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.

Reality is Information

“In the beginning was the word.” -John 1:1

“But still, one may be tempted to assume that whenever we ask questions of nature, of the world there outside, there is a reality existing independently of what can be said about it. We will now claim that such a position is void of any meaning. It is obvious that any property or feature of reality “out there” can only be based on information we receive. There cannot be any statement whatsoever about the world or about reality that is not based on such information. It therefore follows that the concept of reality without at least the ability in principle to make statements about it to obtain information about its features is devoid of any possibility of confirmation or proof. This implies that the distinction between information, that is knowledge, and reality is devoid of any meaning. Evidently what we are talking about is again a unification of very different concepts. The reader might realize that unification is one of the main themes of the development of modern science. One of the first unifications was the discovery by Newton that the same laws apply to bodies falling on earth and to the motion of heavenly bodies. Other well known unifications concern the unification of electricity and magnetism by Maxwell or the later unification of electromagnetism and the weak force.

In other words, it is impossible to distinguish operationally in any way reality and information. Therefore, following Occam’s razor, the notion of the two being distinct should not be abandoned, as the assumption of the existence of such a difference does not add anything that could not also be obtained without it. 

Therefore, if we now investigate fundamental elements of information, we automatically investigate fundamental elements of the world. We have already seen earlier that any representation of information is based on bits. Any object is presenting a huge number of bits. If we go to smaller and smaller objects we necessarily arrive at the fact that such objects can be characterized by one bit, two bits, three bits, etc., that is, information is quantized in truth-values of propositions. In view of our proposal that information and reality are basically the same, it follows that reality also has to be quantized. In other words, the quantization in physics is the same as the quantization of information. To conclude, it is worth mentioning that this idea can be turned into a research program developing the structure of quantum physics from first principles.”

–Anton Zeilinger (Physicist), excerpt from “Why the Quantum?”

”This model of material world obeying laws of physics is so successful that soon we forget about our starting point and say that matter is the only reality, and perceptions are only helpful for its description. This assumption is almost as natural (and maybe as false) as our previous assumption that space is only a mathematical tool for the description of matter. But in fact we are substituting reality of our feelings by a successfully working theory of an independently existing material world. And the theory is so successful that we almost never think about its limitations until we must address some really deep issues, which do not fit into our model of reality.”

“Is it not possible that consciousness, like space-time, has its own intrinsic degrees of freedom, and that neglecting these will lead to a description of the universe that is fundamentally incomplete? What if our perceptions are as real (or maybe, in a certain sense, are even more real) than material objects?”

—Andrei Linde, Physicist at Stanford
https://web.stanford.edu/~alinde/SpirQuest.doc

Predictive Consciousness

I think it’s safe to say that there is no “true nature of reality” to speak of independent of human perception, ie controlled hallucinations. The entire discourse of the world is human.

Unless we can invite the perception of some other organism to share their perception….

Even then, we can’t escape our human perceptions. We only have the human experience. There is no other experience we can speak of, from my point of view.

How do we separate the human perspective from “experience”?

We map our understanding onto the world, and every experience. It seems inextricable.

Time is a human construct.

Every sensation.

Every idea, concept, model.

It’d be fascinating to find another organism that does the modeling we do, that possesses a reflective communicable experience of “what it’s like” to be something. Or has its own form of modeling.

Even then we’d have to anthropomorphize the model to interpret and understand its significance in the context of our human experience, according to our own models, in order to make sense of it

Perception is largely an act of imagination, or construction, on the part of the perceiver.

You may say: “You said “We only have the human experience. There is no other experience we can speak of, from my point of view”. But really you only have your experience. You’re making some sort of a leap to extend that experience to other humans. And at that point it seems arbitrary to me as why not to extend it to chimpanzees or orangutans or cats or dogs or mice or ants or…. You’re confident that dolphins don’t communicate via symbolic expression?”

You’re completely right.

Except that other animals don’t use language. They don’t possess symbolic systems. They don’t write, they don’t transpose thoughts onto the world via abstracted signs. They communicate, but communication is temporal signaling. It’s constrained by its impermanence.

No two moments are time are neurologically equivalent. There are no two equivalent experiences for me. So there definitely aren’t between two minds.

Humans possess symbolic language that goes beyond basic temporal communication.

We can access degrees of other experiences via this symbolic language, which are an aggregate of the historical human experience, passed down, in the form of culture.

It’s as if we transpose the abstract semantic building blocks via symbolism to produce mental models and recreate understanding in others.

I’m sure animals have their own experience, but what that is will never be understood beyond the context of human understanding, since we’re the observers and interpreters.

Everything I say is conjecture, an attempt to build a cohesive model of the world, that will provide more utility in navigating challenges and questions of values and meaning.

I find it fascinating that our language is packed with historicity.

Every word, however technical or ordinary, has a genealogy, whether we know it or not. There is a history to our language— ideas, values, behaviors— that sprout from human activity, society and civilization.

It’s programmed into us as soon as we are born into the context of our rearers, situated in a time and place of a civilization, which has evolved by adding or losing memories through a sort of natural selection of the collective experience.

