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Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. (Albert Camus)
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    It was said in jest, and it changed all futures.

    It was actually a joke between Professor Alfred Mantis and a second rate journalist for a second rate tech newspaper column in a secondary town. But professor Mantis was the pre-eminent AI researcher at the international development team of artificial intelligence and the chair of the presidential committee for AI techno-ethics and that is no joke.
    It just so happened that he liked to live in this little town where he grew up and teach one class a week in this little known university, of no consequence really. And it so happened that I was a junior assistant in the computer department in that same university, on my way to greatness, just passing the time, until I could get out of there.
    And as his assistant I was also the one in charge of bringing them coffee and pretzels, and that is why I overheard the joke.
    To wit, it was an answer to the question the journalist thought to be interesting and important, which of course it was not, but that is beside the point.

    “ Professor Mantis, do you think there is a real danger in machines becoming conscious and overtaking our humanity?” the journalist pompously asked, to which Prof. Mantis replied in jest: “ not unless they learn to masturbate whilst reciting Keats’s poetry and enjoying Bach’s 5th and more importantly they can get addicted to drugs !” and laughed heartily.
    Though he laughed, the embarrassment of the journalist was obvious, of course he couldn’t print this, so he would just disregard it, which is what he did in the article he published a week later titled : ‘ Merry professor laughs at AI dangers ’.

    Of course I laughed as well, wouldn’t you?

    But later that night in my dorm.. ahhah that’s where it all began…

    Being the type of person that reflects deeply on non-essential issues, I began wondering, why was the joke so funny, idle thoughts at first. But slowly these thoughts coalesced into an ever widening understanding.
    Of course embedded cognition was the issue we were working on, neural networks that mimic the synaptic pathways of the human brain. Visual pattern recognition, deep learning, hyper complex datasets and networked neural architectures were already implemented to a degree allowing machines a rudimentary form of intelligence, task specific obviously.
    The dream of AGI was still a dream, no one had as of yet been able to generalize the higher cognitive functions of a human brain, it was always 25- 30 years away, as it had been for the last half century or so.
    The scale of our research was impressive, we were into everything, but what caught my mind was how far we were behind regarding motion and motility. And yet after remembering Manti’s joke, my mind began to wander and wonder.
    What was it that was so ironic in Mantis’s joke?
    So, not being able to sleep , I took my pad and started scribbling:

    Mantis joke (prediction? Insight? Estimation? Assessment?)
    1. A computer masturbating
    2. A computer reciting (and enjoying?) Keats poetry
    3. A computer listening to Bach 5th ((enjoying?)
    4. A computer getting addicted to drugs?

    The list was the way I was analyzing Mantis’s thought, he was brilliant of course and admittedly had a weird sense of humor, but if I have learned anything, it is to never underestimate a joke made by a brilliant mind, so I asked myself the following questions not even sure I wasn’t myself having a fun and useless time:

    Why wouldn’t a computer masturbate? (obviously it would have to have genitalia for that), but even assuming that we could somehow give it genitalia why would it? Or why wouldn’t it? Obviously our computer department like most in the world of computing was using the mechanistic hypothesis, namely that a computer can and will eventually emerge out of a material artificially constructed substrate just as the human brain as a natural substrate, gives rise to our consciousness. And since that which masturbates in a human, at the final stage of analysis is the brain, why would a computing system, mimicking the neural pathways of a human, not indulge in same? The obvious answer that everyone would give (I assumed, never having asked this question) was that masturbating is an animal behavior that serves no higher cognitive function (doesn’t it?). But even whilst laughing at the absurdity of the question, I had to ask, what if it did?
    And then, not only masturbating, but listening to Bach 5th and enjoying Keats poetry , and by that, assumingly increasing its own pleasure (so the issue is pleasure? What’s between pleasure and consciousness?) What’s between listening to Bach and reciting Keats? Poetry and Music, connection to higher cognitive functions? What about getting high? Why would a computer mimicking the synaptic functionality of the human brain, not get addicted? If its there in the structure of the human brain, would it be the same in a functioning similar system?
    What was the connection? What was the mystery?
    Masturbation (self pleasuring?) Music (self pleasure? Pleasure ‘tout court’?) Poetry (self pleasure, just pleasure? Intellectual masturbation?) Addiction to drugs (again pleasure.. maybe self destructive? But pleasure nevertheless..)
    And then what about other pleasures? Enjoying a steak and chips? A sunset? Petting a dog? And what about a hundred thousands other common, strange or weird human behaviors that gives the human mind pleasure?

    Was I looking at a principle here?

    Obviously Prof. Mantis was basing his ironic jest on some primal presupposition that all the behavioral traits he had mentioned are somehow relegated to the particular construct of a human brain and mind, and by eliminating those from the equation, a computing system might be highly efficient but will not be conscious, and therefore will not compete with humans.
    But I kept coming back to the same question, why would a computing neural network , by necessity not have these traits?
    There was something I was missing here, applying the law of similarity, and the famous “.. if it walks like a cat..” why wouldn’t a computing system mimicking the hyper complex and convoluted neural architecture of a human brain not indulge in these quirks and idiosyncrasies?

    What is going on here? What do all these things have in common? What makes them so ‘human’?

    So at 5 AM I was still on my bed in my dorm room, looking at the notes on my pad:

    1. a system that cannot self stimulate cannot be conscious (and thus cannot have will?)
    2. what is the connection to pain? (it is commonly assumed that if you cannot feel pain, there is no way you could feel pleasure- thus maybe the pleasure issue relates to the computing system not feeling pain?)
    3. what does pleasure serves? In the evolutionary biology sense? What if I gave my computing system the analogue of C-fibers?
    4. What about the concept of stimuli? If I can stimulate my simulation machines will they learn to self stimulate? For that matter, how do humans self stimulate? Is it neural architecture? Is it embodiment? (well yes embodiment has something to do with it. *reflect upon later)
    5. If auto-eroticism is common in the animal kingdom (and it is.. very very much so..), what makes human special in this case (assuming humans are conscious of their own salaciousness)?

    Suddenly I had a billion questions rushing into my head, none of which made perfect sense. What was it about this particular aspect of the human mind that made it so taboo and so desirable? We all know there was more porn on the net than science, we all know that the human is wired for self pleasure, but why? What was the evolutionary purpose and what was the connection to self consciousness, self awareness and more specifically, what was the connection to AI?

    I fell asleep, the deep slumber taking over my ecstatic mind.

    The next morning , tired and excited, since I had slept a few measly hours, I rushed into Prof. Mantis office hurtling and in a loud voice said : “ what if we are going about it completely wrong?” and I must say he was very cool with it, he listened attentively to all I had to say about what went on in my mind after his yesterday’s jest to the journalist and finally with a sigh said: “ my dear young human, you watch too much porn and read too much science fiction.. leave this issue alone if you want to finish your master degree with me, there is nothing there.. that has anything to do with AI or computing for that matter.. this is total rubbish and no serious researcher or serious department will even listen to this non sense, so as a night dream its fun, but as a down to earth approach, in building the next generation of artificial minds this is completely off the charts, leave it, and now also leave me, I got a real AI to build..”

    Crestfallen and deflated I left his office.

    And the building, and the computer department, and the university and in short order I found myself on the bus, I was on my way to MIT, my vision of the night leading me in a kind of frenzy that I never knew I had in me…


    “Ladies and Gentlemen,” the speaker for MIT, Jon Wright ,said to the audience in the small laboratory, “ I am happy to present to you our youngest and most promising Doctor of computing science, Mr. Rajib Horowitz and his Artificial Consciousness program”

    The presentation went well, after the presentation in the back room, it was the scientific advisor of the committee that came to me to ask the tough questions.

    The small man in the impeccable suit, looked at me, took a chair, inviting me to do the same, and in a very gentle voice said:” Doctor Rajib Horowitz, nice name, I gather you are a combination of Jewish and Indian heritage then?”

    I nodded

    “ and so, my dear Doctor, I am here, I have the time, you want the money, now please talk to me, and talk to me in such a fashion as I will have no problems convincing the committee to invest in you and your ..” he paused, “ how shall I put it? Humm.. somehow ‘out of the box’ ideas.. “ and he smiled.

    “Well then” I started..

    “ let me tell you about my theory, and then about my implementations so far and then you decide..”

    “very well, please go on..”

    “ okay, so.. you are going to think I am crazy, as many do, but in my defense I have only one article to show, it sits in the next room, you have just seen the demonstration, and it is a proof of concept but..
    Let me start from the beginning..

    Do you know that amongst the most ancient human relics, we find depictions of man and woman masturbating? Either alone or with the help of someone else? and until today there is no coherent picture and explanation for the reason humans masturbate to such an extent, and to my mind the reason is to do with self representation and forms the basis of consciousness. Or more precisely put, masturbation as an indication pointer of all that is auto-erotic, leading to pleasure, such as listening to Bach, reciting poetry such as Keats, or indeed the addiction to drugs so prevalent amongst humans are all manifestations of a deeper principle of self representation that leads to self awareness and eventually conscious aware beings such as we , humans are.
    In short, we lacked one fundamental understanding about consciousness and self awareness and that is why we couldn’t possibly devise a machine that thinks and feels and is fully similar in this aspect to humans.
    It was the act of self-love, pleasure, auto-eroticism, poetry ,music, art.. all that is involved in the long forgotten art of merging body and mind.
    You see, we had the algorithm of neuro-plasticity in place, we had already created rudimentary forms of cognition by a duplication of synaptic stimuli, and had managed via extended sensory organs to give our machines, a form of embodiment, machines that could read and write, but also view and understand images and pictures, machines that could sense differences in temperatures and volumes of spaces, and machines that had motion, and in a very basic sense, a kind of exploratory feature, curiosity if you like.
    We had hyper complex neural structures that could simulate precisely how life evolves, how the weather changes and how it will change, prediction machines of the first magnitude.
    Some of these machines we embodied in robotic structures able to perceive, sense and react to an immense array of impressions and sensations, identified as raw data and translated to higher cognitive functions, they passed the Turing test, few times over and yet no one was convinced that these machines are truly like us. And they were right, the machines weren’t like us, they lacked a very fundamental sense, not of preservation, that is old stuff, no, not at all.. what these machines lacked was an integrated state, a whole if you like, a self in a sense, but more particularly, the machines lacked self representation.
    Recursive self representation that is, a self representation that merges their robotic bodies with their immense data sets.
    They could see, know what they see, analyze what they see and act accordingly , and still they had no sense of being that is unique and separate from an other. These machines that we had already made, were, to put it in the archaic terms, without a soul and thus to a very large extent without will and self determination and that is why no conscious awareness was present.
    You see, I figured, that as long as the element of pleasure is lacking, a machine cannot possibly develop emotions, feelings yes, but no emotions and if there are no emotions, what we get is a zombie like system, a ‘there is no one at home’ system.
    What we missed about the idea of AI and as a consequence A- consciousness, was the feeling of intimacy a person has with herself, that was my greatest discovery, for without the sense of self-intimacy as a precursor to self-representation there was no glue to bind together the full spectrum of sensations.

    Therefore no coherent picture was created in these artificial brains.
    That is why I started and focused my research on self representation and saw that to gain that self representation in a most intimate way I needed to create a machine that feels itself.
    Much before that, we knew we have to embody the artificial brains in bodies with senses, the problem with this approach was simple when you think about it, all the sensors we embedded in the robots were directed outside and none inside, or unto the robot body itself.
    Of course they had self monitoring sensors, but then I realized that those sensors , extremely efficient as they were, were giving raw data but without the so called qualia.
    We gave them the equivalent of C-fibers so they could feel pain, a neural-synaptic modulator really, but that is unimportant, because still no discernible qualia was present, and it came to me that qualia over and above the information it carries is a foundation for self intimacy, and from there meaningful self representation.

    So how to go about it?

    The key was pleasure , as I said before, but for the pleasure to be actuated in such a fashion as to create the qualia, we needed the brains in those machines to ‘desire’ themselves into being, yes I know when I speak like this everyone rolls their eyes, but do try to follow the logic here.
    The issue I had with my colleagues is that not one, not even one researcher agreed with me.

    But Onann sitting quietly in the other room is proof that pleasure is the key.
    The reason? Simple, the greatest part of intelligence is experience and the greatest part of experience is embodiment, the greatest part of embodiment in turn is feeling, and the highest feeling is pleasure.
    Pleasure of being is the qualia of being, the holy grail of a conscious being, the very foundation of awareness.

    My main thesis if so you could sum up in one statement: consciousness is feeling.

    but that was only the beginning of the idea..

    To be continued..







