The concept of doing better is weird. Our brains not only reflect the contents of the world, we also simulate our being agents of change in it. We not only see features of things but also how such features act as handles for future interactions.
On the one hand, this tendency to preview consequences gives rise to the concept of reason. We have a module that checks whether events in sequence have something to do with each other. From if this, then that, to if this, then that must have been. When a claim doesn’t quite compute, we can check for ourselves if breaks in the chain exists.
The flipside to this handy feature of brains is that we can be over eager in its application. Selves by default have first person perspectives. Selves are the natural centers of thoughts. Reason first arises from experience this way. Without taking this fact into account, reason has a blindside to the randomness of nature. Matter are probabilistic waves. Reality exists in many states at the same time. Most likely nothing except ourselves have anything to do with us.
And yet, how often do we forget to account for the limits of our senses and how it curtails the scope of our experience. Even constant deliberate application of reason within said constraints is impossible. We take mental shortcuts. We have biases. Worse, any evaluative act forces us to ascribe byproducts of our experience to others.
Aspirations for betterment are retroactive explanations for the trajectory one is already trodding. Everything is already in a state best afforded to it by its random circumstance. If not, it’s on its way. All else is a cover up generated by hamstrung brains to maintain the illusion of reason. Enough for today.
One has to admit to not knowing as a precondition to actually knowing. It’s as if one is taking pride on one’s own ignorance, except there is no time. Knowledge of one’s ignorance is also knowledge. Recent known unknowns immediately give way to more unknown unknowns and so on. One’s ignorance becomes multi-disciplinary and ever-expanding fast. Stupidity knows no bounds.
If one insists that the goal is to have grasped something, this quest is forever unsatisfying. In fact, if one insists on having a goal at all, having an open mind will never be a source of joy. An unending quest is its natural byproduct. To be content while having a purpose, at some point one has to close one’s mind. Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance about one’s ignorance is.
After dealing with this question of the is and coming up with an answer, that brings us to the question of the ought. What then? The answer is of course unsatisfactory to the same extent. Nothing. There is no answer. There are only questions all the way down. And we cannot even say there is a point to the cascade of questions. Because there isn’t any.
That is bleak. And by definition it is. So by convention nobody actually loves this idea. In fact, if by loving we mean choosing to confer value, loving this idea is impossible. Conferring by necessity needs an object, and as we said, there is none. To achieve anything, one has to stop. Where to, or when, is completely arbitrary. To finally cover the sky with one’s hands, put them over one’s eyes.
And to those of us who have learned to enjoy this forever slide in boundless ignorance, or claims to, good luck. Enough for today.
There is nothing else to write about. I have already written everything I want to. At the moment, at least. Because this is impossible. Some other time I would want to write again about something else. But at this moment, there is nothing. Or I only need to sleep.
A poem is never finished, only abandoned, says a quote. This is untrue. There is such a thing as something done. It’s when nothing else makes a positive difference. The law of diminishing returns comes to mind. And yet, when revisiting old writing, the desire to bring them back to the chopping block is always strong. I blame the constraint of publishing daily and in short time.
But then if one gives in to the urge to edit in perpetuity, one would not be able to get anything done. Here’s the big idea in this random musing I guess. The concept of having finished something is so arbitrary. It’s as if the ultimate marker for getting something done is the running out of volition. Because where will remains, there is always more to do.
If this writing exercise is serious, at this point one should remove the first two paragraphs. Write around the idea found in the previous paragraph instead. Sharpen the point with illustrative examples. Remove meta references and line up words with conviction.
At the back of one’s mind The Law of Surprise is begging for an appearance somewhere. Explain how we take the passage of time for granted so much we forget it exists in quite important contexts. Link to the concept called “the end of history.” Have Jaskier start belting “Toss a coin to Your Witcher.” Nothing is ever done for real.
But alas this is not a serious writing exercise. This is a hobby. My audience is myself, and I’m learning how to be patient with the writer. Also, this is the three hundred and twenty sixth word. For what started with me staring at a void, writing only what came to mind, I’m rather pleased with how this went. Right now, at least.
