Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Don't Ask Don't Tell

What has happened to the art of human interaction. I'm not talking about a Victorian social etiquette, I'm simply talking about the verbal and non-verbal negotiation process that precedes any real information exchange. Some people come at you telling you what they want to tell you or asking you what they want to ask you without obtaining your consent. After their steamroller has obliviously rolled over each and every one of your expressions of a lack of desire to participate in their despotic dialog a counter-strike of rudeness is the only means available to you to avoid being flattened like a pancake. "Well, you didn't have to say it like that!" Actually I did because that is the only way I can make you hear it.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Stop Hitting Your Sister!

People often assume that as a third party their job is to judge between two sides rather than to facilitate the negotiation of a common one. Few middlemen are willing to work towards their own obsolescence. They prefer to keep things apart rather than bring them together. Voluntary power dissemination? Empowerment? Is it they or you who are not ready for it?

Climbing Under the Influence

Ambition, oft criticized in others, is rarely considered to be a problem in ourselves. The layers of justification are painted on thick but few realize that their walls are made of paint alone. Shouldn't the structure of what you stand for stand on its own? Are the paint fumes impairing your judgment?

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Out of Tolerance

We tolerate things, other people, and ourselves. We sometimes equate tolerance with virtuousness, other times with depravity. At times it is a sign of self control, other times a sign of apathy or ineffectuality. If you consider it praiseworthy you may take it too far. If you consider it shameful you may not go far enough. The recovery from these extremes can be a rocky ride. The path of grace is beyond canon; ride it gently.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Choose Life

What humanity claims as its greatest achievements seem to be like bandages on gaping wounds that were created by humanity itself. The bandages often open up new wounds themselves. Wounds of industrialization, of urbanization, of polarization, of militarization, of intellectualization, of categorization, of humanization. There seems to be a tendency towards the celebration of man rather than the celebration of life.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Quick Question

Is knowing that the unknowable is unknowable knowable?

Universal Faith

Implicit in most belief is disbelief. I believe in the absence of disbelief. Inclusive and all-encompassing isn't it? Fight paradox with paradox!


How can you say something unspeakable? How can you express something indescribable? How can you know something indefinable? Is the set of all sets that are not members of themselves a member of itself? How can you become what you will be? How can you be what you are?

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Back Brain Logic

Sometimes you need to be reminded of where you are in your life. Sometimes you need to remind yourself where you are in your life. Nothing like a nice clear message from the boss telling you that yesterday doesn't cut it today. Thanks boss. I almost forgot.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Empty Relations

My mother had a boyfriend who explained to me that everything is at its heart just empty space. The universe is mostly empty space between galaxies, galaxies mostly empty space between stars and planets, matter mostly empty space between molecules and atoms, atoms mostly empty space between the electrons and the nucleus... At each level of scale there seems to be a great deal of empty space however the scale below is conceived of as full. Galaxies full of stars, a glass full of water, a memory full of pain. The conceptualization of an amalgamation of smaller elements in space-time abstracts away the empty space between them. It seems we give great significance to the elements rather than their circumstances and interrelation. It might be argued that all that we perceive are relationships. Relationships of previously perceived relationships. Patterns of patterns. Perception itself is a relationship. What is at the deepest level and what is at the highest level? The alpha and the omega? Can anything exist without its opposite? Should I say "be perceived" rather than "exist?" Is it all just waves on a sea of empty space?

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Inertial Vectors

If you push on something perpendicularly to the direction it is moving the resulting direction of travel will depend on the momentum before the push and the force of the push. Some would call the momentum a "desire" to maintain the status quo. Some would call the experience of a push-back from that something a "resistance" to change. No matter how hard you push, a perfect right angle (or left angle) turn is unachievable without first stopping it completely. If you push too hard you might break it. Maybe lots of little pushes would be more effective than one big one.


I remember watching a lot of science documentary and science fiction TV as a youngster which often contrasted humanity with computers, robots, animals, and aliens in order to investigate what it means to be human. One of the main distinguishing characteristics of humanity was this thing called self-awareness. I never fully understood how or why that made a difference. I think that awareness of self is what enables the vast range of human capability but it is only the awareness of that awareness that can guide that capability. The observer must also be observed for it to be true complete self awareness. This is that old recursive paradox I love so much. Perhaps that is why things come in pairs. I'll observe your back if you'll observe mine.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

Short Selling

Failure is an option, just keep it below the threshold of catastrophy and learn from it rather than react to it.

