What is Nationality?

Is nationality the same as identity?

Nationality could be just a way to index your place of birth.

It could also be a way to identify with a culture.

The United States is unique in that respect because of our short history, and because every citizen is the product of immigration.

The melding and accepting of cultures is an uniquely American ideal. Perhaps this cosmopolitan ethos has expanded to other counties with the increase in globalization.

Nations were once very monocultural, and that was a “good” thing, which reinforced the nationalistic identity assumed as citizens.

But technology has bridged cultural gaps in terms of knowledge access and transfer and exposure, via the proliferation of media and information, and the ease of travel.

Europe, once taking great pride in its monocultural institutions, has many countries that are nearly as diverse as America.

This cultural pluralism is hotly debated. Is this diversity a good thing? Or is it a bad thing? When is it good and when is it bad?

I feel that diversity is a good thing when people reach across the aisle and seek to understand others, and minorities do their best to assimilate into the prevailing institutions, bringing with them their unique cultural values as contributions to expanding thought and perspective and ideas of legacy institutions.

It’s bad when there is no assimilation, when the majority is no longer tolerant, or the minority holds too tight to their culture, and refuses to adapt.

I’m an American. I speak “American” (English yes, but clearly a different accent, and often a different dialect depending on the demographic I’ve been socialized by).

Do I identify with American values? It’d be difficult to deny this. They are generic enough. Freedom and liberty? Sure.

I’m not the most patriotic person.

I’m mostly aware of my nationality when I travel, and I’m exposed to traditions and values and social etiquette that’s hidden in the folds of society when your submersed there.

Attitudes toward education, elders, women, technology, work, eating, health, vacation, etc, etc.

Culture is a hidden force that’s only revealed by exposure to radically different ways of living.

A force in the sense that it has shaped and molded our character and constitution in ways completely hidden to us without a contrast to compare to.

I know many who have never left the town they were born in. What does culture mean to them? “I am the way I am and I can’t be any other way!” And they you travel, and the world opens up and exposes these “other ways” of being. And possibility can finally bloom. Or the fear and discomfort of this “difference” causes a retreat back into the familiar, and a disdain for the “other”.

I find books produce the same effect.

Beliefs and assumptions and values are imbued throughout our psychological development which eventually become a more and more rigid identity that become more and more inescapable the longer we refuse to explore alternative ways of living and thinking.

The brain is plastic, so anyone can change. But it requires a more radical force to create this change if mind, because habits of being are so deeply engrained.

No one can escape the process of enculturation. But we can become aware of it, and choose our influences more wisely.

But individuals and groups behave very differently.

Mass psychology has a mind of its own, and often individuals would reject the mass psychology they see as detrimental in others, though they themselves participate in it.

I see the Christian disdain for Islam, and find it fascinating that more parallels aren’t drawn between the two. Gross generalizations projected onto the other, completely blind that they are active participants in the same mass psychology by a different name.

I like the Socratic attitude of being a “citizen of the world”.

That should be the response.

There are universal values which encourage the flourishing of humanity that no nation can claim as their own.

We should identify as citizens of the world. Humanity is one. Differences are a matter of perception, and dialog typically resolves those differences with understanding.

Culture is a by product of the collective struggle of the group to make survival meaningful. We struggle to solve problems as a group, and the activities produced by that struggle become our culture. And these struggles are not only engineering or political feats. They include relationships, labor, creating beauty through art, adapting to the climate, etc.

But the struggle is universal.

Neoclassical Economics and Marxism

Ironically, many people who have reject Marxism out right have not read it.

I found Das Kapital one of the more illuminating books I’ve read from a sociological point of view.

When I was studying economics, I quickly realized there were some major flaws in the neoclassical methods we were being taught, most of which he pointed out in this Ted Talk.

My favorite class was the History of Economic Theory and Methods. It was the only class that exposed me to ideas other than neoclassical economic theory. I found this appalling. Many go throughout college and learn this prevailing neoclassical economic theory and its methods and have zero clue that other theories exist, that other philosophies exist. They might get a footnote about the Austrian school of libertarianism. But mostly your indoctrinated to believe that neoclassical economics is truth.

Considering how poorly it mapped onto my understanding of a stochastic world, and humans which are entirely irrational, and having learned about sociological theories which explain the role of institutions in imbuing humans with values which drive behaviors and purpose, I felt strongly there were more productive ways of conceptualizing an economic system. And when I took that history of economics class, I found plenty of them.

Marx had profound ideas that weren’t all that original, but were uniquely synthesized. He took many observations from Hegel and Ricardo and others and applied them to them to how the individual engages in economy. Marx was a phenomenal sociologist. Perhaps not a great economist. Alfred Marshall did a phenomenal job outlining economic forces and formalizing them, but sociology and psychology were still undeveloped subjects of study.

What caught my eye most was institutional economics, pioneered by Thorstein Veblen, which examined the evolutionary forces that shaped economic behaviors. Behavioral economics is an outgrowth of institutional economics, which has gained more widespread attention, because it accommodates irrational agents. But I’ve yet to see a comprehensive economic system that appreciates the sociological forces that account for economic behavior.

The reason why neoclassical economics took off is because of monetary policy. By operating under the neoclassical framework which can mathematize economics and human behavior, capitalists can push and pull levers to greatly impact economic outcomes. Unfortunately, as we have seen from stagnating wages, increased debt, and speculative investing, and this has not elevated the public good and the labor it represents, but has profited only those with the access to capital, which benefit from this financial manipulation, if they know how to navigate the game. The current economic system is a scheme that is showing its cracks. In the short run it can make predictions, but in the long run it falls apart. And we’re seeing it fall apart. It has no basis other than to serve capitalists with the time and money to invest speculatively. And the economic growth they point at the justify these measures has benefited only a few. Per capita consumption has increased along with debt, and wealth has decreased.

Mysticism

I’m fascinated by mysticism. Like him, I believe exploring the irrational realms is necessary for understanding. In a way, these realms illuminate areas of ignorance, which can be turned into rational inquiry. Reason and logic is not good or bad. It’s an instrument, a tool. Values determine the intention of how these tools are applied. I have an aversion to those who push back on reason and science, the same way I push back on those who proclaim religion and god’s divine inspiration is all man needs to survive. Perhaps. Many people get along fine with religion and their private spirituality. But exploring the world has lead to more understanding of the universe and our place in the universe than religion has ever done. And religion and spirituality will never be replaced by science and reason. Religion creates communities, and spirituality creates unity, both of which orient humanity to higher values, both necessary for humanities survival. But values without reason is like fire without an engine. It’s powerful and illuminating, but can be dangerous when reason isn’t there to anchor the heart to the mind, which provides vision of consequences. I don’t think being uneducated is a virtue. On the contrary. I think being educated is one of the highest virtues. But education isn’t formal. It’s not an end. It’s a continual process of action and reflection, and refining, so to continually align values with reason and experience, to create soundness and coherence and resonance with the inner and outer. Self-education is the highest spiritual journey. Accumulating understanding is not just remembering, it’s also the process of forgetting. But relying entirely upon yourself is also risky, because of our natural propensity to self deceive, by taking our singular experience as the only experience of value. Gathering with other minds, from conversation and reading, and becoming educated on the various perspectives of others, greatly enhances our ability to understand.

Books

I feel inadequate most of the time, ignorant, naive. So I read. I explore texts, converse with the authors, play with their ideas, delve into pages which become my forest of refuge, and make my home under the constellation of ideas that illuminate my interior. I feel lost. Like a wanderer in the desert. Books are my oasis. I wake, I turn, and I see my books around me. I grab one from the night before, and begin my day reading. G tosses and turns next to me. The sun drips into my room. I rise. I work. I make dinner. I get ready for bed, and open my books again. Ideas pour into me, and out of my imagination. Associations compound. I mark and highlight and notate. I look up words and references, check the citations, and buy more books.

Life is dark, and books are light. But an endless receding light. No amount of reading gets me closer to the illuminating portal I gaze after. Diffuse hazy ambient light slowly transforms into a concentrated beam which fixes my attention, which gets smaller but brighter all the time.

