April 27th, 2006

Semiformalishmaybe

Identifying with Society

Why is trust between society (and its institutions) and individuals important? The answer is that when there is sufficient trust, one then begins to identify with the society, and hopefully further, with humanity as a whole. Building webs of trust, like building a family, leads one towards acting towards a common good, which is a necessity for civilisation. When society becomes virtuous enough that people begin to identify it, cooperative bonds form that permit the greatest efficiencies and civilities between people. This can happen, to a certain extent, in small communities, just as it happens in functional families, but this is no great feat compared to what is needed to make this possible on large scales. A society must be very virtuous and very careful to expel, reform, or render harmless those who, for reasons related to choice or more biological reasons, do not refrain from destructive behaviour.

I just moved the last significant holdings of mine from my old place. All that's left is cleaning supplies (because the old place needs a lot of cleaning) and my humidifier (which I didn't feel like emptying to move yet). I have decided to, for now, leave everything in my car, as I have a nice private off-street parking spot, I don't drive often, and I don't have my existing stuff put away yet. I did, on the upside, manage to throw away a *lot* of stuff. I am now thinking that at least a moderate part of what I brought over in earlier loads is stuff I need to toss. I need to go through it though.. ugh.

Semiformalishmaybe

Unstrung but still tuned

Outside the event horizon, save from eavesdroppers but still whispering, a plan to invade, infect, and leech for their lives on their dry, dusty, bleeding lips. "The string does not bend inwards, it does not respect the concave. Thirsty eyes probe the structure, at this distance squinting to simulate microscopes, reverse-perspective allows hands to wrap around something infinite at its heart. A gesture invites further examination... "there", where things are nearly flat, there may be a spot of concavity in which we may live, crossed lines. A nod, ritualised expression of respect, and they prepare for descent.

World news continues to be worrying...

Semiformalishmaybe

Rhythm and Monotone

If there were insect jazz musicians, would they have a jive-mind?

I was listening to some music recently with mplayer, which has nice keys to increase/decrease the tempo of music, naturally shifting the tone. It occurred to me to shift the tempo when the notes in the main theme changed so the effective tone would always be the same, and just the tempo would change. I failed at this, partly because the degree of shift is not ideal to do tone matching, but the effects were interesting. If it were not for background voices, it would be a demonstration of exchangability of tone and rhythm in information preservation.

See my bookshelf as it is now. It's 1.1 megs though, so try not to do it over dialup.

I recently pissed off someone with atrocious spelling and grammar by commenting that their post hurt my eyes. They raised a bit of a stink. I am not at all ashamed. Oversensitive people suck. If any of you want to correct my grammar or spelling, drop me a note or a comment and I'll fix it (unless it's intentionally the way it is for some reason).

Synthesised from two recent conversations in radically different forii, I think one of my disagreements with secular humanism is the reason I oppose religion -- the secular humanist opposes it because and where they see it as creating harm in the world through its effects. I oppose it simply and solely because I think that it promotes ideas that are false/delusional. I find the arguments from lifestyle harm to be completely unmoving because they don't touch on my values. If I felt that a religion were true and accepted its moral framework as my own, I would be a theocrat if the religion seemed to ask me to, and otherwise be unashamed to use the values it contains to every practical effect relevant, regardless of other notions of harm. This would be a great leap from where I am now, given that I feel that value choices are not prescribed by the nature of things (even *if* one might be able to put them into a game theory, this is descriptive, not prescriptive). However, truth, whatever notions I might fit into it, as I see it now takes priority over all other concerns of happiness. I believe that this places me outside of the realm of humanism proper, in that I am placing an abstract philosophical position over the needs and concerns of the here and now. Humanism as I understand it is opposed to principle. I think that I have generally gotten along better with the fundamentalists (and have had a better position to intellectually spar with them) because I think in terms of principle, even though the actual principles I use differ from theirs. Any humanists out there who care to disagree with me on how I understand humanism are of course welcome to speak up here.