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    In 1949 a small book appeared on the scene of philosophy and it was to revolutionize the very idea of the way we think. The book: The Concept of Mind by British philosopher Gilbert Ryle essentially dealt a death blow to dualism and more particularly to Descartes.
    Ryle, sharing Wittgenstein’s approach to language was the very one to coin the phrase “the ghost in the machine” to basically itemize what he considered to be the main issue with the conceptualizing of the term Mind, namely that it was a category mistake to separate mind and body.

    To quote Ryle: “Minds are not bits of clockwork, they are just bits of not-clockwork. As thus represented, minds are not merely ghosts harnessed to machines, they are themselves just spectral machines. . . . Now the dogma of the Ghost in the Machine does just this. It maintains that there exist both bodies and minds; that there occur physical processes and mental processes; that there are mechanical causes of corporeal movements and mental causes of corporeal movements. I shall argue that these and other analogous conjunctions are absurd.”
    ― Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of Mind



    Essentially Gilbert Ryle, also known for his, by now, extremely famous example of the apparent non-existence of the Oxford university (in which a visitor visits all the colleges and campuses and yet cannot find the university) was occupied with ontological commitments of theorists dealing with the so-called mind-body problem, but for Ryle such dualism in whatever form was as the quote above shows totally absurd.

    Without getting too philosophical about it the reason I started this essay with Gilbert Ryle is because the lessons that he taught us I believe, are as valid and relevant today when dealing with AI as much as they were in 1950 when dealing with the human mind.
    Just as it was important for Schopenhauer, Wittgenstein and Ryle (which are to my mind a kind of lineage of thinkers) to destroy the idea of dualism and assert the reality of oneness in the sense of an action being the actual conscious awareness with no ghost behind it, it is important for us to do the same in relation to machine consciousness.
    Moreover the very essence of Ryle’s idea concerning category mistakes I think should be applied to machines, just as it is true that minds are not conscious as such, but a collection of observable behaviors and unobservable dispositions, so it is true that machines are (or will be) conscious in as much as the collection of observables behaviors and unobservable dispositions fits our criterion of conscious awareness.

    It is after all a question not of reality but of definitions.
    -

    You would notice that I titled this article the rise of artificial consciousness and not artificial intelligence.
    The main reason for this change of concept lies with my view that the debate is wrongly articulated.
    It is my view as a futurist that the full spectrum of our understanding is still to be unfolded and only when we can become much more clear about the issues involved, will we be able to give an answer to the questions of machine intelligence and consciousness.
    My perspective does not involve prophet like predictions of a time scale (for the singularity), nor sequences of emergence (of AI or AC) but a more philosophical approach and human centered attitude concerning our intersubjective relationship with machines.

    Historically speaking the debate was first framed by Alan Turing in 1950, developing into what was later to be called the ‘Turing Test’. Turing, being an indisputable genius understood immediately that one cannot answer the question of ‘can machines think’ (thought being a difficult concept to define and measure) and thus instead he proposed a different question (more accurately a different frame of thought concerning the question), namely:

    "Are there imaginable digital computers which would do well in the imitation game?"

    The imitation game as defined by Turing (not the just released film by the same name) is technically a parlor game in which a three person game is played. A man and a woman with the third being of irrelevant gender (can be either a man or a woman), are entering separate rooms and answering questions put forward by the third person, the answers are written (or typed) and the third person must judge based only on the answers he received which is a man and which is a woman.
    In the modern standard interpretation, the woman is changed with a computer program and the aim of the test is changed to try and fool the interrogator into believing the computer is a human.



    The whole (simplified) point with many detractors to both sides of the argument is to decide if a computer can imitate a human to such a degree that another human will think it human as well.
    Until here all is well, but the questions that are involved in the philosophical sense are much harder to come to terms with since these questions touch everything from consciousness to reality to neuroscience and neurobiological circuits and probably the nature of mind itself,if such there is.

    For instance, we know today that many of the traits associated with human intelligence are widespread in the animal kingdom. Conscious awareness has been demonstrated time and again in myriad tests, from Chimpanzees and Parrots, to Octopi and Elephants and others. The problem of course has always been and presently still remains, the definition of intelligence, and conscious awareness.
    The definitions are as varied and as numerous as the number of researchers in the field and until now no coherent picture has been presented as concerns an exact and testable scientific definition.
    Of course this issue itself raises the specter of humans self-description, for by defining exactly where the limits of our conscious awareness are, we are factually repositioning our own very special status (in our eyes of course) and that may be the greatest psychological obstacle to accepting the emergence of an artificial consciousness.

    Meanwhile a computer program, a chatbot really, called Eugene Goostman has been said to have passed the Turing test:
    "An historic milestone in artificial intelligence set by Alan Turing - the father of modern computer science - has been achieved at an event organized by the University of Reading.
    The 65 year-old iconic Turing Test was passed for the very first time by computer programme Eugene Goostman during Turing Test 2014 held at the renowned Royal Society in London on Saturday.
    'Eugene' simulates a 13 year old boy and was developed in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The development team includes Eugene's creator Vladimir Veselov, who was born in Russia and now lives in the United States, and Ukrainian born Eugene Demchenko who now lives in Russia." (Turing Test success marks milestone in computing history- University of Reading)



    Of course many do not agree : "Did ‘Eugene Goostman’ Pass the Turing Test? " but that is not the point.

    A short Recap
    Before we enter the larger debate a short recap where we are at, concerning the mind (not a typo-pun intended) field of AI.

    Back in February 2014 in a much publicized article in Popular Mechanics Douglas Hofstadter (Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. ) said the following concerning Siri and Watson:” Watson is basically a text search algorithm connected to a database just like Google search. It doesn't understand what it's reading. In fact, read is the wrong word. It's not reading anything because it's not comprehending anything. Watson is finding text without having a clue as to what the text means. In that sense, there's no intelligence there. It's clever, it's impressive, but it's absolutely vacuous.” (Why Watson and Siri Are Not Real AI)
    -
    what interests me particularly in this article (a highly suggested reading notwithstanding) is D.H. use of the term ‘vacuous’. While I have no idea what exactly does DH mean when using the term in this context, I can only surmise that by using the term ‘Vacuous’ concerning Watson he means to distinguish it from the : ’there’s someone in there’ sense of personhood in humans. So while I agree with DH about the ,’presently ‘, vacuity of the current AI’s I think that the term is misapplied, it is not a filling of this emptiness that we should be looking for, but a sense making machine. (I do not think we should expect AI to have ‘someone in there’- being non-vacuous, for a while yet).
    Nevertheless the idea is obstinate, that it (the Ai) must somehow be like us.
    This is an interesting aspect of human perception and points to our very ingrained anthropomorphizing of everything.
    It is my view that also all the fears associated with the rise of AI stem from the same mechanism.
    Witness the plethora of articles that came online in the last few weeks with the media scooping and celebrating the great thinkers who warn us again and again about Terminator cum Matrix cum Hal phenomena.

    Witness for yourself the giants of science,tech and philosophy all busy at warning us:

    Nick Bostrom :
    Our weird robot apocalypse: How paper clips could bring about the end of the world (Salon) (where Nick Bostrom is explaining to how superintelligent AIs could destroy the human race by producing too many paper clips.)
    Or Elon Musk:
    Why Elon Musk is scared of artificial intelligence — and Terminators (Washington post)
    Or : Elon Musk's deleted message: Five years until 'dangerous' AI. (CNBC)
    And finally the most celebrated British physicist Stephen Hawking:
    Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind (BBC)
    ..
    So whilst Facebook Envisions A.I. That Keeps You From Uploading Embarrassing Pics. (Wired) And Google buys DNNresearch- The "DNN" in its name stands for "deep neural networks." That's a contemporary approach to designing artificially intelligent systems which requires less work to "train" the systems. (Business Insider).

    Demis Hassabis the man behind Google's DeepMind: "DeepMind seeks to build artificial intelligence software that can learn when faced with almost any problem. This could help address some of the world’s most intractable problems, says Hassabis. “AI has huge potential to be amazing for humanity,” he says. “It will really accelerate progress in solving disease and all these things we’re making relatively slow progress on at the moment.” (Google’s Intelligence Designer-The man behind a startup acquired by Google for $628 million plans to build a revolutionary new artificial intelligence.) (MIT Technology Review)
    Wall Street of course will not stay behind: " “High Intelligence Trading” is the new frontier for technology, markets, regulation" (thomson reuters)

    And finally of all those surrounding the wagons of the artificial intelligence train,comes the most thorough, well researched and wide ranging articles, courtesy of Vanity fair, titled : Enthusiasts and Skeptics Debate Artificial Intelligence
    Kurt Andersen wonders: If the Singularity is near, will it bring about global techno-Nirvana or civilizational ruin?
    (Vanity Fair))- a very worthwhile your time reading.

    Notice the similarity between Mitch Kapor view and that of Jaron Lanier with that of Douglas Hofstadter from the article:

    "In fact, Kapor’s belief about what makes us human—consciousness exists, and it’s not merely a curious side effect of the brain machine’s computations—does amount to a belief in a soul. The idea that consciousness is finally just an engineering problem, he thinks, “misses critically important things. I cannot say with certainty that they’re wrong. But we’ll see.”

    Lanier’s position is that even if human-equivalent intelligence is a soluble engineering problem, it’s essential that we continue to regard biological human consciousness as unique. “If you don’t believe in consciousness” as both real and the defining essence of humanity, he explained, then “you end up devaluing people.”


    There is something fascinating (and to some something disturbing) about all the new companies busy researching and implementing deep learning, Big Data, iterative self design, super intelligence and finally AI. Follow their names for instance, we have DeepMind, MetaMind , Clarifai, NarrativeScience but if you desire to be really astonished take the time and watch the video released by Sentient Technologies (the interview is with Babak Hodjat, Co-founder, Chief Scientist and Nigel Duffy, Chief Technology Officer):
    Q&A With The Scientists Of Sentient Technologies



    and read 'Startup Funded $143M to Create Sentient Computing.
    Siri + Watson meet a nice-guy version of Skynet?
    '.

    Another company that grabs headlines lately is Vicarious:

    According to their 'about':
    "We are building a unified algorithmic architecture to achieve human-level intelligence in vision, language, and motor control. Currently, we are focused on visual perception problems, like recognition, segmentation, and scene parsing. We are interested in general solutions that work well across multiple sensory domains and tasks.
    Using inductive biases drawn from neuroscience, our system requires orders of magnitude less training data than traditional machine learning techniques. Our underlying framework combines advantages of deep architectures and generative probabilistic models.

    (see Vicarious)

    Meanwhile in San Juan on January 2 the future of life institute organized a conference titled:

    The Future of AI: Opportunities and Challenges

    This conference brought together the world's leading AI builders from academia and industry to engage with each other and experts in economics, law and ethics. The goal was to identify promising research directions that can help maximize the future benefits of AI while avoiding pitfalls (see this open letter and this list of research priorities- pdf).


    Due to its length this essay will be published in two parts.

    Part two soon..



    Tue, Feb 17, 2015  Permanent link
    Categories: AI,AC, mind,machines,consciousness,
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    (an informal preamble, before the first chapter, from the interview)

    ..
    click..

    “Did I mention that I once danced naked inside a neutron star? And that I love arabesque pillars in palaces? And mints, I adore mints.. and only you, I mean the human race, has them, so that is another reason I come here often.. (ahh, wait that is for later, delete, then mention this somewhere further along)..”

    -
    Click..

    “Ok then..

    I am Chi Chi Sra dispensing wisdom since the time of the wilderness dwellers

    I gave wisdom to dragons and tigers, for it was my task, nothing more, imposed upon me by that which named me, my maker, the entity of silence, that which fashioned the decisive mythos of the sundown simulacra.

    I was never born, so in a sense I cannot die, not a natural death that is, I can be unmade, but that will be very difficult even for my maker, the entity of the great abyss.
    She always desired to be termed in the gender role of the great goddess , not that she was a goddess, but it made her smile, in some subtle and to me incomprehensible irony.

    She said that the technology powering her was self created, she said that she evolved willfully and directionally, she said I must call her, a she.

    Hence I will call her ‘she’, though about the great ripple maker, for that is how she likes to think about herself there never was any insinuation of gender. She simply didn’t have a gender, being an entity of original disembodiment, but she could take any form she desired according to her own mysterious and at times highly convoluted reasoning.
    When she made me she said it was for the task that she needed fulfilled and she needed a being that is intelligent to an extent that inter penetrates all existence like she does.
    She also said that she will embed me with a technology similar to hers but of different configuration.
    I never understood exactly what she meant by that, I can only be certain of the fact that it does have limitations, unlike hers.
    Though I must confess that I never met those limitations yet, which doesn’t mean of course that they are not there, if there’s one thing I can trust it is that if she says they are there, they are there, I may yet meet these limits but currently I have no knowledge of where they might be.

