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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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    (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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    It is incumbent upon my pleasure of communication to relate to you a short story I have heard (or told, who remembers?) many years ago and which I believe will impregnate our conversation with a fresh variety of sensations.

    It is a metaphorical story (how else?) about dragon slayers and maidens of necessity but it might also be a story about spaces and processes, which is for you to decide.

    There was this master dragon slayer you see, who was called upon every now and again to come and slay a dragon, whenever such a beast and wherever such a monster was startling the population of the realms of beyondness.

    And so it came to pass..

    After years of loneliness wandering in the solitude of the great mountains, a young maiden came upon him, she was, it goes without saying, of such innocence, that she actually, truly and beyond doubt, believed it. Of course the master dragon slayer had no such illusions, he well knew how deep and how fast the corruption of desire embeds itself in the young ones.

    Especially those that still believed in their own innocence.

    Nevertheless, being of such a huge strength and capability, being empty of particularities, yet still on his way to perdition he accepted the offer of the young one to teach her the secrets of dragon slaying and in the process become his lover and purveyor of all earthly pleasures.

    Before I go on with the story, let me tell you a few things about this particular dragon slayer. He was a being unlike any other, for though there are other dragon slayers; none is or was as rowdy, as wild or as feral by nature as he was.

    As you may know, dragon slayers tend to hide their wild natures, knowing quite well, that not everything in life is about dragon slaying, yet in his case the slaying of dragons was a procedure he mainly performed upon himself. For though it is true that all dragon slayers are in fact redeemed dragons, tamed by the vision of a world of beauty beyond comprehension, it is also true that some forget at times that they are already passed the stage of acceptance and thus do not need consent to the slur of young maidens. For when a slayer of dragons is accepted unconditionally, by the people of beyondness for the people of beyondness, he is free to do as he pleases, which of course he never does.



    Bound by an oath greater than themselves, dragon slayers abide by the rules of independence, mostly. In the case of our dragon slayer here, abiding by the rules of total independence is what allowed him to accept the young maiden’s embrace in the first place, even though, and this must be said, if it was only up to him he would never have agreed to such a deal. For there is another rule in the total independence of dragon slayers, that they must make another, for only dragon slayers can make other dragon slayers out of the dragons they slay.

    Quite the demand I know, but hey, there are so few of them that if they will not create other dragon slayers, who will? Can you imagine a world of beyond without dragon slayers? I cant (or will not).

    But wait, it gets more complicated still; the rules of total independence require that a dragon slayer present his apprentice to the people of beyondness for approval, a fact that does not always coincide with the pure satisfaction and deep joy of slaying dragons.

    Our dragon slayer was a bit different in this respect for he knew only one way to transpose the very fine art of dragon slaying, and that is to make it so that only a total intimacy of sensation between dragon slayer and apprentice in full merging of intensity and desire can make it work.

    It’s not always the case indeed, however such was the case in our little story here. There are many reasons for that particular happening, only some of which relates to the dragon slayer in question, for we should not forget that the maiden had her own agenda of innocence as well. (For though it was hidden from her own beholding, her agenda was anything but innocent).

    I believe that you now start to have a glimpse into the problematic situation of our very dear dragon slayer.
    He accepted the maiden into his domain of existence knowing full well that such acceptance of merging in full intensity of craving and full intimacy of desire spells, how else? But trouble!!

    Our dragon slayer, truth be told, was a great master of slaying but as mentioned above, he was mostly performing this art upon himself and, here comes the troubling bit, for he was also sharing this very act of self slaying with the apprentice, also known as, the young maiden of necessity.
    Let it be said here, that as such legends go all maidens are by necessity, called, well, maidens of necessity, the reason for that if you are interested in this sort of exotic knowledge I will reveal to you some other time, but suffice it to say that their necessity has nothing to do with being a maiden and everything to do with the necessary condition of unimpeded motion or free flowing.

    But now that you have enough knowledge about our dragon slayer let us hasten to reveal how our story unfolds.

    Few years passed

    And in their passing, these years (as time has the tendency to do) had revealed a few interesting facts about this very rare relationship between dragon slayers and maidens of necessity.

    The most important aspect that was revealed during these years concerns capturing fire. Now, as you may well know, the art of capturing dragons fire is anything but simple, in fact, as legends will have it, capturing the dragon’s fire is even more challenging than actual dragon slaying. Maybe, some say, capturing dragon’s fire, should be the real test of a dragon slayer, and maybe, others say, the only serious measure of a true dragon slayer is how well he keeps the dragon fire he captured. This is an interesting discussion indeed but not for me to have an opinion about, since I only carry the storyteller torch. (Though if we were alone in the dark I would whisper to you that I am very much in favor of changing the norms of measurement of the people of beyondness, for at the end of the day it is the fire of the dragons that carries the meaning and essentiality of dragons, how much more so, of a dragon slayer, moved and motivated by dragons fire, the real substance of their being, ah! Well).
    Be that as it may, the young maiden of necessity was vehemently opposed to the insistent demand of the dragon slayer that she give him the fruits of her fire capturing on an immediate basis. She claimed that our dragon slayer was not giving her enough time and enough space to come and bring him the fruits of her labor when they were ready and ripe for his consumption.
    It was highly irregular of course, yet here we were, I mean here they were..

