/ Journal /
Learning 0, 1, 2, etc. Ideally, learning should be level 0, except in circumstances of stress. The assumption of our education system is that stress is normal; the contradiction of our education system is that stress is forbidden. Where it exists, it is ignored. Yet teaching yesterday’s solutions to the stresses of the day before, is considered to be learning. Sure it is. Level 0 and wrong Level 0. Science and engineering trains in solutions to problems that haven’t been asked. Not by the student, anyway.
When has learning 2 occurred? At the end of the Cretaceous Period? Log examples of what the biosphere learned from our visitor.
don’t be too large
don’t be too vegetarian
don’t depend on daylight
prey on predators
warm bloodedness counts
(is this a finite series?)
reality like a Hitchcock movie. god can be relied on to make one cameo appearance. disguised perhaps, but recognizable to the cognizant and alert. in theory. because, even if we believe that we will see him if we are alert and look hard, even if we “know” it, by the time he does appear, just a cameo remember, we’ve become distracted by the fiction, by the characters who are merely characters, fictions, ourselves. The movie is over, and once again, we’ve missed the recognition. Maybe we still believe that he appeared. But we missed him. Concentrating on the appearances, we missed the reality. But that is the reality (other level): we’re not supposed to notice. That’s just it!
organized entropy. game shows (just saw Sloppy Something Double Dare for the first time), football, much of business … all of ciz?
what a great invention limbo is. murk. you don’t know what’s going on. you don’t know what direction god is taking with regard to things essential to you (namely yourself), maybe god doesn’t know you exist, maybe god doesn’t exist: … everything is in that hands of the lawyers.
law. can things of different logical type be meaningfully classified together? (depends on the logical type of the classification.) the constitution is law (supposedly). there is a law that we have a right to assemble, not to be unreasonably detained, face our accuser, etc. It’s also law that we have to pay this or that tax. To support this or that war. It’s also a law that we’re not supposed to murder people. It’s also a law that we can be drafted and ordered to commit this or that mass murder. Until the draft is suspended. Until it’s reactivated. Until …
Is there any meaning in talking about the law?
Yes. It means that some people thought enough about thinking suchandsuch that they were willing to agree for the time being that they would cooperative in making sure there were consequences for those who disagreed. Etc. (If it’s scientific law we’re talking about, the context ought to be distinct enough even for a non-scientist. Divine law? we haven’t seen much of that lately. must be against some invisible man-made law.)
Anyway, my point is, there’s all kinds of trouble in not being able accurately to distinguish or sort among the different types. Get people to agree that they ought to be free. See? You’ve just proved that they’re your slaves. They’ve acquiesced.
BK recommends automatic back-up files. It’s the first I’m hearing of it from him. When did I elect to have my T-Plus not make them automatically? Was it factory set that way by QA? Did Mark set it for me that way as I was buying it? In the store? I half remember him asking me. Or am I inventing the memory? Or was going through utilities the first thing I did at home? Where did I get my aversion to automatic backup? In First Choice on the PC? Can that really have been only a year and a half ago? I know it had something to do with poverty. Oh boy! new disks. A day and a half later: huh? how come all my disk are full? I just spent next years budget on the two I just bought. That was after thinking that the ten I got with the machine would last a life time. Suddenly, the disk are filling up. Huh? Where did all these file come from?
I knew from Michael’s Xerox that automatic backup ate space.
Anyway, my point is, my first disposition came from experience: from inexperience. Not zero, just a little. Ah. Who is experienced? Nobody. Even scientists have only had these things for a couple of decades. A hundred and a half years, stretching it. Big business has had them for a couple of decades. And we all know how out of touch they are with their own records and the efficiency of their keeping. I had perpetual Calvinist trauma in the Army and at Stone & Webster at the waste, the redundancy, …
Besides, I knew from my brief inexperience that just weeding could take all your time. I didn’t want to get rid of the frustration of retyping only to become slave to a redundancy garden.
I spend a tremendous amount of time as it is deleting the .bak files from SK.
I bet most people don’t know they’re there. Or they work for a living and just buy more disks. But then, can they ever find anything? The monasteries collected books. and then let them rot. or lost them. or burned them. at best, they didn’t know how to file them. another random sorting of what’s lost and what survives in the memes of the next generation.
I want to be able to read and recognize and interpret my disk directories at a glance. I labor to simplify.
And on the Toshiba, I’ve only lost that one section of letter to BK. On the defective C64 I had only lost that one’s night’s rewriting of a chapter. Devastating at the time, but then, however inspired, it was less than 24 hours work. Inspiration was my daily experience. I was in the midst of the mother lode. Then I figured out a couple of ways to recover most of it. from intentional bak files. It took several days and still wasn’t perfect.
(there are pitfalls too with auto.bak. there are ways in which my occasional deliberate bak is safer. I know (if I’m paying attention which file I’m keeping. I also delete them only deliberately (not counting mistakes, sleepwalking, etc. I have several Beginning baks of several dates. which i can keep. they don’t get automatically eliminated by the software to maintain two. the current and the previous. I also chose my name AND my extension. Only DOS limits both.
I write my novel. I revise. I make a terrible mistake which I don’t notice. I reedit making another, or still not noticing. Whoops, there goes the whole thing, lost. But I have two perfect copies of the error.!!!)
But my point is, I hadn’t given the matter any constitutional time since my first decision (even if that “decision” was made for me at the factory ((but not likely. most software opts for automatic)). BK brings it back up. I can see reason in it. I can see the matter from a perspective impossible a year and a half ago.
So, the founding fathers say, review and rehire or retire your executive every four years. (We’d have even quicker turnovers with Richard IIIs for kings.) Here’s how to add amendments to the constitution. Be careful. We’ve discouraged frivolousness. But we’ve allowed for, invited, flexibility, and feedback.
But then everyone’s devotion is to not considering the defaults. Recite the Bible; don’t think about it. Except … Ahha! Except! Decimate a population and they will think about it. Or their ecological space will think about it. The plague changed Europe marvelously. (Isn’t it wonderful that I can add no responsible comment as to what it did in the middle east or east where it also killed? Such provincialism.
There are protections against diddling with defaults too frivolously. Even when you (an individual ((or even, I suppose, a species (((or even, I suppose, a universe) … whoops. can’t finish that sentence yet. just thought: (the random again) how frivolous is the random? mutation. accident. Chaucer has Saturn ahem “cause” the earthquake in the KT. The renaissance is so funny. what was this little humble christian doing talking about Saturn? was the theological, cosmological glacier thawing? or was it’s being frozen a temporal illusion? In the random, because we didn’t diddle it, or we don’t think we diddled it, or we can’t imagine how we diddle it, or we can’t imagine how it was diddled, does that mean that it wasn’t diddled? The magician reaches into a hat and pulls out … a rabbit. quelle coincidence! comme c’est bizarre. the scientist reaches into the handiest vacuum (the nucleus of an atom still being the only approximation available to him) and finds … !!! And assumes it isn’t diddled.
On ‘a ‘utha hand: reverse the metaphorical habit. perceptual and epistemological cheating can take place among organisms of limited … um … everything. (I mean us, of course. but is there anything that isn’t limited? this limited universe. it’s almost redundant. it’s tautological. so obvious.
to resume. man can lie. may can trick. man can be wrong. and, at least some of the time, man can know it. see the trick. learn skepticism.
we try to “say” the universe by metaphor related to our understanding of ourselves. and our relationships. Our Father… etc. There’s order, so there must be a magician. there’s what we find and there’s what we made. gee, suddenly, what we find makes sense to me, so there must have been a me, a maker.
now we see order in statistics and don’t see a magician. and don’t see a materialism either. assuming free will for ourselves, we don’t think that anyone or anything is making the math come out from behind a screen. who’s “making” the correct, predicted proportion of individuals vote democratic? The storm troopers tell everyone to be orthodox. or else. a few heads roll. a few bodies burn. the multitude is cowed. everybody makes a big show of doing what they’re told. And hidden in the woodwork, there are still jews. conspiracies in the cellar. and i’ll bet in proportions that “could” have been predicted. Like the cotton prices coinciding with brownian motion.
what if that had been our habit for a while. a few generations, a dozen, thousands … what if our language had grown up around such assumptions and we had a more mathematically flexible yet precise grammar. you still have to come to “this is what isn’t in our system” yet order comes out of it. here’s this chaos which is order of a sort we don’t have such simple math for.
order = order we have a math for
chaos = order we don’t have a math for
or haven’t mastered the math for
or don’t perceive the math for.