When my mind isn’t engaged with people and tasks, it reflects on these ideas. Ever constructing coherence to this mind which frames experience, which accommodates the pregnant possibility every moment I gaze into the world, at the world, onto the world. Books augment this frame of mind, provide ornamental structure and scaffolding to hang my perceptions upon, to yield beauty and depth to the ordinary all around me. There is an infinite abyss which gazes back at me when I stare into the world. Endless constructions that appear and transmorph from moment to moment which leave me speechless, until some “other” demands my attention, and a crystallized response takes me away.

Books contain worlds which my curiosity and wonder can’t help but explore. Repetition. Reading and absorbing ideas, impressing them deep into my soul, where they meld and mix and generate novel perspective I can call my own. I feel forever ignorant. Learning it all, consuming the knowledge, and not just reading it, but living it, gathering the primary experience which the authors report on, feels like drinking the ocean. How can I make it all stick in some impressionable way? How can I take all that I read, all that I experience, and build something useful with it? How do I shape my character and constitution in a way that gets me closer to my highest values? Reading. There are so many books, so little time. Travel. People. Work. How to do it all? How to prioritize? Reading still leaves me feeling the most ignorant, and the most empowered. I wish I could talk about everything I read, or have read. Not just popular books, but the the classic pioneers of thought who laid the foundations that humanity benefits from, but so few know it. So few know of the ocean beneath their feet. The world’s which exist under every utterance, the history and people that built these structures we all benefit from, composed entirely of ideas.

If I had one wish, it would be to read and converse and write and build upon these ideas.

But for now, and maybe forever, I am a hobbyist, an amateur, a dilettante. But I enjoy it nonetheless.

Social Media Digital Personality Avatars

A macabre part of me wishes Facebook and Instagram and LinkedIn and all these social media personality platforms imploded and self destructed.

Imagine all these digital personalities, these faux avatars that people parade, completely disappearing overnight.

What would be left?

There’s a lot of good these platforms do. Lots of great information and knowledge that’s disseminated. Lots of quality goods and services that get exposure.

But there’s also a ton of bullshit. People making millions from exploiting boredom. Exploiting fantasy.

They do funny things. Pranks. Or post travel pictures. Or their cars or houses or savvy work life. Inspirational quotes. Or record their musings. Insert a product placement here or there, for some company or their own.

I dunno.

I just imagine…. what would happen if it all just… disappeared. What would these people do? Their lives revolve around curating and cultivating a digital avatar. It exists night and day. Static images or recordings trapped in this ether-net. Always present.

I guess it’s a permanent part of humanity now.

I’m mostly curious what would happen if the ability to self-promote en masse was suddenly taken from people.

What would they do?

I guess it’s no use wondering.

I just wonder.

I saw a post from a wealthy self made real estate developer:

Left The Bahamas, caught a flight in Florida, and made my way back to BVI.

I’ve been traveling a majority of the days in the past 2 months. It’s been crazy and stressful but also each trip has taught me something new about myself, how to run my business, and have given me new ideas to scale my impact.

If I were to give in to my stress by staying in Nashville and running my businesses from there, I wouldn’t even come close to creating the change I want to see in the world within my lifetime. I’ve got one chance and this life and I refuse to settle for mediocrity because that’s what is “comfortable”.

Your higher self is in direct opposition to your comfort zone.

What are you stuck being comfortable with? Change that.”

There’s a picture of her on a mountain overlooking an aquamarine ocean.

I thought to myself:

if a tree falls and there’s no one there to hear it, did it make a sound?

Translated:

If you do something important with your life and there’s no one there to validate you, does it matter?

I wonder.

The power of social media to validate and self-reinforce these ambition tropes is a strong force.

It’s not necessarily bad or good.

But I really wonder.

If the ability to self-promote your carefully curated digital avatar was stripped from you, who would you really be?

What would happen to all these personalities? Would they have an existential crisis?

We have a growing portion of society whose identity is directly tied to the validation of the masses.

What problems does this create?

What happens to these personalities when their fabricated digital identity is suddenly voided? And they are left with themselves, no mass validation? Just the small circle of relationships that typically accompany a person’s life. Are they in good company? Are they good with themselves?

Just curious.

This social media personality avatar phenomenon is only fifteen years old or so. Yes, there have been entertainers forever. But it’s different nowadays. People compete for seconds of the public’s attention. A few seconds of stimulation that someone reacts to, and you have a follower. Your utility as a digital avatar is to produce seconds of stimulation while they scroll through their feed. This is the value you bring to the world. Your online identity is validated by those who endorse your abbreviated ability to stimulate for moments, every day.

It’s all very curious.

Is there a lifespan to this economy? Will society grow tired of it in 15 years, and revert back to more traditional forms of community for validation? What happens then?

Curriculum

My girlfriend asked me to educate her today. She’s a professional ballet dancer, and committed full time to dance at 15, opting out of academia and going aboard to a ballet school in NYC to pursue a career in ballet.

I asked her where we should start. She said history. I thought this was an excellent place, but then my mind began to wander its way back in time, back to the beginning of history, to first origins. I then realized that the proper way to educate someone on history, might begin in this manner.

1. Philosophy — moreover, the philosophical methods of critical thinking, of asking questions, of challenging assumptions. The essence of dialog, two words, two minds reasoning in concentration to make sense of it all: the beginning of education.

2. Mathematics — the most fundamental process of abstract analytical and perspicacious reasoning, essential for understanding the relations of any and every abstract concept or idea.

3. Physics — How matter came to be, from quantum to classical to relativity to astrophysics which combines them all.

4. Geology — how planets and earth formed and evolved

5. Biology — how life came to be, and evolved.

6. Anthropology — what makes humans, human

7. Sociology — how groups of humans behave

8. Psychology — how the mind of humans develops and operates, as a result of the previous collection of events.

9. History — how humanity makes sense of the past.

10. Spirituality — how the human mind makes sense of the ineffable

I suppose these are all abstract studies which serve to illustrate a comprehensive worldview. They’re not as linear as I would like, but they do provide foundational stepping stones to more composite topics of learning.

To apply this knowledge for creative purposes would require another line of successive steps in education, such as engineering, technology, science, arts, design, and the like.

Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

Just about finished the book Range by David Epstein

Highly recommend you read as humans— as scientists, as athletes, as businessmen and entrepreneurs, as musicians, as artists, as thinking problem solvers.

I’d make it the next book you read.

Took me about 10 hours to read, and I was filling the margins with notes.

Excellent research, anecdotes, clear writing, concise conclusions with profound implications.

This book aligns with my attitude toward voracious consumption of unrelated knowledge and understanding from disparate domains, which can then be abstracted into mental models and synthesized into robust systematic structural tools for rapid, effective problem solving.

The author is well read, and really does a great job illustrating what it means to be a generalist, and why learning slow, struggling, experimenting, and meandering your way through various domains and skills, ultimately produces the most creative minds tasked with solving novel, or as the author calls them, wicked problems.

Specialists are the best tacticians.

Generalists are the best strategists.

Specialists win the battle.

Generalists win the war.

Specialists excel when the rules are known.

Generalists excel when the rules are unknown.

Highly recommend. It’s just such an accessible read.

Intuitive, yet profound.

Re-Lation-Ships-Are-Hard

Boundaries are so important for a relationship.

I enjoy being a provider and having someone depend on me, I just don’t like when the take it for granted, or forget that i have needs, needs I often neglect at their expense.

Sometimes asserting those boundaries can be jarring when they’re in a pattern of getting so much from you. I suppose it’s just remembering to proactively communicate, and not waiting til things build up to put the brakes on and suddenly need to regroup, which may feel like pulling away, or even pushing away, when it’s really about taking care of yourself.

G had several full blown melt downs this week

She got her period Friday, so that explains a lot

Never the less, her passive aggressive moodiness and overall demanding self was bothering me. It was all about her schedule, what she wanted, and when I pushed back she’d throw a tantrum, so I usually just go along to avoid conflict. It built over two days, and she noticed I wasn’t feeling so open to her, so she asked what’s wrong and I pretty much told her she was being self absorbed and mean, and she did not like that. Oh no. It triggered her. She impulsively said a lot of mean things. Then she was silent for a good hour as we finished grocery shopping and drove home. I didn’t say much, just asked if she wanted to talk, and she said she was processing. When we got home I sat at the kitchen table and asked if she wanted to talk. For the next hour plus she just laid into me…. I just listened. Didn’t say a word. Very mean. How selfish I was. But she kept contradicting herself, cause her complaints were ridiculously juxtaposed by all the things she knows I do for her.

