Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Personal Totems

Notes we write to ourselves (self-pep, emotional self-reminders): usually beneath the shell of inner world versus outer persona. Personal event horizon - we are not naked singularities, and to be given a peek into that: surprisingly intimate. I have seen these, and a few years back I started carrying one. I'm not sure I need it anymore, but maybe the opportunity now is to reimagine it as something actually inspiring rather than as a bit of extra glue to keep one going? Ties into general issues of personal growth sometimes taking odd detours and not being particularly directed. Imagery: street signs pointing every which way, but on one, against that green background, the white letters say "Personal Growth, 9 miles to the left". It might be more accurate if one were to imagine a plethora of signs each pointing to different things we might want -- "Complication, 3 miles up and to the right", "Simplicity, sharp left, 500 meters", etc. Navigating such a city while knowing one's capacities and interests are sometimes limited: good metaphor for life.

Gestern: Trip to seek a blender and a VCR randomly turned into a longer adventure involving baking of pretzels, other food, chrisamaphone, wjl, and gwillen.

Recently: Have been imagining that a (video?)camera that would continually upload its content, using cell networks, to the internet in a way that no film could be confiscated would probably be a very good thing. Is this a device that would be impossible to abuse? Probably not - it'd be easy to be someplace one should not and take pictures/video of things one should not, and for those cases the data security would be against the public interest (e.g. sneak into someone's home and film them doing personal things), but for a lot of cases, such devices would be enormously useful - while history and retaliation in political conflicts provides a big part of context needed to understand events, having reliable footage of events would help enormously - stifling of journalism (from simply taking out the film to making journalists disappear) is a powerful tool of various forces. Often times having good footage would help multiple sides in a conflict restrain themselves (e.g. settlements in Palestine versus Palestinians are, I believe, often brought into conflict by people on both sides). Having it be an expected matter that all interactions are potentially observed by the world is an enormous plus. This will be taken further when some enterprising people manage to embed these things into their bodies - is the IDF misbehaving here? Is the Palestinian person who would cross the border doing his best to instigate trouble? (note that this is just a token example - any conflict, from local anarchist groups against whatever they're protesting to military operations between Japan and China, could bear to have more eyes). Does this exist? What would it take to make it happen? Also relevant: people who really really care about privacy versus people who really really care about openness. Plus, there are those governments and cultures where having a set narrative for society is more or less openly acknowledged - "we will agree to think about it this way". Would disasters like the Lebanese civil wars, were they not made harder by this kind of thing, be open sores that would never die down? When is a neat history preferable, if ever, to the rude and nasty things humans actually do to each other?

I am inclined to think that one of the jobs of history as a discipline is to help cast our character and (soft) limitations into public eye, so we know the fabric of what we have to work with as we strive to better ourselves. My notion of history would expose the misdeeds of the past and highlight them, alongside the aspirations and actually good deeds of people, in a cynical (but not excessively cynical) way. I believe we don't need heroes (or perhaps instead that we never had them). I recognise that my idea of history is likely what conservatives are talking about when they complain that history is painted by people who "hate America", and I wonder if they're right that it's hard to have a coherent notion of a nation without founding myths (as Kemal Ataturk did for Turkey) and people, cleansed of who they actually were, to look up to. I hope that what I propose is not a suicide pact - that the truths we raise would not destroy us. I particularly worry that destruction is more likely if we don't raise people differently than how we raise them now - that maybe we have a choice between people who really understand humanity, history, and the like and are willing to bear the burden of self-improvement, and people who live in a dualistic world of right and wrong, good and evil, with heroes and villains. I am pretty sure that the first is doable and the second is doable, but there may be a mess in the middle.

Recent pleasure: begin to consider a new programming project, feel numerous potential shapes of software begin to assemble in the mental sky, beautiful trees.

Wishing I had a keyboard and/or some other musical instruments - improvising on an accordion feels too heavyweight.

The OpenBSD 4.8 song is out. I like a lot of it, but I'm not sure I really understand its opening yet - for a song that later proves to be so well-composed, part of it feels bizarrely sloppy. I am pretty sure I am just not parsing it correctly, but haven't figured out how to do that. On another note, the Mariachi song from Sam and Max is terribly fun to sing.

Tags: music

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