as fixed as a book

19 08 2010

The good thing about a book is that it is. It is a thing. It gets finished. It becomes completed, and gets dated. Of course, then people have to end up writing revisions, and then if enough ideas shift, another book. Whereas the benefit of a blog, as someone wiser than me pointed out, is that there is no need to revise since it is always in a state of revision.

But I do hanker for some location which means I can just fix an idea. Like wikipedia. Of course this can be done already, you can create a wiki for yourself, or for your community. Take p2p foundation as a good example of this. However, I know all of this is going to become obsolete at some point pretty soon, within a decade is my guess. A massively distributed system, personal and collective, where everyone one does, writes or reads or watches, is personally flavoured. In terms of knowledge, a thing like wikipedia but where every page, section even word is personally tagged. A version of wikipedia per person.

But until this time, I have thoughts in books, google docs, old blog posts, web-pages, and the like. It would be nice if I could have a system which could refer to them all in their disparate forms. The first extreme version of confluence model, point2, might enable this, funnily enough.

Anyway, I had a thought while talking with Leon. Or rather, it was Leon’s. He asked about “no brainstorming” rule in the action cycle and I explained it was to do with genuinely responding to new perspectives and thoughts. It was about filling the space between people, or making use of the differential between us. Like ingredients to make a dish, there are two ways of doing it (metaphorically for our purposes that is:). First, you can ask people to declare the vegetables they have, and you end up with a bunch of people with their vegetable. The second way is to invite someone to declare they have an aubergine, another then says they have a courgette, and a third person excitedly suggests they can use their pepper to make ratatouie. We are interested in this latter methodology. We can’t be too firm about asking people to declare their hopeful objective for the following week because then they will be deaf to others; we would like to be open-minded as we present our idea so that new ideas form.

Anyhoo, Leon asked what the mathematical application of this might be. I turned the question back to him, and he intuitively suggested it was to do with irrational numbers. By way of explanation, he suggested a square as a thought, the diagonal is invisibly inferred, and suggested of a new square whose side is root 2. Fair enough. His intuition sparked an alternative explanation in me, after he showed me a Cantor set of rational numbers. Participation in a normal meeting is like thinking in whole numbers, the number of people there indicate the number of whole numbers, seven say. Whereas, in an action cycle, one accepts one is fractional, a seventh of the whole that may emerge if everyone plays their cards right  (literally :). And irrational numbers are those ideals which have the greatest potential depth, continuance, etc.

And, for some reason, after the conversation, I started to think about ping. I wanted to ping the idea. Sally used this phraseology, to ping an idea my way. And I relate this to kernels of thoughts before jaxing. Instead of writing an idea up, like the one above, one just marks it with a phrase, and then when one gets down to jax, one recalls the kernels and extemporises live the idea. And this allows everyone the freedom and space to explore their own thinking, without this solidifying into books, etc. It is merely a verbalisation, an interesting one perhaps, but as vacuous and wonderous as any breath of wind.

And I wanted to just write this idea of ping as a kernel somewhere, and I’d love to have a place I know I can store it for some future reference which is entirely future-proof. This blog isn’t it, I am afraid.

Anyhoo, I wanted to relate the ping idea to the feedback loop from the universe. A book has a ping value of a few years. A blog post a few days perhaps, maybe weeks. Depends on how connected the person is, how deep it is in the mindstream. And a conversation is close to real time, a few hours, a few minutes even. And, then there’s the ping that happens in seconds, within a second, the micro of one’s thoughts and body, or even quantuum levels of self that the buddhists delve into.

As ping tends to zero, the non-self-reflected state. The state of engagement, of continuity, non-separation, direct experience. Stimulated by Jeddah Mali.

Actually, this makes me think that I’d like to reach that state I had before. I promised I would only reach it with others. I wonder if anyone wants to get there with me? Could I do another evening where I invite people to share this? HOw about bank holiday monday? Or the sunday, after Hannahs voice class?

sensation and perception

4 08 2010

Reading A History of the Mind by Nicholas Humphrey and so far he has proposed the two different processes of sense and perception. Interesting enough. But I am on page 85 and it is pretty simple really. And he hasn’t togged on to the notion of time.

