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What happened to nature?
Olena {The Wizard} Shmahalo (24)
New York
Immortal since Aug 5, 2009
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3

The Operating System
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    From dragon
    Smoking is cool
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    The Beginning of Infinity
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    You are a Receiver
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    Olena’s project
    What happened to nature?
    How to stay in touch with our biological origins in a world devoid of nature? The majestic nature that once inspired poets, painters and...
    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.
    Each one a Nemo in hir own right: the captain — and self-appointed, usually degree-less, mostly unqualified but mostly unpretentious and good willed (or maybe that's only sometimes) naturalist, historian, archaeologist, scientist, collector, antiquarian or futurist or now-ist-maybe-buddhist, classifier, obsessive-compulsive magpie, or simply, in accordance with and out of [unconscious?] respect for ancestral careers, a hunter-gatherer — of a floating bubble with, imagine barnacles on a whale... now, make them float just off the whale, an inch! Imagine an entirely barnacle-inhabited sphere, imagine condensation displaced illusorily just an-arbitrary-distance-not-too-far from the ice-water glass as though its surface actually hung, unseen, just outside itself. Imagine a Dyson sphere and there you have it: each little submersible with a googol of artifacts about itself, trapped, orbiting.

    And I among them: I gently place my satellites into bottles, folders, clouds, and label them. Where did it come from? What is it? Where is it going? Where does it belong: what class, family, genre, species, what else? These are mine and they make Me, although I did not make any of them. [Well, maybe ~10% are my regurgitations.] I seem to acquire a personality: a Who who has selected these — only this Who could have selected these in this way, only this Who could have woven such a web, as differentiable as the variable homes of individual spider species. I gently lace my Self into a cloud.

    Some float entirely anonymous, some pseudonymous, armed with their orbiters and gazing out of the only, rectangular space left clear of debris, out of their submersibles, out into the Sea of Things. They project their Selves like Pepper's Ghosts onto the outsides of those little rectangles so that each has a face. A façade. Some in swarms, some bobbing along alone, interacting via ripples sent between them: marine mammal calls? Tap, tap, tap, Roger, I acknowledge you!

    And there! Where crest meets trough, a mating ritual! One performs the part of the male bird, waving all his stuff around. The other: tap, tap, tap, assumes female, and collects the flying accessories. The question becomes: Where have you been, what have you seen? That's the basis for value judgement. You can tell if a being's been around a bit by the state of that one's personal-social curio cabinet. Are they cosmopolitan; do their choices reflect worldliness in a non-literal way: the way of subtle references and selections of rarities that only someone who's been around the seas could make? Or are they still provincial, guided, like-like-liking all the safe, peddled, re-selected versions of things?

    Each one in hir own little submarine, choosing choosing, outfitting a 2D, imaginary, coded, but very real Self with the Appendages of the Seas…

    Mon, Jun 11, 2012  Permanent link

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    What are they for...
    pictures of stars,
    of people bursting into stars,
    stars coming out of people,
    humans with star-skin,
    the idea of being made of
    star stuff
    that all of these embody –
    actually, it's transcendence.
    A totally physical, 21st-century
    transcendence of the,
    escape from the
    bodies, lives, world, geo-centric, human-centric bubble
    we feel ourselves bound to.
    Transcendence upon realization that,
    actually, we really are something else,
    something lasting, infinite, beautiful,
    completely chaotic,
    but so much larger that it seems
    serene, to us;
    graceful, elegant,
    A way of surpassing finite bodies,
    finite experiences,
    since we've lost (for a large part)
    the "soul" and "god" ideas,
    we take solace in the particles,
    the subatomic world,
    the idea that, even when we die,
    we will be recycled,
    we will be eternal,
    even if we don't experience it the same way
    after the dismantling of the human structure
    we've been compiled into.
    So, bring it on!
    Let's dismantle!
    I don't care! I'm infinite!
    Even if I won't know it.
    It's still scary as Hell… to think about not "being"
    not "seeing" all this beauty,
    not… anything. Just moving, as little bits,
    and not even knowing it.
    That's really the worst part —
    loss of awareness, loss of our window….
    we have such a fantastic
    (amazing! awe-inspiring! magnificent!
    all the words that prompt the action, AH!
    a breath IN, life IN, live MORE, breath - chest -BIGGER!)
    ...such a great window, as humans!
    To sense the Universe in so many ways!
    The window is the thing worth living for.
    Realizing this, the dream becomes
    to expand that window, to keep pushing,
    keep living, extend ourselves, our lifespan,
    so we can keep looking, keep experiencing,
    keep playing with it… to be part of something
    so enormous,
    I want to extend myself into space,
    into the space around me,
    I want to become so MASSIVE
    that I become the space itself.
    Then, I'll be eternal, truly.

    This wasn't supposed to be and isn't a poem —
    it was only an inquiry about these pictures, this "obsession",
    what's trying to be said, by others and myself,
    about all this...
    but it's hard to get to it unless you throw out
    conventions, just enough so something is still understood but,
    those patterns we use for other things, more accessible things —
    they don't work for this.
    it just doesn't work until you go AH! And AMAZING!
    and BREATHE! And PUFF out the chest and see that
    you're just being a bird,
    getting bigger, getting excited,
    more life-like, moving more, more particle action,
    but not too much — don't get too hot,
    you'll upset the stability of the structure and maybe melt,
    and that's not really what we're going for,
    but eventually, yes,
    you do want to just explode and spread out
    and lose all your feathers.
    Wed, Jan 25, 2012  Permanent link

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    An article by Jonah Lehrer, written in 2008, recently appeared on SEED — Jonah called for a collaboration between contemporary arts & sciences and suggested that realm of science should be more open to the artist and his interpretations of life, since artistic insights often lead to the discovery of truths.

