Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘thoughts’

#BostonMarathon

Been thinking about this since I got off a plane from vacation today.   Tonight I came home after dinner to NBC News doing a special on what this recent bombing at the marathon means for public events in America.  How trite.

Are we all still asking these trivial questions like this in the global community?  We are the last country/culture to deal with all of this reality.

A couple of thoughts:

  • American communities have FAR TOO MANY anniversaries and “never forget” events.  We celebrate our victimhood and wonder why other people (in and out of this country) hate us to the point of wanting to kill us.
  • Executing mass violence in America is a trivial exercise.  Not because we lack security infrastructure but because our culture celebrates violence and thinks we should always exact justice always.  It’s so 1850s Cowboy bullshit. And hasn’t it always been this way in this country?
  • We focus on “event protection” as opposed to a THOUGHTFUL, REFLECTIVE CULTURE.   Our culture is about immediate reaction instead of reflection and consilience.  We glorify the act.  We spectate and consume the adrenalized moments.
  • We consume far more than we give.  This has consequences.  We haven’t learned this yet, not nearly enough.
  • We spend far more money on checking my shoes for bombs at the airport than on making sure everyone has access to the Internet and life changing literature.
  • Praying does nothing.  It’s self serving.  Try reducing violence through education, arms reduction and/or other real ways.  God doesn’t exist so lets stop pretending he/she/it does and wasting precious time and energy on God.
  • I have no idea who did this, why they did it. I almost don’t care.  This will keep happening until it doesn’t.  And I really don’t know how gun violence and bombing and wars are going to stop.  It’s probably more likely to happen once we stop trying to own every thing, every person, every idea and we stop lying to each other about how it all works.   Religion is crap and false.  Most things we push unto children and our cultures isn’t about truth or love but instead is about making sure certain people stay in power and amass riches.    Try really investigating and learning about animal / human behavior and the other bodies of knowledge that help us get closer to getting it and maybe we can all have a real dialog.  For now this is getting really fuckin old, all this killing people for ridiculous reasons and in cowardly ways here and abroad

I’m saying to myself tonight. Get involved.  Make this world better in non-violent ways.

Read Full Post »

I’m obsessed with big questions.  What is life?   Why are we here? How did we get here?  Why do we experience time the way we do?  Why haven’t we seen another planet teeming with life?  What is mathematics?  What is currency?   Why does learning work the way it does?   How do we come to understand each other or anything at all?  Is there free will? How should we live? If not democracy, then what? and so on!

We all start our intellectual life focused on the big questions.  As children we’re unconditioned to censor our questioning of how and why things work.   We are also natural experimenters of theories and are able to quickly absorb new views/ideas.

We’re such good learners as kids that it doesn’t take too many years before the process of turning kids into responsible adults destroys most of our original questioning and critical thinking ability.     Instead of taking advantage of the amazing sponge like years, we teach our children not to think, not to question, not to risk.  We teach them to follow rules, not think and write their own rules.  Our culture is so adept at squashing original, inquisitive thinking that many of us then need 4 years+ in higher education to “learn how to think.”

It happens moment by moment.  From TV, movies, books, our schools, our homes, our politics, the things we say, the way we are.  (Ever caught yourself telling your child, “That’s just the way it is.   You ask why a lot.” …

It happens because we get tired. and having dogma and previously used answers keeps it simple and saves energy, in the short term.

Big Questions take energy.  Lots of energy.  And kids have a lot of that.  Adults don’t, in general.   Adult life seeks order.  Keep the disturbance to a minimum.

If you stop asking the big questions your actions become small, orderly, understandable.   but!   the engine of progress is mutation.  Exploring strange intellectual places.  and, I believe, those strange places can only be reached in ones lifetime by never ceasing to ask and attempt to answer the big questions through thought and deeds.

Kids make big strides quickly for many many reasons, and I believe fearlessly asking big questions and not looking for intellectual order is one of the bigger reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Good sunday morning thought cycles about “work”, organization, the big “laws”, theories of all sorts of things.   I really like Stuart Kauffman.  Not afraid to say “I’m stuck.” and keep working.

