Archive for the ‘Mental Training’ Category

A little about transactional analysis.

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

The following is a translation from the Romanian "Pe scurt despre analiza tranzactionala" by Mircea Popescu.

Transactional analysis is regarded in some academic circles (especially those of psychoanalytic orientation) as a rather unserious concern, if not completely unscientific. Certainly, the particular talent of Eric Berne to speak in terms accessible to the public at large has created sufficient interest and a following of "practitioners", more or less in the way of science or reason. Nevertheless, I think that the discipline is intellectually recuperable, in the following terms:

There exist in principle two paths by which we can understand and represent the processes which have a place within the mind of man: Either by listening to the descriptions produced by the respective man, or else following the facts of the respective man. The fact that a good part of classical psychology uses the first source does not absolutely invalidate the the second.

Regarding phylogeny, it's clear that in its evolution from the most primitive ganglions to the neocortex, the brain was guided by the need to respond to stimuli. This is the function which created this organ. The fact that the types of stimuli which appeared first received solutions and responses of better quality than the types of stimuli that appeared later isn't surprising. For example, we have the capacity to observe light, so much so that we can follow with the free eye millions of stars in a summer sky. Just so, we have the capacity to follow the movement. Specifically because it seems unremarkable, the simple fact that we can catch a ball falling from the sky shows how well-adapted the human brain is. For all technology's worth, there doesn't exist even today a robot that can play basketball, even if there have been robots capable of playing chess for twenty years.

The light was here for a while, but the movement appeared on Earth all at once with living beings. Both are fairly old, like stimuli. Speech, on the other hand, is from a more recent time; it appeared more or less concurrently with people. It wouldn't be surprising then if the brain wasn't capable of responding to the stimulus of speech as quickly, as well as it responded to the stimulus of the basketball.

If a joke is told today, it serves nothing to laugh on Sunday, at church. If you're mocked, you can't go to the post office with a vicious retort. In the majority of social interactions, a spoken response has to come in a few seconds if it's going to be heard. What is asked of our brain, in the end? Nothing more and nothing less than the receipt of information about the sounds heard, to recompose these sounds in the sounds of language, to get words from them, and from these words phrases, and from these phrases to extract understanding, from which to then process into further understanding, from which to make other propositions which then break into words to be vocalized. In a few seconds. It's a lot.

It wouldn't be, then, all that surprising to discover that, faced with such pressure and fairly exaggerate demands, the brain, like any human thing, also commits some simplifications. Up to a point, it's obvious that people don't listen to all that is said by the person being answered when they're forming responses. Still more obvious is that people do not understand, before giving a response, what was said in fact by the person to whom the response is addressed. Sometimes, as though by a miracle, it happens that they hear and understand, but I imagine you'll agree that this'd be quite rare.

This is, evidently, a bad thing, but wherever there's bad there's yet good, and the merit of this theory is that it finds the good in this case. Namely, if the response doesn't necessarily consider what was said, what can it reveal other than the internal structure of he who responds? If you don't speak to the object, you speak about you yourself, as though from nothing, in a vacuum, incapable to produce anything.

If in truth the responses that don't respond to, address, nor take into consideration stimuli describe the respondent, there would have to be then, theoretically speaking, specific modes in which different people fail to respond, recognizable through regular practice. This would be the first prediction a theory of transactional analysis would face on a scientific basis.

Practice confirms this first prediction, through so called "games". One of the most well-known is "Yes, but".

The one: I'd like to get rid of my belly.
The other: You've got to go to a gym.
The one: Yes, but I can't afford the membership fee.
The other: You have to go to work.
The one: Yes, but I'd have to wake up too early.
The other: You have to stop using the elevator.
The one: Yes, but my knees hurt.
The other: You have to change your diet.
The one: Yes, but I have a sensitive stomach and I can only eat certain things.

Obviously, you could continue this dialogue indefinitely, with minimal effort, and just so you could extend it to any given domain. If you get bored of this, you could also play "if it weren't for you", "why does this always happen to me", "look what you made me do", "look how hard I've tried", "I'm only trying to help", the list is long enough.

The next following prediction would be that people can, once they've read these things described, revise their own behavior in the sense of improving the quality of their communication with others; for the one part recognizing those cases in which the discussion transforms into simple transactions without notional content, simply satisfying some necessities of mechanical functioning, and for the other part eliminating from their own repertoire pseudo-responses that don't respond to anything in particular.

To the degree that this second prediction were satisfied in practice, transactional analysis would have to become a school of clinical psychology. To what degree this satisfaction actually happens, only you can say.

Reading #ossasepia logs, or: my jig is up.

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

My IRC channel, #trilema-hanbot, has been registered for some years, though as noted there it served solely as my testing grounds for a long-defunct bot. While it has ever been welcome to both the lordship and whatever stragglers the republic has accumulated over time, I never explicitly stated as such, nor did I take any steps to populate it. Mircea Popescu recently gave me the task of getting up to speed with Diana Coman's rather successful channel/castle, with a view towards cultivating my own. This was both a very pleasant and a very unsettling experience --unsettling in the literal sense, it shaking loose some rather long-held and not fully examined ideas and practices. In that order, then, allow me to recount.