My natural reaction was to defend myself, but I decided to just listen. Not take it personally. I know I love her and care for her and do so much for her. I listened as her anger and seething and biting words eventually turned to confusion and eventually she just began sobbing. I didn’t say anything. I just listened, then hugged her, against her will initially, as she tried pushing away, but I just kept holding her. She sobbed. Just pent up emotions streaming out. I just listened and held her and told her I loved her. Didn’t react. Didn’t defend myself. Said I was sorry. Eventually the sobbing and tears slowed and stopped. And she was better again.

I could easily hold everything she said against me. It was hurtful. But I realize it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t represent what she really feels for me. These issues are mostly just some unresolved father figure projections that I must overcome with love. I know she loves me. I know we all have issues. I can be cold and insensitive and stern. Even worse, I can be inattentive. I can only listen and validate her feelings and show her love, despite how she lashes out, despite the unstable emotional outbursts or moodiness that comes my way.

I felt like it was a growing experience for me. Being stoic, but compassionate. Not getting caught up in the words, but trying to see the feelings. She needs love and acceptance, attention and validation and security. All women need that more than they need you doing trivial activities and chores for them.

So anyway. Was a wild week, but I felt like I handled it my best.

“No matter what happens, I’ll love you. You can’t push me away. I’m here.” I think that implicit message created a lot of peace for her. There is more vulnerability. More acceptance of me on her part.

I think the theme I try to convey is, even if you don’t get your way, I love you. Even if I need to take care of me, and be selfish, the big picture is i do take care of you and I do love you. But I can’t make you happy by jumping through hoops or obeying every demand. And when I don’t do those things, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. It means I’m human and I have my boundaries and sometimes you just aren’t going to get your way. But it doesn’t mean I don’t love you or care. And you can’t get hung up on a handful of instances where you don’t get your way, where you think I’m selfish. You gotta see the big picture here.

Anywho. She’s a handful.

She knows it. But when she’s in it, hostage to her feelings, it’s all consuming, and it’s hard to get perspective, and see the big picture.

But yeah, the conflict. It’s like, I want to be strong and loving by not making a big deal out of favors, or their tax on me. But if I don’t point out the tax they have on me, she doesn’t see how much I put into it.

Like, you know if you didn’t expect so much, you’d get much more.

One of my favorite Camus quotes:

When I was young I asked more of people than they could give: everlasting friendship, endless feeling.

Now I know to ask less of them than they can give: a straightforward companionship. And their feelings, their friendship, their generous actions seem in my eyes to be wholly miraculous: a consequence of grace alone.

Her requests require me to drop everything. Massages. Carrying things. Talking through decisions and helping her figure out endless problems or dilemmas.

“G’s world”

And I don’t mind. I genuinely love helping. I love caring for her.

I just need appreciation… I don’t like when it’s just expected that I’m available to please or serve or act on her every whim or demand.

Suspend expectations, I tell her. And everything will see like a blessing.

It’s such a powerful reminder in all relationships… and it makes you so much more grateful and blessed. Expectations are the root of suffering.

I tell her, I don’t like when you expect your problems to be my problems.

I want to help. I love you. But when you just expect me to solve every one of your problems, it’s an endless road nowhere

I’m not responsible for your happiness. And you’re not responsible for mine.

I’m just a person.

You are responsible for your happiness. You choose your problems, or you choose not to have problems.

We have these conversations about “problems”. Cognitively she knows problems are in her head, but emotionally she can’t seem to let go of the frustrations that arise when she perceives a problem.

I tell her, if you look for problems, you will find them, and amplify them.

Life is a problem. It’s difficult. For everyone. Get over it. It comes with the territory. You can’t escape it.

So let’s move past problems. Let’s move toward solutions, solutions that you can do something about, where YOU are empowered.

You can spend your time thinking about anything. Time passes all the same. When you’re stuck, or run into an obstacle, acknowledge the problem, them focus on the solution, and never pay the problem any more thought.

I explained wherever the attention goes, the energy flows.

And how, when you’re about to get into an accident and hit something oncoming, whether by car or motorcycle, you look to the empty space where you can go, not at the thing your about to hit. If you focus on the thing your about to hit, you’ll hit it, no matter what you tell your body to do. Look toward the empty space where there are no obstacles, where you can move freely, the solution, and you will find yourself there, problem averted.

I was trying to think of something simple I could tell her that would help her overall attitude.

After some reflection, I realized I could distill so much into a simple idea:

When you focus on getting other people what they want, you’ll get what you want.

Find ways to give people what they want, and you’ll get what you want.

Never focus on what you want to get. Focus on giving others what they want.

That’s pretty much true for any personal or professional or life situation.

We can’t do it alone. The more you give, the more you get. But the focus should never be on getting. Always giving.

Then I explained the whole abundance vs scarcity mentality. You can only give what you believe you have: time, money, energy, attention, love, affection.

If you think you lack these, you won’t be able to give these freely. It’s a mindset.

You can’t give if you think you’re scarce, or have limited energy or feelings or time to give others.

The ultimate realization is, you have it all within you, infinite amounts. Spread it around generously, and it will find its way back to you. Focus on giving, and your life will improve whether it’s important to you or not.

It’s just the mentality that’s important, which allows you to serve others and go above and beyond and not worry about what it’s “costing” you.

When you bring value to others lives, you’re life will become more rewarding.

Process and Reality

You know, I was thinking today about reality.

I was reading some Alfred Whitehead, the mentor to Bertrand Russell, and he had some interesting ideas about reality.

He posited that reality is a process, a continuum of events, which he called a “society of experiences”.

He shunned materialism because it treated entities as fixed or static abstractions, while Whitehead perceived reality as a flux of events [Heraclitus], not objects, and so the emphasis is on relations, not points, not matter.

I was thinking today of what this means exactly.

I was trying to conceive a continuum of events, a process of relations, in which there were no static points in time. I have a very difficult time doing this, of course. Because whenever I conceive relations, I conceive lines among points. Even an infinite line is hard to conceive without the notion of a point, because supposing infinite lines in every direction, there are infinite intersections, and therefore infinite points, although these points are infinitely changing.

I was thinking of these infinite lines in every direction, forming these infinite planes, constituting the volume of space, which is flowing through a volume of infinite time, events connected via an infinite tether of time.

It’s very hard to not conceive points.

It’s difficult to conceive a reality which is entirely process, entirely events, entirely a continually unfolding experience.

On the quantum level, particles do not exist as points, though we conceptualize them as such. Particles exist as events. [wave-particle duality/ wave collapse via observation]

This is a weird notion.

On the quantum level, matter does not exist, only energy, which can only be experienced as an event. [Schrodinger]

Energy exists as a force, and only manifests as matter when it is concentrated, but even still, it exists as energy that is eventualizing as a process. So the whole of reality is continuum of events which are connected via relations, and entities are merely the sum of relations with other entities, with reality being the synthesis of all these relations.

In sum, every “thing” is a relation.

This becomes most evident on psychedelics, and perhaps deep meditation. Specifically with the loss of subjective perspective constituting ego loss, which inspires a kind of monism [Leibniz], when you suddenly realize all is one, and one is all. That nothing is extricable from anything else.

This whole “process as reality” position seems counter to this contemporary push for digital reality with cellular automata [Wolfram], conceiving reality as infinite monads, or digital points, which can be treated computationally.

Process as reality seems like the analog position.

Constraints

In my mind, there are physical and psychological constraints.

Constraints are context dependent. In the sense that, context determines constraints. The mind, ie attention, can choose context, by expanding or contracting its focus.

Physics presents materially real constraints. Physical laws manifest through matter, which are incontrovertible.

Psychology presents perceived constraints. How we observe or perceive matter, and how it represents itself to us, is a matter of perception.

Technology is the mechanism for harnessing energy with precision to manipulate the material world to produce intended effects.

In practice, technology is the mediator between the mind and the world, allowing the mind to transpose it’s intention into the world, and the world to transpose relevant information back onto us, in a structured way.

