Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Thoughts

There's an impressive video on youtube with just shots of physical feats of a gravity defying nature. It is worth looking at. Watching these skiers, bikers, skaters, and divers led me to consider the similarities between these feats of physical skill and daring and the kind of cerebral activity Jan Cox knew and tried to share during his lifetime, called among many things, neuralizing. Though it might seem a polar opposite, the goal of those in history  like Jan Cox, is really the under the same tent as these dering-dos. Everything after all, is physical. And what Jan wanted his students to see was these gravity-less moments (for such is the start for either kind of physical feat) which involve accelerating through the roof. The differences between physically twirling as you fall into the water and maintaining a precious awareness of certain elements, are of course interesting: one feat is apparent and impressive to every onlooker. The other invisible to all, those who have no clue about cerebral possibilities. One must last seconds, the other has a potential for more.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Parent Contradictions

The complexity of reality, and the limitations of verbal tools, can perhaps be glimpsed in two things Jan Cox said, on different occasions, to his students: One--that everything everywhere affects you and TWO -- that the news of the world does not affect you. Sounds contradictory huh. One way, perhaps one way of many, to parse this is--

The wider world of events, does not affect you because your concern moment by moment should be on the vigor of your cranial composure. 

ALSO though, everything about you ripples in patterns affected by -- roadkill in Australia, -- and   everything else going on. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Other Hand

We quote David Brooks, as he reports on the winners of  "the Sidney Awards, named for the renowned philosopher Sidney Hook, go out to some of the best magazine essays of the year. "

Alan Lightman writes in “The Accidental Universe” in Harper’s that the existence of life is so incredibly improbable that there can be only two realistic explanations: Either there is a God who designed all this, or there exist many, many different universes, a vast majority of which are lifeless. Many physicists are gravitating to the latter theory. Our universe is just one of many. The universal laws of physics aren’t really universal. They are just the arbitrary arrangements that happen to prevail in our own little universe.

This is a wonderful example of binary thought---either you believe in a god who arranged the whole universe, or our universe is not improbable because it's a crap shoot.  One or the other is true; that my friends is binary thought. The first is no explanation, but a cop-out, an intellectual crutch for we can't figure it out, but don't want to admit this.  The second may be incoherent, -- when you run the numbers putting in an infinite, you often get a garbagey result, or so I have read. 

Well, there may well be way more than two alternatives here -- but how about just a third, for now: Self Knowledge. Our ignorance is data we can empirically investigate. We can live on surmises if we are tender with the edges of our knowledge. It takes guts to be objective, and self-knowledge is the giraffe on the porch.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Divine Right of Kings Had Nothing on the Imperialism of Words

Science and religion have much more in common than either party realizes, and this blindness hobbles fresh thought. In fundamental aspects science and religion are the same, and I will be pursuing this point soon. But here is an example of what I mean, and how I intend to argue.

When scientists say --- you can't ask what happened before the big bang because time wasn't created until the big bang, that is just like the religious saying something is true because 'it says so in the bible.'

In both we have a failure to resolutely pursue answers under a banner of unexaminable assumptions. Because the emperor has clothes on, is the reason you cannot wonder what the king looks like naked. This basic aspect of human binary thinking, unites science and religion. 

This situation reflects a reliance on linguistic sufficiency, my phrase for the assumption that words can cover reality. The smallest bit of empiricism points out how silly that idea is, and yet it is regnant not just in science, not just in formal religion, but in human life, as soon as people, "grow up." What is the smallest bit of empiricism I mention: you could take some seconds to look at a weed, and get that there are no words to adequately describe each segment, each curve, each hue. And that is just to start at the lowest level. Try it.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What Does Mechanical Mean

What Does Mechanical Mean, in the context of esoteric philosophy? The phrase mechanical man' is used by both Gurdjieff and Jan Cox, 20th century exemplars of the possibilities of knowledge in a potent personal context. 
The robotic, irresponsible connotations of the phrase are clear. The implications are interesting: if one is mechanical one is not responsible for one's actions, and no blame can accrue to such an agent. Nor can one speak coherently of mechanical man's self awareness. The glimpses of the lack of such can be a first rung of course. But the word of a mechanical man is worthless, and no blame occurs. He is not responsible for what he says. Only the wise and the lucky will take this to heart. Very often mechanical people, are nice, of course. We -- those who studied with Jan Cox -- were nice once.  Not only can no blames be attributed to mechanical action, the phrase can be applied to everyone, most, some, a lot, of the time. Everyone except those few-the statistically insignificant Real Teachers.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

And what if it is --- easy

Do we think it is easy, this waking up bit, do we think it is easy because, everything, everything else, IS easy---the ease of the machinery of which ingests, which utilizes, which ultimately will spit out, 7 billion people, do we think since every single aspect of our lives, is in fact, easy, the studying for tests, the two jobs, the long bus rides, it is easy, or we would not be able to do it, the ease of being a part of a great machinery, what Jan Cox, called, the Magnus Machina, -- so we think, spiritual progress, oh yes, that's interesting, I will check into that, a worthy goal, and we just assume, it is easy. We will in fact, check into that, --- soon.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sticky tricks

There is a janitor in an apartment complex nearby. His office has no sign on the door. No doubt this is ideal, for his own goals. Similarly a person with a real purpose will try to keep signs off his own thoughts. Trickier, yeah. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eyesight and Insight

A lovely bit in the science news, which could be intriguing for those with a concern for understanding themselves in the radical sense directed by Jan Cox during his lifetime. I don't know for sure, but what got me interested was an article about the Copiale text,  in the New York Times.

Here we read that a recently decrypted document from the 18th century turned out to be " a detailed description of a ritual from a secret society that apparently had a fascination with eye surgery and ophthalmology."

"Eye," see, jumped right out to one reader--what if the decryption in the text was meant to keep ideas from getting a mechanical agreement rather than the personal insight of one who has earned the knowledge, that is,  seen something freshly for himself. That after all is what Jan meant by making fresh maps. You have to do this because even what you originally saw can become stale, and for those who hear about something, without seeing it for themselves, the illusion you understand something when you really do not, is tricky. HOW you see, is one aspect of self knowledge, and I wonder if the researchers involved in decypherment may not have taken a metaphor (symbol) for a literalness.

Also, HOW you see (that is how you know something)  could be included in a study of the eyeball, under the "as above so below," maxim, wherein different levels of meaning have a parallel structure. Now these last are not the words of Jan Cox, and that maxim not one he relied on.
My curiosity was not discouraged when a different article mentioned this:

The rituals detailed in the document indicate the secret society had a fascination with eye surgery and ophthalmology, though it seems members of the secret society were not themselves eye doctors.

MY eyetalics in the above text.  What if the text were crypted with the purpose of discouraging the causal 'oh I heard that before," -- or whatever the 18th century German equivalent sentiment, was?  To point to the literal level of how the eyeball is constructed as least serves the pedagogical purpose of stressing that what you consider simple might actually have a complex level. 

Then of course it may have been a secret society that had no idea what secret societies might actually mean by ' secret.' But perhaps that is a more modern phenomenon.  The article mentioned "the rights of man," which requires more thought. 

Perhaps even if the researchers finish decrypting  the whole text, they will have missed the meaning.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Big Sputter

First a quote from a scientist we all admire, even, adore: Richard Feynman:

[The Big Bang] is a much more exciting story to many people than the tales which other people used to make up, when wondering about the universe we lived in on the back of a turtle or something like that. They were wonderful stories, but the truth is so much more remarkable. And, so, what's the wonder in physics to me is that it's revealed the truth is so remarkable.

Feynman's quote, coming from one of the finest minds of the 20th century, is a good chance to understand the limitations of so-called scientific thinking.
Those other people were the ancient Greeks, the ones who invented philosophy, and "the tales"  that were made up were the attempts of empirical thinkers to understand the world we share. This last point was one made by Jan Cox, a leading 20th century thinker.  This picture of a turtle in fact surpasses the big bang theory in it's explanatory power. Such is not typical of the Greek stories, but in fact, since Feynman picked this story,  it lets me point to the characteristics of modern thinking. 

