Curiosity Over Pride (FYI: To comment, send an e-mail to

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer vacation (suite)

Actually, I have a rather COHERENT vision of what I want to contribute to this blog, and I'm a little bit disappointed that y'all look on my (excellent) writing as museum pieces, and don't dig in to the meat and potatoes and start discussing.
If there is one thing that the Internet COULD do for us, it is enable us to see how our near and far neighbor is organizing HIS society. What he's doing well, what he's doing not so well, in our minds.
That's why I'm laying at your feet a certain number of my observations on the differences between French and American society, while at the same time trying to give you a feel for the DETAILS that make up a society, details that are very important if you want to get past all those generalizations that we blather over in the form of IDEAS. (And we manage to blather in a very sterile manner, too, in my mind.)
In order to talk about details, you have to SEE them first, and for this, I'm in an excellent position (Cotton too, SS to a lesser degree, sorry SS...) because being an expatriate has sharpened my skill at noticing this kind of detail. Careful, this is not to say that one cannot do these things in one's own country/society, BUT it is much more difficult.
A little story will perhaps illustrate this one : my brother who spent some time in Japan, a very insular society in some respects, mentioned a friend who had gone touristing in a remote area of Japan, and while chatting with an old Japanese man in Japanese no less, was astonished to hear the man exclaim that HE never realized that he could speak... American before meeting the young tourist...
Gives one food for thought, right ?
It just happens that I think that Internet is the "tool" (beurk, an erector set word, lol) of the future, but that it is NOT necessarily by exchanging IDEAS that it will be the most useful (another erector set word...).
Or maybe, ideas, like filthy lucre, have no limits, no boundaries, no countries, no places.
But... textures, perfumes, THEY are ROOTED in PLACES.
And this is important for us.
Summer vacation :
Every summer when the grinding school year finally subsides, you see hitting the newstands, the kiosks, the bookstores, that INFAMOUS FRENCH SUMMER INSTITUTION, the "cahier de vacances". That's French for : summer workbook.
The French are the ONLY European people to sadistically subject their children, after 10 + grueling months of 8-6 indoctrination known as "public education" to summer workbooks to MAKE SURE THAT JUNIOR WILL NOT FORGET ONE COMMA of the passé simple (the literary preterite...) or sixth grade calculus. (By the way, dinky, that was an EXAGGERATION, as far as I know, Blaise Pascal was the only precocious little (French) sod I know who could have done calculus at 11, probably even before...).
Every year over the summer, you will see armadas of French schoolchildren dutifully sharpening pencils in order to dig into the (daily) lessons that are designed to give them NO respite from the joys (lol) of learning.
But this year, the temple merchants have REALLY INNOVATED. (I mean, the workbooks have been around since BEFORE I had children... and by the way, mea culpa, I USED TO BUY THEM TOO for my kids, but since I am an apragmatic lout, WE only managed to do 1/3 of ANY workbook over the summer before ABANDONING the (expensive) object in the bottom of the suitcase in favor of more... pleasurable occupations.)
They have now come out with...
Workbooks for ADULTS.
Some of them are excessively CUCU (a word that you can learn to throw around at the cocktail parties you DON'T have time to go to. Like gnan-gnan. Well, we're going to have to settle for DUMB-ASS unless SS or Cotton have other suggestions.)
But, Charlie Hebdo, ANOTHER FRENCH INSTITUTION that I will talk about later, after fractals, is another story. This year, Charlie has managed to throw together a vacation workbook that is an indictment of 1) summer workbooks themselves 2) multiple choice questions (a major illness in France...) and.... 3) OUR president (OUR, my friends, is an example of that EXCLUSIVE expatriate priviledge of being able to say OUR in two different contexts...)
And, of course, President bashing is also our favorite national, TEAM sport...
Coming up in the next installment : a few excerpts from the Charlie Hebdo summer vacation workbook, translation courtesy of Debra.


Thai said...

Typed Charlie Hebdo into Google for a sneak peak- oh, goodie!

Perhaps the following quote (which fwiw is one of the basic points of my all my posts) is apropos...

"The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."

--- John Maynard Keynes

Thai said...

And Deb, since at lest I tend to have a maritan erector set for a mind, could you give me a few hints as to where you would like the conversation to at least start.

In the same way that I sense you are missing the point of my posts, even to the destination of where you think they are going (though I could be wrong), I think I may be having similar trouble with yours.

A few less subtle clues would be nice.


Dink said...

