The ninjas climbed around, like black blueberries on the wall, moving likeants.. and occasionally one of them would fall, an obese body clad in theclean, soft black outfit, overstarched. They would, in a special way, decomposerapidly, quickly becoming bone and fluid, the organs become strands, a soup inwhich their skeleton floated. I reached into the stream, it felt almostsurreal, like it never could be solid, and I gently shaped it with my hand,moved my fingers through it, felt the distortions I made alter the flow. Withcareful craft, slowly it became something else, a strand of toothpaste, ninjatoothpaste, and, its configuration set, I let it flow and walked on.
A strange disappointment, when the wolves in sheep clothing manage to lureeach other away from the herd, and find that neither of them are as theyseem. A strange, embarassed anger, the kind that does not judge, does notpose as judging because it cannot, but instead remains shaped as anger isalways born, of frustrated desire.
Slashdot, always the asker of deep questions (heh heh), has an interestingquestion -- what keeps you off of Windows? In essense, this is "why Unix?".The main answer, which I've elaborated on in an essay some time ago (whichis probably on my webpage somewhere), is that Unix shells are very powerful(in fact, pretty much guaranteed to be capable of changing anything on thesystem), it's possible to reach a shell interface remotely, and the systemas a while is very open-form, with users able to tweak their environment asthey see fit.
I got a Ph.D. in pain and a Masters in disaster,the mighty Stephen Hawking is a fucking QuakeMaster. -- M.C. Hawking, QuakeMaster
America as of late is taking some worrying steps, but so farthey're only visible to foreigners. Not good. Of course, for a countrywhere most people don't leave their home state, much less go overseas,people are unlikely to worry about things like this, and I can actually imaginepeople justifying strong controls on foreign journalists -- "why should we letthese people from some other country come to a place we've worked so hard tobuild, America, and criticize it without having even lived here?" Whilearguments like that no doubt have a lot of emotional appeal, thrilling thelittle nationalist inside all of us, they have little else to talk for them.No country is perfect, and in fact, if one can remove the shroud of nationalism,one can see the less-spoken-of-but-undeniable facts behind any country. Itdoesn't matter who you are or where you're from, the country you're from haslikely done some horrific things, and if you can't bear the sight of thesethings, you're not honest/open/responsible enough to have meaningful discourseon matters of state. Everytime people say "I come from the best country/peoplein the world", I respect them a little less. And another thing, don'tmisunderstand this as license to accuse people of the sins of the nation theyhappen to be from, or of their ethnicity, or the like. When you go far enoughback, all people are related. All humans are brethren, and while ethnicitiesare real, their identity is just a matter of scale and historical accident.Na klar, a lot of religious folk, from the Klan to a number of tribal beliefspromote an ignorant view on these things, speaking of the original seperateidentity of the ethnicities, and mystifying and worshipping accidentaldivisions. Whoever you are, fellow humans, if you're reading this, you're myrelative, and you're just going to need to live with that. Just as theArab-Hebrew conflict is often cast as a family squabble, so are all wars,conflict, and in fact all human affairs a family matter. One might ask, whydo we decide to treat family, closer relatives more like ourselves, better thanrandom people? Three observations: First, we notice that people oftenself-select to form similar in-out societies based on other factors. SFF, inColumbus, was in many ways like a family. Secondly, it probably has some kind ofmodern group-selection value. Thirdly, the benefits gained through such anarrangement are primarily gained because of mutual acceptance of the selectioncriteria, and the mutual support offered in such a circumstance. Any othersystem of grouping which offers mutual support and has sufficient assent ofgroup members to a set of selection criteria will provide similar benefits tothe family, ethnicity, or the like. We are taught to love our relatives, asthey were taught to love theirs, to preserve that union. Being able to see this,both from outside and inside (for while I can see that I have been sobrainwashed, it has a hold on me I cannot discard, as it's a natural partof me), is one of the many strange places Philosophy can get you.
Some people claim that Philosophy is about formal logic, or at least mark it asimportant to the 'field', and otherwise pose a number of ideas about whatphilosophy is that seem really unnatural to me. Instead, the tools ofphilosophy require that people learn a crude honesty that can skewersocial 'truths', a mind that isn't scared of going into places discouraged bytradition, and the possession of a strong mental acid that digest any ideaseriously put forth that isn't very well founded. This acid is often forged ina nihilist period in one's life, when one discards the ideas one is raised with.It should be very rare that philosophers keep the ideas they're raised with --one's mind must be blasted apart, torn to shreds by the forces that form one'spresent philosophy. Like living the life of the artist, living the life ofthe philosopher is something that can be done with any career -- it's aboutwhat kind of person you are and what kind of commitments you make, notgetting things into museums or print. I imagine the same could be said ofathletes, but not being one (despite my moderate interest in reaching a moderatelevel of fitness, I'm not likely to ever be part of that type), I wouldn'tdeign to speak with authority on the topic.
Ahh, it's now 21:02, and I just spent the last hour or so talking to someoneabout religion, politics, and life. Recently, I've found that I can get a lotof pleasure just asking someone to explain their thoughts on life, andnot injecting much myself into the conversation. It's fun to share, butoften equally interesting just to listen, occasionally inserting a gentletouch to learn the interesting parts of someone's thoughts..