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"To think is to differ" Clarence Darrow "The free man is he who does not fear to go to the end of his thought" Leon Blum "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man" George Bernard Shaw
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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    In this short (8 minutes) video, some people give out their short response to the question: What we should know.

    Is there a sustainable advantage to posing and responding to that question?

    What would be mine? what would be yours?






    Wed, May 5, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: knowledge
    Sent to project: The Total Library
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    Groups and collectives come in an abundance of variety; they poetically coalesce into the migrating forms through which we see ourselves and the images we apply to make sense of our world

    Brood

    1. The young of certain animals, especially a group of young birds or fowl hatched at one time and cared for by the same mother.
    2. The children in one family.



    Flock

    1. A group of animals that live, travel, or feed together.
    2. A group of people under the leadership of one person, especially the members of a church.
    3. A large crowd or number: had a flock of questions.

    Horde

    1. A large group or crowd; a swarm: a horde of mosquitoes.
    2. A nomadic tribe or group.

    Throng

    1. A large group of people gathered or crowded closely together; a multitude.
    2. A large group of things; a host.



    Host

    1. An army.
    2. A great number; a multitude.

    Crush

    1. A great crowd: a crush of spectators.



    Drove

    1. A flock or herd being driven in a body.
    2.
    1. A large mass of people moving or acting as a body.
    2. A large body of like things.


    And… Mass, Multitude, Ruck, Legion, Swarm, Congregation, Collection, Array, and Bevy and Bunch, Cluster, Lot and party, Press, Band, Gang and Slue, School, Pack and plain Group


    And some are combinations which should have appeared inconceivable unless they were so meaningful, like: A crowd of two, A flock of one, A Solitary Multitude
    Fri, Apr 23, 2010  Permanent link
    Categories: words meaning
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    In prefacing this question, I thought of beginning with a kind of disclaimer, stating that everything that follows is described from a layperson perspective and terms. However, when I considered this same disclaimer, I came to the understanding that posing the question and grappling with it (or taking pleasure in it), is the domain of every person.



    In this sense, there is no layperson, or perhaps better stated, the layperson perspective is in no way diminished in accessibility and responsibility in coming to play on the field most intimate to us. For ‘What is our humanity made of’ is an arena in which our very open nature performs the most fundamental act of reflection. In that we are true to ourselves and in that we measure and match our unique syntax of reflection.

    Of course there are many learned and distinct takes on the question what it means to be human. I have recently watched a video from World Science Festival 2008 titled What it Means to be Human, where a panel of leading scientists and thinkers present a compelling discussion on just that question. And there are many angles through which this question is approached and some excellent arguments have been accumulated in years and years of debate, reflection and representation through art, research and philosophy, tackling the territory of being human.



    My title question was formed while watching another video: “Golan Levin makes art that looks back at you” . There was a particular moment for me, while watching an image of one of the works by Golan Levin in which a giant tapeworm like flexible pipe, with an eye like form at its end is lodged on top of a building. As the name of Mr. Levin’s presentation suggests, the experience I had, while watching this constellation was indeed of being watched. Reflecting on that experience, I asked myself what in this image forms in me the impression of being watched? And further, how is it that a piece of pipe with a crude similitude of an eye, is impressing me in a manner that attributes the image something very near intelligence. Now, I realize there is a leap here, and I am aware (or assume in an aware fashion) that what I look at isn’t meeting any of the standard norms of possessing intelligence. Yet, what caught my interest is that it takes very little for something to be associated in my mind with (a) living form and (b) endowed with some form of intelligence.
    In my education I was taught that as humans we tend to personify forms. We easily accept cartoon images as representations of human beings, we have the abstract capacity to see a human being in the most simple drawing of a stick person. But what is it, I asked myself that renders these forms so not NOT like us?