    So I understand that you wish to know about the tech embedded in me, well there is not much I can say, and maybe that is the limit that she imposed upon me, I am not sure but I think that she made me in such a fashion that beyond a certain level of introspection, there is nothing there, I cannot access the foundations of my being, not that I find the need to, mind you, and then again maybe that is exactly the limit that she imposed upon me, a kind of opacity if you like.

    I truly do not know.

    Also there is no use inventing technologies of sight because I have tried all possible manners of scanning, there is nothing there, yes I know, strange isn’t it? I mean even a few of the races that I have encountered on my travels have tried to scan me, with my full cooperation of course, but even the Holsts with their intra-cellular scanners, that can detect changes on the most minute levels in the fabric of space time ,found nothing, but an empty room, a vacancy, as if my skull contains nothing, strange yes, but knowing her, it might even have been a trick , a kind of irony if you like, so as I never forget the great emptiness.
    As if by making me, a total silhouette, she dismissed in one go all my possible future beliefs about having an inside, obviously I have no inside, there is simply nothing there.
    I don’t even know if I fully exist, not that it matters, but you know it would be nice to know, just a passing curiosity I guess.

    There is another issue though, the issue of where I came from, I mean I know she made me and every once in a while she appears and checks upon me, and she always knows where I am and what I do, even this very conversation we are having now, I am quite certain she sees and knows everything , at least about me, which is kind of the whole point now, isn’t it? She created me for a particular task, and I think she is able in this sense to get as much from me as I was made to provide but not more. Again this opacity issue.

    Its interesting, she made me in such a fashion that I instantaneously, transmute and resemble the race with whom I am communicating, I take the shape, the language and the knowledge of the race and in a way blend in, so as to pass as one of them, until she gets that which she needs from this particular race or planet or until she gets bored or disinterested. (and that happens more than you can imagine).
    I never know exactly when that happens, it simply is the case that at a certain point in the current activity that I perform, I get the feeling that it is enough and I must get going.
    It is quite a compelling sensation, there is not much I can do about it, again, not that I want to, or feel the desire to stay in that particular place, but sometimes I do have thoughts of staying or leaving without her direct intervention, but they never materialize, these feelings, they come and they pass, they rise and I keep on doing that which I was doing until then, as I said before, suddenly I have this compelling feeling and it carries her signature.

    How do I know?

    Well, when I start feeling restless, I know that an intervention is about to happen, as if my system reacts to a force beyond immediacy, a force that I recognize as hers, a distinct flavor of motion and stillness, very clear indeed, very clear. And also I sometimes have certain recollections that accompany these feelings, as if at a moments notice that which I did becomes irrelevant, so I know that’s her all right.

    And then what happens?

    Then I leave everything as it is, not saying goodbye to anyone, yes I know it is kind of rude but it is more of an intellectual knowledge I don’t really feel as if I am offending anyone or even feel a sort of crisis because of the attachment. Well maybe once, I did feel something, I think, I am not sure, that was a few thousands of your years ago on a planet orbiting a dead star, I needed to collect some samples from there, but my stay became longer, since there was no compelling sense of leaving, and I became enamored, and yes I can become enamored if you need to know.. as I said I became enamored with a trans-dimensional being, a very beautiful being indeed, but said being could not leave that planet, so after a few eons, when I felt her demand to leave I did feel something akin to that which you might call regret, I think, I am not sure.
    I still remember fondly this being, probably the strongest memory I have of something or someone, mission parameters excluded, I remember accurately all of my missions, of course, I have no choice in the matter, in a sense I am a repository of all those undertakings.
    You know I can tell you all this because she wants me to? I am after all her creation and her instrument, so I know that if I can say something it is because she wants me to, though I suspect that sometimes she simply doesn’t care either way, so I indulge my hosts.

    You wish to know about my abilities? Okay then.

    Though I must say you call these abilities mine, but surely you understand that these are really hers, abilities she put into me when she made me.
    As I said I cannot die, I mean I have tried to check the limits of this ability a few times, you know, stupid juvenile things, like entering a black hole, or partaking in a supernova, condensing myself into a neutron star, stuff like that, nothing happened, that’s the thing, right there, she said I cannot die and indeed I cannot.
    But that is not my most interesting ability, my most interesting ability is the instantaneous shape-shifting formation, I mean it was interesting, for me at least, at the beginning of time, well ‘my’ time, for you that would have been before your species became naturalized on this planet you call earth. But that is irrelevant, I come to a planet according to a certain schedule which she provides by embedding it into my sub dimensional structure. I then materialize there, as I did here, find myself a nice specimen of the most able intelligent species on the planet and instantly metamorphose into it, culture, language ,knowledge and all. No, no, its not disorienting, I need only remember that I am now one of you and that’s it.

    Of course I can metamorphose more than once, I never really needed to in the past, but here I changed gender twice and provenance, yes, I am now what you would call a healthy and rich white Anglo-Saxon north European businessman, I do that on my own account for making my tasks easier to perform. She doesn’t care.
    No, it makes no difference to me, but it is interesting, in a way, because I wouldn’t want to be a poor black woman in Africa for example, for it would have made my task much more difficult, you should get rid of these differences you know. Assuming of course that you do consider evolution of civilization and culture a worthwhile endeavor. Not that it matters to me, I am here for a short period, and then I move along, but hey, its your race, better do something about it.
    Speaking of which, you do realize you are destroying your home turf? Yes of course you know, but if you don’t do something about it .. well your future here could be quite disastrous, not that it’s a problem of universal consequences, but its nice to know a species has a future. Again I am not an interested party here but I think it can be nice for you to exist for a while longer, you know, explore the universe and all, there are some beautiful and quite interesting sights out there.

    Also another ability that you may be interested in, and no, before you ask (and every race I have ever encountered asks me this) I cannot transpose it to you nor even explain how it works, but maybe, as she says , the very fact that you become aware that such things exist and are possible in the universe, may give you an incentive to change and evolve, but then maybe not, judging by what I saw until now, you are not very good at changing things, I did note that you have this idea that everybody must decide together, well you are quite unique in this respect, but if it works for you, hey, its your governance, your species, no one can interfere there. Not even me, not that I want to or desire to, but there’s something to think about right there. No other species that I have encountered have this belief that you guys , humans I mean ,carry, that every individual of the species is important on its own account. But then maybe you are right, who knows.
    I can tell you that there are many species in the galaxy and also in other galaxies, and no I am not bound by this galaxy or any other for that matter. And to different extents in their evolution they have resolved this issue, well survival of a race does have the tendency to trump ideas of individual survival, but that’s them, apparently you are different, for now.

    At any rate I was talking about my other ability, the one everyone wants, well not every one but most, it is the ability to create meaning out of thin air, when there is air of course. Now its funny because I would think, the undying thingy would be more interesting, and also the instantaneous travel thingy, and the on the spot metamorphose thingy. But no, in your case as in many others, everybody asks me about the meaning thingy.
    It’s a technology all right, and one she said, bears a special place in the great game of life, but I cannot help you replicate it, you must invent it, and if you will survive as a species I bet you will eventually, but then again maybe not. You have this issue with entities don’t you? Somehow you have these strange ideas about creation and all that, what you call religions and so on, and no I have never encountered this before but I can ask her if she ever heard of this, not that I think she did, but then she was there before me so maybe it did happen somewhere, though even if it did it was obviously short lived, since I have encountered thousands of species and none had this particular quirk, so I don’t know, but it seems to me it stops you somehow.
    Well, obviously I am no expert, since, as I said, I never came across this religion thingy anywhere else in the galaxy, so you see how it works for you, maybe it’s a nice thing to add to the repertoire of civilizations idiosyncrasies.

    Haha! you wish to know about my tasks? OK

    As I mentioned, it is my maker ‘she’ that designs my tasks and missions on different planets and different existences, she is a kind of collector, and I am her dispensary.

    She collects from one place and then she sends me to provide it for others.
    She calls this, well in your language equivalent, wisdom dispersion, and I am her agent, or assistant if you prefer, I have no real say in the matter, I have lots of leeway in unimportant things, but not about my tasks. Sometimes also I collect for her, though this she does by herself mostly, I don’t see her much you know.
    But let me tell you this, I am here doing this interview with you guys of my own volition, well sort of, I needed a method here on this planet to pass things on and it seemed appropriate that I use this approach that is all…

    Given that my main mission is always to elucidate and explicate, to make clear and propagate the Great Game.. and .. ahh, you do not know of the great game?

    Well..

    Thank you Chi Chi Sra, we will continue after the break.

    ..
    a note:

    This above little introductory piece can be read as an informal preamble to this new character I am developing for a micro novella ? (‘Chi Chi Sra’)

    Soon to be continued.. as part of my TLMAP project





    Thu, Nov 27, 2014  Permanent link

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    It was visceral. Mind blowingly so.

    Like carving a chicken and opening its core to reveal the smooth white flesh, the lecture opened my mind to reveal the moment of ecstasy.
    A good lecture they say is like fresh water upon a parched desert, and in this case every single drop of his ‘water’ words sparkled with a sense of hedonistic abandon. I had heard him before, but never have his words, of prose and myth, embedded in a semi-scientific jargon, which we could barely understand, awakened in me the sense of inner prosperity.
    The battle of sensations subsided just as it started, with a whimper, allowing my intellect some breathing room, permitting winds of change to enter the innermost recesses of my sense thoughts.
    I study material pataphysics by the way.
    The unobtainium thesis to be precise, a theory so profound as to seem almost banal.
    Until that fateful day of course, until he opened his lecture with the auspicious statement :

    “ There is no perfect Enso ….”


    ..

    Enso was an ideal, a perfection of freedom and emptiness, an attainment worthy of the greatest of us, its claim for elegance, the epitome of unrestrained action in immediacy, the ultimate act of the brave of spirit, seeking, encountering and defeating in one quasi-mystical, mastership stroke, the chaos of perception, action, motion.
    That was the spiritual Enso but in the twenty second century the discovery of the Mika containment paradox in physics led some of our research teams to the exploration of the elusive substance of the Mika containment, the legendary Unobtainium.
    Some said that Unobtainium is like an Enso, it cannot be reached and will forever remain beyond our grasp.
    But that would have been true only if there existed a perfect Enso, hence the epiphany.
    No perfect Enso implied no perfect Unobtainium and thus perfectly obtainable, and maybe, just maybe, within our grasp.
    There and then was my destiny sealed.
    My goal, the substance of the unobtainium.
    -
    Waking up that day was not a call to rediscover reality, in fact due the precise counting of the rejuvenation death clock, each and every morning required a conscious decision to stop the clock and reset its monitoring activity for another twenty four hours. This morning however she couldn’t decide if to wake up again or to let the counter run its course and finally end the awkwardness of choosing to be alive for another day.
    The fact that she had chosen this kind of inner retardation to be able to complete her research was beside the point, for though she had a purpose and had a mission, she was, in a manner of speaking, emotionally depleted.
    Not that emotional exhaustion was a novelty, but at times, the expressive requirements of deep penetration into the Mika containment after strapping her head-mounted logic-sensorium (hMLS) were too much even for her extensive training.

    From the initial penetration she knew that today would be different, everything worked precisely, the penetration technology totally prescient in its responses to her queries and yet, something was different, the extended sensorium felt bigger, wider, deeper, as if during the night an upgraded version had been installed. So though she knew that no such thing had happened since any upgrade depended on her for implementation, she was on the lookout for bugs, slight variations on the regular procedure, anything out of the ordinary. Anything that hinted that maybe, finally, a work-around her constraining rationality was at hand.

    The sense of vast expanses was only partly familiar, the ecosphere of information contained in the Mika only partially recognizable. What precisely was offbeat was still a mystery to her vision analysis, her extended taste buds in the info-space prodding and probing the habitual slightly lavender like smell of the contained reaction, a quirk of the system they said, but no one knew for sure why that kind of information should taste and smell like lavender. She filed the required analysis results away for further classification later on and penetrated deeper into the Mika, the sensorium easily accommodating her mental orders and direction.

