Sunday, February 22, 2009

Carnevale followup

Well, it wasn't much of a reunion, but it was very nice. Absolutely no one I knew, and all my age, except for my dear friend who was their teacher. I don't think those relationships ever quite change, as witness the difficulty letting go of the "Mister", and so I was rather privileged as his friend. These folks were before my time, and therefore went to the school I actually did refuse in my youth, but not for the reasons they indicated - most peers would regard them as dweebs.

I was gently reminded that the school was not so much founded on the IQ test per se, although it was the age of Sputnik, and such instruments were all the rage. More on a kind of mission to combat American anti-intellectualism, which still needs combating, and to correct American prep school notions of who are and should be the elite. An utterly unsupportable mission, beyond the Sputnik age, and certainly through stagflation, as I would find out to my misery.

Still, when you put these groups into a room, just as when you put hundreds of priests in a room, there are some unavoidable observations to be made, all tending in the direction of reinforcing certain stereotypes. While at the same time tempering the ones you'd have without seeing them in a room together.

So, of course, as to Mom, I do have to revise the observation, since however much I'd love it to be her fault for not having good boundaries (my very favorite piece of psychobabble), I do have to own up, if that's what it is, to my own genetic (are they?) predispostions toward hiding out. I am, by nature, very shy.

But hell, even genetics is far too complicated to master. I watched a NOVA special about how science was made to stand trial, yet again, recently somewhere in Pennsylvania just to my south. Now surely some stop should have been put to the very notion of trying science in court (that's a nice phrase, right there, Larry). And luckily common sense ruled. But a little too narrowly, as in the margin would have to be infinity.

Still, there is surely something to the Creationist complaint. Not to their claims. Just the complaint, since scientific certainty is very very unscientific, and always parochial. I've been reading lots about infinity, its limits (!!!), or more properly, the limits of abstraction, and well for sure to claim anything for sure is to claim too much. Lots of lost minds along the trail.

There still remains much silliness about eugenics, back to the IQ theme. I'm remain pretty sure (but never certain) that species differentiation happens when boundaries occur between groups, and not when some creative genius-style mutation happens to the individual. I think the Good Man Kinsey did demonstrate this fact decisively back in the dark ages before sex was polymorphous and perverse right in the University. Well, you know what I mean.

There are no ideal types, nor certain boundaries. So that there has to be environmental change, group migration, and boundaries abstracted from blurred distinctions, before cross mating stops being possible, right?

Ours, for sure, was language, and more recently, that mighty crossroads of consciousness where language became written down. I draw all lines at beastiality. (and incest, thank you very much)

So here we are, slouching toward that, what did Douglass Adams call it, cafe at the end of the universe. That place off which our words only echo, and there is nothing more. Not, surely, understanding, but rather the dead end for tools' manipulations which don't, by their very exercise, attempt a hoist by our own, very precisely now, petard.  I'm talking the red button, or the frog in a pail over a fire global warming, or simply an overwhelming sense of too much want.

This is not a spaceship we can fly, nor ever should want to, remember. Since I do know that my body extends throughout the biosphere, and is not, finally, bounded from my mind (which bounds and bounds, sometimes quite out of control) and that these mysteries, right here in this cosy logosphere, are oh so much less costly to explore.  

Yesterday's post, truth to tell, was made through an impossibly obsolete instrument. An old laptop I can't bear to toss away, steward of the environment as I try to be. I had to laugh out loud, because I actually do have some understanding of what's going on inside that particular black box, at the battle among virus definitions, memory limits, and Microsoft's very very terminal fixation on prolix code, to where simply turning it on to the point of access to my very own ethereal tablet allowed me to complete an entire chapter of Hot Flat and Crowded.  Now that's good irony, right there, Larry!

I have always preferred hand tools. Frankly, I find them faster, and a whole lot less fuss. I think snowblowers are foolish hangovers from, first, when there actually used to be snow, and second, when machinery was still fun to deal with. Rebuilding my boat went a whole lot more smoothly, and just as fast with a hand plane. You know my feelings about 4 wheel drive, but out here in the middle of nowhere, I'm pretty sure I've shovelled maybe 4 times in the past three years. And I get a lot more snow than Buffalo. (and I DON'T have four wheel drive)

OK, end of sermon. Still, oh gifted humans, can't we do something a little bit more noble than to resurrect our old bad ways? Isn't there something properly post-capitalistic which can help us along the way toward more humanity, and a little less hot, flat and crowded?  (Hint, I'm pretty sure Friedman's still stuck on flatland)

oooh, I'm shivering.  I have to find out why my damned stove won't properly catch. Later.  I have a sinking feeling that it's the wood I bought so cheaply. Can't trust anyone these days . . . 

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