Anyhoo, while reading chapter 14, I got an insight. It might be useful to compare how kids grow up and use that a map to guide us into the history of the mind; that is, to intuit how our ancestors were thinking.

At some stage, we are animals. We don’t seem to be aware of what is going on in anything close to the way we are as human beings. At some point, a monkeys became aware of sound and rhythm, dancing. This greatly improved language development. But this is just awareness of sound. Sensation. At some critical threshold, some monkey-human noticed that they could see things with their eyes closed, and hear things that were not there.

Imagine. Sounds that have no source.

So, the question is, where do you locate these sounds? It makes sense, at least to me, to attribute them as being from out there. Animism, spirits, whatever. Combine this with the notion of God, of wholeness, then we get a rather powerful concoction. And if we locate God to be somewhere within us, yet another powerful combination of thoughts and beliefs.

When we read about peoples 6,000 years ago, perhaps they were living in worlds where their internal voices, well, were not internal. This just couldn’t make sense. It had to be external. And of course, given this is the case, what is issuing these sounds? Depends on whether the voice is positive or negative. Positive… angels… negative, devils. To become aware of the projecting mind, must have been a rather surprising and destabilising awareness to our ancestors. Once aware, they couldn’t go about ignoring it. At some stage, we were quite happy, in our ignorance, in a way. Then we noticed. And the knife-edge we have been playing down through the ages.

It would be nice to talk to non-literate peoples, to see how they think about their language.

Also, consider kids, toddlers. Are they capable of thinking and being aware of their thinking? Closing their eyes and seeing things? Of course. Their lives are full of monsters and funny things. Their play consists so much of imaginary worlds. The question is, though, can they hold the awareness of this aspect of their invention in their mind’s eye? And I would contest, they can’t, at least not easily. Or just temporarily. It is like a force field that is not strong enough. Or a lens, not capable of focusing to the level required. So it is a bit of a blur. Life is a bit of a blur. The moment, is something which has more… stretch to it. Hmm… this is an interesting direction of thought to be… unfolded :)

The ancient greeks. We might be able to discern that they became acutely aware of their language. Certainly the Romans did. The word “present” (from Nicholas’ book:) comes from “pre” as in “before” or “in front of” and “sens” as the present participle of sum “i am” (“to be”?) or the past participle of sentio “I feel” (“to feel”?). That’s interesting, don’t you think?

I am not sure how biased I am towards this insight about the Romans being conscious of language because I happen to learn grammar through studying latin. But there is some sense in this. They started to analyse how language was constructed, and they got pro-active about manipulating it. I suspect there was a massive explosion in terms of the invention of vocabulary. The notion that one could create prefixes and suffixes. Were they in the language before this? Did some clever romans notice how the greeks were doing it, and copied it? Or was the structure in the language already? Again, another interesting direction of thought… someone more erudite than me could inform and guide us towards a more accurate understanding.

And my question is, how aware were the romans of this invention? Or perhaps it is us who are aware of our creative capacities? Perhaps NLP and its word-play and its effect on advertising is our equivalent to what happened to the romans? And our texting, and the crazy shorthand that made so many kids aware of how pliable the written word is.

I suspect, the sense of it must be contingent on the system of thought that occupied them. Gods, for example. To feel they had a place. The natural order of things. That language had this structure, was miraculous. All showing the glory of the gods. They surely had a hand in it.

I might even suggest that we live in particularly dangerous times precisely because of science. By becoming aware of the power of mathematics and its application to physical objects, we have just about killed God, and our spirit in the process.

And, I might ask, if we are to invite into our ecology of mind the notion of God, because it somehow fits with our western thinking, where do we place Him? I believe it was a mistake to place God within us, because then we can discount whether a person has God or not, and this leads to terrible arguments… And to place Him everywhere is just a little too enigmatic and unspecific.

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