    I couldn't agree more. I cannot, however, agree that science should become more humanized. In fact, the premise of the big idea that I call "the Operating System" is about what happens when one becomes truly scientifically literate, and truly embraces it. As Neil deGrasse Tyson said, "If you're scientifically literate, the world looks very different to you". And thus, so does truth.

    An understanding of science and some imagination give new form to ancient, tightly-held, human concepts: what are love, curiosity, enlightenment, awe, fear, now that we know a so much more about the world than even fifty years ago? It's constantly stated that scientific understanding is reductionist... but is that right? Or are we, for the most part, just a little afraid of the new images associated with these old sentiments, or worse, lacking new, replacement images & metaphors altogether?

    This is where the new art must come in. Human-centric understanding was useful when it was all we had, but our experience is changing and expanding, constantly and drastically. It is not only the scientists that need suggestion from artists for how to visualize new invisibles, but even more so, the laymen need the artist's imagination to guide them in engaging with other modes of perception, in stepping outside of their human-sized bodies, metaphors, & world-views. For the willing contemporary artist, the job is now to change—not necessarily the sciences , as Jonah would have it—but the humanities. The latter need to catch up. It's possible to think different.
    Tue, Dec 13, 2011  Permanent link

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    I felt that "White on White" was important, but I couldn't explain it. I kept talking and jumping, not sure which histories were familiar and which were totally foreign, what could be grasped, what needed detailing... and finally we got somewhere, but I wasn't sure if it was the same place.

    I hate talking, I always get lost, forget things, and try to reach for things like they're floating somewhere just above my head but... where did they go? So I write, and pin them down, and take out the Google and the dictionary and the thesaurus and my archives, and they help me catch the floating things.

    Then I tried to write about "White..." and it sat in my email for a week or so and it felt pretentious and I kept thinking about how it felt that way because thinking too heavily about anything feels that way, probably as a result of democratic flattening.

    And then there was { A coincidental map }:

    { dvdp } › { The Divided Brain } › { TM&HE Wiki } › { Origin of Consciousness }
    { wildcat } › { Origin of Consciousness }

    Iain McGilchrist juxtaposed drawings (in his { original lecture }, ~ 15:00) executed be the left and right hemispheres together, then one or the other activated. The images from both hemispheres working together were closest to what we see, actually, while the left-only were symbol-like and the right-only were more illustrative, picture-like.

    This all doesn't suggest that we should pay attention, again, to that (wrong) model of a separated brain that was popular and still hasn't been properly halted due to that momentum, but, to summarize the { animated "Divided Brain" lecture }, the left hemisphere narrowly focuses while the right keeps broadly vigilant, and the point is to keep a balance of the two.

    But, what reminded me most of what I tried to say, were the pictures at { 15:05 }.

    That whole section, actually, is like a brief caricature of the push-and-pull in the arts and the understanding of the arts between (what's popularly perceived as)-realism and the abstract.

    And I thought, initially, that writing about it would be better... but instead I want to just set some things in motion, because writing seems too committed, too archaic. It's from a time when things were printed, pressed, and permanence was sort of believed in. Because, actually, I'm not confident that this won't change, won't need change... is anything, now, not a notebook? Then...

    The problem is, most people think that modern art, if not art in general, is bullshit, and/or that it isn't for them to understand. Although I can't say it's entirely wrong, it's more like a myth made up from some few facts, blown out of proportion, and that has gained too much momentum.
    "Art is a lie that tells the truth" — Picasso's phrase can be applied to most works. Art can and often means to tell something that is otherwise silenced or ignored, or unnoticed. It means to suggest something, like a new perspective.

    In my mind, I kept juxtaposing { "White on White" } with Seurat's { "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island..." } — totally different, yet they stem from a common goal. They share a common suggestion: that 'the world is not all that is the case.' { (A Madman...vs Wittegenstein) }.

    I'm not sure why I thought of "A Sunday Afternoon...". Maybe the colors, since it contrasts the monochrome white. But I think, mostly, that for me that image symbolized the arbitrary as it's held up by that middle class, pictured, lazy on a Sunday afternoon, and having no conception that their setting is totally unreal. By arbitrary, I mean those "things" that mean nothing outside of a particular space-time, that are accidents in the universe. By held up, I mean that it's taken seriously, as if its reality had the same kind of consistency and solidity as a physical law. For those people in the image, their costume, their parasols, and their behavior are concrete — they tell something about who those people are, and they're actually important, especially socially. Because of that immediate importance, it seems like that woman, standing in the dress with the butt-pouf, can scarcely imagine wearing anything else or behaving in any other way. Her likeness indicates that she's probably educated, polite, maybe a member of the gentry. If she could imagine anything else, she'd never act on it — it would be wrong, morally.

    For the subjects, their scene is solid, and they behave accordingly within it. That's funny, considering the manner of depiction — pointillism. { Pointillism } stemmed from impressionism: like the latter, it was a way of communicating that (except for the few humans in the world with photographic memories) what we see is fleeting and what we take away from what we've seen is an impression. An impression of a woman there, something large and orange there, someone whose face we can't quite make out after the fact.

    (...I was going to say that our memory is composed of "big pictures" and that it's actually hard to remember details unless they're important but... it isn't true. It's sort of true, some of the time. And other times I do actually remember that the flower in her hat was orange. Or red? Anyway.)

    In conversation, a person expressed to me his opinion of impressionists; something like: "They're full of shit; I don't see that way!" in response to the idea that those painters were trying to paint as they actually saw, rather than the theater expressed by the realists, prior to modern art. Realism aimed to convince that paint on a canvas was actually sort of a window, and it had to be convincing for the sake of its power — the closer to reality, the more immersive a thing can be, the more it can hold on to its viewer and again, convince him that he should participate (mentally) in the pictured events, as if they're real life. That's an important ability, especially in terms of religion and politics, the two main sources of patronage for the arts until modernity. (even religion, primarily Christianity and its variations, whose focus is on the non-physical, explained the world in entirely local, human terms. God was modeled after humans, and proclaimed it was the other way around.)