I was aware that Diana had attracted and retained some folks intent on contributing to the republic, but I hadn't a clue of their quantity or quality. What a pleasant surprise to find several people clearly throwing themselves into the chaos and churn! What fun to set aside a few days to read logs peppered with others' struggles to read logs! I quite enjoyed discovering the often long, arduous journeys to speaking up recounted by Diana's pageboys --it's about as good a guide on "what's with/what happened to the lurkers, dabblers, and would-bes from back in the day?" as we could hope to get. I'm glad to see there's apparently a great deal to be salvaged from that heap, which was previously written off in my mind.

Moreover Diana's firm and level hand is remarkably fit for the sort of pedagogy herein desired. What particularly struck me was her precisely codified structure; featuring a straightforward pledge of submission and a clear hierarchy of development, the ossasepia castle doesn't leave its inhabitants much to remain in the dark about, as far as their own involvement and commitments stand. I'm curious to see how this works as a driver, and will be closely observing how the potential for love of title and recognition to poison love of work plays out, or doesn't.1

So why was the experience unsettling? Reading #ossasepia's logs made something very clear to me: as it stands, I am inaccessible. To wit, I found that one of Diana's recruits actually thought I might be a bot2. Moreover, discussions of setting up a home3 or sourcing irons in Costa Rica4, and of trading BTC in Panama5 didn't find me, nor I them.

In all honesty this enraged me at first, but then I realized my own, rather severe, culpability: I haven't been talking about any of this, nor making it clear that I'm available to talk about it. All there is consists of some (by now aged and by that reason suspect of irrelevancy) blog posts and milquetoast mentions in the logs. The cause for this vaguery is two-pronged: one is sheer laziness and neglect. This can be dressed up in whatever flavors and finery of "other priorities" you'd like, but that's neither interesting nor relevant. It's true that I have heavy offline duties, as the man himself has occasionally alluded to, even, but everyone has their own, and I'd be dishonoring the very duties I most respect and believe in if I used them as an excuse to slack in other areas that need attention. The second prong is my struggle to coexist as the functional head of Mircea Popescu's household and as a lord within the republic. Even attempting the description of these titles is daunting, inasmuch as they've fostered a great deal of tension for a long time. Who shall you know me as? Where do these roles overlap, and where may they not? Suffice it to say I've been steeping in these questions for years, and clearly I've not come to any useful conclusion.

Enough is enough, though. I cannot be useful to the republic or its members while things I could contribute lay fallow for the sake of what ultimately boils down to solipsistic thumb-twiddling. That it's taken me quite so long to give it up is shameful, and I'll work to make amends, if they can so be made. For many years the bulk of my output was invisible, and I suspect some portion of it will remain so, but meanwhile various things I never thought would be made public, have been. I intend to do a lot more testing of the borders therein.

This, for my part. For yours, dear lordship, I beseech you: lean on me, expect from me, as much as you would from anyone else. Take me to task if you see me failing or flailing. I am not fragile, nor should my proximity to MP exempt me from anything. I will grow with or without your help, but I'd much rather do it with. It'll be faster, anyway, and fuck knows I need all the speed I can get to keep up.

A page organizing and detailing my channel will be available Monday is available here.

  1. So far I'd say the majority of Diana's court is natively mature enough to avoid the problem. []
  2. It was perhaps forseeable that #trilema, like #bitcoin-assets before it, could and would use various bots, whether for logging or carrying out mundane tasks, but what can I say; hanbot had been my handle for ~all of my existence online, and for much of my life before I did much of anything online other than grief people in Diablo. I'll pay the price for the confusion, and assume the responsibility of making it more clear that no, I am not a robot, though I can dance like one. I'm not changing my handle, administer all the Voight-Kampff tests you want. []
  3. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. []
  4. 1 []
  5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and I'm sure there was another even recently between Mircea and Diana that I can't now find, but at some point the exhaustiveness is truly exhausting. []

The Right Thing

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

The right thing fuzzes into being for most people sometime during childhood through some episode or other of a previously unperceived wrong going punished, and describing the right by its difference. Later in adolescence the struggle for the right thing often enough leads to blood and blows, or maybe experimentation with drugs, or running away from home, or what have you. The right thing rules life complete for the adult (not that all that many people mature into adulthood). There's no period of life aside from natality, and no state aside from sloth, exempt from the right thing's dominion --making awareness of the same an arguably decent prerequisite for being actually alive, or human, if you like.

Any familiarity with the Republic makes one likely to load a particular meaning for the right thing; the variety speak points to Republican separation from pretenders who came before, and who (fail to) coexist now, accepting to make their wine with some percentage of shit, to compromise integrity for convenience, and to stand behind nothing but a false-toothed grin. The right thing has often enough been summoned in discussion when ironing out the particularities of a piece of software or the branches and leaves of a system, but its practical and present use in no way cordons it off from its true scope, which is: everything.

