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Semiformalishmaybe

Constructing a Nexus

It's interesting how in most first-person shooters (FPSs), one is shooting things that are near-analogues of humans. They're not generally actually humans because we'd be self-conscious about that, but they have to be close enough to them that we get some kind of visceral appreciation for the act of killing them and watching their limbs flail. Occasionally when I'm at home, I play Left4dead, which is probably the best FPS I've ever played - the teamplay (even when the 3 other members of the team are computer controlled) makes it a lot more interesting, the enemies are not always in the same place in the level, I really like sniping from a great distance, and the music as a cue to action is bril. When I step back and think about it, it reminds me of that discomfort with that primal self, although I suppose that's a big part of living life. Giving up tension in a way we embrace those parts of ourself as our totality, we'd be monsters ourselves. To deny ourself entirely in that way makes us neurotic. Hence the need for comedy and punching bags. I have long liked Nietzsche's man is a rope passage from Also Sprach Zarathustra, although one is tempted to apply it in different ways as well - nervousness and tension are inherent to our condition, but it generally leads to some kind of sickness to eliminate that tension - we are built to be tense, our social and individual mental worlds are necessarily complex. Our efforts to simplify it and remove tension are what drove our intelligence, but it is very easy to try to cut off necessary complexity with the unnecessary.

The quote on my office door is a composite of lesser quotes - "For every problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat and wrong. For every such solution there is a vocal fan club on the internet".

Maybe old people are like wine in that their mental world can easily be rotten, but when it is not it has had the time to really become something special given the length of inputs to it. There are some older folks who have a mental world that is half-rotten, and it is still worth drinking because of the hints of grandeur within. I'd say that of people over 60, about 10% have the full grandeur, maybe another 10% have that hint of splendor, and 80% have just gone bad. Those younger, even when they are the sort that ages and improves their worldview more quickly and deeply than others, may have less chance to be rotten, but they simply have not had the time to achieve the depth of perspective nor the time to have tested a lot of variants on their worldview to chop out the less powerful/interesting variants. I think introspection makes people age more quickly by this metric.

I am sometimes weirded out by how my sensation of self sometimes disappears, particularly when I'm in a meeting - I can hear myself talking about whatever's the meeting's about, but it feels like I don't have access to that self, to the contents of those thoughts, etc. This numbness and sense of distance is increasingly common.

Watching old episodes of 「Jack of All Trades」 - good stuff. I think it's the best of Bruce Campbell. Angela Dotchin plays probably the first and only light blond-haired gal I've found attractive in my life (unless my memory fails me) - no great surprise given how rarely I'm attracted to people.

Office and lab moves to Gates are next week... I am still trying to rustle up a car for the Columbus/Kentucky trip.

Comments

"I am sometimes weirded out by how my sensation of self sometimes disappears, particularly when I'm in a meeting - I can hear myself talking about whatever's the meeting's about, but it feels like I don't have access to that self, to the contents of those thoughts, etc. This numbness and sense of distance is increasingly common."

Sounds a bit like dissociation.

Did you mean for your link to point to "Saddam 'feared Iran more than US'"?