Now add to the supposition, a magician which the people see. might there not be a reverse supposition. the magician thinks he’s cheating but he’s not. he’s behaving perfectly in accordance with possibilities and probabilities already predicted. say even that they’re wise enough to add: we didn’t know that this guy joe blow would be the self deluded illusionist, only that there could be such and such a distribution of illusions about illusions and cause and effect etc. and here’s one now. bringing it’s own label. joe blow. isn’t it wonderful. he imagines that he’s doing it. the tricking. that he’s conscious. etc. not understanding the random, the chaos, the order, the predictability at all.
oh yes, and he’s likely to imagine that there’s a god who Himself imagines that he’s himself doing things rather than is himself an aspect of their expression.
opposite view. still a set a metaphors. a linguistic and epistemological habit. subject to evolution. and to error and to error correction and to more error.
And of course what’s implicit, lurking, is our old grammar habit of predicate and subject assuming each other. here’s an artifact. it’s made. here’s something. it must have been made. the same logic for part and whole? why?
Now I think I’ll maybe develop the habit of saving certain files twice. This id.now file, eg. Id.bak will automatically be “id.now” bak’d.
lying and suckering gets big bucks. truth gets crucified.
truth = not truth, but attempt at truth, honesty, courage, flexibility.
the possibility of meaning. we know how to talk, but we don’t know what we are saying. if the former, the first phrase is true, does it mean that we can know anything? that possible the second clause could occasionally become untrue? human speech can be meaningless on high levels yet perfectly useful as intended. “Define eat,” the kid in the cereal ad asks. “He’s not qualified.” Implies intellectually, or methodologically, but may mean politically and be perfectly well understood by those who count so to mean. he’s jewish. our quotas are full. if we give him tenure, he’ll show us up. he’s a moralist: he’ll poison our bribe system. can any system afford continual radical revolution? I can’t imagine so. Our role is to be expendable, to be plentiful. so when the system is stressed out, then maybe we can be heard. assassinate a million george washintons, there’ll still be one in 1776. crucify thousands. most crooks, still one will be “god.” the future. the only valid alternative to a better system. “only” there doesn’t mean single. the alternatives may be endless. some actually “better”. more serviceable to this or that possibility in evolution. if it isn’t, it won’t last anyway. not to worry. it’s not in our control, thank god.
lame duck pheenom. Lewis. Richard II. treated like a schmuck while still king! you think it’s the “thing,” but it’s the confidence. when there’s no confidence, no consensus, there’s no king, no government, no presidency, etc. but that too isn’t absolute. even unofficial communication has varying as well as finite speed. Carolyn is fired. there’s no official announcement, no public humiliation as with Teri & Jima. Yet not only does everyone know, it’s officially assumed that everyone knows! what would it be like if I called Carolyn from the store with a management problem? Well, of course, Lewis would answer. But what if I asked for Carolyn? Something I had usually handled with her. Then, I suppose, I’d be told ahem officially. I would have loved to see Nixon in the White House during the last days. I’ll bet he had to struggle for a minimum of his accustomed ahem respect. Bravo Shakespeare, as usual.
The Osterman Horseshit. Some Robert Ludlum for tv. Rutger Hauer and a rather stiff Burt Lancaster. The US still acting like a virgin. Let’s fuck everybody to preserve our virginity. Sorry, you can’t fuck everybody and still be a virgin. Even thinking it shows that you’re not. But the KGB does this and that. So? That’s them. If they rape you, then you’re still chaste, even if not still a virgin. You may still be virginal. But not if you lust for their methods, use them, and act as though you had no choice.
Who can keep up with what a “country” is anyway? The constitution? The Bill of Rights? What a joke. Since when have they applied across the board? If they did, would it be good. Were they ever a good idea? A good idea? Perhaps. But how about a reality? Was it ever workable in a world of sovereign nations, war not illegal, no possible enforcement allowed? Maybe if “progress” could have been stopped. The Yankee Clippers shouldn’t have been allowed.
The FBI fucking everything up. Saying I’m the FBI and everybody suddenly ignores their wounds and genuflects. Big chase scene. They’re kidnapping Hauer’s family. He gives chase. Crashes left and right. Motorcyclist goes sliding. A cab gets an industrial size pipe through the windshield. Not even an I’m sorry.
But they were kidnapping my wife. Oh, then my violent death didn’t hurt.
But the KGB was speeding first. Yeah, but then it would have been the KGB that killed me. This way it’s you.
confusion of logical type. deliberate in politics and patriotism. which USA are we defending on Osterman’s Weekend? Certainly not the one of Jefferson I. Definitely the one of Jefferson II.
definition: is there a class of words that changes definition with setting, circumstance, time, etc? are there any words outside that class? could there be an index or coefficient of definition stability? liberty, law, god, rights, bad, etc.
inside/outside. what’s inside the set; what’s outside?
“proofs” eg of god’s existence or non-existence are formally meaningless (though not without significance) without the definability and then the definition(s) and attendant flexibility first considered.
of course the silent context is and has always been: in our language, in this group here, in this time than which we know no other. my own child’s world was comfortable enough until Dorothy told me she was a Jew. Actually? A real Jew? No cloven hoof? No horns from her head? This was still Dorothy, the girl I went to school with, my friend (even though she practically made me faint when she pinched my nuts) (and then wanted me to suck her sixth grade tits which turned out to be dirty) (but it was Horace she wanted to fuck her). Till then, the idea of tolerance had gone down smooth, so had a horror of prejudice. Likewise, my church’s proclaiming itself to be right, my Sunday school teacher proclaiming himself to know that he was saved, my determination to feel the same conviction, oh, how wonderful to be right, the dark looks, the innuendoes, the occasional confidential outright condemnation of jews, the atmosphere … And this was in an extremely liberal time as history and Manichean cultures go. But here was an actual jew and I already knew her! No monster. A little sluttier than the other girls. But then catholic Arlene, whom I loved, was her friend and Dorothy was forever quoting Arlene as bursting out “Oh, Dorothy, I’m gonna fuck any minute.” Never to me did she say any such thing, but I saw them walking down the street together, whispering back and forth. It just occurred to me: my attraction last year to Radiance and to Flame. Flame was ten and straight up and down. I patted her bottom once and bruised my hand on nothing but her hip bone. But Christ, she looked just like Arlene, the surly Irish sultriness, even before the first ordinary sign of puberty. And Radiance looked like Arlene grown up. And Protestant. Very protestant. And scots instead of Irish. Celtic in spades.
But that’s just my memory of Dorothy running away with associations.
Dorothy wasn’t a monster. For the first time in my conscious life, one of my,the,our double-binds erupted, and hallalleuiah, I decided right away, not instantly but quickly, in months and years if not in seconds minutes or days, but maybe only in minutes with ratification over months (and then a lifetime) that the tolerance was right, that it was right that the prejudice was wrong, and that my church had foisted something bad off on me. I didn’t strangle and go crazy (ie, normal) in the double bind, I cut my way through at least that one and I’ve been comfortable trashing ancient wisdoms ever since. Including the saw that prejudice is wrong. We can’t think without it. So, I kicked it out the window and thirty or forty years later it invites itself back in the door. Call it “discrimination”, but not racial of course. If our ideas about race had any meaning, any correspondence with anything objectively checkable, like blood type, skeletal structure, or even consistent eye color or skin pigment (consistent is the key), then maybe racial prejudice could rationally be entertained. (rational: there’s another one of those words.)
and speaking of formal meaninglessnes: the idea of a prospective employer hiring an ex cop to give a polygraph to a cured pregnant teenage druggie and suicide is too delicious. Mitch accusing of theft. Sure, I’ll take your polygraph if you take mine.
god an artifactual illusion?
One man’s knot is another man’s tangle. A knot is an intended weave, one which can be reversed by the doer. A tangle is also an order, but an unintended one. The Gordian Knot was really a tangle (unless the knot tier was just keeping mum. In any case, it was a tangle to those challenged to “solve” it. Alexander, the embodiment of the genius of civilization for narrow solutions, found a short cut. But short cut just made two tangles, it didn’t solve the weave.
The only “things” that have infinite length are semantic fictions.
Solving a tangle. Keep redefining the “end” as any arbitrary place and tease it. Then return your definition to the “end” you keep regaining control of, one of the two end that there’s no more of. Move the tangle down toward the one end you keep returning to control of. Until you come to the other natural end. the chaos is finite.