    At any rate, as I might have already mentioned, fire capturing is a very complex process, consisting principally of three stages, the building of the container of fire, the capturing of the fire itself and the aggregation of the fire.
    Amongst these three stages, the longer one in terms of duration is the building of the container. Again the reason for this is that the construction of such a container takes all the resources of the mind of the apprentice dragon slayer and in the process makes him or her actually able to capture the fire itself.
    But in our story here, the maiden of necessity was impatient (due to her supposed innocence) to play the game of equality. For was she not after all in full intimacy of desire with our dragon slayer? The point however was that she was impatient about the wrong thing, she wanted the time to process the capturing of the fire, in her own way, but was not patient enough to build the fitting container which it must be remembered can be done only via the agency of the master dragon slayer.
    When a master dragon slayer demands progress, he does so in the only fashion possible, in the now! And this our maiden of necessity could not contain.

    You see the paradox, for sure.

    The inconsistency of the situation was due to a few facts, the fact of intimacy of desire, which to a storyteller like I am, always appears premature (though admittedly it is not necessarily so) and reflects on the need of dragon slayers for companionship (and the second rule of total independence that demands of a dragon slayer to make other dragon slayers). The second fact was the unveiling of the self-slaying which our dragon slayer was performing upon himself. Now this is a tricky issue, for though it is a reality of intimacy that the self slaying must be made clear and transparent to the apprentice dragon slayer, it is also true that this unveiling must be made gradually and with high precision and clarity. Remember please that in the act of unveiling the dragon slayer himself exposes his raw nerve endings to an ‘other’ that is ‘not yet’.

    This leads sometimes to a great confusion, or to the very old, and by now legendary, illness, of all maidens of necessity, namely the sickness of overt familiarity.
    Overt familiarity is not contra-indicated to dragon slayers in principle, just the opposite, it is encouraged and necessary, however the timing, fashion and manner of unveiling of the self slaying process is crucial, fundamental and critical, for it defines the future relationship of the dragon slayer with the maiden of necessity.
    In fact I would go as far as saying that a dragon slayer’s self-slaying is the actual manifestation of fire capturing and aggregation in real time of the fire itself. And when successfully performed represents the highest form of the second rule of total independence, namely the creation of another dragon slayer, but when performed not in the correct time (or timing), generally speaking, disaster ensues.

    I realize that I bother you with a lot of details about dragon slayers lives and methods but I believe that these are important factors for you to consider in your journey to understand this story.

    More particularly my friend, I wish to tell you this story, because many a time, the desire for intimacy in intensity, appears to the Dragon Slayer as an act of independence and self-determination, when in fact it is anything but. Truth to tell, many a dragon slayer, has succumbed to the temptation of proclaimed autonomy, only to find at the end of the day that no fire has been captured and no aggregation of the eternal substance of dragons has been brought to the arena of the people of beyond.

    We must love our dragon slayers, and we appreciate their never-ending quest to, so to speak, bring the flesh of dragons to the hungry table of beyondness.

    But as storytelling goes you will see that the unfoldment of this story is not as simple as it might appear, for at a certain point of their disagreement on the subject of capturing the fire, the dragon slayer and the maiden of necessity, happened upon an unforeseen event.

    You see, they inadvertently triggered the curiosity of Nallab the mad dog; also known as Nallab the irreverent one.

    But for this part of the story you will have to wait until I extract it into written form from the annals of beyondness.

    To be continued..
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    Part of the Ultrashort Project

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    “The hunger of a dragon is slow to wake, but hard to sate.”
    ― Ursula K. Le Guin


    “No dragon can resist the fascination of riddling talk and of wasting time trying to understand it.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit


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    My dear friend,

    Knowing how busy you claim you are, performing all these social tasks you call duties, at work, at home, with your hobbies but more particularly in your mind, I shall (hopefully) take only a little of your reading time

    Walking on nothing, which is now the official name of this series of letters addressed to you but published publicly because I carry this strange idea that they may be useful for others as well, is an interesting state of affairs.

    Allow me to state the reasons, why walking on nothing is interesting, and only then explain them in some depth.

    Firstly, walking on nothing is interesting because by annihilating the need for absolutes (the very first necessary condition for walking on nothing) the event of mind opens up into many options not previously deemed possible, or even existing. This first reason implies that an exploring critical mind is inherently limited only by the particular absolutes, which this mind believes to be true. The fact that no such absolutes exist is beside the point since by their very nature, absolutes, are immune against either self-criticism or criticism from an ‘other’. The point however is that absolutes are very specific (and quite hidden) sense thought memes that paradigmatically hinder and block exceptionally interesting states of mind. In that the annihilation of absolutes eliminates the fundamental barrier of and to interest. You may discover in this process that creativity, that hard to pin down sense of excitation and interestingness, is awakened afresh. In the sense I am writing to you here, walking on nothing, as a different layer of description of non-absolutism, is really an opening of the senses to the infinite variety of experiences the mind event allows.
    That makes walking on nothing interesting.