Everything, terrifying as that may be. There is always a right thing, though it may not always be known or even approachable. What is anxiety, after all, other than the experience of a human mind confronting the uncaring vastness of the possibility of correct and incorrect? What is philosophy, other than the attempt to codify correct and incorrect, whether from the understanding of the universe, or of man within it, or of god above it, or whatever other angle?

And yet it's not merely the vastness of the right thing that lends to its horror; it is its separateness from us, its objectivity, that makes for who knows how many sleepless nights spent on this spinning globe. The right thing has no connection to what you'd prefer to be the right thing. No influence, no possibility of meaningful exchange, nothing. Neither is it subject to your conceptions, conscious or not, of what could possibly be the right thing, or whether or not you'd be capable of doing or even choosing it. It does not love you. It will never even know your name. Love of the right thing is the quintissential unrequited love; there's just nothing there.

But you love it anyway, because that's who you are --good for you. You're now welcome to spend every waking moment obsessing over which of the paths before you are right, from when and how and why to brush your teeth to which and whether and why not way to climb the stairs and so on and so forth. You're welcome to waste your life (can it be wasted on the right thing? better figure that out before the next question comes!) spending every moment looking for possibilities and choosing amongst them meaningfully and with confidence. Inasmuch as the potential rate of personally experienced phenomena is quite a great deal faster than your fly-brain moving through real time, you're in fact welcome to inevitably fail. Aww. And all you wanted was to do a good job, wasn't it?

A great secret of life, or perhaps it's not a secret and that's merely my personal collection of inadequacies fronting for the past lack of its obviousness to me, is that pretty much everything comes with, and is best described in terms of, two or more data points. You know, you bought fifty litres of gas, and gas is four euros a litre, the sort of details that allow you to get through the practical movements of life with some sense of what you're doing, and why, and how. Living with a solitary data point is the culprit of most states of ignorance and indigence. The same holds true for the right thing, conceptually; it's not just about whether a given thing is the correct one. It's also about whether it matters.

Holy shit, twenty-year old me is ranting furiously in the corner, tearing up bits of the phone book and frothing at the mouth, "what do you mean WHETHER it matters?! It always matters, what the fuck, just that question belies total traitorhood omfg where's the Captain Morgan?!"

For most of my post-pubescent life I held that the most important, sometimes the only important thing, was to always do the right thing. I also held that this wasn't actually possible, but the key benefit of time has been the realization that this impossibility is inherent in the system, and it is not a fundamental flaw of humanity that it cannot physically keep up. Rather, most people lack a way to determine when the right thing matters, and when it doesn't, so much; and manifest in either slovenly stupidity on one end of the spectrum or manic insanity on the other, most people fail at obtaining this second data point.

I'll dare to say now what I've been suspecting for a while, and what would've frightened me ideologically not even so long ago: those that fail at obtaining this second data point, and therefore at doing the right thing appreciably, have fairly clean crossover with those who fail to understand the role of management (or sovereignty, or whatever other mask you care to put on it). Because this is what management is for: to observe your struggle with doing the right thing, and to determine where you're faltering in applying your dedication to it. As a fanatic, you're naturally inclined to find management's determinations arbitrary and punitive. The true task before you is to decide, and to necessarily stand by your decision, as to whether or not the management available to you is sane1. If you're lucky, both the truth of the matter and your determination will be positive. If you're unlucky, one or both will come out with a dull thud.

Ideally, management should need only speak to you its findings to affect your course. Naturally, such smoothness is incredibly rare. How much of historical conflict is the result of the professedly managed needing more than a word to adapt to the determinations of the management? Other than particularities of the "professions" therein, it's necessarily one hundred percent.

I'm not entirely sure where to end here except to state that taking on the burden of both data points is an Atlassian task to which the vast, vast majority of people born on this planet will never be equal. The prayers, the wailings in the night, the starved children, the mangled, stray dogs, the incredible potential of sadness and ruin is but testament to the natural inadequacy of most to provide themselves, and their rings of people, with both data points. There's nothing bad or good about this; it's just the way it is, but I'd hope demonstrably so, for anyone who's had a look around. Be fucking humble, and keep your wits about you, when you encounter those who've assumed such terrible responsibility. The latter, because a great portion of even these will be bad; and the former, because there's nothing worthier of your time and your blood than those who are great.

  1. Yes, this means at some point T before the shit's hitting the fans so fast you're not advised to "decide" much of anything, just keep mopping. And yes, you are held to verify this decision now and again, as a regular part of your self-hygiene --but as a regular part, not as a reaction to managerial determinations you don't like. []

A Black Forest

Saturday, October 19th, 2019

In the Rohrbrunner Forest, somewhere between Munich and Frankfurt, in a truck-stop motel whose rented room is so stuffed with extra beds it immediately evokes the desperate case of some plurious, fantastically religious family swarming in a last-ditch effort to sleep without the non-activity managing to kill any of its members. Are we really that far off?

The whisps of fog shuttle by in slow processions out the window, masking and revealing thick depths of trees, all closing their eyes to the seduction of golden autumn. The stench of stale french-fries and industrial effort wafts along in tandem, ruining the fairytale. Sometimes the world seems to have disappeared in some such mists, though it's not so clear which cloud it's hid behind; when nothing works as you'd expect, is it you who's failed to understand nature? Is it nature that's failed to be comprehensible? The question comes through the woods, heavy but silent: does it matter?

