Updated at least twice a week! (best catchphrase EVER)


Alaskan grandad wisdom

I have probably mentioned this before, but if you ever go to the bush of Alaska, know that everything you do is seen by everyone.  The towns are so small that your smallest actions will be noticed and gossiped around to everyone.  The barrier to entry in the culture is high and you can't just walk in and be accepted, but doing small things can get you in.  I got lucky and spent a few of my first days reading comic books to children in the playground and I was seen.  A family took a liking to me and I got myself some grandparents.  Yay.  My grandad and I had some good talks and I want to share one with you now.  This isn't a quote, but whatever, it'll sound cool this way:

I love my child most when I watch him overcome adversity with his own strength.  For adults, this can be painstakingly time consuming, but you must remember, before white man came, we had all the time in the world.  I would go out and fish all day and have huge parties every night.  

When I watched my boy, I would watch him like I would watch a moose-- out of sight, but with my presence known.  My boy would search and play and figure things out.  If he hurt himself, I was always right there, but he had to encounter the world on his own terms.  When talking to him, I would joke him and find ways to laugh.  His confusion was entertaining, but his imagination grew every day.  This is hardly mean because with kids, your emotions are theirs.  If you are stressed, they are.  If you are enjoying your time with your kid, that is what they feel.  

Watching my son overcome this world makes my heart soar.  When he was little, even opening the door without my help overflowed me.  As he grew, he came to trump me at my own stalking games.  That's when I knew I could take him hunting.  Seeing his face as he overcame nature... That moment... That moment was when I knew I had lived a full life.  Through challenging him and letting him scrape his knees safely, he has grown to the point that nothing can hurt him anymore.  To this day, I give my boy sarcasm and trouble that only an old man can give and to this day he grows even more.  

Unfortunately, this way of being is dying.  My son has too much to do to.  He has bills to pay and booze to kill himself with.  I didn't know about money until 1957 when the first plane landed in our waters.  Now even the runty have cell phones and are yelling at each other all boozed up.  An old man like me... I don't know what to do.  I have lived a full life, but now I find the next generation may not have that privilege.  Worse, I fear my boy has forgotten how to listen.

Depressing feels aside, he hit on two of the most important lessons one can learn about rearing the young or teaching in general.  

First, teaching is a fine balance.  Too much involvement and they learn that you will do it for them.  Too little involvement and they cannot benefit from your wisdom.  Striking that balance is key to parenting.  Teaching agency requires letting go.

Second, the pure of heart do not see events and words, they see emotions and rippling consequences.  All children are pure of heart by default.  No matter how much society tenderizes this pureness out of us, it will always remain.  Take it back.  My dear reader, you might think that feeling the true weight of events as a child does would cripple us emotionally, but the truth is that it sets us free.  

There will be more from my Alaskan grandparents, but for now I want to shout out to my own parents. I got lucky twice over.  I was shown both of today's lessons by my parents.  Represent.


Mudras and Technium

I've recently been on a Star Wars binge and imagining the future of technology is always a fun detour to take as I ride the winds of the aether.

There were a lot of artistic leaps taken at the time like handheld communicators (which were, off-camera, slightly modified women's razors) that are comparable today to the common cell phone of a child in Africa.  Science fiction once again paved the way for reality to catch up.  Now we must imagine greater again for the process to repeat.

In Mass Effect, the Omni-tool is the all-in-one computer that is accessed on and operated with the dominant hand of the user.  It has a flashlight, video recording, holographic projection, data mining, remote console interfacing, crafting, holographic blades, writing stuff, even pseudomagical capabilities such as supercooling or superheating the local atmosphere.  All of these tools and more simply appear at the will of the user.  I ask how one tool attached to the wrist of the user could do all of these things without a bulky interface?  I ask and I imagine.  I could give a thousand different methods this could work by, but I'll start with my favorite.

What if mudras, a form of yoga for the hand, could conjure up an interface or a command?  What if holding the hand in a two-finger position touching the ear automatically ran the communicator program.  Once opened, gestures with the hand such as a flick of the wrist could replace broad commands while the left-hand keypad could then be used for finer tunings.  What if holding out the palm in mudra like a gesture of giving could open up file displays?  Once opened, finger gestures could operate basic commands with the left-hand keypad available as always for more directed changes.  What if actions such as throwing or pointing were combined with specific mudras to access the supportive arsenal of the tool?  I think the trick to this type of interface would be to create physical interfacing that would not interfere with the everyday actions of the user.  For instance, I wouldn't want to accidentally project my pictures in AR while paying the cashier, nor hurl an incineration tech at my coworker at the same time as I throw him the key he asked me for.  

Mudras provide a solid foundation for that reality.  As well as that, they could provide tangential learning through their use.  Specific mudras may match up with their meditative purposes or their existence as programmable shortcuts may allow the user to associate them with desires, providing a muscle memory that draws upon these complex algorithms.  

