Friday, February 13, 2009

oooh! Friday the 13 - better get in Chapter 14 1983

Mathematics is a powerful language. I have been good at it, but my study was forsaken because of my own misplaced anger and by the world's apparently misplaced use of number. I lost my desire. As a language, mathematics is a powerful tool. Computation is not a prominent facility of the human mind, however. It takes arduous learning, and in the end is a task that can always be performed more reliably and simply by computers. The principles of mathematics are not difficult, however. The computer is useless without the prior human understanding of the principles of math. The computer might also be dangerous if it is used to prove things whose proof depends on principles not apparent to the person who is being convinced.

We are being made into numbers. As always we are told that it is for our own good. Rationally, there's nothing wrong with a social security number. It's for your own good. But it seems to be required everywhere, and most of us sense something evil in that. Those who aren't dominated by the demon rationality which tells them to ignore what they know with their hearts. Credit cards. Who are you anyway? Do you even exist without your number? Without countable quantities of money you are nothing.

Is it really your money? Are you willing to act like a number because you can't believe in yourself? Are you willing to believe that you are a nobody? It isn't your money. As long as you believe that owning those countable amounts is the key to having a name, you are the slave of the true possessor of the money -- the holder of the purse strings of your soul. It isn't the wealthy. They are more horribly enslaved. It is the institution. The bank which credits your number, and by that credit accrues more capital for the great institutions -- the corporations -- that truly own the earth. We are all slaves to a system. An inhuman, incorporeal web of false desire which stays erect only out of our fear -- yours and mine. Don't be a number.

The power of mathematics comes from its ability to regularize the pattern sensing capability, which is the highest attribute of mind. Any tool effectively does the same thing. Certain shapes are useful in nature. To a human mind, equipped with pattern perceiving abilities and their reciprocal pattern making abilities -- hands -- these shapes are related immediately to the problem of survival, which provides the simplest why of man's relationship to the universe.

A knife can regularize shapes which are otherwise only randomly available, the regularized shape in turn provides through its vagaries a new set of random impressions from which further improvements suggest themselves to pattern recognizing mind. Words can allow the involvement of many minds in the process so that the randomly dispersed vagaries among the individual minds may combine to produce and implement some pattern which best resolves the why of their collective existence.

Words themselves are tools; that is, pattern regularizing devices. Their import is to regularize not just the environment, but the entire and cacophonous assemblage of experiences which are man's relationship to the environment. Emotions, concepts, percepts, and motions are all regularized by language so that, within a community, the mind can be shared. Through use of language that is honest and open, a sharing of fates occurs whereby all the random --fated; hazarded -- stuff of which patterns are made are shared by the community. Upon this affective sharing depends the why of the group -- its relationship to what is other.

Mathematics deals only with the regularization of percepts and motions. It is a partial language, but by far the most powerful for that sort of regularization. It provides a handle on the world. It enables the most powerful manipulations. When it is understood. And the understanding is an agreement. Concepts must be formed in order for the tool to be used. A relationship between the tool and its meaning --its use -- needs to be understood. Patterns are regularized in such a way that demonstrable rules can be shown to organize their behavior. Mathematics is very stable, and within the limits of the particular dialect, the rules don't change. That is despite the fact that mathematics is often used to describe the most dynamic of phenomena.

Regularization of concepts must precede and follow the employment of mathematics as a tool. The proofs can be elaborate which establish the basis for agreement among minds using the same branch of mathematics. And when mathematics is used for regularizing percepts and motions in the matter of the why of man's existence, its usefulness depends on measurement. There has to be a way for relating the rough assemblages of experience to the powerful language of mathematics. The more precise the measurement, the more surely useful are the descriptions that mathematics can provide.

Measurement is the conceptualization of universe. The rendering static what otherwise is constantly changing. Words are a measure in the same way, though what they can measure goes well beyond percepts and motions.

Prior to the regularization of concepts which precedes the employment of any tool, there must be some emotion. It may begin with a simple desire to survive. A concept may be formed by which the regularity of, say, the seasons is noticed. The language of mathematical computation will be used to further regularize those percepts and motions that seem to be included in the regularized change of the seasons.

The phases of the moon or the passage from day to night might be simply added together and compared with the passage of the seasons.