One viewer’s horizon is another’s center, point of view. I tend to live at edges of things. The sea shore. The river side. Here I am on the edge of the glades, an inland sea of grass and water. Looking in is looking out.
Rembrant staging his paintings. adding the new level of consciousness of viewing, of a “picture,” of convention, of art(ific[iality]). Now we have actors talking to the audience through the camera. Consciousness of consciousness.
i live my life by letting people think they’ve conned me.
the judge too should be naked
the question is never “is there order?”, but rather “what is the order?” Rather, the question too often is “is there order?” But should not be. Imaginary problems. Artifacts of the procedure, the wrong algorithm.
double standard: anyone showing us the way we show nazi Ger. eg is a liar, propagandist, etc. then look at nazi propaganda. thanks to Leni R. it’s head and shoulders beyond anything else current, but still, its techniques and ideals, running up mountains all the time, are quaint now, dated, old fashioned. it isn’t just the black and white and the small screen and the faded print. but if it weren’t for such entropy, we wouldn’t think we were unique, the first fully dimensional people, the first smart ones, strong, practical, idealistic, etc.
The weekends have been rough. The store busy, the personnel crazy, even the part-time hours long. Monday, January 30th, comes. Before I sleep, I take Marty [a fishing buddy] up to the store and introduce her to Mitch and then to Linda [the owners]. Apparently, Linda will hire her immediately. I have a feeling that she won’t let her even leave the store at the time. Linda also exchanges my defective reel. The old drag wouldn’t lock. A good thing, or the following couldn’t have happened the way it did.
Midafternoon comes. I haven’t slept that much but hey, I’ll catch a couple of hours of daylight. Brian and I had found a left over night crawler in the lettuce of the cooler. I’d put it aside. Now I find another. The two had been living in the cooler for a month and a half. Healthy and perhaps happy amidst the ice and salad greens. What the hell: I’ll use them.
I had heard people say that the fishing guides did well because they used wild shiners. So I’d asked a couple of them. “No, not anymore,” Bill Robinson says. “Too hard to catch.” “No, the domestic,” Fishin Frank, a lure man, says; “we should buy them. It’s a business.”
Still, I ask the two Bills, when you do go for wild shiners, how do you catch them? Nets? “No. Cane poles. Dough balls. Used to catch a hundred in a half hour.”
I’ll use my two worms. It’s about time.
“Use the tiniest hook you can find,” Bill had said.
Down to the pond. I don’t even push the canoe off from shore. I cut off one tenth of one worm. Tiny hook. Maybe ten inches from hook to bobber for shallow water. Christmas! It isn’t three seconds before I’ve got a little brim dangling in the boat. A brim isn’t a shiner, but maybe the bass won’t care. Into the bait bucket he goes. If the brim got any of my fraction of worm to keep, I can’t tell. I don’t miss it. I readjust the worm bit back around the barb. The second brim takes maybe five seconds. I’ve got six of varying sizes in the bait bucket before one brim swallows the hook and I have to cut another bit of worm. After a dozen brim crowd the bait bucket I go right on catching brim but releasing them. Another swallows the hook. He’s not going to survive. So a thirteenth goes into the bucket. My fault. As it had been last time. I’m not as attentive now. Not setting the hook quick enough. The poor thing shouldn’t have had time to get it that far down.
More inattention. I’m dream-gazing at the bobber. The action has slowed a bit as the population has largely either transferred to artificial quarters or has a sore mouth. Think I’ll start fishing one of the brim from my other cane pole. I put a weedless hook onto the snap swivel and I’m ready to start putting my catch to work. I’m gazing at the bobber and feeling around off the port side of the canoe for the bait bucket when I touch something funny. Hmm. That’s not plastic. I glance over. My hand is right on a snake who’s wrapped himself around the bait bucket! I look at him. He looks at me. He makes no move to bite. What is it? That same banded water snake that’s been cruising the whole time I’ve been here? Or that moccasin? Maybe the same one from yesterday. No, what ever he is, he’s less fat than yesterday’s water moccasin. Anyway, long fractions of a second later, I move my hand. I haul the bucket in by the line. The snake reluctantly moves off.
I catch a round hundred brim before I decide it’s time to head for the western side of the pond. The side everyone says has the big bass.
“Gee, Paul,” Fishin Frank [one of my favorite characters here] says, “I’m gonna have to restock that pond.” This is after I tell him of my marathon hours of no bass. Then a couple of little ones which I throw back. “Of course I don’t know what I’m doing,” I remind him. “I missed those strikes out in the glades the other night. Maybe I don’t even know the right speed to retrieve at.” “Most of the bass must be gone; you’d have got something.”
For weeks, others as well have been saying there’s no bass there anymore. Ray [a neighbor] caught a five pounder in the pond, but that was last year. On the other hand, he says he released it after he took its picture. You can kill all the fish by pollution or something, but never by catching them all.
I paddle over toward the other side. The wind is blowing to the west. I’ll need to use the paddle to stay off the shore. Off the reeds, that is. My anchor is still at the bottom somewhere from when the rope broke last week. I’ll either paddle to stay out or drift in and cast out. Better to be offshore and cast in. By the time I drift the remainder of the way I’ve got the other cane pole baited up with brim, bobbered and overboard. The seat frame holds each sprouting from the stern on either side. Now I prepare my spinning rod. I’d switched the old spool with its 8 lb test Stren, but I need to tie on a new swivel. I try a jelly worm. Working the worm, I’m not paying strict attention to either bobber, but that’s ok. I may lose one, but too the fish may hook itself. With all the gar out here, you can drive yourself crazy watching them tease the bobber. On the other hand, a bass will just take it and run. Ok, so if he does, maybe he’ll hook himself. Maybe I’ll see it in time. Maybe I’ll lose him. It’s ok. I’m just unwinding. Going through a physical meditation. I don’t need the fish. Not to eat. My ego doesn’t need it either. Let the others talk about their fish. I’m just as happy to talk about my incompetence. I’d still rather throw the worm, count, retrieve it, the slower the better, count a slow twenty, and retrieve it again. Sometimes, I count a slow twenty, begin my retrieve and find that the worm has been dangling from the tip in the dark. I’ve been sitting there with no chance of a fish, listening to my heart beat. It’s ok. The fish isn’t really why I’m here. Counting slowly to twenty, then slowly retrieving ten elderly if not doddering turns, then counting the twenty, then the ten, casting and counting … for a month! has been fine for me. I’m not writing my novel. I’m not selling anything. I’m hardly even thinking about it. Casting and counting. Let it sink. Let it sit on the bottom. Twitch it just enough to nod the head and maybe turn the tail, imagining life in the dark water, how a worm might live … what it might be up to, how long it itself might meditate before swimming on …
I cast and count. Cast and count. Sometimes I check the bobbers. Sometimes I haul the poor brim up, see if it’s alive, and throw it back. It’s getting dark. The mosquitoes are coming out. I retreat to the trailer. Don jeans and a long sleeve shirt. Spray myself. Back out again. I change the green worm to the grape with the white tail. Joe [who gave me my first private airboat fishing trip] caught bass on these. And I did get those tugs. Just no fish. I cast to the lily pads. I cast toward the reeds. I cast where Wes [a neighbor] nailed that bass. I cast where I caught the couple of little ones on minnows. Over toward the hydrilla. Maybe that mud fish is still there. Not that I really want to catch a mud fish. Would a mud fish take a worm? A jelly worm? At least I haven’t wasted my time with gar when casting the jelly worm. A fight, but then a pain. I don’t even want to touch them.
Whoops. There goes the bobber. I set the hook. Whatever it is is on all right. Speaking of gar: a little one. I hit it behind the head with the paddle. It spits out the hook and dies. One less gar. A bigger one takes the other brim. I hit it behind the head. It dies, locking up on my hook. Even with the pliers I can’t get its jaws open. I throw the corpse back with my hook still in it. New hook. New brim. I forget whether I got two, three, or four gar. Whatever it was, it was slow fishing compared to swinging a brim in every few seconds or every other minute. Those two worms catching a hundred brim! In what? Maybe an hour? Anyway, it’s slow. Then a total lull. No gar. No nothing. Cast. Lock the drag. Count. Retrieve. Let it sink again. Count. Retrieve.