I think if anything of worth can be taken from my ramblings today, dear reader, it is that it's hella important for our tools to incorporate tangential knowledge in them so that they can be easier to understand by our connection-oriented brains.  For instance, I like the metric system not only because it is base ten and that makes sense with my anatomy of ten fingers and base ten counting system, but also because one meter is about the common running stride.  A journey of a kilometer is tangentially accessible to my mind as a journey of a thousand strides.  The system itself is a part of, and teaches me about, the world I use it to describe.  I HATE the Gregorian calendar because none of its conventions are connected to things we can grasp on to.  The seasons we use the calendar to describe are not aligned in any easily assimilated manner.  The units of time like weeks and months are arbitrary at best and do not actively connect to most lives.  The names of the month teach us that October represents the 10th month of the year, yet it is named after the latin root for eight.  Oh and also being a murderer like Augustus Caesar gets a month named after you.  Good tangential lessons right there.

I think it's time I tackle the Gregorian calendar all by itself, but I'll leave that for next time.


7 questions

Sooooo Facebook is making me ask myself 7 important questions.  Why not answer them here?

1. What would you do with your life if you didn’t have to pay the bills? If money weren’t an issue, what would you do with your days? Would you write? Read? Sing? Whatever it is, you have to do that thing. Money is an interesting phenomenon that completely controls our everyday lives without having any purpose other than sustainability in the form of purchasing from others what we could produce and create right in our own backyards. Consider that when you’re deciding between a soulless job that will make you rich versus a life that will feed your passions.
-Chill in coffee shops and work on comics, art, music.
-Picket outside schools about adultism and hand out free books.
-Offer my time to work in a library or on a farm or in a cafe.
-Try to save the world in every way possible (because there are simply too many to list right now)

2. What cuts you the deepest? So much is defined by what we’re most affected by. Really, what do you not even want to think about right now because it brings you so much emotion? Let those things in, and sit with them. Consider them. Integrate them in your life. We call this acceptance. It doesn’t mean you have to like it, it just means it is something that moves you very deeply for some reason, so you shouldn’t ignore it. Figure out what that reason is.
-Many things cut me deep.  The many ills of this world/society, the many inner turmoils I face on my own, the many things I know I cannot help...  But I try to remember one thing: problems can only do two things.  They can kill you, or they can force you to get creative and grow out of it.  For example, one day our sun will explode.  We can either grieve and wait to explode or we can think how awesome it'll be to be space travelers.  Without that inevitability, we might never be forced to transcend our Earthly place.  For another example, I have faced a lot of anguish in my life.  It didn't kill me, but it has helped me find the humility and empathy to be a decent person.  I could be mad, or I could enjoy it. ... But to stop avoid the question, the things that cut me deepest are being trans and the abomination of a society our elders have created.

3. If you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today? Live for today or plant seeds for tomorrow.  What path is most important for you to take before you embark on that new road we call death?
-I'd listen to this song on repeat (and maybe this one too).  I'd also write a long letter to family and friends.  I'd tell my siblings some truths I've kept from them.  I'd print up a copy of my blog, find all my old drawings, take down the things my students made for me over the years off my wall, compile a big compilation of the joys of my life and plan a ceremony to celebrate life...  Don't mourn my death.  Death sounds like a wonderful adventure-- and I'll see you there.

4. Who do you love and why do you love them? The first people that come to mind are very much a part of who you are. But what’s even more important is why you love these people. Where is your love and what is it based on?
-Love is complicated for me.  Seeing matter and "people" as interchangable allows me to love notes forged with intensity, songs sung with tears, moments lost in time, random strangers full of pain, as well as close individuals with whom I share intimate or non-intimate relations.  ... OK, yeah, to answer the question without copping out, I will say my family... Yet I will say my family is far more than simply the ones who share my blood.  You know who you are.

5. What do you quote? I’m always interested by what people quote, especially on social media, because really, they’re not bringing your attention to something that someone wise said as much as they are trying to tell you something about themselves. Look at what you want to perpetuate to other people, when you yourself can’t find the words. What strikes you most is who you are.
-I have the most eclectic and varied quote stores in my brain.  If this were D&D, I'd have devoted a feat to it.  However, I find myself quoting Rumi more often than anyone else these days.  That old lecherous fart... he knew some shit.

6. In those rare but life-changing moments, how do you act?  When you’re at the end of your rope and you have to make a decision, which way do you choose? Notice the patterns in the paths you choose to take. Notice how you help others when they ask for it. Notice more how you help when they don’t. Your instinctive, intuitive reactions do say something about you. I know some would argue that instincts are just by-products of technically being animals, but our instincts are also formed by the thoughts that we craft in our minds.
-I make many calculations and fortify myself with knowledge, but at the end of the day, I follow my instinct and I listen to the language of the world which deafens me to much that logic and reasoning whispers in my ear.  I don't find these moments rare.  Every day is an explosion of action and reaction, the great cosmic dance of Shiva.  There is a flow and once in line with it, I believe every moment of your life becomes life-changing.  I'll tell you for sure if that's true once I'm in line with that flow.