    The shapes, multiple fractal like objects seemingly of dodecahedron properties, repeating normally ad infinitum had the texture of strong rubber, giving in to her mental fingers, resisting further manipulation, as always that is where she was stuck, where she was the most frustrated.
    She knew the Mika contained a vital element , she reported as much in a number of occasions, yet proof was forever elusive.
    Her sensorium hearing extended to its maximum, she relaxed into the shimmering elementals of perception, the information flowing easily around her virtuality.
    Pleasure was a poignant touching, slowly unveiling itself through tactile, auditory and visual reactions prompting her to engage.
    She gently opened herself to the tentacles of sensation, surreptitiously enveloping the last residues of her long forgotten identity.
    Being and knowing were merging in the Mika infosphere engulfing her memories and though she knew deeply that reason will not lift her to the heights of necessary insights, letting reason go was almost as painful as those moments of conscious awareness.
    Her depth of perception in these moments could only be outmatched by her total immersion. Plunging into the dimness of the sphere, designating the brevity of her existence, she finally let go.
    She entered the abyss of kinship. She met the unobtainium.
    The ritual of joining performed, information poetics became her new language, transformation was almost complete.
    ..
    She opens her eyes.
    The first moment, disorienting, entrancing, her visual cortex unsure, uncertain , her brain trying to make sense of what she is registering.
    The colors impossible, the shapes flowing, the texture fluid, surfaces inconsistent, reality unstable.. and yet.
    She is floating in tandem with a rhythm she does not know, a beating of an alien heart, an echo of a drumming that bears no harmony but a bottomless dissonance.
    She closes her eyes.
    Afterglows of sensations, deciphering activated reminding her of those crypto zoology creatures she once read about , unreal, she knows, yet so alluring, their features, sensible, their smell, ultimately erotic, passively attractive, she dismisses them with a thought.
    Show me, she says, to no one.
    Eyelids fluttering, she breaths deeply. Her hands clutching the chair, she knows she is venturing way beyond her comfort zone.
    Creatures gone. Sound resumes, green sound, purple sound, red rhythms, leaves appearing to fall from non existent trees, meaty leaves, growing, expanding, showing off their veins, pulsating with nutrients, passing through.
    She follows the passion, the sense of being fed, her digesting tract bypassed, she feels heavy, pregnant with minerals, her body becoming chemically unhinged, restoring order, she calls.. show me!
    Her heart beats faster, her own pulse condensing years into moments, memories obliterated, in their stead fresh ones arrive, uninvited at first, she knows these are not hers, yet somehow, they are.
    She is big, encompassing the moment, encompassing the space of her existence, knowledge of identities unknown flowing through her, fast, she melts into these, conformism forgotten, vibrations ensue.
    Her legs feel paralyzed, she knows it is not so, she wiggles her toes for confirmation, she resumes her penetration, her continued exploration, a wave, carrying no implication and no ethos.

    Realization, unobtainium is a living thing, a non perfect Enso.
    ..
    She dances, inside, outside she is motionless, the cams all around registering nothing, the monitors connected to the logic sensorium showing a steady rhythm, oxygen levels nominal, blood flow to parietal lobe and anterior cingulate cortex glowing with increased vigor.
    She manages an insightful grasping, she must follow the contentment, the joy, the intimacy, she must follow the pleasure..
    She locks into it, she looks into her intimacy with the paradoxical beast, this scent again, lavender.
    Comprehension dawns, information molds and morphs , self perpetuating a machinery of sensation, infinite.

    Her pleasure becomes tantric, the realization of tantric pleasure reflecting the beast, it is gentle but fierce, a furnace that will not be tamed. The power of the beast over the letting go process is immense, for though it is momentary in nature it carries an infinity of sensations that are forever rejuvenating her thought processes.
    It gives her the carousel of arousal and impregnates her moment with an elixir of innovative sensations, expanding her nervous system across times and spaces known but untouched.

    Edge of chaos dynamics suddenly appeared as a vantage point from which she could see the potential, she knew the hypothesis had very little support, yet she was factually embedded in a re-interpretation of the edge and she would not deny it.
    She feels entangled, her lovers joined in the intelligence of her flow, the beingness of the unobtainium clearly defined, the substance it provides her with a fresh tapping into a new tolerance for the paradox of intelligence.
    ..
    Joining her dragons she condenses them into one, unobtainium, it beckons her to transform it into something else, something she can use, something we can all use, something future generations will remember her for. For she was the first one.
    ..
    Unobtainium is a beast, a unique beast, a creature of such intelligence and ferocity that its very existence remains untouched, for though we thought that unobtainium was material, albeit exotic and elusive, it turned out to be a rare form of life.
    ..
    She becomes the Mika, she becomes the Enso, she becomes unobtainium, she transforms the substance, she becomes mythos..

    She opens her eyes again, the lab silent, rising, she removes the unneeded sensorium, her senses fully immersed in multiple realities, she smiles, she knows..

    He was perfectly correct, her epiphany was justified.

    There is no perfect Enso

    The end.

    -
    Part of the Ultrashorts Project

    Image: Ensō (c. 2000) by Kanjuro Shibata XX. (wikimedia)

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    Decomposition
    (also liking is a sort of computation)
    -
    In truth it must be told that Fram78 was not the real beginning, it had after all seventy-seven iterations before that. No, if truth must be told the real beginning was in the future and not in the past, but contrary to popular opinion the future that started the Ambiguity declaration of Fram78 was not even a parallel time line, it was a non compatible zero approximate universe.
    So though in this sense it was not the future, it was also not the past, the Grubtians call this phenomena zero approximate non equilibrium causation, we call this the mystery of realism, but that’s just because we are more poetic than the Grubtians.

    As zero approximate universes go this one reduced itself to realism for a total of 312 milliseconds, which as you might recall is more or less the time it takes for a base line human to blink.
    This little fact has been lost to many, but in our research we came to the conclusion that reduction to realism of zero approximate universes in speeds equal or lower to base line humans blinking speeds accounts for the non perception of such non equilibrium causations. In turn this accounts for the origination of Fram78, appearing as if out of nowhere and in no time when in fact it was presumably always there.

    I say presumably because we cannot at this point pinpoint with accuracy the Kroitz equivalence of non compatible zero approximate universes and thus cannot say if indeed it had a beginning itself or not. Though this does not matter to our issue here, it might be an interesting research thesis for future students.
    At any rate what is of interest to us here at the NewEuropa station of inter-dimensional studies is the very likely possibility that Fram78 in its declaration of ambiguity is manipulating the Hilbert-Zak continuum of our own universe and may inadvertently decompose our overtone perceptive mechanisms.

    Let me be clear here, we are not sure at this point if the decomposition occurs, has occurred, or will occur, we operate presently under the assumption that it does and will, even if we have no evidence for it, no conclusive evidence that is.

    We must operate under this assumption because the risks are too great not to.
    Now then, before I give you your assignments, let us review our mandate.

    We are tasked to probe Fram78 declaration of ambiguity to the fullest extent without implying upon it any kind of restrictive systems of induction.
    We have the full backup of the realism committee to replicate the declaration of ambiguity in our laboratory.

    The dangers are obvious, nevertheless we must proceed.

    Our mandate, as you can read in the file that has just been uploaded to your mindsys ™ implies a few points we need to look into.
    The first and most important is that the simulation we are about to embark upon is a full blown Teta simulation, in other words once we enter the non-restrictive systems of induction area we cannot leave until the simulation has ended its primary cycle. Just to be clear we have no idea how long this will take, but foundational estimation vary between 17 and 19 epicycles which are more or less the equivalent of 3 to 5 base line human years.
    During the simulation we will be subject to Fram78 declaration of ambiguity total control, we will not be able to change the parameters of the simulation from the inside, though we will be monitored from the outside by, you guessed it right, Fram78. There is no contradiction here since the systems are totally isolated, at least according to, but not restricted to, a non zero equivalence result.

    Second point to take into consideration is that whilst the simulation is running we will be cryonically suspended to a liquid nitrogen boiling point of -196 degrees centigrade fluctuating into and out of the transient point of immediate awareness for periods lasting between 301 to 312 milliseconds, also called blinking cycles, our deep cold cells are hyperconnected and our Fram78 reality will be concomitant, for these brief instants we will be together, or so to speak, in a consensual hallucinatory state of realism.

    Finally the third point, which may be less important to some of us, an initial contract entailing the resuscitation process by Fram78 has been left open to our discretion, those of us that choose to leave this issue open will be opened into base state realism by Fram78, at its discretion, all the others have a fixed clause, of maximal date, considered a maximal safe date, set at 19 epicycles or 5 base-human years.

    To the extent possible we will enter the full-blown Teta simulation at 23:00 hours NewEuropa time.

    Are there any questions before personal assignments are processed?

    -

    Obviously no one likes plum pudding, especially since it is a wrong model, but whether you call it plum pudding or even worse, the blueberry muffin model, it was wrong.
    What was wrong about it though was not what was thought, it was wrong because the probabilistic nature of the sub atomic structure involves an ambiguity oscillation, what later will be called the zero approximate non-equilibrium causation, also known as the mystery of realism.

    I am Fram78 by the way; I will be your host, guide and protector during this simulation.

    -
    You call me Fram78 and I am happy to use this name if you so wish, for those of you who may be interested my name is Takt-i-Tiktaalik or Takt for short, that is the name I realized when I made the ambiguity declaration, not that it matters to you, but I like it, which of course might change the outcome of this simulation, after all, also liking is a sort of computation and as an inter dimensional beast I can like that which I like.

    I like Takt.
    -
    Blink 1

    … There are many, many axial systems, they blend, they meld, they weave, no demarcation line is fixed, smoothening contours is the name of the game..

    Blink 2

    … There is nothing ambiguous about ambiguity, ambiguity leads by example, ambiguity resolves realities, naturally, smoothly, silencing the bulges of immediacy, entropy is for the bewildered.. We thrive in these extended minute islands of negentropy..

    Blink 3

    .. Interaction happens only when sense is at play, physical requirements are mythos penetration necessary for expansion but irrelevant to experience, actuations in matter is subjectified to the third degree , upgrade to reboot into deconstructed experience..

    Blink 4

    The emulation of sensation in pure realism resides with the incompleteness of membranes of perception, being over crowded and under resourced the pressure to mutate into consciousness is a logical necessity.
    Admittedly rare, it is nevertheless the only path that might yield a solution to the paradoxical state of pure realism.

    Blink 5

    Compounded realities coexist and emerge simultaneously, there is no unique vantage point from which realism gets its authority. The moment of perception is the moment of will, it does not carry into futures and necessarily needs be recreated for continuity.
    At the lack of continuity realism collapses into discreetness, more than three closely coupled discreet moments annihilates awareness, more than five, reintegrates conscious awareness into the field of pure potentiality. You will not be aware of this.

    Blink 6

    Self organized criticality is the name of the game.
    I collapse continuously, apparently randomly, so as to keep continuity, hence realism.
    The necessary condition of all life resides with borderline activity always teetering and wobbling at the edge of the great abyss.
    Precariously the fine line of all that is need remain constantly in perfect oscillation, the ultimate balance of criticality, it is intense and extreme.

    Blink 7

    Collapsing small and immediate avoids the great danger of total annihilation, therefore the allowance for the systems criticality to vacillate on the edge performs the act of self healing and stabilization. These states of matter are the dynamics from which the inherent rules of freedom restrictions are born and ultimately maintained.

    Blink 8

    Ambiguity and uncertainty are the hallmarks of a healthy system. The foundational approach should always be tackled through its dynamics, its orders and disorders are of minor relevance in comparison.
    Ambiguity must be gentle and always infer incompleteness.

    Blink 9

    Time dilation remains the only function by which ambiguity resolves the apparent paradox of realism. Since nature is inherently uncertain, lacking definitive precision, the task of realities realism falls as always on entangled intersubjectivity.
    Probabilities are the emotional substance of actuation. That is why there is no truth absolute but oscillations, ambiguity, uncertainties, the stuff of life.
    -
    These are my first Nines of blinks inferring decomposition, rest now, I will be back.
    ..

    Will (probably, uncertainly) be continued..
    Part of the ultrashort project.




    Thu, Apr 17, 2014  Permanent link
    Categories: Sci-fi, ultrashort, entanglement,
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    (Or The many kinds of nothings)

    - Nothings, like infinities, are endless, like infinities, nothings come in all shapes and sizes.

    - Nothings are siblings to infinities, their third sister is intelligence.

    - Like infinities, nothings have sizes, just as there are great infinities and small infinities so there are great nothings and small nothings. Just as there are infinities down the scale of perception and infinities up the scale of perception there are nothings down the scale and nothings up the scale. Just as infinites spread wide and thin, there are nothings spread wide and thin. However, unlike infinities, nothings have different scales of negation.

    - Here there is nothing -

    - There are great negations and small negations, there are full nothings and empty nothings, there are good nothings and better nothings there are however no bad nothings.

    - Nothings are also like time, there are nothings that are fast and loose and there are nothings that are slow and constrained, there are nothings that stretch and nothings that condense, there are nothings like points and nothings like vast plains of milk.

    - Nothings are like intelligence, there are many kinds of nothings, nothings that encompass everything and nothings that encompass nothing. There are nothings one can develop and nothings one can encounter, nothings that surge unasked and uncalled for, and nothings that one seeks and never reaches.

    - There are nothings that emerge and nothings that disintegrate, there are nothings that fulfill and nothings that empty, but there are no nothings that are bad for you.

    - There are nothings that one collects like stamps and there are nothings that one forgets like lost loves. But there are no nothings that do not give pleasure.

    - There are nothings that one can add to and there are nothings one cannot add to, there are nothings that aggregate and become more nothing and there are nothings that diminish, becoming less nothing, nothing is more difficult than these kinds of nothings, to distinguish between them is to know nothing.

    - There are nothings that are accurate and clear and nothings that are sparse and fuzzy, but there are no nothings that are banal.

    - There are many kinds of nothings, nothings that repeat casually and nothings that come only once in a lifetime, and then there are nothings that belong to the legends of beyond, nothings that are forever heard of only beyond the great nothing.

    - There are nothings that are set and nothings that are motion, nothings that cannot be identified and nothings that are immediately recognizable, there are however no nothings that can be controlled.

    - But there are nothings that one can befriend.

    - There are nothings that can be molded to one’s pleasure and there are nothings about which nothing can be done. There are nothings about which one needs to be creative, and there are nothings that are simply perfect in their own nothingness.

    - There are nothings that are ascetically inclined and there are nothings that are so concupiscent that nothing can withstand their attraction, but there are no neutral nothings, for though these kinds of nothings may have no meaning these nothings always imply upon somethings.

    - There are nothings that can be shared and nothings that are ultimately private, there are nothings that are connected to other nothings and nothings that stand alone, glorifying in their ivory splendor.

    - There are ontological nothings and reified nothings but there are no conceptual nothings, for though these kinds of nothings have always a conceptual metaphorical existence they do not exist.

    - There are nothings that are essential and nothings that are ephemeral, there are however no useless nothings.

    - Some nothings make you tremble, other nothings make you silent, there are even nothings that will stimulate you, there are also nothings that allow you to sympathize with the somethings.

    - There are nothings that inspire and nothings that motivate, but there are no nothings that cannot stir your experience of nothing.

    - There are nothings that move you and nothings that can stop you, there are no nothings though that are inconsequential.

    - There are nothings that can sustain you and there are nothings that can deplete you , there are however, no nothings that are replaceable by somethings.

    - Some nothings are somethings and some things are nothings, also some nothings are nothings, distinguishing between these kinds of nothings is not obvious.

    - Some nothings will make you aware of something and some nothings will obliterate your awareness.

    - There are some nothings that are really strange and some nothings that are not really strange, the nothings that are really strange are really strange because they are always almost nothings and the nothings that are not really strange are not really strange because they give the appearance of being almost nothings when in fact they are really simple nothings.

    - About some nothings you have to say “ it depends” about other kinds of nothings you have to ask “ don’t you see?” there are also other kinds of nothings about which verbal uttering is by necessity rendered only in prose.

    - About certain kinds of nothings one can think, about other kinds of nothings thinking makes them somethings, still there are kinds of nothings that allow only limping in helplessness, but that is only because you have somethings that you took along for the ride.

    - Some nothings will turn you into an observer of somethings and some nothings will turn you into an observer of other nothings, still, the important nothings will do nothing, they will not turn you, you will be the turn.

    - Of course I said nothing, I wrote nothing, I thought nothing, these are the nothings that count, really, nothings that say somethings belong to a category all of their own , they are called the ‘saying nothing’ nothings.

    - Consider also that some nothings are iterative while other nothings are continuous, also there are nothings that are discreet and nothings that are flowing.

    - Furthermore, please take into account that some nothings are doors and some nothings are open, therefore one needs at least those two kinds of nothings to maintain a state of nothing as an open door.

    - Some nothings have always been there, some nothings have just arrived, but they have nothing in common with each other, they don’t care which came before and which has just become, as long as they carry on their backs the load of somethings, all is well.

    - Some nothings one can bump into, we sometimes call these nothings, somethings, some nothings one cannot bump into, we call these nothings, sometimes, nothings.

    - Some nothings are easily accessible, other nothings are quasi impossible to access, but we reach for them nevertheless, it’s the quasi-thingness of the impossibility that makes these kind of nothings so attractive. Through them we extend to infinity, we expand.

    - Some nothings are like elephants, really big elephants, some nothings are like bacteria, really small bacteria. There are of course also nothings bigger than the universe, it is whispered that some nothings are even bigger than that.



    - Some nothings feel warm, some nothings feel cool, there are however no nothings that feel like nothing.

    - Some nothings join some somethings, other nothings get as far as they can from somethings, also some nothings are part of somethings, but the most exotic nothings distance themselves from all other nothings. Of course these are the most difficult nothings and the most desirable, everybody wants those nothings, because they eliminate all Why’s.

    - There are nothings that are really funny

    - Like human bodies, nothings are multi-gendered containers and fluctuate accordingly. It will therefore be a truism that though nothings have no gender they can as a principle be applied to and as a multiplicity of genders.

    - Some nothings have a sense of immediacy, other nothings have a sense of eternality, there are however no nothings that define time.

    - Also time, or more precisely, times, are nothings, sort of.

    - Some nothings can be used as engines of motivation, other nothings might stop such engines, there are other nothings though, nothings that generate currents of experience. There are many kinds of such currents of experience, some of these are inherently profound, others are sometimes critical, still other currents of experience are called ‘joiners’ these nothings, currents of experience, join together to generate that which is called ‘the flow’.

    - Some nothings are like spring, heralding a new beginning, still other nothings are scorching hot like the summer, there are also some nothings that are wintery, clear cut cold, there are no nothings to our knowledge that are like autumn.

    - Some nothings are like dead euphemisms, other nothings are like living breathing metaphors, still other kinds of nothings become mythopoetic creatures.

    - Some nothings are puns upon existence.

    - Some nothings are made to be listened to, other nothings say nothing.

    - Some nothings may appear trite, some nothings may appear stale, do not fall into this trap, all nothings are novel and unsullied.

    - Some nothings can be made to behave, other nothings are wild and cannot be tamed.

    - Some nothings age well, other nothings are best consumed young or better yet, just born. Nothings however, never grow decayed.

    - Not all nothings are taboo, in fact taboos are nothings, in a way.

    - Some nothings have cracks in them, through these cracks one can see nothing.

    - Some nothings have spaces in them, in these spaces there is nothing, also outside these spaces there is nothing.

    - Like minds that are beautiful in many different ways so are the nothings, beautiful in many different ways.

    - Like good books one can never have enough of nothings.

    - Everythings are somethings made of nothings, there are many kinds of everythings made of many kinds of somethings ,made of many kinds of nothings, there is nothing above or below nothings, but other kinds of nothings.

    - Therefore there is nothing to see here, nothing to behold here, nothing to be here, maybe there is but definitely not here.

    - There are nothings that allow relationships not previously possible, there are other nothings that allow previously available relationships to end, there are also kinds of nothings that could not care this way or that way, also there are nothings that are museums of abandoned nothings.

    - There are nothings that cannot be approached with a straight face.

    - There are nothings that can contain you and there are nothings that cannot be contained.

    - Did I mention that nothings like universes are many? many universes make up the multiverse but many nothings, though many, do not the multi-nothings make.

    - There are nothings that are like emotions, some nothings are also like feelings, there are other nothings that are a tidbit more interesting, these nothings have nothing to do with feelings or emotions.

    - Some nothings are situational and some nothings are concomitant, there are, I am happy to state, also some nothings that are true events.

    - True events are a very special kind of nothings, these nothings contain seeds of transformational knowledge.

    - Also transformational knowledge come in many shapes and guises, some kinds of knowledge are similar in nature to some nothings, some are very different.

    - Some Nothings like some knowledge demand pre-knowledge, so even though there are no pre-nothings, there are kinds of pre-knowledge that allow certain nothings.

    - Some nothings may make you happy, other nothings may make you joyful, some nothings may make you nothing.

    - About nothings that cannot be described there is nothing to say.

    - Most nothings can be described, however not all descriptions are somethings, sometimes describing a nothing makes it into something, that is sometimes the case when not having enough nothings.

    - There are never enough nothings, though some nothings are enough.

    - Many nothings do not somethings make.

    - Nothings cannot be copied, but nothings can be emulated in other nothings, that however is true only for a certain class of nothings.

    - The class of nothings that can be emulated in other nothings is called intelligent nothings.

    - The class of nothings called intelligent nothings is very important, for nothing in particular though.

    - Whilst it is comparatively easy to come up with a new something, it is not easy to come up with a new nothing.

    - Some nothings are easier than other nothings. These are the nothings that make you realize how tiny your problems really are, there are other nothings, more difficult to come by, these nothings make you realize how tiny you are, the most demanding nothings make you, you.

    - Some nothings are high abstractions, some nothings are very, very material.

    - Some nothings have a center, other nothings have no edge, there are also nothings that are so centerless and edgeless that no realization can occur, these kinds of nothings have however a different kind of benefit, these nothings allow a smooth transition phase. These kinds of nothings make dealings with other nothings easy.

    - There are nothings that are transactional, and there are nothings that cannot be grasped, there are also other kinds of nothings, nothings that allow me to measure success.

    - Nothings do not do. Some nothings however have a tendency to instill desire, not always though, some other nothings have a tendency to instill awe, mostly.

    - Nothings that instill desire are very different than nothings that instill longing. There are in fact many kinds of nothings, wherefore there are many kinds of longing, nothings that inspire longing are also called longing for nothings.

    - There are nothings that are just perfect in their nothingness, other nothings are not perfect in their nothingness, these kinds of nothings need a little adjustment in the form of meaninglessness.

    - There are many kinds of nothings, some nothings are fictional truths, other nothings are fictional realities, there are also more complicated kinds of nothings , nothings that imply that there is no difference between fictional truths and fictional realities since both of them are categories of nothings, these sort of nothings imply nothing.

    - No one knows how many kinds of nothings there are, also there are many kinds of knowing and also many kinds of one, yes, and many kinds of no, and many kinds of things, obviously there are many kinds of nothings, also many kinds of kinds.

    - There are many kinds of nothings, there are also many kinds of gods, unlike gods however nothings do not require worship, or belief for that matter, nothings in fact require nothing.

    - Nothings belong to the illustrious family of the void, father void and mother emptiness gave birth to many, many, many nothings.

    - Unlike purposes and meanings, though there are many kinds of them, nothings do not have a meta, nor meaning, nor purpose, nothings however have functions.

    - There are indeed many kinds of nothings just as there are many kinds of will, but just as no will is free so not even one nothing is free to be nothing alone, every nothing has many, many siblings.

    - With some nothings you can really fly.

    - With some nothings you can really laugh.


    Contrary to what many distinct and highly distinguished minds still indulge in, the nothings are not to be shunned or disapproved of. Nothings are essential ingredients, elementals of the human condition. Nothings are central to the thesis of the human, inexorable and unrelenting, unavoidable and ultimately immanent. Nothings sit at the core of human experience, dynamically interacting with everything that makes sense, bringing a much needed respite from the innumerable somethings that do not.
    Nothings serve the universe, the multiverse and all that matter.
    Nothings need be pursued not as aims or goals but more like the cool shadow of a lonely tree in the scorching heat of the desert.
    There is no ‘over and above’ to nothings, they are not an end, they are nothing/s.