I keep drifting away from the corner with the hydrilla. Back to the corner where even Marty [one boss live-bait bank fisherman (gender: very female)] didn’t catch but the one small bass that afternoon. Me zip, her the one fish. Then nary a nibble for either of us. I paddle one handed. The wind has died down. I drift back into the reeds more and more slowly each time. I’ve been at this for hours now. Pegasus is down toward the horizon. Couldn’t see Pisces since a long time now. Perseus, as he has for millennia, is still chasing up Andromeda’s skirt. I notice how much Mars has drifted over toward Jupiter. Cast. Count. Retrieve. What the fuck I am doing out here? I’m not even brushing the mosquitoes away any more. They’ve been biting my flanks. The soft part of my back, a few inches above my belt. Right through two shirts? Two layers of cotton! The damn roll-on repellent is seeping into my mouth, making my tobacco taste like a styptic pencil. Well, what the hell. I’ll start to head back. Another cast to the reeds. Shit. It’s tangled. I cast it right around the cattail. Maybe I can pull it loose.
Stupid. Impatience. Always before this, I’d paddle over. Feel my way in the dark down the monofilament to the hook and tease it loose. Now I’ve just lost hook, worm and swivel. I tie on another. In the dark. How good a knot can that be? What am I doing? I was just about to head back. What the heck, I can’t see so well in the day time anymore either. Well, cast along this southern shore as you go. Try the deep water. Everybody says the bass lie up in the reeds. Can’t they swim deep too? The fish aren’t jumping any more. It’s dead. Go home. Here. Cast back toward the hydrilla. Pish. Your mightiest cast goes a big fifteen feet. Not half way toward half way. I don’t even know where the shelf is out here. At least you won’t be pulling the worm over the underwater hydrilla in those shallows, thinking every snag is a strike. “When they strike, you’ll know it,” Fishin Frank had said. Not you. Even if one did, you’d miss it now. You’re not paying attention. I don’t know. Maybe it’s not so deep there. Wasn’t that some hydrilla just then? Can’t be. You’re way out now. That wasn’t a tug was it? That little, tentative thing? I’m retrieving so slowly, it had to be the worm sleeping on a weed. I don’t know. This is deep water. Set the hook. Don’t take a chance. If it was a bass, you already missed it five seconds ago.
I haul ass. The rod tip goes up vertical. Christ! That’s a fish! I’ve hooked it! No, you haven’t; the line’s retrieving. Christ, no, it isn’t. It’s stuck. Never, on a spinning rod, had I been unable to crank the shaft. I put some strength into it. The crank turns but the line goes screaming out! Whatever it is, it isn’t a little one. Holy Christ! I feel the vibration in my churning heart, in my frozen shoulders. The canoe shakes. Leviathan has broken the water and crashed back down onto it! I don’t even know where I am any more. The line retrieves. Easily. Keep tension. Don’t lose it. Play it for all it’s worth. If you lose the fish, it’s ok, but get a play. More, more. Try not to lose it, but get more play. Jesus, the knot I tied in the dark. This stinking 8 lb test I’ve been meaning to strengthen all this time. At least the drag works. Oh, my God. The rod bends double. Not the cane pole; the Sillstar. I’ve never had anything make one of these go double. She’s going under the canoe. Don’t let her cut the line. It’ll break soon enough as it is.
Now I feel like an idiot to have all these other rods and lines bristling over the canoe. I elbow the one aside. I do my best to keep tension on the line. I’m glad I thought to make sure the drag was set on the light side. 8 lb test!
She tries going out again. I keep the tension. Another dive. But she doesn’t get to go under the canoe. Suddenly, she surfaces. But she’s not jumping. I see a monster expanse of white. A mouth like a funnel yawns at the surface. Christ, I could put my whole arm down there! BIG Mouth Bass! She could swallow me and the canoe! But she floating on her side. That mouth is like the air scoop on a jet. Like she’s exhausted. Gulping air. Well, why not? So am I exhausted, and I don’t have a hook in me! (I’m also, as I’ll discover in another few minutes, fifteen, sixteen times more massive than she is, big as she is for a bass.)
Now the rod guides her to the side of the canoe like a well trained dog in a show. She goes back over onto her side. What the hell am I going to do now? How am I going to get this monster into the canoe? Does she have teeth? Do I dare touch her mouth? The gar have got me spooked. Rod [a neighbor] said even the Oscars can take a finger. Maybe she carries a gun. All I know is she’s still on the line. The line hasn’t broken! It’ll break for sure if I try to lift her by it. I’ve already had my thrill, but I wouldn’t want her to leave with the hook still in her. No, dammit. I’ve caught her. I want her. People have to see this.
What a mess. No. Actually, I still look fairly well organized. The cane poles are behaving. The bobbers are still bobbing. I have this bass clear of everything.
I knock the cane poles to the rear. The bait bucket is trailed to the stern. The only thing I’m not trailing is a long string of other keepers. It occurs to me that I might use my fish string to string her while she’s still in the pond. Christ, her mouth is open wide enough. It’s not stretched like it was, but it’s open. But no, I’m using the string for the bait bucket. If I start juggling that … No. I decide to paddle for shore. I’ll steer her between the rocks and wangle her up onto the bit of shore where we beach the canoe. Then, if the line breaks, I’ll have a chance to tackle her. On land. Just like I did that nine and a half pound striper after she’d bent my treble hooks straight. That was twenty years ago. On Naucet Beach.
I lead her like a dog. I paddle with my left hand alone. Both over the port side. It’s like towing two anchors. The bait bucket is still dragging too. I don’t dare haul that in. I have to keep my attention on my fish. It’s slow going, but I’m still concentrating on her. She’s showing her belly the whole time. Finally, the shore. I knock the cane poles out of the way and weave my rod and my fish through to a clear path for shore. I keep low as I work my way toward the grounded bow. If she thrashes again, I don’t want to join her in the drink. But she behaves. Heedless of snakes, I drag her between the rocks and up onto the long grass. The line is still intact. I see my worm for the first time. Wow, she’s really trashed it. Nothing but a big Eagle Claw hook in her kisser, the jelly worm hanging off by a shred. I strip it and toss it aside. Now I’m worried about hurting her. I tease and probe and finally free the barb. The hook is out. I’ve got my light on her. No teeth. No gun. I finally take her by the mouth. I’m no judge of weight, but that’s heavy! I can hold her up, but it takes muscle.
The canoe is secure for the moment. I abandon everything in it. God. What time is it? The Nicholson’s [a family with three junior fishing buddies] lights are on. I didn’t mention it, but while catching the brim, I’d shared the canoe with Greg and Lisa and Rachel. I’ve got to show the kids. Or at least their parents. I knock. The door opens. Even the little one is still up and sitting on the floor. That’s right. Their dad works nights and they often stay up all night. Even go to the construction site with him. Greg’s eyes bulge. Then Lisa sees it. They want hold it. Even Greg buckles at first. This is one heavy fish.
I see the tv light in Marty’s tent. Now I look at my watch. Nine thirty. Past her bed time. Still. I hear the tv. “Marty. Troy. [her husband] Open up.” I flash my light at the tent. Never so rude. “You got to see this bass. Marty.” Mutter. Mumble. “Wow.”
I don’t know who it was who peeked out, but I’m off. Gerry’s [my next door neighbor] light is not on. But this is Gerry. Not a married woman I’m maybe too friendly with. “Gerry. Wake up. Rous. Wacht auf. Fire. Outside. Quick.”
“Christ All Mighty!” Gerry says I’ve got to take it to the store and weigh it. At the top of the ramp, of all people, we run into Fishin Frank.
He says impressed things, nice things, but then adds: “She’s really pregnant. It’s too bad it’s too late to release her.”
Oh shit. Back to reality where nothing is ever all of one tone. My heart is still racing like mid-fuck, I’m still as excited as can be, but what a downer. The pond has been poor for catching bass, for everybody, and now I’ve just killed all future generations! If I’d have known what I was doing I’d have run her down to the water at that moment. Not released her, but revived her. Or tried. Then weighed the revived fish. Then whatever. Then I’d have the option of releasing her. Let her mate. At that moment I wanted to sperm her eggs myself.
But it was the store I went on to. Shirley’s [employee off duty] mouth drops open as I pass. Gary and Wayne [air boat mechanics] actually leave the chickee. Gary accompanies us to the store. Sarah’s on her way to work. “Sarah, look.”
Sarah isn’t really focused yet. Must have just awakened. She’s looks at me, not at what I’m holding. Then she sees it. “There’s a scale in the bait room,” some one reminds me. There’s not much left of my strength as I try to lift her onto the pan. A hair the short side of 9. “Eight point nine pounds,” I announce. Figure the point nine as fourteen and maybe another half an ounce. A similar hair under 24 inches I later measure, from lower jaw to an imaginary point on an imaginary edge between her flared tail fins.