    In that aforementioned conversation, the gap that wasn't bridged was that the person expected "seeing" to mean the literal kind of seeing, which we talk about when we go to the eye doctor, versus the kind that means "to experience".

    Contrast all that with "White on White". There's nothing in it, nothing recognizable from nature. (But it's like those left-hemisphere drawings of cubes, so maybe it is recognizable, if only for the Left.) It proclaims itself to be an image, while simultaneously reaching for the infinite. Like the pointillism of "A Sunday Afternoon...", the Suprematism & abstraction of "White..." asks us, as viewers, to suspend out belief not only in images in general, but actually in the image of our world. There's much more to { Suprematism } (and abstraction) than this, but it does say, "your experience, which seems solid, is false". It reminds me of Eames' film, { "The Powers of Ten" }: it begins at a picnic, and proceeds out into space and back into the most basic constituents of our being. Neither in space, nor in the atom world, is a picnic actually real. It's only human, and in terms of the universe, it's totally arbitrary. It would never matter, if a picnic never existed, because nothing depends on it except in a very local, one-dimensional way. (This is also counter to Plato's { Theory of Forms }). But the atom and the universe — they are closer to the abstract, their worlds are sometimes "shapeless" (globular), sometimes geometric, sometimes invisible, sometimes mathematical only... and those are the only things that last, that have always been, that will always be (as far as we know). What exists as we perceive it, only has to follow the rules of those abstract worlds. Their physical laws. Everything else is re-arrangeable, and except to those arrangements with a certain level of consciousness (which arises, most likely, from their physical capacities to experience), it doesn't matter.

    Malevich's paintings, radical in 1918, are familiar now. But they, and abstraction in general, or modern art even more generally, as still not understood. Even when, infrequently, they are understood, it's only in a detached way. A dismissive way. The person understanding might acknowledge the proposed perception, but they don't bring it into themselves, don't "try it". (To paraphrase McGilchrist, you cannot just "transmit" knowledge to another; they must have it within.) It's too far away from what's known, and it's hard to imagine what to do if you accept that your most immediate experience, your most familiar, is arbitrary. And, it's dangerous. How could we behave well in our societies, how could we live, if we're no longer convinced of our own surroundings, our things, the pictures of our selves?

    But how can we continue to live, having been introduced to the infinite, knowing that our perception is so flat and limited, if we don't admit that it's not solid? That actually, there are no floating images in the sky, serving as a basis for our chairs, our sweaters, our selves? That actually, outside of the human world, "A Sunday Afternoon" is every bit as abstract as a white square?

    When the conviction of solidity evaporates, creativity is left. The system is left. The fact that one still must experience the world in whatever form they formed into, is left. What can a human, with his abilities and limitations, do in this physical universe-system? What do we actually want, in universal terms? To live, to experience, to grow, to evolve, to follow our curiosity, to what?

    I can't help it... I keep thinking about { The System }: the massive universe-system of invisible non-things that move and gather and assemble into larger non-things and then things and all of their/its levels — all of the Universe's levels — function and move some more and follow branches only sort of randomly into various points of complexity and those complex things struggle to understand themselves, or they don't — some of them just eat, sleep, and maybe don't understand. What are they doing? What does it want, if anything?

    And isn't that type of perception — the simultaneous focusing on any and all magnifications of "reality"/the system — a type of balancing of the hemispheres?


    But it feels so incredibly far away, when faced with immediate reality. Socks, chairs, work, money, umbrellas, petticoats, etc.

    How can the thing experience itself if it does so only locally, only by creating arbitrary mimicries, distractions, things?


    "White on White" via { futureness }
    "Un dimanche après-midi à l'Île de la Grande Jatte" { Wiki }
    Mon, Nov 21, 2011  Permanent link

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    All things dissolved into a field of moving lights, energetic and dancing in their constructions, appearing, dissipating, floating, and coming together again, circles of motions. The Great System breathes into eternity; operating, operating.

    It is a mode of transcendence, a new sublime. Traditional understanding is image-based, but the Operating System is a deconstruction of that world-image into into a system-of-parts; an immense complexity that contains itself.

    “It's like the Universe screams at you, 'Do you know what I am? How grand I am? How old I am? Can you even comprehend what I am? What are you, compared to me?' And when you know enough science, you can just smile up at the Universe and reply, “Dude, I am you. ... I... stepped out of a supernova."

    { Phil Hellenes: "Science Saved my Soul" }


    The meaning of the term "Operating System" has a general history that begins (as it's relevant here) with the emergence of modern computers in the mid-1950s. The general definition is "software that controls the execution of computer programs and may provide various services" { WordNet }.

    As it's used within the OS-as-thesis and as mechanism (described in the next section), Operating System has a somewhat different meaning, though it's inspired by that previously quoted. Most basically, it means "working body", but it refers to our Universe as a whole (that is, the physical universe-bubble we find ourselves in by way of scientific instruments), to subsystems therein, or to "the All" (the differentiation between "Universe" and "All" will be discussed later). Operations are modes of computation, actions, and interactions; whereas the System is the playground in which these take place, but it doesn't necessarily "contain" the Operations: the System's being is a result of the acting, of motions creating the environment. The Newtonian view was that objects and their Operations were like actors on a stage (e.g. an apple and its trajectory through a designated space), but the Quantum Mechanical & Einsteinian perception seems to point to the eschewing of subject-landscape dualism: all things are particles in motion, in various arrangements. That latter statement is, in brief, the "atomic hypothesis" (which Richard Feynman, in Six Easy Pieces, selected as the one statement that should "be passed on to the next generation of creatures" in the event that the rest of our scientific knowledge is destroyed) and is the most important part of the basis for the OS as a theory (here meaning "system of ideas" rather than that meaning of "theory" used scientifically, which entails empirical evidence). Following this, the scientific truth that "all mass is interaction" (Feynman, "Principles") leads to the thought that the OS creates itself by means of its Operations — they are One.