Language is not limited to the common “tongue” we speak. It’s the entire symbolic system with associated semantics that go along with it, for every facet of society, from healthcare to law to science to art to market economy to business and beyond.

The language we inherit, that we’re conditioned into by being participants of the human experience, by partaking in socialization, molds our brain and shapes our mental models, the structures that allow us to perceive the world, and even provide common foundations to engage with other minds sharing similar mental models .

Do other animals have these predictive mental models, this Bayesian Brain?

They certainly don’t have the higher cerebral functions and higher cortical functions that humans possess, which play an instrumental role in our brain’s predictive modeling functions.

Is this a critical aspect of consciousness?

Does the absence of these higher brain functions decrease consciousness, or the ability to possess an experience of “what it’s like”?

Most likely, yes.

I was fascinated by the Rosetta Stone.

Archeologists discovered hieroglyphics in Egypt, but they had no idea what the hell they said. There was literally no way to crack the code.

The Rosetta Stone allowed for translation.

I find that fascinating. You find a language.

Just decode it!

We can’t.

Why?

We don’t know what it means.

We needed to import our semantics via translation.

Every word is born in the context of human activity, the environment and social relations with others. It’s fascinating to take everyday words and names look at their etymology and history. The language we use, the meaning they contain, and the models we create, are imbued with the history of human activity.

This idea of “collective consciousness” makes more sense in the context of all the unconscious programming we undergo as we develop in the context of human society. There are subconscious threads in the form of archetypes tying humanity together.

It’s interesting to learn that the mind is a predictive machine

Rather than a reactive machine. Makes you question the origins of its predictive models: How they come to be, or came to be. How pervasive they are, etc. Also makes you wonder how far down they extend.

Like how far can you drill down into these predictive mechanisms? Are there inherent predictive structures in the brain, like the language structures Chomsky proposed? What are the levels of predictive processing structures? Neuroscience has shown there is a hierarchy to this processing, and it occurs in a number of areas in the brain.

Are these predictive structures malleable? Which ones are and which ones aren’t?

Our implicit assumptions about the world form the basis for these predictive mechanisms which mediate perception

LSD does a fine job dissolving all this

Reflexivity and Bayesian Brain

Reflexivity (Popper): Subject and object are coupled systems, so that any subject’s influence on the object creates a feedback loop that influences the subject, which in turn changes the relationship with the object. Subject and object are not independent of one another. (Also relevant to uncertainty principle)

During early childhood development,

The “external world reality” constructs our brain’s predictive mental models.

As we mature, and brain conditioning occurs,

Our brain’s predictive mental models construct external world reality

This is loosely what the Bayesian Brain represents,

in that our brain’s use predictive [statistical] models to perceive information inputs.

The external world reality does not project onto the mind.

Our mind projects onto the external world reality.

Perception is a controlled hallucination

Culture is shared illusion.

Graduate School

I’ve always dreamed of making enough money to go back to school to probe the depths of my curiosity, which expand broadly to just about every subject, which poses the problem of what exactly I’d study and concentrate in. Therein lies the problem. A PhD program is designed for deep exploration of niche subjects, whereas my curiosities expand the whole of human knowledge. My desire is to acquire a deep understanding of every subject and synthesis each of these models into a unifying understanding of the whole of human experience, which in my view is inextricable with reality. There is only one reality, and it’s the human perspective. Of course I think an objective reality exists, but it is forever inaccessible beyond the human perspective.

Philosophy is what you’d call my program, but it extends to every existing domain of knowledge, from the abstract world of mathematics and symbolic systems, to economy and social systems, to the mind and physiology, to information theory and physics, to engineering and art and design, to biology and ecology, and beyond.

If you scanned my library, you would find thousands of books, mostly primary texts of original thinkers, spanning all these subjects. Most I’ve only just skimmed the surface of, and haven’t delved deep, but they provide reference material whatever a relevant or related subject crosses my path, and I’d like to gain additional insight on the topic.

How I wish I could leisure all day with my books and write out my reflections, meditating on associations and connections that percolate as I try to reconcile these various models of the world to make sense of this human condition.

I’m not sure graduate school is the best venue for this, but until I’ve become self made, I’m not sure if there’s a better option.

Responsibility

Responsibility is a difficult thing to learn.

One of the primary ways to develop a well developed psychology is learning to expand the bounds of our perceived responsibilities.

We alone are responsible for everything that happens to us, or rather, how we react to what happens to us.

The more narrow we perceive our responsibilities, the more we are a victim and suffer.

The more broadly we perceive our responsibilities, the more empowerment, the more joy to act in ways that alter situations in our favor.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but few think of changing themselves.

Processed Food and Health Costs

The US and probably most industrialized countries have a fundamentally flawed food paradigm that’s propagated everywhere, primarily by the companies profiting from it, which also influence the healthcare and medical industry.

When you step back to consider what food is, and how we’ve gotten so far removed from “natural” or “whole” or “raw”, it’s really alarming.

I’m convinced it’s a result of profit motives.

Economics.

But also, I think blatant disinformation.

Nutrition is a weirdly complicated topic, and it really really really shouldn’t be. It’s almost too pseudoscience-y.