More talk about how pregnant she was. Down we go to the launching dock to try to bring her around. I thought to take off my shoes but not my watch or to roll up my pants or my sleeves as I wade out into the water with her. “Move her back and forth. Hold her mouth open,” Frank says. “Move the water through her gills.” When I had revived fish before, I had always just held them upright till they came around. I’d feel the shock pass, feel them go still, then kick and be free. “You don’t have to have her upright,” Frank advises. “Don’t rub her belly on the concrete. Get her into deeper water.”
“Gary,” I ask, “can you keep your light out for gators?”
Gary keeps his light on the fish. I don’t figure the gator will come for me, but they’ll sure come for the fish and I’ll lose my ass for being in the way. I glance over my shoulder but keep at my main business. Gary takes more pictures. He took more pictures of me trying to give her artificial respiration than he took of me holding her up.
An hour later she gives a twitch and lays over again. With Frank and Gary agreeing that she’s was gone after all, and me still half wanting to keep her, I give it up. Gary cuts her open and takes the roe. Frank doubts that the eggs are fertilizable. “She’s not ready,” he judges. Gary ices them down anyway, promising to keep a look out for male fish coming in. I weight her again. Point eight pounds of roe gone! Figure thirteen ounces.
“Murderer,” Frank whispers in my ear. He leans to my ear again. “I’m jealous,” he says. “Beginners’ luck,” he confides to someone the next day. Quite correctly.
Now that she’s cut open, I go ahead and gut her. Throw her in the cooler. That’s a big cooler and she fills it.
I’m soaking wet. I wouldn’t notice till the next day that my watch was fogged and not showing any readout. My stupid wet pants are now rolled to the knee and my sleeves are soaked. Still, all my stuff is in the canoe. I hope. I don’t expect too many mid-night thieves at the lake side. Sure enough, it’s all there. I still ignore the snakes and begin ordering everything. As I go to take in the big cane pole, first there’s resistance, and then a fight! The biggest gar I’ve ever caught! I kill it with the paddle, sacrifice the hook, and feed the gators. What a day’s fishing.
It wasn’t till the second night that we cooked her. Marty and Troy and Bo [my neighbor, their buddy and roomie], Storm, and Josh [Bo’s kids that Marty takes care of]. Lisa and Greg and Rachel and Janie, with Bill getting a plate saved for him. Gerry had his in his trailer, not wanting to infect the party with his cold. Jason and Jeremy too [employees’ kids and my fishing buddies]. Little Garry had to be chased. With me, that’s fourteen people feasting. Lisa and Janie and I cut, shredded, and peeled the fruit, onions, and salad stuff while Marty stuffed the fish, gutted and scaled but otherwise whole. Troy and Bo made the fire. Oranges and grapefruit, raisins, apple, seeded grapes, and a little banana stuffed her mouth and gut and smothered her. Then a ton of onions, garlic and ginger. My perfect rice and an amazing potato salad from Marty. About two quarts of my pickles may have been her secret. If we had ruined her, that bass still would have been something, but she was as good a fish as I’ve ever eaten. Thanks especially to Marty and maybe a little luck too.
It must have been five times that Storm asked me, “Are you really going to eat the head?” The eye was what got him especially.
Earlier that day I’d gone up to the store where Mitch has all his trophy bass hanging over the cash register. Now, I know he doesn’t stuff every big one he catches. His catches routinely are awesome. Just the same, it was still another thrill for me to discover, upon holding my tape measure up to the trophy on the end to see it at least an inch shorter. Of the five there in a row maybe one is close.
The fishing guides post photos of their prize catches on the counter. One nine and a quarter for the whole season! Does that mean that mine is the second biggest fish to be reported at Everglades Holiday Park this year?
Fishin Frank told me that same day that one could count rings in a fish’s scales: one ring for each year. Like a tree. I peel off a scale, put on my glasses … and don’t see anything. Then I get the magnifying glass. “There’s a way of staining them,” Frank explains. Then I start to see it. Six rings easily counted, then a crowd of marks. So she’s at least six or seven. And that crowd could mean several more years on her.
As I say, she wasn’t carrying a gun. And once I had gotten her safely ashore, I could see that her mouth, however huge in proportion to her size, hadn’t grown teeth nonexistent or invisible on the little bass I’d caught years ago. Of course as soon as I’d hefted her I’d felt and then seen the little ridges that act like barbs for the bass, preventing anything going in from sliding back out. Well, the next day, my thumb is hurting. It’s covered with the little cuts like I used to get when beer cans first came out with pop tops. The early ones cut like hell. You didn’t feel them at first. And still didn’t after you’d drunk a bunch of them. But then a day or two later. My friends and I were perpetually lacerated in those days. Gee, I’ve got a paper cut, I think to myself. I cast back over cartons I’ve opened or boxes I’ve thrown out in the store. Then I realize. You don’t hang a nine pound monster off your thumb for hours and hours, holding her up again the next day for more people to see, holding her by her little barbs, and not discover: she has teeth after all.
A week and a couple of days later I’m still hearing rumors about it. Some talk. Wow.
The down side is, the pond is suddenly full of noisy guys crashing and splashing about. Trolling motors and everything.
Then yesterday: a fair size mud fish on a worm fragment and the smallest hook I have. My new cane pole. Fiberglass with a little reel. I play it and play it. This time, from the picnic table that sits a couple of feet off the water. Still no net. The crummy line the rod came with. It’s ok, I’m getting a nice play. I don’t have to land it. Still it would be nicest if I could. I walk the dog with it, back and forth, to make sure it’s totally spent. I try playing him closer and each of four times he has another spurt. Finally, him turning on his side for the third time, I figure that’s it. I’ll try swinging him up and over the table. If the line is going to break, it will be now. Or the hook will give. Sure enough, my rod comes up straight, but he’s on the land, broken line sprouting from his mouth. Mud fish, I hear, have teeth, so I’m being careful of this guy. At least it’s light. I get the stringer through him, feeding it in through the gill so I don’t have to put my fingers near his mouth. Sure enough, I see and feel the teeth as the needle comes through. I take him to Marty to confirm. Troy is just home too. “You sure are catching all the big fish,” Marty says.
I’d just been fishing with Greg and Lisa, so I take it to them next. Lisa wants to show it to her dad. “Can I tell him I caught it?” she asks. “Sure. Take him on alone.”
I go back to my stuff. There’s my cane pole, line, bobber, swivel, and hook, worm and all, still intact. So it was someone else’s tackle hanging out of his mouth! He just threw the hook the second the tension was changed. That’s how close I was to losing him. He sure tried for the weeds. A lily pad would have done it for him. I didn’t let him. With a little luck.
Today too, a good size brim and an oscar. Both darted for the lily pads. The oscar made it, but I coaxed him back out. Now he’s filleted and ready for breakfast.
phr: descend into life
you have to choose by whom you’ll be held in contempt.
deleted from bk.drf: 2/18/89
I joke about being in love with a ten year old girl. We talk about early sexuality as we drive to the Keys. I tell you a little more about Nabokov and how understanding Humbert has changed how I think about and look at little girls and how I allow myself to feel about it. Humbert conspired to do something about it. But then, he really fell in love. No joke.
But naturally you see the truth in the joke too. Lisa is the second girl in my life with whom I am close buddies, a sort of father or uncle or something, big brother, etc. And yet there’s a big dose of sexuality in it too. A good kind. A kind you don’t have to wake up next to. A kind you don’t squabble over bills with. Of course, you don’t get laid either, but that’s all right.
Well, I just went from one sort of nymphet experience to another radically different in twenty-four hours! Yesterday, Lisa can’t go out in the canoe. We fish from the shore. Lisa goes home and Rachel replaces her. We move from the canoe to the picnic table. Did you see it? It’s stuck down at the shore amid the maiden cane. Right now the water level is so low that even the table’s attached seat which was left intact on the water side is above the water. I haven’t seen high or normal water level, but I imagine that it’s up to the table and might occasionally cover it. but now it’s lower and weeds are exposed under the “seat.” Rachel right away starts to put her feet down there. I warn her about snakes. I don’t tell her not to, I just warn her. A minute later, she’s leaning out over the water. Rachel, don’t do that. Greg is busy with his own line and not pestering his sister about her dangers. I tell Rachel that if she has to sit down there to sit between my knees where I can be sure she’s not falling in. She does. The next thing I know, she’s using my knee as an arm rest. Her head falls repeatedly against my chest or side or where ever it falls. I hold her hand holding the cane pole to try to help her with the timing of setting the hook. Rachel is the only one without a single fish that day. She doesn’t seem to mind. Lisa had been outcatching everybody at first. Then Greg caught on and started catching bass even over on our campers’ side of the pond. Of course, I’m spending more than half my time cutting bait and disgorging hooks and untangling crossed lines. But that’s ok. I like that better than the fishing part of the fishing. Like that time I went off to ski K27 and then rushed right back to the beginners area to ski with you and Chris. Anyway, I’m in ecstasy. The ecstasy of a father with no daughters. No wonder her real father jumps onto her bed to nuzzle her every morning. (Janie telling me why Rachel gets up happy and Lisa gets up grumping and ordering her mother around.