The result, after all, is the same: surrounded at some hazy margins by castles, by fortresses, by great spans of bridge; and by rotting agglomerations of idiots, by fast-food multiplexes, by the towering ghosts of "solutions" that have more to do with professing to solve than either solving or even knowing what the problem is, here I sit, in a truck stop motel, forced into stasis. You can check out, but where will you go? "Please insert your credit card to discover more."

The difference matters. That is all we really know. Two false steps into the void of settling and you're there, in the swamp, offering excuses and ritual sins to gods made up by the mass of morons. The correct thing will kill you, it is certain; if not now, then later. After all, it has as much time as it'd like, and can bide while you must sleep, or blink, or yawn, or breathe. But you will die anyway, and the other scythes are neither sharp nor sensible. For as long as the burden-gift of life is upon you, it is your lot to seek to understand nature and to be heartbroken by nature's failure to be comprehensible.

A Letter from Dad: "Can Pushing Make the Line Go Faster?"

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

When I was 17, I had one friend with an Autism brother1. He would sometimes bring him with us on our local sojourns, one of which was to sit on a bench at the tiny park and just watch traffic go by.

We would sometimes make up names for people who walked/drove past: "Oh, look at the nose on this guy! That's Bozo Redondo." "Hair check, hair check! This crazy lady has a swivel head and can't hold still; Miss Sheveled.2 "

Frank was usually silent, but very alert and always in observation mode. I think that's where we/I learned to always be aware of our surroundings/environment. Watch and listen to make sense of the world. I am not sure where he was on the Autism spectrum; whereas now someone hyper-alert makes me nervous ("what? where is it? calm down!") back then it seemed to be a calming thing. We relaxed in to our seat on the bench and did not want to miss anything in the moment: just speculating/naming/watching the world go by....3

If you have many years of acute observation, travel, elements of culture, and can be calm enough to observe, one becomes adept at what humans have always done to interpret their world: categorization/labeling.

Of course, this is prohibited. It is "frowned upon" (etymology?)4 to make any kind of observation about a person/place/thing.5 Some cultures/genders/groups are especially prohibited. Jokes are also taboo; there are daily news stories about someone being fired/shamed/black listed due to some remark or joke.

Yes, I was fired from a radio job for making an obvious joke about females back in the NOW days. But that's another story for another day (and you've probably heard it)6.

Throughout my life, I've had people tell me "you can't say that!" "that's not fair!"7 "you don't know that person!" "we need to help that ___ and that's not helping!" One's observations are empirical, untestable, and always suspect. Nature or nurture...why would you say something like that? Were you toilet trained at gunpoint? What were you thinking...or were you? You need to see a Psychiatrist!

Anyway Frank, his brother, and I went to a concert at the Claremont Colleges (Pomona, which later sent me a thin two paragraph denial letter the same day a fat envelope arrived from Stanford) one night. I think it was John Lee Hooker?

We were standing in line ("on line" if you are from New York) and when they opened the doors, Frank kept muttering "Can pushing make the line go faster?" as the crowd was tightening/jamming to the doorway. It was the only time I saw him get upset.

As the crowd continued to surge towards the door, he started to escalate and got louder..."Can pushing make the line go faster?" "CAN PUSHING MAKE THE LINE GO FASTER?" "No! Can't!"

His brother pushed us out of the crowd. We ended up sitting on a lawn next to the tiny place and listening from there. We had space and were able to turn down vision mode and turn audio up to eleven.

Frank started a meme with his observation. It applies to many things in life and I sometimes use it to this day--fifty years later8. The next time you are out and about and in observation mode ask yourself: Can pushing make the line go faster?" and look around.

Whatcha doin?

-t

p.s. "1872, Darwin Emotions ix. 223 A man who joined us, and who could not conceive what we were doing, when asked to listen, frowned much."

* * *

  1. I'd edit this to autistic brother, but I'm not sure the implied embodiment isn't intentional --if some afflictions are more central to a person's self-expression than others, you'd expect autism to be rather in the "central" group, wouldn't you? []
  2. I find the particular talent for appellatin' so delightful I couldn't tell you. As a kiddo I always drew my dad with a mohawk, when I drew him, 'cause he was so cool, see. I don't think he ever actually had a mohawk (other than a plastic one on his motorcycle helmet), but I'll probably always represent him that way, in my head. []
  3. When's the last time you saw teenagers engaging in anything like this most natural and otherwise timeless behavior? Watching the world go by on the phone isn't quite the same thing at all, is it. []
  4. I'm not sure that this rather un-idiomatic idiom even has an etymology distinct from sufficient insufferables muttering their irrelevant displeasure, but in the few tepid attempts I've made to find out, I've come away shorn of my good intentions by the sheer mass of similar mutterings. []
  5. I think he's a little over-sensitive to the emissions of various mulae. Then again, I refuse to live where he does largely on the basis of not wanting anything to do with the mulae, or at least on the basis of having a reasonable expectation that I can tell them to fuck off without some long-tail stream of personal inconvenience to myself. []
  6. Well technically this letter came in yesterday, and today's a new day, and the story's most definitely worth repeating, so here you go, drudged up from my archives:

    "KAYS, Hays Kansas. I was the morning announcer in my first
    job. KAYS was the only station in Fort Hays, Kansas (it was a
    radio-TV station where I also learned how to direct TV and was
    occasional weekend weatherman).