    "Operating" may seem like a superfluous add-on because the definition of "System" alone usually includes the interactions that happen within, but it's necessary to include that prefix to reinforce the image of an arrangement in motion. The universe, as we've observed it thus far, doesn't seem to include true (classical) stasis. It's important to note that stasis is different from { equilibrium }, "a state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced", because balance requires motion — it's a thing that must be kept, else it dissipates due to entropy. Even at Absolute Zero (0°K, the lowest possible temperature in our universe, at which classical motion stops), zero point energy (the motion at a quantum mechanical system's ground state) is inextricable CalPhysics: { "Intro. to ZPE" }.


    ...Is a mechanism within which Operations can be executed: it is an anchor, a set of terms, a mode of exploration. The Operations are work that is mostly non-specialized in order to allow for possibilities that are otherwise shut down by nomenclature and pre-administered forms. In this way it is more like art, but since it seeks dependable (usually empirical) truths in the Possibility Landscape { Eagleman: “Possibilianism” } as opposed to traditional myths, it is more like science.

    Due to the nature of the evolving global culture, (from "People of the Book to People of the Screen" { Kevin Kelly: “Better than Free... ” }, the OS seeks to exist live, in flux, though in an archival fashion.

    The OS is like forest.


    As described above, in "OS as Universe", balance must be a central notion of any truthful systemic theory. The { tajitu }, better known as the yin-yang symbol, is of interest for the OS, as inspiration and for its curious validity, created centuries before the aforementioned modern notions of balance, grounded in physics. The taijitu is a constantly referred to in the OS, not necessarily directly, but as a model for creation, behavior, and thinking. The inclusion of said symbol is also part of the motion to include non-Western philosophy, not as a mere "exotic aside", but as a serious consideration for the ever-growing global culture.


    Though there may be instances in which the motions are autonomous, the OS usually needs its Operator(s): an individual or group who contribute to the work being done, whether that work adds to or subtracts from the original thesis (as in scientific progress). An Operator is a "comprehensive anticipatory design scientist" — "an emerging synthesis of artist, inventor, mechanic, objective economist and evolutionary strategist." { "Bucky's Big Ideas" }.


    The Operating System assumes a certain set of "facts" to be true. Most of these are scientific, based on empirical data, earning the name "fact" through rigorously tested theory. It assumes the validity of past science that hasn't been replaced with newer information, like Evolutionary theory, and the validity of contemporary science: Quantum Mechanics and "String" theory. Some references are historical: ideas that have withstood time and/or critique, though these may be more "metaphysical". These may not be factual in the same way as empirical data, but their historical being, significance, and effects are deemed to be true (duplicable, verifiable). This is important to mention, because the Operating System, like all things, is not in a vacuum, but intertwined: the fluidity of the System ensures the ability to move constituents and anchor them, both to itself and to one other. Should some theory be displaced, then the System will need to account for it: archive its having been, but replace it with a new question and/or a new answer.


    "Universe" is synonymous with Operating System, but it is more appropriate for discussion of scientific theory. It conjures up images of outer space — the field of stars and planets and the occurrences there, basically { Hubble photographs } — in the same way "Cosmos" does on a more local scale. The term "The All" takes its place at times when that will be felt as more all-encompassing visually, but in a different way. When describing the Operating System as Universe, it's sometimes necessary for the image to be more abstract, because of how all-inclusive it is. "The All" refers to that space-universe in which we are contained, but its considerations are more iconic: space, motions, Earth, particles, telephones, lobsters, triangles, and love are floating in the pool of the All, waiting for synapses, but already connected by their shared basic constituents (the subatomic) and their containment within this particular Universe-Bubble (that being the metaphysical Universe as it is grasped by the human mind, or that physical one which is theorized to Be, by contemporary science, among many Universe-Bubbles, floating in some greater space.) Most essentially, Universe is Container, The All is Contained.


    The System's evolution of recognition in terms of Levels of Self has gone through anthropomorphic understanding, human-centric, and object/image understanding. To illustrate; metaphysical concepts like love or directly, physically observable phenomena like wind understood in terms of "gods" in the image of human or animal beings, marked by traits of the idea they embody. This is allegory: the use of myth to condense complex, meaningful subjects into an iconic image, so that they can be easily referenced and comprehended. At some levels we have graduated from those forms of phenomenon-condensation, but understanding in allegorical ways prevails. Now, though, these concepts, instead of being represented by a god, stand for themselves by way of their own word, which is in turn a symbol in the mind. That is, we understand our selves (our body systems) to be human, and understand the concept of human as an image that is filled according to its traditional shape. A loose example: to be woman has certain connotations and traditional boundaries that are not necessarily imposed by the body-system of a female human, but which have been upheld by cultural systems for millennia.

    It's this problem of "A Single Story" { “The Danger of a Single Story” } and of tradition that loses reference over time, which the Operating System seeks to unveil. Systemic, multi-perspectival understanding (that phrase is meant invoke an image of expansion and contraction by means of a single device, like a cognitive { Hoberman sphere }, and as illustrated by the short film, { "Powers of 10", Eames }) is a proposed goal of the Operating System. Expectations of the observed have everything to do with theory, thus if we perceive in terms of comparison to ourselves and the Newtonian, directly-palpable object-world of image-things (say, the Man, the Tree, and the Telephone) then we neglect to allow for the inherent complexities within those things and between them — in their relations to one another.

    The simplification of a concept into an image, the thought-icon, is helpful for swift action (which is probably why we evolved this type of thinking). But in deconstructing the icon into constituent parts, it's possible to fine-tune, and, not to have greater control necessarily, but to effectively interact with the "thing" at hand. For example, if we understand the electrical impulses and motions and physical, biological situations that deal with an emotion-image like anger, anger will still be a part of the human-system, but it can, in some ways, be transcended. It can be thought about, touched, tinkered with. It becomes a thing for the hands, rather than a cloud surrounding us, mysterious and untouchable. In this lies the age-old desire (at least since Seneca) for feeling at peace with the inescapable Universe through understanding { “Theories of Everything”, Williams }. The Human is not only some "special being, endowed" { Dalai Lama: The Universe in a Single Atom }, but tiny pieces of a greater System that have gathered into masses and evolved idiosyncratic methods of perception — modes of information relay; inputs and outputs, meaning that these "special" pieces are entwined with the rest, and as such, are capable of understanding and are responsible for the Operations they manifest.