I think it’s the result of special interests groups and the profit motive agenda.

We buy processed foods because: •lower cost

•more convenient (quicker to make, longer shelf life)

•tastes better (artificial flavoring and sugars)

But there’s a serious absence of actual nutritional value. Processed foods are “non-living”.

I think of eating processed foods like eating cardboard shaped into an appealing food form factor. It’s got a bunch of starch/carbs, it resembles something edible or appealing.

I think the main thing is that whatever we eat, it should have some biological activity.

It should decompose shortly after it was killed or plucked from the earth.

It should be biologically active. It should be alive or really recently alive. Or have the potential to be alive again.

Eating dead shit seems intuitively stupid. As stupid as eating paper. Or pure sugar, which is essentially what paper is, given a little more processing.

Eat shit that is biologically alive, and you’ll be healthy.

I think that’s a good rule of thumb.

Eating foods that are alive or recently killed/harvested from the earth may mean more preparation to cook. It may mean we shop for these foods more often. It may mean they aren’t addictive.

I’m convinced that intermittent fasting combined with this diet is the ultimate healthy lifestyle for 99% of the world.

Eat 8 hours a day. Don’t eat 16 hours. When you eat those 8 hours, feed yourself the highest quality meat and vegetables and fruits. Dense nutrients. Don’t get full, get satiated. Let your fasted body fully absorb all that high quality living nutrients.

Food tastes better when fasting. Smells better. Digests better.

Most of our health and medical problems are entirely related to the industrialization of food processing.

We’ve traded cheap food for expensive healthcare.

Diabetes. Heart disease. Cancer. Alzheimer’s (type 3 diabetes). All these can be helped with a natural diet. With some whole living foods. Cut out over eating. Cut out all processed packaged foods.

We can eat cheap. But we pay exorbitant amounts toward later life health care as a consequence.

Processed food won’t kill you right away.

It’ll kill you slowly,

by starving your body, by disrupting your hormones, by disrupting your microbiome and digestion.

The biggest thing with all these carbs is insulin insensitivity that occurs.

When we eat carbs all the time, we become insulin resistant. When we become insulin resistant, we cannot absorb nutrients. In addition, persistently high insulin levels mean higher body fat.

Fasting and working out ensure insulin sensitivity, but the other side is we absolutely need that healthy unprocessed living food when we do eat. We’re animals, damnit. Eat like an animal.

Michael Pollan wrote a great book that overviews this transition a bit titled The Omnivores Dilemma

Advertising propagates this misinformation. Food processing companies basically became middlemen and took money away from farmers into food processing corporations.

We should be buying from farmers directly. Farmers markets.

These corporations came in and contracted with farmers and bought all their food, processed it. Took $10 and made $50 out of it. With zero nutrients and more convenience. I mean it solved the problems of cost and convenience. Healthy Food goes bad. What to do?

Can that shit.

Except then it doesn’t have any nutrients.

It’s just a corpse of the healthy food it once was.

There’s really nothing tastier than fresh food.

So you can it and package it. Process the hell out of it. Then it loses its flavor. So you add chemical flavorings, and shit just spirals from there into this grotesque industry we have today, which is represented in the center aisles of every grocery store.

Fresh. Fresh is 🔑

I bet it really started during the war feeding soldiers.

I have to believe that was a massive impetus towards the industrialization of food we have today.

In addition, urbanization. Getting fresh food to the urban centers. I don’t think that’s much of an issue, actually. But maybe. Then there’s a whole demographic who is so poor they’d prefer to spend less on food and more on other conveniences, mostly cause they’re uneducated and don’t understand the consequences: “If I can take a $500 monthly bill of fresh food, and cut it to $200 in processed shit, but afford a better house/apartment, and better clothes…. why not?” And then this demographic has $5000 medical bills that drive up everyone else’s healthcare premiums.

We just need to go back to buying from the sources, and eliminate food processing and packaging company middle men, like those who make all the packaged foods we know today. A cultural shift towards whole fresh foods: Produce, Meat.

Also, the supplement industry is a complete sham. The whole industry is bullshit. No supplement can replace or substitute eating fresh healthy Whole Foods. They’re totally unnecessary, and recently long term studies have shown even dangerous.

The Supplemental food industry is snake oil. Pills and powders and shit. Diet and digestion are 100% correlated. What you eat determines how you absorb nutrients. It’s a vehicle. Changing the form by processing doesn’t mean it delivers the same. On the contrary. Everything is some damn variation of corn or soy or palm/canola/vegetable oil. Stay away from all soy protein, Sugars, Vegetable oils.

The biggest thing I’ve been trying to learn recently is to eat less. I’ve always ate healthy, but I’ve been so obsessed with building muscle the past decade that I’ve overlooked the benefits of eating less. That’s the journey I’m on now.

What you eat is critical, but when you eat is just as critical. I think I overate even though I was eating “healthy”.

It definitely is how you build muscle and add body weight, but long term it’s not ideal for wellness

Consciousness Talks

Seth and I went to a “consciousness” talk the other night that explored the topic and panpsychism.

Really I think asking if things or life forms are conscious or not is the wrong question.

I’m inclined to believe an interior conscious experience is like a hologram or a shadow produced by a flame elsewhere. Consciousness is an illusion, and I think more of a byproduct of language.

Language creates awareness of self which is how we more or less identify consciousness. Is there self awareness. Beyond that, having an experience is really not a helpful way of defining consciousness. Everything and anything can have an experience. The quality of that experience is determined by degrees of complexity, which is facilitated by the hardware (brain/neural net complexity), but also the software (culture/language capacity).

Consciousness is this weird slippery slope. Too anthropomorphized.

Everything is indeed one and connected. There is an energy pulsating and vibrating throughout the universe. The ecology of the earth has a harmonic energy that creates interdependent ecosystems that support and build on each other. All matter and energy is recycled after death and chaos and created into new life and order.

I don’t know if it matters if a creature is conscious or not. It’s almost the wrong question. Maybe asking is a neuron is conscious has the same implications as asking if a person is conscious. It doesn’t matter so long as we don’t see how it all fits into the big picture.

What is the whole?

In regards to asking the experience is of other organisms or objects, I think it’s worth exploring and studying.

I just think we can study it without asking if there is a comparable “inner state”

I feel like studying Consciousness leads us to mystical and spiritual and pseudoscientific conclusions that cannot be measured or quantified, anymore than astrology or notions of God can be made scientific.

The concept of consciousness is just as specious as the concept of god.

It doesn’t mean anything specific. It’s a placeholder for our ignorance. It’s too broad.

I think studying the brain is important. Neuroscience. And information processing. Semantic processing. Computational processing. Genetic expression. Information storage and retrieval. I think being able to quantify signal/sensory processing and response behaviors is critical.

The whole paradigm of consciousness is prohibitive, I think.

We need a different word or a different paradigm.

Inputs go into a complex convoluted neural net with various encoded biases which process that information in the context of environment which includes cultural structures and programming, and then storage and outputs.

It’s weird to think that all [sensory] input data is structured before it enters the brain. That there is a habitus that filters sense data before we can perceive it and process it.

Then there are all these levels of information processing. The triune Brain. Then separate faculties, different brain regions that constantly are parallel processing with the rest. Then the integration of all these into some background operating system, which is beyond our notion of consciousness, existing in the subconscious, and it goes even deeper. Do individual neurons process and store information at a genetic level? How many iterations of information processing occur? Then there’s storage. The ability to store information seems critical to an experience. Memory. Epigenetics. All condition an experience, and give rise to it. Is memory critical to experience? What types of memory? Implicit? Explicit? Can we have experience without the other? Then there is retrieval. Storage is typically not the issue. It’s the ability to retrieve information. Most of which occurs unconsciously. But how crucial is retrieval?

This all occurs in the brain and body. But what about on a cellular level? Do cells process and store and retrieve information? Yes. Do they have senses? Sure, very simple keys and locks etc, little communication and signaling mechanisms.

But does it matter? Does it actually matter “what it’s like” to be a bat or human or cell? Or does all that matter is how it can adapt and survive?

Another Day and Love Abides

I drove to the city and met up with Seth, where we hung out in his room and talked, then grabbed dinner at B Star on Clement. We spoke about work, relationships, life, and how I should proceed with Gabriela. He recommended I talk to her, that that’s the only thing I can do, tell her how I’m feeling, tell her what’s on my mind, and talk until it’s worked itself out, or it doesn’t, and either way there will be resolution. I decided this was sound advice, that I’d given her a few days of space, the weekend to spend with her family. I know she’s busy when she’s home, attending to all the relatives and friends who vie for the attention of this professional ballet artist.

When I returned home last night I called her. She was out with her friend Delia, and I told her I’d call her when she was getting ready for bed. We spoke for about 25 minutes. She told me how her family was, how her brothers and nieces and nephews were doing, how her friends were. It was the usual pleasantries, very light hearted and easy going, with smiles and laughter. I asked when she returns home, and she said she’ll be returning at 9:40pm tomorrow evening. I told her I’d pick her up. She said I didn’t have to. I said of course I don’t have to, I want to, I’ve been missing her, and she’s been gone a long while. She said it wouldn’t be healthy and she knows I have work early the next day. I said I’ve been missing her and I don’t mind at all and I want to, and that even if it’s for 30 minutes I’d be so happy to see her. That was that, and the conversation moved on. She had to wake up early to get a workout in before she did a video shoot with a government agency that licenses ballet instructors. She would be the model used in the instructional videos. We said our goodnights and hung up.

I miss her. I keep pouring over all pictures of us, all the pictures she’s sent me over the past two years, and I can’t help but reflect on how much I failed to appreciate her consistency. It’s something I took for granted. She didn’t have boundaries, and the whole while that’s all I really wanted her to erect, boundaries for herself, and boundaries for me. I didn’t like hurting her, and I didn’t like her hurting me. But healthy boundaries are a good thing as we negotiate our needs and learn about the other person’s needs.