    Short jokes and funny stuff were a big deal in the 1970s and I used to
    try to throw in remarks, etc. This was conservative mid-america, so
    had to be careful of course.

    I told some risque stuff now and then and the station did what many
    midwest stations did by banning certain records (I remember "Tonight's
    the Night" by Rod Stewart being expressly forbidden. I got in trouble
    for playing the Isley Brothers once too).

    Anyway, I got called in to the manager's office, suspended for a week,
    docked pay, and then had to go back to the manager's office and
    apologize to the Kansas President of the National Organization of
    Women (NOW) because of a what I said talking with a news man.

    In those days, the "top of the hour" 00 to 05 on the hour, every hour,
    was news, farm report (barrows and gilts! I had no idea what those
    were when reporting prices...sorghum included!), and weather. Then
    the reporter would "throw" it back to the announcer with a "kicker"
    story--something funny or unsual or light news.

    He finished with a story about the first woman astronaut having just
    launched. So I said,

    "This is great! We have a woman astronaut, a female priest was just
    ordained, women are doing great things...I just don't think they
    should be allowed to vote!"

    Bam, right in to a record.

    Phones lit up, secretary comes in and says "Why are all these people
    calling the station?" etc.

    I just kept repeating to everyone, "it's a joke! it's not serious,
    it's a joke!" But almost got me fired from my first job.

    ...so there's my contribution to Woman's Month." []

  7. I really hope I didn't add to this pile of insanity as a child, but I shamefully have my doubts. []
  8. I actually remember Dad asking if pushing makes the line go faster throughout my childhood; waiting to get into the Del Mar County Fair, approaching Spike & Mike's "Sick n' Twisted" Festival of Animation, boarding my first plane to Europe.... []

Localbitcoins cracked corn, and I don't care.

Sunday, August 25th, 2019

On June 1st, localbitcoins silently switched off the ability to select "cash in person" as a bitcoin trade option on its site. Unsurprisingly, it "temporarily disabled" its forum at the same time. I know this, or at least, I knew it as quickly as I did, because various members of the WoT I built there over the years wrote to me to decry the fact and point out that they were still available for cash trades; I've only to say the word.

I've been trading on localbitcoins for about five years. I've used it on four continents and in more than thrice as many countries. If you looked at my profile, you wouldn't know any of the foregoing. Why? That's implicit in the word used above. I don't give a shit about some dorks and their wanna-be website, or about what they think are good criteria for trading. That's *my* call, and the kinds of people I want to trade with in the first place are also the kinds of people who rely on their own damned research. That means absolute bullshit in the vein of "verified accounts" is more of an anti-signal than a real one. Always has been, always will be. The very idea that a third party, not in my WoT, with unknown incentives1 can do the work of verifying someone for me, is antithetical to Bitcoin itself. What do I care how many trades some anonymous randos (for all we know, and likely so, bots, or as close to bots as humans get) say a trader under my consideration has done? Why would I take some website's word on the matter, even if I were interested in the foregoing; why wouldn't I talk to those randos myself?

And therein lies perhaps the most damning aspect of the use of sites like localbitcoins as the maintainers themselves would propose it be used --just like every other such layer of obfuscation, it attempts to separate you, the user, from what is a potential member of you WoT. It attempts to exploit your natural disinclination to talk to people you do not know, to automate and opiate the uncomfortable, so all you have to do is click here or there, compare one and two. I would very much like to live in a world where everyone already knows, consciously, that giving in to such a thing is tantamount to selling oneself in the worst way --that is, selling one's willingness and ability to think, to decide-- but I know I don't. It's too goddamned tempting to walk the "easy" route and let someone else do the dirty work of uncomfortable interaction for you. But you're giving up control, and while it's easy now it'll be a damned sight harder later, when you're older, when you need the fruits of your control that much more, and you haven't the ability to wrest it back.

So no, I'm not especially concerned that localbitcoins is handing itself and its users over to the forces of evil2 The people who will be negatively affected are either attempting to "be involved with bitcoin" in ways that directly oppose what bitcoin is, or else belong to that sad group that was however slowly attempting to figure out how it ought to be used, correctly. They built relationships, but kept them on-site. They traded when they absolutely needed it, but didn't trade for the sake of WoT-building. They acted, in one way or another, out of hesitancy and avoidance of their duty, which is to be responsible for their connections.

