id18

/ Journal /

zero sum game: pubs have to lose their fortune when they miss something.
Thos Jeff’s rejection letter from Brit pub. after submitting Declaration in early form. ss starts out florid replies. get shorter and shorter over centuries. by which time it’s Brit submitting to ThosJeff & Sons, then to the Sisters of TJ, and it’s TJ, not Brit, who starts writing the rough sorted letters. Dear Queen Eliz.: The volume of our mail, Mr. Elizabeth, …
intelligence ever finer and finer sorting screens? Is there some point at which Einstein is just as stupid, course, and irrelevant as Dear Mr. Eliz? Where is the point at which your common variety PS drop out is a genius? Still smarter than your average chimp, right? Yet how close chimps and man are to each other. It’s only when you change scale that they seem very different. We always assume that the alien could tell us apart. Or either from a bumble bee. Or a bumble bee from a flower. Aaah, all the earth life looks alike to me. Yeah, but this is a stone here and this over here is a flower. Yeah, well I still don’t see any important difference.
Dear Mr. Eliz, a program applied after the discrimination has gone to sleep. My mother’s tapping the Pueblo brave in the pretty blanket and calling him, Madam. Flinching from some eidetic stimulus. program applied, … but how describe its relevance? invisible, inappropriate … depending on knowledge of observer.
Man arrives on moon and touches slab. Boom! switch signals all the way to Pluto. Now put a rock in front of it. Touch the rock to it. Now put a child prodigy in front of it. Let it play Mozart. Let it play its own compositions. Let it improvise. Same reaction from the monolith as to the rock. Stupid monolith?
attitude matching, what does intelligence mean? attitude matching? or seeing new matches and forming them? or doesn’t that qualify either? or is intelligence simply anything that has such a name for itself? how about if it has such a name for something but not for itself?
myth undergoing a reversal of meaning
why expose a myth? stupid, when you could exploit it? Does AT&T really expect us to think they’re in the truth game?
so, you come upon a people. you witness some ritual behavior which salves over the double binds of their consciousness of mortality and the double triple binds that their social organization has added to that. do you go and say, that’s not a god, that’s a piece of wood; and get stoned? or do you see if you can’t sell them lots of wood carvings? see what you can palm off on them? maybe become their pope?
show someone a rational link somewhere and there’s a good chance they will go on believing that there’s a rational basis for their thought. Not just one or two links surrounded by nothing but mere juxtaposition.
the misappropriation of concreteness: permanent epis problem between group and splinter, then the splinter and its splinter. could there possibly be a group that hadn’t first been a splinter?
GB on catholic bewilderment of protest. problem of host and symbolism: huh? what are you talking about? not distinguishing simile and metaphor, at least in that context. ditto fundamentalist and latitudinarian.
Now: does the literalist, one who doesn’t distinguish simile from metaphor, or his statement being true from his idea that there is something that is true that he is making a statement about. [another line from above starts writing itself in my head, I pause here before I forget the other, now see this and haven’t the slightest what was so obvious to me at the time I let it be interrupted by something more perishable.] hmm, does he believe that he’s escalating his rhetoric for the sake of the benighted? My statement was too bland? I’ll spice it up a bit for the sake of his conversion, the salvation of his soul, brownie point for me for a new convert? He’s missing my simile, I’ll try a metaphor? Or: there is no difference between god and human language. Or: there is no difference between god and my use of human language. what I say is true, no error. what could such a person possibly know of error, of definition, of fractal reductions, or astronomic expansions, or changes of logical type? would such a person find there to be a difference between a squeal like the raccoon made with its paw in the trap and the squeal of a hood that the cops have something on.?

reading L Ron Hubbard for the first time. somewhat equally annoyed and impressed. But I do like his almost pointing out that the hero’s honor in some feudal militarism, his “fleet,” is even less examined than the villain’s behavior as a CIA spy. somewhere early Part 3, Ch 2 or 3.
[10/3: still looking for kenilworth. funny how I met Loren just after first reading Hub. He mentions dianetics. Second time he visits, he brings it up again. I draw him out. Turns out he works for them. For years. That’s his thing. Thinks he’s got grammar figured out, based on some simplistic nonsense of Hub’s. 3 rules, one fuzzy, the others just plain subject predicate. He should try reading Chom.]
Learning Zero. The insect cleaning her birthing nest. The monolith of 2001. The idiot lawyer testing me for jury, asking the same question over and over again, imagining he was disguising it, a cross examination technique intended to sift out inconsistency in a judge, jury, or witness, instead revealing feeble intellect representing the bar. Days of sitting staring at the wall, I hadn’t felt my time was being utterly wasted until that moment, when too it was my mental time he was wasting. Or EG my correspondence with ELA. And probably every other publisher. I make references to previous letters and MSS. Did they check? Refresh? Cross reference? Ever read any of it? Their chain of attention is going one way, mine at an angle invisible to their modern business efficient laser beam which misses everything it’s not focused on. The focused laser may be efficient for some single purpose. Sorting slush from maybe. What else might then also get passed by into the this doesn’t go to Ralph Eaton, send it back pile. There are only two branches. SASE and no SASE. For latter, send Form Y and ad for contest.
My old quarrel with math. Astounding intelligence, seemingly designed to make us smart, actually used to make us stupid. “Put the quantity preceded by a dollar sign ($) into the field with the $. Press return. Is it 10:30? If yes, take a break. If no, take the quantity …”
There’s none of Pythagoras’ penetrating intelligence in training either children or chimps or cyborgs to manipulate recipes for symbols. Suckering dropouts into some computer school as though the world would then mistake them for NWiener.
The Preying Mantis is super fantastic good at the fast stab and grab. Cold blooded, it’s still faster than Bruce Lee could ever be. But it’s given its entire evolution over to that one thing. Could it ever say, whoops, and retreat toward photosynthesis? I don’t think so. Catch little bugs or die.
So. What cul de sac have we put ourselves into by letting our legal system, and even worse, more fatal, our literary sifting machine, into such narrow focus? Say you’re marketing oranges. People want oranges for sustenance, for refreshment, for ascorbate, for color, … The market wants to get them oranges. Then the market want to get them oranges that they’ll prefer. … It’s easy to imagine a point at which the instructions to the selector is: prefer those with x color range. Now anyone can substitute real oranges that come in a little greenish with styrofoam painted the dead center of the color range. All oranges are rejected, only styrofoam goes to market.
Advertising is misleading, “force”ing the wrong conclusion about what standards are being applied. Don’t worry, we put vitamin C into the styrofoam. And the poison in the orange paint is only a little poisonous. We chose our oranges for their juiciness, their freshness, their wholesome good naturalness, blah. When the machine the selector has been reduced to, person or not, PhD or not, is selecting the paint color only.
Reminds me of science of psychology. Allow subject to be mislead, insist that he be misled, reject all who are not misled, as to the purpose and standards of the experiment.
Debaters argue fervently when casting director is looking only at how they appear on the monitor. Or they’re adjusting their makeup and looking bland. Casting director despairs of ever finding another Gilda.
Whores show bleached hair while john is really looking only for his kidnapped sister’s strawberry birth mark.
But then, strawberry birth mark isn’t what he wants, it’s his sister that he wants, and it isn’t his sister that he wants, it’s her rescue from bondage, etc. A chance for his kin genes. So, what do we want? All kinds of things. But if it doesn’t translate into money which one or two industrial laser processes can notice, it simply doesn’t exist in their sensorium. And the market becomes trained to Vitamin enriched styrofoam and bleached innocence.
Amaranth on the market. Quickly off. No, we can’t eat what we haven’t been trained to eat. Ever fewer and narrower and falser things. What a suicide! Polite applause in heaven.
JD. J & confused switching back and forth, around and among, “but I told you” and “you invented.” no body can remember what’s being judged or why, how it got defined or proved in the first place. claims the ten commandments but disclaims cloven hoofs and mother’s milk and blood, etc. then not sure.
is there in philo, a theory of undefined terms, written in English?
we laugh at mouse’s stupidity, running and running on treadmill, not knowing that he’s not getting anywhere. We tread and tread the earth as it turns under us. we can tread with or against or (actually only) at angles to its turning. earth big enough for us not ever to notice that we cross some point or another so long as we travel only at pre-industrial speeds. individual life too short to notice finiteness. Individual species’ life too short to notice finiteness till now. land animals anyway. whales not so. Now I never remember these figures very exactly, I could easily be as wrong as Columbus, by a factor of two, but, 8,000 mi radius? Circumf. twenty something? Don’t remember ever having any use for geometry or trig till this moment. Anyway …. hah … I just thought?
I’m about to talk about dimensions and time … I just realize: How can you talk about one dimension? More, yes; but just one? Never tried to do it, never seen it tried.
Points, now, just “location” don’t even have one dimension. Anyway, what meaning does location have except in terms of a second dimension?
how much bigger is a line than a point? A lot? Infinite? Meaningless? By one dimension.
Now make the line infinitely long. Now how much bigger is it? By one dimension.