Re: French education and expatriatism

1) I've mentioned my neighbor from Marseilles. She has a PhD and I've heard her discuss the French educational system. Swimming with sharks, no? The competition and stress seem like they would chew up a lot of sensitive kids. I'm in no way saying the US educational system is better, but I hope there is a better way out there than either. I've also met products of the Asian and former USSR educational systems and while their knowledge base is phenomenal there seems to be little joy in it.

2) Odd in that the same point in my life where I get a president that I respect, I decide I need to live abroad for a few years. Vive la mid-life crisis!

"A few less subtle clues would be nice"

I left a comment in the last post in hopes that "east can meet west". Would it be pretentious if I change my name legally to Yin Yang?

Cottonbloggin said...

Hi Deb,

"But that it is NOT necessarily by exchanging IDEAS that it will be the most useful"

oh deb, I beg to differ. I think ideas are the real currency of exchange, and have been for all of human history. In fact, I believe it is our very ability to dream up ideas which makes us human.

Cucu (not Coucou?) is itself an abstract idea, trapped within a construct called "language". As Americans, this SOUND doesn't have much meaning, and certainly doesn't have the same meaning as it would had we lived in France.

The meaning of any word is associative. We recognize the word "blue" for what it means, because that SOUND is associated with a range of color on the spectrum. Coucou is also associative also, though-- because we are americans, ignorant to the subtleties of French culture-- we won't make the proper associations (if any), and can't therefore understand the true "color" (or colour if you prefer) of the word. ((similarly, you--having lived in France these many years-- will probably no longer understand the subtleties of CONTEMPORARY american slang, though it will be easier for you to grasp "snaked" than us to grasp "coucou", because you have a better foundation of understanding of American culture than we have of French))

Coucou-- as it turns out-- is a very complex abstract idea. One we on this blog aren't going to understand after a very brief definition. It takes Time to build up the necessary associations. Thai has done a VERY good job of INTRODUCING the concept of Fractals by harping on them continuously, and drilling the necessary associations in our gordz... and I know he's done a good job because we now all use the word to (I'm assuming) varying degrees of understanding.

So... i do honestly believe that by talking about IDEAS in their un-associated, abstract context, we will be able to eventually forge a unity of understanding between us.

It starts with defining some necessary words (which are heavy with ideas, like-- manifold), and then using those words to build MORE complex abstract ideas. (it's a very fractal notion, actually)

Though (as far as Thai's postings are concerned) I do believe some practical, real life examples would be very helpful to give us the associations we need to elucidate the ideas you've formed in your head.

and (as far as Deb's postings are concerned) I also believe that some simple IDEA based context would be helpful for us squirrels to completely comprehend the examples you've given us.

and for my sake, I'd like to say that this entire commentary is based on the concept of MEMES, which basically states that ideas have the ability to evolve over time. Something I would eventually like to post about.

keep up the good work everyone!

Debra said...

In all fairness, I DID haul out the "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" argument for justification...
Cucu and coucou are not the same thing at all.
Cucu means "dumb ass", like pink barbie doll store bought dumb ass. Does that make sense ?
Coucou is an expression used to say hi. Like "coucou" to attract someone's attention. In casual talk.
Probably we BOTH need to make some compromises, Thai, although I'm not sure I am capable of compromises any more.
We'll see.
I'm not attacking you.
I'm asking for your patience while we embark on a schizophrenic blog, right ?
Men are from Mars, women are from Venus ?
In all fairness, Thai, I did mention here a while ago that I think that women have been competing with men for too long on their own territory (erector sets).
So, that means setting up shop on my own turf, and hoping that there is a COMMON ground, right ?
I agree about the practical examples, and I still do maintain that abstraction is one of our major problems.
Both travel faster than a speeding bullet. (Not like us, right ?)
What don't you understand about what I'M saying ?
I'm really mystified. It seems obvious to me...

Thai said...

Deb, you have all the patience you require, or we would not be having this talk in the first place.

Remember, I am a little more like Dink (in fact probably much worse), my life has been studying science and science alone. It took a long time for me to move into the philosophy of science.

So if you mention an author or philosopher, probably recognize I have no idea who or what you are talking about and am scrambling to to figure out the "cliff notes" on some kind of Google search.

Thai said...

Cotton, you make a great point re: example.

I will give a few as a complete posting after I finish posting on How The Tragedy of the Commons is another version of The Conservation of energy, is another version of The Conservation of Risk as this does seem like a logical place to tie together these several post's memes.