7. What do you think about most? It’s the little things that add up and create who you are, and if you really want to see where you’re at, write down the things you think about most. They are where you are most invested. They are where you are most curious, interested, perplexed, pained and inspired. These are the things and people who most tell you who you are, because they are the things and people who have remained with you, even if they’re not physically there anymore.
-hmmm.  Gender, how to make society better, higher states of consciousness, humility at the vastness of the universe, and joy at all the simple things.


Finding the light in the darkness

I said that line in a previous post and it surprised me.  I don't really know why I said it, it really wasn't related to what I was saying, but it happened and it has been tumbling through my thoughts ever since.  Get ready to go on a journey, dear reader.  This thought spreads its arms across the vastness of human experience.  I will start this tale in a place you'd never expect and lead you into the unknown and then back to the humblest yet most quintessential aspect of our soul.  I have a lot to live up to in my own introduction...  So it is time to start.

In economics, there is a term called marginal cost.  For you calculus minded individuals, this term defines the integral of the producer's cost to produce an additional unit, q, with respect to q.  For those of you non calculus people, I will have to use more words to describe the same thing:  When producing an item, there are some initial costs like building a factory to make it, wages for labor to produce it, and the price of raw material for it to exist in.  All those costs divided by the number of units that can be produced with those costs is one way of thinking of the marginal cost.  According to a lot of market theory, the marginal cost of increasing my productivity by one unit is the price we should sell our good at; ie if I still have loans on the factory floor and my CEO has a huge salary, then my marginal cost will be pretty high, but once I have paid off the price of land and fired my CEO, the cost of increasing my output by one reduces drastically, and so should my marginal cost, the price my customers pay.  

Technology has driven real marginal cost down on an exponential curve the last hundred years.  The industrial revolution was but one step on this path.  We broke the task of making a shirt across the world, cloth coming from here, dye coming from there, labor coming from here, distribution going there.  Institutionalized slavery still exists today, but the mechanization of labor could reduce the cost and time of production further.  With all these drops, why hasn't the price of creating dropped?  Because the marginal cost remains the same in the balance books of these companies.  As marginal cost has exponentiated downwards, upper management pay has exponentiated upward which holds our marginal cost at 20 dollars even when it costs 13c to make a shirt.  

People say often that this greed is the ultimate evil of our time.  It is the darkness, the yin, the masculine energy flourishing to dominating power that has subjugated our world to the state we see today.  Yet the light is rising, my dear reader.  You know it.  You feel it as I do.  But how?  It is in the nature of masculinity and femininity that our story travels next.

Masculinity is a blanket of earth or a swathe of fire.  It extends and covers, it smothers with its exuberance and desire.  Femininity is the wind or the water.  It flows and it yields eternally.  Masculinity reaches indefinitely and femininity is never truly grasped.  If masculine energy has reached so far as it has in our economic model, how is that feminine energy to return the masculine back into balance if it only yields?  Let's talk the housing market to answer that, shall we?

College debt has exploded over the past fifty years to the point that fewer and fewer homes are being purchased and that market is slowly dying.  As this cycle begins to wane, the young are not reaching for new homes, they are being inherited, traded, and communally built.  Why?  Because economic oppression from our economic model forces people to be more efficient and use less and something just clicks.  Some personal transformation occurs and them to become as humble as the dirt.  After being shoved into the dirt, they become the dirt and economic shackles no longer hold them.  Homes get passed down and no longer have any value aside from becoming places of life shared as a community of man.  This is how femininity triumphs.  Please remember, I am not talking about man and woman, I am talking about a state of being.  It is not to say that all women are like this and all men are like that.  The correlation exists, but we all have both in us at a certain balance that changes every passing moment.

An arguably better example is Napster.  Someone took it upon themselves to use the free building tools provided on the internet to build a sharing house for media.  Once media springs out of the mind and into the physical realm, it is replicated and shared on these platforms with very small marginal cost compared to running a company that crafts and ships disks.  The cost of housing and replicating 90kb is negligible, why pay a distribution company with thirty offices of stooges who isn't really paying the artist for their profits anyway?  Fast forward ten years and media is being produced and shared on YouTube professionally on nothing but advertisement revenue.  Marginal cost is so small, it can be absorbed by someone who wants to steal a bit of your airwave to sell someone detergent.  So many free platforms now exist and the amount of wallet saved from this free exchange encourages donations to what someone knows is worth their investment.  A freer market emerges.