Enough for today.
Pull recent things from stack, pick one striking most interest. Pull from memory things related to this particular piece. Pick one that strikes interest, ad infinitum. Or at least until some semblance of structure is self-evident. Write down the structure.
If it were this simple, I’m done. Yet there are bottlenecks. One is the fleeting nature of it all. Unless one can type at the speed of thought, there is great chance to lose the thread while pulling it. The fractal nature of the contents is bound to disorient. It’s hard to make up anything from things that are self-similar.
If the choice in the trolley problem is about pulling a lever to sacrifice one to save many, people choose to pull. But if the choice is to push a person in front of the trolley, people start to hesitate. In most versions of this example, the nature of the problem requires that the person to push be fat. That’s the source of hesitation right there. A lever is easy. To exert effort is hard.
This moment is an inflection point. One has arrived at some definable position at random. But to make a first-order point this way has no instructive utility. To only scratch the surface is unsatisfactory. One then has to think about what to do with it. A common recourse is to try to refute the point. Or describe its mirror image. Or transform it and derive a new point of view.
So let’s question whether the onus to do something about the trolly falls on oneself. After all, if anything happens, it’s given that somebody else could have made a bigger difference. Why push a person who could choose to jump?
Enough for today.
Altered Carbon has stacks, The 100 has Memory Drives, The Entire Memory of You has grains. Ava in Ex Machina seems to need her whole head. But she’s a robot. And yet Dolores smuggled five pearls out of Westworld using Tessa Thompson’s body.
There is a story of Jesus exorcising a demon or demons out of a man into a herd of swine. The swine ran down a hill and drowned themselves in a lake. In Blindsight, the ship linguist are four distinct personalities in the mind of one. In Accelerando, Manfred Macx spent time as a flock of passenger pigeons.
What was once spiritual is now replaced with techno-babble. Black Museum is hell. San Junipero is heaven.
The likes of Memento and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind seem to imply that souls are bodies. Now descriptions are more precise. Selves are data on chips one could download and save, obeying its own Moore’s Law. With a healthy dose of “quantum”, future souls steal about-to-die bodies in Travelers.
The Matrix and The Thirteenth Floor seem related but they’re of a different kind. Conceit is more their point. The Truman Show is the more appropriate comparison.
Of course, there is obligation to mention Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner somewhere. But even more so Sonmi-451 from Cloud Atlas. Steven Strait’s character in Life Like is the odd one out.
In Ghajini, there is dancing. Enough for today.
There was a rock picked up from shore. Two to three fistfuls in size, brownish, irregular pyramid, of grit typical of sea stones. It was nothing special.
But then because it was around, there were times when it proved useful. It had its duty as paper weight. It’s now used as a doorstop. Those two things. Some traces of candle wax, so that, too. Still nothing special.
Sure there were times when it was nothing more than what it is, a piece of rock, collecting dust, somewhere. It disappeared for a long while once, unnoticed. And then on some cleaning day, it showed up, surprising everyone.
Toy Story was the first full-length film Pixar made. They were selling rendering software. The movie was to demo the ability to build worlds using only computers, new at the time.
Value arises from the proximity and interactions of instances of existence. That which has been around for long, has a great probability of being around for much longer. Where there is none to confer value, there is no value.
Someone gave me a pen as a gift once. And then I lost the pen. So I bought the exact same copy. Erasing the fact that it’s not the same pen was impossible.
No other piece of rock like the one I picked up as a kid exists. And yet it’s still just a piece of rock. Enough for today.
Attention is existence distilled.
We know about our alien overlords since 1988 They Live.
Taking note recoups one’s volition while consuming media.
I rewrote the abstract of what I was reading to grok it.
Self-governing systems have three types of unity.
First is synthetic unity. Information from incommensurate sources map into a common frame of reference.
Second is unity of voice, or univocity. Separate sometimes even conflicting voices unite into a single collective voice.
Third is dynamical unity. Parts of the system operate under the command of a single voice.
The work that the brain does generate these unities. Looking at how the personal point of view arises this way dispels the mystery of self as soul stuff.
Enough for today.