... But be forewarned, while several examples will be simple and uncontroversial, others will deliberately be uncomfortable controversial topics. And I will do this not because I have any particular agenda with one side or the other on these topics as it could really chose any controversial topic (I obviously have my own opinions on many things), instead I will use them to illustrate why they are so difficult, why they will always be so difficult.

PS- I am VERY interested to hear your posting on memes (after one explaining your artwork) as I too very much intend to get to into memes but I was not intending to go there until we talk a little more on: The Conservation of Risk, The Tragedy of the Commons, Fractals, competition and its identical twin- cooperation, evolution, how emergent systems are the same thing as evolutionary systems, complex systems, life, thought and then memes (see SS, we have a long way to go). At that point we can get into the more practical meaning of all this stuff including my favorite "practical" self similar version of for all this stuff- TEAMS AND TEAMWORK.

Indeed, we are getting to here, I promise.

Thai said...

Dink, I like the addition of the "curiosity over pride" subtitle.

Debra said...

Well, Thai, I watched ALL THE WAY THROUGH the Dan Dennett presentation.
YOU may be heading in this direction.
I could spend several posts tearing apart this presentation, but the blog is not the place to do it.
A few points :
It is "scientifically", "ethically" and "psychologically" hasardous to take one metaphor and wholesale import/export it into another domain.
The virus/idea "comparison" is very seductive.
Contamination metaphors SHOULD BE STUDIED as an historical phenomenon (when did they begin, in what context ?) before whimsically embarking on such seductive enterprises.
Mein Kampf is founded on a contamination metaphor.
Such metaphors go hand in hand with what the shrinks call "paranoiac" beliefs. It remains to be seen, and analyzed, just exactly WHAT paranoiac beliefs are, as in my book, we have not done a very good job of it thus far.
If you listen VERY VERY CAREFULLY, Thai, you will hear TO WHAT EXTENT this kind of thinking is, at rockbottom, an IMPERIALIST, and condescending way of looking at oneself, and one's relations in the world.
And the idea that the "by-products" of our free speech culture, like pornography, are more dangerous for others than they are for US, is definitely... short sighted, in my view, at least.
I think that Charles Darwin would shoot himself if he saw what his theory has become.
Both Sigmund Freud, and Charles Darwin are thinkers whose position on free will was extremely complex, and much more complex than the reductionist thinking of Dan Dennet, who obviously thinks HE is very smart.

Thai said...

Deb, re: "It is "scientifically", "ethically" and "psychologically" hasardous to take one metaphor and wholesale import/export it into another domain."

Answer: "yes", I have not got into topics of information science yet but I will.

.... But there are always consequences, which leads to my response to your second point.

re: " the idea that the "by-products" of our free speech culture, like pornography, are more dangerous for others than they are for US, is definitely... short sighted, in my view, at least."

I agree with you.

Remember, the last posting was one the conservation of risk???

We have also not discussed issues of time (spacetime) and its relationship to risk (yet) but we will.

Thai said...

@Deb, I think I am beginning to see where you are having trouble with my posts. Your brain's information processing filters, developed over years of living on this planet, are creating different interpretations than I am intending.

... How does the old saying go: "Youth is when our minds are wide and our waists are narrow. Middle age is when the reverse happens."

You know too much and it is getting in the way of hearing what I am saying.

You need to open your mind to the possibility assume a different intent on my part.

Think of this entire series of posts as a journey into a kind of nihilism, with fables along the way to make particular points.

The intent of this journey is not to see this kind of nihilism in a negative or positive fashion either (though you can certainly choose to see it that way if you want to). The intent of this journey is to see the nihilism in an kind of "it is what it is" fashion, nothing more.

Or as Sten Odenwald once appropriately said, "to see Patterns in the Void".

The signature is there for any of us to see.

There is a fundamental "law" of information science that goes something like "in order to make information useful, you have to make it wrong". We will get into this, I promise.

Does this make any sense?

Dink said...

@ Cotton,
"context would be helpful for us squirrels"

Amen, brother squirrel! We've got to create some sort of cue which lets a poster know that when we're asking for explanation that it is not to be snarky; its because we're just seriously lost.

@ Deb,
"What don't you understand about what I'M saying ?
I'm really mystified. It seems obvious to me..."

Ah, but please remember what is obvious to you has a world of context that the squirrels are missing. Be patient and feed the squirrels some context.

"PS- I am VERY interested to hear your posting on memes (after one explaining your artwork) as I too very much intend to get to into memes but I was not intending to go there until we talk a little more on:

You've all alluded to future posts which sound really interesting. Those TED things are also damn interesting.