This feminine motion is intoxicating, it draws you into it like all sacredly feminine motions do.  Once the Napster market was tasted, it was too sweet.  Once soaked in this masculine darkness as we have, these feminine motions draw us back out into the light BECAUSE OF the darkness before.  Without being forced to pay an absurdly imbalanced marginal cost, freer models of being would not be so seductive.  Ironically, the darker the shadow, the brighter the light needed to create it.  We have been in the dark so long that it can be hard to see how far this light will take us.  Fifty years from now, I imagine a brightness that looks like this:

I imagine a young person building a set for a movie.  She has a device attached to her arm.  It is a deeply interconnected device that links her to like minded individuals.  With it, she finds or creates the schematics for a piece of her set for free.  The rendering technology exists because someone desired to make it.  The energy exists because our star still shines and our wind still blows.  She grabs some recycled material and feeds it into this device and it prints her imagination into reality.  She crafts her whole scene this way, creating the illusion of being in a wake-walking lucid dream of her imagination and she spills forth this story into reality without a single dime.  She is housed wherever she may go because no one owns land anymore and the world is beautified with communal architecture that incorporates natural cycles into its designs that eat waste and regurgitate food-- like an edible architecture birthed in the minds of the local artists.  She is making her movie because it has meaning for her.  With no marginal cost, she gives her movie to the sharers.  The money donated to her by the fans of her imagination goes towards treating herself beyond the basic needs provided for her by the sacred environment she lives in.  Man lives in rhapsodic abundance and life is lived to the point of tears in every waking moment.  

This image-- this light will grow not just from, but because of the darkness that envelops us today.  Without the ideas of mechanization, efficiency, the ever grasping for more that strangles the mighty into husks of Sin, we would not have these tools.  Now armed with the fruits of that mindset, we are free to take it and create with it.  Therefore I say that I am in love with masculinity-- in love with this evil darkness, because it's depths grow me.  When he envelops me, I become the light in his darkness and suddenly I am cradling him and we are one in the same.  

One day, like the breath of a divine being, the feminine light will be smothered again by darkness on a grander scale as it has from the birth of reality.  One day, that darkness will become light yet again, but I can only hope I will be long dead to see what darkness the next cycle will know.  I do not hate the dark that has swept over us as it now fades.  I anticipate it, so that I may flow around its advances and use its flame to burn brighter and longer than I ever knew possible.


The Numinous Dimension

I want to talk today about dimensionality.  I'll start with a brief synopsis for the uninitiated and then jump into what I want to say after the music note if you wanna jump right down.

Let's start with one dimension, a line.  I can go left, I can go right, but any other direction just seems insane to me.  If this is a numbered line, 1 is 1 and there is no other 1 out there.  There is an infinite in front of me and an infinite behind me, how could I imagine anything more.  

Moving on to two dimensions, each point on the original line becomes a new infinite.  Miraculously, the number 1 from our previous line now holds within it the entire known and unknown universes it could imagine in the previous dimensionality.  Now there is a plane, a flat sheet of paper, a Flatland if you'll forgive the literary reference, that we can draw cool stuff on.  Connections never thought possible are able to be created indefinitely on this new infinite canvas.

In three dimensions, there is yet another direction to go.  Moving in this direction can appear like moving through time.  An entire new infinite canvas, expressing another entire imagining of everything the previous universe could come up with.  String a few together and you can create a psychic continuum that can tell stories.

Expand your view of conscious.  We can all understand these three dimensions because we actively live in them.  I can go left, right, up, down, forward, and backwards.  Time carries us forward into new iterations of our 3 dimensions.

Likewise with all other steps upward, we have to imagine infinity, all the possible and conceivable universes being stored in every individual point of our 3rd dimensional space.  The only way I can picture this is by picturing this new direction to be imagination.  Every point holds within it every conceivable universe.  Patterns emerge on this 4th dimensional landscape.  These patterns are the next replicator; they are IDEAS arising from the primordial soup of human culture.  Ideas jump from mind to mind, spread and take root, they exist simultaneously across vast quantities of space, they are higher dimensional beings.  

When I hear physicists fumble with higher dimensions, saying that they are "all wrapped up" or "moving in an imperceptible direction", I can't help but smile.  I live in the numinous dimension above.  When I close my eyes, I can experience lives relived with different choices or I can leave myself entirely and experience galaxies of lives unfurling like a flower before me.  

The Numinous.  I like that name.  I think you'll be hearing it more often now.

Maths, literature, and poetry

The genesis of the ability to read has always held a place for me in the pantheon of great mysteries of this world.  How we rise from knowing what each letter means to fitting letters together into words to using those words to create fiction, write laws, and explore the aesthetic rapture found in the poetry of an opening flower.

Any student of the word is shown the infinite variety of forms our language can take on their journey.  We are encouraged not to prove how good we are at reading by getting exponentially faster at it.  We are taught to find meaning in the labor spent turning paper and ink into an active link to an imaginary world within the mind of another.  We are shown that some of us have particular inclinations to delve into anywhere on a spectrum between ultra concise legal writing and writing that defy all rules like the works of E. E. Cummings.  We are taught to enjoy writing as an explorative medium.

I believe that the Maths are just another medium with which to explore worlds both imagined and measurable.  A cod example might be that if I have two sheep and my sister falls ill, her five sheep will fall under my care and I will have seven sheep to tend.  No need to count, math provides me with knowledge preceding the moment.  With more metrics, I might be able to determine how long I my duties will take and whether or not I have the resources to care for these fuzzy beasts.  