    The thought I wish to pursue in this context is that our humanity is made of meaning.
    Not only do we have in us the innate capacity to endow meaning, that is to make something meaningful, but we have it in us to grant a ‘something’ the status of having meaning in itself. In that, we have a fantastic ability to create an interest that exceeds in a way our immediate investment (of meaning).
    Rather than attributing this tendency of granting this special status (having meaning in itself), so readily available to us, to some childish, naïve property, I view it as an advanced feature of our mindset and a great advantage.

    If that is the case, even given the ultimate subjectivity of this, our capacity, what is the advantage we derive of it?
    It seems at face value that the ability to grant something a status of having meaning in itself is populating our lives with lot’s more, in fact, infinitely more ‘interest objects’ then the world of both physical objects and abstract objects that we can conceive of, have. In other words, this trait breaks through any confines of finite nature. In yet other words, this ability of ours reflects on an open ended nature involved in the reflective nature of our mind.

    In one of the memorable scenes of “Cast Away”, the character played by Tom Hanks develops an intricate relationship with Wilson, the volleyball accidentally stained by his bloodied palm print. Perhaps his most sane act in the circumstances.



    Whether in times of great peril, or in our most daily circumstances, we engage, it seems, in an activity that allows us generation of meaning in an interactive manner, which brings into our limited resources existence a reality that is infinite.
    Not only that, but, it is in this infinity that our humanness thrives.

    In a most direct fashion, it thrives in the aspect of feeling the full expanse of emotions we are capable of, when we accompany Wall-E on his arduous journey, as we would any flash and blood representation of one of ‘our kind’. And so perhaps, Wall-E, and Wilson are one of our kind – the kind made of meaning;
    It thrives in its very openness which is manifested in impressionability or susceptibility to meaning;
    It thrives in coming to realize that we are never alone, and there is no limit to the extent we reach by our very reflective nature;
    It thrives in the fact that we cannot be afraid of anything, on the basis of being different than ourselves, since ourselves are a dynamic interactive meaning generators.

    The more we increase our capabilities via applications of technology and acceptance of our virtual life, the closer we come into unmediated touch with the reality of the vast expanse in which our humanness thrives while cracking historical boundaries.

    Taking a farther leap with my initial thought, I find that in staring back at myself, as Golan Levin’s eye-snout does, I come into close vicinity of such concepts as love, infinity and being of kind, with no great effort.
    The stuff our humanity is made of, whether it is dubbed meaning, interest, intelligence or love, is an interactive substance. Perhaps that is beyond all learned explanations, what it means to be human.


    Fri, Aug 21, 2009  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    It is an ordinary day.
    I have been doing some manual chores. The kind that usually requires no special attention other than exercising well wrought patterns of activity.
    The kind that allows for a certain leave of absence, entwined with a certain sense of satisfaction.


    It is an ordinary day, yet I am stopped for a moment. Having been cruising with body at activity, thought at large, I am considering this quiet, basic identity of having a body.

    Having a body is a condition we are so accustomed with, it seems to have become almost a transparent factor of our being.
    At the same time, I am well aware of a critical difference between ‘me’ and ‘my body’. It is a difference as ubiquitous a factor in the dynamic description we apply to ourselves, as having a body.

    Having a body, identity and a state of mind, all seemingly experienced from and by the same reflective agency, incites in me a thought about the intricate mesh of the coherency body-identity-state.

    But how loosely or tightly knit, is this trinity?

    Identity, I think of not only in the narrow sense of one’s specific identity but in the sense of being of physical existence. That identity is so closely entwined with the very fact of being fed by sense impressions, of being confined to and of perceiving through a story conveyed and consolidated by information pertaining to sensory impressions.

    The very location and dimensions of body in space is such a huge influence on perception and self-description. So many content rich comprehensions are derived of the mere proportions of our existence in body of a certain general size.

    Similarly, the scope of our senses, discerning that which is visible or not, audible or not, etc., along with the very conception of accessibility and participation bred and borne by these factors; The inherent vulnerability that stems of the particularity of conditions supporting our existence; and the strong-hold idea of being finite (as well as its counterpart of eternality and expansion) that seem to be bred and fed by the reality of a body confined in time-space and given size.