The Greeks and those of their successors who were also committed to an empirical explanation of the world, put the turtle, that ground loving creature to whom birds were inconceivable, not at the base of the support of the world, but at the bottom of an explanatory structure to signal not just their knowledge but WHAT THEY DID NOT KNOW. Newton at the sea shore. And what was that picture of a globe on top of a turtle explaining: that what we see can be understood, can be investigated--that the physical world was to be puzzled over. That the appearance of the world needed an explanation. And the turtle in the picture, what is the turtle explaining,? That you need to keep asking questions, pushing beyond any answers, to arrive at even a tentative conclusion; the turtle represents what Jan Cox would phrase this way: use a comma, not a period, in your thoughts.  The Greeks thought the turtle in a stack of realities would suffice to point to the unknown.

It is this realistic balance between the known and the unknown which has been lost by the physical scientists. Not by thinkers like Roger Penrose, -- but the main herd.  They feel they are on the brink of a Theory of Everything, and they forget how many times their TOEs have been stubbed in the past.  The modern mind cannot stomach the perspective that the truth is ---- partial. For what came before the Big Bang? What produced the Big Bang, ... okay ... What brought forth the multiverse[s]. The stout and brave empiricist does not pretend his answers are "true" in any imperial sense. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The difference between the future and the past

Details. Without details you would not get swept into the imagination of the past. This came to mind when I, unscrewing a lid from a coca cola bottle, remembered my mother had liked lemon coke. The pang I felt recalling her was all imagination, she is gone, she doesn't haunt me. What is the point though of occupyng my mind with a fantasy. I am reminded of a Saki story that I will not go into now. The point is the past is composed of details, points that sketch a big picture, like stars in a constellation, and like the constellations, the pattern is all fantasy.

There are no details in the present. Just like there is no dimension to a mathematical point. Most, almost ALL, people fill up their present moment with details, but these details are fumes of the past, without the vibrant knock of the now. Breath in and a new present circles the drain of the past. As soon as you could point to a detail that would count against my outline, you are in the past, proving my thesis. 

As Jan Cox said once, regarding Istanbul as a metaphor for mystical attainment, as soon as you look around at Istanbul, you are back in Paris. 

Does this mean that a mystical experience is a current dimensionless present which does not swirl down the drain (immediately)?

Not exactly.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What IF

What if
calls to never forget, mean we all already have
What if 
the point of ceremonies is to reassure that we have learned no lessons
What if 
The individual seeking some insight must design his own strategies to sabotage
the binary towers of internal trade
What if 
the hope is that our habit can be leveraged with other habit
What if 
that habit is what holds the planet together in an upward spiral uncapturable by the verbal intellect
What if 
freedom must always be --- solitary and slender

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Triads and triads and triads

Invisible to ordinary mechanical thought, is the basic aspect of reality which could be called the triadic stability. Triadic stability is a phrase indicating that for anything to happen, to exist,  there are three apparent forces. Jan Cox spent a measurable amount of time pointing towards this reality in his talks. One reason he emphasized this is that just to see this triad structure is to push the limits of mechanical thought. Mechanical thought is that which  flows through the thinker, and does not originate with this entity though part of the arrangement is that the thinker must assume he IS the source of these ideas in his head. 

An example of this triadic arrangement is the established artist. The triad includes the artist, the buyer of the artist's art, and... Back track a moment. First we have the pro and the con, the negative and positive, the good and the bad, that is ---  the creator and the consumer. Both essential, both obvious once you investigate, but are these two forces, flows, (to use Jan's words) sufficient for existence, for anything to happen? At first you think, perhaps, of course. What more do you need basically, except an artist and someone to buy the art? No buyer, the artist dies of starvation, so both are critical, and yet, are these two flows, the creative and the destructive, C and D flows, creator and consumer, a sufficient telling of the story?

A third force is necessary for the art world to exist. The binary mind can only count to two. But pushing the boundaries you can glimpse a third in every situation. Why three, and not more. Well dear ones, 'three' itself is a fiction, there are many more, but----getting the mind to count above two is a necessary step and itself sufficient to challenge the absurd presumptions of the ordinary mind, and three is about all that can be verbally encompassed.

In the case of the artist what is the third flow, what critical element, necessary for the other two forces to interact, what third force, necessary for a stable, even if stable means just for a moment, is relevant when discussing art? 

The erelevant force in this example, is labeled, in the modern world, a curator. 

This commissioning element, is like the mechanical mind's assumption that it, the personal mind, is the source of its own thoughts, in another triad, essential to the stability of the event we call art. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Outline for a chapter

Perhaps I should give those natural scientists more slack. For a while it has been apparent that some kinds of forgetting are crucial for progress, perhaps progress on a larger scale than the individual, where the struggle against forgetting is the mark of someone concerned with empirical cosmological and psychological knowledge (the last phrase is the words of Jan Cox). Obviously forgetting is crucially important to the operations of our world or else, it would not be the signal characteristic it is.

To sketch a wee corner of my interests here, Voltaire is supposed to be a philosopher, but his method of argument is to poke fun at the ideas of religious figures. Yesterday I pointed out that scientists need a devil, the fundamentalists, to keep their world steady. Today I found a quote which suggests I have over simplified things.

The quote is : 'What I write here is the account that I believe to be true. For the stories told by the Greeks are many, and in my opinion ridiculous.'

Sounds like Voltaire. But these are the words of Hecataeus, who wrote in the 5th century (born around 530 BC), and he is part of that movement described as the birth of human rationality, and centered on Miletus. In his words we see a forgetting which looks to be a unnoticed but fundamental mechanism of human progress. For those Greeks stories were a way to understand the world, with the tools at their disposal. (Jan made this point once about mythology.) But to Hecataeus, the myths are "ridiculous." This name calling is a kind of forgetting.

So perhaps what I took to be a means of intellectual domination, is actually, a part of that essential forgetting, which can be seen at various scales. If so, those scientists are just doing their job, and really one should have emphasized that more.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why isn't the movie "Contact" named "Touch."

A movie review, for your speculative pleasure, of the movie Contact (1997). It came out 14 years ago, and late is what you get when your reviewer doesn't read much fiction and has no interest in getting cable tv. I did find Contact the movie interesting, but I am not sure how much it was changed from Sagan's book (Contact, 1985). My assumption will be little and then if I read the book I might revise.  Especially would I like to know if that last scene with religion and science snogging in the back seat of a cab was in the book. Regardless, one thing you see in Contact is how important religion is to science. The gap between the worlds of science and religion, in reality, as someone said of C. P. Snow's picture, a small ditch, is important to science's self understanding, and the movie is evidence of this aspect of modern science. Since any substance to talk of a conflict between science and religion, died a century ago, the question becomes why science insists on beating a dead hamster. My words do not characterize the great ones, of course, like Roger Penrose, but rather the culture of the natural sciences.

So we learn that people are in agony because of the emptiness of the universe. Empty because something that never existed, has gone. For some the truth, no matter what it turns out to be, is invigorating,  but in Contact, the story is sketched that humanity aches for the loss of -- an illusion. We are assuming for the sake of this review, such is plausible.

Do scientists ever get out of the lab? They could at least try a little introspection. As Jan Cox said, you have a laboratory right here (and he would gesture to his skull). That might mitigate the intellectual vapidity of the conclusion of Contact. But our purpose now is just to sketch the issues as we see them in the movie Contact. Facing reality is tough, and only helped by the fact we have other people. That's the message of the movie. But the message is incoherent if examined. Why do these other people have to be on other planets. If other people is the answer, you do have masses of them in most malls. What does it matter if there are other people on other planets, if the existence of other people is the only anodyne for the loss of something which never existed. No one really doubts there are other people on this planet, so how does finding people on other planets ease one's pain?