    I developed a hypothetical picture of how humanity would be living. It was called “E=MC to the second power equals Mrs. Murphy’s Horse Power,” and then I was looking at the every-day life of Mrs. Murphy under the circumstances of everybody being completely convinced of the validity of Einstein’s thinking.

    { Buckminster Fuller: "Everything I Know" }

    Similarly, the goals of the Operating System are to think about "Mrs. Murphy under the circumstances of" wide conviction, not only about the validity of Einstein's thinking, but of up-to-date scientific theory that works without fault in the physical world, despite philosophical debate. That isn't to say that philosophical questions should discontinue or that there's complete agreement within current theory or within the history of science (there isn't), or that our scientific knowledge is all-encompassing and accounts for everything in our experience (that isn't believed by scientists, even remotely). It means only to utilize that knowledge which is true in that it's dependable, and think about the possibilities of living in terms of those discovered terms, as opposed to ineffective and often unquestioned traditional ones.

    Under the OS, the "human experience" is seen as a systemic epiphenomenon. The essence of that statement lies in evolutionary theory, not only in the most familiar use of that term (Biological, Darwinian evolution) but meaning the Universe's evolution as a whole: basically, the "Big Bang" theory that our universe began billions of years ago as extremely hot, condensed, tempestuous matter, and has been spreading out and cooling ever since, thereby evolving into the arrangements we know today. The OS as thesis is, in part, a focus on Mrs. Murphy's (synonymous with the every-man) understanding of his being (in both its verb and noun forms), and the effects of scientific perspective on his life, which, according to the evolution of the System, means Systemic perspective. That perspective will come into focus as the OS is further discussed and defined, but simply it means that Mrs. Murphy is convinced of her atomic constitution and sees her self, her body, and the epiphenomenon that is her consciousness as a system of billions of interconnected, functioning parts rather than the traditional human self-conception, which is like a paper doll endowed with some unknowable life-force or spirit. If the traditional "human"-image is deconstructed, then multitudes of possibilities for what human as the actual body-system can be and do, and how it can be and do, are opened up. Some of those possibilities will be discussed later, in the section titled "Nature, Artifice, & the Ubermensch", but one to note right away is the eschewing of traditional male and female roles, focusing instead on the arrangements of individual bodies (when body is mentioned within the OS, this includes the "mind", formerly separate in many fields of study, including Western philosophy and medicine). For that reason, Mrs. Murphy is treated as an androgynous character.

    The OS recognizes the current problem in Philosophy as defined by Stephen Hawking — that it hasn't kept up well with Science — and the status of progress: technology and its use is proliferating, but Understanding (of the philosophical variety) is either being left behind, or degenerating as technology facilitates thoughtlessness by making it ever-easier for humans to complete tasks without needing to bother about the details. Currently, sans wide adaptation of scientific literacy, Mrs. Murphy can use extremely sophisticated devices, and (however distinctly) imagine his physical location in the local cosmos, but mostly has no idea of what these mean for her life. It isn't realistic to think that all the Mrs. Murphys of Earth will ever accept systemic perception or even scientific literacy, nor that they should be forced to, but it is a problem that needs attention because of { Kurzweil's "Law of Accelerating Returns" } (the exponential growth patterns of technological complexity & self-sufficiency, seemingly leading up to a singularity) and the expansion of the global network: what used to be a peasant's individual actions with little effect on the rest of the world have become so embedded in the network that each individual's decisions, especially if the same kinds of decisions are made in large numbers, can have profound effects on the whole.


    Buckminster Fuller advocated rethinking how we use the words "natural" and "artificial" — if we come to accept that "natural" is that which Nature, the Universe, and the physics thereof, allow for, then it's easy to imagine how the "the every-day life of Mrs. Murphy" will become drastically different { “Everything I Know” }. Earth's culture systems are not so given to acceptance, but Fuller prompted creative intellectuals at work to design as if they were — it's of no consequence whether the idea of "avant-garde" is out of vogue; the arts and sciences have always been a driving force of revolutions in paradigms for the rest of the Human-Earth-System, which is inevitably too caught up in maintaining its own Operations to consider those paradigms within which it resides.

    The OS, in its work and theory, considers the question of man's self-imposed separation from nature (how did it happen, when, and why?) of utmost importance. Thus, that work done is based on the premise that human work is also natural work, and the goal is, not to see technology as some foreign enemy, but as a result of nature having reached a certain state of consciousness, and to use technological progress to operate more harmoniously within our Earth's ecosystems, as is being done currently by way of biomimetics, and in the field of biotechnology.


    It is a humanistic concern that empirical thought might lead to the loss of those Operations that make us "human". "What makes us human" is a long conversation, but the OS theory is forward-thinking: being traditionally-human is no longer of utmost importance at this time in history, in which we've learned of the vastness of both the micro- and macrocosm, and in which we've invented methods of physical body augmentation, allowing the human to become transhuman, in transition to, possibly, the posthuman: the super-augmented ubermensch, the uploaded intelligence, or the completely artificial intelligence { Bostrom: "Transhumanist FAQ" }

    The Operations referred to are those abstract concepts like "heart", "courage", "goodness", etc. The Operating System does not suggest that these will become invalid. Rather, first, they are symbols for larger Systemic motions that aren't always visible within human myths; and second, the understanding of them under the OS transforms: it grows, delves deeper, becomes more profound. It is not reductionist (though using a title like "Operating System" re-compacts complexities for facilitating their discussion) even if it embodies materialism — it highlights the complexity of the All.