Technology requires energy, requires an architect, and a first mover. Technology is not yet autonomous and self replicating, i.e. not sentient life.

Psychological constraints determine the models and systems we creatively design and build, by constraining our conception of what’s possible via the contents of our mind, wrought from culture and observable experience.

By expanding knowledge and understanding, through the process of data collection via symbolic systems and observation, which we creatively synthesize with our intention through reflection, we enlarge the possible.

However, despite how clever we continually enlarge this possibility and remove psychological constraints, we will forever contend with physical laws, and the inherent constraints they contain. Even the mind is bound by physical constraints, being a byproduct of the brain, which contends with a host of physical necessities.

Technology will always be the bridge that mediates our ability to manipulate the physical world, beyond the physical capacities of the flesh.

Always Persist

You are strong. These are temporary seasons of life. Struggle is the source of strength. These are gifts. It’s hard to remember that when you feel like you’re drowning in shit, when it feels like there’s no where to go, when you feel trapped and overwhelmed and stuck.

But this is the truth: No pain, no gain.

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

These moments. These difficulties. They make or break you. Persist, and eventually you will wake up stronger and better, and these big ominous problems will fade into temporary inconveniences. Always persist.

Onward and Upward

Onward and upward. Create. Generate. Conjure the spirits. Master the daemons. Never hesitate to obey these forces, to yield to their divine direction. You have genius within you. The process of prolific creation refines this infinite energy of the soul. You will become better and better at touching something universal within humanity, something humanity craves, and doesn’t know they crave.

C.S. Peirce

Peirce was a genius. One of the greatest American thinkers, and I don’t say that lightly. I first learned of him when I read his essay “The Fixation of Belief” in a formal logic class in college.

He is often referred to as a logician, but he is truly a philosopher, with major contributions to mathematics, logic, mathematical logic, semiotics, philosophy of mind, phenomenology, epistemology, philosophy of science, and many many many other disciplines, including geodetics, physics, etc

His name kept popping up over the years, and while I was blown away by that essay, I never took time to explore his contributions, or learn about him as a man, philosopher, thinker.

Recently I bought some of his books, and I’ve been blown away by how much his ideas resonate with my intuitions.

He’s considered the originator of pragmatism (or pragmaticism as he liked to call it). His two close contemporaries/friend’s were Willian James and John Dewey, but he was close with many other renown American thinkers.

I say all this because our conversations about consciousness recently are a lot more illuminating when you read his ideas and works. I recommend diving in and at least skimming some of his key ideas.

I’d type them out here, but I’d end up writing a novella in the process. A good start is to read that essay, The Fixation of Belief.

If that doesn’t turn you on, I don’t know what will.

It’s just so damn compelling. Resonating.

But that’s a mere sliver of his overarching philosophy, or evolutionary cosmology.

I had no idea that he was the originator of semiotics. Like wow.

Peirce and Semiotics

Something very interesting about Pierce that struck me while I was reading, was his evolution of thought toward the paramount of importance of semiotics, of signs, which he realized were essential to metaphysics, and understanding anything about consciousness more generally.

Schopenhauer’s books/writings in World as Representation, which greatly influenced Nietzsche, indirectly emphasized the importance of signs. The mind is a giant organ for representing the world.

The contents of mind are signs.

Signs have universal properties. Understanding these illuminate what it means to be conscious, possess it, or be possessed by it

Semiotics have been a preoccupation of mine for a long time. It’s not that these are inherent. These structures which represent the world are products of socialization, as much as they are innate to the brain/mind of man.

I’m very interested in sociology for this reason, and anthropology, social psychology, culture etc

Solitude

My alone time is divine.

This flow, this open space where my mind concentrates its energy into a focused beam, which seems to illuminate everything it touches

It is not rushed, it’s not anxious, it’s not reactively thinking about anything but what’s present, now. Curiosities percolate and bubble to the surface of my awareness, connections and associations are plotted with intuition, patterns reveal themselves, organize within the cathedral of my mind, adding to the structures of knowledge and understanding I build there, in these moments.

My alone time is sacred.

Sometimes I do nothing. Sometimes this nothing, this clearing of fog, of webs obfuscating clarity of heart and mind, which produce waves that crash and ripples that lap at my attention, last for minutes, and sometimes for hours. But when this internal housekeeping, this stillness is achieved, when there is a placidity to my being, authentic discovery begins. Awakening. Genuine exploration of my self, of my thoughts, my feelings, my assumptions.

Sometimes I meditate on a thought, elevate it in my mind, like an offering to the divine, and this becomes my beacon in which other thoughts snap into place, order and align, producing coherence and resonance. These ideas are important to me, facets of life or understanding that need to be explored, built upon, cleaned up.

This is the place of reflection. What I call meditation. Maybe it’s a form of prayer. “Teach me, I am open. Show me the truth, reveal wisdom. I know nothing, I am a seeker, a wanderer. Lead me to knowledge which is divine.” This is my prayer, my mode of being in these moments of solitude.

Thoughts on Leadership

My current role has taught me a ton about interpersonal relationships… professional/managerial/working relationships are way different than friend relationships, because there are power dynamics and expectations involved.

I feel like I talk about culture a lot… but it’s this key concept that I needs deep understanding… it’s central to organizational cohesion/success/focus.

The leaderships… always creates the culture. They promote it or inhibit it.

A manager can create super effective sub cultures within the organization even if the executive leadership is poor… but only if the executive leadership empowers it/allows it.

Building culture is can be intentional or unintentional.

But to build the best team, it needs to be intentional.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

True leaders are those who establish the culture through excellence.

They raise the bar.

They set the tone.

They create standards.

They model excellence.

Bonding on a human level, on a personal level, and getting to know their values/needs, is a critical aspect to increasing engagement and buy in. This includes feeling included, cared for.

We all want to belong.

It’s amazing how effective people can be when they feel they have a stake, that the group is a reflection of them and their identity.

Focusing attention on what do to, the right things, the correct things, praising and emphasizing and encourage these…

Not focusing on what’s wrong, pointing at the problem.

Solution focused.

Listening.

Giving attention.

Asking relevant questions about them, their values and needs.

Requires time and work, but produces engagement.

And buy in.

Vision is a central aspect to culture. Having a clear end or purpose or aim.

And having a clear method or process, in steps of steps or quality or ethic etc.

Everyone can be a leader and create culture. Everyone can influence.

Creating a narrative about a state of being that is compelling and believable

Maybe this is all common sense, but it’s worth reiterating.

Also, identifying people’s strengths and weaknesses… learning not to push them into things they’re weak at or don’t feel comfortable doing.

Learning to identify where they excel and giving them/finding opportunities to do those things… the most success they have there, the more willingness and confidence they’ll have to do other things they may be weaker at. Gives them more confidence

Some people are hired for a job and have responsibilities outlined in their job description, but they just may not be the best fit overall. Doesn’t mean they can’t add value. Assuming they are staying with the team, it’s easier to find area they do excel then pushing them to do the things they aren’t great at. Just accepting them where they are, and see them as a developing person

Communication… constant communication… repetitive communication… builds culture.

Meetings are fine, but as a manager, regular one on one conversations… rearticulating the vision and values.

Saying something once is not enough 99% of the time. In a perfect world yes, but until there is confidence that there is perfect alignment, that vision and expectations are matched, the message needs to be said over and over again, like propaganda and advertising. Not saying the message the same way, but many different ways. Providing plenty of examples so the context is elaborated and connections are drawn.

Culture is about conditioning. Condition behaviors.

Walking through thought processes. Proper thought processes you want them to internalize. The theme is: “This is how you should think about this activity”, until they internalize this dialog and can operate to these standards autonomously.

Reinforce positive behaviors, and ignore negative ones.

Wherever the attention is drawn to reinforces that point.

Always draw attention to the desire outcome, not to the undesired outcome.

Praise small wins. Build people up and praise positive efforts in front of the team and others.

Treat them as the should be, talk about them as they should be, to themselves and others.. not as they are or aren’t.

People will live up to these ideas.

Most organizational dysfunction comes down to poor or miscommunication.

Gather feedback. Listen. Then adjust the message. Never assume people understand, even if they verbalize they do or recite back to you.

Watch their behaviors/activity and listen to how they think about those activity.