I love her. I miss her. I want us to work things out. I keep suppressing any fears that this is over in her mind. I can’t let myself believe it. Sometimes they rear their head, and tell me she’ll continue biding time until she leaves for London, that she’ll do the minimum from here on out. I don’t even care to be honest. She’s free. I just want to enjoy my time with her as long as I have her, and show her just how much she means to me, and how much I love her, until it’s irresistible, and we find each other again. I want my love to be seductive and savoring and addictive and safe and comfortable, with no strings attached, with my ultimatums, which is what my ego wants. It wants ultimatums: decide to marry me now or say goodbye, my heart can’t take it. But that’s not love.

And in the end, this isn’t about the Royal Ballet of London, or another guy in London who seduced her for a night or two. This is between her and I, and the love we share, and the relationship we’re healing and mending and working on. I can’t forget that. It’s not about anyone or anything but us, her and I, my love for her, my selfless devotion, my earnest desire to please her.

In this process I must remain healthy, and keep my focus on activities and thoughts that continue to uplift me and improve who I am. I cannot ruin myself trying to “win” her back. That would be self-defeating. I must greet each day with appreciation and thankfulness, and be grateful for the interactions she share that make life better.

I miss her. I think of her every day. I always have. Even when I didn’t want to. I can’t stop looking up memories of her, photographs of our adventures together, of our selfies to one another, of the sweet words we’d exchange in loving affection.

I know she loves me, and I know I love her. This is obvious. What’s not obvious is whether we will learn to completely accept each other, flaws and all.

I know who she is. I know who she is not. I accept her. I hope that when all this is done, she can do the same for me, and recognize that I want to be better for her.

At the end of the day, it’s a matter of two people waiting for the other. We have our goals, we have our dreams, we have our impatient desires. The person we choose we choose to wait for, no matter where they are. Real love, true love, abides.

That Love Abides.

“Love never fails” – it abides. 

When a child has been gone all day among strangers and thinks he ought to go home but is afraid to go alone and yet really wants to stay as long as possible, it says to an older one, who perhaps prefers to go sooner, “Wait for me”; and the older one does what the child asks. When one of two colleagues is somewhat more advanced than the other, the latter says, “Wait for me”; and the first one does as asked. When two persons have rejoiced over a decision to take a trip together, but one of them gets sick, the sick one says, “Wait for me”; and the other person does as requested. When one who owes another man money cannot pay, he says, “Wait for me”; and the other man does as asked. When a girl in love sees that there will be great and perhaps prolonged difficulties in the way of her union with the beloved, she says to him, “Wait for me”; and the lover does as asked.

Perhaps the time of waiting is too brief to make completely clear the extent to which the determination of one’s waiting deserves decisively to be called love. Alas, perhaps the time of waiting was so long that the older one said to the child, “No, I can’t wait for you any longer”; perhaps the slower one moved so slowly that the one ahead said, “No, I can’t wait for you any longer; I must travel alone”; perhaps the prospect of union with the young girl remained so remote that the lover said, “No, now I can no longer wait for you; I owe it to myself and my life not to put things off year after year for this uncertainty.” – But love abides.

Kierkegaard, Works of Love, p. 281 (Harper-Perennial: 2009)

Thoughts Running Nowhere

My thoughts continue to think on Gabriela.

I just want to call her and talk to her. Hear her voice. Have her tell me she loves me. I want to buy her a ticket to come to Charleston with me next week and spend time together with the family.

My heart just pounds in my chest. Adrenaline courses through my veins. My amygdala is working overtime. Anxiety is through the roof. I can barely breath at times. My thoughts find themselves with Gabriela. Day dreaming. Where was this the past two years? Why did I feel so trapped when I was with her? Why didn’t I appreciate the feeling she gave me? Why did I run? Why didn’t I love her with abandon? Why did I protect myself so fiercely? Was that the right thing to do?

I bought her a new yoga bag, a picture frame, a candle, a photo album of all our pictures I put together, a new pair of ballet booties to keep her feet warm. I got her a lightbulb to replace the one that went out in her bathroom.

I need to have an extra key made for her. I need to ask for a key to her apartment again. We need to be together again. I want that.

I regret not seeing her and her mother when they visited. I regret not going to London with her. I regret not seeing her more often. I regret not making more plans with her. I regret not being more patient and vulnerable and loving.

I lay in bed, when I should be working. I lay in bed and type this with the hope that it’ll alleviate the pain and anxiety and heartache.

Do I pour my heart out to her? Do I keep it in? Do I play it cool and rational? I’m at odds with myself. “Self control” the voice inside me implores. “You are not your feelings. You are hurt, and you are desperate. You want to act impulsively to assuage the pain and fear of losing someone. She was never yours. She has always been free. If she is willing to see potential, she will return. But that is not for you.” This voice speaks to me with logic.

But there is another voice. “Run to her, do not let her go, do not let her forget your love. It’s not about getting hurt. The hurt will be there regardless. She needs your love, she needs to feel your presence, your patience, your tenderness. You have withheld that from her for too long. Now is not the time to protect yourself. It is the time to love her, and show her love.”

What voice do I heed?