    All of these seem to have ‘conspired’ to deliver and nourish an overlapping hardly challenged in the immediacy of the reflective procedure between us and body-reality by which and through which we know ourselves to be alive, or simply know ourselves.

    And then, the particular sense of 'being me', is so closely weaved with the particulars of one's sense-content; the ‘map’ of coming to contact with information, the feel of it - familiar or new - becoming known via clusters of memories and comprehensions. The intimacy of it... the ease of pattern recognition as the reflective play writes and re-writes itself...

    So many of our ideas, our best and our worst, are closely related to the reality of existence in body (and a fixed one at that).
    Freedom and liberty, breaking given confines, taking flight beyond locality, connecting, interacting, exchanging experiences, collaborating, giving pleasure and having pleasure, extending availabilities, as well as all thoughts of eradicating, violating – be it a human, a collective, or ideas by means of violence.
    We are so used to calling it our human nature. But in fact, isn’t it merely the identity of our bodily existence? Isn’t it but a temporary condition? A changeable one at that?

    I wonder the independence of my cognitive aspect, its conceptual space. Tasting its freedom of partaking, the playful game it engages in, within and upon the shimmering borders of being a ‘something’ associated to location, to being but a game. An intricate reflective happening, a recursive complex dynamic of patterns and loops, upon which the habit of body-identity forces the image of a command center.


    And what about state? How much freedom is there for states of mind to emerge, to evolve, to create and impact reality independent of the pillars of identity held in place by a reality of living in body?

    I'm thinking of the expanses of new experiences enabled via technology, and how it affects these aspects of being me, being human.

    From speeding to mere seconds the time it takes for information to be conveyed across geographic distances, to blogs, life-casts, augmented reality, and the myriad of new applications that do and will more so, change the ‘feed’. That do and will replace or enhance the impressions that shape our perceptive fields of interaction. That do and will impact our knowing, understanding, comprehension and overall sense of being us.

    My thought is excited by the possibilities, and in particular I am seeing great relevancy in the change of balance between sense-fed impressions and thought as such (the virtual, the abstract, the “un-bodied”).
    For the first time in our known history these two aspects are not necessarily competing for primacy.
    We are getting accustomed to intakes of information that sometimes arise of sensory feeds and sometimes skip, alter or exchange these bodily means. And more importantly, we are getting used to removing the tag of prime reality that used to reign our evaluative system where source of information was concerned. Which means, to my understanding, that information conveyed by senses, information that stems of bodily reality isn’t overcoming any other reality as a rule.

    Via this change I see something new emerging. The borders are already disturbed; it becomes for a moment possible to imagine, to feel, being something else.

    And the longing it brings!... for this short moment, it does feel like the vast concept of being human is bursting upon itself. It feels as though that illusive pointer – the human spirit, that has longed for the stars on a desert shores thousands of years ago, that struck fire out of stone, wrote itself as poetry and pushed its inquisitive edge into the bowels of physics, chemistry, astronomy and such, while dipping its imagination in the shape-shifting mastery of arts, is vibrating anew.
    Through its challenged confines, through the beauty of being unbound, the yet un-named moments of sheer otherness and pleasure, through interaction and the thirst for it; it is reaching new states, new liberties, new dimensions upon which to pursue the playful complex event of being human.



    I am pondering the pattern and habit of being me, a bundle of so many muscles and organs, embedded with a reflective faculty… and I end up, as is the case in an intelligent universe, taking wing into un-chartered thought pastures.

    I enjoy the thought that it is a genuine instance of what being human is about.



    In homage to those great enough to tell it as a story


    Sat, Jan 24, 2009  Permanent link

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    In homage to a thinker who's storytelling indeed creates realities. Excerpts from the short story by Jorge Luis Borges.