The onus and responsibility for an effective team always comes back to the management/leadership.

Never assume it’s an individual’s lack of desire or competency.

Always take responsibility for ensuring the right outcomes. The manager is always responsible.

If you have a message that needs to be understood, the manager is responsible for ensuring it’s being received.

If the audience doesn’t understand, it’s the speaker who doesn’t understand who he’s talking to and how to communicate in a way they understand. Tailor the message. This requires listening. Paying attention to their needs and values.

Their background. Their prior experience.

Always highlight what people do right.

It’s rarely productive to focus on what’s wrong. This is only productive is establishing the context and grounds for a solution and proper action. And usually this is only necessary with other management, to provide a status update of the current challenges.

Your team will never ever ever work harder than you.

If they do, consider it a blessing. And shortlived. It’s an exception.

We look to leadership as a role model.

We will always be more active and engaged and have more responsibilities than those we manage.

You want to set a standard they can strive for.

A manager should be able to do the job of everyone he manages.

And he should be able to do it better than them, if given the opportunity.

Leaders know the way, go the way, and show the way.

This is how effective culture is created.

Being able to do the job of everyone you manage is critical for understating their needs and challenges and the context they with within.

This is the only way you can provide valuable feedback and guidance

If you don’t understand the needs, you can’t add value

You’ll speak in platitudes that fail to resonate and build trust and engagement

Always be proactive. Anticipate needs.

Never reactive.

You cannot lead if you are reactive.

Being proactive is setting the tone. Asking the questions. Establishing the baseline. Keeping your thumb on the pulse.

It’s easier to steer clear of challenges than it is to fix a problem after it occurs.

Being proactive ensures preparedness.

Allows you to formulate and communicate the plan, and maintain a clear vision.

A plan is a living document. It’s the mission. It accounts for the landscape, the map of the business terrain.

The leader ensures this map is updated and communicated: Roles and responsibilities and objectives and tasks.

Random thoughts on Memory, Consciousness, Cortical Circuits, Logic

Memory is coding.

“Memory traces” are networks of neurologically encoded patterns within cortical circuits

The work on identifying all the variety of cortical circuits is fascinating. There are cortical columns that operate is some ways similar to the parallel processing (and hyper-threading) of GPU’s

All data is meaningless without context.

Context is the human condition.

Culture is the vehicle for transmitting meaning.

Culture is a loaded word, but I’m referring to the sociological phenomenons outlines by Bourdieu and Luckmann and Durkheim and Weber and Pareto and Marshall and Parsons and Bergson and etc etc etc

I think that there are many layers of processing

Just like a cortical circuit, which has different layers of higher and lower and lateral processing, I think the brain operates similarly.

Think the triune brain.

On a computer there are layers of processes supporting the user experience, hidden in the background.

I think if we get achieve biomimetic circuitry we’ll be on our way to creating true artificial AI

We’re machines at the end of the day.

I think there’s something unique about our hardware, which increased complexity exponentially

Like, what about chemical circuits?

What are the circuitry within Cells?

Do cells have memory?

How does this effect the neurological networks that encode memory traces?

There are two types of programming.

Ones on the software layer: nurture.

The other is the hardware layer: nature.

Some animals don’t need enculturation to survive.

Some do.

Maybe the key to true AI is figuring out how the hardware programming and software programming work together

I feel like Consciousness requires software programming. It seems to be a product of socialization.

I think we need to continue to study the brains circuitry, and continue to replicate what’s happening in the brain.

Try to develop hardware to replicate the memory traces being encoded.

Cognition is embodied.

It doesn’t exist without the context of the human condition, which includes the physical form, the integration of the senses and appendages and organs.

To replicate human consciousness without the embodied cognition that developed it, would be a seemingly impossible task.

Hormones are next level.

That’s a whole additional layer of processing

The neurons in the gut

Our central nervous system:

All that feeds into the brain

And some

Our physical form must have some impact on our cognitive development, our capacity for spatial reasoning.

The word “concept” comes from the Latin work concipere, from com- ‘together’ + capere ‘take/grasp’.

Without hands, how does one take or grasp? I dunno. I just wonder how all this influenced our ability to reason

Like you said, 100 billion neurons….

For comparison, there are a 100 billion galaxies in the universe

Geometry can be argued to be the first step in human reasoning.

The ability to abstract contents from the world and model it

Geometry: Latin geometria, from Greek, from gē ‘earth’ + metria (measure).

World modeling. Essentially what we do when we think

So much complexity

In living things

Genetics is mind blowing. That’s a whole crazy world of code in itself.

All living things contain DNA that is composed of sequences or patterns of nucleotides, containing a phosphate group, a sugar group, and four nitrogen bases: (A), thymine (T), guanine (G) and cytosine (C).

Every living thing is differentiated by the patterns of these bases.

That’s amazing.

So simple.

Yet the variety of outcomes is infinite

That’s a whole motherfuckin other question

Just string along a bunch of these base pairs and you get fuckin infinite possibility of life

I mean. I think about that. And I just…. like how.

How the fuck.

How.

We’re all composed of unique combinations of these base pairs.

It’s like 1’s and 0’s. It gets almost digital.

I want to know how the hell this shit spontaneously evolved.

There’s no indication it didn’t adhere to the same natural laws as everything else. But how.

There are 3 billion letters in the human genome, patterns of the ATGC

Memory.

DNA is a code, a memory.

We’re ancient as fuck.

I wonder if we’ll ever figure out how to replicate human consciousness

I’m not sure it’s possible if we don’t genetically engineer it

The idea of augmenting the brain with a cybernetic silicone processor is fascinating

Like adding a fourth layer

If there was ever a problem with logic, it would be that it’s efficacy rests entirely upon the assumptions of the propositions used to construct— induce or deduce— an argument or chain of reasoning.

But I’m not sure there’s a better way that logic.

Instincts are reactive, and seem to be hard coded from ancient epigenetic programming. Like, our aversion to snakes or snake like things is a primitive response. They probably contain a lot of wisdom, but I imagine it’s still dependent on some perceptual programming, much of which is enculturated.

I feel like with the right reasoning abilities, perhaps the training and methods of philosophy, we can attempt to overcome the limitations of logic by constantly reevaluating our assumptions

Tweaking them

Experimentation is critical for this.

Gathering more exposures and experience. Challenging assumptions.

Not so much doing the exercise of logic. But examining the foundations which this logic is built upon.

Most of our assumptions are not chosen.

Thats the catch.

We are socialized with assumptions, we are programming by family and society and influences

If the cultural values which undergird our assumptions are faulty or inaccurate, the logic we employ will lead us to ruin

The difference of logically “valid” and logically “sound” reasoning rests on the veracity of the premises

You can have a logically valid chain of reasoning, where the logical operations lead to a valid conclusion.

But if the premises are not true, the chain of reasoning is unsound.

Premises are assumptions

The task of philosophy is to examine the veracity or truth of the premises that guide our thinking

The other catch is, so long as our premises refer to anything about the world, they remain factual, and therefore merely probabilistic.

Depending on the scope of our understanding, the data collected and the cause and effects corroborated about phenomena, including testing and circumscribing the limits of their context, we will have a more or less probably fact, with degrees of certainty

Everything comes down to patterns

At the end of the day it’s not what you see, it’s what you perceive

You can see the same thing, the same frame of phenomena day after day, but the ability to perceive different patterns is contingent on the questions you’re asking. That is, what you’re looking for.

If we don’t know what we’re looking for, or we’re not open to seeing or perceiving differently, new patterns and ways of thinking will evade our mind

This shift in perceiving is what we call a paradigm shift.

Same data, same phenomena, organized differently by our perceptions.

Complexity are these layers of patterns operating or manifesting concurrently within reality.

How they all seem to fit together is incredible.

It’s difficult to perceive multiple patterns simultaneously.

Maybe that’s a blessing.

Question: late Middle English: from Old French question (noun), questionner (verb), from Latin quaestio(n- ), from quaerere ‘ask, seek’.

When you question, you seek.

When you stop questioning, you stop seeking.

seek (v.)

