what happens. let’s repaint the room blue, he says covered with yellow. ah here’s blue: and it’s blended before he picks it up. so what we actually do is cybernetic. the candidate is playing golf. make a speech and see what the polls say. promise blue and paint in what ever comes out of the mix.
the human brain wants a gestalt analysis. it’s impatient with taking it piece by piece (myself, last night, trying to analyze the probabilities of solitaire-every time i’d think of something, oh, my god, no body can ever have considered THAT possibility before: i’ll bet the standard answers if there are any are wrong. SJ gould’s mammal brain weight chart, comparing the “expected” brain weight. vastly improved, but still. if the weights deviate from the expected, then how can you know what’s expected? now you’re into a calculus, but if calculus was involved in his graph, he didn’t mention it. the difference may be invisibly small but it’s there. what happens when the vanishingly small becomes big, as at the speed of light? that’s what chaos physics seems to be about: no one wanted to or knew how to deal with the vanishingly small. the differences that are invisible up close but that make the tornado two weeks down the pike.
my own rationalization for choosing a difficult to impossible, not very public or visible, path. the mind wants point sources of change: plato this and aristotle that. galileo, etc. women and slaves have no vote, so they have no influence. oh yeah? let’s test that in an alternate world in which Thos Jeff and those guys say the same things but in which there really are NO women or slaves …
I no longer find believe that the universe has a personal relationship with me … actually, no, I do believe that the universe (god) has a personal relationship with me, just not a special personal relationship; but I do believe, find, know … that I have a personal relationship with it. of course it’s personal, it’s between it (that which is not me) and me (that which is not it).
damn, by the time it loads, i’ve lost it again. but they keep trying to come back. this time my distraction was justified. must muse on the first great, to me moving and sensible national level political speech i’ve ever heard in my own life. not one word of it did I hold in contempt. my respect wasn’t as for a cleverly disguised chess move, or for a bold lie of thin veneer (geo bush insulting G Ferrar, i don’t need to make sense to you, i’m paid to be rude to the likes of you) but gosh, the guy’s actually speaking in plain metaphor. as close to literatl as you can get.
the ecology of ideas!
sj gould’s volume to surface ratio metaphor very nice, but that surface between knowledge and reality is only the interface; the volume beyond is infinitely huger.
news guy, eve of democrat convention, says 8 yrs ago no one could have guessed … that “this administration” would: I’ve lost it, can’t exact quote, but raise taxes three times, increase deficit, etc. I see that I am “no one”: I not only guessed it but predicted it. hadn’t Reagan done similarly in CA? talk no govt while building palaces for himself. beautiful, politics are: imagine predictions c. 1960 as to who would wind up going to Red China: Nixon would have gotten vanishingly small probability. Reagan become pals with the Evil Empire, etc.
this is a free country! now stop rattling your chains and keep working.
He laughed. recognizing the truth of the contradiction.
we tend to think in absolute terms. no wonder we’re always wrong.
The Game of the Week: on the east coast either Yankees vs. X or Detroit vs. X; on the west coast, LA vs. X. The game of the week is now admitted to be plural.
nixon a thrilling revelation of the mean spirit and muddleheadedness of this country in his years, jessie jackson’s speech last night gave me a glimpse that that isn’t all so. the incumbent being considerably less thrilling in his embodiment of our politics.
Moms Mabley & the KKK. Brian & I and Myron & Bernie at the jock fraternity. scapegoats and perpetual gardens of eden. we don’t perceive each other: we perceive models, partly inherited. but the thing modeled is a being too at least in the case of Moms and she redefined the object (herself) for them. Brian and I redefined the situation and substituted one model for another.
“artifact” is one noun you’d think would have to be extensional: but not in our technology. perceptual artifacts. Stanislau Lem story. artifacts of the machine, the extended organ.