What to do

I haven’t been able to work today. I worked maybe 30 minutes. I don’t know how to cope with these feelings of G being absent, and at the prospect of us not being together again. I can only think of the good things we shared, and my mind represses all the frustrations I experienced when we were together. I think I was slowly accepting parts of her and began to embrace who she was. Or maybe all the while she was drifting, and that increased my attraction to her, until she was gone.

I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. Do I text her? Do I reach out? We decided on Friday to give each other space. When do I call her? Should I call her? Is that what’s best? Or is this time what’s best, this space, to figure things out? I feel that so much is unresolved. My fear is that this space is allowing her to repress her feelings for me, to justify her decision was sound. I regret so many of the ways I handled our relationship. Why? I was cold. I was insensitive. I was ruthless at times. I hurt her because I was protecting myself. My ego comes in and begins to run the show, totally hijacking the mind and relegating the heart to some hardened cold thing. Every advance she made I would burn her with silence or a cold retort, some matter of fact response that I know must have hurt her.

I can’t get my mind straight.

I mean, of course I can. I am struggling if I want to. I keep thinking of her, indulging. I go on apps and look at women and my heart is preoccupied. I have nothing to give anyone else. It’s been this way for a long while, since I’ve known her. But at least I could think straight. Now these feelings have invaded my rational mind, and my heart is in the drivers seat, and I feel helpless.

Of course I know I’m not. I know that every day will get better. I know that I need to stop indulging, stop romanticizing. I keep writing things I’d like to say to her, promises I’d make, memories I’ve had, plans I want to share with her, commitments I want to make. This doesn’t help. I just keep ruminating.

Is it my ego? Of course it is. I’ve been rejected. It doesn’t feel nice. It feels horrible. And I know I’ve done this to her countless times the past year. Why now? Why now am I reeling in pain? It’s like, if there was ever a time to detach, this would be it? Is it because there’s a voice in the back of my mind that tells me that she’ll be gone forever, that letting her go will mean there is no more future, no more hope? Perhaps. Why this time?

My hope is that we’ll talk, and we’ll decide to do things differently. That this episode has awakened a care and commitment within us that we cherish differently than ever before, and created a respect about the need for eachother to be more delicate when handling our relationship.

My hope is that we’ll talk and we’ll agree that we cannot live without each other, and that no matter what happens, we’ll never get to this point again. My hope is that we’ll accept what we can’t change in each other, and work through the rest.

I don’t know how to work in situations like this. My mind is in agony.

I mean, it’s not. But it is. It is because I allow it to be, because of this hope that simmers at the edge of my consciousness, a hope that my heart is holding onto.

I look at other women, and I feel nothing. I feel sexual attraction, but no emotional attraction. I am closed, reserved for G, and this is the way it has been. She frustrates me to no end. And I’ve never been able to find ways to cope, although I’ve done better with her than any other. She’s impatient, she’s emotionally unstable, she’s stubborn and irrational, she can be mean and nasty, she’s never on time, she takes forever to do anything, her life revolves around ballet, and I feel like my life revolves around that. I rarely feel like she’s capable of thinking what’s best for me, or my feelings. Although, I’ve noticed she’s been trying and very sensitive to trying the past many months. I noticed she is listening and does pay attention. I know she’s changed quite a bit. I know she’ll always be herself, always be spoiled and difficult, and may not show appreciation, and just expect things from people.

My greatest fear throughout our relationships was that I never felt appreciated, never felt that I was enough. I always felt that I was damned if I did, and damned if I didn’t. So it exhausted me, and that’s when I’d just stop. But I also knew, although it was very hard to see and believe sometimes, that she loved me, and that she needed me.

She was too needy most of the time. Too demanding. Too jealous. Too insecure. This drove me away.

If I was more patient, I would have embraced these flaws. But at what expense?

This was always the dialog within. At what point do I just continue to take it? Continue to let her treat me this way, even if she didn’t mean it? How do I look past it, and not react, not take is personal? It was always a difficult thing to do.

Although the past year I’ve put some pretty massive boundaries around myself, preventing her from reaching me, and hurting me, and demanding things from me, recently I was entering a new stage of acceptance, where I began to look past those things. Or thing is what I remember anyway. My heart was softening, and I began to react less, and have more patience. No, this wasn’t perfected, but I wanted to work on it. I began embracing the idea that she was my friend, and that we would be together, and I would just have to accept her no matter what. This made things easier. Though I think I still struggled with coldness and insensitivity, and had too much tough love.

What should I do? I’m not sure. I know I need to give her space, though that’s not what I want to do right now. I want to extinguish this painful fire raging within me. I’m not sure how. Would her verbal reassurances make this better? Would her commitment to love me and work things out assuage my pain? I’m not sure.

I know I need to let go, let my heart be at peace. This is what I need. I need peace. I need clarity. I will have peace and I will have clarity.

It’s just that my mind keeps running and running, romanticizing. It wants to reach out to her and tell her how much I love her, how much I need her, how much I want to work things out.

The ego is the source of all pain, all suffering, all attachment to the things that will inevitably change and leave us.

The ego. I know this ego, and I wish I could control it better, I wish I was more self aware.

I am at peace. Life is good. I enjoy my job. I enjoy my coworkers. Living in the bay is nice. I should get out and socialize more, I should embrace people more, I should see opportunities all around me.