Old English secan “inquire, search for; pursue; long for, wish for, desire; look for, expect from,” influenced by Old Norse soekja, both from Proto-Germanic *sakanan (source also of Old Saxon sokian, Old Frisian seka, Middle Dutch soekan, Old High German suohhan, German suchen, Gothic sokjan), from PIE *sag-yo-, from root *sag- “to track down, seek out” (source also of Latin sagire “to perceive quickly or keenly,” sagus “presaging, predicting,” Old Irish saigim “seek”).

Sage

From Middle English sage, from Old French sage (11th century), from Latin *sapius, from Latin sapere (“to taste, to discern, to be wise”), from Proto-Indo-European *sap- (“to taste”). The noun meaning “man of profound wisdom” is recorded from circa 1300. Originally applied to the Seven Sages of Greece.

Consciousness seems to be an illusion

I think the most important imperative next to identifying and encoding patterns into knowledge, is forming associations between them.

How are all these patterns related?

This is the source of understanding and wisdom. The ability to discern patterns and their interconnectedness.

Everything is one.

21st Century World View

I’ve yet to find a book that provides a comprehensive 21st century philosophical world view that incorporates the totality of fundamental concepts that govern scientific, political, and spiritual thinking— the modern philosophy of global civilization.

I’d love to write a book like that.

There are fundamental concepts that operate in the collective unconscious.

When we read a text book or commentary or article on a subject, it’s not easy to trace the historical influences of thought and the primary authorial sources that forms the basis of that thinking. Not without a ton of reading.

It’d be nice to have a concise distillation of these ideas.

For instance, the word paradigm is used in conventional conversation. But not many people understand it’s origins as a philosophy of science framework introduced by Thomas Kuhn.

Or the idea of socialization. We use that word. But not many people are familiar with the origins in the works of Talcott Parsons or Bourdieu, or Weber or Durkheim.

Or even science and mathematics. We use graphs everyday. But not many people are familiar with their origin, and how people like Descartes merged geometry and algebra to create analytic geometry and the use of coordinate systems.

Or even information. It’s one of the most common words. But do people know the origins of information theory, and Claude Shannon, and how it completely transformed our modern day world, and gave rise to the digital age?

There’s endless examples like this is science and mathematics and psychology and sociology and even religion and philosophy and spirituality.

Fight Club

I rewatched Fight Club this week. Hellavu movie. It’s a great cultural commentary. And surprisingly as relevant as ever.

Guy has abandonment/daddy issues. Father never approved. Never provided him attention. Wasn’t around.

Seeks approval from world/job/others. Subservient to the system. Being a good consumer drone. Trying to fill the void. Fearful. Risk averse. Isolates himself. Has poor intimate relationships. Poor self esteem.

Ends up severely depressed and can’t sleep. Eventually becomes insomniac.

Has a psychological break, and an alter ego emerges that embodies everything he is not.

This alter ego pushes him to confront his fears, and push beyond his comfort zone and boundaries. To break things. To disrupt the system. To challenge convention. To live without fear. Ultimately, the greatest obstacle is his fear of death.

The alter ego takes over and begins destroying all his attachments. Sabotaging all the material and useless things he latched onto. Slowly he begins to lose everything. Home. Job. Vices. The few intimate relationships he had.

The denouement is confronting this alter ego, and embracing death. Staring himself in the face, and accepting that he is not afraid to die. Nay, that he is willing to die. Willing to risk it all to save himself, even if it means risking his life.

Once fear of death is embraced, there is liberation.

The world collapses around him. But he’s found himself. And his ability to have an intimate relationship is restored.

He becomes free.

Lucille

The first couple hours there is disintegration. Anxiety begins to mount as perceptions loosen and unhinge from the habituated/conditioned way of thinking. The ego essentially is dissolving. We loose control of these conditioned ways of perceiving the world.

After the peak there is a few hours of this in and out of this state. It comes it waves as we try to make sense or embrace this disintegration.

After 6-8 hours begins the re-integration. Where we make sense of these new perceptions and experiences, and try to rationalize them, so they fit into resonant way of making sense of what happened to us. We create a narrative. We add structure to the otherwise unstructured experience.

The more lucy, the more disintegration and more ego death. Which can be extremely frightening or liberating depending on your mental state.

I think it should be respected. It’s powerful. It changes you. So it shouldn’t be used recklessly. It should be a tool for introspection.

That’s why I usually do or recommend 1/2 to 2.

Anything more is really unnecessary. Unless you really really really want to see how far the mind can bend, and snap back into shape.

I really appreciate how it has an amazing ability to decondition these unconscious biases, these habits that trap us, confine us, limit our imaginative ability to perceiving the endless possibilities that exist every moment before us.

Shame, Family, Love

Shame causes so much suffering.

We don’t feel worthy.

We feel unlovable.

We put up walls.

We hide behind them.

To mask the shame.

Childhood is a delicate time.

Our identify is being formed… and once it’s formed, we carry it with us our whole life. It takes a lot of work to un-form our identity. When we see ourselves as defective or unlovable or not good enough, we spend our lives trying to compensate.

Some people never share it, never reveal it, never look at it, not even with their spouses or partners or kids or siblings. They just live with it. Suffer in silence. But it never goes away. Not until we work through it. Not until we accept it. Embrace the pain. And learn to accept ourselves. Talk about it. Share it. Drag it into the open, expose it to the light of truth.

Our biggest fear is whether people would really accept us if they really knew who we were, our deepest shame, shortcomings, fears. Would people really accept us.

We are terrified that if we revealed our true self, we would be judged and rejected.

We are self destructive because we want to prove how unworthy we are to ourselves

A father’s and mother’s love is so critical for making us feel whole and loved and accepted. It is foundational.

You can’t mask the shame and hurt. Nothing helps.

The more we try, the more we fail. It’s a bottomless pit.

It’s very hard to give love we never received. It’s hard to love ourselves, if we never felt loved. And it makes it very very difficult to love and accept others, if we never felt loved and accepted.

And it becomes generational.

Humanity is naturally selfish.

Raising and socializing a healthy child requires selfless love, which teaches them to be unselfish and trust others, and learn what it means to be a family, a unit, who cares and protects each other and works together, to teach them to depend on each other when there is struggle, to accept each other as a valuable and worthy member of the family.

When a person is hurt by others, they go into survival mode, and learn not to depend on others. Surviving becomes selfish. It’s natural to want to survive. We isolate our feelings. We stop depending on others. We stop trusting. The more hurt, the more selfish. And they less love we feel. The less acceptance.

The more love we have for each other, the less selfish we become.

The irony is that we cannot survive on our own. We need love and acceptance. We need to trust others. We need to depend on others for support. No one can raise themselves. No one can function in society without trusting others when they’re most vulnerable.

It’s difficult to teach this love if we never received it.

Family is forever.

Family is the ultimate commitment.

Not being accepted by your family, by those you need most, and not feeling worthy or valued by them, or feeling like it’s conditional… it’s one of the greatest sources of suffering in this world.

Suicide

My uncle killed himself on Monday around 6:17pm.

I’m laying in bed, distracting myself, processing at the corners of my periphery.

I need to wake up early tomorrow, pick my manager and Japanese colleagues up from the hotel.

My mind is restless. It wants to dive deep into the dark folds, bury itself in melancholy.

Life is good, and I am responsible for too much to allow this tragedy to derail my focus.

Though, there are tinges that it’s all trivial. I must resist, for the time being. I have much work to do this week.

I need to process this situation without overindulging.

Need to sleep now. More soon.

Jung and Consciousness

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

—Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy, Page 99.

Seldom, or perhaps never, does a marriage develop into an individual relationship smoothly and without crises; there is no coming to consciousness without pain.

—Carl Jung, Contributions to Analytical Psychology, P. 193

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

—Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections, Page 247.

The healthy man does not torture others-generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers.

—Carl Jung; Civilization in Transition; Page 587.

A man who has not passed through the inferno of his passions has never overcome them. They then dwell in the house next door, and at any moment a flame may dart out and set fire to his own house. Whenever we give up, leave behind, and forget too much, there is always the danger that the things we have neglected will return with added force.

—Carl Jung, MDR, Page 277

Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.

—Carl Jung, Letters Vol. 1, Pages 236-237.

It all depends on how we look at things, and not on how they are themselves. Thinking is an act of the soul whereby it becomes conscious of itself and of other things outside itself.