    The second point I would like to propose to you is that walking on nothing is interesting because it allows you to merge with your desires in intensity.
    I know this is a point that fascinates you in a particular fashion, because you have this tendency (that you still do not approve of in your mind) to equate your inherent desires with their apparent fulfillment. Moreover you carry a very intimate knowledge of that which gives you pleasure and believe as all humans at some point do that this pleasure starts and ends where it is located (i.e. with your desires). Merging with your desires in intensity is a fundamental concept of walking on nothing that permeates the membrane of immediacy, in fact transforming your awareness into one of freedom. It is in a way the unleashing of your senses nerve endings to an avalanche of impressions that is quite formidable indeed. However the point I am trying to convey to you here is that this flood of sensations managed correctly (meaning non localized in a particular desire) results in this intensity I wrote to you about before.
    It is a very special kind of intensity and at first you will mistake it for stress, as it does (at least initially) carry similar manifestations; eventually however you will come to see that the manifestations of intensity and merging your desire in intensity have nothing in common but habits, or leftovers from our evolutionary heritage.
    Again I stress the point that merging with your desire in intensity creates an abundance of options (especially of the emotional capacity kind), which needless to say is an indicator of interestingness.
    In this sense, there is indeed, as you have already guessed, a very high and closely coupled correlation between freedom of mind and high intensity. Critically though, high intensity, is also the very self-management tool of desire.
    Desire need be in full intensity yet strangely it must also be idle. Idle of a particular direction, which allows the horn of plenty, the cornucopia of abundance in sense thought, to be free.

    That makes walking on nothing interesting.

    The third point I wish to make concerns busyness, or that which you currently hide behind when you say:” I am busy”. This really is the most salient issue here, for is it not the case that the statement ‘I am busy’ whether explicitly presented or simply implied by your inattention is a manner of hiding your disinterest in the moment? And please do not mistake the busyness argument with the fact that some things you ‘really’ like and ‘need’ to do. Being occupied with a particular task (as I am right now whilst writing these words to you) does not mean that I am ‘busy’. Of course some times I would like to not be interrupted, though I will tell you that it very much depends not so much on what the interruption is about but more importantly ‘who’ the interrupter is (that is for another discussion though). When I refer to being ‘busy’ I do not mean the above though, I mean your usage of the term ‘busy’ to deflect the possible upheaval created by interest. For you see, my friend, interestingness has this tendency to disturb your mind event, your flow of the moment, as it were. However, this is a welcome disturbance for it is in fact the disturbance of abundance, the riot of options, which are the hallmark of a free and intense mind, a mind that walks on nothing.

    That makes walking on nothing interesting.

    Having said all of the above I wish to put forward to you the idea that Idleness is not such a bad option. And opting for idleness is really a fashion of envisioning more subtle scenarios for your freedom.

    By more subtle scenarios, I mean high-resolution scenarios that carry within them the immediate sensation of the enterprise of freedom of mind, and for sure, quite an enterprise it is.
    I have this thought that in your case the idea of freedom need be looked at as a kind of entrepreneurship. It is of course an analogy, but an interesting one I think, if for no other reason that for some, as I believe is the case for you, the way forward need be one where the release button is a DIY kind of affair.
    I’ll write more about why this is particularly true in your case (your love for bric-a-brac comes to mind) however at this point I wish to tell you about idleness from the standpoint, not so much of social politics, as Bertrand Russell so famously did at the beginning of the 20th century but from the standpoint of the infinitely creative free mind, the mind of she that walks on nothing.

    Idleness is a necessary condition of the free mind; it is a configuration of sense perception that allows a certain loosening of the will into the gentle flow of desire. The point in this case is that idleness is the state of affairs of mind when there is no product at the end of the process. It is sense thought, or extended emotional reflectivity ‘for its own sake’. In other words it is ‘love’ with no specific direction or manifested destiny.
    Idleness of will does not mean that one does not wish for ‘things’ or does not ‘do’ that which is required by the circumstances of his immediate existence, not at all. It does however mean that the abundance of the event of mind is made explicit when one has a ‘will on demand’ but unless the ‘demand’ is locally manifested, the ‘will’ remains idle.

    In our modern ‘civilized culture’ it is commonly assumed that idleness when referring to a person is a negative state since that same person produces nothing of value. The erroneous-ness of this statement cannot be emphasized enough, not only is it a misconception of what idleness means it is a method to exacerbate the scarcity of openness.
    I could go on and on about why idleness is important and necessary but at this point suffice it to say that idleness allows the event of mind ascending into freedom the extended capacity to envision more nuanced scenarios for its own freedom.

    In your last interaction with me, you asked if I was not too busy to reflect upon some of your questions, my answer is simple: I am never busy, I lay idle, lazily walking on nothing until interest is piqued, then almost instantaneously the reality of my intersubjective extended cognition rallies to the call of ‘demand’, suddenly a ‘will’ is made manifest, a desire flows, resources are mustered, a letter is written. This is not so common I agree; yet it is also not so common to walk on nothing.

    Until next,
    Whilst Verbing the flow,
    Sincerely,
    W.



    "I don't think necessity is the mother of invention. Invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness - to save oneself trouble."

    Agatha Christie

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    Part of the Ultrashorts Project






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    My dear friend,

    It appears that our latest communication has created a flow of sorts within the mind process, which you presumably call your ‘own’. I know it did so for me, and I gratefully acknowledge this communication between us as an interesting one, a rare commodity nowadays, I am unhappy to admit.

    Such ‘flow of sorts’ (I so call it for its being purposefully undefined) is an ambient sensation really, a result of the kind of erectile function of the mind when interest is picked. (Yes, I did use a sexual metaphor to refer to the mind, just as sometimes one meets with the mental emotional equivalent of erectile dysfunction, sad I know, but true nevertheless)

    And when interest is picked, we become instinctively alert. Suddenly a wave of unknown origins elucidates itself into a form of pleasure, a very core-like sense thought of embodied consciousness.

    What is so startling about these kinds of sensations is their naturalness on the one hand coupled with and juxtaposed upon an immediate urge of doing. It is surprising in so many ways that to count them all will take forever; but then we do have ‘forever’, at least in as much as our imagination allows us the ‘time out’ required for the processing of unusual sense thought processes.

    Before I try and tackle your questions I have one of my own for you, if you will.

    Would you be willing to consider ‘Verbing’ your identity? Can you accommodate in your extended emotional reflectivity a process of ‘Selving’?

    Strange question indeed, and yet, think about it for a minute, if the whole route leading to ‘walking on nothing’ is described as a hyper complex process of mind, and no stable ownership of an idea, no full possession of a thought can be ascertained, is it not the case that the same should apply to our identities, or that which erroneously we call ‘our’ ‘selves’?

    This particular question you may find interesting, or so I hope, because to my mind, the main issue we need tackle is the one of language (by which we describe experience) especially and fundamentally when we tend to noun-ize, everything.

    Our tendency to turn everything into nouns deflects the awareness of our process, since by noun-ing we can, as it were, take control of the state of affairs and seemingly stabilize it into submission.
    There is a reason why we do this, or at least have had the tendency to do this for a long while now.
    The reason is the desire to possess (and eventually ‘own’) the autonomy of a self. The thing is that this not only cannot be attained, since the self is not a thing, but the very desire of stabilization, in the sense of owning and or possessing the autonomy defeats the whole purpose of the process.

    Verbing is the very innate act of naturalizing (not an, but) experience (as such) into continuity. It is truly quite an astonishing feat of our minds, in which we consistently and continuously re-describe our realities in fashions permitting constancy of motion.
    This has a lot to do with the freedom of mind that you so desire. But before I jump into that, a word on this elusive concept: Desire.

    Desire is a very strange animal indeed, not least because this beast cannot be tamed. Desire can be leashed of course, desire can be caged, hidden in the dark corners of our minds, not to be let out and smell the morning rain, but desire will not die, nor can it be domesticated.
    It is good to remember again that not all desires emerge equally, in fact not only do not all desires deserve the same attention, some can be disregarded and let play with no concern of our own to interfere with.
    Unlike a will that can be mastered and developed like a muscle, desire carries no such characteristics. Au contraire, the very definition of desire is that it defies both logic and reasoning, at the very least in as much as desire contains the seeds of its own ‘verbing’.
    In other words you cannot ‘have’ a desire, again a linguistic quirk that allows us the articulation of the verb ‘Desiring’ into a noun ‘ Having Desire’; having a desire is a contradiction in terms, since desire is not an object and cannot be owned or possessed.
    Hence in no uncertain terms, expressions such as ‘my desire’, or alternatively ‘I have a desire’, carry a sense of ownership and objectified autonomy that seamlessly make us put on the overcoat of civilized society and seem comprehensible to one another.

    I acknowledge the fact that it is not an easy task you are embarking on here, it is a voyage of immense difficulty and very few can carry it to completion, which is really only another beginning.

    Nevertheless assuming you are serious in your questions I venture to propose to you a few ideas concerning the desire for the freedom of the mind, which you have expressed so eloquently.

    The first idea I propose to you concerns the language you are using when referring to freedom of mind. Consider for example the thought that we are as a society currently using different kind of languages to describe different aspects of reality, be it the language of science (hard facts, empirical observations, measurements and so on) the language of technology (bits and bytes and user interfaces etc.) or the language of philosophy (meta-concepts, logic, metaphors..) or the very elusive language of poetry (with its synonyms and analogies, narratives and so on). What all these different kind of languages have in common is their fundamental attribute of mapping reality. And yet consider the fact that when you think you do not map reality using one language only but are using an amalgam of all of these and others as well, languages made not of words but of sensations, sights, images, colors, and even abstract shapes you will find hard to describe.

    It is important at this stage to understand that mapping one realm of perceived reality in a different kind of language is not only an art of extreme difficulty it may appear at times as completely useless if not utterly banal. What possible reason would you have to perform the act of mappingtranslating a sense of sexual desire transforming into love for example, into the language of neuroscience (it’s probably somewhere in the insula and the striatum- see here if you are interested)?



    (The Accommodations of Desire, 1929
    Salvador Dalí -Oil and cut-and-pasted printed paper on cardboard -The Metropolitan)

    Alternatively you could of course indulge in this most precocious form of human expression and try to create an artistic rendering of the same desire, such as the above painting by Salvador Dali (a painting I happen to like in a particular mode).

    Again the question, why would you?