This is an opportunity to start fresh, to start anew.

I would like to move out of my apartment. My new roommate is borderline psycho. Part aspergers, and many other issues. Every conversation is a conflict, when I just mean to communicate. He’s defensive, and gets upset when we discuss normal household responsibilities, like keeping things clean. He becomes visible upset and short and even angry. He says weird things. When he told me his sister passed away from suicide, I told him how sorry I was, and that I could relate, because I had two friends pass away from suicide. He told me “It’s not a competition.” I was like, no, I was just explaining that I can relate to the pain. Many other weird things as well.

I’d like to move out. I’d ideally like to find a place with Gabriela and continue this journey with her as two people who love each other, who want to sort through the difficulties and make it work.

This season is painful, but it’s just a season, and like all seasons, it will pass. Although the colors are muted, and the sounds are dull, although sensations are gray and the mind is small, these things will restore in time, and joy will appear again, first in small ways, in the way the breeze wraps around my body, in the way the sun refracts off a glass and splinters into a rainbow, illuminating a sign of hope. My heart will levitate again as I move more often, and stretch more freely, when the legs of my imagination begin to wander and move me to new places, and my eyes open and see new things, new possibilities. I must wait, and be patient. I must exercise hope that there will be better days, better than I can imagine, better than I have now. There is always a new day. There is always a new month, a new year. There is always a new season, with new sights and sounds and smells and sensations to infatuate my being.

Wait

Wait, for now.

Distrust everything if you have to.

But trust the hours. Haven’t they

carried you everywhere, up to now?

Personal events will become interesting again.

Hair will become interesting.

Pain will become interesting.

Buds that open out of season will become interesting.

Second-hand gloves will become lovely again;

their memories are what give them

the need for other hands. The desolation

of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness

carved out of such tiny beings as we are

asks to be filled; the need

for the new love is faithfulness to the old.

Wait.

Don’t go too early.

You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.

But no one is tired enough.

Only wait a little and listen:

music of hair,

music of pain,

music of looms weaving our loves again.

Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,

most of all to hear your whole existence,

rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.

Galway Kinnell – 1927-2014

Day by Day

I’m laying in bed typing on my laptop. The pain is still chronic, and at the moment, specifically acute, as I think about the past two years with G, the up and downs, and why I’m feeling this way.

Why all the sudden do I feel this pain so deeply? I had been so callous previously, so cold and able to detach. What makes this so different? Is it because somewhere, deep inside, I feel that she is moving on, that she’s no longer attached to me as she once was? In the past, I had left her. This time, she’s the one leaving me.

I left her in the past because she was intolerable and moody and mean and overall miserable, despite my attempts to push through it. She just wasn’t a pleasant person. I usually kept it inside, until the resentment build, and I just removed myself.

May 2018 and December 2018 we broke up. In December, it was more permanent in my mind. I detached and I don’t think we spoke for over a month and a half, until we texted and I came to watch her perform.

Then we started talking again, but I had created this distance, like I didn’t want to be back with her. I pushed her away and dated other women while we spoke. All the while she hung in there, pouring her heart out to me, trying her best to show me patience. I did watch a transformation, a kind of desperation to get back together. She did change, and it began changing the way I felt about us. I wanted us to work, but there were things holding me back, concerns that I held onto.

But now something is different. She’s the one detaching. I feel it in my bones. Every day I wake up with a massive hole in my chest, and I don’t know why. You’d think this is what I wanted for so long, for her to move on. But I guess it’s my ego? I guess since it’s not on my terms I’m suddenly emotionally vulnerable and tender? It’s a horrible pain. Its a horrible feeling of isolation and loneliness. I know how I must have made her feel so many times, for so many months. I was cruel and ruthless, but she held on, so I ask myself, should I hold on? Or am I not looking at this the right way? Should I let go and just be free, and realize all the potential around me?

I haven’t been able to feel for anyone since I’ve known Gabriela. I haven’t been able to open myself to anyone. Sure, I’ve dated a few women, but I think I wasn’t able to open up with them, so those relationships died.

Gabriela called and called, texted and texted. Now she’s silence. Now she’s the one who wants space, and all the sudden I’m in pain. Its weird. Why can’t I be happy? Why can’t I let her go? Of course I can let her go. And I should, in an effort to protect myself.

I think we could work everything out, and find a new compromise. But she’s dead set on auditioning for the Royal Ballet in July, where they will be visiting to perform. And the guy she hooked up with will be there. So she says she’s done with me. Or she says she’s confused. I don’t know what she wants. I don’t think she wants to be with me anymore. Or maybe she doesn’t want to be together while she’s got this new found dream of hers, and the hope she’ll be able to move to London to dance there.

Either way I’m very confused. I should not be in pain. But I love her. I’ve always loved her, even though I pushed that love away and repressed it.

I put together a photo album of us and ordered it. It’ll arrive July 5th. She comes home June 26th or so from Mexico, where’s she’s at now visiting her family.

I’ll see her for a few days, maybe. I’m not sure if she wants to see me, and I’m not sure if it’s good for me to see her. But I will anyway, until she says she doesn’t want to see me, until she pushes me away for good.