—Carl Jung; Symbols of Transformation; Footnote 2.

The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, a characteristic also of the child, and as such it appears inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy any creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. It is therefore short-sighted to treat fantasy, on account of its risky or unacceptable nature, as a thing of little worth.

—Carl Jung; Psychological Types Ch. 1; Page 82.

The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.

—Carl Jung, Memories Dreams and Reflections, Page 154.

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word “happy” would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.

—Carl Jung, C.G. Jung Speaking, Pages 451-452.

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses. I am the oppressor of the person I condemn, not his friend and fellow-sufferer.

—Carl Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, Pages 234-235.

I realize that under the circumstances you have described you feel the need to see clearly. But your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Without, everything seems discordant; only within does it coalesce into unity. Who looks outside dreams; who looks inside awakes.

—Carl Jung, Letters Volume I, Page 33.

Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.

—Carl Jung; The Philosophical Tree; CW 13: Alchemical Studies. P.335

After all, the essential thing is not the shadow but the body which casts it.

—Carl Jung, CW 16, Page 64.

A Mathematician’s Apology

A Mathematician’s Apology by G.H. Hardy

Nice little read. Surprisingly poetic for a mathematician. Deep insights into the beauty of mathematics as an exercise of the imagination, and one of the purest expressions of creativity and ingenuity.

I love literature. Love love love literature. Love juicy plots. Love philosophical frameworks. Love poetic verse. Love witticisms and clever prose.

I love art more generally. Love all the forms of human expression, from singing and songwriting and instrumentation, to dance and theater, to sculpture and painting and architecture.

But I’ve only recently begun to indulge in appreciating the beauty and aesthetics of mathematics. I’m not gifted with math. I began writing when I was 8, and journaling a few years later ever since. I never spent the time developing the foundations of math. Never honed my mind like I did with writing. I wish I had. I wish I had some better influences. It was always something that I enjoyed, but I never had confidence, and I never felt at home with its methods. I wish I did.

But the older I get, the more I give myself permission to explore the areas of thought that I missed out on. The more I allow myself to appreciate the beauty of these domains.

Reason and mathematics are almost inseparable. There is inherent structure in our grammar that follows the same logic that mathematics builds upon.

The reasoning tools mathematics provides seem endless.

Mathematics tells us nothing of value. Only of methods.

But yea. Mathematics is quite amazing. Great book if you’d like to glimpse into a mathematician’s inner mind.

The Foundations of Reason: Laws of Thought

One of the most fascinating discoveries I made in college was in a formal logic class, when we learned the foundations of logic.

Why does logic work?

Logic is the basis of mathematics.

Logic is the basis of grammar.

Logic is the relational structure upon which mathematical rules build upon.

But what is logic built upon?

Introduce: the laws of thought.

What are the laws of thought?

There are three laws that govern our thoughts, and the reason and logic they produce, and three signs which represent the contents and operations of the mind.

The abstract contents of our thoughts can be represented by three signs:

1. Symbols, which represent things that are subject to conception [A,B,p,q,x,y, etc]

2. Operations, which represent how the mind combines or resolves things into new forms [and, or, not, if then, etc]

3. Identity, which represents equality or equivalence [=]

There are three laws:

•The law of identity: (A=A)

•The law of non contradiction: ~(A&~A)

•The law of excluded middle. (A or ~A)

There are also three operators, or logical connectives:

“is” represents equality [=]

“or” represents disjunction, or this or that or both [+,∨]

“not” represents negation or [~,-]

From these operators we can build other operators:

“and” represents conjunction or grouping [&,∧, •, ×] ~(~p or ~q)

“conditional” implication, or if this, then that (essentially cause and effect) [→, ⊃,⇒] (~pq)

“Biconditional” representing equivalence [=,↔︎,≡]

The law of identity states that a thing is equal to itself. A is A. It cannot be the case that something is equal to something that is not itself. This is tautological. Ex: 3=2+1=1+1+1. Three is a composite of integrals, of parts. The whole must be equal to the sum of parts. 1lb = 16oz. You can imagine the consequences if things were equal to things other than what they were. Without the law of identity, you could equivocate anything, and all would fall apart and be meaningless. There would be no clear distinctions of what things are. The sun is not the moon. The sun is a star. The moon is a planet.

The law of non contradiction states that something cannot be and not be at the same time. You cannot exist and not exist simultaneously. You cannot have a dollar and not have a dollar simultaneously. It cannot be Noon and Midnight.

The law of excluded middle states that a thing is one thing, or it is something else. It cannot be both. Something is either alive or dead. Not half alive or half dead. You exist or you do not exist, not partly exist. There is no “middle”.

All of these laws assume a permanent or static context, without change, and therefore a time constant. Because we know that something can be the case in one moment, and not the case in the next moment. So logic requires we define a context, or “domain of discourse” which we assign a range of values to variables.

Mental Models

Writing provides a map of a mental model.

Literature is a map of a mental model.

If you want low resolution mental models, read a summary.

If you want high resolution mental models, read a book.

Summarizing the contents of a landscape is fine if you are navigating from above, and only require low resolution.

But you will never know the terrain until you’ve lived it, until you’ve explored all the contours yourself, and met those also inhabiting it.

Books are the closest thing to living the landscape. They are confessions of the inhabitants divulging their mental models, laying out the maps they’ve devised as they’ve explored the terrain.

Summaries will never replace books, just as books will never replace experience.

Summaries are a guide, but they fail to contain all the interesting features.

A quality experience requires presence, so the senses and reason can observe unperturbed by past ideas, and the bias and inclination it produces. You must stop and be still, open to what’s before you. Otherwise you will miss it, and fail to appreciate the character of experience, which informs us with understanding.

A book requires this same presence. Reading is an experience. Lifting the contents of a map into the mind, and recreating the mental models for personal use, require imagination, reflection, and patience.

No summary can capture the idiosyncrasies of a book, just as no book can capture the idiosyncrasies of a landscape.

But in order to understand, we need to take the time to observe. This requires patience.

Low resolution maps have their place for crude navigation. But they tell us nothing of the character of experience. There is no substitute for living in the landscape. But quality books get close.

Writing teaches you to create mental models. Mental models rule the world. They are the programs that govern the collective.

When you learn to write effectively, and create mental models others can utilize to solve problems, you are programming minds.

When you learn to program software, you are learning to program minds.

Read books only from those that are living in the landscape you wish to understand. Those bumping into the terrain, solving the thorny challenges of navigating the geography, in all its gloom and glory.

Summaries are poor substitutes for acquiring mental models.

“What I cannot create, I do not know.” —R. Feynmann

We must experiment. We must write. We must build. We must not be passive. We must not delude ourselves into thinking the work can be done for us.

To acquire a robust mental model, we must do, as intimately as possible.

Evolutionary Speciation as Thermodynamic Process

Cambrian Explosion was a Hot Event

Interesting if you think of life as a thermodynamic process, of increasing complexity of energy efficient bodies, which diffuse energy/heat in some formulaic evolutionary way.

Explains why the Cambrian explosion occurred, ie why a supermassive evolutionary speciation occurred.

Same reason why speciation is greatest along the equator.

One impetus for Organism evolution is thermodynamics.

This makes sense anyway.

It’s like, the same reason why hot water freezes faster than cold water, ie Mpemba effect.

Crystallization seems to be encouraged by vibrations, like the molecules wiggle into place faster, and arrange into lattice structures more quickly, thus dissipating heat more efficiently.

I feel like it’s somehow someway linked to evolutionary processes. Since like water is like super abundant on earth and some of the hottest and most humid areas on earth of greatest speciation.

So let’s say you had two large containers filled with an fraction of water, with temperature sensors in the water, as well as temp and humidity sensors in the upper container filled with air, both in closed systems, with heat exchangers at the bottom to facilitate freezing.

One container began at 35° and the other at 100°. And you began freezing.

Monitor the rate it took to freeze the water, as well as air temp and air humidity.