I think maybe people do see the obsolescence of gods as well as technology. when milton trucked out all those old gods as “fallen” devils, obsolete gods, didn’t he see the same fate for his Jehovah? not as long as he kept it general enough. god as artifact of human need for black boxes, causes, beginning and ends, metaphor … even Einstein’s god of physics was obsolete by E’s death. But the reality that lies beyond our perceptions, the reality we can’t know, that reality isn’t obsolete, because obsolescence is an ARTIFACT of human perception. reality isn’t obsolete, only our models of it. it’s the once perceived god (mis-perceived) that’s dead.
the trained intellect looks for difference; the untrained for similarity.
clouds etc: god’s finger prints
decades later I’m coming to the opinion familiar from McLuhan’s popularity though by a longer road: Shakespeare as the last great poet because he lived at the crossroads between oral and written. don’t need rhyme for memory, habit gone. memory gone. poetic spirit much diminished. (I’d like to be wrong on that point.)
… because leadership is primarily interested in its own greed.
Take the wrong turn on a fractal surface and you’ll never get out of it.
mall architecture like newspapers since advertising. break it up, cubism, distract with irrelevant attractions, fractal: maximize exposure to consumer goods. but what about for the seller? you can’t find the freaking merchant. you don’t know what entrance to use. the guide, if there is one, is clearly designed by and for those who don’t use them. and the parking lot? I wonder what the annual injuries are.
inefficiency, stupidity, and lack of consideration may be the hope of the world.
on 74E in Charlotte: malls, plazas, highways, chaos.
designed to maximize commerce not to maximize life. pavement retards all non-human, non-commercial life (though the grass pokes through occasionally)
chaotic conflict among commerce mode, transport mode, and within the latter, among the various transport modes: pedestrian, car, truck, bus.
ss: One Too Many Realities: convocation of realities in which each defines self and argues with others.
real like a stone
real like a tree
real like a complex system (hey, come on, say the stone and the tree, we’re complex systems too)
real like an idea
real like a new idea
real like an idea that more than one mind reifies by acting upon it,
real like government
real like what’s only partly perceived, partly interfaced with, (misperceived insofar as the perception is assumed to be accurate),
real like god.
how about: real like false ideas which minds believe
argument about belief. conscious/unconscious
if the unconscious knows it’s false, but the conscious wills itself to believe it, like “there is no god,” or “there is nothing but materialism,” or “my country right or wrong,” then, as long as the consciousness believes and acts upon it, is willing to kill you if you fail to act upon it, is willing even to die itself to show that it believes it, then isn’t that belief?
how about: real like an idea which evolution has shown to work?
how about the idea that evolution has shown no such thing: a creature that dies after five minutes has still lived; a species that dies after one hundred million years still has not lived for one hundred and fifty.
the only species that dies is one that has not evolved further, parented other species, before dying itself.
ah, but how about a species that parents an idea instead of an offspring and that idea lives? how about cybernetics? in bringing certain principles of nature and evolution into semi-consciousness, haven’t humans parented something more important than a human future? like the soldier who dies childless protesting tyranny.
a soldier dying for something important? that’s a contradiction in terms. soldiers defend civilization: what does it matter which faction?

Social development, like the biological evolution of which it is a part and example, has taken many paths.
To live, a pattern must not only be, but be repeated.
… Dr. Raleigh sought to be seen. Among females, physical equipment alone all but guarantees such a consequence.
Dr. Raleigh not only lacked such equipment, but lacked male versions of the gifts and skills that made Napoleon, for example, dressing basically in black, stand out among his generals, though them he decorated like peacocks.
As in all things human, paradox is involved.
What is art but both sides of a paradox made eloquent?
W C Fields type. That is a male variation on the female theme look but don’t touch.
every society has its gullibilities, right? we look at superstitions not our own condescendingly. belief in kings, in magic, in etc. now, those few people who have listened to me in the last twenty years know that I regard our faith in political leaders in the same light: someone might also know that I am of the they used to be just as smart as we school. but it just occurred to me: Conan Doyle & Sherlock Holmes’s (mis)understanding of and faith in deductive logic is an example of nascent religion of the most sophisticated late 19th-cen variety.
there’s that dualism again. the human mind doesn’t seem to be very good at thinking beyond two possibilities. we catch glimpses that we’re wrong but then we relax and we’re right back where we started.
what kind of a following can a would be leader have whose message to those of our 4 or 5 billion people have heard any part of it is: step, turn around, we’re going the wrong way?


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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