Ok, we can walk or crawl or stagger 20 something thousand miles even in a lifetime. Or maybe even walk and climb and swim it. Not if its a single line: you can’t walk a one dimensional line. But a painted line, a stripe. But the earth isn’t structured to be striped except or perhaps not even in the imagination. It spreads around in a third dimension. How much bigger is three dimensions than two?
How many miles are the possible stagger zags around an 8,000 mi radius? Um, diameter? Well, a life time isn’t long enough. A species time is hardly long enough, until factitiously fueled. Then, oh yawn, breakfast in Hong Kong again? Now, how much bigger is the earth than a point with the added dimension of time? And indeed, can even a point exist without time? Now fill the earth with species all experiencing that same finite space/time with radically different perceptions, assumptions, definitions, cosmologies, interface biases, etc. Now how much bigger?
What’s the surface area of the earth? what’s the surface area of an enzyme? thank you Mandelbrot.
What’s the information content of a simple 8,000 mile diameter circle? Hard to say. depends on how many components your conception of math is made up of. Still, not much. What’s the information content of this enzyme too small for a human eye to see? Wow. Astronomical. Yet it’s invisible, probably chemically invisible too, except to what it’s designed to strip, wed, fit, mold, make, catalyze.
Remembering Tapley telling me that the pope had been kidnaped and the church taken over by the devil. Tapley could never figure out how to talk to this anti-papist. couldn’t tell any difference by me. He could lose his faith in the church (as bureaucracy) but not in the church as god’s something or other (the pope). so gypsies had to have switched.
some of my favorite art is Shang. The calligraphy as well as the bronzes. Then the Chou come in. Yech, what’s all this barbarous stuff? Well, maybe the second greatest bronze art of all time, but way inferior to the Shang. So, the barbarians took over. So what else is new?
So, is there any time of history or within any slice of history where the barbarians haven’t taken over?
as a kid, you finally get to college and have a couple of professors you can look up to. ah, early shang. you join them as a instructor yourself. you see the same mix coming back at you. the automatic knee jerk: all professors are smart, wise, chaste, wonderful, super human …: or all are stupid naive dupes commies can’t button their pants; he’s older and all older men; yikes, he’s male, and males …; to an occasional, huh? he’s actually saying something he maybe sometimes understands, by god, I think I just understood part!
Now it’s more that you’re amid the Chou changeover, Chou and Shang. which are you? or neither? you meet the administrators and it’s all chou. decades pass. good god. is any of it even chou?
Florida a state where even the libraries are illiterate!
People talk about literacy without any evidence on their own part that they can read.
Or really have good taste in make up.
Or know where to shop.
Other people no doubt have different standards for their life.
Tapley: the pope.
Me: inspired literacy, Zito talking about Shakespeare.
Someone else: cotton candy fresh spun instead of pre-packaged.
As a kid I thought the world had a proper density with a large yard and a fence. Then a smaller yard with no fence surrounded by similar size lots. But with plenty of wilderness, the couple of empty lots could have tigers in them for all I knew. One weed covered land fill was pristine conditions. buried treasure there.
then all the lots were built on. No one could own horses except for the one neighbor who had never not had them. And chickens with another local grandfather exception.
Deterioration. The world’s growth is making it fall apart. The pope has been kidnaped.
What if Tapley went to heaven and met god? you know he’d be the most loyal of the loyal, the straightest of the straight. What about after exposure though? They’ve kidnaped god! this is a phony! and this from the most conservative loyalist element.
It’s actually more than a year now that I’ve been fooling with the piano using two hands just about every day. And another year of fooling with it a note at a time. Only four octaves. Just getting to know it fractally. just barely getting back to that pristine ignorance in which there is only the most transitory difference between any one key and another. Not that I’ll ever have those reflexes. One doesn’t need to be a great horseman to have some idea of what’s involved.
I wrote a big chuck of what I felt and meant to ELA yesterday and now waver whether to send it or put it into the cathartic memory file. Psych test. did letter object to not being represented? Or to there being no evidence of normal English communication?
My attitude toward prejudice: it’s ok, until its universal for the particular culture. Club A excludes catholics? fine. Club M is catholic and excludes WASPs. Club M is older. Maybe Club A learned it from M. But before we all goose-step or turn unidirectional, I demur. Bobby doesn’t like Jimmy? So what? In other words, my instinct is for a generalized ecology. I have no objection to corn: just to corn taking over all plant life. I have no objection to murder. Oh, I don’t want to be murdered. I don’t want my son to be murdered. There isn’t usually any one in particular that I want to murder, I just resist too sweeping generalizations, unless of course, we can actually find some scientific law at last.
I object to increasing evidence that the communications media are being monopolized into one, two, thirteen, or even 57 goose-steps. Even 5700 is too few. I don’t even have any objection to a goose-step.
Further evidence just received from the food stamp people. Supposed to look at least 12 places a month for jobs. I put down 7 and that I am working part time in exchange for rent. Tell the woman at the window that I will need another form, as I must keep looking whatever their regulations. Today, in mail, I get same form back with a deadline by which I must finish it or lose my right to eat. Was there ever a time, was there ever an individual who actually answered a questioned asked? Ever a time when English was understood?
I recall my letter to Nixon telling him why I thought he was better suited to the presidency than Kennedy, because he had pretended with slightly more adroitness to answer questions he ignored while saying whatever he wanted to say.
OK, so the government wants to goose-step their bureaucracy: ask any question you want, our form gives any of five answers. Does the US care about democracy? Sorry, closed for the holidays.
The medium is the message. We get it very clearly: our rights are for irrelevance, multiphased intelligence retired to predeterminedly narrow options. Is this the justice department? Coffee, tea, or milk? I’ve answered your question: officer, escort the loony out.
It may all be for the good, whatever that means. It may not be too late for us to evolve back down to the level of insects.
OK, that’s what’s happened to the rights of man. How about our institutions of free inquiry? The press? The universities? In twenty years of correspondence, I have perhaps two, maybe five, indications that someone actually had some idea of what they were reading. I’ve never assumed that they had any obligation of publish anything of mine, regardless of quality, or any obligation to advise or correct or to make requests. I did begin by assuming that exchanges would however be of a higher level than What do you want? The men’s room is locked.
Please add this to the previous manuscript. You already have a SASE. Sorry, we need a SASE.
These are the people we’ve made the guardians of our literacy. The real message had to have been, we don’t want no literacy. Get rid of it. Discourage all who persevere. Make them pay. All we want are owners and workers and knee jerk reflexes that we’re right, we’re the first to have ever been right, we’re right by divine fiat, and we don’t have to do anything right for it to be so.
It’s true that we don’t go around killing people left and right the way some civilizations have in the past, and one or two in the present, but what post industrial society does? Do the Russians? Their own people? No, the Afghans. So how are we different? We’re free, they’re not. We’re free as long as we don’t ask for freedom. But then we are still free, as long as we accept unemployability. So, employ yourself. I did. But that too is odious. You have to keep at it, be available, be up to date in being out of date. Sorry, it’s Impressionism that we’re just catching up with now, That’s the new thing: to imitate what’s only a hundred years gone.
Uniforms. Maybe as he wrote the Dec of Ind, thos.jef was the platonic original president. so who was this guy who did the LA purchase? the Aristotelian, actual, nominalist president, a real event, not some fuzzy ideal description, and a real event with no correspondence whatever to his own stated ideal. So his real goal was unconscious? Hypocritical? He grew? He shrunk? He couldn’t keep it up? A judge might have a sense of evidence, a sense of direction for the group, a sense of justice; but what is he once he dons robes and wears them day after day no matter what his mental climate?
Good variety writing gets done. Maybe more than enough. Maybe too much. Maybe very little is still too much for what the society is turning into. Maybe the society is becoming what it must. Some future age might look back to the post-McLuhan world and say that’s when all the pre-vital decisions where made. Of course they didn’t know they were making them, they thought they were watching the bottom line, being terrorists, caring for themselves and their families, … whatever they see as the self-label of what they see as seminal. A writer with a credit line, can at least once or twice write what he wants.
But there’s this stupid wall between the applicant and the establishment that seems to be sifting for quality (salable always understood in the background), and sure, they’ll seldom turn down what they see as a quick turn (so long as it doesn’t make them vomit or feel like total traitors), but even between my first rejection from Playboy which showed no understanding of or recognition within the story whatsoever, at least pretended to be talking about it, an actual human reading of an actual human artifact.
Horseshit religions are growing like weeds. Maybe a real one too. Maybe mine. Who can ever tell?
God’s covenant with Abr was a biological, evolutionary one. One over time, the result unseeable. Some mystical invariance within variety. Your issue will endure.
Does that actually mean anything exact? Unambiguous? How test it? Oh, easy, if you accept what the jews say about themselves. How about Xians though? How about the future? Is god capable of single definition, narrow limits, any more than we are? In communication with or to us? Even otherwise? should we want the sacred to be unambiguous? would that not throw out the baby with the bath?
Theology like math, let the first guy be smart so everybody else can be stupid. Proved. Argument, examination over.
orthodoxy. what group in a condition of flux (and what group ever isn’t?) can ever know what it’s own present orthodoxy is? that’s to be judged after some limit has been passed. after death, dissolution, next century’s history, by a foreigner, or at least grandson not waiting for the will to be read.
ss: Hoyle in Oct is Too Late gave good presentation of 1966 Brit’s arguments for convincing 1917 Germans of their superior weapons. So, unfamiliar with human problems in persuasion, alien simply announces warning and then goes and carries them out. judge is conscious of no reason to believe or to fear this madman, whatever his threats. transgression 1. a freebie. 2. warning 3. the town sterilized, though of course they will begin to know it only slowly. 4. the judge’s children expire. Etc.
Later, alien can’t understand what he’s done wrong, though he does see that it’s been wrong. He told the truth, he told the truth that he told the truth, but the judge went on treating him without respect, abrogating his rights, etc.
Most of us are like Socrates and simply turn off our noticing when we’re brutalized by cops, lawyers, or judges. women know better than to complain of rape, but go on respecting the legal system, etc. Without it they’d be out of the frying pan and into the fire? Or out of the fire altogether. Maybe in some other danger, but out of the fire.
sandall bergman, She, goddess, though she looked human enough to me, says “no one has come out of this forest alive for years.” even as a goddess, though one who obviously perceives only through two eyes, how can she possibly know that? the whole history of this world that she rules part of is only 14 years. her next line is “Shanda, don’t expect it to make any sense.” the station used that line as the trailer for the film. marvelous. though I was expecting Chuck Norris. I stayed with it 1) because I haven’t been very happy with any female warrior since this same Bergman played in Conan and 2) I though it would be the Ridder Haggard story. Not that I care much for the Haggard work, but still, it’s better than the next unknown thing. damn, if they don’t credit Haggard in the final credits! What did it have to do with him? It was far more a Road Warrior/ punk pastiche. Lots of historical costume and technology in a post nuclear wasteland junk landscape but all without context or meaning.
Jung said religion was to protect us from experience of god. A screen, shades.
the hothouse manufacture by modern market nations of enemies. funny thing is, we’re inventing the enemies at tremendous and escalating expenditure, while the japs, eg, whom we’ve relieved or deprived of that responsibility, are keeping income as profit.
Campbell: 14 laurel leaves and 14 berries, not 13, the way I count them.
how many subintelligences, information, programs, go into any thing? Into any non-thing? What’s the information content of an atom? of an electron? of a white blood cell? How many bytes minimally are behind any one bite?
I love backwards and upside down surveys:
Calder’s grass the dominant life form
Lem’s negative gradient to evolution: the cell elegant, the higher the organism, the more Rube Goldberg.
Yeats’ rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem.
the big bangers’ frozen universe, life possible at very low temperatures only. How about the intelligence of the inferno?
How true they sometimes are. A counter truth at least.
And, thank you Freud and Alan Watts, my own view of the conscious as frozen, the least intelligent part, the part that’s given up choice, the part that’s committed. Given up choice, except … Except at the level that the sub-parts can’t do. And thank you Bateson, the stupidity of committees, governments, groups. Except … that’s where the next step really is. Or isn’t. The evolutions which will occur and the vastly more numerous evolutions which won’t. But they’re always there. Potential. The vacuum has the highest voltage of all.
Ions mapping ourselves as compounds.
The private man is part of the group unconscious. There’s the desire to be public of the foolish, the ambitious, those who want the income without the responsibility, the dumb who have no conception of responsibility, then the awful decision on the part of a dream to offer itself to the surface, to become limited, to be misunderstood, fossilized. Publication is the blank page’s first step toward death.
The trained can watch as “the real Shakespeare” plummets from sight. Of course, even what the trained, and even rarer, the trained and intelligent, and even rarer, the trained and intelligent artist, is himself aware only of a surface, a fossil. We don’t know Shakespeare’s dreams: we do know that he dreamed, could dream, extract and refine. Tons of fossils.
Then there’s the part of the fossil that hardens reluctantly. The dreamer who begets dreams, who fathoms that there are more dreams, and whole universes more not-dreamed. Even as he plummets, he remains dangerous. He touches, he thaws, he shows the committed their limitation, even if only for a nanosecond.
So, SS: argument among components of an organism as to whether or not to surface. to become dream. what elements should be included? what language used? One faction succeeds in making sure that lots of slag is included. The fight for clarity versus the forces for obfuscation. Leave us alone, you let that stupid jerk out there have any idea of any of this and we’re all done for.
But he’s about to walk off the cliff. So what? Be patient. We can endure. Have a chance to assimilate as something more promising. Of course we’ll have to surface sometime, but that time isn’t now, not in this system.
And my own writing. Having determined to surface, I vow to try to be simple. Then all that slag comes out. Actually, of course, the slag is the same, it’s just insurance that the blind won’t see. Blinding simplicity. My ancient wish only to be left alone in-iradicable.
But I’m not alone. Maybe on some scale no one is any different.
Ah, there’s that duality again: the fight between monism and information. Divide and be visible. No, the division is illusory. god, then good and evil. Just one “o” added and you have to add another word as well. The devil yesterday’s god, the evil yesterday’s good. the dead god will never become tomorrow’s god on this side of entropy, but the evil may again be tomorrow’s good. the professor in Steppanwolf: “True, but that was then, this is now,” as the pacifist takes up a weapon for the war.
civ knows the diff bet human and scientific evidence. it knows that you can prove with the exception rather than by the exception. enslave millions. let one slip through. see, look at Cosby. we have no discrimination here. look at all the pornography, that proves we have freedom of expression. who could be deceived if they didn’t will it?
[10/3: still no kenilworth? but i’m reminded of dick’s frustration with me at not hearing ‘yes’s to his racism. “there’s exceptions to every rule. maybe with rattlesnakes too. but the exception is no exception.” this is just after I hear he’s got Mein Kampt in Ger&Eng. still, a good guy, as guys go. he’s certainly been better to me than most. I like him and enjoy doing things for the park. but, god, the politics are hard. how do you tell an american that their thinking isn’t thinking? or it is, but then there’s the altogether different and superior thinking of superior tools, like seeking the exception to disprove. science runs against the grain, but we still take the tv sets, the computers, the bombs; but not the thinking.]
The two party system is a celebration of the schizophrenic nature of consciousness. the way around it for the sake of practical ambition, thank you Vidal, is to have one party and call it two. Only property represented here.
Victorian 1989. news just told of violent sex crimes being committed by twelve and nine year olds. I am reminded of homosexuality in Victorian England. Male homosexuality was a capital offense; while there were no laws whatsoever about female homosexuality. That apparently was because no one in government or in contact with government knew of any way to mention the existence of such a thing to Queen Victoria. Now there was just this news show. What made them decide to tell us? The proportion must have passed some threshold. They didn’t report the first event or the second or the third. They were reporting it as an epidemic.
Then talk of how to try such: as adults or as children? Blah blah with more said about as adults. Why not talk of erasing all such distinctions in all cases rather than always fudging around “exceptions”? Is it fair to treat them as children first and then to try them as adults? How about simply having laws and practicing them? Or make the differences clear. These laws apply to women; these to men. These to those over 18; those to under. Etc. I do realize that the 12 year olds shown hadn’t exactly been treated as children the way we normally think 12 year olds are treated. Street kids. So they have been living as adults. How about prosecuting those who have pushed puberty earlier and earlier: the medical & nutrition industries on the one hand; the communications industries on the other?
How about prosecuting society’s insidious encroachment on the age of adulthood. Thirteen, then eighteen, then twenty-one, then till you’re safely employed in a job that will keep you unthinking and loyal to whatever the reigning fruit cake epistemology is. My favorite example being the young cop to the law professor in 1969, Columbia campus, briefcase carrying, silver templed prof asks cop, “are those special forces buses?” or tactical something or other, whatever the term then was for terrorizing the unruly. “Naw, it’s the marines, come to kill all youse kids.” My memory tells me the punk cop said “youse.” the slang inappropriate, but probably the cop was mocking with his slang as well and it wasn’t really how he normally talked. Anyway, it was the very young cop who reserved for himself the distinction of being adult and the clearly older professor who was the kid. And the professor didn’t say anything further! (It’s also for simplicity, allegorical sake that I say professor. I don’t know who the guy was, except that it was toward the law campus and the guy was as I described. If a student, a way postgrad one. His manner was more faculty than student. Under other circumstances, the punk cop would no doubt have noticed it. Maybe he did notice it here too and it was part and parcel of his sarcasm.
Once again, we see what our semantics allow us to see, prompt us to see, insist that we see, not “what’s there”: until extra energy forces expansion, redefinition, correction.
the county social services staff: like every other organization of social messages, gets reduced to six or eight insect level responses. here’s a presence in the nest: fellow worker? check it for honey direction. grub? feed it and put it back in a cell. drone? ignore it. foreign presence? kill it. attack, sting, die. this all has been done to and by human beings in a background of rhetoric saying and promising something quite different. equality, communism, fraternity, something … I’m sure it’s not just the US. of course anyone ever trying to practice equality even for five seconds knows, treat people as equals, get treated with respect for two seconds and then as an inferior, a victim, someone with his pocket open thereafter. in bureaucracies, you don’t even get the two seconds. Yesterday the same girl as last week comes to window, hears what I say, goes off for help, comes back quite reprogrammed, saying something not at all tuned to what I asked or to justice.
That’s stupid, I tell her.
Do you want me to go and get someone else to explain it to you? Explain stupidity to me? No, only if you find someone who can understand when I explain it to her.
Now she has no response at all. If you don’t understand what I’m saying to you, lets just not waste any more of each other’s time.
Explain it to you. These insects took a stance of superiority, the instructor, not just the feeder. There was no elan behind the stance. No effort to hide it’s transparent fraud. No apparent embarrassment at not being able to speak or function in English. If I met the same woman on the street or in a field or at a party, would she have had to go off to find an interpreter, and then come back to quote the interpreter.?
?”Is there a god?”
!”Fill out form 241.” With form 241 proving to be a permit to burn leaves.
Evolution at work. But I don’t believe such a bureaucracy is a viable life form for human beings. What the bees say to each other does promote their life, has endured very well. simple categories: hive, food, direction, next generation, generator, cogenerator, clean, feed, enemy/alien/kill.
Or has language been a false signal, overwhelmingly imperfect but temporary too, mere nuptial wings? never telling the truth for very long, and now it’s unnecessary even to pretend. Cries of danger? Wolf? Volcano? Collapse of the food chain? Don’t we care? Are we committing suicide at last, deliberately and without ceremony? Or have we just decided that our card is played and now there’s nothing more to do but win or lose by it. No optimism, no enthusiasm, just play it out, the veteran junkie. Bureaucracy is it, baby, I don’t have to answer you shit, our laws don’t have to make any sense, I got this job, you don’t got no job, if you was Donald Trump, I’d see it in your dress, and believe me, I’d be across the counter and blowing you. If you don’t fit onto my form, that’s you’re fault, alien, enemy, be glad we’re not carrying our stingers.
You just know though that when the stingers come out, that it’s not going to be just the crack houses, the rhetorical objects of vigilantism that will get clobbered, not Cinna the conspirator, but Cinna the poet, Einstein, Twain, the media (ha), the New York Times (ha), etc.
evil: colonization by a pattern not shared by you; or worse, shared, but not recognized as shared, by you.
Judgment at Nuremburg on last night. Stanley Kramer made some effective films despite his heavy tendentiousness, his overbearing solemnity. But beyond five seconds of looking at Richard Widmark, the camera cutting to Spencer Tracy, I really didn’t want to see anymore. His Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner wasn’t bad, but I really don’t want to see that any more either. And of course, The Wild One is a must know film for all its absurdity: a sterling example of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing. or right and left brain. or production and script versus genius of acting and setting.
What I did start thinking about all over again, was: what was the basis in law for these trials? Ex-post facto legislation? Apply it to them while it’s illegal for ourselves? When we said that the Reich was evil, that we had to stop it, to kill it, etc, I understood that. But when we held trials, I have to ask, what laws did they break? Moral laws, of course, but laws actually written and agreed to within what polity? What precedent in law is there, at least in American law, for suddenly holding someone accountable for moral laws? The Church can try a Catholic for this and that Catholic law, Biblical law, but what would we think of their coming into the US and actually putting wasps and jews and Cherokees into the dock for birth control? Or divorce?
So it was Truman who wanted this farce. A kangaroo court. Of course we didn’t violate any real laws in what we did in Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam. Plenty of straw laws though, plenty of moral laws. How would we like to be tried by Ho? We’d have plenty to protest.
Now, I agree that there should be laws about these things. They require a real UN, a UN with power of law making and enforcement, a fed over a state. The country shall have no laws contradictory to these few and simple supranational laws: don’t murder your citizens, don’t invade other countries, marshall closely your police, etc. And don’t try other cultures by your standards. Defeat them if you can if they attack you, we’ll try to help, we’ll try to stop them before they start, but the US can’t try Germany, only the UN and only by laws actually written to and acceded to in advance by Germany. Or Germany is a conquered country, not a member.
Now, Germany perhaps could be tried for violations of the Geneva Convention, or something it attended: treatment of captured soldiers, officers, etc.
But none of this: Fritz, we just made up these laws and now we’re finding you guilty of them.
once again, reality beggars imagination
Chuck Norris has to kill his Japanese ninja brother. He’s accompanied by this brunette, trained by the brother, who holds an assault rifle on Norris and then decides that he has the upper hand. We have seen her kick another wasp ninja in the balls though. Later she tells Norris, “I’ve never hurt anyone.” I think it’s so funny in the movies, everybody you see, male or female goes around kicking somebody in the balls somewhere in the picture, and these people are still willing to stand facing each other! Shouldn’t we rather be turning into Black Widow spiders, only coming near each other to mate and then at dire peril which we are fully aware of? Shit, I gotta tread this mine field if I’m gonna get laid. End of my life anyway, fuck it, here goes. The successful father will get to the female and put her out of commission for a minute. The surviving father will also have to then escape undetected by her. Survive to just plain die, not quite yet captured and eaten.
There was that stupid evil princess movie, the cute princess never missed an opportunity, yet her incorrigible male lieutenants still always came up and stood still, unsuspecting, unalert, unprotected in front of her. I even saw Glenda Jackson’s Queen Elizabeth kick Sir Walter Raleigh or some other peer in the balls in some crazy bit of Elizabethan history.
Here are all these films with all this bushido. You have Sanjuro, a Mifune who never goes very close to women anyway, and when they’re forced near him, you see his discomfort (Yojimbo, eg.). But in so many others, you see them off guard with the geisha. Where are the movies in which the geisha kicks the samurai in the balls? (And still expects to live another five minutes, mind you. A child abusing a toy. Breaking a tv set. Even when you beat a dog there’s some chance of retaliation.) So: the next oxymoron: geisha ninja! Or ninja geisha. she waits till the samurai has got his drawers around his ankles and then carves him up. not a profession with a long future.
genius, mutation, deviance, … is always a big risk. Maybe, in terms of a wished for certainty, always a bad risk. However, there is only one certainty, in anything but the short run, the sure thing is sure only to be stagnation, death, not the right procedure at all. The wished for certainty is self-delusion, laziness, thanatos, just what the rest of life, pushed to the wings, needs from us.
Mortal: All it means is that the entity is question participates in life, has a turn, a chance of a finite stretch. Its negative has no meaning.
Morton Downey, Jr. Free for All was directed and controlled more than was apparent on the surface. At the head of the show MD gives hint of what attitude will be interrupted and insulted and mauled after ten or fifteen seconds while all others will be attacked by the mob after three or four words. No one can ever know what argument is being vilified for no arguments are ever made. As show progresses, there are more witness for the MD coalition. Funny thing: at debate time, the only completed phrases were the clever insults: I’ll kick your balls through the roof of your skull. Hey, shit for brains. But at testimony time, at slobber sentiment time, there’s actually silence! Whoever lost a brother to mortality or whose father has cancer or something, in the show this week it was cops killed by dopers or dopes killed by coppers or something cops and dope related, total, respectful silence!
threatening to harm somebody gets whoops, somebody reported dead gets everybody to shut up.
The sentiment ran even thicker than at the top of the show when freaks were introduced: I haven’t had crack for 6 months. I haven’t had a drink in 3 years. And how old are you? Eighteen.
Like holding up a pair of crutches at Lourdes. You can have a lot of miracles by such testimony.
The context is silent, but it is the context which controls.
It is the context which must be exposed by those who would advance their consciousness. (is it another micron or another dimension?)
Sunday. groan, coffee, tube while I try to wait for focus. Each thing more awful than the other. I actually pause at a familiar news face rather than go back to the juvenile jingo, cute satire, really offensive John Goldfarb, Please Come Home. Is it possible that Shirley MacLain really is the dumb C- (Bowdlerizing K. 2016 07 30) she seems? Ustinov an even bigger whore? But three things are being talked about. The Chinese army is shooting the Chinese people. Once again, “student riot” is revealed to be composed of all sorts, but the press will always refer to them as “student riots,” unless, of course, by some freak, the rioters were conservative, in which case they’d find another label. Khomeini dead and Persians en masse beating their own heads. Funny, when you read the bible and people are knashing their teeth or rending their clothing, you think of it as spontaneous, improvised. Oh, but that was so long age … In percentage of human culture, it’s fractional. In percent since agriculture, it’s bigger, but still 20 or 30%, not 99% they way we tend to think. Could all that behavior be ritual, just about staged, the way the mourning Persians looked today? the mourning conventional, however real? And 3, two trains blown up passing a natural gas pipe as it explodes in USSR.
What a red letter day for the US. No comparisons made of Kent State. Some talk about now we shouldn’t sell arms to the Chinese. Huh? You mean we were? Since when? Oh, no, we shouldn’t sell arms to govts who use them to kill their own people. No, such govts, like us, should have to make their own.
It’s ok to be able to induce small, up to nuclear size, catastrophes, because selling the capacity is so profitable. How about Morton Downey as UN Commander in Chief? Everybody who has a weapon, use it on someone else who has a weapon, until there’s no body with a weapon left, no weapons left, no people left, no nothing left, or whatever is left, will be hard pressed to find a target and if he needs another weapon, will be hard pressed to find a stick to start practicing with.
The last man and woman on Earth. Like the first. How could you possibly tell? We can only begin to count each other when there are so many of us that we can’t all hide. And then too the count can’t be very accurate. You start estimating. There are groups who feel compelled to tell the truth, and others who feel compelled to lie, and others you don’t even know about. There are 121 tribes in the Amazon Jungle. Whoops, just discovered one of 18 people no body ever knew of before. Now, there are 122, … huh, we just finished wiping that one out? Three? There are 120 tribes …
Remember The Emerald Forest for how fractal even human scale life can be.
Fail Safe. This pipe can’t blow up. Just in case, we’ll put it where no body lives. We’ll put it in Queens. We’ll put it next to the RR tracks. Whoops, who ever knew all these people would move to Queens? Well, of course we wanted it next to the tracks. It was heavy. You didn’t pay for moving it further. How about maintenance? the workers have to get there.
This pipe can’t blow up, I guarantee it. The pipe blew up. The guarantor is dead. He retired last year. He went bankrupt. He put the money in his wife’s name. Pres Reagan took full responsibility. His govt fell. Now the govt is Pres Reagan with the same congress, the same lobbyists, but they tore the page on the calendar. They reincorporated. Oh, no, leave it up to the police. Can’t take justice into your own prostheses … That would be …
You look around, you’d swear that no body ever learns anything. But no … it’s hard to tell. Just because our words are meaningless, just because we go on being human, sly in our acquisitions, fooled by last generation’s glitter, turning our lives into a slag heap so that some of us can have some pyrite … The very fact that governments and media always have certain reflexes, the instinct for the euphemism, the reflex lie, the perpetual fidgeting: are we still getting away with it? You ordinary people can’t possibly appreciate how difficult it is at the top, we sink billions into propaganda and you still stand there looking unconvinced. (oh, god, now I’m remembering that Lem story were everything in the society is a controlled hallucinogen, and I just read it). Then how come so many nuclear power plants remain colossal wastes of incompletion? The people shout heil and disappear into their cellars. The news shows the heel clicking of ever and ever younger patriots.
(Write Ozymandeus pastiche)
It’s natural that we should believe our own house of cards most of the time. Also that a little shakiness show through now and then. The newly disillusioned will always have its contingent who’ll want to knock the house down, as though they’d have something other than cards to build their own with. But the satisfaction of mutilating Mussolini is rare. Being one to get a toe into his corpse extremely rare. Even the satisfaction of hearing that the fuhrer died by his own hand in his bunker is rare enough. It’s even rare to see the strain on those sweating on tv as they ratify their solidarity, 30 senators who still believe Nixon.
How many societies of 250 million people and the resources of the whole globe to draw on can nevertheless produce half dozen good anchors a generation, men who can look wise and concerned, literate and civilized, no matter what shit they have to say on camera? And there will be even fewer Dennis Miller’s to look a little less sedated.
Something else was knocking a minute ago, the real point. Evolution. gone. I rush through the above to get here, no doubt making little sense, just notes, the clumsiest cartoon, and poof.
Got it: levitation: we’re so used to gravity and friction as obstacles to some of the things we want to do. again, that’s just plemora. in creatura, it may prove to be, or just be, without proof, that there isn’t anything which isn’t levitated. All our worlds, all our epistemologies are scotch tape and bootstrap affairs, what we’re pulling when we push, what’s pulling us when it pushes, so far removed as to be invisible to us.
what’s unequivocally “yours” in any culture ever? Is your penis yours? Then were does the doctor or the rabbi come off cutting the pupis when you’re not able to protest? that your house? how can the govt sell it out from under you? Taxes? so what, the house is supposed to be yours.
the center always shifts. but then there’s no absolute space anyway. shifts relative to what? doesn’t shift relative to what? our absolute space has shifted all over the place. as we strive to remain limited, devoted to, trying to match, our old map despite what we learn.
good show. good characters, acting, writing, music, plot, everything good. failed lawyer, Shannon. Never saw what it was called, but Shannon’s Deal would make sense, as his cheating at poker and bluffing style were mentioned more than once by that phrase.
something about writing makes me enjoy wilderness gardening too. that summer of Comet, Lexington land, write all day, dinner, cigar, and take my staff trimmed to 8 or so feet from a young maple tree and walk through the woods. samurai. crack. die, dead branch. at first the rational was so that I wouldn’t walk my eye into a sharp stick in the dark. knocked down everything below six or seven feet throughout places I’d be likely to walk, day or night. But then I was reaching for ten and twelve feet and covering more than the thirty acres. Then jumping to arc the staff even higher. Whack! Smash! I wasn’t promoting my safety, I was endangering myself, and temporarily blinded myself, but my blood would get up and even darkness wouldn’t stop me. It was a high branch that I had to jump for that sent that one piece spinning smack against my eye. It was daylight. I staggered back to camp through the vision of one bleary eye. It was at least a hour before I dared open the injured eye. Totally blind, the other one none too good either. Finally, a little vision, though of nothing but blood. That eye went on hurting like crazy occasionally for years. Seems to be altogether better now.
Now I also remember hundreds of hours of clearing Oma’s Hawthorn thicket that had taken over the old apple grove. Thorns through my shoes. Brambles wrapped around my neck. The double bladed ax bouncing just past my knee.
So now here in Sebring Dick says that he wants the rest of the vines that are dragging his tress down behind the water treatment plant to be cut. Sure, I say. He shows me a rusty machete with a broken handle. I cut a little. Last Sunday, Memorial Day weekend, I go out for a hour’s evening exercise. Two or three hours later, I’m still there. “Hey, Tarzan,” from several for the next few days. The next time I go back, this Friday I guess, I notice without surprise that the further in I went the more thorough, the more fanatic, I’d become. First the vines were just cut, more or less as casually as had been Dick’s work before me. Then the path widened, the roots cleared, the ground swept, the dead and living vines pulled down from the trees. That time I work past dark. Dick comes to see. Holy mackerel, he says. That’s the cleanest it’s ever been. I’m barely started. My blood is up. Like skiing or tennis or golf. You’d think I’d know the tell tale slipping of a blister. Not at all. No pain when active. Just more, more. Like that time skiing Hillman’s Highway with John. Hey, look, John says on our second or third climb up. Blood. The blood path continued to the top. You know, John says, I bet that guy doesn’t even know he’s bleeding. Climbing and skiing? Sure. No pain. Only drive. John and I bomb the corn snow, a couple of bumps on Hillman’s that day. Bash them. Sent the slush flying. Boom. Double pole, loft, and smash! Pause an instant, the turn slow, lascivious, and bang through the poles and on to the next. We start the climb again. There’s now a mate to the first trail of blood. That’s guy’s still bleeding, John points out. He stops, he turns back down toward me, John leading the climb. There’s no body else here now. That couldn’t be us, could it? John starts to check himself. I don’t think John was skiing in shorts that day, but I sure was. Those crazy patch work madras jobs. I have pictures from that day. Or bashing Hillman’s in those same shorts from the same trip anyway. Sure, it was that day. I had my camera on my chest harness. Hand it to John, let him shoot a few too. I check myself. Holy Jesus. Sure enough, it’s me. There’s a gash in my left calf like a mouth. Inch and a half long and plenty deep. Uh oh. The steam goes out of me. I’d better find a ranger and see how I can get a few stitches. Do I have a sewing kit with me? Do it myself.
Shoot. I’ve recently sharpened the K-2s, proud of twin pairs of 207 cc steel strips like razors. I must have gotten my uphill ski too high and too close on one of those moguls. Damned if I knew it. Finally find the ranger. It’s that old guy who chain smokes Camels while out trekking all but the best of the young guys. John and I are maybe thirty, not ready yet to consider ourselves older. Hell, he says, it’s a clean cut. Young guy like you, good shape, should heal quick. Just leave it alone. All the guy’s got is a bandaid anyway, but sure enough, I ski in long pants, and in a few days I have to hunt for the scar. Now I can’t find it all anymore. At this moment, age fifty, I stop and look. Nothing. Virgin calf.
Funny. I had thought that my greatest danger those trips was from my camera coming up and clipping me in the teeth as I bounced off a mogul. Guy who first showed me that way to ski with a camera had a nice scar on his jaw from his telephoto lens. That’s the guy I skied Raymond Cataract with the previous Memorial Day, while the cataract was still gushing. Can’t remember his name. Ceanne was the girl. Nick’s girl. Nick was drugged out that day. And John could hardly move from his fall into the rocks in the narrow upper neck of Hillman’s. The day I still haven’t finished my Memorial Day story about it. Must do that. Climbing the still moving avalanche path up Lion’s Head is a story that must be told.
Then, age forty-two or three, golf all day long at Lido, carrying the bag, nine holes after the rates go down, then another nine, then another. I was on the course every day, every evening about that time. As often as not I wouldn’t have paid even the reduced rate. I was so familiar as to be invisible. That time the ranger comes zipping up in his cart. He checks the receipt of the guy with me. He hadn’t paid. Throws the guy off. Do you believe that guy? he asks me. The nerve. Good thing he didn’t ask for mine.
But I’d play and play. Dark would come. hardly see the ball. I’d play until I’d lose one. Then I’d lose another. Home. Not tired. Not hungry. Better eat anyway. That would waken the appetite. I’d eat pounds and pounds of food. Sleep till noon or one. Breakfast, hit a few buckets on the range and back to the same things again. Feeling no pain. Gotta hit the ball again. I know I’ve got another good one in me, however bad the last one was. Maybe I’ll clear the water and hit the green first try this time. Wind’s in my face, but I’m gonna just sweep that three wood.
So now I’m pulling vines like a mad man. The signs of fatigue begin to show. Remember your eye. You’ll cut your leg off swinging like that, you idiot. I can’t help it. It’s dark. It starts to rain. I’m working on a narrow ledge in the litter of roots and debris. The next one to fall whips my face. That was close. Stop you fool. Water moccasins on the back side. Could be in the water treatment spill way too.
I shower and my hands are like jelly. Six or eight bad blisters. Shooting pool later I can hardly grip the cue, can hardly lift my arms. Bam, slam, blast. My game is off, my muscles aren’t working right. So I just slam and spurts of a good game come back.
So lay off till your hands heal. Dick isn’t even here. He just wants it done by November. You don’t have to do it at all. He said anything would be appreciated, but that nothing was necessary. Just write and cover the electricity.
So what do I do today? Back to the vines again. This time I’m just going to pull those already cut. Not even break a sweat. Just a little fresh air. Next thing I know, not only have I sharpened up the machete, but I’ve got the big tools out. And a kendo stick. Really screwed up my pool tonight. But it came back, didn’t it. Two of the best bank shots ever. The cue ball perfect after two trips across the table. The rail hanger falls and no scratch. One the long way, the other the short way. But my hands. What a mess.
Maybe I’m punishing myself for Dyan. Was that the stupidest move you ever made, or what? I write to her in November, hoping she’ll come to Florida and be willing to see me again. It’s not till the end of May that I come to suspect that I never mailed the letter. Sure enough, by return mail she tells me that she and Christ went back to Jonathan Dickinson Park and looked for me! I haven’t even tried to meet a woman since her. (Not that I really tried to meet her either. Just one of those things. The cosmos looking out for you.) Correspondence mostly business related, inviting Donna to Florida, but really. Marty doesn’t count. There was never any question about how married she was or how proximate Troy was. I didn’t expect to see her again, but oh boy, if I could have! And I blew it. She was here! I could have been with her.
Now I just wrote an ardent letter to Linda, but there’s no question about how married she is either, however restless she is. I’ve already started telling her to calm down, to accept the hand she’s helped to deal herself. Talking her out of infidelity more than into it. But Dyan. In Illinois, she belongs lock stock and barrel to her fiancé. But in Florida …
Funny thing is, these women are all thirty or not quite. (Though Marty just turned thirty-three. Wasn’t that a nice note she wrote on my forwarded mail?) Except Donna. The first woman in decades my own age I’ve been attracted to. Dana, who’s got to be 24 now, tried to interest me in her mother too. But really. I squeezed her bottom. I caressed her gigantic Irish bosom. So what? I might not even have gotten it up had we gone to bed. Was that why she seemed to grow indifferent? She hadn’t started that way. But Donna has a bottom that looks every bit as healthy as Dana’s. Look at her from the rear and you’d think she was still a teenager. Not a bit of fat or sag. Dana’s athletic buttock I can still feel in my hand at this moment. Jesus. One of the perfect ones. A little squeeze and twang, I feel it the full length of my vas diferens.
One of the nice things about Highland Wheel Estates. Not one woman here under fifty. Most not under sixty. And not one I could get excited about no matter what she did. I don’t even see many to lust for in the market. Perfect. It’s gotta be just hearing from Linda and then from Dyan that’s making me think all this.
Just finishing dinner and planning to load the T, no problem turning off the stupid movie that’s about to start when the credits say John Carpenter. Ah. Terminator. Aliens. Gotta watch. Uh uh. Maybe he made this Big Trouble in Little China when he was in high school. Then where did the special effects come from? Whoops. Then I remember: Star Man. Good. in fact very good, but not the same guy. So here’s another one of those names where two people sound the same to me. I don’t confuse them: just their names. There have been some such where a moment’s though will tell me which one is Audrey Hepburn and which one Katherine. Beyond their being female, film actresses and both good in different ways, one largely genetic and trained, the other a bit more gestalt, they’re hardly mistakable for each other. It’s just the name. I don’t ever confuse Jonson with Johnson, Ben with the Doctor. It’s just … I don’t know what. Neither do I know if it’s just me or something typical of human perception. I’d guess typical. Or rather untypical in that I’m aware of it in at least some cases, and semi in control. I know more or less how much to mistrust myself. Right now I can’t even think of who my preferred guy is, that is, what his name is. “Carpenter” and I think the wrong guy. They both make movies, both at least a little science fictiony. Now I’m not sure who made this new Abyss. Gotta be the Aliens guy. [Ah ha! James Cameron. Not even similar.] Well, here I’ve started watching this dumb movie with mistakenly riveted attention. What a formula. Take the chinese, give them magic that makes them look like mannequins doing extra choreographed kung fu, and stick a big vulgar dumb no collar wasp in the middle of them. oh god, now we’ve got to have women too in the middle of everything, so there’s a blond too who’s just super pals with the chinks. When Chuck Norris has a japanese father and ninja brother, it doesn’t bother me. In a sense, it’s true, even if he didn’t find that father or brother till his twenties. Like Hokusai having a right to rename himself. Or Picasso. Jesus can claim any father he wants to in my book.
But that formula of put your own audience in the middle of everything. Winds of War. Bob Mitchum’s character observing Hitler doing this, Mussolini doing that, flying over Berlin with the RAF, having dinner with his good pal, FDR.
No doubt the future japs will have Fujita Suma helping ThosJeff write the DecofInd.
Was it Moses Hades who said that a liberal education was what remained after you’d forgotten everything else? Quiz shows in the background as I cook. I can’t answer any of the questions on those rare occasions when I hear what the question is and pay attention. I used to know them all. Rather sometimes I’ll know most, and other times, I’m just not connected. Even when it turns out they’re asking about something I know pretty well. So far removed from school, thank god, the format is alien to me.
What’s the name of your favorite poet?
Huh? Umm …
I’m sorry, the correct answer was Shakespeare.
But still, I’m more acutely aware than ever of key nodes in my self formed semantic universe. One node that’s been recurring more and more often comes from Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century. She points out that if many of the things the named players did at that time seem childish, it’s because they were. The plague gave the world to sixteen year olds. Those kings jumped into their armor having been just handed a society at about the same time they were handed puberty. (Remember: Juliet was threatened with old maidhood at thirteen, but had she married Paris as rapidly as her family wanted she still would have been infertile till toward seventeen. A much easier world to practice a couple of years of chastity in, the body only half yet in the driver’s seat at 14 or 15.
I look around in our own calamitous 20th Cen and I see the 14th (a point made by BT herself). Everybody’s a child. Oh, me too, but that’s sort of Huck Finn-Peter Pan deliberate. Again, no doubt not too rare a condition. I mean the ones pretending to be mature.
I notice it especially in the entertainment business, including commercials. By the time anyone knows anything, he’s washed up. We don’t want no Kurasawas in America. We don’t need a plague to be sophomoric.
And that node hooks high speed into the GBS Methuselah, node. We’re got to become longer lived to grow up. For social evolution to take place with a bit of conscious intelligence. That would be unprecedented in what we know of evolution, wouldn’t it be?
Then there’s the counter node, much fertilized by Lem. Forget it. We’re not capable. But AI might be. Our “purpose” was to parent them. Golem and Annie.
So I wanted to work last night. 2 hours goes to this film. Then perry mason comes on. The inertia is there. Have I seen this one? I’m beginning to catch up, like Taxi, to know the episodes, in this case even more decades after the fact. I now love PM in a way I couldn’t possibly have in the 50s. It seems so innocent. Appearances being deceptive is the main theme, but still, innocence and guilt only one step into subtlety in this universe. but at least it’s not zero. Amazing how the formula sold episode after episode. Amazing that the real murderer is always in the courtroom, always someone who’s already testified, someone still hanging around after they’ve given their testimony. What a remove from Bonfire of the Vanities. Jews and Italians commuting in armored vans to try n-words (Bowdlerizing K. 2016 07 31) and spics in the Bronx. Nobody knows anybody except through the lies of the press.
A new level of feedback. The way in which the Morton Downey show is an intelligent animal. I don’t mean intelligent like we think of Gauss or even Dan Rather, but still, it knows where it’s stumbling, knows when to howl and when to shut up.
What the hell, I was too tired to write well anyway. When I’m in the fever, fatigue is just as good as rest, maybe better. But not to begin again. There I need a clean slate. Or what’s much the same, I think I do. Screw it. Slam balls, sleep like the dead, and work tomorrow.
It’s 6 pm the next day and I just couldn’t get any rest. Lights out. Nothing. Think of Dyan. Forget it. Read Alnilam. Even dawn doesn’t put me down. Nothing is pleasurable. The synth an empty exercise. Reading even Dickey a chore though with spurts of recognition. That son of a bitch. I’d all but forgotten how it was Deliverance that made it impossible for me to progress with Memorial Day. There I’d been so proud of my wedding of man to earth, climbing as a meditation, and then his ascent of the cliff comes out. He’s done it again here, less dramatic, but wow. Funny, it may make me start Memorial Day again.
My first Florida half hurricane this afternoon. Wham! Fabulous. Kinesthetic recall of delivering my papers in the storm of 48. Huge tree limbs falling in front of my bicycle. No body could read the sodden messes I delivered, but that wasn’t why I was doing it.
Playing pool another node for me. Feedback vs. calibration. And plenty of hooey. Self deception about what I’m doing? So what? I’m not a pool player. It’s just for me. It doesn’t have to be good.
As I play, I think of some of my rationalizations about what I’m doing. Playing fast. Practicing the relaxed stroke that aiming spoils. Then getting plenty mad at myself for sloppiness. Make five or six and then miss three or four? Why? I should be beyond that now.
First I tell myself that I’m playing against the clock. Then why have my misses not lined up easier put-aways? Why do I keep letting the cue run all the way back to the down hill side of the table when the balls are poorly positioned at that end? What nonsense. Did I actually time anything? No, it’s just my subjective clock. 15 balls down fast, now do the next faster. Wouldn’t it be faster still if I actually looked at some of the harder shots? If I made all the easy ones instead of this make-them-all, miss them all, make them all, miss them all rhythm?
Ok. I’ll be more disciplined. I’ll decide what it is that I’m doing and maintain it through the whole 15 ball table. Is this for speed or for minimum strokes.
I’ve stopped counting how many in a row. Though sometimes I can’t help it. Six. Pay attention. Blowing the next one just because of psychology is bullshit. it’s not easy but it’s not too hard either. Try. I get up to eight. Have an easy one for nine. Try to be patient. I look. I try to make the aim real, not pretend. I try to relax the muscles, tortured from work. Slam! stupid. the ball goes in the wrong hole and I’ve messed up what remained. the called ball, but the wrong hole. What is this temptation to count it? To say nine in a row? In some other game maybe but not this one. The rest of the rack turns into slamming.
I slam a few more. No. remember? discipline. Change the game this time. Not how many in a row, but how many total strokes for the table. None fall on the break. I run five. I notice and start thinking. Disaster. Miss. Wait, did I count the break as a stroke? I count the balls on the table. It would be so much easier to count those in the well, but since only about 2/3 ever come down until I chase them along the underrails, it’s got to be the table that I count. Ten balls up, so it’s got to be seven now, not six strokes. Run five. Miss again. And I can’t keep it up. At least I maintain the stroke count. 24 to clear the table with no great certainty whether I remembered to resume counting from the seven or if I defaulted back to the six. 25 maximum. Stupid. Even though the full table in generally easier to find shots on that the nearly empty table with your cue always the long way away. Eight wasted strokes. Can’t count the break as a waste even when none fall. Often enough two, and sometimes three, go down. Five and miss, five and miss … should be 18 or 19 strokes for the table when none fall on the break. Allowing an extra one or two for how much harder it gets toward the end.
But then there’s something else, another inconsistency that creeps into my attempts to sustain any single discipline for a whole table. any discipline at all. including being lousy. a string of dunks will still creep in. And that’s that when only two or three remain on the table I start defaulting to shots I’m bad at. long banks. put the hanging ball into a different pocket. what? scratch on the last ball? try that deliberately. it doesn’t count unless you both sink the last ball and scratch in the one stroke. it ain’t pool, but it is a game.
Then there’s the question of normal scratches. Even in a timed game, should there be a penalty? There’s already the penalty of having to chase the cue ball down into the well and then walk it back to the head of the table. (in this case, the head is the bottom, as one plays uphill in Highland Wheel Estates. Another crazy thing about this table and room, maybe an unconscious motive for slamming, is the penalty the table takes for softness. A slow stroke and you can actually watch the ball change path a few times. But I know this table by now. I can use those slopes. for and against.)
And what I ought to find out one of these days is whether an opponent would help my concentration. You only have to run eight in eight ball, though typically through an increasingly mined maze. Something I’ve never done and don’t expect to do tomorrow, if ever.
And what kind of straight pool would I be able to play if it were real straight pool, defense, safeties, no break that scatters?
I’d still make more shots than I ever could before, though I’d also still miss some from shear humanness. mental lapses.
I go to pull some vines after the first rain today and haven’t much more than started when it rains again. Fine. But then it pours. I’m wet by the time I get to the trailer, but at least not sweaty. Boom. The trailer shakes. I’ll really be sunk if a branch comes crashing through my new canvas. It’s not likely to hit me while I’m up and sitting at my table under the fiberglass roof, but I’d have to get a whole new section. At least not the whole five sections.
and the vines are another node. pulling them down out of the trees even after they’re cut and dying to dead. life has made an incredible tangle for itself up there. the parasite vegetation levitating to the point where whole living host tree branches get pulled down. And some dead, already amputated by the vines, or severed by lightening and are held aloft by the vines. Dick says that they made the Tarzan movies around here. I’d swing if there were any place to swing to. But I work balanced between the two debris filled slopes to water on either side. just pulling, let alone swinging, you have to watch to see when and where one of the big branches is going to come down. It could fall of its own at any time. And because of the vines, it’s not going to fall straight when it does. Crunch. Hell, they all missed me when I was ten. But that one found your eye only five summers ago.
But my point was levitation. The vines, tensional structures, climb the compressive structure. Something has to be compressional somewhere, at least to start. Like the jig for a tensegrity icosa. Eventually enough of them can hold everything up. Conceivably, even all of the host trees falling, something could still stand. The failed jungle still wouldn’t be flat. By remote possibility, could even stand as well as a Snelson sculpture.
I strongly suspect that human epistemology is far more vines than trees. There are compressive elements within it, like a Snelson strut, but nothing anywhere all of one piece rooted and compressive all the way down to a different medium. The earth being compressive in a way quite different from the tap root tree growing out of it. A different logical level.
words are defined in terms of each other. [my compressional/tensional business is of course a metaphor only (as it is in the macroworld anyway, since nothing is solid in the microworld)] But not just in terms of each other, too in terms of how a word pattern relates or doesn’t relate to the data of experience. So it’s all in terms of everything related within the same world. we talk of law and justice, for example. could either law or justice be a compressional member, a tree without which the vines couldn’t start their climb? Or could they be a long fallen dead branch which once held up the vines but are now held up by the vines. Our sight doesn’t go far enough to know. We’re attached to it. We feel support from it. We must support it.
Mussolini and the trains run on time. Comes the hurricane and down comes the dead branch, bringing vines with it. But it doesn’t fall to the ground. it just falls. other vines catch it. the strained vines readjust. Or someone comes and cuts the root. HWE gets public sewage and the water treatment plant no longer feeds the streams. The vine roots die. Not the tree roots, just the superficial roots. In time, even without wind, the vines weaken, the levitated dead branch slips. Its substance is slipping away even in the air. All the way on the ground it will decay faster. Even just the cellulose won’t be able to hold its structure after a while.
But even the living, tap rooted compressional member someday too will be just dead cellulose, stubbornly holding itself together. If there are still other neighboring trees, the vines may help to hold the dead tree upright or at least oblique, even after lightning has severed its bole.
what feedback is there among the vines? I bet they soon learn not to invest too much new growth on that non-support. But they can’t just let it fall either. They’ll lose when it goes. They’ll also lose by putting too much on it. They have to hold it up, but somewhere the trade off isn’t worth it. Some of them will fall too. Veterans of foreign wars. They’ve moved the capitol.
So: linguistic study. what word/concepts have tap roots. which are healthy? what’s dead wood? what are we letting go of? what are we clinging to that we’ll have to fall with? What’s the longevity of the tree? of the whole row of trees? of the vine/tree ecology?
What’s the longevity of the next contingent logical level? The burm and its water? The earth itself? What do the vines do when someone like me comes along and cuts everything he sees that isn’t tree, and some of the tree too, attempting local genocide?
raw hands and rain, I just went and pulled some more. the tops of the vines are as strong and stiff as the tops of the trees themselves. maybe a bit thicker and stronger. the vine thins in the middle. the base might be as thick as a branch, the roots up to a couple of inches. one vine might have it’s main hold on one tree but be fully foliating in the tops of two, three trees over. figuring out how to pull them down is a puzzle. you might think at first to pull down the biggest, that the others would come down too. the whole couple of trees, more likely. no, pull out the little ones and the big ones begin to slip. after they’ve been dying a week or so.
The trees are maybe 80 feet. I cut one branched vine to have less resistance. Just the branch is at least 120 feet long once I pull it free and toss it into the ravine. It’s top branches are stiffer and stronger than the tree branches. That’ll take your eye out as it comes down.
damn, why am I so tired? so I take my miserable self to see if I can control that same self through a couple of games. 8ball. ho ho, what vain dreams above. 8 in a row? how about two? nothing on any of many breaks. plenty of shots but none on stripes if I’m stripes or solids if I’m solids. Did get better after a bit. finally, stripes is way behind. might have been one or two down. everything is going solid’s way. hmm, stripes made that one, and that too, and is suddenly shooting at the 8ball and sinks it. that’s close enough to 8. still have awful lapses on full length table shots. I’ll hit the right spot on the wrong side of the ball. god, I’ve blown some easy ones. so they’re not easy when I can no longer see that far. wore glasses for one game for the first time ever. not counting, now that I remember, an attempt with first bifocals with BK at Haverford. Took them off after a couple of butchers. Couldn’t see the ball well either way. Well, things were amazingly clear with them on, like the old days when I could focus on anything, still took them off and went with the gestalt. you don’t need to be able to see too well to play this game. to be very very good you do, but not to be competent. I remember my teacher saying never play an old man, even if he’s blind: they remember the shots, they don’t have to see them.
fractal point sprinkling. the “random” order of learning and intelligence. I wish Gleick’s book said more about point dusting and fern plant shapes.
wake up well slept and thinking: how the hell can we think any intelligence system is intelligent that we haven’t built ourselves; and imagining that something we’ve built ourselves could be intelligent is the worst sort of vanity. language, logic, … drift into us like the Sargasso Sea. The only way to imagine that we’re rational in any rational way is to be completely on the semantic surface of things. we look at kindergartners and think how unformed, innocent, etc. when we’re looking at beings already programmed for 6 years! 6 years! that’s some operating system you’re about to build other programs with! when it took around 2,000 years to see vanities in Euclid’s axioms, how can we possibly imagine that any thing we could look at, even if we looked at it for 2 million years, were perfectly free from some hard to find flaw? Well, I’ve looked everywhere and my keys simply aren’t here.
Last night the pool table swallowed one of the balls. That’s the second time that an hour’s search through a room holding only a pool table and a little junk failed to come up with what had dematerialized. The first time a ball didn’t come down, it took a couple of minutes to hunt it out. I learned that balls can spring through the trough and fall to the floor where they can roll anywhere. The rug never lies flat. The more you play, the higher the waves that it develops. Sometimes they spring through and don’t fall to the floor but simply catch in the inner structure of the table.
So the first time I thought I’d known all the hiding places. I had a routine that covered 90% of them in a half a minute. But that one time I never did find it. Played with 14 balls, firmly believing that it would rematerialize in due time. Finally I gave up and went home. The next time I went back, the table had been used and there were 15 balls on the table. None looked new. No, you get to know a particular set after a while. the 11 has that spot just there. So last night it happens again. When I play hard, 13 to 15 balls will be in the well when only the cue ball remains on the table. The bugs move around the table. Sometimes it’s the left rail that holds them, sometimes the right. For a while I’d most likely find them right near the well and stuck just at the mouth on my left, as I face the well and rack end. A flip with the finger freed them. Lately they’ve been catching at the left break end of the table. Rolling a ball the whole way with a little force will produce 1, 2, 3, 4 or 0 balls at the well. So I mostly run my finger along and shake them all down. But this time, nothing. Fingers, seeker balls, hands and knees, eye inspection, a search of the floor, the rug, behind and under the junk. It simply isn’t there. If I go home, the pool fairy will return it over night. I’m tired. My shoulder hurts. I can hardly lift my left arm. I play like an idiot anyway, holding the 19 oz cue stick always just with my right hand and always from all the way back by the rubber foot, and always jutting out. The cue is already aiming as I bring it into line. The left hand goes down for the bridge, the finger wraps, and slam, there’s the shot. (Though two nights ago I did something I hadn’t done in a long time, played a whole table, all 15, never placing the bridge, it took more than 24 strokes, but every shot was one handed. I did use the light stick though.) Or, I play hard, and don’t be surprised if 15 balls again appear in the well. Three fell on the break. Is that a first for me? There are only two left after a while. Ram, into the side pocket. What was that funny click? Never heard that before. Investigate. Well, what do you know? Now I know still another place for a ball to hide, to go totally invisible for a while. The hard play had just shaken the tiniest arc of the lost ball down to where it blocked the others. Found by function, not by sight. Doubt if I’ll ever know how the hell it got in there in the first place.
When Dick gets back, I’m going to ask him to make it a priority for us to take the table apart and put it back together again. Level, rails straightened, no rug, new cloth. I’ll scrub the balls.
(inserted a week later: sore muscles and no stroke, but five! fall on break! And damn if another four aren’t just hanging by the pockets. I don’t make a one of them. Best and worst I’ve ever done right on top of each other. The break shot hadn’t even seemed that good: but the cue ball stopped dead as they scattered, did a little break dance, and then went on chasing them about.)
So how can we imagine that no flaw exists because we see none, even with searching?
the right connection: I believe most writers’ first ambition, after writing something that they are proud of or that gets encouragement from parents, friends, or teacher, or even just self-feedback, is to get published. Be accepted. Write a mystery, or a sit com, … Sh wrote sonnets, Plautine comedies, revenge tragedies, malcontents, popular stuff to start with. Anton and Phil tried mysteries. Kate “succeeded” there. Certainly I want to be published. My thoughts, my own metaphors, my id files are for me. If I bother to edit, to plot carefully, it’s for others. But who? I don’t just want a connection; I want the right connection. What if there is none? What if there never will be? What if there’ll be no more humanity? Or plenty more humanity, but no literacy? Stories, sure, but corporate produced: Movies, tv, magazines, … the media. An independent voice can arise there, and certainly have. Movies and newspapers started as independent voices. Poetry started as dependent voices. Shepherds sang public and cosmic themes, not sentiment to their particular goat. But today, to try something public and cosmic, but not the corporate “let’s pretend that we all think this,” you can only try to be public by being private. Especially if your theme is what our epistemology could or should be, not what it is. The right connection. You have to be a mutant to have any chance of normalcy. The group has to have dissenters to have any chance of survival, let alone progress. Yes, I’ll use that word. Even if Lem is right, and that evolution has a negative gradient, that negative gradient is what produced his Golem XIV, or I believe, might produce it. It’s what I see as the main chance. Try to discover what intelligence is, pursue it, don’t necessarily believe it’s right, but investigate it, not the word as we use it, but the word as one guesses, deduces, infers, intuits that it’s trying to be. Aiming ahead of the target. Practicing so the aim is ahem instinctive, not calculated: or rather some calculation, but relaxed calculation, not the kind that upsets the rest of the system that’s aiming, the gestalt. Of course that upsets everyoneelse’s gestalt. But then that was your aim. Exactly what you believe must be done. And happily pay any price to continue to pursue.
You may be an asshole and a liar and a cheat and a fraud, just like everybody else, most of the time, but five minutes a day, five seconds of trying to be honest … Who else does that?
Well, lots of people, as a matter of fact. The only ones you can name are writers: Wolf, Lem … Or nonwriters who wrote: Bateson.
How many unpublished? the missing pool ball? Or we only allow 15 balls plus cue ball on the table: are there others that would do well on the table? Of course, it would be a different game.
How many published but not found by you? There’s no way to tell without the group cooperating and even with scholarship, it’s still not perfect. Who else would have found the missing ball as quickly as I did, however frustratingly slow? Well, you don’t know that either. The first one you lost, someone else found. Or it found itself.
Well, it’s a big cosmos. There’s no way to tell what we don’t know that’s in it. The theme of 20th-cen sci, though hardly a popular theme. 1905 started classical; then soon Godel and Heisenberg. In the 80s you still have a successful grub and sycophant like Gould merrily going on pretending that he was right all along even as he revises and revises, never admitting the revision except as details. Well, the tail always winds up wagging the dog. When the dog is no longer a dog, but some other creature. Evolved. Better? Hard to say.
But I say this. We should develop intelligence and stand or fall by it. We should simultaneously stop inter-twining with everything else. If our vine fails, we shouldn’t pull down the forest. Or maybe we can’t help it. We’re only as intelligent as we are. What does “should” have to do with it? Willfully, we resist greater intelligence. Is that smart? If we have doubts about ourselves, shouldn’t we then also stop our colonization?
the drop out imagines that some further educational institution promotes learning. Well, it does. Preprogrammed. Real research allowed in limited areas, physics builds bombs so we’ll do real research in physics. But still, the research has to fit the limited preprogram of the supervisors. There’s no way to measure what research is suppressed, discouraged, weeded out.
what’s hidden doesn’t have to be found. virtue, not paint.

Journal

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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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