Then today. I finish at the store this morning at 6 am midway though a five or ten minute game of chess I had just begun with the security guard (Tod, not Running Bear). I’m playing like an idiot but he’s no better. Anyway, we go back to my trailer to finish the game. I clobber him. Then on to backgammon. Clobber him twice, and to bed. 2:30 I just open my eyes, put on the coffee, and fumble with the synthesizer. (I am crazy in love with Gettin It Togetha by Bobby Timmons, a black soul church blues with a heart rending /Root chord, IVth chord, Root Seventh/ chord progression: A minor, D, A. “Knock, knock,” Lisa’s voice says outside. “Who’s there?” I ask, knowing full well. “It’s Lisa. Can I come it?” “Of course.” “Wanna go fishin?” “Of course.” It turns out again that she can’t go out in the canoe. We go to the store and get worms. By the time I gather my stuff she’s already sitting in the canoe and has caught a brim. We’re out a tad earlier than usual, she (actually all three of them) having missed school today. I start to organize my stuff and … holy jesus.
Now Lisa is a girl who seeing her underpants is like seeing her jeans or her sneakers. Nothing immodest or coy or obscene or anything but normal about it. Even when she was sitting on the ground with her father as he repacked the greese in his hub, she was seated cross-legged on the ground, wearing her pants like a cheerleader wears her color coordinated overpanties. She doesn’t move to change position as I or anyone else approache(s). And her father doesn’t suddenly tackle her and turn her around. Normal. Fine. And I enjoy seeing her growing body, incipient details that I love in a mature woman, especially before they turn fatty or flabby or grossly overhaired: where the tendons join the inside of the thigh to the groin. Where the buttock joins both. I love to look at Lisa and I look there the same as I look everywhere. No more than at her hands or at the bruises or scrapes on her arm or knee. But this time! Are her panties transparent? Or is it just the way the light is hitting that particular material? Or am I up earlier than usual to be sitting with her?
There, clear as a bell, is a little girl’s unhaired pussy. A perfect line. Beginning and ending just where it should but utterly without additional paraphernalia. Not a bristle. Absolutely darling. I haven’t seen one that clearly since I was in the sixth grade or so. And never through fabric. What was it? Satin? It was like it was wet. Well, there it is again for the next hour or so. Just adorable. The perfect curve. And still, in my mind, perfectly modest. She wasn’t flashing. She’s just a young girl quite comfortable with herself and with me. And no doubt utterly unaware, not that her pants were showing, but what was showing through her pants. Not at all like my feeling last year when Flame flashed herself right in my face just as she’d asked me to fix the table so I’m crawling around underneath it. But Flame was wearing leotards or something. It was just her sudden position, not her dress or undress.
Well, after a while, Lisa is called home and I go on fishing with Greg. Throughout the rest of the evening, … goyng: there’s that perfect not quite pussy in my mind’s eye. Hmm. Now, what’s next? Will that be the end of my fascination?
I spent my very young years staring at a variety of pussy. Then from fifteen or so on again. But there had been that hiatus. From undressing with Carol in maybe the sixth grade, and those experiences with Dorothy in maybe the seventh to when I was fifteen and with Shiela: no pussy for those couple of years. From hairless or just getting hair and me only partly knowing what to do with it to fully haired, lubricated and heaving. The middle steps missing. So, I know little little girl pussy and adult woman pussy, ages fourteen or fifteen to sixtyish, but I had missed the just around puberty part. We were being especially modest around then. I started to say something to Babs once, and she had always started looking for a place to take her pants off as soon as I turned her way, but we were more toward the eighth grade then and she just left the room. Went home. I think Carol was the only one from the time I started getting erections to when I was with Shiela. But I wasn’t very exploratory with Carol. We just mostly looked at each other. “Show it to me small,” she said. I couldn’t. I tried and tried. “Now,” I’d say. We’d run to the garage. But it was too late. By the time I got it out, there it was again. Standing and harkening.
Anyway, Carol was a long time ago. My memories of Babs and Nancy and Betsy and Ann and Cathy and Gene, etc. are more numerous and clearer.
It’s the ten and twelve and thirteen year old stuff that was a gap. Lisa just filled it for me. I don’t think I need anything more.
I keep thinking of Mandelbrot sets. Dreaming them. Imagining stories that take place in them, plays that have them for a stage (gradually revealed through lighting, etc). One major epistemological problem we have had and continue to have and is likely to erode only slowly has to do with how heavily we rely for our thought models on the relatively little that we’ve figured out. We’re not bad at ordinary geometry and algebra, so we assume the world matches the math we can do. Linear equations, linear thinking. How long will it take for this non-linear stuff to sink in? Are we capable of it sinking in at all? I think so. Slowly. Or unless a catastrophe wipes the slate almost clean. (I interpose another perennial thought: evolutionary thought has been a Lite beer commercial between those who shout “gradualism” and those who answer “catastrophe.” Tastes great; less filling. No doubt the designers of that commercial want us to understand (believe, rather) that Lite tastes great AND is less filling, but like Ivan Yavolovitch’s wife, in Gogol’s The Nose, the human mind sees things in either or alternatives: you can have a cup of coffee or a roll, but not coffee and a roll. “Which would you like?” she asks him. “Good, let the fool eat bread,” she thinks to herself; “that will leave two cups of coffee for me.” The evidence is quite clear now, to me, that evolution works gradually until there is a catastrophe, and then it works rapidly. The end of the Cretaceous Period, eg. A revolution, on a human time scale.) I believe that human intelligence, like species’ intelligence, or the intelligence of an ecology, may come into play after a catastrophe: no more kings, no more priests, no more touching hot stoves, no more democracy: it could be anything. But it’s always around in little things. Gradualism is true too.
Anyway, we’re good at solving linear equations, so we want everything to be linear. Few things are linear, but we treat everything we’re aware of as though they were. But what a powerful model the Mandelbrot set is! And the Lorenz Attractor, etc.
So: what’s linear, but doesn’t correspond to anything linear, so sometimes seems not to exist when we stagger drunkenly toward a posture we call pessimistic or cynical or something, when we can no longer stand how we’ve staggered into a similarly absurd posture of optimism, peace, etc? Our idea of “progress.” So Chekov has a great story in which someone is watching a boat rowing against the wind; row one boat length forward to be blown two boat lengths back. Fin du siecle.
But how about the Mandelbrot set as a metaphor for human (or many other possible) histories, destinies, freedoms? You (a point, a pair of coordinates distilled from multidimensional experience, think that you’re progressive on something. You work your way merrily along an edge of something, looking with contempt on those who are, from your perspective, stuck in the middle, part of a filigree, when lo and behold, you pass somebody going the other way, only he’s looking at you as reactionary, stuck in the middle, and preening himself on being filigree.
If you could get to a third dimension to look at your two dimensions, you’d see that it’s all filigree: filigree make equally of coordinates and of emptiness. Which is a Mandelbrot set: little shore lines? or lots of emptiness? You can’t tell, cause it’s infinitely deep. Shoreline made of emptiness. Or emptiness made of shorelines.
Is it shore line or is it emptiness? Is life phallic or yonic? The presence or the emptiness?