"The virus/idea "comparison" is very seductive"

I thought so too. Words themselves as neural viruses.....this will take more pondering.

"are more dangerous for others than they are for US"

I think it gets back to the "first exposure is the most dangerous exposure" concept. Perhaps we've a little defense mechanism to be alert when our neural mapping is about to get rearranged (even if for the better).

Debra said...

Thai :
Remember what I said about Mars/Venus ?
We may NEVER understand each other.
Will we be able to accept each other's viewpoints ?
Maybe. Maybe not.
My mind is NOT NARROW.
It is wider now than it ever has been.
Don't you remember what you were like when you were a nerd teenager like ME ?
You KNEW everything better than your parents, didn't you ?
Yes or no ?
I did, at any rate.
Now I can say that there is lots of stuff that I don't know, and things that I am not sure of at all.
I think I can probably say that for MORE things than Dan Dennett can...
I was thinking about this this afternoon in my vegetable garden while I was leveling down the turf to get ready to plant my green beans.
Dan Dennett thinks that HE is what Lacan called a NON DUPE. That is sophisticated jargon for saying "you may be able to pull that one over on my Muslim third world friend, or my Bushie neighbor, but ME, you aren't going to fool ME.
He is supposedly NOT FOOLED by what he sees as being exterior to himself, to the extent that no way in hell can he understand/believe it.
He IS fooled in thinking that HE HIMSELF is sitting at that omniscient place where HE can see everything, basically. Scientific materialism is an IDEOLOGY. Objectivity is its first commandment. Next major presupposition : emotions get in the way of my reasoning capacity, so I need to dampen them down.
These are IDEOLOGICAL ASSUMPTIONS and not truth.
Two choices for that place :
It doen't exist at all.
It is already occupied... by GOD.
It turns out that God has a very important metaphysical function that fanatical people like Dawkins just can't understand.
(You don't have to be RELIGIOUS to be a fanatic you guys, just try living in France a little bit to see what it's like...)
Dennet does NOT understand that what YOU call the "ego" is a set of mirrors. A mirror in a mirror in a mirror, etc.
It is a terrible and terrifying maze.
"God" exists to help break up that maze, or at least to introduce a ternary element OUTSIDE OF THE SYSTEM that limits it.

Thai said...

Who is, was Lacan and what do you mean by Scientific Materialism?

As I think you are interpreting scientific materialism, it is a very different thing than science.

Science built our atomic bomb and this very same science says objectivity is 100% impossible.

Debra said...

Lacan is a major French psychoanalyst who is now dead. There MUST be a wikipedia article about him (snark snark).
Science did not build an atomic bomb...
WE did...
I'm glad that SOME scientists say that objectivity is 100 % impossible.
But, you know, it is very easy to SAY that objectivity is 100 % impossible while, unbeknownst to oneself, believing that it is, and BEHAVING as though it were.

Thai said...

There is a link- I just looked him up- but I am interested in your opinion of his ideas

And fair enough, but all communication would also cease if we stick to that standard.

As I said before, in order to make something useful, we make it wrong.

But if we make it always, e.g. tautology, it is also by definition useless information.

So we have got to have an untrue conversation at some point if it is to have any utility (I guess this is what you mean by scientific materialism) or we can have one that is always true and we are not better off than we were before it started.

How is that for Alice in Wonderland?

Thai said...

I meant to say "but if we always make it right, it is almost by definition useless information"

Dink said...

Bidden or not bidden, the material world is present ;)

Bringing the concept of a god into the equation just changes everything. I don't know what to do with it.

I do remember a lady I knew once said something fascinating. She was Catholic and a friend of hers (who had two young children) had just died of cancer. She said "When I get to heaven I'm going to give God a piece of my mind about what he did". I'm sure I just nodded sympathetically, but it really struck me as interesting. Why aren't more theists pissed off at their god? I can tolerate a morally neutral universe. I don't know if I could stand knowing that there was an all-powerful being who could help people, but chose not to.

Debra said...

