Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Attending The University Of The Info Sphere

People have asked me in the past why I never went back to finish a full college, and graduate, degree program. And what I've always said was that the expense was not worth the certificate of credibility thus obtained. And the fact of the matter is that the miniscule amount of money that I, and the government, spent on what was essentially a focused, liberal arts degree, with a side of Data Processing, was just about the most cost effective training program anybody's ever done.

Not only did it leave me with no debt, I ended up having a career that paid a very nice, upper middle class income for more than twenty five years. And I've always felt pretty good about that. I've also felt very lucky to have received the kind of quality learning Washington State's community college system provided at the time, and for which I can only assume continues to this day.

I mention this because it occurs to me now that, for the last 15 years at least, I have been attending a new school. A new school that is the only way one could possible do what Marshall McLuhan had prescribed, years ago, for those who would seek to understand the new media environments; becoming the guy who tries to be inside the tornado of whirling facets of content, forms, and new modes of absorbing complex mosaics of meanings, all juxtaposed in a never ending maelstrom of effect. Trying to be inside there and ferret out new, important connections.

The result of this 15 year, ongoing education, and investigative observation, is the thesis you now see being presented across two blogs (as well as the OldSoftyConcerns web page I used to have online). And presented on blogs so as to provide the forum for my defense of this thesis.

So. Whether I actually succeed in getting my "graduate degree," or not depends on the quality of the challenges I get as a part of my defense. And in that regard I have to say it's been a bit of a puzzle.

I don't know about you, but I don't think I've ever encountered a web forum of any kind where someone could go on proposing what ought to be an obviously controversial agenda, and yet receive virtually no comment at all on it (critical or otherwise); for nearly two years now, and something like 1000 posts in total (with Google's questionable view tracking system having indicated over 100K before they finally shut down the old Google+, where these posts get copied to).

Don't get me wrong. It changes nothing in a practical sense for me. I continue because I have to. I continue because of the splinter that's been in my brain or as long as I can remember: There just has to be a better way to do things. It doesn't leave me alone, and I can't leave it alone. That's just the way it is. I'm just curious is all. And as much as I'd like to have an affirmation on the graduate degree, I can assure you that continuing on without one is not going to cause me much grief at all at this point in my life. And even if it did, compared to everything else that's being done, or not being done, in the world today, you couldn't get anything more "small potatoes" than that.

The really important thing to remember, though, is that there are a lot more of you out there that are attending the same new university. My hope in that is that as many of you as possible would carve out a study program to use this new institution's unique properties to present your own graduate thesis; your own attempt to tease out important aspects that old institutional learning simply has no hope of even recognizing, letting alone articulating properly to any degree, graduate or otherwise.  Keep at it. If you feel it, it has value, and don't let anybody tell you otherwise.

To The Extent That Money Is Involved...

...These will be connections that are most likely not to be of benefit to you nearly as much as it will be of benefit to the guys operating the links, and controlling what the links do.

Buy into this folly at your peril.


Tesla and SpaceX founder launching Neuralink to explore technology of implanting tiny electrodes into the brain.

If There's No Credibility Left Isn't Government Already Shut Down, at least as far as all honest Americans are concerned?

How can either party continue pretending that the greatest shroud of distrust ever to be encountered by this Nation, that now hangs over the entire government, doesn't exist?

How can a putative Speaker of the House continue to be allowed to ignore obvious tampering with the investigation process by a committee chairman in his own party?

The simple fact of the matter now is that anything this GOP controlled government tries to pass will be tainted by this same shroud of lies, corruption and treason. And until that is removed the only thing that makes any sense at all is to just extend the last continuing resolution (the one passed before the taint was known) for as long as it takes to resolve this crisis of confidence.

Write to your representatives, and call them. Demand that a independent investigatory body be created, and funded for at least eighteen months of full, and robust staffing (it's easier to return money you don't spend than to have to ask for more). And to eliminate any controversy about selecting the participants Congress should simply decide to use the 5 most senior members of each party's Senate membership, giving joint chairmanship to the two most senior of these members of each party. This would then structurally demand the ongoing cooperation of both sides to get the job done.

Every American now who cares about the sovereignty of this nation needs to write, and call, their respective members of Congress and demand that nothing else be considered in this session at least until the establishment of this independent investigative body is created.

Another Government Shutdown Crisis Seems to Be Approaching

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Monday, March 27, 2017

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Here's A Philosophical Question For You

Has the basic point to, and strategy of, biological life always been to get to a level of structure where choice (remember how important choice can be in testing things like light?) via a meaning processor, is available?

Has it always been a race between two ways progressing after the singularity, and things started to cool down?

In the first, with things coming together as quanta, and then atomic structure, beginning the overall expansion of what, and when, you would have only non choice interactions going on to mediate better outcomes. In other words, the basic interactions of mass and energy so that the elements of the periodic table would start at the simplest, and get progressively more complex via fusion repeated over and over; to then create more complex molecular structures via irradiation, accretion (with the subsequent heat and pressure), as well as further, follow on chemical reactions with the new found, more complex compounds, etc.

Then you have biology finally kicking in with the processing structures for getting, holding on to, and making meaning of, information. Getting. Holding. Creating.  All in sufficient combination to provide a counterbalance to a fall to ultimate uniformity?

Said another way, if life, at least to the degree that it does create meaning processors, with the ability to make choices, didn't ever get started (however improbable that might be), or stay existing long enough, is there any other physical reason why a reality wouldn't always end up in a final entropy of total uniformity? Can the ordinary mixing of matter create it's own continuance in an ongoing expansion event?

Certainly, we don't even know now whether meaning processors, and nothing but good choices, would necessarily make a difference either, but it is fun to speculate on. I know there's been some work recently to show that purely physical laws could come up with ways to get, and forget, information, and could be seen as a type of life. The question then becomes whether that path could produce complex enough structures to get to the point where this could move beyond storing the simplest of cause and effect relationships and get to a layered matrix of stem, lower brain, and higher brain functionality; each one adapted to help the one above. A matrix that creates absolute adaptability to any socially coordinated, experience retrieval coding scheme (language), devised so far (and remember, some of these are really, really, mother frigging hard).

That being stated, however, doesn't prevent us from at least sticking to the contention that meaning processors, however they are formed, and the meaning space they create, might very well be essential in keeping a physical reality going. And as to why this should be so, I also have to wonder what causes singularities in the first place. The word of God? Or is it something more to do with encapsulation itself.

This is why my philosophy page has "Containers of Containers" in its title. For me, the unbelievable ubiquitousness of objectification, across all aspects of the entirety, has always been fascinating, and essential in understanding the entirety. That and the swirling mess of fields interacting because of already encapsulated swirling fields of interaction. Whereupon new connections are made and a new objectifications created; a process that is much the same whether you are talking about physical space at any scale, or meaning space.

What we end up with, in any case, is the singular viewpoint a meaning processor gets from having objectification occur at all; separating the inner from the outer and creating an identity. A self, and a point of view; which is simply saying a frame of reference another way, which is essential if one wants to talk about Relativity at all. And isn't it just a lovely coincidence then that this meaning processor also provides Relativity with something to be relative to?

Whatever the case may be, what do you think?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How Many People Don't Get This Sort Of Affirmation...

...At all, let alone only occasionally; where even then it may be given grudgingly, or insincerely, or merely as the means to manipulate, with any number of other possible, not so helpful, qualifiers one could list if one chose to.

And remember, though there may be a bit of cliche in how this is presented, it is still a metaphor for something absolutely fundamental in healthy human development. Something that I would say occurs now in spite of how we are now organized, and not as an organic part of it.

What it represents is simply another way to describe both the need of, and hope for, thoughtful, loving structure.

As always. Become better informed. Ask deeper questions. Take peaceful action.

'Hi Stranger' Is A Weird, Relaxing And Life-Affirming Video You Need To Watch Right This Second

Another Example Of Why Experience Association Is So Fundamental To Situational Meaning

These first experiments trying to look into underlying pattern matching abilities of the subconscious mind, for what we call our gut feelings, are very important. More understanding here can't but help to understand how our minds work.

One could certainly wish that it wasn't under the auspices of trying to better weaponize intuition, but sometimes you have to take research effort where you can get it. One would also hope that the people involved in this research would keep a certain amount of humility towards what they are digging into. For instance, just because you see signal correlations between confusing input, and broader areas of where experience is held, doesn't necessarily mean you've identified the main mechanism. Certainly it can be one part of a greater whole, but care needs to be taken in not too quickly dismissing a host of other interactions with the environment one finds oneself in; and in this, of course, lies a great deal of nature of the filtering we do to make sensory input manageable for meaningful processing, and integration into our current worldview, in the first place. What this might suggest is that the interplay of meaning space, and how we form our unique takes on that space, as well as its integration with the larger, shared meaning space of the cultures, and societies we live in, are also very important in how a gut feeling is interpreted in the first place, or whether it's encouraged to be felt at all.

One thing, though, that I find particular interesting here is how this plays through the limbic system. Of how that suggests that our connection to the animal part of us is still very important, and will likely remain so as we go forward in our mental, and physical evolution.

Being an animal with an unbelievably adaptive meaning processing, neuron and synaptic matrix, causes us no end in difficulties. It also, however, provides us with a connection to other biological systems. That importance of that connection may never be fully understood, much less fully appreciated, but we really do need to keep an open mind to the possibility that it is huge, and absolutely, and fundamentally, necessary.

Can We Turn Our Intuition Into a Real-Life Superpower?

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Monday, March 20, 2017

How The Lack Of Meaning In One Area Of Your Life...

...Can lead to a perfect storm of meaning in everywhere else.

The story Digg had featured on a General's efforts to combat suicide in his command triggered another odd connection thread for me this morning.

The particulars here were that, because of his own issues with depression, he put real empathy into trying to find solutions at the army base he commanded. They turned out to be common sense solutions, from an empathy, treatment, sort of view, and, wonder of wonders, they helped quite a bit. They also, unfortunately, did not fit the Army's preconceptions of "garbage in, garbage out," problematice source material, as the real culprit. The general in question moved on, and the base went back to suicides as usual.

I bring this up in the context of meaning because a couple of contrasts popped up in my head when reading the suicide story.

On the one hand, one of the reasons people both love, and hate war, is that it is a great clarifier of connection to a purpose. Said another way, it is very difficult to participate in such directed violence with a lot distractions, or BS in your head. Focus comes down to the bone very quickly, as does your reliance on the people around you. Whereupon you form bonds of involvement with others, as well as with the behaviors required for the situation at hand, that one simply cannot get in ordinary civilian life, save for a very few professions; like cops, or firemen, or miners in a cave in, or rough necks on a sea rig in trouble, etc.

On the other hand, of course, participating in a war based both on lies, and on the results of religious extremism, itself the result of too many ways of seeing the world, all roiled up, and in each other's faces, literally, and figuratively, around the globe, and throughout the info sphere, makes taking the larger view of the violence as connected to anything really meaningful especially difficult. After all, we keep killing more and more, while nothing seems to change much, save for just how obviously empty the platitudes have become.

Connection is certainly essential in meaning, but that does not guarantee that the meaning thus supplied is always a pleasant one. One would suppose that it is sometimes yes, when you survive in battle, and sometimes no, depending on all of the collateral damage caused; something, unfortunately, you wouldn't expect gets processed until after action. Having a larger point, though, that you could draw upon, intimately involved, would logically be expected to help.

That I think, as well as the prolonged ship time for many of them, coming back home to become civil again, allowed a lot of GIs during WW2 to get through some much needed, personality reintegration processing, that needed to be done before they interacted with family and friends. The horror of what they had to participate in, seen in the context of the greater horror what they stopped, was something that gave you at least a decent chance to do a work around. And they would be coming home to a country that had reason to feel good about itself, as well as good feeling for the men and women who had to put a lot of their humanity on hold, in the thick of it, until the job was done. After all, the country was working again big time, and had just led something very, very important.

What we have now, however, in ordinary economic life, is a far cry from the economic life of the folks that, either went back to school on the GI bill, or, already having critical skills, went back to work to create the good life the thirties had made seem like a pipe dream. And to give us an even bigger head of steam, we would be the manufacturing titans to lead the world back to commercial prosperity. Why else would a guy like Kennedy have proclaimed that metaphorically shooting for the stars was something you did precisely because it was hard.

With everybody else getting back on board the competitive train, and the amounts of money that suddenly started flowing in all directions at once, and so much more efficiently now that it moved with the speed of electrons, competition itself became the new battle ground, with every country a theatre of operations for either the exploitation of resources with which to make things (but mostly to make more power), or the operations for dominance of markets to sell things.

In this marketing becomes everything. Not only in getting people to buy your brand in end use items, but also your brand in ideas, because we had to begin competing there as well. And the big problem there was that, even within a single country, there was great diversion of opinions that could be created simply because of the divergent interests of power players in different industry sectors, or even the same sectors, in some instances. And so our war of priorities began within our own borders, as well as the Cold War, because there was another player perceived as a different economic operating system. One that could somehow seduce whole populations of underdeveloped nations.

My point in going through all of this is to give you context for why we now have a commercialist, consumer society, so vapid, and empty of connected living. And how could it be otherwise when you work just to consume. And even worse, your contribution to that work is automatically valued less on an ongoing basis because the only thing that really has value in work any more is its efficiency. And here efficiency is defined as who, or what, can do more for less time and money. The who, or what, who can be retooled ever more rapidly as well, because constant disruption has become the competitive soup de jour.

Worse still is that we have become economic participants looked upon with increasing disdain by those with the real power; the masses who barely retain relevancy as consumers (if only the robots could take that over too), much less than those who deserve only the most manipulated of information flows. A situation that, more and more, makes "need to know" a right of providence for them, and an automatic distrust for us.

So now you have articles (posted here) on how white men aren't marrying anymore because they feel no worth. Couples having relationship problems because one or the other can't help carry the financial load. And kids killing themselves before they even get to this level of being unmoored because they have started out without value; were raised by people without value, and can see nothing on the horizon, save the next new hallucinatory experience ride, for which would give them the means to create their own reference point; their own sense of purposeful agency (with its unique blend of heritage and mentoring) that would just know automatically what would be the next rewarding thing to do.

In all of this can you not see why there are a lot of factors that would allow for the onset of perfect meaning storms? Storms of inner pointlessness that would have, could only have, one useful conclusion? One could imagine it, in fact, as another potential cascade event, waiting for each and everyone of us. Waiting for that one triggering realization that a specific aspect of now has set in motion. And the one new bit of meaninglessness suddenly puts stress on all of the other weak points. Weak points people have a way of glossing over. Ignoring. Or just burying under one stimulant, or sedative experience after another, that one can ingest, or physically climb into. A process that's good for the economy now ironically, but only up to a point.

Meaninglessness, and the manipulation of meaning. Pointless production and consumption to make bigger numbers in order to do more pointless production and consumption. And then you add  the delinquent notice (served in large part by Mother Nature) on all of the delayed costs, piled up over nearly 100 years of kicking such things down the road. This does not make for a situation filled with lots of advantageous options. And so I must advocate an option that does, on the whole of it, suck big time. Even I don't want to have to actually do this, but I just don't see a better alternative. And unless you think Capitalism can be fixed, the onus is on you to come up with a better alternative. The sooner the better.

The General Who Went to War On Suicide

A commander with a history of depression created a unique way to keep his soldiers from killing themselves. The Army had other ideas.
March 17, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Thinking About Another Kind of Reminder System

Two big things, among others of course, going on now are coordinated marketing, and augmentation.
The link below is to a Ted Talk on augmentation, as that is way more sexy.

Coordinated marketing, though, has become so pervasive you almost hardly notice it any more, but just to be clear, that's the thing where, checking out, say, video projectors one place, for whatever reason, suddenly has you see video projector ads on every website you visit there on, until you either buy one, and then you get a subsequent cascade of associated product ads; or, if you don't purchase, maybe the ads change to other kinds of video screens, or VR sets.

People selling ideas, unfortunately, are using great economic clout to use these same coordinated marketing techniques to their advantage. Targeting demographics. Opinions. And then messaging to suggest buying into ways of proceeding more in line with the person, or group, making the investment. And just remember the "net gain" rule involved here. Such people don't make such investments for your benefit. They make them in the full expectation of profitable gain.

What if, in another parallel universe, instead of the money system we have now, the people there chose something like... Well, since it's convenient, like my alternative. I'd like to think that we'd still have something akin to the web we have now, focused, hopefully, a good deal more on the free flow of information for its own sake, of course, but also, at least in the case of the community's sub net, it would be an integral connection system, linking you to the community (ok, starting to get sidetracked here).

Anyways... In the process of going about your day, when you have some free time, and you were perusing items of interest online, and instead of ads you got reminders of not only what you had come to think were ideas, or descriptions, or habits, that would help you stay positive about things; remind you to have hope; remind you to remember the things you do have, as opposed to the things you don't have; reminders of the possible acts you could take to achieve other, broader range goals. And like I said, maybe it's not just what you were thinking might be good ideas, but personal AI assisted suggestions; a personal AI perhaps, that, from birth would keep track of how you did things, how you best succeeded, what made for your biggest difficulties. And what if you, or your parents early on, could control how much it did or didn't help. Just as you could control letting it consult with further, outside sources, to allow for a wide variety of input.

What I'm trying to talk about here is the notion of how we encourage people to get a better inner dialogue going. Of how we create better norms of what makes for good habits in doing everything we do. How do we do that in an ongoing, dynamic way? Keeping it both a personal discussion, as well as a community discussion, because the integration between both must always be ongoing process. And then, of course, how do we integrate the messages into everyday, community life.

I think about things like this and then I think about all of the potential of augmentation and, one way or another, knowing that it will come. Whether we like it or not. Whether it get's implemented in our best interests or not.

I also have to admit in this that my alternative would benefit greatly from even the most rudimentary form of this (having, say, glasses that could be any combination of see through,  or to see in combination with what's in front of you, as well as what truly integrated databases might provide across the depth, and breadth, of human experience, and abstract knowledge. All in real time and, with the right mix of wearable sensors, could make you capable beyond your wildest dreams. At the very least to operate current machines, or perform current tasks, you wouldn't be able to do now otherwise.

Or it could simply be the most cost effective means of social control ever devised. Control, which, given the disproportionate distribution of power now in existence, would not likely to be in your best interests.

What will guide the content of those databases, and what the main intent of the information thus provided by said sources is, ought to be of the utmost importance to you now. We can have augmentation for distraction. Disinformation. Escape. Hating on cue. Loving on Cue. Just to name a few examples. Or we can have it for what would be in the consensus best interest of the community. I believe that we cannot have both.

The choice here is in the hands of all of you. Keep in mind, though, that this may not last a great deal longer. Not only is the manipulation of the process of getting consensus in the first place in danger, our ability to organize effectively to counter the power of money also has a shelf life now. There's probably more than one angle to this but the main one that concerns me now is that the one weapon left to us as peaceful protest may not last. And that is our ability to organize as workers.

This problem concerns more than just an increasingly effective anti union campaign the right has been waging for decades now. It goes to the heart of what being made much less viable, "skill as commodity" wise, as competitors in the marketplaces of skill. A decade or two more and the number of alternatives to replace, or source elsewhere, they will have, even if very large numbers of us strike, will likely allow them to let us starve for as long as it takes to put the movement down.

Please think on this. Become better informed. Ask deeper questions. Take peaceful action.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A Suggestion Concerning Doing Public Policy Discussions

These simply cannot be left to any form of extemporaneous dialogue any more. Whether that dialogue occurs via video, or live interaction. And we must do this for two main reasons.

First because too many Americans do not know how to create, or correctly interpret, the written word any more, in multi paragraph form, with even minimal complex sentences, and they absolutely need to because that ability is essential if you want any hope of parsing hyperbola from logical construction of an argument.

And secondly because what passes for debate now, with so much emphasis on the visual, is more about performance, than content; a context where the adept at extemporaneous hyperbola can spew forth syntactically correct combinations of nouns, verbs, adverbs and all the rest, and yet still not say anything meaningful. A painful experience we are all now becoming much too familiar with.

From now on debate should be done via thread posts on sanctioned servers, with the participants taking turns making statements, and responding with statement rebuttals. Side channels could be provided for observer comment threads, and perhaps also as a means for observers to vote questions over to the participants.

In conjunction with this, all further attempts to conduct such discussions via televised media be altered so that the participants are digitally removed from the picture, substituted, say, with a still shot, and in addition to the audio, the scroll at the bottom would be a mandatory closed captioned display of what is being said. To aid in being able to better digest that feed, it should also be streamed in such a fashion that the user always has the ability to hit the pause button; thus enabling easy, repetitive timeouts to go back and forth and double check that, yes, what you just heard was indeed nothing more than combinations of nouns, verbs, adverbs and all the rest, and yet still not say anything meaningful.

Since none of this is very likely I guess I'll have to make do with the following pledge: If what I've been talking about ever starts to gain wider notice, I will do only audio only interactions with the media. That way you don't have to look at another old dude spouting off about stuff, and I don't have to let you see how badly I do extemporaneous performance. Also, maybe, just maybe, there will be a bit more emphasis on the content, and a good deal less on the performance. A small gesture perhaps, but you have to try and do what you can.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

And Lest We Forget...

...This way of solving problems is still out there. Waiting to burn away all of the BS that has made keeping it hanging over our heads possible in the first place.

As much as I'd like to see the BS burned away, one would hope that a better way to do so could be found. I personally think that doing away with money would be a tremendous help here, but you would certainly expect that, wouldn't you.

What do you think?

Newly Declassified Nuclear Test Footage Shows The Terrifying Power Of A Nuclear Blast

Monday, March 13, 2017

As Someone Who Has Dealt With Both The Mental Illness...

...Of a parent, as well as my own issues with severe depression, I couldn't agree more with Gillian Anderson. It is time we gave a shit about mental illness in general, and most especially with young people.

Of course for me, the really heartbreaking aspect here is that we seem to be only able to come at this from a perspective of what it will cost; and with most of that within the terms of dollars and cents. Each community needs to take care of its own, and to do what it takes to get it done.

Gillian Anderson opens up about struggle with mental health, depression

Time To Doff The Hat Again...

...And give a salute out to an inspiring example of creative tenacity. That it is also a wonderful example of someone making new connections, by starting from new (or previously dismissed) assumptions is just a lot of very nice icing on the cake.

I am talking about one Jon Larsen of Denmark. Over a period of some eight years he found a way to determine the visual characteristics of cosmic dust particles; characteristics that are quite different, once you know what to look for, than what you see in our ordinary detritus and effluvia .

For a long time, scientists were having a hard time finding these same particles, and hadn't had any luck yet in figuring out why. As it happens, their approach had been centered more on trying to distinguish terrestrial from cosmic by chemical testing means. As the article indicates:

"...Mr. Larsen then changed tactics. Rather than looking exclusively for cosmic dust, he taught himself how to classify the dozens of different kinds of earthly contaminants, starting a process of elimination that slowly narrowed the candidates and raised the chances that some tiny fraction of the urban debris might turn out to belong to the cosmos.
The breakthrough came two years ago. In London, Dr. Genge studied one of the gathered particles — from Norway, not Timbuktu — and confirmed that it was indeed a traveler from outer space. Mr. Larsen quickly identified hundreds more..."
Way to go Mr. Larsen. What you have done is a wonderful achievement. It shows what a regular citizen can do with thought, investigation, imagination, and determination.

This is the kind of thing that gives me real hope for our future.

Flecks of Extraterrestrial Dust, All Over the Roof

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Perhaps We Should Start Solving Those Problems...

...As a part of our comprehensive journey to the stars.


Exploring the galaxy will only give our problems more room in which to expand.

I Always Thought It Had Value...

...In balance with other things, of course.


At its core is an insight about the relationship between planets and life that has changed our understanding of both, and is shaping how we look for life on other worlds.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Light Of Creation Is Connection

Finding the right gap(s), between many things juxtaposed, and making the link(s); that binding of meaning that holds things together, in a new way. And immediately creating new juxtapositions for new connections yet to come.

And you, all the time losing yourself in the finding, letting go and just feeling for anything you can, having faith that you'll come back; back to whatever reintegration makes sense, no matter what you might find. Letting go, but holding on, outside of what you're pretty sure are ordinary boundaries, to both reason and its opposite; hoping they'll settle out dynamically, and compromise as they need to. And things will settle out just enough, no matter what is set into motion.

And you still think that wingsuit, parachutists, are the really crazy people. And you don't even begin to fully appreciate the irony of saying you want to make a big impact on the important issues of the day, even as you smile at the obvious humor of it.

You just better hope you can rally enough love, and hope, to watch your back, as you try to wield that singular point of making anything meaningful. Whatever its point, it can also have a very sharp edge; an edge that can cut all the ways imaginable.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

As It Is With Anything Important...

...It is the connection you make with it that determines what makes for the best experience for everyone. and everything, involved.

That is the essence of what the report (linked below) on sex is really telling us.

The excitement of sex, the orgasm, they are important too; as has already been mentioned in this post, the animal needs its due, and that is all part of giving it what it needs. But even if you consider it only for a moment it's easy to see why, even with what the animal wants, if there's connection then there's a great deal more likelihood that even this part will be shared, and worked in such conjunction with each other,and everything else involved (an inclusive inclusion that you strive for, but of course, never fully attain), that it becomes much more than two individuals simply doing what it takes to climax.

Connection. That's an easy word to bandy around with. It can mean a lot of things certainly. I mean it to convey getting into an involvement with a situation; a new moment of doing something; participating in something; anything you've chosen to do, hoping for some beneficial conclusion. If you can throw yourself into it with as much (contextually appropriate) abandon as possible, even to the point, sometimes, where you lose yourself for a time. That is being truly connected.

By now you'll be recognizing this as a common trait of those who do things that are a passion to them. Somebody who works with glass blowing. Somebody who loves working with wood. Somebody who likes tinkering with anything mechanical. Somebody who loves tending a garden. Etc. You could go on with sort of list for quite a while with the right imagination, the use of which, certainly, can also be a special connection. These people get into these activities and they then, often, lose all sense of time. There is only the feelings, and the textures of this particular connection, and what makes them right, and what makes them wrong, and so a happy conclusion of effort is usually the result because you follow what you feel. You have a garden that represents what you feel about gardens. You have a device that represents what you feel, about a particular flow of cause and effect, that is most appropriate to do what you feel is a good conclusion. Or you have a flow of glass that represents, at least for a moment, an amazing crystallization of color and shape, that you could touch before in your mind, even if you hadn't really seen it yet.

And I can tell you that this is an ability we all have at least a chance for. It is, however, something you need to practice at. Something you need to make habitual. And the nice thing is you can, without any physical effort at all. It's like meditation in one sense, in that you do want to try to turn off your inner dialogue. Stop all of that inner voicing of what you are thinking, and the running commentary on it. It is more than that here, though, because, in conjunction with it, you also try to picture in your mind, again, without words, all of the minute, as well as all of the things at a scale much larger than you, things going on as you sit there, ostensibly doing nothing. And to make this a bit easier I always start from the ground up; in a limited area around me, taking into account as much as I can remember of bacteria, mites, dust particles, chemicals that might be sloughing off as smells, movements directed by biological coding, or by temperature and pressure differentials; all of the various frictions not causing noise, as well as the ones doing so. And then working my way up and out, of where I am sitting, trying to imagine, and feel, as much as is possible, of what is actually, at that moment, going on, microscopically as well as macroscopically.

My favorite way to do this used to be finding a good spot in some woods, on a warm day, with the sun only partly on me, and of course, little prospect of being interrupted. Out in the woods, certainly, there is so much more that is easy to remember; all of the biota in the soil. All of the moisture, and chemicals percolating. Things moving ever so slowing in myriads of growing things. Vast arrays of hair thin channels moving water. Vast panel arrays of cells containing organelles, and chloroplasts of green chlorophyll pigments; photons hitting the proteins involved and causing reactions to inputs into something meaningful for more, very specific, interactive growth.

What happens here, in addition to getting a better sense of all of the scales of consideration you exist in, is an immediate sense of just how permeable so many, so called boundaries, really are. So permeable, and so insubstantial, when considered from the right perspective, that you start to get the feeling that maybe boundaries are a good deal more arbitrary, and subject to context than we've ever allowed ourselves to consider possible before. And I can tell you from experience, if you practice at reaching out and trying to feel as much of all of it as you can; trying to push past the boundaries that are there, and aren't there, at the same time, you will be very surprised at how connected with life you can become. Do this a while and I promise you that you will have a much better perspective on contemplating what "thoughtful, loving structure" is all about. It's something akin to the thrill one gets in experiencing the time machines that creating video at a million frames a second might provide, or doing video at only one frame every five minutes, or every hour, over an overall time span that is much greater, can provide.

It's not very practical to be doing this sort of thing all of the time, certainly, but it is a healthy discipline to try to stay with to the degree that you can; at least once or twice a week for at least 35 to 45 minutes.

The thing is, the more you try to connect, the more you want to connect. The more important it becomes to you. And the other thing is, the more you can work at extending your ability to imagine what is actually going on around you, the more you will be able to imagine what it is like for other people when they do the things that they do; which is, of course, the basis of empathy. And the thing there is you want empathy; you need empathy, actually, not so that you can necessarily forgive what others do, but that you can understand it at its causal base as much as is possible. Only then can you act, for the sake of practicality, with the best mix of information you are likely to ever get. A set of requirements that are, for me, an important part of working "thoughtful, loving structure."

Wow. Can you believe this. I led off with talking about sex and then switched it into meditation and philosophy. Boy. If that ain't bait and switch, I don't know what is. I must tell you, though, in all honesty. I have absolutely no shame whatsoever in having done this. Assuming, of course you're still reading, and haven't completely abandoned the thought of reading more of what I write. Otherwise, "never mind."

It's the cuddling, not the sex, that makes you happier

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Just Some Of The New Kinds of Porn?

If you haven't stumbled over at least one of these as a significant collection of videos on YouTube, you watch way too much conventional TV.

Flood Porn.
Tornado Porn.
Volcano Porn.
Dash Cam Accident Porn
Crane Crashing Porn
Ship Crashing Porn
Buildings Collapsing Porn
Airplane Crash Porn
People Doing really stupid things to themselves Porn
Actual War Footage Porn.

And just to be not quite, completely, negative:
People Doing Really Good Thing For Each Other Porn (and I don't mean the usual "really good things for each other," either). Trust me. This actually exists.

People Doing Good Things For Each Other

Friday, March 3, 2017

On Fantasies, Connections, And Big Imaginations

How can you help having an imagination so big it has to imagine everything it can, and everything it can is a lot when you wouldn't think to imagine it in the first place, but it bubbles up anyway because it is beyond thinking (and your imagination is beyond denying). It is making connections because connections can be made, given you've a galaxy sized matrix of experience events you only ever have partial, conscious recollection of.

So, just as some connections come un abetted, some also resonate as a fantasy, whether you willed it to be so, or not. And so we must confront the acknowledgement of, as well as understanding of, what fantasies are, and what they are not.

Fantasies are a part of us that do not necessarily define us. Just as so many base instincts are a part of us, but do not necessarily define us. We are animals, and we are more than animals. We aspire to the "being more than animals" part because we must, not only for our own evolution, but for the sake of holding both meaning space, and physical space together.

From my perspective, like it or not, there is a certain symmetry involved in the notion that, as a reality goes on from initial big bang, to the farthest possible reaches of galaxy formation, and the sub solar systems within them, there is a significant likelihood that it will all go cold, and undifferentiated, eventually. Unless, of course, something else happens to counteract it.

And it seems to me to be only a natural conclusion to say that it is the meaning processors in each reality that make the difference; or at least that they are there for the possibility of making a difference. If they can succeed in aspiring to be both animal, and something better as well; if they can go forth from the source, seeking to understand both themselves, and everything around them, creating expression. More meaning. More reason, and more emotion, for more meaning still, and the inevitable, loving structure that can grow from such a combinations; giving them better connection to themselves, and what is of, and about them. Perhaps then we can make a meaning space, physical space, fusion that will make even relativistic mass, across multiple realities, look puny.

The thing is here, I can't help but feel that our reality, as well as the entirety, needs to be experienced, appreciated, modeled, and lived within. Just as potential cannot help but need to find realization. And if you have infinite potential, that need would be great indeed. Meaning, and the activity that derives from meaning based choice, is fundamentally different than activity that simply progresses as the inevitable consequence of interactive laws, working their way inexorably through the great branchings of probability, from the initial singularity on. In those choices, and in that different kind of event type, the structures thus created, in many more ways than we originally thought, is demonstrated the whole being greater than the usual sum of the parts. At least this is what we must have faith in for that is really what it is going to boil down to, because this has, necessarily, become both philosophical, and spiritual.

I am not sure of all of the spiritual part yet, though I can tell you I feel it very deeply. I am convinced, personally, that it does not involve deities; at least if one thinks of deities as fully sentient entities of some much greater type. If one thinks of deities as divine process then we're really just coming at this from different sets of nomenclature. I might call it the entirety, but if you want to call it God, that is just fine by me.

To get back to fantasies, however (and I apologize for being so easily distracted), my point is this: fantasies can be crazy good. Crazy bad. And just crazy. That they might pop up is not the big deal. What you do with them, though, is. Like some of the other base instincts, they need to be labeled clearly. Acknowledged as already stated. Put in a special room in your mind, also clearly labeled, and then tended to by semi-regular visits to give them their due, as part of you, but only inside that special room. They get the "run" they need, you deal one more time with their existence, but not their dominance. They live in that room because they are part of you, but nowhere else. Because everything has to have limits, and that is where theirs must lay.

I have been thinking about this because, being alone in intimate terms, I rely on porn to help me have my semi-regular personal moment. And there is, in this, a not so surprising Liberal guilt. Is there a fundamental moral issue being avoided if one uses porn, and doesn't at least acknowledge woman are a good deal more than their breasts and genitals? Undoubtedly so, and there will always be this tension as long as human beings are both animal, and the aspiration to be something more than that.

For my part I can only say that treating the person has always been about doing so as I would hope to be treated. And, as I learned empathy from an early age in helping in the care of my younger brother, as well as in the luck I had in having two wonderful sisters, it has always been easy for me to imagine what it would be like to be treated as female sex fantasy. Just as easily determined that I know I'd not like it very much. So I have a very clear rule. The fantasies I have have nothing, what so ever, to do with real woman. Hell, my physical attributes in these have little to do a real me either. It's just something, usually what we perceive to be very naughty, with all sorts of aspects of the experience taken way beyond ordinary reality. And if it helps an old man, or anybody else, stay right with an animal that never ages in spirit, as we well as with the rest of the world, then I think it is a reasonable trade off.

One thing, though, that I think it is important to emphasize in this: anything you see depicting people having sex, no matter how it was recorded, no matter if the people originally involved were aware of being recorded or not, once it is put out as video, it is no longer real. It is a fantasy pure and simple, and should be treated as such.

This bears repeating, depicted sex is not real sex.

No matter what its source was. In that depiction, and your inherent disconnect from it, looking in from the outside, as it were, you are a spectator making your own use of a very abstracted encounter; which your disconnect makes quite clear, and obvious. You cannot, therefore, draw any automatic conclusions that any of the behaviors are, in any way, desirable, wanted, authorized, or something one has any right to expect. Real sex is only what, whatever number, and whatever combination, of adults have discussed, and agreed to, with no coercion either implied, or implicit, involved. And whether it's just for-fun sex, or sex between folks who have developed a caring, more committed, relationship, the rule... The absolute rule... is common consent, and continual respect for boundaries, because they must always be there, whether they are in the foreground, or the background. And no matter how you start, once you hear the word "NO," you must accept the new boundary that has just come up, and you must respect that new boundary. If you do not then you have put the animal back in control, and the part that would aspire to be better than that into a shredder. From that point on you should not be surprised if you are then treated like an animal, whether, in any ultimate sense, you deserve it, or not.

The bottom line here?

 We can imagine a lot. Wonderfully so, and unfortunately so. That is both our curse, and our blessing. Just as is the need to keep asking questions is both a curse, and a blessing. Some of it might actually be capable of touching, in some small manner of speaking, the divine. And some of it may be nothing more than the animal rattling his cage. Both are part of us and both have their place. And as it is with a lot of what makes the entirety tick, it comes down to boundaries. About how we need to both look past them, even as we keep them in mind, for the right occasion.

Images for fantasies

What Is It About The Notion Of Frontier That Keeps It So Compelling

What is it about a... Well, let's call it the Frontier Ethos. The kind of sense, and spirit, of being on an edge; an essential edge between living, blood and bone close, to as much of everything primal as possible, and yet also be objectified enough, and civilized enough, to not only talk about, and appreciate, it all across multiple sensory, and expression, paths, but also be possessed of enough contrast so as to be both shocked and exhilarated by the embrace of the primitive we've learned to keep in check.

I know a lot of people thought the movie Last of the Mohicans, the one that Michael Mann produced and directed, was a bit corny (dating myself expression wise), but I have to admit that I've always been a sucker for that kind of thing. As such, I enjoyed this movie a lot, crying and all. And one of the best aspects of the production as a whole, was the soundtrack, done by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman. And in particular there, of course, is the main theme.

It seems to me that you can't listen to that main theme, or watch the movie, and not get a big taste of that "Frontier Ethos."