The Middle Ages had a big thing where you either allied yourself with those who favored the perfection of the Lily or with those who argued for the Leaf. Tastes great; less filling.
movie: J&S dialogue but all visuals extensional, “real” life, ahem, the modern “real” being precisely the opposite of the medieval Real, which was ahem Platonic.
shorelines. discontinuities. inside outside. of course the fragment of shoreline (us) can’t see the set! then we wouldn’t be inside, we’d be outside. then how come I can see/imagine even this fragment of imperfect image of an outside? how come we can say that the universe is a balloon, expanding, everything in the surface of what’s really not only another dimension but another sort of dimension, a different logical type? are we kidding ourselves? or are the disjunctures too imperfect? We are of both the whole and the part! No two of us the same mix. Jesus, Buddha the direction toward the whole, the man in the street in the direction toward the part. God is pure whole, Jesus a mix, the rest of us toward the parts. But the Trinity is mix as we are mix, the god who isn’t, purely an ideal abstraction, a idea of the impossible, the whole with no parts. But neither can there be a part with no whole. Can there be a sub-program, a conscious, a real human mind with no whole? None whatsoever? I don’t believe it. An extensional pure god is a contradiction in terms, a semantic pathology. Unless it’s understood the way we supposedly understand a point, or an infinity. There’s no such THING. Thing meaning one or close to one: meaning extensional.
time flows in the common sense, common experience direction of entropy for common sense, common experience things; for negentropic things, for progress, for evolution, time may flow in the negentropic direction. eg. historically, Hinduism is older than Xity. But theologically, philosophically, epistemologically, the older may be the descendant: god wanted to know human experience.
paradox occurs only in single explanation systems.
taking test successfully requires a level of stupidity that not all intelligent people are capable of.
ss: ?: is G good? jury’s been out for twenty billion years. J finally catches GED ahem testing people on “knowledge” that requires the assumption that the verdict will be Yes.
GED: another fucking bureaucratic acronym, meaningless, designed to pretend that we ought to know something the bureaucracy pretends is familiar. intimidation, power. the main message of the GED is however excellently in accord with the main message of school: get points for guessing what we guess you(r parents, elders, superiors, leaders, bosses) guess we guess you want to think. so the absurdities can continue. global commercial plans calling itself isolationism. we don’t want the politics; we just want the money. with no complications, please. when they come, they’ll be your fault. we’ll then label you communist, subversive, illiterate, stupid. you wouldn’t pass our test. more briefly: reading is knowing what we mean before you start to read. that’s why speed reading is possible. and preferable. then you won’t, can’t, think. we don’t ask for the “truth value” of our answers; only that they agree with the group agreeing with itself. social studies p 13. “Doing time” “In this city, accused criminals are better off pleading guilty and accepting a bench trial presided over by a judge. (jury convictions jailed for 220 months, bench trials 150 months) doesn’t say anything about possible innocence. not justice, your honor, but let’s cop a plea, we’ll be better off. don’t risk a jury even if you didn’t do it. once you’re accused, you’re guilty, and are better off with the 150 months. the judges are soft; your peers are harder. Note the wording: “accused criminals,” not “not yet convicted criminals, fearing a correct verdict.”
we supposed to judge Crazy Horse’s “meaning”, George Washington’s intent. How can there be a correct answer there? That’s pure supposition, however educated. What we can judge is what the words infer, imply, mean as we understand them. we can further inform our estimate, our guess with knowledge about 18th American English, GW’s other statements together with his and 18th-cen american actions. etc.
p 11. Reuters quote. now we’re supposed to be able to answer ahem “correctly” “which one of the following is an example of a learned, not an instinctive, behavior?” Now a high school diploma applicant is supposed to know correctly what biologists and psychologists etc are still arguing about?
and how’s this? the test is supposed to test understanding of cause and effect. haven’t they been reading any current philosophy, science, epistemology? a cybernetic cause is thrown in on p 16. I’ll bet it’s the one “least likely to be considered a cause.” But again we’re guess. It’s not knowledge, thought the guess may be informed. The tv contests are more honest. guess which sandwich most people in the audience named before the show. watercress and avocado. wrong. it was tuna fish.
also p 16. “Virginia was united” not Virginia included west virginia. you have to know what they mean to understand what they so sloppily say. reading the whole paragraph an informed person can infer the meaning. but not deduct. always, we are forced into the default assumption that they know what they’re doing whether it’s warranted or not.
the GED does not pass my English exam. it does however by definition pass its own. it’s the authority.
music may be temporal, but is it linear? In part. The question that just occurred to me is: is time linear? In part also? (of course that didn’t just occur to me; it just occurred to me from a new angle. in a new (and unique (necessarily)) context. Harmony is non linear though it may have both temporal and spatial linear expressions.
Fire in the Everglades: Late Feb., early March fires, filling the horizon. Mar 10, I arrive back at EHP, it’s a Friday evening, and the whole horizon is red and black. The wind is blowing like hell. It’s snowing a white soot. From my angle on the approach road, I don’t thing my trailer is burning, but I’m not at all sure about the store. As I get closer I see that the fire is across the canal but could leap it at any moment. I’m told they’ve hosed down the palm frond roofs of the chickee huts. Not well enough, I can’t imagine. An interesting perspective on different people: their reactions. JoAnn is in a panic. Gerry is taking pictures. People asking if they should evacuate. I go home and have dinner. At least I’ll be fed no matter what happens.
Rob stops by and tells me that some official group started it. Fire bombs from a copter. My reaction is: oh, if the Fed did it, whatever crime, we’re supposed to think it’s all right. No, he meant that they started it as a back fire to keep the big fire from jumping the canal. Maybe, but the back fire could have done it by itself. Louis says that no one called to warn us. I see fire fighters wandering around the glades. After a couple of hours, the back fire is out. It worked. By 3 am, the main fire is diminished. Under control, Fish&Game says. Maybe. Maybe it’s the big fire of last week or so, having burned underground, popping back up again.
So tonight, Mar 13, Melvin and I are fishing along the boat launch area. What’s that, he says, another fire? I look up and the sky is red and yellow, with light beams shot through it. No smoke. A little fog maybe. The moon is bright but not bright enough or at the right angle to be sending those beams. Certainly not the dock lights. And certainly not an airplane coming. Wrong scale by many degrees and not moving. No question then, I say: it’s Martians.
Gary is running around. Do you see the red light?
Fishin Frank has an explanation that seemed unlikely at first but now strikes me as the probably correct one: the aurora. All the way down in the Everglades!
The Aurora since confirmed by the news. And reflections of it in the week since.
Five minutes into the lights I get another strike. Thus far, I’ve gotten three seconds of fight and then a weed. The fish are very smart about getting unhooked. A little tug, then a little fight, I’m only half paying attention, then … Khee-rist! Out goes the line. The drag is nothing to this fish. He shows a big round mouth at the surface. Then I never see him again. “Did you see that mouth?” I scream at Melvin. “Bring him in, bring him in. Get him to the shore.” “I’m trying, I’m trying.” I tighten up on the drag and he stops taking line. The rod bends double. It’s sure to break. The line or the rod itself. I ease up and he takes off again. I’m running down the shore with the rod to get him away from the reeds and the boat docks. But he knows where to go. After what seems like several minutes and crazy reeling with the line still going out, it stops. The line won’t come in, but it’s not going anywhere. A weed. The fish took a while to find a weed big enough. I reel in back to Melvin, hand him the rod and get my new Coleman Krypton light. There’s the line, hung as for clothes drying, festooned with hydrilla. It ends over by the air boat dock. Melvin holds the rod while I and my light walk around to the air boat dock. At the end, there’s my gold spoon. Neatly deposited on the water hose which hangs off the end of the dock. Gleaming right at the surface of the water.
“You’ve got a ‘gator,” Melvin had said. “Hell, no. You saw that mouth.” “Wasn’t a bass; he didn’t jump.” “If it wasn’t a bass, what was it,” I ask after taking my rod back. “Big mud fish.” “No way. I know big mud fish mouths. They’ve got an evil grin with their eyes right there on top. If it wasn’t a bass (how could a bass have been that strong? my nine pounder wasn’t half that strong. of course she was pregnant.), could it have been a tarpon?” I’d seen a giant tarpon swimming in the same water one afternoon.
I run up to the store to look at the mounted tarpon. Well, if it was a tarpon, it would have to have been eight feet long to have had that mouth. Bass, I continue to suspect. Bass, in all probability, was the consensus from Fishin Frank, Bill Sallee, etc. “They let go a lot of big bass right there after the tournament,” Frank reminds me. Hell, that’s one reason I had been fishing right there. But the biggest bass in the tournament had been six something. Maybe a male, not pregnant, and more than twice as strong as a bigger sister? Or a female, simply no longer carrying, and made as hell at the strange light and now some flashing stranger twirling in front of her face.