Thai :
What I don't understand : in order to make something useful, we make it wrong. Who is "we" ? You are getting closer to my understanding of scientific materialism : it is, among other things, the OBSESSION of making things useful.
An answer to Dink (on God), and to Thai, on Lacan :
One of the most valuable contributions that Lacan made to MY thought is in enabling me to "see", "observe" what Lacan calls three realms, or dimensions, if you prefer, in HUMAN life.
What he calls the "réel", or "reality", if you prefer : these are the material limits imposed on our minds by the FACT that they are MORE OR LESS, but of NECESSITY linked up to our physical bodies.
That means that : death is part of "le réel". WE WILL DIE, and this is inescapable.
Next realm : the "imaginaire", or "imaginary", if you prefer : this is the collection of attitudes, fantasies, projections, and BELIEFS that we hold about our human condition. They are indeed FICTIONS (THEORIES ?) and are a vital part of our imagination, to be understood, in my book, like Coleridge, the great Coleridge, (and much of the Romantic movement) understood it in Biographia Literaria which I will probably NEVER read because I am too lazy (but I have read parts of it). Dink, the "GOD" that you mentioned above is the "God" of our imaginary processes.The God with a white beard who is an anthropomorphized figure. This God is NOT the "GOD" I was talking about above who is to be understood in the context of the last realm, the "symbolique", the "symbolic" realm.
The "symbolique" refers to the collection of our "codes", i.e., customs, language, words. Symbols are the essence of "le symbolique".
The "God" I was referring to, Dink, finds "his" place here. "He" is a FUNCTION.
Thai, you will have noticed that INCARNATION (the phenomenon of mind IN body, is a complicated process, particularly as ALL THREE REALMS can, instead of holding together, function independently, for their own benefit or destruction, should I say...
In this context, I say that SYMBOLS, and the symbolic realm, have gotten extremely out of control in OUR civilization at least, and that our IMAGINATIONS, our capacity to create new fictions, are suffering as a result.
For some Lacanian psychoanalysts, the "symbolic" has been almost... DEIFIED to become a new kingdom of God.
He he.
I may be a dupe about several things, and after all THERE ARE WORSE THINGS THAN BEING A DUPE, because NO BELIEF, NO TRUST whatsoever lead to terminal cynicism, but I do NOT believe that the "symbolic" is a new kingdom of God.
As far as my opinions about Lacan's thought are concerned, I daily thank him for permitting me to think along these (structuralist) lines, as THIS theory (which has been much obscured in France, and horrendously tainted by the RELIGIOUS aura attached to Lacan's thought, but then again, he was VERY VERY responsible for the way things went..) is an EXCELLENT analytical tool, and one that I have PERSONALLY derived much satisfaction/pleasure from.
It is in NO WAY disqualified by the fact that towards the end of his life Lacan wanted to turn language itself into a mathematical formula in order to banish ambiguity. A dastardly enterprise in my book, and one that HE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER THAN TO EMBARK ON.

Thai said...

Deb, FWIW, Dawkin's demonization of god pisses me off as well...

As for Lacan, I will read a little more as I am curious AND I truly think you may enjoy fractals and information science a little more than you think. For what you are describing is a very fractal concept indeed.

Indeed, you may even develop a little more sympathy for Lacan's attempt to turn his ideas into mathematics (which is clearly the realm of A.I. or Artificial Intelligence).

To help you a little, you may need to get a better feel for topological space... Again, if I am reading your interpretation of Lacan correctly.

First let's define a few terms. After, I hope you see they are really the same term only applied to slightly different contexts:

1. An information pattern

2. A system with boundaries

3. A manifolds

If I read you correctly, you or Lacan are trying to create a "space" (or system with boundaries or information pattern or manifold) to describe human life using three smaller building blocks (or information patterns or manifolds) which you have named as follows:

1. Reality
2. Imaginary
3. Symbolic.

You then describe a different information pattern in which this fractal set is really the constant in what scientists describe as a complex system.

... I will stop here for at complex systems as we will get to them later.

Understand, this is a completely legitimate information pattern you are describing, but it only has four manifolds.

You should also understand there are really an infinite number of manifolds. Not just 4

As for defining "useful"????

I think you first need to ask yourself "what is an information pattern" (we touched on it above).

Understand that looking at the universe as a vast amount of information is one completely legitimate way of looking at things. And from this point of view, everything is information, and I mean everything.

So thinking, thought, contemplation, passion, compassion, etc... are all information. They are also "useful" information patterns and as such, all of them are wrong.

Cars, medicines and shelter are also useful information patterns, but they are not the only information patterns out there.

All these and everything else are also "wrong" (from another perspective- I will not use the term absolute perspective, as we now "believe" there is not "absolute space" from which an absolute perspective can occur... this has implications for Dinks idea of a morally neutral universe... For those of you who understand what I am talking about.

... But we are getting ahead of our selves and I am sure this is likely to get too confusing if we jump ahead too far.