Should probably also have something like a magnetic mixer in each container to reduce temperature differential within the bodies of water as much as possible. And maybe have heat exchangers on all sides not just the bottom

My friends say they are extremely confident that the one starting at 35 degrees would freeze before the one at 100 degrees and I think their rates of temperature decrease would be approach equivalence as you tightened the experimental controls

But, I think the magnetic mixer would screw it up, because it would distort the crystallization process, if we assume that. crystallization facilitated more efficient energy dissipation

On another note, thermodynamic processes also may explain why massive advances of complexity occurred with every technological advance which allowed humanity to harness energy more efficiently, ie agricultural revolution, scientific revolution, industrial revolution, leveraging oil, computer and digital revolution, etc.

Automation Controls Technology and Edge Computing

Someone asked me about automation controls, and where Nvidia and Qualcomm’s “Edge Computing” technology fit:

Industrial Automation Controls is dominated by two types: Industrial Controllers (Programmable Logic Controllers/ PLCs) and Industrial Processors (Programmable Automation Controllers/ Industrial PCs).

You can think of industrial controllers as really robust Arduino’s, and industrial processors as really robust Raspberry Pi’s.

The main difference is controllers primary function is basic mechanical controls processing with 12-24V inputs and analog signals and motion controls. They are very easy to program (primarily ladder logic, as well as structured text similar to C) and maintain and troubleshoot, and can run for a decade without problems. This is mostly “Factory Automation”. The top PLC player is Allen Bradley (also known as Rockwell Automation). Or Siemens.

Industrial Processors main function is processing lots of data. They have much greater processing power, and are typically doing “process automation”. Think any type of refining process requiring fine tuning and measurement, such as refining and mixing etc. These controls systems tend to be less stable and more difficult to trouble shoot, because their underlying programming architecture is more complex to achieve speed. For example, a window’s update may cause serious problems for the application you’re running. Many of these company’s have their own Window’s or Linux version that’s locked down to prevent these issues. They can also be a bit more difficult to maintain and troubleshoot. I don’t specialized in these types of controls, so I’m sure there are exceptions to everything said here. The top or leading industrial processor player is Beckhoff Automation. Or Siemens.

As the “Internet of Things” and “Smart Technology” become more ubiquitous in the manufacturing environment, we’re seeing more and more need for data processing, as a result of collecting data about the process for analysis and intelligent automated decision making. Whether that’s collecting sensor data, tracking and traceability data from barcode’s or RFID, recipe data, production information, process data, etc.

“Edge Computing” is a way to do data processing on a field level to make real time decisions, rather than passing it up stream or to a master controller/PC or server to be processed. This is a direct outgrowth of the whole IOT movement, where AI and “intelligent algorithms” are being applied to machine/robot process and sensor data to make intelligent decisions. Edge Computing requires high processing power, and hence a new type of controls solution with greater data processing capability.

The closest product we have to Edge Computing is our compact multi-function PLC. This allows you to have a dedicated controller in a field or sub-system to do controls processing, rather than have a centralized controller doing all the work. However, the FP0H is not doing typical Edge Computing. It’s just doing relatively simple field controls with minimal data processing, but it’s a step in that direction.

As Machine Vision and Advanced Sensing Technology continue to permeate manufacturing and commercial applications, and work with automated machine systems and robots to do intelligent decision making, more and more data is being collected, and a greater need to process that data quickly.

This is where Nvidia and Qualcomms technology is stepping in, and Edge Computing more generally.

Information and Energy

Here’s a good topic:

Is information physical?

For the sake of discussion, let’s assume physical is anything tangible or concrete to the senses.

Consider these discussions a form of imaginative play. We’re playing a game, so you can act on whatever assumptions necessary to make the game fun and progress towards an end, which is understanding.

I was listening to a lecture this morning and the speaker referenced Claude Shannon, a pioneer in information theory, who posited that information was physical. I thought this was interesting. I never thought of information as physical. I guess I thought it was objective. Like, physical bodies have physical information. Eg Arrangement of atoms have geometrical shapes, and that is information encoded into the physical structure

But I just found the idea that information is physical as unintuitive.

Like information seems to be purely psychological, like an idea. But it seems to exists outside of us, in the physical world.

Just something curious that made me think

If it is physical, it needs to obey the laws of physics. Which is Interesting.

Going back to information theory, all these philosophical or science based discussions (or books and lectures etc) are meant to, for all intensive purposes, augment or strengthen or modify the interpreter/receiver in our heads. Call it reason, and the associated algorithms and heuristics we use to process. What’s interesting with information theory is it’s vast applications.

Electronics is the most obvious. The better the signal, the better the receiver, the less noise, the better information capture

The receiver is our senses in some respect, but it’s also our ability to perceive.

The destination does some post-processing of the signal to tune into the correct pattern we’re trying to perceive/capture. Ie our minds. Much like you do signal processing to reduce noise and identify relevant wave form information.

I just started reading a book titled An Introduction to Cybernetics by W Ross Ashby. Written in 1956, it has some extremely fascinating insights into information theory relating to communication and controls.

I really had no idea what “cybernetics” was prior to picking up the book. Sounded like an outdated sci-fi term. But it actually has tremendous relevance to automation, for living and non living machines.

Cybernetics is defined as “the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things.” I see lots of parallels with consciousness and biomechanics and AI etc.

I also have been a big fan of Terrence W Deacon. I bought his book The Symbolic Species, which I have only scratched the surface of, but contains so much insane insights into how humans developed the capacity for language, which is an information processing mechanism.

But I recently bought his book Incomplete Nature, which delves into the evolutionary origins of biosemiotics (signs and symbolic systems of biological organisms), consciousness, and the nature and origins of “life” more generally.

Only read the preface, but I am enthralled by his novel thinking and interdisciplinary approach to solving the most difficult problems of science, which revolve around the subjective mind which makes sense of the world, and can’t be entirely be extricated from science’s objective conclusions.

Why pose these questions? Why the fervent anxious scramble to make sense of the world?

Regarding anxiety, I’m not so sure it’s entirely bad. I think it has tremendous utility if you possess self awareness, if you learn to master and guide it, rather have it master and guide you.

It’s a physiological response to existential threats.

I think channeling this can be extremely productive.

Learning to toggle or throttle it seems like a smart way to leverage this evolutionary adaptation to perceived stress.

Channeling anxiety to achieve a “flow” state seems useful, regardless of whatever ends you choose.

Going back to the perceiver,

If a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

No, it doesn’t, because sound is an anthropomorphized conception of vibrations we can perceive.

A tree falls, energy is transmitted.

That’s all we can say objectively, I think?

Energy is being emitted all the time. There is a vast spectrum of how we capture or measure or perceive energy.

The range of energy being emitted by all living or non living matter may as well amount to pure chaotic noise in the scheme of things.

Without a mind to apply a context, to delineated and draw boundaries on what’s relevant or irrelevant to a set of value based ends, all this pulsating energy “means” nothing. Is nothing. It’s a soup of vibrations, on a scale that’s difficult to fathom, and likely impossible to make sense of, beyond our human biological based prerogatives.

The mind creates order.

Or does order create the mind? Is there a god like energy force guiding these patterns, impressing this order?

Or is consciousness or life more generally adhering to physical laws which produce the illusion of order?

Probably that.

I was reading last night and the author was talking about “energy”. I need to find the book i was reading, but he was speaking about how energy is always referenced, but no clear definition exists.

What is energy?

When you stop to really reflect, it’s almost mystical.

Is energy finite, or infinite? Ie does the universe contain a finite amount, or does it spring from nothing? I think we concluded it’s finite, but… is it?

What is energy?

Where is the source? Matter is energy. Vibrations are energy.

Matter is just a bunch of vibrations.

Everything is a vibration.

Quantum Decoherence is what allows for matter. Collapsing wave forms.

It’s fascinating.

Everything is music, in that everything is vibrations.

Motion is energy. Forces are energy. Gravity is a force, so it’s energy. Vibrations are a transference of energy.

Motion? Is Kinetic energy… energy just changes forms, but what it is… is kinda mysterious. Energy: magnetic, internal (thermal), chemical, kinetic, electrostatic, elastic, potential, gravitational potential, nuclear…. but… what IS it.

Motion must always have a frame of reference. We’re moving around the earth, moving around the sun, moving around the Milky Way galactic center, moving away from other space objects.

The source. Where is the source.

And what can consciousness teach us about this “source”.

If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.

—Nikola Tesla

Weird thing is we can’t see energy. We can only see how it manifests.