The necessary corollary being, of course, that making strong, exhaustive connections isn't optional! That state wherein you need an intermediary to tell you when you may and may not access "your" money, and how, and how much, and you can rot on your couch ordering ramen to your doorstep and making friends/masturbatory fodder on okcupid is called Unified Silly Dosidoe banking. Bitcoin isn't it, and it doesn't matter how many "regulatory agencies", "trading platforms", "websites", or ads masquerading as media try to proclaim otherwise.

Do your work, use tools as a human uses tools. Anything else is slavery.

  1. We can imagine their incentive is to part me from at least some portion of my money, and that their hope is I'm the sort of fool towards whom this sort of incentive works. []
  2. If turning off the one desirable trade option without notice while denying easy access to discussion thereof isn't enough for you, consider Jeremias Kangas and family took the further step of confiscating all coin in wallets not verified to The Great Old Ones' satisfaction on August 1st. []

Blistering Choice

Friday, May 10th, 2019

The very thought of the development of the specific psychopathies over time is enough to make me sick. Imagine the movement through a lifetime of a worm, acquiring in slow succession now antennae, now carbuncles, now splotches and hairs, complicated feet and feet for the feet themselves, ever multiplying in sickening mathematical complexity until there's nothing in particular that can be focused upon. All you can do as an observer is zoom in or zoom out, and every movement is edged in razors.

At first it was a sweet dream. There was something so simple, so round, about the correctness of things, about the possibility even of correctness. Only being able to imagine that there was some difference between paths, that there was meaning in action just as there was meaning in inaction, was revolutionary. It was the answer to all problems, and the light in all tunnels.

But there is no choice as to scope or context. For loving what is right you are not able to prefer it sometimes, or in some places. There is only where it leads you, of its own accord, by some laws you'll never know, by some laws that cannot be known. There is no guarantee that the entirety of life will be spent any other way than being compelled to love the correctness of the clutching of a sponge. And in truth, why should it really be any different? Whether something is large or small, simple or complex, whether it takes a great deal to comprehend or even see it or it appears as though a speck, a blip on the map of an existence, what does it matter to someone devoted to the thing itself?

And yet it can. And yet it can, terribly. It can matter to the extent that nothing else does, and the correct sponge holding becomes as a hateful fact, a thing utterly loathed and dreadful to think about, idol and paragon of everything wrong and unhappy. The silence and space around small things is too much to stomach, too much to mouth, even. It encroaches and grows and mocks, leaving the observer stultified and saddened, without material for anything at all. With no material, themselves, in or out. A shell, if you could call it that, for there's not all that much defining the borders after a while. Just a sort of gas that moves around, maybe, for unclear reasons, and to unclear ends.

You do not get to choose. The shape of what a dream looks like is a trap inasmuch as it contains any detail. The slightest detail at all is a lie, is a shackle waiting to ensnare the dreamer somewhere along the way, killing both their movement through the dream and their ability to wake up. Why should precision be quite so deadly? Supposedly specificity is a great boon, is a prime tool towards the development or manifestation of anything, anything at all. And yet, what can really be manifested in the presence of specificity? Only the hollow, aching death of the thing that was actually planned for.

Not knowing isn't better. Not caring is the only thing. But why would one dream if one didn't care? What's to dream about if you care about nothing? To dream of nothing itself, maybe, like a monk. Like a monk who sits, a dipole in the atmosphere, producing nothing.

It is in the network of rot of all of this that the insects appear, all fat, horribly articulated bellies and iridescent wings. What better place for such creatures to infest than a tangled nest of grief and contradiction. What experience, exactly, is one supposed to have from within an itching mess that can't be seen out of? The experience of prurience with blindness, the constant removal of one's own skin, the constant irritation to grow more calluses where the old ones were painfully scratched away.

Guts I've Lost

Thursday, January 24th, 2019

Who knows, perhaps they'll be the guts someone else gains. In any case, I charmed some pix off the doctor and I find the general population lacking in gore disclosure; let's see what an emergency appendectomy looks like, mm?

When I was little I regarded the concept of surgery as so abhorrent, I resolved I'd simply off myself if a situation requiring it were ever to arise later in life. As it happens, my appendix microperforated this past December 1st and the presiding whitecoats prescribed total eviction. I didn't have such a bad time, all things considered.

appendectomy-1

Pre-op was the worst, attended as it was by the visceral agony of the insubordinate tissue's sequelae. There was also a botched visit to an initial ER that sent me home with suspected stomach infection and a basket of meds that made just about everything feel just slightly worse. The hours before surgery included a dozen or so failed IV placement attempts and administration of a high-viscosity analgesic whose effects were arguably worth the sudden desire to gnaw my arm off and throw it at the poor nurses, experienced during the infusion.

Such unpleasantries were offset by the palpable precision of my surgeon, clinician, and ultrasound doctor, who managed a clear response to a very cloudy presentation fast enough to prevent rupture. Ultimate redemption arrived with the jolly anesthesiologist, who recommended himself to my confidence convincingly and then told me I was about to love him outright for the delivery of that there hypodermic of fentanyl. He was right, and he promised to give me back to the boss later on, which he did.

