Monday, June 7, 2021

Confucius Say

News flash! I complained about “optimized charging” on my iPhone last post, and last night to spite me it made it only up to 80%, even though I slept in. And they say they don’t spy on you!

OK, sure, 80% is their magic number, not mine, and it's only from my very particular point of view that this is 'meaningful coincidence.' Surely, there is some explanation for it, but just as surely it cannot be determinate. It certainly wouldn't be worth tracking down. Did I sleep in the day before (I don't think so, but who knows?)? Is this something that Apple does periodically, to test the waters? 

There are no digital traces that I can find about my habits, and there sure isn't anyone at Apple who would tell me. None that the iPhone preserves for me that they would tell me how to find.

Mom is in memory care now, without a care in the world and she's the happiest she's ever been, in a durable sense. She's let go all of her worries - mostly about her kids and grandkids - and is surrounded with simulated friends who are more reliably nice to her than anyone in real life. Everything's taken care of. Everything.

Dad was in the same place and not so happy. He really didn't like losing control - what a nasty time I had as the designated driving license remover. He howled to raise the dead as he was dying. He growled a lot in life.

I write now as Confucius. Why not? There was no Confucius who wrote in his own name. There may have been disciples, later on. That name - "disciples" - carries global weight. As Confucius, say. Or the twelve that were attached to Christ.

This morning I have too much on my mind to cradle the coffee can so that the grinds don't spill as I transfer them to the moka pot. Any other day, the motor memory was plenty and now I'm trying to reconstruct my habitual practice, which apparently made no real sense. Or at least I can't reconstruct the rules for it.

Thinking diminishing, or thinking overpowering? You tell me!

From a distance, ratiocination is discernible only as something dead, rock-like. It is but the crystallizations of mankind's preferred mode; the intentional mode. But your intentions may not look like mine, and so those computer chips preserved in the rubble of our discovered existence would only represent those artifactual things we had in common, and no natural form.

Natural is what we were before there was writing and material remains. Aspirational graves.

Intention that thing we claim when things turn out well for us as we think of ourselves. At the end of a long chain of survival strategies, which work themselves out as the unintentional life that is evolution, and which is also played out in the gray goo of our brains. Without intention, we look as natural as the rest of creation, as though any of it were ever created in the first place.

Knock-offs of one another, if you really want immortality you'll have to forget yourself. That happens naturally as well. Descent back into that from which you arose, prodded to identity by the want all about you. Our natural and especially our scientific language already militates (militates?) against individual identity because whatever it is that you might discover must already have existed, and it didn't exist - couldn't have existed - without your others having been there first to prepare the ground, as it were. Forebears.

Recognition a human desire no different from what creates a moving wave. A kind of pushback, and the form is just as natural as anything can be, if and when the distance is right. We now in some backwater; an eddy in time where authorial authority seems to matter. Seeming never makes it so.

I have a friend who will not relinquish what he calls, as vague as shit, 'singularity.' He seems to mean authorship and authority in the Name of God, for instance, but also Confucius whose Analects (they were never "his"), he says, reduce him to tears (reduce?). The call of loneliness, that.

Those Analects were but collective agreement, and you sacrifice nearly all of your individuality to get that, though it makes life locally oh so much more reliable and therefore livable, but for times of war and boundary skirmish. You are not in it alone, and there is someone who seems able to make sense. When the plates, the paradigms, shift and skitter in geologic time and then the quakes.

Time now seeming so accelerationist, and no wonder personal worth must exceed even the corporate corporeal, what do we mean? Embodiment?

As though that much wealth could be attributable to a single author, alone, who still seems to want to screw and screw as much as the next person. Sex be not proud, I'll try the other one. In old age you do discover that it's only an itch to scratch no matter how much you wrap it in glory. Creeping toward immortality, and not the Chinese poetic sort.

Now the richest two on the planet are shooting for the stars. Bezos wants to take his brother with him on the first shot up. I hope he makes it to space and finds immortality there. He won't find any if he makes it back. A name to live it down in ignominy. Because, and no more than this, we were already abandoned. Readers only.

Have you ever sorted Chinese? It's nearly a lost art. There be no alphabet. There be counting and strokes. There be sonic and memetic radicals. Really, it's all a rabble, but you still have to do it to know it and nobody does it anymore. 

And so nobody will ever know again what this means:






No worries. It's meaningless. I made it up myself. 

Some one said: “The dead writers are remote from us because we know so much more than they did.” Precisely, and they are that which we know.

Unless, of course, you're a scientist or black. In which case the live writers are what counts. Only one of those will survive the earthquakes.

Call them Ishmael.

Dang! The air-conditioner (yes it does get hot here) drowned out the sound of my moka pot vesuviating. It's a good thing Amazon forced me to buy bunches of those silicone washers at a time, as though there were any other way to get them. Well, I don't think that charred silicone is what will kill me, and anyhow that lawsuit would take far more than a lifetime to prosecute and who would I target, and how?

Ready for take off!


My friend Riccardo Manzotti already made the correction for our mistaken definition of the "real." The real temperature is the one that my corrected thermometer reads, that is the same as yours. But the temperature I feel - what's real for me - must include the humidity and the movement of the air and all sorts of more subjunctivized but still mostly objective phenomena. 

How do you feel today? Elliot distinguishes feelings and emotions. I think it's feelings that are the more real to him. I can't be certain. The poet catalyst disappears in any case. Of that I'm reasonably certain.

I can't find my place in the book I've been reading, China Miéville, The City & The City. It seems relevant somehow, the book and my lost place in it. Archaeology of something not existing and that maybe never did exist. Something we learn to unsee.

If you read in or on or through a Kindle with touch and you fall asleep, the book may advance or regress without you, as it has with me. Who knows what happens with my fingers when I fall asleep and before the book has? Now I must skip backward until I recognize a sentence, and even then I have to go further to regain context. Blocks of memory fall out. Will I be more like Mom or more like Dad?

My mind is mostly grounded in the real, same as yours is. All of us must fret now. We are so divided, The Nation & The Nation. Only one side is arming themselves. Who do they think will hurt them? There is no threat from my unarmed side, which is no side at all. Or wait, by proxy, it's the government. 

We are being hacked, red alert red alert. The Chinese let a virus loose, the Russians let all their unemployed geniuses loose, and meanwhile we have always been loose. We must learn to love again. There is no point arguing about the particulars of the real. 

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