Then I’ll be in Charleston for a week with my family. Then I return. Then she’ll be going to Los Angeles to audition for the Royal Ballet. Or, she’ll be seeing the guy she’s been having this affair with. Perhaps that’s what’s most painful. I never had feelings for anyone but G the past two years, and there’s a part of me that she’s got feelings for someone else. I don’t care much, but yes, I do. My ego, perhaps? Or maybe the realization that as long as I’m emotionally attached to her, I’ll be in pain if she’s the one to end it, even if it’s on my term.

I went to yoga yesterday, and I’ll probably go again tonight. It was rejuvenating. I worked out the past two days, and plan to work out again today.

I haven’t been eating much. Haven’t had the appetite. So I’ve been more or less intermittent fasting, eating lunch and dinner within a six hour window, from like 12 to 6, and then not eating until lunch again.

I need to get in shape, and I need to channel this pain into something useful. The gym, writing, work. I need to find ways to get this pain out of me, distract myself. I need to stop looking at photos of G and romanticizing our relationship, and hoping for a future. That’s where the pain comes in. I need to let go.

But then I tell myself I shouldn’t do that. I should just accept the love I have for her, and just live my life. If it’s meant to be, it will be. If I meet someone else, I meet someone else. I should try to live my life. I should try to move on, and repress any idea of her. But I do love her. It’s okay. That love will be there always. I just need to practice self control, and not let my feelings rule me. This pain is acute. It is harsh. It is heavy. It is chronically pressing down upon my chest.

Now I’m the one suffering, like she did for so long, and she’s happy and able to move on.

Life is ironic. I can’t win.

Why I Read

I read to expand my mind. My ability to think is limited to my imagination. The heart produces the action, the mind the material.

Each narrative provides a landscape of resources to utilize. These resources provide us the tools and material to construct coherent thoughts.

Each books contains not only content, but form. Content is the building material. Form is the style in which it is build, which not only informs the aesthetic, but the integrity of our ideas.

When I pick up a book and begin reading, my subconscious is poised with questions, ready to grab hold of every idea that resonates.

I capture sentences and store them deep in my mind, cataloguing them with their sisters and brothers hard at work building the cathedral of my world paradigm.

Poetry produces metaphors of feeling that render ideas meaningful, by transcending the habituated way we look at the world.

Every book is a vessel filled with ideas of different shapes and size that, when plucked and laid out before me, I choose at will to utilize in my own constructions. Yes I want those ideas to fit together within the authors intended message, but I’m more interested in how that message fits within the monuments of knowledge built within my own mind. I must make those ideas my own, riveting them to my own house, and now just admiring them from a cold distance.

Everything can be used to build a better mind. Every experience, every feeling, every conversation, every book.

Why do books stand out? Because they provide static, enduring ideas that can be repeatedly impressed in the mind at will.

Our mind is like clay. It hardens when we cease wondering, and find ourselves content with the hut we’ve already build. For those with insatiable imaginations, no hut will be sufficient to store all the dreams that accumulate day and night. For those minds, there must be ample space to extend the imagination, kingdoms to house the endless flow of feeling that stirs the mind to collect and fashion new knowledge and build the complex theater of inner life.

With every gasp of wonder, every glimpse of curiosity, we pose a question to the world, and create a space for impressions. We maintain this space for as long as possible, gathering information to repeatedly impress on our mind, until this clay has definite shape and form for its intended purpose.

I gather information like I gather berries or hunt for sustenance, exploring the wilderness, venturing outside my domain, beyond the castle of certainty, through the brush that pricks at my skin, where terrifying darkness and monsters lurk. I collect this sustenance until my mind cannot sustain my legs, and I bring it back to my homestead where I can fashion it into something useful. Once the wilderness has been penetrated, it becomes familiar, so that I can travel there blind if needed, and the darkness no longer seems to matter. The monsters transform into neighbors, some to be avoided, others to befriend.

Books fill me with delight. They cast new light on old ideas.

Readers are miners, and thinkers are architects. Those with heart build.

You cannot build without material, and you cannot build lasting structures without the right material. The quest is the search for as much of the right material as possible.

There is one book I’ve only skimmed, that I’m dying to read. This happens to be most of my books, but this book in particular, as I have it out in view for me to see as often as possible, to goad me into picking it up again. The title is “The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain” by Terrence W. Deacon.

The reason this book has captured my attention is due to my fascination with language and symbols, which are the very essence of thinking. These are the tools in which we communicate and establish ideas and knowledge between humanity and the world. How did it happen that humans evolved language whereas all other animals stopped at communication?

Language and symbols cannot exist without memory, but there is something deeper, some deeper structure within the brain that takes those memories, and organizes them into logical associations that other minds can infer meaning from.

Language and symbols are what culture is made of, what frames the mind and attitudes of a collective.

It’s not the time to dive into too much detail. I have to work. I’ve worked only a few hours today. But I wanted to mention it to reinforce within myself the desire to read the book, and think more on this subject.

The mind is a reflection of the culture which nurtured it.

If we can understand how this culture came to be, we may understand the mind a little better.