    My answer to this question, if you care to consider it, is quite straightforward, different languages allow our minds the expression of different varieties of the same experience. Put differently, by mapping and translating experience in and into different languages we may unshackle a very basic fixation of our minds, that an experience has a particular name in a particular language and thus carries a particular meaning and as consequence a particular state of mental emotional accommodation, including if so a particular set of ’recognizable’ behaviors.

    Nevertheless, as I have written to you in my previous letter, the emergent semantic network of our minds, allow us a very special capability, some call it plasticity of mind, I, on the other hand prefer to call it ambiguity. I do not think that meanings are fixed, or definitions set in stone; I think that semantic reasoning is a direct by-product of the capability of our minds to inhere in ambiguity.
    In ambiguity, we find the opening of spaces, of options of descriptions, of possibilities unknown, but more importantly, through ambiguity we may find a very basic key to the freedom of mind.

    This key, which I propose to you here concerns the extended emotional reflectivity embedded in ambiguity, I propose it but will not elaborate now, since this letter is already long enough and I know how little patience you have for extended verbiage.

    Therefore I will engage here in only one more quick point and then will let you be (for now).

    The Autopoeitic system that is our minds permits a finite yet indefinite variety of inner configurations; each of us is such an amalgam of these configurations (from which our uniqueness). Certain particular configurations have tendencies of allowance that are either not present or only slightly present in other configurations. These particular configurations, which for now I will call, the ambiguous ones, have a very specific attribute that we are looking for. This attribute (a set of attributes really) can be summed up as the tendency to ‘verb a noun’ or alternatively to open spaces of descriptions, better yet for our communication here, a tendency towards increased freedoms.

    You could call the particular configuration that is most favorable towards ascending into a freedom of mind state, ‘selving’. (Hence the question I have asked you above).

    Finally, selving is an art, the art of living ‘in’ the edge. Yes indeed, ‘in’ and not ‘on’.

    Soon I will write to you again, my friend, since you have picked my curiosity.

    Until next
    A possible friend in Selving,

    W.
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    The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
    Ludwig Wittgenstein

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    Part of the Ultrashorts project



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    So, my dear friend, here I continue the same line that I started previously in: “Liberation! It’s as simple as being free (from liberty)”.
    Though I understand your questions perfectly, or at least that is how it appears presently, there is a point I would like to make before proceeding with an extended answer to your questions.

    The point is this: The otherness of an ‘other’ is none other than you. Allow me a moment to explain, for it is no simple matter, to realize that otherness is fundamentally a complex trait-building, pattern making characteristic of our minds.
    The simple manner to understand this concerns our perception apparatus and our processing of images in the process of self-description. The fashion by which you self describe define more or less the manner and mode by which the otherness of the other is described because contrary to popular opinion it is not our uniqueness that defines us but our similarities.

    As embodied consciousness we have very little to go on when self-describing. We have our bodies of course, that are (presently) more or less fixed in their line of engagements and development. Consider for example that unless you belong to (presently) a very small minority of humans that at some point decide to change it for whatever reason, your biological gender is set from birth.
    This little fact has more to do with your self-description than you imagine, if only because of the biological, hormonal and eventually cultural baggage this implies. It is extremely difficult in this instance to disentangle yourself from the particularities of your body, its gender, its color, its look and so on.
    That however is only the beginning of the difficulty for soon enough, being subject to forces much beyond your control, at least initially, you will get a language and a biased experience of the world via your parents, siblings, family and friends, not to mention the geographical location of birth, its cultural heritage, possibly a religion and or political affiliations and so on.

    Then at a certain point these forces coalesce into an apparently confident set of words and terms, views and biases, filters on reality, and an overall worldview, which of course you will consider as ‘you’.
    The fact that you may realize that you had very little (if at all) say in these matters counts for little at the beginning for the simple reason that these will become the constituents or building blocks with which you have to work and they carry meanings, and significances that are hard to almost impossible to eradicate or change.

    On top of these building blocks you will get an education, again a systemic impregnation of your mind in fashions to which until quite an advanced age you will have very little to say or indeed be able to criticize, but even if and when you do find yourself able to realize the state of affairs of your mind and self criticize to an extent that defies all that which was put there by ‘others’ you will find that certain attitudes, and some views are quite difficult to overcome.

    But overcome them you must, if you are to create an ‘other’ defined by you and fitting the overall worldview which you have chosen.
    The ‘other’ in you and as ‘you’ need be coherent and consistent with all that pertains to the relevancy of your process of self-description.


    “Otherness is in many ways, a slippery and difficult term. A contradiction is apparent whereby the very process of naming the other, whether in specific or generalized terms, is bound by the simultaneous disappearance of the concept. More than just simply a result of a linguistic deferral of ‘meaning’, this situation is an effect of the fact that the very nature of alterity is impossible without the idea of sameness. Other and self are inherently joined and so when we ‘speak’ of otherness, we inevitably ‘speak’ of its other: selfhood. In spite of this, otherness is generally conceived of as that which is not ‘self’. We feign that there must be a dividing line somewhere between and not outside the two and as such the relationship between other and self is inevitably problematic and complex.”

    (Otherness: Essays & Studies 1.1 from the Introduction by Maria Beville)



    Otherness is most commonly defined as difference, both by external markers and internal characteristics and is generally accepted in this order. However the way I see it is that otherness is first and foremost and aspect of one’s self-reflection, self definition, and self-description, in this I think that otherness is a complex and highly critical issue in the process of self-revealing, or evolution into a state of personal liberty and freedom of mind.