As for who was Alan Turing??????

One of the greatest minds to ever bless this planet and a personal hero.

We are all indebted to his cracking of the Enigma machine at Bletchley during World War II. This allowed the Allies to intercept German communications and was clearly a major factor in the Allied victory in WW II.

His story is made all the more tragic by his suicide in 1954 over the humiliation of chemical castration English society demanded to rid him of his homosexuality.

Debra said...

A few comments on your presentation Thai :
Your citations from Wikipedia.
Wikipedia has been touted as a magical "tool".
But, in the great majority of the references that you have cited here, the Wikipedia page states that there is no real consensus on the terms used, and that there are no pertinent examples of application either, to point out one of Cotton's gripes.
This is a serious drawback for a Wikipedai reference, and it should induce us to be very careful about the credence we give to these pages.
Pattern : derived from the French PATRON.
As it turns out, "patron" and "pattern" are not the least interchangeable, and strangely enough, there is no good French translation for the word pattern, just as there MAY be no good English translation for the word "patron".
So, we will refer to an example of the meaning of "patron" in French.
A "patron" is that piece of "paper" that you use to make a dress, or any other piece of clothing. Now, these days, you go out and buy a pattern, and if you sew reasonably well, you adapt it to your body in order to produce a REAL, MATERIAL (not theoretical...) piece of clothing with your HANDS. If you are a dressmaker, an experienced one, or a men's tailor, then you CREATE your own "patron" in order to make personalized clothes for your customer, again with your hands, and machines too, sometimes...
These distinctions are very important, because a "patron" is a master design, but incorporated in the realm of production, not in the realm of abstract intellectual theory.
For "topology", I did notice that "topological theory does not take into account the phenomenon of bending, but treats the circle as an infinite SUM (the word is my extrapolation) of lines. Are they the same ? I beg to differ. And this ideological hypothesis reminds me of Hell's and my comment that economic theory ignores certain observations that it CANNOT manage to theorize adequately.
Lacan was bonkers on topology. He lapped it up. I am NOT bonkers on topology...
Enough. Have a good trip.

Thai said...

Thanks. Taking a break from packing and saw you reply.

Wikipedia has its issues, no doubt about it. Although I would say your observation "no real consensus on the terms used" is a wonderful example of how there will never be a consensus as there can never be a consensus.

Remember, as we make information useful, we make it wrong. I will get into why this is the case.

... And would you think it fair to at least consider that if Lacan was bonkers on topology, and I recognized this association from just your brief description of him without knowing a thing about either him or his views, that it is possible we may at least be playing in the same ballpark, if not the same game?

We do not need to have precise agreement on every aspect of the deepest innermost aspects of who a person really is to recognize we are basically talking about the same person, no?

I'll be back later in the week but hope to finish my post on The Tragedy of the Commons and get it up before then.

... I agree with you last post; putting it up really does make me want to consider carefully what and how I say it.


Debra said...

Goody. I'm looking forward to your post on the commons, Thai.
And since I have finished with Charlie, I will set out Shakespeare's vision of RISK as it appears in the Merchant of Venice, just so that we can compare these two appreciations of risk.
I am not a Lacanian psychoanalyst.
After much reading (some under duress...) and personal observation, I have come up with my own theories on how things work.
I will come back to some Lacanian, Freudian, and structuralist concepts that have helped ME make sense of my (human) world. And literature, or course.
That we are all fish swimming in one megagigantic school.
(Not very flattering to our sense of individuality, huh ?)
That some of us are squeezed in there, tight, right in the middle. That some of us are actually moving more around the outskirts, facing outwards, so that occasionally we get a little glimpse of that deep blue that surrounds us. We may be on the outskirts, toward the front, or the back, or the side, but this is not really very important, as you KNOW that THE SCHOOL itself "decides" where it is going, and so WE go with the school (more or less...)
People like Dan Dennett, and Ted THINK that they are at the outskirts OUT IN FRONT (as though this really makes a difference...), gazing steadily at that bright blue a little bit like John Keats was fixing his beautiful white star. (Sorry John, that was a cheap shot, but you're dead anyway.)
You can guess what I think of that...
Now, people like 1) William Blake 2) Theodore Roszak 3) E. Schumacher are definitely trailers in the school, and they are seeing more of that blue than most of us ever manage to see. Some of my so-called "psychotic" friends are also trailers, and they can see stuff too, but they are into the voluntary servitude trip (Etienne de la Boétie), so they disaqualify THEIR perception as not normal. Too bad.

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits