Category: psychology & philosophy
encapsulates the mystery of meaning. The moment of recognition
happens as if by magic; and yet, when we reflect on it, we see- its
very name tells us this-that it is impossible without prior
experience. What becomes puzzling then is the phenomenon
of insight, the creation (apparently) of new meaning. Here, we
forget that to recognize can mean to re-think, as in think through
differently. It need not always signify mere repetition of a former
cognition. We say in such cases not only that we recognize x (as Y),
but that we realize x is Y.
In fact, we almost never use the word ‘recognize’ -even in the
most straightforward cases of identification or recall – unless there
is some problem: we don’t see her face clearly, or she has changed,
or we met only briefly years ago. That is, ‘recognition’, even in
apparently straightforward cases, involves re-organization of
experience- an act of contextualization, a sensing of connexions
between aspects of immediate experience and other experiences.
Thus, the experiences of seeing how an assemblage of parts must
go together, recognizing an old friend in an unfamiliar setting, and
understanding a metaphor are species of the same phenomenon.
They all involve insight, understood as re-cognition; a gestalt shift.
And this is the original of meaning.
— Jan Zwicky, Wisdom & Metaphor
I’ve been developing a character at the back of my head, possibly for a series of short stories, possibly for a novel. Thought I’d share some of the vague things I’ve begun noting down.
Like a pathological nest of russian dolls; one construction vomiting out the next, ad nauseum. Each one subsuming the last.
If you go back far enough though there was a common root for everything mankind had created.
There was no escaping it; all of us slaves, whether we admitted it or not. Beneath everything they writhed, just one lifeform of many that made human biology their home. One which, unlike the others, was not just a mere passenger. It rode up front and whispered in your ear. Guided your hand. Stroked your pleasure centres.
Because it’s interesting, okay? via
1. System Holism Principle: A system has holistic properties possessed by none of its parts. Each of the system parts has properties not possessed by the system as a whole.
2. Darkness Principle: no system can be known completely.
3. Eighty-Twenty Principle: In any large, complex system, eighty percent of the output will be produced by only twenty percent of the system.
4. Complementarity Law: Any two different perspectives (or models) about a system will reveal truths about that system that are neither entirely independent nor entirely compatible.
5. Hierarchy Principle: Complex natural phenomena are organized in hierarchies with each level made up of several integral systems.
6. Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem: All consistent axiomatic foundations of number theory include undecidable propositions.
7. Entropy – the Second Law of Thermodynamics: In any closed system the differences in energy can only stay the same or decrease over time; or, in any closed system the amount of order (or organization) can never increase and must eventually decrease.
8. Redundancy of Information Theorem: Errors in information transmission can be protected against (to any level of confidence required) by increasing the redundancy in the messages.
9. Redundancy of Resources Principle: Maintenance of stability under conditions of disturbance requires redundancy of critical resources.
10. Redundancy of Potential Command Principle: In any complex decision network, the potential to act effectively is conferred by an adequate concatenation of information.
11. Relaxation time Principle: System stability is possible only if the system’s relaxation time is shorter than the mean time between disturbances.
12. Circular Causality Principle One: Given positive feedback (i.e., a two-part system in which each stimulates any initial change in the other), radically different end states are possible from the same initial conditions.
13. Circular Causality Principle Two: Given negative feedback (i.e., a two-part system in which each part tends to offset any change in the other), the equiibrial state is invariant over a wide range of initial conditions.
14. Feedback dominance theorem: For high gain amplifiers, the feedback dominates the output over wide variations in input.
15. Homeostasis Principle: A system survives only so long as all essential variables are maintained within their physiological limits.
16. Steady State Principle: If a system is in a state of equilibrium (a steady state), then all sub-systems must be in equilibrium. If all sub-systems are in a state of equilibrium, then the system must be in equilibrium.
17. Requisite Variety Law: The control achievable by a given regulatory sub-system over a given system is limited by 1) the variety of the regulator, and 2) the channel capacity between the regulator and the system.
18. Conant-Ashby theorem: Every good regulator of a system must be a model of that system.
19. Self-Organizing Systems Principle: Complex systems organize themselves; the characteristic structural and behavioral patterns in a complex system are primarily a result of the interactions among the system parts.
20. Basins of Stability Principle: Complex systems have basins of stability separated by thresholds of instability. A system “parked” on a ridge will “roll downhill”.
21. Viability Principle: Viability is a function of the balance maintained along two dimensions: 1) autonomy of sub-systems versus integration of the system as a whole, and 2) stability versus adaptation.
22. Recursive System Theorem: If a viable system contains a viable system, then the organizational structure must be recursive; or, in a recursive organizational structure, any viable system contains, and is contained in, a viable system.
Feel free to go fuck the questionaire this animated gif originally led to.
This dirty little bugger has a story. Remind you tell me sometime.