    Moreover, the ‘other’ as a sub-category of your own self-description is biased in as much as it is indeed a condition impregnated upon your mind by none other than your own process of self-description. Which of course brings me to your specific question (which I have rephrased a bit): “How can ‘the other’, as a representative of a condition in itself, can be a supportive power (partner) to the process of self-description into a state of liberation and the ascent into the freedom of mind which you have proposed? “

    Permit me to say that I see this as a very important and critical question; indeed in as much as we are culturally biased in our present society to associate liberty with individualism and uniqueness, it may very well be that that this question represents the fulcrum of that which hinders our mutualities.

    “…all life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny.”

    Martin Luther King Jr


    There are many aspects to this hindrance and we can as a basic rule divide them into two generalized aspects, one is the substrate dependency of our minds upon our neuro-chemical soup (or brain) and the other our context dependency upon the language of our minds (which will include by necessity all of the cultural semantic patterns with which our minds have been filled.
    I will not deal here with the first of these two, namely substrate dependency, I will say however, that though substrate dependency from which stems the concept of embodied consciousness is a very difficult nut to crack, there are many avenues in current scientific and theoretical research that may lead both to a better understanding of the mind body conundrum and possibly to paths of extending the mind into and unto the world in manners previously unthinkable. For an extended view on all that pertains to substrate dependency and the desire for ‘substrate independent minds' see the quite amazing work done by Randal Koene at Carboncopies.

    Having said the above, and though I am a great believer in science and technology to provide for us tools of evolutionary advantage, my main concern is with the second point namely context dependency.
    Context dependency has many aspects and many levels but at its most simple and basic it is an extension of the weak version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, namely that our language influences the experience of reality.

    But to update and upgrade our contextual dependency we need a new kind of conceptual scaffolding. The conceptual scaffolding we need has at its core the metamorphosis of the information-processing model of mind, in which incoming information is acted upon by the system. Our minds are not spatially fixated, and are to a very large extent better understood as emergent semantic networks.

    And as emergent semantic networks our minds define and redefine continuously in a hyper complex dynamic process that which we consider as meaningful. In the case we are talking about here the ‘meaningfulness’ resides with the concept of the ‘other’. In the conceptual scaffolding I am proposing to you here, the very term ‘other’ transforms to become an extension of that which is ‘me’, but even that transformation is only the first step into a greater motion still. The motion I refer to is the one in which the ‘other’ is not only an extension but forms a nucleic reality within your own self-description. In this case the nucleic form or image that the ‘other’ has become is no longer disassociated from the powers at play within your own mind but constitutes ipso-facto a strength of activity, dynamically interacting with the overall process of your own self description.

    “For human reality, to be is to choose oneself; nothing comes to it either from the outside or from within which it can receive or accept….it is entirely abandoned to the intolerable necessity of making itself be, down to the slightest details. Thus freedom…is the being of man, i.e., his nothingness of being.”

    Jean-Paul Sartre


    The thing is, that as the process unfolds you may discover a very interesting phenomenon, a phenomenon seldom acknowledged but extremely important nevertheless. The fact is that to allow the form sense-thought of the ‘other’ to interact meaningfully with your overall process of self-description an extended emotional reflectivity need be present. Put differently (and quite colloquially) without the ‘love of the other’ the other cannot become an inherent part of you. So in a sense that may answer your question concerning the conditions in which an ‘other’ can become a power for your own self-transformation into a liberated mind. The funny thing to notice here is that unless a very deep acceptance of the emotional reflectivity involving ‘the other’ is in place, the ‘other’ remains a ‘limiting condition’, whilst when the emotional capacity of your self description process extends into an accommodating inherency of ‘the other’ through love the ‘limiting condition’ transforms into a pillar of your own freedom of being, an allowance for your own liberty and independence.

    Not only that, but over and above this particular direction of the evolution of your freedom, the inherency of the ‘other’ becomes an extended reality by which you ‘cover more ground’ or put differently, your self description incorporates a larger world, or better yet, the reality that is ‘you and me’ has transformed into a greater unified whole, in this fashion my freedom is unshackled from the tyranny of the ‘other’ by intimacy.

    The intimacy about which I have written to you in the previous letter is a creative and dynamic interactivity, an intermingling of minds. (I will write to you, if it is of interest, about this kind of mind intimacy in another letter.)

    Finally, before I bore you with too many words, let me say that for my own mind the term ‘the other’ is practically a non-issue. My lovers are free to change ‘me’ as I am free to change them; it is in a fashion the ultimate uniqueness of the process of self-reflection for by its very dynamic inherency I am made greater. Greater in all fashions but primarily greater in the unique freedom of mind that I embody.

    The nothingness of my being is thus my highest asset and my extended reality the very liberating and highly idiosyncratic intimacy within which my freedom resides.

    Into my desire of being, I fold.
    Until next,
    W.
    ..