Cooperate Yourself

Just because you allow yourself to indulge a craving does not mean that you have lost control to your animal nature. Just make sure to keep an eye on yourself and ensure that things don't get out of hand. Trust, respect, and cooperate yourself.

Friday, March 12, 2004

T.S. Eliot:

Four Quartets

Contiguous Simulacrity?

I was reading my Ode to the Third Port and I came across the idea that in order to change (i.e. learn or un-learn) one must be in two places at once. After reading it I thought I might offer an alternative; being in one place at twice. I'll leave it at that for now.

Relatively True

Accusational words beget defensive words. Defensive words beget accusational words. The system will degenerate unless both sides move towards the neutrality of absolute truth through the acknowledgement of relative truth. Is "Accusational" a word? It is in my world.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Loopy Moods

It is sometimes difficult to recognise emotional feedback from others. We are often either oblivious to it or assume that it is meant for someone else. We tend to see someone's mood as slow and static rather than quick and dynamic and thus rarely implicate ourselves in its modification at any given moment. While it is true that we are not responsible for the emotional response of another being we should attempt to be aware of our role in it. It is only that awareness that is slow and static. Our intellect operates in this imaginary world of detached objectivity. Lets not forget the experimenter effect.

Matters of my Mind

I took the afternoon off to relax by the water and enjoy a good book (Lila) in this beautiful weather we are experiencing. The view of the river fit with the story of piloting a sailboat down the Hudson river. I ended up walking the halls of the CEGEP I attended back in the early nineties. Come to think of it I graduated almost ten years ago. I felt as alone and alien in the place as I did back then. I also ran into the owner of the bar I had my last significant drunken experience at last fall. He was opening another bar, an Irish pub, named for his mother's maiden name which happens to also be the maiden name of my cousin's wife. I noticed that I have this habit of looking away from people when talking to them and that I have a strong aversion to sentences that start with "you know what you should do?".

The looking away probably has something to do with the fact that I tend to speak about myself with preprepared chunks of information rather than a dynamic flow. Maybe I don't like to experience a persons reaction to what I am saying while I am saying it because I know that in the past I have had a tendency to cater to their reactions. I tend to not enjoy talking about myself because I fear criticism and get a bad taste in my mouth from advice, regardless of the good intentions. With all my lip service to open-mindedness my own perspective is the last thing I wish to discuss with anyone. It's not that my mind is closed but rather I feel that trying to describe a static picture of its contents tends to help close it. I think speaking has an effect of somehow setting things in stone for me. The dynamic nature of my own thought is easy to accept but exposing that flux to others produces some anxiety thus ideas that have been shared tend to become entrenched. Some people have this tendancy to want me to explain myself when that is exactly what I am trying not to do. It is easy to forget that you are trying to eliminate a pattern of behavior when that pattern is expected of you. It is hard enough that you expect it of yourself.

I stopped by a little coffee shop and overheard some teenagers having a conversation about which came first, the chicken or the egg. There was a day when their simple juvenile arguments would have enraged me but not today. I was just happy to hear youth beginning to examine the intellectual paradoxes inherent in the cause and effect perceptual framework imposed by consensus reality.

Monday, March 08, 2004

"What if my whole life was wrong?"

I was watching something on Mountain Lake PBS last night called The Power of Intention and the speaker quoted someone with something like "You don't want to die with your music still in you" and similarly the title of this post. Make it right and set it free.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Thread the Needle

Where is that happy place between getting angry and saying nothing, between reaction and supression, between self-servience and self-control?