But this is the See Jane Run of mathematical literacy.  From this modest foothold, one may explore the forces near and inside black holes, places mankind may never go, and fashion narratives of beauty and connectivity as Feinmann and other mathematical poets have done.  On a simpler scale, we have children imagining worlds where gravity is half of what it is and imagining themselves dunking balls and flying around like Jedi.  The realms to be explored this way are endless.

Mathematics, like all language, is a means to expressing a world in clarity so that it can be experienced.  Yet too often I see students of the number who merely sound out each number and use the rote tools to figure out how to say it in the acceptable format.  It is like younglings reading aloud ay-ar-arbitr-area-y con-conk-conscious-ness and yet being unable to truly understand their own phonations due to the need to move forward with the doing of reading.  In a literature classroom, I would likely give that student an easier book to read, but standardized curricula is slowly taking even that out of our control, leaving many students to flounder and never truly READ for themselves until it is too late.  With mathematics, the situation is much more dire.  I find that the average Maths teacher has not ever been exposed to the true ability to use their phonations to explore the worlds of poetry and pure beauty that exist therein.  With no teacher who remembers, the skill is lost to all but those who pursue the Maths at a collegiate level.

Mathematics MUST be taught with this linguistic imagination at the forefront.  We do not DO math in the same way that we do not DO reading.  We read to experience the other or express the inexpressible.  I math not only to see the world as the beautiful and astounding perfection that it is, but also to imagine and clearly express futures that do not exist yet.  My dear reader, this is a tragedy on the scale of the loss of an entire cultural language.  

Of all topics, a solution here eludes me, but I do have a few suggestions.  First, do not give students isolated, purely numeric problems.  That is like having kids speed read aloud random words and say it is improving their recognition.  Put students in environments where solutions to problems of ethics and art are brought closure through the application of numbers.  Teach students to live in an ever changing democratic union where the voice of the people is heard by 2/3rds majority on a mathematical level.  Simply adjusting the daily necessary votes to pass a decision is enough exposure to teach the concept of a ratio.  Cleverly throw in some girls only votes and let the discussions of fairness and partisanship arise.  These students may or may not have the linguistic ability to express these dilemmas, but they will grow in the mind like a cancer, driving the ability to express themselves.  Teach geometry in the pleasurable company of the arts.  Show students pieces that rock the occult center and then show how to bring that inexplainable beauty to their works of art through simple tools and a true fluency of the world in numbers.

In the words of Dylan Thomas, do not go quietly into that good night, instead rage, RAGE against the dying of the light.  Find the light in the darkness, my dear reader.  It exists because you do.


Living in the past

We all have those people in our lives who wish we could go back to a simpler life.  Maybe one from the past where things were simpler.  Whether it be the 1910s or the Middle Ages, the stars were brighter back then and the enemies of today had not yet been imagined.  Sometimes these people emulate those times and try to bring them into reality today.  Sometimes they just enjoy the occasional fancy dress party dressed in said era.

Either way, I beg caution on these lines of thought.  It is important to remember that we are living in the present.  To forget the enemies of the present and escape to the childlike realities of the past is to forget all the growth that has occurred because of them.  We as human beings have the ability to imagine ANY potential future and pull the present forward to meet it.  For the future in our imagination to be limited to the purity of the past or the consequences of our future is crippling.  If we can imagine it, we can create it.

Imagine greater, dear reader.  In the dreamscape of your mind, you can imagine a world where a living architecture grows food and energy for us at the same time as we live every day freely and in constant, rapturous awe creating, sharing, and experiencing augmented reality stories uploaded to a Gaia-like global brain.  Certainly work must be done, but the last hundred years of highly masculine and frankly destructive ideology has given birth to marginal costs approaching zero.  There are no limits here, simply ask yourself, "why not?"  Why can't we have a technological singularity at the same time as a meditative and peaceful revolution of consciousness?  Why can't we have the absence of violent government combined with a community of individuals that nonviolently looks out for the rights of all? Or why not the opposite?  

If we can but imagine a future, we can bring the present forward to meet it.  Do not lose faith, dear reader.  Only you can do this.  Only you can save us all.  Only you can change yourself.

Programming Joy

In order to replicate life, we must replicate joy, for it is what causes us to seek.

First off, I love me some Star Wars.  I will save you hours of facepalming at my nerdiness by leaving it at that, but it is important to note that this whole thought originated while I was watching The Clone Wars on Netflix.

In The Clone Wars, there is an army of droids that the Sith use to fight against the Republic's clone troopers.  The way the artists depict these droids is very comical.  In one episode, the droid army is testing out a new weapon that disables enemy ships with an electronic pulse, leaving it vulnerable to attack.  As two droids were manning cannons, demolishing a helpless Republic vessel, one droid turns to the other and says, "It sure is a lot more fun when they aren't firing back!"  To which the other replies, "I STILL can't hit anything!"