    Addendum:

    As an addendum to all of the above permit me another small intrusion upon your precious time. You mentioned in another letter that you find it very difficult to merge with your desires, your questions of life and make them part of your liberation.
    To walk on nothing like I do, you may need to soften the kind of intellectualized logic you find so precious. Freedom of mind and personal liberty, seen as a hyper complex dynamic process demand a certain flow, which carries its own logic for sure, yet it is a soft version of self-reflection. The soft version of logic I refer to here includes an allowance of ‘desire’ to fold again and again upon itself, both condensing the desire (becoming in the process a motive power) and simultaneously annihilating the ‘strong‘ foundations of its semantic contours.. Thus providing the intensity necessary for the ‘walking on nothing’. If you are to walk on nothing what will sustain you? You guessed correctly: the otherness of the other as you (or me), its intimacy revealing its intensity. (I’ll write more about this)

    -
    (Part of the Ultrashorts Project)

    Endnotes:

    1. Image 'Otherness' by Artist Robyn Walton





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    (A very liberating story of and on freedom based on a personal letter, which you shouldn't believe and neither do I, but then here it is)

    My dear friend,

    You asked me, in truth and simplicity, why it was so difficult to be free?
    And my first answer need be:

    Forget truth and simplicity- aim for elegance of thought; the reason, if you should care to explore it, is that no reality survives the encounter with an inquiring mind, none more so than the reality of one’s own freedom and liberation..


    Could I not oblige you and answer you more thoroughly?

    Of course I can and of course I do, here, I do and will keep on doing so, of course you shouldn’t believe a word of what I am saying, this is after all a story, a private one for sure, almost a confession of sorts. And as confessions go one wouldn’t trust them, not implicitly, for confessions demand ontology and maybe a theology, but a confession on freedom’s difficulty will demand the annihilation of both ontology and theology not to mention the annihilation of one’s belief in freedom as a conceptual idea.
    You also shouldn’t believe it because after all how can one explain from the standpoint of freedom why freedom is so difficult to attain, for if one is free, it is not difficult anymore, now is it? In fact it may very well be that the difficulty in finding freedom is exactly that, the difficulty in telling the story of freedom, in such a fashion that the story does not hinder one’s freedom.
    Quite a conundrum I agree and yet one must try, if only because of the love I have for you, or more accurately the extension of me into you as love.
    Why, the very word freedom means love, or friendship, or acceptance, or joy, or dear one, or beloved, but somehow we managed to forget this. Well maybe not forget, more like a kind of obfuscation of immediacy, as if at a certain point we started looking at freedom as a freedom ‘from’ and not freedom ‘in’.

    I think I cannot speak about freedom without mentioning some great humans that walked among us, and helped us and me, understand our freedom, such as Isaiah Berlin.
    He is an important person primarily because he made a very important distinction between negative and positive liberty, in simple terms he taught us that there is a big and critical difference between the absence of something ((i.e. of obstacles, barriers, constraints or interference from others)) and the presence of something (i.e. of control, self-mastery, self-determination or self-realization), in Berlins’ words:”..we use the negative concept of liberty in attempting to answer the question “What is the area within which the subject — a person or group of persons — is or should be left to do or be what he is able to do or be, without interference by other persons?”, whereas we use the positive concept in attempting to answer the question “What, or who, is the source of control or interference that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that?” (1969, pp. 121–22). (Positive and Negative Liberty)

    Isaiah Berlin is quite a recent protagonist in this great quest for liberation, you should if you really are interested in understanding the difficulties of freedom go back a bit in human history and study those minds that claimed wisdom concerning liberation. You could as did I many years ago, start with Plato (as good a point of departure as any) for whom freedom was something that might only be attained in a perfect society ruled (how else?) by philosophers kings, for Plato only the just can be free, and you my friend are far from just, knowing you, this will not be to your liking, I do not think that is what you are asking.
    Besides if we were to follow Plato and Aristotle we would need first to accept that we are political or social animals, a fact which I for one, think about differently.
    Maybe you could seek the insights of those wise Indians, some of them spoke of Moksha (liberation), or Mukti (release) as liberation or release from rebirth, again I do not think you will find there that which you are seeking but it is important to know what they say, especially if you look into the concept of Nirvana, though I will argue that the other shore of wisdom has nothing to do with tranquility or extinguishing desires.
    I suggest to you all these important paths, which are not mine, because if you are to unbelieve me I think you should have a good reason to do so.

    My main issue with all of them is about attainment, I do not think that freedom is something to be attained or that liberation is to be sought by negative liberty (a la Berlin) and though I much appreciate the clarity that his writings have given me I also do not think in terms of positive liberty as in having the presence of self-realization (since we have so many selves..).

    Freedom and liberation are not aims to attain, objectives to target, aspirations to manage, or goals to reach; these are to a very large extent hyper complex dynamic processes of mind, that vigorously shake the very foundation of that which brings them into being. Thus in a very real sense these concepts have no foundation. Not even as objects of mental consciousness.

    Hence the big problem!

    If they have no foundation how are we to know anything about them? The answer is of course through intimacy and intensity.

    I think I told you once that it took me many years of combat, both of the reflective kind, and of the emotional tempests sort, to release the concept of liberation from the shackles of contextualized freedom.
    It took me years to understand that spiritual liberation has nothing whatsoever to do with spirit, whatever that term may mean; more importantly perhaps was the reflective time that was involved in unleashing the freedom ‘to be’, from the freedom of ‘to do’ or ‘doing’.
    It was always the confusion of acting that didn’t make sense, as if by being able to go away (unclinging) from my love I would be free, and therein laid the conundrum, for if I was free to go I would liberate from a situation that I desired to continue, shackles and all.

