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Semiformalishmaybe

Preparing for a coming lack of sophistication

Eyes on laptop, cellphones, combined the highest signs of technology in our hands. Earphone jack: long silent voice says, 「This is where the sound comes out」, 「Wha??」, 「A time of coming sophistication, the barbarians outside herald the changes inside each person, you need simpler concepts that will be reborn as something deeper by your descendants」. Simpler ideas: a time capsule allows descent while others pick up the pieces and can overlook coming mental indiscretions. Plant a garden to hold your name precisely so you can walk away from it.

Last night I found a guidebook/overview for the Kentucky Creation Museum that I had forgotten I bought (among the large number of things in my computer bag I carry around). Apart from a porn magazine (which, despite having a number of other things, I have never owned), it's one of the most embarassing things I could imagine reading in public, which poses a problem for me because I do most of my reading while taking walks, occasionally on long hikes into the South Hills or through the woods, and more often between CMU and home or home and a bookshop. The Creation Museum's book does a very good job of capturing the attitude and feel of the museum - the same urge to laugh, cry, be deeply embarassed for the species, or throw things is there. The cutest part is how they're not at all ashamed about their ideas, particularly the Dragon room. It makes an excellent addition to my religious propoganda collection.

A few days ago, I found an abandoned printout of lecture notes for an economics class at CMU, and scooped them up. Campus bookstores and lecture notes are among my favourite things to read, although I've long been skeptical of economics as a discipline, as while those who are high academic economists tend towards a well-rounded and broad understanding of the topic (very few academic economists are of the lassiez-faire fundamentalist sort), the terms (and traditional teaching content) of the field lead people initially too close towards conflating economic efficiency and personal or public good. CMU's 90-710 looks like it probably does a lot of this, even if the latter nodes peel some of it back. Apart from other economic schools like Marxist economics (which have their own, often severe, problems), I wonder if there's a way to get the observations one should draw from formal economic study without pushing people close enough to lassiez-faire fundamentalism that a number of people fall into its mental gravity well.

It seems to me that it would be very doable (and amusing!) to use twitter as a recipe for a webcomic - start with 4 characters, and for each of them pick three twitter feeds of distinct real individuals, assuming each of those three feeds being completely accurate descriptions of their character. Allow the comic to sweat trying to reconcile each character and their interactions with each other (ideally the twitter feeds picked would have nothing to do with the webcomic artist or each other). It's this synthesis of steady external input and the artist's corrective brush that would probably keep things interesting (and keep the characters as confusingly deep and murky as real people tend to be, when they're willing to introspect enough to see that in themselves).

Reviewing criticism of overuse of Hegelian dialectic in orthodox Marxism - refined position: Hegelian Dialectic as an interpretive pattern (akin to 「Design Patterns」 in Computer Science), one of an array of lenses through which we might choose to construct an interpretation of events. We criticise Orthodox Marxists (and other Hegelians) for overuse and primacy of that interpretive pattern (just as we criticise Žižek for his excessive fondness of turning things around, as powerful a tool/perspective that is), yet we retain these tools for our use when they give us the most satisfying analysis of a set of events. We recognise others as not having overembraced one of these creeds by their ability to be satisfied by the presence of a number of different interpretive patterns in their analyses of various parts of reality. As radical empiricists, we may be criticised (particularly by platonists) for having an exclusive element to our philosophy at a particular level of method - we hold that exclusive lens as being an element that is necessarily and appropriately so - with no privileged path to other types of knowledge, all knowledge and truth-concepts must be based on layers that are pragmatist and empiricist, and other notions of truth (such as those in maths) either being metaphorical or subordinate to the truths we're trying to mirror. The plurality of interpretive patterns reflects the variety of potential truths we would try to model - we may entirely reject some styles of interpretive patterns, but we should retain as many others as remain useful - to rely on one or too few methodologically limits our ability to model all possible realities by presuming the shape of the nature of all things.

Given the chance to interview 3 of the following people for an hour or so, what people and what range of topics would you cover?:

  • Dr Sun Yat-Sen
  • Winston Churchill
  • Oliver Cromwell
  • Carolus Magnus
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Mustafa Kemal Ataturk
  • Barack Obama
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Hu Jintao
  • Ban Ki-Moon
  • Bill Clinton
  • Al Gore
  • Gordon Brown
  • Keith Olbermann
  • John McCain
  • Henry Kissinger
  • Margaret Thatcher
  • Glenn Beck
  • Pablo Picasso
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Leonardo daVinci
  • Jan Steen
  • Rembrandt
  • Lars von Trier
  • Stephen King
  • Stephen Spielberg
  • HP Lovecraft
  • Michael Ende
  • Terry Gilliam
  • Muhammad al-Khwarismi
  • Stephen Hawking
  • Isaac Newton
  • Ada Lovelace
  • Ibn Khaldun
  • Thomas Edison
  • Vannevar Bush

What other categories or individuals would you choose to stick in there?

(I sometimes daydream about having a highbrow talk show)

Unrelated, from 18:02 to 20:00 (19:30 in particular) of this video is the first time I've seen a high public official (Obama in this case) indicating that they know what those of us on the left (further left than the Democratic Party (on the right) or the Republican Party (far-right)) are about, even noting that they disagree with us.

Comments

Obama: what he is willing and able to do for the worst off people, and how he will go about doing it.

How about Ralph Nader?
How about Kim Jong-Il? Tremendously curious.
Vonnegut would be tempting, but at 50 or 60, not the way he was in his waning years.

You must have come un-geeked to some extent, you don't include Linus Torvalds.
I don't have a lot of respect for Linus Torvalds except in the narrow sense of thinking he's probably a pretty good systems engineer.