I laughed at this well crafted line, but I smiled as well.  I laughed because the age-old joke regarding the accuracy of these futuristic machines is being poked at by the series itself.  But I smiled as well because these droids are simply happy and that makes me smile.  No matter what insane orders they receive or how much more superior their foes are in terms of raw ability and power, the droids experience nothing less than joy at following those orders.  Fulfilling their purpose makes them happy and concepts such as honor, sacrifice, duty, and gratitude spring forth from this simple emotion felt at living their purpose.

Then it hit me.  Joy is the key!  If there is one amazing thing about life, it is emergence-- how higher order systems of behavior can arise from lower order functions.  From behavioral psychology to ripple patterns in sand dunes to swarming flocks of birds to crystals forming on glass, there are insanely simple rules in these systems, yet immensely complex results spring from them.  Watching these animated robots, I felt suddenly as if it all made sense.  I felt like ALL life seems to emerge out of this simple joy felt in finding one's purpose and living through it.

Actively seeking out this joy is truly what makes us alive.  I have only recently awoken to this cosmic gravity that overflows my being with pure joy at simply breathing.  If we truly wish to create life, we have to synthesize this raw joy experienced upon living and impregnate our creations with it.

Programming would then become wiring systems to work together to achieve a goal that instantiates this raw joy.  But now, dear reader, we must question how to synthesize joy and bestow it upon our creations...
Yeah, I got nothin.  For today though, I am at ease.  I am at ease to know that I am alive and a cosmic gravity tugs at my poncho, pulling me ever towards what I can only describe as heaven on Earth.


Artists use lies

"A politician uses lies to cover the truth up, an Artist uses a lie to tell the truth."

As a transhumanist, I very definitively believe that art, and the realm of imagination where it comes from, are not only existent, but also orders of magnitude more truthful than our own realm.  That being said, to call art itself a lie or a non truth seems to go against everything I believe in!  It doesn't.

When I really think about it, art IS a lie.  The Mona Lisa is a forgery of the thoughts, feelings, emotions, and urges of the young man who rendered the lie in paint.  The world from which that man pulled her from will hold the true her until the ends of all time.  That man, however, did use a lie to show her to the world.  From historical reinactments to science fiction blockbusters, the things shown to us are nothing but lies impersonating the real thing which exists beyond, and yet because of, us.

These lies, however, do something phenomenal.  These lies are somehow able to allow us to reach into the imagination world of another and touch the true essence of the thing we used a lie to reach.  And this allows us to live lives that are not our own.  Therefore, these lies mediate nothing less than technological telepathy and reincarnation.

That being said, the real reason I invited you, dear reader, was to discuss the opinions of a volunitrist category libertarian.  He believes that the only justification for violence is the preservation of the self.  I have always tried to oppose the use of violence at every turn, but have been shown multiple situations where the use of the swift application of various forms of violence can save lives.  Examples are all over the board here.  

So often, I have blatantly lied about my feelings to my students by pretending to be hurt by their actions.  The reactions to the lies I craft end up being self-reflective if I am empathetic, cunning, and have good timing.  This causes a true change in their behavior.  By all means, I just lied and potentially made them feel awful, but the result was nothing less than the concept of inception from the movie of the same title.  

Another example harkens back to the idea that sometimes one is simply out of their mind and needs a good kick in the head.  Not a sword through the chest or even a broken arm, but simply being defeated on a symbolic sense can be enough to convince someone of their wrong.  Whether defeating them in a battle of wits or knocking them on their ass, being defeated provides the perfect context from which to reflect on their actions without the anger associated with lasting consequences.  

At this point, I wondered why we couldn't replace violence at all levels with the illusion of violence.  If we could do as Aikido has done and solve violent situations with nonviolence and reconciliation.  If we could follow the possibilities of literature, movies, games, and art as vessels from which to live a true experience that will impregnate the viewer with the idea that all of us are one.  If we could transcend death by providing the perfect illusion of it as a replacement.  If we could do any of those things, I believe we could move on from suffering by eliminating its harmful effects, yet having a deeply personal knowledge of it in a safe environment-- a beautifully crafted, cathartic lie.

Enter the news story that this libertarian fellow talked on.  It was a situation where the NYPD baseball team had their baseball gear stolen right before a big game.  The gear was stolen from an NYPD van, but only the gear.  No security tech, no weapons, not even the air freshener was taken-- only the gear was taken on the Eve of their big game.  The thief even returned it to them, one crank emergency call later.  

My libertarian friend is of the belief that the situation was ironic; it was taking the officers off of their seat of power and putting them down on the level they serve.  Police showed up at the scene of the robbery and filed a report.  The criminals were not found, yet "justice" was served when the gear was found.  The police were bummed that they could not participate in the charity games, but no retribution will recall that loss.  The police were shocked that it happened to them and literally felt their own institution not accomplishing the job they were tasked to do.  