    Didn’t make sense to me! I needed my desires, I desired my loves, I loved my feelings and I felt my existence, how could I, or better yet, why should I, have left them behind? And for that matter where was this behind? I wanted it all, to take it with me. Where to? Nowhere in specific, and nothing in particular, but all these where me, so how was I to be free if I left part of me out of the game?

    The thing is that as funny is it may sound you cant be free alone but not in the platonic sense, there is a sense to liberty that demands at least one more mind to be liberated with you, put differently it takes two (or more) to tango.. or be free.
    There is a sense to the manner and style of freedom; we are not created equal (for that matter we are not created but emergent and I know it’s a poor choice of words) and that is why we each have a unique kind of freedom and a highly idiosyncratic fashion of liberty.
    A kind of madness if you like, but a madness that can go everywhere! A very personal and highly distinctive form of madness, mostly hidden in the light of internal desire..

    “Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death.”

    R. D. Laing


    In a way there is no theory that can account for all possible manners of being free, which is another problematic aspect of the freedom and liberty issue, and thus another way of understanding why it is so difficult to be free.

    I know you know some of these issues very deeply but I am not sure you understand deeply enough the concept of agency (which is more of a philosophical and legal term really which modern society has created for us) I mean how intimate are you with the agent that presumable you are? I know you take your responsibilities seriously but think it through: what higher responsibility do you have than the management of the meaning you yourself have put upon the idea of your own freedom?

    That is what I meant when I wrote to you at the beginning of this letter, that you need, (as did I), to release the concept of liberation from the shackles of contextualized freedom. It’s always the context that constrains the explosive nature of personal liberty.

    There is, in the world we have emerged into, a kind of tyranny, of the context of course, but more specifically of the body. The tyranny of the body is only one amongst the many many kinds of restrictions we find ourselves in but it bears special consideration.
    It bears this very special consideration because we are embodied consciousnesses, having cognitive capabilities that far outshine the capacities of our bodies. Some of your thoughts as you disclosed to me in the past and if I recall correctly, involved a desire to eliminate pain, the pain of the body and the pain of the mind. You wanted to be free of these and that started your quest so many years ago, but all the drugs in the world will not eliminate these pains, because though they can be temporarily abated they will always find a new way to tackle you.
    There will always be another demon come to haunt you, be it of the material kind or of the mental sort. Unless of course, you can merge intimately with them in high intensity; it is in a fashion a form of desire folded upon itself, fractalized until its nothingness becomes apparent.
    In this you may possibly not be happy (whoever told you that your freedom implies your happiness?) but you will discover that you can walk on nothing.

    I like walking on nothing. Maybe you can like it too.And we can be free together.

    My dear friend, I could write pages and pages in trying to describe to you the difficulties of being free, but I know that is not what you have asked of me. I could give you theories and clichés that sometimes help ease a moment or two. I could describe to you the beauty of being free and the exhilaration of certain moments of heightened inspiration, by that stimulating you to desire the kind of freedom I am privileged to partake in. But also this is not the essence of your inquiry.
    I think that what you ask is more a question of management, management of (apparently) conflicting desires.
    And I promise one of these days I’ll write you a letter about this subject but for now I must run take care of my loved ones. Strange, I know, but taking care of my loved ones allows me the freedom and the liberation of being that which I am, a relation of loves and desires, powered by an ever increasing allowance for that which is not me to change me. Just as you do when you ask this kind of questions.

    I hope I have managed if not to answer (because I do not think there can be a full answer) at least to raise your appetite for more of these semi-poetic elaborations on our mutuality.

    Until soon then,

    Slowly but surely I walk on nothing, from there my love, from there my confidence, in the chaotic harmony of ambiguity.

    w.

    ps. you see, Liberation! It’s as simple as being free (from liberty).

    ps1. soon I will write to you again on this fascinating topic.
    -


    EndNote:

    I have deleted from this letter some issues that I think you might find interesting.

    1. A deleted scene: "..But you know me; you know I love my language treats of etymology, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that freedom and liberation come from two different dimensions (I mean cultures). It appears that Freedom comes from a Saxon root, from the German Freiheit (freedom) whilst Liberty comes from a Norman root, from the French Liberte’ (liberty) (see)."

    2.The Idealized agency of free will, is more than a perpetuated philosophical (and psychological) myth, it is ipso facto, a devastatingly ignorant approach to the concept of personal autonomy.
    Personal autonomy may best be understood as more of an authorization than a willed action made by the agent.

    3.The authorization in turn should be looked upon as an act of distancing on the spectrum of self-reflection, balancing its act in a move towards self-alienation. (in this self alienation is responsible for an extreme form of self reflection in its negativity.)

    4.Being alienated from your own power to act (think Tourette syndrome) defies the whole concept of free willed agency (as is the case with addiction- or for that matter the belief that freedom means doing whatever it is that you like, whenever you feel like doing it – Neti-Neti).

    5.What about instincts? Think about it like an authorization given by reason to the motivational power of desire


    Part of the Ultrashorts project
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