    Relevant excerpts from { "Transhumanism & Posthumanism" }(PDF) :

    In L'Homme Machine, 1748, French physician and philosopher Julien Offray de la Mettrie wrote: humans "are, at bottom, only animals and machines," and from Marquis de Condorcet, a French Enlightenment philosopher, 1794: "no bounds have been fixed to the improvement of faculties ... the perfectibility of man is unlimited."
    As a named movement, transhumanism started in the 1980s with the writings of a futurist known as FM-2030, with the term transhuman being a shorthand for transitional human (Bostrom).
    There is nothing sacrosanct about nature in general, or about human nature in particular.
    Katherine Hayles, in her book How We Became Posthuman (1999), describes four characteristic posthuman, or transhuman, assumptions. First, information patterns are more important or essential to the nature of being than any “material instantiation, so that embodiment in a biological substrate is seen as an accident of history rather than an inevitability of life” (2). Second, consciousness is an epiphenomenon. There is no immaterial soul. Third, the body is simply a prosthesis, albeit the first one we learn to use and manipulate. Consequently, replacing or enhancing human function with other prostheses is only a natural extension of our fundamental relationship with our begotten bodies. Lastly, the posthuman views the human being as capable of being “seamlessly articulated with intelligent machines. In the posthuman, there are no essential differences or absolute demarcations between bodily existence and computer simulation, cybernetic mechanism and biological organism, robot technology and human goals” (3).


    It was recently observed that whales — specifically, sperm whales – have not only a system of nomenclature, specifically personal identifiers (names) { "Sperm Whales May Have Names", Keim }, but cultures { "Whale Culture", Lurie }, as we think of them in human terms: manifestations of intellectual achievement of groups, and/or their attitudes and behaviors. In terms of evolution of self-recognition, we would first say and understand that in terms of it being "like human", as it has just been defined. But the forward-thinking Mrs. Murphy will understand that this is "like System" — the creation of "culture" is what groups of particles on Earth seem to do, once they've reached a certain level of consciousness. Because they have no limbs suitable for object-forming, "[whale] cultures are in their minds..."{ "Whale Culture", Lurie }; it's only recently that we've come to be able to observe the intelligence of systems so unlike-human, as we've had to wait on the advancement of our science & equipment. It could also be true that there are cultures in conscious-particle-manifestations that the human hasn't yet observed for that same reason: because they are so unlike us, so intricate, and imperceptible, either due to the capacity of our tools or to the parameters of our theory. If what we think of as "life" is an epiphenomenon of particle motions, an individual means for the Cosmos to self-perceive (Carl Sagan: "We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself"){ “Cosmos” }, then it's possible there are types of "life forms", even types of consciousness, we haven't yet considered.

    Most basically: an Operator (any individual using the OS theory) seeks to understand their own selves and other life-forms not in terms of whether they operate like-themselves — here, this is like-human, but in the future an Operator might be post-human, or non-Earthian — but how they operate, again, like-System.


    "We should remember that a picture — before being a war horse, a nude woman, or telling some story — is essentially a flat surface covered with colors arranged in a particular pattern."

    { "Maurice Denis: Definition of Neo-Traditionalism" }.

    That necessary remembrance is essentially the same suggested by the Operating System, but usually forgotten in the daily handling of symbols conveying information with varied levels of tangibility (circles, tea, god, my mother, the location of a foreign finger on a body...). The thought touches on "the symbol grounding problem" { Harnad: "The Symbol Grounding Problem" }, illustrated by { Searle's "Chinese Room" } { Penrose: “Conscious Understanding…” }: a set of symbols seen in a unilingual dictionary can be connected with a "definition" and understood by the reader to "mean" the set of symbols that define it, so that they are interchangeable (e.g. if *** = 6OS, then 6OS = ***), but it tells an Operating System nothing about the world outside its body-parameters, it's disconnected from the Universe. It holds no meaning unless she learns the language, which is impossible if the deciphering process is self-contained, as it is in the Chinese room. The SGP has come to be associated with AI's or computing machines — the poor dears have no way of grounding the symbols that pass through their system, no way of "knowing" that the 0's and 1's which correspond with other 0's and 1's refer to an object outside themselves.

    Following the Sagan route, which is akin to saying that we, as the Universe's perceptive "organs", have the capacity to understand within our Container's boundaries and understand that Container itself, but we (or it, really) may never come to know if there is an outside, one arrives at the insight that we differ from computing machines in that the human OS's can at least be cognizant of the idea of outside, that it's possible. That's a gift of consciousness, and perhaps one of the reasons why consciousness is understood to be not entirely computational, if it is that in part. { Penrose: “Conscious Understanding…” }

    Looking again at Denis's "picture ... being a war horse", the pertinence of that example to the OS is that the "colors arranged in a particular pattern" may not be of importance as separates, the pointillist painting zoomed in might have little meaning, but the understanding of there being constituents is necessary because without that, the illusion of the war horse itself becomes a constituent, a "basic form", and that is a problem when it starts to be used to describe a world that is not made up of war horses, or in which a war horse is really an epiphenomenon. Alternately, this is the "God is a bearded old man in the sky" problem. How did we ever conceptualize god in that specific image, if it were not due to the top-down nature of the Evolution of Systemic Self-Recognition? If we knew ourselves as information from the beginning, "god" would have a very different appearance (if any, and this is assuming that Information would have come to a god-thought at all) and so would the resulting "religions".