The other morning, canoeing back a mile and a half plus, against the wind, after seventeen hours of punishing my poor butt on the hard seat, a slick bass boat is coming, vroom, down the central canal. Hope he slows down a bit, I hope. He slows. He stops. “Whatchu doing out here this morning, young man?” It’s Bill Sallee. He’s promised me a few lures over the past couple of weeks, and now he’s handing me a whole unopened card of them. “Jig them up and down in the lily pads. Around yea much line. Right in the lily pads. You’ll tear those oscars up.” I don’t paddle another ten feet, enter the pads, one jig, two three, and there’s a fat, sassy oscar trying to tie the line around a pad. He destroyed the wool wrapping on the jig, but I retied it and then caught a pickerel and a warmouth on the same lure.
cf name calling and the human activity of classification. the history of math. call it -1. call it the square root of -1. we can’t do the operation, we don’t know if the operation has any meaning, but name a new number by the name (description of the operation. we change how we deal with something or don’t or can’t deal with something by renaming it. just as we name it in the first place when we first intend to deal with it (or to begin to begin to deal with it.
ss: introduce particular classifications of disorder to teach efficiency. EHP
JP: starts off with Jay refusing to go on. quitting. Lou is the DA. talks him back into his robes.
3 success stories: napoleon, luther, and … a schizophrenic. go through the logic. his integrity, his artistry and invention in reconciling the contradictions.
draw a right angle. guy draws any old angle. definitely acute. that’s not a right angle. yes it is. i’ve drawn a just erected and checked for verticality telephone pole. only it’s in the distance and I’ve represented the horizon as appearing to vanish from the perspective I depict.
math a good example of on how fragmentary and distorted a basis we can think we know something about reality. extraordinary invention, but the truth?
“amazing”: math for everyone. Laurie Buxton writes about “etherializing” but routinely fails to distinguish map from territory. not expert in his own field of expertise, symbols.
JD GR: judgment can only be seen through certain filters. tries one. sees total vindication of his own views. that’s exactly how it happened. like a tape recorder. tries another. his enemy carries the day. but they’re not the same! he knows he didn’t say that. and neither did his enemy. all lies. a forgery. a fabrication. but they’re indistinguishable. no objective difference. but if he’d take the filter off, … the filter is precisely what’s objective. can’t distinguish beneath a certain threshold. what’s an “object” anyway except something we can perceive only within narrow limits, visible light, eg. gravity but not coriolus force.
then what can he be telling? didn’t he see that the other guy, and not I, did the shoplifting? No, all he could tell was that there wasn’t an earthquake. they still have two arms and two legs.
wondering ‘who” or ‘what god is’ is like asking which number, 2, 7, or 3,155,670 is infinity.
of course it’s me, god, who else did you expect to behave that way?
somebody is doing something human, some typical clandestine advantage seeking, embezzling money, looking up a dress, dame checking out the guy’s bank account and front stuffing while pretending to look straight ahead and see nothing: suddenly they feel giddy. a feeling of upward rush. blank. series of such. then two guys in a canoe. one fishing, the other not. brief struggle and the one holds up a shining brim. Look, this one’s pretty. It’s small: throw it back. look at the vertical bars. it’s a brim. you call everything that isn’t a bass a brim. there’s hundreds of species here and you give them all one name. throws the fish back. embezzler comes back into focus, shakes head, goes about business. Jay & Louis discuss what they mean by a big fish. catches a mud fish. general motors, pets it, sorry he’s hurt its mouth. why throw those back, Jay wants to know: they eat the little bass. rumor, rumor, nothing proved … story of why Jay gave up fishing himself. leave it to Lou.
GR: re: X. he didn’t marry my daughter, I had such plans for him, you never met him, your daughter is ugly, not to mention stupid. it’s a good thing, he doesn’t even own a home. a little knee bending doesn’t hurt. i bet that centurion has a little house somewhere. second person who’s said their say aside joins vilification.
DrR sees General Motors, a legal “person”, and his heaven.
Beg. STRIP. gravity and such automated once you begin actually to exist, to become real. what about coriolus forces? for a creature of the mass you’ll have they’re insignificant. long as you stay on the planet. and it’s fixed so you’ll have a hard time getting off. anyway, that’s the body’s job. it’s hard wired for it. coordinating it all takes a little practice. that’s one reason babies are protected. but this one will already have that practice. you’re role is to coordinate the world which in its way is vaster than the physical universe we’ve been traveling through: actually, your existence will never be physical. it’s semantic, symbolic. the physical universe is expanding at the speed of light. it’s age and size are identical. you’ll be part of a universe which expands exponentially. you’ll try to make some sense of it, try to give it some integrity as you yourself will be part of the chaos of its growth. you need limits to be … original.
the garden of eden. the apple. i want a chemistry set. i want to dump mercury into lakes. i want a microwave oven.
sketch out debt of long ago. Pete and Paul still owe a nickel to that little girl.
“opposite” sex. opposite? or complementary, symmetrical.
I was warned against education. And sure enough,
The Bible doesn’t stand up to careful, disciplined, knowledgeable thinking. (except of course as what it is)
Science doesn’t stand up to careful …
And how’s this?
Thinking doesn’t stand up …
if mythology is “someone else’s religion,” then similarly religion is your own mythology.
dimensions apply only to models. There isn’t any edge that isn’t also in the core of something else. Maybe of another dimension.
Wherever you are, you’re on someone else’s horizon.
Everglades, an inland shore.
And there was the truth: hanging right over our blind spot.
but then, already copied this note scribbled in the car above, didn’t I?
finally studying algebra. trig. calculus. my never knowing it was my revenge on those who tried to shove it down my throat without understanding in the slightest what math was in the first place. they know what it was in the second place: employment, power, survival in a society which has taken the ordinary means of survival away, destroyed or hidden them or made them inaccessible, semantically as well as geographically. But they didn’t know what it was in the first place: understanding. or attempts, organized, repeatable, reproducible attempts at understanding … correspondences, relationships, etc. the stuff of epis. if they thought the correspondences were those typically declared, then they didn’t think at all. were society’s perfect teachers after all. an act of faith. a self justification. this piece of stone proves that samson killed the philistines.
the point of Morton Hunt’s four card experiment has been with me these ten odd years. we know what we’re hard wired for and have the devil of a time even knowing what the scientific method is let alone practicing it or expecting anyone else to see it or practice it. I now have a congruent perception of algebra. x an unknown. human hard wiring doesn’t cater to the idea that anything is unknown when what they’re looking at is standing in front of them in day light. concurrently or alt/currently, in the dark with the rest of existence to the side or behind them (to expand or acknowledge only one dimension), we assume we understand nothing and cling fearfully to any one who says venus is in line with mars forcefully enough.
anyway, in daylight, with x standing in front of you, unknown, human hard wiring will treat it as zero. and we know we do. and we still do. and we still claim respect. doris lessing sends her mss to a publisher under an alias. it gets a plain rejection. we can’t quite easily do the same with hamlet, even the idiot who opens it might recognize something. when exposed, he’ll explain that it’s already known, or out of date, or something. of course he recognized it, it was a joke. no he didn’t ask the pub. if the copyright had expired and was up for grabs.
as we look back through time, at those few points which we know however uncertainly as history it can be established that the important things always and only come from the unidentified. of course pilat wouldn’t have killed the son of god had he already been identified that way. it would have made no difference to pilat whether he recognized the god or its capacity for fatherhood. these people believe it and I ain’t about to challenge them. I can rule them, administer them, steal their land, fuck their daughters, arbitrarily kill large number of them (as long as the large number is a small percentage, etc. but not challenge their semantics across the board. the emperor would not only have my ass if he had to send huge armies here to lose them to overstimulated fanatics. even rome could lose such a battle. or win and crawl away to find the empire gone. no. take their trade, their land, their money, things they don’t understand. don’t fuck with their religion.
to pilat Jesus was X. to us, he’s identified. this or that quality, quantity, etc. (how marvelous that I’ve been abbreviating Ch’ as X all these years.
now the person doing this blind assuming has his own proofs. he can prove that every unsolicited mss that comes through his door is junk. monomania. illiterate. In Morton Hunt’s test, looking at the 4 instead of the 7. it is overwhelmingly probable that the next ms to come through this transom is junk. here, we’ll test it. fine. lull to sleep. then god walks by, unnoticed, laughing at him.
why? because god is sadistic? pulling wings off flies? or fertilizing? chumming the ground till group mind selects the right accident?
one day there will be a species or a family of species, a whole order, ancient in experience which will know at a glance to check the 7 card. to assume that the stranger is an angel, Jesus, rather than someone to rape.