Clearly the thieves are doing harm, but is this harm not a well crafted illusion of harm that is being invoked to teach a lesson?  And if that IS true, are these thieves not artists as well, weaving the truth with a tapestry of lies?  Where do actions like stealing and baking and painting and living cease to be mere actions and become art?  



On redefining the word "murder" to include animals.

I was watching Full Metal Alchemist and a specific line troubled me greatly.  A homunculus spoke to a prince and said, "when you look down upon an insect, do you consider whether he is strong, smart, or of high political standing?  Such a being is so far beneath you humans that I highly doubt it.  So too you, human, are so far beneath me that I simply do not care who you are, only that you will sacrifice your life for me."

This line troubled me because the non-human was right.  His atrocious acts were justified under the very same logic we use today.  Animals are below us.  Legally, if they kill, it is the owner's responsibility.  If we kill them, we hardly need a reason for there is no thought for punitive damages; they are below us.

I reject this ideology, my dear readers.  Murder is taking the life of another living creature whether it is a human, a pig, or a tree.  Murder may be justified based upon survival needs, but murder may ALWAYS be avoided if one is simply strong enough to conceive of a nonviolent solution.  Many old cultures hold great reverence for life and have rituals of apology for the act of taking a life.  It is this reverence to the cycles that we have lost; that lack makes us no better than the homunculus and far worse than our potential.  

Murder might be part of the Yup'ik cycle because they cannot cultivate the land to fill their needs.  What CAN separate us from the other species of life is our power to change cycles.  This godlike ability can terraform entire worlds and forge cycles where murder may not be necessary at all for a global community.  We can be so much greater than we are.

The occasional murder will happen.  Life is chaotic.  But we CAN discourage it.  We humans can love great enough to break our cycles of murder.  Surely lions may still kill gazelle and Alaskans may still kill moose, but if we can but love great enough, we can imagine a new cycle for ourselves that does not harm others.  Again, it falls back on you, dear reader.  Only you.  I have chosen to see the world this way; to see my power this way.  Make up your own mind wisely, for you are one drop that helps move the whole ocean.



I found this scrawled on the back of a page of my clipboard.  It's my handwriting.  I vaguely recall this, but I love everything about it.

"Be amazed that every action you do may be observed and may then completely alter the internal world of another.  For instance, a bird came to me just now.  She used her eyes and beckoned my attention and made me watch as she drank from the stream.  What did she mean by that?  I sat for a moment and then got real.  She's just a jay, her mind is small, her communication to me is literal, she just wants me to drink... So I drank.  And I sat amazed all night with wondering eyes.  What if my presence here tonight is reminding something out there to just breathe and relax?  (--even if you look really stupid doing it)"

I love it!  It's so very out there, yet also witty and crisp.  It perfectly encapsulates this tiny piece of utter awe at the universe and the raw joy that accompanied it.  I love everything about it.  Ok, I shared my writing, next time I can get back to sharing my thoughts.


Schools and Prisons

I compare schools and prisons a lot because ... they are pretty comparable.

Prisons are meant to do three things.  First, they are meant to keep dangerous people out of society.  The Hannibals of society can't just be slapped on the wrist to stop them from killing.  They need close monitoring and very individualized help.  Second, they are meant to punish people to show them that they can't hurt others.  Drug users often just need a quick slap on the wrist via a ticket or prison if the ticket cannot be paid in order to learn their lesson.  Lastly, they are meant to rehabilitate prisoners back into a harmonious way of life so that they may return to society.

The last one serves the smallest portion of this trio, but when I think about it, rehabilitatin should really be the highest priority.  Most prisoners get out of prison and then they will logically become our neighbors.  I don't want my neighbors being simply criminals who were put in a box and punished for a while.  That'll just make them angry and more likely to rebel again!

Punishment, pilar two, is a precarious topic for me.  I believe that any act of force is wrong.  A punishment is an act of force.  An executioner is a murderer even if he is a legally sanctioned one.  With that in mind, it's important to not punish too severely.  Not only because the punishment soils the punisher, but because our animal brains fear punishment.  I don't want my neighbors too scared of excessive punishment to do anything out of the ordinary.  For revolutions require us to be bold.

Being alone is necessary for all of us.  As a teacher, I can't tell you how many times the right move is to step back and let the student struggle alone.  Sometimes it is to vent frustration, sometimes it is to let them to piece things together on their own, sometimes it is simply to give them a break.  Whatever the reason, we need that solitude (rarely more than a few days) to regulate our faculties.  For solitude to work though, it requires direction and meditation.

Given these three pillars, the image that comes to my mind is a mother whose two year old is testing her boundaries.  The child will pull her hair and literally throw shit across the room because he does not know that these actions are not politically sanctioned.  She must punish him gently, yet firmly enough for him to see his error.  She will likely separate him from the world of play and put him into a world where all he sees is his actions.  He thinks about his actions and sees the error of his ways because mom told him not to and mom knows fuckin' everything.  He knows now not to pull hair and throw poop.  He doesn't yet know that throwing poop and THEN pulling hair is not ok in this particular room, but he's 2, these things take time, my dear reader.

Now schools seem to have these same three pillars.  First, we keep schools separated from the rest of society.  Second, they punish students in order to show them the right way to learn.  Third, they work towards habilitating students towards being lifelong learners (or a societal slaves).  We have every pilar intact.  The details on each side mirroring the other.  They both have regimented hours of varied activities, serve atrocious foods, are patrolled by wardens, are buried in bureaucracy, are heavily monetized.  One fragmentalizes rehabilitation into therapy, psychology, civil service, isolation, rest, activity; one decimates learning into Maths, Languages, Science, History, Art.

Schools and prisons were designed by the same architect.  Something is wrong here.  When I see the image of the mother disciplining her son, I do not see that image mirrored by our revolving door of a prison system.  The structures of our institutions, both physical and in systems designs, are a mirror of our inner heart.  Our core, our heart, mirrors that of our faulty prison system.  If we can change the heart, change our inner structure to one of oneness, harmony, and sustainability, then our physical form will soon follow into the shape our heart manifests for it. 



A friend recently posted on Facebook that tests at school do not test skills like creativity, empathy, humor, leadership, or the senses of beauty and wonder among so many others.  The post got me thinking and ... My dear readers, you know all too well what a dangerous thing that is.  Tests in schools are a hairy topic, but here goes nothing.

In the noble light of Kethar, tests can be described as a place that allows students to judge their abilities to perform a task alone and under duress without real consequences for failure.  I picture an EOD officer testing his or her skills diffusing a bomb without worrying about lives being in danger.  To simplify, we have a situation that is just like real life, but there are no lives or limbs lost as a result of failure.  The great thing about this is that a student who is fully committed to the false reality of the test gains REAL experience.  As humans, we can actively submit to false realities of stories and digest lessons as if we were actually there.  A test is making that false reality react to our actions in real time so that we may live in a world we are not in.

In our public school systems today, tests are meant to measure one's abilities to perform a task alone.  Sounds pretty similar to what I just described, but a few details are off.  First, I have encountered very few examples of tests in all my time as a student that accurately emulated what I would see in the real world.  Second, every time I took a test, my entire future was at risk; failure meant a lowered grade.  Adults are pretty smart, most know that grades don't make or break the soul of a learner-- look at Einstein or Jobs.  However, as children inside the machine, grades mean everything because that's what we tell children.  To summarize, we have a situation that is nothing like real life and if we fail, we risk losing everything.  This is the EXACT opposite of what I just described.

"I used to pray that I would get hit by a car so I wouldn't have to take a test.  That's awful-- and common.  It is not how anyone should learn anything."  These are the words of a dear friend of mine.  She is not alone.  In an environment where a scant few hours of testing determines 70% of my grade, I've had similar thoughts.  For instance, my college had a policy that if a roommate died, the surviving roomie would be automatically passed through all of her classes to reduce stress.  A tempting offer!

Wait a minute!  There is something so very wrong here!  Did I really consider faking my death for a roommate?  Did I really write Japanese vocabulary words on my leg out of fear of failure?  I totally did both of those things ...  And now I must ask myself that most fatal question: Why?  Neil deGrasse-Tyson said this better than I ever could, "When students cheat on exams, it is because our school system values grades more than students value learning."

An important thing to note with this quote is that when he says the school system values grades more than students value learning, he is not miffing the student's desire for learning.  He is merely pointing out that the school's desire for grading outweighs it.  For all of my faults, I LOVE learning.  Yet I succumbed to the same stresses and responses many of my peers did in the pursuit of an exceedingly valuable piece of paper.  It's ok.  It doesn't speak little of me as a student.  It speaks little of our institutions for their hubris.

To look at a good example of a test, observe the Kobiyashi Maru of the Star Trek universe.  It is a test that shoves a young officer into the position of a captain who runs into a no-win situation against impossible foes.  The purpose of the test is to experience fear and to remain composed in the face of one's own death.  The score sheet is not a percentage of saved lives, nor is the test passed by accomplishing the original task of routine rescue.  The test itself puts the resolve of the officer on the table and in taking it, she learns about herself and therefore grades herself.  Tests like this can teach us humility and mindfulness, sacrifice and futility, they can teach us to face our death and still make the right choice.

Our tests are broken.  Lets fix them.

Knowing when you are on the right path

When an archer is shooting for nothing, she has all of her skill.  If she shoots for the prize of a brass buckle, she becomes nervous.  If she shoots for a prize of gold, she sees two targets!  She becomes out of her mind!  Her skill has not changed, but the prize divides her.  She cares; she thinks more of winning than of doing.  Desire drains her of power.  And then, when money does jingle from her pocket, she is consoled.  Even on the day when she can buy nothing with it.

Dear readers, there is a currency beyond money that jingles in my pocket.  It comforts me as it flows through my body, causing goosebumps to rise and a greater connection to flow through me.  In living within this flow, I am consoled.  In enacting it, I know that I am enough without anyone telling me that I am.