This just to inform you that in the midst of organized immorality and innovative organicity I am still here. I have found the dot com named scrabblefinder and scrabblefinder dot com found me the Hoodoo to go with my Hoodlums.
Further this to inform you of my intention to finish the year with starting with new year’s resolutions. The first of which will be a book club on yet another unreadable book: The Tunnel by William H. Gass.
I believe that reading this unreadable book will provide me the background for successfully reading the most unreadable book of unreadable books (the reader may guess its title and author).
I should live long enough to complete the plan of reading that book before I decide my time here has been served (at which time my children will have their children, or so I hope).
But well before starting to finish that plan (and myself), I need to finish what I announce here and what got a prologue there (the word ‘what’ being abused a lot by Germans).
“The best the logician can do is to recommend gathering more data.”
Henry E. Kyburg Jr. & Choh Man Teng, p. 200, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
A small piece on a forgotten (or, let’s be optimistic: not yet discovered) pearl of this human endeavor called ‘thinking’. I learned Mr. Kyburg died a couple of years ago. Given that is a fact, one can only hope that he turns out to be an instance of the reference class of great thinkers that have ideas requiring the environment of thought of a generation coming well after their own generation. Kyburg is one of three B-list philosophers on which I based my Cognitive Science dissertation: “Do Humans Think?’.
But let’s cut to the chase: Read more »
So, yeah, I have promised to reciprocate sharing my writing projects where I need help.
In fact, one of my key problems is that I promise too much (mostly to myself, that’s another probably related problem I have). Consequently I generate vast amounts of text (just check this site or check the thousands of words produced on this site) which I never bother to review because I’m always more interested in clearing the next promise. One of the reasons is, I guess, that typically there are no reviewers. It’s like knowing you stay at home and knowing nobody come to ring your doorbell; you don’t bother.
So I’m sorry I don’t have more than this at this point in time (I promise to be more content rich another time) but the ask is this: how can I force myself to do the polite thing and dress up when I am going out with some writing?
It was 1 AM. A typical hour to wake up and take a leak, for a man my age. It was one flight of stairs down to get to the toilet. One flight more to the downstairs where we kept our bicycles. I peaked down and saw his bicycle standing there with those of the others. Then I remembered his tire was flat and that he went out on foot. So I went downstairs to check for another sign of him having come back.
His shoes were there, at the bottom of the stairs. I stared at them, the tips pointing to each other. So very much my son. Their laces still done. I felt more at ease, ready for my leak. It only took half a flight of stairs to have lost the confidence I had just gained. The shoes being there didn’t mean he was there. Actually it could just as well mean he wasn’t there but he just wanted me to feel comfortable. So very much my son.
The Antwerp city council election has been won by the nationalist right. I did not predict it that way in yet another of my lousy-because-too-lazy-to-review contributions to this place. Contrary to the spirit of my post, the winner won precisely because he was the loudest and maintained that offensive loudness for the longest period of time. The loser lost because he (yes, surprise surprise, two he’s) chose to be in the spirit of my optimism. He started late and quietly tried to explain why he thought his points were the points that needed to be carried.
After the (center-)left candidate lost he cried a little. Everybody agrees that if he had done so before the elections every chance was that he would have won. The winners just shouted that he should quit whining. I guess with this they wanted to complete their take down of the multicultural left wing profitariat.
After the right wing candidate won he proclaimed from the podium that “the city belonged to everybody but at this point in time it belonged mainly to US.” After that he marched to city hall with his followers, entered it, got up on the balcony, joined both hands and shook them a couple of times over his left shoulder and his right shoulder.
There was some mumbling about all this but all in all it was passed over in silence. After all, the victory was theirs and the way it was won was an aggressive way. When an animal wins in an aggressive way, no other animal will be so stupid as to challenge the winner right after the fight, right?
So no the only options is to let them take down themselves. I can only hope there won’t be binders full of stories like this in the future.
Looking back on the end of that year named 2012, we can say that it delivered poorly in terms of ending the world but was kind of a good start for the world finally putting an end to the 20th century. At the time Obama’s re-election was interpreted as having taken place despite his failure to bring about any excitement in the electorate. With hindsight, I put it to you that his victory can, in fact, only be attributed to him earning his nickname of Mr. Presessor, a nickname coined in the week after this debate as internet research shows.
We have grown used now to the respect for academics and their nuanced views in the public debate but way back then, as the post-debate polls and discussions conclusively show, nuance was commonly held to be the liability when running for any public office. Nevertheless, other elections and events during 2012 provide good evidence for my hypothesis that it was in that year that the shift to the more rational politics we know consider the norm started. Hence that said shift began much earlier than we have hitherto believed under the pressure of the persisting loudness and hysteria in public debate during the rest of that decade.