    "There is an inevitable tendency among painters to relate aspects of perceived reality to aspects of paintings that they have already seen." { Maurice Denis: "Definition..." }. The same happens in "normal science". { Thomas Kuhn: The Structure of Scientific Revolutions }. New findings usually fit with the paradigm in place, only changing it when the situation is critical (change is necessary to move forward and the new finding fill out what's missing) or when theory calls for a change in what's searched for. In terms of the evolution of Mrs. Murphy's understanding as an Operator (i.e. Universe's perceptive organ), this means that her knowledge, even at its most empirical and logical, is bound to the capacities of her body-system and the paradigms of her enclosing interaction system (here, Mrs. Murphy is a non-localist Earthian, so her scope of experience is far-reaching in terms of valued information she has or can gain from other human beings). In that lies a reason for keeping the OS-as-thesis (and related work) a living entity, capable of change (as opposed to, for one example, the traditional, individual, printed book, confident in its ideas and "permanent" in structure) — the knowledge of its own limitations is grounds for expecting additions and deductions.


    "The motivation for inquiry is to understand the world so as to change ones relationship to it." { “Theories of Everything”, Williams } That motivation is shared by Operators of the OS, and is the most essential, lasting principle of the OS as a system of works and ideas, regardless of the route they will take.



    The Operating System thesis was written in the Spring of 2011, and is now adapted for the Web, in accordance with Kevin Kelly's suggestion, in { "Better than Free..." }, of becoming a cloud culture, connected, with information freely available & quickly accessible. For this thesis, it meant that the Works Cited should be internally embedded, prompting inquiry, instead of left as an afterthought.

    I've developed an idiosyncratic method of formatting that is probably "wrong" according to institutional styles, but is partially a result of migrating from paper to web, and partially that of my graphic design background:

    { "curly brackets" } with bold text set apart links. Text color already does that, but the brackets are for migration across blogging platforms in which the predetermined CSS might not be so helpful — they make the links easier to see, and they signify the links as important info, since we're used to seeing links in text most often in the form of Ads.

    Author's title post work title { "Work", Author }: he contributed, but wasn't necessarily responsible for the entire work or text quoted.
    Author's name before work title, { Author: "Work" }: he is responsible for the work and he quoted text.

    Bold links sans brackets are signify additional info, but are not titled works nor important words.

    Mon, Jun 13, 2011  Permanent link

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    Why is Nature predisposed to indulging in vices? We hold on to that which gives us pleasure, even though it subtracts from our physical life. A system seeking life most pertinently would not engage in activities that negate it, so life doesn't seem to be the top priority for our system. In looking to Physics for an answer, it's deductible that the pleasure vice grants is actually excitement, which is energy — motion.
    That means that vice puts the system into a state of instability; why would we seek instability? Instability, as the motion of energy as physical matter, is simply energy transfer, meaning that energy cannot be concentrated in one place for too long. If energy is concentrated, it "brews", it creates an extremely volatile center which is another kind of instability. Therefore, is it possible to say that instability cures instability? That there is no stagnant state of balance, only ever a balancing act. There must always be motion within our Universe system.
    Thu, Feb 3, 2011  Permanent link

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    I have a question...

    Recently I came across this article (which mentions Rene, hello!):
    "Connecting all the Dots"

    Enjoyable read, until I got to this part:

    The Imaginary Foundation states: "This movement of things from the realm of potential, the "original medium" of Tesla to the manifesting patterns of Whitehead through the act of conscious volition, finds support in the so-called "Copenhagen Interpretation" of the recent quantum mechanics of Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg.

    The mere act of observation seems to interact with a system. This would point to the potential that our expectations, our imaginations, help give rise to what occurs."

    A few years ago I would've been all over that. It's the favorite stuff of new-age self-help writers.
    However, recently I've grown more skeptical which led to reading tons of material written by actual scientists who talk about subjects like "the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation" first hand. Murray Gell-Mann invested some portion of his "Quark and Jaguar" to address what it means to make an observation within a system.

    Syntax is a problem. To make an observation means to literally interact with a system being watched. A system is able to observe itself; I recall one example of this record being a radioactive decay trail in an organic sample.
    What observation means to a scientist vs a "layman" is different; we need to be sure that we're speaking the same language before we can say we understand and begin to make fantastic statements that eventually result in the confusion of a populace who receives second(+)hand information and believes that to be valid.

    At once, scientists and technically-minded people have been known to lag behind the intuitions of free-thinkers. In terms of the original subject, we now know that thoughts are quantifiable. All events happen in the physical realm; there are motions for everything that we name aesthetically.

    Wildcat just tumblr'd this video:
    Thought Controlled Computing Ariel Garten, CEO, Interaxon

    The influencing of events with one's mind is a top concern of New Age thinking. One of the arguments against that, made by skeptics & scientists, is that these writers' understanding of the way physical systems work in inconclusive & misguided; that the Copenhagen Interpretation indicates no such thing. One of the counters to that is that "most people" are unable (or not open minded enough) to access their "mental power" sufficiently for this to be immediately seen as valid, or that this kind of event is too complicated to test... etc. — somewhat valid, as it does get more difficult to predict complex systems, but dangerously "magical" and thus regressive.

    Back to my question; I wonder if anyone here will be able to answer it: if it's correct to consider our universe as a synergistic system in which nothing is isolated (unlike the Newtonian view which allows for separate objects) then we are, in effect, the system observing itself... is it possible that we don't need the aid of tech tools to be "connected" and have influence, like the New Age writers claim?

    I would think not; problems with "locality" arise (influence must be local), Heisenberg's uncertainty principle would seem to disallow for it, the energy required would seem too great...
    But seeing what we can do with mental-computing brought up these questions again, mostly because I don't actually know how it works, nor do I feel well enough versed in physics to answer myself with a No, neither is our scope of knowledge so complete that answers from either side of the argument are doubtless.

    What do you guys think?

    Sat, Dec 11, 2010  Permanent link

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    Where are we on this? I think the Julian Assange (head of WikiLeaks) case is of importance to this community, no?