We have, regardless of whether the book is more sensible than the movie, the unexamined suppostions of the world view of the average scientist, in this Hollywood production. I say unexamined because what is apparent in the movie is that science needs a devil. Now religion has been confused about the status of evil for millenia. That science needs a devil is a more interesting aspect of the modern world. And that devil, for science, is religious fundamentalism. And it has apparently never occurred to scientists that if they just ignored the representatives of that view, that maybe fundamentalism would fade away. But to ignore the fundamentalists would mean maybe, scientists seeing what they have in common with the fundamentalists. For these common factors, when compared to the direction of a Real Teacher, make science and religion alike in certain basic features. Science and religion you see, both, have to have this: religion and science both have to have a --story. Only a Real Teacher can imagine being just on the brink of a story, and being able to balance there. To be continued....

Monday, August 15, 2011

The article title is just an example

Released: 8/12/2011 1:10 PM EDT 
Source: University of California, San Diego

Newswise — Research conducted by a new member of the bioengineering faculty at the University of California, San Diego has demonstrated that a thin flexible, skin-like device, mounted with tiny electronic components, is capable of acquiring electrical signals from the brain and skeletal muscles and potentially transmitting the information wirelessly to an external computer. 

This quote has an unintended amusing aspect, and that aspect might reflect on unexamined assumptions of the natural sciences. I say this because you HAVE a brain machine interface whenever you pick up a hammer, hit something with a hammer, or invent a new kind of  hammer. That is brain machine interfacing. Still we all understand the use in the article excerpt above, of the phrase "brain machine interface." We understand the writer means to convey the goal of a bodyless brain machine interface.
We understand possibly because we share this unexamined dream of the mind as separate from the body, that so-called mind body dualism, even though there is no evidence to support it. Yet the scientists dream. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Aren't you curious

'Orange' not only has no rhymes, it has no synonyms....what gives....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Revolting revolts

Ever read a history book? Ever felt reassured by those explanations of say, the Russian revolution---the privations and inadequate leadership in the war with Germany....da da. da da. pushed the people to the brink of revolt?
The best explanations are but beads on a string, moments lined up in an order, and then pronounced, "an explanation." Can we step back a minute?

In 1381 (now there is a historic sounding date) peasants revolted in England. We read that later: "Polish...peasants killed over 1000 noblemen and destroyed 474 manors in 1846." And this is just the iceberg of the tip. There are always oppressed classes, there is always stupid leadership. Always. So an explanation would minimally, have to say why, in the midst of oppressed classes, the revolt took place when it did. 

When the president of the United States says, (words to this effect,) what is the matter with those bankers? don't they understand I am the only thing standing between them and the pitchforks?, we hear the words of a man who believes in intelligence, who believes in historical explanations. There may be alternative understandings for those with a peculiar intent. 

Gurdjieff refers to the conditions leading to political revolt as needing a certain wave of mystical experiences in the population. Jan Cox referred  to history being dreams. (I daresay he meant historical 'explanations'.)

My point is not that there is no understanding these phenomena. But that an interesting explanation would need to have a sense of the complexity of human reality, a complexity lacking in the intellectual classes. 

Such a complexity cannot be pursued linearly. A progress that countenances real complexity is pursued at the level of both cosmology and psychology, to use the words of Jan Cox. That is, one studies one's inner world and the outer world both, in an ongoing fashion. The question of method is not something one would discuss in a public forum, however. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Garrison Keillors selection of poem for his Writer's Almanac on July 31, 2011

You don't believe

by William Blake

You don't believe — I won't attempt to make ye.
You are asleep — I won't attempt to wake ye.
Sleep on, sleep on, while in your pleasant dreams
Of reason you may drink of life's clear streams
Reason and Newton, they are quite two things,
For so the swallow and the sparrow sings.
Reason says 'Miracle', Newton says 'Doubt'.
Aye, that's the way to make all Nature out:
Doubt, doubt, and don't believe without experiment.
That is the very thing that Jesus meant
When he said: 'Only believe." Believe and try,
Try, try, and never mind the reason why.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What a clever blog post you wrote

Funny how giving a compliment to someone, can be merely an assertion of one's dominance over the compliment recipient. The giver of praise is assuming their own ability to evaluate the other person and generalize about a particular situation. The compliment giver gets the last word. Those who studied with Jan Cox, the 20th century philosopher, may recall the importance he gave to not being submissive. In one sense, it was the thrust of his writing. 

Reality and Theater

Once you study the question it is apparent that there are no cats in the canon of great plays.  And this leads one to speculate that this situation relates to the fact cats are famously untrainable.  They would therefore merely add a chaotic element to a theatrical situation. How much of a stretch is it to imagine that cats are reality, and the theater stage, human consciousness? If this is a useful metaphor, then one understands why mystics, such as Jan Cox, look elsewhere than man's verbal facility for any so-called secrets. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The small Print

Management is not responsible for thoughts left in parked skulls

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Giant questions

It seems like most mythologies have a story about their origins that involve giants. The Greeks, the Norse, the Irish. That is, there are stories of a conflict between us and  --- people that are much larger than oneself or one's neighbors. Giants who have their own goals which may not be those of our own. The fact the archaeological record does not contain evidence of these giants, emphasizes the puzzling aspect and uniformity of these stories. As Jan Cox, who revolutionized the practice of mysticism in the last century, often said, "what gives?"

Without assuming I have anything like an answer, here are some thoughts that came to mind on this topic. What if, the use of the term 'giants, ' is a way of confronting the fact that we, us ordinary humans, are, ourselves, best described, as 'puny.'  A way, like looking at something in a reflection, of dealing with something that would be too crippling if directly confronted. And if my thoughts have any value, this line of reasoning suggests this use of mirrors to deal with dilemmas, is really basic in the human psyche. 

One result of men thinking their survival depends on outwitting 'giants,' is that men are here grasping fundamentals of reality,  whether their foes are giant, or they themselves, small and ineffective physically. To me it is obvious, men are, looking out at a starry sky, small in terms of what they can survey.  It sometimes seems that this reality emphasizing perspective has been lost by many today, who see MEN as giants, that is people who are "on the verge of figuring out all of nature's secrets." One can wonder, surely, how realistic this shift is.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Approaching the question of the nature of freedom

Even though it is independence day in the USA I am probably the only blogger talking about independence from the mechanical mind. But at least my example is rooted in the fight for freedom among abolitionists and black people in the next to last century, freedom from blatantt external oppression, a fight which generally must succeed prior to an inquiry into the real limiting factors to freedom. 

John Brown, and his raid on Harper's Ferry in 1859  --- demonstrates a peculiar but universal quality of mechanical thought---the sense one has of the clarity of one's verbal conclusions. 

John Brown saw so clearly how much suffering slavery caused, he saw it clearly---so he planned a whole revolt based on the assumption that the downtrodden would rise to his call for revolution. The slaves were miserable and Brown's whole plan was that the slave population of Virginia would rise up once they heard his verbal rallying cry. It was so clear in his mind. You gather your followers so far, you get control of the arms and ammunition in the neighborhood, and then the black people in Virginia will rush to your banner. 

Some people see John Brown today as a martyr, some as insane, but my point here is that he is the exemplar of ordinary thought. His air tight conclusions were so vivid and so irrefutable, that he is remembered even now for a hopeless sally against a bastion of the slave owning south. The point is the faith he placed in his calculations. 

What he is not is a fool. Today the natural scientists display the same reliance on ordinary binary thought when they divide those without science degrees into the "scientifically literate" and the creationists. To most scientists today to speak of varieties of religious experience, is to speak of the subjective and pointless.
They and John Brown are both good examples of that aspect of ordinary thought which can be partially characterized as a clarity of convictions. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Illusions, Optical lllusions, and Statistics

Lovely bit found at the news aggregater, Newswise, and linked to here--
Neuroscientists Find Famous Optical Illusion Surprisingly Potent
Newswise — Scientists have come up with new insight into the brain processes that cause the following optical illusion...

There follows in the article a link  to a youtube video which clearly demonstrates this effect---after a certain kind of motion your brain continues to see that motion in things which are NOT actually moving. Aristotle noticed this "optical illusion."

Now a scientist at the University of Rochester has pinpointed an area of the brain where this illusion originates. According to the article scientists are carrying on research next to determine if this illusion is beneficial.

What they neglected to look for was an area of the brain where the effect that '"any explanation whatsoever" makes a researcher feel he has found a sufficient explanation', originates. 

An example, of the kind of aspect neuroscientists are mostly oblivious to, would be --  what if -- What if the so-called Motion Aftereffect illusion is so strong because it supports the mechanical illusion that having thoughts is the same thing as thinking. An illusion quite beneficial to the orderly and progressive development of civilization. One thought after another, like a line of elephants in parade, constantly moves through your mind, at least--that is the impression. Closer scrutiny reveals each thought/ I mean elephant, is actually just a statue, a statue on a conveyor belt.  Itself not moving at all. And still everyone on the planet would say, yes my thoughts are alive, they engage. But if they are actually NOT in motion, then some greater Real Motion, might be really moving, beyond the apprehension of man's mechanical intelligence. 

Meeh, why should I give them clues, though. Still some might wonder if, there are not people, who are, as we speak, investigating that conveyor belt. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Existential Angst and Anomie --- Resolved

At least one case of Existential Angst and Anomie has been resolved. 

My neighbor's new puppy came home from the park carrying a twig in its mouth.


The retriever gene kicked in. 

No more -- who am I? No more -- what's it all about? No more -- dark night of the soul.

Just sweet, confident action based on real knowledge. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hacking verbal reality

So this morning I open my email and read this headline--Lulzsecurity and Anonymous are joining forces. These are the names of two hacker groups who may or may not have the noble purpose of highlighting weak cyber security in the political areas on the planet known collectively as "the west."

The headline started me thinking about the topic of this post to American Mysticism. Because here you have labels and with these labels you have the feeling you understand -- more. And yet, how could you really understand what is going on with these groups -- because if you really understood you would be able to stop their incursions into corporate and government computer systems. Wouldn't you? Wouldn't understanding mean being able to code "better" than these folks? And yet, we have just by using labels a sense that we know what is going on here. And that is the nature of verbal reality, the words prevent you from grasping --- your own ignorance. 

Without knowing what you don't know, what you know, what you think you know --- is dubious. 

By the time I was on my second cup, this headline--
"Suspected LulzSec leader arrested." I wonder, does someone thinks aha, we do know something about these hacker groups, or else we would not have caught someone.

Because my choice of news items is as an example, of verbal reality, and how it obscures other reality, and how we do not notice, notice --- where the accent of reality resides.... The hacker story continues, because it is part of the magic show which must go on. The intellectual show continues, it has to, it has to fill up the verbal space so no one notices, how flimsy, how gauzy, the words are, how beside the point, are the words. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Flying on metal

Maybe reality is an aluminum fence---the hormonal metal has metallic polish over it, a coating of ideas. And sometimes a blue bird flies, not over, but through, the fence. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Words are like fire

Words are like fire. When they are out of control -- as they are all the time for modern man -- they can only be managed by bare areas with no fuel. These bare areas could be like the mystic's inner quiet, not totally word free -- not totally bare -- , but with the volume turned down, the ground cleared of most obstructing fuel. 

Of course before then one must see there even is a problem, their problem; a challenge since there are "no problems" to use the phraseology of Jan Cox. Words are the basis of man's civilization and civilizational progress. Really the second sentence above is misleading to the extent that 'out of control' ignores the larger forces of containment, but this subject is even more difficult to address, and not the current topic. 

Like fire, words cannot be allowed to rule, if an individual's goal is to understand the world and his world. The nature of a discipline which allows the containment of fire, of verbal reality, is rare in life, and non-existent if your only information is books or the internet.  And this is related to the importance of pressure for real change. This pressure is not conveyable at a distance. For all practical purposes. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This quote from an advertisement on the web

"Personal Urns (Keepsake Sized)

"Keepsake sized Personal Cremation Urns are the latest in custom personalized cremation urns. They are created from one or two photographs with exceptional attention to details. With advances in facial analysis and the advent of state of the art 3D imaging, these high tech urns can be made to look like anyone. The full sized personal urn can hold all the ashes of an adult. For holding just a portion of the ashes, we recommend the keepsake sized personal urns.

The personal urn does not come with hair. For hair we can digitally add hair if you wish, as you can see with our sample of president Obama. For people with longer hair we can add a wig from your specifications. This cremation urn comes on an elegant solid marble base. A Plaque and nameplate are also available.

Personal cremation urns can be designed to look like anyone. We just need good pictures. We prefer one picture from the front and one from the side. Complexions can be adjusted in the final stages and customers get a chance to proof the results."

A huck would lave it, I read this immediately after the previous post. I quote it at length to show the difference between a person with some degree of awareness, and a normal lively person (the urn imagined below) who is mostly  mechanical. MY point, not that of the advertisement of course, but rather a chance to picture, the mechanical person, which I am thinking is nicely pictured by the idea of a copy of their head, full of their ashes. Hope this isn't too gross. Of course my real point is to specify two inner points, of many, on a gradient between dead, and not just alive, but mentally evolved beyond the crowd, what the book readers call an awakened person. (No such thing but that is another story.) To appreciate my point consider the difference between any living person, and a statue of them. The difference might present a chasm  to those trying to evolve faster than the normal pace. 

Are words are kind of mausoleum of reality

Got this picture: words are kind of mausoleum of reality after reading this quote--

"Mausoleum, noun. The final and funniest folly of the rich. -Ambrose Bierce, author and editor (1842-1914) "

My extension would fit---words are a kind of death----no one speaks aloud and is awake at that moment, not Jan Cox, not Gurdjieff, to say nothing of the cloud of wannabees who had one forkful of cake  and think they are a pastry chef.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Poets and philosophers

Poets and philosophers have both contributed to the literature of mysticism. One difference between them, is that poets have no glimpse of what sustained patience can accomplish. The little it can, is the difference between being able to stand back, and enjoy the growth that stress can enable, and succumbing to the troughs of the machinery. 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

So God Is a Forger, huh?????

Okay, I cannot resist
Here is a contemporary headline---like this week, of May 14, 2011

Is the Bible full of 'forgeries'?

BibleA biblical scholar has raised a holy fuss by declaring that more than a third of the books of the New Testament were "forged" — that is, written by scribes other than the apostles to which they've been ascribed. By itself, the suggestion that nearly half of Paul's epistles....

For starters, God didn't write the Bible?  Are we charging god with forgery? If he made the world, can't he do what he wants? If he inspired people, aren't they just being tacky by claiming they wrote something themselves anyway?
Alright, enough with the jokes. And so much for that childhood.
Forged huh? You know, what I grew up believing, that god wrote the bible,  might be closer to reality. Can someone fake being awake? If the author of those books did a better job than the person they were supposed to be by, what is the harm here, harm in the sense of diminishing a spiritual tradition. At least in the medieval European period, art was not signed, people did not imagine that an individual could claim credit for what was an act of worship. This whole idea of individualism might be a lack of historical imagination. So could we be misunderstanding historical reality by even raising the question whether some books of the bible were forged?

Am I going to have to read this article, to find out if any of these questions are mentioned?  Nah.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Of COURSE he was set up

This talk, speculating about how a banker might have been "set up" is amusing really. The French say, well the Americans, they do not protect the rich like we do." What, we don't? No one will notice this incident with a banker is just a classic case of misdirection on life's part. Look over here, while the real changes are elsewhere. After how many episodes of taking your luck for granted, and then, the gears shift, in larger mechanical churnings beyond a specific pool of people, and the result, must be, what --- explained. The explanation is  part of the misdirection. Like World War II, and the shock about the camps. It is not that the histories written to explain the war are wrong, it is that these explanations function to obscure the real significance, -- that any country could have played the role Germany did. Or what Jan Cox pointed out, the news about lottery winners, that news is that you will NOT be a lottery winner, that is the news. So what is the explanation this time? ---that the rich will have their comeuppance, that America is a country where the rich are not spoiled, that justice will prevail. Stories dear reader, explanations, to deflect your attention from what is really going on. Of course he was set up, we all are. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dogs Don't Get Sarcasm

Dogs Don't Get Sarcasm. This I noticed when, as the pooch was, as it seemed with a single huge tongue slurp, cleaning out several cat food bowls, I said: don't let me get in your way. No response at all. Rather like, I imagine, gods treat human speech.  At least mechanical, that is typical, human speech. Okay, good point, all human speech.

Just Think It

"Just do it," says Nike, and they really mean, just give us money.  But I am finding the phrase useful in that it describes human behavior. It is just done, nothing is planned. But people are programmed not to see this. My use of the word programmed does not imply a "planner,"somewhere,  though I am perhaps just avoiding a larger metaphysical topic which must be investigated by any student concerned to grasp the meaning of the words of the 20th century mystic, Jan Cox. People do not perceive the actual mechanical and helpless nature of their actions, and this situation is encouraged by the fact words, ideas, are, to most, and to all of those adults who have never experienced real effort in their lives, but ideas are something people in actuality treat as objects on a mantel. Words are -- for the mechanical reality in which all of us are often immersed, -- just objects on a mental mantel. The actual structural function of words is part of a path few even know about, and fewer walk towards or on. Actions and thoughts are equally the result of helpless mechanical outcomes. Thinking, real thought, is invisible to humanity at large, humanity loose, comparable to the way in which dark matter is extant now in the thoughts of astrophysicists. That is, most people never even dream of it. Though rumors abound.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Alternate Fairy Tale Version

Are Weddings Obsolete? Weddings are, contrary to common misconceptions, for men. To be blunt,
women, generally speaking, know who the fathers of their children are.
Men, have our word for who the father is. Now is not the place to
explain why our word may not be enough to give men confidence about
the paternity of their offspring. But weddings function to maintain
faith in lineage. We have weddings for the same sentimental reasons
that tomcats kill kittens. A far more ancient motivation than any
individual could muster is at play here. And is it not lovely how life
whirls us around to the point that most people think weddings are for
the bride. Not really though. Now that we have DNA testing, perhaps we
won't need a ceremony, at which (crucially) guests attend, and vows
are repeated, vows about fidellity and so on. I guess the real
question is, is wedding cake obsolete? That idea, surely, is outrageous.

The Royal Wave

Jan Cox drew our attention to that "royal wave." Stalin, Idi Amin, and
of course royalty all over, have a distinctive hand wave in their
relating to crowds. The wave is both acknowledging and distancing. I
am not quoting Jan here, I don't recall his commentary. But once you
start looking for the royal wave it is interesting and standard. There
is something bloodchilling about it's robotic self-satisfaction. The
royal wave views with satisfaction the herd's need for a leader.
And this morning at Britain's Buckingham Palace balcony, there was one
perfect royal wave---the youngest flower girl. Three years old, a
woman, and she had it perfectly. Surely it will show up in some video.
Kate doesn't quite have it yet, she wiggles her fingers too much.
William's wave also is a bit personal. That child's wave though---she
got it.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Is monarchy Life's experiment with ordinary objectivity

Simon Schama is one of the leading historians in the world, and one I read with enthusiasm. He is a famous guy. He recently spoke in a televised interview (Charley Rose) about the shallowness of the British monarchy. Schama told a story about a luncheon he attended with "just a few other guests" and the husband of the Queen. Prince Philip at this luncheon looked at Schama and said, "You're a writer?" Schama did not need to elaborate on how such phrasing reflected the speaker's bored disdain and ultimate ignorance, masked as polite sociability.

This instance of British boorishness, which Prince Philip instantiates, is actually a shining example of how a more awakened man, to use the phrase Gurdjieff and Jan Cox, made familiar, would treat his own mechanical, that is, verbal, views.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Feathers of Tomorrow

No doubt every person on the planet would watch the upcoming monarchy event, the wedding, if they understood one thing. Those hats---represent an inarticulate faith--a  belief in the possibility of freedom, of romance, of success in human struggle. And such beliefs are surely true in some universe. The hats, which is what we shall see the most of on the telly, are the tendrils of a cosmos designed by human mentation. You see, weddings are for men. Women know how silly men's ideas are, about causation. But for one day, women pretend to go along. Those hats are the belief that a grain of sand can by itself, compose a beach. And I myself, toss MY hat in the air at least once every thirty years at the cuteness of such concepts.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Ordinary Is In the Details

Jan Cox, in one of his wonderful cartoons, drew a chicken. One of his students said, doesn't that chicken need feathers? or maybe the student said, more feathers? Jan said something to the effect--the details are where imagination is. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

In Praise of Confetti, part conclusion

My last post, In Praise of Confetti, was restated in an article in The Telegraph newspaper. Huh, I am supposed to be saying stuff that is new, not something you can read in a major newspaper. Oh well, live and live.

Friday, April 22, 2011

In Praise of Confetti

The British monarchy is getting a lot of kicks lately: Simon Schama, the historian, Martin Amis the novelist, and others are taking this season of celebrating egg resources (yes I refer to the wedding of William and Kate here, simply at the functional level of heredity) as a time to highlight the bovine intelligence of royalty. Thereby they merely draw attention to the mechanical intellect's own lack of insight: were human intelligence so important there would be more of it in the cosmos. Because the whole, cannot be comprehended by a linear intellect which assumes the verbal mind can draw sufficient conclusions about the greater whole of which we are apart. Since this is not the function of the mechanical intellect, the success of those verbal points are not even in question. The academics assume those who disagree with their assessment are limited, rather than looking upon the possible limitations of their own mechanical summaries. An interesting lesson to be drawn is that the limitations of mechanical thought never even occur to such Oxford luminaries. Pondering the function of spectacle, and the triumph of the so-called mediocre, pondering objectively, is a possible path to greater insight. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This is not about reliquaries as physical equivalents of verbal reality

A book review of  Holy Bones, Holy Dust, (by Charles Freeman) which examines the medieval fascination with relics, grabbed my thoughts. Though I just read the review, it had some amazing facts, like that:

In 1239, King Louis IX of France bought the Crown of Thorns (as worn by Jesus at the Crucifixion) from Venice for 135,000 livres – more than half the king’s annual budget. Venice had got it, and some other relics of Christ’s Passion such as the Holy Lance and the Holy Sponge, from the ruler of Byzantium as surety for a loan of 13,134 gold pieces. And when Louis had acquired all of these relics, he constructed the Sainte Chapelle in Paris – the most sumptuous building of its kind in Europe – to hold them.

The review mentions that one function of the relics was they encouraged folk to go on pilgrimages to view these wonders for themselves. Which gave me a perspective of the difference in the greater machinery of life, then, compared to now. In the 13th century roads were bad, horses were only for rich people, and I have read (elsewhere) that most people lived their whole lives within  the sound of their own village church bells.
Nowaday viruses and people encircle the whole globe in hours. And in this comparison we can see perhaps the greater machinery functioning: in 1300 the need was to make sure people literally moved MORE, an issue arugably of the circulatory system of humanity. The need was for people to literally move physically, more. Voila, pilgrimages, and the rusty machinery is moved slowly but surely around a unsuspected (by most) crankshaft. Well, they would have called the crankshaft god. Another story.
Anyway, today with our slippery ways, the need for the machinery, getting larger, is for the bolts in the machinery, (in places) to be tightened, to allow the greater movement of the whole machinery, but a stable movement, so we have a different perspective. Now the machinery needs tightening in some places, perhaps as a stand for this growth. And what do we have--the internet, and of course this serves many purposes, but one---is to keep those bolts snug, by sitting our seats longer in one place. The opposite of the 13th century. Well not the opposite, but that's also another story. Our chairs before the flickering screen of apparent life, are a way to slow certain aspects of the machinery. All interbalanced of course, this machinery, and my views are just to open up a perspective for thinking of it all. 
One thought resultant from this speculation is that the differences between the 13th century and the 21st, are not those commonly assumed. Not religion versus science, but issues of circulation, stability, and the growth of Humanity. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sycamore pods fill the air

Sycamore pods fill the air.

The single wing is born by the wind and twirls so that it really looks like a winged insect. Whole vistas can be filled with these ambitious sprigs. The wind moves them in an upward direction and an unseen determination to make the most of this chance can be deduced.  This spring phenomenon is proof of the sycamore's desire to fill the planet, and for a quiet moment each spring you can believe in that massive whole leafed effort to turn the world into sycamore.
Same with everything really, you just notice it in spring, this drive for abundance. Only by attempting to exceed a reasonable target, can any target be accomplished at all. So there are breeding cats, cardinals, bees 
When Jan Cox said that cause and effect was an illusion, that everything was really just "mushed together," (sorry for the technical language) he might have been glancing at my point here. 
Words too, they bounce up and down on the wind, determine to reach some far shore, to cover everything, to take over. Like leaves they give it their all, before descent and dust. Some wonder if words can't have unforeseen consequences, injurious angles. That is only a matter for concern if your perspective is not big enough. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

All the historians and scientists need to start a trek to amazing reality

Normally this blog, designed to enhance and extend the reputation of the 20th century mystic and philosoper Jan Cox, does not quote him in large chunks, feeling, as the author does, such is available elsewhere. And a central technique was not repeating anything you heard, -- anything you heard inside or externally. You had to see for yourself what he called the psychological (internal) and the cosmological (external.) Still----always--his words are superior, and, his silences unimitatable. And so we have this, written before he died. What if it is true?

The feeling that man must be "saved" from something coincided with the appearance
of his thinking...which coincided with the disappearance of something else.
And now -- periodically -- he has the sensation of a loss of such significance that
he indeed feels as though he may be in danger of premature destruction, from which
he needs be saved.

Note: There is available, for all purely "human problems, a direct, uncomplicated cure –
the abandonment of the refusal to see what's going on in the human mind.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Swaying in the wind

It must be men-on-ladders day. High on a billboard they are adjusting ropes and ladders, while on a platform. And simultaneously around a few corners, a man on a two story ladder, one resting atop a truck,  is changing light bulbs in shopping center street lamps. The view from these heights, not like the ones the car drivers glance into, is sure to be different than most people in traffic have. Further, with tree tops below you....
And, like those who patiently pursue an inner discipline, intended to gain the heights of objectivity, there is a genetic element. Not speaking for sure of the guys I saw today, but apparently the window washers of skyscrapers are often indians who may have a squirrel like disdain to considers the narrowness of high perches. Jan Cox said there was an inherited talent, tendency for those attracted to what he sometimes called, This Kind of Thing----this need to be free. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

It wasn't snakes that got kicked out of the garden

It was not snakes that got kicked out of the garden. Yet people act as
if hacking them up will allow the killer back into a certain garden.
Nobody talks about the declining snake population, not even
scientists, yet it is part of the shrinking population of reptiles.
And we desperately need snakes. Without snakes rodents increase in
population, and the two legged types will buy poison to get rid of
what snakes will get rid of without polluting everybody's gardens and
rivers. Leave that wood pile alone. Keep some parts of your yard
unmowed. If you are personally afraid of snakes, keep a walking stick
to poke ahead in your path. Snakes only want to avoid your presence. I
will not mention keeping snakes confined as pets. Nobody that would
read my blogs would do something so contemptible.

And P.S. --just like mysticism is the skeleton of literature, snakes
are the skeleton of man's real awareness.

P.P.S--of course if you live in Belize, ie, already in the garden,
different guidelines might apply.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What is ignorance

What is ignorance, is a question most would not find interesting, yet
it may be at the heart of a spiritual anthropology.

Most would not find this question interesting because they assume they
know what ignorance is. Here is the typical view of personal
ignorance. All mature persons at some point assume that ignorance is a
measurable commodity.

The idea that ignorance is a measurable commodity, or perhaps,
unquestioned, working assumption that ignorance is a measurable
commodity, explains a lot. From the pathetic, 'I have learned from my
mistakes,' to the spit in the wind, 'our reactors meet all the safety
requirements, ' a picture of operant assumptions about man's ignorance
can be sketched. The boxcar beyond the horizon is big enough to
contain all that we do not know, both as individuals or as a society,
is a metaphor of this working view of ignorance. Or---. If knowledge
is a gumball machine, then ignorance is just one of the gumballs that
is still heaped in the glass dome---that is the view of human
knowledge and ignorance prevalent in society, from university
presidents, to the bottom of the middle class.

Step back though---how could it be that ignorance is something one can
factor in? Does that not assume that we know what we say we do not.
And--Real Ignorance is extant. Real ignorance surrounds,
interpenetrates, and pricks out the horizon, of ---- our thoughts. The
man intent on figuring out wtf is going on, is given in this essay a
big hint, on how to proceed.

If one could examine, and test, one's own ignorance and ideas of it,
one would be on the path to ---someplace interesting.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A stitch in space loses fine

Scientists rue the crackpots---those with tinfoil clocks. The person who perseveres with the methods of self-observation (to use Gurdjieff's phrase) views the religious, those who pronounce about god, rather than questoining man, rather similarly. Unlike either though, he has no time to rule the obvious.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Selecting shells by the seashore

Is not the phrase "self decorating species" a fair description of us homo  hopefullysapiens? They found shells with holes drilled in them that are 75,000 years old ( Blombos.). Apparently as soon as man thought anything, he thought of changing his appearance --- by wearing jewelry. And this helps us understand that phrase in Genesis, that what those paradise dwelling folks did wrong, was get the knowledge of good and evil. Never could figure that out, why would learning something be a bad thing. But maybe it fits in. Maybe even then some of us knew that good and evil is not a classification of verities. That to use this kind of phrase means that one takes the words seriously, rather than the things words refer to. In other words the final reason for the expulsion is they KEPT discussing reality in binary terms, not that they got some insight. So men got the boot because they could not separate fiction from fiction. Women of course were a separate case---they are still doing the innocent silly things you do if you come from a rib. Do you think if I wear a necklace he won't notice how skinny my hips are? (In those days, that's what they worried about---skinny---hips.) 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Snacking on philosophy

Todays New York Times  (March 15, 2011) has an article in the science section about the ambiguities surrounding vegetarian choices. Really I am not sure why this article was published since nothing new is added to the research end. The points made, that plants struggle to survive, that plants warn each other of danger, that plants can detect when their green neighbors are similar genetically to themselves, and so-- therefore, the fact that they are not so apparently similar to ourselves does NOT mean that they can be eaten with the clear conscience that they have no pain reactions, (since their behavior suggests very much that they are reluctant to be harvested.) For the writer of this article the question becomes: how can vegetarians justify eating vegetables on the grounds plants are dissimilar to animals, including ourselves. 

No new research here, but---what we do have is a wonderful example of binary thought. That is: two options, and only two, are possible answers to a question, and one answer, is clearly not allowable----man does not know. The examination of ordinary mechanical thought which stresses the binary aspect of man's mentation is critical to the points made by the twentieth century philosopher, Jan Cox. Only someone with an ability to focus their attention on the personal edge of current currents, will comprehend his point that either or choices are merely functional for rearranging the external world. Reality is better described as both/and if one is to continue an objective examination of the what-is. 

Seen in this light the question of the New York Times writer, what can we consistently eat if we want to avoid harm to fellow creatures who are sentient and have their own agenda, is a rhetorical flourish with no intellectual gain. The choice between intellectual consistency OR a full stomach, is a false dilemma like all binary choices which attempt a complexity beyond dam building (which after all beavers can do). To really perceive and live in the light of what is--a momentary glance, most of the time,--  is to know the wordless reality of what is appropriate for oneself at a certain moment. Socrates knew this, and some since. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What if life is just a screen saver?

We look at an idle computer, and our screen saver kicked in. We can pick a screen saver we like, from a finite number of options. There is no need for screen savers with modern computers and still we have them. Isn't that like life---or is it ---life? For most people is a screen saver. For all, except---scientists and engineers, those who rearrange the external world. The latter may get something besides a screen saver---they may see wall paper when they focus on what is going on. Is that all?
One merely makes a conjecture, but what about those whom history remembers as saints, and I include here Jan Cox and Gurdjieff, regardless of their current esteem by historians?  Their knowing may resemble strings of binary code, or even trinary code. Something that can be translated, but not for most the components of conscious thought. Just a guess, but---in the words of Jan Cox, "it would explain a lot." Though not electricity.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Occult Objectivity

Jan Cox said once, that he only ever talked about one thing. And each night he spoke there were fresh maps, because it could be fatal to think to yourself, I heard that before, I know what he's talking about. Because an ordinary person could not. Because Jan was pointing beyond words. His aim was for us to be able to do this ourselves. The "how" of the method is not the current topic.  My newest phrase for the method, is, occult objectivity. Occult because the student should never appear strange to the world--the audience should not have their eyes drawn to something that in fact was motivated by the energy behind attention seeking. Objectivity because the method enables seeing the interstices of science, the gaps in theory, the horizon of ignorance. Occult because one must be hidden to oneself. Objectivity because in the reality of the shared edge of inward and outward lies what is. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tumbling tombs

Consider the importance of tombs to archeology. The progress of this science is largely dependent on tombs to evaluate and discover preliterate cultures. The discovery of a tomb with treasures is always an opportunity to learn, and any tomb furnishings open the door to knowledge, and many times graves are not just a main source of knowledge, they are the only source.

In literate societies you might assume the task of reconstructing the past to be different. Such is not substantially the case however. When you realize that words themselves, the record of which defines the beginning of human history, are a form of tomb, the possibility for a knowledge ignored by scientists is extant. Reality that is captured in words is AT BEST, only the past, never the present. So in a sense you are still not able to access an eye-witness account. Not keeping this aspect of linguistic reality in mind, hinders any apprehension of a real present, much less, what might have been a past reality.

The recognition of the reality of tombs allows a kind of knowledge, if that recognition is persistently pursued. The fresh, unbreathed before, air is in realizing the difference in horizons, in distinctions, like that between, 'there is no life after death', a binary phrase, and, the words of Jan Cox, only superficially similar, "there is no evidence of life after death." 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Smelling Bee

A Smelling Bee is the level on which the real W.O.R.K. operates. (W.O.R.K., being the acronym used by Jan Cox for Way of Real Knowledge)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Jeopardy quiz show was lots of fun

The Jeopardy quiz show was lots of fun. I refer especially to the shows featuring IBM's natural language computer. It was fun to watch, not for the answers, but for the players, and by that I mean the host, and the IBM programmers interviewed. The conclusion to the game seems to be that the computer beat the people playing the game. But that is not what happened, and thereby lies entertainment on another level.
The answers Watson the computer, gave, were easy because all the answers in its databanks were "correct." The computer could only chose to answer the question based on picking an answer supplied in some gigaencyclopedic dump. Nothing required an intelligence that observed, that experimented, that could come up with something new. Neither can a human, of course, using their own binary verbal intelligence. But while humans can come up with answers regardless of their own pervasive ignorance of their intellectual wiring, a computer can only, ever, rearrange the pieces on the board, the chalk lines on the grass, and never really deal with the new, that breath of the future that prevents the whole house of cards from collapsing on itself. Jan Cox found the whole idea of artificial intelligence amusing, and I suspect my points above may have been part of the reason.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is 'Watson" the heart of human intelligence?

Is "Watson" the heart of human intelligence? This is the description given by an IBM engineer involved in developing this computer. The answer would depend on one's ability to appreciate the nature of human rationality---the human brain has a verbal level which depends on binary thought. A common assumption among academics is that this verbal level is the depth and dimensions of human intelligence.  Actually those academics are incorrect, but let's pretend there is some legitimacy to this stance. Watson's success in answering natural language questions is a sham. All the answers have already been stored in the computer. There is no environmental interplay and learning which involves dealing with a chaotic interface to an external world. All the answers Watson discovers are right, because the computer only has RIGHT answers stored in it. A human binary brain, may seem limited compared to have have a million encyclopedias scanned into one's cranial cap, but even at the most limited view of the human brain, the view which actually ignores human experience and history, even this binary rattletrap, learns by interacting with a multivalent flow of energies which is only artificially divided into external and internal. Take the answer given on the Jeopardy show----Toronto. A mistake you say, but Toronto is the right answer to some question, just not the one that was asked. The human players on this revered game show, had to pick the right answer, not from a finite list of correct answers, but a infinite list of almost correct answers, mixed into the imbroglio. Reality at even the binary level is only superficially composed of alphabetical blocks. At any juncture there is an infinity of answers, which the players pick from, a job made easier by mechanical intelligence, but only superficially does this ease get confused with the crisp matrix of yes and no which the Watson engineers only can guess is the nature of reality.

But wait, the patient reader may protest, weren't you going to keep your response within the artificial and unreal limits of binary thought. Are you not pointing beyond the rational mind when you point out the chaotic edges of reality.
No. And I say no, we are still talking about binary thought, because the thinker can only ever stay with the limits of binary thought by imaginatively ignoring the reality that his cranial canvas is something unique to him. Since the binary thought extends from a broader organism called humanity, even the fiction that binary thought is the way a man thinks can only be maintained by allowing his individuality to remain unexamined. The human binary mind, can be compared to the natural language computer, ---both mechanical, both blissfully unaware of their limitations, but the human binary mind, still must, thrive, in a chaotic situation, or else the most mechanical mind, could not breathe.  Like slats in a fence perhaps, all measured out and fixed side by side, and nailed against a cross beam at intervals,  is that human mind at its most mechanical, but even then, and this is the point, it has to have slits between the slats, a view of a real chaos of the unexpected, to perform its mechanical function. Like a bee, adorablly mechanical, must still search for new flower patches.
And of course, we let up on Watson, just so we could make the argument seem fair. The human mind is not just a binary machine, though such is the main part of the verbal structure. And who will be able to see this point?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Is there a word that describes "it all?"

Is there a word that describes "it all?" A word like cosmos, but a
word which hints at the mechanics of reality, not just the beauty. You
might suggest verbalizable, but this does not suggest that which is
not verbalizable. The word that occurred to me is "knock-off." Jan Cox
expressed a comparable idea when he pointed out that without real gold,
there would be no market for counterfeits. The thought that the world we talk about is a knock-off suggests a reflective quality of words. At the same time knock-off suggests there is a world which is unmediated by thought.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Paleolithic Sex

An artistic carving on a reindeer antler has been evaluated by archeologists, and their report will soon be published in the March issue of the Journal of Archaeological ScienceThe picture accompanying this preview is crucial to appreciating the points made below. So look at it. The scholarly concensus seems to be that this carving is 10,900 years old (radio carbon dating) and that the subject is a woman with spread legs. The symbolic value would seem to be a fertility ritual. Okay, if you have looked at this picture, and read the article accompanying it, you will notice, perhaps, that there could be other interpretations. First off----that is a figure of a woman and man in one body, and a quick guess would be it represents a union of natural and/or spiritual forces. That is not what the article says, but that part seems obvious to me, just from the photograph of the carving.
The meaning of the universal zigzag pattern around the figure is illuminated, by the stick figure,  if I am correct. You have the opposition of angles in the zigzag itself, perhaps connoting a recognition of the duality of forces controlling the world.Duality as in light/dark, male/female, hunger/satiation, etc.  If  (IF) this is an early evidence for man's rational intellect (binary thought, there are only ever two options) it would have been more powerful and creative at it's inception, and therefore more able to deal with complex spiritual realities (as opposed to today's mechanical intellect where binary connotes an inability to deal with novelty.) My thought that the figure represents of union, a transcendence of the dueling dualities, is strengthening by the positioning of the stick figure in relation to the zigzag. Notice the legs of the figure align with the zigzags opposite it, (to make a new pattern) and also there is a rhythmic flow with a different stretch of zigzag and the legs of the figure, so the effect is of a continuous zigzag pattern. 
Although modern academe would not appreciate the next point, I am comfortable stating that for the early thinkers of our species (and up until modern times) there was no opposition between facets of living, such a sex versus art versus religion versus science. The moment was whole and holy for those who were going to live a longer life than their neighbors. A focus on reality meant increased survival odds, as opposed to the modern era, where, at least temporarily, the silly and the irrelevant often thrive. 
There is a somewhat different version of this post at another blog of mine, at is just the last paragraph that is changed.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Robert Burns on Mirror Neurons

[from a Burns poem apparently criticizing Alexander Pope's ideas (the proper study of mankind is man)]

What pity, in rearing so beauteous a system,
One trifling particular, truth, should have miss'd

For, spite of his fine theoretic positions,
Mankind is a science defies definitions.