I will focus on three European events: the Dutch general elections of September 2011, the Belgian municipal elections of October 2012 and the European ‘Treaty of Christmas’ (ironically signed at the exact date of 21/12/2012).
“(..) insight can come from outside the mind.”
G. Gigerenzer, Adaptive Thinking, Oxford University Press, 2000, p. vii (a.o.).
There’s something deeply unnerving about scientists, especially neuroscientists: it is the idea that whatever there is can be located somewhere. Localized so as to make it a candidate for treatment of some sort. In this sense, neuroscience took over the world because the world is filled with people who believe things can be pinpointed and then addressed. Forget about the butterfly effect, the butterfly is in our current world view pinned down where it can be examined.
Nothing can be farther removed from the ecological point of view (this includes most people who see themselves as the ‘advocates of ecological preservation’). It may well be that this world view of pinning down, setting apart and solving is the root cause of us not applying evident solutions to the issues we have, in a broad sense, with our environment. Read more »
Most of us prefer to keep in the bedroom what happens in the bedroom. In part because we somehow believe that what does happen in our bedroom is potentially interesting to those outside of the bedroom. In further part because what makes what happens in our bedroom interesting to us is the thought that it may be interesting to others. Still, mounting spy camera’s in bedrooms is not very widespread. Nevertheless the idea is common enough to inspire a strong sense of privacy in all of us.
I don’t think we should take issue with this sense of privacy. Most of what we do is uninteresting and that is as it should be. The uninteresting should not be defiled by creating a YouTube (non-)event out of it. Specifically because it would be making yet another thing measurable in (lack of) hits. Let’s protect the idea that our uninteresting stuff might potentially be interesting. We are entitled to some self-deception and insofar as privacy is needed to protect our right to it, I’m all for privacy.
But as always there is a but: 99 times out of a 100 when somebody talks about privacy nowadays it’s a rich prick who just wants to make sure nobody knows his net worth because that would make him a rich prick minus a certain percentage Read more »
“7. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.”
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (p. 89), Routledge Classics, 1961.
Allow me to have some innocent fun by messing up a popular quote. I attended a three-hour lecture on ‘Satz 7′ a week or so ago. The only thing I could keep on thinking was why not the other way around? – it is highly probable, by the way, that this is the side effect of an overdose of Musil ‘look for the opposite’-irony. It’s also of some value to add here that it is difficult to keep focused on what basically is just one sentence – no matter how valiant the effort is on the part of the lecturer to uncover layers and layers of deeper meaning in it.
Anyway, somewhere halfway the above ‘Satz 0′ (please try to pronounce in German) had lodged itself in my brain. It has been there ever since. I tried to Google it to find one million people who came to the same sentence and found none. So I couldn’t remove ‘Satz 0′ because of lack of originality (you might argue that not every sentence once thought is on the internet but you really shouldn’t think so blasphemous a thought).
I struggled a couple of days more. I wanted to believe that ‘Satz 0′ was at least trivial, if not just obviously grammatically incorrect. I did not succeed in convincing me of either. ‘Satz 0′ was so damned sticky that I even numbered it and slowly realized it was absolutely cool to imagine it pronounced in German.
So what is the matter with ‘Satz 0′? Let me tell ya, below the fold. Read more »
“Esa noche, mientras trabajaba en la puerta del bar, se entretuvo en pensar en un tiempo de dos velocidades, uno era muy lento y las personas y los objetos se movían en este tiempo de forma casi imperceptible, el otro era muy rápido y todo, hasta las cosas inertes, centellaban de velocidad. El primero se llamaba Paraíso, el segunda Infierno, y lo unico que deseaba Archimboldi era no vivir jamás en ninguno de los dos.”
Roberto Bolaño; 2666, p. 1001-1002, Anagrama, Collecion Compactos, Barcelona 2009.
[My English translation: "That night, whilst he worked the door of the bar, he whiled away the time, thinking of time at two speeds, one of them was very slow and persons and objects moved in this time in a way that was barely noticeable, the other was very fast and everything, up to and including the non-living things, was moving with scintillating speed. The first was called Paradise, the second Hell, and the only thing Archimboldi wished for was not to live in any of them."]
Why is Paradise slow? I guess because it gives you the time to think things through, and to appreciate what happens instead of merely playing along.
Why is Hell fast? Presumably because its speed is unforgiving. Shit happens - and you are a part of ‘that shit’. No time to write about it. Nor to expand on it.
Why doesn’t Archimboldi want to live in either? I haven’t got the faintest of clues, as I do not think Archimboldi is one of the best worked out characters in this (or indeed in any other) regard, & whether that’s a good or a bad thing you will have to work out for yourselves. But I do know that Paradise is boring and Hell is painful. And therefore that neither is better than reality, even if reality cannot truthfully be spelled with this or that capital letter (which is an interesting application of truth, said in passing).