Beware The Infinite Slope

Instant gratification. The desire for it creeps up in so many places. We act and we want immediate evidence of our effectiveness, we speak and we want people to understand and be affected on the spot, we see someone do something and we want to believe that we can do the same thing right away, we demonstrate and want others to be likewise capable as soon as we are finished, we read something once and we think that is the same as knowing it, we write something and think everyone will understand it after one reading, we think and we want to believe that we have achieved the pinnacle of human rationality. Only the mind is capable of anything seemingly instantaneous, the rest of the universe moves in infinitesimal increments. Baby steps. Be patient and don't get too far ahead of the real world, it needs your guidance right here and right now to help get ever so slightly closer to where you wish it would be.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Your Outer Child

I'm playing a bit of a parental role this weekend and it is reminding me that the difficulties in dealing with outer children are the same as those in dealing with inner children. Logic is not sufficient. You are the cause of your frustration, not the child. The method used to convey an idea is occasionally contrary to that very idea itself. The medium is the message? Anyhoo, I'm feeling lots of appreciation over here. Lots-O-Love.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Barfing Totalrama

OK, after further reminiscence, I have realized there was more to the Total Barfarama incident than I initially recalled. It seems that reason was silently driven by emotion and emotion fueled by reason, and so on, and so on, ad infinitum. Due to various historical influences I had a fear that my seatmate on the bus was sleeping with my girlfriend. I was invited to the fete that preceded the bus ride via a phone call from my girlfriends house by my seatmate. Lets just say I was a little agitated and had no outlet. So I pushed things down below the conscious level. On the bus my unwillingness to yield the window seat may well have been an expression of anger. I also needed to see a man about a horse so getting the driver to stop the bus would have been in my interest. My seatmate's dilemma was likely not a fear of the vomiting itself but a fear of people's reaction to the vomiting. His conflict was with his own intellectualization of the situation and resulting suppression of his natural instinct, which would have been to just barf. Now he claims that the upset stomach was a result of some anti-inflammatory pills he was taking. Could it have been guilt? Not necessarily for actions taken but for actions considered. Not necessarily for thoughts but for feelings. I can't say. All I know is that my guilt and his anger related to the actual barfing situation seemed to have cancelled something out, allowed for mutual release, and brought us a little closer together.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Total Barfarama

A buddy of mine reminded me of an old story from our adolescence. Thinking about it made me realize how poetic it was. I played the role of reason and he that of emotion; a classic formula for communication breakdown. We were on a bus together, I in the window seat and he in the aisle seat. He felt ill and feared he was going to vomit. This was due to something we both had consumed before getting on the bus and because of this we were also concerned that the authority figures along on the trip would find out. He was driven by a de facto uncontrollable imperative. I, not being privy to the physicality of his predicament, was more concerned with arriving at a logical solution to the problem. He felt we should switch seats to allow him access to the window whereas I thought he should either will the urge away or ask the driver to pull over. As is the case with most stalemates, the result was messy. The vomit ended up on the floor in front of us. We both suffered for our inability to reach a compromise. I explained to the authority figures that he suffered from problems with motion sickness and thankfully the effluent did not give away its true chemical nature. His resulting burden was embarrassment and our shared burden was living with sticky soles to our shoes. But that incident broke the ice and allowed us to quickly get acquainted with the other people on the trip. It was exactly what the doctor ordered for a couple of conceited cocky bastards who were looking to meet some new people and have some fun.


Do people talk to you sometimes in such a way that you are aware they just wanted to tell somebody, anybody, what they had to say. Makes me feel inhuman. Do we know what conversations are people? Just because you are lonely and tired of listening to yourself think does not mean that the cure to that loneliness is to have someone else listen to it. But what is the right response? I guess I should see through the blather, recognize the loneliness, and just be supportive. I can't hide disinterest though. It's not that I'm disinterested in them, just disinterested in what they are telling me. I have to be kind and honest.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Harmonic Discord

I recently read or heard somewhere that wisdom was the ability to hold multiple incongruous ideas in the mind at one time. Are you afraid to entertain guests of thought that seem incompatible with what you currently believe?

Conflicting Choices

If you believe that life is conflict then that is what you will see. Your focus will be on differences and opposition. Casual observations will be seen as criticism, humour will be taken as insult, offers of help will be seen as implications of weakness, and every action will be attributed to a selfish motive.

If you believe life is cooperation then that is what you will see. Your focus will be on similarities and synergism. Casual observations will be seen as interesting perspectives, humour will be funny, offers of help will be welcomed acts of kindness, and every action will be attributed to a genuine desire to do what is best.

Your reaction to your experience is your choice. Choose wisely.