    Centuries and centuries of idealism have not failed to influence reality. In the most ancient regions of Tlön, the duplication of lost objects is not infrequent. Two persons look for a pencil; the first finds it and says nothing; the second finds a second pencil, no less real, but closer to his expectations. These secondary objects are called hrönir and are, though awkward in form, somewhat longer. Until recently, the hrönir were the accidental products of distraction and forgetfulness. It seems unbelievable that their methodical production dates back scarcely a hundred years, but this is what the Eleventh Volume tells us. The first efforts were unsuccessful. However, the modus operandi merits description. The director of one of the state prisons told his inmates that there were certain tombs in an ancient river bed and promised freedom to whoever might make an important discovery. During the months preceding the excavation the inmates were shown photographs of what they were to find. This first effort proved that expectation and anxiety can be inhibitory; a week's work with pick and shovel did not mange to unearth anything in the way of a hrön except a rusty wheel of a period posterior to the experiment. But this was kept in secret and the process was repeated later in four schools. In three of them failure was almost complete; in a fourth (whose director died accidentally during the first excavations) the students unearthed - or produced - a gold mask, an archaic sword, two or three clay urns and the moldy and mutilated torso of a king whose chest bore an inscription which it has not yet been possible to decipher. Thus was discovered the unreliability of witnesses who knew of the experimental nature of the search... Mass investigations produce contradictory objects; now individual and almost improvised jobs are preferred. The methodical fabrication of hrönir (says the Eleventh Volume) has performed prodigious services for archaeologists. It has made possible the interrogation and even the modification of the past, which is now no less plastic and docile than the future. Curiously, the hrönir of second and third degree - the hrönir derived from another hrön, those derived from the hrön of a hrön - exaggerate the aberrations of the initial one; those of fifth degree are almost uniform; those of ninth degree become confused with those of the second; in those of the eleventh there is a purity of line not found in the original. The process is cyclical: the hrön of the twelfth degree begins to fall off in quality. Stranger and more pure than any hrön is, at times, the ur: the object produced through suggestion, educed by hope. The great golden mask I have mentioned is an illustrious example.

    see full story text
    Tue, Oct 28, 2008  Permanent link

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    Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. A leading researcher in positive psychology, he has devoted his life to studying what makes people truly happy: "When we are involved in [creativity], we feel that we are living more fully than during the rest of life." He is the architect of the notion of "flow" — the creative moment when a person is completely involved in an activity for its own sake.

    Sat, Oct 25, 2008  Permanent link

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    A short story that beautifuly depicts a possible path in our present to future leap.

    credit for finding goes to Phil Duby (I hope he doesn't chew me for mentioning his name here).



    The Gentle Seduction

    by

    Marc Stiegler

    First Published by Analog Magazine in 1989



    He worked with computers; she worked with trees, and the flowers that took hold on the sides of the Mountain.

    She was surprised that he was interested in her. He was so smart; she was so ... normal. But he was interesting; he always said something new and different; he was nice.

    She was 25. He was older, almost 33; sometimes, Jack seemed very old indeed.

    One day they walked through the mist of a gray day by the Mountain. The forest here on the edge of Rainier glowed in the mist, bright with lush greens. On this day he told her about the future, the future he was building.

    Other times when he had spoken of the future, a wild look had entered his eyes. But now his eyes were sharply focused as he talked, as if, this time, he could see it all very clearly. He spoke as if he were describing something as real and obvious as the veins of a leaf hanging down before them on the path.

    "Have you ever heard of Singularity?" he asked.

    She shook her head. "What's that?"



    The rest is here
    Mon, Oct 20, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: sci.fi, stories
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    Threats to Humanity Part 2
    Isaac Asimov in a Key Note address of The Humanist Institute, January 14th, 1989.

    A visionist, a realist, one of the best story tellers, presents issues that touch upon our legacy and future.

    Sun, Oct 19, 2008  Permanent link

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    Threats to Humanity Part 1
    Isaac Asimov in a Key Note address of The Humanist Institute, January 14th, 1989.

    A visionist, a realist, one of the best story tellers, presents issues that touch upon our legacy and future.




    Sun, Oct 19, 2008  Permanent link

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