It is a kind of magic which allows mind to gain a measure of control over his existence. In the matter of why, he has gained a simple answer by his ability to predict those matters of which he can conceive. The conception comes before the perception whenever there is more than one mind. The very existence of more than one mind depends on the proof of connection between them. The only proof is the sharing of language. And that depends on the measure of words. You can't know what your companion sees until he tells you. And you must understand him. You must agree to believe. You must trust.

That is the answer that all mind seeks. Not the answer in words -- but the answer through words. What does my existence mean. The first answer is always to the matter of survival. The mind of animal life is simple, but at least it knows how to pose the proper question. In that man is hopelessly stupid. He considers only the tool. He weighs it in his hand, then turns it on himself in order to unlock an answer that is only inherent in the relationship. Or he turns it on what is other. We have met the enemy and he is US.

Computers are very powerful tools which can complete very complex calculations unapproachable by human mind; or rather, approachable only through the computer. All the complex emotions including trust, desire, belief, fear or whatever are included in the understanding of the way the computer works; or in the trust that it does work the way one has been told, which makes its calculations useful. We can trust the employment of the computer to aid on the way to the moon, much as we can trust a knife to carve a spear --provided we are skilled in its employment.

Ultimately, all of the tools of mankind, if freely and openly employed, attend to a sharing of the fates of all mankind in the matter of why -- mankind’s relationship to the universe. If not freely and openly employed, they may seem to include one community and exclude another. In reality, I believe that such employment insures only that the fate of the entire community, which is now all mankind, is sealed.

When survival describes completely the why of a mind, or community of minds, the chances are optimized when that mind is open -- free to make patterns in the widest possible sense. A language which prevents certain patterns from recognition, for instance, has negative survival value. I am not thinking here of natural or evolutionary limitations in tool production. (it would help to have pistols instead of spears to fight off tigers, etc.) I am thinking, rather, of arbitrary closings off of mind, such as a taboo against speaking with women, for instance, or the refusal to use the left hand -- any sort of restriction. The only natural restriction -- which is a time-bound one -- is that the tool work. That it make sense.

The mind oscillates. What was once an opening up, becomes a closing off when the relationship between self and other has changed. There is a different answer to the question of why at every moment of existence. But the patterns made by mind are themselves only possible if there is an indulgence of the fiction that such patterns endure. They surely endure beyond the lifetime of any individual. Language changes but slowly. But communities, too, must live and die. And when the community or the individual refuses to die, it is as perverse as the unmoving grain of sand in the face of the wind. There can be no such refusal.

When faced with a choice in the matter of survival between one mind or community and another, it would seem clear that the obvious pattern for mind to recognize is that "it's us or them." Happens every time -- a simple pattern.

Except that, on occasion, mind may notice that its survival chances are enhanced by allowing an increase through inclusion of the alien mind. There may be cases where the matter of why is best attended by a closed mind, but I confess that I have a hard time imagining them. What really occurs is that the sustenance of mind is conceived to be dependent on the automatic pattern integration which is conceived to be other than mind. Nature. And the sustenance of nature is seen as limited.

Nature's sustenance is limited at various times in history. There have been times when it has truly been a case of us or them. I wonder what we lose each time we make that decision. For at its base is a simple inability to agree. What is shared is the agreement that sustenance is limited. What isn't shared is the priority of one or the other's survival. But there is the choice of agreement on priority, and trust in sustenance. I wonder what might be gained. To live or perish together. Perhaps if we get together, we can come up with a new pattern which will render the limits of nature's sustenance fictional limits.

That has been the true pattern of history. The sharings are what endure. The wars are aberrations. We get caught up in them because we are ensnared by the mythology of control. We hardly notice that the wars are a mask over the actual sharing which ensues. They may be love acts or they may be rapes. And it may be our own point of view that determines the difference. We are the progeny. We may decide whether our lives are accidents -- whether we are all bastards -- or whether the joinings have been heartfelt and meaningful.

We do not live in that kind of world any more. We are clever. We have learned some of nature's secrets. And we have the choice of keeping them secret, or of sharing them. There need no longer be any question about the sustenance of nature. We know now that if we are careful, nature's bounty is limitless. We have gone far beyond the simple plowshares at the origin of civilization. Our tools are myriad, and their uses unbounded. But we have to agree. And be careful.

There is only one evil, and that is the refusal to see when the capacity is offered. What has been done in the history of man up to now has not been evil. It has all been necessary in order that this moment exists. There have been good tendencies and bad, but the sum total depends only on us now in this moment for its balance. We make the pattern. And we only keep it good by our willingness to see. There can be no condemnations except of oneself.