The life cycle of a cell is simply amazing. It does work to construct constraints on the release of energy, which does work to construct more constraints on the release of energy, which does work to construct even more constraints on the release of energy, and other kinds of work as well. It builds structure. Cells don’t just carry information. They actually build things until something astonishing happens: a cell completes a closed nexus of work tasks, and builds a copy of itself. Although he didn’t know about cells, Kant spoke about this 230 years ago when he said that an organized being possesses a self-organizing propagating whole that is able to make more of itself. But although cells can do this, that fact is nowhere in our physics. It’s not in our notion of matter, it’s not in our notion of energy, it’s not in our notion of information, and it’s not in our notion of entropy. It’s something else. It has to do with organization, propagation of organization, work, and constraint construction. All of this has to be incorporated into some new theory of organization.

We don’t know what Darwinian pre adaptations are going to be, which supplies an arrow of time. The same thing is true in the economy; we can’t say ahead of time what technological innovations are going to happen. Nobody was thinking of the Web 300 years ago. The Romans were using things to lob heavy rocks, but they certainly didn’t have the idea of cruise missiles. So I don’t think we can do it for the biosphere either, or for the econosphere.

I can begin to imagine making models of how the universe gets more complex, but at the same time I’m hamstrung by the fact that I don’t see how you can see ahead of time what the variables will be.

The same question applies to the economy. How can human beings assemble this increasing diversity and complexity of ways of making a living? Why does it work in the common law? Why does the common law stay a living body of law? There must be some very general conditions about co-evolutionary assembly. Notice that nobody is in charge of the evolution of the common law, the evolution of the biosphere, or the evolution of the econosphere. Somehow, systems get themselves to a position where they can carry out coevolutionary assembly. That question isn’t even on the books, but it’s a profound question; it’s not obvious that it should work at all. So I’m stuck.

From “The Adjacent Possible“, Stuart Kauffman

Read Full Post »

Find the edge

Only where there is struggle is there progress.  I don’t mean struggle in the battle type sense, I mean the struggle between order and chaos, status quo and innovation, all info known and no info known.

Natural selection, the internet, your business, the universe…   the edge of chaos is where there is something instead of nothing.   Nothing is almost equivalent to no interesting thing (complete order) and no understandible thing (complete chaos).  The stuff of life is in the middle!

I like to talk about happy accidents… those seridipitis tangets that one happens into if they venture into struggle and keep their senses open and opprtunistic.   These branches of opportunity only come about when there’s a clash between the wellknown and the unknown.

Be mindful of history but venture forth into uncertainty.  Struggle to find the edge and don’t fall off.

Read Full Post »

From page 22-23 of english translation of The Elegance of the Hedgehog:

“Apparently, now and again adults take the time to sit down and contemplate what a disaster their life is.  They complain without understanding and, like flies constantly banging against the same old windowpane, they buzz around suffer, waste away, get depressed then wonder how they got caught up in this spiral that is taking them where they don’t want to go.  The most intelligent among them turn their malaise into a religion: oh, the despicable vacuousness of bourgeois existence! […] “What has become of the dreams of our youth?” they ask, with a smug, disillusioned air. “Those years are long gone, and life’s a bitch.”  I despise this false lucidity that comes with age.  The truth is that they are just like everyone else: nothing more than kids without a clue about what has happened to them, acting big and tough when in fact all they want is to burst into tears.

And yet there’s nothing to understand.  The problem is that children believe what adults say and, once they’re adults themselves, they exact their revenge by deceiving their own children. “Life has meaning and we grown-ups know what it is” is the universal lie that everyone is supposed to believe.  Once you become an adult and you realize that’s not true, it’s too late.  The mystery remains intact, but all your available engergy has long ago been wasted on stupid things.  All that’s left is to anesthetize yourself by trying to hide the fact that you can’t find any meaning in your life, and then, the better to convince yourself, you deceive your own children.

Perhaps an overly negative sentiment, but is the depiction not at least a little true for many people?

Read Full Post »