Much bloody mess was probed, as you can see.

appendectomy-2

The offending tubule's mugshot.

appendectomy-3

The procedure was laparoscopic, leaving me with two half-inch scars and a very mildly rearranged bellybutton. All was secured with dermabond glue --no external stitches to fuck with.

appendectomy-4

I stayed at the hospital a few days until my doctors were happy with my bloodwork; the appendix had left a good amount of untenable disguststuffs here and there, and we had to wait a little for my immune system to prove it could handle things. Three days of ambulatory ER visits followed for the sake of supporting antibiotics.

Here's my last IV line being taken out, exactly a week after symptoms had started.

appendectomy-5

I was forbidden to lift anything for a couple of weeks, and from the gym for about a month, which in retrospect seems like the hardest hit of the affair. On returning after the new year, I found I'd lost 10kg on my barbell squat and a good 20 on seated abductions, both hard-earned over a longer course of time than my recovery. I'm still clawing them back.

Let the childish or uninitiated mind take comfort, though; a little slice and dice is, assuming one's lucky enough to have the professionals and endlessly patient, doting visitors I had, not such a big deal as all that.

Perambulating MP: Pretense vs. Pretense

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

spyvsspy

The only potential "winner" is you.

So it happened this morning, as it fairly often does, that my reading of a Trilema article1 set off what I can only call The Churning, a distinct psychophysical sensation involving more or less every organ which threatens to culminate in a nervous fit if the inspiring material is not further examined and personally atypical considerations are not ingested.2 That sentence aside, allow me to specify3 two precursors:

I.

The "for women" part is provided by weakass sauce like some minor plot token pointing out to the hero that since his lordship, who knows quite a lot about male antecessors older than his greatfather, nevertheless knows exactly nothing about any women in the same line, even should they be younger than his grandmother, therefore it (the plot token) could in fact very well be the very grandmother in question.

The pretense involved, if it wasn't thickly laid out enough and it could take further belabouring, being that women are equally important to men, and equally meaningful and therefore notable, but "unfair arrangements" make men remembered and women forgotten.

II.

Pro tip : just because whichever god is stuck fucking the same Geea to make people, dun mean neither that people are all god's children, nor that there is or can be such a thing as "the goddess". The gods are all different, and earth is no goddess.

I brought these to breakfast, intent on using without abusing my unfathomably fabulous access to the very font of such allergens and their alleviations: the author. What follows is my distillation; inadequate as it may be for severe or obscure cases, I hope it offers some degree of support where it may.

I.

The emboldened passage led me on first pass to wonder whence and wherefore came the notion that women aren't equally important, meaningful, or notable to men. I suspected retreat into the concept of "non-equality", as in "no two things are equal" or such. Not the case; analysis of the problem here begins with the quantitative, hinted at in the preceding paragraph: "who knows quite a lot about male antecessors older than his greatfather." The set of this (or any given spring chicken's) antecessors is easily brushed aside as "big", or even "very big", but these are unexamined and unspecific.

If we take a loose approximation of man's time on this earth, say 100,000 years, and suppose every generation is about 20, we're left with 5,000 generations. In terms of individuals, then, we're left with no less than 25000, as every one was borne of two, one man and one woman, without exception. To get an idea of the size of the number of individuals, we'll move from base two to base ten and notice4 that 25000 ~= 101500, a number with 1500 digits. Divide it by two and you'll have, quantitatively anyway, two exact halves with fifteen hundred digits each. Exactly as many men as women, a minor miracle existing nearly nowhere, certainly rarely amongst things touched by the hand of man. Two particularly well made cups might be identical to three or maybe four digits; two CPUs perhaps twelve, at the cost of billions in fixed capital. There is no such thing known to man's industry or artifice as fifteen hundred digit equality, perfect and unyielding, exactly exact forever. In any case, the war was won by barely similar machinery.

The statement of fact that foremothers and forefathers are exactly equally sized, despite their incredible abundance, passes unremarked upon by the friendly fiend. The problem rather raises from MacDonald's proposal those two groups be equally important, meaningful, or notable. Yet why is it Anondos "knows quite a lot about male antecessors"? I proposed it was because those male antecessors did something. What else is there to know about someone, anyway? MacDonald might've countered, as I did (indeed, myself!), that it is inherent in feminine nature to keep quiet about doing, and to just do, whereas men are inclined to fabulate, to insist they've done what they've not, or to make the knowledge that they'd done something the focal point of the doing. This may even be true, yet what difference does it make? If indeed that's the female nature, then that's the female nature --nature no doubt is naturally happy in its nature. If it isn't, someone's lying, but in any case, there is not nor can there be such a thing as objective meaning. That, after all, is the one lesson of human inquiry.

What, then, is meaningful? What does MP's "...and equally meaningful and therefore notable" actually say? I proposed that if the trumpeting of deeds trumps the deeds themselves for meaning, let us all retire from doing and join for instance the Power Rangers or whoever else. At which point I was ready to receive the crux, staring out at me from the very beginning of the sentence I'd objected to5!

