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Inhaesio Zha (M, 40)
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Immortal since Aug 18, 2010
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I think we’re all coming unraveled from our blindness
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    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    Phonetic, spoken, written, programmable, poetic, and type-able with six keys.

    alphabet | programming

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    Suzanne was telling me the history of Argentine tango, a dance that “grew up” in the narrow urban clubs of Argentina, and how the reason they hold each other so close in that dance is that the dance was invented in the space between the bar and the wall of the nightclub…you had to hold your partner close to dance in that space.


    Video | Source

    I started thinking about how everything we do grows up in a certain space. Our ideas about what to do grew up in a space that only allowed us to do certain things, and many of the spaces our actions take place in were created by our ideas.

    The system pictured above is one of a set of systems I call teoc (the evolution of culture). Teoc systems are like our culture in that they support an exchange of ideas between creatures whose behavior is affected by their ideas…and whose exchange of ideas is affected by their behavior.

    Each red, green, blue, or white cell represents a creature. Black cells are empty space. Creatures don’t mate, give birth, or die; they move and they exchange ideas. Each creature has a genome, or a brain, or a memory—whatever you want to call it. The way that the creature acts (the way it moves and the way it exchanges ideas) is determined by its genome. The creature’s genome is, in turn, affected by the way the creature acts (because it is through action that the creature moves and meets other creatures).

    The red, green, blue, or white of a creature is a representation of a tiny part of that creature’s genome. It’s like your facial expression, or what brand of shoes you’re wearing: it’s one part of what the creature is. The genome for each of these creatures is somewhere from hundreds to thousands of bits long (the genome length varies across the systems shown; a “bit” is a one or a zero). The part of the genome that determines the creature’s color is twenty-four bits long. So, showing the creature by displaying the creature as one of four colors is like showing the tip of the iceberg of what the creature really is.

    The genome of each creature starts out random, but as the creatures move, meet, and exchange information, certain ideas and ways of acting become prevalent. Sometimes one idea conquers all others. Sometimes two ideas need each other in a symbiotic defense against the onslaught of a third. Sometimes two or more cultural ideas, or ways of being, stably exist together for a long time. In the examples shown, there is no mutation and random numbers are not used at any point after the start of the system run—these systems, though complex, are completely deterministic.

    Unlike the situation with Argentine tango, in these systems there is no difference between a creature and a wall. Creatures do form walls for each other because they take up space, but in these systems it’s as if the walls have ideas too, the walls are dancing too.

    Traits are linked in teoc systems, just as traits are linked in us, because of their proximity in the genetic code. So, in teoc, sometimes the trait for appearing red is linked to the trait for adopting a certain style of movement or using a certain method of information exchange during a meeting.

    This is my attempt to make simple systems that clearly show the evolution of culture.
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    My ability to make statements in this world is complicated by the fact that most people are, in fact, dead. Even with every respect for diversity and variety in living cultural perspectives, the human population is not really alive in the sense that we consider the most alive ideas, the most alive moments, alive. By some willingness to search, I open myself to some sight into the world we are living in. I do think that’s an unavoidable tendency; I think everyone is doing that, I think we’re all coming unraveled from our blindness at our own rate. For some people the extent of their openness is that they read science fiction…to do that indicates some readiness to experience a little bit of beauty. What is rampant in the culture is not beauty. Even the terms used in the culture are so distorted as to have become almost opposites of their deeper meaning: when we mean spend, we say “save”, the social practices of women-hating men are described as “straight”. Our organizations foster mediocrity and hatred, and invent ubiquitous terms designed to preclude the beautiful unraveling. To call a spade a spade, will be met with almost unanimous opposition. In high school I used to say I could tell how well I was doing by how many people hated me. That was correct. That was an early insight into a litmus test that I would now state: anything you do that is accepted, you can know is nothing much. The opinions you have that don’t make waves, those are the opinions that are disposable, common, those are the opinions that are supported by the world. Earlier in my life I feared more that I might oppose for the sake of opposing, that I would oppose arbitrarily. I’m not worried about that as much today. You find yourself in a system, whether it be work, family, cult, or culture, in which there is a finely-woven constantly-maintained mesh of the way things are. If you are blessed to find those in your culture encourage you, with money, status, job, “security” (which of course doesn’t exist), approval, then you are cursed to find that you are not a distinct person. If you have further ascended the unraveling path, the path of unraveling the you that is partially the mesh of culture, then you will find yourself at odds. You will. I say this without ego, I hope you can hear that. If you come from a family of drinkers, as I do, then when you stop drinking you will be at odds with that family, because the things that drinkers say work in the company of drinkers, and the things that sober people say do not. If you work in a company that has an Emperor’s New Clothes mentality about a key employee (as was the case with my last employer), you will get along fine as long as you continue to perpetuate the lie of their culture, which is that such and such an employee is god. If you agree that that employee is god, you will do well! If you state a deeper truth, if you state anything that implies a deeper truth, if you don’t shout the lie as loudly as your comrades, you will be out. If you find yourself disagreeing with what I’ve said here, it is, I promise you, it is because you are so enmeshed in a lie that to accept it would be so painful that your subconscious and the edges of your conscious mind are spinning out myriad coping mechanisms that afford you the temporary luxury of not thinking about how your thinking makes no sense. I do that too. I do it all the time. We all do. Right this minute I have a glimpse into this, I see it clearly, I understand for a moment that it doesn’t make any difference when people say otherwise. That is part of the mesh. It really is like The Matrix. It is not the case that hideous lies are present here and there :: it is almost exactly the case, if using this terminology, that hideous lies are almost the complete structure of the semantic world, of the culture. I don’t think lie/truth is the best way to differentiate those counterparts, I don’t know what the best way is, but I am certain that the tyranny of the cultural majority is the most amazing tyranny I have ever thought about. And that is all it is, is a majority. I think what most people may not see…and we have trouble seeing it because of our focus on the individual organism of our species, the importance of a person…but what we have trouble seeing is that the majority is only powerful at present. The majority feels they are right, but through time, when the majority changes, rightness does not change. There is a point of view from which you can see individual people as transient holders of ideas, and from that point of view it is easy to see that an idea being held by the majority of individual people, means nothing. The only thing the majority is, is brutish. I am in the majority on some points, and on those points I am one of the brutes. A different kind of language is appropriate when you are in the majority and when you are in the minority, on a point. Oscar Wilde comes to mind: One should always play fairly when one has the winning cards. When I work for you, when you hold the winning cards, when I’m culturally marginalized, when I’m the under-represented group, the appropriate language is the language of the fighter. When no one is listening to you, if you want to talk, you have to talk wild. When, on a particular point, you are the one guy who knows that The Matrix is not real, you have to use insidious means to proffer your discourse. When, by the definition of the culture-mesh (job, family, country, cult), your perspective is institutionally, systematically forbidden, if you speak in culturally-acceptable ways, you will not be heard. If you play by the rules of the game, as the marginalized party, you will not win. Never. Ever. That’s why the rules are in place. And the rules are things like “you have to call this employee god” or “you can’t call that racism”. If you play by those rules, all you are doing is using your individual human organism to further the cacophony of cultural memes that is already in play. That, by and large, is what everyone wants you to do. The leaders of your cult (culture, religion, job, country) definitely want this. Culturally, those people are slave owners as well as slaves. Culturally, it is impossible to be a slave owner without also being a slave. But it is possible to be neither a slave nor a slave owner, in culture. To do that, however, like Morpheus in The Matrix, you cannot avoid being perceived/labeled as dangerous by the backbone of your culture. Truly, in culture, to be neither a slave or a slave owner…to simply not participate in the cacophony of repeating the majority culture memes…is to be dangerous. It is dangerous. It is also the only position that is aligned with being an individual. Many people do that. We have many Morpheuses today. Some are very powerful. But there are many more who are completely un-Morpheus…and in truth each of us is, on various points, variously Morpheus or not…remember that, in addition to having a subjective experience which we use to underwrite our individual sovereignty, we are a substrate for ideas…just because at one time in history most people hold a certain meme, doesn’t underwrite that meme’s tenability at other times in history. If your certainty in your thoughts, if the weighting you give to your positions, is highly dependent on cultural support from your peers, then make no mistake: you are in a perilous position! That you say “the emperor has no clothes” and your family, your religion, your culture, your cult, your country disagree…means nothing. It means nothing. It is a reflection of meme distribution across human individuals at the present moment. That doesn’t make it not a tyranny…it is a tyranny precisely because of the fallacy of the majority (that the majority is right). Even if that fallacy were true, the majority would only be right right now. Ideas outlast people’s ability to hold them. That almost everyone at your job says a certain employee is god, that almost everyone in your family is upset because you have chosen to call a spade a spade, means nothing in terms of the rightness of the idea. A different majority at a different time would have a different idea of its rightness. Woe to you who are propped up by majority support…if you need that to stand, you won’t be standing long.
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