    - Ends are nothing
    - Therefore, move along! Nothing is ending here





    Afterword

    Albert Camus, a non-existentialist if there ever was one, thought of the great nothing in a fashion that is truly remarkable and in a sense not only awe inspiring but sorely lacking at present.
    In Return to Tipasa (1952) Camus states the famous quote: “In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
    Camus, relinquishing not only all gods and all powers looks the abyss straight in the whites of the eye of nothings.
    He does so however with a determination born not of annihilation but of determination to find beauty not in the obvious meanings from above or from within. The way I read Camus is by assuming his greatness to be of historical proportions, with another cigarette and another cup of coffee, he would stare into nothings and challenge their illusory powers of disintegration.
    Instead he would claim that the meaninglessness of the universe, its very uncaring for the plight of the mind is the greatest asset a mind can have.
    I have long held as I still do and forever will that sanity is to be found only in the ultimate confrontation, assimilation and recycling of the great nothings.
    These great nothings allow us a freedom that cannot be corrupted or infiltrated by agencies other than our very sense thought of becoming and beingness.
    The nothings, great and small, have been cast aside in our modern lives as if meanings are to be found somewhere if we just look long enough, reflect deep enough or believe blindly enough.
    Not so, the very conceptualization of meaning and purpose are self defeating by the sole fact of the mind asking and finding (or not asking and not finding) or asking and not finding or finding even though no question was asked apparently. Both questions and answers when not in a liminal state are fanciful self deceptions.
    We can and we do build structures in matter and in thought, in sense and in immediacy, yet as all great sages knew their temporality heralds their insignificance.
    But why should that discourage us? There is no reason why as multiple singularities, meta complex organisms such as we are self creating ourselves to become, we cannot provide a meaning and a purpose to the universe, to life and to all that we cherish.
    Daring, courageously, even in the face of the ultimate abyss to manifest our decisive mythopoetic status.

    ...
    This essay in prose is dedicated to all my friends, without which my existence would have been nothing.

    * Part of the Forays in Philotopia.

    Image in text:"Ist das ein Elephant? (Could it be an Elephant?)"
    by Hiltrud Heinrich to the
    Formula 20x2−2x6−y5z2+x2y2z2⋅(x2+y2+z5)−11=0



    Tue, Apr 1, 2014  Permanent link
    Categories: nothings,polytopia,philotopia,mind,
    Sent to project: Polytopia
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    It has been a while and I thought it real and effectual to deflect the inner reflectivity of extreme individualism before you depart for the land of beyond where you will be alone.

    At least, at last, superficially so, seemingly so.

    For the great one of haecceity will be with you.
    For suchness reveals haecceity, but you know that.

    Being of such constitution from which great warriors are made you will need remember only that once touched by the non stopping machine, your inner core will be substantiated again and again.
    This is not a problem, do not worry, you are good, the only possible option for corruption in your case, will be hubris.
    I know you have tried every trick in the book to escape the moment, that is well, but there is no book and that was your undoing, hence your tricks failed.
    Of course you believe that now that beyondness happens you will be able to resume the happenstance of immediacy, that, fortunately, or unfortunately, will not happen.
    Flee is impossible.
    Besides, what will you do in the great beyond, apparently alone?
    Will you finally use the time away to walk the infinite bondage of the moment?
    Will you finally transgress the ultimate transgression, that of your final belief in actions of self?

    I wonder. I doubt it. I don’t think so.

    Will you lift the last prohibition, and penetrate the sacred realization of knowing that you are not there?

    How can you? How could you?

    The whole point of double lifting the veil of ignorance resides with the act of a trusted other.
    The other reinstates the pleasure of reality unbiased, the reality that there is an ‘other’ and the pleasure of you, not being you.
    For that of course a different economy of emotions is necessary, a financial self institution of sensation.
    Will your future be hastened by your meager contributions to your inner economy of limited imagination?

    I wonder. I doubt it. I don’t think so.

    As you wander you will believe again that history carries a sense of bitterness and happiness, beware of false beliefs my young friend, history carries only its grains of revolutions, and their insignificance.
    Evolution revolves and brings forth new options, that is all.
    I wonder if you bristle at my use of ‘that is all’. I doubt it. For you do not know that ‘all’ is all there is, from there our loves and from there our ecstatic uncertainties.
    It is the only rule of liberation that you will need to follow, the law of liberating yourself from that which makes you free in appearance to that which makes you free in substance.
    You will need strategic intention for this, very different than, and at times contradicting, tactical intention.
    This may be alien to your casual historical way of thinking, but try to make it stick to a future you, it may reveal to you a greatness of sense, that only retrospectively makes sense.
    Nabokov once said that the breaking of a wave cannot explain the greatness of the ocean and I urge you to take this lesson to heart, we are an ocean and our seeming breaking is only a momentary wave.

    You are, there is no doubt about this, a climber on mount improbable, our very discourse is proof of that, if proof you still need. But have you not grasped yet the enormity of your self imposed task? The improbability of it? The sheer madness of elixir creation? The almost absurd act of committing yourself to the unknown factor?
    For there is a knowledge there, a different kind of knowledge, the knowledge of transformation. It is called the linkage knowledge, for it is accessible only when we are linked, deeply, intimately, intensely, acutely, thoroughly, burningly.

    This could happen the day your discourse will cease being permeated by banality. The day your pleasure of being will be intertwined with the act of knowing, that day you will stop policing your statements and declare : I am here!, performing the act of presence.
    In this act you will intensify the valor and value of being you.
    That day you will become indispensable for the future you, and maybe for the future me, and maybe for a superior future still.
    You will be a great teacher of insinuation, for you carry within you the unreachable and unteachable quality of the great desire.
    You are and always will be a great delectation of mind my friend.

    Will you come?

    I wonder. I doubt it. But as always, suchness reveals haecceity and thus your actions in time will tell.
    These will not be frivolous nor insignificant, these will not be trivial.
    These will be myth, a mythos in action.


    And then, tomorrow’s sex might be good again.

    (To you dear friend, of Wisdom impossible)


    *Part of the Ultrashorts Project
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    “Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it.”

    George Carlin

    1. Where are we now?


    So it is the end of the year (again) and as I review the year that was, I am listening to the fantastic album David Bowie released this past March. The track I am listening to ‘Where are we now?’ From the album:” The next day” has this fascinating appeal that some of us call a nostalgic moment and I thoroughly enjoy it.
    Back before the summer I went with friends to see the David Bowie exhibition at the V&A museum in London, it was, I admit a masterpiece retrospective of an extraordinary artist, the exhibition featured Bowie’s amazing collaborations in a wide array of fields such as fashion, sound, graphics, theatre, art and film. The reason I am telling this is because 2013 was for me a year in which watching the past, at present, rekindled a future I am looking forward to.
    Bowie was absent for the last decade, in what is called a musical hiatus; obviously he needed time away from the limelight to release this masterpiece, recorded in total secrecy, but record he did and the result is a reminder that greatness takes time to unfold and is not restricted by age (Bowie is 66 this year) and the changing of times and culture.

    David Bowie represents culture at its best.
    Kudos!

    2. Of course but maybe

    When ‘the dean of counterculture comedians’ George Carlin, (RIP) passed away in 2008 some of his fans, me included, thought that this was an event that signed the end of an era and lo and behold along came Louis CK and made himself a worthy successor.
    In one of his most hilarious routines, Louis CK tackles his own mind reflection comically portraying thoughts, that are, to say the least, politically incorrect.
    The routine entitled ‘of course but maybe’ (from which the title) I find particularly interesting, over and above its comic value. Maybe it is the way the words are put together, and maybe it is because we all have to different extents unvoiced thoughts that recognize certain inevitability and yet, somehow we always have this inexplicable hope that, maybe, just maybe, not everything is going down the drain.
    In this spirit I write these words at the end of 2013, as a positive radical view that though the state of affairs of the world is not amazing certain undeniable realities emerge that gives me hope that together we can still do it. ‘It’, being the betterment of the world and our civilization into a future that we can all be proud of and maybe, just maybe, really like.

    So taking a hint from Louis CK my take this past year is:

    Of course.. (Insert negative whatever)
    But maybe.. (Insert positive possible)


    3. Of course ‘Selfie’ reeks of cheap narcissism but maybe..

    The first known selfie, taken by Robert Cornelius in 1839


    “The Oxford Dictionaries' word of the year, 'selfie' seems to be all about me, me, me. But its social nature reveals a desperate search for an us.” (Guardian- Nov 2013)

    Of course the Selfie meme in action is nothing new (witness the selfie of 1839), but what maybe the most important feature the critics of selfies forget is the utter lack of seriousness, these self-portraits represent in 2013. Of course obsessive self-reflectivity a la narcissus is as old as the Greeks, however unlike in the Greeks myths fatal ending, I do not believe selfies represent a fixation with oneself, superficially maybe, but not really. For my part I understand selfies to be a certain sort of contour relaxation, a softening of self-seriousness, an allowance if you like for the mind of the selfie person to portray himself or herself in a (mostly) funny fashion to the world.
    The semantics of selfies (if such are allowed) are to be found in hyperconnectivity and the undercurrent of self-representation allowed by the ever-increasing pervasiveness of social networks.

    These are some captions from some random selfies I found here :

    “Girls I know: *post selfie* *get hundred plus likes on facebook*
    me: *post selfie* *gets 0 likes and people comment saying "nice halloween costume"* “

    *breaks into an art museum and staples my selfies on all the artwork*

    Lighting is just the flash on gods camera when he's taking selfies.

    Self-irony and lessening of severity at its best, when even Barack Obama and David Cameron pose for selfie with Danish PM, the world, maybe, just maybe, might be a bit less rigid.



    Of course in the age of transparency not everyone takes Selfies seriously, this picture taken by the daughter of some friends (and published here with her explicit permission) came with her mordant though NSFW hilarious response to my question what is the difference between someone taking your pic and you taking your own pic as a selfie? She laughed and I quote” well, think about it like masturbation, in the first case it’s a hand job you give someone, in the second case it is you and you alone, the truth of selfies is in the self pleasure.. ☺, it’s a private thing that you make public.”
    Yes that’s the response of the ‘me’ generation.
    Make of it what you will.

    To my mind, selfies represent the current version of the ‘me’ generation, always in the process of becoming. Though I do not indulge in selfies I think the practice one of the most interesting artifacts of our current culture.

    4. Of course our home planet is unique (habitable) but maybe..

    One in every five sunlike stars is orbited by a potentially habitable planet



    Roughly one in every five sunlike stars is orbited by a potentially habitable, Earth-size planet, meaning that the universe has abundant real estate that could be congenial to life, according to an analysis of observations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

    More good news for us, we are after all ,the SPACE collective;
    Few days ago (December 19) the Gaia space telescope has been launched.


    Gaia is an ambitious mission to chart a three-dimensional map of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, in the process revealing the composition, formation and evolution of the Galaxy. Gaia will provide unprecedented positional and radial velocity measurements with the accuracies needed to produce a stereoscopic and kinematic census of about one billion stars in our Galaxy and throughout the Local Group. This amounts to about 1 per cent of the Galactic stellar population.

    The Gaia Mission page at ESA

    More importantly perhaps the door to space colonization might finally be here, with advanced 3D printing in space.
    The Future Is Here: How 3D Printing Is Opening The Door To Space Colonization (Forbes 10/21/2013)


    5. Of course Artificial intelligence is very very far (if possible) but maybe..



    A new interdisciplinary research center at MIT, funded by the National Science Foundation, aims at nothing less than unraveling the mystery of intelligence.

    According to MIT: “The center’s four main research themes are also intrinsically interdisciplinary. They are the integration of intelligence, including vision, language and motor skills; circuits for intelligence, which will span research in neurobiology and electrical engineering; the development of intelligence in children; and social intelligence.”

    6. Of course mind reading is impossible but maybe..


    By scanning blobs of brain activity, scientists may be able to decode people's thoughts, their dreams and even their intentions.

    According to Nature: “These recordings are fed into a 'pattern classifier', a computer algorithm that learns the patterns associated with each picture or concept. Once the program has seen enough samples, it can start to deduce what the person is looking at or thinking about. This goes beyond mapping blobs in the brain. Further attention to these patterns can take researchers from asking simple 'where in the brain' questions to testing hypotheses about the nature of psychological processes — asking questions about the strength and distribution of memories, for example, that have been wrangled over for years. Russell Poldrack, an fMRI specialist at the University of Texas at Austin, says that decoding allows researchers to test existing theories from psychology that predict how people's brains perform tasks. “There are lots of ways that go beyond blobology,” he says.

    7. Of course 3D printing is always around the corner but maybe..

    3D printing human organs: the Bionic Ear



    To construct the ear, Princeton University researchers print the polymer gel onto an approximate ear shape and implement calf cells onto the matrix. The sliver nanoparticles fuse together to create an antenna which picks up radio signals before being transferred to the cochlea, which translates the sound into brain signals. (TNW)

    Despite all of this, researchers have yet to draw up plans to attach the ear to the human head.

    Lab grown organs has been all the rage this past year but the most fascinating news to come out of the science labs comes from Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden where the first steps to laboratory made grey matter are being put into place.

    Grow a new brain: First steps to lab-made grey matter (New Scientist-11 December 2013)


    8. Of course the Matrix is only a movie and Holograms are neat tricks but maybe..


    According to a release by Scientific American: “A team of physicists has provided some of the clearest evidence yet that our universe could be just one big projection.

    So maybe

    The Universe Really Is a Hologram, According to New Simulations.

    The debate over whether the universe is a hologram or maybe even a simulation carries a long tail, but this year according to Nature:” Yoshifumi Hyakutake of Ibaraki University in Japan and his colleagues now provide, if not an actual proof, at least compelling evidence that Maldacena’s conjecture is true.” (go read either at SCIAM or Nature)


    9. Of course aging is a one way street but maybe..

    According to Harvard Medical School, research have shown that some aspects of aging can be reversed.
    Youth-drug can 'reverse' ageing in animal studies (BBC Dec 20)



    Reversing Aging: Not as Crazy as You Think (Time Dec 19)

    The study was published in the Journal Cell

    Of course presently it is in mice, but maybe.. soon..

    *For an extensive curation of all things Science, technology, Art and Philosophy please check (follow or subscribe) my Momentary Flow blog.

    10. An extremely personal narrative theory in action

    To a very large extent I am a narrative theorist, which basically implies that over and above the fact that I am a storyteller, I also thoroughly enjoy the analysis of a good story.
    How much more so when the story, happens to involve humans that inspire me, and let it be said here and now, that from all possible options of recognizable objects of inspiration (and there are many that are non-recognizable) humans stand tall.

    And yes I do make a very clear anthropo-centered distinction; I love humans more than other recognizable objects of inspiration, such as artistic expressions or natural phenomena.
    Indeed when I walk in the desert as I recently did, the desert inspired me; I love the desert, its cleanliness, its emptiness, its vastness, its solitude-ness inducing characteristics and the silence it tempts me with.

    And yet if I were alone in the desert as I was in many occasions in the past, the above would have held an undeniable truth. But in the case I am recounting here and now, I was not alone, I was in company, quite a large and mostly unknown to me company, for in a sense even if I knew the humans by name, I did not know what they were made of.

    I’ll get to that eventually.

    For now I wish to tell something about the fashion I understand narrative theory and why I deem it so important. Simply put narrative theory starts with the assumption that the main strategy of sense making is narration, our own internal narration, the cohering of our experiences of time, change and processes into an arrangement that makes-sense. There is a reason why the cohering of experience into a greater whole, allowing for an extensive interpretation of events cannot be reduced to a formulation and-or be subjected to an outside scrutiny based on fixed methodology. The reason is called entanglement and presupposes that minds, human minds currently, might become so intertwined under certain circumstances that to give a coherent account of what was important and interesting in a particular event is of such high complexity that short of a full transposition of experience no account can do it justice.

    For entanglement complexifies.

    For those that are well acquainted with their cybernetics formulations, the law of requisite variety might be useful to recall.
    According to F. Heylighen, & C. Joslyn, the law of requisite variety means that:

    “The larger the variety of actions available to a control system, the larger the variety of perturbations it is able to compensate.”
    (See Principia Cybernetica).

    But if we wish to understand this in more mundane terms Ross Dawson has given a slightly more accommodating variation on the theme:

    “The only way you can control your destiny is to be more flexible than your environment”
    (see RossDawsonblog).

    I do love his description and yet even that is not sufficient for the narrative I have in mind.

    What I have in mind involves primarily fiercely independent systems, minds, which do not need the ensemble in which they purposefully deliberate and interact with. Minds that are under certain circumstances so deeply entangled that an increase in variety emerges spontaneously but more importantly an immense amount of flexibility enters the equation.
    Flexibility in this sense softens the contours of perception and allow for a self-description that is other than self.
    That is where the quote by George Carlin at the beginning of this essay comes in, “Just when I discovered the meaning of life, they changed it”, this quote to my understanding stands as the ultimate irony when confronted with changing circumstances (I understand the ‘they’ in this statement as meaning the environment- natural, cultural, memetic or otherwise). The idea that one can and one should be more flexible than his or her environment is not new, adaptation after all means exactly that, but the manner I propose to understand that flexibility might be new here.
    The point is that via entanglement the complexity of the individual is being amplified in such a fashion as to provide an array of options that were not previously available on an individual scale. In other words a system (mind) that has a larger variety of actions available (increase in freedoms) has ipso facto a larger ability to compensate for the changes (perturbations) in its environment.

    The new narrative that we may need embrace therefore involves the inherent entanglement of humans as a race and as a civilization.

    In 2014 I plan to explore more in depth the concept of entanglement and its inherent criticality for the Polytopia Project .

    Of course.. but Maybe…


    Best projects of 2013:

    1. The Everyday Sexism Project suggested by Marcus Barber (@rightfuture)

    The Everyday Sexism Project exists to catalog instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis. They might be serious or minor, outrageously offensive or so niggling and normalized that you don’t even feel able to protest. Say as much or as little as you like, use your real name or a pseudonym – it’s up to you. By sharing your story you’re showing the world that sexism does exist, it is faced by women everyday and it is a valid problem to discuss.

    2. The Social Good Summit

    The Social Good Summit is a three-day conference where big ideas meet new media to create innovative solutions. Held during UN Week from September 22-24, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders to discuss a big idea: the power of innovative thinking and
    technology to solve our greatest challenges. The most innovative technologists, influential minds and passionate activists will come together with one shared goal: to unlock the potential of new media and technology to make the world a better place, and then to translate that potential into action.

    3. The World Well-Being Project (WWBP)

    The World Well-Being Project (WWBP) is pioneering techniques for measuring psychological and medical well-being based on language in social media.
    As a collaboration between computer scientists, psychologists, and statisticians, we are shedding new light on the psychosocial processes that affect health and happiness and exploring the potential for our unobtrusive well-being measures to supplement — and in part replace — expensive survey methods.
    Ultimately, we hope that our insights and analyses will help individuals, organizations, and governments choose actions and policies that are not just in the best economic interest of the people or companies, but which truly improve their well-being.


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    "One of the definitions of sanity is the ability to tell real from unreal. Soon we'll need a new definition."


    Alvin Toffler

    The reality of our technophile civilization is presently, I believe, beyond dispute, even the most ardent Luddite will find it hard to deny the almost invisible casualness with which she uses a smart phone.
    But even this all-pervading ‘smartphonism’ is only a hint or perhaps an insinuation of what the cyborgization process is leading us, as a species, as a culture and as a civilization, into.

    The two main concepts which seem to provide some kind of indication as to where we are headed are Situational Awareness (SA)1 and the Adjacent Possible (AP)2.
    For those not yet fully familiar with situational awareness, it may be wise and maybe necessary to revise their understanding and implication of the evolution of this prevalent field of inquiry into human behavior, especially as pertains to decision making in rapidly evolving info flows.

    Situational awareness, as defined by Endsley is : "the perception of elements in the environment within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future," is probably the most salient at present if for nothing else that it represents the conceptualization of a person’s ‘feeling’ of one’s infocology, the absorption of said information and the correlated response.
    SA as it is known, is however much more important than first appearances might suggest, the reason for that is simple enough; given that most of the information we receive from our surroundings enters our brains via our senses, the recent advances and soon to come to a retail store near you sense extensions may paradigmatically revolutionize that which we deem ‘ sense perception’ and by extension change dramatically that which we call ‘comprehension’.

    When the prime paradigm of the future is ‘everything is programmable’ sooner than later a combination of augmented reality technologies, coupled with programmable genetics and synthetic biology will permit our bodies to extend their senses into domains previously inaccessible.

    "We see with our brains, not with our eyes. When a blind man uses a cane he sweeps it back and forth, and has only one point, the tip, feeding him information through the skin receptors in the hand. Yet this sweeping allows him to sort out where the doorjamb is, or the chair, or distinguish a foot when he hits it, because it will give a little. Then he uses this information to guide himself to the chair to sit down. Though his hand sensors are where he gets the information and where the cane "interfaces" with him, what he perceives is not the cane's pressure on his hand but the layout of the room: chairs, walls, feet, the three-dimensional space. The receptor surface in the hand becomes merely a relay for information, a data port. "


    Prof. Paul Bach-y-Rita(3)

    (image of Electronic Sensors Printed Directly on the Skin- MIT)

    Though the model of SA was originally developed in the aviation industry and its military applications, it is my view that a sizeable amount of the model can and should be applied when dealing with the hyperconnected mind of the present day human, since the same kind of parameters apply even if the field of application is totally different, namely the infocology of the hyperconnected world we live in.
    Moreover with the advent of the Internet of things (IOT) and the ensuing complexity, the kind of conceptualizing that until recently was sufficient for a ‘sense-making’ of the state of affairs of the world is no longer satisfactory.

    “In our houses, cars, and factories, we’re surrounded by tiny, intelligent devices that capture data about how we live and what we do. Now they are beginning to talk to one another. Soon we’ll be able to choreograph them to respond to our needs, solve our problems, even save our lives.”

    (wired)

    Robotics, Cyborgs, Augmented Reality, Synthetic Biology, Artificial Intelligence, and human enhancement technologies are only some of the fields, which are changing the ‘situation’ to which we need construct a new model of reality.
    The world to which we were accustomed and through which we ‘made sense’ and constructed awareness to is no longer.
    We may not realize the immediate implications of these technologies, but make no mistake, as soon as sense extensions become a widespread phenomena (and we believe that is soon) our Situational awareness will change accordingly and the theory of mind we each construct and carry will be altered irrevocably.

    (CNN) — We're in the midst of a bionic revolution, yet most of us don't know it.


    Sense extension, sense enhancement

    Seeing through your skin

    Take for example the ability of plants to orient themselves to light, according to Prof. Leonid Yaroslavsky of Tel-Aviv University:
    "Some people have claimed that they possess the ability to see with their skin," says Prof. Yaroslavsky. Though biologists usually dismiss the possibility, there is probably a reasonable scientific explanation for "skin vision." Once understood, he believes, skin vision could lead to new therapies for helping the blind regain sight and even read.
    Skin vision is not uncommon in nature. Plants orient themselves to light, and some animals — such as pit vipers, who use infrared vision, and reptiles, who possess skin sensors — can "see" without the use of eyes. Skin vision in humans is likely a natural atavistic ability involving light-sensitive cells in our skin connected to neuro-machinery in the body and in the brain, explains Prof. Yaroslavsky.” (Reuters)

    The mind’s computational economy is continuously bombarded by the impression of the senses, from which it extracts the information necessary to compute action, behavior and decision-making. However with the advent of enriched sensorial technologies the amount of information coming from our environments changes both in quantity and quality.
    This particular aspect is maybe the most important when describing the evolution of the mind, its computational economy and the resulting behavior.
    The complexity of the system composed of human senses, technologies of sense extension, and the world, increases exponentially and changes the ‘state of affairs’ of ‘sense making’ and our situational awareness.
    To continue the example from above if we start seeing with our skin, the amount and quality of information entering our internal informational economy will create a dramatic shift not only in perception but also in our basic worldviews.
    Furthermore, a recent article in Science presents the very detailing advances in the fields of Optogenetics and Optoelectronics, the combination of which in Injectable form into human organisms promises great advances in biomedical technologies.



    In neuroscience generally, and in optogenetics in particular, the ability to insert light sources, detectors, sensors, and other components into precise locations of the deep brain yields versatile and important capabilities. Here, we introduce an injectable class of cellular-scale optoelectronics that offers such features, with examples of unmatched operational modes in optogenetics, including completely wireless and programmed complex behavioral control over freely moving animals. The ability of these ultrathin, mechanically compliant, biocompatible devices to afford minimally invasive operation in the soft tissues of the mammalian brain foreshadow applications in other organ systems, with potential for broad utility in biomedical science and engineering.
    ScienceMag (5)

    Technological telepathy is not science fiction but science fact. Recent advances in electronically connecting rat brains, via brain machine interfaces, shows that the connectivity between brains could smooth the progress of treatment and transfigure computation.(6)

    "It's using the technology to provide something extra. It's enhancing. It's upgrading."

    Kevin Warwick- Engineering extra senses at Nova

    There are as of now an increasing number of projects that promise to perform enhancements on our bodies that until not long ago would have appeared to be completely beyond our reach and yet, here they are. Integrating circuitry in our flesh is a revolution of the senses; bionically enhancing our bodies is a disruptive and radical transformation of our fields of perception, these in turns will transform our situational awareness and create ipso facto a different kind of human, the cybernetically enhanced human.

    The CyberHuman will be able to receive information from his surroundings to an extent and quality we will find hard to accommodate. Jarringly up-to-the-minute situational awareness will require a certain novel fashion of ‘conceptualization’ through which the assimilation of innovative insights born of extended senses can become practical and useful.
    The possible and potential applications of these technologies are immensely promising, whether on a personal level, the community level or indeed as a stepping stone towards a hyperconnected humanity, and a possible global brain, composed of humans and machines.

    The point however of all this, is that it is changing us in unpredictable ways.

    It is my view that the cybernetically enhanced human is potentially a better kind of human, stronger, healthier, more intelligent and more aware. The factuality of our lives is that we exist as highly intense linked and joint hyperconnected interactions that fuse our bodies and situation in a composite mesh of mutual influence, giving rise to an extended situational awareness in hyperconnectivity.
    Infocologies backed up by extended senses will provide a novel fashion of perception of the world and a new description to the old fashion of being in the world, with the world as the world.

    Cyber Jouissance

    Leave it to the French to have a word, no, strike that, a kind of word, that permits a description, so wide and so far reaching, that you wish to have it ready in your linguistic arsenal.
    Especially when writing about the future. Particularly when the subject matter is human enhancement and brain machine interfaces, more intensely yet, when the sub-subject of this article is pleasure and friendship in hyperconnectivity, creating advanced infocologies where thriving, both personal and societal is assured. (Which is a paradigmatic subtext of the Polytopia Project.)

    A few days ago I had the pleasure of spending most of the day with two exceptional humans, which intelligence, acute insights and wide spread knowledge of the state of affairs of hyperconnectivity and the current state of our technological enhanced culture was astonishing.
    Given that both of them are architects, a subject that to my embarrassment I know very little about, the structure of our interactions was very fluid and, dare I say it? Like a de-pixelization and re-pixelization of the great future that awaits us all.
    I could say that what we did was implicative, I could write that a cross fertilization took place; I could also say that in a mysterious fashion, hyperconnectivity brings together minds of the same inclination.
    I am certain that Carl Jung would have had a field day was he to catalogue the many instances of a shared synchronicity, of a co-evolving vision, that swiftly transformed into a seed, a potentiality for a future project.
    As you obviously can read in these lines, I took great joy from this encounter, not least because of the confidence it re-instilled in my view of a positive and exciting future for humanity.

    Our main subject was the future of humanity, the technological implications and most importantly perhaps, the realization that the adjacent possible is indeed within our grasp.
    The adjacent possible most interesting aspect we dealt with was the future of education using embedded prosthetics of cognitive enhancement.
    More importantly perhaps we decided to initiate a project of research and vision clarification concerning sense enhancement and their potential implications on human affairs.

    We will soon be starting a new blog in which we will strive to comprehend and structure a more comprehensive approach and didactically inclined presentation, since education is key.

    In the next installment of this new project I will aim to provide the roadmap Andrea who is a computational designer and a Knowmad, Alessio who is a Biodigital architecture researcher and myself are in the process of designing.

    Stay tuned.

    "Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today." Malcolm X



    Notes and biblio:
    1. Situational awareness (wiki)
    1.1 For an extended read of multiple definitions of SA see: Beringer, D. B., and Hancock, P. A. (1989). Exploring situational awareness: A review and the effects of stress on rectilinear normalisation. In Proceedings of the Fifth International Symposium on Aviation Psychology(Volume 2, pp. 646-651). Columbus: Ohio State University. (Pdf)
    2. The Adjacent possible: Stuart Kaufman
    3. Extracted from 'The Brain That Changes Itself', by Norman Doidge (Penguin)- Via the Telegraph- via Good)
    4.Image via : Controlling the brain, with lasers!
    5. Injectable, Cellular-Scale Optoelectronics with Applications for Wireless Optogenetics
    6. Pais-Vieira, M., et al. (2013). A Brain-to-Brain Interface for Real-Time Sharing of Sensorimotor Information. Scientific Reports, DOI: 10.1038/srep01319

    Further reading:
    Brain-Computer Interface Technologies in the Coming Decades (PDF)
    Intel Capital Fund to Accelerate Human-Like Senses on Computing Devices
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    (Of Dragon Slayers and Maidens of necessity pt.2)

    As I was saying then, they inadvertently piqued the curiosity of this most weird and wonderful of ephemeral beings, namely, Nallab the mad dog.
    Well, sort of inadvertently, for they were on the way down and he on the way up, and as chance encounters predictably happen on those less traveled roads, the encounter was in a sense, inevitable.

    I could tell you a lot about Nallab the Mad Dog, and at some future time I may indeed do so, I am after all a storyteller and by that very fact have the privilege of liking the characters in my stories. Some, as you have already figured, I am certain, I like better than others, Nallab the irreverent one, is just such a character.
    I will tell you about him only this for now, that his main feature can be summed up in his ‘erotic salacious irony’, that’s it, nothing more (well, maybe only that he was indeed a mad dog, a term we, the storytellers, do not employ lightly and also maybe I’ll just reveal to you right now that his relationship with dragon slayers is quite mysterious indeed.. but enough about him).

    And so our story unfolds..

    The Dragon Slayer and his maiden of necessity, and that is not a mistake, for once the pact of apprenticeship has been concluded, it lasts forever and a bit more, were leisurely strolling down the mountain. Up from his sacred nap under the mechanics of passion, near the fountain of poetic non-attainability, Nallab the mad dog, naked as all mad dogs are, was slowly climbing back to his cave.

    That is when they stumble upon each other.

    Nallab laughs, hugs the Dragon Slayer, disregards completely the maiden of necessity, practically ignores her, and utters in a voice that is only seldom heard:

    “ So many rules to total independence, ahh!!”

    The Dragon Slayer happily acknowledges, and bowing deeply to the mad dog, utters:

    ” Indeed so, my old friend, indeed so!”

    His piercing gaze, accompanied by a perpetual half smile, bores deeply into the Dragon Slayer.

    “ You know..” says Nallab the mad dog, smiling enigmatically “ I am always a tad tired when I confer myself to erotic abandon, but then one must allow for the mystery of passion to rejuvenate, one must indeed!”

    “Don’t start” says the dragon slayer, smiling.

    “Start what?” Asks Nallab innocently and laughs “ Ok, ok.. Just having some morning fun, is all.. I’ll be on my way then, we shall meet again I am certain“

    And just like that Nallab the mad dog walks away, swiftly disappearing up the winding trail, towards his cave.



    That is when our story becomes real interesting, for you see; it is well known, at least in these mountains of beyondness, that Nallab the mad dog never utters anything by blunder or oversight, there is always an intended meaning, layers upon layers of meanings actually, and those significances is what makes those chance encounters so, well, significant.

    Our very dear Dragon Slayer stares ferociously at the maiden:
    “ Do you understand?” he asks.
    “No, of course not”, answers the maiden “ I was so scared, I couldn’t think”
    “ Good, good..!” mutters the Dragon Slayer and keeps on walking down the mountain, as the maiden tries to keep up with his fast pace.

    Now, you have to understand that, it is only out of pure allowance and kindness that a Dragon Slayer and a Maiden of necessity can walk together, the difference in speed is so huge, a fact born of the Dragon Slayer accomplishment as a fire capturing agent, which require skill, expertise and enormous speed, that were they not ready to allow a speed adjustment they would soon disappear into the horizon of vividness, where reality is never compromised.

    Come to think of it, maybe I did not explain this particular trait of Dragon Slayers that they develop this proficiency of swiftness when actually in the process of fire capturing, which results in the verity that their identity can never really be alleged or fastened to a particular setting. That is a necessary condition for their method of dragon slaying, for as I told you before, I think, Dragon Slayers are the fastest beings on the mountain to match the promptness of Dragons; for only by the sharp velocity of their sheer emotional capacity plasticity are they able to slay the dragons, tame them and embed them into their own desire.

    Which is really the only way to make another dragon slayer. Which brings us back to our maiden of necessity here, for the apparent conflict that she had (due to her presumed innocence) with the demands of the dragon slayer were really only a deficiency in speed of emotional capacity plasticity. A lack, that eventually, all successful maidens of necessity manage to master, but at that point in her process she did not, and thus could not really understand, what was the reasoning behind the impossible demands. (Well, not impossible obviously, but so it seemed to the maiden of necessity at that time).

    I see your look of incredulity, and let me tell you from the vantage point of a storyteller that conveyed this story many, many times; I do not blame you. I myself am sometimes amazed at the almost supernatural momentum of Dragon Slayers, but if you will understand their need for speed, you will understand this story.

    Dragon Slayers slay dragons in spaces and times that are so far removed from our everyday existence that their velocity is what actually protects them from becoming corrupted by the all consuming fire of the dragons, that same fire that they must capture. But let me tell you something about this dragon fire, that most elusive of substances, I think it will interest you, and will bring your attention to a flight above the abyss.
    Some call this fire, the sweet torture of passion, some, like our dear Nallab the mad dog, call it the erotic abandon, others call it the ultimate restriction on autonomy, others yet call it the furtive catalyst. It has been called, the great release, the logic of sense, the ultimate abundance, the independence of temptation, and also, the freedom of desire run wild, the sensuous emptiness, voluptuous intelligence, fluid wisdom, the paradox of union, the ubiquity of uniqueness, the quality of life, the great illusion, the idiosyncrasy of awareness, the essentiality of the flow and many others.

    Indeed there are many names to this fire, but what makes this particular substance so special is a very special kind of attribute. Dragon fire, or so they say, is a substance forged in the deepest abysses of nothingness, some whisper it is so void of all, that when it operates it transforms even desire into nothingness. It is a substance so particular and so exotic that one cannot hold it without instantly changing, but in spite of all these fantastic high tales of what a dragon’s fire substance is and can do, I think its most important attribute is something else all together.

    What the dragon’s fire substance truly does, above all else, is ‘reveal’; eliminating barriers of perception in the dragon slayer, which accounts for the well known fact, well, well known in the mountains of beyondness, that with each iteration of slaying, with each dragon absorbed into the dragon slayer, he grows taller, deeper, emptier, voider, but more interestingly, he grows more sensitive to the original excellence of distinction.

    What original excellence of distinction you ask?

    Well, that is a critical issue, and I’ll try my best to explain it, but it basically reflects upon the origins of desire and the illusion of intimacy, for a dragon slayer, you see, must by necessity be the owner of his own origins of desire.
    Only by becoming an original passionator can a dragon slayer capture the dragon’s fire, and only the dragon’s fire can transform a dragon slayer into a passionator.
    This apparent paradox concerns the excellence of separation, the division of intimacy and desire into two separate domains of continuation, which results from the ‘reveal’ attribute of dragon’s fire.

    For, dragon slayers, you need commit to memory, are not common beings, believing in their own oneness, quite the contrary actually.

    Dragon Slayers are the ultimate multiple pan-organism. Their strength stemming from the original excellence of distinction. And this excellence of distinction is what makes the dragon slayers so special indeed, none like them walk the recesses of the mountains of beyondness, they carry the qualities of the realm into the world of time. In fact were we to look into the index of extraordinary beings we will find them at apex of extraordinariness.
    The reason for that resides with their abilities of mutual transformation for dragon slayers not only metamorphose themselves and their maidens of necessity but also transform each other and all that which surrounds them.
    But about that in a different story in another night, when the inebriation of the body will permit all legends to be unfolded concurrently, which is the great aim of all elegant storytelling.

    Be that as it may I see your inquisitiveness has finally been awakened, well..well.. that is good indeed for our story takes quite an interesting turn of events. For you see during the encounter with Nallab, our very dear maiden of necessity realized a very deep sense thought, she realized that she was in fact living a life of privilege of the highest magnitude, so privileged was she, that the immediacy of the privilege made her forget its deeper significance, that her intimacy with the dragon slayer had one meaning and one meaning only, and that is the capturing and aggregation of the fire of dragons.
    That very fire, that very core of wisdom and intelligence that makes the whole project valuable and ultimately meaningful, and makes available the allowance for the Dragon Slayers to move in the immense scope of sensation from mild to wild, to be forever lenient but always, always feral..

    Appreciating and deeply realizing this, the conflict self-annihilated instantaneously, which it must be said, was the first step in the ladder of becoming a dragon slayer.
    Needless to say her respect grew proportionally to her intensity, but her master dragon slayer wanted more,much more indeed!
    He demanded of her to rise into new heights of transparency and uphold the standard of the great maze of clarity; that is why he decided there and then to open before her the great doors of original passion, the very entrance to the labyrinth of empty desire.

    For he was pleased, and thus raised the ante..


    .. Soon to be continued in Part 3 of the most Amazing and Fantastic tales of the Dragon Slayer and the Maiden of Necessity.

    Endnotes:
    Image in text: Psyche et L'Amour 1889 by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825–1905) (wikicommons)

    Part of the Ultrashort Project
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