Nature is other than mind for some communities. For some, the body is other than mind. It might be considered part of nature -- only important to mind for its sustenance. Mind is always self. But where the boundary is drawn makes all the difference in the world in the matter of why. The boundary may be at the neck. It may be at the skin. Or there may only be a flexible boundary depending on how we are connected to what is other.

There must be a boundary. When we use tools evasively, we express something about the quality of this boundary. We are saying either that the boundary should not be crossed, or that the crossing may not be mutual. An honest and open use of tools always expresses the belief that boundaries must be crossed such that self and other are preserved in the crossing. It is always a rape to make a crossing that is beneficial to the self and not to the other. And it can only be a rape when the rapist knows. Some boundaries may be best left uncrossed, but there is usually no need for evasion then. Because true desire is a mutual thing. Evasion is a defense against lies as often as it is the origin of the lie. And boundaries may be moved, but the attempt to dissolve any boundary altogether is the worst kind of willful blindness. Nothing is without limits. And the time must be right for boundaries to be moved.

The use of tools demands the conception of self and other. The use of some tools, such as language, demands the conception of community -- connections among different minds. There have been conflicts, throughout history, between responses to other which assimilate and those which subjugate or destroy. The first response regards the other as different. The second response regards the difference as hostility --potential or actual. Real or imagined. To regard other as hostile demands a certain why. It is mind's function to be special when other is hostile. But mind's function may only be to be different -- to be other.

Competition is the response to a threat to specialness.

More tools are created when other is considered hostile.

More pattern regularizing -- more manipulation -- is seen to be required than when other is only different. Survival is always limited. We are born and we die. In direct response to a fear of death we attempt to create tools that will prolong individual life. We want to preserve our specialness against the hostility of nature which mocks our specialness by indifference to our mortality. The mystery of nature is challenged. It is really a silly competition. We will always die. We will always be limited.

Death need not be considered a threat. Men are afraid of what is other. But women can experience an other self within their own when they are with child. They are not so threatened by paradox. It is not apparently a terrible accommodation, although some women seem to accept the manly propaganda that carrying a child is a suffering. I can't know because I am a man. But it would seem that the joy would equal the suffering. I have been told as much. Women can be reminded more easily of their connection to what is other. Men forget more easily, and fear the return. They use tools. They manipulate. Their bodies are constructed as procreative tools to be forever denied an intimate knowledge of self and other as one. Pity the pricks.

Can you laugh? Some will be angry with men because they are all rapists. Some will be angry with the West because it has been raping mother earth. Some will be angry with me because of my terrible language. My pomposity. (Though I doubt they would have read this far) Some will be angry with themselves. But can you laugh? Paradox is also a joke. We really can't have known until now. There is still time to change.

There are two ways to breech the boundary between the self and other. A perceptual breech involves the establishment of moving connections between self and other. Other is assimilated when movements originating within self are seen to be connected to what is other. When the moving connections have no origin -- but are mutual -- then there has been a breech, though not an assimilation. We may clothe ourselves to limit such breeches. Other may be similarly clothed.

A conceptual breech involves emotive connection. Likewise, when there is origination, the other has been assimilated, at least in part. When the connection has no origin, but is mutual, then the breech is not a violation. The distinction between self and other is left intact.

Out of all breeches of boundaries comes something new. The breech is a connection. Self and other become one when the new life is allowed to grow. The new life produced of violation is always unbalanced.

Violation is only possible when there is origination. In man, when there is will. A perceptual connection -- a connection of motion -- that has no origin, is a fated connection. When the body is considered other than self, for example, the perceptual or moving connections which conspire to give it a regular and recognizable shape are all fated, within limits. Generally, unless we willfully damage our bodies, the interconnections are not considered to have any origin. Origin implies will.

Emotional connection that is originated would be a willful employment of conceptual tools -- words -- to induce an emotional connection that is not mutual. A seductress attracts without being attracted. Gestures. Voice. Willful manipulation of patterns to induce emotional connection or assimilation.

There is no need to fear the various tendencies. Manipulation may be required. Submission may be appropriate. It is only important to know the truth. To make the effort at vision. To see when -- at what time -- the will becomes evil. When a willful definition of self automatically entails a violation of any other.

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