The pretense. MP describes the author's pretense. Of course the Power Rangers are the meaningful party to them, and of course MacDonald proposes some unknown females are nevertheless meaningful to his character, as part of the traperdition of placating the talkers and dreamers of the world by idly pretending that they're just as much a part of that world as the doers. I asked MP why he thought MacDonald dunnit. "He thinks that's how you write fantasy. But it's cheap fantasy, cardboard fantasy." Don't you find?

II.

What then of goddesses? Why would gods be talked about as though their possibility were unquestionable, and goddesses rejected as a very conceptual possibility? I was asked to produce a god. I chose Zeus6, and when asked "what is the thing about Zeus?", offered a beard and lightning bolts. Yet it turns out the ancient Greeks codified mythology as a tool, just as well-oiled and ready to be used as the fractions I'd been fumbling over in I. above, and there's a lot more to it than aesthetic tokens and mundane symbology.

The correct answer is: Zeus said "...and if you don't like it you can all grab a ring and I will grab the other side and throw you all across the sky." Cronos ate his children. Athena struck at her father's skull with her lance from inside 'til he had her birthed just to stop the pain. Diana kept her ass hidden from they who wanted to see it. Gods do, and the doing defines the godhead; Gaia7 "just is".

"So are there goddesses or not?" I asked. "What about Athena, what about Thetis, Diana?" "They did. They have tits, they're still male."

At this point it might occur to you, as it did to me, that MP's use of language --"goddess" vs "do-nothing", "men" vs "the only parties to actual activity"-- can only be fairly described as a pretense of its own. Why not state it plainly, the lazy and idiotic are therefore not as good?

It's pretense vs. pretense, and even if you don't favor the method, I doubt you can argue it's not wildly instructive for the audience.

* * *

  1. MP proposes said article's title is incomprehensible, but I have the answer key. Neener. []
  2. It is, to be sure, a blessed illness, and I know of no better, and certainly no swifter, way to learn or grow than by tending to it; text that never makes one feel sick is as so much government cheese, irradiated of culture and shelf-stabilizing unto one's death. []
  3. Specifying is, woefully, rather personally atypical. []
  4. I'd like to note for my own self-immolation that none of the reasoning herein contained blossomed forth from my own brainpan. Part of the The Churning's cure is the revelation of the number and size of one's holes in knowledge and dams to facility. Never ever believe anyone who proposes you "don't need" or "just aren't meant for" or etc, math. Innumeracy will suck your life away, guaranteed. []
  5. No shit, actually intelligent people order what they say by importance; imagining an opener is decorative is bound to fuck you up. []
  6. And quickly regretted it, asking to change to "a less complex? one" for the sake of lower outlier example potential. My request was denied. []
  7. Geea in MP's original. []

Who's responsible for this?!

Friday, November 16th, 2018

What is any particular being responsible for? The greater difficulty of this question results from a fundamental misunderstanding of what responsibility means in the first place. Typically it's confused with guilt, inasmuch as a question as to irresponsibility is likely to arise only when shit has somewhere met a fan, and a culprit or scapegoat is sought. But being responsible doesn't necessarily mean having fucked something up. Rather, it is the state --quite without qualitative consideration-- of being he who answers.

For himself, for a sequence of events, for other people, for acts of god, whatever it may be. A person can be responsible for anything, so long as they can answer for that thing, which means delivering rationale capable of fully satisfying any and every reasonable question about said thing. The old trope of someone being told they're "not responsible for the entire world" speaks then not to the emotional pressure of feeling guilty or having urges to help others, but to the factual impossibility of being actually answerable for every other human being, to all the other human beings.

It follows that being responsible, then, isn't something that can be jotted into a schedule just-so; there's no seat-of-the-pants way to be answerable as the state itself is defined by constancy. Yes, and forethought, but forethought without follow-through of internalization and continual perception and reaction is exactly the substance of so many protestations against irresponsibility by the well-intentioned. Setting aside some time for a thing is eminently not the same as overseeing it. Just ask the last couple of generations of kids that spent their childhoods attending "family time" and who otherwise lack any actual family worth the mention.

It also follows that responsibility isn't something that can be levied on someone; the onus to be responsible, yes, but in actual fact only an agent may be responsible, and only by actually being so. There's absolutely no space for subjectivity or interpretation; one is responsible or not, and whether they were told or begged to be so or whether nobody even knew is entirely incidental.

Responsibility is a state, and I'm hard-pressed for an example of someone who could demonstrably turn it on and off, switching as convenient. Sure, some selection is required in the bag; one must pick who and what they'll answer for. Maybe one's even stuck with the responsibility for something they'd rather never consider again. This is also part and parcel of the concept, however. Dropping something when it becomes unpleasant, when one's ability seems to falter, letting it slip one's mind, even, are tantamount to irresponsibility. That's not even a bad thing, in itself, either! Remember: there's no qualitative aspect involved, here. It's just a state. Sometimes being irresponsible is the right thing.

In any case, though, constancy is an absolute requirement. "I'll take the responsibility" may never be something said after the fact, but only before it. A lack of understanding as to whether it could happen again, as to whether the doohickeys involved were green or red or fat or old, necessarily denotes irresponsibility, no matter whether one tried, or how hard, or how great they are, or anything else.

At least, that's how I feel about it.