I’ve just had the most hallucinatory, dirty, dangerous, cyberpunkish and bizzare narrative based dream and I’m trying to decide if I should try like hell to hold onto these sense impressions and images or just let them sink.
out of the fragments I can pick one or two things that I feel able to describe. Part of the dream took part in the episode selection level of quake, there was something of a nervous system immersion thing going on with the players, whose dialogue was largely to do with some urban/digital underground scene that bordered on the illegal. There was a very real possibility to death. At one point there was a police raid, during which I ducked out back into the real world to track down this girl who I had met earlier but whose connection had been cut, to let her know what was going on. She was interning at some tech office. When we dived back in the government agents were completely out of their minds, as if they were high on pcp, and had performed surgery on one of their prisoners, a close friend of the intern, and replaced her head with that of a parrot. There was blood everywhere. Her actual head was slithering about on metal snake-like protrusion coming out of her neck, like a symbolic representation of her spinal column, howling in agonising pain – like she was dying in stuttering, artifact-laden slow motion.
I got the impression that this subculture looked to the past (our present and near-past) for its iconography, slang, and references.
Not much in the way of punctuation up in here but regardless enjoy this essay by William S. Burroughs. It originally appeared in Telos magazine in the 70s and can be found as an appendix in most copies of ‘the ticket that exploded’ – my copy of which is somewhere in Cardiff.
you can verify this proposition by a simple experiment – turn off the sound track of your television set and substitute an arbitrary sound track prerecorded on your tape recorder street sounds music conversation recordings of other television programs
you will find that the arbitrary sound track seems to be appropriate and is in fact determining your interpretation of the film track on screen
people running for a bus in piccadilly with a sound track of machine-gun fire looks like 1917 petrograde
you can extend the experiment by using recorded material more or less appropriate to the film track
for example take a political speech on television shut off sound track and substitute another speech you have prerecorded
hardly tell the difference isn’t much record sound track of one danger man from uncle spy program run it in place of another and see if your friends can’t tell the difference
it’s all done with tape recorders
consider this machine and what it can do it can record and play back activating a past time set by precise association
a recording can be played back any number of times
you can study and analyze every pause and inflection of a recorded conversation why did so and so say just that or this just here
play back so and so’s recordings and you will find out what cues so and so in you can edit a recorded conversation retaining material which is incisive witty and pertinent
you can edit a recorded conversation retaining remarks which are boring flat and silly
a tape recorder can play back fast slow or backwards you can learn to do these things record a sentence and speed it up now try imitating your accelerated voice play a sentence backwards and learn to unsay what you just said . . . such exercises bring you a liberation from old association locks
In 1997 Arundhati Roy released The God of Small Things. It won the Booker prize (now the Man-Booker, as The independent have been pointing out all week whilst writing about it and the recently launched Literature Prize). I haven’t read it although I probably should. I reckon I’d like it as the plot revolves somewhat around the fucked up class system in India (The Caste System) – which i find equal parts interesting and horrific. She hasn’t finished a novel since.
Now, to not follow up the winning of such a prestigious literary prize (or formally prestigious – whatever) would seem like career suicide. Frankly, I don’t think Miss Roy gives a fuck. She’s been far too busy doing more important things. Namely, challenging the capitalist and human being fueled industrialization of India, getting down and dirty in the trenches of India’s hidden war and generally horrifying the countries burgeoning middle-class by writing essays like Walking With The Comrades:
After dinner, without much talk, everybody falls in line. Clearly, we are moving. Everything moves with us, the rice, vegetables, pots and pans. We leave the school compound and walk single file into the forest. In less than half an hour, we arrive in a glade where we are going to sleep. There’s absolutely no noise. Within minutes everyone has spread their blue plastic sheets, the ubiquitous ‘jhilli’ (without which there will be no Revolution). Chandu and Mangtu share one and spread one out for me. They find me the best place, by the best grey rock. Chandu says he has sent a message to Didi. If she gets it, she will be here first thing in the morning. If she gets it.
It’s the most beautiful room I have slept in, in a long time. My private suite in a thousand-star hotel. I’m surrounded by these strange, beautiful children with their curious arsenal. They’re all Maoists for sure. Are they all going to die? Is the jungle warfare training school for them? And the helicopter gunships, the thermal imaging and the laser range-finders?
Why must they die? What for? To turn all of this into a mine? I remember my visit to the open cast iron-ore mines in Keonjhar, Orissa. There was forest there once. And children like these. Now the land is like a raw, red wound. Red dust fills your nostrils and lungs. The water is red, the air is red, the people are red, their lungs and hair are red. All day and all night trucks rumble through their villages, bumper to bumper, thousands and thousands of trucks, taking ore to Paradip port from where it will go to China. There it will turn into cars and smoke and sudden cities that spring up overnight. Into a ‘growth rate’ that leaves economists breathless. Into weapons to make war.
Everyone’s asleep except for the sentries who take one-and-a-half-hour shifts. Finally, I can look at the stars. When I was a child growing up on the banks of the Meenachal river, I used to think the sound of crickets—which always started up at twilight—was the sound of stars revving up, getting ready to shine. I’m surprised at how much I love being here. There is nowhere else in the world that I would rather be. Who should I be tonight? Kamraid Rahel, under the stars? Maybe Didi will come tomorrow.
The reason Roy hasn’t finished the novel she’s working on is because she is living a different one.