In the make of that wonderful creature, call'd Man,
No two virtues, whatever relation they claim,
Nor even two different shades of the same,
Though like as was ever twin brother to brother,
Possessing the one shall imply you've the other.

Burns here is critiquing Alexander Pope (author of "The Proper Study of Mankind is Man")
I am not sure of the title of the poem this is excerpted from, so here is the citation:
The works of Robert Burns: with Dr. Currie's memoir of the poet, and an essay on his genius and character, Volume 1, 1843
page 101. (free at

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Name for that Hue

Since the 1850's historians have discussed whether color vision was a capapcity of the human brain which had only recently been developed.  The evidence for the idea that our ancestors saw the world in fewer colors than those we see looking out on the world, is literary----the references to colors in texts.  Apparently black and white and red may have been the only colors apparent to the historic Greeks, for instance. 
So we may have misimagined the world of those we credit with inventing the modern world.  Regardless of the soundness of such surmises,  the spectrum of change intorduced by the discussion is provocative.  About the same time these ideas were tossed out, Darwin's idea that species could evolve was also bruited about.   Notice though that in the century plus since, no one has suggested that man's recent (since writing was invented)  mental capacity, his ability to reason, has also altered along with this flux glimpsed by the scientists and historians.  What if the ratiocinative powers of the human mind is itself mid evolution, what if there are colors of cerebral delights which man has yet to perceive.(experience in an ordinary and communal acceptable manner). What if the lonely philosopher who speaks of mysticism is merely an early evidence of intracranial evolution which will manifest in most people in coming centuries? What if the comments of a philosopher like Jan Cox, that ordinary man can only "count to two." (that is never see more than two choices regardless of the complexity facing that person) is evidence for my scenario. For one thing such a change might throw previous conclusions into doubt, make even a simple sentence subject to fracture on the racks of reality.  To absorb the significance of the idea the rational brain itsef is subject to something new under the black hole, is to confront the chance that all your conclusions could be flawed, retgardless of the extent a populace has embraced them. It may even be possible that change could happen mid sentence, and 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Making words translucent

Normally a blog about Jan Cox would not quote from someone not him, and partly because fresh phrasing goes along with fresh thinking. (Though fresh thinking is so much an understatement as to be very misleading). But, today we are quoting a newsletter by Anu Garg, about words, and today's word was:

limn -- verb tr.:
1. To portray in words.
2. To draw or paint, especially in outline. 

Via French, from Latin luminare (to illuminate), from lumen (light). Ultimately from the Indo-European root leuk- (light), which is also the source of words such as lunar, lunatic, light, lightning, lucid, illuminate, illustrate, translucent, lux, lynx, and lucubrate. Earliest documented use: 1440

And I quote the above because the word reminded me of Jan Cox: it was a word he used to describe what he was doing on stage, thousands of nights, to enable others to see in the direction he could. A task he shouldered knowing it was inherently contradictory---using words to point beyond words.  

Jan said once, that if you don't know the origins of a word you cannot use it correctly. His example that night was 'cakewalk.'  If you can wad up lightning, lynx, lunatic and translucent, in one instant, you might also get a glimpse of what he was pointing to.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Two Seas in a Pod part -- whatever

The juxtaposition of the enterprises of science and modern religion (that part of religion which scientists think is the core of religious thinking---creationism, more about that curious confusion later perhaps) was, in a recent post, meant to highlight the similarity of science and creationism. Creationists cling to a narrative of cause and effect, while scientists build on an unacknowledged faith in free will. The similarity being in their common ignorance of their own realities. Science and ordinary religion are together, like those silhouettes that shift shape when you peer at them. Shape shifting as shadows do, using the oldest metaphor I am aware of, Plato's (Socrates') story of shadows on a cave wall--shadows cast by real objects, only already, 2500 years ago, man was confusing the shape and the substance. Or, in a better known picture by Jan Cox, the map of the picnic table, and the food thereon. Most ants ate the map. Every day now, there is more map to eat. 


Zuckerberg's goal has been described as to change the world, to make it more social. Who can appreciate that this is an unwitting part of the mechanical machinery of life. Who can glimpse that the founder of facebook is talking about MORE words (making our reality more verbal) , that words----obscure, words obscure that which the real thinker strives to see, and given the always brief, (brief and unearned) sight, strives to remember, the verb of wordlessness. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two Seas in a Pod

A real thinker, a figure such as Jan Cox in the 20th century, finds scientists and creationists alike, similar to the way the two halves of a walnut in a shell are the same. The religionists for all their talk about god creating things, they still rely on a cause and effect narrative. So-and-so created the earth on a particular day....If there is some guy with a Santa Claus beard, out beyond the universe, winking at particular people, then, what can it mean to treat narrative order as of significance?? Why not create animals before you create the planets? It is because a standard narrative of cause and effect undergirds their thinking, regardless of what they say about the powers of a deity.

About scientists, I should point out first, Jan Cox and his students treated their work as the closest you could come to real facts, in a physical and verbalizable world.  His analysis of scientists themselves are included in his talk about intellectuals, and that is not my point now.  A real thinker though will empirically and rigorously pursue an analysis of the world without preconceptions. The scientists for instance, cling to a religious structure of the world. If you doubt this, pray point out a molecule of free will.  Yet most would faint before letting that illusion go, and all forget the significance of scientific data on the subject of man's free will, just as soon as the flashbulbs stop popping in their minds. The faith of scientists in free will is touching, and very instructive. A real thinker follows the evidence regardless of its cost.

About the similarity of scientists and creationists, in a way it's an easy shot, they are both unsuspecting believers in the power of words. And they put their faith in the possibility of periods. Their hissing at each other is is the mechanical whirring of machines, who have no idea what is really going on. 

Some will find strength in their quest to figure out what is really going on, by recalling that such men as those I label now, 'real thinkers' did persevere.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Odds and odds

Some topics I may expand on, or not, this new year:

Why are Kings and Queens known just by their first names. Oh I know everybody (in the western world anyway) did without surnames til  sometime around 1200.  But that is never the whole story. Jan Cox pointed to the fact, that cause and effect are not even separable. There are always lots of perfectly good explanations for anything. Perhaps we need to shave the ideas of those scientists who refuse to even envisage this latter point.

Did Jane Austen save the world from Naziism. My point here, was, besides being cute, that there does seem to be a qualitative difference between French and English literature. What about German literature, apart from the fact I know nothing about German literature? But the English and French if you compare DIckens and Balzac, as representative of a national identity----have this difference, Dickens wants to sway your heart. Balzac wants to stab you with his pen. His deadly ACCURATE delineations would seem to leave no place for community. Then of course we need to connect Austen and Dickens, learn something more about German literature since it is perhaps too cheap to get the French in by pointing out how quickly they capitulated. My point being of course that these figures are representative. Need some work here.

Poor Jean Toomer. I was just reading that Henry Louis Gates is sorry for him because he (Toomer) passed for white. Toomer was a student of Gurdjieffs. Putting yourself in new situations and "acting" is a way to learn about yourself.  Gates is way off here.

Anti-intellectualism. Is it more than the sleeping common condition of humanity? It seems like a particularly modern form of ugliness. Which since the mind has assumed to certain distinct ascendency in modern times, might be a factor.

Words---should do an essay on how they have a persuasiveness that is not noticed. Just by being spoken, words have a compelling quality. They for a brief second have their own validity just by being spoken.

How to explain in abstract scientific terms that you will never explain consciousness in words, because consciousness IS words, and to glimpse consciousness you need to get above it.