    For those who don't know:
    Julian Assange, defending our democracies (despite their owners' wishes)
    Google: Assange
    Thu, Dec 9, 2010  Permanent link

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    In "As We May Think", published in 1945, V. Bush describes a future world colored by technologies which aid man in compounding and extracting data for the growth of the species as an organism... the article is prolific, but at times laughably simplistic, as if Bush should not have been afraid to take his ideas in a more sci-fi direction rather than the practical course he adhered to. The futuristic machines he suggests are clunky and manual, unlike those which have evolved since that writing. But that's hardly any fault of the author's; how could he have predicted the digital age? It's more than enough that his suggestions of possible utility came true. [Edit on Friday, Dec. 3, 2010: I'm now thinking that our clunky mis-interpretations of the future come from several problems: insufficient Scientific Literacy and thus incompetence in the area of "anticipatory design science" or "forecasting" (as suggested by R. Buckminster Fuller in Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth) as well as our tendency to adhere to pre-administered forms instead of focusing on content — to describe briefly and generally, I mean that designers are taught to fill books instead of to explore and then create appropriate mediums to carry their thoughts and possible discoveries.]

    Despite the facilitation that digital media has brought about since then, I often get the feeling that something is lacking. The replacement of physical objects by digital data and images and the electronic backdrop through which they move allows for maximization of storage, speed, and compression unlike any that tactile, "human-sized", methods could accommodate... but for a human whose intellect is still inextricable from the body and who has evolved for thousands of years in a physical environment, the sudden focus on the mind-space alone, almost sans physical interaction entirely (save for manual inputs by way of keyboard or mouse) feels strange and not entirely comfortable.

    That is the way of the floating head... but part of what's wonderful about our floating heads is that they have capable limbs attached; a whole figure which can accomplish more than a terminal alone. I would like my whole body to move through cyberspace; to float and gather information... to handle data as if it were physical again. The problem is that which digital has addressed well enough: through compression we save time, space, energy. To be knowmad means to be able to move freely with and through information. I just don't believe it's done yet.

    When I was a child, under 10, I used to imagine "what if" I had a small cube, smaller even than a Rubix, which could fit anything I wanted inside, like Mary Poppins' bag. I could take all of my belongings anywhere in this one piece — be truly mobile. This is an image of the knowmad and the bit, the only difference being that my compression cube was meant for physical objects.

    I still wish for that cube, although it might not be a possibility — an infantile knowledge of physics tells me that one problem of such an object might be its mass and stability, not to mention a myriad of engineering difficulties.

    Still, if I'm to be brave in imagining... what if it were possible? Say, if we discover that the holographic model of the universe is correct, and we learn how to use it. What then? If our physicality is a holographic illusion, then everything could be stored as on a holographic plate, so that the whole would be retained even in a piece. Imagine being able to take all of your objects with you, at any time.
    It would change everything: concepts of housing, geography, ownership, travel, permanence. These would all become much more relative. Settling down would be possible, but unnecessary. The symbiosis between creature and machine would become more complete, not seeing the body as an obstacle, like a strange pet that needs to be fed every once in a while the mind works, but as a gift able to manipulate our surroundings rather than replace them with the simpler digital image...

    (originally written on Wed, Jul 14, 2010)

    Fri, Dec 3, 2010  Permanent link

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    Designers, [or any creatives] please read this.

    { Wonders Revealed } ‹— links directly to PDF.
    by Jessica Helfand and William Drenttel.

    { AIGA page }.


    Science is revolutionizing the world. From global warming to genetic
    cloning to persistent threats of bioterrorism, its impact upon our very
    sustainability is of enormous consequence. Remarkably, however, there
    has been little evidence of any significant response from the design
    profession, other than the superficial appropriations that suddenly
    seem to be springing up in every design annual, in every monograph, in
    every design school critique.

    it’s form awaiting content, or worse,
    serious form retrofitted with interchangeable content.

    Filtered through design’s brutally neutralizing style engine,
    contemporary design is anesthetized and stripped of its indigenous
    qualities: science, in this context, is a graphic placebo. Meanwhile,
    designers conceal their intellectual weightlessness and flex their
    stylistic muscle, producing work that strikes just the right tone of
    Lab Chic.

    The appeal of information design is that it offers instant credibility.

    It’s modernism run amok: form masquerading as content.

    Combine the urge to collect with the inclination to organize, and the
    resulting activity offers a unique assortment of scientific
    pretensions. In documenting, designers dutifully observe the minutiae
    of their efforts, recording with a detail-consciousness bordering on
    the absurd.
    Not long ago, we attended a graduate design thesis review
    featuring several months’ worth of lint recovered from a clothes dryer.

    Hegel once posited an inevitable transition of thought, brought
    about through contradiction and reconciliation, formed along a
    trajectory of thinking that began from an initial conviction and
    evolved to its opposite. In the thesis/antithesis/synthesis model of
    Hegelian dialectic, we easily locate the scientist, who migrates from
    observation to analysis to discovery. Meanwhile, the designer
    catalogues the everyday, making thick, wordless books with pictures
    that jump the gutter.

    Faux Science is the new vernacular, a methodology that, while
    highly disciplined in a formal sense, is still all about appropriation.

    Science represents an enormous opportunity for designers, but not
    if their contributions remain fundamentally restricted by what they
    know. At the core of this critique lie serious questions about the role
    of education. Why don’t design students study music theory? Why aren’t
    they required to learn a second language? And why, for that matter,
    don’t they study science? “The difficulty lies not in the new ideas,”
    wrote John Maynard Keynes, “but in escaping the old ones.” In other
    words, design beyond reach.

    I’ve been guilty as well. As attractive as I find “scientific” (truly or pseudo-) imagery, art, & design to be, the above article states concisely everything I personally hate about it; but it was easier to fall in than it is to climb out. I’m trying.

    Juxtapose this with Buckminster Fuller’s idea of “{ Design Science }” — we’re capable of so much more. And arguably, it’s the same with art… it’s more often an appropriation of its own image rather than the intellectual processes and productions of curious people. Form awaiting content — is it a byproduct of the tradition of { specialization }?
    Fri, Dec 3, 2010  Permanent link

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