I’d heard of God of Small Things, but i hadn’t really heard of its author, not until a few months ago. I’ve become a bit of a newshound since I got my kindle due to the fact that I could download a free copy of The Guardian every day if I wanted to, thanks to their liberal licencing and API. I should be reading novels but I’ve gotten a bit obsessive about it. Right now, for a change, I’m on a two week free trial of The Independent instead. I’ve always considered The Guardian and The Independent the only two decent papers in the UK – but i’d never put this to a taste test. Now I have I think I might prefer The Independent.
And that is the reason I have written this post, so I could link to those two interviews. Do yourself a favour and go read them, because Arundhati Roy is quite obviously a remarkable woman, not to mention an amazing writer.
A surge of re-energized American citizens positioned in cities across the country are carrying out the grassroots “Occupy Wall Street” movement (or the “99 Percent Movement”) with an intelligent and provoking agenda that invokes real patriotic citizenship – much unlike the backwards Tea Party protests that have done little more than pervert our founding ideals while hidden under the guise of Americanism.
Also unlike the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street is not fueled by corporate dollars or any major television network (aka, Fox News), but by a vast, grassroots network of individuals who have either been negatively affected by the pro-regressive sentiment in the country or by those who have grown disillusioned by the Right wing’s strangle-hold over our country’s future and its catering to corporate citizenship.
The moniker “We are the 99%” is touted proudly by diverse groups of everyday Americans, ranging from teachers and students to firefighters, nurses, construction workers and Marines.
Unfortunately, though – if you listen to many Congressional Republicans, Right wing pundits and Tea Party aficionados – when common citizens across the country representing the vast majority of America peacefully protest in mass numbers against unbridled greed by Wall Street and the banking industry, they are just angry mobs of un-American thugs engaging in anti-capitalist propaganda mongering.
But when corporate-sponsored Tea Partiers protest outside the White House or other public centers (albeit carrying signs promoting bigotry, racism, hatred and/or violence), they are symbolic of the purest form of patriotism in action…
< link shit >
“…characterised by the supremacy of the reasoning and judging functions.”
but is yet
“…influenced in almost equal degree by unconscious irrationality.”
From the outside, with no consideration of “unconscious manifestations” this type may in fact appear more irrational than most.
“…the case with the psychologies of both Freud and Adler. The individual is completely at the mercy of the judging observer, which can never be the case when the conscious psychology of the observed is accepted as a basis. He afterall is the only competent judge, since he alone knows his conscious motives.”
Here Jung lays down the reason (or one of them) for this split with Freud, the split itself seemingly focussed around Jung’s insistance upon the importance of individual subjectivity and Freud declaring that such a perspective was not valid, was meaningless as it belonged to the realm of the sub-conscious (Jung uses the term unconscious to highlight its importance, that it wasn’t merely a sub-set of consciousness as Freud declared).
Of course Freud would say that. Dude wanted to kill his father and sleep with his mother and he found the idea abhorrent. It was only by projecting this desire onto everybody else (the Oedipus complex) that Freud was able to deal with it.
“…life in both these types [reasoning/judging] involves a deliberate exclusion of everything irrational and accidental… a force that coerces the untidiness and fortuitousness of life into a definite pattern, or at least tries to do so… restriction of sensations and intuitions is not absolute… but their products are subject to the voice made my rational judgement.”
“For them nothing is rational save what is generally considered as such. Reason, however, is in large part subjective and individual. In our types this part is repressed… Both the subject and his subjective reason, therefore, are in constant danger of repression…” at the whims of ‘objectivity’ and the object “…and when they succumb to it they fall under the tyranny of the unconscious, which in this case possesses very unpleasant qualities… primitive sensations that express themselves compulsively, for instance in the form of compulsive pleasure-seeking in every conceivable form; there are also primitive intuitions… everything sniffed out and suspected, in most cases it is a half truth calculated to provoke misunderstandings of the most poisonous kind… the individual becomes the victim of chance happenings, which exercise a compulsive influence over him either because they pander to his sensations or because he intuits their unconscious significance.”
Rationality then is handed down via consensus; What has been called Consensus Reality. What the majority agree, either consciously or unconsciously, to be reality. This world view, however, does not take into account either subjectivity or the unconscious. What i think Jung is saying here is that when you ignore subjectivity and and unconscious you can become enslaved by them. This enslavement takes place through the lens of ‘rationality’. When you ignore sensations and intuition then intuition and sensation present themselves to the conscious mind as in fact being rational thoughts. This is of course posited on the fact that the mind in question is lacking equilibrium. When everything is running smoothly everything is cool.
This type brings to mind the ‘character’ of the paranoid conspiracy nut – everything he does and thinks/feels he considers in the upmost as Rational. He checks constantly to see if anyone is following him because it is reasonable for him to assume somebody is because of what he knows or at least thinks he knows. You could have a lot of fun with this type in a narrative watching their sense of reason and logic eeat them alive. In fact I would argue that many a screenplay/novel turns on this idea of a protagonist’s rational world view being turned on its head. The idea of this reversal is a strong impetus for the dramatic.